All In With Chris Hayes, Monday, March 2nd, 2015
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: March 2, 2015
Guest: Benjamin Crump, Barry Scheck
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.
Shocking new footage of another office involved shooting in Los
Angeles, as Cleveland officially blames a 12-year-old Tamir Rice for his
And the White House puts out a plan to curve police violence.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The moment is now for
us to make these changes.
HAYES: We`ll talk about all of it with attorney Ben Crump.
Then, the Netanyahu campaign arrives in America.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Imagine what Iran would
do with nuclear weapons.
HAYES: Tonight, fact-checking the Israeli prime minister`s
predictions on Iran.
Plus, the latest on Vladimir Putin and the murder of his top political
And as Obamacare returns to the Supreme Court, why Republicans may
stand to lose even if they win.
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York.
Shock, outrage, and a lot of questions tonight following the police
shooting death of an unarmed homeless man in Los Angeles. At about noon
yesterday, police say they were called to 545 South San Pedro Street in
downtown Los Angeles near Skid Row on a reported robbery. After officers
responded to the location, police say they attempted to detain the suspect.
Here is part of the altercation that ensued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa! Oh, my God!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goddamn! (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We pause the video at the sound of the first shot but multiple
shots were fired. Prior to the shooting, you can hear people saying, drop
your gun or drop the gun at least a couple of times.
Commander Andrew Smith of the LAPD described the altercation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CMDR. ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPT.: During the attempt to
detain him, this individual resisted our officers, they struggled with him,
they tried to tase him a couple of times. That was ineffective, and
eventually, the struggle occurred where the officers that were struggling
with the individual over one of the officer`s weapons. At that point, an
officer-involved shooting occurred. Three officers were involved, a
supervisor and two police officers. The suspect was struck and,
unfortunately, he was killed at the scene, pronounced dead by the fire
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Security camera footage of the shooting has also been
released. The LAPD, the Los Angeles inspector general and the district
attorney`s office are investigating the shooting.
There was multiple eyewitnesses who reacted in real time and
immediately after in the shock of what was happening before their eyes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just killed that man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One of those witnesses seems to corroborate part, but not the
most crucial part of the Commander Smith`s account. Dennis Horne describes
the actions of the homeless man who`s known on the street known as Africa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS HORNE, EYEWITNESS TO SHOOTING: (INAUDIBLE) started swinging.
They tased him a couple times and took him down. One officer was saying,
give me my baton, give me my baton, like I need some back up, like why you
-- why are all just standing in here not helping me.
REPORTER: Did you see him reach for the weapons?
HORNE: No, no, not at all. Not at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, the central question is culpability of an unarmed suspect,
in his own shooting death by police, whether he represented a threat to the
police worthy of lethal force. The kinds of questions that have come front
and center following a string of cases in which unarmed black men are shot
and killed by police with various claims of justification.
Perhaps the most shocking, recent incident being the police shooting
death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Rice was shot and killed as he played
with a toy gun. And now, the city of Cleveland, in a legal filing in it`s
capacity as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tamir Rice`s
parents, made an assertion that sounded truly shocking. Quote,
"Plaintiffs` decedent`s injuries, losses, and damages complained of were
directly and caused by the failure of plaintiff`s decedent`s to exercise
due care to avoid injury." Translation, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was one
responsible for his own death. The boy should have been more careful.
That claim by the city of Cleveland so utterly offensive to many
Cleveland residents has the mayor of Cleveland himself today, Frank
Jackson, felt compelled today to apologize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANK JACKSON (D), CLEVELAND: In an attempt to protect all of
our defenses, we use word and phrased things in a way that was very
insensitive. So, we are apologizing today as a city to the family of Tamir
Rice, and the citizens of the city of Cleveland, for our poor use of our
words and our insensitivity in the use of those words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Benjamin Crump, attorney for the family of
Mr. Crump, your response to the filing from the city of Cleveland?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF TAMIR RICE: Well, it was just
shocking, Chris, to say that this 12-year-old kid who has now become the
face of police excessive force in America is responsible for his own death,
especially after you watch what you see on that surveillance video, Chris.
That is very important, because it`s 1.7 seconds that they come and shoot
this child that`s on a playground.
And it is riveting because you see the gazebo there. Also, there is a
merry go round and a slide. When the car comes up as reckless as it does,
if there was any other children that were out on that playground, they
would have been in harm`s way. So, it`s just troubling on so many levels
that you are now going to blame a 12-year-old child, based on what we see
on this video.
HAYES: Mr. Crump, obviously, this filing is a legal filing by
attorneys in a city in a procedure on which they`re defendants in a claim
of wrongful death by the family that you represent. Is it not the case
that were you, the attorney for the city of Cleveland, you would be
essentially be duty bound as an advocate to make precisely the kinds of
arguments that the city of Cleveland is making here?
CRUMP: You know, or you can say we made a mistake. You can be honest
with people and say that this is a terrible thing. This is not what we
want our police officers to do. You can come out and, you know, the mayor
offered an apology that I know we will talk about later, but what you want
a city and responsible leadership to do is when you make a mistake, when
you have failed your citizenry, to be honest.
Go and say that this officer, this shooter, we made a mistake hiring
him. You know, he had been force to resign three months prior to the city
of Cleveland hiring him as a police department. And his employment
records, Chris. They say he was untrainable. He was not fit to be a
police officer. And this is the person that shot this child in 1.7
But even more troubling than that, Chris, is what happens when his 14-
year-old sister runs out of the community center screaming they killed my
baby brother. They don`t show her any compassion. They don`t show her any
care as you would think a compassionate person would.
They manhandle here and they tackle her. She tries to get up, they
tackle her again. They put her in handcuffs and then they drag her in the
snow in the back of the police car and she is handcuffed in the back seat
of a police car the same way you see on the surveillance video, and she
watches her 12-year-old brother kicking as he lays dying in the snow.
HAYES: Given that set of facts and given the tenor of that legal
filing, and given the mayor`s apology today, I have to ask whether the Rice
family accepts the mayor`s apology.
CRUMP: Well, what they would want is instead of apologizing for word
choices and grammar, they want a sincere apology to say that we failed. We
want you to apologize for the death of Tamir Rice, because we have this
epidemic going on across America as you show with Los Angeles. And then I
have a representation of the family in Pasco, Washington, where a Mexican
national name Antonio Zambrano Montes is on video where he is running from
the police, and they shot him and when he turns, goes to put his hands up,
you see they continue to shoot. They shoot 17 times.
And so, people like attorney Barry Scheck (ph) and other noted lawyers
have to fight to make a record of this stuff. But before we didn`t have
video, so it is riveting that we have video now, and so hopefully more
people than just the victims in our communities are saying this is wrong
what the police is doing.
HAYES: Do you think the city of Cleveland should essentially forfeit
their defense? They should just come forward and settle the case. They
should admit to wrong death. This is a wrongful death. We are sorry,
apologize, settle civilly with you and the family?
CRUMP: I think what they were really apologetic, if they were sincere
in their apology, they would want to do a quick resolution and say, actions
speak so loud, we don`t need to say anything. We know it was wrong what
happened. We know that the officers should have tried to de-escalate the
situation, and not escalate the situation.
You know, the shooter was a young officer, the driver wasn`t a young
officer, and look how recklessly he drove up on the scene. What protocol
was he following, Chris? These are things, we want officers who are
trained properly so we don`t continue to see these things happen over and
over again at such an alarming rate.
HAYES: Benjamin Crump, thank you.
CRUMP: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. We`ve also got some news tonight in what is
arguably the most polarizing closely followed police shooting in recent
memory. Death of unarmed Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police
officer Darren Wilson. After a local jury declined to indict Wilson, many
Ferguson residents and those who followed the case across country
maintained the slim hope that the Justice Department might bring a civil
right`s case against Wilson.
But according to "The New York Times," that won`t be happening. The
Justice Department did not find grounds for a civil right`s violation in
Brown`s shooting death. It is currently finishing a report into the
broader practices of Ferguson police.
Quoting "The Times", "A highly critical report accusing the police in
Ferguson of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans,
created years of racial animosity leading up an officer shooting of a black
teenager last summer", referring, of course, to Michael Brown.
Today, President Obama`s task force on police shootings said that such
shootings should be investigated by independent prosecutors, something that
didn`t happen in Ferguson, and that was just one of many recommendations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There were some recommendations around prohibiting racial
profiling. That`s a step that we`ve already taken at the federal level.
If you talk to the FBI, if you talk to our federal law enforcement, it may
be challenging for them to change old practices, but they are confident
that they`re able to continue to do their job effectively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Barry Scheck, civil rights and criminal
defense attorney, professor of Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, and co-
director, co-founder of the Innocence Project.
Great to have you here.
BARRY SCHECK, BENJAMIN CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW: Great to be here.
HAYES: So, let`s start with a task force and work our way back
through that news. You work intimately on the other side of police
investigations and prosecutors for years. Different jurisdictions,
different quality of prosecutions, different procedures, right? Different
levels of corruption and integrity.
What can the federal government actually do when you talk about the
crazy spectrum of all the municipalities in America on policing and
SCHECK: Well, they have 18,000 different policing agencies. People
get money from the federal government, these agencies. So, the hope is
that you`ll be able to incentivize them to change practices in return for
getting the money. And also that the Justice Department, and it is already
beginning to do this, will set out certain training programs that will
really bring some closure to some of the worst problems.
I mean, take the Cleveland shooting, right? Everybody that`s been
part of what they call tactical policing, really invented by this great
genius, Jim Fyfe, who was a New York City police officer, got a PhD,
emeritus professor at John Jay.
The first thing that you teach police officers when they arrive upon a
scene of a report of man with a gun, in this instance teenager with a gun -
SCHECK: -- is when you pull up your police car, you go and you get to
a position of cover, which would be behind the police car. You yell clear
and loud commands and they should be, by the way, "police, freeze", or
"police, don`t move", because if you say "drop your gun" that could be a
sudden gesture that will cause a shooting.
I can`t think of a justification that any police practices expert in
the country could give for what happened in Cleveland. So, what Ben Crump
told you is exactly what Cleveland should do. And that is, they should
just say, OK, we admit that this was wrong, we will pay money damages, but
more importantly, we will try to cooperate with the critics that came in
from the Department of Justice in December that said this is a long
standing problem, right?
The Justice Department issued what they called 14141, you know,
notification of custom pattern or practices that they did not have adequate
training, that they were using excessive force in Cleveland. That`s
recent, but there was one 10 years earlier in that.
So, the most important thing that this 21st century policing report of
the Obama administration points out is remedy. How can we really get these
remedies to work? We had a lot of consent decrees across the country, in
jails, whether it`s in Rikers Island in New York, or in New Orleans,
Louisiana, where you have consent decrees and nothing happens.
What the 21st century report is trying to point out is that we need to
get everybody involved, what they call all stakeholder reviews, the reviews
to see if they can come up with new remedies that work.
HAYES: OK. So, then the question becomes at what level does the
problem lie? And so, there is one analysis that says it is in insufficient
and spotty training, right? There`s another level that says that the
problem lies deeper in essentially the over-policing of America and a 30-
year war on drugs and sort of criminalization, a set of criminal justice
practices and policies that have created the largest prison population in
the Western world, and that you can train if you want at the edges, but
that`s not going to get to the root here.
SCHECK: Well, that`s true. I mean, we all know there is mass
incarceration -- we all know that`s true. But when you really --
HAYES: Not everyone.
SCHECK: Not everybody. But when you try to talk about remedy, I
mean, this is not simple. You know, we had the ruling on stop and frisk in
New York, and now, we have another judge looking at actually how to enforce
So, it may be sound crazy to you, but we`ve got to get the police
unions involved. We`ve got to get to the very, very street level
narratives that go on in the head of officers, that make them believe truly
that this kind of training is officers safety training, right? It`s not
only protecting the community, it`s protecting themselves.
HAYES: And that gets down to the nub of what makes it so difficult.
Right, watching that video in the Los Angeles shooting, right? I don`t
know, I can`t read the minds of anyone involved in that, but I can
plausibly think that officers thought their life were in danger even if
from an objective third party standpoint they weren`t. It seems like a gap
between those two things in which a lot of this happens.
SCHECK: Right. And it`s -- you know, people had point out there was
a special group there that takes care of homeless people that tries to deal
with mentally ill people. So I know what these are like. Usually they are
procedures where you can have nets and other kinds -- they apparently tried
to tase him twice, where you don`t get an officer that close, although what
was troubling reading this report is that apparently the officer involved
was somebody on probation, somebody new.
Same thing was true obviously in Cleveland with that officer that
never should have been hired in the first place. So --
HAYES: And that points to big flaws in the practices and the
HAYES: Barry Scheck, we are going to see you on Thursday. We`re
doing a special one-hour episode on a really case of a man on death row in
Texas who says he is innocent. The Innocence Project is making a strong
case for that.
SCHECK: Thank you, Chris. If you bring the cameras there, I`m not
sure we would have gotten a stay --
HAYES: There was a stay of execution. He was scheduled to be
executed. As you were saying, he will not be, we`ll be running our
original reporting on that, and we`ll see you then, Thanks a lot.
SCHECK: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. The most polarizing diplomatic visit in history,
why should you be skeptical of Benjamin Netanyahu`s reason for being here,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The concern is not only does it look like it politicizes the
relationship, but what is also a problem is when the topic of the prime
minister`s speech is an area where the executive branch, the U.S. president
and his team have a disagreement with the other side. I don`t think it is
permanently disruptive. I think that it is a distraction from what should
be our focus. And our focus should be, how do we stop Iran from getting a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president today eluding to a tale of two diplomatic
missions that`s playing out across the globe today. The Secretary of State
John Kerry in Switzerland to work on what could be a historic nuclear deal
with Iran ahead of a March 24th deadline. While Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has flown here to Washington, making his best effort to
blow up that very deal.
There`s a good reason Netanyahu may not be the best messenger for his
own cause. We`ll tell you what his cause is, next.
HAYES: Tomorrow in Washington, the biggest diplomatic dispute in
recent memory comes to a head. As Israel Benjamin Netanyahu takes the
podium before a joint meeting of Congress to lobby against a possible
nuclear deal with Iran. The prime minister`s polarizing gamut which he
described as a, quote, "historic mission to secure Israel`s future" has
faced unprecedented condemnation.
But even some of the most hawkish of Israeli commentators and military
leaders expressing anger at Netanyahu. American Jewish groups like the
Anti-Defamation League calling on him to cancel the speech. And more than
40 members of Congress, now planning to skip it all together.
In a warm-up address today at the Conference of the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee, Netanyahu insisted he did not mean to step on
President Obama`s toes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: My speech is not intended
to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that
holds. I have great respect for both. My speech is also not intended to
inject Israel into the American partisan debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But he maintains the current talks with Iran posed an
existential threat to the state of Israel, a nation which itself is not a
signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation territory and is widely known to
be the only Middle Eastern country with a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu effectively argued that the whole diplomatic flap and the
damage it`s caused to the U.S.-Israeli relationship is worth it to try and
block a deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: The purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak
up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of
Israel. Iran envelops the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This
is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would
do with nuclear weapons. And the same Iran vows to annihilate Israel if
they develop nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: One Israel official let up the following rationale to a
reporter for "Haaretz". Quote, "We feel that members of Congress aren`t
fully aware of the details of the emerging deal with Iran and we want to
But here is the thing: Benjamin Netanyahu is not the most reliable
source of information on Iran`s nuclear program. Way back in 1992, when he
was a member of the Israeli parliament, according to "The Intercept",
Netanyahu advised that Iran was three to five years away from reaching
nuclear weapons capability. In a 1995 book, that`s three years later,
Netanyahu once again asserted to Iran would have nuclear weapons in three
to five years. That was 20 years ago. They still have not gotten it.
In the intervening decades, Netanyahu has continued to warn that Iran
is on the verge of making a bomb, including most memorably in 2012 U.N.
address, using this highly technical cartoon as a visual aid.
But according to a leaked Mossad dated less than a month after that
U.N. speech, Netanyahu`s own intelligence agency concluded that Iran was,
quote, "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons."
Joining me now, NBC News contributor Hooman Majd, author of "The
OK. Let`s start with this, deal, a bad deal, a good deal, Susan Rice
just goes before AIPAC and says a bad deal is better -- a no deal better
than a bad deal. I don`t even, like, what are the contours of the deal and
how does anyone from the Iranian side, the American side, Israeli side,
score it as good or bad?
HOOMAN MAJD, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think the Obama
administration made it clear what a good deal is as far as the U.S. is
concerned, and that`s a one-year break out time. One year from the moment
the Iranians decide to make, build a bomb, they need at least a year to do
so and that would give the U.S. enough time to either impose these
sanctions, or attack Iran, or whatever -- whatever they need to do to stop
Iran from doing it.
HAYES: So, just to be clear, what the U.S. is saying is a situation
in which Iran has some domestic nuclear capabilities that is monitored in
such a way, such that were they declared, we`re out, we don`t want, we`re
no longer doing this --
HAYES: -- it would take them a year to get to --
MAJD: At least a year, yes, because the assumption would be you have
to be that right now they have daily inspections on the Iranian nuclear
sites. The assumption is you`d have to kick out those inspectors, like
Saddam did in Iraq before we attacked them. And so, then you would assume
what they`re kicking out, and you`re withdrawing from the NPT, that you
would want to build a bomb.
HAYES: But isn`t the problem that the Israelis, particularly, but I
think a certain elements of the American political establishment just don`t
trust, A, the U.N. to monitor it properly, that Iran --
MAJD: It`s not the U.N. that`s monitoring it. It`s the IAEA.
HAYES: IAEA, right, I`m sorry. And the IAEA to monitor it properly
and for the Iranians to actually stick to a deal. Essentially, they think
whatever they sign won`t be worth the paper its written on --
MAJD: Well, the history has shown they have stuck to a deal. As
Secretary Kerry has said, they have stuck to the joint plan of action that
was signed in 2013. November of 2013. They have abided by that treaty.
It`s not a treaty, sorry, by that agreement to scale back the nuclear
program to stop enriching at 20 percent, which is a much more dangerous
closer to weapons grade uranium enrichment. So, they have abided by that.
So what -- why believe they`re not going to abide by a deal. And if
they don`t abide by deal, we`ll know. How will we not know? It will be
very clear. This is the number of centrifuges you have. This is how much
of a stockpile you can maintain, so what is there not to know?
Unless they`re doing something in secret.
MAJD: You can argue that if Iran is doing something in secret that no
one has discovered, not Mossad, not the CIA. No intelligence agency in the
world has been able to discover, and Iran is not a hermit kingdom, like
North Korea, that no one has discovered that Iran is secretly building a
bomb somewhere in an underground facility, well, if they`re doing it
anyway, what does it matter if we can`t discover it, because it`s not going
HAYES: Right. And --
MAJD: Yes. So, if they`re going to build a bomb, they`re going to
build a bomb.
HAYES: Do you believe -- it seems to me the argument that Susan Rice
makes before AIPAC, the argument administration makes is that actually a
deal is the only way to stop them from pursuing a bomb.
MAJD: Absolutely, because the deal incentivizes Iran to not to build
MAJD: Well, because a deal makes -- first of all, if sanctions are
lifted as Iran demands, because the things we demand from Iran, Iran
demands in return -- lifting of sanctions, getting back into the
international community, in terms of economically being connected to the
world. Banking sanctions, oil sanctions, and so on and so forth.
It would make Iran an economically viable country. Right now, it`s
having problems economically. It would bring it out of isolation.
When that happens, Iran can progress in many ways that it can`t right
now. It can`t even fly its planes right now because of sanctions, for
HAYES: OK. But if you`re Benjamin Netanyahu, right, or anyone high
up in the Israeli government, let`s put aside a nuclear weapon, whether
they`re going to get an existential threat, a deal means this country that
is declared an enemy of yours, right, that said all things about what they
want to destroy you -- they`re going to get stronger, they`re going to be
broadening the national community, their arch of influence that is growing
through Iraq and other places is stronger, like forget the nuclear weapons,
why do you want that?
MAJD: No, I can see that, and, of course, that`s why Benjamin
Netanyahu doesn`t want a nuclear deal. The problem is if Iran is an
existential threat, with a nuclear deal, which is what he will be arguing
tomorrow, this particular deal as far as he knows, the contours of the deal
is going to be an existential threat, then how is it not going to be an
existential threat if there is no deal?
MAJD: If there is no deal, actually, Iran`s nuclear program will
accelerate. They will abide by the NPT because they said they will, but
that doesn`t mean they can enrich uranium all the way to 80 percent. They
can go to 90 percent.
HAYES: They can do the North Korea two-step --
HAYES: -- which is be in the treaty --
HAYES: -- and within the contours of the treaty --
HAYES: -- while you`re weaponized (ph) and then say, peace, we`re out
of the treaty, we have a weapon.
MAJD: Yes. So, as the Obama administration has maintained and people
criticized the Obama administration for this is, if you`re saying, we don`t
want a deal, what you`re saying is the only way to stop them is to go to
HAYES: Some sort of a military stop, because they`re not going to
stop by themselves.
MAJD: Well, and military action like targeted strikes it`s not going
to work. We know that. That`s also not stop a bomb. Then, you`re talking
about an invasion. Let`s talk about half a million troops. Let`s talk
about regime change.
HAYES: It sounds like a --
MAJD: So, I think Obama is correct in saying if you`re against a
deal, any deal basically that doesn`t completely stop the --
HAYES: Then you`re essentially building (ph) a bomb or a military --
MAJD: It`s one or the other. You`re either OK with them having a
bomb, or you`re OK with military action. One or the other.
HAYES: Hooman Majd, you are headed back to Geneva with Ann Curry, so
we`ll look forward to you reporting from there.
Thanks a lot.
MAJD: Thank you.
HAYES: Alright, here`s a brain teaser for you. Do you think there are
more male CEOs of major corporations or more female CEOs.
Okay, that`s a silly question. How about this, are there more women
or CEOs named Dave?
Also a silly question, with a crazy answer. That`s next.
HAYES: Today the New York Times ran this hard to ignore headline.
Fewer Women Run Big Companies Than Men Named John. Which is a true fact,
apparently. Because the New York Times breaks it down even more.
Of the 1,500 CEOs of those top performing companies, that the S&P
1,500, 5.3%are named John, 4.5 percent are named David, and all women of
any name make up 4.1 percent.
To really give you a sense of what the New York Times findings mean,
we made this handy pie chart which shows exactly what portion of CEOs are
men compared to the portion of women in this pool of companies.
That said, given the fact that indeed 95.9 percent of all adults in
this country are men, that ratio makes perfect sense.
HAYES: I want to show you an image of a crime scene. It`s one of the
most ominous crime scene images I`ve seen in a long, long time. That body
there in the shadow of Moscow`s St. Basil Cathedral, that`s the body of
former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov who has become, during the reign
of Vladimir Putin, one of the most prominent and outspoken opposition
leaders in Russia.
Nemtsov had given a radio interview just hours before he was gunned
down Friday night, in which he called for honest elections and deemed Putin
a, quote, "pathological liar."
In an interview just two weeks ago, Nemtsov said, quote, "I`m afraid
Putin will kill me."
Nemtsov was reportedly shot multiple times in the back as he walked
across a bridge with his girlfriend. He was slain in the heart of Moscow,
steps from Red Square, and just 200 yards, 600 feet, from the walls of the
That is, as you would expect, an area that is exceedingly well
monitored with plenty of security cameras that would be expected to capture
such a killing from close range, though reporters are being told that the
cameras on the bridge where
Nemtsov was shot were not working.
Putin`s spokesman says the Russian leader is personally overseeing the
investigation and Putin himself sent a telegram to Nemtsov`s mother saying
authorities will, quote, "do everything to ensure the organizers and
perpetrators of this vile and cynical murder get their deserved
Yesterday, on the day that Nemtsov himself had originally called for a
public protest against Russia`s involvement in Ukraine, tens of thousands
of people took to the streets of Moscow to honor and mourn him.
Many in Russia and elsewhere believe that Putin is either directly or
indirectly responsible for the killing, which is the latest in a series of
high profile murders of Russian opposition figures, including the 2006
killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was highly critical of Kremlin
policies in Chechnya, and the poisoning of former Russian intelligence
officer and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London.
Right now the primary witness to Boris Nemtsov`s murder: his Ukrainian
girlfriend, says she has been barred from leaving Russia. And theories are
swirling on state-run and pro-Kremlin media that the west was responsible
for Nemtsov`s death.
But the English language version of the tabloid Pravda.ru running a
column this weekend claiming Nemtsov`s demise has all the earmarks of a
CIA-staged false flag.
Joining me now Nina Khrushcheva. She`s professor of international
affairs in The New School in New York City, author of the Lost Khruschev: A
Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian mind.
OK, a whodunit. I mean, let`s start this, the most extreme
of events would be that Vladimir Putin ordered someone go kill this guy, do
it in such a way that is so obvious to everyone that we killed him that
everyone will be terrified. Kill him right near the Kremlin. How likely
do you think that scenario is?
NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, THE NEW SCHOOL: I think the scenario is likely but
not the first part. I don`t think it`s a direct Putin`s order, but the
rest of it is exactly, as you say, we`re going to kill him so very close to
the Kremlin it will send a message and all our enemies will shiver.
But the thing about Russian politics the czar doesn`t need to give an
order, because we know exactly what the czar wants.
HAYES: OK, this gets to this Nebulous area, right -- so let`s say for
a moment that it is unlikely that Vladimir Putin ordered this hit, right,
and let`s say there are some theories being cast about that this might have
been personal, maybe an ex-girlfriend -- you know, anything like that. We
don`t know. But let`s put those aside and say that the most likely it
seems is sort of nebulous force of a Kremlin aligned person doing this.
What does that operate like? Like I can`t -- who are the people that act
as Kremlin enforcers in connection too, with a wink and a nod, with the
knowledge of the Kremlin?
KHRUSHCHEVA: T.S. Eliot Murder in the Cathedral. Remember when they
killing Thomas Beckett, the knights did not need to get an order from the
king, they knew exactly what to do, because...
HAYES: This is the famous "who will rid me of this meddlesome
KHRUSHCHEVA: Exactly. And so T.S. Eliot exactly explained how it`s
going to be. We don`t need to know. In the Byzantine formula, in the
Medieval forumal, you know what the czar wants.
And so the way it operates is that if Nemtsov is anti-Kremlin, and
Nemtsov is pro-Ukrainian, in this nationalist environment that has been
created in Russia, Putin created, and that`s why he`s absolutely
responsible for this murder whether he ordered it or not, so in this
nationalist environment where those who are not with us are against us,
Nemtsov becomes a very legitimate reason to -- a very legitimate enemy to
And so it could be anybody, it could be a nationalist thug, it could
be a mid-level security forces, because they are thinking they are ridding
the country of the enemy who is not patriotic.
HAYES: OK. But in terms of this -- I mean, there is a big difference
between the leader of a country saying doing something, and someone doing
it because there is a nationalist environment creating isn`t it?
KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, there...
HAYES: I mean, there is a legal and moral difference.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Of course. But, you know, once again the moral, maybe,
thing, the way it has been working, especially in the last year, those who
are anti-Putin become anti-Russian.
Those who are anti-Russian become -- get a necessity to be eliminated.
HAYES: Enemies of the state?
KHRUSHCEVA: Exactly. It`s a very Stalinesque environment.
So, if you are going anti-Communist, and to Stalin that means you are
anti-Soviet and therefore you need to go to go on. Basically, it`s the same
So yes, in legal terms, there is a difference, but in Russian terms,
where legality is a very iffy subject, it doesn`t exist unless the -- tells
you what legality is, then it is not.
HAYES: So then, what happens next?
KHRUSHCEVA: Well, I am actually finally with that four shots that
killed him. So if I became one of those who have a doomsday scenario.
Because I think that the reason they haven`t found a culprit yet, which is
very bizarre because this is really the most watched area...
HAYES: I mean it would like a Republican senator getting murdered on
Pennsylvania Avenue, half a block from the White House.
KHRUSHCEVA: Well, we`ve seen that happen. I mean, the White House has
been stormed by various people, and they almost made it to the White House.
Let`s compare. I mean, it`s basically the same.
However, when those people stormed the White House, they being
apprehended very quickly.
Here it`s been three days, nobody knows what`s going on.
So I think the Kremlin is figuring out how to spin it so it`s to their
advantage. And therefore we`re hearing CIA -- Kiev forces, Ukranian Army,
they want to blacken Putin and therefore, it`s a provocation.
So that`s where we`re at right now.
HAYES: Nina Khrushceva, thank you very much.
KHRUSHCEVA: Thank you.
HAYES: How four little words could turn the politics of Obama Care
totally upside down.
HAYES: On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the
most momentous challenge to Obama Care since the last momentous Obama Care
challenge that threatened to undermine or destroy the President`s signature
The last time this happened, three years ago, the Supreme Court upheld
Obama Cares individual mandate, and there was a palpable sense among policy
watchers that the last battle for Obama Care survival had fought and won.
And yet, here we are again.
King versus Burwell is a high stakes case, that is not about whether
Obama care is constitutional. Instead, it focuses on how part of the
statute is worded.
Now, under Obama Care people can buy private insurance through what`s
called an exchange. States can set up their own exchanges, or, if they
don`t, the fedswill open one for them.
And one big advantage here is that most people who buy insurance from
exchanges can get financial help from the federal government.
But, in the provision of the statute that describes this process, it
reads the government can help with costs quote, "through an exchange
established by the state".
Those seven words, plaintiffs argue, that should allow Obama Care to
help pay for insurance premiums, only, even though only is not in the
language, only in those states that have their own exchanges.
Now, having subsidies available in every state is absolutely key and
fundamental to the law being able to function.
It was a point that was so fundamental, it was never really even
argued. I mean I covered this debate. And, according to people who were
involved in the debate over the law, or as Sarah Kliff puts it at Vox.com,
quote "Congress had lots of Obama Care fights, ending some subsidies wasn`t
one of them."
And we`ve been covering and will continue to cover some of the
fascinating angles and the legal arguments here, and, to be honest, the
stunning bad faith of the plaintiffs.
But, the political dimension of this case is perhaps even more
fascinating, because at its center is the question, what if conservative
opponents of Obama Care finally win? Will it be like the proverbial dog
that caught the car?
Because in 27 states that have not set up state based exchanges, most
of them under Republican control, around nine million people who bought
insurance through Healthcare.gov, would lose their subsidies.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that two thirds of those
people, around six million of them would then become uninsured.
So, assuming that the plaintiffs win, if they win, every Democratic
member of the state legislature in every state that doesn`t have it`s own
exchange can start campaigning to set one up. Give those people back their
health insurance, give them back their subsidies, reduce their premiums.
And instantly, the second half of the decision comes down. Democrats
will suddenly be handed a huge political weapon.
So what the heck is the Republican plan if that happens?
Well, someone who actually helped craft the law will join me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The understanding was
that people who joined a federal exchange were going to be able to access
tax credits, just like if they went through a state exchange.
And you know what? The thing is working, exactly as intended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President earlier today made the case that everyone
involved with Obamacare always believed that Congress meant for every state
to have subsidies.
Joining me now is Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American
Progress. Before that she worked for the administration on crafting that
healthcare law; and
Michael Steele, MSNBC political analyst and former RNC chairman.
Michael, let`s put two aside for a second, issues of statutory
interpretation and the good faith of plaintiffs, which we will just table
for a moment.
MICHAEL STEELE, FRM. RNC CHAIRMAN: Sure.
HAYES: Let`s say the court rules in plaintiffs favor and says yeah,
this is wrong. And you see all those states, those millions of people,
their subsidies get jacked up, some are knocked off, what is the Republican
STEELE: I think that is still developing. But that is...
HAYES: That`s going to be a good thing to tell those folks.
STEELE: After six years, it is still developing.
But, you know, I think what we have seen today, there was an op-ed
today in the Washing Post by Orin Hatch and John Barrosso, Lamar Alexadner
that began to lay out the framework of a plan, which could do a couple of
things. The first thing it would hold in place, and certainly hold
harmless those who are on the current exchange system so that they would
keep those subsidies in place for a period of time. That time has not been
made certain yet, how long that would be. But so their situations would
not change. This would not see the immediate extinguishing of people`s
access to health care.
HAYES: OK. But they would have to pass that faster than anyone has
passed anything in Washington in a long time, right?
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yeah, I mean I
think people who are really confident in the congress`s ability, both the
House and Senate`s ability to pass legislation should take just a step and
look at what happened on Friday night where a very basic piece of
legislation could not pass the House of Representatives. And you have...
HAYES: A piece of legislation that was just three weeks of funding,
OK. It was three weeks.
TANDEN: So, let me just say when you have member after member of the
Republican caucus spending five years saying Obamacare is Nazism, socialism
and everything in between, it seems hard for me to fathom how they are
going to just magically pass the expansion of subsidies when, let`s just
keep in mind, you have some Republican senators arguing it, but many more
Republican senators saying this
is going to be chaos. This is going to be like Armageddon to even do this.
STEELE: I think that is all true, Neera but I think at the end of the
day, the reality very much like the shut down reality, will force some type
of action to hold harmless those individuals who are currently in the
exchange system. You have to do that because otherwise you`re absolutely
right. Come June whatever day the
decision is made, the day after that, you are going to have a situation
where everybody is out of the exchange and they don`t have health care.
STEELE: So there is going to have to be -- if the plaintiff in this
wins, the congress had better have in place a seriously within 12 hours
legislation to run with this thing, because otherwise, you know, health
care doesn`t stop because the congress decides not to act.
TANDEN; Unfortunately it does stop if the congress decides not to
act. And that`s why I think people are very anxious about nine justices
literally threatening the health care of 9 million people. Because they
have looked at this
congress that has been unable to do these things and they ask themselves
why are we in this situation? Why is health care threatened like this?
And I think there is a -- it is conservatives have really had a full on
attempt to not pass -- they can`t get this through congress, so they`re
returning to the courts.
HAYES: The other thing is -- could -- I mean, look, you could pass a
four-word amendment that said established by the states or the federal
government -- or the federal government, four words, right? If King v.
Burwell is found in the plaintiff`s favor, you could just...
STEELE: Well, that ain`t happening.
HAYES: But why -- see, that`s the question, right, why not just do
STEELE: That`s not happening.
HAYES: But here is the thing, Michael. If that is not happening, if
simple technical fix is not happening, and you say well something more is
going to happen, you create a space into which Ted Cruz and others will
walk and say well now we have got the leverage, burn the whole thing to the
ground. Like why is that not going to happen?
STEELE: That is part of the political calculation the party is going
to will have to make.
But I think at the end of the day, I don`t think we`re going to get
there. I think the Supreme Court has already laid down the predicate to
uphold this law, and I think they are going to find here as they go through
their analysis of the intent of congress, of the pure language of the law,
et cetera, I think it is going to weight be more in favor of the defendant
TANDEN: And I think -- I have to agree, I think many Supreme Court
justices, but many conservatives have recognized that they will do profound
harm to their party if the Supreme Court guts this law, because there are
actual victims, millions of victims. And that`s why I think you find
Republican governors and many senators and legislatures recognizing that
hold on here, we cannot let the conservative activists destroy Obamacare
because we will be victimized, because people are being helped by this law.
That`s the dirty little secret.
HAYES: And Michael, what you said there is interesting to me, because
people that have watched this case, it feels like the winds on it and the
momentum, to the extent there is such thing a Supreme Court case are
shifting for precisely the reasons I think that Michael articulated.
Neera Tanden and Michael Steele, thank you both.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right
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