All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: December 16, 2014
Guest: Joe Bel Bruno, Kevin Roose, William Bastone, Benjamin Crump, Al
Franken, Alex Sink
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know you can`t go to North Korea now, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do know that, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The siege on Sony Pictures continues. Hackers now
threatening a terror attack on theatres showing "The Interview." The stars
have cancelled interviews in light of the threats as the FBI investigates.
Will Sony be forced to pull the movie?
Plus, the smoking gun`s bomb shell report casts even more doubt about
testimony in the Darren Wilson case.
Then, is the world ready for a third President Bush?
FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think he would be a great president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush is officially thinking about officially
running for president.
And then, there was today`s presidential endorsement from one of the
Senate`s leading liberals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Hillary would make a great president. I
have announced that I`m you will port supporting her. But does this count,
I guess? Neither of this counts?
My exclusive interview with Senator Al Franken when ALL IN starts now.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC GUEST ANCHOR: Good evening from New York. I`m Ari
Melber. Our top story tonight involves one of the most powerful movie
studios in America, kneecapped in an attack by very sophisticated hackers
serving the interest of yes, one of America`s greatest enemies.
It sounds like the plot of a movie, but it`s actually about the plot of a
movie. Sony Pictures Entertainment is under siege tonight, fall out
growing from that huge unprecedented cyber-attack on the company starting
three weeks ago.
The hackers, who call themselves guardians of peace, took down Sony`s
computer system posting a warning that the breech was just a beginning and
promising to expose the company`s secrets if it did not, quote, "obey the
The hackers followed through on their threat gradually releasing a pretty
staggering amount of hyper sensitive information. You`ve probably heard
about some of it. It includes posting five full Sony movies.
Four of them unreleased to big file sharing networks making public the
script for the new James Bond film including some embarrassing notes from
The hackers posted internal e-mails that included racially tinged jokes
between executives about President Obama`s potential movie viewing habits
and messages in which company executives insult big time directors and
upcoming Sony films.
The hackers revealed the personal data of celebrities and many, many of the
company`s employees 47,000 social security numbers, just massive. Now,
former employees of the company have filed a class action lawsuit saying
that Sony itself failed to properly secure some of that sensitive employee
At this point, let`s be clear. Nobody knows who`s behind this Sony hack
specifically, but there is a lot of speculation. Many have pointed fingers
at North Korea itself, which has denied involvement, but it did call the
hack, quote, "A righteous deed."
North Korea took offense at this new Sony movie. It`s called "The
Interview" and it uses a plot to kill Kim Jong Un. This summer the country
called it, quote, "The most blatant act of terrorism and war." And said
the movie`s release will absolutely not be tolerated.
Last night, one of the stars of the interview, Seth Rogan, who also co-
wrote and directed the film was asked about it on the "Colbert Report."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it appropriate to make jokes about real things in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I personally think it is appropriate to make jokes
about real things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you think about changing his name at all? Like
calling him Phil Jong Un?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did. Then we thought whose feelings are we trying
to spare by doing that, Kim Jong Un?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That probably wouldn`t have worked. Now this afternoon, here at
ALL IN, we confirmed that Rogan and his co-star, James Franco, have now
cancelled all planned media appearances for this movie, "The Interview."
It is coming out on Christmas day and meanwhile, the hackers have posted a
new batch of Sony files. This is just today along with a new threat in
which they actually refer to the 9/11 terrorism attacks and warn people to
stay away from the places where the interview will be shown.
Those are strong threats, but we also want to tell you that DHS says it has
no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot along these lines.
Joining me now to get right into it is Joe Bel Bruno, editor of Company
Town, that`s the "L.A. Times" business of Hollywood section. Good evening
JOE BEL BRUNO, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Good evening, Ari.
MELBER: Is Sony going to pull this movie?
BRUNO: Yes, that`s the big question. This whole thing has gone, it`s
crossed over from surreal to criminal and, now, just sort of very obscure
and bizarre there is chatter all over Twitter. Will they pull it? Will
they pull it? Will they put it out?
I know that today, theatre owner`s groups have met behind closed doors and
over the telephone to determine if it`s safe to put this movie out,
deciding if they want to pull it or not. And will Sony go ahead with it?
So far, they`ve said nothing.
MELBER: Give us just a flavor, especially from people who heard a bit
about this. Just what kind of corporate foreign policy disaster this has
been, which is not to say what should be done about it, it`s clearly huge.
What is the flavor? What is the mood in L.A. about all of this?
BRUNO: Well, I know one thing is for certain everybody in Hollywood out
there right now is emptying their e-mail boxes, securing their servers and
just trying to double down on security. All of those e-mails are coming
Imagine all of the data including how much money people get paid, how much
money executives on expense accounts. Even their health information has
And it`s been quite a chore for the press for the media for us to go
through it all and know it`s exactly appropriate to put what is out and
what is not.
MELBER: So that, as part of what we can see from reporting, is a concerted
effort to intimidate and bully people in United States from either putting
this film out or going to see it, as we`re reporting in the threats.
And yet there`s something really problematic here. You don`t get sent to
jail in this country from making movies. But a global commerce
environment, what is the fallout here for these companies and actors and
folks for the next movie?
If there`s going to be this kind of headache and sanction of damage,
there`s going to be a killing of censorship going forward.
BRUNO: Yes, that`s exactly it. In the argument of are they going to go
through with it, I can`t imagine them looking at this very closely to see
You don`t want to let a foreign government if it is North Korea or
anonymous hackers in the Middle East or Russia or whatever they might be,
you don`t want them being able to radically alter a company`s ability to do
By pulling this movie, it sets a very dangerous signal. I mean, you keep
thinking about George Bush saying, you know, don`t let the terrorist win
and in some ways that`s really what it all boils to.
MELBER: Yes, and the power of satire, the power of comedy here, this is a
film that we haven`t seen yet, but it makes these arguments. Do you think
that`s the take away? That they`ll regret ever going down this path in
this film, Sony?
BRUNO: Well, we know that for certain. In some respects, they leaked the
e-mails that have come out, that we`ve reviewed show intense debate inside
the studio along with its stars and Seth Rogan all in chains of e-mails
with executives debating how to finish the movie, how to create an ending
that might not be as gory.
And you know, they are quite worried throughout the whole thing about what
kind of retaliation they can get. In some of our reporting today,
documents reviewed show that Sony actually we believe the ahead and
commissioned or worked with the Ram Corporation to get a detailed analysis
of what kind of movies have talked about North Koreans.
What the reaction was in North Korea and other sensitive overseas markets.
So they were well aware from the entire shooting of this movie that this
was a problem.
MELBER: Yes, Rand, the army think tank there and obviously our military
and intelligence services watching this closely. Thanks for your
reporting, Joe Bel Bruno.
This is not just a story, of course, about the fallout from the Sony hack
itself, it`s also about how reporters report on this kind of stolen
Now, screen writer, Eric Sorenson, whose e-mails were leaked said news
outlets who have report on what was revealed by "Guardians of Peace" are
morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable. And he continued that
case today on the "Today" show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything that points to wrong doing at the
company? That helps anyone in anyway. There isn`t. There`s just gossip
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And we go to someone who`s actually been reporting a lot on all on
this material, Kevin Roose, senior editor at "Fusion." What do you say to
Aaron Sorken`s argument there, there`s no value in these materials.
KEVIN ROOSE, SENIOR EDITOR, "FUSION": I`m a big fan of Aaron Sorken`s
screen writing. I can`t say appreciate his take on journalism ethics
nearly as much. I mean, what he says there is just wrong. There`s nothing
in the public interest in these documents. We have reported the stories
involving these documents that showed a gender pay gap between two co-
presidents of Sony Pictures Studio.
MELBER: Yes, we have them being paid less than their co-stars.
ROOSE: Exactly. We`ve pointed to race-based pay disparities, the failure
of Sony Pictures to protect their identifiable information which is
something that is illegal. I don`t know that you can say with a straight
face that there`s nothing of public importance that`s been revealed in
these e-mails. And I don`t think that`s Aaron Sorken`s call to make
MELBER: Right. He`s putting hymns out there as an arbiter. He also as
we`ve said is deeply involved in this one. But we know as you mentioned
the screen writing, everyone remembers a few good men. Everyone wants the
truth. Some people can`t handle the truth, as he put it there.
There`s a lot of truth, though, that is in reporting the product of
unauthorized disclosure or even criminal acts. What do you say to the
argument of people here that, look, these are the fruits of crimes related
to potentially allies of our enemies and should be treated a little
ROOSE: Well, information is not as clean. There are decades of reporters
using documents that are legally retained. It`s long-established. I think
one thing that`s important to understand is that the alternative to
reporting on the Sony-hacked documents is not making them disappear.
That`s too late, right? So the alternative is just having them out there
and I think they will and are going to continue the judgment.
MELBER: Everyone pre-supposing that we can figure out whether each leak
will be good for society. People refer to the Pentagon papers at their
time, it was usually controversial. Over the years, that`s become a point
of consensus, that it was a good light to shine on Vietnam.
ROOSE: Absolutely. And I don`t want to defend the choices that every news
agency is making. I know that we`ve been very scrupulous about reporting
things that we felt were in the public interest and we haven`t reported
social security numbers or anything private that could really damage a lot
of people`s lives in an immediate way. I any these judgments are hard.
MELBER: It`s fascinating. It`s been spiralling bigger and bigger. Now,
this show has spent a considerable amount of your time if you`ve been
watching. Question will the grand jury testimony in the Darren Wilson case
from witness 40 was really credible.
Something Chris Hayes has been reporting on. Now, there`s a new bomb shell
report that says it was not. Plus a response from the chief of the
Cleveland police and it`s somewhat surprising. That`s next.
MELBER: Last night on this show, I interviewed the president of the
Cleveland Police Union after he had been publicly demanding that Cleveland
Brown`s wide receiver, Andrew Hawkins, apologize for wearing this shirt
advocating justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford, that was over the
It was a reference to the police shootings of two young African-Americans,
Tamir Rice, 12 and John Crawford, 22 in controversial incidents in Ohio.
The union chief said Hawkins doesn`t know if you have e enough to discuss
the case and should stick to football.
We have been hearing many strong responses from that interview. Local Ohio
press and ESPN also covered the police union chief`s comments in the
interview today including his argument that the NFL Andrew Hawkins does
have a right to speak about the case. But he must also apologize for those
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can voice his opinion and that`s fine. I`m just
saying, calling for justice for his opinion on what happened that day, he`s
MELBER: To be clear, are you saying he can state it, are you withdrawing a
request for an apology for him to state the view or he can state it, but he
has to also apologize?
JEFFREY POLLMER: I`m not withdrawing anything. He disrespected police
officers who are out there doing their job. He`s surrounded by police
officers. When you`re talking about two of us that were put in a situation
like these two were, you`re talking about all of us.
MELBER: What do you think about the concern people have that folks are
being killed in some cases by officers when there`s less than lethal threat
POLLMER: How about this. Listen to police officers` commands. Listen to
what we tell us -- tell you and just stop.
MELBER: When police face allegations of misconduct, the unions and
departments often band together. But as this controversy has continued in
Cleveland and beyond, we have some breaking news to report to you tonight.
This evening, the Cleveland police chief issued a new statement breaking
with the union chief and taking a different view of the legitimacy of
public criticism of his officers.
In his new statement, citing the union leader, Jeffrey Pollmer, he says,
quote, "It is important to note that the comments made by Mr. Pollmer do
not represent the views of the Cleveland Division of Police.
The division of police respects the rights of individuals to peacefully
demonstrate their personal views. Mr. Hawkins was certainly well within
his rights to express his views and no apology is necessary.
MELBER: Three weeks after a grand jury in St. Louis decided not to indict
Officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, there are
still growing questions about not only what decision the grand jury reached
but about the grand jury process itself. How it worked?
As ALL IN has discussed in several segments over the last week, no one
calls that process more into question than the use of witness 40 whose
testimony often seem today be hard to believe. This is the witness who
wrote in a journal entry which she submitted to the grand jury.
That she headed up on August 9th, the day that Michael Brown was shot
because she thought, that morning, quote, "I`m going to take my random
drive to Florescent that need to understand the black race better so I can
stop calling blacks n word and start calling them people," end quote.
She also wrote that in the final moments of Michael Brown`s life, quote,
"The cop just stood there and dang if that kid didn`t start running right
at the cup like a football player, head down," end quote.
And it was that phrasing that made her testimony a Sean Hannity, Fox News
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS": But then, quote, "he looked like a football
player with his head down charging at Officer Wilson." Charged at him like
a football player with his head down charging.
That Michael Brown was charging like a football player full-force on
One witness described it as charging at Officer Wilson like a football
player with his head down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Yes, one witness did. But, before that witness, Witness 40 ever
appeared before the grand jury. She was interviewed by the FBI and
represented by the U.S. attorney`s office. And they were very skeptical of
her story. Part of their interview with her reads --
Question, so you are posting racist things online and you`re telling us,
you know, you are telling, you know, your account and then there are videos
that don`t show your car and there is a map that shows you couldn`t have
left the way you left from.
The witness responds, "I don`t know how I left."
Question, but obviously we find out what people`s motivations are when you
say you posted things online that are racist and you come in here and you
tell us an account that supports Darren Wilson.
So the St. Louis County prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, let a witness testify,
call them in, who had wrote those racist things, whose story made no sense
and who the FBI and U.S. attorney in their questioning basically seemed not
to believe and that`s the fairest reading we can give you.
Now, a new bomb shell report putting her testimony even further into
question, the smoking gun web site reporting they have identified Witness
40 that she is a woman with, quote, "a criminal past who has a history of
making racist remarks."
And once assimilated herself into another high profile St. Louis criminal
case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a complete
I quote, "In the weeks after Brown`s shooting, but before she contacted
police she used her Facebook account to comment on the case." And to be
clear NBC news has not been able to independently confirm the smoking gun
The FBI and the St. Louis Police Department declined to comment on this
report and the St. Louis County Prosecutors Officer didn`t respond to our
repeated request on this matter.
Joining us now though from "The Smoking Gun," editor, William Bastone, who
co-wrote that report on Witness 40. We`re not endeavouring to give a
proper name to this witness.
We are endeavouring, though, to figure out why someone who was so non-
credible was testifying -- first, what did you learn? How did you verify
the nature of this person in this situation?
WILLIAM BASTONE, EDITOR, "THE SMOKING GUN": Well, what we did was we
looked at all of the two volumes of grand jury testimony. Keep in mind,
she was there twice. She was there October 22nd and October 23rd and then
he called her back ten days later.
So what we did was we looked at the unredacted portions that contained some
kind of pedigree information. Everything from the fact that she was
divorced and have these criminal convictions and she was adopted, found at
a Facebook page that was in support of law enforcement officers, et cetera,
And then we basically went and spent a couple of days trying to connect
individual people to that fact pattern.
MELBER: So you did all of that cross referencing. You achieved this. You
spoke with her in some capacity and corresponded with her.
MELBER: Does your reporting suggest that she did witness this incident?
BASTONE: No. This is a woman who was not there and fabricated this whole
event. The thing that`s first amazing is she first was interviewed by the
police. She turned over five weeks later to the prosecutors and the FBI
and the United States Attorney`s Office.
They had five weeks to vet this woman`s story before they put her in for a
hundred minute meeting with the FBI, five weeks. Everything we gather on
her was two days, start to finish.
We started it two days ago. There was plenty of time to determine that
this was an implausible story, has been accused in the past by a local
police department of fabricating material.
MELBER: Do you think that record and the readily available racist remarks,
including on the day of the killing, I`m just asking a basic question, do
you think that should have disqualified her before being put before the
grand jury at all?
BASTONE: Once you go in and tell that story, a police -- I`m a journalist.
I don`t have subpoena power. I can`t get her phone records. But when she
told that story to the cops the first time, they could have just proven
that story in two days.
And I don`t think anyone is set to do it. And now what do we have? We have
a position where her account is now baked into the narrative --
MELBER: All over the place.
BASTONE: Exactly. So it seems to have equal weight to the grand jury and
she was nowhere to be found. That`s near where Michael Brown got killed.
MELBER: As you say, you did it quickly, but you did it thoroughly.
William Bastone of "Smoking Gun," thank you for being here.
We want a turn from the reporting piece to the justice piece. Benjamin
Crump is the attorney for the family of Michael Brown. Good evening to
What do you make of what you just heard and its significance in not the
outcome of the grand jury decision, but whether the grand jury processed
here was normal, uniform or fair?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN`S FAMILY: As we`ve said all
along, we didn`t think the grand jury process was normal or fair for
Michael Brown to get justice. In fact, where he think, when you look at
how they questioned this witness as opposed to how they questioned
witnesses that support it.
Michael Brown heavily cross examined Dorian Johnson and others. But this
witness is a detailed account now. If you believe it at best, did it where
it was so inconvenient for her to be on the stand for a long time.
But if it was deliberate, they didn`t want her on the stand at all. For
the judge to settle this grand jury`s decision if this information is, in
MELBER: Right. Mr. Crump, some of the racist writings and ramblings of
this witness, I don`t want to read on air. They`re here and available to
the public and on "A Smoking Gun."
In your view, though, when you say that, are ewe saying that the prosecutor
here, to put this kind of decision with criminal problems and racism
publicly put forward at that time, that that, itself, means that Mr.
McCulloch basically abused his prosecutorial obligations?
CRUMP: We certainly think that the argument could be made especially when
you consider the fact that should have known or could have easily
ascertained that this witness had fabricated information before in another
high-profile case in the fact that if they would have vetted her properly,
you know, the police had the resources from the state of Missouri.
MELBER: For people trying to make sense of this tonight, what are you
going to do about it? Is there a filing or an action that you`re
CRUMP: Absolutely. We talked to his family about this all day and we do
believe that this should go before a judge and she should consider setting
aside this grand jury`s decision based on the information that was
presented by this prosecutor and especially this witness and other things.
MELBER: I appreciate your perspective on it. I know how hard you`ve been
working on it. There are many legal calls that are tough calls that are in
the grey. I got to tell you. Looking at the writings, it doesn`t seem
It seems fairly outrageous to put this kind of witness before a grand jury,
highly unusual. Mr. Benjamin Crump, thanks for your time tonight.
CRUMP: Thank you very much.
MELBER: You bet.
Next, we want to talk about my exclusive interview with Senator Al Franken.
That`s up ahead.
MELBER: A devastating scene at the school in northwest Pakistan where a
group of armed militants laid siege to the grounds this morning going on a
violent rampage that left more than 140 people dead, a vast majority of
NBC news chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has this report.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: This was a well-
massacre: a bloody, eight-hour rampage executed without mercy. As the
wounded arrived at a nearby hospital, they described the horror.
"We locked our classroom door from the inside. But three attackers shot
their way in and then shot at us."
ENGEL: Shah was hiding under a desk and watched in horror as his teacher
was killed. She tried to stand up to the gunmen.
"They shut shot our teacher," he says, "and then burned her body."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re on our way to Peshawar.
ENGEL: NBC`s Wajahat Khan was at the scene of today`s massacre.
WAJAHAT KHAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: This is the main boundary wall of the
school and we`re being told that the assailants took advantage of the
broken barbed-wired, infiltrated the school, engaged the guards, killed
them, and then went on to kill over 130 students.
ENGEL: Survivors say there were at least seven militants. Once inside,
they entered an auditorium packed with high school-aged students.
One detonated a suicide belt, the others opened fire indiscriminately, then
fanned out through the classrooms, firing as they went.
Pakistani commandos arrived within an hour, but the militants had boobie-
trapped the school compound. Parents, some army officers, some civilians,
gathered outside the hospital desperate for news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many are the children of the soldiers who are
Pakistan`s war on terror.
ENGEL: This summer, the Pakistani army launched a major offensive into the
Taliban`s border area stronghold, flattening villages, confiscating
Today`s attack was the Taliban`s revenge. It drew condemnation from around
the world, including from Pakistan`s own Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzain,
shot by the Taliban for daring to go to school.
MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: I call upon the international
community, leaders in Pakistan, all political parties and everyone that we
should stand up together and fight against terrorism.
ENGEL: Tonight, it seems Pakistanis may be ready to come together and
demand that their government take on those who dare to massacre so many
MELBER: NBC`s Richard Engel reporting. We will be right back.
MELBER: Welcome back.
Al Franken has been a pop cultural figure for decades on Saturday Night
Live, in the movies, as an author and as a radio host, but ever since he
was elected to the U.S. Senate six years ago, you`ve seen a lot less of
Franken in the media. As the National Journal reported this year, the
junior senator for Minnesota made himself a stranger to the national press,
rarely granting interviews to national media outfits in an effort to prove
he is a serious policymaker. That was their view.
Well, Franken is back on TV tonight. He just sat down with me for an
interview in his Senate office fresh off his reelection. We discussed
politics and policy. He made some major news on the 2016 front.
And we began with one Franken`s legislative priorities right now: digital
privacy and what that means in the age of Uber, the ride-sharing app.
MELBER: You`re sponsoring location privacy protection act. When people
walk around in public, they can be seen, it`s not that private. Why do you
think it`s so important that data about where you go is private and
SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D) MINNESOTA: Your geo location data is what we`re
talking about. That information is very private: where you are, where you
go to the doctor, where you take your child to school if where you`re --
what you`re doing on the weekend.
One of the problems we`ve seen in this, is their own employees and
executives have been misusing this.
MELBER: Uber, a popular ride-sharing app, recently drew heat for reports
that its employees misused company data on where customers travel. One
executive reportedly threatened to use that information against a reporter
who had criticized the company.
As chair of a Senate subcommittee on technology and privacy, Franken has
legislation ready to go to enhance consumer protection.
And he gave Uber a Monday deadline to address new questions about how they
use sensitive geo location data.
FRANKEN: Part of what my work has been doing is letting consumers
understand what`s out there and so you know what you`re signing up for when
you do something like this and, also, letting the companies understand that
MELBER: Then there are apps people never signed up for at all. Franken`s
bill would ban stalker apps, which can be secretly installed to track your
FRANKEN; To protect sensitive location information.
MELBER: A problem Franken has heard about from his constituents firsthand.
He shared one woman`s exchange with an abusive partner.
FRANKEN: She went to a domestic violence center in a county building, in
St. Louis county northern Minnesota. And she was there five minutes and
she got a text on her phone saying why are you at the county building? Are
you at the domestic violence center?
And that scared her. So they took her to the courthouse to get her a
restraining order against this guy. And after she was there he said why
did you go to the courthouse, did you get a restraining order against me?
And she did -- it was a tracking app, a stalking app.
MELBER: How is that even legal right now?
FRANKEN: It is legal. Believe it or not -- stalking is not legal.
FRANKEN: But those -- I`m trying to make those illegal as part of this
MELBER: The Location Privacy Protection Act previously passed the
judiciary committee and Franken plans to introduce it again in the new
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the morning of September 11.
MELBER: As we were speaking in Franken`s Senate office, a few miles away,
CIA director John Brennan was criticizing the torture report.
You said it shows the CIA lied to the public, lied to the president for
some time. Should there be...
FRANKEN: And to the Senate...
MELBER: And to the Senate. Should there be consequences for that lying?
FRANKEN: I`m thinking about that. You`re talking about whether people
should be prosecuted?
MELBER: Should people who are currently working at the CIA be fired?
Should anyone be brought before a court to have a trial? And then,
depending on the outcome of the trial, should anyone go to jail?
FRANKEN; You know, I haven`t thought that through. We tended to not look
back at this in a way that is about holding people responsible, and maybe
that`s wrong. We are a country that acknowledges its failures and that`s a
good thing about us.
On the prosecution of people, I`d like to hear more about.
MELBER: In the new congress, Franken will lose his chairman`s gavel as
Republicans take over. And he talked about the challenge of working with
GOP leader Mitch McConnell.
FRANKEN: And what`s interesting is he has promised a more open process, he
says, on votes on amendments and et cetera. So we`ll see.
MELBER: Would you call him a good friend? Or a best friend?
FRANKEN: More -- it`s kind of a thing where we will argue on the floor but
then go out to dinner and just laugh.
FRANKEN: No. That doesn`t happen.
MALBER; Have you ever seen him laugh?
FRANKEN: I have. And, in fact, I`ve seen -- he has laughed in response to
something I have said and I`ve laughed in response to something he has
said. How is that?
MELBER: Laughter comes easy for the veteran member of Saturday Night Live,
though as a Senator he doesn`t always believe in satire. He add some fun
in his farewell speech last week for Mark Begich who lost his seat in the
FRANKEN: We need more mayors here. You know, sometimes we say we need
diversity, we need more women, god knows we need more satirists.
A lot of people ask me is being senator as much fun as working on Saturday
Night Live. And the answer, of course, is no. It`s not close. But it`s
the best job I`ve ever had.
MELBER: And Franken got that promotion by a razor thin margin.
In 2008, you barely, barely, barely won, right?
FRANKEN: I don`t think that`s fair.
MELBER: By a few hundred votes in one of the closest races in American
history. You`re now coming off a race where you won ten points. What
FRANKEN: One of the things that changed is I had had a term behind me, or
most of a term behind me. And so I was able to build on what I had done
and communicate that to Minnesota.
I think I had a pretty good record of accomplishment. I knew that I had
worked hard. And that`s very different from where I`d been six year, or
five-and-a-half years previous -- or six year`s previously where I had been
a comedian for all that a lot of then knew and didn`t know exactly or were
So I was able to give them something to vote for. I had reached across
party lines to find common ground. But I also stood my ground when
powerful interests came after the middle class.
MELBER: With a strong footing in a Midwestern state, the Democrats need to
hold the White House, Franken is clear about who he wants to lead.
FRANKEN: I think that Hillary would make a great president. I haven`t
announced that I`m supporting her, but does this count, I guess? Maybe
MELBER: Here`s the question. Do you need to see who all the candidates
are, first before you publicly endores her?
FRANKEN: No. No. I think that, you know, I`m ready for Hillary. I
mean, I think that we`ve not had someone this experienced, this tough. And
she`s very, very impressive.
MELBER: It was an endorsement delivered as only Franken could.
So you are endorsing her today?
FRANKEN; If this is what you call endorsement, I guess yes. So, yes.
MELBER: Did you hear that? Senator Franken did just endorse Hillary
Clinton for president. And, of course, she hasn`t even announced she`s
running. There is other movement on the 2016 front to report. Is the
world ready for a third President Bush? That`s ahead too.
MELBER: A brief update on a story we brought you last night. A former
marine suspected in a killing spree that left six dead in suburban
Philadelphia has been found dead. It ended a day-and-a-half-long man hunt
that shut down areas schools and put the entire community on edge.
Bradley Stone, an Iraq war veteran, is believed to have fatally shot and
stabbed his ex-wife and five of her relatives in the early hours Monday
Stone`s body was found this afternoon in the woods near his home in
Pensburg, that`s less than 50 miles from Philadelphia. The local district
attorney said he appears to have died from self-inflicted wounds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Bush, would you like to see your son, Jeb, run?
BARBARA BUSH, FMR. FIRST LADY: He`s, by far, the best qualified man, but,
no, I really don`t. There are other people out there that are very
qualified and we`ve had enough Bushes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: But, no. Former First Lady Barbara Bush was once willing to say
that in public: we`ve had enough bushes. But those who think that her son,
former Governor Jeb Bush should run for president, including those within
the extended family, most have been heartened today when he announced plans
to yes, launch a leadership PAC in order to, quote, actively explore a run
for the presidency.
He made the announcement, of course, on Facebook, becuase he`s hip. And he
described his family`s Thanksgiving activities, quote, "we shared good food
and watched a whole lot of football. We also talked about the future of
our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful
consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I`ve
decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the
Governor Bush also spoke briefly with WTVJ about today`s announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, FRM. GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: It`s just a part of the process of
seriously considering running for president. I haven`t committed to doing
it, but this is a time when we should be celebrating the incredible
opportunities that exist in this country and yet most people really don`t
feel it. They think the government doesn`t work for them. And if I can
get comfortable with being a candidate that gives people hope that we can
fix some of these big problems that we have so that we can take advantage
of our opportunities that`s what I`m pursuing.
It`s not an easy decision, though, because it is a life-changing one for a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: On the show tonight, we have a Florida Democrat who knows a lot
about Jeb Bush and MSNBC contributor Sam Seder straight ahead.
MELBER: Are we looking at, yet, another Bush versus yet another Clinton in
2016? Don`t give up hope yet. To answer the question, we have MSNBC
contributor Sam Seder and Alex Sink, former Democratic candidate for
governor of Florida.
Good evening to you both.
Sam, is Jeb Bush a real future president right here?
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I would say absolutely not. I mean, here is
a guy who has been out of politics for 12 years. He may have had his day
at one point, but I just don`t think he can make it through the Republican
primary, and even then, I`m not quite sure he`d be president.
MELBER: Alex, you know a lot about this and you narrowly lost the
governorship of Florida by about a point in 2010. Jeb has had success in
that state. Help us understand him since you`ve been there.
ALEX SINK, FRM. GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE IN FLORIDA: Well, I agree with
Sam, that he hasn`t run for office in 12 years. And I think Jeb is going
to be a little rusty around the edges. His big problem is going to be two
things: immigration reform and something called Common Core, which he is
the father and the designer of Common Core, which is very unpopular.
And I have to say that if it comes down to Hillary versus Jeb, Hillary will
MELBER: And do you think his views on immigration, which are welcomed by a
lot of people in the country who may not always be Republican primary
voters, do you think they will change based on your estimation of him?
SINK: Not at all. Jeb has a history of being very firm in his
convictions. And I think he`s out there as having said that the Republican
Party is going to have to come to him, versus him making the moves to go to
the Republican Party.
So, these early primary states and the competition in the Republican
primary are going to be very revealing about Jeb. He, historically, has
been very firm in the things -- in his principles and what he believes in.
SEDER: Yeah, you know, I haven`t followed Jeb enough to know whether or
not that is the case. If that is the case, then he doesn`t win. I mean,
that`s the bottom line is that I think what the real story, ultimately, I
think for this Republican primary when it starts to heat up is will the --
those who we perceived as completely marginal, six or eight years ago, will
they finally take the primary?
I mean, will we see one of those people who we think are just sort of
hopping out of the clown car, forgive the expression and they actually end
up winning. And I think Jeb Bush, I think he`s 10, 15 years too late.
MELBER: The other thing about it if there is a real, open race, if you
someone like Biden running who does continuity, you have the question of
will both parties be seeking the person they like most or the person they
think can run contra to whatever they expect on the other side?
It would seem that if there`s a dynasty on one side, the other party might
game that out and want someone else. You don`t have to be a politics fan
to know people Clinton-Bush sounds like a real heavy load.
Let me play a little more from that discussion I had with Senator Franken.
We haven`t aired this yet. But this was his estimation of Elizabeth
Warren, obviously talked about as an alternative to Hillary for the
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: People have asked me about Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth, you
know, I used to do this thing called Air America, remember that, and Rachel
was a host on that, Rachel Maddow. And Elizabeth was like a regular on my
show, or semi-regular on my show. And she`s great, but she`s not running.
She says she`s not running. So I don`t -- I think Hillary would be great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEDER: I actually quite fondly remember those days when she would show up
on Air America. And I think...
MELBER: Well, you work there, too.
SEDER: I did.
MELBER: But Senator Franken didn`t mention you.
SEDER: No. Well, I think he was playing it close to the vest.
MELBER: Sorry about that.
SEDER: I don`t take too much offense. But I will say, I think he`s right.
I don`t think she`s going to run. In fact, I think a lot of this -- the
pushing of her running is doing her a disservice in many respects, because
she`s got a lot of power in the U.S. Senate and the work that she`s doing
now, like Al said, she`s been doing for almost 15 years and this diminishes
MELBER: And Alex, what do you make of this trickle of endorsements even
from some prominent progressive now for Hillary Clinton?
SINK: Well, I think what I make of it is that people are ready for Hillary
and it`s not only the prominent people. As I go around Florida and I see -
- talk to people, every day people, they`re all ready for Hillary and
that`s why I believe that she`s going to run a very strong campaign. We`re
She can really get Florida voters motivated to go to the polls, something
that we don`t have a history of doing very well in the off-year elections.
MELBER: But let me ask you...
SINK: We`re ready for Hillary.
MELBER: What do you say to folks who understand that enthusiasm for
Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but say hold on, this is just crazy that
people, senators, you know, we`re reporting on what they`re doing. They`re
lining up. They`re putting the word out. What do you make of that. And
could it actually be counter productive?
SINK: No. Not at all. I don` think it`s counter productive. I think it
says that we believe that she`s the best qualified candidate. She`s well
prepared. We`re ready for her.
MELBER: All right. And we`ve been ready for both of you. Thank you for
your time Sam Seder and Alex Sink, appreciate it.
That is ALL IN for this evening. If you have any thoughts or critiques,
you can always email me at Ari@MSNBC.com. Thank you for watching.
"The RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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