All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: February 26, 2015
Guest: Mo Brooks, Brian Darling, Malcolm Nance, Jack Hanna, Clarence Page,
ARI MELBER, MSNBC GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When I make
decisions, I will let you know.
MELBER: The Republican House prepares to shut it down.
Then, the CPAC royal rumble begins.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I went to my parish priest and
said to him, I`m giving up "The New York Times" for Lent.
MELBER: The highlights from day one and the plan to walk out on Jeb
Bush on day two.
Then, a massive surprise for Democrats in Chicago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody thought we would be here tonight.
MELBER: Meet the candidate who forced an upset runoff on Rahm
And meet the two live animals that captivated the nation today, the
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: But, it was a desperate chase today for two
fugitives that have gripped the nation as it played it out live on TV.
MELBER: Jungle Jack Hanna is here with some good news.
This is live footage you can`t make up.
ALL IN starts now.
MELBER: Good evening to you from New York. I`m Ari Melber, in for
Funding for the Homeland Security Department is still set to run out
tomorrow, and this evening, congressional Republicans have been meeting to
find some way out of the standoff. The House GOP met this evening and
discussed a sort of a band-aid measure to provide funding for three weeks.
Now, that would prevent the partial government shutdown tomorrow.
That is a contrast to what Senate Republicans proposed just yesterday
when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed a clean bill to fund DHS
through the end of the fiscal year in September. And the Senate signaled
support for that approach yesterday in a nearly unanimous vote to move
forward with the bill.
Now, the Senate has today reached an agreement to hold votes on a
clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that will start
at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
In other words, basically, Senate Republicans are now over this fight,
while House Republicans still want to hold security funding hostage in
exchange for a vote overriding President Obama`s executive action on
Now, less than an hour ago on the House floor, tensions mounted as
Congressman Steny Hoyer called the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. Speaker, reclaiming
my time. I have been very clear about the schedule for tomorrow. We will
end our work by tomorrow evening. This House is taking action to make sure
the DHS is fully funding. We did our part and I yield back.
REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: You coward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without objection, two-minute voting will
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is somewhat unusual, what you saw there.
And joining me now from Capitol Hill, with the latest on this whole
fight, NBC`s Luke Russert.
Luke, we wanted you on here at the top of the hour because there`s so
much going on. What`s happening right now?
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Well, here`s the latest, Ari. The House GOP
conference just concluded their meeting about an hour ago, and Speaker
Boehner presented a plan, which is going to be the plan so far as we know,
where, in fact, it will be a three-week funding of the Department of
Homeland Security. They hope that pass that out tomorrow morning mid-
morning or perhaps the afternoon. It could take that long.
That will then be followed by a motion to go to conference with the
United States Senate over that bill they passed back in January, which was
pretty far to the right, if you talk to some members, in the sense that it
repealed DACA, the 2012 Obama executive action on immigration, as well as
the most recent one in 2014. So, that`s their plan.
As far as whether or not the Senate can abide by that, our own Frank
Thorpe, producer for NBC News over there, asked Mitch McConnell if that is,
in fact, what the Senate was going to do, and he said on an elevator as the
doors were closing, he nodded his head as yes, that is the plan that the
Senate would take up this House three-week bill.
So, what we`re going to see is the House move on this bill. They`re
going to try and pass it with Republican support. I can tell you, the
Democrats are whipping against it, and the idea is that this buys Boehner
some time to be able to come up with a better way to allow the
conservatives in the House GOP Conference to express more anger toward the
president over those executive actions on immigration.
Now, what happens in the Senate is very interesting question, because
as you mentioned, they were moving forward on that clean funding of the
Department of Homeland Security through September, the rest of the fiscal
year. It remains to be seen how Mitch McConnell is going to change up the
parliamentary procedural process, Ari.
So, John Boehner buying himself some time, but I got to tell you --
you and I can be on television on March 20th having this same exact
conversation, because as far as the overarching way to get out from this,
the way to get out from this to fund the Department of Homeland Security,
and stand up to the president over immigration, what Republicans want to
do, no clear way how they do that over the long term, Ari.
MELBER: Right, and that`s the problem with some of those short term
Luke Russert, thank you for your reporting.
To reset here, how did we get to this point? Well, Republicans have
been emphasizing they could not let the president`s action on immigration
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: We need to do this by passing the house
measure that ensures spending at an important time with the critical needs
of Homeland Security, but it would also stop the president`s illegal
amnesty. We should not let that stand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Not let it stand. That was the stated reason for this fight
right now until just under two weeks ago when a federal judge ruled that
Obama`s program would not stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLT: Little more than 24 hours before President Obama`s executive
order was set to take effect, which would stop the deportation of some
undocumented immigrants, a federal judge ruled that the president
overstepped his authority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And that is where we are now. The president`s entire
executive order has been suspended by the courts. It`s not in place today.
It will not be in place tomorrow, and that was the one thing Republicans
were fighting to stop in this funding bill.
That thing has been stopped and that change it appears was enough for
Senate Republicans to move on, but it`s not enough for many House
Republicans. They have made it clear they would right fight than win.
Joining me now, Congressman Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama.
Thanks for joining us on this busy evening.
Let me start with that question to you. Since this executive action
has been stopped by the courts, what are you fighting against now?
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: Well, you`re assuming that that`s a
final order. It`s not a final order. It could be stayed tomorrow.
MELBER: It could be stayed if it could go to the Fifth Circuit. Why
not do something where you say we`re not going to fight over this unless it
BROOKS: Because the principle here is one of the biggest principles
we`re ever going to face in Washington, D.C. What do you do when a United
States president violates federal law and disregards the United States
Constitution? We`ve got the majority of the Representatives who believes
that President Obama has done just that. Majority of the United States
Senate that has said the same thing. Two federal court judges have said
the same thing. One in Pennsylvania, and one in Texas.
And for that matter, the president has said at least 22 times that his
conduct is illegal and unconstitutional, yet he then did it.
This is a major principle. It needs to be fought and addressed as
quickly as possible in order to minimize the risk that there will be
further illegal conducts spreading beyond what was seen so far.
MELBER: What would you be defunding, though, if the program is not
BROOKS: Well, that`s the big if, OK? Tomorrow, it may be operative.
It may be on Saturday or Sunday, because again, the federal judge`s
decisions are not final. And until they are final, there is a risk that at
any point in time, an appellate court or Supreme Court may decide to go
ahead and enter a stay of the district court order in which case Barack
Obama, as he`s shown in the past, is going to immediately implement what we
believe and what he himself has said is illegal and unconstitutional
BROOKS: I took an oath of office to defend the Constitution. That`s
what I`m going to do.
MELBER: Sure. And to be fair to your point, the Justice Department
is seeking that, so that could happen.
Specifically on this vote tomorrow, are you going to be with John
Boehner? Did you support this short-term step?
BROOKS: Well, the vote tomorrow is a little bit like being a little
bit pregnant. Either you are or you`re not. And if you vote tomorrow for
this continuing resolution, and if the stay is lifted, then you will have
voted to fund illegal unconstitutional action, and I`m not going to take
that risk. I can only speak for myself. I can`t speak for other House
members. I cannot speak for the United States Senate. We`ll see how it
MELBER: Let me play for you some new sound from Senate Minority
Leader Harry Reid on this debate. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Have money, terrorists
appear to have money. Why shouldn`t our homeland have the ability to
protect itself? What is going on in the House? We have two leaders who
haven`t talked to each other in two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And he mentions them not speaking two weeks, your leader
Speaker Boehner there reportedly, in newspapers we`ve seen, said he hadn`t
talked to McConnell in two weeks, which is weird. Your response?
BROOKS: Well, I agree with Harry Reid. The Department of Homeland
Security ought to be funded, and I wish Harry Reid would quit blocking that
funding, by instead of funding the Department of Homeland Security,
insisting on protecting illegal and unconstitutional conduct by the
president of the United States, conduct which the president himself has
admitted is illegal and unconstitutional.
If those 61 Democrats who have publicly -- excuse me, 61 senators,
Republicans and Democrats, who have said it is illegal and unconstitutional
and an overreach, would have actions that are in accord with their words,
then this would all be resolved in the United States Senate and resolved
What we really need is the American people to decide whether they want
to support America`s illegal conduct by this president and if they do not
want to support illegal conduct, then they need to contact their House
members and their senators and say enough is enough. First and foremost,
we have to protect American jobs for American workers, American wages for
MELBER: So, Congressman --
BROOKS: And quit putting illegal aliens on a pedestal above illegal
MELBER: Well, that goes to the final question. I understand you say
you`re speaking from principle on these issues. Final question, you
mentioned the American public. Do you think that after these midterms and
with basically a 60-vote edge in the House, controlling both chambers, that
if the Homeland Security Department isn`t funded long term, this is
something where you`re going to have to public behind you as one of the
first moves at this Republican Congress?
BROOKS: Well, with respect to the shutdown in 2013, the public
remembered that we fought Obamacare. And as it was laid out, the polling
quickly shifted because we fought on a matter of principle. If we`re going
to fight tomorrow on protecting American jobs and putting American citizens
first and foremost, struggling American families first and foremost, for
the seeking of those jobs and obtained higher wages instead of uplifting
illegal aliens as for some unfathomable reason the president of the United
States wants to do, putting illegal aliens superior to American citizens,
if that`s the ground that the Senate Democrats want to fight and defend on,
I challenge them to do so and I welcome the 2016 election outcome.
MELBER: All right. Sir, Congressman Mo Brooks, on a busy night,
thank you for your time.
President Obama also weighed in on what he wants Republicans to do
last night on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we said to
Republicans is, instead of trying to hold hostage the Department of
Homeland Security, which is so important for our national security, fund
that and let`s get on with actually passing comprehensive immigration
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And now, I`m delighted to bring in, Steve Kornacki, host of
"UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI" on MSNBC.
Your thoughts on the congressman`s view there?
STEVE KORNACKI, UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI: Well, it`s very interesting
what he`s telling you, that he plans to vote against this tomorrow. And
this raises the question of how many Mo Brooks are there on the Republican
side, because basically, the margin of error that Boehner and the
Republican leadership are going to have tomorrow is about 30, about 30
Republicans they could afford to lose and still get this passed, assuming
that every Democrat votes against it. They might be able to pick up a few
sort of conservative Democrats.
But, basically, if Mo Brooks is representative of several dozen
Republican congressmen, that`s an open question right now.
KORNACKI: But if he is, there`s the possibility that this does not
even get through the house tomorrow.
Now, if it does get through the House tomorrow, as Luke is telling
you, then there`s the question of what happens in the Senate. You have
Mitch McConnell indicating some level of support for bringing this to the
Senate floor. How do Democrats handle that? Is this DOA for the
Democrats? Is this something they choose to fight on and say, we don`t
want to pass a temporary extension? And, of course, if they do do the
temporary, there is still no indication right now about how this gets
resolved any other way than the impasse we have right now.
MELBER: Right. And to your point, Steve, McConnell has held his
caucus together, right? It`s the same old Boehner problem here, although
he has a huge edge that he can work with. We wanted to hear from Mo Brooks
because he`s the kind of member that may determine all of this. But there
are other views in the House Republican caucus.
I want to play for you Congressman Peter King, some remarks that have
gotten a lot of attention. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: We are the ones that are the party of
the homeland security. That`s why these people who say they are
conservatives, who say they`re Republicans, they`re the ones who are really
going to ruin the Republican Party. And so, we have to end this and the
speaker has to bring this to a vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And the vote he is talking about is a clean vote. Fund this
and move on. And so, the congressman`s point, Mo Brooks was saying, we
want to disagree with this as a matter of precedent, you don`t have to do
that on a funding bill.
KORNACKI: Sure. I mean, this gets to the makeup of the Republican
conference in the House. There are a lot more Mo Brooks in the Republican
conference than there are Peter Kings.
Peter King is sort of an outlier in the Republican conference, a Long
Island Republican, up here from New York. Twenty years ago, Peter King
made his name fighting against Newt Gingrich. He`s always been sort of the
guy that separates himself from the national party, with things like this.
So, the question again is, we know Peter King is going to be here.
But where the Mo Brooks, the Ted Yohos from Florida, where these sort of
very conservative, Huelskamp from Kansas, where are these people when it
comes to this question?
Look at the Boehner, the John Boehner is in constantly. This is the
20th time we have seen this since 2011, is he just -- he needs to get to a
point with this, almost certainly. This is going to end at some point in
the next few weeks, maybe the next few days, maybe the next few hours, with
full funding for the Department of Homeland Security with basically no
The question is, when can Boehner safely push for that and not risk
having an insurrection on the Republican side? When can he look at the Ted
Yohos and the Mo Brooks and tell them and have them believe it, I went as
far as I possibly could on this?
MELBER: Well, and tell them as we have been reporting that the thing
they`re trying to stop has been stopped. I understand the congressman`s
point that it could restart. A lot of things could change in life and
politics, but this is a phantom fight at this point. And one that we`re
seeing may go down on to the wire.
Steve Kornacki, as always, thanks for your analysis. We appreciate
Now, what else was happening in Washington today? We`re going to
check in on CPAC. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Obamacare is a train wreck.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Our lead-from-behind
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Sometimes, people need to be
told to sit down and shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MELBER: Today was also the first day of the Conservative Political
Action Conference or CPAC, the annual gather of thousands of conservative
activists outside Washington. It has become a key test for the party`s
presidential candidates. And most of the big names in the GOP presidential
field are giving speeches or taking questions at CPAC this year, along with
some of the party`s performer and pseudo-celebrities like Sara Palin,
Donald Trump, and controversial "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson.
They`re giving him an award, honoring him as a defender of the First
Now, speakers today took aim at Hillary Clinton, the media, and, of
course, President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNDIENTIFIED MALE: Hello, CPAC, how you all doing? Give it up,
CRUZ: Obamacare is a train wreck and that`s actually not fair to
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: President Obama has disqualified
himself and shown himself incapable of being our commander-in-chief.
CHRISTIE: I went to my parish priest and I said to him, I`m giving up
"The New York Times" for Lent.
PALIN: Lecturing Christians to get off our high horse about radical
Islam won`t stop the Islamists from killing Christians. Stop blaming the
victim and wake up, Mr. President.
JINDAL: Mr. President, I`ve got a deal for you. I`ll keep an eye for
the medieval Christians. Why don`t you do your job and win the war against
radical Islamic terrorists that we face today?
CARLY FIORINA (R), FORMER U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Like Mrs. Clinton, I
too have traveled the globe. Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an
activity not an accomplishment.
LAURA INGRAHAM, TV HOST: Sit down and shut up? I mean --
CHRISTIE: Yes. Well, sometimes, people need to be told to sit down
and shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MELBER: Now, we have a live report from CPAC when we come back,
including an interview with an insider who knows the current presidential
field, and a speech from the man who could be the new Republican
frontrunner. That`s next.
MELBER: Chris Christie was among the GOP presidential hopefuls who
spoke in front of thousands of activist at CPAC today and he was quick to
argue that any boomlet for Jeb Bush is actually a bad thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: If the elites in Washington who make back room deals to
decide who the president is going to be, then he`s definitely the
frontrunner. If the people of the United States wanted to pick the next
president of the United States and they want someone who looks at them in
the eye, connects with them and is one of them, I`ll do OK if I run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, consider will hear directly from Jeb tomorrow. He`s
appearing in a discussion session with FOX News` Sean Hannity, that`s meant
to burnish some of his conservative credentials before a crowd that may
suspect he`s a secret moderate.
Now, Bush is not expected to be a big favorite at CPAC. In fact, some
attendees are now planning a walkout during his appearance. Bush`s allies
reportedly already working to pack the room with supporters.
Now, today, attendees also heard from a governor who didn`t need to
take any special crowd-packing measures, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker,
who put his domestic clash with organized labor in stark international
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I want a commander-in-chief who
will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical
Islamic terrorists do not show up on American soil. We need a leader with
that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the
same across the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Like many governors who have run for president before, there
you see Walker testing out ways to build his foreign policy credentials and
the GOP has spent both of Obama`s turns fixated on domestic fights, on
health care, on jobs, on border patrol.
But it looks like politics moves pretty fast and these primaries
increasingly waiting into America`s role throughout the world.
Joining me now, a GOP insider who is at today`s conference, Brian
Darling. He recently left his post as senior communications director for
Senator Rand Paul, and he`s now with Third Dimension Strategies.
BRIAN DARLING, FORMER RAND PAUL SR. COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Good
MELBER: So, Brian, you were there today. How did Scott Walker do and
specifically, what did you think of his attempt to talk foreign policy?
DARLING: Well, I thought he was very well-received. I think the
crowd loved his energy and the fact that he took some shots and he was
throwing out some red meat. I think that`s what these guys want to hear.
That`s what the conservatives that come here, they want to hear a fiery
speech with a lot of red meat.
And on foreign policy I think, as you well know, conservatives like to
hear the tough talk.
MELBER: Yes. I mean, there`s something facile about the analogy of
union organizers to whatever he was trying to get at, threats abroad,
although I think to be fair, plenty of candidates use rhetoric especially
when they`re trying to build up that toughness. It doesn`t tell when and
how he`d actually deploy force.
What do you think politically of the idea that he`s actually some sort
of middle ground between Jeb and your old boss Rand Paul?
DARLING: Yes. Well, maybe. I mean, what it`s going to come down to
is these guys are all going to be pushing to be the alternative to Jeb
Bush. I mean, they`re going to want this to put themselves out there,
become that alternative just in case Jeb Bush has a hard time getting
across the finish line, doesn`t have a good rollout, doesn`t have a good
And just stumbles on the way. He`s untested, so I think a lot of
these guys are talking really tough now, and they want to be that
candidate. Now, obviously, Rand Paul has got a different view on foreign
policy. He`s going to be pushing against many in the Republican Party, but
most of the American people I think agree with Rand Paul, that the endless
wars, the nation-building, it has not been a good idea.
And he`s looking to break down a lot of the traditional lines that we
have seen and be a different kind of candidate and win the Republican
primary and then move on and have this outreach effort to many
constituencies that haven`t been favorable to Republicans in the past.
MELBER: Yes. And Rand Paul has won this straw poll at previous
CPACs. Do you think that Rand Paul -- we have seen there in 2014 and 2013,
Rand Paul`s father, of course, doing well earlier. Do you think there`s
any kind of emerging libertarian consensus at CPAC this year, and
specifically on the president`s proposal for new war powers against ISIS on
a three-year basis? Is that getting talked about in the hall? Did you
hear anything about that today?
DARLING: A little bit. I mean, I think your libertarian-minded
people that are here, they are really worried about opening up a new front
on the war on terror because they are worried about an endless war. They
understand, I mean, Rand Paul himself has put forward the war resolution,
saying that, you know, we need to declare war against ISIS.
But the concern is, you look back at Afghanistan. You look back at
Iraq. And the endless wars, the fact that we still have those AUMFs on the
books, I think people have concerns about that. They were against the idea
of nation-building during the Clinton years. They`re against the idea of
nation-building, and using our forces for that purpose.
I think also, Rand Paul is going to have a lot of sympathy for his
push for criminal justice reform. I think people are -- they`re looking at
that in a different way. You look at the polling data. The American
people are moving towards the idea that criminal justice reform is a
popular, popular idea and even conservatives are coming around.
MELBER: Brian Darling, live from CPAC, thank you for joining us
DARLING: Thank you.
MELBER: Still ahead, the breaking news this afternoon that brought
offices around the country to a standstill that killed productivity. Yes,
the great llama chase of 2015. You don`t want to miss this, it`s straight
MELBER: People all over the world have seen this man, Jihadi John.
That is the masked executioner in those ISIS propaganda videos. He`s
taunted Americans and President Obama in his distinct British accent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIHADI JOHN: We are an Islamic army and a state.
I`m back, Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We`re not going to show you too much of those propaganda
videos. And at the same time that the FBI arrested three Brooklyn men
accused of a plot to join ISIS this week stoking concerns about recruitment
Now, intelligence sources are confirming the identity of Jihadi John.
He is Mohammed Emwazi, a 26-year-old British citizen born in Kuwait.
Authorities believe he went to Syria around 2012. One British human rights
worker who knew him believes he embraced radicalization after interacting
with British security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASIM QURESHI, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, CAGE: Mohammed is a person I have
spent a great deal of time with, a period of over two years, because he
came to me complaining initially of harassment that he had faced at the
hands of security agencies, that every single time, the U.K. security
agencies were there blocking him, stopping him, without ever bringing any
kind of criminal case against him. And eventually, after this extremely
long period of time, Mohammed leaves his family and the next thing they
hear is that he`s ended up in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Broadly, 600 foreign fighters have left the U.K. to join ISIS
in Iraq and Syria. That`s just since the end of 2013.
Just last week, three British schoolgirls, age 15 and 16, were stopped
at the London airport boarding a plane to turkey. They are now believed to
have also crossed in Syria.
For disaffected young Westerners who do want to join ISIS, you can see
two paths here. They can end up like Jihadi John, harden terrorists working
with ISIS to murder people. Or they can end up like one of these suspects
in Brooklyn, pulled off of the jetway, arrested, now awaiting their fates
in an American courtroom.
Joining me now, counterterrorism intelligence expert, Malcolm Nance,
author of The Terrorists of Iraq.
Good evening to you. From a security perspective, what is the
difference in those two fates for young people in the west who want to join
these kind of groups.
MALCOM NANCE, COUNTERTERRORISM INTELLIGENCE EXPERT: Well, the best
difference is that U.S. intelligence and FBI manage to intercept these
gentleman before at least two of them made their way over to ISIS, which is
precisely where they wanted to go. They wanted to fly to Turkey and then go
onto Syria and join the Jihad, which would have made them full blown
members of the organization, and they would be fighting as terrorist
combatants against the United States and it`s interest.
So, pulling them off the jetway is the way that we want to do it,
rather than have to expend a laser guided bomb to do the solution for us.
MELBER: Right. You mentioned bombing them, trying to take them out if
they do make it over there.
The other issue that we see with Jihadi John is the idea that there
may be some sort of propaganda benefit to addressing and demystifying him.
I want to read to you one view on that. Saying that "Emwazi`s
unmasking could dent the effectiveness of the beheading videos as an ISIS
propaganda tool," that`s according to Ross Frenett, who works against
violence extremist at a part of a network in London.
He says, "This will demystify Jihadi John, make him less of a scary
character. He`s become almost like a super-villain character, a hero in the
eyes of jihadists. Know who he really is strips away some of his power."
Do you agree?
NANCE: Well, I agree that it will strip away a little bit of his
power, but the thing that empowered Jihadi John was the news media, and the
news media making him this super character.
This is not the first time that we`ve ever seen a beheading.
We`ve had Nick Berg in Iraq beheaded by Abu Musab al-Zargawi.
There are hundreds of people within the Al Qaeda organization and now
ISIS, the follow on, who do this.
So, what you may do, what you may see, is that the ISIS organization
may move away from their star pupil and may start doing mass executions to
get your attention.
MELBER: Let me follow the thread of your criticism.
We have, of course, standards. We don`t show very much of these
videos, but we do cover it a lot.
Do we, in the media, broadly speaking, American media. Are we covering
this the wrong way?
Are we giving them too much attention?
NANCE: I think we are covering them in the wrong way.
The first criticism that have on the media, is the very fact that when
ISIS carried out it`s operations last June, the news media has, from that
time and today, have been reporting as if this group never existed before.
This is Al Qaeda and Iraq. The same group that was formed in 2003
after the invasion of Iraq. They changed their name, they have changed
their organizational structure to bring in Iraqis on as the leadership as
far back as 2006. They had this name, Islamic State of Iraq.
And, suddenly, because they take terrain, which was significant but it
was built up over several years, as I describe in my book, this group we
have fought from 2003 to 2011 using U.S. forces and now, what we`re doing
is fighting them again.
MELBER: And to your point on the antecedence, I want to put up on the
screen a RAND study since 9/11 that shows where these fighters are going
from the west.
They`re going to Somalia. They`re going to Pakistan. They`re going to
Afghanistan. Syria does not even lead the charge there.
And that goes to, I believe part of your point, which is as a
quantitative and historical matter, there is nothing absolutely new or
special about some people in the west going into the Middle East to join
NANCE: Well, for some people it is a necessary evil to now describe
Syria as, you know it is, in fact, a new Jihad zone for the Al Qaeda
organization and, now, ISIL.
But, these Jihad zones have existed since 1988 when Osama Bin Laden
created this global Jihad in order to establish an Islamic caliphate from
Morocco all the way out to Indonesia and then, eventually, on the rest of
So now what we`re seeing is we`re seeing this play out in Syria, they
have taken terrain, and now you have fighters who will start filtering in
from various different areas.
And you`ll also see these affiliates come in and dedicate themselves
in the name of Isil instead of Al Qaeda, but it`s all the same ideology.
MELBER: Malcolm Nance, appreciate your expertise and your criticism
tonight, thank you.
NANCE: My pleasure.
MELBER: An election result shocker in Chicago as President Obama`s
own candidate failing to avoid a runoff, and the man who made it happen
will be here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama says Emanuel is the mayor we
BARRACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He`s making sure every
Chicagoan, in every neighborhood gets the fair shot at success that they
Before Rahm Emanuel was Mayor of Chicago, he was a key part of my team
at the White House. And let`s be honest, at times the guy can be a little
hard headed. But there is a reason that Rahm fights as hard as he does. He
loves our city.
MELBER: Rahm Emanuel had more than a leg up in his campaign for
reelection this year.
He had the backing of the most powerful Democrat in the nation and the
most beloved Democrat in Chicago. You saw it their, Barrack Obama.
But that wasn`t the only president that Rahm had behind him. There
were a lot of Benjamins. He raised four times as much money as his
challengers combined, and just this week Emanuel thought it wasn`t enough
as he failed to earn enough votes to win a second term outright.
Now he finds himself headed for an April 7th runoff against the second
place finisher, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
It is the first time Chicago has even seen a runoff for mayor since
the city switched over to nonpartisan elections back in 1999.
So, we begin with a question. Why is an incumbent with so many
advantages having so much trouble.
Joining me, someone who knows all about it, Clarence Page, Pulitzer
Prize winning, syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Literally, no
better person for the story.
What is going on there in Chicago?
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, both a shocker and also a
certain inevitability to it.
The fact is is that the city is broke, deeply in debt, so is the
state, and that was true when Rahm was elected. The biggest surprise here
is that he was elected by such a tremendous landslide four years ago
against three opponents.
And this time, four years later, it was a low turn out election. He
wasn`t able to get, well barely more than 40% of the vote, let alone the
50% plus one that he needed for reelection.
And that`s largely because fundamentally, the city is in such a bad
shape that a mayor can only do unpopular things, like raise taxes and fees,
or cut budgets, and, in Rahm`s case, closing schools proved to be
kryptonite for his mayoral office, and now he has to try to fight his way
MELBER: And do you think the schools and the sort of feeling that he
went too hard against basically poorer, minority communities is the problem
here, or is it a lot more complex because of the larger economic trends you
PAGE: Well, I compare it to a Washington DC and their former mayor,
Adrian Fenty. You recall the nationally famous, he and Michelle Rhee, his
school superintendent, he had to close schools too, and just the way that
it was done riles people up. That happened in Chicago, too.
I don`t care if you`re 40 years out of high school, you don`t like to
see your old high school close down. Even if you don`t live in that area
And that`s the kind of thing that happened in Chicago.
That combined with the mayor, Mayor Emanuel, getting into fierce
Karen Lewis, head of the teachers union, and resulted in the first
MELBER: Yeah, Clarence you mention that fight, and that is the other
thing I want to ask you is, okay, you got to do hard things, sure. But is
he doing them in a soft, or compassionate way? Because for those of us who
interacted with Mr. Emanuel for awhile, that has never been a strong suit
PAGE: That`s right. That was what was the hidden message. Not
terribly subtle in that campaign add where President Obama said hey, the
guy can be a little headed. He was not -- what everybody knows already. But
the people knew that when they elected him.
This is what`s interesting to me because, the Chicagoans knew that he
could be an S.O.B. sometimes, but that`s what they wanted because they knew
some tough decisions had to be made. So that didn`t hurt him four years
But now that they`ve been, in many cases felt the brunt of it,
especially the teachers union and a number of other people out in the
neighborhoods, now Obama -- rather Rahm is coming out at the losing end on
And we can`t forget, of course, the serge in violent crimes that
occurred over the last four years. He has yet to get a real good handle on
that, so that didn`t help him either.
MELBER: Yeah, I want to get to that, but to your point, Clarence,
knew this man so there may be buyers remorse but there wasn`t really false
I want you to stay with us because the man who could give Mayor Rahm
Emanuel the run of his political life will be here with Clarence.
That`s straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURIEL BOWSER, MAYOR OF WASHINGTON D.C.: We believe that we`re on
very strong legal ground where we stand. We believe that we`re acting
lawfully, so I have a lot of things to do here in the District of Colombia
and me being in jail wouldn`t be a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The Mayor of Washington D.C. there, facing the threat of
potential jail time because two congressmen are accusing her of engaging in
a quote "knowing and willful violation of the law" because a new law, now
approved actually by two-thirds of Washington D.C. voters last November
that legalizes pot.
As of midnight last night in Washington D.C., if you were 21 years
could posses up to two ounces of pot, you can give away up to an ounce, and
you can personally grow up to six seedlings, including three mature plants.
So will those two congressmen get their wish? Will they actually find
someway to throw the mayor of D.C. in jail for violating the city`s
marijuana laws in this federal intersection?
Well, the mayor herself will actually respond in 15 minutes on the
Rachel Maddow show. So stay tuned.
MELBER: Back to our coverage of the Chicago mayor`s race.
Joining me now, club county commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who will
face Rahm Emanuel in an April runoff for mayor, and, still with us, Chicago
expert among many other things, Clarence Page. Thank you both.
Jesus, let me start with you. Did Rahm Emanuel fail Chicago?
JESUS "CHUY" GARCIA, CLUB COUNTY COMMISSIONER, CHICAGO: Yes he did.
When he ran for mayor he said he would make the city safer, fix it`s
schools and put it`s fiscal house in order. That sounds like a strike
Not only did he fail to live on those commitments, but he also engaged
in, or course, in favoring many friends and amassing a huge war chest,
having collected over 32 million dollars over the past five years that he
used to get elected and
He spent 14 million dollars in the last four months. He ran ads
nonstop since Thanksgiving, and still came up short.
This is an incumbent with lots of money, you know he`s got a serious
MELBER: Yeah, you mentioned money and the impact there in this race.
Did you review that he was incompetent in his reforms in the city or that
he was simply too focused on what might have been good for downtown, or
wealthier parts of the city and not the whole city.
GARCIA: I think he was out of touch, not having grown up in the city
His priorities were essentially investing mostly in the downtown area,
which comprises, coincidentally, 1% of the city`s land mass, and, as we
learned in a series that the Chicago Tribune did, he spent most of his time
meeting with honchos, going to D.C. and, essentially engaging in taking
huge donations from out of towners with hedge fund managers, large
corporations, giving them, in return, contracts, appointments, a variety of
benefits, and I think when people learned about this they really took note
that of the fact that this is a mayor who rarely comes to the
neighborhoods, doesn`t engage people, and his priorities are out of
touch with ordinary Chicagoans.
When the school closings were announced --
MELBER: Let me interject. I want to interject.
Turning from that critique to also some of what you did in bringing
Clarence back in, the Chicago Tribune talked about, Jesus, how you did in
your runoff, in the runoff race here, unofficial results showing that you
eclipsed Emanuel in 15 of the city`s 50 wards, despite being outspent,
including 11 or 12 overwhelming Latino wards.
Clarence, how much of this in such a diverse and evolving city like
Chicago is about Rahm Emanuel failing to hold together his sort of
PAGE: Well, I think that`s a very significant, so was the low
turnout. If people weren`t turned against Rahm Emanuel, they lost a lot of
faith in him.
Meanwhile, Jesus Garcia, I have been covering him since the early
At least back when you were with Harold Washington`s campaign, "Chuy",
and you have a lot of goodwill that you`ve built up over the years in the
neighborhoods. At the same time, it is going to be an uphill race, of
course, because not that many Chicagoans these days know "Chuy" Garcia.
Never the less, I think he picked up where Karen Lewis left off.
She was a teacher`s union head and she had to drop out of possible
contention in this race because of health reasons. And, in many ways,
"Chuy" Garcia picked up many of those union people and other folks there in
Chicago who wanted an alternative to Rahm Emanuel.
MELBER: Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and Clarence Page, thanks for joining us.
I will mention that Rahm Emanuel has an open invite if he wants to
respond to anything.
Still ahead why all productivity came to a grinding halt in the office
today. Jack Hanna is here to talk yes, llamas on the lamb.
MELBER: Here we go. There was a real, live, wild goose chase this
afternoon that captivated the nation, or at least a wild llama chase. You
can see it there.
Two escaped llamas galloping across Sun City, Arizona, and sometimes
just sort of walking around as they lead police on an unusual, and yes, at
times adorable chase.
The llamas escaped a trailer that was near a retirement center where
were scheduled to do sort of a good will visit.
People called the police about an hour after trying to capture them
and the local news sent out the helicopters and soon, every animal lover
with T.V. or an internet could watch the spectacle live.
People saw neighbors trying pitch in and contain the animals by
blocking off roads but the llamas were too agile.
And, on the internet and social media sites commentary and celebration
of the event overflowed. In fact, the NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
posted that with their first pick in the draft they wanted the white llama.
And the Arizona Cardinals quickly dispelled the rumor that the llamas would
be moving to Florida, tweeting that the team had agreed to one year deals
with the two.
And the chase did come to an end. The llamas were recovered all
without major injury or incident, but questions remain like why are llamas
so fun to watch on the loose? And how fast are they for real?
Well, we called in our next guest, Jungle Jack Hanna, director of
Meritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and host of the show, Jack Hanna`s
Into the Wild.
Your thoughts on this amazing little chase today that a lot of people
JACK HANNA, TV MELBER: Well I`ll tell you one thing, what I worried
about watching all this was in the traffic, all the cars. What would happen
if these animals got hurt or something.
But I found out something several hours ago you won`t believe. They
had already signed up for ollama care, can you imagine that? Ollama care,
they didn`t have to worry about getting hit by a car.
MELBER: I had not heard that.
HANNA: Isn`t that amazing to you?
MELBER: Not only is it amazing, that`s one of the --
HANNA: I know. I just got on the news.
MELBER: It`s one of the only llama puns I hadn`t heard today.
Tell us, though, about how this works. I mean, let me start with a
simple question of why are they so hard for humans to catch?
HANNA: Well, I raised llamas in Tennessee as a young boy, a young
man, at 21 years old when I was first married. And llamas, I had like 10 of
them. I love llamas. But everyone, you have to understand something. These
animals are animals. They`re great pack animals.
By the way, in Montana where I hike a lot, but the one thing that
happened to me in -- I love llamas, so don`t anyone write letters. I`m
telling you that my wife, we were feeding Ole Leary, my favorite llama, he
was a male. She walked away from him, the llama turned around, all of the
women, the females were in cycle, and jumped on her back like -- they take
the front legs and go like this. Hit her right in the kidneys at seven
months pregnant. And I thought for sure, we lost something.
I`m not saying every llama does that. I`m just saying that these
animals, that you know their beautiful animals just be careful of them.
MELBER: No, well that`s a harrowing story. And I got to ask you then,
looked at this incident which of course did end fine and everyone enjoyed
it and had a lot of fun online, but to the serious point you are raising,
when civilians or untrained people were trying to help out, is that a bad
HANNA: I don`t think it`s a bad idea as long as they understand that
these are animals that are upset, they`re running like this.
Thank god everybody did try to help out. But remember something, llamas can
also bite, like I do a lot of camel safaris, just like any animal, a horse,
whatever. They are all great animals but you put a horse in a situation
like this, out there traffic flying all over the place, you know I really
was worried, in all seriousness, about something happening, or somebody
getting bitten by the llama.
Getting spit on -- somebody said oh my gosh a llama will spit on
you. Yeah, I`ve been spit on so much, it like, tobacco going in your face
or something. Chewed up, you know, whatever. It smells, it`s slimy and
green, but you know, you`re not going to die from it.
But they -- you only get spit on, that, I`m surprised that nobody got
spit on or bitten, you know, trying to get the animals.
But, thank god they did get them because you get an animal riled up
like that and there is no telling what could happen.
MELBER: What is the big difference, this came up today as well,
between llamas, alpacas, and camels?
HANNA: David Letterman called me a walking encyclopedia of
Now, a llama is a great pack animal. An alpaca is also different type
of coat on the animal. A lot of people today are raising alpacas. They`re
beautiful little creatures, they really are.
And then you have the guanaco as well. So, all of them are in the same
family, just different looks, different hair type of situation and that
type of thing.
Actually, the alpacas seem to big business in this country right now.
As a matter of fact, in Montana where I live part time in my little farm, I
want to start raising alpacas and maybe a llama or two because that`s how I
got started in 1960`s raising these creatures. And I love them.
I was fascinated watching this whole thing, making sure that these
were -- they did everything they could to make sure they weren`t hit by a
car or something and it was amazing they weren`t.
MELBER: Now if they had escaped completely, and evaded capture, could
they just live and make it like stray dogs?
HANNA: Oh, yeah. You know -- out there, as long as they have grass or
even weeds to eat, that`s the least of my worries.
They have some water, you know, they can go quite a -- it`s not like a
camel, but they can go quite a long time. These animals would have survived
quite longer than maybe a horse or other animals is my personal opinion, if
they got out there and they couldn`t catch them.
MELBER: Well I know you know a lot about this and people have relied
on you throughout the ages for this, so thank you for giving us all the
info tonight, Jack Hanna.
HANNA: Thanks a lot.
HOTS: You bet.
Alright, that is it for All In this evening.
I hope you enjoyed all of our stories including our special report on
the llama coverage there.
The Rachel Maddow Show starts now. Good evening Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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