'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Saturday, December 6th, 2014
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: December 6, 2014
Guest: Jack Jacobs, Brian Thompson, Eleanor Clift, Jackie Kucinich, Paul
Butler, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Hadas Gold, Brian Wice
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Potential indictments in Bridgegate.
Good morning. And thanks for getting UP with us this Saturday morning.
That big Chris Christie report you may have heard something about in recent
days. Well, it`s been eclipsed by even bigger Chris Christie news, more on
all of that in just a moment.
Also, demonstrations continue to cross the country last night to protest a
New York grand jury`s failure to indict a police officer in the chokehold
death of Eric Garner. We`ll be looking at all of that as well in just a
little bit. But first, we begin this hour with news that broke overnight
that an American held hostage by al Qaeda was killed in a failed rescue
attempt in Yemen. The sister of photo journalist Luke Somers has confirmed
to an NBC News partner that FBI agents have informed her of her brother`s
A top Yemeni security official says the failed attempt came after al Qaeda
promised to execute Luke Somers today. Luke Somers has been abducted 15
months ago in Yemen`s capital city and this week the Pentagon revealed that
it had tried to rescue him last month in another rescue attempt that had
failed. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel who was in Kabul this morning says
that Somers and another hostage were, quote, "murdered by the terrorists
during the mission." He did not identify the second hostage. The group
since identified that hostage as South African peer corky. President Obama
issued a statement condemning the barbaric murders adding that it is his
highest responsibility to do everything he can to protect American citizens
and bring them home safely.
For more we are joined now by Medal of Honor recipient and MSNBC military
analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs. Colonel, thanks for joining us. So, I mean,
obviously the details of this were just starting to learn them. I mean,
I`m reading this morning and what jumps out at me is, how close they came.
I mean, apparently they did rescue him while he was still alive brought him
somewhere else to try to save him and then he died. And it just looks like
-- other hostage from South Africa was going to be released tomorrow but
because of sort of the turmoil, he was killed as well. It seems like we
can`t come much closer.
COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, we came close last time. You
know, we tried one time before and it turned out that they had moved him to
some other place. There was a raid on a cave that was not all that far
away from where the raid was conducted last night. And they had moved him
and we had just missed him. It`s all about the intelligence. You know, if
you have good intelligence, you have to act quickly. If you don`t act
quickly enough, you lose it.
KORNACKI: And the challenge, so, now, it was al Qaeda, this is al Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula. Tell us what we know about that group in
JACOBS: Well, it`s a splinter group, obviously. What`s happened is that
al Qaeda, the original al Qaeda has become fragmented which makes it both
easier and more difficult to destroy, you have to do it piecemeal, it`s
more labor intensive. But it loses its chain of command. Very few orders
come from the top to anywhere else and it`s mostly a franchise operation
but that makes it much more difficult to eliminate. We`ve been conducting
drone operations, for example, in Yemen for a long, long time. And they`ve
been very, very successful. But you know, if you -- they move around.
This is a lawless area of Yemen, which itself is something of a failed
state. I think it`s something of a success that we actually operated in
conjunction with Yemeni Forces, Special Operations Forces that`s something
of a success.
KORNACKI: These are, I mean, obviously with ISIS, there`s been a series of
story of hostages and beheadings over the last few months. Now, we have
this story. You talked about the key to this being intelligence. Is there
more though that we should be thinking about that our government should be
looking at for other hostages -- other American hostages, other western
hostages who are being held by groups like this right now?
JACOBS: Yes. And I think they are making a big effort to do that. The
problem is that they are all held in different places and by splinter
groups that don`t report directly through the al Qaeda chain to anybody in
particular and they keep moving them around. No cell phone towers to
eavesdrop on. So, we rely on satellites and what human intelligence we can
get on the ground, which is very, very sparse. I think without having
flooding the zone with lots and lots of troops to gather intelligence,
we`re going to have to do these piecemeal attacks and operate on what
intelligence we can gather whenever we can do it.
KORNACKI: And we have a sense, I mean, so with ISIS, they`re talking about
ransom money, they`ve been looking for ransom money. Apparently, there`s
European governments who are paying them ransom money in some cases and
getting their people out. There was this video that was released from this
group in Yemen though I think on Thursday basically saying, you know,
Saturday is the day unless you meet our demands. Didn`t specify what the
demands are. Do we have any idea what a group like this is looking for?
JACOBS: Yes. A, money and some political leverage. Which is difficult to
focus in on, and C, prisoner exchange. And for us to stop doing what we`re
doing, which is to chase after them --
KORNACKI: So clearly the policy of our government is we`re not paying
ransom. Is there anything else that they are looking for where there is
potential for some bargaining between the United States and them?
JACOBS: In short, no. I mean, what they are looking for is for us to
layoff and not keep attacking them, which we`re not going to do. So, I
think there`s no way that the United States government is going to be able
to meet these guys in the middle. And we`re not paying ransom and we`re
not going to layoff. And we`ll just have to keep doing it.
KORNACKI: All right. And so another terrible headline this morning.
Colonel Jack Jacobs, thanks for joining us.
JACOBS: You`re welcome.
KORNACKI: And shifting gears this morning, to that big draft report we
told you about on the George Washington bridge lane closures was making a
lot of news yesterday morning, news you probably heard about it. But now
that news is being eclipsed by an even bigger development. Just a moment
we`re going to be joined by the reporter who uncovered that new
development, it broke late last night. First, we`ll bring you up to speed
on that interim report, the one that was making headlines yesterday. It
was reported it was released by the state legislative committee in New
Jersey. It is been investigating the George Washington bridge lane
closures. That committee is been working pretty much all year.
The very beginning of all of this in fact, it subpoenaed documents from New
Jersey, Governor Chris Christie`s administration. That is how the famous
time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee e-mail became public. And that
is what ended months of the Christie administration saying the closures
were merely the result of a traffic study. That e-mail also help to spur a
federal investigation by the United States attorney and it`s led to intense
media scrutiny of the Christie administration this year. So, late on
Thursday night this week, the interim findings of that legislative
committee were leaked. It`s a report that was written under the direction
of the committee`s co-chairs, both of them are democrats and the report
does not establish the link between Christie and the lane closures, either
as they were being planned or as they were happening.
And it cannot say for sure when the governor learned about them. The state
legislative investigation is also been hampered by the federal
investigation because many of the principle players in the saga were not
made available to the committee because of their potential role in the
ongoing federal investigation. So again, what leaked from the committee on
Thursday, is an interim report of an investigation that has not been able
to operate at full strength. The full committee -- republican is scheduled
to vote on Monday whether to make that report official. But meanwhile,
that federal investigation, the one that prevented the legislative
committee from reaching all of these key witnesses, that federal
investigation being conducted by the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, well,
there is some big news about that this morning. It comes from WNBC`s Brian
Thompson who filed this report last night.
BRIAN THOMPSON, WNBC REPORTER (voice-over): The political firestorm that
enveloped Governor Christie since the scandal over this lane shutdown at
the GW Bridge 14 months ago is quieted in recent months after this
legislative committee suspended its hearings while the U.S. attorney took
his own investigation to a federal grand jury. That hasn`t kept this
committee from preparing to issue an interim report on Monday. As was leak
to us, it finds no evidence Christie new in advance but calls into question
his handling of the scandal after it broke.
JOHN WISNIEWSKI (D), NJ STATE ASSEMBLY: What we do know for a fact that
this governor has deliberately misrepresented what he knew and when he knew
THOMPSON: That comment from the democratic chairman was refuted by
committee member and republican Holly Schepisi.
HOLLY SCHEPISI (R), COMMITTEE MEMBER: There`s nothing that implicates the
THOMPSON: In fact, the governor`s office responded, quote, "The committee
has finally acknowledged what we reported nine months ago namely, there`s
not a shred of evidence Governor Christie knew anything about the GWB lane
realignment beforehand or that any current member of his staff was involved
in that decision," end-quote. Still unresolved though, Port Authority
appointee David Wildstein here with Christie and fellow appointee Bill
Baroni three days into the shutdown and Wildstein`s claimed to have told
the governor of the shutdown. Something governor says he doesn`t remember.
Both officials resigned and have pled the fifth to the committee while the
U.S. attorney probe went into high gear. Now, multiple sources tell us
there`s a potential for indictments in this bridge scandal as early as
January. Of former staffers to the governor, former Port Authority
officials even current officials at the Port Authority at least six. The
Port Authority itself has no comment but among possible charges a cover-up
WISNIEWSKI: There was an effort to conceal, to cover up if you will what
took place here.
SCHEPISI: Was there poor judgment? Absolutely. As to whether or not that
constitutes some sort of criminal cover-up or conspiracy, only the U.S.
attorney can make that determination.
THOMPSON: The battle between republicans and democrats over the interim
report had Mondays committee meetings could get very heated. But as one
source tells me, that`s just the opening act. The main event will be the
U.S. attorney and grand jury action something that could be just weeks
KORNACKI: Indictments, federal indictments potentially of at least six
former Christie staff members and current or former Port Authority staffer
potentially weeks ago. That`s the bombshell from WNBC`s Brian Thompson
reported last night. And Brian Thompson has been covered the scandal since
before it broke, almost a year ago, it`s been a huge help for us on this
show in analyzing events as they`ve unfolded. He filed that report last
night and he joins us at this table, next.
KORNACKI: We`re back and joined now as promised by WNBC-TV`s veteran New
Jersey reporter Brian Thompson, as you just heard before the break is
reporting the potential indictments, at least six potential indictments,
may be coming within weeks in the George Washington Bridge investigation.
Thanks for joining us.
THOMPSON: Thanks. My pleasure.
KORNACKI: Well, let me start with this. Because first of all, the timing
on this was -- it`s sort of amazing, I mean, in that you had this interim
report from the legislative committee that came out and the Christie
people, they put former Governor Cane out there, he was on national TV
saying, seen, it was all a partisan witch hunt, blah, blah, blah. And then
you have news for the first time, sources close to this investigation, this
federal investigation which nobody has been able to get close to. I don`t
know if you can say anything on the air here, but is there a sense were
people willing to talk to you or eager to talk to you to sort of deliver a
message to the Christie people, hey, there`s more to this than you`re
THOMPSON: Well, not specifically vis a vis the interim report. I mean,
in all honesty this is something that I`ve been trying to assemble for
weeks and weeks and weeks from multiple sources. And, you know, when
you`re getting into semi-speculative information like this because there
has not actually to our knowledge been an indictment vote by the grand
jury, you know, you have to tread very carefully in saying okay, we`re
ready to pull the trigger if you will. So, no, there was no coincidental
timing that oh, interim report comes out, maybe absolving the governor and
oh, other people --
KORNACKI: Right. Because I had that thought of hey, somebody sitting
there in the U.S. attorney`s office --
THOMPSON: It`s just a conspiracy theory --
KORNACKI: Yes. Covering New Jersey will do that --
So, in terms of your reporting here, then because we have, I got to say.
We`ve been down this road before in a way. And that there are have been
other reports that have come out over the last six-nine months that said, I
remember there was one this summer that sort of breathless report about,
you know, this race between the Manhattan District Attorney and the U.S.
Attorney to have indictments and nothing panned out of that. So, what`s
your sense in having to have the confidence to go to the air with this?
What`s your sense of what`s different right now?
THOMPSON: What`s different right now is that a couple of weeks ago we know
that they were doing some interviews with individuals, I won`t identify
who they were, but they were all of the same employment group, let`s put it
that way at the Port Authority. That was really kind of a wrap-up.
Because it was a minor character that they were looking at in this drama,
somebody who does currently work for the Port Authority. But still a
fairly well-known name, a name you have repeated in the past, I might add
on a couple of your shows, I`m not going to tell you who.
KORNACKI: Getting closer, okay.
THOMPSON: But with that -- with them -- it was like a loosened that they
were tying up. And other information has come to me that actually gave me
the month of January as the target date for wrapping this all up.
KORNACKI: Yes. Is there any particular significance to January, they sort
of finish the process, or is there any reason in particular?
THOMPSON: I think it`s finishing the process, I think part of it is, you
don`t want to do it before Christmas. You know, it kind of looks like the
heavy hand of the government coming down on, you know, people, not all of
these people by the way are, you know, the prominent names that we`ve gone
over many times in the past year, but they are all names on the public
record. If anybody --
KORNACKI: Is there a range here? People have become so familiar with a
lot of these New Jersey names, these Port Authority names. When you`re
saying at least six, first of all, I think my reaction now was wow, I mean,
I was thinking, you know, maybe a couple, maybe two or three. At least
six. Is there a range here in terms of like how prominent these people
THOMPSON: Yes. Absolutely. Some of them are, you know, the obvious names
that we`ve seen and some of them are these obscure names that are buried in
the record of the e-mails, et cetera, but they are there. Every name is
somewhere in the public record that we know of. We don`t know of any non-
public record names. But here`s the thing and this is what really ties it
all together as a single unified prosecution, that is they are all involved
in this. They all have a fingerprint or more somewhere in this, which is
what our sources are saying all wraps up into a conspiracy to cover up.
KORNACKI: So it`s the classic Watergate cliche, not the crime, it`s the
KORNACKI: So, this is in terms of once this thing comes to light last
September, last October --
THOMPSON: Everybody is doing this and they are, you know, doing this with
e-mails and they`re talking about this and what do we do now? And how can
we facilitate this or who can do this? But it starts that week of the
shutdowns. It`s not just two months later or a month later. It starts
that week, that`s when the cover-up began.
KORNACKI: The other thing everybody has been wondering, I mean, we have
all of these principle players that we`ve talked about, whether it`s
Bridget Kelly, with the time and traffic problems e-mail, David Wildstein,
Bill Baroni, there`s been all sorts of speculation about which one is going
to cut a deal? Could one of them cut a deal? Could one of them flip? Is
there anything there that you`ve learned?
THOMPSON: Our information is definitively that at least two people of the
principles are either -- have made a deal or are singing or are trying to
make a deal with the U.S. attorney. Now, you know, when it comes down to
that, as my friend Joe Hayden will explain to me, that you know, the U.S.
attorney will pick and choose who they want to make a deal with. You know,
I could come up to you and I could say, you know, hey, I parked my car in
the middle of that traffic jam and, you know, I admit it, will you let me
off? And they`ll say no because we already know that.
KORNACKI: You have to give them something good enough.
THOMPSON: You have to give the U.S. attorney a lot of bait before he`s
going to say yes, I`ll make a deal.
KORNACKI: Interesting. So, the expectation then is if this happens in
January, if there are indictments in January, a whole new drama starts to
play out then in terms of trials and other people cutting deals, I guess?
THOMPSON: You`re talking about the main event now, you know, the interim
report was the preliminary round. This is the main event of it all. And
once you get to that point, unless everybody wants to plead guilty to
whatever they are charged with, then you have the whole discovery process
and, you know, you have the potential for leaks from the attorneys who are
looking for favorable press coverage before the jury is impanelled to, you
know, to pass judgment on their client, and you`re looking at a process
that could last easily a year. You`re looking at a possibility of a trial
right about the time of the New Hampshire primary in 2016.
KORNACKI: Well, there`s the news the Christie people didn`t want to hear.
Well, Brian Thompson, WNBC, you have done what for six months now at least
we`ve been waiting for a reporter to get in there and do and you`ve gotten
close this investigation. This is great reporting and thank you so much
for joining us.
THOMPSON: You`re welcome. I appreciate that.
KORNACKI: All right. And until then, we will be revisiting this I should
say next hour but these pending indictments, what do they mean for Chris
Christie`s political future? Brian just hinted that one potential headache
for him but we`ll going to bring our panel in and talk about it with them,
KORNACKI: All right. Back with more on one of the morning`s biggest
stories, indictments may be imminent now in the George Washington Bridge
investigation. We just heard from WNBC`s Brian Thompson who broke that
story last night. Now, we want to talk about it with our panel about the
And for that, I`m joined by The Daily Beast Eleanor Clift, also we`re
joined by MSNBC political analyst Joe Watkins, Jackie Kucinich from "The
Washington Post." So, I think we all just heard what Brian Thompson said,
the most interesting thing there to me in terms of the politics for the
timing, Eleanor, where he just laid out that timeline for 2015. If his
reporting is right and there`s a batch of indictments that come down in
January, then all of the legal wrangling sort of begins, he`s saying, trial
basically could be starting January 2016, New Hampshire primary, Iowa
ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Anna Mclaughlin (ph) Group, we give out
end of the year awards and I`m beginning to compile my list and I have
Governor Christie down as comeback of the year. And he really did recover
politically. And he`s going to look at this or his people are going to
look at this. It depends on how much he wants the presidency. Because
these indictments don`t appear to be the governor himself. These are
people around him. He can argue they were covering up to protect him.
Were they smart enough to protect him or if they go through discovery are
there e-mails there and evidence that he really was involved in the cover-
up? He`s got to figure that out for himself. Only he really knows for
certain what`s out there that could really involve him. But I think this
is a man who really wants to be president. And --
CLIFT: He`s bullied his way through the scandal so far pretty effectively.
And I expect that he will continue to do so.
KORNACKI: Well, I guess one of things that looks like -- I agree, I mean,
his desire for the presidency seems pretty obvious. I guess the question
is, there`s one issue there about whether he himself is ever implicated and
I always thought that would be doubtful in terms of planning or executing
this thing. But if you`ve got six or seven people around you, some of whom
are very close to you, all you know, going on trial, being charged with
things and cutting deals, it says something as you`re selling yourself to a
national audience about the culture of the administration you`ve created.
JACKIE KUCINICH, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it depends on how close it
gets to him. I really do. I think that if it comes down to it, you know,
it`s the people closest to him end up indicted, something that`s hard
evidence, it`s not, you know, preliminary report, then it hurts him. But
save that, he can just say, oh, this is democrats trying to attack me,
which Rick Perry has effectively been done. I mean, it doesn`t mean that
some of his opponents particularly in a republican primary won`t go after
him. Of course they will. However, I think the argument that the
democrats are out to get me isn`t necessarily lost on particularly a GOP
electorate going into --
KORNACKI: Yes. I know, believe me, I`ve heard that once on twitter once
or twice. Hey, MSNBC, the bridge, Christie, I understand. And Joe, that
is great politics in Republican Party. I can`t think of the republican who
lost ground in republican primary running against the media.
JOE WATKINS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he has a great story any way.
I mean, aside from all of this distraction, he has a great story. I mean,
he`s a republican governor who wins big in a blue state and done it twice.
I mean, he gets African-Americans in big numbers. I was just at his house
on Wednesday night for a holiday reception.
KORNACKI: You were at Christie`s?
WATKINS: I was. He`s a great guy. I mean, the heart of the man is just
so incredible, no bitterness, he had democrats or republicans there
together just to enjoy each other`s company and the holiday season. And
not a hint of bitterness in him. And --
KORNACKI: Legislature might have a different --
WATKINS: I talked to a democratic mayor who saw me in one of the rooms, I
know who you are, you`re the Watkins guy from. I said yes, and he says,
you know, I love this guy. I love this guy. I`m a democrat, I`m a hard
core democrat and I love this guy. I mean, that`s says a lot.
CLIFT: Well, there`s nobody else like him on the national scene. And to
stand out the way he does is a positive. But I don`t think things are
going that well in New Jersey, the distribution of the Sandy funds, the
state budget. I don`t think he can campaign on the New Jersey miracle.
WATKINS: But I think what he campaigns on is what he potentially brings to
America and in a primary, in a primary setting what he brings -- I mean,
let`s face it. The Republican Party doesn`t have a shot of winning in
2016, especially against Hillary Clinton unless we draw on groups that we
didn`t draw on in 2012 and 2008. We have to bring an African-Americans, we
have to bring in Latinos, we have to bring in LGBT community, we have to do
much better --
KORNACKI: Right, and that was the before all of this bridge stuff started
about a year ago or whenever it was. That was the trajectory Christie was
on, to be able to make that case to republicans. That I`m the guy that can
win the blue states. And I was looking at the most recent polling, I
forgot where it came from but it matched Hillary versus Jeb Bush versus
Rand Paul versus Christie. Christie did the best of all three of those.
He did the best against her. I wonder if we take the bridge thing out of
it for right now. Just look at the republican universe, how do they look
at Chris Christie beyond the bridge thing? How do they look at him? They
look at him, is he the rhino that we don`t want to give the nomination to
another Mitt Romney, another sellout or do they see something else?
KUCINICH: I think there are still some concerns about his temperament. I
think, you know, we`ve seen him yell at some people quite often, pretty
often and recently. I mean, it seems for a while he kind of pulled that
back. There is a lot of concern about that among republicans that you`ll
going to have this guy that`s yelling at people in New Hampshire. They
don`t take too kindly to that.
KORNACKI: It depends -- doesn`t it depend who he`s yelling at there,
right? Like you say.
KUCINICH: Absolutely, but --
WATKINS: Ronald Reagan did it. Ronald Reagan said, I paid for this mic,
you remember that? Back in 1980 --
CLIFT: Did it with such a smile --
KORNACKI: He was the actor.
KUCINICH: He`s not yelling at someone, you know, in a crowd who is
challenging him, right? And that I think is -- that will be Christie`s
challenge, you know, take all of the ethics stuff out of it. Also, you
know, it will be whatever is going on with the New Jersey economy, his
legacy in New Jersey will definitely be on the ballot.
WATKINS: Yes. People like the fact that he`s authentic though. I mean,
they like the fact that Chris Christie is authentic. I mean, he`s not a
plastic candidate, he`s not a made-up candidate, he`s authentic. And that
comes across every single day that he`s an authentic guy. And people like
that. They like a real person running for the presidency. A republican,
KORNACKI: And I get that and I certainly, I mean, every time there`s an
outburst, you know, most of the time, the Chris Christie page, they put it
up right away, they want to get out there but it`s true. If there`s a
conservative activist, Illinois in Iowa, if it`s Rand Paul, the debate
stage and he`s saying, shut up, that`s going to sound a little bit
CLIFT: Yes. It depends who he`s objecting to. And I think actually, you
know, the wider audience often doesn`t like protesters, they don`t like
them disrupting and, you know, if what we`re seeing in recent days, the
protests across the country, I would like to see how Governor Christie
positions himself on that, you know, on the sort of the racial divide here.
It`s a fine line to walk between standing up for the police and hearing the
voices of minority communities. We haven`t heard Christie on that subject
KORNACKI: We did hear, he said basically nothing.
CLIFT: Well, that`s smart.
KORNACKI: It seems to be his goal on that one.
CLIFT: That`s right.
KORNACKI: But he basically said, hey, I was a prosecutor, I don`t want to
second guess anything.
CLIFT: Okay. So now, that`s a smart answer on his part.
KORNACKI: It`s a politically savvy answer if nothing else.
CLIFT: That`s right.
KORNACKI: Anyway, I want to thank our panel. Eleanor Clift from The Daily
Beast Jackie for joining us. Jackie, you`ll going to be back a little bit
later this morning with us as well. And so will Joe.
And up next, new protests last night over the failure to indict that police
officer who put the chokehold on Eric Garner. Where does the federal
investigation stand? Is this one the feds are going to step in on? And
there are some signs that they might. We`ll talk about that, next.
KORNACKI: Last night was the third night of protests nationwide protesting
against the New York grand jury`s decision not to indict an NYPD officer in
the chokehold death of Eric Garner. Here in New York, many of the
demonstrations were held indoors because of the weather. Protesters held
so-called die-ins, lying down in an Apple store and in Macy`s flagship
store in Herald Square and there was a similar protest in Washington`s
Chinatown neighborhood last night as well where protesters blocked traffic
for several blocks. As well as in Miami where protesters tried to block
traffic on the coast way connecting Miami Beach. As with Ferguson, the
Eric Garner investigation lives on at the federal level. Wednesday night
hours after that grand jury`s decision not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel
Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Garner and as protests sprung up
nationwide. Well, on Wednesday night, Attorney General Eric Holder
announced that the Justice Department would conduct its own civil rights
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our prosecutors will conduct an
independent, thorough, fair and expeditious thorough investigation. In
addition to performing our own investigative work, the department will
conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And as we mentioned, the Justice Department is also conducting a
civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown in
Ferguson, Missouri. Now a number of legal experts don`t expect any charges
to come out of that probe because of the high legal bar in a federal civil
rights case such as this. It may also be tough for Feds to charge New York
cop Pantaleo with a crime as well because they have to prove he acted,
quote, "willfully to deprive Eric Garner of his civil rights."
Still, the DOJ does have a successful track record in some ways of
prosecuting police officers on civil rights charges back in 1992. For
instance, two of the four LAPD officers who were acquitted in the beating
of Rodney King were subsequently convicted of violating his civil rights,
federal charges there. This officers served nearly three years in prison.
And in 1994, an NYPD officer was acquitted on state charges in the death of
Anthony Baez who died during an altercation with police but the officer was
later convicted in federal court of violating the victim`s civil rights.
In both of those cases though, the officers had faced state charges. In
the case with Pantaleo and Wilson for that matter, in Ferguson, a grand
jury opted not to indict and bring a case in the first place. So, what
might happen this time?
Paul Butler is a former federal prosecutor, he`s now a professor at
Georgetown Law and he joins us now. Paul, thanks for taking a few minutes.
So, let me just give you my reaction. I`m not a legal expert or anything,
you are. But my reaction as a layman watching the response on Wednesday
night when the decision came down from the grand jury and that Eric Holder
is out there very quickly -- the fact it`s the Attorney General of the
United States out there on national television making this statement told
me compared to Ferguson, there`s something lot more specifically Justice
Department is looking at and maybe thinking of doing here.
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, the Justice Department steps
in when it perceives there has been some kind of a breakdown at the state
level, something that rises to the level of a miscarriage of justice.
Unfortunately there`s tragic history back in the `60s and `50s when folks
in the south were violent against African-Americans and the state wouldn`t
prosecute. And that`s when the Justice Department really stablished its
reputation of coming to the rescue of African-American victims again when
the state wouldn`t. Is this a case like that? Eric Garner? It`s
certainly a better case than Ferguson. You know, in Ferguson, the concern
was, well we didn`t really know what happened in the encounter between
Officer Wilson and Michael Brown and maybe the officer was acting in self-
Here none of those issues exist. We saw it on tape. We saw Pantaleo jump
on Mr. Garner, slam him to the ground in that illegal chokehold. We saw it
on videotape, no question about self-defense. So is this a clear case for
prosecution from the state? Most people think so. So, why didn`t the
state prosecute? We don`t know. It`s probably the answer is the DA, Mr.
Donovan in Staten Island, he didn`t want to bring the prosecution so that`s
when the Feds can step in.
KORNACKI: Now, in terms of bringing a federal case on civil rights
grounds, I mean, everybody who watched that -- you can make up your own
mind from watching the video of this thing, but a lot of video who watched
that video said unquestionably, you know, it`s excessive here, this was,
you know, clearly -- this was like a chokehold, didn`t let up that easily,
didn`t seem to help the guy for that matter when he was on the ground. A
lot of people walked away with that conclusion. But in terms of saying
then, there`s a civil rights violation as opposed to some sort of, you
know, police misconduct or negligence, what`s the bar there?
BUTLER: So, it`s a higher standard, in a state case it would be homicide,
even recklessness or negligence would be enough to convict the officer of
manslaughter. For a federal, criminal civil rights charge there has to be
willful and intentional misconduct. The officer would have had to intended
to violate Mr. Garner`s civil rights. Well guess what? There`s a civil
right to be free of excessive force by the state, including police officers
and federal prosecutors have brought these kind of cases. There`s one just
like this in New York from the `90s in which the cops placed another man in
a chokehold. The state failed in its prosecution of them and Feds stepped
in and actually got a conviction in federal court.
KORNACKI: Now, is there -- this distinction between if you look back at
the New York case in the -- and Rodney King case in the 1990`s where those
cases went to trial initially at the state level and there were acquittals
and then the Justice Department stepped in. The fact that you have grand
juries here that said we`re not even going to send these to trials, does
that distinction mean anything in terms of DOJ playing a role?
BUTLER: I think that actually makes the DOJ more likely to prosecute.
Again, you don`t have to be a lawyer to look at that videotape of Mr.
Garner being choked to death by the officer to know that something wrong
happened here. You do have to be a lawyer to know that something illegal
and criminal happened there. Well, I`m a lawyer, I can tell you that it
sure looks illegal and criminal to me. So why didn`t the grand jury
indict? Again, the reason is a man named Donovan, he`s the prosecutor, the
elected prosecutor from Staten Island. Is it because Staten Island, he`s
playing to his base, the whitest borough in New Jersey, it`s the most
conservative, it`s home to a lot of police officers. Maybe that`s why. Or
maybe it`s just because he works with cops and he doesn`t want to bring a
case against one.
KORNACKI: All right. Paul Butler, a little bit more with you, next hour.
But thanks for right now for your time, I appreciate that.
And still ahead, more on the failed rescue attempt in which a U.S. hostage
has been killed, the fall out over "Rolling Stones" partially retracted UVA
rape story and a guest that I`ve been hoping to get in the show for a long
time now. Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, we`ll going to ask
her to do something that may be impossible. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: If you`re just joining us we`re following breaking news this
morning that an American hostage being held by al Qaeda has been killed
during a failed rescue attempt in Yemen. The Obama administration says
that photo journalist Luke Somers was murdered by the terrorists who had
been holding him in the midst of that raid. "The New York Times" adds the
detail that U.S. forces actually reached Somers when he was still alive,
but he was badly wounded though when commandos got there and he died later
as a result of the injuries he suffered at the hands of his captors.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently wrapped up a news conference in
Kabul. We`ll tell you what he said about the failed rescue. The other big
news he made about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. That and much, much
more still ahead this morning. We`ll be joined when we come back by Doris
KORNACKI: President Obama met with seven incoming governors at the White
House yesterday. One of them was Texas Governor elect Greg Abbott. The
state`s current Attorney General now, Abbott was mounted a whopping 31
legal challenges to the Obama White House has described his job as Attorney
General this way. He said, quote, "I go into the office, I sue the federal
government and I go home. These are the polarized times we`re living in
where the House and the Senate can seem to agree on and accomplished these
days is passing a bill to stop Social Security benefits from going to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: The no social security for Nazis act.
It is the most popular bill to come out of Congress since no pre-k for the
Folks, it`s inspiring to see both parties join hands to declare with one
voice Nazis are bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: We all know that Washington is gridlocked and for years now the
parties have been moving farther and farther apart. And with President
Obama still in the White House and republicans set to take over the Senate
next month, it hardly seems like much is about to change. It`s felt this
way for years now that nothing happens in Washington, that nothing
meaningful ever gets done. Which makes us wonder, it`s been bad before,
but has it ever really been this bad? Is there a way out of this? Or are
we truly in unchartered waters here?
Now, there`s no better than studying presidential history than our next
guest, she is presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, her latest book,
"The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden
Age of Journalism." It`s now available in paperback. And she joins us now
and welcome to the show though, Doris. It`s very excited to have you here.
And so, let me start with an easy question for you. The political
polarization we see right now, does history tell us there is any way out of
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, AUTHOR, "THE BULLY PULPIT": There has to be a way
out of it, I mean, Franklin Roosevelt said that problems that are made by
man can be solved by man. So, I think we have to take some solace in that.
I mean, true, there were worse times in our history, in the 1850s, you had
revolvers on the Senate floor and one guy say you`re a coward and he point
a revolver at the other guy and they have to restrain them. Charles Sumner
are gets beaten by a cane and is out of the Senate for three years. So,
we`re not as bad as that but there are problems that do have solutions. I
mean, they don`t stay together on the weekends as they used to when they
used to form friendships across party lines. We could mandate that the
Congress goes together for four months at a time and that they are there on
the weekends, they don`t come home on Tuesdays and Thursdays that their
families are there, that they have functions that allow them to see each
other as human beings, we could figure out how to get money out of
politics. There are constitutional amendments that can do that, which is
the poison in the system and everybody knows it. We could have nonpartisan
commissions, redistricting the districts, so that they won`t so
ideologically poor. We just feel like this, nothing that can be done.
Because it`s been so long that we`ve been in this gridlock and it has just
taken our nerve and our power away.
KORNACKI: I mean, it`s interesting you mention the 1850s and Charles
Sumner and then obviously what was going on in the country at the time. We
were becoming two countries in the 1850s and there`s a column this week
from Bloomberg View that jumped out at me. I put the headline up here on
the screen. It says, "America is coming apart at the seams," on this topic
of polarization in red and blue America and the idea that these two
Americas, red and blue America want to pull apart from each other. The
author here says, Frank Wisconsin says, "Polarization has its own logic in
his red and blue states pursue their sharply divergent versions of
government each increasingly presents a vision of Dickensian hell to the
other." I mean, what his basically saying there, Doris, you know, red
America doesn`t want to talk to blue America, blue America doesn`t want to
talk to red America. And the way you succeed in each is defining yourself
in opposition to the other. Does it feels you like we are becoming two
GOODWIN: It does sometimes feel like minded people spend more time with
each other and not with the other so that they begin to, you know, make a
stereotyped vision of who the other people are. There`s even been some
sociological studies to show that people are living together now, more
close minded with their political opinions than they were before. And
that`s exactly what happened in the north and the south pre-civil war. It
now may be happening coast versus midland, East versus West, still North
versus South again but what America always depended upon and what`s so
important about us as a nation, is that we were a large country with lots
of different kinds of interests but we could somehow come together and feel
that we could do compromise, that`s what our whole system was based on,
compromise, compromise, compromise. And now that`s a dirty word on the
parts of both parties and a lot of people in the country. I think the
media doesn`t help it because instead of watching a common media, people
can watch their own favorite channels where they hear their own favorite
people saying their own favorite things and we`re not getting that cross
section that we used to get.
KORNACKI: You know, I think about it sometimes too and then you mention
the idea of the parties finding ways to bring the parties together more in
Washington. I feel like one of the problems is that the parties have sort
of for lack of a better term, they each sorted themselves out. And it used
to be that you would have in the same Democratic Party, you had
conservative southerners and liberal northerners and in the Republican
Party, you had very conservative mid-westerners and very liberal
northerners and it allowed for cooperation across party lines because there
was so much sort of like ideological, regional diversity in the two
parties. And now we`re in the state where the Democratic Party really
exists in cities and immediate metropolitan areas and republicans exist in
large ex-urban swaths of the country. It seems to me that sorting out
promotes this distance and separation.
GOODWIN: Without a question. You`re absolutely right. And I think part
of the problem with the modern day is transparency, which is supposedly a
good thing. But when you try to make deals across those party lines like
LBJ was able to do with Dirksen, he promised him everything under the sun
if he bring republicans along for the civil rights bill. You know, dams,
public works projects, bridges, judgeships and it was all considered okay
when that kind of deal making becomes public today, it`s considered, no,
you can`t do that. That`s part of the means toward an end. So, some of
the things we value today like transparency is only making that division
stay exactly where it is.
So things have to get done but the most important thing I think is the
President has lesser tools now I think to force Congress to take action
because the bully pulpit, which Teddy Roosevelt defined, used to be able to
get public so excited about an issue that Congress even in gridlock felt,
we better do something because they are going to come after us, the public.
Now a president`s speech isn`t listened to in the same way it used to be on
the radio, 80 percent of the people. Now, you have pundits that are
criticizing it before it`s even done, you got breaking news that takes our
attention away. We move from one thing to another. And Washington stays
in gridlock, they`ve got their own bubble. They feel unrelated to us in a
KORNACKI: I wanted to know what you make of the reaction we`re seeing to
the decision in Ferguson last week. Now, obviously Eric Garner here in New
York City. But the polling I`ve seen, I haven`t seen much on Garner but
the polling I`ve seen in Ferguson shows that opinions really seem to be
hardening along the same basic political divide. Sort of the divide the
find the Obama area. And if you look at the demographic divisions between
Obama and Romney, you`re seeing the same demographic divisions emerge in
how they are interpreting this story.
GOODWIN: You know, what`s said is at the end of the `60s, 50 years ago,
there was a commission on race and it came after a lot of the riots had
taken place in `67 and it said, we were in danger of becoming two nations,
one black and one white. And there was hope that policy, somehow the civil
rights bill, the voting rights bill, the housing bill, the nonviolent
movement that the civil rights movement had been at the time was pushing us
in a progressive direction and somehow we`ve moved backwards, I think in a
lot of ways, lots has gone forward. But that same divide still exists even
though most of us don`t want to think about it. Because it makes you too
sad as an American to figure that divide is still there.
KORNACKI: It is sort of a chilling reminder, I guess. But anyway, Doris
Kearns Goodwin, we`ve been wanting to get you on the show for a long time.
I really appreciate you getting UP on a weekend and then going into Boston
and doing that. Thank you so much for doing it.
GOODWIN: You`re very welcome, Steve. I`ll be glad to do it again.
KORNACKI: All right. Great. We will host you do that. And another full
hour of news and politics ahead, including how "Rolling Stone" is backing
off that UVA rape story it ran last week. Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Discrepancies in the UVA rape story.
KORNACKI: All right. Thanks for staying with us on what is a very busy
Amid word overnight that an American hostage being held by al Qaeda has
been killed in a failed rescue attempt. The latest on that in just a
Also, voters in Louisiana are heading to the polls to cast ballots in the
one remaining Senate race yet to be decided this year. I`ll go to the big
board in just a minute, and break down that contest. That`s in just a few
minutes from now.
We`re also going to return to the big new developments in the George
Washington Bridge traffic scandal and report that indictments may be coming
in a matter of weeks.
Also, we`ll take a look at the latest bombshell to drop in the UVA rape
But, first, we do want to begin this hour with the latest on this morning`s
news that an American hostage being held by al Qaeda was killed overnight
in a failed rescue attempt in Yemen. Luke Somers was abducted 15 months
ago in Yemen`s capital city. This week, the Pentagon revealed that it had
tried to rescue him last month in another rescue attempt that failed.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addressed the overnight raid at a press
conference this morning in Kabul, saying, quote, "This is further evidence
of America`s continued commitment to always find its American hostages no
matter where they are and to make every effort that those hostages are
returned to the United States."
NBC News` Kristen Welker joins us now live from the White House.
So, Kristen, we`re getting some details in different reports of exactly
what went down here. But what can you tell us right now?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, Steve,
details are trickling in this morning. The president condemning the
murder, calling it barbaric. He`s also shedding more light on his decision
to authorize that rescue mission in an early morning statement.
He said in part, and I read some of it, Steve, he said, quote, "Earlier
this week, a video released by his terrorist captors announced that Luke
would be killed within 72 hours. Other information also indicated that
Luke`s life was in imminent danger. Based on this assessment and as soon
as there was an operational plan, I authorized a rescue attempt yesterday.
I also authorized the rescue of any other hostages held in the same
location as Luke."
Now, a senior U.S. official is saying this morning that Somers was already
wounded when U.S. forces found him. He was then flown to a U.S. naval ship
but he`d apparently died by his injuries by the time he arrived on the
ship. Somers` sister Lucy is speaking to "The Associated Press" saying
they learned from the death from FBI agents who called at 12:00 Eastern
Time overnight. "The A.P." is also reporting and we are trying to confirm
this again, Steve, the details are trickling in, the attempted rescue
mission began before dawn when a U.S. drone struck an area dominated by
That action was then followed by Jets and Yemeni ground forces that moved
in. It`s believed that at least nine al Qaeda militants were killed in
that drone strike.
Now, in addition to Somers, we can tell you that a South African teacher,
also being held by AQAP was killed during that U.S.-led raid. His family
and friends had been told that he was going to be rescued today.
And a little bit more on the background of this entire situation. Somers
was 33, he was abducted in 2013 from Yemeni capital of Sana`a. Last month,
the Obama administration launched a raid, as you pointed out, Steve, that
was aimed at freeing him. But he`d been moved before that first mission
Then -- just a refresher for everyone -- the al Qaeda militants released a
video on Thursday that showed Somers and the group threatened to kill him
in three days if the U.S. didn`t meet the group`s demands.
I`ve been speaking to U.S. officials, though, about those claims. They
tell me that AQAP never actually issued any demands to the U.S. government.
Now, al Qaeda`s affiliate in Yemen, AQAP remains one of the most powerful
branches and President Obama saying today that all of this just underscores
the need to fight the group and to combat its ideology, its ideology, which
the president described as being, quote, "evil" -- Steve.
KORNACKI: Yes, Kristen. And also this morning, we mentioned there was
that press conference in Kabul from Chuck Hagel, the outgoing defense
secretary. He addressed American troop levels there. What can you tell us
about what he said?
WELKER: He did, Steve. Chuck Hagel who is visiting troops in Afghanistan
announced it is possible as many as 1,000 U.S. troops could stay in
Afghanistan beyond 2015. Of course, that`s significant because that`s the
deadline that all combat operations were supposed to end.
Secretary Hagel saying, look, this is not a shift in policy but rather
something that they feel is necessary because of these recent elections.
They want there to be a smooth transition. But, obviously, the Defense
Department, the Obama administration going to get a lot of questions about
that throughout the day because that troop level much higher than the
administration had initially suggested it would be -- Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Kristen Welker live for us at the White House --
thanks for joining us this morning.
WELKER: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right. And as we mentioned, we want to shift gears by
turning to that bombshell UVA rape allegation story. It was a bombshell
when "Rolling Stone" magazine first published it two weeks ago. And the
latest revelations about that story are just as potentially earth-
"Rolling Stone" is now backing away from its account of the brutal gang
rape alleged to have taken place at the University of Virginia at a frat
party there in 2012. The story prompted UVA president Teresa Sullivan to
launch a full investigation. It also kicked off a national conversation
about the ongoing problem of sexual assault on college campuses.
But then this happened yesterday afternoon. Because of doubts about the
magazine`s source for the story, a 20-year-old coed with the nickname
Jackie, "Rolling Stone`s" managing editor released a statement saying, in
part, quote, "There now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie`s account and
we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We`re
taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the
"The Washington Post" has been very critical of "Rolling Stone`s" reporting
on this story. First, the newspaper questioned the magazine`s decision to
publish without having talked to the alleged assaulters.
Yesterday afternoon, in the wake of "Rolling Stone`s" apparent partial
retraction, "The Post" published another story reporting that the
fraternity whose members had been accused were releasing a statement
vehemently denying the alleged victim`s claims. In that statement, the
fraternity says that key details about the fraternity members were not
accurate. They add the fraternity did not host a party on the weekend when
the rape is alleged to have taken place. The 20-year-old alleged victim
told the newspaper that she stands by her account.
I`m joined now by Hadas Gold, a media reporter for "Politico", and MSNBC
national reporter Irin Carmon, who`s focused on women`s issues, politics
So, Irin, let me start with you, because the one thing I`m trying to get a
grip on here is, "Rolling Stone`s" statement, we just read a little bit of
it yesterday, saying our mistake was placing trust in her, but it seems
that there`s another part of journalism here. You trust somebody talking
to you, but you have a journalistic duty to try to verify them, and I`m
seeing no evidence that "Rolling Stone" took that part too seriously here.
IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: It`s a big black eye for "Rolling
Stone". And I think they were giving subsequent interviews after fact,
saying we checked out all of these things, we have fact-checking and
believe the story is credible. But they weren`t transparent about the
process of reporting. They didn`t really say did we make an agreement not
to contact the assailants.
And even had they made such an agreement, they could have checked out other
detail such as, was there a party that night? That does not require
breaking the agreement they made with the alleged victim. They could have
said, you know, is there someone who works as a lifeguard at this
fraternity. And the fact that they didn`t do that, but they came forward
saying the story is ironclad, ultimately the victims are journalism and
rape survivors -- rape survivors who are already very afraid to report, who
are already afraid that they`ll be misbelieved and now, sort of the baby is
getting thrown out with the bath water, the larger institutional critique
that was being made in this story has now been hung on a story which they
did not do their due diligence to confirm the details of.
So, Hadas, I`m curious what you make of like, how this happens, first of
all. So, "Rolling Stone" and this reporter did not go and contact the
alleged perpetrators. Apparently, to hear them tell it, it`s not too hard
to know who the guys supposedly are and they didn`t go and contact them,
they said out of respect for the victim. Journalistically, is there any
justification for ever taking that approach?
HADAS GOLD, POLITICO: I mean, some people have argued and some journalism
ethics professionals and professors argued when you`re investigating let`s
say, a mugging or crime or something, you don`t necessarily go and try to
get the mugger`s side of the story. But in this situation, they weren`t
necessarily naming accusers by name but they were naming an organization,
the fraternity. And that`s definitely something you want to check into.
Now, the reporter of the story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, she said that she
reached out to the fraternity to the local chapter, to the national chapter
and they couldn`t confirm or deny it.
Now, she says that they were very comfortable that they knew that these
people existed. But that`s a lot different than what we saw in this story.
In the story, it was painted as almost a true narrative and there wasn`t
also any indication in the story that they weren`t actually able to fully
contact the people involved.
And actually, if you look at the story, it almost seems like all of the
version of the events we`re getting come from this woman Jackie and maybe
her friends, but we`re not even sure about that. There`s one thing, you
know, there`s that line that a lot of people put in, such and such was not
able, not available to comment or did not respond to a request for comment.
And that line, while it seems boring is very important in journalism to at
least show to the readers that you made a good faith effort to reach out to
the people or at least confirm their existence.
KORNACKI: The other thing, Hadas, I want to show you. This is Erik Wemple
of "The Washington Post". He serves as their media critic. And he has a
piece talking about what he calls, quote, "The poisonous biases that were
revealed by the story." He`s saying, you don`t see media -- you hear about
media bias all the time, you rarely see it. This is a case of it because
the writer refused to evaluate the alleged gang rapists as individuals,
instead opting to fold them into the caricature of the elitist fraternity
culture and all of its delicious implications."
Is that what you think was happening here?
GOLD: I definitely think it had a part in this, but I mean, it`s such a
sensitive topic, you know, when you`re dealing with a woman who is
obviously so fragile and as "Washington Post" has shown in their reporting,
Jackie was very uneasy at times about dealing with the reporter from
"Rolling Stone", at one point she wanted to not be a part of the story at
all and they ended up making some type of agreement so that she would
continue to be part of the story.
And actually, Richard Bradley, he used to be the editor of "George"
magazine, he was one of the first people to question this article. And if
you remember the man, Steven Glass, who was a reporter at "The New
Republic", who`s reported at few other places, who it turns out he
fabricated almost all of the stories, even to go as such length as to
create fake business cards for people who were his sources.
Funny enough, he was actually a classmate of Sabrina Rubin Erdely at the
University of Pennsylvania, and Richard Bradley who was his editor at on
point at "George" magazine said, even before in the days right after,
something in me says this is not right. That this is just -- it`s a little
bit too beyond. He was attacked and now he`s been proven as right. He
said partly as Erik Wemple said, that is because it really fed into biases.
Sabrina Rubin Erdely had said that she went out looking for stories about
campus sexual assault. She said she went to all the elite universities.
When she went to University of Virginia, she found this story and it was
her perfect story. It`s possible when you get wrapped up into you want to
present a narrative, which is a true narrative, there is a problem of
sexual assault on college campuses and how college and universities deal
with it, that she wanted to find the right narrative to really hook the
KORNACKI: Right, and, Erin, I think that`s one of the questions going
forward here is just this is a serious and real problem on college
campuses. So, going through something like this, media story falling apart
like this, what does that do to the real victims of this out here who might
want to come forward? Does this give them pause?
CARMON: It gives them pause. It gives journalists pause. It makes
criminal investigations harder.
That said, the University of Virginia indisputably has a problem. I don`t
think we should throw the baby out with the bath water here. The
University of Virginia is one of nine schools under a strict compliance
review under Title 9 by the federal government. It`s undisputed that the
dean said that people have admitted to her they`ve committed sexual assault
and nothing have happened to them. It`s undisputed that no one has
expelled for sexual assault in recent years, even as people have been
expelled for plagiarism.
All of the institutional problems that were supposed to be the linchpin of
the piece besides the explosive opening narrative which we still don`t know
the facts of for sure, all of that still stands. I think we really need to
not lose sight of that.
KORNACKI: All right. My thanks to MSNBC`s Irin Carmon and "Politico`s"
Hadas Gold for joining us this morning. Appreciate that.
This is the first Saturday in December. It`s also an election day, an
election day in Louisiana. Up next, I`m going to go over to the big board
and breakdown the runoff in the state`s crucial -- they are all crucial,
right? But this is -- could be Mary Landrieu`s last stand.
We`ll tell you all the numbers you need to know right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: If people would stop reading polls and
just go to the polls and cast their ballots, I feel like I have got a great
chance to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: That is Mary Landrieu, Louisiana senator, a three-term Louisiana
senator who is fighting for her political life this week. And today,
tonight in Louisiana is going to be judgment night for her, for her
We can show you, this is -- we`ll get the map up here. Here you go. This
is where we left things off on election night back in November.
Remember, we called all of these different Senate races. Republicans, they
got control of the U.S. Senate. They got 53 seats. They are going to have
the majority next year.
But there`s one outstanding race that is in Louisiana. It is with Mary
Landrieu, because they do things differently in Louisiana. Let`s show you
what`s going on down there and why this is such an uphill fight for Mary
So, on election night, Louisiana held what`s called a jungle primary. It
means all of the Democrats, all of the Republicans and they all run on same
ballot. The top two advance and they have a run-off, which we`re having
tonight. So, Landrieu won the jungle primary. She got the most votes.
Second place finisher is Congressman Bill Cassidy, Republican. He becomes
her opponent in the runoff.
But the reason why Landrieu is in such trouble, I think you can see here
clearly, she only got 42 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, her two main
opponents were Republicans, you add those together, 41 and 14, you get 55.
So, if you look at this just from a partisan standpoint, that sends her
into the runoff as a real underdog. And sure enough, if you look at the
polls that had been taken in the last month, in the run-up to the runoff,
you can see, Cassidy leading at an average of 57 percent to 37 percent,
about a 20-point lead for Cassidy. That`s a huge margin.
Now, again, anything could happen. The turnout can be funky. We don`t
know exactly what`s going to happen. But that`s why Mary Landrieu is such
a huge underdog.
Now, you also look at this, though, and you say, look, Mary Landrieu has
been there 18 years. She`s won three elections. She`s a long serving
senator from Louisiana.
How did it get so bad so quickly? How has Louisiana changed so quickly in
a way that puts her in this peril? We can show you a little about that.
What you`re seeing two presidential elections. This is a story of two
separate presidential elections in 2000 and in 2012. Now, look at this --
in 2000, this is when Al Gore ran against George W. Bush. In Louisiana,
Bush the Republican won it by a little over seven points, almost eight
points. Nationally, Al Gore won the popular vote that year. Remember,
it`s a real close race. He actually won the popular vote by half a point.
So, that means Louisiana in the year 2000, in the presidential election, it
was eight points more Republican than the national average. That`s a
Republican state but not that Republican.
Look in 2012, look at the Obama/Romney race in 2012. In Louisiana, Romney
wins it by 17 points. Nationally, Obama wins by four points. That`s a
difference of 21 points.
That`s the political evolution basically over the last decade in the state
of Louisiana from 8.2 to 21. Again, it`s 13 points more Republican.
So, where are those Republican votes coming from? And we can show you that
as well -- I have to undo this thing, I`m still learning. So, why has the
state become so Republican? What we can show, in 2008 for instance, Mary
Landrieu -- she won the jungle primary in 2008. This is the last time she
got elected. She won with 52 percent of the vote.
What was the formula that got her to that 52 percent? Well, here you can
take a look at it. Among black voters in Louisiana, she basically won all
of them, 96 to 2 percent. But among white voters, she was able to get 33
percent in 2008. One third of the white vote in Louisiana went for
Landrieu, the Democrat, in 2008.
Now, the South, of course, the white voters in South long ago used to be
all Democratic, they`ve been trending Republican for generations now. But
still, as of 2008, a Democrat like Landrieu can get a third of them. If
you can get a third of the white vote in Louisiana as a Democrat, you`re in
very good position to win the election. So, Landrieu could still get
reelected in 2008.
But now, look what happened in the jungle primary last month in November,
when Landrieu came in with 42 percent. Look at this. She still wins
basically all of the black vote. But look at the white vote, she`s down to
That`s the story of the political evolution of Louisiana, of the political
evolution of the South. It`s the story of why Mary Landrieu is in such
grave danger tonight. Basically between 2008 and 2014, the number of white
voters who are willing to vote for her, to vote for a Democrat in Louisiana
for an election to U.S. Senate, has been cut in half. It was 33 percent.
Now, it`s down to 18 percent. That is the difference between Mary Landrieu
winning with 52 percent in 2008 and potentially getting trounced tonight.
Again, we`ll see what happens but the odds say Mary Landrieu is in for a
tough night. We will keep an eye on the results. We`ll update you on them
tomorrow, but that is the story in Louisiana right now.
Anyway, there was this week`s big bridgegate news as well. Now, there`s an
even bigger story bridgegate story that knocked the first story out of
headlines, the story of potential indictments. We`re going to delve even
more into that, next.
KORNACKI: All right. We want to get back to one of the many stories we`ve
been juggling this morning. The new developments in the George Washington
Bridge traffic scandal.
WNBC TV`s Brian Thompson who joined us last hour is now reporting that
potential indictments in the federal investigation may be handed down in a
matter of weeks. At least, Brian Thompson reports, six indictments
potentially handed down in January.
Former members of Governor Christie`s staff, as well as current and former
Port Authority officials are facing possible charges, this according to his
report. Those indictments could be handed down as early as we say as next
I want to bring now in defense attorney Brian Wice, who`s live in Houston
this morning. And also, I want to bring back, former federal prosecutor
Paul Butler. Our two legal go-to guys, our legal dream team, whatever you
want to call them.
So, let me start with you, Paul.
On the prosecution side first, you have worked in a federal prosecutor`s
office. So, when you see a report like this, Brian Thompson`s report. I
know him to be a terrific reporter. When he`s reporting something, you
never know but you always -- it`s sort of the gold standard when he`s
So, it`s been so tough for the press to get inside U.S. attorney`s office
to figure out what`s going on with the bridgegate thing and now we have
what seems like really credible reporting from Brian Thompson.
When that gets out of a federal prosecutor`s office, what`s the decision
usually behind that? What is happening inside for something like that to
BUTLER: Well, it`s unusual. Federal prosecutors are usually a lot more
discreet than state prosecutors because they are not elected officials.
They are appointed by the president. This report is incredible though
because we`ve always thought that bridgegate has never been clear exactly
what the crime is. Sandy-gate, how the Sandy funds were allocated that
seems a more traditional public corruption prosecution.
But these indictments are most unwelcome development for Governor Christie,
because what`s going on is pyramid prosecution. You`re starting my from
the bottom, working your way up to the top. It sounds like these
indictments will be some little fish and some bigger fish, but not the big
fish. The big fish is Christie. So, I think he`s kind of -- again, that`s
still thinking there`s an indictment tomorrow. But this is not good news
KORNACKI: So, Brian Wice, again, the report from Brian Thompson, he`s
saying at least six indictments potentially coming. He says former
Christie staff members, current and former port authority members.
So, we`ve talked on the show and people who follow this know the names of
the principal characters in this, whether it`s Bridget Kelly, David
Wildstein, Bill Baroni. So, from the defense attorney standpoint, if you
are representing one of those principal players and a story like this comes
out in the news, what is your reaction to it?
BRIAN WICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I was shocked to see that as many as
half a dozen indictments were in the pipeline, Steve. We know who the
usual suspects are, the names you just alluded to, that great flow chart
that you had long ago as a year ago in December when the story first broke.
But if I`m representing one of the target defendants, first of all, I want
to know if it`s too late for me to get Paul Fishman on his cell phone over
the weekend to see what we can do about cutting a deal.
The problem is my good friend Paul pointed out, is that there are little
fish and big fish. And as anybody who has watched an episode of "Law and
Order" recognizes, the first people to the courthouse, the first people to
get Paul Fishman on the cell phone are the ones that walk away with the
best deal. But at this point -- I mean, I agree with Paul, this is an
amazing story because this investigation makes electing a new pope look
KORNACKI: So, Brian, in terms of cutting a deal, is there potentially one
of the motives here if the U.S. attorneys office, if somebody, federal
prosecutor is leaking this. I don`t know, if that`s where this is coming
from, would there be a motive to try to get the reaction you`re talking
about, to get people to come in and start making deals?
WICE: Yes, I mean, I certainly think at this point Paul Fishman, again,
this is not his first rodeo, knows this investigation is about to reach
critical mass. And any time a story like this leaks, I think you`re
absolutely right, Steve, I think there may be some back channel movement to
see, who, if anybody, is ready to come in and debrief.
KORNACKI: And Paul, from your standpoint, again having been in these
offices before, if -- what is the sequence of events usually in terms of
cutting deals and then making decisions on indictments? Would the big
deals have already been cut?
BUTLER: Not necessarily. So, you`re always thinking about how this is
going to look at a trial. How will a jury evaluate this evidence.
And it sounds like again, some of the bigger fish are actually going to be
charged, which makes a prosecution easy, easier.
Jurors don`t like it when people get immunity because they think -- well,
they were down and dirty and they are getting off, why shouldn`t the
defendant get off? And prosecutors have more control over people who are
facing sentencing or facing a criminal trial. So, if we`re thinking about
people like Bridget Sampson, David Wildstein, if they are indicted, they
are in Paul Fishman`s hands.
KORNACKI: In terms of the -- I`m curious, too, about the timetable on
this. We had Brian Thompson on last hour, and he was basically sketching
out a scenario, where if this comes to fruition, if we do end up getting
these indictments in January and talk about starting to go to trial and
some people pleading out or whatever -- this is basically something that
would stretch into the next year, January 2016, obviously, right around the
time of the caucuses. Is that the case? If there are indictments in
January, Is this something that we can pretty much count on being a cloud
for all of 2015 over Chris Christie?
BUTLER: I think so. There`s no exact timetable. And does Paul Fishman
know that there`s an election coming up? Does he know that Governor
Christie might be a candidate? Of course, he knows that. Under the
Department of Justice guidelines he`s supposed to act like he doesn`t know,
ignore that, not consider the politics, just consider whether he thinks
Governor Christie committed a crime.
KORNACKI: And, Brian Wice, if you`re a defense attorney -- if you`re with
Chris Christie`s people, is there anything you can do? Can you go to the
U.S. attorney or someone, hey, guys, listen, I know you have to do your job
here, I`m trying to run for president, can we get this done and speed it up
WICE: Boy, I certainly think Chris Christie`s people wish that he could.
But I think at the end of the day that`s not going to happen.
Again, this is supposed to be about the rule of law and whether the law was
violated and not about politics and elections in 2016. I think you don`t
have to be Chuck Todd to recognize this is a very, very bad Hanukkah give
for Governor Chris Christie, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right. Thanks to Brian Wice and Paul Butler, our legal
eagles, for joining us this morning.
BUTLER: I like dream team.
KORNACKI: Dream team is better, we`ll go with that next time.
All right. How much have you paying attention to the news this week?
Well, it`s that time of the show to test your current events acumen when we
go "Up Against the Clock". That is next.
KORNACKI: Recently, the one and only Ken Jennings, who holds the record
for the longest winning streak in the history of "Jeopardy", tried his hand
at another game show. And for a while, it looked like Jennings was on his
way to not just wanting to be but maybe also becoming a millionaire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY CREWS, GAME SHOW HOST: Before signing off with thank you and good
night and god bless America, Al Gore ended his 2000 concession speech with
KEN JENNINGS, CONTESTANT: I feel like if I had to pick, you know, if you
were forcing me, Terry, I would have to go with d but I don`t feel I`m sure
enough. I don`t feel I`m sure enough to risk $100,000. That`s a lot of
CREWS: A lot of money.
JENNINGS: I think it might be time for me to go. Not Al Gore, me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Although he had a hunch, Jennings decided not to risk guessing
incorrectly and walked away with $100,000. I`m bet many of you knew his
hunch was right. The answer was D, time for me to go.
And if you like Al Gore who hated trivia or any trivia for any matter, and
then you are going to want to stick around for "Up Against the Clock", our
weekly current events quiz show. Mere moments from now, three of America`s
brightest political minds will square off in a trivia test for the ages.
So, don`t go anywhere. "Up Against the Clock" is next.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center USA, it`s time for "Up
Against the Clock."
His childhood dream was becoming a U.S. senator, but it`s since been
surpassed by becoming vice president of his condo board, say hello to Brian
She`s never gotten a speeding ticket but watch out for her buzzer speed.
Please welcome, Jackie Kucinich.
He used to be a staffer for U.S. Senator Dan Quayle, but he wasn`t his
spelling coach. It`s Joe Watkins.
And now, the host of "Up Against the Clock", Steve Kornacki.
KORNACKI: Oh, thank you, Jim Cutler. Thank you studio audience. Thank
you to everybody tuning in at home.
Welcome to another exciting edition of "Up Against the Clock."
And we say welcome to Brian Thompson, first time contestant. Thank you for
joining us today.
Jackie Kucinich and Joe Watkins, they both played last season. Jackie, a
champion last season. Welcome back to both of you.
Good luck to all of you.
For a refresher for you guys and first time for Brian, let me just remind
everybody what the rules are and how this show works. This is a fast-paced
political news and current events and quiz. We play three rounds. Each of
them 100 seconds long. Questions are worth 100 points in first round, 200
in the second, and 300 in the third. They get harder as we go along.
Contestants, you can ring in at any time, but a warning, you will be
penalized for any wrong answers. Also, there are bonus questions scattered
throughout here. We will explain them if and when they come up. Our
contestants, of course, will be playing not just for victory but also for
the chance to play in our tournament of champions. To qualify, you will
first have to win today.
As always, I`m going to implore our live studio audience, please no
outbursts. Our contestants deserve and demand absolute concentration when
they`re up against the clock.
And with that, contestants, I will ask you, are you ready to play?
KORNACKI: No choice, Brian, hands on buzzers, please.
We`ll put 100 seconds on the clock. We`ll start with the 100-point round
and we will begin with this. This rock star filled in for an injured Bono
at Monday night`s world --
THOMPSON: Bruce Springsteen.
KORNACKI: Bruce Springsteen is correct. He was ready.
Hundred-point tossup question -- pushing its value to nearly $40 billion,
an additional cash infusion was announced this week by this ride share
THOMPSON: Who was Uber?
KORNACKI: Uber at the wire, correct, 100 points for Brian.
Hundred-point tossup -- currently leading in times online person of the
year poll is Narendra Modi, prime minister of this --
KORNACKI: India, Brian on a roll. Three hundred points.
A hundred-point tossup question. In a Bravo television interview this
week, which former presidential daughter admitted to --
THOMPSON: Jenna Bush.
KORNACKI: Jenna Bush, a little hanky-panky on the roof of the White House.
A hundred-point toss-up question on the floor of the House this week,
Democrats took to using a cardboard cut-out --
KUCINICH: Of Reagan.
KORNACKI: Of Reagan, correct.
Stop the clock. Exciting news for you, Jackie. Not only were Democrats
using a cardboard cutout of Ronald Reagan to make a point on the House
floor, but because you knew that, you have triggered other bonus quote of
It`s very simple. We have a special celebrity guest who is going to read
for you a famous quote and you`ll be asked to identify who said the quote.
There is no penalty for guessing wrong. This is a pure 100-point bonus
So, Jackie, if you will direct your attention to our video monitor and Mr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB BALABAN, ACTOR: Hi, I`m Bob Balaban. And this week`s "Up Against the
Clock" quote of note is and I read -- a president`s hardest task is not to
do what is right but to know what is right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Jackie, what president said that?
KUCINICH: Oh, gosh, I will go with Roosevelt?
KORNACKI: Incorrect. It`s Lyndon Johnson.
But don`t worry, that was a pain-free bonus question. No points deducted.
You still keep the 100 points. We get the clock back in motion.
We are back with this -- 100-point toss-up. A plan to raise the minimum
wage to $13 by 2019 was passed by this week by the city council of this --
KORNACKI: Chicago, the country`s third largest city, 100 points for Brian.
A hundred-point tossup. It was revealed this week that this billionaire
recently donated $25,000 to the Ready for Hillary super PAC.
Any guesses? We`ll call time, Warren Buffett.
KUCINICH: I knew that.
KORNACKI: Peggy Young was before the Supreme Court this week claiming that
UPS unfairly discriminated against her for being what --
KORNACKI: Pregnant is correct, 100 points for Jackie. And that is the end
of the round. There`s that horn.
Jackie 100 points on the board at the end of the round there. Brian jumps
to the lead with 500. Joe yet to get on the board but good news for Joe
and Jackie, we go to the 200-point round. You can make up a lot of ground
very quickly. The questions here twice as valuable but also twice as hard.
So, we put the 100 seconds on the clock and we begin round two with this --
$4.7 million was the going price at auction this week for DNA co-discoverer
James Watson who became the first living --
THOMPSON: Nobel Prize.
KORNACKI: First living recipient to Nobel Prize to auction off, 200 points
for Brian. Correct.
Two hundred-point toss-up. When after this week, if he missed Congress --
KUCINICH: Rahm Emanuel.
KORNACKI: Rahm said, no bleeping way, 200 points for Jackie.
Two hundred-point tossup, Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley`s prospective
presidential bid was handed a blow this week when his former boss and the
state`s senior U.S. senator endorsed Hillary Clinton. Name that senator.
THOMPSON: Barbara Mikulski.
KORNACKI: Correct. Stop the clock.
The exciting news for you, Brian, not only did you get 200 points for
correctly answering that question, but you have triggered our use it tore
lose it bonus question. Very simple how this works. We have here a
follow-up question that is related in some way to the question you just
If you would like to be asked that question and you correctly answer it,
you will double your winnings and get 200 more points. However, if you`re
wrong, you`ll lose the 200 points you just won or pass all together.
So, Brian, I have your bonus question here. Will you use it or lose it?
THOMPSON: Oh, what the heck.
KORNACKI: He`ll use it.
THOMPSON: I`ll use it.
KORNACKI: I like it.
Remember, it is related in some way to what you just answered. So, your
follow-up question is this -- when Barbara Mikulski ran for re-election in
1992, she was opposed by this Republican who later moved to Illinois and
ran against Barack Obama for the U.S. Senate in 2004.
THOMPSON: Oh, I know that. Alan Keyes.
KORNACKI: Alan Keyes is correct, 200 more points for Brian Thompson into
the big leagues.
Get that clock back on board and rolling 200 point toss-up here. Sixteen
things I`ll miss about being in Congress was the title of the post by
outgoing Republican --
KUCINICH: Michele Bachmann --
KORNACKI: I`ll complete the question. That`s incorrect, by outgoing
Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on what listicle-laden Web site?
THOMPSON: On what?
KORNACKI: Time. The Web site is BuzzFeed. She did it for BuzzFeed, a
listicle-laden Web site.
Two hundred-point tossup. In the 1980s, Ash Carter, President Obama`s
nominee for defense secretary, was against President Reagan`s strategic
defense initiative which was popular known by this --
WATKINS: Star Wars.
KORNACKI: Star Wars is correct, 200 points for Joe.
Two-point tossup. Leaders of the central committee of the Republican Party
in this state vowed this week toe remain neutral in the first in the nation
WATKINS: New Hampshire.
KORNACKI: Iowa is correct, 200 points for Brian.
Two hundred-point toss-up. Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported that the U.S. added 321,000 jobs in November and unemployment rate
remained at this percentage --
THOMPSON: Five-point-eight percent.
KORNACKI: Five-point-eight percent.
Brian, you earned the 200 points with that one. You have a big lead after
two rounds of play with 1,500 points.
However, as I said, it`s never been truer, we go to the PhD round where the
questions are three times as they were when they start, three times as
valuable, wild things have been known to happen in this round. That`s why
we dim the lights for dramatic effect.
The PhD round, the 300-point round, will begin when we get 100 seconds on
the clock. Let`s look for that. There it is. I have the questions here.
Let`s crown a champion and start with this. Ash Carter, President Obama`s
new defense secretary nominee will if confirmed be the first Pentagon chief
to have no experience serving in uniform since this man who held the job
under President Clinton.
WATKINS: Oh, darn, I was going to say Andy Bergen (ph) -- but that`s not
We`ll call time. It was Bill Cohen, Bill Cohen.
Three hundred-point tossup, police and social service workers began a
massive cleanout of this week of the jungle, the nation`s largest homeless
encampment located in this Western state.
KORNACKI: California is correct.
Three hundred-point tossup, confirmed by the Senate this week, the new
ambassador to Hungary, Colleen Bell, was a television producer of what
daytime soap opera?
KUCINICH: "Bold and the Beautiful".
KORNACKI: "Bold and the Beautiful", 300 points for Jackie.
Three hundred-point tossup, during oral arguments in the case related to
online threats, on Monday, lyrics for an Eminem song were quoted by this
member of the Supreme Court.
WATKINS: (INAUDIBLE) closet --
KORNACKI: Say again?
WATKINS: The closet --
KORNACKI: Incorrect, asking for the member of the Supreme Court.
WATKINS: Oh, member of Supreme Court.
KORNACKI: We`ll call time.
John Roberts, Chief Justice John Roberts quoted Eminem.
Three hundred point tossup, this week, this southern university became the
first school to shutdown a major college football program since 1995.
THOMPSON: The University of Alabama-Birmingham.
KORNACKI: Yes, the Birmingham is key there, 300 points for Brian.
Three hundred point tossup, Thursday night, Allison Williams performed live
on NBC as Peter Pan. Williams is the daughter of who --
THOMPSON: Of me, I`ve always known as Brian Williams across New Jersey.
WATKINS: Robin Williams.
KORNACKI: Incorrect. I`ll complete the question for Jackie, Williams is
the daughter of Brian Williams who took over as "NBC Nightly News" anchor
10 years ago this week from whom?
WATKINS: Tom Brokaw.
KUCINICH: Tom Brokaw.
KORNACKI: It is not enough to topple Brian, though, who wins the game with
1,500 points. Congratulations, Brian --
WATKINS: I was losing anyway.
KUCINICH: Thank you so much.
ANNOUNCER: 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 of "Cocoon 2: The
Return", personally autographed by Wilford Brimley.
And you`ll get to play in our jackpot round for today`s prize, a $50 gift
certificate to Kwik Meal for food cart in Manhattan, the only food street
vendor in the greater 45th Street area, operated by a former chef of the
Russian tearoom. I had it for lunch today. Delicious. Enjoy the meal and
Back to you, Steve.
KORNACKI: Congratulations again, Brian. You`ve got the UP gold cup.
Jackie`s signature is on there somewhere.
We caution you. Don`t drink from it. Highly toxic chemicals were used in
painting that thing.
But, something more valuable, the $50 gift certificate to the food cart.
You`re going to play for that now with our jackpot bonus question. Here it
If Mary Landrieu is defeated in today`s Louisiana Senate runoff, it will
leave the state with two Republican senators for the first time since
reconstruction, who before Landrieu is the last Democrat to represent the
state in the Senate?
WATKINS: I know to the answer to that.
THOMPSON: Well, go ahead.
The last Democrat. Oh, I should know that.
KORNACKI: We`ll need an answer, Brian.
THOMPSON: I can`t give it.
KORNACKI: All right. Joe?
WATKINS: Russell Long.
KORNACKI: Incorrect! It was John Braugh (ph).
KORNACKI: The get certificate is the safe. The cup is yours to keep for a
week. All the glory and honor to you. Congratulations, Brian.
Jackie and Joe, don`t worry. You each get the home edition. Thank you all
We`ll be back to wrap up the show right after this.
KORNACKI: All right. It`s that time where we find out what we didn`t know
last week that with do now know at the end of the week.
We`ll start with you, Jackie.
KUCINICH: You know, we have actually -- this was something that was just
reiterated this week. And that`s the importance of good, solid, local
journalism. My colleague Erik Wemple said that in relation to the UVA
scandal, "Rolling Stone" scandal this week. And I think it`s all the more
KORNACKI: Took a local reporter to discredit a national story. That`s
THOMPSON: Cameras of events like what we saw with Eric Garner are not
always the answer in giving you, quote/unquote, "proof". It`s just too
difficult sometimes for a grand jury to say, yes, the camera tells all.
KORNACKI: We`ll be talking about the issue of cameras on the show
WATKINS: I still have great faith in the young people. I`m so proud they
came out and said what happened to Eric Garner was wrong. That he was
murdered and they took to the street to say this can`t happen. This is not
going to happen in America in the 21st century.
KORNACKI: Yes, I know. The response, the spontaneous uprising here and
peaceful. It`s been incredible.
Anyway, I want to thank Jackie Kucinich, Brian Thompson, Joe Watkins, thank
you all for getting UP.
Congratulations, Brian, by the way.
THOMPSON: Thank you, thank you.
KORNACKI: Thank you all for joining us today. Join us tomorrow morning,
when I talk to Vermont`s independent Senator Bernie Sanders about when he`s
planning to decide to run for president, among other things.
And coming up next is Melissa Harris-Perry.
And Melissa joins me now.
Melissa, what is ahead this morning?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Good morning, Steve.
We`re going to go -- we`re going to start, you know, with the latest, of
course, on this awful overnight breaking news about the two hostages who
were killed in Yemen. But we are going to do a lot in the ongoing story
we`re dealing with this in this nation about race, police, and the use of
deadly force. We have Maya Wiley, who is counsel to New York City`s Mayor
Bill De Blasio, is here with us.
And we`re going to take a deep -- in-depth look this morning on the history
of police and black men in this country.
KORNACKI: All right. A lot coming up in the next two hours on "MHP".
Thanks for that, Melissa. We`ll be watching.
And everyone, be sure to stick around. "MHP" is next. UP is back tomorrow
morning. Thanks for joining us.
HARRIS-PERRY: Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.
And we have a lot to get to on the program this morning, including the
latest in the response to the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case.
But we start with breaking news from overnight. An American
photojournalist who was being held hostage in Yemen was killed by al Qaeda
militants during a rescue mission by U.S. Special Forces. Al Qaeda posted
a video earlier this week, threatening to kill Luke Somers in three days.
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