updated 8/4/2014 9:35:28 AM ET 2014-08-04T13:35:28

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
August 2, 2014

Guest: Basil Smikle, Jr., Sam Stein, Roger Cohen, Miriam Elder, Larry
Sabato, Brian Wice, Paul Butler

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI": Late night of voting
in the House and now the fallout.

Good morning and thanks for getting up early with us on this the first
Saturday of the month of August 2014. There was lots of activity in Gaza
overnight in its military conflict with Israel, we`ll going to get all the
details on that in just a bit.

But first we begin with a drama left off late last night in the rare Friday
night session with the U.S. House of Representatives with an extra day of
work, extra night of work for members of the House after Republicans had
failed on Thursday to pass their own plan to deal with the border crisis.
So they stayed into the first day of their vacation yesterday. It lasted
through the afternoon. It lasted into the evening and it lasted into those
very late night hours. By the end, there were tensions and there were
confrontations on the floor.

This was even one member who suggested that the president of the United
States ought to be placed in handcuffs. One of those bills that had
Congress approving $225 million for Israel`s missile defense system, thus
allowing Israel to restock its iron dome defense system which is
responsible for shooting down dozens of rockets during the three-and-a-half
a week long war. The bill goes to President Obama who is going to sign it
he said in a press conference yesterday that the missile defense system is
a way the U.S. can help, quote, "to make sure that Israel is able to
protect to its citizens."

And then there was the marquee showdown of the night. Two bills authored
by Republicans to deal with the border crisis. Two bills that Republicans
had wanted to pass on Thursday but they ended up having to pull from the
floor because the right revolted. Republicans reshaped those bills
yesterday to make them more palatable to the right and, one, they added
more money for border enforcement and also a provision that would make it
much easier to deport the children from Central America who have been
crossing the border in large numbers.

That vote came just after 8:00 p.m. last night. It was largely a party
line affair. It passed the House 223 to 189. And then came the second
bill. One republican leaders put together as red meat for their base, a
way of getting everyone on board with the first one because the second bill
deals what`s called deferred action. The decision of President Obama from
2012 to use executive action to allow hundreds of thousands of children who
were brought to the country illegally to stay. The dreamers they`re
called. That second bill last night was to stop Obama from expanding that
program. And then to phase it all altogether.

And this is where those tensions started spilling over. During the debate
Pennsylvania republican Tom Morino seemed to single out democratic leader
Nancy Pelosi by saying under her leadership the Democrats had a chance to
address immigration but failed. After he spoke an angry Pelosi marched
over to Marino to remind him the Democrats passed the Dream Act. She was
seen pointing her finger at him off camera in what was described in an
aggressive manner and later Marino walked over to the democratic side to
shake Pelosi`s hand and he told reporters his comments were not meant to be
personal but afterward he seemed to get in the last word on twitter
claiming, quote, "Rep Pelosi called me an insignificant person on the floor
of the house. I`ll ponder that for a while driving to Williamsport
tonight."

Michele Bachmann also stoked controversy, can you believe that? She stoked
controversy last night when she seemed to suggest during the debate that
President Obama should be handcuffed maybe metaphorically.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: What Harry Reid has the opportunity
to do is to come back and join us. We`ll be here anytime, any day,
anywhere, anyhow, we will join him here in August, September, whenever, and
he needs to put the other handcuff on this lawless President`s hands, so
that we can strain this president from granting amnesty. We invite Harry
Reid to bring the Senate back and put the handcuff on the President`s other
hand so that we can have sovereignty again on our southern border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And after she finished her remarks Bachmann was reminded by the
presiding officer to, quote, "Refrain from engaging in personal attacks
toward the president." Immigration measure passed in a close votes largely
along party lines and all in all this was a symbolic vote but it`s a vote
the Democrats hope to hang around those Republicans who supported it this
fall. Making them explain to their constituents why they wanted to do away
with protections hundreds of thousands young law abiding children now have.

President Obama called dismissed the bill as quote, "Partisan legislation
that will not address the problem." Harry Reid, the Senate majority
leaders said he, quote, "Can`t imagine a scenario in which he brings either
bill to the floor of the Senate with a vote and with that the house is off
on its vacation and here we are not on vacation this morning.

Basil Smikle, Jr., Columbia University, if it is your vacation it`s a
strange way of spending it. And I`ll say that. He`s a political
strategist. He`s also once aide to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton when
she was a senator. Kristen Soltis Anderson, a republican pollster and
MSNBC contributor, Sam Stein political editor, and White House
correspondent.

SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: First day of vacation.

KORNACKI: First day of vacation and look at this. I like to spend my
vacations getting up at 5:30 in the morning, too, so glad we have that in
common. So, I`m trying to, you know, figure out what to make of these
votes last night. I mean, on the one hand I guess the first thing I`d
start with is, and maybe, Kirsten, you`re good to answer this as a
republican, somebody thinking ahead to the fall, the whole idea here, right
this week for Republicans, they knew that whatever they passed was not
going to go anywhere in the Senate.

The President wasn`t going to sign it. The idea here was to be able to
say, hey, we passed something, we led, we tried to lead. I`m wondering if
just the way this all went down, having to pull it off the floor, 24 hours
of sort of recriminations and screaming headlines and people like me
saying, oh, my God, they are ruing it, do you think after it all went down
that way this week that anybody really takes out of this? Yes, Republicans
did something, or do they take out of this, that`s kind of messed up down
there?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they`re the ones that
stayed in town. And the Senate are the ones, they`re already gone home for
their vacation. So, in short, I mean, the House extended their session.
They somehow got it done even if it`s a bill that everybody doesn`t love.
Meanwhile they have an empty Senate chamber to send it to because Harry
Reid said, well, let`s just all go home. So, I mean, I think it was
important for them to pass something but what makes things really difficult
for Speaker Boehner is, you know, when he was thinking to bring that first
bill to the floor on Thursday and there were folks on his right flank who
were sort of bailing off the bill, he knew there was not going to be a
single democratic vote that he could rely on which is sort of why you have
the center of gravity in the house that is at the center of the Republican
Party and maybe even further to the right of the republican caucus because
Boehner can`t afford to lose very many within his own very broad range of
republican personalities in the House to get anything done because he
knows he`s not going to have any votes from Nancy Pelosi`s side of the
aisle.

KORNACKI: Well, that dynamic, Sam, maybe you can speak to that. Because
this has been the story for four years now, right? When the House goes to
pass something, it`s always, look, we`re not getting any democratic votes,
maybe two or three Democrats running in like, you know, western North
Carolina or something -- otherwise we`re not getting no democratic votes
and it always becomes this issue of, can they get something that 218
Republicans will vote for and they keep earning in to trouble with that.

STEIN: Sure.

KORNACKI: Are Democrats that off limits to them?

STEIN: No. I mean, I think Speaker Boehner had an option here or had a
choice, I should say. One was to push the bill further to the right, put
more money towards National Guard on the border, really crack down on this
2008 law that`s causing all the children to come up from these
noncontiguous countries or he could have tried to moderate the bill and win
over democratic votes and break the rule that says, you have to have a
majority of a majority. And I don`t -- as far as my reporting can tell and
I might be wrong but I don`t think there was ever a conversation between
Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi about whether or not there was a way to
cobble together votes.

Now, I grant you, I think that, you know, the House did pass a bill. A
spade`s a spade. They passed a bill. The Senate didn`t. They`re the only
show in town. But it came at a tremendous price. I mean, a really, really
tremendous price, which was a vote on ending Doca. This bill that would
allow dreamers to stay in the country. And we`re talking about 550,000
people who have taken advantage of this program who would now under this
bill, it`s never going to become a law, they would be deported essentially.
They couldn`t renew whatever they get to stay in the country. That is a
vote that`s going to really harm the Republican Party and anyone who has
ambitions to be president for a long time.

KORNACKI: Basil, that`s what I -- what I was thinking of last night
because I was remembering when President Obama first did the executive
action in 2012 to do deferred action to protect these young dreamers, Mitt
Romney was asked about it running against Obama in 2012 and it was one of
those situations you could see what an awful political situation he was put
in because he didn`t want to say that the President was wrong because by
saying the President was wrong he`s basically saying, yes, I want to deport
these kids. He didn`t want to say he`s right because the whole Romney
thing was, you know, he`s never right about anything. But basically you
have Republicans, the Republicans who voted for this bill last night, not
all of them did, but the Republicans who voted for this now have to explain
what Mitt Romney didn`t want to explain in 2012.

BASIL SMIKLE, JR., POLITICAL STRATEGIST: That`s right. And what I find
interesting is that they also were talking about the president using his
executive authority when at the same time they`re suing him because he`s
using his executive authority.

KORNACKI: Yes.

SMIKLE: But this to me, I actually look at this in a much more narrow
view. I believe that this is a pyrrhic victory simply because he wanted to
give in, he wanted to give his new leadership team something to hang their
hat on quite frankly.

KORNACKI: So, did they botch the first part of it. One, two.

SMIKLE: To me this is a very narrow thing. They knew this was not going
to pass and, frankly, even a democrat Congressman Kuer (ph) who has a
bipartisan bill with Senator Cornyn from Texas, I thought was probably a
good starting point for Republicans to have this conversation, but they
sort of turned their back on that as well. We talked about $3.7 billion
initially and it`s down to less than a billion. And it`s dead on arrival
for the president. But I do think this is at a tremendous cost to
Republicans. There`s no growing the --

KORNACKI: Go ahead.

ANDERSON: But I think that the context here is also important about what
they`re going on in terms of this August recess. It`s not necessarily a
vacation. They`re going home to their districts where they`re going to be
confronted by constituents in the town hall meetings who are going to want
to know what is being done to prevent this border crisis from happening
again. And if the belief, which I believe a lot of these republican
members are going to hear from constituents in their districts is, the
president`s action has acted as a magnet to bring people up to the country,
whether that`s true or not, that`s what they`re going to hear in these town
halls. And I think that`s what a lot of people don`t realize about August.
They think it`s a time when all of these members go away and nothing
happens, it`s when they are in their districts and it`s when they`re
getting yelled at in the town hall meetings. And that`s where I think a
lot of --

KORNACKI: Something that struck me this week, too, was this suggestion, I
think it was Dave Weigel who wrote about it in Slate. But basically, the
idea that a lot of the Republicans who maybe weren`t necessarily OK with
voting for this thing on Thursday maybe came around yesterday were
basically saying that they had the calculation, what do we exactly have to
lose here? Because we live in a country where people ultimately blame the
president for things. So, if we do nothing here, everybody says, we have
to go home and face angry constituents, well, constituents are going to
say, something is going wrong at the border here and the president isn`t
doing anything about it.

STEIN: Sure. Yes. And that was, from everything I got from the hill was
this sort of leading catalyst for why they took the second vote which is
that, a lot of the sort of more establishment members said we cannot
adjourn for August recess and say, we absolutely did nothing after weeks of
calling this an urgent humanitarian political crisis that we`d look silly
and, you know, credit to them. They do have something they can put their
hat on. But that`s not a recipe for getting laws done.

That`s a recipe for getting a political statement done and it`s telling at
the same time that they were unable to do this border bill, they were able
to call it reform legislation which gives you a template for how you can
get a law passed which is both sides actually gave up a priority. Both
sides gained a priority. They came together in huge bipartisan majorities
for a VA reform legislation. Again, that was the second major political
crisis, some of it had to get done. That one will become law. This one
won`t. We have two very different things there.

KORNACKI: And Bernie Sanders --

STEIN: Bernie Sanders. John McCain. Unbelievable.

KORNACKI: The socialist in Vermont at the heart of the compromise.

We have to turn now though to the fall over these new revelations that the
CIA has been spying on Congress. CIA Director John Brennan apologized to
lawmakers this week after an agency report admitted that CIA employees
broke into and searched Senate Intelligence Committee computers, that has
oversight over the agency. They were snooping on an inquiry into the
agency`s interrogation methods. When this came to light Brennan first
denied it and then asked the Justice Department to investigate the Senate
staffers. Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado and Martin Henrik of New Mexico
and now called for Brennan`s resignation. Republican Senator Rand Paul
joined them last night. Another republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of
Georgia has come to Brennan`s defense. And yesterday in his press
conference President Obama also defended Brennan. Much later, the
President made more news with this turn of phrase.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Even before I came into office, I
was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things
that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we
tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, that line got a lot of attention yesterday. Folks. I know
the president uses folks a lot. Just sort of just conversationally. But
just in the context of torture it seemed a little weird to people. Also
the context of this Basil obviously is, there is this report that`s going
to be coming out, the report that was sort of at the heart of the heart of
the spying -- bringing out supposedly all sorts of terrible details about
the torture program. What did you make of the president going out of his
way to say that yesterday?

SMIKLE: It was extremely surprising because he`s generally not that open
about it, frankly. And, you know, my guess I think, you know, we`ve been
talking over the last few weeks about this sort of progressive movement,
this movement coming from the left, and I think in a way it`s about that
quite frankly. It`s acknowledging that the country hasn`t made some
mistakes that we made some errors. He himself has taken criticism for his
support for surveillance of phones and such and an e-mails. So I think in
some respects, it`s a nod to the fact that there`s growing pressure from
his political left. But, you know, I -- my belief is that his support for
his director, I don`t think that that is going to go very far. Quite
frankly, I think if you hear a lot more cries coming out of Congress, I
think something is going to have to -- he`s going to have to move.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s what I`m starting to wonder about. Because there`s
sort of cross-party currents here, right? I mean, you have Rand Paul who
did the filibuster against Brennan. But there have been Liberals who have
been suspicious of this guy from the very beginning. When you get those
two sides working together, something is going down.

ANDERSON: Yes. I`ve always thought that the breakdown of the votes from
the Amosh amendment from back from a couple of months ago --

KORNACKI: It was first in the House.

ANDERSON: It was a fascinating vote because it did not split along party
lines at all. And you had similar numbers -- I think slightly more
Republicans on one side than Democrats but it really split Congress in a
very weird way that most of these bills don`t these days. This is not an
issue, that it`s simple right/left issue. And you`ve got, you know, in
both parties, a really interesting debate going on about what`s the
appropriate role for surveillance. What`s the appropriate path forward on
national security? What I think is really tough and what I think is going
to ultimately lead to CIA Director Brennan needing to stem down is, I mean,
the American people sort of have a bargain with the intelligence community
which is, we trust you to keep us safe but you need to do the right things
as well and time after time over the last few months there have been more
and more revelations that the American people have reason to doubt that
they can trust their surveillance community. And this is now one of those
things where it`s not -- did they do the right thing in defensive America,
they were spying on Senate staffers, period. And so, I think that when it
comes to the lack of trust is that the time when it says in need of
leadership change.

KORNACKI: He`s saying, if bloggers got access to this information in
where, you know, they`d be in jail right now. Quickly, we`ve got to get to
a break, but the bottom-line issue, how much danger is Brennan in right
now?

STEIN: I would say, a fair amount of danger. Obviously, it helps to have
the president in your corner. That can`t hurt. But, you know, if they
were a first-time offense maybe, that would be something that they can get
over. But this is, as you note it`s a recurring theme where the CIA just
seems is totally out of control and when they are actually spying on people
who are in charge of their own oversight, simply saying, well, he`s called
for a private investigation lead by Evan Bayva (ph) to make sure that, you
know, this doesn`t happen again, and that`s just an insufficient way to do
it.

And let me just say one thing quickly on the folks thing. You know, the
debate over whether -- it was proper to use the term folks is silly and
it`s stupid. Because we`re talking about CIA spying on the Senate. We`re
talking about uses of torture post-9/11. Those are serious matters. If
we`re going to divert discussion on those two to a debate whether the term
folks was appropriate in this context it`s a disservice to the public I
think.

KORNACKI: All right. Possible changes to the caucus system in Iowa,
everybody hates and everybody likes to talk about how much they hate and
changes we aren`t likely to see in the Supreme Court. We`ll get the votes
of those when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: In a flurry of interviews during what`s supposed to be her
summer vacation speaking of people not enjoying their vacation. Supreme
Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made it clear that she is not going
anywhere anytime soon responding to calls that she should step down. She
responded, quote, "So who do you think could be nominated now that would
get through the Senate that you would rather see on the court than me?" I
mean, 81-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not mince words about her future
during an interview of Katie Couric of Yahoo! News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE COURIC, YAHOO GLOBAL NEWS ANCHOR: Should the political climate and
consideration of your replacement be factors in your decision?

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I am still here. And likely
to remain for a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: This is -- I`m familiar with this story because it`s -- Supreme
Court justices tend to be older. They certainly tend to get old. That`s
what life will do. And so this issue comes up whenever they get, you know,
into their 70s or even past 80 and it really becomes a fascinating human
question about, you know, you feel vibrant and certainly mentally,
physically, you want to keep active and relevant and at the same time, you
know, just given the nature of the court, look, if your party`s president
is in power, good time to leave.

If the other party`s president is, bad time to leave. I was thinking like
Thurgood Marshall -- Thurgood Marshall appointed by LBJ went through all
the 80s, Reagan Bush and he`s waiting and waiting and waiting for a
democratic president to come there and he finally concludes about 1999 when
his health isn`t going to hold up enough, you know, it`s never going to
happen. You know, the Republicans are going to keep winning. So, 1991, he
decides to retire. Clarence Thomas becomes the new Supreme Court Justice
and Bill Clinton gets elected a year later and that`s just how these things
seem to work.

SMIKLE: And, in fact, when Justice Marshall was asked why you are
retiring, he said, "I`m old." It`s just that simple. And, you know, there
have been questions about Justice Ginsburg`s health but she`s still a
brilliant mind. And I think, you know, part of this is, of course, because
justices get confirmed with the Senate and there was a chance that the
Senate may become Republican so what does that do for all of what`s in
front of the Supreme Court and lined up to be in front of the Supreme
Court. But it looks like she`s still vibrant and she`s going to be there.

KORNACKI: Well, Kristen, let me ask, the point she raised there, too, was
bout looking in this climate. You know, Democrats had changed some of the
filibuster rules last year and we see Republicans this year on all these
ambassadorships blocking sort of the ambassadorships in revenge, does she
have a point there? If there were a vacancy right now, could President
Obama get somebody through the Senate?

ANDERSON: I think he could get somebody through the Senate, but I think it
might not be the exact perfect person that the President would want. I
think that, you know, we`ve -- it`s not as though this president has not
had appointments to the Supreme Court that have gotten through. I do think
that Republicans are likely to pick up some seats in the Senate. It would
be a tougher haul after November when Republicans do pick up a few seats.
But I don`t think that it`s true that nobody could get through the Senate.

STEIN: Hey, just appoint Scalia`s nephew.

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: That`s the thing to watch too, is I mean, right now we say this
climate, what happens if after November Republicans control the Senate in
the confirmation process. Turning now to something else we want to get in
here, how we choose the president. The Iowa caucuses are not just for die
hard voters anymore. The ones who have hours to stand around and switch
from side to side the room. There are new rules proposed by the state
Democratic Party in the first in the nation caucus state yesterday to
expand participation, for example, it would provide a new statewide
precinct, something called a tele-caucus from military service members.

It offers satellite caucus locations for elderly, and disable voters and
will push for legislations that requires employers to allow workers time-
off, to attend their caucus meetings as reported by the De Moines register.
Democratic National Committee rules and bylaws committee seemed favorable
when presented with these changes yesterday. Now I want my state to become
a caucus state. I want a day off in the middle of the winter.

STEIN: They should have a national day off for voting. It`s such an
obvious thing.

KORNACKI: Election Day is a holiday.

STEIN: I`m not saying full Australia and do mandatory voting, I`m just
saying, give people a day off.

KORNACKI: You don`t have the Bachmann strategy of let`s handcuff everybody
and bring them to the polls?

SMIKLE: You know, the president`s victories in caucus states
notwithstanding, it`s the most vexing process you can imagine and I`m glad
to see that they are actually expanding it, even states like New York
which, you know, reliably blue states, we`re still wrestling with one
another, we`ll have early voting, so.

KORNACKI: The caucusing drove, the Clinton people nuts --

STEIN: So little margin for error in a caucus because so many people don`t
show up. And just expanding the full potential voters helps people like

KORNACKI: And the Hillary, when there are these primaries, she wins New
Hampshire, he wins Iowa. And that`s where he got this big delegate
advantage. Anyway, thanks to our panel for right now, we`ll see you though
throughout the rest of the show. We`ll be back here a few minutes.

We have lots plan to head on other big news stories this morning.
Including yesterday`s bombshell report from the medical examiner`s office
in the NYPD chokehold case. We`ll also dissect the latest revelations in
the IRS scandal if it is a scandal. Before that, we`ll go live to Gaza.
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Overnight Israel continued its bombardment of Gaza in response
to the apparent capture of one of its soldiers by Hamas. Intense fighting
comes more than day after the planned 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire broke
down. Hamas` military wing says, it never captured the soldier and
believes he might have been killed during a battle with Hamas fighters. At
least 50 Palestinians have been killed so far in today`s fighting, that`s
according to Palestinian health officials. More than 1,600 Palestinians
have been killed since this conflict began almost four weeks ago now. Nine
thousand more have been injured.

NBC News Ayman Mohyeldin is on the ground in Gaza. He joins us live now
with an update.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Steve, let`s start first
of all with the diplomatic front. That`s the side that I think a lot of
people are hoping there will be some traction on. After the collapse of
the cease-fire yesterday, there were talks as to whether or not any kind of
negotiations would take place. The Palestinian side led by representatives
from the Palestinian authority said that they were still prepared to travel
to Cairo to participate in talks under the leadership of the Egyptian
government, but that would require participation from the Israeli
government. We are now learning according to local Israeli media reports
that the Israeli government will not be sending a delegation to Cairo
raising questions as to whether or not any chance at a cease-fire has now
been viewed.

The question is whether or not Israel will continue its operations
unilaterally and by all indications that is still the situation happening
on the ground. The main area of focus tends to be, as it has been over the
past 24 hours, the city of Rafah in the very southern part of the Gaza
Strip, it is there that Israel has been shelling very heavily and pushing
forward in and around the town of Rafah, forcing thousands to flee and
driving that death toll up almost by the hour. Now, Palestinians say the
Israeli military has entered the vicinity of the town ordering people to
stay home. They are calling it a massacre. But the Israeli military says
this is a rescue operation to try and recover one of its soldiers that it
says was abducted by Hamas militants.

KORNACKI: All right. Ayman Mohyeldin on the ground in Gaza. I really
appreciate the update. Stay safe. Thanks for that.

The cease-fire even if it had held for three days instead of just one hour.
That cease-fire was only ever intended to be a temporary break. Some time
for civilians in Gaza to retrieve the dead and to buy more food and
supplies before hunkering down again in the next wave of fighting. The
violence overnight has put into jeopardy peace talks that will take place
in Cairo this weekend, or maybe they will, we just heard Ayman Mohyeldin
about that. And even before these negotiations have begun now clearly in
jeopardy. A new poll conducted this week by an Israeli television news
network showed that 87 percent of Jewish Israelis support continuing the
Gaza operation.

Another survey said that 95 percent believe the operation is justified.
Ninety five percent. The approval numbers like those is it any wonder that
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel`s military
operation will continue. What is his incentive for agreeing to a permanent
cease-fire with that kind of support? At the same time amid endless
pictures of widespread destruction the conflict is causing some on the
global stage to rethink their opinions.

Jonathan Chait of "New York" magazine writing this week that Israel is
making it hard to be pro-Israel. His words there. He claims that
Netanyahu has marginalized the most moderate leadership that Palestinians
have ever had. If not squandered the opportunity for lasting peace.
Quoting him further, in this context, the campaign of Israeli airstrikes in
Gaza becomes a horrifying indictment. It is not just that the unintended
death of Palestinians is so disproportionate to any corresponding increase
in security for the Israeli targets of Hamas` air strikes. It is that
Netanyahu and his coalition have no strategy of their own except endless
counterinsurgency against the backdrop of steadily deteriorating diplomatic
decision within the world.

To talk more about that and more, we are joined now by Roger Cohen, he was
a foreign correspondent and editor with "The New York Times" and now a
columnist with the paper. He wrote about the crisis and the controversy
this week in "The Times." Miriam Elder, the foreign editor with BuzzFeed,
she joins us now as well.

Roger, let me start with you because you were one of the voices who weighed
in sort of similar to what we heard in that Jonathan Chait piece that we
quoted this week. I wonder that broader issue that he raised there because
I think to outside observers it feels like we get to this point every few
years where there are rockets being robbed into Israel from Gaza. Israel
launches a military operations says, it`s our duty to protect our citizens.
And, you know, to disarm these rockets and to get these tunnels, whatever
ends up being, there`s all sorts of civilian destruction. And then we sort
of repeat three years later. Is there a -- are we reaching a moment here
where people are stopping and saying, there has to be a diplomatic track to
this, too?

ROGER COHEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think we are reaching a moment but it`s
a particularly ugly moment. And the whole situation has become very
intractable, Steve, particularly with this apparent capture of an Israeli
soldier. I think Jonathan Chait`s point and the point I tried to make is
an important one, and that is, that Secretary Kerry as you know was in
Israel more than 20 times over the previous nine months. And I haven`t
seen anything that said to me that the government of Prime Minister
Netanyahu was serious about trying to reach out to Palestinian moderates.
The result is that this status quo continues. And part of that status quo
is this violence. Now, right now feelings are running so high on both
sides and you have 60 IDF soldiers or so dead. You have more than 1,600
dead in Gaza. And it`s fueled to a point where I don`t see how you tamp it
down.

KORNACKI: Well, so, let me pick that point up with you. Because those
numbers we read really jump out at you. You know, 87 percent support for
the operation among Israeli Jews. Ninety five percent overall saying this
is justified. I just look at that and say with that kind of support, I
mean, that`s the level in this country to give you an idea, and this
country, George W. Bush had that in the weeks after 9/11. And basically,
you can remember in this country George W. Bush basically could have done
anything with that kind of support, that`s what Netanyahu has right now.
And so, if there`s any international calls here for say, hey, tone it down
a little bit or get to the negotiating table, there`s no incentive for him
to do that, is there?

MIRIAM ELDER, BUZZFEED FOREIGN EDITOR: No, I think there`s no incentive at
all. It`s kind of two things we have to talk about. One is, you know,
global condemnation on a kind of human level of the killing that we`re
seeing in Gaza versus a real change on the diplomatic front. We`ve seen
some tougher language out of Obama. But I can`t say that we`ve seen any
real shift. The fact that the Europeans are really upset about this is
nothing new. I`m not sure that we`ve seen -- I feel like we`re seeing kind
of it`s the beginning of this idea that maybe Israel is reacting
disproportionately but I`m not sure that`s translated yet.

KORNACKI: Well, is there a shift? Are you picking up at all within Israel
when you see numbers like that, do you think maybe in the past, there would
have been more of a divide? There would have been, you know, more people
saying skeptically not sure the government should be doing this? Is there
a shift in Israel where they are becoming more hard line?

ELDER: Yes. Absolutely. I think the right has been growing more and more
and the left has been marginalized. And you have a government that`s been
kind of putting forward this line of security above all else and really
talking up the threat. The threat that does exist. But -- and just
understands that, you know, playing to these fears is a way for it to also
remain in power. That`s I`m also against these terms, sort of pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian. We should be talking about the government that`s in
power not, you know, Israel as the country.

KORNACKI: So, Roger, again, those numbers when you look at them, that
basically unanimous support in Israel and exists for the government and for
what is doing right, what does that say to you?

COHEN: Look, Steve, Israelis are spooked. These tunnels have really
spooked Israelis. If you were living there and thinking that some
militants could pop out of the ground at any moment and start shooting you,
look what happened in the Washington area at the time of the sniper. It
wasn`t necessarily rational. The chance you were going to get shot when
you went to a gas station were low. Nevertheless, everyone was spooked.
And that`s the feeling right now in Israel. There`s a feeling that there`s
an organization there which in its charter calls for the annihilation of
the state of Israel. And it has built a series of tunnels that have led to
a series of attacks that are causing what is close from what I`m hearing to
a state of rage and near psychosis in Israel.

And that is the feeling. That is the sentiment behind those numbers you`re
seeing. Those are extraordinary numbers in a battle or mini war where
you`re seeing as we know very uneven casualties. But Israelis feel that
this organization bent on its destruction is getting stronger, that no
state can live with these rockets being fired in day after day. And the
operation now which began on the ground has a momentum of its own. And
Secretary Kerry was not -- look, all he was trying to get was a 24-hour
initially cease-fire that would allow some talks to begin. He wasn`t even
able to get that. So, the fears many of us have had that this could
explode at any moment have been proved unfortunately to be right.

KORNACKI: Yes, John Kerry secretary of state being excoriated in the
Israeli media this week and those numbers I think explain sort of the
sentiment behind these numbers explain where that was coming from. And
thanks though to Roger Cohen from "The New York Times," BuzzFeed Miriam
Elder, I appreciate the time this morning. Still to come this morning,
today`s show is brought to you by the number 94. We`ll explain why, that`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: And we are now inside of 100 days until Election Day, the day of
the 2014 midterms, so we are quickly approaching the homestretch. And with
that in mind, we want to take a look at the lay of the land right now, 94
days out, 94 days from Election Day, can Democrats hold on to their Senate
majority? Can they eat into that 17-seat majority that Republicans have in
the house right now? What about governorships some big states swung hard
to Republicans in their 2010 midterm rout which ones are most likely to
swing back this year?

Good news for Democrats is that it seems like a republican wave like the
kind of wave that wiped them out in 2010 has yet to form this time.
President Obama`s approval rating has hung in the low 40s, well, the job
rating has sunk to the 30s in the states with some of the most competitive
Senate races, but even more unpopular are Congressional Republicans and
their antics this week might earn them even less trust from the independent
voters they need. 2014 doesn`t appear to have a defining issue so far like
the Iraq war in 2006 or health care reform in 2010 so it looks like it may
be defined by the map.

And here to help us talk about the map and to share his projections at
least from this point 94 days out, we are joined by Larry Sabato, director
of University of Virginia Center for Politics. So Larry, thanks for
getting up with us this morning. Let me just start with a basic question.
I want to try to get through a lot with you here. But, you know, we are
here the morning after the house got these two bills through last night,
the republican border bills. You had the whole fiasco on Thursday. In
terms of these midterm elections, in terms of the battle for control of the
house, do you think what we watched this week had any effect?

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Oh, I think all
these things have some effect because they end up energizing one group or
another or one party supporters or another. But we always have to remember
it`s early August and while you and I follow politics, every one of those
94 days until the election, there are an awful lot of people even in a low
turnout midterm year who are going to tune in September or October or even
election eve.

KORNACKI: And so, what do you see? I mean, we`re saying in 2006 we can
remember there was Iraq, there was republican corruption, that was
something Democrats made hay over. In 2010 obviously, you know, the
Affordable Care Act and the whole agenda of the first two years of the
Obama term. It really feels from an issue stand point a lot quieter this
time. Do you see any real driving or defining issues out there or do you
see, just overall, this as a quieter and unusually quiet midterm?

SABATO: I think it`s a quieter midterm. I`ve called it kind of dull which
you are really not supposed to do if your field is election --

KORNACKI: Or television, yes.

SABATO: This is not a 2006. This is not a 2010. You`re absolutely right
to say that at least so far we have not seen a wave develop. Now, I`ll
grant you sometimes waves develop in September, even October. I see some
whitecaps. I see a lot of whitecaps. And mainly those whitecaps are
beating against democratic buoys. Why? Because of the map. You mention
the map. You have to go, for example, to the Senate map. Steve, this is
the best map the Republicans have had since 1980. It`s somewhat of an
accident and a coincidence. It`s a combination of who decided to step down
and who`s running again and what the political nature of the states are
that are up.

You know, the Senate`s divided into three classes. This class of states
actually is by far the most republican of the three classes. Only half the
people vote for Senate this year. In the other two classes it`s two-thirds
to three-quarters of the people who vote. You`ve got no California in the
mix this year. No New York. No Pennsylvania. No Ohio. No Florida. So,
this is a very peculiar map full of densely red small states. There`s a
tremendous advantage to the Republicans.

KORNACKI: So, that`s the Senate side. I`m curious about the House. The
number of the Democrats need if they will going to get back the majority
from right now is 17 and we know historically very hard in the midterm for
the president`s party to gain any seats let alone 17. We talked to Steny
Hoyer last week on the show, the number two democrat in the House, he said,
no, we`re going to do it. The republican shutdown the government, there`s
going to be blowback. He said, we as a party, we`re actually out raising
Republicans. What do you think realistically if the elections were held
today, how do you think Democrats would be doing on the house side?

SABATO: Steve, of course, you know, I like Steny Hoyer, and partisans have
to be optimistic by nature. But Democrats would be lucky -- lucky -- to
hold what they`ve got or have a tiny, tiny gain, a couple of seats. We
have it at the crystal ball right now at least Republicans gaining five to
eight seats. They already have a majority. And you can operate the house
on a small majority. They`ve already got that majority. Probably, you
know, we see it going from 234 where it is today once you fill in the open
seats up to above 240.

Now, that can change somewhat between now and November because nobody knows
who`s going to be indicted next week and nobody knows who`s tongue is going
to be disconnected from his or her brain and say something really dumb, so
you never know. But on the whole, this is a very difficult year for
Democrats in the House, too. Look, Steve, you know this. Most of these --
most of the results for the 2014 election were determined in 2011 when the
lines were drawn.

KORNACKI: Right. True. And we`ll keep an eye out. We also have some --
we didn`t get to it today but a lot of governors` races but we still have
94 days left, we`ll find time to get to those as well.

My thanks to Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia. Hope to be
talking to you a lot during the fall.

And still ahead, the medical examiner`s report in the NYPD chokehold death.
Conclusions that will only fuel the controversy. We`ll talk about it,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: About an hour from now, the family of Eric Garner will speak
publicly for the first time about the medical examiner`s report on the New
York City man`s death. That report released last night declared Garner`s
death a homicide. It concluded the choke hold of an NYPD officer that he
put on Garner while he was being arrested was the cause of his death. The
report says that other factors, asthma, heart disease, and obesity also
contributed to Garner`s death. But be concluded that the chokehold proved
fatal.

The prosecutors are investigating the incident that Justice Department is
also, quote, "monitoring the situation." New York City Mayor Bill de
Blasio released a statement yesterday that reads in part, we all have a
responsibility to work together to heal the wounds from decades of
mistrust and create a culture where the Police Department and the
communities they protect respect each other. De Blasio promised while
campaigning for mayor to give a greater voice to minorities who felt police
had been targeting them unfairly.

The union that represents NYPD officers, the Patrolmen`s Benevolent
Association is standing by the officers involved. Released a statement
that reads in part, we believe that if Garner had not resisted the lawful
order of the police officers placing him under arrest, this tragedy would
not have occurred.

Back here to discuss where it is leaves New York`s mayor and New York in
general, we have political strategist Basil Smikle, Jr. also with Columbia
University, our resident New Yorker today. So, Basel, I mean, everybody
has seen the video, everybody has heard the dying gasps of this man and
it`s just terrible. The report concluding that this is a homicide
obviously caught a lot of people by surprise. But a medical examiner`s
report concluding that versus prosecutors actually pursuing something like
that versus actually getting some kind of conviction on those grounds
there`s a long way between there and there. Where do you think it`s going?

That`s absolutely right if you look back 20 years to Anthony Baez and the
case of his death at the hands of the officer Francis Livoti using an
illegal chokehold, it was a judicial trial. It was not a trial by jury.
Criminally negligent homicide. He was actually not convicted of that but
convicted on civil rights charges and he served I think six or seven years.
So, it seems like that`s sort of the trend. Unfortunately. Because the
community is going to call for criminal charges and I think they will come.

The question is, will he actually -- will the officers or anybody involved
in this will they actually get convicted is another story but the calls for
the criminal prosecution I think are completely appropriate. This man
begged for his life. And the cops -- and, in fact, the paramedics
essentially watched him die. And I think the mayor`s position was firm but
they`re going to be calls for him to do a whole lot more especially since
he sort of campaigned on ending stop and frisk trying to heal --

KORNACKI: This is his issue.

SMIKLE: Right. And tried to heal the relationship with the community. I
also want to add quickly it`s about race but it`s also about power and
authority and how that`s used in communities of color everywhere certainly
in New York City.

KORNACKI: Well, as we say the family will be speaking out today, so
obviously that`s the next chapter in this we`ll be finding out what they
have to say, that will be coming up very soon. Thank you, Basil for now.

SMIKLE: Still ahead this morning, why a federal prosecutor has issued a
warning to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a corruption investigation
swirling around him.

KORNACKI: And next, the latest on the Ebola outbreak as two infected
Americans head home for treatments. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Today, one of the two aid workers infected with Ebola in Africa
is arriving home to the United States for treatment. The second will be
coming home a few days later. Health officials stress the two will be
quarantined in a tightly controlled process at Emory University Hospital in
Atlanta. They will be flown here on a non-commercial jet in an isolated
pod and the plane will land at a military facility instead at Atlanta`s
international airport. The CDC has advised Americans to avoid all
nonessential travel to the countries that have been hardest hit by the
virus and the U.S. government has said it will send 50 more people from the
agency to Africa to help stop the outbreak. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: And we`re back now for another hour of news and discussion this
morning. In Gaza today, Israel has been bombarding targets in the southern
part of the strip, that area`s main hospital has now been evacuated because
of the strikes. At least 50 Palestinians have been killed in the
bombardment since midnight. Israeli military believes one of its soldiers
has been captured and the military wing of Hamas denies any involvement.
We will have more updates on MSNBC throughout the day.

For now, though, we want to turn to what many in politics believe is an
endangered and exotic species. They call it the swing voter. The last
presidential election, polling experts said that the share of voters who
were actually up for grabs was just three to five percent. In the Cook
political report highlighted a study this year showing yet again that the
growing legions of self-described independent voters really aren`t that
independent after all as Amy Walter explains, quote, "those who call
themselves independent may actually be closer to the views of the core GOP
or core democratic policy positions than even those who identify themselves
as a party member."

In other words, we like to say we`re independents but most of us just end
up voting always for Democrats or always for Republicans. So, given all of
that a new poll out this week caught my eye. It shows Mitt Romney,
remember him, with a nine-point lead over Barack Obama in a hypothetical
rematch. President Obama, of course, beat Romney by four points in 2012
and he`s never going to be running for president again but moods have
changed a bit in the last two years and probably helped Romney`s cause that
he hasn`t had to talk or do much in the last two years, so take that number
with a big grain of salt.

But, still, in that Obama/Romney rematch, Romney is now up by nine. And
then, put Romney against Hillary Clinton. And in that same poll, Clinton
crushes him by 13 points. So, what that means when you look at those two
results side by side is that in this case, there are actually a significant
number of people who say they`d be comfortable voting both for Romney and
for Hillary. Those would be real swing voters or at least that`s what it
looks like right now at this somewhat far-out point. So, who are they?
Who are these potential swing voters?

Well, they are mostly female about 70 percent of them are, the majority
identify as independents. The group that soured on President Obama but is
enthusiastic for a potential President Hillary Clinton. Figuring out who
these voters are and what motivates them is going to be key for Democrats`
prospects of keeping the White House. Are they loyal just to Hillary or
would they vote for a different democratic candidate?

Back with me is Basil Smikle, Jr., a former aide for Senator Hillary
Clinton. Political strategist, Kristen Soltis Anderson, republican
pollster. And Sam Stein, White House correspondent for the Huffington
Post.

So, yes, this caught my eye. I know, the look back in the rear view
mirror, Mondale might have beaten Reagan at some point. I don`t know,
McGovern probably beat Nixon during Watergate. So, you know, what do they
ever really mean? But it does seem, I am wondering looking ahead to 2016
because right now at least President Obama`s poll numbers, you know, they
are not that great. They`re not that terrible but they are not that great
either. And they would be in general an iffy proposition for Democrats to
hold the White House for a third term but then I`m wondering, does Hillary
Clinton bring something extra to the table by virtue of her, you know, sort
of her reputation, her image, her personality? Is that what this poll is
telling us? That generic democrat might be in trouble right now but
Hillary Clinton a different story.

SMIKLE: Yes, I think so. And I think, you know, it`s something that I`ve
mentioned on the show before. I think what voters are looking at is, yes,
we want somebody that represents our ideology but who also can get the job
done within the constraints of the institutions that he or she would have
to work with and I think when you look at that kind of candidate, I think
that`s why Hillary Clinton stands out.

Again, notwithstanding a lot of the pressure that might be coming from the
left. I don`t think that a lot of voters are looking at Hillary and saying
she doesn`t necessarily represent anything on the far left. But they also
want to know that, again, that there`s somebody that`s there that is --
that understands politics, that is willing to work across the aisle and
truly does understand how to use the power of the office and work within
the constraints of government that most people think is dysfunctional right
now.

KORNACKI: So, Kristen, how do you see this? I mean, the Republicans have
obviously been stepping up their attacks on Hillary Clinton ahead of time.
I mean, is there thinking on the republican side that look, if we can just
get her not to run, if we can just kind of get her out of the way as a
candidate, we`d be in great shape here.

ANDERSON: Well, she`d be extremely formidable. Frankly, if she doesn`t
run, who is there on the democratic side who would run? I mean, so in that
sense, it is a very appealing proposition to Republicans that Hillary
Clinton would not run. On the other hand, at the same time that she brings
a lot of big strengths to the race, she`s got very high name, I.D., her
favorables right now while they are slightly down since her book tours are
still pretty good. She also brings with her a lot of baggage.

I mean, the Clintons have been around for a while and what I think a lot of
voters are going to want in 2016 is they`ll going to want something fresh
and new. They`re going to want some change. And to the extent of bringing
in somebody who sort of represents the past is not bringing in change. I
do think that that leaves a lot of voters on the table. Now, whether they
are ideological swing voters, you know, I don`t know what the exact axis on
which this election will turn will be. But I think that for all that
Hillary Clinton certainly has some strengths. She`s definitely not
inevitable in a general election.

KORNACKI: Sam, I wonder, what do you make to the numbers?

SAM STEIN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, to the fresh and new element
and to the numbers as well, I think we need to, we can`t have this
discussion without talking about gender and the fact that she would be the
first female president is incredibly alluring to a lot of people especially
female voters but also male voters, too. I mean, this is -- it would be an
historic candidacy along the lines of what Barack Obama was. And so, I
think that is an incredibly alluring. But with respect to swing voters,
you know, it`s funny if we were in a parliamentary system, you would say,
there`s a diverse array of voters that are out there.

Because within each party there are factions. I mean, the Republican Party
has civil libertarians, Rand Paul types, the neo-cons. Democrats have the
anti-Wall Street types of which Hillary Clinton is not one, let`s be honest
about it. There`s sort of piece neck, the people who don`t want to be --
and so and so forth. And so, there`s a wide swath of ideology diversity
within the party itself. The problem we have is that we have a two-party
system, not a problem. But the system we have is a two-party system and
that means that you either have to show up and vote or not. And I think
that`s where you have so little crossover and that`s where you have the
three to five percent of voters is limited cross-section.

SMIKLE: If I can add to gender there`s always race. You`re seen sort of a
reverse migration of African-Americans leaving northern cities and going to
the south which is actually changing the mix of the electorate in states
like Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi. And I`m not saying that those states
are going to go blue anytime soon and it may not have any impact on the
2014 race but perhaps in 2016 you could see more activity by a lot of those
-- a lot of those African-American voters and a lot of I think --

STEIN: Just to button that up, well, let`s start from the first topic we
talked about which is immigration reform. I mean, the Hispanic population
is growing and growing and growing. And I`ve seen nothing from the
Republican Party to win them back over. If anything they have alienated
them further. So, you know, those are all factors about the voting base
that everyone has to consider going forward.

KORNACKI: I just wonder when we talk about Hillary, is there an assessment
of her now that`s different because of what`s happened over the last six
years? Even in 2008, you know, she was so vulnerable because of the Iraq
war vote. She was, you know, the Democrats just did not want to nominate
somebody who voted for the Iraq war and that sort of, you know, the sale
date has kind of passed as a political issue. So, in 2014, I wonder if
people kind of look at where we are right now. Even Democrats say, look,
this isn`t Barack Obama`s fault.

Democrats will say, hey, Republicans have just refused to do anything that
he wants and it`s total gridlock because the Republicans, even that, those
Democrats look at Hillary a little differently because that`s what she was
warning about, she was saying this is going to happen. Barack Obama was
saying, I`m going to bring Washington together. She was saying, hey, he
acts like the clouds are going to open, the choirs are going to sing, the
angels are going to come down, I know what it`s really like to fight these
guys, maybe it has more appeal.

ANDERSON: But the other thing that`s different over the last six years is
the sort of populace flavor has really emerged. And people are saying, you
know, we had the financial crisis, we feel like the middle class is being
gutted in America, and to what extent do people want to vote for a
candidate who is very closely tied to Wall Street and is sort of maybe not
from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party? So, while I don`t
actually think that represents a huge vulnerability for her in a primary
setting in a general election setting to the extent that Republicans have
the opportunity to claim a more populace mantle.

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

KORNACKI: Who is the anti-Wall Street republican?

SMIKLE: First of all, I don`t think she`s so tied to Wall Street. And
secondly, you talked about her baggage before. I would say it differently.
I think she is the most vetted candidate we`ve seen. There`s not much to
Hillary Clinton that voters don`t already know. And so that`s why I think
-- I think some of her language even if it`s not quite a populace of an
Obama in 2008, well, I think what she would be bringing to the table is a
discussion about incrementalism. It may not have to be this broad brush
in these large sort of national policy -- national bills to change policy
like health care bill and so on, but even within the institutions, even if
you govern incrementally that there are still policy fixes that you can
bring to the table that I think address those populace without necessarily
the broad brush.

KORNACKI: By the way, that hypothetical Hillary Clinton/Mitt Romney
choice, I am getting closer and closer to saying I think Mitt Romney might
run.

STEIN: No, come on!

SMIKLE: Limited reaction.

STEIN: I would bet you a doughnut.

SMIKLE: Why wouldn`t he?

(LAUGHTER)

KORNACKI: Way to raise the stakes. I`ll explain that another time. Not
just -- but up next we`re going to talk about these new e-mails from an IRS
official. Why was she cursing in them? Who was she cursing about? Do
they mean the investigations will continue? We will tackle all of that
right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: After all those hearings, after all the investigations there is
still no evidence that the IRS discriminated against conservative groups
applying for tax exempt status. But House Republicans are still determined
to prove there is. In the processed of all that digging, republican
chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp revealed new e-
mails on Wednesday showing former IRS official Lois Lerner`s distaste for
conserves, something that reinforces many conservatives` suspicions about
the IRS.

In November 2012 exchange, Lerner had this to say about right wing talk
radio, quote, "so we don`t need to worry about alien terrorists it`s our
own crazies that will take us down." On Friday, Democrats leaked an un-
redacted version of the e-mail showing Lerner was conversing with her
husband. So, while there is no evidence that the IRS discriminated against
conservative groups when awarding tax exempt status, now we know that the
division targeted progressive groups as well, now there is evidence the
person in charge of that division at the time ridiculing conservatives and
calling them all sorts of names.

Congressman Camp forwarded of the e-mails to the Department of Justice as
further evidence of possible criminal wrongdoing and asked again for a
special prosecutor to pursue the matter. It`s another way to keep up
pressure for yet another IRS investigation but it also shows where the
distrust and resentment that fuels the conservative movement comes from.

So back here with the panel. And that`s what made this so interesting to
me I guess is, I mean, we know everybody hates the IRS. But I mean,
running against the IRS, running against taxes and big government is a
particular thing on the right. And, you know, I`ve said all along I`ve
been waiting for and have not seen, and still have not seen any evidence
that there was actual targeting specifically of conservative groups. Let`s
go get them with the IRS, we`re going to take them out. At the same time,
I have to say, I can only imagine being a conservative and seeing e-mails
like this and finding out that somebody in the position like that, at the
IRS was having these kinds of exchanges about people who think like me and
believe like me.

ANDERSON: Well, I mean, it comes on the heel again of the e-mails going
this thing, the dog ate my home work and the hard drive crashed. And it`s
just sort of like a drip, drip, drip of things that make people
particularly on the right go we can`t trust these guys. And I mean, if you
look at the things that sparked the IRS scandal when it first broke.
Remember that it broke right around the same time that the AP scandal
broke, where they were sort of fed into each other where it was this
question of, is this administration taking special action whether it`s
going after journalists or they`re going after activist groups that have
been critical of the administration. Are they taking extraordinary action
--

KORNACKI: Right. It looked that way at the beginning but then it turned
out when it came to the IRS, there was nothing there.

ANDERSON: Well, no, but I mean, there were a number of conservative groups
who didn`t have their applications looked at for months and months and
months, they had to do things like answer books to be read and --

KORNACKI: I mean, there were liberal groups --

ANDERSON: Not nearly as many as conservative groups, so the question is,
how high up does it go, right? Was this just poorly intentioned bureaucrat
somewhere in the midst level which is making a bad decision or does it go
all the way up to Lois Lerner or a director from the administration.
That`s what conservatives are trying to figure out.

STEIN: I`ve done a lot of reporting on this, the be on the lookout list.
You`re right. There were more conservative mentions than liberal mentions.
But you have to consider the context, is this 2010, there was arrived in
the Tea Party and there`s huge amounts of Tea Party groups forming out of
nowhere. So, it would make a logical sense in that regard that you would
have people more on lookout for -- because they were newer and they were
fresher and they were more of them -- hold on a second.

ANDERSON: What they were asked of these groups were beyond the pale.

STEIN: Hold on one second. With respect to Lois Lerner, it`s clear that
she had some sort of animus toward conservatives. I think that`s without
doubt. And I spoke about this the other day. But I`m a little bit upset
about the way that the investigators have done this, which is they`ve
released redacted e-mails, sort of e-mails taken out of context time and
again. And so, while I was quite upset two days ago with the fact that it
looked like she was, you know, talking negative about conservatives to
fellow IRS officials the fact that she was doing it to her husband, it`s
doesn`t, you know, relieve any of the problem, but it`s a different
context. And I think, you know, the truth be told, I`ve talked to
republican lawmakers who have said very similar things about conservatives
in private or to, you know -- I`m a journalist. I`m not their husband
here. So, we have to consider these things in the context. I do think
you`re right in some respects but I think the case has also been overblown.

KORNACKI: You know, I do. The point that gets my attention with this,
again, is I still haven`t seen anything in terms of targeting, any evidence
there. I do imagine. I do think there`s a fairness case to be made. I`m
imagining liberals under a republican presidency even if it was a spousal
e-mail exchange, they would be very outraged and very suspicious and this
feeds it.

SMIKLE: You`re absolutely right. I think there can be a case made in that
context. And I look at this and say, there is no smoking gun and someone
can`t have a conversation with their spouse about what they think about
politics. We`re assuming that bureaucrats don`t have political opinions.
We imagine that they do. And I haven`t seen a smoking gun. This is a
manufactured scandal. And I`m loathe to even --

KORNACKI: I think in that case, they could have used Yahoo! She`s using
work e-mail to talk to her husband. Hey, you get caught up.

SMIKLE: And look, the IRS actually did subsequent to all of this relax
some of their rules so they are actually fast tracking 501C3 and C4 is now
to make sure it easier so this doesn`t become an issue going forward.

KORNACKI: So Chris, I`m curious, you know, where do you think this is
going? Do you honestly look at this and say you think this is going to
uncover some kind of grand conspiracy to go after conservative groups? I
can see the politics of this, too. I mean, hey, if you`re republican and
this is firing up your base because they hate the IRS and stuff like this
comes out and only, I mean, I can see the political benefit, but do you
really think there`s going to be a grand reveal here?

ANDERSON: I don`t know that there`s going to be a grand reveal. I mean,
it`s been really hard for a lot of these investigators to get the evidence
that they want, to this get the people to testify that they want. I don`t
know that in the end, we`ll going to see that there were some big grand
conspiracy or have the evidence that there was a big grand conspiracy. But
I do think it`s important for them to continue to press to find out does
this administration take extraordinary action when it comes to folks who
are going to criticize them whether it`s spying on Senate computers through
the CIA, whether it`s tapping the phone lines of journalists in the
scandals or whether it`s something like this. It`s all fitting into a
pattern that is disconcerting, it shouldn`t not be disconcerting to
Republicans, it should be disconcerting to anyone who believes that they
can criticize the administration freely.

KORNACKI: My message to conservatives is, be outrage to Lois Lerner for
talking about you that way. That I don`t think you were targeted.

(LAUGHTER)

Anyway, thanks as always to MSNBC contributor Sam Stein of the Huffington
Post for getting up this morning. And coming up, federal prosecutors sent
a stern warning to Governor Andrew Cuomo this week in a corruption
investigation. We will tell you why right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We learned this week that New York democratic Governor Andrew
Cuomo has lawyered up in the wake of new scrutiny by a federal prosecutor.
As you may know the scandal is now rocking the Cuomo administration.
Questions about whether his office interfered with an anti-corruption
commission he created when its investigation got too close to the governor.
There are new questions about whether that kind of interference may have
continued even after the publication of a three-month investigation by "The
New York Times" last week.

Several former members of the commission came out to defend Governor Cuomo
this week in the wake of that report and to deny that there can be any
interference at all with their investigation. U.S. attorney for the
Southern District of New York appears to find that timing suspicion. On
Thursday "The New York Times" reported that Preet Bharara sent a letter to
Governor Cuomo advising him that if his office was calling former
commissioners and asking them to defend the governor that that may fall
under the category of tampering with a witness or obstruction of justice.

U.S. attorney`s office has been following up on an investigation it had
started but hadn`t yet finished in to why the commission was disbanded
prematurely. "The Albany Times Union" reports that one of Cuomo`s top
aides personally contacted commissioners to make those public statements.
On Thursday night, the New York Daily News revealed that Governor Cuomo`s
office has hired a, quote, "prominent, white collar criminal defense
attorney to represent them in this case." Governor Cuomo`s office issued a
statement saying that they were just talking with relevant parties about
what they say were inaccuracies in how "The Times" story was reported by
other outlets. This is how Governor Cuomo attacked "The New York Times"
earlier in the week for drawing what he said was the wrong conclusions. He
says, the commission chair always acted independently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: He rejected the request. The rejection
is ipso facto a statement of independence because he said no. And he could
and he did. If you had watched the movie to the end, the name of the movie
would have been independence. You named it interference. Watch the movie
to the end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Governor Cuomo has enjoyed astronomical approval ratings
throughout his first term and he still does according to the most recent
polls. But how might these legal matters overtake his re-election
campaign? Could they?

To answer that we turn now to Brian Wice, criminal defense attorney to
politicians including former White Majority Leader Tom Delay. Among
others, he joins us from Houston this morning. And Paul Butler, former
federal prosecutor, now a professor of law at Georgetown University. A
team we like to call Butler and Wice and we like to call on them whenever
politicians get in the news like this and it seems to happen a lot.

So, Paul, let me start with you from the prosecutors standpoint. You`ve
worked in the U.S. attorney`s office and this is sort of extraordinary the
way this is playing out with the U.S. attorney here in New York sends this
letter to Governor Cuomo basically putting him on warning. The fact that
that letter got out, the fact that he sent it, it seems to me this is an
unusually aggressive step for a prosecutor to take.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it`s got to be aggressive.
Look, we have this commission that`s investigating this long, sordid
history of public corruption in New York. And incredibly there`s a public
corruption investigation of that commission and then we have a governor who
has made a big deal about how important this commission is, and then he
knows, the governor knows he`s being investigated for witness tampering and
he actually reaches out to witnesses and tries to influence their
statement.

KORNACKI: Right. That to me is the sort of extraordinary thing here.
Because we talked about this on the show last weekend, there had been that
story in the "New York Times" that looked at all the potential meddling
with the commission itself. That story ran and people said, whoa, Cuomo
might be in trouble here. And it turns out what we`re talking about now
is, forget anything that was in that story, maybe that was all legal, even
if it all was, what he then did in the last week since that story came
out, now there`s potential criminal liability there.

BUTLER: And that`s what this has in common with the other thing that we`re
always talking about, the Christie investigation, what is it? It`s always
the cover-up. So, again, I don`t think there was any real criminal
exposure in what Cuomo did. He started this commission, so he probably has
the power to end it even though it was weird how he did it all in the
middle and that`s one of the things that the U.S. attorney is looking at.
But what he does not have the power or authority to do is once there`s an
official judicial investigation, to try to disrupt that. That`s called
obstruction of justice. That`s called witness tampering, again, no proof,
we`re a long way from a criminal case but his lawyers have got to be
selling him sit down and shut up.

KORNACKI: Well, yes. So Brian, he has hire a, quote, "prominent white
collar criminal defense attorney." You as a prominent white collar
criminal defense attorney, let`s ask you, if you were hired by the Cuomo
team in this situation, what would you be telling them right now?

BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think you`ve got to tell them
rule one in the political playbook, when it comes to dealing with the
media, it`s the Hippocratic oath, guys, first do no harm. Look, this is
not the governor`s first rodeo. He`s political royalty. He`s a former
assistant DA, he`s a former AG, he`s got to know that by speaking up in
this context he`s not doing himself any good. It was unnecessary. It
didn`t have to happen. It was borderline Bush league.

These are seasoned prosecutors who are on the Moreland Commission they
would have spoken up, they would have had his back. But having said all
that, I think it`s interesting that the governor went to the movie context
because one of the movies that comes to mind is "Stripes" to quote noted
legal sage Sergeant Holca (ph), I think our buddy needs to lighten up,
Francis. This is not a situation where this sitting governor is going to
put himself in harm`s way. But make no mistake guys, it was clearly a
knuckleheaded move.

KORNACKI: So, Paul, if you`re Bharara, what are the next moves here and
sort of, I wonder when it`s this public, when it`s done in this public of a
way, is there pressure on Bharara now that he better show something pretty
quickly?

BUTLER: Well, you know, if he goes after the governor, the most powerful
official, state official in New York, he can`t do that unless you got a
good case. Again, it`s the classic public corruption rule if you go after
the king you have to kill him. I don`t know if he`s got that kind of
evidence now. What`s fishy here is that apparently folks made one
statement to the prosecutor`s office and then after Cuomo reached out to
them they changed their story. So, again, that`s something that`s got to
be investigated.

KORNACKI: Yes. And so, Brian, looking ahead, then, in terms of, you know,
Cuomo`s in a tough spot because he`s running for re-election right now,
granted the polls have showed this is a pretty lopsided race but let`s see
if this, if those numbers starts to change in wake of all these news.
These are questions that are going to be raised on the campaign trail
throughout the fall. How does he address them as a candidate for re-
election while something like this is playing out legally?

WICE: I think he`s got to subscribe to the Chris Christie mentality.
Look, I`m doing my best to govern the people of my state. There`s an old
West Texas expression, you know, I`m just a plow horse more concerned with
trying to pull this load with the flies buzzing around my behind. You`ve
elected me to do this job. I think I`ve earned your trust. Don`t let this
one snapshot of the movie ultimately impact the electorate`s perception.
But, again, it is a page from the Christie playbook of wanting to take that
victory lap. These guys would have had the governor`s back and it was,
again, wholly unnecessary for him to prime the pump.

KORNACKI: So we`ve got references in so far to "Stripes" to flies buzzing
behind people`s backs.

BUTLER: Sharknado.

KORNACKI: Sharknado. This is why we`re calling the Butler and Wice team
whenever politicians get in trouble. And they do get in trouble very
frequently. So, this is a story we`ll be following closely. We`ll have
both of you back to talk about it I`m sure. Always another governor across
the Hudson from him, too.

Anyway, Paul is not going anywhere, though. Thank Brian Wice. Paul has --
he has got some last-minute cramming to do in all this week`s current
events. Check those newspapers around, Paul, stay with us. We`ll tell you
why. That`s next.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I do hear that they named a street after Richard Nixon
and it`s appropriate kind of street because it`s a blank?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s a dead end Street.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Dead end Street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That`s a clip from the classic game show "Match Game," one of
the quirkiest game shows of all-time. We chose that particular clip
because we`re only days away from the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon`s
resignation as president. We`ll be talking more about that on tomorrow`s
show but until then we have just the thing to fix your need for news-based
trivia.

"Up Against the Clock" is the current events game show craze that`s
sweeping the nation. So don`t go anywhere because an all-new action-packed
"Up Against the Clock" is moments away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM CUTLER, ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center USA, it`s
time for "Up Against the Clock." Today`s contestants, she`s a giant in the
political world now. But her first job was working on the King Kong ride
at Universal Studios, please welcome Kristen Soltis Anderson. Since he
once had to wear a buzz light year costume at a Christmas party he soars
against the competition now, it`s Basel Smikle, Jr. He gave future First
Lady Michelle Obama a ride to his airport in a big green Oldsmobile when
they were both law students. Say hello to Paul Butler. And now the host
of "Up Against the Clock" Steve Kornacki.

KORNACKI: Ah, thank you, Jim Cutler. Thank you, contestants, thank you to
everybody out there tuning in at home for another action-packed edition of
"Up Against the Clock," our weekly current affairs quiz show. You know the
rules by now I think but we`ll run through them just in case. This is a
fast-paced news and current events quiz. We play for three rounds each of
them 100 seconds long. Questions are worth 100 points in the first round.
There were 200 points in the second and there worth 300 in the third.

And contestants you can ring in at any time, but a warning you`ll be
penalized for any incorrect answers, it`s a risk you take when you play "Up
Against the Clock." Also, there are two special bonus questions scattered
throughout here. We will explain them when they come up. Our contestants
will be playing today not just for victory but also for a chance to play in
our tournament of champions at the end of the season. To qualify you`ll
first have to win today, as always I will implore our live studio audience,
please, no outbursts.

Contestants, I will now ask you to put your hands on your buzzers. Are you
ready to play?

SMIKLE: Ready.

ANDERSON: Ready.

BUTLER: Ready.

KORNACKI: You sound ready to me. Definitely, Paul`s ready. Let`s reset
that one. Put 100 seconds on the clock. This is the 100-point round and
it begins with this, an ad tying gun violence to domestic abuse was release
this week by every town for gun safety. Gun safety group founded by --
Basil.

SMIKLE: Mike Bloomberg.

KORNACKI: Mike Bloomberg is the billionaire founder. Hundred points for
Basil. Hundred points tossed up question. The Ohio legislature is
considering a new specialty license plate with witness 2.0 printed on it
commemorating this return NBA -- Basil?

SMIKLE: LeBron James.

KORNACKI: LeBron James is going back to Cleveland. Hundred points to it
Basil. Hundred points tossed up question. This Texas headquartered oil
giant already the United States largest oil and gas company announced on
Thursday that it had grown profits by 28 percent. Call time. You`ve
probably filled up at an ExxonMobil station before. ExxonMobil. Hundred
point toss-up question. This prominent republican announced Friday that
he`ll resign from -- Paul?

BUTLER: Eric Cantor.

KORNACKI: Eric Cantor. Correct. Stop the clock, he`s resigning on August
18th, and exciting news for you Paul, that was our video bonus trigger
question. Because you answered it correctly, you`ll now have a chance to
add an extra 100 points to your score. It`s very simple. We`ve asked a
celebrity to read a famous political quote and all you have to do is
correctly identify who said that quote and we`ll give you an extra 100
points. And Paul, there is no penalty for guessing on this one so please
take a look at the video monitor for this week`s celebrity bonus question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINK MARTINDALE, GAME SHOW HOST: Hello everybody, I`m Wink Martindale and
since I know a thing or two about game shows hopefully I have this week`s
"Up Against the Clock" quote of note. Let`s go back to the 1964
presidential election. And it actually involves not one but two different
quotes. One is in your guts you know he`s nuts, that was the mischievous
twists the Democrats put on the actual quote which was in your heart you
know he`s right. The slogan of this republican presidential candidate.
Who is it?

BUTLER: Barry Goldwater.

KORNACKI: Barry Goldwater is correct. And Wink Martindale is proud of you
on that one, Paul. That`s 200 points for Paul Butler. Put the clock back
up on the screen and get it running. Here`s your next 100 point tossed-up.
It was revealed on Wednesday night that this former president is currently
writing a biography -- Basil?

SMIKLE: George W. Bush.

KORNACKI: Is currently writing a biography about his father. That`s
correct. Hundred points. Toss-up question, as Sarah Palin launched her
new website this week, SarahPalinChannel.com, this late night -- Kristen?

ANDERSON: Steven Colbert.

KORNACKI: Colbert bought the SarahPalinChannel.com. That`s correct.
We`ll see what he does with that. Hundred point question here. A line
used by Kevin Spacey`s character in "House of Cards" was actually stolen
from him with this incoming house majority leader claimed this week?

SMIKLE: Love that show, too. What`s his name?

KORNACKI: Time. It is Kevin McCarthy. He took the job this week and
promptly leveled that accusation. That brings us to the end of round one.
Let`s take a look. Basil out in front about 300, Paul, 200, Kristen 200.
Very, very tight game right now. This is anybody`s to win. We`ll going to
raise the stakes now as we move to the 200 point round. Another 100 second
round. But these questions are twice as hard and twice as valuable. Let`s
put 100 seconds up on the clock and let`s get going with this. The
National Labor Relations board ruled this week that this fast food chain --
Basil?

SMIKLE: McDonald`s.

KORNACKI: That McDonald`s right is technically a joint employer and could
be held liable for issues. Correct. Two hundred-point question. Bill and
Hillary Clinton are kicking off their August summer vacation this weekend
in what East Coast beach destination -- Kristen?

ANDERSON: Martha`s Vineyard.

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

ANDERSON: Oh, no.

KORNACKI: Famous for the summer haven for the top one percent. Basil?

SMIKLE: Hamptons?

KORNACKI: The Hamptons, correct. The confidence behind that answer. Big
swing there. Two hundred-point question on Thursday, hours after he was
videotaped twisting the arm of the House GOP staffer, this Alaska
republican congressman apologized saying he never should have placed his
hands on the employee.

SMIKLE: What`s his name?

ANDERSON: I -- I saw the video.

BUTLER: Yes.

KORNACKI: They all saw the video but --

ANDERSON: I`m not willing to buzz in. Already in the negative.

KORNACKI: Don Young of Alaska. He apologized, 200-point question. This
week Monica Lewinsky signed on to be an ongoing -- Kristen.

ANDERSON: "Vanity Fair"?

KORNACKI: "Vanity Fair." Hired her to be an ongoing contributor. Two
hundred points for Kristen. Back in positive territory there. Two hundred
point question. Disparaged by critics as the kill the gaze law this
country`s harsh anti-gay -- Paul?

BUTLER: Uganda.

KORNACKI: Uganda. It was ruled out by the court this week. Two hundred
point to Paul. Two hundred points toss-up. In his second trip to the
state this summer, Marco Rubio will be in Iowa today to campaign for this
republican Senate nominee -- Kristen.

ANDERSON: Joni Ernst.

KORNACKI: Joni Ernst. You better know that one Kristen. Two hundred
point question. Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife are on
trial this week for taking cash and gifts from a businessman who was trying
to promote what kind of product? Kristen?

ANDERSON: A supplement to help people -- I think some kind of vitamin
supplement.

KORNACKI: We will accept that, a vitamin or diet or nutritional
supplement.

ANDERSON: OK.

KORNACKI: Two hundred points for Kristen. End of the round. That`s gets
you up to 500. Basil still in the lead at 700. Paul at 400. This is one
of the closest races we have had yet and it will be decided in the round of
champions. The 300-point round. Very tough questions. We dim the lights
for dramatic effect.

BUTLER: Oh, wow.

KORNACKI: We put 100 seconds on the clock and we`ll crown a new champion
right now with this. Creating 6,500 new jobs, Panasonic announced this
week that it would build a new battery factory in the United States in a
partnership with this California-based electric carmaker. Kristen?

ANDERSON: Tesla?

KORNACKI: Tesla is correct. Three hundred points for Kristen, she`s into
the lead. Three hundred point question. More than 20 million gallons of
water flooded the campus of -- Kristen?

ANDERSON: UCLA.

KORNACKI: UCLA is correct. Another 300 for Kristen. Running away!
Former Illinois governor and ex-convict George Ryan said this week that 14
years is an excessive sentence for this man his famous --

ANDERSON: Blagojevich.

KORNACKI: Blagojevich is correct. George Ryan said too long the sentence.
Three hundred point question. When asked in a visit to Capitol Hill this
week if he`d ever trade his life on the baseball diamond for the halls of
Congress, this Philadelphia -- Basil?

SMIKLE: Oh.

KORNACKI: Time. I`ll complete the question.

SMIKLE: Oh, man.

KORNACKI: I`ll complete the question, this Philadelphia Philly -- three-
time all-star said, quote, "Never say never."

SMIKLE: I`m going to hate this. Unbelievable.

KORNACKI: Time. The pitcher`s name Cole Hamels. Three hundred point
question. President Obama lost some support in Hollywood this week when
this female mail star of "The Dark Knight" said quote, "I really believed
in him and I`m not sure what he -- Basil?

SMIKLE: Anne Hathaway?

KORNACKI: Incorrect.

ANDERSON: I should know this.

KORNACKI: Time. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Three hundred point question.
Allison Lundergame, Brian, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul will all make
appearances this weekend at this annual Kentucky --

ANDERSON: Fancy farm?

KORNACKI: Fancy farm is correct. Three hundred points. When the hill`s,
the 50 most beautiful people in Washington list was released this week, it
included this third term Maryland democratic house member, the first
African-American woman to represent Maryland in Congress. Paul?

BUTLER: Donna Edwards.

KORNACKI: Donna Edwards is correct. Three hundred point. Is it enough?
It is not enough. And Kristen Soltis Anderson with a stirring third-round
charge wins the game with 1700 points. Congratulations. And we have a new
champion, Kristen and Bill Wolff is going to tell you what you`ve won.
BILL WOLFF, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: As our champion, your name will be
engraved using the finest sharpie ink on the all-new stain-resistant "Up
Against the Clock" gold cup. You`ll also receive a DVD copy of the classic
1988 film "Cocoon 2: The Return," personally autographed by Wilford
Brimley. And you`ll get to play in our jackpot round for today`s grand
prize, a $50 gift certificate to quick meal food cart, Big Town Manhattan,
the only street meat vendor in the greater 45th St. area operated by a
former chef of the Russian tearoom. I had it for lunch today. Delicious.
Enjoy the meal and congratulations. Back to you, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. A delicious as ever prize package.
Congratulations to you Kristen. And you can sign the mug in a minute but
first, I have your jackpot question here for the food gift certificate. It
is this. Eric Cantor formally announced his resignation from Congress this
week. Before Cantor lost his republican primary in Virginia in June, who
was the last member of the republican leadership in the house to lose in a
primary?

ANDERSON: Ooh. Oh, I should know this. I don`t know the answer. I`m
losing out on the --

KORNACKI: You will not get that gift certificate for the cart but his name
Guy Vander Jagt. He was the head of the NRCC. He was defeated in Michigan
in 1992. But congratulations, Kristen, it still was an impressive victory.
You are in contention for the tournament of champions. Basil and Paul, I`m
sorry it didn`t quite work out, but you will both get the home edition.
Thank you for playing today. We`ll be right back to wrap up the show right
after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. There is more news coming in this hour about the
efforts to evacuate the two Americans with Ebola back into the U.S. for
treatment. The humanitarian group they work for says that the specially
equipped jet needed to bring them back is in the air and on its way to
Atlanta right now. And they have confirmed that Dr. Kent Brantly is the
patient onboard. The plane will have to return to Africa to get the other
aid worker in coming days. We`ll have more updates here and follow this on
MSNBC throughout the day. Until then, though, I want to wrap up the show
today with our panelists, with the contestants from "Up Against the Clock"
who just played. We want to find out what you didn`t know at the start of
this week that you know now. And Paul, we`ll start with you.

BUTLER: I know that Eric Garner`s official cause of that was homicide.
That means that when the police put him in that illegal chokehold and
slammed him to the ground, that`s what caused his death. So, Steve, we
know in New York a black man can be arrested for illegally selling
cigarettes. The question is whether in New York a cop can be arrested for
putting a black man in an illegal chokehold and killing him.

KORNACKI: All right. And Basil?

SMIKLE: All right. Some positive news coming out of Africa. A very
unique summit next week, August 6, which also is Jamaicans` Independence
Day, for my family out there. But the president is hosting this Africa
summit which will hopefully spur millions and perhaps a couple of billion
dollars in investment, there`s a new consume he class, a growing middle
class. China has been there for a long time making significant
investments. So, hopefully something will come others.

KORNACKI: All right. And Kristen?

ANDERSON: Drama in poster land. So, over the last week or so, CBS and New
York Times have released this big, groundbreaking 100,000 sample survey of
American voters for the midterms but this week has led to a little bit of
drama. The national organization that sort of governs standards for
polling has come out criticizing them for using sort of non-probability
sampling to do their work. You know, traditionally if you`re into
campaigns and you see these campaign polls, calling people on the phone,
asking them who they`re going to vote for. CBS and "New York Times" are
trying a new methodology and it`s leading to some interesting friction and
debate in the polling world.

KORNACKI: It`s interesting. And this is some I think people heard the
story this week, too, the news that came out of that study was last Sunday
there saying, they`re raising the likelihood of Republicans taking this 60
percent, based on that. So it is interesting now to see, we don`t just
have polls anymore. We immediately have the discussion about what was the
methodology and polls keep getting these things wrong too. I do just want
to say congratulations to Kristen as well. Because we play this game show
most weeks. This is the first time in the history of this game show that a
contestant has gone to negative numbers at some point in the game and come
back and won it.

SMIKLE: Yes!

KORNACKI: So, you had fallen in negative 100. There`s hope for everybody
out there. I think it`s a metaphor for life in some way. We can all go
into negative territory and come back.

ANDERSON: Glad to be a beacon of hope.

KORNACKI: And win out life. So, thank you for that great lesson, Kristen.
I want to thank all of our guests today and you at home for tuning in.

And coming up tomorrow, one of the quirkiest, one of the funniest, one of
the craziest traditions in American politics is the rowdy cheer and jeer
fest that takes place this weekend and every year in Kentucky at a place
called fancy farm. Political stamp speeches that are actually fun to
watch. So, we sent Perry Bacon down there to capture what happens down at
fancy farm. We will join us tomorrow with the highlights.

Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" and today on MHP, more
developments on these two Americans who contracted Ebola are being brought
home to the United States. Don`t go anywhere. Melissa is next and thanks
for getting up.

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