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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
January 15, 2015

Guest: Zack Reed


CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is all for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: If you need my hour, you only have to ask.

HAYES: Sure.

MADDOW: You know how this goes.

HAYES: Yes, I`m sure the staff would love that.

MADDOW: Oh, you know? Mine would. They`ve always liked you better.

HAYES: Untrue.

MADDOW: Thanks, Chris. True.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

There`s a lot coming up this hour.

We`re going to be talking with Richard Engel live from Turkey.

We`ve got a report out of Cleveland tonight that`s sort of mind-
bending.

And there are two decisions have just been made by the National
Republican Party. Both of which were a surprise, and both of which are
going to have a big impact in politics over the next several months.

So, we`ve got a lot going on in the news tonight.

But we`re going to start with ISIS. When the American journalist
James Foley was killed by the ISIS terrorist group in August, amid the
shock and the disgust at his killing and the way they killed him the fact
that they turned his killing into a propaganda video, amid that horror
about James Foley`s murder, some of the people who knew James Foley in the
last months of his life were able to provide at that time a sort of
different picture of James Foley and what his time in captivity had been
like. They were able to basically, for a lot of us I think, replace the
terrible images we were fed by ISIS of the way he was killed. We were able
to replace those images with their descriptions instead of how he had
behaved among his fellow hostages for those long months that they had all
been in captivity.

One French journalist who had been held alongside James Foley in
Syria, he specifically spoke very movingly in public after James Foley
died. He talked in some detail about how generous James Foley had been
with his fellow captors while they were in captivity, even in the terrible
circumstances in which they were held.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICOLAS HENIN, FRENCHMAN HELD HOSTAGE WITH FOLEY: We spent seven
months in a very extreme situation together, including for one week we were
handcuffed one to the other day and night, in circumstances where your held
captive, you develop some kind of survival instincts. Meaning that for
instance you try to grab everything you can find.

And James was the total opposite. I mean, basically everything he
could share, he would share it. If we were cold and we were missing
blankets, he would share his blanket. If we were starving and missing
food, he would share his ration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That`s Nicolas Henin. He`s a journalist. He`s French. He
was held hostage in Syria for 10 months. Seven of the 10 months that he
was held hostage, he was held alongside James Foley.

He was also held alongside Steven Sotloff. Both Steven Sotloff and
James Foley ultimately were killed by ISIS. But Nicolas Henin, and three
other French journalists actually were released from captivity. They got
out. They got out last spring.

And so, when Steven Sotloff and James Foley were killed thereafter by
ISIS, these French journalists were able to describe something about their
circumstances in captivity and what they had been through and their
sacrifice and what kind of men they`d been in those difficult
circumstances.

But Nicolas Henin was also able to describe to law enforcement and
ultimately to the public something else very specific about how they had
been held hostage and by whom. As I mentioned, Nicolas Henin and the other
French journalists, they got out last spring. They got released from
captivity in April.

In May of last year, this happened. A man took an assault rifle and a
handgun into the Jewish museum of Belgium in central Brussels, opened fire
with those weapons, killed four people. He then got away. He evaded a
manhunt for nearly a week before he was ultimately caught in Marseilles and
arrested.

When police published the name of the man who carried out or allegedly
carried out the Brussels Jewish museum attack when they published his name
and his photograph, Nicolas Henin, that French journalist, recognized the
guy from Syria -- the guy who had shot up the Jewish museum in Brussels, he
said, was one of the men who had held him and the other journalists captive
in Syria and who had taken, he said, particularly sadistic delight in
torturing and beating prisoners who were being held by ISIS.

Once he said the man punched him in the face and then showed off his
gloves. Quote, "He was very proud telling me, you saw these motorcycle
gloves? I bought them for you, to punch you in the face. I bought them
just for you. Did you like them? That sums up the violent and provocative
personality of Mehdi Nemmouche, which I frequently saw." That was
according to that French reporter.

Other reports indicate that all four of the French journalists who
were released from captivity, all four of them single out this guy as one
of the people who held them captive and who tortured them before he
apparently left Syria where he`d been holding and torturing them.

So, he left there so he could travel back to Europe and use his
European passport to travel freely so he could attack that Jewish museum
and very nearly get away thereafter.

This guy who was named by the French hostages and who was picked up by
police six days after the assault on the museum, he is now in French
custody. And he is standing trial for that attack in Belgium.

Belgium is a small country. Its population is about the same as the
state of Ohio. In Europe, it`s smaller than countries like the Netherlands
or Poland. But on a per capita basis, more people have gone to Syria to
fight with ISIS from Belgium than from any other European country.

You know, again, it`s not a large, absolute number of people. But
Belgium is not a country with a large absolute population.
Proportionately, though, when you look at it on a per capita basis it is a
big deal.

This week in Belgium, they were due to get a verdict in Belgium`s
largest ever trial of Islamic militants. Belgium has put 46 people on
trial for essentially running a jihadist ring that was funneling Belgian
extremists into Syria to go fight with ISIS and ultimately bringing some of
them back home.

The verdict in that big case was due to be handed down in that trial
for those 46 defendants this week. The verdict was delayed because of the
terrorist attacks in France. They now say they`re going to release that
verdict in that huge Belgium terrorism case next month.

Today, Belgium announced a special terrorism court had approved 10
search warrants for counterterrorism raids across that country today. When
police were serving one of the search warrants today in a city about 75
miles east of Brussels, one or more of the people inside the place police
were raiding reportedly opened fire on the police with automatic weapons.

In the ensuing gun battle, two suspects were killed, one person was
taken into custody. The raid today, the announcement by police about what
happened, it comes right on the heels of other reports from Belgium last
night that a man had turned himself in to Belgian police reportedly in
conjunction with the terror attacks in France. Press reports indicate that
a man in southern Belgium has turned himself in, told police that he was
the one who provided the weapons, the guns, that were used in both the
"Charlie Hebdo" massacre in Paris and the subsequent attacks on a French
policewoman and the kosher market.

Now, those reports that this Belgian guy provided those guns, those
are press reports. They`re not being directly confirmed by Belgian police.

But separately, the French press today did publish this image of the
array of weapons that was reportedly found at the apartment of Amedy
Coulibaly, the terrorist who mounted the supermarket attack and killed the
French policewoman last week. Belgian police are not confirming that these
weapons definitely came from the Belgian arms dealer who turned himself in
yesterday. They`re also not confirming that any link between that guy
turning himself in yesterday -- that there`s any link between that guy
turning himself in yesterday and these raids today which resulted in the
shoot out and the arrest.

But Belgian police are saying what they believe they just disrupted in
Brussels today was an imminent terrorist attack in Belgium. They said that
they believed it was an attack in keeping with the type of attack that was
just mounted in France. They said specifically they believe the attack was
targeted against police in Belgium. And they say they broke up that plot.

Specifically, Belgian police today went out of their way to say that
the suspects whose plot they believe they just disrupted, included Belgian
citizens who had been to Syria, to train with ISIS before coming back to
Belgium.

And so, this is the news now, right? This is kind of how it goes.
This is what it`s like in the fight against ISIS and international Islamic
terrorism.

Today, one arrest and two dead in shoot out with police in Belgium.
And presumably the other nine or so search warrants still being carried out
in that country.

In Germany today, police there also announced an arrest of a 26-year-
old German citizen who they say fought and trained with is in Syria last
year but has since come back to Germany.

In Spain today, authorities announced they tracked Amedy Coulibaly
into Spain before the Paris attacks, when his wife or partner left France
and then went to Spain and then flew from Spain to Turkey and crossed into
Syria where tonight she remains at large. Spain says now that Amedy
Coulibaly was with her for part of that journey, that he drove her into
Spain to start her journey to Syria before he turned around, went back to
France and carried out his acts.

Spanish police say they`re working intensely to find out who else he
talked to when he was in Madrid, what else he did, any kind of contacts he
might have had for his time in Spain immediately before the "Charlie Hebdo"
massacre and the kosher market attack in Paris.

So, this is it now. This is the world we`re in. These individual
manhunts, search warrants, one or two arrests here and there. But this
manhunt for Amedy Coulibaly`s partner, for the outstanding suspect in
France, that manhunt for her leads right back to Syria.

The arrest in Germany is a German who just returned from Syria.

The arrest today and the shoot out today in Belgium, the Belgian
authorities say those suspects had just come back from Syria.

The last, worst attack in Belgium before this? The released hostages
say the alleged perpetrator of that attack had been one of their captors
with ISIS in Syria. Syria, Syria, Syria.

Syria is an open wound at this point, spewing out into the world these
trained, motivated terrorists and in multiple countries tonight, terrorism
suspects.

But that observation, recognizing that fact about Syria, does not
necessarily prescribe a specific thing that should be done to stop that
about Syria. Knowing it`s true doesn`t tell you how to end it, right? If
there was an easy thing to do to sew Syria up and fix it as a problem, it
would have been done by now.

But the predictions about the civil war in Syria becoming some sort of
viral engine that would turn out trained, motivated terrorists for the
world -- trained, motivated terrorists who would then wreak havoc back in
their home countries or wherever they could get to with their home
passports. That is not what we are worried about happening anymore. That
is now what is happening. That is now what we`ve got. It`s where we are.

And as this very, very quiet backdrop to this loud international
terrorism news today about these gun fights and these arrests and these
search warrants, these big trials, this very quiet backdrop to that, right?
There`s the subtle little headlines buried deep in the international
section of your local unread newspaper about how over the last several
months, ISIS in Syria has actually expanded the amount of territory that it
controls in that country -- expanded.

There have been nearly 800 American and coalition airstrikes in Syria
alone against ISIS targets over the last several months. But 800
airstrikes apparently has not slowed them down in terms of controlling
territory there or continuing to gain more.

And them controlling territory in Syria obviously has significant
implications for Syria -- what happens to that government, what happens to
that country, what happens in that civil war. But them controlling
territory in Syria also has significant implications for Belgium and for
Germany and for France and for us, presumably.

There`s basically no debate in American politics about the type of
military action that the United States is taking against ISIS right now.
And whether or not that military action is a good way to fight ISIS or a
bad way to fight ISIS, whether it`s productive, whether it`s
counterproductive, whether it is effective, an effective use of resources,
or whether there`s something else that could be done with the resources
that are being devoted to that that might be more effective toward the aim
of degrading and destroying ISIS.

This is just not a point of discussion in American politics.
Republicans and Democrats don`t fight about that. Republicans and
Democrats don`t talk about. They don`t even talk about that amongst
themselves, let alone when they`re fighting with each other.

Apparently, our political system doesn`t produce discourse about
national security except for when it comes to name-calling and whether or
not you`re using the right words when you`re describing something
immediately after it happens. Did you say terrorist act instead of
terrorist attack? Right? That`s the level of our discourse about our
national security needs on this subject.

But as the politicians fail in that regard, if we as citizens are not
content to just keep our head in the sand, pretend it isn`t happening,
pretend it`s not relevant, right, because there isn`t any partisan fighting
about it and therefore it`s not going to get American press attention.

If we do want to be smart about the threats we face, and the policy
decisions we ought to be debating even if our politicians won`t, then it`s
worth asking -- how much of ISIS`s ability to inspire and direct terrorism
around the world is tied to their strength at home in Syria? How long is
Syria going to stay the key connection between the threat of Western
terrorist attacks and ISIS? And what`s the menu of options that are
available to try to sever that connection between Syria and attacks in the
rest of the world?

Joining us now from Istanbul is NBC`s chief foreign correspondent
Richard Engel.

Richard, thanks very much for being with us. Nice to see you.

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

MADDOW: Richard, I want to ask you first about some late-breaking
reports tonight. There are reports from French police tonight that are
actively looking for another potential Amedy Coulibaly accomplice in
addition to the wife or partner thought to be in Syria. French police
saying tonight that someone dropped Amedy Coulibaly off at that kosher
grocery store that he attacked, dropped him off in a car and then drove
away. They`re now searching for that person tonight.

Do you know anything about that new reporting?

ENGEL: I know the French authorities have long believed that he had
at least another accomplice who was with him at the time of the attack and
after the attack, someone who filmed the video, filmed his last
testimonial, perhaps even posted it online. They were clearly looking for
his wife.

And we`ve been struggling with this term "wife" "common law wife." It
appears they were married in an Islamic ceremony but never got an official
French ceremony which is the only one that is recognized in Paris. So, I
leave it up to you. Do you want to call her wife, common law wife, but
that was the relationship between the two. But yes, French authorities
believe that there maybe another suspect.

They also are instigating this link to the arms dealer in Belgium.
And they don`t think it was a coincidence that this arms dealer turned
himself in. Apparently, he knew that he sold these weapons to jihadists,
but apparently he says he didn`t think they were that bad. He didn`t think
they were going to carry out this kind of spectacular activity, attack in
Paris and do something so disgusting.

And when he saw that his weapons had been used and that
counterterrorism raids were coming and the counterterrorism raids had been
lethal thus far, it seems he turned himself in and decided to come --
decided to cooperate.

MADDOW: Richard, I don`t know if that counts as a remorseful arms
dealer or an arms dealer afraid of being raided.

ENGEL: Or being shot as the police come through his house.

MADDOW: Exactly. And we can`t parse that from here. That`s not our
job.

But do we know if there is a connection between him coming forward and
this new round of raids inside Belgium? Obviously, there`s this one that`s
very dramatic. But it seems like they had search warrants at least to do a
lot across that country today.

ENGEL: They had these ten search warrants, three different locations.
I don`t think we know at this stage -- we don`t know at this stage if the
arms dealer coming forward and the raids in Belgium are related. But
perhaps it`s more than a coincidence. What we do know is that French
authorities are certainly looking into it, that if he sold weapons to
Coulibaly, and Coulibaly passed them on to the Kouachi brothers, and they
used those weapons, which are assault rifles, rocket launcher and turns
himself in in Belgium, perhaps there is a connection to this raid that
happened just about 24 hours later, also in Belgium.

MADDOW: Richard, one last question for you on the Syrian connection.
Belgian police say there`s a Syrian connection between the people who they
killed today and the person who arrested. German police say there`s a
connection with Syria with the person they arrested today. Obviously,
there`s a Syrian connection with Coulibaly, if not the Kouachi brothers.
That`s not totally clear at this point.

Is any of this emerging activity and these arrests and this targeting
going to change anything in the way that Syria functions as an
international problem and the way that the West deals with them and the
traffic in and out of that country?

ENGEL: Well, it might make a small impact. It might make an impact
for the actors who are already in Europe. But Syria is an enormous as you
described it black hole. That isn`t changing anytime soon. The war on
ISIS, which the U.S. is leading but having some success with the Kurds is
not making a big difference. ISIS is still finding a home there because
the civil war in Syria is still going on, because the civil war in Iraq is
still going on, because there are fundamental grievances between Sunnis and
Shiites and ISIS has managed to plant itself right on this religious fault
line, which goes all the way back to the Iraq war.

ISIS started as al Qaeda in Iraq and found a home in Syria when Syria
imploded about three, three and a half years ago. It has just been getting
stronger and stronger.

So, yes, the European security officials are taking a wake up call
after Paris certainly will help their ability to deal with the militants
who are already in their towns and villages. This is not just an issue as
you saw in these raids today of militants being in Paris or Berlin. They
are being in what you would think of as small little quaint little Belgian
towns where you would go -- drive around and get nice chocolate and beer.
These are not the kind of places you would think of a safe haven for
terrorists.

And as long as Syria is unaddressed, I think that you`re still going
to see extremists attracted to it or inspired by it. And that`s going to
be a problem that these European law enforcement officials and U.S.
officials are going to have to deal with. Because they`re not just going
to have to fight the ones that are already back. There is a flow of people
back and forth physically and flow of ideas.

MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel live for
us in Turkey tonight -- Richard, thank you. Appreciate it, my friend.

All right. It was a packed news day today. Much of it, oddly,
revolved around the city of Cleveland, Ohio, for good and for ill.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUBTITLE: In the House and the Senate, there are 41 committee chairs.
We now have the full list of who the GOP has picked for those 41 hairs.

Here`s the House.

And here`s the Senate.

For 41 chairs, the GOP picked 41 white people, 38 men, 3 women.

Happy 2015!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Not that long ago, in a galaxy not that far away, this
happened, which I think might have been one of the weirdest things to ever
happen in modern American politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises
that you`ve made when you`re running for election, and how do you handle
it? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just -- you know, I know
people -- people are wondering -- you don`t have one, OK. I just wondered,
all these promises. And then I wondered about when the -- what? What do
you want me to tell Romney? I can`t tell him to do that. He can`t do that
to himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That happened.

I think that long moment sort of dropped into the memory hole, but
Clint Eastwood spending ten minutes inexplicably berating an empty chair
that was apparently supposed to be a foul-mouthed but invisible President
Obama? That actually happened during the Republican National Convention in
August 2012. The Clint Eastwood empty chair thing was the culmination of
the big night. Mitt Romney had to actually give his official accepting the
nomination speech just a few moments after the chair thing happened.

So, the Republican Party didn`t really do Mitt Romney any favors,
right? They made his warm up act on the biggest night of the convention
one of the weirdest, longest live political things that has ever happened
on primetime television in front of millions of people.

And in fact, the entire Republican primary season that year, with the
20 debates and the Herman Cains and Michele Bachmanns and all the rest of
it, not of that was seen as being all that helpful for the Republican
Party`s chances of winning the White House in 2012.

Well, after what they went through in 2012, the Republican Party has
now decided the way to fix it for 2016 is to change everything for 2016.

Republican Party has already announced there is going to be far fewer
debates, maybe fewer than half number of last time. They`re going to try
to choose moderators they say for those debates who are friendly to the
conservative cause. Republicans have moved up their entire primary
calendar so Republican voters will be forced to choose a nominee faster.
So, the other guys will have to clear the stage sooner and the process
won`t be able to drag out like it did the last time around.

They`ve already announced all that stuff. Now, today, Republicans
have announced one more big change. It has to do with that disastrous
Clint Eastwood convention that they held the last time around. Clint
Eastwood`s moment in the sun with that chair, that took place at the
Republican National Convention in Tampa on August 30th.

The Republican convention that year was the very end of August, August
27th to August 30th. August and September are typically when the parties
hold their conventions now. The Democratic Convention that year was in
Charlotte a week later. Democratic Convention was September 3rd through
September 6th. In modern times, conventions are almost always held in
August and September.

But Republicans have just announced that for 2016, their convention
will not be held in September. It will not be held in August. It will be
held July 18th to the 21st in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio. July, more than a
month earlier, than they held it in 2012.

The Democrats haven`t set a date yet for their convention, but we`re
told that the Democratic convention will likely be sometime in late August.
That`s because the other big thing that`s happening that summer is the
Olympic Games in Rio.

So, you put all the timing together, we could end up with a situation
where the Republicans hold their convention in July, the Olympics then take
up practically the entire month of August, and then right after the
Olympics the Democrats hold their convention after that, like weeks later.
Political light-years later than the Republicans hold their convention.

The Republican Party says the reason they`re holding their convention
so early is to give the party more time to unite behind their candidate.
It should also be noted that holding it so early might also serve as a nice
insurance policy, sort of a guarantee of some clean up time in the event
that there is a repeat of the avant-garde disaster that really did take
place the last time around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EASTWOOD: I`m not going to shut up. It`s my turn. So anyway, we`re
going to have um -- we`re going to have to have a little chat about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: At the risk of upsetting somebody in the corporate hierarchy
around here, the hierarchy I don`t understand on purpose -- at the risk of
making someone mad who I should not make mad, I have to tell you I do not
watch home shopping television. I have nothing against it. I`ve just
never watched it -- before today when it suddenly became very important.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you do that thing in grade school you had to
name the planets and there was Uranus and there was Saturn and the one with
the rings and that earth? And the moon is never in there, dude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The best new thing in the world is coming up tonight. It has
no politics, it comes from a world I didn`t even know existed before today,
but it is so good I cannot freaking believe it. Honestly this is the best
one we`ve done in forever. Trust me. It`s coming right up at the end of
the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moon is never in there, dude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: In August 2010 a woman named Tamela Eaton got to her home in
this Cleveland neighborhood and she found a car blocking her driveway. She
called police to have it towed. She got ready for bed.

What she didn`t know is that Cleveland police were already in her
neighborhood. They were looking for a suspect in an unrelated case. After
Tamela Eaton called in that car blocking her driveway, the officers
responding to that totally unrelated other case, they came upon a man and
woman walking down the street in that neighborhood. They decided they were
going to arrest the man. The woman he was with objected to that loudly.

And this all happened right outside Tamela Eaton`s house. She`d gone
to bed after calling police to get a tow truck to clear her driveway. From
inside her house, she cleared haul the car away. She apparently thought
that arrest in progress had something to do with her call about the
driveway.

Now, she just want add tow truck. She didn`t want somebody arrested
for her complaint. And so, she went outside and argued with the officers
about what was going on. One of the officers responded by rushing her,
putting her in a chokehold, tackling her to the ground, twisting her wrists
around. And then, he started punching her and beating her up, pummeling
her in the body. This is the woman who called for the tow truck.

The city of Cleveland ultimately paid $100,000 to that woman to settle
that case for that officer beating her up. But they didn`t fire the
officer. They kept him on the force.

Ultimately, they paired that officer with a younger officer. They got
the younger guy from the Cleveland suburbs, from the police department and
the town of Independence, Ohio, about 20 minutes south of Cleveland.

His time in Independence went poorly. This is in his personnel file
at the Independence Police Department.

Quote, "due to his dangerous loss of composure during live range
training and his inability to manage his personal stress, I do not believe
the patrolman shows the security needed to work in our employment. The
pattern developing within our short time frame with the patrolman is that
he often feels when told to do something, those instructions are optional.
There are times instructions are necessary and the patrolman will not act
correctly under these circumstances. I`m recommending he`d be released
from the employment of the city of Independence. I do not believe time nor
training will be able to change or correct these deficiencies."

That was in his personnel file at his old job. But Cleveland never
looked at his personnel file from his old job when they hired him, anyway.

That young officer his pushed out of the department in the suburbs for
immaturity and for losing his composure around firearms. And lots of other
law enforcement agencies he applied to in the region did look at that
personnel file and wouldn`t hire him because of his history.

But Cleveland never checked. And they thought he was fine. So, they
hired him and they partnered him with a cop whose treatment or that woman
with the car blocking her driveway had cost the city $100,000 because of
the older cop`s behavior.

And on November 22nd last year, those were the two officers who rolled
up to 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Not three seconds later, Tamir Rice was
dead.

The officer with the big settlement was driving the car. The guy who
had been pushed out of his previous job for immaturity around firearms, he
is the one who fired the shots two seconds after encountering that kid.

Eversince the police killing of Tamir Rice, it`s been a worrying
litany of revelations about Cleveland, about the Cleveland police
department and about what happened that day and what led up to it, starting
with the history of the two officers involved.

Last week, we also got a new video showing police handcuffed Tamir
Rice`s 14-year-old sister when she ran to help him after these officers had
shot him. They handcuffed her. They put her in the backseat of the patrol
car right there as her brother lay dying in the snow while no one gave him
first aid for several minutes.

One of the central questions in this case from the very beginning has
been why those police officers were never told that the gun that Tamir Rice
had been seen with in that park was probably a fake. It was a 911 call
that started this whole incident. The 911 call included that information.

Why didn`t the 911 dispatcher pass that crucial information onto the
police who responded to the incident? This was the call.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: I`m sitting in the park at West Boulevard, by the West
Boulevard rapid transit station, and there`s a guy here with a pistol. You
know, it`s probably fake, but he`s like pointing it at everybody. The guy
keeps pulling it in and out of his pants. It`s probably fake, but you know
what, it`s scaring the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: He says it twice. Probably fake. It`s probably fake. And
that guy was right. Turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun. It`s not
a real gun.

But somewhere in the chain of communication between the person who
took that emergency call and the dispatcher who relayed that information to
police to go check out, somewhere, that crucial impression that was
repeated twice by the 911 caller, that was lost. That was never passed on.
This is what the dispatcher told those police.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DISPATCHER: In the park by the youth center, there`s supposed to be a
male sitting on the swings pointing a gun at people, wearing a camouflage
hat, a gray jacket with black sleeves. He keeps pulling a gun out of his
pants and pointing it at people.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: The caller saying the gun was probably fake twice. That
never made it to the officers who were dispatched to the scene.

We do not know yet whether the dispatcher got that information and
then failed to relay it to the cops or whether she never got it from the
information who answered the emergency call. We don`t know.

But we learned today from "The Cleveland Plain Dealer" that the
dispatcher, who you just heard talking to the cops there, she had been
fired from her previous dispatch job with another police department. She
had also been arrested in 2008 and charged with bringing a gun into a bar.

"Plain Dealer" says it`s not clear whether the city of Cleveland knew
about her arrest. They say she has been given high marks for her
performance in Cleveland.

But now, we`ve got three people very closely involved in this case,
each with a back story that is at least cause for worry about Cleveland and
its police department, right? And how they do their hiring.

The killing of young Tamir Rice is one of the most if not the most
disturbing case in a long line of recent cases where police officers have
killed unarmed African-American male. The Tamir Rice case fundamentally is
a case about justice. But the way this case has played out in Cleveland is
also very worrying just about Cleveland, right?

Cleveland is a major city. Cleveland is one of the largest cities in
the Midwest. The Republican Party just picked Cleveland for their
convention which is going to be extra early this year.

What the heck is going on in Cleveland that you scratch the surface of
a single tragedy, a single case like this and you find all of this just
beneath the surface?

Joining us now is Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed.

Mr. Reed, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate your time
tonight.

COUNCILMAN ZACK REED, CLEVELAND CITY COUNCILMAN: Thank you for
allowing me, Rachel.

MADDOW: I have to ask you first, if this looks worse than it is. I
mean, are the problems in Cleveland as bad as they look from the vantage
point of this case? Or is this case just the point at which a lot of
things went wrong that otherwise aren`t a systemic problem?

REED: I think this is the case where we finally are going to get help
from the federal government, because the problem that is have existed
within our police force have continued and continued and continued. And
finally, thanks to Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, help is on its
way.

MADDOW: The federal Justice Department has investigated the Cleveland
Police Department twice in the past years. As you mentioned, it was
Attorney General Eric Holder who last month called for big reforms in the
police department. The city has been somewhat welcoming toward that
intervention. But this is the second time that the federal government has
come into Cleveland in the past decade.

Do you have more hope this second time this new intervention really
could make a big enough difference?

REED: Well, the first time was voluntary. This time thanks to our
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, she asked for consent decree to be put in
place. That means we`re now going to have a federal moderator, we`re going
to have a monitor, we`re going to have a federal judge.

So therefore, it`s almost like in the civil rights days when you had
the Bull Connors and George Wallaces, until the federal government came in
and they monitored the situation the situation just kept going on and on.

So, thanks to Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, we`re going to have a
consent decree in place. And therefore, the federal government is going to
do what I wish they would have done years ago. And that`s to continue to
look at this police force until we get a police force that the people can
trust and that is working with the citizens so that we can have the best
police force in the entire nation.

MADDOW: Do you feel like people in Cleveland are hopeful that the
resolution of the Tamir Rice case in particular, but also that federal
takeover that you`re talking about, do you feel like there is optimism in
Cleveland that things could get better? I mean, looking at the long-
standing problems in Cleveland and how many high-profile bad incidents
there have been, the systemic problems and things like hiring and
background checks that we`ve uncovered just with the Tamir Rice case, I
feel like it`s hard to look at that and be able to envision a better time.

What`s the mood in the city?

REED: Well, when you know that a 12-year-old boy tragically lost his
life, the optimism comes from the federal government. Like I said, if you
look at the analogy of the civil rights movement, until the federal
government went to the South and the federal government started looking at
and evaluating each and every one of those incidents that occurred, there
was no hope for the African-American community.

Well, now since the federal government is going to come in and there`s
going to be a consent decree in place, there`s more hope, there`s more
optimism that things are going to get better and we`re going to get the
police force that we rightfully deserve here in a major city like
Cleveland, Ohio.

MADDOW: Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed, thanks for talking with
us about this. It`s good to get your perspective --

REED: Thank you very much.

MADDOW: Thank you.

All right. We`ve got lots more ahead tonight, including one of the
best things in the world we have had in a very long time. If you have had
a tough day today -- I know there are those out here who have -- if you
have had a tough day, I have the cure.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: And now, here`s the thing. In 2012 the United States
military paid a half million dollars for a new police training center in
Wardak province in Afghanistan. It was supposed to look something like
this.

During construction in 2012, U.S. inspectors signed off on the work
seven different times. In October 2012, the U.S. military paid the
contractors who built it in full. No complaints. Job well-done. Here`s
your money.

Four months later, that police training center that we the U.S.
taxpayers just bought? It started to melt. It`s melting!

The damage you see here was caused by water, as in when it rains, the
building disintegrates, because apparently, it was constructed mostly with
sand and also some plastic sheeting. And so when it rains, it melts.
Literally, that`s the word the inspector general uses in his report that
came out today -- it`s melting.

The Afghan police actually need this facility. So now they are paying
to rebuild some version of it themselves. But meanwhile, this, my fellow
Americans, this is what we bought with American taxpayer dollars in Wardak
province, which is both true and also an awesome ready-made metaphor for
the state of our national debate on how to best direct the American
resources we spend overseas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: I`m not going to lie. You can see anytime my bad hair,
anyway. I had a tough day today as I know you can tell.

I know also that you also had a tough day today. Statistically
speaking after least some of you did.

We do a thing on this show called the best new thing in the world. We
do it not every day but frequently. Sometimes, though, we save one up for
when we really, really, really need a good one because the world really,
really needs a good one.

Tonight, this is one of the all-time greats. Seriously. Next. Stay
right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: OK. Best thing in the world today.

There is a thing in the world called QVC. It`s been around for a very
long time. In case you have escaped its clutches, it`s basically a live
infomercial/talk show that`s on all the time, 24/7.

If you call right now in the next minute and a half you can get this
tennis bracelet, this Marie Osmond doll or combination throw/blanket/poncho
or this cooker thing. Get it all for three easy payments of something 99,
plus free shipping and handling. QVC, right?

The host spends hours inspecting and discussing and demonstrating each
and every aspect of the item they`re selling for as long as QVC is selling
it at the newest low price. This is a formula that QVC has spent decades
perfecting.

But all of that talking with pretty much no script sometimes leads to
unexpected things. Monday night started off like any other night at QVC.
The host, Shawn Killinger at the helm, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi in
the house for his weekly gig.

Here`s how things started. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to bring you a cardigan, a floral
cardigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not the citron.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, this one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the citron.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, the new keyline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s look at the new keyline because it`s so a-
mahzing. That is a-mazhing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not Rorschach? The ink blot test?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Rorschach, ink blot test. Rorschach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it Rorschach? Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know when you drop dye into water and it
creates that warbling and it does that funny --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like paint splatter, but then it gives
Rorschach, but then it gives kind of funk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Am I going out on a limb too far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: No, you are not going out on a limb too far. No, no, no.
Everything`s fine. It is paint splatter. It is Rorschach. It`s funk.

Models are modeling. Sweaters are selling. You can feel the momentum
getting a little kooky there.

That`s the buildup and then this happened, my latest nominee for the
best television moment in history. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gorgeous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at this one. This is what we call emerald.
But really, it`s more like a sea foam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love that color. Happy, rich, beautiful
experience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It almost kind of looks like what the planet
earth looks like when you`re a bazillion away from the planet moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I just went to that --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The planet moon, from the moon looking back at
the earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the planet moon, from the planet moon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn`t the moon a star?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, the moon is a planet, darling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sun is a star. Is the moon really a planet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moon is a planet. It`s a planet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t look at me like that, the sun is a star.
Is the sun not a star?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know what the sun is. We don`t know what
the sun is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sun is a star. The moon is not a planet. I
knew it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a planet!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew it. I knew it.

You were trying to take me down that road. The moon is not a planet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. Chunky, if you`re listening to me
Google the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guarantee you someone is Googling right now,
because I knew it was not a planet. The moon is not a planet!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What else is it if it`s not a planet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not. I believe it`s a star or something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the moon. It`s the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you do that thing in grade school where you
had to name the planets, and there was Uranus and there was Saturn, and the
one with the rings, and the Earth -- the moon is never in there, dude.
It`s a planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: You guys, somebody called Chunky? Can we get back to the key
lime cardigan?

Look. They`ve broken the model. Look, she cannot take it anymore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. It`s a planet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This blond of mine could be real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moon what is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A natural satellite. But things live on it. I
think it`s a planet. I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that what Google said? I don`t even know
what that means. I use Google all the time. I feel bad. I feel bad for
Yahoo, because they`re really good, too. I just don`t use them.

OK, listen, 1,500 of these hot picks ordered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Things live on it?

For the record, the Google was right. The moon is a natural
satellite. Chunky Googled it. It`s true. Not a planet. Doesn`t have its
own orbit around the sun.

The moon is not a star because it doesn`t give off sunlight. The moon
reflects light but it doesn`t generate its own -- OK, but none of that
matters, because in the end, they were right, that sweater does look like
earth from a bazillion miles away, on planet moon.

God bless you, QVC. I needed you today. You saved us all. Best new
thing in the word. Jeez.

That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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