ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 24, 2013
Guests: Glenn Greenwald, Damon Hewitt, Maya Wiley, Josh Durbin
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
And thank you for joining us.
Tonight on ALL IN:
The trial of George Zimmerman, charged with a second-degree murder of the
Florida teen Trayvon Martin, has begun in Florida. We`ll have a full
report on the riveting opening arguments and possibly the worst and most
awkward knock-knock joke ever told.
Also tonight, it might not surprise you to hear that Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas really doesn`t like affirmative action. But you might be a
bit taken aback by his opinion today in which he compares justifications
for affirmative action to justifications for slavery. Yes. He did that.
Plus, Jon Stewart is back on TV in Egypt and his appearance on the Egyptian
version of the "Daily Show" is the awesomest thing I saw on the Internet
But, tonight, we start with seat 17A on an Aeroflot`s flight this morning,
bound from Moscow to Havana, Cuba. That seat, 17A, was booked for Edward
Snowden, the admitted NSA leaker, the man wanted by the United States
government for violations of the Espionage Act.
It has the doors of Aeroflot flight SU-150 closed and the plane took off
Edward Snowden was not onboard. A bunch of reporters were onboard. They
all bought ticket when they heard Snowden would be on the flight. But he
was not. All those reporters had a nice 12-hour flight to Havana to which
there was no booze and no scoop.
Right now, the most powerful government in the world is looking for Edward
Snowden and right now, no one can say for sure where he is. What we do
know is that yesterday morning, just two days after the United States filed
a criminal complaint for Edward Snowden, charging him with among other
things violations of the Espionage Act, Edward Snowden got on a plane and
left Hong Kong.
Now, United States had requested that Hong Kong arrest Snowden and hold him
while courts processed an extradition request. The Hong Kong government`s
response was -- well, possibly the most passive aggressive official
government in the history of written communication. It read almost like a
post-it note from your roommate left on the refrigerator.
The Hong Kong government statement saying that because the U.S. had failed
to provide the proper documentation, there`s no legal basis to restrict Mr.
Snowden from leaving Hong Kong. And in the most deliciously awkward part,
"Meanwhile, the HKSAR government has formally written to the U.S.
government requesting clarification on the reports about the hacking of
computer systems in Hong Kong by U.S. government agencies." Yikes!
By the time that letter reached hands, Edward Snowden had already fled to
Russia, specifically to Moscow`s airport, where a bevy of eager reporters
gathered in order to greet him. There Snowden reportedly met with the
Ecuadorian ambassador. Ecuador, of course, the very same government that
gave WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asylum in its embassy in Britain and
whose foreign minister confirmed today had received an asylum request from
one Ed Edward Snowden.
That request was facilitated by WikiLeaks who now has a lawyer working with
Snowden and whose founder Julian Assange has asserted himself in the story
and spoke this morning to reporters on behalf of Snowden -- about Snowden`s
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: Both are healthy and safe, and they are
in contact with their legal team. I cannot give further information as to
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Let`s be clear here. We have no idea where Edward Snowden is. His
U.S. passport has been revoked. He does not have a Russian visa.
The Russian government is acting as if he is in Russia and the U.S.
government is acting as if he is there as well. We have no pictures or
videos. Only the eyewitness account of a man who says he saw Snowden on
his flight from Hong Kong to Moscow.
In other words, Edward Snowden has disappeared under the watchful -- one
might even say all seeing -- eye of the United State government. The
question now is what Russian authorities decide to do with him, under the
intense pressure of U.S. government officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PATRICK VENTRELL, STATE DEPT. DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: We hope that the
Russian government will look at all available options to return Mr. Snowden
back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he`s charged.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are working with them, or
discussing with them, or rather expecting them to look at the options
available to them, to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States to face
justice for the crimes with which he is charged.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have returned seven criminals that they
requested for extradition from the United States over the last two years.
So, we really hope that the right choice will be made here.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re following all the
appropriate local channels, and working with various other countries to
make sure that rule of law is observed.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: One of the most wanted men in the world, Edward Snowden, and we do
n/not know where he is. But what he does next, and the reason this is all
so dramatic and riveting aside from the basic facts of the story, is what
he does next is going to have a pretty big impact, possibly a massive
overwhelming impact, on how his revelations play out politically here at
Joining me now live from Rio do Janeiro, Brazil, is Glenn Greenwald,
columnist on civil liberties and U.S. national security issues for "The
Glenn, of course, broke the Edward Snowden story in "The Guardian."
Glenn, my first issue is, as Mr. Snowden travels around the globe and his
whereabouts are unknown, are you in contact with him still?
GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN: I haven`t been in contact with him since
shortly before he left Hong Kong. So, no, I have not spoken with him, as
he boarded the flight in Hong Kong.
HAYES: There was an article in "The South China Morning Post" today in
which they replayed or reprinted part of an interview with Edward Snowden
in which he basically tells them, that he had taken his final job with Booz
Allen Hamilton at that facility in Hawaii, with the explicit intention of
essentially getting documents to then make public.
I wonder what your reaction is to that and how much you think his
motivations in doing this should be amongst the points of discussion we`re
having as we watch this story unfold.
GREENWALD: I would think that far and away, the most significant point of
the entire episode, where most of our focus ought to be, if not virtually
all of it, is on what we have learned the United States government is doing
in complete secrecy in constructing this massive spying apparatus that a
secret federal court in 2011 said was both illegal and unconstitutional.
And that top-level Obama officials including James Clapper went to Congress
and lied about when explicitly asked whether it was being directed at
millions of Americans. That`s where the overwhelming bulk of our focus
As far as the specific revelation today in that newspaper that you
referenced, it isn`t surprising to any at all, when I interviewed Mr.
Snowden he had said, remember, he has worked at the NSA since 2009, prior
to that, he worked at the CIA for 2 1/2 years, that he gradually came to
see there was a lot of wrongdoing taking place that the American people
weren`t aware of and decided rather long ago that he would take this course
of action to inform his fellow citizens.
And I think what he said in the interview today was essentially there was
one last set of documents he thought he needed access to complete the
picture to be able to present a clear and full picture to the American
public about what the NSA was doing and for that reason went and got that
last job through Booz Allen at the NSA facility in Hawaii.
HAYES: Glenn, here`s my question to you. As someone who basically thinks
the things that we have learned about the government through Mr. Snowden`s
leaks have been vital, I`m happy to know them. I`d much rather know them
than not know them. I think there`s some secret legal reasoning revealing
in the wake of it that`s been an absolute genuine improvement to our
democratic status about our status and our self-governance.
I am worried, frankly, I`m just going to tell you what I`m worried, I`m
worried that if he shows up on the balcony of Raul Castro at some point in
the next week, it will be as if everyone who has been championing the
revelations has walked out on to a limb that they are now standing on in
width that is going to be sawed off behind them because now Mr. Snowden the
whistleblower is in the hands of someone like, say, Castro, or someone else
who people generally do not views a beacon of openness.
Do you worry about that? Do you recognize the political consequences and
stakes in where he actually ends up?
GREENWALD: (AUDIO GAP). You know, let me say, I don`t think anyone thinks
Cuba is his intended ultimate destination. I think much more likely is
Ecuador, which -- for all its very significant problems and political
system, does have a democracy, does elect its president who is widely
popular, among especially the majority of the nation who e poor people.
But let me just say a few things about that, Chris. One is it doesn`t
matter what you ink of Edward Snowden as an individual. I happen to think
that what he did was quite noble and heroic and courageous. People think
quite reasonably that he should have chosen a different path. Wherever you
come out on that, and whether he ends up in the hands of Castro or
whomever, it doesn`t really make a difference in terms of what you think
about what we`re learning about the U.S. government.
I think it`s critically important those two things remain distinct.
The other issue that I think is vital is that we should ask why does Mr.
Snowden feel a need to go and flee and run around the globe going to
countries that he probably opportunity want to live in? And the answer is
because we`ve allowed our government to persecute whistleblowers.
Read the column by David Carr in "The New York Times" today. He says the
war on the press that the U.S. government is waging is not a matter of
hyperbole but math. Whistleblowers have no chance in this country because
of this persecution. And that`s the reason he`s fleeing and that seems me
more important as well.
HAYES: Glenn Greenwald from "The Guardian." Thank you so much, Glenn.
GREENWALD: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me, Goldie Taylor, contributor to MSNBC and thegrio.com.
Goldie, I want to talk to you because I`ve been watching all this unfold,
and I think the point I made to, Glenn, is basically may -- where I stand
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure.
HAYES: Which is that I think this country absolutely created this massive
metastasizing, secret government in the wake of 9/11. Classification has
gotten completely out of control. There are all kinds of things the
government is doing that they`re not telling us about what we should know.
And some of which we have learned from these leaks.
At the same time, as I watched the personal drama of Edward Snowden unfold
with a mix of fascination and trepidation, I do feel conflicted about, you
know, an American citizen who`s possibly giving things to foreign agents,
although there`s no proof or reporting to indicate that has definitively
I just wonder as you watch this unfold, do you feel that way? Like, how
are you processing this?
TAYLOR: I think that there are a lot of us from the left and from the
right and from all points in between who are, frankly, concerned about the
Patriot Act, who are frankly concerned about NSA, and what broad-sweeping
powers it may or may not have. I think that there are genuine, genuine
concerns about that and that this has opened a global conversation about
secrecy and surveillance around the world.
At the same time, this story has been hugely problematic from the
beginning. The initial reporting around this has been sloppy at best.
I think what we deserve are the facts laid on the table so that everyone
can decide for themselves what they expect or should expect from their
HAYES: I agree about the facts being laid on the table. But part of the
problem here, when we talk about the initial reporting that came out of the
PRISM program, for example, and what exactly it is and how exactly it
works. I mean, the issue that we`re facing in all this, and I come on
television every night to talk about this, we`re talking about the Trayvon
Martin trial, George Zimmerman trial which we`ll be talking about later,
that was all open in court. We saw every word that was said.
We`re talking about the decision the Supreme Court issued today, we got to
read the decisions. We talk about the Affordable Care Act. We can read
the Congressional Budget Office.
In this, it`s like we`re wait around in this dark room drawing conclusions
with little shafts of light that illuminate this or that thing and it seems
so deeply toxic to me, to having an actual, self-governing republic, that
that is the basic conditions under which we are operating.
TAYLOR: Unfortunately, part of having a self-governing republic in this
day and age means that there are going to be some points of secrecy that,
you know, help us to manage our resources and assets around the globe, that
help us manage an entire intelligence community, which help us to manage an
entire foreign affairs policy. You know, those kinds of things, you know,
should be kept secret and, you know, but I agree with you, there are limits
on those things.
But when we`re reporting about it, when we are advocacy journalists, and I
do believe there is such a thing, then we have the duty to get the story
right, to make sure that we check our facts against people who understand
the technology that`s being discussed. That people who understand, you
know, these PowerPoints that coming out that talk about what the PRISM
program is and what it isn`t, that talk about what direct access is and
what direct access is or isn`t.
So, when we put stories out like that, large stories, national stories,
global stories, then we ought to expect questions to ourselves. And we
ought to be able to stand ready to answer those questions.
Unfortunately, this first story looked like it came out by Lilo & Stitch.
HAYES: Here`s the thing. On the first issue, right, what we are seeing
now is the first, if you begin to unpack this, or twin to reveal, OK,
there`s some of this program is being come to light. I think this isn`t
true of the court orders of the mass collection of phone call. That we`re
square on what that is and how that works.
TAYLOR: We are.
HAYES: Is that when you go to folks, you`re for confirmation, right, of
course, that`s still all classified. In fact, it`s against the same laws
that Edward Snowden is accused of breaking, for anyone inside NSA to say,
actually, well, this is how PRISM works. Yet that`s precisely what we
want, because we want, I think as adult citizens, to know what our
government is doing within the bounds of reasonableness that does not
completely exp expose sources and methods.
TAYLOR: You know, I think therein lies our issue. What is the boundary of
reasonableness? Who gets to set that? Is it Glenn Greenwald? Is it
HAYES: Or is it the United States government? I mean --
TAYLOR: Or is it the people we elect to make those decisions for us? We
ought to be making some of the decisions in the ballot box, frankly.
Anybody who voted for the Patriot Act, we ought to be looking at them re-
evaluating and reaffirming this thing over and over again.
And so, I think we have some power and it`s incumbent upon us to take that
power. But do I trust Glenn Greenwald? Do I trust Edward Snowden to make
I`m not sure that I do, knowing what I know and what I`ve seen and how this
story has played itself out.
HAYES: I will say this. I trust them to the extent that I trust knowing
things rather than not knowing them. And so I agree.
HAYES: There`s no definitive word said about what exactly these programs
are and how they operate. But I`m happy to know more now than I did a few
MSNBC contributor Goldie Taylor, thank you so much.
TAYLOR: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Guess who Justice Clarence Thomas compared to slave
holders and segregationists today? Me. And most likely you.
I`ll tell you why, next.
HAYES: Justice Clarence Thomas wants to burn affirmative action to the
ground and he let us all know that today.
And this is the way the trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of the
second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, started this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) punks. These (EXPLETIVE DELETED),
they always get away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: More on day one of the trial, coming up.
HAYES: The nation was waiting today on four big, huge decisions by the
Supreme Court that will affect civil rights and social equality across
every state in this land -- from institutions of higher learning, to our
most intimate partnerships. And of these four cases, we got one decision,
which means we have to wait until at least tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., to find
out whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, whether same sex
marriage is constitutional, and whether the core of the Voting Rights Act,
the pillar of our civil rights architecture and self-governance will
We did find out the Supreme Court did not, did not take an opportunity to
put the final dagger in affirmative action in higher education.
Affirmative action and higher education has survived for now. Instead, the
courts sent the case, Fisher v. The University of Texas back to a lower
court for reconsideration.
In that decision, we learned less about the future of affirmative action in
this country than we did about the opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas.
Clarence Thomas has spent most of his adult life railing against
affirmative action and decrying his own experience with it. This is the
man who famously took his Yale Law School diploma and put a 15-cent sticker
on it saying that`s all it was worth because of the school`s affirmative
action enrollment policy.
Today, Thomas got a chance to absolutely unleash on race-based college
admissions. He wrote a humdinger of concurring opinion that basically
compares anyone who supports affirmative action with the worst racists and
white supremacists in our history.
"Slave holders argue that slavery was a positive good that civilized blacks
and elevated them in every dimension of life. A century later
segregationists similarly asserted that segregation was not only benign,
but good for black students. The university`s professed good intentions
cannot excuse its outright racial discrimination any more than such
intentions justified the now denounced arguments of slave holders and
So while today was not the day in which the Supreme Court killed off
affirmative action higher education, it was the day in which one of the
court`s most conservative justices made it plainly clear how determined he
is to end the practice. And keep in mind, he has allies both on this
court, and as we reported here in the greater conservative legal movement.
Joining me to discuss what is next is Damon Hewitt, the director of
education practice for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Damon, can I start with your reaction to the Clarence Thomas concurring
opinion today which I really kind of read with my jaw on my desk in my
DAMON HEWITT, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: Right, well, thanks for having me,
First of all, it`s important to recognize that Justice Thomas` opinion was
a concurring opinion he wrote for himself and himself alone. He didn`t
have any other justices joining him. Certainly not a majority of the
But one thing that really struck me was this. One of the core principles
of the Supreme Court`s decision in Grutter versus Bollinger, the Michigan
affirmative action case from 2003, just a decade ago, was context matters.
When you start comparing slavery and de jure legally mandated segregation,
to affirmative action, that sounds like a pretty textbook acontextual to
So, really comparing those types of systems and scenarios really -- it
doesn`t really make logical sense and necessarily doesn`t make much sense,
practical sense to Americans.
HAYES: I could not agree more. To me, what`s disturbing, though Thomas
was writing for himself in a concurring opinion is the idea of, quote, "a
color Constitution has been embraced in oral arguments and even in certain
opinions by Chief Justice John Roberts. It`s embraced by a conservative
legal movement that`s been fighting to get these cases before the court.
And we`re seeing public opinion about affirmative action, support for it on
the wane, all of it seems headed to a point in which people really are
starting to equate any kind of racial consideration, even if it`s to
promote racial equality or diversity as in the case of University of Texas,
with the kind o racial considerations that we rightly abhor.
HEWITT: Right. Those types of associations really don`t make much sense.
But we have to understand, there`s a broader mission at play here. You see
it playing out in some of the side opinions, concurring opinions, what have
But you also see playing out in some of the rhetoric from the other side.
We`re hearing questions about, what is race anyway? Why does any of this
matter? And they try to say, race doesn`t matter.
What they`re really saying, frankly, is the facts don`t matter. We know
the fact is Abigail Fisher would not have been admitted to U.T.-Austin
regardless of her race. We know the fact matters that U.T. has a much more
modest plan, University of Texas does, than even the Michigan plan that
this court upheld.
So, what they`re really trying to do is rewrite history, they`re trying to
rewrite history in order to rewrite the future. Fortunately, the court, at
least the majority of justices, certainly did not take that step with
HAYES: OK, the court did not kill off affirmative action, higher
education. It remanded it down to the lower court, appellate court and
said, you need to apply strict scrutiny as your standard review. Meaning,
you need to look carefully at the arguments the University of Texas is
making in defense of using a racial consideration.
What should we make of this? What is next for this case and for the
broader constitutional arguments around affirmative action?
HEWITT: In some ways, Chris, it`s not much of a surprise. The court
simply articulated a standard that we all pretty much understood in the
first place that simply said the lower court, perhaps, did not faithfully
apply that standard. We at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
are quite confident with the clients that we represent, Black Student
Alliance at U.T.-Austin and also the university, itself, representing its
own interests that the plan will actually satisfy the standard that the
court articulated because in many ways, it`s not much different than what
we assume to be in play.
HAYES: You`re going to go back down to the fifth circuit, argue it and I`m
confident you`re going to win.
Damon Hewitt from the NAACP, thank you so much.
HEWITT: Thank your for having me.
HAYES: Millions of undocumented workers pay Social Security taxes every
week and today -- just a few hours ago, in fact -- the U.S. Senate voted to
confiscate that money. I`m not making that up. I`m going to explain this
HAYES: When I was 17 years old, I had a summer job at bakery here in New
York City. In that bakery working alongside me were a bunch of guys from a
province just south of Mexico City, called Puebla. They worked the
overnight shift, and sometimes I would stay up all night with them, they`d
help me be the baking and they`d help me get better with Spanish.
Now, all of these guys were in the country without permission. But because
I worked with them, I learned something I hadn`t known until I started this
job, that all of them actually had Social Security numbers. The way it
generally works in this country`s vast gray labor market is unauthorized
immigrant workers use a Social Security number tied to a made up name or
one that belonged to someone else, a relative or someone deceased. They
enter the country under a temporary work visa, in that case, they can
obtain a legal Social Security card and use that number even if they ended
up overstaying visa.
And despite all this banshee wailing from the likes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio
and Rush Limbaugh, that unauthorized immigrants are moochers just sucking
up the nation`s tits, it turns out that because they have Social Security
numbers, they`re paying payroll taxes. They`re paying into Social
Security. In fact, according to "The Washington Post," in just 2007, the
Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between
$120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.
Now, I don`t know where those guys I baked bread with at 17 are today. A
bunch of them are probably back in Mexico because we`ve seen a lot of net
migration out of the country. But the rest still here, and likely among the
nation`s 11 million person shadow workforce.
One thing I do know is that they`re almost certainly not collecting Social
Security checks because unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for Social
Security benefits though they`re required to pay the same taxes as the
other workers. But if any of them were to become citizens, they would have
the opportunity to benefit from their actually work record.
Those who used a made up number or overstayed a visa, can right now when
they become legal, show proof to the Social Security administration of
their prior work record and have their own legal proper Social Security
account credited with the wages they paid in, which, to me seems perfectly
fair and reasonable and obvious, really. I mean, they did pay in there.
Well, an hour ago, that changed a bit. Senate closed a vote that would
put an end to that practice. Senate voted to approve the new amended
version of comprehensive immigration reform bill, which includes the
Corker/Holden amendment, a so-called border surge designed to win more
But buried in this amendment is language that instructs the U.S.
government to confiscate the Social Security taxes paid by all unauthorized
workers between 2004 and 2014 even after they gain citizenship status. It
doesn`t matter. They paid in like everyone else. It`s now ours and they
don`t get it back.
And if you didn`t know about this detail, I bet you some of the people
voting for this bill didn`t know about it, either. Because everyone was
all excited about getting close to 70 votes, about winning Republican
support and we shook hands before they spent much time looking at the
details, which also included doubling the number of border patrol agents
from 20,000 to 40,000. That means an agent for every 1,000 feet of the
Corker wants to also construct 700 miles of fencing, twice as much as
authorized in the original version of the bill. Not only that, the
amendment changes the bill so border patrol agents can search vehicles
within a reasonable distance of the southern border which is defined as 100
miles, which takes us up to Mitt Romney`s beach front home in Latoya,
Better check that car in the driveway, Mitt. A lot of the implementation
of these border security measures will almost certainly be contracted out
to private companies, which prompted Senator Patrick Leahy to say this on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: To the Leahy amendment before us -- reads
like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s right. And get this, while we pour money, fencing, armed
agents on to the border, while we gear it up with all sorts of high-tech
surveillance activities, while we arm it and make sure it`s one of the most
militarized places in this country, the task force charged with oversight
for this increasingly militarized stretch of our country will not have
subpoena power. It`s just a paper commission.
Now, it may be that the amendment with all its pork barrel spending and
punitive measures is an acceptable price to pay for a path to citizenship
for 11 million people, but let`s not lose sight of what`s happening here.
Every time Republicans get a chance to, they are making this bill less
humane, more expensive, and worse for our country. And this thing hasn`t
even hit the House yet. Just wait until Louie Gohmert and his gang get
their hands on it. We`ll be right back with Click 3.
HAYES: Instead of Click 3 today, I want to break format and present a
Click 1, the one awesomest thing on the internet today. Something I
happened to clicked on over the weekend, before watching an episode of
"Veep" with my wife and we were both just absolutely riveted and delighted.
The name may not seem familiar to you, but Bassem Youssef is a big deal in
the Middle East. He hosts a show out of Cairo called "The Program." Fans
will tell you it`s like the "Daily Show." In fact, Bassem Youssef is known
as the Jon Stewart of the Arab world and like Stewart, Youssef uses satire
to call out those in power.
So much so that Youssef was issued an arrest warrant for allegedly
insulting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamic faith. That
prompted Stewart to defend Youssef on "The Daily Show" and Youssef later
appearing as Stewart`s guest.
Well, last Friday, on "The Program" Youseff began his show by introducing
what he referred to as a captured foreign spy. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASSEM YOUSSEF: Ladies and gentlemen, Jon Stewart.
JON STEWART, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: (Inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, that is the real Jon Stewart of America speaking Arabic to the
Jon Stewart of Egypt in this studio audience telling them, please sit down,
I`m a simple man who does not like to be fussed over. Stewart is in the
Middle East directing a film called "Rose Water," a story of an Iranian
journalist who was in prison while covering Iran`s presidential elections.
The project brought Stewart to Cairo where he and his Egyptian counterpart
sat down and talked about everything from 9/11. Yes, there were many
jokes. In between the light banter emerged a serious and remarkable
conversation about freedom and the right to satire in the Arab world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: If your regime is not strong enough to handle a joke then you
don`t have a regime because it is not -- you have to be able to handle
anything. A joke is a joke. You may say that is an insult, and they say,
you know, there`s an expression, I don`t know if you have it, adding insult
to injury. Yes, maybe it is an insult, but it is not an injury. A joke
has never ridden a motorcycle into a crowd with a baton. A joke has never
shot tear grass to a group of people in a park. It`s just talk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What Stewart does and what Bassem Youssef does is more than just
talk. That was evident throughout their discussion turned trans-cultural
YOUSSEF: In last week before you left, you were hosting Bill O`Reilly, our
beloved Bill O`Reilly.
STEWART: Yes, yes.
YOUSSEF: And he told you, and I quote, "You`re leaving, so why don`t you,
since you care too much about Muslims and Arabs, he`s like, why don`t you
leave your place to a Muslim and Arab, right?
STEWART: Yes, yes.
YOUSSEF: Why didn`t you think of me?
STEWART: Here`s the thing I want to point out. Not that, you know,
defending Muslims or defending Jews or defending Christians or defending
what are the other ones? I don`t like -- and so I try to speak out against
-- and isn`t that all government is? It`s we all get together and decide
as a majority who the -- are. That`s all it is. Government is always a
lottery. You put your money down. It`s a bet. I`m going to put down some
money on this guy in the hopes that he`ll turn out to be something good.
HAYES: The full clip is 20 minutes long. If you have a chance, I urge you
to watch the whole thing. The TV equivalent of watching an incredible
high-level cross-cultural tennis match between two players at the absolute
top of their game. Also a reminder of just how universal comedy and satire
is, by far, the most awesome thing on the internet today.
All right, next, the George Zimmerman trial started today with "f" bomb
from the prosecution, a knock-knock joke from the defense, and apology from
the defense over said knock-knock joke. That`s coming up.
HAYES: Today, almost 16 months after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed,
opening statements began in Sanford, Florida, in the state of Florida
versus George Zimmerman. With great anticipation, MSNBC was ready to
broadcast live the prosecution`s opening statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GUY, PROSECUTION: Good morning. (Inaudible) punks. These
(inaudible) they always get away. Those were the words in that grown man`s
mouth as he followed in the dark a 17-year-old boy who he didn`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s a stark reminder of the alleged conditions under which Trayvon
Martin lost his life on the night of February 26th, 2012. The prosecution
says George Zimmerman spotted martin as Martin was on his way back to the
neighborhood after having bought an Arizona fruit drink and some Skittles.
Zimmerman says he tracked martin and followed him after immediately
finding martin`s presence suspicious. Zimmerman called police, apparently
ignored the dispatcher`s advice to meet the police at the mailboxes in the
neighborhood according to calls to be submitted by the prosecution.
At the end of the subsequent encounter between Zimmerman and Martin, 17-
year-old Trayvon Martin was dead. There is no dispute in this case that
George Zimmerman was the man who shot him. The case hinges on whether
George Zimmerman acted in self-defense as he claims. Zimmerman has not
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY: There was this defendant riding around in his car, not with candy,
not with fruit juice, but with a Kehl tech .9-millimeter semiautomatic
pistol in a ready to fire position. Meaning there was one live round in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For its part, the defense to back up George Zimmerman`s not guilty
plea, a few minutes into his opening, did this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON WEST, ZIMMERMAN`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Knock-knock, who`s there? George
Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You`re on the jury.
Nothing? That`s funny, after what you folks have been through the last two
or three weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After later apologizing to any juror who might have been offended,
the defense offered several refutations to what the prosecution might show
with its evidence including the question of who is armed and who is not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEST: If I`ve heard it once, I`ve heard it a thousand times that Trayvon
Martin was unarmed. What the evidence will show you is that`s not true.
Trayvon Martin armed himself with the concrete sidewalk and used it to
smash George Zimmerman`s head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This is security camera footage of Trayvon Martin at a 7-11 on the
night of his death bringing his items to the cashier. This afternoon, the
prosecution began establishing a foundation with its first witnesses,
calling that cashier at the 7-11 and the dispatcher who took George
In a disclosure, before we proceed, George Zimmerman has sued NBC
Universal for defamation. The company strongly denied the allegation.
Joining me now, Craig Melvin, who is covering the Zimmerman trial for
MSNBC. Craig, what was your take away from this big action-packed first
day in which we finally got opening statements and even saw witnesses on
the witness stand?
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You know what, Chris, it`s the sheer
contrast between the two approaches to those opening statements. You
played a clip there, a clip we`ve seen a lot of today. The state came out
the gate, about 33 minutes. They started with using the words George
Zimmerman used, words we can`t use on our air. There was a great deal of
profanity used today.
We had this date, and then they sat down, again, after about a half an
hour, the defense gets up and they go for about 2 hours, 45 minutes. In
addition to that knock-knock joke, the jurors were also subjected to a fair
amount of looking at these detailed diagrams of that gated condo complex,
and then there was a great deal of time spent looking at the timeline for
They took a lunch break then they came back, and the defense continued.
So would say just the juxtaposition between those two opening arguments,
you mentioned Judge Nelson, tomorrow morning before the jury is brought in,
we will hear Judge Nelson`s ruling on whether the state will be allowed to
bring in seven additional calls that Zimmerman made to that nonemergency
So, again, that will happen tomorrow morning at 8:30. Then after that,
the defense will continue calling additional witnesses, four today. We
expect several more tomorrow, Chris.
HAYES: MSNBC`s Craig Melvin, thank you so much.
Joining me now is Maya Wiley, former assistant U.S. attorney and founder
and president of the Center for Social Inclusion, a social justice non-
profit, Josh Dubin, a jury and legal consultant, founder of Dubin Research
and Consulting, and Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst and
professor of sociology at Georgetown University. Great to have you all
Josh, let me start with you. So you worked on cases in Florida. You do
jury selection consulting. So what do you want as the prosecution, and as
the defense, on their first day, the chance to make the first impression,
in a case like this, what do you want to establish with those jurors?
JOSH DUBIN, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, the first thing you want to establish
is the right tone, OK? And so much of being a great trial attorney is
being able to establish a rapport with the jury. And I can tell you from
the outset that I think the defense fumbled in a big way. I think that in
a case where the deceased family is sitting 10, 15 feet away from you, to
tell a knock-knock joke in a case as serious and that has received the type
of exposure that this case has received was a huge mistake. Conversely, I
think the prosecution hit a home run. I think they had the tone just
right. I think that throughout their opening statement, they echoed the
extreme nature of the case.
HAYES: One of the things here legally, I just want to -- I know a bit
about the law. My wife`s a lawyer. I get some sort of osmosis about the
law. But as a non-lawyer, if I`m sitting in that juror`s box, right, it`s
an interesting case from a certain perspective because there`s not a
dispute about who shot who. A lot of times what you are trying to
establish in a murder trial is was this the person who fired the gun?
There`s forensic evidence whether he did or not. That is not the issue
here, right? The issue here is what? It is self-defense. What does that
MAYA WILEY, CENTER FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION: Well, legally, of course, the
issue is whether or not George Zimmerman had some reason to believe that he
was in danger of being harmed seriously and, therefore, had the right to
defend himself and in this case with deadly force. You know, I`m not an
expert on Florida law. I`m not going to pretend to be.
But it seems to me that is part of why you`re hearing that opening you
heard from the prosecution, which I absolutely agree with Josh was a home
run, because what they were saying is they were painting a picture of a
predator. Not painting a picture of a guy who was afraid and that is
pivotal in a case that`s a self-defense related case.
HAYES: I want to talk to you, Michael, about how this trial finally
happening intertwines with all the attention it receives and what that kind
of feedback loop between the courtroom and the attention it`s getting
outside looks like, right after we take this break.
HAYES: Here with Maya Wiley from the Center for Social Inclusion, Josh
Dubin, a jury and legal consultant, MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric
Dyson. We`re talking about the first day of the George Zimmerman trial.
Michael, given the build up there`s been, given the intense attention
we`ve all paid to this trial because of the just wrenching facts of the
matter and their sociological implications for what it means about race and
justice in this country. What was reaction to this first day`s arguments?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, that`s a great
question. I see it as a father too. I`ve got three kids. And I tell you,
it devastates me to believe that in this day and age, what I believe to be
the cold-blooded murder of a young boy has to be adjudicated in such a
fashion that it becomes nearly the complete opposite of the contested
nature of that night.
So now, you know, Zimmerman is portrayed, and he deserves a trial and
deserves his day in court. The reality is, you know, the construction of
these young black kids, if the attempts to kind of demonize and portray
this young man is somehow abhorrent and somehow against the norm of the
American society, what does that say about the millions of kids --
HAYES: That`s what I thought was so brilliant and effective of the
prosecution`s opening line, opening with that line, the reminder of the
line from the tapes infamously about the judgment that emanated in that
moment, in that one moment by George Zimmerman --
WILEY: As a racialized judgment. It wasn`t just -- the blanking punks and
George Zimmerman is a man who called the Sanford Police Department 46 times
to say there was some scary black person in the neighborhood. So there`s
HAYES: The question here, I think, also is it goes to how the jury is
going to process all this. And there is, in jury selection, we know,
tremendous racial effects in how, in jury composition, in how juries
process this. Particularly because our criminal law justice system is
intensely racialized and this case has been from the moment an intensely
racialized case. What is your experience in thinking that through as a
DUBIN: Well, look, you have to pay attention to a few things. One is you
have to be real about that people are prejudiced, people have biases. When
you start with the proposition, my tact and my philosophy is always to try
to get people, they all come in like this. Get their guards down and get
them to be comfortable about saying, yes, this is how I feel about this
minorities, here`s how I feel about that issue. That`s the challenge. As
far as the group decision-making dynamic is concerned, look at the
composition of this jury. You have five white people and one person.
HAYES: Person of color.
DUBIN: Person of color. That makes the big difference. I`ve had cases
that have nothing to do with race whatsoever. An accounting fraud case
where it was an all black jury and it was one white man and there were two
white defendants. And we get a note in federal court in Manhattan saying I
feel like I`m being ganged up on because I`m white. That happens.
The group decision making dynamic in Florida in state court is even more
compromised and even trickier because there`s a six-person jury here, which
is astounding to me that from the standpoint of this man`s, you know, look,
we can all have this feelings about he deserves not only his day in court,
he deserves a fair trial and deserves not to be judged unless and until all
the evidence is in.
DYSON: Here`s the point. That people of color had been told that we have
a body by that when we knew the murderers were out there. Running around
with reckless glee celebrating the fact he killed Medgar Evers. That`s not
that long ago. If Paula Deen can be excused because she`s a (inaudible)
generation, imagine how many Paula Deens are in this world who sits on
juries who make decisions about the future of our children. You`re right.
HAYES: The screening process presumably by a competent attorney to make
sure that doesn`t happen.
WILEY: It does matter if this one juror of color is black or Latino
because the evidence on implicit bias, which is what we`re really talking
about not people consciously saying it. If people who Latino just as likely
to have this against blacks as people who are white. It matters.
HAYES: We`re doing this, of course, because what we know about the jury is
simply this fact. Maya Wiley from the Center For Social Inclusion, jury
consultant, Josh Dubin, and MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson,
That`s ALL IN for this evening. The "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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