Skip navigation

All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, May 5, 2014

Read the transcript from the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 5, 2014

Guests: Loretta Weinberg, Mark Glaze, Steve Cohen, Carmelo Cintron Vivas>


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Hayes.

Tonight, we are taking you inside one of the most contentious battles
in the country, the fight to sell safer, smarter guns in America. A battle
that pits proponents of a game-changing technology that could save
countless lives against a gun rights establishment determined to prevent a
single smart gun from being sold.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BELINDA PADILLA, ARMATIX: My dad used to leave loaded revolvers
underneath the mattress. And so when my mom would see us playing with the
loaded revolver, it was World War III when my dad got home.

HAYES (voice-over): Not a week goes by without a headline about an
accidental shooting in an American home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police tell us the 14-year-old was handling the
gun recklessly when he admits he shot his younger brother.

HAYES: One boy pulled the trigger fatally shooting his older brother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says the boys were trying to figure out how
to work the gun when the older brother accidentally pulled the trigger.

BRIANNE CARTER: The 2-year-old found the gun underneath of a bed and
accidentally shot himself.

ADRIENNE BANKERT: A tragic story out of Corsicana. A 2-year-old is
dead after finding a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Randall (ph) County sheriff deputies say that
the little boy somehow got his dad`s gun.

HAYES: But what if there was a gun that a child couldn`t shoot? A
gun with the technology to ensure it could only be fired by its owner?
Well, that gun exists. It`s real. I held it. I fired it.

(GUNFIRE)

PADILLA: Good shot.

HAYES (on camera): Wow.

PADILLA: How does it feel?

HAYES: Amazing. Yes.

(voice-over): It feels like a massive step forward. Like the iPhone
of firearms, a smart gun. There`s just one problem. You can`t buy it
anywhere in America. It`s not because it`s illegal and it`s not because
its manufacturer isn`t trying to sell it.

(on camera): Now, the question is, can you sell it?

PADILLA: And the demand is there.

HAYES: Yes.

PADILLA: I receive e-mails constantly from people wondering where
they can buy the handguns.

HAYES (voice-over): Belinda Padilla leads the American division of
Armatix, the German company trying to sell the first smart gun in the
United States.

She met me at a Maryland gun range to demonstrate how it works.

PADILLA: So, red means you are not the authorized user or you have
not activated the watch.

HAYES (on camera): So, when you grip that, it`s telling you right now
you cannot fire this gun.

PADILLA: Correct.

HAYES (voice-over): The Armatix iP1 smart gun only functions if the
owner is wearing a special watch.

PADILLA: My code is entered. It says it`s good. I hit enter. Now I
pick up the handgun and it`s green. Green means I`m the authorized user.
Now, I`m ready to fire.

HAYES: If the watch and gun are separated by more than 10 inches,
after, say, a suspect wrestles it away from a police officer, the gun stops
working.

(on camera): Putting the ammunition in. I can fire. Take the wrist
watch away, it is more than 10 inches, the grip tells me I cannot fire. I
pull the trigger, I get nothing. I return it within 10 inches, pull the
trigger --

(GUNSHOTS)

HAYES (voice-over): Created by a legendary gun designer Aaron Smilk
(ph), the Armatix iP1 smart gun is supposed to retail for about $1,800,
about three times the cost of some popular, traditional handguns. It may
just be the beginning of what could be a technological revolution in
firearm safety.

JOSEPH SCHMITZ: The ones that are clamoring most for this are the law
enforcement officers whose colleagues are being shot by bad guys using
police handguns.

HAYES (on camera): You want to really make sure that that thing is
not in the hands of someone else.

SCHMITZ: That`s right. And it`s not only the domestic law
enforcements, it`s also our military. I mean, when I was the DOD inspector
general, one of our big concerns was we had caches of weapons --

HAYES: And you`re just pouring weapons in a place. All it takes is
one raid on an unsecured facility and you`ve got a thousand U.S. issued
weapons walking around Iraq or wherever it is.

SCHMITZ: But that actually happened within the last year in Syria.
The bad guys actually raided a warehouse and got the weapons that were
designed for the good guys.

HAYES (voice-over): Joseph Schmitz was the inspector general at the
Department of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld.

SCHMITZ: I was literally for almost four years the top cop in the
Pentagon. I was at one point somebody told me I was the largest public
sector consumer of Glock handguns.

HAYES: Schmitz then went to work for the founder of Blackwater.

SCHMITZ: I then went directly from the Pentagon to be the chief
operating officer and general counsel of the Prince Group which is probably
most famous for owning Blackwater USA and Presidential Airways.

HAYES (on camera): Prince Group named after Erik Prince who is --

SCHMITZ: Erik Prince is the founder and CEO.

HAYES (voice-over): Schmitz helped Armatix clear the legal hurdles to
get the guns sold in Maryland. It wasn`t easy.

SCHMITZ: There were members of the Maryland handgun roster board who
simply didn`t understand the technology and who, frankly, thought that it
was part of some big government conspiracy to take away the rights of
American handgun owners.

HAYES: The Armatix smart gun has cleared some of the toughest legal
hurdles in the country. There`s still one big problem. No one anywhere
will sell it to you.

LARRY PRATT, GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA: Smart guns are dumb guns. The
technology is far from reliable. Anybody that`s going to put their life on
the line with a piece of unreliable technology is making a big mistake.

HAYES: Larry Pratt is the CEO of Gun Owners of America, and his
organization along with the National Rifle Association, have been pushing
hard to stop smart guns from reaching the market. They were successful
with the first store that tried to sell the Armatix smart gun, the Oak Tree
Gun Club outside Los Angeles.

PRATT: We were delighted at Gun Owners of America by the backlash.

HAYES: Things looked promising for the Armatix smart gun at first.

James Mitchell, Oak Tree`s extremely pro-gun owner, told "The
Washington Post" he would sell the gun, saying it could revolutionize the
gun industry.

But soon, the shop`s Facebook page filled with messages like this one.
You guys still in business? Not for long. Might have been a smart gun,
but it was a darn dumb business decision to try to pawn that crap off on
American gun owners.

So, Oak Tree Gun Club reversed course, denying that it ever planned to
sell the smart gun, despite photographs showing the Armatix for sale in a
gun cabinet at the store.

It was a testament of the power of the gun rights establishment, which
argued that once a smart gun reaches the market, the government is going to
make smart guns mandatory and prevent people from buying traditional
firearms.

The NRA warns that smart guns have the potential to mesh with the
anti-gunner`s agenda opening the door for a ban on all guns that don`t
possess the government required technology.

The NRA declined to talk to us for this story, but Larry Pratt of Gun
Owners of America told me much the same thing.

(on camera): It seems like if we could come to some technological
solution, so you don`t have kids killing kids in their own homes, that
would be something that anyone, you, I, anyone with feelings with the
Second Amendment could embrace and come to celebrate.

PRATT: What you`re talking about is an argument for mandatory
control.

HAYES (voice-over): This idea the government is going to mandate
smart guns sounds like paranoia, but it turns out there`s a kernel of truth
to it. In 2002, New Jersey passed a law requiring that once a smart gun
goes on the market anywhere in the country, gun sellers in New Jersey must
move within three years to only sell smart guns, taking traditional guns
off the shelves.

PRATT: New Jersey is a massive example of government overreach.

HAYES: That New Jersey law has turned opposition to smart guns into a
cause celebre for the pro-gun crowd.

After Eric Holder merely referenced the Armatix system as a way to
make guns safer, Marco Rubio and Sarah Palin took to the floor of the NRA
convention, painted a dire picture of government control.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We have an attorney general who
believes that we should be forcing gun owners to wear bracelets in order to
operate their firearms.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Attorney General Eric
Holder, recently, he reveals this idea to have government -- to have
government have gun owners wear bracelets, special bracelets that would
identify you as a gun owner. Well, hey, Holder, you don`t want to go
there, buddy.

SCHMITZ: It`s just ignorance. It`s just ignorance because really
there isn`t a -- there isn`t any agenda here by any sort of big brother
government.

HAYES: Armatix was undeterred and found someone else willing to sell
its smart gun. Proudly, pro-gun conservative Andy Raymond.

(GUNFIRE)

HAYES (on camera): Your uncle watches MSNBC. It drives you crazy.

ANDY RAYMOND, PRO-GUN CONSERVATIVE: Yes, just to piss me off, every
night.

HAYES (voice-over): Raymond runs a small gun shop and manufacturing
business in Maryland called Engage Armament.

(on camera): What do you make?

RAYMOND: What`s commonly referred to as assault rifles. So, we do a
lot of AR-15s, AKs, things like that.

HAYES: He told me that smart guns are good for the gun industry.

RAYMOND: If this gets them into shooting, then I`m all about it. I`m
all about it. That`s an awesome thing. And everybody who is pro-gun
should be all about that because if that gets people into the range and
shooting and loving guns, that`s an awesome, fricking thing for us, but
instead they`re talking trash.

All the time with what we do, people tell us -- anti-gun people tell
us, you shouldn`t be able to do that, you shouldn`t be able to have that.
OK? This is a common theme with anti-gun people, you shouldn`t have an AR-
15, OK? That should be prohibited.

But now, pro-gun people who hate that are now saying the same thing
about this. And how hypocritical is that? I mean, it really is.

HAYES: Andy Raymond knew the backlash would come. We asked him what
he was going to say to those who came after him.

RAYMOND: You`re hypocrites. You`re the exact thing. You`re the
exact same thing that we hate, people sitting here telling us that we can`t
have this or have an AR-15, you are doing the exact same thing, you
fricking hypocrite. So shut up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: When we come back, the backlash to Andy Raymond`s decision to
sell the Armatix smart gun came fast and furious in the 24 hours after we
spoke with him. We`ll tell you what happened and play you his incredible
video response, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Later in the show, stay tuned of the story of how Senator
Lindsey Graham pulled a total Dick Cheney move on Benghazi.

And straight ahead, more of our special report on that so-called smart
gun and the backlash one Maryland gun dealer received when he agreed to
sell it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAYMOND: This is all about freedom.

HAYES: Right.

RAYMOND: It really is, man. So even when the NRA, the bastion of
great freedom and they say this thing should be prohibited, how
hypocritical is that?

HAYES: So, you know what`s funny --

RAYMOND: They`re bowing down to fear, bro, it`s cowardice. They`re
afraid, so they bow down and that is cowardice. That is not what people
who stand for freedom do. You stand up and fight for what you believe.
You do not bow down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: On Thursday, after word got out that Andy Raymond, the
Maryland gun dealer, wanted to sell the personalized Armatix iP1, the
nation`s first smart gun, he faced an avalanche of hate from gun supporters
opposed to the selling of this particular weapon. The Facebook page of his
store Engage Armament filled up with accusations of treason. He says he
got death threats, telling "The Washington Post", his phone was ringing off
the hook. He says he was so worried someone tried to burn down his store
he slept there much of Thursday night, just him and his dog.

It was during that night long last week that Andy Raymond responded
through this Facebook video and announced that he changed his mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAYMOND: Hey, guys, I`m Andy from Engage Armament. I`m the co-owner
here. And there`s been a lot of drama today here, a lot of crazy
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) going on.

So, I thought I would put up a video to explain myself. I`ve been
drinking, so my apologies in advance.

I thought that this thing was a good thing for a couple reasons. I
would like to explain myself. One is that you get so many people who are
on the fence about gun ownership, we`ve seen this in Maryland time and time
again, especially after this old law got passed, this law in October got
passed. So many people on the fence about gun ownership. They go, yes,
well, you know, I think I shouldn`t have one in my house, but, you know, I
don`t know if people should have assault weapons and this and that.

And, you know, I thought that if you get people who are like that into
guns, that that would be a good thing. I thought that if you got people
who, you know, never wanted one or didn`t want one in their house because
of their kids or something like that, their kids getting at it, that if
they bought a gun, that that`s a good thing. They would go out there and
exercise their Second Amendment rights. They would, you know, join us.

That was reinforced yesterday, I did an interview with Chris Hayes on
MSNBC, which has already aired. I don`t even know the -- I can`t even
watch it, I`m so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) pissed and upset.

So -- and after I explained to him that position and the position that
how can the NRA or people want to prohibit a gun when we`re supposed to be
pro-gun? We`re supposed to say that any gun is good in the right person`s
hands. How can they say that a gun should be prohibited? How hypocritical
is that?

I still stand by that. I mean, if you`re -- if you`re -- if you`re
pro-gun, does it matter what kind of gun the person has? If the person is
actually a fence sitter when it comes to gun rights, that, you know,
they`re sitting there saying that I want a gun, I want to be able to go to
the range and just use it at the range, I don`t want it for home defense
but I most certainly don`t want my kids to have access to it ever, then
this gun would have actually worked for those people. Not for self
defense, not for law enforcement, not in its current configuration, or
anything like that. I thought that we could get anti-gun people or people
who were fence sitters actually into guns. That was my intention.

I did an interview with MSNBC and I explained myself that I thought it
was hypocritical to try to ban guns and that people have a right to
whatever gun they want, even Chris Hayes said I`m going to do a call to
action. He agreed with me. He said I`m going to do a call to action to
repeal the New Jersey law.

I thought right there we had a success. If we got a guy who is left
of Vladimir Lenin and he has now agreed to actually support repealing a gun
control law. I thought it was a good thing, you know. I don`t know if he
did that or not, but what I found out today was, and I put my phone number
up so people could call me, you know?

I don`t -- you know, I like talking to people. I want to explain
myself. I want you to explain yourself. How do you feel?

So I was a little bit kind of misled, I guess, on this New Jersey
thing. I understood the New Jersey law was in effect. I thought other
people were selling the gun. I thought Oak Tree already sold it, so it
didn`t matter what I did.

So, anyway, obviously I received numerous death threats today. I
really (EXPLETIVE DELETED) appreciate that. That`s (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
classy. That`s a great thing for gun rights when you threaten to shoot
somebody. That was really splendid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: OK. So, just to pause the tape for a second to address a
couple things.

First, Andy Raymond`s characterization of what I said about that New
Jersey law, yes, that`s more or less true. I came around to believing
while doing this report that the New Jersey smart gun law is just bad
legislation and we`re going to have some breaking news on that coming up.

Raymond also mentions he hadn`t seen our interview. Well, there`s a
reason for that, we just played it for the first time tonight.

And, finally, point of fact, I am not actually to the left of Vladimir
Lenin.

But back to the video, at this point, Andy Raymond addresses those
people who have been calling him and threatening his life and his business.
As you can see, he`s very animated, gets very upset, says a few pretty ugly
things that I have no interest in playing here.

But the Andy Raymond we had met the day before had clearly been very
affected by the blowback that came his way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAYMOND: Don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) come at me with this (EXPLETIVE
DELETED). That`s the people who called up and threatened to (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) kill me.

So, that being said, we never sold an Armatix pistol. We have no
inventory.

I got brought into this. I said, yes, I agree with the thing on
principle, OK? If someone wants to buy a smart gun, that is fine. That is
their right, OK?

When the law legislates it, that is a sin. That is God awful. I`ll
cut it off there.

Once again, we will not sell the Armatix pistol. I will not be part
of anyone (EXPLETIVE DELETED) or anyone when it comes to guns.

I believe my principles are what now are correct. Unfortunately,
maybe I was wrong. I don`t know.

I thought we had a chance to reach people who were -- I guess it
doesn`t matter. I guess it doesn`t matter. It doesn`t matter.

So, the people of New Jersey, my apologies. You got nothing to worry
about from me.

And if anything happens to me or anything like that, if I -- if I
resign or anything like that, I hope you don`t hold anything against my
business partner or any of my employees. It`s my fault, entirely my
decision. Nothing to do with them. The business in general.

So, my apologies. I hope bygones can be bygones and we can get back
to our regular scheduled program. That`s that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Right now, the Armatix iP1 smart gun is not on sale anywhere
in the United States. Gun rights supporters have successfully bullied and
intimidated not one, but two different stores from selling it, pointing to
a 2002 New Jersey law which mandates that once a smart gun goes on sale
anywhere in the country, New Jersey gun sellers have three years to take
all other guns off the shelves.

Well, up next, we have the New Jersey senator who helped craft that
law, who voted for that law and I will ask whether she agrees with me that
it`s time to repealing that law.

Don`t go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAYMOND: So, the people of New Jersey, my apologies. You got nothing
to worry about from me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In 2002, then-New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey signed
the nation`s first smart gun law. It mandated once a smart gun goes on
sale anywhere in the United States, within three years of that date, all
handguns in the state of New Jersey must be smart guns.

Over a decade ago when the law was signed, there was no such thing as
a smart gun. Today, there is the Armatix and that New Jersey law is the
heart of the pushback against it, with anti-smart gun forces arguing the
sale of any smart gun anywhere is the first step on the road to government
control of gun ownership.

Joining me now is New Jersey State Democratic Senator Loretta
Weinberg. She sponsored that original bill that was signed to law by
Governor McGreevey.

First, I just want to ask you your reaction to what you`ve seen in our
report tonight.

STATE SEN. LORETTA WEINBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, not surprising.
I`ve been involved with the gun safety movement for probably the last 12 or
15 years of my public life, so I`m kind of used to the vitriol that comes
out each time we talk about gun safety.

It makes me sad for a man like Andy Raymond, who obviously had some
struggle with what he knew was the right thing to do and then having to
deal with the pushback and make his public apology.

HAYES: You`re saying you`ve been on the receiving end of that kind of
ugliness?

WEINBERG: I certainly have over the years.

You know, I always hesitated to use the phrase "smart gun" as it comes
now.

HAYES: Right.

WEINBERG: It had a very negative connotation as far as I was
concerned.

We talked about child proof handguns. This issue was first brought to
me by the father of somebody who was killed in the Long Island train
massacre some number of years ago. I`m sure many of your viewers remember
what took place there.

I met him along the way of some campaign jaunt. He is the one who
first used the phrase to me "smart gun."

HAYES: What was the thinking behind the law that you passed?

WEINBERG: The thinking behind the law was that we were going to
encourage the development of the technology. And, in fact, right in one of
our own universities in New Jersey, New Jersey Institute of Technology, got
a federal grant and was very close to coming up with a different
technology.

HAYES: So, the idea here is you guarantee a market through this law
that incentivizes research and development money flowing into the
development of this kind of technology.

WEINBERG: Correct.

HAYES: Do you think that is an obstacle to that development.

WEINBERG: Yes, I do. Let me add a caveat.

What I said, and I believe I talked to your producer this past week,
was that if the NRA, the Gun Owners of America, those people who have stood
in the way not only of the retail sales, they have also gone after gun
manufacturers --

HAYES: Yes.

WEINBERG: -- who were beginning to develop other technology other
than Armatix. That if in fact they would get out of the way of preventing
the research, development, manufacture, distribution and sale, I would move
to repeal this law in the state of New Jersey.

HAYES: A truce of sorts. They stand down, you stand down. You try
to repeal this law. They get out of the way of all the development of
this, and we allow this to enter into the market and let consumers make
choices?

WEINBERG: Exactly.

HAYES: I want to bring in Mark Glaze, executive director of Everytown
for Gun Safety, an organization that represents the mergers of Mayors
Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence. His
father is a licensed gun dealer in Colorado.

Mark, how big -- how large does the smart gun loom in the imagination
of folks in the kind of Second Amendment rights movement?

MARK GLAZE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY: Well, it
looms large for people on all sides, because we know that something like
two million American kids live in homes with unsecured guns. And we know
that a very big percentage of crimes that are committed with guns are not
committed by the people who bought them. They`re committed by people who
steal them or who find them when they`re lost.

And so everybody on the right and left is sort of looking for a way to
solve this problem. But I want to validate the concern that some gun users
are raising here. When you`re talking about individual rights, you want to
make sure that the technology works and is really there before you start
requiring its use or even allowing its use.

And those of us who were caring a while ago about voting rights kind
of understand the way this works. When it became clear that some of the
first electronic voting machines were mostly going to be made by a very
conservative company, there was all sorts of progressive concern.

HAYES: Right.

GLAZE: And guess what happened? You dealt with the problem by public
and private partnerships at both the federal and state level that
guaranteed that these machines were foolproof. And guess what? Today,
there are very few questions about electronic voting machines.

I think that is where people who are on my side of the issue and the
manufacturers and the folks at the NRA could get actually together if they
wanted to, making sure that the technology works, and then you would have a
gun that actually saved a lot of lives.

HAYES: It strikes me also that you`re dealing with a -- always a
strange thing about guns is, it`s the only consumer product that`s in the
Constitution, right, so it`s in this sort of different place, particularly
especially post-Heller decision at the Supreme Court.

But also it struck me that it`s actually something that the
fundamental technology of which has not changed. While we have had digital
penetration of every single in our lives, from the thermostats in our homes
to the system in your car which can now be remotely tuned up through
software, here`s this very powerful, very widespread used item that there
is no digital penetration of. And it seems that it`s only natural that
that moment comes to pass.

GLAZE: No, I think that`s right.

And like every kind of change, change takes time. And, again, I think
electronic voting is a good analogy. Yes, there were lots of concerns on
the right and left that the government is not going to count your vote, is
going to count your vote the wrong way, or is going to create a list
telling people how you voted and somehow manipulate today.

But we figured out how to get around it. And today electronic voting
makes things more foolproof and easier and reduces the risk of fraud. And
I think that there`s a great lesson to be learned there by people of
goodwill who just want to keep guns out of the wrong hands and allow
everybody else to buy whatever they want, buy and large.

HAYES: Can you, Senator, brings allies along with this? Do you think
other people will be there with you in this?

WEINBERG: Yes. Yes, I do, if in fact we hear that people will not
stop this technological advancement.

You know, it`s sort of so irrational to me that if in fact any gun
owner can own a gun that they know would be safe if they have children in
the house, that would be safe from somebody coming and stealing it and
turning it on them?

HAYES: Right.

WEINBERG: Why would they be against that, if in fact there is in the
marketplace such a weapon which would be safe for the owner and anybody
else, I believe the marketplace will take over and those are the kinds of
guns that most people will probably want to buy.

HAYES: State Senator Loretta Weinberg and Mark Glaze from Everytown
for Gun Safety, thank you both. Really appreciate it.

WEINBERG: Thank you.

GLAZE: Thanks for having us.

HAYES: All right, coming up, the many ways the Iraq war still hangs
over us. One of them became apparent over the weekend. We will talk about
it ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernhard Goetz has been acquitted on all charges
of attempted murdered and assault. Goetz shot and wounded four youths in a
New York City subway back in December 1984, saying it was self-defense.
The case attracted attention nationwide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: I was a 6-year-old in the Bronx when Bernie Goetz, a white man
with a gun, shot four young black men on the subway he said were trying to
mug him.

I remember even at that early age following the case and seeing
through my eyes as a kid how fraught this massive racialized flash point
was. That case was one of those racially polarized events that
occasionally come along with people on each side of the color divide
tending to see it differently.

For instance, back in March of 1985, a majority of black people
clearly disapproved of what Goetz had done, while that was not the case
with whites. Here`s an interesting wrinkle, though, and I don`t think
anyone thought to look at it.

Back in 1985, even if there was a racial divide on the issue, there
was no partisan divide. Black people and white people saw the issue
differently, but Democrats and Republicans saw it in largely the same way.

Fast-forward 10 years to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS: And we begin tonight with that moment which
froze much of the nation in its tracks today, that extraordinary moment
when the jury declared O.J. Simpson not guilty of murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Those of us who are old enough all remember how intensely
racially polarizing the O.J. trial was, particularly the verdict, over
which white folks and black folks were clearly divided.

But, again, even if it were massively racially polarized, it was not
really sharply polarized along partisan lines. There was a small
difference, nine points, to be exact, between Democrats and Republicans.

Now fast-forward to today. One of the defining features of race in
the Obama era is that racially polarized issues have come to align
perfectly with partisan polarization. It`s not just that we have these
flash points in the racial culture wars in which white people and black
people or people of color disagree and perceive things differently.

It`s that those salient moments of polarization on race are also
extremely polarized around party membership. The George Zimmerman verdict,
another racially polarizing verdict, this one after Obama became president,
and now not only do you see a huge distance between how white people and
black people perceive the verdict. There is a massive difference between
Democrats and Republicans as well.

We`re not in Bernie Goetz or O.J. Simpson territory anymore. We are
in a whole new world. You might think to yourself, well, that had to do
with the Second Amendment and stand your ground, so it might not be that
surprising to see such a sharp partisan divide.

What about this guy?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

rMD-BO_DONALD STERLING, OWNER, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Well then, if
you don`t feel it, don`t come to my games. Don`t bring black people, and
don`t come.

V. STIVIANO, EX-ASSOCIATE OF DONALD STERLING: Do you know that you
have a whole team that`s black, that plays for you?

STERLING: You just -- do I know? I support them and give them food,
and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone
else give it to them?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: OK. So here`s the most stunning polling on this controversy.
Should Donald Sterling be forced to sell the Clippers? Well, it breaks
down along a huge partisan divide, one I frankly would not have predicted.

It breaks down on relatively small things, too, like "12 Years a
Slave." Should "12 Years a Slave" win the Oscar for best picture? And
this illuminating groundbreaking research I`m showing to you, which is by
Brown University political scientist Michael Tesler, nicely summarized by
Ezra Klein at Vox, well, it gives you a snapshot of why it is that the
racial policies and politics in the Obama era are so much more explosive.

The racial divide in this country sure as heck is not new. It`s just
that, for the first time, well, practically ever, the racial divide and the
partisan divide have synched up nearly perfectly, and nearly every single
battle fought on one terrain is being waged on the other. Every
controversial partisan political issue is a racial issue and every racial
issue is a partisan issue.

For every political conflict we have, we are fighting two wars at
once.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: A programming note: This Friday, we are going to thing this
show on the road to Atlanta as part of MSNBC`s "Growing Hope." We will be
live at 8:00 Eastern from the Sweet Auburn Springfest in Atlanta. So, if
you are there, please come by and say hi -- back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: There is a blockbuster report in "New York" magazine that
takes you behind the scenes of one of the biggest journalistic debacles of
the last five months, Lara Logan`s now thoroughly discredited and retracted
"60 Minutes" report on Benghazi.

And when you hear the details, you can`t help but think back to what
might possibly be the nadir of journalist malfeasance, the official
information laundering during the run-up to the Iraq war pulled off by then
Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney and his neocon acolytes, as has now been well-established, were
trying very hard to sell the idea that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction. One of the key items in this phony line of argument were
those vaunted aluminum tubes that Hussein was trying to get his hands on,
according to Cheney.

Well, conveniently, Dick Cheney`s ally Ahmad Chalabi was more than
willing to supply the very same intel to "The New York Times"` Judith
Miller that he was supplying to the neocons, some of that intel from highly
unreliable Iraqi defectors.

Judith Miller refused to say who those other sources were, but at
Chalabi`s behest, she interviewed various defectors from Saddam Hussein`s
regime who claimed, without substantiation, there was still a clandestine
WMD program operating inside Iraq.

On the front page of "The New York Times" on Sunday morning in
September 2002, she wrote that an intercepted shipment of aluminum tubes to
be used for centrifuges was evidence that Saddam was building a uranium gas
separator to develop nuclear material.

Keep in mind, this is one pipeline of phony intel flowing to two
destinations, one to Dick Cheney, who was happy to receive it, the other to
Judith Miller. And on the very same Sunday that Judith Miller`s piece
appears in "The New York Times," Dick Cheney went on "Meet the Press" and
said this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Specifically
aluminum tubes.

There`s a story in "The New York Times" this morning. This is -- and
I want to attribute "The Times." I don`t want to talk about obviously
specific intelligence sources.

But it`s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire and
we have been able to intercept him and prevent him from acquiring through
this particular channel the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a
centrifuge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You see what he did there, right?

He knew full well the same Chalabi information pipeline supplying him
was supplying Judith Miller. He then goes on "Meet the Press" as if he
just on his way to the studio just happened to pick up "The New York Times"
and, oh, lo and behold, aluminum tubes are there.

So now a story that comes from one tainted, unreliable source has been
independently -- independently confirmed by a respected news organization.
The cravenness of that maneuver, that still sticks with me.

But Dick Cheney may have competition, because it turns out Senator
Lindsey Graham pulled a Cheney right under our noses, and it had to do with
Lara Logan. The big obsession of the #Benghazi conspiracy world is that
the attack in Benghazi wasn`t pulled off by militia members or irregulars
or terrorists unaffiliated with al Qaeda, by rather al Qaeda itself.

Of course, there was no evidence that was the case. Ultimately, a
comprehensive "New York Times" story said it wasn`t al Qaeda, but when Lara
Logan did her discredited "60 Minutes" report a couple of months prior,
this is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARA LOGAN, CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS: Contrary
to the White House`s public statements, which were still being made a full
week later, it`s now well-established that the Americans were attacked by
al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You hear that? It`s now well-established.

Well, Senator Lindsey Graham heard that and he ran straight to FOX
News with it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "60 Minutes" doesn`t cover phony scandals.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the story was about
the fact that our folks died in a different way than explained by the
administration. They died as a result of an al Qaeda-planned attack that
you could see coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: So, the question you have got to ask yourself is, funny how
Lara Logan doesn`t give any sourcing for the, it`s now well-established.
Who told her it was well-established?

Well, in this blockbuster piece by Joe Hagan in "New York" magazine,
we get the reveal. Turns out Lara Logan was consulting with none other
than Lindsey Graham. The two met two or three times to talk about the
Libya attack, with Graham telling Logan that from his point of view it was
a fair thing to say that there was a buildup of al Qaeda types in the area.

So here`s how it goes. Lindsey Graham tells Lara Logan it`s al Qaeda,
in the face of all countervailing evidence. Lara Logan puts that in her
report on the most respected newsmagazine in America, and then Senator
Graham vows to block all nominations from the Obama administration until he
gets answers on Benghazi.

And he cites the Lara Logan report as evidence, evidence which was,
unbeknownst to the public at the time, sourced by Lindsey Graham himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: What did the "60 Minutes" show tell us? That this was a
preplanned terrorist attack. We have got "60 Minutes" now validating it
not was just a terrorist attack. They know who planned it, and it was a
long time coming.

"60 Minutes" identified the people who planned the attack and actually
how they did it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me, Congressman Steve Cohen, Democrat from Tennessee.

Congressman, should Lindsey Graham retract that? Should he go on the
floor of the Senate and say, I`m sorry about that?

REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: Well, in the real world, he would,
but politics isn`t necessarily the real world. You`re not supposed to ever
admit anything.

And this all makes "Wag the Dog" look like the Bible. Well, no, it
makes "Wag the Dog" look like the Encyclopedia Britannica.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: You are in the House, where they are preparing to whip votes
on a select committee on Benghazi. How do you plan on voting on that, and
what do you think of the idea of devoting precious time, resources and
attention to the select committee?

COHEN: I`m going to vote against it. And I`m going to call up a
famous political consultant, Fielding Mellish, with attribution to Woody
Allen, who created him.

And he would say that this committee is a travesty, a travesty of a
mockery of a sham of a travesty of a mockery of two travesties of a sham.

(LAUGHTER)

COHEN: And that`s what it is. It`s absurd. This is ludicrous.

A congressional committee did not find Osama bin Laden. Barack Obama
found Osama bin Laden. George Bush didn`t find him. Barack Obama did.
And the CIA, the State Department, the Defense Department under Barack
Obama are going to find the people that were responsible for Benghazi, not
a select committee.

This is simply an assault on Hillary Clinton, and they will use it and
use it and use it. And that`s all it is.

HAYES: Do you think that`s what it is? You think it`s being driven
by trying to go after Hillary Clinton?

COHEN: Totally.

They don`t have a candidate who can measure up in the polls. They
know that. Secretary Clinton is the hands-on, odds-on favorite to be
president.

HAYES: But when you speak to your colleagues, who are -- and there
are colleagues of yours across the aisle, Republican members of the House,
who are really spending a lot of time on the issue of Benghazi -- do you
think they`re faking it? Do you think they really believe that there was -
- I mean, it seems to me that there -- it`s hard to figure out whether this
is driven by people trapped in a kind of media bubble in which they are
just reading stuff that is confirming that there was some huge cover-up, or
whether is as cynical as folks like you and other Democrats seem to think
it is.

COHEN: Some of them have drunk the Kool-Aid, and they probably
believe it. But they can`t say Hillary Clinton is from Kenya.

HAYES: Right.

COHEN: So they have to say she`s an aider and abetter in a cover-up
of a sham of a mockery, et cetera, et cetera. It`s insane.

And we need to craft jobs bills. We need to have a transportation
bill. We need to face the reality that the Affordable Care Act is working
and keeping people alive, but they have had 50 bills to try to repeal the
Affordable Care Act because they don`t -- they have found that to be a
successful propaganda tool, that truth is not really a factor.

And that`s why Lindsey Graham doesn`t have to apologize, because the
truth and basic common decency in life is not necessarily a part of
politics.

HAYES: It seems to me that the next five, six months, there`s not
going to be a whole lot of legislating going on in the House of
Representatives.

COHEN: I can`t see it. We should have an immigration bill. They`re
not going to take it up.

We should have a minimum wage bill. It`s not going to be taken up.
There`s not going to be anything but continued attacks to try to hold the
House in 2014, which the Republicans are going to be able to do.

HAYES: Right.

COHEN: But then they`re really looking at 2016, and they`re looking
at the Senate races in 2014.

HAYES: And then the question is, what exactly is your program for the
country, which a select committee on Benghazi does not answer.

Congressman Steve Cohen, thank you so much.

COHEN: Chris, always good to be with you.

HAYES: Coming up: Faced with the prospect that Secretary of State
during the Iraq War Condoleezza Rice might be their commencement speaker,
students at Rutgers University staged one of the largest sit-ins in that
school`s history. I will talk to a student from the No Rice Coalition
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The shadow of Iraq and the debacle of it all still hangs over
everything we do, even if the people who sold that war would like us to
forget.

Former Secretary of State, former National Security Condoleezza Rice
had been slated to give the commencement address at Rutgers University, but
there were weeks of protests by both students and faculty. And so Rice
withdrew, saying in a statement posted to her Facebook page: "Commencement
should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their
families. Rutgers` invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for
the university community at this very special time."

Joining me now, Carmelo Cintron Vivas, a Rutgers University student,
spokesperson for the No Rice Coalition.

What`s your case against not having Condoleezza Rice come speak at
Rutgers?

CARMELO CINTRON VIVAS, NO RICE COALITION: Well, to us, it was pretty
simple and straightforward.

And it has become clear, after 11 years of the invasion of Iraq, that
Condoleezza Rice and the administration that she worked for misled the
American public. They purposely lied about Iraq having WMDs, which we have
never found, and that that also led to their authorization of using
enhanced interrogation tactics, torture, on numerous civilians who were
never tried.

And on top of that, we have the lives of hundreds of Iraqi civilians
and thousands of American soldiers too that fell for a war that was based
on lies.

HAYES: So, people are going to say, well, you are at a university.
And it`s -- the whole idea of a university is, it`s a zone where you should
hear other opinions, and it should be a liberal place in the sort of small
sense, right, small-L sense.

What do you say to that, to people who say, you`re shutting down
speech, you`re intolerant?

VIVAS: Well, yes, we expected that to come: Oh, you`re attacking
free speech. We have free speech in this country. The same thing that
allows you to protest allows her to come to speak.

Well, that might be true. However, we have to think here that we`re
not against her speech. We`re not against any of her ideas. We`re against
actions that she actually committed. And that`s very different.

We need to be held to the same standards legally. And I think that
this administration and Condoleezza Rice have not been held to the same
standards.

HAYES: So, you`re saying it doesn`t -- we don`t care about hearing
her or not hearing her. You`re saying, we want to punish and sanction her
in some sort of public fashion for the actions she took in power that we
think there was not enough accountability for.

VIVAS: Basically, yes.

We think that she should be accountable for her actions, as should the
whole administration, and as well also other politicians have to respond at
their time. And we -- our basic tenet was that she shouldn`t be honored by
our university at our commencement, get paid $35,000 to come and speak for
15 minutes.

HAYES: Right.

This is a really important distinction, right? It wasn`t that
Condoleezza Rice was going to speak at Rutgers. It was that Condoleezza
Rice was going to be bestowed a very big deal formal honor...

VIVAS: Yes.

HAYES: ... and be paid $35,000.

VIVAS: Exactly.

HAYES: So she was being honored. There was a choice by Rutgers
affirmatively to honor Condoleezza Rice.

VIVAS: Yes.

HAYES: And that`s part of what, my understanding, your case against
this.

VIVAS: Yes, specifically an honorary law degree to someone who tried
to circumvent law in order to start a war, and circumvent law in order to
torture to allegedly obtain information from terrorists, but real -- the
real thing is that there were a lot of journalists, a lot of civilians who
were never tried and were never proven to be terrorists that were tortured.

And there`s nothing being done to give them repairs or anything.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: Do you -- so then what`s the slippery -- the slippery slope
argument is, oh, well, then where does this stop, right? Barack Obama.

VIVAS: Barack Obama has -- it`s actually a controversial topic for
us, too, because we have discussed Barack Obama in our meetings.

At least that`s the -- in the coalition. We`re 50 to 60 people as a
core group. And we are technically opposed to the idea of Barack Obama
also just freely coming to our campus and being honored, when he promised
so many things and when he has also kept up many of the policies, and
worsened some of the policies, like the drone policies, that the Rice
administration, the Bush administration started.

HAYES: That is points for consistency.

Carmelo Cintron Vivas from Rutgers University, thanks for coming on.

VIVAS: Thank you.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening.

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

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>






Sponsored links

Resource guide