'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 10, 2013
Guests: Faith Jenkins, Marcia Clark, Sarah Slamen, Steve Clemons
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Testimony is complete in the George Zimmerman
trial and the lawyers will get exactly one more chance, big chance, to
persuade the jury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense in the George Zimmerman trial is close to
resting its case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your decision, sir?
LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: He needs to tell her whether he is going
to testify or not.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, MURDER DEFENDANT: After consulting the counsel, not to
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Mr. Zimmerman not taking the stand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will not testify.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: The defense in the Zimmerman trial maybe nearing
the end of its case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we have an opportunity to speak? The case isn`t
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tempers flare at the George Zimmerman trial.
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL: Your objection is overruled.
BLOOM: His attorney objected a couple of times to the judge`s own
NELSON: Overruled. The court is entitled to inquire --
BLOOM: You can`t really object to the judge`s only question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense then called its first witness today.
DENNIS ROOT, WITNESS: Dennis Root.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A use of force expert.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who says Zimmerman would have been at a physical
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to talk to them on the comparison between
the two individuals.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: He compared the physical fitness of these two
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Comparing the physical ability, as far as physical
ability, his physical size.
JANSING: That George Zimmerman was no match for him.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: What are we going to see from the
prosecution side? Will there be some redirect?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have never testified in a case like this. That`s
not your normal practice, right? You agree with that, right?
SHARPTON: The defense in the George Zimmerman trial rested today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then it will move to closing arguments.
SHARPTON: Setting the stage for closing argument arguments which start
O`DONNELL: After five days of testimony, the defense rested its case today
in the second degree murder trial of George Zimmerman.
But before it did, Judge Deborah Nelson asked the defendant if he was
planning to testify.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: Have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to testify
in this case?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to that question. I think that is --
NELSON: Overruled. The court is entitled to acquire Mr. Zimmerman`s
determination as to whether or not he wants to testify.
Mr. Zimmerman, have you made a decision as to whether or not you want to
testify in this case?
ZIMMERMAN: No, at this time, Your Honor.
NELSON: OK. And when is that -- how long do you think you need before you
make that decision?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, may we have an opportunity to speak? The
case isn`t concluded yet.
NELSON: I understand that.
And I`ve asked Mr. Zimmerman if he needed more time to talk to his
attorneys. And if he does, I will afford it to him.
Mr. Zimmerman, how much more time do you think you are going to need to
discuss this with your attorneys?
ZIMMERMAN: I assume, it will depend on how long the recesses are, Your
Honor. At the end of the day.
NELSON: Well, if your attorneys have finished with two witnesses before
the end of the day, do you think that you would then know whether or not
you want to testify?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, on Mr. Zimmerman`s behalf --
NELSON: I am asking the client questions, please, Mr. West.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to the court inquiring of Mr. Zimmerman as to
his decision on whether or not to testify --
NELSON: Your objection is overruled.
Mr. Zimmerman, I will give you more time, sir, to discuss this with your
attorneys, thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And after that very strange interlude, about two hours later
George Zimmerman confirmed what most court observers already observed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON: Did you now have sufficient time to discuss with your attorneys
whether or not you wanted to testify in your case?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.
NELSON: And I don`t need to know what was said. But after those
discussions, but have you made a decision?
ZIMMERMAN: Yes, your honor.
NELSON: And what is your decision, sir?
ZIMMERMAN: After consulting with counsel, not to testify, your honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC legal Lisa Bloom, Faith Jenkins, and
former criminal prosecutor and former prosecutor, Marcia Clark.
Lisa, there are so many things --
BLOOM: I object to that question.
O`DONNELL: Yes, you do. Am I allowed to ask questions? So, the judge is
not allowed to ask questions?
BLOOM: Let`s get this straight -- when the judge asks the question, you
are supposed to answer that. I think we can all agree with that.
O`DONNELL: Yes, but what were the defense lawyers so nervous about in that
exchange between the judge and George Zimmerman?
BLOOM: Well, first of all, you can see why they didn`t put Zimmerman on
the stand, right? He can`t answer a question with a straightforward way.
I think they were expecting this to come a little later after the close of
the defense evidence. She preempted that. She is trying to move this
along because of the sequestered jury. And so, they were caught unaware.
And this is usually a pro forma thing. The judge just rattles off the
questions, do you understand your rights? You`re waiving your rights?
You`re not going to testify? Yes, yes, yes, we`re done.
And instead, Zimmerman didn`t really know what to say, and his lawyer, God
bless them, is jumping in and trying to defend his client.
O`DONNELL: Marcia Clark, give us your assessment of what Zimmerman not
testifying actually means to this jury.
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, this is one of these things,
Lawrence, where the jurors are always curious what the defendant is going
to say. They kind of want to hear his side of the story, and how he`ll
tell it. So when they don`t hear it, they`re a little disappointed, maybe.
But in this case, they heard so much of his statements coming in to the
prosecutions case, as well as other witnesses who testified in the defense
case. But there is not that much mystery to what he would say on the
witness stand. So, I think there will be some disappointment. I don`t
know if it will be held against him. I don`t think it will, I don`t think
it`s actually ultimately going to matter.
O`DONNELL: Faith, how do you think Zimmerman not testifying affects the
closing arguments in the case?
FAITH JENKINS, ATTORNEY: Well, they`re so much -- his statements are
already out there. I mean, it`s defense attorney`s goal to try their case
within a prosecutor`s case and put their case forward. They have been able
to do that. And all they have to do is establish reasonable doubt.
So, that`s they`re going to focus on. They`re going to focus on his
statement, and corroborating those statements with the evidence put forward
in their case and also the prosecutor`s case. So, that`s what they`re
going to focus on.
O`DONNELL: We have testimony like I have never seen before, from a so-
called fighting expert today who testified to a fight that he wasn`t in.
And testified about here`s what happened, in a fight where two fighters
will not be testifying. One of them is dead and one of them is not going
to take the witness stand.
And I want to go to that testimony, especially something that prosecutor,
attorney Guy did, using a dummy, to in effect use this witness as the
George Zimmerman stand-in. Let`s look at the way this worked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am in the area?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. By the way, did you have the defendant do this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you talked to him, he didn`t have to do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, if this person, this mannequin were carrying a
firearm on their waist, where would the gun be right now in relation to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would be at your left inner thigh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. If he was right-handed, it would be at your left
inner thigh, yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Underneath my leg.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, inside your leg.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, were you aware the defendant described to his best
friend that when he slid down, the defendant slid down, that Trayvon Martin
was up around his arm pits, were you aware of that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I heard that. No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, where would the gun be now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the gun would be behind your left leg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Establishes a couple of things, Lisa. One, the defense witness
is supposed to know about all the facts about the defense, doesn`t know
about that little thing about the arm pit.
But he wanted -- Mr. Guy wanted the jury looking at that saying how does he
get the gun out with this position, was that an effective moment for the
BLOOM: It was OK. In my opinion, once again, the prosecution didn`t drive
it home. He didn`t point out that in the reenactment video, appears to
reach behind and get the holster was behind him. It wouldn`t have been
anywhere near anybody`s left thigh, as this witness tries to say. It would
have been imbedded in the grass, inside his pants with the shirt and jacket
covering it. That has never been pointed out to this jury. I think that`s
a big problem.
The other thing is, is that the prosecution is going with the defense
theory of the case, that George Zimmerman is down, that`s a very bad for
the prosecution. He is down. He is getting beaten.
I think many people could say in that situation, it`s understandable, he
would pull the gun, even shot the gun.
Why not bring o the other theory? Stand that dummy up. Have them be
standing both vertical, as many eye witnesses have testified that there
were two men standing, that there were two men running. How about putting
George Zimmerman on the top as several witnesses have testified?
Give the jury a visual of the prosecution`s theory of the case. They
missed the case.
O`DONNELL: Faith, one thing, the defense has spent a lot of time on this,
George Zimmerman is a wimp. George Zimmerman cannot throw a punch, he can
barely clench a fist. He is not athletic. He has trouble walking down the
You know, they make him a physical incompetent, in the most extreme
possible way. They`re saying this extreme physical incompetent on his back
with the legs basically trapping, that Trayvon Martin`s legs trapping the
gun, that`s physical incompetent guy somehow got that gun out.
JENKINS: And where are his hands? What are his hands during this entire
encounter? That`s what the defense isn`t accounting for. I mean, he may
not be the most physically fit person, but still, he can use his hands to
But, Lisa, to your point of what you said, I think what John Guy is doing
there, they`re showing that -- prosecution isn`t aware of any particular
theory about the positioning here when Trayvon and George Zimmerman in this
altercation, but they`re saying the defendant`s theory is simply
BLOOM: Yes, I know, but I`m tired of hearing about the defendant`s theory.
It`s time for the prosecution to have a theory.
JENKINS: Think about it -- think about what they`re going to argue, two
people in the altercation, one is dead, one is alive. That`s going to be
their theme throughout their entire closing arguments tomorrow, and that`s
BLOOM: But the prosecution has the burden of proof. They need to have a
theory of the case. And they need to put it forward in front of the jury
with some confidence. Not just be continuously going on the defense`s
JENKINS: If the jury doesn`t believe George Zimmerman, he gets convicted.
O`DONNELL: Marcia Clark, the jury is faced with a dead 17-year-old and a
decision made by an adult male. What burden, even though we understand in
jurisprudence the burden of proof is on the prosecution and all that. But
the truth is, juries do impose certain burdens on actors and litigation and
And what is your sense that the jury places on George Zimmerman in making
his decision to use death, to use the death of Trayvon Martin as his
retaliation move against whatever? The notion is, that Trayvon Martin was
doing to him.
CLARK: You know, in a general sense, the jury brings a common -- hopefully
bring common sense view to bear on all of the questions of fact that are
put before them. So you have a situation where this man who lives in the
neighborhood, his neighborhood watch has a command of the location is in
his SUV, engine running, lights on, when he sees someone he describes as a
kid walking down the walkway.
And you know, right away you have this man who knows he is armed with a
gun. Who knows the neighborhood and sees somebody he describes as a kid.
And he is calling the cop and he`s making sure the cops are coming.
So, he`s got all the power and weight behind him, if you will. And he gets
out of the car, and supposedly, the street name, which by the way I do not
buy, in a small location like that, he doesn`t remember the name of one of
three streets where he lives and walks his dog in his neighborhood watch.
So already I think the jury would look at that with common sense and say
look, he is hunting the guy down, and he feels confident doing it, because
he is armed. And he feels confident because the cops are coming.
And then he gets into a tussle with him. However that happens, I mean, if
you believe Rachel Jeantel, which I happen to, it happens because George
Zimmerman confronted him, and was the aggressor in the situation. And then
a fight ensued of some kind.
And when saw that he was losing the fight, he shot him. In my opinion, at
that point, the jury has to believe, that he had to reasonably -- he had to
believe in imminent death and reasonably to believe he was about to die,
and therefore had no choice but to shoot him.
But I think the weight of the evidence is, he says even if he was able to
get his hands free. Even if you believe -- and this is why I didn`t mind
the demonstration that John Guy did with the dummy in the court today, even
if you take his very best scenario, you take his word, it doesn`t make
sense, because George Zimmerman said he could pull one hand free and he
moved Trayvon Martin`s hand away from his face, and then he pulled the
other hand free, and that`s when he was able to pull the gun out.
If you have both hands free, why can`t you just push the guy off you? I`m
hoping the jury will bring the common sense to them, who sees that George
Zimmerman is the older, the aware of the situation, and aware of his power
in having the gun and the police on the way.
O`DONNELL: Key phrase I just heard from Marcia, and that is no choice.
For George Zimmerman, it had to come down to absolutely no choice other
than to kill.
Is this jury of mothers go to believe that there was no choice -- no other
possible way to handle the 17-year-old --
BLOOM: This is all very rational and logical, but I think if the jury
thinks that George Zimmerman is down and got his head pounded on to
concrete, even a couple of times and got punched in the face. And it is
hard if you`re down and you`re grappling and somebody is on top of you to
get up, I think if the jury has that image in their mind as the final image
before he takes up the gun and shots, there`s going to be an acquittal.
I think the prosecution cannot accept that as the final moments of Trayvon
JENKINS: This is why the prosecution is going to argue and focus on the
fact that George Zimmerman is the initial aggressor, that`s going to be
their argument, he was the initial aggressor when he approached and
confronted Trayvon. So what if Trayvon was on top, one minute you`re on
top, one minute you`re on the bottom, in a fight. He was the initial
aggressor, started the confrontation, that`s going to be their argument.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to hold there. We`re going to come
back with more on this, and looking at what we expect in the final
arguments coming up. OK, so we`re going to be back with more of that.
And later, we`re going to have a woman whose testimony at the Texas Senate
went viral this week when she was thrown out of the hearing for being just
a little too rough on the senators who were trying to restrict her
reproductive freedom. You will see what happened in the hearing, and then
she will join me in a LAST WORD exclusive.
O`DONNELL: In an eight-minute court hearing, 19-year-old Boston marathon
bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev responded to all 30 counts against him,
including using weapons of mass destruction in front of 30 bombing victims.
The magistrate read the charges, and Tsarnaev leaned into the microphone
and said, not guilty to each one. Prosecutors say Tsarnaev and his brother
Tamerlan carried out the attack on April 15th that killed three people and
wounded more than 260 people in Boston at the marathon site.
Up next, a preview of the closing arguments in the trial of George
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O`MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What George did was an intentional act in
that he knew he was pulling the trigger. The reason why he did it was self
defense, and that doesn`t suggest a manslaughter charge would be
O`MARA: No, no, no, it is going to be much longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was defense attorney Mark O`Mara after the court session
Back with me, Lisa Bloom, Faith Jenkins, and Marcia Clark, author of the
new novel, "Killer Ambition."
Marcia Clark, the big ruling from the bench starting off the day was that
the defense`s animation can be used, not as an exhibit. It will not be
something that goes into the jury room as one of the exhibits with the
jurors, but it can be shown to them, used as an illustrative device during
the closing arguments, for example. So, it seems like we are going to see
it during closing arguments.
How do you expect that to work?
CLARK: Well, they will use it as a demonstrative exhibit in that it will
be the living illustration, the moving illustration, of their view of the
case, showing, of course, that George Zimmerman was the victim and that
Trayvon Martin was the aggressor.
And will that work? The question is how powerful this evidence can be. I
know that many say it can be extremely impressive to the jury. But in my
experience, you can tip it a little too far to the cartoon side. I mean,
the fact that this animation looks like avatar and things that they`ve seen
in Hollywood can make the defense seem like a cartoon version of events.
What I think, something much more compelling is something like John Guy
getting on top of the dummy in the courtroom. That brings it home I think
better to me, than something like this, which feels not very real.
O`DONNELL: Lisa, the defense has been planning to use this animation.
They were eager to get this animation in through testimony and introduced
as an exhibit. But now, it`s just going to be this tool for final
BLOOM: Yes, I don`t think it is that significant. I think we have to give
this jury some credit for intelligence. They realize this was put through
defense money via a defense expert, to prove the defense case, which
they`ve already heard many, many times.
They`re going to decide this case based on the evidence, not based a
O`DONNELL: Faith, preview for me the prosecution argument, closing
JENKINS: To these mothers on this jury?
O`DONNELL: Yes, to them.
JENKINS: George Zimmerman is a mother`s worst nightmare, because you send
your teenager to the store. And you expect that they come home and they`re
going to be OK. And Trayvon Martin was walking home with nothing but
Skittles and ice tea, and had a 12-year-old waiting for him as a place
where he was staying. And he ends up dead.
For these mothers, that`s going to be very significant to him because he
was not a suspect. He was not doing anything wrong. He was minding his
own business and he`s dead because that man, George Zimmerman, thought he
O`DONNELL: And, Marcia, what can the prosecution say in court about George
Zimmerman not testifying?
CLARK: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
O`DONNELL: They`re barred from making any reference to it, right?
CLARK: Any comment, any comment at all, any comment.
He has a right to remain silent and any comment on that right is absolutely
-- that would be grounds for a mistrial right there. So they can`t say
anything about it.
O`DONNELL: And, Lisa, given the box where the lawyers always are, where
the defendant doesn`t take the stand, they`re always trying to find a way
to still exploit that and still say it without saying it.
BLOOM: That`s OK, we`ve got him on video. And if I`m prosecuting this
case, I`m using that video against him, especially at the very end. I`m
going to talk about ill will and hatred and spite, because that`s second
degree murder. And let`s go for second degree murder.
My goodness, we`ve got him on tape, looking at a stranger, a minor, walking
down the street and calling him, a (INAUDIBLE) for your show, A-hole, and
an F-ing punk. If that`s not ill will, what is ill will? Do you think he
got fonder of Trayvon Martin while they were fighting?
And how about five months later, when he sits down with Hannity, and that`s
the video I would put up for the jury where he says it was God`s plan.
O`DONNELL: Let`s put it up right now, they probably will use it in final
CLARK: No remorse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: A lot of it has to do with "Stand Your Ground".
You`ve heard a lot about it. I was curious, prior to this night -- this
incident, you had never heard about "Stand your Ground"?
ZIMMERMAN: No, sir.
HANNITY: You never heard about it before?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, Marcia, that`s a part of the video where we actually
listen. I mean, that`s him not telling the truth. That is what George
Zimmerman looks like not telling the truth.
Now, the jury is going to have to decide how big an untruth that is. But
that`s what it is.
CLARK: It`s very telling. You know, among all the other things that he
has said, I mean, this is a tough case for the prosecution to put together
in that it requires a lot of pieces to refer to. And a lot of these pieces
are inconsistent statements that George Zimmerman has made -- that among
But, then, you know -- to me, I think they have to focus on the defining
moments of what happened that night. I`m with Lisa, I think the fact that
he clearly is targeting Trayvon Martin from jump (ph). He sees this kid
walking. He seems -- he jumps to a conclusion, the fact they put in the
prior calls to 911 showing his mounting frustration with the police, and
the fact that these punks always get away with it.
And that is a mindset that shows you that he is up to no good himself. But
then he is framing Trayvon Martin, the kid is walking down the block and
says he is up to no good, what?
And, you know, it`s very helpful, I have to say, that the cop -- Serino
said, for what you described him doing, I would not have stopped him. I
would have questioned him.
Faith, go ahead.
JENKINS: In the video, when he talks about God`s will, it`s like he`s not
only the neighborhood watch, but he`s God`s instrument, too? That mindset
that he`s using throughout, even when he gives his police statements, still
calling Trayvon Martin a suspect. I think if you interviewed him today, he
would probably say the same thing, because that`s what he thought about
this young man.
BLOOM: And let`s talk about race. Race is an issue in this case. The
five people he called about who were suspicious in the neighborhood, before
Trayvon Martin, five out of five were African-American. Trayvon Martin was
clearly called those names and targeted because he`s African-American.
I mean, is there really any doubt in anyone`s mind about that? I think the
prosecution has to address that squarely. Because there was a witness
today who talked about a burglary in the neighborhood, and it was a young
African-American male, this was a defense witness.
What is the point of that? That therefore, anytime somebody is young and
black walking in the neighborhood, we should call the cops?
JENKINS: The witness came in because they`re arguing George Zimmerman had
a legitimate reason for finding Trayvon Martin suspicious because other
young black men had targeted the neighborhood.
BLOOM: Because there`s another young black burglar somewhere in the world.
JENKINS: But I would say this, the jurors -- they`re smart people. When
the prosecutors say profiling Trayvon Martin, they`re going to know that
Zimmerman isn`t profiling him because he doesn`t like the kind of candy he
was carrying. They were going to know it because it`s how he looked, how
he was dressed.
BLOOM: Look, closing arguments now --
CLARK: -- be able to say racial profiling.
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Marcia.
CLARK: Beyond that, let`s give him that. Let`s say, you have had so many
burglaries by African American men and you see another one walking down the
street and so, you get suspicious. OK, then you call the cops, fine.
But what you do after that, that`s the problem here. If the guy had not
gotten out of his car, if the guy had not approached Trayvon Martin, we
wouldn`t be sitting here. That`s really the bottom line that I think the
prosecution has to hammer home at every opportunity.
BLOOM: I don`t think that would give him that. There is one burglary by
an African-American that`s in evidence --
CLARK: I`m not saying he`s right. I`m saying that even if you give him,
give him, you know, give him what he claims to be his justification. Even
if you give him that, and I`m not saying you should, but at the very least,
what is he doing getting out of his car even if he was justified?
JENKINS: He went far beyond what neighborhood watch people are supposed to
O`DONNELL: We`ve got to wrap it there tonight. Lisa Bloom, Faith Jenkins,
and Marcia Clark, thank you all very much for joining me tonight.
JENKINS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Glenn Greenwald`s latest report on Edward Snowden,
including the country Greenwald thinks Ed Snowden is headed for.
And next, the woman who got dragged out of the Senate hearing, really did,
in the Texas capital. Sarah Slamen (ph) will be allowed to finish here
what she wanted to say there. That`s going to be a LAST WORD exclusive,
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Sarah Slamen, and the video of her
testifying to the Texas Senate that has gone viral. Sarah Slamen is going
to join me live. But first, let`s review how she has become one of the
heroes fighting for women`s reproductive freedom in Texas this week.
Today, the Texas state house representatives approved a restrictive anti-
abortion bill. It now goes to the state Senate for a vote later this week.
That is of course, where the same bill died in the last Senate session
thanks to a filibuster by state senator Wendy Davis.
Earlier this week, in a hearing of the Texas` Senates health and human
services committee, members of the public were invited to give testimony.
And so, Sarah Slamen got in her beat up 2006 Toyota matrix at 5:30 in the
morning and drove the 90 miles from Brendon, Texas to the state capitol.
She spent the day, the whole day and the whole night waiting to testify.
And finally, at 11:00 p.m., Sarah Slamen`s moment came.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sarah Slamen.
SARAH SLAMEN, WOMEN`S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you, chair committee, my name
is Sarah Slamen, I`m constituent of Senator Whitmire. I`m here to testify
against SB1 because I am tired of republican primary politics, message (ph)
and greed, dominating the state I was born, raised, and schooled in.
And you know, I had to really aliquot remarks written out, but you guys
have just worn me down all day with all of this terrible science and glad-
handing. And to be frank, I get to move to New York next month so I don`t
have to live in fear of your Texas legislators anymore and what you`re
going to do about to my education system or my healthcare system because
I`m going to a state that doesn`t kill its own inmate. That`s how pro-life
it is up there.
I will thank you, though, first. It was destiny that you would
discriminate against us and try to force yourself inside the bodies to take
this women, thank you for finally working against us women so publicly and
not in the shadows like you are used to. Thank you for everything of bad
press conference with your bad information. Thank you for every hateful
statements, degrading women and girls to sex object and brood mares. Thank
you for being you, Texas legislature.
You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us. And no matter what you
do for the next 22 days, women and their allies are coming for you. Let`s
start down the line.
Senator Campbell, you`re an ophthalmologist, so, I won`t be making you the
expert on productive health. We can give you all the children with
chlamydia and Herpes in their eyes since we don`t have sex ed in the state.
And Senator (INAUDIBLE), you are about as helpful -- excuse me, this is my
government, ma`am. I will judge you. I will judge you, ma`am. Is this
counting against my time?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.
SLAMEN: The senator talking against me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.
SLAMEN: OK. Well, I will just go ahead and talk over her, and this is how
big of a fraud you are for being so proud in this preceding all night. It
is a low bar that you hold yourself to that you simply allowed us to speak.
And I will speak against an ophthalmologist who says everyone on the
internet can see what you`re doing right now. This is a farce, the Texas
legislator is a bunch of liars who hate women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our next witness is Gary Oldham. Is Gary Oldham
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma`am.
SLAMEN: Tell us --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Sarah Slamen will join me next, live from Texas. There she is,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SLAMEN: Excuse me, this is my government, ma`am, I will judge you. I will
judge you, ma`am. Is this counting against my time?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.
SLAMEN: The senator talking against me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is.
SLAMEN: Well, I will just go ahead and talk over her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Sarah Slamen joins me now in a "LAST WORD" exclusive.
Sarah, you`re right, this is your government. And tonight, this is your
show. So, go ahead and finish telling those Texas legislators what you
wanted to tell them.
O`DONNELL: Thank you so much for having me on tonight, Lawrence. It means
so much to the millions and millions of women in Texas and our allies that
eyes and ears are on the state of Texas and the state of North Carolina in
our very serious time of need.
What I would say to all the Republicans on the Senate health and human
services committee, is I understand why you`re so careless with our health
care. You see all of your consistency lies east of I-35, where the five
clinics remaining after that bill gets passed, will be none of your
consistencies of west of I-35. So, I guess the lives of their families
just don`t matter to you.
O`DONNELL: And Sarah, you know, when I listened to you, it sounded like
sitting there all day listening to those senators had a real effect on what
you wanted to say once you got up there.
SLAMEN: Yes. Basically, you know, after 12 hours of hearing not only bad
expert witnesses from the authors of the bill, but anti-choice testimony
after anti-choice testimony, insulting women, calling us murderers,
killers, insinuating that we`re promiscuous, without one address to that
decorum, and that maintaining respect. I hit my breaking point around 5:30
p.m. when a woman after telling extremely moving story of the medically
necessary abortion she had to have, for her child who was going to be born
with spin bifida (ph).
The anti- choice are next to here, took the opportunity saying I know two
children who adopted those spin bifida (ph). Not one word was said. It
was pointed, fleur, it was painful. And that`s when I scrapped my original
speech and decided to get to work on oppositional research on every
Republican on that committee.
O`DONNELL: And you were going right down the list on every one of them.
And you could see where they got worried really fast, as soon as you
started doing that.
SLAMEN: Yes, they don`t want to hear about the fact that the majority of
families in Texas are single parent families, and the overwhelming majority
of those single parent families are headed by women. And that 63 percent
of low wage workers and minimum wage workers in Texas are women. And that
every single thing to keeps low income, especially low income women of
color from raising more children in those families is everything that keeps
them from getting to those hearings.
I`m privileged as a white woman from a middle class background to be able
to attend all of those hearings. Women with two and three jobs, the 20
percent of women who live in rural areas, they can`t get to the hearings
and stand up for their rights. And it is obvious that all the Republicans
on the committee don`t care about the rights of their health care either,
so somebody had to say something.
O`DONNELL: Did you feel that, Sarah, you know, when they invite the
citizen testimony, you often get the feeling of, you know, this is the
person who is standing up speaking for herself or he is speaking for
himself, did you have the feeling that you were speaking for more than just
SLAMEN: Yes. You know, I`m a southern woman. And we are, you know,
socialized to be hospitable, but women all over the world are socialized to
suppress their disagreement, ask for what should rightfully be ours and
there has been a palpable feeling of fury, anger, and weariness, of begging
for these rights especially from a legislature that is 85 percent male.
We`re tired of it.
And it was obvious that even by falling the corium and doing what they ask,
they were not going to protect us from bad behavior. They can`t act
ethically on the floor of the house or senate. They manipulated procedure
multiple times so why continue to play in the context of that political
gain. The rules keep changing, the players stay the same. And I knew a
catharsis was needed. And that is exactly what a thousand women have told
me in the days. You said what I was thinking. I cried with relief
watching you speak.
O`DONNELL: Sarah Slamen, it was a beautiful thing to watch. And the crowd
was with you on the way out of the building. You had an awful lot of
supporters there. I know you had a lot of supporters in this audience.
Sarah, thank you, very, very much for joining us tonight.
SLAMEN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, Edward Snowden gives another interview to Glenn Greenwald.
And next in the "rewrite," Republicans who want to reduce the number of IRS
employees because you know, IRS employees are not processing tax exempt
applications fast enough. Right. IRS is not working fast enough so reduce
the employees? That is the way the Republicans see it. And that is next
in the "rewrite."
O`DONNELL: Republicans in the house appropriations committee voted to
rewrite the internal revenue service`s budget today by cutting it by 24
percent. That is right, just lop off one fourth of the IRS budget. It
makes, of course, perfect sense for the Republicans to do that because
they`re so mad about the fake scandal at the IRS in which they have accused
the IRS agents of taking way too long to approve the tea party`s tax exempt
But if you wanted to speed up that process wouldn`t you hire more IRS
employees to rush those applications through? I guess if you`re not a
Republican you wouldn`t. All of those applications have to go through a
special unit, as we know now, in the Cincinnati office as has been widely
reported. And here is what the manager of that group told the Republican
committee staff about how overwhelmed they are now with tax exempt
On an annual basis, we receive upwards of 70,000 applications each year.
On a monthly basis there could be 5,000 applications that would go through
my group. They would typically look at 20 to 25 cases daily. It is just
that the volumes, I mean, I hope you can appreciate the volumes that we`re
dealing with here. And you know, with limited resources the 70,000 cases a
year, it gets to be daunting sometimes.
Yes, I would think. When the Republican committee staff heard that they
had the bright idea to cut the budget of the IRS. But the IRS is the
government`s big profit center, every dollar spent on IRS enforcement
actually makes money for the federal government. Here is how the acting
IRS commissioner explained that to house Republicans last month, when he
was hopelessly asking for an increase in the IRS budget.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY WERFEL, IRS ACTING COMMISSIONER: We have asked for kind of an
increase on the enforcement budget of $412 million that would yield more
than $1.6 billion in annual enforcement revenue, which is a return on
investment of $6 returned for every one dollar invested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But if you want an even better return than 600 percent, you can
aim even more enforcement resources at the giant corporations with giant
tax returns or giant pots of money owed to the government are hidden.
Teddy Cay Johnson made the case this way.
IRS data show that auditors assigned to the 14,000 or so largest
corporations found $9,345 of additional tax owed for every hour spent
testing tax returns in the 2009 fiscal year. $9300 an hour. That is how
much each IRS agent was delivering the United States treasury for every
hour spent on giant corporate tax returns. $9300 an hour, and how much
were those highly specialized IRS auditors being paid? The highest, the
very highest of them with the most seniority make, $71 an hour. So each of
those $71 an hour returns to the government $9300.
David Cay Johnston put that in annual terms. Based on a 2080 hour-work
year; that works out to around $19 million of lost revenue annually for
every senior corporate auditor position cut from the payroll. How many of
those will be cut from the payroll if the Republicans cut the IRS budget by
24 percent, I don`t know. Got to figure about a fourth of them.
I understand people who think that the defense department is a gigantically
bloated payroll, as I do, or the agriculture department or the commerce
department that are gigantically bloated payroll. I think they all are,
all of those. But they don`t really make money for the federal government.
And if you think the IRS is a gigantically bloated payroll, what you cannot
deny is that they are the workers who do make money for this government.
And what you also cannot deny is that because cutting the IRS budget is a
politically very, very easy thing to do, IRS staffing has already dropped
from $114,000 in 1995, to $91,000 in 2012. And during that period, the
number of tax returns filed has increased by $31 million. Since, of
course, the population of workers has increased. So, tax returns
increasing, IRS workers decreasing.
There is at least one Republican who feels kind of a little protective of
the IRS budget. Senator Orrin Hatch is the highest ranking Republican on
the Senate finance committee which has jurisdiction over the IRS. And in
response to the House committee vote to cut the IRS budget by 24 percent,
Senator Hatch bravely ventured this statement to the hill.
I would like to do away with the IRS by having tax reform that doesn`t
Now, that, of course is the standard Republican party line about tax reform
that then eliminates the IRS, which of course, adults like Orrin Hatch know
will absolutely never happen. And adults like Orrin Hatch also know that
pretending you want it to happen is a very easy way to be a Republican team
player in Washington. But Senator Hatch then said this about the 24
percent budget cut.
I would be very concerned if that were the amount. That would be pretty
steep under the circumstances because they do have a very tough job. And
one of the places where those IRS agents do that very tough job is Ogden,
Utah, where the IRS is the biggest employer. Orrin hatch, of course, is
the senior senator from Utah. Utah, land of the greatest Snow on earth and
O`DONNELL: A new poll shows Edward Snowden is winning the debate with the
American public. That is next.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, WikiLeaks is silent about Edward Snowden`s flight of
liberty campaign that the organization announced last night on twitter and
said would launched today. A WikiLeaks spokesman tells the telegraph today
that he could not give further details of the campaign but said to watch
for further announcements. He also declined to comment on whether or not
WikiLeaks had enough money to pay for Edward Snowden`s flight out of
"The Guardian`s" Glenn Greenwald interviewed Edward Snowden again on
Saturday and yesterday and then told Reuters that Venezuela is the country
most likely to guarantee safe passage for Edward Snowden.
In an article for "The Guardian" Glenn Greenwald also revealed that Edward
Snowden denied immediate clients that he gave classified information to the
governments of China or Russia. He also denied assertions that one or both
governments had succeed in draining the contents of his laptops, never gave
any information to either of the governments and they never took anything
from my laptops, he said. Glenn Greenwald noted, obviously, Snowden`s
denial is not dispositive and should be treated as such but it is the only
actual evidence on this question thus far.
Joining me now, the Washington editor at large for "The Atlantic," foreign
affairs analyst Steve Clemons.
Steve, this new Quinnipiac poll which has Ed Snowden winning this debate at
the American kitchen table, anyway. They have asked a very kind of simple
minded question, do you regard Edward Snowden as a whistle-blower or
traitor, 55 percent said whistle-blower, 34 percent said traitor. I wish
they have been more sophisticated than what the choices were, but that is a
very clear outcome.
Also, I think much more important than -- and I think well-phrased
question, what concerns you more about the government`s anti-terrorism
policies that they have gone too far in restricting the average person`s
civil liberties or they have not gone far enough to adequately protect the
country, 45 percent say they have gone too far and then 40 percent saying
not far enough.
And here is how the big Snowden-Greenwald effect I think can be seen in
this result. In 2010, look at this huge difference. In 2010, only 25
percent believed that the anti-terrorism policies had gone too far in
restricting civil liberties, 63 percent, you know, were perfectly OK with
it. So this is a real effect. There is some real movement happening in
the way the country thinks about this.
STEVE CLEMONS, WASHINGTON EDITOR AT-LARGE, THE ATLANTIC: I think that is
absolutely right, you know. If I were advising the president today, I
would say, you know, let Snowden fade off the pages a bit. Don`t get in
the way of his plane to Venezuela and go back and read the speech that the
president gave seven weeks ago at the national defense university saying he
was going to invite citizens and the Congress to roll back the massive
executive powers that it built during this global war on terror that
started under Bush and Cheney and that President Obama has continued. I
think what Glenn Greenwald and Snowden have done is punctuated the
importance of what the president said needed to happen.
And I think that would be the best action plan, to stop talking about
Edward Snowden, the man, and what he triggered and get back to the
substance of what we need to do as a democracy. And that is why this is a
very interesting pivot point in our history, and that is why Snowden, I
think, may be looked at very kindly in the long run by history.
O`DONNELL: Well, the administration does seems to be doing what they can
to not talk about him these days.
Steve, we are out of time, we won`t wait too long on our trial coverage
earlier. Thank you very much for sticking with us tonight.
Steve Clemons, we really appreciate it.
CLEMONS: Thank you again, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New
York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Tonight on "All In" the fear factor as the defense rests in the trial of
George Zimmerman, closing arguments set to begin tomorrow, already. Bill
O`Reilly and others on the right are raising the specter of racial
violence. That is coming up.
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