The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 05/27/15

Guests: Annie Karni, Steve Clemons, Jeff Carlisle, Paul Butler, AdrianKaratnycky

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: The fact that this spelling bee thing is one of our national pastimes, the fact that this is happening when the biggest story in the world today is the corruption and terribleness of most countries national pastime. The Scripps Spelling Bee arriving today in the midst of today`s terrible sports corruption news is honestly relief, and it is the best new thing in the world today. Go spelling bee kids. 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: T-h-a-n-k-s, Rachel. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: OK -- O`DONNELL: That`s all I got, that`s the best I can do. MADDOW: OK, it`s pretty much as far as I can get, thanks man. (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Thank you. Well, today, Rick Santorum announced the launch of another losing Santorum for president campaign. Tonight, we will tell you which Republicans actually have a chance at the nomination and why they will all be attacking Rand Paul on the way to that nomination. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM, ATTORNEY & FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: I am running for president of the United States. (CHEERS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The GOP candidate officially entering the race. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dust off your sweater vests. SANTORUM: Today is the day we are going to begin to fight back. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The only way we get change is when enough people in this country say I`m mad as hell -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I am not going to take this anymore! WARREN: Until there is some real change in this country, that`s all I know to do. JOHN BURTON, CHAIRMAN, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: She is the -- champion of the American people. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you think of Paul, this takes guts -- SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rand Paul is definitely trying to separate himself. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only major Republican presidential candidate taking on the NSA. PAUL: This is a debate about whether or not a warrant with a single name - - JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Right is right Randal Paul, know that, I am so over this. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are issuing FIFA a red card. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An indictment that has rocked the world`s most popular sport -- LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: Used their positions of trust to solicit bribes in exchange for the commercial rights to their soccer tournaments. SEPP BLATTER, PRESIDENT, FIFA: And we have to remain a nonprofit organization -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nonprofit with over a billion dollars in the bank. BLATTER: Yes, but this is a reserve. JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: When your rainy day fund is so big, you`ve got to check it for swimming cartoon ducks. (LAUGHTER) You are not the -- a nonprofit any more. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And now, there are seven in Cabot, Pennsylvania, just minutes away from his childhood home, Rick Santorum became the seventh Republican to officially announce his candidacy for president of the United States. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANTORUM: Working families don`t need another president tied to big government or big money. And today is the day, today is the day we are going to begin to fight back. (CHEERS) I am proud to stand here among you and for you, the American workers who have sacrificed so much -- to announce that I am running for president of the United States. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Today, Hillary Clinton returned to South Carolina where her last candidacy for president was crushed by then Senator Barack Obama in the South Carolina primary of 2008. She warned voters about the kind of Republican populist rhetoric that Rick Santorum is now using. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Today, too many politicians who want to return to the same failed top-down economics are mouthing the words middle class. But this is something you have to believe in and something you have to be ready to fight for. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And as usual, no one sounds more ready to fight that fight than the most popular Democrat who is not running for president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: The only way we get change is when enough people in this country say, I`m mad as hell and I`m fed up, and I`m not going to do this anymore. You are not going to go back and represent me in Washington D.C., if you are not willing to pass a meaningful infrastructure bill. If you are not willing to refinance student loan interest rates and stop dragging in billions of dollars in profits off the backs of kids who otherwise can`t afford to go to college. If you don`t say you`re going to fund the NIH and the NISS because that is our future. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Joy Reid, Msnbc national correspondent who is in South Carolina following Hillary Clinton, Annie Karni, a reporter covering Hillary Clinton for POLITICO, and Richard Wolffe of Msnbc.com, executive editor. Joy Reid, it was a return to one of the tough spots in the campaign the last time around for Hillary Clinton today, how did she -- how did she do there? JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I`ll tell you, Lawrence, she was received very well in the room of about 200 Democratic activists. Who are doing this day in blue with an annual day when Democratic stalwarts from around this very red state get together and sort of try to console themselves I suppose, as to some of the misfortunes of being a Democrat in South Carolina. But also to plot away for -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breathe -- REID: The party, she emphasized -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Relax -- REID: From the lower sort of -- (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember when I was a practicing lawyer -- (CROSSTALK) Back in Little Rock -- REID: I thought she did pretty well. O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at the announced candidates now in the Republican field. We have -- this is in the order that they announced. We have Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum. Not yet announced, the ever patient Jeb Bush, not yet announced Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki. Richard Wolffe, I cannot believe that every one of those names in the not- yet-announced column is going to jump over into the announced column. Are we really going to have a Pataki, a Jindal candidacy for presidency? RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: A situation where each and every one of them think that this is a Republican year and if these other people are running, well, why on earth shouldn`t they, too? And that kind of delusion is what`s rampant through the Republican field right now. Which is to say, look, we have a great bench, we just got no star players, and so why can`t I be the star player? I think that kind of mindset is going to play on each and every one of them. They say Rick Santorum can do it, I can do it, too. O`DONNELL: Do we have -- Annie, do we have John Edwards and Joe Biden to blame for this, in that they run presidential campaigns that ended up getting them the vice presidential nomination? ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO: That`s a good question. I think that it is the more of the merrier here, that they all think -- you know, they all have a chance here. I can see they all have a pass here. Like last time around, there was a lot of Republican candidates and no one seemed very serious. Here, it actually seems like a pretty deep bench. And you can kind of mark out a way where everyone would be a big challenge to Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee. This week, it looks like Marco Rubio is her biggest fear, Jeb Bush is still a huge fear for her, Walker could be a big fear for her. I think as long as they can all see a path for themselves, why would you not? And once it`s in your head and you`re the kind of person who can envision being the president, I don`t know how you hold back from that. O`DONNELL: Well, if they can all see the path, then Richard is right, there is a lot of delusion out there. I think there`s four of them, I think there is four people there who actually have a chance at this nomination. I think it`s Bush, Walker, Kasich and Rubio. Joy Reid, does that sound about right to you, or do you think there`s a larger set of possibilities here? REID: Yes, I agree with you, Lawrence. I think it`s a very narrow and very small group of this 18, 19 or 23 or however many are jumping in. Because the thing is that you still have to win primaries. So, you have to think to yourself, who could win two out of three of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina? Who could win both Nevada and Ohio? Who could put together enough delegates so that they`re not just all taking small numbers of delegates in and then having sort of a floor fun at the convention. I`m not sure what the -- how this plays, and also who will have the money to go the distance. There are a lot of candidates that you mentioned that have a multi millionaire. So Marco Rubio has Norman Braman, so check, he`s got the money that he could go the distance, he could stay in. Scott Walker has got his base of the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation- type money, that could keep him in. Jeb Bush has his fortune that he`s raised on his own and this vast sort of network of Florida donors, that could keep him in. I think if you can marry a candidate with enough money or at least, at least one billionaire that can keep them going long enough to last through at least the Florida primary or get to Super Tuesday, they`re viable. There are other ones like Ted Cruz who I think are pure marks -- or to pure show, and there is not really a path that I can see to them winning one, two or three primaries. I think the realistic chances, that list that you gave sounds pretty good. I would still say there is an outside chance that at least getting into the debate that you will see Rand Paul remain an interesting figure in the party. I don`t think he has a shot at the nomination at all, I think there`s too much opposition to him. But I think that he keeps the debates interesting, so I`m glad that I think at least he`ll get that far. But people like Pataki and some of these others, I just honestly don`t see it. O`DONNELL: The -- Richard Wolffe, the -- it looks like one of these big crowded fields, but that`s like the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby -- WOLFFE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Where we all know -- WOLFFE: Yes -- O`DONNELL: Not everyone of these horses has a chance. There`s really usually, you know, two, three, four that are in it. Do you see it that way? Do you see it as there might be six or seven of these people who have a chance? WOLFFE: No, I think -- actually, you`re being generous in saying that there are four potential runners here -- O`DONNELL: I`m always trying to be generous about this -- WOLFFE: That`s very kind of you. I think that what you underestimate in that -- in that sort of, you know -- in that end game analysis, is looking at someone like Rick Santorum and really underestimating how potent a challenger he is. Never going to be actually the nominee, but a very potent campaigner, which means that he is a -- he`s taking missile. The question is, who is he going to take out? Is it one or two of them? Who is Rand Paul going to take out? Who is Ted Cruz going to take out? And that`s where you got a last man standing strategy which is the potential path for a handful of these characters. Where they`re not too censorious, and they`re not too conservative, and they`re not just way out of line with the mainstream of the Republican Party. Who is going to take out these various candidates and who is the last one standing when you`ve gone through Super Tuesday and you`re out -- you`re down to the last vote counts? And I think that`s very hard to game out at this point. O`DONNELL: And Annie, the last cycle, we saw these temporary and weird infatuations among Republican voters, you know, with these candidates that didn`t have a chance. They were suddenly floating up toward the top of the polls. You know, Ben Carson looks like one of those candidates now who comes up towards the top of some of these polls. And it`s pretty hard to predict how that cycle of infatuation is going to work. KARNI: It is. I mean, I think each one of them, some will get a bounce from their announcements, Santorum got a lot of coverage today. I think -- I mean, we remember Herman Cain who was a front-runner last time around, I mean, we don`t know, but one thing about a candidate like Santorum who is in the news today is, he`s tacking to a different strategy from last time. Talking about being a champion of the middle class. And a lot of them are doing this, the right -- the Republicans are now talking about income inequality and we`ll see if that is something that can carry them. That can give them a different path than the last time from the ones who have run before. O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, Santorum is actually in favor of an increase in the minimum wage, he`s talking about raising it 50 cents an hour, like three years in a row. (LAUGHTER) And Joy, it`s really kind of fascinating to see an item like that moving over into a Republican candidacy. And then, he does a lot of rhetoric there today about, you know, working Americans and why they so desperately need a flat tax to get them into a -- an economic growth curve. But he is really trying to co-opt some of the phrasing of populist campaigning. REID: Yes, and you know what? It`s interesting that you mentioned Santorum. If you wanted to expand your list of four, and put in a fifth person, Santorum would not be a bad choice. And I say that because if you look at the Iowa caucuses, you need somebody who is a very doctrinal religious conservative, so he checks that box. And I think a lot of people forget that Rick Santorum actually gave Mitt Romney a good run for his money in 2012. He came very close to taking him down. Mitt Romney survived it mainly because he had the finance, he had the money to just outlast him. But the message that Santorum was running on the last time had to do with taking this more populist tact. Now, I would say his populism is tampered if you`re talking about raising the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, that`s not exactly going to change the lives of working poor people in America. It`s a far cry from the 10.10 that the President is asking for. But it is a movement in a party that has been very down on anything that is the working poor, any program that looks programmatic in the federal government. I think Rick Santorum will get opposition and would stir up the Rand Paul wing. You got "Reason" magazine out there, does not like him at all. So there`s a -- there`s a -- libertarians will -- it will give them something to debate, and I think that`s good for him, it keeps him relevant. I just think, again, I look at these candidates and I ask myself who can put together two of those first three. And even if you name those five, it`s very difficult to see without a real lot of money and a really -- a big poobah really financing them in a huge ad campaign, who could actually do the two or three? But Santorum is not a bad fifth person to add to your list. O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take -- KARNI: I think they`re -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead Annie, quickly -- KARNI: Sorry, one thing about Santorum coming in and talking about income inequality this time around, I think that he -- the posture is sort of appealing to a sense of powerlessness. And to think this is what they`re all doing, Walker, even in taking on the unions is kind of the unions are the power and he is fighting for the everyday American. They`re all -- whatever the big power is, they`re all kind of taking a posture there for the everyday American, the regular American, whatever it is you want to call it. And it`s an appeal that could work better for Republicans this time coming off the Democratic president. And they can say you had President Obama for eight years and you`re still feeling this powerlessness and they`re appealing that, that feeling whether or not his raising of the minimum wage is enough to make a difference to middle class Americans. That depends on what policies they`re rolling out. But I think they`re appealing to this feeling and they`re all doing it in a different way. O`DONNELL: Annie Karni, thank you very much for joining us tonight. KARNI: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, Rand Paul launches another attack on his own party, blaming Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, President George W. Bush for the rise of the Islamic State. And who knew that the Attorney General of the United States is a Patriots fan? Why else would she create the biggest sports scandal in the world by indicting those guys who run that international soccer league? This is all about getting the heat off Tom Brady. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and those -- that fascinating indictments coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: The Republican controlled Senate in Nebraska voted today to override a veto by Nebraska`s Republican governor and abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is now outlawed in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Up next, Senator Rand Paul attacks his own party and -- over the -- over who is to blame for the creation of the Islamic State. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: There is now no doubt that Rand Paul is going to be the candidate to watch on the Republican presidential debate stage, and there is no doubt that Rand Paul is going to be the most attacked candidate on the Republican presidential debate stage. He proved that once again this morning on this network on "MORNING JOE". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: A lot of people are trapped inside the beltway and they think that war is always the answer. But I`m asking some difficult questions of Republicans. Do you think the invasion of Iraq made it more stable or us more safe? We now have ISIS to contend with. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right -- PAUL: ISIS exist and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb Assad which would have made ISIS` job even easier -- they created these people. Everything that they have talked about on foreign policy, they have been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise. ISIS is all over Libya because the same hawks in my party loved, they loved Hillary Clinton`s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it, but Libya is a failed state and is a disaster. Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Here was Rick Santorum`s reaction to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANTORUM: I would expect to hear that from maybe Bernie Sanders. I don`t expect to hear that from someone running for the Republican nomination. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And this time, Rick Santorum was right. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: We are here today because of the disastrous blunder of the Bush-Cheney era which got us into this war in Iraq in the first place. Which then developed the can of worms that we`re trying to deal with right now. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Steve Clemons, an Msnbc contributor and a Washington editor-at-large of "The Atlantic" magazine. Steve, it sounds like we have a ticket, Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders. STEVE CLEMONS, WASHINGTON EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE ATLANTIC: Oh, there you go. Well, Rand Paul makes something really interesting, Lawrence. Is that he is reaching for the Richard Nixon-Henry Kissinger ring and saying there are costs and benefits in the things United States does. We should be realistic about them, we should take account of them. And that`s what Nixonian practicality in foreign policy was about. Which are a very interesting subtle purge, if you will, of neoconservative thinking in the Republican Party, which is what Rand Paul is trying to get going. O`DONNELL: And Joy Reid, this clearly -- I mean, he was already a marked man on that debate stage, but this kind of talk, saying ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party? I mean, imagine that line on the debate stage. We`ve seen candidates get booed on those Republican debate stages, this would be one of them, it sounds like. REID: Yes, this is not a grout strategy for a Republican candidate for president, but it is actually something that has the interesting benefit of being true. I mean, the -- O`DONNELL: Yes -- REID: Reality is that everyone who`s looked at the foreign policy of the Bush administration is clear on the fact that it was, A, the worst foreign policy decision and disaster in modern American history and that it produced ISIS. ISIS grew up in the prison camps we were running, Camp Bucca and other prisons in Iraq, that`s just fact. And I think this -- the interesting thing that Rand Paul does is, he makes that wedge between the neocons in the party, the existing neocons, that`s Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush (INAUDIBLE), but also Lindsey Graham, even though he is not viable. It makes them have to dig even deeper into neoconservatism which is deadly for them in the general elections, because most Americans are there. Most Americans get that this was a disaster and don`t want to wrap their arms around Iraq, let alone send more American troops into Iraq and into Syria. So, I think that he is very beneficial to the debate -- Rand Paul, but yes, he is a marked man for sure, as soon as he says something like that within his party. O`DONNELL: Now, the party line on the Islamic State is of course that President Obama created the Islamic State. We have a sample of that party line. Let`s listen to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANTORUM: We look at the problems that are confronting this country around the world, and you look at ISIS for example, ISIS was created by Barack Obama. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When it comes to blaming people about Iraq, the person I blame is Barack Obama, not George W. Bush. (APPLAUSE) JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We could have kept the troops in. He could have -- he could kept the troops in. It was a decision made based on a campaign promise. And I think we`re now paying the price for it. SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: So understand why the President has not put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS. If we wanted to defeat them militarily, we could do it. Here is why he hasn`t done it, because he doesn`t want to upset Iran. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, who is going to win this "who created the Islamic State debate"? WOLFFE: Well, I actually think the facts on the ground are going to win this one. You know, one of the complicated things about a presidential campaign is that it runs for so long that you start out with these applause lines, and it`s just true of Senator Barack Obama as well, and then things change. And the question for voters and for journalists is to see, do these candidates change with them? And most of them don`t. They stick with our applause lines because they`re not much beyond those talking points. You know, I`ll never forget a conversation with a very senior Bush administration official back in 2006, when this official told me, you know, it`s only now -- and this was three years after the start of the war. He said it`s only now that the president is really beginning to understand what the rise of the Shia really means. And it was -- it was so appallingly laughably, horrifically factual that you had to look back and say, well, how can we afford to have presidents who are learning on the job? The problem with this Republican field, with these talking points, is that they literally don`t know what they`re talking about when it comes to this region. If they think there`s a military solution, they`re not talking to anyone who knows anything, and I suspect they`re really just talking to communication`s experts who think that they can land a good punch on a debate stage. Can they adapt to the facts as they change through the campaign? That`s going to be one of their first tests even before they get to the Oval Office. O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, we haven`t heard from Hillary Clinton on this issue with this kind of specificity. We were looking for something from her today, and we have to reach back over -- just about a year ago to an interview she did with "The Atlantic" with -- and she was asked, would we be in this position now if we had done more three years ago to help build up a moderate Syrian opposition? And she began her answer by saying, well, "I don`t know the answer to that." And she went on to say, "I don`t know the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who are the originators of the protest against Assad were Islamist, they were secularist." She went on and on in detail, but she certainly didn`t have a sharp campaign answer ready to go on that. And it seems like the question is going to come to her in some form in terms of -- was there an American policy that created in effect or fueled the Islamic State? CLEMONS: Well, there are proxies for Hillary Clinton like Anne-Marie Slaughter and others who have articulated an answer, which is that there was this moment in time, a very brief moment in time, David Petraeus has said this as well. That if the United States had gone in and intervened and armed the right group of the moderate opposition, it might have had a tilting point effect in Syria. I happen to disagree with that view. I think that the people forget that Syria is basically a civil war on top of which there is a proxy war of great countries competing. It`s much more complex than we`re hearing. But I think that is where Hillary Clinton will eventually go when there is less resistance about worrying of -- of running counter to incumbent president under whom she served. That said, I think that the broader issue with Hillary Clinton is that her votes in the Senate tended to be hawkish, tended to give authorities quite openly on the Iraq war, but also with a Joe Lieberman-led resolution that had to do with Iran. And some people would say that the breadth of those resolutions at that time was something that raises a lot of concerns about Hillary Clinton`s point. Which you see many other people, that Chris Christie and others are engaged in Pentagon-hugging right now. They want to establish their credentials saying we`re with the military, we`re with the Pentagon, we`re not trying to think deeply about what Republicans got right and wrong like Rand Paul is trying to do. O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, Richard Wolffe and Joy Reid, thank you all for joining us tonight. CLEMONS: Thank you. WOLFFE: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, Loretta Lynch takes on the world; the business world of corrupt soccer. And later, a Supreme Court Justice in the state of Alabama is attacking two United States Supreme Court Justices for performing same-sex weddings. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whoever doesn`t look to make headlines, she looks to make a difference. She`s not about splash, she is about substance. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Well, she got a worldwide splash today. And headlines from the substance of a 47-count indictment that Attorney General Loretta Lynch brought against nine officials in the organization that runs the World Cup. One investigator called their scheme the "World Cup of Fraud." The officials are accused of taking over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks over several years. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These individuals, through these organizations, engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide. They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves. This Department of Justice is determined to end these practices, to root out corruption and to bring wrongdoers to justice. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Seven of the accused officials were arrested this morning in Zurich at the five-star hotel where the group is meeting before Friday`s presidential election in which Sepp Blatter, who has head the organization since 1998, has been expected to easily win re-election. Following Attorney General Lynch`s announcements, first prosecutors announced their own criminal investigation into how Russia and Qatar became the winning locations for future World Cup competitions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: 2018 FIFA World Cup, ladies and gentlemen, will be organized in Russia. The winner to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Qatar. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Georgetown School of Law, and Jeff Carlisle, who covers soccer for ESPN FC. Jeff Carlisle, I have to ask you about the way this lands in the world of soccer because to me, sitting outside here at some distance, I cannot summon the slightest surprise or shock about this organization which, prior to today, already seems to be a wildly corrupt operation. JEFF CARLISLE, ESPN FC: Yes. The surprise is not so much to do with the charges, but the fact that a law enforcement agency actually decided to go after FIFA. I mean, there have been rumblings for years of bribes, of corruption, even before the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, you know, two executive committee members were caught on tape soliciting bribes. So again this is not a surprise, but certainly it`s an investigation that was a long time coming, it was a long time in the making. I think there`s some surprise that it finally came from the United States who certainly is an increasing power in the world of soccer, but certainly not as big as some Europeans and South American countries. So full credit to the Department of Justice and the FBI for uncovering this and, you know, it`s a complex case. You know, the guys that were indicted went to great lengths to conceal their activities and it was going to be a very complicated case to prosecute, I suspect. But certainly kudos to the FBI and the Department of Justice for finally, you know, trying to bring these guys to justice. O`DONNELL: Paul Butler, describe the jurisdiction on this and how the U.S. government got the -- got into a position where they could make these charges with an organization where most of their business is conducted outside of the United States. PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Lawrence, the United States federal prosecutor has a lot of power to go after foreign citizens, even people who have never lived in this country can be prosecuted by the federal government. So the requirement is fairly loose connections. If you`ve done business using a U.S. bank, even if you use a U.S. Internet service provider, that`s enough for federal jurisdiction. The surprising thing about this case isn`t so much that FIFA is corrupt. Everybody seems to have known that. It`s that Loretta Lynch chose this as her first big case. Normally a U.S. attorney would pick something like national priority like police brutality, some people will ask why she`s going after FIFA in Switzerland and not after any of the bad actors on Wall Street. It is a splashy case from a prosecutor who is not known for doing splashy. And now with the whole world watching, she`s going to have to get a conviction. And the first step there is to extradite these guys to the United States. O`DONNELL: And so far, it seems that the Swiss authorities are cooperating on extradition. And, of course, this indictment does not in any way suggest that there aren`t all sorts of other investigations preceding in the Justice Department, Paul, but this was the one that ripens today. BUTLER: Yes. And, in fact, we know that there were four secret guilty pleas. So she`s got four people who have been cooperating. We know at least one of these guys is a snitch. He`s been wearing a wire. Loretta Lynch is a cautious prosecutor. She wouldn`t bring a big, splashy case like this unless she was fairly confident she could win. O`DONNELL: Paul Butler, what does -- I`m sorry, Jeff Carlisle, what does this do to the big suspenseful presidential election on Friday where, of course, what`s his name was going to get re-elected as usual? CARLISLE: Well, if you believe what FIFA has to say, it`s going to be business as usual. The election is going to go ahead. If it does, I fully expect Sepp Blatter to be re-elected. There wasn`t a whole lot of drama surrounding this election. But certainly, logically speaking, really, the election should be postponed. You`ve got FIFA ExCo members who have been arrested. This is just a bad situation all around and a bad look for FIFA and this is an organization that has really resisted attempts for more transparency, more accountability, certainly if there was a delay in the election, it would start to placate the critics a little bit to say, hey, we need to take a step back and take a deep breath and try to get to the bottom of this and really, you know, wait for this election, you know, at least for a couple of months and try to hold it then. O`DONNELL: Jeff, quickly, did you see anything in today`s indictment that impacts the integrity of the outcome of the games, of the actual scores in the games? That`s the ultimate corruption in sports is somehow affecting the outcome, rigging a game. CARLISLE: No. I didn`t see any indication of match fixing, if that`s what you`re referring to. Almost everything in the -- contained in the indictment had to relate to the sale of media rights from organizations such as CONCACAF, such as CONMEBOL in South America to a third party and then that third party would go about selling to broadcast media rights to broadcasters and sponsors and other entities elsewhere in the world. So there was no match fixing involved. It was all really related to the business side of the game. O`DONNELL: And Paul Butler, as to the timing of this indictment, there comes a time in some prosecutions, some investigations where you don`t really have a choice, right? I mean, as the prosecutor, you`ve got to get these indictments out there because certain situations are ripening that you can no longer keep secret. BUTLER: That`s right, Lawrence. And this comes up all of the time with public corruption cases. And at the end of the day, this is just an international public corruption case. But you have to bring in the case when you`re ready because if you try to be strategic about it, you`re going to be criticized for being political. O`DONNELL: Paul Butler and Jeff Carlisle, thanks for joining us tonight. BUTLER: Great to be here. O`DONNELL: Coming up, another opponent of Vladimir Putin suddenly gets very, very sick. And, of course, some people suspect that he was poisoned. And later, first Mike Huckabee says we don`t have to obey the Supreme Court and now an Alabama Supreme Court justice says Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be impeached. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: A Russian journalist considered an opponent of Vladimir Putin has been hospitalized after collapsing from a mysterious illness. 33-year- old opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was taken to a hospital in Moscow Tuesday night where he is reportedly in serious by stable condition. Vladimir Kara-Murza`s doctor told a Russian news agency that he was suffering from kidney failure, but one of his colleagues told "The Guardian" that his illness was suspicious. According to his failure, Mr. Kara-Murza was at a state-owned legal agency in Moscow when he fell ill. He was also part of a group that recently released a report saying 220 Russian soldiers have been killed while fighting in southeast Ukraine even though Vladimir Putin has denied any involvement in the conflict there. That report was originally conceived by another Putin opponent who was assassinated outside the Kremlin in February. A new report out tomorrow from the Atlantic Council use satellite images and social media updates from Russian soldiers to show that Russian forces are fighting in southeast Ukraine. Joining us now is Russian expert and senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, Adrian Karatnycky. Adrian, so someone has stomach problems, someone is having -- a 33-year-old man is having kidney issues. And in Russia, this immediately becomes suspicious and suspicions are trained on Vladimir Putin. ADRIAN KARATNYCKY, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Well, you know, I mean, there have been a number of assassinations of journalists. There have been a number of poisonings, plutonium poisonings and so on. And always the mantra is, well, is it really Putin or is it other people who may be acting in defense of him? I think Vladimir Putin has a clear way of sending signals to people who support him not to engage in these kinds of activities. And I think at this point the accumulated record of his, you know, clandestine operations, whether it`s a war in Ukraine or these attempted killings and poisonings and assassinations of people has to be laid at his -- at his door. And I think there`s just too many of them. They happen too often for this to be, you know, accidental, episodic, the work of fringe elements in Russia who may be playing their own agendas. O`DONNELL: And in Russia itself, how much public speculation of this sort are people exposed to? KARATNYCKY: Very little. I mean, there is no TV station that will have a discussion of this. None. There is an Internet TV station which has a very limited reach in Russia that will be discussing this. There is one radio station that has national reach that will gingerly discuss it because half of the station`s shares are owned by Gazprom, the state utility, the state gas monopoly. So it`s just -- you know, Putin, over 15 years, has squeezed out the independent press. There are a couple of independent newspapers, there are a bunch of Internet sites and that`s about it. O`DONNELL: And does that kind of control work or is there a kind of healthy suspicion out there about Putin in the country? KARATNYCKY: As long as the economy has been growing, the Russian people have kind of fallen in line and Putin`s ratings have been very high. The - - you know, the takeover of Crimea, which was done without any bloodshed, is kind of easy gain for Russia and a lot of rah-rah patriotism around it. That`s helping. So Russians have not been looking too closely at Mr. Putin in recent months and over the last years but you have to remember, just a couple of years ago, his ratings were under 50 percent. It was widely believed that he padded the election not to have a second round run-off. So he`s vulnerable. At the moment, he`s still riding high. O`DONNELL: Adrian Karatnycky, thanks for joining us tonight. KARATNYCKY: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, a judge in Alabama wants Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be impeached because she presided at the wedding of a couple who you met on this program last week. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Queen Elizabeth opened a new session of the British parliament today. Parliament centuries old love/hate relationship with the British monarch always makes this interesting. It began, as always, with parliament embarrassing the monarchy. First, members of the Queen`s guard have a ceremonial search for gunpowder in the parliament cellar. That ritual started in 1605 when English Catholics tried to kill King James I. Next, the House of Commons slams the door in the face of the officer sent to summon members of parliament to listen to the Queen`s speech. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is (INAUDIBLE). Open the door. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: There are fraternities that have better manners than that. David Cameron and the people who actually run the government then put on their best listening faces as the Queen is allowed to read a speech written almost entirely by the party in power. Parliament leaves the royals one more reminder of who is actual running the show. Before entering the House of Lords, the Queen must walk past a copy of the death warrant parliament issued for King Charles I who was beheaded in 1649. The United Kingdom shows no sign of coming to its senses and abolishing the monarchy altogether. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: In our history, no member of the Supreme Court has been forced out of office by Congress, impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate. But now, a judge in Alabama says it`s time to get rid of a couple of those justices. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: It`s not easy for a federal judge to get impeached in the last 25 years. Only four judges have been impeached by the House of Representatives, three were convicted by the Senate, another resigned after being impeached by the House. All of them had been indicted for bribery before they were impeached. And now the elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court wants Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be impeached because she officiated at a same-sex wedding. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF JUSTICE ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SUPREME COURT: We have justices on the Supreme Court right now who have actually performed same-sex marriages. Ginsburg and Kagan. In fact, just last weekend, Ginsburg performed a same- sex marriage. And when she did, it was pointed out by the "New York Times" that she subtly, or they said slyly, which I`ll quote what the "New York Times" says, with a sly look and a special emphasis on the word "constitution," Justice Ginsburg said she was pronouncing the two men married by the powers vested in her by the Constitution of the United States. Now she`s commenting on a case which is before her and under judicial ethics of federal judges, she can`t do that. Congress should do something about this. TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Congress has a responsibility to act. MOORE: That`s right. If Congress is going to let these justices disobey the Constitution they`re sworn to uphold, then Congress has a check and a balance. It`s called impeachment. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Well, he did accurately quote what Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at that wedding. And I raised that with the couple who she married when they appeared on this program last week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: This suggests a possible preview to the Supreme Court decision basically making this constitutional in 50 states. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think she was revealing the whole thing to us. I think that would have been a little anti-climactic. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: And yes, that was Bill Murray sitting with us on the set. Joining us now is MSNBC Supreme Court expert and co-founder of SCOTUSblog, Tom Goldstein. Tom, first you have Mike Huckabee saying we don`t have to obey the Supreme Court. They just write those things. They`re just opinions. And now we have this. Now we have, you know, let`s impeach, let`s impeach. The impeach thing is crazy, never going to happen. We all know that. But there is this momentum coming from the right about the Supreme Court does not have the authority that people suggest it does. TOM GOLDSTEIN, MSNBC SUPREME COURT EXPERT: Yes. I really think that Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kagan aren`t sweating bullets over the prospect of impeachment here. But you`re quite right that there is a bigger issue and that is not since the era of desegregation have we seen an effort by a state to simply delegitimize the Supreme Court and try and set up an argument that it doesn`t have to follow a decision under the Constitution. The Alabama Supreme Court so far has refused to follow an Alabama federal court holding that there is a right to same-sex marriage. And so it is -- if there`s something troubling here, it is really, so far, the attitude of the Alabama courts and Chief Justice Moore. O`DONNELL: It`s a very -- this is a kind of peculiar case because its enforcement mechanisms become rather tricky when you get into the issue of marriage. So there are certain things, if you defy the Supreme Court, you know, we can send in people with badges and guns to make it happen. But it`s hard to see exactly how you do enforce whatever the Supreme Court would hold in these cases. GOLDSTEIN: Right. That`s the issue, the Supreme Court really enforces its rulings through its moral authority. And when people try and play games because they don`t like the results and try and say this isn`t a legitimate Supreme Court, then the whole issue is called into question. You know, the Supreme Court issues a lot of really conservative rulings that I`m sure that Chief Justice Moore really loves and some more liberal ones. We`ve got to follow all of them. O`DONNELL: I want to give the LAST WORD tonight to Bill Murray and what he said last week to Michael Kahn and Charles Mitchem, the people who Ruth Bader Ginsburg married and that this Judge Roy Moore is so upset about. Let`s listen to what Bill Murray said. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: Love conquers all. It really does, and there`s no law, there`s no constitution, there`s no amendment that can say it`s more powerful than love. And love, if you have love, God bless you. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next. Thanks, Tom Goldstein. END