updated 2/21/2014 12:20:56 PM ET 2014-02-21T17:20:56

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
February 20, 2014

Guests: Mark Thompson, Adam Gordon; Sam Stein; David O. Russell


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: There is a new trial date for the
Jordan Davis murder case and another juror is now talking about what
happened in that jury room.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RON DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS` FATHER: The victim was a 17-year-old
teenager that should have had his whole life in front of him. That`s the
victim.

ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: I believe prosecutors and the
sheriff`s association are in favor of the former laws.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Florida state attorney Angela Corey said she
would retry the case.

COREY: We do believe there should be a duty to retreat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had no duty to retreat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand your ground, the principal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was part of closing arguments. It was part
of the jury instructions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reopening wounds surrounding Florida`s stand your
ground law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something that`s become sort of a matter of
confusion over this case.

COREY: We do believe there should be a duty to retreat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn`t think Michael Dunn had to kill Jordan
Davis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t believe that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to bring justice to whoever it
was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stand your ground is part of the collective
consciousness now in Florida and in the 26 other stand your ground states.

LUCIA MCBATH, JORDAN DAVIS` MOTHER: Even if we don`t ever receive the
verdict for Jordan, he will still pay because he`s going to spend the rest
of his life in jail. And I feel sorry for him for that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Today, prosecutors announced that Michael Dunn will be
retried for the first degree murder of Jordan Davis in May.

And today, we heard from a second member of the jury, juror number
eight, a 21-year-old Creshuna Miles who says she thinks Michael Dunn is a
good guy, but she also thinks he is guilty of murder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRESHUNA MILES, JUROR #8: I honestly think he was a good guy. I
think he is a good guy. I don`t think he hates everybody. I don`t think
he wants around wanting to shoot everybody. I think that he made a bad
decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The first juror to speak, juror number four, known only as
Valerie says race was not a factor in their deliberations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a lot of folk in America, they would say white
man shoots and kills a 17-year-old black boy. How could it not be about
race on some level?

VALERIE, JUROR #4: Sitting in that room, it was never presented that
way. We looked at it as a bad situation where teenagers were together and
words were spoken. And lines were crossed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And here`s what juror number eight said about race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILES: I just want everybody to understand that everybody is making
this a white and black thing. And it`s not. In our decision-making
process, nobody brought up not one race, never. It was never brought up.
I never once thought about, oh, this was a black kid, this was a white guy,
because that wasn`t the case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So people who say, you know, here`s another
white guy who got away with shooting and killing a black kid. What would
you tell them?

MILES: I would tell them that they really should knowledge themselves
on the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Here`s how both jurors described the scene inside that
deliberation room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are reports there was yelling heard coming
from the deliberation room.

VALERIE: And there was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that about? You did some of the yelling?

VALERIE: Yes, yes. At one point we were all trying to get our point
across.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scream?

VALERIE: Oh, yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Profanity?

VALERIE: Oh, yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were passionate about their position?

VALERIE: Oh, yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was it like in that deliberation room?

MILES: It was wild.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wild as?

MILES: Like it was shouting. It was a lot of yelling.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

O`DONNELL: Both jurors believed Michael Dunn is guilty of murder, but
for different reasons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you went to the deliberating room, you
thought Michael Dunn was guilty --

VALERIE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- of killing a 17-year-old boy?

VALERIE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What convinced you of that?

VALERIE: To me, it was unnecessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn`t think Michael Dunn had to kill Jordan
Davis?

VALERIE: I don`t believe so.

MILES: I really think he`s guilty of murder, but not guilty as
charged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First degree, you don`t think he`s guilty of
first degree?

MILES: I think he was guilty of second degree. I was honestly
convinced that he was in self-defense until he chased the car down and
starting shooting more. That`s where my decision making process comes.
Well, even if initially you didn`t have an opportunity to take yourself out
of the situation, to stop running behind the car and shooting more, that`s
where you completely pushed your limit.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

O`DONNELL: Last night on this program, we heard Michael Dunn say that
he is the victim in this case.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL DUNN: You know, I was thinking about this today and I was
like, I`m the victim here. I was the one that was being preyed upon and I
fought back.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: One question suggested by the audience last night on this
program to Jordan Davis` parents was what would you want to say to Michael
Dunn if you had the chance?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCBATH: I`ve thought many, many times before this if I ever got the
opportunity to speak to him, what would I say? And what I would say to him
is that not only did you take Jordan`s life but you took my future. I
won`t have grandchildren. I will never have a daughter-in-law.

I will never have all of those things that you see in your children as
your legacy. I don`t have those things anymore. But what he -- what he`ll
need to understand is that in some way, shape or form, he will pay. He
will pay. Even if we don`t ever receive the verdict for Jordan, he will
pay because he`s going to spend the rest of his life in jail. And I feel
sorry for him for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC
contributor Eugene Robinson and Mark Thompson, host of "Make It Plain" on
Sirius XM Radio.

Eugene, there`s a lot to react to there. And the new revelations from
jurors, and what -- in the last 24 hours, what parents have been saying.

Just your thoughts, Gene?

EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Well, you know, this is another one
of those heart breaking situations. And if you stand back from that case,
you can say that the parents of Jordan Davis at least got a measure of
justice in this trial.

I don`t understand what the jurors are saying exactly. I mean, two
jurors, their accounts don`t really jibe with each other except that
there`s a lot of yelling. And I frankly don`t understand that there was no
thought even of race in that jury room, given the obvious context.

And one wonders kind of what world these people were living in. I`m
just tired of this. I`m tired of funerals and trial, Lawrence. And, you
know, I want this not to happen. And I want us to at some point focus on
that and not focus on the grinding wheels of justice, which sometimes work
and sometimes don`t, but they don`t even come into play until it`s too
late.

Until assumptions have been made like the ones Michael Dunn made that
day. And shots are fired and a mother is crying over another casket.

O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson, you`ve been following this case on a daily
basis on your radio show. And to both of you tonight, please feel free to
ignore my questions and make whatever points you feel compelled to make.

But, Mark, I especially want to hear what your reaction is to what
we`ve been hearing over the last day from both now two jurors speaking and
the parents.

MARK THOMPSON, SIRIUS XM: If the jurors are saying that race was not
a factor in their decision of guilt or innocence, I can probably by that,
you know. That really shouldn`t enter into the decision making. But I`m
not sure they`re denying that now, that this case was somehow racially
charged or racially motivated.

The jurors did not -- I don`t think had the benefit of the letters we
saw, the phone calls we heard from Michael Dunn. I do think that Michael
Dunn saw a group of young black men and assumed again existentially that
they had guns.

Black men just have guns automatically. Listen to loud rap music.
And that is where he imagined this threat.

So, I do think that the race was there, race was a factor in his
decision making and in this tragedy. I don`t know how anyone could have
watched your show last night, Lawrence, and not have had their hearts
broken to use Gene`s words, to hear a mother describe the loss of her own
future. This is ridiculous and senseless. And we`ve got to do something
about it.

Again, this culture that exists in Florida around stand your ground.
See, those very words almost, you know, justify some of these self-defense
trials. As I said the other day, if it was truly a stand your ground case,
there wouldn`t have been a jury. They would have pursued it before a judge
and the judge would have declared a stand your ground defense.

And one of the jurors said that people need to educate themselves
about the law. What I`m finding and you mentioned my show. I mean, people
call every night.

People don`t really understand what premeditation means, Lawrence and
Gene. They think you have to plan something two or three weeks in advance.
We really need to educate more people on what premeditation means, number
one, and also that, you know, if there is a jury trial in a self-defense
case, that means the stand your ground may not have been truly applicable,
because if it was, the judge would have granted it in the first place.

And, you know, I think it`s necessary all the way around for jurors
picked for these cases to be more informed and for even that language.
That law and language can be done away with so there could be more
objectivity when it comes to cases like this.

O`DONNELL: Well, Angela Corey agrees with you completely on that now.
The prosecutors said today that she wants to get rid of the stand your
ground law. She blames the verdict, the hung jury portion of the verdict
on the stand your ground language that is inside all of judge`s jury
instructions on self-defense in Florida. And, Eugene, it`s in there
whether they are pleading a stand your ground case or not.

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. So this is a huge boon to the defense
in these cases, because they don`t have to rigorously prove that it`s a
stand your ground law. They get the benefits of a law anyhow, because it`s
in the jury instructions.

And, you know, the last thing the jury hears before they go in the
jury room is language straight from the stand your ground law. And
Florida`s law is written so incredibly broadly that it basically gives you
license to use deadly force if you have any belief that you`re threatened.

So, you know, again, Mr. Dunn claimed that he thought he saw a
shotgun. Or he claims he saw one. Nobody ever found any shotgun, because
there wasn`t one there.

But if, you know, a jury could say, well, gee, he thought he saw a gun
and therefore he felt threatened and therefore we have to acquit him.

Apparently, several jurors did follow that logic, which isn`t the way
the law is supposed to work according to Florida authorities. But it`s the
way it`s working.

O`DONNELL: Well, I think we heard that jury confusion in juror number
eight tonight when she said if you don`t understand how we came out this
way, you need to educate yourself on the law. I think what she`s talking
there is you have to listen to what we listened to from that judge.

Before we go, I just want to play one thing Ron Davis said last night
when we presented him the audiotape of Michael Dunn claiming to be the
victim in this. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: Michael Dunn should understand that the victim was the one
that had a bullet go through his lungs, a bullet tear his aorta. The
victim is the one that was choking on his own blood and was gasping for
air. The victim was a 17-year-old teenager that should have had his whole
life in front of him. That was seeing his life go away in seconds. And he
probably was so fearful and his friends were looking on, watching their
best friend die in a moment of seconds. That`s the victim.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Gentlemen, we`re out of time for the segment tonight. But
I did want Ron Davis to get the LAST WORD in and I`m sure you`ll
understand.

Eugene Robinson and Mark Thompson, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Lawrence.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Ukraine police continue to kill protesters. And today,
Chris Christie blamed all the problems with hurricane Sandy aid in New
Jersey on someone else.

And in "The Rewrite" tonight, Vladimir Putin, Pussy Riot and Edward
Snowden.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: An Olympic skier dropped out of a competition because she
refuses to compete for her country -- Ukraine. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)]

O`DONNELL: The shaky truce came to a violent end today. Police open
fired on protesters who started advancing on the police line in Kiev`s
Independence Square. The protesters dodged sniper bullets and threw fire
bombs at the riot police. Protesters also apprehended dozens of police
officers and were seen marching them into the occupied city hall. More
than 100 people have been killed this week, more than 500 others wounded
today.

Foreign ministers from France, Germany and Poland, three European
countries met with Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, for five hours
as the European Union approved sanctions, a freeze on assets and travel
bans.

Late today, Vice President Joe Biden called the Ukrainian president.

The White House released this readout of the conversation: "The vice
president strongly condemned the violence against civilians in Kiev. He
called upon President Yanukovych to immediately pull back all security
forces, police, snipers, military and paramilitary units and the regular
forces. The vice president made clear that the United States is prepared
to sanction those officials responsible for the violence. The vice
president encouraged President Yanukovych to take tangible steps to work
with the opposition on a path forward. That addresses the legitimate
aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

And in Sochi, 24-year-old Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska announced
she`s withdrawing from Olympic competition because of the government-led
violence. She will not race for her country in the slalom tomorrow. And
she said she wants to return home and join the protesters.

She gave an interview to the "Associated Press" in English and
Russian. She said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOGDANA MATSOTSKA, UKRAINIAN SKIER: When I heard this information,
not sleeping the whole night. I said I cannot do this. It`s crazy when
the president just kill the citizens of country. When it`s Olympic Games,
when it`s peace on all the world, and we have almost war. It`s like, it`s
crazy.

(translated): As a minimum, Ukrainian President Yanukovych has to be
jailed, and for a long time. For all the lives that he has taken, for all
the lives of innocent people that came peacefully to stand for their
opinion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large
for "The Atlantic" and an MSNBC contributor.

Steve, what we just heard Bogdana say in Russian was, quote, "As a
minimum, the Ukrainian president has to be jailed for a long time, for all
the lives that he has taken, for all the lives of innocent people that came
peacefully to stand for their opinion."

This is as dire as we could imagine up there, Steven. It`s getting
worse.

STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, you have to imagine
that there`s another Ukrainian president in jail right now, a woman, who
was jailed for certain corruption charges and extending her authority. And
if Yanukovych hasn`t done that, then one doesn`t know what kind of
benchmarks you have in that. I think what Matsotska has said is going to
give real shape and form and reify to many things the aspirations of these
people who for 22 years have enjoyed freedom and liberty inside Ukraine and
aren`t going to see that walk back.

She`s also a young person. She did not grow up with memories of the
Soviet Union. She`s grown up in a relatively free place, making hard
choices. But nonetheless, to see her nation go back into something that
looked like, you know, a potentially, this sort of Stalinist archaist (ph)
is something they`re willing to put themselves on the line for.

O`DONNELL: Steve, is there a generational difference in the reaction
to this situation in Ukraine. And those who did not grow up under
totalitarianism, they are reacting differently to this?

CLEMONS: I would say it`s hard to say so scientifically, but I can
tell you just subjectively, I have friends over there. And when you see 20
and 30-year-old people over there, they have no memory of how awful the
previous era was. They -- many people in that nation aspire to a kind of
democracy and civil society that Europe has had, which they thought Russia
was on the track for until we`ve seen some of the rollback inside Russia.

And so, this rolling back in this kind of closure of the space for
civil society that Yanukovych flirted with and imposed and stepped back
from awoke inside many people in Kiev and across Ukraine a real fear that
they were looking at someone that was going to steal their democracy.
Steal what they thought they had earned.

And I think many of he young people who read about the past in history
books but didn`t feel it tangibly and in 3D form are really out there.
It`s a very organic, deep protest that we`re seeing unfold in Kiev. It`s
not the kind of protest waiting for John Kerry or President Obama to come
rolling in.

They`re doing this on their own. I think they want to have attention,
but they`re not waiting for red lines to be crossed. They`re fighting
right now with their lives and their futures.

O`DONNELL: Steve, I think for a lot of people in this country,
there`s not that much surprise that there`s a Soviet-style crackdown going
on in a former Soviet republic, and it`s backed by Putin.

But what is the surprise level do you think in the Ukraine that they
are living through this?

CLEMONS: I think it is enormous because they`ve seen significant
economic development. But also remember, in 2008-2009, Russia imposed a
natural gas boycott and really shocked that country. And at various points
when President Yushchenko was president, there was a poisoning of him that
was never really figured out, but there were concerns perhaps he was
poisoned by the opposition or perhaps by Russians at that point.

So, this is a country who after the Orange Revolution and after real
Democrats came back to kind of move into a pro-civil society posture seeing
some of this rollback, I believe that many of the Ukrainians I`ve talked to
have felt in their bones that Ukraine can never go back to the dark ages of
being dominated in a Soviet-like era. That said, the Ukrainian people were
not ready to join NATO.

They`re not ready to join wholesale into Europe. And they need to
hedge, they need to create space that allow themselves to be engaged in
Russia, as well as Europe, and not have a zero sum contest between both
sides.

O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, thanks for staying with us on this story
and for joining us again tonight.

CLEMONS: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Christie ran for reelection on the way he handled
the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. In the town hall meeting he was in today
in New Jersey, he absolutely would not be able to run on Hurricane Sandy
today. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Chris Christie`s town hall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There should be a new F-word in
there. FEMA is the new F-word.

If you had told me that 16 months ago, that 16 months later I would
still be spending 40 percent of many time as governor on Sandy-related
issue, I would have never believed it.

If the checkbook was purely at my disposal and I could review your
papers personally and not have the federal government involved, you would
probably be home already.

We`re trying to do this in a way that gets it out to people as quickly
and efficiently as possible. And even -- don`t take my word for it. The
secretary of housing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won`t.

CHRISTIE: I know you won`t.

I`m not the king of New Jersey. I`m just the governor.

The fact is I can`t wave a magic wand and make this happen.

If we had people who are not confident or qualified to do the job,
they need to be removed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you please destroy all your Bruce
Springsteen CDs?

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MUSICIAN (singing): Wall Street masters stuck
cheek to cheek with blue collar truckers, and man I`ve really got to take a
leak. But I can`t, I`m stuck in Governor Chris Christie`s New Jersey
traffic jam --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Sam Stein, an MSNBC political analyst
and reporter for "The Huffington Post", and Adam Gordon, attorney for the
Fair Share Housing Center, and a fellow at the New York University Center
for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

It was quite striking to me, Sam, that Chris Christie kept blaming
everyone else for delays in dealing with the people`s problems at the town
hall today, his problems have not been dealt with in the aftermath of
Sandy, and claiming, gee, you know, if I had control of the checkbook, if I
just had control of the checkbook, you know, I would take care of you. He
had enough control of the checkbook to send $6 million, of Sandy relief
money to a building that was not touched, absolutely not touched by the
hurricane, a senior center in Belleville, New Jersey. And every one of the
problems that these people in that town hall had today were smaller than $6
million problems. All of their problems could have been dealt with what he
gave away in a situation where there was absolutely no hurricane damage at
all that was being addressed.

SAM STEIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, you know,
this is the inherent balance that has to be struck when it comes to
disaster relief. On the other hand, there is a legitimate concern that the
money should get out fast and quickly and should go to those most
intimately affected by the problem. On the other hand, there needs to be
effective oversight over it. It can`t just be passed around to people who
don`t need it. Used for purposes that are maybe unethical or corrupt. And
so there has to be some other side.

And you know, Chris Christie to his credit, badgered the federal
government when it wasn`t there handing the state of New Jersey a check for
the disaster relief. He got that money, but part of the process, part of
what he has to deal with is go through this bureaucratic red tape and it`s
for a legitimate reason.

O`DONNELL: There`s a survey from Monmouth University survey among
hurricane Sandy victims. Satisfied with New Jersey recovery efforts, 36
percent satisfied, 64 percent dissatisfied.

Adam Gordon, based on that survey, Chris Christie would have a hard
time running for reelection today on the basis of how he`s handled Sandy
aid.

ADAM GORDON, FAIR SHARE HOUSING CENTER: Lawrence, that`s really what
we`re hearing every day, people who call us and reach out to us that we
were talking to impacted by Sandy. People feel like they`re being
disrespected by governor Christie and his administration. That they are
not being taken seriously. And when they see things like the $6 million
that you mentioned for Belleville and other things that have come out like
that, they feel like they`re not being listened to. They are not being
respected. And we heard a lot of that today at town hall.

O`DONNELL: There was more than one question that was challenging to
Christie and not exactly satisfied. We had one questioner get up and ask
him about why he privatized so much of the aid function, including to a
company called HGI, which had ties to the Christie administration in which
they later had to fire from that service. Let`s watch this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was HGI fired? Why did you pay them $50
million and why did you privatize most of the grant program. You didn`t
have to do that..

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I just disagree with you. OK?
So you say not to privatize it. The alternative is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Answer the question.

CHRISTIE: I`m answering the question.

The alternative is to have hired thousands of additional government
employees to be able to administer this -- we have a new company in place
to run the program going forward. And the fact is that if we reach a point
where we believe there`s another company who can do the job better than the
company that was initially brought in under the bid then we`re going to
make that change. I`m not going to hesitate to make a change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Sam, with typical Christie slide of hand, he did not
answer the question, why did you fire HGI, which is where the guy began.

STEIN: Yes. Well, not to get too into the specifics here, I mean, I
think the bigger problem here is the macro problem which is that this was a
perceived Christie political strength, him standing there in his famous
fleece, hugging the people affected by the storm, rallying the state around
its recovery. Even glad handing with President Obama in the wake of this
was all part of his political appeal. He was someone who could rescue his
state struck by tragedy. And gradually it`s been eroded.

It`s not just through town halls like this and through decisions like
privatizing some of the functions or firing certain contractors or even
giving $6 million worth of money that seemingly did need it. It is because
of the inherent difficulties in overseeing disaster aid.

Keep in mind, people like Rand Paul were criticizing Christie well
before this stuff happened for use the same relief funds. And he was
criticizing Christie because he had run advertisements touting New Jersey`s
recovery in which he himself was featured. Conservatives were always
skeptical of Christie for this and now we`re seeing local people be
skeptical as well.

O`DONNELL: Adam Gordon, Christie may have awakened kind of a sleeping
giant in this story. That`s the governor of New York today who hasn`t said
a word about the situation on the George Washington bridge. The other
elements of the Christie scandals. But Christie today tried to say he is
doing a better job with Sandy relief than Governor Cuomo is in New York.

GORDON: Well, that`s not I think what most people in New Jersey would
think about it. New York hasn`t had these mysterious firings of
contractors. In fact, they set up a program from the start that relied
more on working with local community groups, nonprofits, having more
oversight from state government. And New York also has not had the kind of
huge error rates that we`re seeing in New Jersey.

Eighty percent of people who appealed denials of funding in the first
round of funding here were found to actually be eligible. So, the program
was structured entirely erroneously from the start. And we just aren`t
hearing these stories of gross incompetence and frankly anger on the ground
to the same degree as we are in New Jersey as New York.

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein and Adam Gordon, thank you both for joining me
tonight.

STEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

GORDON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up in "the rewrite," some very ugly video from
Russia. Vladimir Putin`s street enforcers beating the women of pussy riot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Vladimir Putin, pussy riot and Edward Snowden are next in
"the rewrite."

And later, a little movie talk and Oscar talk with Oscar nominated
director of "American Hustle" David O. Russell. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Vladimir Putin`s bright idea for beating up security at
what he obviously thinks of as his Olympics was to have Cossack militiamen
roaming the streets of Sochi in case anyone got any crazy ideas. You know,
like singing a song. Here`s what happened when pussy riot tried that.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

O`DONNELL: That`s right. Putin`s street enforcers didn`t limit
themselves to pepper spraying and whipping and punching the young women
trying to sing a song. They also beat news photographers who were simply
trying to record what was happening. Such is the awesome respect the
protector of Edward Snowden has for the rights of a free press. There are
good and decent motivations for supporting Edward Snowden and Vladimir
Putin has none of them.

Edward Snowden speaks to the world whenever he is so moved. He did
yesterday in this video praising Chelsea Manning. In that statement
yesterday, Edward Snowden also, of course, criticized the government of the
United States for its excessive use of secrecy and the Australian
government for the same thing.

The women of pussy riot pulled those ski masks over their faces in
anticipation of the pepper spray that they knew would be coming their way.
Here is more of what happened to these supremely brave women when they
tried to sing a song at Vladimir Putin`s Olympics.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

O`DONNELL: That`s what happens to brave people in Russia who speak
out against the regime. None of that happened to Edward Snowden yesterday
because he did what Vladimir Putin wants him to do -- speak out against the
United States and Australia.

It must be so painful for Edward Snowden to be strapped in Russia
today and not be able to say a word about that country`s human rights
violation. Edward Snowden has clearly decided that the NSA collection of
phone records and its massive electronic surveillance capabilities are a
worse threat to human rights and an act of violation of human rights, worse
than being beaten in the street for singing a song.

And these are decisions we all must make as committed citizens, what
we will fight for and what we won`t fight for. Because none of us can
fight every fight. We have to pick and choose and Edward Snowden has
chosen. And so, he must watch silently in Russia as the women of pussy
riot fight for the most elemental forms of freedom of expression in Russia.
You know Edward Snowden is on pussy riot`s side in this fight. He just can
never say so. And you know that he must now regret saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: These nations, including Russia,
Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for
being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the
powerful rather than the powerless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: My gratitude and respect for being the first to stand
against human rights violations. That`s what Edward Snowden said about
Russia before he technically set foot in Russia. He said it at the Russian
airport before he was granted asylum in Russia. He knows much more about
Russia now. He knows that Vladimir Putin`s Russian government deserves
Edward Snowden`s gratitude for protecting him but has never deserved his
respect. And he should know now that Vladimir Putin`s Russian government
does not stand against human rights violations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SNOWDEN: By refusing to compromising their principles in the face of
intimidation, they earned the respect of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Imagine if Edward Snowden tried to tell the people of
Ukraine tonight that Vladimir Putin`s Russian government has earned the
respect of the world. Imagine if Edward Snowden try to tell pussy riot
that Vladimir Putin should have their gratitude and respect for being the
first to stand against human rights violations.

I think we know that Edward Snowden knows better now and will not be
caught publicly expressing his respect for Vladimir Putin`s Russian
government again. But nor will he be expressing his respect for pussy
riot.

The women of pussy riot got the last word in their fight with Vladimir
Putin`s enforces by turning it into a music video.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

O`DONNELL: Pussy riot`s title for that song is Putin will teach you
how to love the mother land.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Robert de Niro didn`t recognize Christian Bale when he saw
him for the first time on the set of "American Hustle." How do I know?
The Oscar nominated writer director David O. Russell told me and he joins
me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He put a canvas bag over my head. Are you happy
now? He is trying to kill me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you talking about?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The cast and crew of "American hustle" are happy now with
the film being nominated for ten academy awards. David O. Russell has two
of those nominations. One for best director and one for best screenplay.
And he has a habit of dropping by "the Last Word" during awards season.
Here`s some movie talk with my friend David O. Russell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: David, this is your annual visit to the show where we
discuss your latest nominated best picture nomination, best director
nomination. It`s an annual thing we do. And here you are again. When you
were here last year on "Silver Linings Playbook" you were shooting this
movie, weren`t you?

DAVID O. RUSSELL, DIRECTOR, AMERICAN HUSTLE: We were preparing to
shoot it. We were doing wardrobe tests and makeup tests for Christian
Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams.

O`DONNELL: You have now developed a recurring cast. There`s a TV
series feel to this. And I would imagine in the work place. The movie
business is one where people say goodbye at the wrap and sometimes never
see each other again, never work with each other again. On television
they`re going to see each other for another season. There`s an ongoing
relationship in the best in TV series enriches everyone`s work over time.
Are you finding now dividends that come just from the familiarity that
these actors now have with each other?

RUSSELL: Absolutely. Yes. I mean, it starts when I write for them
after we`ve taken a risk together once. Christian and Amy and the film
called "the Fighter" and then Bradley and Jennifer in last year`s picture
"Silver Linings." I can talk to them and it inspires me to write for them.
So, I`m creating a character worthy of their time. And let me time I`m
auditioning for them which makes me write. I need assignments. I need
structure.

O`DONNELL: You feel you`re auditioning for them?

RUSSELL: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Because you`ve got to create a character that in effect
auditions for them on the page and makes them want to say yes, let`s do
this.

RUSSELL: Exactly. I want them to be something they`re very excited
about.

O`DONNELL: But Bradley Cooper is now saying all he has to hear is
that you`re calling and you have a part. He doesn`t have to read it. He`s
ready to go as soon as he hears you`re in.

RUSSELL: You have to see to deliver the part.

O`DONNELL: You have successfully auditioned for him.

Now, Christian Bale is a magician in your hands. I mean, obviously,
he deserves all the credit that he is getting for what he does. But I`m
fascinated by that some of the details in his performance, including the
amazing stuff with the hairpiece.

How much of that is on the page of the script? How much of that is in
the director`s head. How much did you see of that before Christian Bale
started doing that?

RUSSELL: Well, we knew he was going to have a combo over because
that`s what the real person was going to look like.

O`DONNELL: But did you know the comb over was going to be another
character in the movie?

RUSSELL: Well, that was the decision that sent is a metaphor for the
whole movie, you know. Because the movie to me really is about identity
and love and the fragility of both. And so, I feel when he`s constructing
himself in that opening sequence, that was a great thing that I wrote as we
went into production that I was very excited about.

By saying it was great, meaning that we were all very excited about
it. I said this is a metaphor that begins the film. You`re constructing
yourself to face the day and we all do that, everybody does that. That`s
what excited Christian and I about the whole movie.

O`DONNELL: You have cut a special scene just for us to look at here
tonight. And let`s take a look at it right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all good. I just hope to get a part of this
is all good. And really, because we`re real. You know that. You deal
with us. We`re a real organization. We deal with you, we don`t know what
we`re dealing with. Where`s he from? (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is he from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abu Dhabi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

O`DONNELL: There are so many things I love about that scene. Why did
you want us to look at that?

RUSSELL: Well, that`s actually a moment -- you know, truth is
stranger than fiction sometimes. I would say about half of what we told in
this story was true. And the beautiful part of a true story like the
abscond (ph) story or "the Fighter" is you have a hell of a predicament
that humans are in right from the beginning. And they`re struggling to
survive and reinvent themselves. It can I allow me to shows what I love
which is their emotional lives. And what they love and how they`re
surviving and how they`re exploding and crying and that`s a dozy of a
predicament.

So, this is a dozy of a predicament. This happens to be something
that actually happened which is too strange to believe. I said to Robert
de Niro, you know, they did meet a guy from the (INAUDIBLE) family. Their
chic did not speak Arabic and this guy suddenly started speaking Arabic to
them. And it was actually on a boat that it happened like on yacht. And
they just were powdered, you know. They barely got out of there with their
asses intact.

So you know, De Niro, he was very meticulous just like Jennifer and
Bradley and Amy. They go over everything meticulously. I mean, they need
to feel it, know it, they wanted to be different. They want to do
something different.

And so, de Niro was very exciting for him to play a gangster we had
never seen before. And he kept saying David, did that really happen. He
would call me every day and we talked about. We based his look on two
gangsters, one from Miami and one from -- Nicky, he was the one who would
leave a body, you probably known him, he was the one who would leave the
body on the street and never he thought it sent a stronger message. And he
said I think we should do the Arabic. And I said God, I don`t know about
that, Bob. It just seems too crazy to me. But that`s what makes it. He
memorized it. He said I`m going to learn it, I`m going to learn it. He
took great pain in learning all that Arabic. And he loved being unbilled
in the picture. And we loved seeing audiences be surprised. And you know
we were Berlin, you could see audiences kind of start teetering. And like
wait a minute, is that Robert de Niro? And then they just burst into
spontaneous applause when he was speaking Arabic.

To see all the actors there stunned. And now they`re in much deeper
than they were. As this thing exploded sideway, it went into the mob, it
went into everybody.

O`DONNELL: And the way they all worked together is so beautiful to
watch.

RUSSELL: It was very exciting for this ensemble to come together and
for them to be together. It was exciting for them. It`s like they`re all
challenging each other and themselves.

STEIN: David, please come back and -- you don`t have to wait a year.
And you don`t have to be nominated. You can come back whenever you want to
come back.

RUSSELL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you so much.

RUSSELL: It is always a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: You can see more of my discussion with David O. Russell on
our Web site tomorrow at thelastword.MSNBC.com including Robert de Niro`s
reaction.

END

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