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All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
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ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
August 13, 2014
Guest: Jeffrey Mittman, Steven Lerman, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Brian
Beutler, Jonathan Adler, Lorella Praeli, Ryan Riley
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, we are ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand the anger, we understand that people
want answers. And we understand that we`ve got a problem.
HAYES: Tensions rising in Ferguson, Missouri, as local police
withhold details about Michael Brown`s death.
REPORTER: Chief, do you know how many rounds were fired on Sunday?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t.
HAYES: Tonight, the latest from Ferguson.
And the latest from Los Angeles, where outrage grows after police
shoot and kill another young black man.
Then, the escalation in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These 130 personnel are not going to be in a
HAYES: How does today`s White House announcement square with this?
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: No boots on the ground in Iraq.
HAYES: Plus, decision 2014 officially goes down the hole. And why
the debate has already begun over an announcement the president has yet to
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
An extremely tense scene at the moment as evening descends on
Ferguson, Missouri, and despite an assertion by Ferguson police that there
is no curfew, we are seeing images like this one, along with word that the
Department of Defense provided surplus military equipment to the Ferguson
police department as part of a program that distributes that to civilian
police forces across the country according to "USA Today".
This comes after another tumultuous wrenching day in Ferguson, the
body of 18-year-old Michael Brown was released today to his grieving
family, four days after he was shot to death by a police officer, and after
his body lay on the street for hours afterward. Police arguing they needed
time to conduct due diligence, and after an autopsy was conducted with the
results largely kept secret.
St. Louis County police release what they termed "preliminary results
of the autopsy of Michael Brown, that he died of gunshot wounds. Though we
know it was more than one, police did not release information about how
many times the teenager was shot or what side of his body the bullets
entered from. In fact, police will not release any further details of the
autopsy pending the results of the toxicology test. Those should be
available in the next four weeks.
Final and full autopsy should be available at that time according to
St. Louis County police. The result of the toxicology test performed on
the officer in question, according to Ferguson police chief, Tom Jackson.
As for the third apparent principle in this incident, Dorian Johnson
who says he was walking alongside his friend Michael Brown when it all
happened, and who claims -- the unnamed police officer was the aggressor,
St. Louis County police department spokesman Brian Schellman told "The
Huffington Post" that approximately 4:45 eastern time, authorities were
speaking with Mr. Johnson.
Last night, there were for the fourth day running, protests, reporters
on the scene near the QuikTrip, close to where Michael Brown was shot and
killed, have said the protest was largely nonviolent. Police have said
they used tear gas after bottles flew at officers.
Today, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson requested citizens to
peacefully protest daylight hours. This is a request only. There is no
curfew being imposed, and as long as traffic is not being blocked.
Protests are still at night, according to Chief Jackson.
The police chief also addressed rumors circulating among community
members about the identity of the still unnamed police officer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
TOM JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE CHIEF: An officer`s name was released as
being the one involved in the shooting. He was not the one involved in the
shooting. However, there were threats against his life, and so out of
abundance of caution, we weighed the value of releasing the name right now
against the safety factor to both him and his family and his neighborhood,
and we opted to postpone that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As a reference, the department`s continued withholding of the
name of the police officer in question. The one who shot and killed
Michael Brown. Chief Jackson said he`s planning to meet with Michael
Brown`s family, the local head of the NAACP and a representative from the
In fact, there appears to be or appeared to be a concerted effort by
Ferguson`s leaders to reach out to the community over the last 24 hours. A
town hall last night and again today, Chief Jackson suggested he wants to
turn around negative public perceptions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: What really breaks my heart, some in this community consider
me part of the problem. I`m going to change that, I want to be part of the
Race relations is a top priority right now. And as I said, I`m
working with the Department of Justice to improve that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And yet, tonight, at this very moment, images like this are
coming out, that is a sniper atop the SWAT vehicle, pointing his gun in the
direction of protesters. Images like this, that is where things stand
right now, four days after Michael Brown was killed. As the community
continues to demand answers, as night begins to fall on Ferguson Missouri,
And joining me now from the scene is MSNBC.com national reporter,
Trymaine Lee, who is in Ferguson tonight.
Briefly unable to get to that counter position, I`m glad to see you
there, Trymaine. And tell me, what is it like on the ground there right
now? What do you see?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM NATIONAL REPORTER: I tell you what, Chris,
last night and all day, people have been asking for peace, and hoping for a
smooth transition into this evening. We didn`t get that tonight.
A SWAT team has assembled to block off the street. What began as a
very peaceful protest ended with an impromptu sit-in by a state senator,
Maria Chappelle Nadal, saying sit down for Michael Brown. So, protesters
joined her, blocking the street.
Then, the police brought the big apparatus, started demanding that
people disperse. The crowd kind of dug in. And so, they started to
separate the crowd. They arrested the first man I saw, was an older man in
-- on crutches.
The second was a young lady who was yelling at a police officer, and
so they were hoping for a smooth transition, they`re not getting it.
Authorities asked that if people wanted to protest and hold a prayer vigil,
they do it during the daytime. That`s what they attempted to do.
But police officers, as well mannered as they have been, have been a
divisive measure in this community. A few blocks away, where I was stuck,
the community is asking, why can`t we peacefully assemble? They`re saying
disperse, go to your homes.
And so, the tension is still thick. You heard a band in the
background. There`s a church group trying to keep morale high.
On the other side, you have a bunch of still angry, still seething
young people, who don`t understand why they can`t voice their opinions
about what`s going on. So, it`s anything but smooth right now, Chris.
HAYES: I have to say, the images that we`re showing right now -- I
mean, we see about five or six dozen officers in military camouflage,
wearing combat boots, holding assault weapons, and often assault weapons
like you see right there on the top of that vehicle pointed in the
direction of, if I`m not mistaken, citizens peacefully, nonviolently
assembling in the middle of the street, is that correct?
LEE: Oh, Chris, where I was standing, there was a middle-aged
gentleman walking to his home with his kid in his hand. They had their
rifle trained right on him.
I was about 100 feet away. Every time I tried to step close, to let
him know I was trying to get through, and they said, disperse, go to your
home, with their rifles raised. And so, again, if they`re trying to ease
tension, if they`re trying to build good rapport with the community right
now, it`s not going so well.
HAYES: It is very difficult to understand why anyone is pointing any
weapons at anyone, frankly. I have to say, but particularly --
LEE: I`m not sure. I mean, again, they said today they were supposed
to be able to assemble peacefully during the daytime. Night hasn`t fallen
HAYES: And particularly given the fact that you today had an
exclusive interview with the chief of police of Ferguson, Missouri, in
which he sounded quite reasonable, quite contrite, he sounded like his main
priority was to ease community tensions. What was that conversation like,
and how do you square the conversation with what is happening, not 100 feet
from where you are?
LEE: Talking to the police chief last night, looking into this man`s
eyes, and him looking into my eyes. I believed him, he`s saying that he`s
wanting to -- he said he`s been here all his life. He had been on the
county police force for 31 years, the chief of Ferguson for four years, he
seemed honest and willing and wanted the community to heal.
What we see tonight, it`s bigger than the chief of Ferguson, as you
know, the county police have taken over the investigation, the federal
authorities are keeping an eye out, it`s much bigger than that police
chief. But again, if they hope to have some semblance of peace tonight,
some semblance of calm, I`m not sure if this is the way to do it, that`s
not working out well with the people in this community.
HAYES: We should note that the vehicles as far as I`ve seen in the
footage, the vehicles that are there, the big armored personnel carriers
and SWAT vehicles are marked with St. Louis county police, it is, I
believe, am I correct that it is St. Louis County police that have taken
over the investigation of Michael Brown`s death, it also seems, taken over
the response to protesters in Ferguson?
LEE: Which seems kind of like it`s a mixed bag here, so on one hand
they`re protecting barriers, they`re creating perimeters and they`re
pushing back against some protesters, saying -- hurling expletives at them.
On the other side, they`re in charge of this investigation, with so
many layers and complexities to this case, and as we know, everything is
hanging in the balance of this community. People are demanding and wanting
charges, and then a persecution. We`re far from that, Chris, but as we
know, this is a serious situation, and every single moment, every single
day is getting more complicated.
HAYES: So, we`ve seen -- there were two events last night, there`s
one at a church near Ferguson, there`s one in a nearby suburb, that both
police chief and the governor attended. Is there any sense? It seems to
me in the absence of information, in the absence of information about who
this police officer was, the ability to see if he has a record, the absence
of information about the autopsy, that it`s going to be very hard to
satiate people`s thirst for justice and answers with any kind of talk from
officials if that information isn`t being given over. Is that your sense
from talking to people there?
LEE: Oh, certainly, Chris. The longer they drag their feet on this,
there`s the appearance that they are trying to hide something and cover
something up. Especially in the last couple days, that I spoke to Dorian
Johnson, the witness who stood within feet of Michael Brown`s the shooting
that killed Michael Brown.
And he details how Michael Brown was shot in the back, that`s a key
piece of this case. When you talk to anyone in the community, they have
ideas, or rumor or bits of fact, that part sticks with him. They feel that
this young man was shot and killed like an animal and left in the street.
And so, at least, we know they know that they know the results of the
preliminary autopsy, the people don`t know, and we don`t know this
officer`s name. As you said, we don`t know his history. And so until we
get to that point, Chris, there`s still so many more questions and answers.
But day by day, as we`ve seen every single night, the situation here
is growing increasingly tense. So, we`ll see, Chris.
HAYES: I`ve been seeing also some reports, one of the aspects here is
in terms of the perception that there is something to hide, whether or not
that is an accurate perception, the perception has partly been furthered by
actions that seem to be targeted at the press reporting about this, you
were blocked briefly from getting to the camera position, I`m seeing
reports on social media of press possibly arrested outside of McDonald`s, a
reporter I know was asked for ID in that McDonald`s.
Is there a sense of reporters there that police are trying to make
sure they control them, and control what they see?
LEE: At least controlling the circumstances, so whether they are
trying to cover something up or protect people, or at least just be a
barrier between the press and images they don`t want us to see. When folks
are sitting down the motor road, and people are saying, let`s leave,
because they thought they were showing off for the cameras. The other
said, no, keep the cameras on.
The State Senator Nadal said, you know, if they`re going to tear gas
us, tear gas us during the day, let the cameras capture it. So, again,
whether it`s a concerted effort or not, this is the appearance.
When you`re in these type of circumstances, Chris, and no one has any
answers, they`re left to their own devices to try to figure out what the
truth is. They get a piece here, a piece there. It`s dangerous, Chris.
HAYES: That danger I think was struck me by something I saw reported
by "The Washington Post`s" Lesley Lowry, who`s also there and has been
doing some excellent work as well. And we saw it addressed by the police
chief, which is that a name had begun to circulate in the community of who
this officer is. Obviously, that`s the question on everyone`s mind.
It`s not a large force. It`s I believe 55 officers. It`s not even a
particularly large town. And it does seem like the longer you keep that
withheld, the more you create a vacuum into which rumor will naturally
LEE: Oh, naturally.
But again, and not to necessarily credit law enforcement`s efforts,
but to release this name now, there are some very angry people in this
community. Now, we shouldn`t assume that the people in this community
would resort to violence against this officer.
But again, this is a very tense, a very racially fraught situation.
So, I understand they want to keep it guarded. But again, part and part it
seems like they`re building this quilt between the people and the truth.
And so, the police chief last night said he wants what everyone else
wants, he wants the truth, and everyone wants justice, whatever that means
to whichever side you`re on. But until we get some information, until the
people get some information, and the press, that we can scour over it and
analyze it and see what`s going on, this situation will grow more and more
dire, I believe.
HAYES: Trymaine, I want you to stay with me, we have you live at the
Joining me now is Jeffrey Mittman. He`s executive director of the
ACLU of Missouri.
Mr. Mitman, my understanding is that yesterday, your office ACLU
Missouri filed under the Sunshine Laws of Missouri, a request for the
incident report that would presumably contain the name of the police
Do you think there`s a strong public right to know who this officer is
at this point?
JEFFREY MITTMAN, ACLU MISSOURI: Chris, absolutely. And again, thank
you for letting us share what we`ve done. The ACLU believes that in this
situation where the public is tense and needs to know that the rule of law
is being followed, we must start with the police doing the right thing.
And that is following our Sunshine Law.
It sets forth that the government works for the people. One way we
keep a check and balance on the government is by having information on what
they`re doing. It`s absolutely clear in our Sunshine Law, that an incident
report like this is a public record. We have asked the St. Louis County
Police and the Ferguson City Police to turn it over, so the community can
see we are starting this investigation on the right path, a lawful path.
HAYES: What do you say to those like the police chief and Trymaine
just a second ago, who say there may be a legitimate cause for concern
about the safety of that officer if his name were released?
MITTMAN: You know, there are always reasons to not follow the law, to
suspend the Constitution, to not true to our American values.
Again, what you heard in the reporting tonight, we had to write
another letter today to the chief of police of Ferguson, telling him that
his statement about protecting First Amendment Activity is wrong.
So, you can always find excuses. It`s at times of crisis where we as
Americans have to follow the rule of law, and have to honor the values of
our Constitution. There`s never a good excuse for the government to act
HAYES: The ACLU Missouri also had some thoughts today in a letter
directed to Ferguson County police about the way they`ve handled protests,
do you believe that the way that Ferguson Missouri is handling protests and
handling protests at this moment, I mean, right where Trymaine is, is
essentially a proper enforcement -- a proper protection of the First
Amendment rights to peaceably assemble of those in question?
MITTMAN: Chris, absolutely not. From what we`ve seen, the chief of
police would understand that he may have gone back and revised that in his
written -- his verbal statements, but he written statement and the actions
that your reporters are talking about are absolutely violations of the
Here`s the problem, if the police are doing through intimidation or
the chief of police is doing through a hint or a, quote-unquote, "request",
what is forbidden by the Constitution, that`s problematic. To intimidate
reporters, to intimidate protesters, to ask for, quote-unquote,
"respectful" protests is absolutely improper, we are calling on the chief
of police to make a clear and unequivocal statement to advise his officers
that the First Amendment will be respected.
Protesters have the right to gather at nighttime. They have the right
to be on the streets and sidewalks in a respectful manner and an
unrespectful manner, as long as they are peaceful.
HAYES: Trymaine, my sense is that the argument made by Chief Jackson
is that the protesters in the street, like what we`ve seen outside that QT,
which has become a kind of rallying point, that that essentially obstructs
It also strikes me that you could just make a judgment that you`re
just going to let folks peaceably assemble in the middle of the street, and
on the whole, life will go on.
LEE: Or the idea that you can assemble, period.
At this point, there`s a sense that they can`t assemble peaceably on
the sidewalk, in the street, they can`t peaceably assemble. And the
problem is, I spoke to one young person earlier who said, we`re waiting for
this moment. And so, for them to get an opportunity to express themselves
one way or another, with peace or not peace, that`s what`s hanging in the
I think it would be important for the law enforcement to tread
HAYES: So, Trymaine, just so I understand you, after a day in which
the message was from Ferguson County Police Chief Jackson, that you can
peaceably assemble in daylight hours on the sidewalk, you were saying even
people who have huge to those constraints, who have peaceably gathered on
sidewalks in daylight hours are being dispersed by the police there?
LEE: Oh, certainly. Again, the sit-in on the ground with the state
senator, there was one group who decided to sit down, there was another
group who said let`s go, let`s march, peaceably, respectably.
And so, after the groups kind of separated, there`s a whole chunk of
people trapped on Canthill Road, not far from where the young man was
killed, right behind me, over that direction.
And so, they`re still stuck there. I was able to get to the line, but
those people are still there, a dozen of people still stuck on the side.
Women -- older women saying, I`ve been here all my life, I can`t express
myself. Young people are already seething with anger, saying, we can`t
assemble during the daytime, what`s going to happen at night.
So, again, even though they`ve called for peace and they made this
suggestion, strong suggestion that if you want to gather, you gather during
the daytime. The sun has not set yet and they`re not allowing people to do
that. Again, a piece of the protest still here who are separated, the
other half is still on the other side of the street.
HAYES: MSNBC.com national reporter Trymaine Lee, and Jeffrey Mittman
from the ACLU of Missouri -- gentlemen, thank you both opinion.
MITTMAN: Thank you.
LEE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: OK. There`s lots more news tonight, including another young
black man shot dead by police in a story the outlines of which look very
troubling. We`re going to talk to the family`s attorney ahead. So, don`t
HAYES: This weekend, a mother in Los Angeles read about the tragic
case of Mike Brown being shot and thanked the Lord that it was not her son.
On Monday, she was informed her son was killed by the LAPD. We will talk
to the family`s attorney for his first television interview, toe get the
HAYES: In the midst of national outrage over the shooting death of
the unarmed teenager of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri,
comes news from Los Angeles of another case of a young black man shot,
killed, by the LAPD.
KTLA in Los Angeles, reporting that Ezell Ford died after being shot
by police conducting a, quote, "investigative stop. "
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Police say shortly after 8:00 Monday night, LAPD officers
tried to stop Ford who was walking along the sidewalk in the 200 block of
West 65th street when a struggle ensued. However, witnesses who saw police
stop Ford and fatally shoot him, say that is not how it went down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: "The Huffington Post" had a great report today, quoted an
eyewitness to the shooting, who`s police had Ford in the corner and were
beating him up, busted him up, for what reason I don`t know. He didn`t do
The next thing I hear, I know, I hear pow while he`s on the ground.
They got the knee on him, and I hear another pow, no hesitation, and then I
hear another pow three times.
KTLA reporting, Ezell Ford`s mother told them, quote, "Her son was
lying on the ground and complying with the officers commands when he was
shot three times."
LAPD has released little information, even about some of the most
basic details of the incident. They have not even publicly confirmed the
identity of the man, Ezell Ford, who was shot and killed, issuing only a
brief press release, with this description of the incident, quote, "During
the stop a struggle ensued which resulted in an officer involved shooting.
It is unknown if the suspect has any gang affiliations."
That speculation in that report, based as far as we can tell, we don`t
ALL IN contacted the LAPD to ask some follow-up questions, why was
Ezell Ford stopped in the first place? Was Ford armed at the time of the
incident? Their response was, quote, "If it`s not on the news release, we
don`t have that information."
That information we asked for is not in the news release. Los Angeles
County district attorney`s office will investigate the shooting, which is
standard practice. Meanwhile, friends and family members have taken to
Facebook to organize a protest rally in front of the LAPD headquarters,
slated for 3:00 p.m. this Sunday.
And joining me now is Steven Lerman. He`s attorney for the Ford
family. He was also the attorney for Rodney King and King`s civil rights
suit against the LAPD.
Mr. Lerman, there`s a lot of details we don`t know. I guess the first
is to ask, who was Ezell Ford, there`s some sense in which he may have been
struggling with mental issues? I heard that reported.
Do you know the conditions under which he was stopped?
STEVE LERMAN, ATTORNEY FOR FORD FAMILY: The conditions under which he
was stopped are not known at this time. I don`t engage in speculation. I
don`t engage in theory.
We have an investigation ongoing from my office to determine exactly
what happened, and get competent witness statements from anyone who may
have seen what happened or even heard what happened. I do know that young
Ford was not a gang member, was not a violent person, he was a loving son
of Mr. and Mrs. Ford.
HAYES: Yes, please?
LERMAN: No, as far as any allegation that he might have had an
argument with an officer or he might have done anything provocative or was
attempting to flee from the crime, that`s complete nonsense.
I spent hours today consoling words with his mother, his father, his
mother is completely tormented, this rage that has swept across the
country, New York, St. Louis and now here, back in Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, we know all too well what happens when something like
this explodes in the community. We don`t want a riot, we don`t want
sharpshooters. What we want right now is peace and understanding.
Moving forward with the federal civil rights lawsuit immediately,
justice will come to this family in federal court, not on TV.
HAYES: Do you know whether Mr. Ford, young Mr. Ford was armed?
LERMAN: No, no, no, no, he was not armed. He was mentally
challenged. This is not the person that`s lurking behind a corner with a
gun, he`s not a gangbanger. Walking down a city street, a citizen of Los
Angeles, walking down a city street unarmed at 8:00 on a Monday night. I
can`t think of a more innocent circumstance.
But to be set upon by these officers who absolutely lost control and
went to deadly force. This young man, what kind of fight could he have put
up? Really, this is as sickening as it is sad.
HAYES: Have you had any contact from the LAPD? We`ve been trying
very hard to get any further details. There have been very few details
have he leased. Have you been able to get any details from them, any open
lines of communication with the LAPD?
LERMAN: No, I`ve been practicing over 40 years here in Los Angeles,
and Rodney King was not my first and tragically not my last case involving
LAPD. But the investigation which is now being conducted, actually follows
the so-called profiled officer involved shooting, and the compilation of
what is called a murder book the difference between the LAPD investigating
a case where someone who was a suspect and might have been involved in a
shooting, the investigation wants to paint a brush of guilt over that
Whereas, when there`s an investigation into the officer`s conduct, the
exculpation -- that is so say, removing the guilt from that officer takes
place. And right now, that officer is with the police protective league,
he`s with internal affairs, and they`re getting their stories together.
And the sad thing about this, the truth may never be known, because I
wasn`t there. The witnesses who were there, so they`ll get their testimony
in court, and this case is very serious, because the mother, the father,
they don`t want protests, they don`t want violence. They don`t want blood
on their hands for inciting the kind of riot that`s happening in St. Louis,
and that obviously happened to some extent in New York.
But this is Los Angeles. And this is a city that was torn apart 20
years ago, when my client Rodney King was beaten savagely, by LAPD
officers, the officers were acquitted, although -- I`m sorry?
LERMAN: Well, the King case as you can see was an unbelievable
tragedy because it was videotaped. This case is as much of a tragedy,
although we don`t know that there is a videotape. There may be cell phone
video of this horrifying incident.
HAYES: Ford family attorney, Steven Lerman -- thank you so much.
LERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: There`s late breaking news to report on the situation in Iraq
tonight. More ahead.
HAYES: Breaking news from Ferguson at this moment is intense stand-
off between police and protesters continue. Ferguson-Florissant School
District has announced about an hour ago, "The decision has been made to
cancel school on Thursday August 14th and Friday August 15th in response to
concerns expressed by many about continuing unrest in our community.
In order to allow additional time for the situation to stabilize, and
for all our students and their families to resume normal routines, we will
reschedule the first day of school for Monday August 18th. We believe that
this change will help ensure a strong start to the new school year."
We are also receiving some troubling but as yet unconfirmed reports
that two journalists have been arrested. It seems from the Twitter feeds
of Wesley Lowery, "The Washington Post" and Ryan Riley of "The Huffington
Post." It may be those two who have been arrested. That is as yet
There is a photo of one man being put into a van being handcuffed.
That photo released by John Swaine, a reporter who is on the ground there
with the guardian U.S. We will bring you updates about that. If it is the
case, it would represent a massive escalation in Ferguson`s polices
approach toward handling the press. We will continue to monitor the
situation. Stay with us.
HAYES: All right, we also have breaking news from Iraq tonight. The
siege of Mount Sinjar is over according to U.S. defense officials, who told
"The New York Times." And, United States airstrikes and Kurdish fighters
had broken the siege on Mount Sinjar allowing thousands of Yazidis trapped
there to escape.
Earlier today, a group of marines and Special Forces landed on the
mountain range where the Yazidis, a religious sect persecuted by the ISIS
militants, where they had fled those ISIS fighters attempting to wipe them
straight out of existence. The advisers had landed to assess the
possibility of a large scale rescue mission. The White House had not ruled
out American boots on the ground as part of that mission.
But, in a statement released within the last hour, Pentagon spokesman
said, "The team has assessed. There are far fewer Yazidis on Mount Sinjar
than previously feared. Yazidis who remain are in better condition than
previously believed and continue to have access to food and water that we
have dropped. Based on this assessment, the interagency team is determined
that an evacuation mission is far less likely."
Joining me now Rajiv Chandrasekaran, associated editor of "The
Washington Post" and author of "Little America: The War Within The War For
Afghanistan." And, Rajiv, I guess, a dessert of horrible news, this is
good news from the region?
RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN, "THE WASHINGTON" POST ASSOCIATED EDITOR: It is.
It is probably the best news we have had on Iraq in quite some time. Also,
you know, with some of the political developments that have occurred lately
in Baghdad. But, it begs a bunch of questions, Chris, you know? Just how
bad was the siege to begin with?
Perhaps some of the initial reports in terms of the size, of the
numbers of Yazidis up on that mountain top may well have been a little
exaggerated. I think it is showing some of the positive impacts of U.S.
targeted bombing against ISIS groups and it is also showing what
humanitarian aid drops can do to help people out. But, huge questions
CHANDRASEKARAN: It is far too early to claim any sort of victory
here. I mean where are these Yazidis going to go. I mean the best case
scenario for them right now would be to go into refugee camps up in
Kurdistan and near the Turkish border. The prospects of them returning
back to their homes, resuming any sort of normal life, long time away, I
HAYES: What does it say to you, Rajiv, who someone who covered this
conflict. You wrote one of the most remarkable books chronicling the Iraq
War before you have wrote that book about the Afghanistan War. What does
it say to you that after a string of conflicts in the White House, it said
very clearly no boots on the ground, no boots on the ground.
That today everyone woke up to reports in the press, the White House
was not ruling out boots on the ground when this day started. What does
that say about how this White House is thinking about Iraq, thinking about
the strategic importance of that part of the world right now?
CHANDRASEKARAN: This White House is torn. On one hand it knows that
the American public has no appetite for boots on the ground. At the same
time, it recognizes that it is going to be a long time coming before the
Iraqi army is going to be in any shape to evict the ISIS fighters from
large swaths of the country that they now hold.
The Kurdish forces up in the North may be in a better position to hold
their own ground. But, it certainly -- the conclusion of many in the U.S.
National Security establishment that if there had to be a rescue mission
for those Yazidis on the mountain top, for instance, the Iraqis were not
going to be in a position to do it on their own. They would need a lot of
And, I think what it shows is that as this conflict continues and as
we now try to focus on helping the Iraqis evict ISIS from literally the
gates of Baghdad, there is going to need to be some substantial U.S. help.
There does not have to be boots on the ground. But, certainly in the view
of some of the pentagon that process could be accelerated with boots on the
ground, even though the White House knows that is a nonstarter.
HAYES: So, Rajiv, you lived in Iraq. You reported from Iraq. You
have chronicled the missteps and blowback and unintended consequences and
disasters that has been the legacy of the U.S. involvement. Is your -- is
it your judgment that the U.S. is actually capable of intervening in a
constructive way in Iraq at all, whatever its intentions and whatever its
CHANDRASEKARAN: Look, the track record has been pretty miserable,
Chris, really miserable. At the same time, I think what this
administration is trying to do in a measured way may be beneficial. I
think that, you know, the original approach by the Obama Administration of
a couple weeks ago, that we are going to hold back on military intervention
until the Iraqis get their act together in Baghdad, and come up with a new
government. Replace Prime Minister Maliki. I think was a smart approach.
And, now, it looks like they are moving in that direction. The
question is, if you get a new government there that starts to reach out to
the disparate groups in Iraqi society, really tries to be more inclusive
and tries to rebuild that Iraqi army to retake territory, what is the U.S.`
role in helping to bring that about, helping to make that happen. We have
to recognize that it is their fight. How do we calibrate it? And, we have
not had a good track record of that, thus far.
HAYES: Rajiv Chandrasekaran from "The Washington Post." Thank you.
CHANDRASEKARAN: Nice to talk to you.
HAYES: I want to bring you an update on something I mentioned before,
unconfirmed reports that Wesley Lowery, a reporter for "The Washington
Post" who is recovering the events in Ferguson Missouri, was arrested. He
just tweeted 2 minutes ago, "Was arrested." He also says, "Also Ryan Riley
of Huffington Post," that was the other reporter from "The Huffington
Post," Ryan Riley -- "Assaulted and arrested."
So, again, Wesley Lowery of "The Washington Post," a reporter on the
scene in Ferguson, Missouri, now saying he was arrested. He and
"Huffington Post" reporter, Ryan Riley assaulted and arrested in his words.
That is just being tweeted out by Wesley Lowery right now. We will
continue to monitor the situation and be right back.
HAYES: The most controversial actions President Obama will take all
year. I will tell you what it is, next.
HAYES: All right, within weeks the President is poised to use
something that will be by far the most significant and controversial action
he takes all year, and for millions of people, potentially the most
meaningful as well. Reports indicate that in the absence of congressional
action, the president is set to announce an executive action on
immigration; potentially including temporary relief for law abiding
undocumented immigrants who are closely related to U.S. citizens or those
who have lived in the country a certain number of years. It is a
population that advocates say could reach as high as $5 million people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D) ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: There is absolutely
no doubt that the President of the United States has a responsibility to
act, to help those affected by the broken immigration system, and I have no
doubt that he is going to act in a meaningful broad wide generous manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Remember, this would mean a massive change in immigration
policy, not through an active congress, but with the stroke of a
presidential ten. Now, if the President had done this a year ago, it
certainly would have been controversial; but, now he is poised to act on
the heels of the humanitarian crisis on the southern border, which
republicans convinced themselves was caused by an earlier executive action
by the president, the 2012 deferred action policy for young undocumented
And, also he is going to act in the wake of an unprecedented lawsuit
from John Boehner and House Republicans, charging the President with
executive overreach. This is not just going to be controversial. It will
be positively explosive. Mark my words. And remember, it is going to
happen in less than three months before the midterm elections.
Conservatives are already preemptively attacking the President for
what they say would be in the words of calmness, and extraordinary abuse of
office that would be lawless, reckless, a leap into the anti-democratic
dark. Democrats, meanwhile, are pointing to examples of past Presidents,
using their authority to apply selective prosecution of immigration laws.
Among them, Ronald Reagan whose administration eased immigration standards
for 200,000 Nicaraguans exiles fleeing communism in 1987.
Joining me now, Lorella Praeli, Director of Advocacy & Policy for
United We Dream, Brian Beutler, Senior Editor of The New Republic, and
Jonathan Adler, Law Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of
Law. Brian, let me start with you. You had a kind of smoking gun today of
examples of republicans in the past urging a President to use their,
essentially, prosecutorial discretion as under Article 2 of the
constitution to do the kind of thing that is being contemplated here.
BRIAN BEUTLER, SENIOR EDITOR OF THE NEW REPUBLIC: Right, exactly. I
mean, I think -- when you are looking at all the sort of battle for
narrative control over whether what the President will do is legal or not,
I think that the opponents of this kind of action on behalf of immigrants,
you know, they can look at it at a legal level, at a level of political
norms and at a level of policy.
And, what they sort of hope for is that this turns out to be illegal
so they do not have to get into the weeds of the policy. But, it turns out
that, you know, back in the 19890s, as a result of some immigration laws
that congress passed, some people were kind of ensnared in deportation
And, a group of members of congress including democrats and
republicans invade against the administration to use a prosecutorial
discretion to protect those people. Now, what is under consideration today
would affect the different community of immigrants but the principle is
HAYES: Yes. There was this Lamar Smith memo, where he writes -- I
think it was Attorney General Reno to say, Look, the principle
prosecutorial discretion is well established, right? Like case law says
pretty clearly. Now, Jonathan Adler, you are a law professor. You are
also someone who is active with the suit of the affordable care act as a
So, you are someone who certainly does not take a kind view of all the
President`s actions in the realm of the assertion of the authority of his
office. You, however, do think he is fully within his authority to do
PROF. JONATHAN ADLER, LAW PROFESSOR AT CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, it is certainly true that in the case of immigration,
the President has far more discretion than in many other areas of policy.
Discretion that has been granted by congress. It has been recognized and
used by Presidents of both political parties. It has been recognized by
And, this is just a general area where the President has a lot more
leeway to do things that are potentially controversial, that may or may not
be a good idea, but they are lawful and the sorts of things that have been
done for a long time.
HAYES: Lorella, you were active in a movement that was pushing for
something like this for the folks called the Dreamers. People who were
brought here as young children to the U.S., and grown up in the U.S.,
essentially as American, and everything as the president says. Initially,
there was resistance from the White House on legal grounds. I mean they
were telling you, we cannot just do this unilaterally.
LORELLA PRAELI, DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY & POLICY FOR UNITED WE DREAM:
Yes. I think they did not want to get pushed, right? I mean, even, last
year, we just -- United We Dream, dreamers across the country said, the
House Republicans are not going to act. The President has the legal
authority to do something to stop deportations, while congress takes it`s
time and to grant relief to people.
And, so, we have been making that push, and this whole year the
President had been saying congress has to act, congress has to act. And, I
think that was really because he did not want all of the pressure and
attention to be on him. And, for our families the stakes are too high,
Chris. For people like my mother and my sister and for me, we know what it
is like to grow up and be undocumented in America. And, we know that the
President can and ought to act.
HAYES: I think people really, really do not understand what a big
deal this is going to be in the lives of people, and also what a massive
political battle it is going to precipitate. Lorella Praeli from the
United We Dream, Brian Beutler from The New Republic, Jonathan Adler from
the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, thank you, all.
All right, we have got some late breaking news in Ferguson tonight.
We have one of the reporters who was just arrested on the phone to tell us
what happened. Arrested by Ferguson police just a moments ago. He will
join me on the phone, next. Do not go anywhere.
HAYES: Just moments ago, two reporters in Ferguson, Missouri were
arrested by Ferguson police. One of them is Ryan Riley. He is the justice
reporter for the Huffington Post. He posted this image just before being
arrested on Twitter. It was, "A SWAT just invaded McDonalds, while I am
working, recharging. Asked for I.D. when I took his photo." What happened
next? Ryan now joins me on the phone. He has been released from custody.
Ryan are you there?
RYAN RILEY, HUFFINGTON POST REPORTER: I am.
HAYES: What happened?
RILEY: It was madness. So, originally the S.W.A.T. Officers walked
through and took a couple photos at that time. And, they talked to the
manager who then basically, they decided to leave, and then they reversed
course, came back, and decided they are actually going to shut down the
McDonald`s and asked everyone to leave. So, they are asking to pack their
Evidently, I was not moving quickly enough. At that point, I was
given a countdown. I was told I had 45 seconds, 30 seconds to pack up all
my stuff and leave, at which point the officer in question who I have not -
- I repeatedly later would asked for his name and was never -- or his batch
number. He has never given it, decided that he was going to help me pack,
and he grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag. And, I was then,
when I -- basically, he arrested me. He handcuffed me. He used his finger
to put a pressure point on my neck, and it was just a very difficult
HAYES: Did he tell you what you were under arrest for, for not
leaving a McDonald`s quickly enough?
RILEY: Correct. Yes. I mean, yes. He would not tell me what I was
under arrest for.
HAYES: And, he was in S.W.A.T. gear?
RILEY: He is in complete S.W.A.T. gear, yes. And, the most
frustrating things, it is going to be difficult to hold him accountable for
his actions, just because I repeatedly asked over a dozen times for his
name or I.D. number. He has never given it.
And, it was a terrible experience. And, the worst part was he slammed
my head against the glass purposely on the way out of the McDonalds and
sarcastically apologized for it. And, it was just a terrible experience,
and I recognized I am in a place of privilege here as a journalist and as a
white person, frankly. In that, I was evidently the police chief made the
decision not to go ahead and hold us.
HAYES: You were subsequently released. You were also with Washington
Post reporter, Wesley Lowery who has been twitting about it. He says he
was slammed into a soda fountain.
HAYES: He was also arrested, is that correct?
RILEY: Correct. Yes. I am not even sure at this point, there is so
much madness going on, on social media. I am not sure exactly how we got
arrested. It was put out there, on my way out the door, I do not know if
this is how it got out, I shouted please tweet --
HAYES: Did the police know you were reporters?
RILEY: After they -- I did not -- you know, I -- I am not 100 percent
on whether I mentioned that I am a reporter, that should not matter in this
equation. I was not going to try to exercise a point of, "Oh, you get in
trouble if you handle him poorly in a situation." I was like any other
customer who was in the McDonald is at the time, and simply, two of us did
not pack up quickly enough.
I believe it was because I asked for -- because I was not -- after I
took the initial photos of the officer, he would not give me his -- he
asked for my identification and I declined to give it to him. So, I think
he was holding a grudge about the fact that I refused to give him
identification, which was my right to do considering I was not doing
HAYES: These police officers in full S.W.A.T. gear who have entered
into a private business, a McDonald. They ordered the McDonald`s closed,
did they say under what authority or what legal citation they were holding?
RILEY: They essentially came through and said you guys can stay here,
but we cannot guarantee your safety, and that was fine with us. I am
considering that they have cleared everyone out of the entire area. It was
a massive presence. And, just simply overkill in my opinion on the number
of officers that were there. The number of officers was extremely
disturbing. It was just incredible.
And know -- just -- you could not reason with them. You could not --
even after I was handcuffed and then pulled out the journalists card, as
far as I know, I think I had not mentioned it before, I -- at that point
the officer was a white man, probably around 40, he would not give me his
badge number. They forced us into a police car that was intended to be for
two individuals, there were three of us in there. With two reporters along
with a pastor who had been arrested. It was just an extremely -- the
mentality was extremely disturbing.
Ryan Reilly from the Huffington post arrested tonight by police in
Ferguson Missouri. Subsequently released, joining us on the phone. Thank
you, Ryan, I really appreciate it.
HAYES: That is ALL IN this evening, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts
right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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