updated 12/7/2007 11:45:52 AM ET 2007-12-07T16:45:52

Guests: Tony Blankley, Joan Walsh, Charles Chastain, Nikko Pitney, Ermer Poindexter, Nicole DeBorde, Susan Filan, Mark Novak

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight, the White House trying to spin its changing timeline of what President Bush knew about Iran‘s nukes and when he knew it?

Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee is walking a fine line blaming Bill Clinton for the controversy over why Huckabee supported the release of a convicted rapist who attacked again.

And teacher, Debra Lafave didn‘t attack a young student again, but they say she committed a new crime.  We have new details and never-before-seen comments where she talks about the job that led to her arrest.

But first tonight, the White House struggling to untangle a web of conflicting accounts over what the president knew when - about the new intelligence report that says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.  Today, the Bush administration finally admitting that President Bush knew something about the program being suspended and the new report as far back as August.  A revelation that contradicts the account President Bush gave on Tuesday.  Today, White House press secretary, Dana Perino caught in a spin storm when asked why the president said he was not told what the new information was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The president said, quote, “He didn‘t tell me what the information was,” but you‘re now saying he was told that Iran may have halted its nuclear weapons program and also that there may be a new assessment, right?

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  He didn‘t get into the details of what the information was, in terms of what the actual raw intelligence was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Raw intelligence?  The issue here was never was the president told about raw intelligence.  We just wanted to know why he was talking about Iran, World War III and nukes at a time when he already knew that Iran may have stopped its active nuclear program and doesn‘t this show the president was not being honest when he said he did not know any details about the nukes?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES:  I was made aware of the NIE last week.  In August, I think it was Mike McConnell came in and said we have some new information.  He didn‘t tell me what the information was.  He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze.

(END VIDEO CLIP0

ABRAMS:  OK.  So, now we‘re told he actually knew in August that Iran

may have halted its program.  We also know his national security adviser

says he told the president to stand down on the rhetoric about Iran around

August, so in October what was he doing saying this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  We have a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel.  So, I told people that if you‘re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And what may be most astonishing, somehow the administration is still trying to claim today that the president was being honest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO:  Look, I can see where you could see that the president could have been more precise in that language but the president was being truthful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Truthful.  Is that like truth in this ?  How are contradictory comments truthful and as a lawyer when I hear words truthful instead of he was telling the truth, it makes me very nervous.  Here now is MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan, Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com and syndicated columnist, Tony Blankley.  All right.  Pat, look, is there any way that the White House can say that President Bush told the truth?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I have to say the president of the United States misled us in my judgment and I don‘t understand how if he didn‘t know or did was told that we believe the Iranians have stood down four years ago in their nuclear program, how you can go then and demagogically if you will, talk about a nuclear holocaust and World War III and get a lot of us in this community in town thinking that we are headed into a war with Iran.  Quite frankly, the president was crying wolf when he was told by the Central Intelligence Agency, it looks like the wolf has been dead for four years.

ABRAMS:  Tony Blankley, look, wouldn‘t you agree that as we just laid it out, it is very hard for this administration to claim that they are being, quote, “truthful”?

TONY BLANKLEY, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  Well, look, as a former press secretary and as someone who boldly supports the president‘s policies, he at least misspoke and he may have misled and the best thing for the White House to do now is simply to say he misspoke.  Here‘s the facts as we understand them, and get it right this time and lay out everything because all of this arguing over what he didn‘t know or did know or when he did and didn‘t know it - is getting in the way of what I think is still an essential issue of - is Iran a threat?

ABRAMS:  I totally agree and think we should all appreciate the fact Iran is a threat but that‘s not the question today because of the very reasons you laid out and Joan Walsh, the administration should be listening carefully when you have Tony Blankley and Pat Buchanan both saying they feel that at the least the administration has misled us.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  Well, they have no credibility left to squander at this point, Dan.  It‘s outrageous.  The president isn‘t truthful; he‘s lie-ful as far as I can tell.  He is lying.  I don‘t know what would be worse—if the president—I know he‘s in curious George but if the president was told, hey, we‘ve got some new information on Iran and he didn‘t ask what it was, he just went out and talked about World War III or if he‘s lying and of course, he knew what it was.  It is the latter, he was lying.

ABRAMS:  You want to talk about hard to believe.  I mean, then, there is this whole business of when Cheney knew.  I mean, listen to this.  Here is Dana Perino again, being asked about the timing of the vice president getting the details of the report and then supposedly not telling the president.

WALSH:  Not a word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED HENRY, CNN:  The “New York Time‘” today is saying that there was a meeting in the situation room two weeks ago about this NIE, the vice president was there but not the president.  Is that true?

PERINO:  I don‘t know but it wouldn‘t be—that wouldn‘t strike me as unusual.

HENRY: OK.  But then, it wouldn‘t filter up to the president if the vice president knew about the contents of the NIE two weeks ago?  It wouldn‘t filter to the president until last week?  He wouldn‘t know about the details?

PERINO:  I don‘t know.  I‘ll check for you.  But it would not strike me as unusual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Tony Blankley, you just said you‘re a former press secretary.  Again, would you agree, wrong answer?

BLANKLEY:  Look, I don‘t know what all the internal facts are.  I

think that the press secretary in the White House ought to get all the

facts as accurately -

ABRAMS:  But she‘s not.  She‘s just not getting them accurate, is she?

BLANKLEY:  I don‘t know what‘s there.  It sounds like she‘s not getting them.  Whatever the facts are, at this point it‘s silly to be haggling over this.  By now, she should get the facts straight out because this is a central dangerous problem.  I said, very briefly, let me quote from tomorrow‘s “Christian Science Monitor” the headline - “Iran‘s nuclear know-how unimpeded.”  There‘s still a nuclear—potential nuclear threat from Iran but all of this nonsense coming out, spinning out of the West wing is impeding getting policy debate going.

ABRAMS:  Pat, I‘m going to get back to the question, Pat.  Is it possible—I mean, is it possible that Dick Cheney goes to a meeting and they say to him, hey, you know what, Iran has actually halted its nuclear program and he doesn‘t tell the president?

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, who is in the meeting with the vice president of the United States?  Hadley would certainly be there.  This is an enormously important discussion between sort of the “A” team and the “B” team on whether the Iranians cut out their program.  I cannot believe the national security adviser or the vice president talking to the president would not bring that up as a first order of business.  So I don‘t understand.  But I think—let me say this.  This young lady who is the press secretary appears to me to be someone who is not told every fact as soon as it comes out between the president and vice president.  I think she‘s pushed out there.

ABRAMS:  Well, let‘s go back.  You want to talk about whether - if she knows what‘s going on.  I mean, here what she‘s talking about the timing, and this is about the president, when the president found out the details of the new report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY:  Clarify one more thing.  What day was the president actually briefed on the NIE?

PERINO:  I don‘t know.

HENRY:  Mr. Hadley left the impression it was last Wednesday.

PERINO:  NIE specifically?  Yes, last Wednesday.  Correct.

HENRY:  There have been reports that the president briefed Prime Minister Olmert last week, maybe on Monday.

PERINO:  I don‘t know.

HENRY:  Did he brief Prime Minister Olmert and how could he brief Olmert on Monday about a report that he found out about on Wednesday?  Can you clarify?

PERINO:  I don‘t - I will check.

HENRY:  But you can clarify which day it is?

PERINO:  I don‘t know if I can.  I know that in the background, they

said -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  In the words of Homer Simpson - (INAUDIBLE).

WALSH:  Painful.

ABRAMS:  Joan, look, let‘s get back to the president on this, all right.  So let‘s assume for a minute that the press secretary doesn‘t really know what‘s going on here in terms of who knew, what, when.  Even when you look at the president‘s comments on this, they‘re not consistent with Hadley, they‘re not entirely consistent with his own comments from earlier.  I mean, that‘s the real issue here, isn‘t it?

WALSH:  That‘s the real issue.  He himself is not telling the truth and, also, you know, I don‘t know how big a nuclear threat Iran is but Iran is a threat.  We had assembled in an international community behind sanctions.  That is now falling apart.  The Chinese and the Russians will never listen to us again.  We absolutely squandered that unanimity behind sanctions and now we‘re much weaker to face whatever threat it was.

ABRAMS:  Pat, why would they be so—Pat, why would they be and I don‘t know what the word is to use here if it‘s naive, if it‘s dumb, if it‘s reckless.  Why would they be that to lie at this point?  As Tony points out, it‘s totally clouding every other issue and the real question now, and it‘s not just here.  It‘s not just on TV.  It‘s in the international community; people are asking how could this administration not be straight with us about this?

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think it, look; this is a terrible problem for the

administration.  First we went to war in Iraq on intelligence we now know

was flawed or faked or hyped and we were—some of us felt during this

summer when this rhetoric was going forward, virtually on the war mongering

basis, I thought we were about to attack.  It looked like the president is

painting -

ABRAMS:  You said it many times on this show.  Yes?

BUCHANAN:  Yes, but then about a month ago they started dialing it back and it looked like facts piling on these guys had won an internal battle and I predicted that on the television show now we‘re not going to go.  What the president ought to do or somebody ought to do is lay down exactly what we believe the administration is—or the Iranians are doing and, frankly, Dan, where is Joe Biden?  Where are the hearings to have people come up and say exactly what they‘re doing, what we think they‘re doing, what our best estimates are?  They‘re all out there campaigning.  You got Republicans saying we‘re going to use nuclear weapons maybe to stop a program that‘s been dead four years ago.  I mean, what is going on here?  The government of the United States is looking preposterous when we have a very serious problem over there.

WALSH:  I think we do need hearings.  I agree with Pat on that entirely.  I think we need hearings.

ABRAMS:  Joan, any chance Joe Biden would drop out of the race and say, you know what, time to hold hearings?  I don‘t see it happening.

WALSH:  It might be the smartest thing for Joe Biden to do politically.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Tony Blankley, go ahead.  Let me get Tony here.

BLANKLEY:  I don‘t think hearings are necessary if—if the White House gets all the facts out and the chronologies out.

WALSH:  Well, guess what, Tony, they won‘t.

BLANKLEY:  If they continue to spin, then they‘re going to induce exactly the kind of Congressional Oversight that you‘re suggesting.  It‘s unnecessary and it‘s going to get in the way of real policy.

ABRAMS:  Tony, real quick tomorrow, what do they need to do?  Today was a disaster for Perino.  What do they need to do tomorrow?

BLANKLEY:  I don‘t think there‘s any question.  First, the press secretary has to get all of the chronologies right.  She has to be confident, she‘s got it right and then sit down with the White House press corps and lay it out and then just get it behind them.

BUCHANAN:  I get Hadley out there, make him do it.  Look.

WALSH:  It won‘t happen.  I‘ll send Tony a nice box of candy if that happens tomorrow.  I promise.

BLANKLEY:  I‘m on a diet.  I can‘t.

WALSH:  Because I know I won‘t have to spring for it.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Pat Buchanan, Pat seriously, some of the most interesting commentary from you.  I find this fascinating with the comments you‘ve been making and your predictions for a long time and the analysis, really interesting stuff.  Joan Walsh and Tony Blankley, great to have you on the program.  I appreciate it.  Thank you.

BLANKLEY:  I got it.

ABRAMS:  Coming up next: More fallout tonight, for Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee and his connection to the release of a vicious rapist who went on to rape and kill two other women.  And get this; he‘s now blaming everything on Bill Clinton.

And speaking of denial, Drew Peterson still the only suspect in his wife‘s disappearance says his new life as a retiree, quote, “Sucks.”  He might want to consider how much more it could suck if he was sitting in jail.  And later, it seems FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly declared victory on the war on Christmas a little too soon.  There‘s another sneak attack.  We have it coming up in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know in 2002, Republican Mike Huckabee and his wife ran on the same ballot?  He was running for governor and she was running for Secretary of State?  Coming up now, presidential candidate Huckabee under fire for supporting the release of a man convicted of raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  The same man who went on to rape and kill two other women.  New details tonight suggest Huckabee knew a lot more than he has admitted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight, more fallout from the bombshell story threatening to cool Mike Huckabee‘s smoking campaign.  Today, the Republican candidate trying to answer tough questions about his role in the release of a convicted rapist who went on to kill two other women, one pregnant with her first child.  On the Today Show this morning, Huckabee denied he played any part in Wayne Dumond‘s release and said he never tried to influence the Arkansas Parole Board to release him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The Board invited me.  I didn‘t go there of my own accord.  And that if anything the Board tried to persuade me to not consider clemency in which by the way I did deny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But the evidence contradicting that account continues to mount.  First, remember the Arkansas governor wrote this letter to Dumont while the brutal rapist was behind bars.  Huckabee wrote, “My desire is that you be released from prison.  I feel that parole is the best way for your reintroduction to society to take place.”  Now, a former aide is coming out with information that Huckabee did try to influence the parole board, quote, “In a phone interview, (this is from ABC News), Reeves said Huckabee told the board members he thought there was something nefarious about the criminal system in Dumond‘s case and that the rapist got a raw deal.”  And now, other members from that very parole board coming out to say, Huckabee not telling it straight.  Plus: Huckabee‘s been debuting a new line of defense that Bill Clinton, who had been the Arkansas governor seven years before Dumont‘s release is really the one to blame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE:  Bill Clinton—Bill Clinton—Bill Clinton—Bill Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Even more bizarre the fact Huckabee was under pressure from Conservative activists to release Dumont because Dumont‘s 17-year-old victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  Joining me now former Arkansas parole board member of 10 years, Ermer Pondexter, Dr. Charles Chastain, the only former Arkansas parole board member who voted against release and Nikko Pitney, a national editor of the Huffingtonpost for the Web site that had the exclusive that broke this story.  We should add, we invited governor Huckabee on the program tonight.  He declined.  All right.  Dr. Chastain, first let me ask you.  You‘ve been listening to what Mike Huckabee has been saying about this.  Is he telling the truth?

DR. CHARLES CHASTAIN, FMR. ARKANSAS PAROLE BOARD MEMBER:  There‘s no question that the governor brought up the issue of releasing Wayne Dumont.  I don‘t know who initiated the meeting but we were told that the governor wants to come to meet with various boards and commissions.  Our time has come and when we did meet, the governor said things like, I know this is difficult job.  I hope you do the job and so on.  Thank you for your service.  And there is one case I would like to talk to you about where upon the chairman of the board immediately said, well, we‘ll go into executive session so everyone sat out from that meeting except the board members, the governor, and the governor‘s liaison, even the governor‘s body guard was sent out.  He was a former student of mine, so it‘s easy for me to remember.  At any rate, once everybody got out, he was recognized and the governor said, well, the case I wanted to talk to you about was this fellow Wayne Dumont.  I just have looked at this case quite a bit and I think maybe, he was a guy from the wrong side of the tracks who got a raw deal.  After all, he got a pretty stiff sentence and I responded by saying, governor, if you rape a cheerleader in a small town like that, you‘re going to get a long sentence if you‘re convicted.  And, furthermore, that sentence had been changed by former governor Tucker to 39 ½ years.

ABRAMS:  So let‘s be clear, Dr. Chastain, I mean, you‘re making it pretty clear that he was advocating for early release?

CHASTAIN:  There‘s no question that anybody at that meeting would believe that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me play this for you, Miss Pondexter, and this is Mr. Huckabee on MEET THE PRESS on the 28th of January.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE:  I went there.  Even though there are some tabloid reports that try to make it that I did, I went there to get acquainted with them because I hadn‘t appointed any of them.

TIM RUSSERT, HOST:  You never mentioned Wayne Dumont?

HUCKABEE:  No, they brought it up to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  True, Miss Pondexter?

ERMER PONDEXTER, FMR. ARKANSAS PAROLE BOARD MEMBER:  I was not aware of that.  As a matter of fact, this particular situation—meeting time that Dr. Chastain is speaking of, I was a part-time member, was not, unfortunately, at that meeting.

ABRAMS:  OK.  So, what do you know about any of this?

PONDEXTER:  I know that when I was called for the next board meeting, I was informed by board members the governor had appeared before them asking them for support in the release or paroling Dumont.

ABRAMS:  No question about that?  There was no lack of clarity?

PONDEXTER:  No question.

ABRAMS:  OK.  Let me ask, I have to bring in Nikko.  How is Bill Clinton becoming relevant to the story?

NIKKO PITNEY, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, he‘s becoming relevant as an excuse for Huckabee to confuse this issue.  His distant cousin was the one who was raped, the 17-year-old, and so he refused himself when he was governor.  His lieutenant brought this man‘s sentence down from life plus 20 years down to 40 years, 39.5 years.  But that has nothing to do—it‘s completely unrelated to what people are talking about regarding Huckabee and this man being paroled and set free and killing again.

ABRAMS:  All right.  It‘s kind of amazing that Bill Clinton is somehow making his way into this story and it sounds like Huckabee is now as we pointed out earlier is saying Bill Clinton again and again.  All right.  Dr.  Chastain, since you were at the meeting, I want to play again one more piece of sound.  This is Huckabee on MEET THE PRESS talking about what he says the board said to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSSERT:  So, you did talk to the board about him?

HUCKABEE:  The only thing I said was this.  They asked me did I think that he should be paroled or something to that effect and I simply said, I think that his case has got to be given you know a serious look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Dr. Chastain, true?

CHASTAIN:  Well, it didn‘t happen that way.  If you think about it, there‘s no reason why the parole board would be asking the governor for advice about a given individual.  I think—let me say this.  He‘s met with a lot of people like me, many, many times all day.  I met with the governor one time while on the parole board.

ABRAMS:  And you remember it.  Yes.

CHASTAIN:  In seven years, I remember it very clearly.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Fair enough.  Thank you very much for come on the program.  Appreciate it, Dr. Charles Chastain, Ermer Pondexter and Nikko Pitney from the Huff Post that broke the story, appreciate it to you as well.

Coming up: A Florida teacher infamous for having sex with a 14-year-old student busted again this week for violating her parole.  We‘ve got more of an interview with Debra Lafave where she talks about what she hoped would happen to her in the future and it wasn‘t going to jail.  That‘s coming up.

Plus: While searchers were looking for his missing wife today, Drew Peterson was busy giving interviews about how much his life, quote, “sucks.”  Poor Drew.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press, our daily look at the amusing and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.

First up: Not only did Bill O‘Reilly and FOX News invent the so-called war on Christmas, on Tuesday he declared victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, TV HOST:  A few years ago and we won this war largely, that there was a very effective movement under way to wipe out in the public square all messages of Christmas.  If I had not done the campaign then the forces of darkness would have won.  There‘s no question about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  There‘s no question about it.  Thank goodness for O‘Reilly and his campaign.  The war on Christmas is finally over!  But, alas, the team‘s mission accomplished was declared too soon.  The next day, yesterday, it seemed the enemy had taken its position and was on the attack again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  In Madison, Wisconsin, they are calling the state Christmas tree a holiday tree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Next up: In our latest installment of does Lou Dobbs thinks his viewers are total idiot series, here is Tuesday‘s gripping poll from his show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU DOBBS, TV HOST:  That brings us to subject of our poll tonight.  The question is, do you believe credit card companies should be allowed to raise your interest rates even when you‘ve been a good customer and paying your bills on time?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Shocker.  Almost everyone says no.  Finally, the folks who

are bringing rock ‘n‘ roll at the business news at FOX Business doing a

segment on wind and solar power -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m not really all that excited about wind and

solar.  I think they‘re expectations are way beyond -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We have great video of this stuff too.  So, we should roll it now, guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  I don‘t think it‘s wind and solar that are really the core answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  When I hear “great video of wind,” I‘m thinking something more like this, from the movie “Twister.”  I don‘t know.  Maybe it‘s just me, seeing like - things going around for me. 

That‘s good wind video.  That‘s what they should have shown.  We need your help beating the press.  If you see anything right, wrong, amusing, or absurd, go to our web site, Abrams.MSNBC.com.  Leave us a tip in the box, please include the show and the time you saw the item.

Up next, while authorities search for his missing wife, suspect Drew Peterson laments how much his life has gone downhill.  No, not because his wife isn‘t around anymore, but because the media is around.  He says his retirement sucks. 

And Debra Lafave, the teacher who had sex with the 14-year-old student busted again this week.  We‘ve got the notes from her parole officer and never-before-seen clips where she talks about the job that ultimately brought her down. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, new details about what evidence police are searching for in the case against suspect, Drew Peterson.  And in “Winners and Losers,” think the lives of Britney and Paris couldn‘t get any more tabloids?  Well, now there‘s news involving both of them and a possible sex tape.  And a wedding couple reinvents the traditional first dance.  They became a YouTube sensation.  I don‘t think that‘s them, though. 

Tonight, new details on the re-arrest of former Florida teacher Debra Lafave and the conversation she had with a 17-year-old female co-worker that could land her behind bars for up to 15 years.  The now 26-year-old Lafave made headlines three years ago for having sex with her 14-year-old male student.  She pled guilty to lewd and lascivious behavior, sentenced to three years house arrest, seven years probation. 

Now we know her probation officer says Lafave and her 17-year-old co-worker at a restaurant, quote, “spoke about specific sexual acts with their boyfriends.”  And the young girl told the officer Lafave admitted, quote, “they should not be talking.”  But a newly released 57-page probation report is littered with good behavior by Debra Lafave.  We‘ll debate this information in a minute. 

But first, we‘ve uncovered more never-before-seen clips of Debra Lafave explaining how she wanted to avoid something just like this and how she was planning to get her life back on track. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, HOST, “TODAY” SHOW:  So do you think it‘s fair?  Do you think the deal you eventually came up with is fair? 

DEBRA LAFAVE, FORMER TEACHER AND CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER:  Yes, I think it‘s fair.  I follow all the guidelines that sex offenders follow.  I can‘t see children.  I have to stay 1,000 feet or live, rather, 1,000 feet away from churches, schools, which is, you know, for obvious reasons.  That‘s a good thing, you know. 

I follow those rules.  I have that label.  And if I was reckless and violating my house arrest and going to bars and that‘s one thing.  But I was a law abiding citizen and I am again, and that‘s that. 

LAUER:  So you check in with a probation officer every day? 

LAFAVE:  Once a week.  He comes by my house. 

LAUER:  Right. 

LAFAVE:  And once a week I have to go to his office.  So I see him about twice a week.  And if I need something, you know, of course I call him or he can stop by at any point in time that he wants to. 

LAUER:  Right.  House arrest - a lot of people, Debbie, probably thought you should be in prison right now. 

LAFAVE:  Right. 

LAUER:  And instead you are under house arrest for three years, right? 

LAFAVE:  Yes.

LAUER:  Describe that to me.  I think a lot of people think, well, that‘s pretty nice.  You get to be in your house, you know, and you have your TV and you‘ve got your the food and a refrigerator.  What‘s house arrest like? 

LAFAVE:  It‘s more like I can definitely live without shopping and going out to the movies and socializing.  Emotionally it‘s very hard.  It‘s very easy to get depressed, to have feelings of worthlessness that you‘re never going to have the kind of future that you once had.  I‘m allowed to go shopping for necessity only, usually once or twice a month.  I have to go to a class for sex offenders and work and that‘s pretty much it. 

LAUER:  Are you allowed to go out in the yard? 

LAFAVE:  Yes.

LAUER:  I mean, can you sunbathe?  Can you do those things? 

LAFAVE:  Right.  Yes.  My parents actually put up a privacy fence and it‘s pretty secluded.  So, yes, I‘m able to go outside, do gardening, yard work, what have you. 

LAUER:  And part much the stipulations of your agreement that you made, you cannot go near schools, you can‘t really be near children within, I think, 1,000 feet, right? 

LAFAVE:  I work at a restaurant so it‘s impossible for me to dodge every child that comes in the door.  But I do not serve them and I do not make eye contact with them. 

LAUER:  So in other words, if a family comes into your section in the restaurant and there are young kids, which probably happens all the time, you don‘t wait on that table? 

LAFAVE:  Yes.  All the hostesses know that I can‘t wait on children or I don‘t even know if it‘s I can‘t wait on children.  I choose not to, and they know not to seat them in my section. 

LAUER:  Give me a sense, Debbie, of what these two years have been like for you. 

LAFAVE:  Therapy and more therapy.  A lot of my freedom has been taken away from me.  But I have grown a lot and I have received the proper medication to balance me chemically.  And I‘m happy for the first time in a really long time. 

LAUER:  So, you‘re happy may mean a lot of people would find that surprising.  You‘re happy.  You‘re under house arrest.  You have probation following that.  As you mentioned, your freedom has been severely limited and yet you say you‘re happy. 

LAFAVE:  Well, the freedom has - the lack of freedom, rather, has humbled me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Joining me now, MSNBC‘s senior legal analyst, former prosecutor Susan Filan, and defense attorney Nicole DeBorde.  All right.  Susan, look, she has been re-arrested now, violation of parole for talking to a 17-year-old at the restaurant she works. 

Let me just read you, though, some of the things they say she did right.  She wore a tracking device.  She passed drug tests.  She voluntarily surrendered her teaching certificate.  She had no contact with kids on Halloween.  She broke up with her boyfriend who had a young daughter.  She tried to find work with little or no public contact. 

And they say it was determined that although Lafave has willfully violated her supervision, she is not an immediate threat to the community or herself.  And yet, you still think that this tiny little violation of her parole should lead her to have to go to jail? 

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC SENIOR ANALYST AND FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Dan, it‘s not a tiny, little violation of her probation.  It‘s a big violation. 

ABRAMS:  She talked to a 17-year-old at the restaurant. 

FILAN:  About sex.  The conditions of her probation say she can‘t have unsupervised contact without a minor, without that minor‘s parent who knows what Debra Lafave has been convicted of giving permission.  That parent was upset that her daughter had unsupervised contact with Debra Lafave.  It‘s not Lafave‘s decision to decide if this is a stupid little rule, or this is a technical violation, or she thinks it‘s dumb required of her. 

ABRAMS:  So she should go now - how many years should she get now for talking to a 17-year-old co-worker at a restaurant? 

FILAN:  Dan, you know, you‘re really minimizing it.  You‘re almost

making a joke out of -

ABRAMS:  I am.  I am making a joke out of it. 

FILAN:  It‘s not funny at all, because sex offenders repeat and when they do and sometimes they rape and then murder. 

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait.  Let me repeat it. 

FILAN:  We all talk about how the system failed. 

ABRAMS:  She is not an immediate threat to the community or herself. 

FILAN:  Meaning, Dan - read the rest of the sentence.  They didn‘t have to pick her up right then.  It got to wait until the morning when a judge signed it and she was arrested the next day.  That‘s what they were talking about.  It wasn‘t like she had a knife or a gun in her hand and a little boy locked in a closet. 

ABRAMS:  You know, Nicole, I think this is the politically correct crew sort of run amuck here.  It‘s a violation of a technical violation of parole.  She should go to jail for, what, up to 15 years. 

FILAN:  It‘s actually 30 years. 

NICOLE DEBORDE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Exactly.  That‘s pretty ridiculous. 

ABRAMS:  I think I should - well, we‘ll talk about that later.  But go ahead, Nicole. 

DEBORDE:  Right.  The reality is every time a violator, a person who violates probation or parole, violates, a judge decides if they have to go back to prison.  That‘s at taxpayers‘ expense.  And the reality is that if we‘re going to put someone on parole or probation and expect them to be rehabilitated and go back into society, we have to give them the opportunity to be productive. 

And if that means that the only job she could get is being a waitress in a restaurant which is the job that she has where they would hire her, then she needs to be able to do that job.  And from time to time she‘s going to have contact, unfortunately, with minors.  And there has to be some discretion used by the court to determine whether or not it‘s a violation that should require her to go back to jail. 

FILAN:  The judge signed the warrant so the judge already thinks it‘s

a violation, probation thinks it‘s a violation and this isn‘t just minor

contact.  This isn‘t like she accidentally waited on a child.  Over a long

period of time she had unsupervised discussions about sex with this young

girl.  And don‘t forget her mom had a right -

DEBORDE:  These are not serious violations in the sense that she had this discussion.

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait, wait.  Parental rights here, Susan, about whether her mom liked it or didn‘t like it.  That should have absolutely no impact on whether now she‘s going to have to go to prison for up to 15 or 30 years. 

DEBORDE:  Exactly.  That‘s what the judge is there to decide.

FILAN:  You think this court order - You think this court order is a joke.  You think when the court ordered that specific condition of probation - it‘s just silly. 

ABRAMS:  I feel free, Susan - I feel free to criticize probation officers.  I feel free to criticize judges, although a lot of the time I‘m defending them.  In this particular case, if a judge puts her behind bars for some significant period of time, and I mean more than a few days, then I will think it is ridiculous. 

DEBORDE:  Well, it‘s a waste of taxpayer money -

FILAN:  So you think it‘s up to any person on probation to decide which rules.

DEBORDE:  Because there has to be a reason to put someone in jail.

ABRAMS:  Hang on, Nicole.  Hang on, Nicole. 

FILAN:  So, Dan, you think it‘s up to the person on probation to decide which rules are silly and which rules are good. 

ABRAMS:  I think -

FILAN:  And if they break one of the rules that they think it‘s silly that it‘s ridiculous for the courts to punish them? 

ABRAMS:  Right.  I know.  No, no.  No.  Nicole, what I‘m saying is I think that it would be silly and ridiculous of the judge to sentence her, to now say this violation, this particular violation warrants any sort of serious jail time.  Nicole? 

DEBORDE:  Exactly.  And that‘s why the judge has discretion.  That‘s why there‘s a judge in charge of this process.  And the judge is going to be able to weigh all of the facts, look at her in totality and determine whether or not she‘s been successful on this probation to date. 

And then he‘s going to be able to decide, is this infraction so serious that she should go to prison?  And thankfully he has discretion to make that determination based on the whole picture, not just on this one incident. 

ABRAMS:  Susan, you don‘t think all the things she‘s been doing to try to follow the rules, the fact that she‘s been - you know, we‘ve read the list before, irrelevant? 

FILAN:  Dan, she supposed to.  You don‘t get a medal for that.  You just don‘t go to prison for that.  She‘s supposed to.  There were periods of time during this probation, and I read every word of every note where the probation officer said to her, “Do you know that you can‘t have unsupervised contact with minors?  Do you know what will happen if you do?  If you have any questions about it, call me.”  They went over this, and over this, and over this. 

ABRAMS:  PC police run amuck.  Susan Filan -

FILAN:  And then when he asked her about it, she wouldn‘t answer him. 

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to wrap it up.  All right.  Susan gets the last word. 

FILAN:  She knew what she did was wrong.

ABRAMS:  I‘m giving Susan the last word on it.  Susan, Nicole, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

DEBORDE:  Sure, thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, new details tonight about exactly what evidence authorities are searching at suspect Drew Peterson‘s property.  And rather than talking about his missing wife Stacy, he‘s now saying that his retirement, quote, “sucks.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Shocker, Drew Peterson is talking again tonight, this time, about the state of his life.  Yesterday, the former cop said he was worried about not getting a date.  Today, he‘s whining his retirement, quote, “sucks.”  One thing he isn‘t talking about the latest search warrant.  New details emerging tonight, about the wide net police are casting as they search Peterson‘s two cars for physical evidence connected to his wife‘s disappearance. 

Here is just part of the list and the search warrant.  Blue plastic shavings, possibly coming from a container like the one Peterson‘s brother-in-law reportedly says he helped him move from the house the night Stacy went missing.  Police are also looking for blood, hair, fingernails, DNA evidence, chemicals, specifically ones that could alter the decomposition of a body. 

Joining me now Mark Novak, former New York City police detective and president of the Global Security Group and defense attorney Nicole DeBorde is back with us.  All right.  Mark, we now know some of the details from the search warrant.  It‘s seems like they have a theory on the case here now. 

MARK NOVAK, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE DETECTIVE:  I think they have something to go on.  What they‘re looking to do is - I believe in this instance from my feeling on the search warrant, they‘re looking to try and figure out was a body or was something transported in the vehicle. 

ABRAMS:  And can they find some piece of evidence that links possibly

the container -

NOVAK:  Of course. 

ABRAMS:  Or anything else to the car? 

NOVAK:  Well, you know, evidence is not always readily apparent.  You‘re going to go through that vehicle.  You‘re going to catalog everything that‘s in the vehicle.  And then, later down the road, when something is found of significance, then all of a sudden that insignificant piece of whatever you found in the vehicle now takes on a particular meaning.  It may be something that makes or breaks the case.  So, of course, they‘re going to cover all their bases. 

ABRAMS:  He‘s an idiot for saying retirement sucks.  Isn‘t it?

NOVAK:  Yes.  I don‘t see what point of that is.  I don‘t see why do we care? 

ABRAMS:  Well, you know why we care?  Because it tells something to me.  Every time we get a psychologist on, they say this is sociopathic behavior. 

NOVAK:  It‘s all about me. 

ABRAMS:  They say the fact he knows that the world is watching him, the fact he knows that everyone suspects him, including the authorities, and he‘s talking about not being able to get a date and he‘s talking about his retirement sucking.  Right?

NOVAK:  One of the things you find is that people of that mindset, it‘s basically how it affects them.  So the idea of sociopath is you‘re not concerned with how your - effects are on another person.  It‘s all about how it affects me and poor me.  So, yes.

ABRAMS:  What do you make of this GPS?  Exactly, what are they trying to get from the GPS and OnStar system? 

NOVAK:  Well, the GPS, the OnStar, the cellphone records - they‘re trying to create a basic time line.  They‘re trying to piece together because there are holes where he said I believe he was home sleeping.  He has unaccounted time, so they‘re looking to see one of two things.  Can they place him anywhere at a particular point in time, or perhaps more importantly can they discredit his alibi.  So where he‘s saying, “I‘m home sleeping,” but yet, the GPS record or cellphone hit is going to show that, “No, you made a phone call from the other side of town,” or “Your car was parked down by the river, so how do you explain that?” 

ABRAMS:  Nicole, I‘ve got to believe that his attorney, Joel Brodsky, feels like the walls are closing in.  He tells us he‘s not worried.  Of course I don‘t believe that at face value that he‘s not worried. 

If you‘re his attorney at this point, you‘ve got now a fourth search warrant that has been executed.  He‘s been named a suspect.  He continues to sort of seem very nonchalant, et cetera.  Is there anything else that you can do at this point for him apart from saying shut up? 

DEBORDE:  Well, and that‘s the big thing, really.  This guy needs to be quiet.  That message for some reason has not come through to him.  That has to happen immediately. 

I mean, every time he speaks, he keeps saying things he thinks are unimportant.  But everybody else hears these things and they‘re very damning.  I mean, for example, he‘s talking about all the places he has been and the places he hasn‘t been.  And now they have a search warrant where they‘re asking for information about where he was. 

GPS tracking information, cellphone records that are going to tell us potentially where he was.  And when we have that information, they‘re going to be able to determine whether these things that he‘s been saying are true.  Now, on the other hand all they have is a bunch of circumstantial evidence.  And really, at this point, it hasn‘t added up enough for them to have probable cause to arrest him for anything. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well, or they‘re waiting until maybe they find the body to build a stronger case.  All right.  So what found - We know that they‘re searching a canal near the Peterson home.  We know that there was debris pulled up yesterday.  There was an underwater sonar unit coming this weekend.  What can the sonar unit help them with? 

NOVAK:  The sonar unit is going to obviously help them to locate objects underwater.  It‘s going to give them a pattern.  It‘s going to give them something to go down and look at. 

ABRAMS:  That could be big.  I mean -

NOVAK:  Well, they‘re apparently looking for a barrel, something of significant size.  It‘s going to stand out on the floor of a canal such as that.  So it‘s going to just aid in the underwater search.  Generally you‘re talking about low visibility and divers going by hand feeling their way around.  So it‘s just kind of giving them some areas to look at. 

ABRAMS:  Final question, Nicole.  Do you think prosecutors - look, prosecutors are building a case.  I think that they‘re waiting, even though I think they probably feel they have enough evidence with regard to his third wife.  It‘s possible they want to just figure this out a little bit more with regard to Stacy before they charge on the third wife? 

DEBORDE:  Well, it is possible but I have to say, I mean, proving a case without a body is a very difficult thing.  And they are going to have to have a lot of circumstantial evidence to make that happen.  And at this point, I really question as to whether or not they have that data.  These search warrants are very detailed, so we‘ll see. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  We shall see.  Mark Novak, I appreciate it. 

Nicole DeBorde, I appreciate it.

Up next in “Winners and Losers,” donkeys replace garbage trucks in Italy.  Britney Spears reportedly threatened Paris Hilton with a sex tape.  And newlyweds become Internet stars after some dirty dancing.

Donkeys on the move to clean up a street; a pop star who used to have moves turning up the heat; or a bride and groom busting a move with more than their feet?  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for the 6th day of December, 2007.  Our first loser, a Hillary Clinton campaign staffer sacked for a smear job.  Judy Rose apparently rifled off an e-mail proclaiming Barack Obama is secretly a radical Muslim plotting to destroy the country by winning the White House.  The savage spree continued, “Obama takes great care to conceal the fact he‘s a Muslim.”  Those (UNINTELLIGIBLE) run out of the anti-Obama e-mail was spotted by the press. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why don‘t we just ask Osama Bin - Osama Obama -

Obama -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Our first winner, film maker Morgan Spurlock whose rumored spotting of Osama has gotten him some press.  The “Super Size Me” star is screening his new film overseas, telling top buyers he‘s found the elusive terrorist.  Fifteen minutes of footage apparently features the fanatic and his partner claims, “We‘ve definitely got the holy grail.”

Our second winners, debris disposing donkeys now commissioned to clean the squalid streets of Sicily.  Gas guzzling garbage trucks are being passed over in favor of the reportedly much appreciated donkeys, which not only cut down on emissions but also save the city more than a hundred grand a year.  The trash-toting asses are apparently doing their part to keep the streets clean. 

ABRAMS:  Our second loser, a trash mouth comedian who made an ass out of herself in front of the queen.  Joan Rivers ripped off a raunchy routine in front of Her Majesty, dropping 13 swear words in seven minutes.  The crude swearing spree considered a serious faux pas in front of the conservative queen.  The never reserved Rivers proclaimed afterwards, “I did something very good for England.”

But the big loser of the day?  Misfit mom Britney Spears who is reportedly threatening to blackmail pal Paris Hilton by releasing, yes, a raunchy sex tape.  Britney now reportedly boasting she has filthy footage of Paris with another woman.  And that she‘ll leak it online if the pampered Paris doesn‘t clean up her rude ways.  Brittany apparently trying to get back at her fellow tabloid star by hocking an Internet video of Hilton baring her back side. 

The big winners of the day?  Backside baring California newlyweds whose Internet video made them stars.  They shocked their wedding guests by passing the standard slow dance in favor of a choreographed dance to the rap song “Baby Got Back.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIDE:  We wanted to put a twist on the first dance.  We wanted to get our guests in the festivities and in the spirit of the thing.  So, we choreographed that routine all on our own and there you have it.  

GROOM:  Right before, I went to the bathroom, closed the door and started practicing by myself on the mirror because I was so scared I was going to forget everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Imagine a guy walks into the bathroom and sees you practicing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s a Senator Craig moment, I‘ve got to tell you.  All right.

ABRAMS:  See you next week.  

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

END   

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