updated 6/23/2006 1:28:42 PM ET 2006-06-23T17:28:42

Guests: Steve Emerson, Laura Schwartz, Peter Beinart, Yale Galanter, John Bourlan, Wendy Murphy, Jennifer Berman, Charmaine Youst, Belisa Vranich

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Breaking news tonight.  You are looking live at a picture of Miami, where NBC News has just confirmed federal agents have arrested seven men suspected of being part of a terrorist plot, raids executed all over the area of Miami and in Liberty City, Florida, where a group of radical Black Muslims reportedly planned to bomb the Sears tower in Chicago and a federal building in Miami.

Let‘s get the very latest now on this breaking news from NBC justice correspondent Pete Williams.  Pete, what do you have for us tonight?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, I think you‘ve got the basics there.  I think a couple of things here to stress.  Number one is that there was no bombing imminent.  It‘s very unclear how much bombing material this group actually had.  We know that they had attempted to buy ammonium nitrate, the fuel—the fertilizer that can be turned into an explosive that was used in Oklahoma City.  That‘s what the Canadian terror group was accused of trying to get.  But there‘s a real question here of whether this group had the capability to do anything with it.

And in fact, this group of radical Black Muslims, as you described them, these seven people, had actually been infiltrated by an FBI informant who was tracking their movements every step of the way.  They never could have actually bombed anything because the FBI had them under such close surveillance, they would have stopped anything before it could have happened.

There‘s no connection, we believe, between this group and al Qaeda.  This is—these are would-be home-grown terrorists, although we are told that one of the group members had actually pledged allegiance to bin Laden.

So there‘s no threat directly from this group.  They were all arrested.  The searches are going on in conjunction with the arrests earlier today.  But nonetheless, what officials are stressing tonight is that while there was no imminent danger here, nonetheless, this was a group of people who were certainly intent on trying to carry out some kind of an attack, and they were doing what they could to try to move forward in that direction.  They‘d scoped out the Sears tower.  They‘d looked at a federal building in Miami.  They wanted to do something spectacular.  Whether they ever would have done it on their own is very doubtful, however.

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, the Sears tower has been a target since 9/11.  And Jim Warren was telling me earlier tonight, editor from “The Chicago Tribune,” that they‘ve long suspected—Mayor Daley‘s long suspected the Sears tower would continue to be a target in the future...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS:  It‘s prominent and it‘s very tall.  But again, we have to stress that there was no imminent threat to the Sears tower here.  They had talked about it.  They had looked about it.  But it‘s unclear that it ever got beyond that.  And of course, anybody can look at the Sears tower and go right up to it.  So I don‘t know how serious that is.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  When are we going to find out how serious it was?  When‘s the FBI going to be coming out and holding a press conference to fill in the blanks and tell us why they obviously thought it was serious enough to have these arrests occur tonight?

WILLIAMS;  In about 12 hours, tomorrow morning about 10:00 o‘clock Eastern time.  But I think, Joe, what this really points out is how the methods of the FBI have changed since 9/11.  They didn‘t want to wait to see how far along this group got.  Who knows, maybe they could have developed the ability to do this on their own.  Maybe they could have become a threat all by themselves without patient guidance from an FBI informant.

But it‘s the view of law enforcement now that you don‘t want to wait to that point.  As soon as it‘s clear that some group actually has the intent to carry out a terrorist attack and is trying to gain the ability to do that and the materials needed to do that, that‘s when they move in and stop them.  And I think this is a very good example of that kind of post-9/11 law enforcement here.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  NBC News‘s Pete Williams, thank you so much for being with us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it.

WILLIAMS:  You bet.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in right now terror analyst Steve Emerson, who‘s been tracking Muslims‘ extremist activities for years.  Steve, thanks so much for being with us tonight.  Talk about what you know about these arrests, and also, more importantly, how serious the FBI considers these home-grown terror cells that apparently are cropping up all over America.

STEVE EMERSON, TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well, the arrests tonight have an eerie parallel with the arrests in Canada several weeks ago of a group of Muslims who were plotting several prominent targets in Canada.  And they had been infiltrated, as well.  Here, as Pete Williams correctly noted, the FBI had been able to insert one of its own inside the group.

However, the fact remains that these were radical Muslims based in the United States, who were born here, who wanted to blow up prominent landmark buildings, including the Sears tower and a federal building in Miami, as well as other targets.  They had done reconnaissance and also were in the process of obtaining the explosives.  But it was controlled because there was an FBI informant who would have ensured that that never would have happened.

It‘s clear, Joe, that we now have the virtual jihad in the United States.  Unlike other plots that had been interrupted where American Muslims have been going overseas to fight the United States, this is one of the first plots to actually—since 9/11 to actually target American icons, such as the Trade Center, the Sears tower in the United States.  It‘s considered quite serious because their intention was to kill as many people as possible.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, I was going to ask you how serious you took this.  Talking to Pete—and of course, he hasn‘t—we‘re all going to have to wait for the press conference that occurs tomorrow.  But Pete Williams didn‘t sound like law enforcement officers he talked to were overly concerned.  How—what should Americans think of this at home, that are get getting this breaking news tonight that there‘s a home-grown terrorist?

I got to tell you, it scarce the hell out of me that you‘ve got people that didn‘t come here from Saudi Arabia or some other Middle Eastern country, but instead people that are sitting in Liberty City, pledging allegiance to bin Laden and deciding that they‘re going to blow up American landmarks.  You know, I‘m sorry, I—that seems like that‘s a very serious development to me because if it‘s happening in Liberty City, it‘s happening in Atlanta, it‘s happening in Washington, it‘s happening in Seattle, you know, this home-grown jihad.  Is that, in fact, a very serious threat facing America in the future?

EMERSON:  I think, Joe, you‘re 100 percent right that—the fact that it is a home-grown jihad, that it is home-grown, that these were American citizens who were plotting to—if they could have carried out these attacks, they would have, but for the excellent work done by the FBI (INAUDIBLE) inserting itself inside the conspiracy, to ensure that no harm could ever befall an American building or (INAUDIBLE) target.

But clearly, Joe, left to their own devices, had this not been interrupted by the FBI, who knows whether they would have been successful in actually acquiring the explosives needed to detonate the explosions to bomb the Sears tower (INAUDIBLE) federal building in Miami, as well as other targets that they apparently did extensive reconnaissance on, with the intention of demolishing.

So I think that you‘re right that we have a problem, a serious problem far more extensive than the American public has been led to believe because they haven‘t surfaced up until now.  But now we‘re seeing home-grown jihadists.  They surfaced in London last year, in Canada three weeks ago.  And now we see this plot.  And the hatred that these groups have for the United States, to the extent that they‘re willing to blow up their own citizens, is unparalleled.

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Steve Emerson, thank you so much.  I greatly appreciate you being with us.  We‘re going to stay on top of this story, and stay tuned to MSNBC for the latest developments.

And friends, let me just tell you, this is a serious issue.  It‘s a serious problem that the United States is facing.  I just want to say tonight, though, that the FBI needs to be commended.  You know, too often, we‘re too critical of the FBI, the CIA, other law enforcement agencies.  But there are so many things, like, for instance, this tonight. and so many times where they step in before an attack can take place.  They do great work, and they need to be commended.  Apparently, tonight was one of those times where they busted up a terror plot.

Now, from terror at home to the war on terror in Iraq, today the United States Senate continued its fiery debate on whether to maintain the status quo or to bring our troops home.  Now, if it‘s true, as Abraham Lincoln said in his historic 1858 Senate campaign, that a house divided against itself cannot stand, today‘s vote shows the Democratic Party‘s foundation to be a little shaky because when the Senate voted today on John Kerry‘s plan, that would have set July 2007 as a withdrawal date from Iraq, only 12 Democrats and one independent voted yes.  The majority of Mr.  Kerry‘s party voted with George Bush, which allowed the measure to be defeated by an overwhelming 86 to 13.

you know, the bitter Iraq debate, I believe, holds the greatest opportunity for Democrats to retake control of Congress for the first time in 12 years.  But once again, the party appear appears determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Make no mistake on it, George Bush‘s Iraq war is unpopular.  Americans don‘t trust the president . They don‘t think the cost in blood and money are worth it, and they don‘t think the Pentagon has a plan to lead this great country to victory.

And even though I still support the war, it‘s obvious even to me that the Democratic Party‘s unity on this issue would spell doom for the president and his party.  Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans would all support candidates this fall who promise to bring the troops home in a year.

But unfortunately for John Kerry and the volunteers who run Democratic campaigns across the country, the overwhelming majority of Democrats didn‘t even support their own party‘s amendment on the Senate floor.  And because of that, the Democratic Party‘s road to retaking Congress just got a bit longer.  It‘s time for the Democratic Party to quit running scared and start offering a clear alternative to George W. Bush.  If they choose not to, expect the Republican Party to once again stay in power, not because they‘re good at governing—God knows they haven‘t been lately—but because the Democratic Party is so bad at running elections.

With me now, let‘s bring in Peter Beinart.  He‘s the author of the book, “The Good Fight: Why Liberals and Only Liberals Can Win the War on Terror.”  He‘s also editor-at-large of “The New Republic.”  And Laura Schwartz.  She‘s a former adviser to President Bill Clinton and Democratic strategist.  And also Pat Buchanan, MSNBC‘s political analyst.

Pat, my God, what‘s happening to the Democratic Party here?

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, I—you hear they‘re against the war.  You hear that this war is going to be what brings George Bush and the Republican Party down.  If you look at the polls, that‘s certainly what it says.  But when they have a shot to bring the troops home in a year, they overwhelmingly abandon John Kerry, their last presidential candidate, and vote with George W. Bush.  What‘s up?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, the Democratic Party is divided, conflicted and confused.  It is also quite nervous.  It is also trying to take a position to put itself exactly correct politically.  And that is why they come off so unattractively and so divided.

Whatever you say about the Republicans, they stick together.  They look like they have conviction.  They‘re standing behind the president.

Joe, I agree that if the war has gone terribly and the Democrats haven‘t gotten into this debate, the Democrats would benefit.  But I believe by getting into it and taking a stand that can be demonized as cutting and running and getting out and setting deadlines for the enemy, they have made a strategic blunder once again.  I think the very fact that the Republicans got them into this voting situation and they voted in a divided way—that debate has hurt the Democratic Party.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s just terrible.  And I—keep the 3-screen, T.J.  (ph), because these three people we‘re looking at all opposed the war in Iraq.  And yet they probably can come together and agree more tonight on what the Democratic Party could do than the Democratic Party.

Laura, let me ask you, why can‘t your party speak with one voice on the Iraq war?  Why can‘t they caucus together and agree to disagree on some of the smaller points, but on the larger points say, This is going to be our position.  It‘s what we‘re going to tell America tomorrow on the Senate floor, and it‘s how we‘re going to campaign this fall so we can retake control of the Senate and the House.  Why can‘t they do that?

LAURA SCHWARTZ, FORMER CLINTON ADVISER:  Well, I think they‘re exercising their democracy and ability to discuss more than one amendment for the half of the party.  You know, the one thing that is unified is that this Democratic Party agrees with the majority of Americans that we can‘t have a permanent presence in Iraq and we have to have a plan...

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What does the Democratic Party agree with?  The Democratic Party doesn‘t know what it believes.  How can you say they agree with the majority of Americans when they can‘t even agree with themselves?

SCHWARTZ:  You heard them over the last two days talk about the fact that we have got to bring our troops home, and that right now, the Bush administration has no policies, just slogans.  And this “cut and run business”—you know, everybody obviously got the memo from Karl Rove, but when General Casey talked today in Washington, where he was meeting with Pentagon advisers and officials about possibly redeploying troops and bringing some home before the end of the year, I haven‘t heard anyone accuse him of cutting and running.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what.  You all stay with us.  Because of breaking news, we‘re running over a little bit.  Stay with us.  We‘re going to continue on the other side of this break.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re back, talking about the vote on the Senate floor today, where the Democrats were split.  Peter Beinart, your new book claims that only liberals can win the war on terror.  Well, that‘s great, but, I mean, how can they win the war on terror if they don‘t even have a position for winning the war in Iraq?

PETER BEINART, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Well, I actually think the Democratic Party was pretty united, with the exception of one guy, and that‘s John Kerry.  And they went to John Kerry and said, Look, you know, we‘d—take your amendment off because, basically, we‘ve gotten behind this Murtha—this—this Reid (ph) proposal, which is pretty vague but basically says Bush needs a plan and he doesn‘t have one.  And Kerry refused to yield.

My own view would be that a timetable for withdrawal is a mistake for the Democratic Party.  I‘m not interested in the politics.  I just think it‘s wrong.  I think that government doesn‘t want us to set a timetable in Iraq, and...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But don‘t the Democrats need to be worried about the politics, though, or else they‘re going to get beaten up again this fall?  I mean, it‘s very easy.  If you ask people what‘s the Republican position on the war, they‘re going to they‘re for it, stay the course.  You ask what the Democratic position on the war is, they don‘t know.  But if you ask the Democratic base, if you ask the people who contribute to Democratic candidates, if you ask the people that lick the stamps and go door-to-door and knock and get Democratic candidates elected in primaries, they support John Kerry‘s position.  They support Al Gore‘s position.  They don‘t support the position of the feckless Democratic senators, who basically don‘t want to tell Americans where they stand on Iraq.

BEINART:  That‘s right.  But I‘m not sure that that‘s what swing voters want to hear.  You know, Democratic activists, yes.  But swing voters, in fact, I think—they‘re pessimistic about Iraq, they‘re exhausted, but they‘re not looking for a party to mirror that exhaustion and pessimism.  They‘re looking for a party with a vision for how we can still win in Iraq.  And it seems to me we still have a chance in Iraq with this new government, which was elected by the people.  We need to stand by them and help them succeed, and setting a timetable for withdrawal when they don‘t want one is a mistake, and Democrats should be against it.

BUCHANAN:  Joe, let me...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Pat Buchanan, back in 1994, when the Republicans took control of Congress...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Democrats tried to rewrite history by saying, oh, they were just against Bill Clinton.  Wrong.  Republicans knew what exactly they wanted to do.  They had something called “the contract with America.”  They spelled out how they would be different, and that‘s why they got elected.  Democrats are clueless right now on Iraq.  It is the key issue that really could catapult them to victory, and yet they won‘t take that bait!  Why?

BUCHANAN:  Let me—let me—disagree with you strongly, Joe.  In 1994, it‘s my belief the Republicans won because it was an anti-Clinton vote.  Not a single Republican congressman or senator or governor lost in that election.  The Democrats wiped out completely.

I agree with Peter Beinart to this extent.  I was anti-war.  I believed it was a terrible mistake to go to Baghdad.  But right now, I don‘t want to see an American defeat.  I don‘t want to see a disaster.  I am afraid it could happen if we pulled out prematurely.  So I don‘t believe that you can say we‘re going to get out at the end of the year, we‘re going to get out in 12 months.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, then let‘s talk...

BUCHANAN:  I‘ll support the president...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Forget being a statesman.  Let‘s talk about political strategy.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Well, that‘s politics, too, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Is it not best for the Democratic Party to unify behind the Kerry position...

BUCHANAN:  No, it is not!

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You never do that, Joe!  You never give the enemy a fixed position to attack!  Rove and those people will blow them to pieces!  They should have kept their maneuverability.

BEINART:  The Democratic Party‘s biggest problem on national security for decades and decades has been they don‘t up and say what they really think.  So what—Pat and I are actually talking about is what people should really think.  That‘s what Democrats should be talking about.  Put aside the polls.  Go to the country and say what you really believe.  And most Democrats, to their credit, do not want a fixed timetable for withdrawal for exactly the same reason that Pat gave, because they know that if this government falls in Iraq, there will be—it will be too nightmarish to contemplate.  And they‘re right, and they should go and say that.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much.

SCHWARTZ:  You‘re right.  You‘re...

BUCHANAN:  Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH:  Laura, go ahead.  I‘ll give you the final word.

SCHWARTZ:  Well, thanks, Joe.  I really think that it comes down to taking debate to the people.  This summer‘s going to really show a lot, as far as the grass roots organizations.  But there‘s a great point to be made that this election and 2008 will be determined by the swing voters.  The ones way on the left in our Democratic Party are going to hate our view of the war, are going to hate that—we‘re going to recognize and we‘re going to go forward with trying to win this thing.  But we‘re going to get them, no matter what.  Honestly, they‘re not going to vote Republican.  But it‘s the swing voters and it‘s those moderate Republicans that we have to get.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what‘s going to happen is those on the far left will stay at home before they will vote for a candidate that voted basically for George Bush‘s position today, to maintain the course in Iraq.  Thanks a lot, Peter Beinart, author of the new book “The Good Fight,” Laura Schwartz and Pat Buchanan, who disagreed with me for once and actually agreed with Peter Beinart.  I‘m going to...

BEINART:  Very unusual.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... going to circle that date on the calendar.

And we want to hear from you.  Should the Pentagon set a timetable for the troops to return from Iraq?  Go to joe.msnbc.com and vote.  We‘re going to have the results at the end of the show.

And friends, I can tell you, if the Democrats want to win, they‘re going to get united on a position to get out of Iraq.

Now, new developments today in the Duke rape case just providing more proof to me that it‘s past time to throw that case out of court.  With me now to talk about today‘s developments are Durham defense attorney John Bourlan.  We‘ve got former prosecutor Wendy Murphy and criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter.

Yale, let‘s start with you.  Did you hear anything today that makes you feel like apologizing to this DA who brought these charges, or do you think it just proves he has no case, he‘s framed these three boys for his own political good, and he needs to drop the case at once?

YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Joe, I‘m in complete agreement with you.  The only person who should be apologizing is Mike Nifong.  He came out today and told the court that there was no toxicology report, when he had intimated to the media that she may have been on a date rape drug and there was toxicology.

You know, it‘s just a complete disaster.  It keeps going downhill every day that goes on.  He ought to end this nightmare, dismiss these charges, drop it, lick his wounds and go back to his office and forget this ever occurred.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, John, “USA Today” said that the case is unraveling, continues to unravel on this DA.  One of his own supporters in his DA reelection campaign told “Sports Illustrated” that it‘s a travesty, the way he‘s been conducting this case.  Isn‘t it time for your friend to step forward and say, You know what?  I screwed up.  I‘ve got no evidence.  The second stripper...

JOHN BOURLAN, DURHAM DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Absolutely not!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... said it was a—why?

BOURLAN:  Let me tell you—let me tell you—what crystal ball are you guys looking at?  This is wishful thinking.  First let‘s deal with the facts.  The media has no information other than what the defense lawyers are spinning.  I spin.  I do my job, and I want the public, the court, the potential jurors to know what I want them to know.

Let‘s look at the facts.  A grand jury indicted these people.  Are they puppets?  What about the federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C.?  Is he under this incompetence spell, like Mike Nifong is?  Let‘s get real!  They‘re lacrosse players.  They‘re affluent, and they are beyond accountability!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait a second!  They‘re affluent?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Just because these kids are rich, you think they should be set up on rape charges?  Rape charges, by the way...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Hold on a second.  I find it very interesting that the second stripper that was at that party called these charges a crock of you know what.  And yet your buddy Nifong didn‘t even tell the judge that when he was trying to get warrants for DNA.

BOURLAN:  OK, is it my turn now, big guy?  Let me respond to that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, buddy.

BOURLAN:  First, this is the same—this is the same girl that said she was a driver, that—just a passerby-er.  This is the same girl that said they made racial intimidation.  This is the same girl that said, Yes, I consulted an expert in New York.  I should get on the gravy train.  She was ostracized.  The community said, You are a gold digger, get the hell out of Dodge!

Now what is she doing?  She‘s going to be the savior.  She‘s got this

this blast of credibility, and she‘s going to do the right thing.  Let‘s get real!  What woman would want to go through this nightmare?  What‘s in it for her?  I ask you, everybody‘s saying, Oh, they‘re innocent.  They‘re innocent.  Under what basis?  The doctor said...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wendy Murphy...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, guys!

BOURLAN:  Have either one of you read...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on!

BOURLAN:  ... the 1,280 pages?  You have not!  And I can talk just as loud as you can!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, hold on, guys.  We‘re going to stop.  Wendy, I‘m going to let you in here.  If you look at the evidence that Reade Seligmann has, the ATM records, the photographs, the timestamps, the card swipe at his dorm, I mean, there‘s no way—and of course, he got his bond lowered from $400,000 to $100,000...

(CROSSTALK)

BOURLAN:  ... same Reade Seligmann that refuses...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  John!  John!  John, you got to learn to play well with others.  You don‘t act this way in court...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... so you got to let other people talk here.  Wendy Murphy...

BOURLAN:  You got to learn to be nice!

(CROSSTALK)

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  It‘s great!  You don‘t even need me with John around!  It‘s great!  You know, lookit, Seligmann‘s evidence is a bunch of red herrings, if you ask me, because there certainly was plenty of time...

BOURLAN:  Tell him, Wendy baby!

MURPHY:  There was plenty of time for him to participate in the rape and then skedaddle.  And by the way, what the hell was he doing urgently making repeated cell phone calls to his girlfriend, urgently trying to get a taxi, trying to get out of there to get to a pizza shop and to an ATM, when according to the defense, two women were about to start taking their clothes off!  And that guy just wanted to get out of there with a taxi?  Makes a lot more sense that he was making urgent phone calls on his cell phone because he knew he had to get out of there because he had just done something terrible!  It‘s a reasonable inference.  He had plenty of time to participate...

(CROSSTALK)

BOURLAN:  Joe, Reade Seligmann was at the house at 12:19...

(CROSSTALK)

BOURLAN:  ... window of opportunity for this rape to have occurred...

MURPHY:  He had plenty of time to participate!

BOURLAN:  ... at some time between midnight...

MURPHY:  Look, I just want to make one...

BOURLAN:  ... and 12:30...

MURPHY:  I want to make one...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, I don‘t know what‘s in the water, everybody.  Stop.  I don‘t know what you‘ve been drinking beforehand, but we—everybody‘s going to talk one at a time.  We can‘t hear you when all three are talking.  Yale, you talk, and then Wendy, I‘ll let you respond.  Go.

GALANTER:  Listen, Wendy does a very admirable job trying to protect Mike Nifong and advocate his case, but she doesn‘t really know the facts.  When you look at all the...

MURPHY:  Neither do you!

GALANTER:  When you look at the timestamped photos and you look at Reade Seligmann‘s phone records, literally, in order for him to have committed or participated in this rape, there is less than a 2-and-a-half minute...

MURPHY:  That‘s wrong!

GALANTER:  ... window of opportunity...

MURPHY:  That‘s wrong!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yale, stay with us.  We‘re going to be right back in a second with more of this debate.

(CROSSTALK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  In Hollywood, adultery can lead to fatal attractions, but an explosive “New York Times” article suggests it could actually be good for your marriage.  What‘s that about?  We‘ll dig into it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY return returns. 

But first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wendy Murphy, tell me, what‘s the best evidence the D.A.  has against these three players? 

MURPHY:  I‘d really like to be able to answer that question, Joe.  You know, the fact is I could answer that question for you, if the defense would give me the 1,800 pages that they claim proves there‘s no evidence against their clients.  I‘m happy to look at it, and I‘d be happy to formulate an opinion, after I see those 1,800 pages. 

And, by the way, I‘d also like to see those two DNA reports, which, when I asked the defense to send them to me or, frankly, to send them to you, Joe, you know what they say?  No.  They say no. 

Why do you think that is?  Perhaps there is something in there they don‘t want us to see, hmm? 

And let me tell you something else.  And my buddy, John, will confirm this, being from North Carolina.  The defense today, if this really is a big hoax, could have said to the judge, in writing or verbally, “Judge, I want a trial date ASAP.” 

Call it a speedy trial motion; call it whatever you want.  They had a right today to ask that this case go to trial immediately.  And the whole thing would be over by August.  And guess what?  It‘s malpractice, in my opinion, for an attorney not to insist that a hoax be resolved immediately by going to trial immediately, and they didn‘t ask for that.  Why is that? 

(CROSSTALK)

GALANTER:  ... hearing asked the judge to put it on, you know, a fast track.  They wanted to get ahead of everybody. 

MURPHY:  Wrong.

GALANTER:  And this exact judge said to the defense lawyer:  You are not putting this case above any other cases.  You‘ve got to wait in line. 

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY:  That is not true.  That is not true...

(CROSSTALK)

MURPHY:  That is not true.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in John here for the last answer.  John, I think this is a hoax.  I think it‘s going to be an embarrassment for the D.A.  Tell me why I‘m wrong. 

BOURLAN:  Joe, this is why you‘re wrong.  Telling the judge verbally that you want this put on as quickly as possible is not the same as, how about a filing a motion for a bill of particulars, where you want to know the specific details?

Wendy‘s right:  They‘re not interested.  They keep giving bits and pieces.  Where are the cell phone records?  Why hasn‘t Seligmann voluntary given us his cell phone records?

Joe, are you aware that his lawyers have filed a motion objecting to a subpoena that the D.A. issued asking for their home addresses?  They go, “It‘s an invasion of privacy.”  At the same time, they display his Duke transcripts.  They display pictures of him with little children. 

Hello, Houston!  It is lights and mirrors, and Wendy has hit it on the head.  And, Joe, I don‘t know if these guys are guilty.  Wendy doesn‘t know if they‘re guilty.  Keep an open mind.  That‘s why we have juries.  The woman has said—this is the evidence—they did it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to have to leave it there.

BOURLAN:  Be open minded, Big Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you, John.  Thank you, Wendy.  Thank you, Yale. 

Greatly appreciate you all being with us tonight. 

Now to our special investigation from our NBC station in Chicago.  The secret and dangerous world of human smuggling.  WMAQ reporter Phil Rogers went undercover to see firsthand the illegal and dangerous business of human smuggling.  This is his report. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL ROGERS, WMAQ REPORTER (voice-over):  It is here at these fences, along the Mexican-American border, that the journey often begins, leading to hundreds of miles of sand, snakes and scorching heat. 

ROBERTO MEDINA, IMMIGRATION AGENT:  They find a lot of dead bodies out there.  A lot of people die. 

ROGERS:  We went undercover in Mexico.  We met with the human smugglers, the immigrants on the trails, and the border police who are trying not only to stop those crossing illegally, but to get a handle on the gun battles, murder and kidnapping that have recently become fixtures on the U.S. side of the border. 

ARMANDO GARCIA, IMMIGRATION AGENT:  They‘re very violent.  They assault them.  They rape them.  They‘ve even killed some of them, aliens. 

ROGERS:  Here in Nogales, Mexico, we‘ve found that such smugglers are easy to arrange.  It took us just 15 minutes to find this street hustler and coyote who offered safe passage across the border to Chicago. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (speaking Spanish)

ROGERS:  We didn‘t go through with the deal, but plenty of others do every day.  And for some, it‘s a fatal mistake. 

MEDINA:  There‘s people that actually bring young children with them, and kids die. 

ROGERS:  Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Robert Medina says the smuggling gangs in his Tucson region are getting increasingly violent, evident by gun battles in broad daylight.  Medina says it is not uncommon for coyotes to steal each other‘s lucrative human cargo or simply abandon them in the desert. 

This spot, about 30 miles north of the border, is typical of the trails you see throughout the region.  And discarded debris is all over the place.  Here is a water container somebody through away.  Here a pair of pants, and here a discarded backpack.  And trails like these crisscross the desert. 

MEDINA:  The Arizona-Mexico border is about 350 miles long, but it‘s probably considered some of the roughest terrain in the United States. 

ROGERS:  But if that border is at times rusting and rickety, the efforts to watch it are straight out of the 21st century.  At this command center in Nogales, Arizona, day and night, Border Patrol officers monitor a battery of cameras throughout the city. 

LARRY BAILEY, BORDER PATROL AGENT:  We have motion sensors and ground sensors that indicate activity that‘s in the desert, and our agents are able to respond to those particular areas. 

ROGERS:  But as the barrier stretches out of Nogales, it becomes little more than a barbed wire fence.  Although agents contend in these unpopulated areas a bigger wall would make little difference. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The fence isn‘t really going to do that.  The cameras, the manpower, the vehicles on the border at all times, that‘s what‘s going to slow them down. 

ROGERS:  To be certain, the desert is flooded with agents, and there are random checkpoints.  But at this spot north of Nogales, these three immigrants were simply walking around that checkpoint. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In Mexico City, there‘s no gas, no money, no nothing, man. 

ROGERS:  Plenty are apprehended, over 300,000 here in the Nogales sector this year alone, including this day, people headed to Atlanta, South Carolina, Los Angeles and this man to New York. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (speaking Spanish)

ROGERS:  People who say they would take the risk again for a chance at a better life across the border. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now, Phil Rogers.  He‘s the NBC reporter who went undercover for that investigation.

Phil, thank you so much for being with us.  So what did you learn in your reporting about how easy it is to smuggle humans from Mexico across the U.S. border? 

ROGERS:  Joe, it‘s incredibly easy.  The one thing we learned first and foremost is how easy it is to arrange.  Again, what we said there in the report, just 15 minutes inside Mexico, we were able to contact that fellow right on the street, and he was only too happy to go ahead and cut the deal right there.  And for that $3,200, he was guaranteeing not only to get someone across the border, but to provide documents that would allow them safe passage all the way to Chicago.

SCARBOROUGH:  But it‘s not always that way, is it?  I mean, it‘s going to be a very dangerous, risky proposition for those people that fork over the $3,200.  They can be left in the desert to die, right?

ROGERS:  Yes, and, Joe, I wish everyone who was talking about this debate—and thank goodness it‘s being talked about these days—had a chance to see that.  The border is not so much a fence or a wall.  It‘s a buffer.  It‘s a giant desert in Arizona. 

In Nogales, we‘re talking about the—really, the busiest area of illegal immigration right now.  Again, this year alone, they‘ve caught over 300,000 people.  That‘s how many have been apprehended, and that even doesn‘t count the one that got through. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Phil Rogers.  A heck of a report.  Phil, of course, from WMAQ, our NBC station in Chicago.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Let‘s bring in right now Rita Cosby.  She‘s the host of Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT.”  Rita, what do you have coming up for us at 10:00? 

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Well, Joe, you‘re going to be jealous, because tonight I have an incredible show, all access “Idol.”  I have just come back from interviewing the finalists of this year‘s “American Idol” right here in Los Angeles.  Find out what they told me about their upcoming tour, their lives now, and also the revelation that runner-up Katharine McPhee was in a treatment center right before the season debuted. 

I have incredible interviews with folks like Taylor, Elliott, Ace, and other big idols.  Joe, this is a show that you and everybody at home, if you‘re “Idol” fans, you cannot miss this one. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I will not miss, Rita.  And you‘re right:  I will be jealous.  I am jealous.  You always put on a great show.  Thank you so much, Rita. 

And coming up next, “New York Times” reporting that adultery could possibly be good for a marriage?  Well, some experts are saying yes.  We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Does cheating make a marriage stronger?  Well, it sounds like the premise of a Hollywood movie, but actually an article in the “New York Times” says that an affair, quote, “could be the beginning of the best part of your marriage.” 

So could an affair actually make a marriage stronger?  Let‘s bring in clinical psychologist Dr. Belisa Vranich.  She‘s also the sex editor at “Men‘s Fitness” magazine.  Also, relationship therapist Dr. Jennifer Berman.  And Charmaine Youst from the Family Research Council. 

Dr. Berman, let me start with you.  Can infidelity ever actually be a good thing for a marriage? 

DR. JENNIFER BERMAN, BERMANSEXUALHEALTH.COM:  Well, whether it be infidelity or any other relationship hurdle, it can be—can be—a spring board to opening up the lines of communication and rebuilding intimacy.  Again, it can also be a death sentence.  And it depends on the context, and the nature, and the willingness of the individuals, as well as the couple, to repair the relationship. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, in your line of business, do you find that monogamy is a natural part of the human experience, or is it something that people, whether they‘re in marriages or out of marriages, have to struggle with all the time? 

BERMAN:  I mean, monogamy is not a natural state for human beings, and we‘re not wired to be monogamous.  I mean, men are wired to procreate and spread their seeds, and women, we‘re wired to look for a strong mate, a virile mate, a mate that can provide for us and protect us. 

And if, for whatever reason, you know, things dissolve in that area, it‘s natural for us to pursue (INAUDIBLE) and even if everything is great, you know, it‘s natural to pursue or think about—what thinking about and fantasizing about and actually doing are two different things. 

So it does take work.  It is a struggle.  And, you know, it‘s very important that the lines of communication are open and that issues are attended to early on, such that resentments, angers and/or other things escalate to the point where somebody is having a relationship outside the marriage. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Vranich, what‘s your take on this “New York Times” story that says adultery can actually be positive for a marriage?

DR. BELISA VRANICH, “MEN‘S FITNESS” MAGAZINE:   I don‘t think it can be positive.  I can only see it be something negative.  In very few cases can people turn it around and have it be something good.  So I have to disagree. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Charmaine Youst, I‘ll ask you the same thing.  Obviously, the Family Research Council does not support this premise in the “New York Times,” does it?

CHARMAINE YOUST, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL:  Well, I want to be really careful, because the article was really interesting, because his point was, is that you do have to look at what‘s going on in the relationship and why did the infidelity happen? 

And what I would build on what Jennifer was saying is that, you know, what‘s natural to the human being is not what we as civilized people focus on.  The difference between civilization and, you know, just whoever does whatever they want is the commitment that we make, the choices that we make as grown-up, adult human beings. 

And that‘s what marriage is about.  It‘s hard work, but it‘s rewarding.  And monogamy is a really important part of that.  And I‘m really glad we‘re having this conversation, because we‘ve kind of come through several generations where we haven‘t had an appreciation for how important and how central monogamy is to marriage, that fidelity... 

BERMAN:  They make mistakes.

YOUST:  Yes, people do make mistakes, but the important thing—and this is, you know, what we all want to teach our children is, sometimes sorry isn‘t good enough.  You have to rebuild trust.  You have to go back in and say, “I‘m going to prove to you I‘m going to remake this commitment all over again.  I stood up before God and man.  I made a commitment to you.  I goofed up.  Now, I‘m going to prove to you that I‘m worthy of trust again,” and that‘s really critical. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Berman? 

YOUST:  It‘s taking the marriage seriously.

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Berman, you wanted to respond? 

BERMAN:  Yes.  I mean, again, whether it be cheating or, you know, hiding an investment, or, you know, slipping and drinking when you‘re supposed to be—I mean, again, people make mistakes, regardless of what vows we take.  And it depends on—to rebuild trust does take work, and not everybody is going to be willing or able to do that. 

With that being said, that in the context of rebuilding intimacy and rebuilding trust, whether that infidelity and/or the opening of lines of communication can repair a relationship and repair a marriage, but it does take work.  And it does take a certain level of commitment from both parties. 

(CROSSTALK)

YOUST:  I think that‘s really important, though.

SCARBOROUGH:  If all of us, you all stay with us, we‘ll be right back with more on this discussion, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “New York Times” report saying that adultery may actually be good for a marriage.  I‘m here with my panel of experts. 

And, Dr. Vranich, let me ask you the question:  What has to be done?  If you have this explosion in your life and you have adultery in a marriage, what do the man and the wife have to do to move forward and get past that so they can have a productive marriage? 

VRANICH:  They both have to want to be in therapy.  They both have to want to get back together again.  Too many times, I see couples come in, and one person wants to be there and the other person doesn‘t.  If you have two people that really want to be there and really want to heal, that‘s when it‘s possible. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And how often does that happen?  I mean, is that the...

VRANICH:  Not often enough.  Not often enough, Joe, really.  I wish it would happen more often that you see people come in and say, “Hey, this was a terrible thing, but we want to heal, we want to get back together, we want things to be better than before.” 

It‘s easy to fall in love; it‘s not easy to stay in love. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you find that women are more forgiving of men who‘ve cheated on them or that men are more forgiving of women? 

VRANICH:  I think it really depends on the couple.  I‘ve seen some very, very angry men, and I‘ve seen some angry women, depending on who‘s cheated.  And it depends on who they cheated with and how long.  If it‘s been a long time and there‘s been a lot of lies, you‘re going to see rage, you‘re going to see sadness and a lot of feelings of betrayal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And Dr. Berman, I‘ll ask you—go ahead.

BERMAN:  What I was going to say is that cheating isn‘t only necessarily having sex or a relationship with the other person.  Infidelity can be in the form of the Internet.  Infidelity can be an emotional affair, which is equally as damaging, if not worse. 

So it depends on the contact and the nature.  It really can be a point to rebuild the relationship but, as the doctor said, that both parties need to be committed and want to make it work. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to have to leave it there.  Thank you so much, Jennifer.  Thank you, Belisa, and thank you, Charmaine.  Greatly appreciate it.   We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the results are in from our live SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY poll.  We asked:  Should the Pentagon set a timetable for our troops to return from Iraq?  And, of course, that‘s what was being debated today on the Senate floor.  Overwhelming majority of senators said no timetable. 

But look at the voting in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY:  57 percent said, yes, there should be a timetable set; 43 percent said no.  John Kerry should have had his vote in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

We want to hear from you.  Send me an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com.  Rita Cosby starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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