'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: September 25, 2014
Guest: Mark Thompson, Lizz Brown, Eugene Robinson, Makan Delrahim, Adam
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, who knew that Poland has a Tea
RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: And that`s what they care about. I know.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
We have breaking news tonight about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. But
first, a new video of a police officer shooting an unarmed black man. Yes,
another one. Just the kind of shooting the Department of Justice under
Eric Holder has been investigating. But we now know those investigations
will be completed under a new attorney general.
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: To get to the heart of this country, one
must examine its racial soul.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have some shocking police dash cam video from a
South Carolina traffic stop.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fatal police shooting of Ohio Walmart shopper
John Crawford III.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another grand jury in New York City is expected to
convene to begin hearing evidence in the Eric Gardner case.
TOM JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE CHIEF: As many of you know, my name is Tom
Jackson and I`m chief of police for the city of Ferguson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson released a
JACKSON: I`m truly sorry for the loss of your son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apologizing to the Brown family and the Ferguson
HOLDER: To get to the heart of this country, one must examine its racial
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Justice is not just an
abstract theory. It`s a living and breathing principle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news, Eric Holder will step down as the
nation`s attorney general.
HOLDER: I come to this decision with very mixed emotions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been complicated. It`s been turbulent. He`s
OBAMA: He`s been relentless against attacks on the Voting Right Acts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The civil rights division is strong and that work is
going to continue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crime and incarceration is down 10 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eric Holder is many things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the three original Obama cabinet officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s the fourth longest serving.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the nation`s first African-American attorney
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s certainly been an unforgettable attorney
HOLDER: I will leave the Department Justice, but I will never, I will
never leave the work.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday at the United Nations, President Obama humbly
admitted what the world already knows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I realize that America`s critics will be quick to point out at
times we failed to live up to our ideals. That America has plenty of
problems within its own borders. This is true. In a summer marked by
instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also
took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri, where a young
man was killed and a community was divided. So, yes, we have our own
racial and ethnic tensions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: On this day in history, September 25th in 1957, the national
news media was focused on Little Rock, Arkansas, where nine African-
American students were being escorted into the Little Rock Central High
It was the first time black students were allowed in that high school and
they needed an escort to make it safely inside the door. The escort they
needed was nothing less than the United States Army, ordered to the scene
by then commander-in-chief, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. The
legal right to enroll in that school was given to those students three
years earlier by the United States Supreme Court in Brown versus the Board
of Education, but the court did not attach a timetable to that right. It
simply said that segregated schools must be desegregated with, quote, "all
In Little Rock, Arkansas, all deliberate speed meant three years. And even
then, it took the army to get those nine students who the news media took
to calling the Little Rock Nine into that previously segregated building.
Think of the bravery it took for those nine teenagers to risk their lives
walking into Little Rock Central High School. Gloria Ray, Terrence
Roberts, Melba Pattillo, Jefferson Thomas, Carlotta Walls, Thelma
Mothershed, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford and Ernest Green walked into
high school and walked into history on this very day in 1957.
Here they are in happier times 40 years after that, in front of the high
school. By then, they had seen the end of segregation, the end of
lynchings, but not the end of special danger for black people in this
country. Not the end of the risk of being killed simply for being black --
a risk that the Little Rock Nine took simply by walking into their high
Eight of the Little Rock Nine are still with us. And though they can each
tell us about the great progress we`ve made that includes having elected
and re-elected the first African-American president, they also know that
their children and grandchildren can be walking unarmed on a street in
Ferguson, Missouri, and end up shot dead by a police officer, hit by six
bullets, two of them in the head. They know that if one of their grandsons
picks up a BB gun or a toy gun in a Walmart, he can be shot dead on the
spot, as happened to John Crawford.
That is the video of John Crawford in that Walmart. There he is shot for
holding that BB gun that he was considering buying in that store.
And the Little Rock Nine know that if one of their children or
grandchildren gets pulled over by a police officer in South Carolina for
suspicion of the crime of not wearing a seat belt, this could happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TROOPER SEAN GROUBERT: Can I see your license please?
Get out of the car! Get out of the --
GROUBERT: Get on the ground! Get on the ground!
LEVAR JONES: I just got my license. You said get my license. I got my
license right there.
GROUBERT: Put your hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your
back. Put your hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your back.
JONES: What did I do, sir?
GROUBERT: Are you hit?
JONES: I think so. I can`t feel my leg. I don`t know what happened. I
just grabbed my license.
GROUBERT: Rachel 866, I need a 1052.
JONES: Why did you shoot me?
GROUBERT: Well, you dove head first back into your car.
JONES: I`m sorry, I didn`t hear two words.
GROUBERT: Hold on a sec.
JONES: I didn`t do nothing.
GROUBERT: Rachel, 866. Shots fired on 1038. I need a 1052 out here.
Broad river. A Shell station.
JONES: Why were you pulling me over? I just pulled in to the gas station.
GROUBERT: A seat belt violation, sir.
JONES: Seat belt? I just pulled it off right there at the corner to pull
in the gas station!
GROUBERT: Well, I got help coming to you, OK? I`ve got help coming to
JONES: I`m sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Mark Thompson, host of Sirius Radio`s "Make It
Plain", and Lizz Brown, a criminal defense attorney and columnist for the
"St. Louis American" newspaper.
Mark, that`s very painful video to watch. We can hear the pain of Levar
Jones who is on the ground on his back saying I`m sorry to the officer
who`s just shot him.
MARK THOMPSON, SIRIUS RADIO: Indeed. And there have been reports that
this is the 13th -- or that there have been 13 police incidents similar to
this, killings, in fact, since Mike Brown. We didn`t know about Levar
Jones until we`ve seen the video late. We`re finally seeing the video of
what happened to John Crawford. It just goes to show you, you mentioned
the special danger, and I appreciate that, Lawrence, because that`s
precisely what it is.
We`ve seen again history repeat itself. It was very significant that you
opened the president`s address of the United Nations. In fact, I started
to call you this morning and tell you about that. I was very impressed by
that, and I`ll tell you why.
Never before has a president of the United States acknowledged the special
danger we experience as African-Americans. Marcus Garvey petitioned the
League of Nations to do such. Malcolm X was about to petition the United
Nations and got Dr. King to agree when he went to visit him in jail, to
support that petition. And then Malcolm X was killed two weeks later.
So, to have the first African-American president to do that is very
significant. And then to have Attorney General Holder with his legacy, no
other attorney general has been more outspoken on civil and human rights
since Bobby Kennedy. And it was very significant for him to go to
We still have a long way to go to get rid of the special danger we face.
O`DONNELL: Lizz Brown, as an attorney, you watch that video and here is
someone who is complying with the police order. The police asked him for
license and registration. So, of course, that`s inside the car. He turns
inside the car to get that and complying with the police order is what gets
LIZZ BROWN, COLUMNIST, ST. LOUIS AMERICAN: And not only was he complying
physically, he was complying verbally. Even after he was shoot, he
referred to the police officer as sir. What did I do, sir? He put his
hands up on the way down as he was falling to the ground after being shot.
And the other interesting component to that videotape is the description
the police officer used to describe the body motion of this man reach into
his car. The police officer said it was a lunge. You can look at that
video, it was not a lunge, but if we`re talking about the view of a white
police officer on an African-American man, the interpretation is lunge.
And that`s why we are in the place we are now.
I mean, this man was apologizing. He apologized. And if we compare that
to the apology that was made by the police chief in St. Louis -- or in
Ferguson, it`s a world of difference.
O`DONNELL: Well, the good news about why we have this video is that this
officer has been fired. This officer is now charged with a crime in this
But, Mark, to Lizz`s point, you know, police reports in these kinds of
incidents, where we don`t have the video, are filled with this kind of
language, threatening language. There`s always that line which I`m
expecting to hear eventually in the Michael Brown case, turned in a
threatening manner as if to shoot. But as it turns out, well, he didn`t
have anything in his hands. But I -- the police officer feared for my
life, therefore I have the right to shoot when I fear for my life, which is
what the police got away with in the Walmart case.
THOMPSON: The challenge for subsequent attorney generals and presidents
will be to figure out a way to root out this culture of policing that finds
African-American men inherently and existentially a threat. The young man
did nothing. He had no weapon. And, in fact, one of the shots was even
fired after he raised his hands, just like Mike Brown.
THOMPSON: And so, what is it about us that makes our movement appear to be
a lunge as opposed to obeying an instruction to go get his license which he
was asked to do.
O`DONNELL: And I want people to get a chance to see this video a lot,
because it`s typical of out of control police use of deadly force. He
fires one shot while the man is leaning into his car. And then he
continues to fire. And there is no reason conceivable reason to continue
to fire except that the police officer is out of control.
Lizz Brown, we know that they`re supposed to make a separate decision for
each bullet they fire, but what you see in that video, which is sadly
typical of police work, is that they make one decision and they can`t stop
BROWN: Well, they made the decision, unfortunately, based on the color of
BROWN: That was the decision that was made.
O`DONNELL: Which includes the decision to pull him over on this notion of
not having a seat belt on.
BROWN: Absolutely. And again, I think it`s so important to listen to the
tone, listen to the demeanor, listen to the apology of a man that has been
wrongly shot. He apologizes to the police officer. That`s stunning. And
that flies directly in the face of the assessments that are made about
African-American men when police are confronting him.
What was threatening about this man who apologized after you shot him?
What was threatening about this man who got his wallet as you asked him to
do so. What is threatening is the culture that we live in that teaches and
keeps police officers that see African-American, African-American life in
O`DONNELL: Before we go, let`s listen to what Robert McCullough, the
district attorney is saying about the Michael Brown investigation today.
Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ROBERT MCCULLOUGH, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We anticipated that it was going to
go to about mid-October. The way things have been going, it is probably
going to go longer than that. But I suspect at this point, we are looking
at -- late October, early November, possibly even a little longer than
that. There`s an enormous amount of evidence that`s being presented to the
grand jury that in most cases wouldn`t happen.
But because this case is so significant in our community certainly, a lot
more people are coming in to testify than might otherwise be. So, as I`ve
said before, anyone with information who saw all or part of what occurred
in Canfield has been invited to the grand jury to come in and testify.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Lizz, what`s your reaction to that?
BROWN: My reaction is to the timing of it. We have these statements
coming out saying that now it`s going to be a shorter period of time after
we`ve had some more activity on the streets, where we`ve had Molotov
cocktails being thrown, we`ve had businesses being broken into. So shortly
after that, we have another statement pulling back the time a little bit
and trying to -- I believe it`s an effort to try and keep the peace in
Ferguson, or in the region.
I think it`s a calculated effort to try to tell people something that is
not -- that`s really not accurate, because grand jury doesn`t have to have
that kind of evidence. It shouldn`t have that evidence, because it`s not a
trial. They consider evidence that`s not evidence. So, it`s a ruse and
it`s a distraction.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it seems like he`s bringing a lot of extra stuff.
According to that description, a lot more stuff into that room than you
O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson and Lizz Brown, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.
BROWN: Thank you so much, Lawrence.
THOMPSON: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, a law enforcement official says that he has -- that
he sent the video of what Ray Rice did inside that elevator to the NFL in
April months before the NFL admits having seen that video.
And the politics of replacing Attorney General Eric Holder. Just how hard
will it be to confirm his replacement? Eugene Robinson joins me, along
with a lawyer who used to have the job of counting confirmation votes on
the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And, Congress continues to refuse to vote on declaring a new war in Syria.
Congressman Adam Schiff wants Congress to vote. And he`ll join me later.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight. A law enforcement official says
that he sent the video of Ray Rice and his fiancee in the elevator to the
head of security to the NFL months before the NFL says that anyone there
ever saw that video. That story is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We had not seen that tape until it went
public roughly 10 days or so ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Breaking news tonight: the "A.P." is reporting that there is
evidence that NFL head of security, Jeffrey Miller, received a copy of the
video of Ray Rice punching and knocking out his then-fiancee Janay Palmer
in a casino elevator. An unnamed law enforcement official has told the
"Associated Press" that he sent the video to the NFL headquarters to the
attention of Jeffrey Miller in April.
The "A.P." quotes the law enforcement official, "No one from the NFL ever
asked me for the inside elevator video. I mailed it, anonymously to Jeff
Miller because he`s their head of security. I attached a note saying Ray
Rice elevator video. You have to see it, it`s terrible.
I provided a number for a disposable cell phone and asked for confirmation
that it was received. I knew there was a possibility Mr. Miller may not
get the video, but I hoped it would land in the right hands."
On April 9, that law enforcement initial received a 12-second voice mail
from an NFL office phone in which a woman says, "You`re right, it`s
Tonight, the NFL chief of security officer Jeffrey Miller issued this
statement through an NFL spokesman, "I unequivocally deny that I received
at anytime a copy of the video and I had not watched it until it was made
public on September 8."
Joining me now is Jordan Schultz, the sports columnist for "The Huffington
Jordan, we have this, the "A.P." had this a while ago. They didn`t
identify the person as closely as they`re doing now. They had information
saying this was sent. And now they have a very clear statement by the law
enforcement official involved that this is exactly what I did.
JORDAN SCHULTZ, HUFFINGTON POST SPORTS COLUMNIST: Yes. And he`s saying
this anonymously, which we`ll have to wait and see if that continues. But,
Lawrence, what`s interesting is, like he said, he has no desire necessarily
to bring down the league or bring down Goodell. He just wants the
information to be there. So why is the league, including the head of
security saying that since April, denied it.
I tell you why, because the league has done this before with other issues,
such as covering up concussions, CTE, other things like that where it`s in
the best interest of Roger Goodell and the league to protect its image,
protect the shield. In this case, he finally got caught, Roger Goodell.
That`s why I think, you know, he`s been in hiding so long up until that
O`DONNELL: Yes, and, you know, the internal investigation they`re having.
That`s not going to be people under oath. There`s not going to be anyone
SCHULTZ: They`re heading it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, there`s not -- there`s no one in the NFL offices
who`s ever going to be cornered to the point where they`re going to have to
say, yes, I got that video and I showed it to him. You know, this is
exactly the kind of investigation where you can just deny, deny, deny and
get through it.
SCHULTZ: And I think that`s what`s going to continue to happen. The
league has no vested interest in telling the truth right now, because
they`re sticking to their story and they have the Americans on their side
in terms of, you know, unbelievable television ratings. In fact, Lawrence,
ratings are higher than ever. So, why would the league go out on a limb
and tell the truth when it believes it can continue to get away with this
and continue to make money?
And Roger Goodell has the support, Lawrence, of the owners, the 32 NFL
owners, because he`s making them so much money.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Goodell said in his press conference about
trying to obtain this video which, according to tonight`s information, they
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOODELL: We asked for it on several occasions. According to our security
department, we went through it, we asked for it on several occasions over
the spring, all the way through June, from February through June. So, I`m
confident that our people did that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He`s pretty much putting Jeffrey Miller right in there by name
when he says according to our security department, we asked for it on
O`DONNELL: According to this law enforcement official, your security
department had it in April.
You know, Lawrence, for me what`s the most upsetting thing about this is
there`s just no leadership here. This is a league that -- do you remember
bounty-gate several years ago with the New England Patriots. You know,
they got tape of the New Orleans Saints trying to hurt different players.
I mean, for the league, the NFL of all leagues not to be able to get this
or to say they haven`t seen it -- I think any average fan, not even a
sports fan, Lawrence, can buy that story. And Jeffrey Miller right is
sticking to that story. Well, eventually, it`s going to come out they saw
that tape. I don`t think there`s any doubt.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, I think their bet is this law enforcement
official has to stay anonymous, because he was not authorized to do what he
did. So, let`s just hang tight, deny it, as long as that guy stays
anonymous, we can get through this thing.
SCHULTZ: Do we really think eventually it won`t come out who this law
enforcement official is and what`s going on in the prosecutor`s office?
Because, Lawrence, the NFL has always been a league that gets information
because it`s the most powerful league in American sports. I think any
sports fan will tell you something is amiss here.
O`DONNELL: The -- go ahead. I`m sorry.
SCHULTZ: And now 57 arrests, Lawrence, for domestic violence under Roger
Goodell`s eight-year tenure as commissioner.
O`DONNELL: Jordan Schultz, thank you very much for joining us on this
late-breaking story in the NFL.
Coming up, President Obama intends to give Republicans a simple choice.
You can confirm his pick for attorney general or you can just leave Eric
Holder in the job.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the president`s next big choice --
attorney general. It is unusual for cabinet members to serve a full eight
years of a two-term presidency. George Washington appointed three
attorneys general in his two terms. George W. Bush appointed three.
And the out of control Richard Nixon had five attorneys general in five
years before he was forced to resign and pardoned for his crimes when his
vice president became president. And now, President Obama will have to
choose an attorney general for the second time now that Eric Holder has
decided to do what most of his predecessors have done, and he has resigned
before the president`s term is up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And I chose him to serve as attorney general because he believes,
as I do, that justice is not just an abstract theory. It`s a living and
breathing principle. That`s why I made him America`s lawyer.
HOLDER: I have loved the Department of Justice ever since as young boy. I
watched Robert Kennedy proved joined the civil rights movement, how the
department can and must always be a force for that which is right. I hope
that I have done honor to the faith that you have placed in me, Mr.
President, into the legacy of all those who have served before me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that
President Obama has not yet decided on a replacement for Eric Holder, but
the Senate confirmation process may not be as easy as it was for Eric
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said today "the Senate should wait until the
new Congress is sworn in before confirming the next attorney general,
allowing Democratic Senators, many of whom will likely have just been
defeated at the polls to confirm Holder`s successor would be an abuse of
power that should not be countenanced."
Joining me now, "Washington Post" Columnist and friend of Eric Holder,
Eugene Robinson and Makan Delrahim, former staff director of the Senate
Judiciary Committee under Republican Chairman Orrin Hatch.
Gene Robinson I threw in Nixon`s five Attorneys General just for you --
just for you so that you can remember the golden days --
EUGENE ROBINSON, POST COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON D.C.: Right.
O`DONNELL: We`re having one of those hearings every year.
But I think a lot of people kept asking me, why he`s leaving? Why he`s
leaving? I think you know for a lot of us who served in government, it`s
more why he did so long because people don`t normally do runs that long in
ROBINSON: No, they certainly don`t. And it is a crazy job.
I mean if you think about all the things that report to all the departments
that report to the Attorney General, such as the FBI, the whole Justice
Department. You know, and -- you know, what could go wrong, the question
is what can`t go wrong? You know I remember being in a dinner with Eric
Holder not that long ago, and he was constantly interrupted by phone calls.
So let me just -- it was a crazy array of things, a couple of phone calls I
know were about U.S. attorney somewhere who was about to go off the rails
and had to be brought back on to the rails. And the other calls, I don`t
know what they were about but they were -- they were you know potentially
matters of grave concern, local, national, international. It is a burnout
job I think it`s amazing that he managed to hang in there so long.
O`DONNELL: Makan, I really wanted you on the show tonight because as you
know in the Senate, when one of these announces is made, immediately
everybody stares at the calendar immediately and trying to figure out
what`s the timetable on this? How long will it take to get this done?
And it seems, the White House hasn`t said anything very clear about this,
but it may be that they don`t even name a successor until after election,
so what would that do to the timetable of confirmation?
MAKAN DELRAHIM (R), FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: All
that these typically take about at least, you know, the fastest process
would be about three to four weeks at a minimum. So if the White House
does wait, a lot of the Republicans and Conservatives are as you`ve heard
some of the comments and some of the members today have been they don`t
want somebody to be nominated and confirmed during the lame duck session
and wait until after the elections and the new slate of senators having
been sworn in to have their say. It will be about three to four weeks.
If he nominates somebody after the elections, there`s nothing Republicans
could do, you know, the Democrat control of the Senate will survive until
January, and they`ll be able to confirm any nominee if they want assuming
that they get that person gets 51 votes.
O`DONNELL: Now Makan, I`ve been assuming today that their best bet for the
President is to choose someone who is already currently working under a
Senate confirmation in the Justice Department, a U.S. attorney or a federal
judges, someone who`s already through the process because that FBI
background check will be that much quicker if it`s one they`ve done fairly
recently for this person.
DELRAHIM: Absolutely. Somebody who`s already in the system does not have
to go through. As you know, the FBI background check goes down, you know,
they ask questions from your neighbors back when you were 18-years-old and
sometimes even sooner.
I`ve been a big fan of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. I
think for the President at this juncture of his presidency in his last two
year, he needs to be served by somebody who has the confidence, not only of
the people, but of the folks within the Justice Department rather than to
have somebody who might be considered a political ally but somebody who
stands above the law. Someone like Preet Bharara would be a tremendous
choice and someone who could probably fly through the confirmation process.
O`DONNELL: And Eugene, how`s this for an advantage for Preet Bharara, not
only was he staff in to Senator Schumer which carries a lot of weight out
there, but he was confirmed unanimously as the U.S. attorney here in New
York City. So you`d have -- you know you`d have all of these Republican
Senators who`ve already voted for him trying to think of what`s my excuse
for not voting for him now, and that won`t be easy.
ROBINSON: Yes. But they`ll come up with excuses.
O`DONNELL: Some of them will do, some of them will --
ROBINSON: We`re not even in the last few years. You may call them a lot
of excuses for voting in and the get stop, and they propose in the past
much less of they voted for.
But no, but I think the basic thesis is right, that somebody who is in the
system. You know, there are other people who are in the system who
potentially could be confirmed more quickly than others. Again, perhaps a
dark horse some the Secretary of Labor Perez who used to run the Civil
Rights Division at the Justice Department. He`s already been kept -- have
been confirmed for a cabinet post.
O`DONNELL: Makan, it struck me that one of the people outside of the
system so called as Colonel Harris from California because here you have a
woman and it would be politically tough on the Republicans to be seen once
again to be standing in the way of a woman. So that might be one of the
advantages in the committee or on the floor that a woman might have.
DELRAHIM: That would be and Former Secretary Janet Napolitano has also
been mentioned, current Senator Klobuchar from Minnesota who serves on the
senate judiciary committee and Former Prosecutor would be a tremendous
I think attorney general Harris, who you know could have a huge political
future in California, will have some difficulty in the senate judiciary
committee because she has a lot of opposition from the law enforcement
community. She had it when she ran for attorney general in California.
She was able to overcome that just because of the electorate in California.
But you will see that magnified in Washington through the committee
confirmation process. You`ll also have, you know, there will be some other
issues, her position on the death penalty, which regardless of where you
stand on the issue will still be politicized.
I still think, you know depending on the timing of the confirmation and the
nomination, she might still have 51 votes, but that would be a lightning
bolt nomination compared to other folks that have been mentioned earlier.
O`DONNELL: And Eugene, it used to be that the opposition was content to
just kind of make noise during the confirmation hearing, even if it`s not
about the nominee, but it`s about the President and it`s about the
administration and the way they`re handling this issue or that issue. And
after all that noise, they still tended to vote for the nominee. It might
not work that way this time.
ROBINSON: I seriously doubt it would work that way this time. You know
perhaps they`re -- the President can come up with the -- with the nominee
who is just so unassailable that a few Republicans have to vote for that
nominee. Otherwise, I would bet that you`re looking at something fairly
close to party line votes. And you know if they can do it before January,
potentially after January, but certainly before January. Harry Reid is in
control of the Senate. He ought to be able to get a nominee through.
O`DONNELL: Makan Delrahim and Eugene Robinson, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight.
DELRAHIM: Thank you.
ROBINSON: Good to be here.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, you`ve heard enough about the mess in the NFL for
tonight anyway. It`s time for a story about a real sports hero, one who
will be missed. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: And now for a story about a real American sports hero, one of
the thousands of men and women in this country who helped channel youthful
sports enthusiasm into something positive and hopefully fun.
Richard Becher started coaching Little League on Long Island about seven
years ago, his friends say he always reminded the kids they were supposed
to have fun, and that`s what the best Little League coaches do. And while
they`re at it, they show kids the lifetime importance of team work, of
cooperative support of collaboration, something they`ll be able to use in
every workplace they find themselves in when they grow up.
The best Little League coaches teach kids how to handle intense pressures
sometimes with way too intense parents and fans watching them. And the
best Little League coaches also teach kids how to be graceful winners and
how to bear crushing disappointment. But nothing Rich Becher taught his
team could prepare them for what happened Saturday night at Baseball Heaven
of all places.
Baseball Heaven is a 30-acre complex on Long Island which I only wish had
been located somewhere near Boston when I was a kid. Rich Becher was
pitching batting practice to his team at Baseball Heaven at 5:30 p.m. on
Saturday as they were preparing for a big game that night in a Tri-State
Tournament. He was throwing from behind a screen that protects pitchers
from sharp line drives in batting practice, but the seemingly impossible
still happened. A line drive found Rich Becher on the other side of that
His brother-in-law, John Bree told the Long Island Newspaper "Newsday."
"He threw a pitch, the ball got hit, it was a line drive, he was hit in the
head, he dropped to the ground." Some people tried to administer CPR while
waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Rich Becher was taken to Brookhaven
Medical Center in East Patchogue, where he was pronounced dead.
Rich Beshar leaves his wife Susan, his 14-year-old daughter Hannah and 12-
year-old son Nicholas, who is a member of the Little League team that his
John Bree said that Nicholas didn`t see what happened to his father. I
don`t believe his son actually witnessed it, so that`s a good thing. John
Bree added, you think a car accident or something like that, but to be on
the Little League batting practice with his kid, no one expects that.
Lucky to be alive. We are all lucky to be alive in ways we can never
completely understand. When I was a kid, I stood on Little League pitchers
mound for a couple of years that same 45 feet away from the batter that
Rich Becher was and it never crossed my mind that my life was at risk. But
it was, it might have been a statistically tiny risk, but the risk was
there and I was lucky. So I`m still here.
A friend of Rich Becher said this, "it`s a reminder in a split second that
life is altered. And it`s a reminder of that thing that we can never hear
often enough that we`re lucky to be alive."
Rich Becher`s funeral was this morning on Long Island. We hope tonight
that Rich Becher`s family and friends and players will someday transcend to
their grief so when they remember him, what they feel is how lucky they are
to have had him in their lives.
O`DONNELL: Iraq`s new Prime Minister made news today at the United Nations
when he told the group of reporters his intelligence agents had uncovered a
plot by foreign fighters with the Islamic States to attack subway systems
in the United States and in Paris.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HAIDER AL-ABADI, PRIME MINISTER, IRAQ: Well yes, they reckon there is a
plot to do operations in Paris and in the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: A plot that they are aware of, they
disrupted or what?
AL-ABADI: It has not been disrupted yet. You know this is people they`ve
captured. This is a network. A network --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And is it something that is believe to be
imminent, the plot or -- ?
AL-ABADI: I am not sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And you have converted this to the United
States of course? And what was their response?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: U.S. and French Intelligence sources said Iraq had not notified
them of any new threat and that there was no specific credible threat to
any transit system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to make sure everyone is getting this message
clearly. We have received information which in the eyes of the United
States Government and the NYPD is not verified. So what we`re doing is
taking precautions until we have more information.
O`DONNELL: New York City Officials say they will keep the enhanced
security until further notice.
The Islamic State is also terrorizing people in the cities it takes over.
A man who would not give his name told NBC News that in the city of Raqqa
in Syria, the Islamic State has posted severed heads on fences and has
crucified people in the streets. A French television station aired video
that it claims was secretly recorded in Raqqa showing armed brigades in the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
O`DONNELL: Under Islamic State rule, women have to cover their entire
bodies in public including their faces and cannot leave their homes without
a male escort, which means many cannot obviously go to school or work.
Raqqa was one of the first targets of the U.S. lead attacks in Syria.
Coming up next, why is Congress refusing to vote to approve those air
strikes? Congressman Adam Schiff wants them to do that. He joins me next.
O`DONNELL: Today, French war planes joined the war against the Islamic
State this time in Iraq. President Obama got a unanimous vote from the
U.N. Security Council yesterday on measures to restrict movements of
foreign fighters trying to join the Islamic State, but the United States
Congress continues to refuses to vote on any aspect of the war that the
United States is now leading.
Joining me now is Congressman Adam Schiff, the member of the House
Congressman Schiff, do you believe that the President already has legal
authority for what`s going on there now?
ADAM SCHIFF (D), CONGRESSMAN, CALIFORNIA: No I don`t. I think it`s
important that Congress take up the issue to pass an authorization allow
the use of military force in Iraq and Syria. The administration is relying
on the two old authorizations that we passed in 2001 and 2002 which really
don`t apply here.
The first authorized use of force against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, well
this ISIL is now at war with al-Qaeda. It`s been excommunicated from al-
Qaeda. And so, it doesn`t fit within the 2001 AUMF. It certainly doesn`t
fit within the circumstances of the 2002 AUMF which is directed against the
Saddam Hussein regime.
So I think it`s vitally important and I think our failure to vote so far is
an abdication of Congress` responsibility under the constitution.
O`DONNELL: I just want to go over for the audience`s benefit what you just
cited. That first one of the first resolution they`re leaning on which is
from 2001, September 18th is for the people who planned, authorized,
committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th.
We already had that war. These are not those people.
The other one was a resolution for a war against Iraq. That`s the language
in here, against Iraq. That`s the actual language of the resolution. This
is not a war against Iraq.
So I personally completely agree with you. I want to read the elements of
the resolution you would like to introduce, that you would like both bodies
to vote on. It says the "President is authorized to use the U.S. forces of
the United States against the Islamic State. If the authority granted
shall be confined geographically to Iraq and Syria."
It says "There is no authorization for use of ground forces in combat."
And it says "This authority shall be granted for a period of 18 months
starting from the time that both bodies vote on this resolution."
What about the limitation of time to 18 months? That is the President has
said that this war that we`re in, yesterday he used the phrase, that it
could be as long as ten years.
SCHIFF: Well, it may be as long as ten years. I certainly hope it won`t.
But that doesn`t mean the Congress needs to authorize it for the indefinite
future. We made that mistake in 2001 and 2002 and passing authorization of
unlimited duration. And now we see the problem with that, as been their
use even 13 years thereafter. So I think it`s very important to require
the Executive to come back to Congress periodically and a year and a half
doesn`t seem to me to be an unreasonable period of time to see how this war
And if the President wants new authority, if the President finds a
circumstances requiring, for example, as we`ve been debating about whether
they`re all will necessitate ever having any kind of ground components,
spotters, for example, then the President can come to Congress and make
The other significant thing about that draft, Lawrence, is that it also
sunsets the 2002 authorization immediately and the 2001 authorization in
the same 18 months. And I think actually, the ideal would be when we come
back from the lame duck session, taking up an authorization, not exactly
like the one I introduced that I had hoped we would take up two weeks ago,
but rather one that immediately repeals the old authorizations, both of
them and puts in effect a narrow new authorization pertaining to al-Qaeda
That would be, I think, the cleanest thing to do and the best from a
constitutional point of view.
O`DONNELL: And you would think politicians who claim to believe in limited
government on the other side of the isle from you would be interested in
limiting that particular authority. But John Boehner, Speaker of the House
said today "I think the House and the Congress itself should speak but
doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door,
I don`t think that is the right way to handle this"
So Congressman Schiff, he seems to be saying we shouldn`t do this until
next year. We should keep having a war for months over there against the
Islamic State. But Congress with the power to declare war and legally
sanction war should have nothing to say about it until next year.
SCHIFF: Of course the irony here is this is the same speaker who suing the
President, claimed that the President is exercising too much executive
authority. But on one of the most significant issues there is that of war
and peace, the speaker is content to say let the President do he`s going to
do and we`ll take this up next year.
That is staggering to me. And it not only I think enormously affect this
war and whether the public has fully bought in, but it also affects what
future presidents will consider their power to go to war without congress.
So that`s very disturbing.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Adam Schiff of California, thank you very much for
joining us tonight.
SCHIFF: You bet.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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