Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: March 10, 2015
Guest: John Wonderlich, Jonathan Allen, Christina Greer, Anthony Douglas

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, I`m with you. In many
work place I`ve ever been in, I have never seen e-mails like that, I don`t
know why people working at "Fox" thinks -- think that those e-mails are in
every work place in the country.

MADDOW: More companies than that, really?

O`DONNELL: And --

MADDOW: That is pretty weird view of the world --

O`DONNELL: And big difference between private company`s e-mails and the e-
mails of the administrators of justice in Ferguson. There --

MADDOW: Exactly --

O`DONNELL: There`s a very big difference that doesn`t seem to be
understood at "Fox News".

MADDOW: Exactly, maybe it was a typo, an ordinary typo, maybe they didn`t
mean it, it`s pretty weird though, thanks, man.

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added
her objection to that letter sent by 47 Republican senators to the leaders
of Iran.

And tonight, two students who were expelled from the University of Oklahoma
for getting caught singing a racist song have issued statements and
apologies saying that they are not racist.

And on the rewrite tonight, it`s long past time to rename the Edmund Pettus
Bridge in Selma, Alabama -- oh, and Hillary Clinton said something about
her e-mail today, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I know there have been
questions about my e-mails.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d like to hear her explanation.

CLINTON: I thought it would be easier to carry just one device.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton could use one of these Apple watches.

CLINTON: I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Far from that unusual letter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would send another one tomorrow --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sent from dozens of Senate Republicans to the leaders
of Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Using another hotline tomorrow --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To turn this into a partisan issue does a great
disservice to this entire country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: University of Oklahoma President David Boren has
expelled two students.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amid widening investigations and allegations, the SAE
house mom, rapping along with a song that appears to use the N word.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tragedy in Argentina has sent shock waves through
France.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two helicopters filming a popular European reality
show crashed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Among those on board were three high profile French
athletes all killed in the crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are hunting for a suspected kidnapper who might
have gotten away if it wasn`t for the victim`s siblings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The little girl did what she was supposed to do, which
is run after him, yell, scream, and draw attention to herself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. ambassador to South Korea is out of the
hospital today.

MARK LIPPERT, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: I feel pretty darn
good, all things considered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark Lippert was attacked with a knife whiles at a
breakfast lecture --

LIPPERT: It was obviously a scary incident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A group of lawmakers will unveil a bill that would
legalize medical marijuana on a federal level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seeks to right decades of wrong and end unnecessary
marijuana law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, if you ever need any guinea pig, let me know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Traitors -- that`s what the "New York Daily News" called the 47
Republican senators who signed a letter to the leaders of Iran and what the
"Daily News" called an attempt to sabotage the President`s negotiations
with Iran about stopping the development of nuclear weapons.

Some commentators have called it treason, others have called it a violation
of the Logan Act, the 1799 law that has never, I mean never been enforced.

And is in fact unenforceable because it is obviously unconstitutional and
absurd on its face, because if interpreted the way some people suddenly
want to interpret it today, it would prevent every Congressional delegation
trip that has ever taken place to a foreign country or will ever take place
to a foreign country.

It is also not treason because as I explained before, when people were
throwing that accusation at Edward Snowden, it is impossible, it`s
impossible to commit treason.

You can`t do it right now if you wanted to. It`s impossible to commit
treason if the United States is not engaged in a legally declared war.

Declared by Congress, which is why there has not been a treason prosecution
in this country since World War II, which is the last time Congress
actually declared war.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows all of this, and so she
said nothing about treason and the Logan Act today when she discussed the
Republican Senator`s letter to the leaders of Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: The recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with
the best traditions of American leadership.

Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians, or harmful
to the commander in chief in the midst of high stakes, international
diplomacy.

Either answer does discredit to the letter`s signatories.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Washington Bureau Chief of "Bloomberg News" and
the author of the book "HRC", Jonathan Allen.

Also political science professor at Fordham University Christina Greer and
Msnbc`s senior political analyst and former senior advisor to President
Obama, David Axelrod.

David Axelrod, what`s your reaction to Secretary Clinton`s formulation
there that this letter was either designed to help the Iranians or to harm
the President?

DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, MSNBC: Well, I mean, I think that
you can make that argument either way. Obviously, it was -- whatever it
was, it was designed to try and scuttle these negotiations.

And there`s a long way before you get to the Logan Act and treason to
describe it. I think outrageous is a good word for it.

I mean this was a blatant attempt by the Republicans in the Senate to try
and undermine these negotiations at a very sensitive stage.

And none of them can offer a really credible alternative in terms of what
happens next, which is always my objection to some of these foreign policy
escapades on the part of members of Congress.

They never ask that next question, well, what do we do if the talks do
fail? And what is a credible response to this? They never -- they never
really offer one.

O`DONNELL: Christina Greer, David Axelrod tweeted when the letter came
out, just the question is this unprecedented? And I didn`t know the answer
to that, and so I just retweeted David`s question, is it unprecedented?

And in the day that we`ve had to look at this, no one has been able to find
a precedent that fits this kind of communication on the foreign government.

CHRISTINA GREER, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Right,
and I`ve looked all day.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: And I think what`s really interesting is with this particular
president, we`ve seen just egregious acts by Republicans to consistently
undermine him by constantly calling him non-patriotic.

Well, this actually is the definition of not being a patriot. You`re
actually putting the American public in danger by threatening so that the
progress that could be made with another nuclear power.

So their desire to undermine Barack Obama and make these last two years
completely unproductive, actually do a real disservice. Not just to the
Democrats -- big D Democratic party, but to the American people as a whole.

And the fact that 47 senators, I mean this is -- you know, these people
have elected him for six years. This is the highest body in Congress,
right?

This is a privilege to be able to serve. And the fact that they`ve all
signed on, this is 47 people, a lot of people to actually jump on a
bandwagon to essentially undermine the commander-in-chief.

We`ve never seen behavior like this, ever. Even when George Bush expanded
the presidency, Democrats actually held back. They were relatively
respectful to the President.

We don`t see the Republicans extending that same level of respect to this
particular president at all.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, among the seven Republicans who refused to sign
it includes the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker.

This of course is a big encroachment on his jurisdiction. So just on
jurisdiction grounds alone, he doesn`t want to see somebody jump out there
and do that.

But given that the Congress does have the power to do any kind of
legislative override they might want to try to do if the President does
reach an agreement.

That is one of the things that Corker had in mind in not doing a letter
like this, so that he can hold together what could be possibly a number
that could override a presidential veto.

JONATHAN ALLEN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Yes, like Senator
Corker is absolutely trying to preserve his legitimacy, his credibility
here.

He`s somebody who`s actually worked with the administration before on
nuclear nonproliferation, if you go back to the new start treaty earlier in
the Obama administration with Russia.

He is one of the few Republicans that crossed over to help the president
get that signed, sealed, and delivered. And so, I think that is an
important person you note there in this debate.

And also would like to congratulate you, Lawrence, on educating your
viewers about the Logan Act and treason. I think people throw those words
around way too much.

O`DONNELL: Yes, the -- in the last 24 hours, people get carried away, but
that noise of treason is a term of art, OK, but if you try to give it legal
meaning, it doesn`t apply though to any of this.

I want to listen to what this Senator Tom Cotton, he`s a new senator,
people haven`t seen a lot of him. He is the leader on this, which in
itself is extremely unusual.

That you have a new guy in town jumping up there on the stage like this
with John McCain standing behind him.

Joe Biden, as I read here last night issued a statement saying that, you
know, this was beneath the dignity of the Senate and institution abide and
reveres.

Let`s listen to Senator Cotton`s response to Biden today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. THOMAS COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Joe Biden as Barack Obama`s own
secretary of defense has said, has been wrong about nearly every major
foreign policy and national security decision in the last 40 years.

Moreover, if Joe Biden so respects the dignity of the institution of the
Senate, he should be insisting that the President submit any deal to
approval of the Senate, which is exactly what he did on numerous deals
during his time in the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, your response to that?

AXELROD: Well, I want to go back to a point you raised before and then
I`ll respond --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead --

AXELROD: To it. I do think that by thoroughly partisanizing this debate
with this letter, Cotton and those 47 Republicans have made it much more
likely that they`ll never assemble opposition to this -- to the agreement
or to steps to reduce sanctions in the future.

Because Democrats are looking at this now as a partisan exercise. And so
they made a terrible mistake, I think -- from their own perspective, if
they oppose this agreement by doing what they did.

But you know, his gratuitous swipe at Biden notwithstanding. There really
is, as we said before, no precedent for this. So, Cotton, I mean he may
have a different view of the Senate based on his 60 days there.

But Joe Biden has a pretty good perspective after four decades on what is
and isn`t consistent with the precedence of the United States Senate, and I
think he is very much on the right side of this debate.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, I want to go to Cotton as a freshman like this
in the Senate. I`ve never seen somebody jump up there like that and
literally lead his party on an issue, even for 48 hours or however long
this is going to be.

He`s a force to be reckoned with now, isn`t he?

ALLEN: In the -- in the old days you wouldn`t have even given your maiden
speech on the Senate floor yet --

O`DONNELL: Right --

ALLEN: If you were Tom Cotton. And now he is -- he is a leader in the
Senate among Republicans. Like this is somebody they -- that the party
really wants to put forward.

They look at him as one of their, you know, sort of young guns. He is
somebody who, you know, who is a veteran and they feel has some credibility
on national security issues.

I think to David`s point and to some of the -- some of the others who have
spoken today about it, he may be undermining his own credibility on
national security with a stunt like this.

But he`s got most of the Republicans behind him, he`s gotten himself some
attention for sure, and I am sure Tom Cotton will be on many programs like
this one in the near future.

O`DONNELL: Professor Greer, one of the odd turns of life is that Tom
Cotton, when he was a Harvard law school student had Professor Elizabeth
Warren as one of his teachers.

This could happen to you someday --

(LAUGHTER)

So Elizabeth Warren last year, when he was campaigning for the Senate, he
was a house member, she issued a statement saying "Tom Cotton was a fine
student in the classroom and he earned a passing grade.

But he is flunking the people of Arkansas in the United States Congress."
It is -- it`s fascinating to see him emerging like this and then Elizabeth
Warren having this personal history with him going back to --

GREER: Right --

O`DONNELL: Teacher-student.

GREER: Well, if I were Tom Cotton though, I would thread a little lightly,
because we do know that the Republican party has a very bad habit of eating
their young.

And so they throw people out there, and sometimes they are able to soar,
but often times they leave them out there to the wolves when it gets a
little too hot.

So there is a reason why John McCain is in the background letting Tom
Cotton --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: Actually speak --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: Right?

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: Because if --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: This all goes down --

O`DONNELL: This --

GREER: Then that`s him --

O`DONNELL: Right, that`s exactly right --

GREER: And he`s exactly feeding --

O`DONNELL: You know, that`s a great point. We`re going to take a break
right here. David Axelrod, when we come back, I want to ask you why
President Obama never appointed an inspector general to the State
Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary.

That might have changed the story about these e-mails as we`re getting that
story today. That`s what we`re going to do when we come back.

Also coming up, we have apologies from the two students expelled from the
University of Oklahoma for happily singing about hanging black people.

Of course, they didn`t call them black people in that song. And we will
have the amazing story of a teenage boy who stopped a kidnapping of a baby.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, we`re going to talk more about Hillary Clinton`s
e-mail press conference later in the show. But I just wanted to ask you
about this inspector general thing.

There`s a report by Susan Crabtree in today`s "Washington Examiner" that
says "the President has a duty to appoint independent inspectors general at
every federal agency, but Obama left the position vacant at the State
Department throughout Clinton`s entire four-year tenure."

David, how could that happen?

AXELROD: Well, the short answer, Lawrence, is, I don`t know what happened
in terms of this appointment of a permanent inspector general there.

I do know that there was an interim inspector general who had been a career
State Department employee, had been in Republican and Democratic
administrations.

And they did run investigations, they had a team over there and they run
investigations and they issued reports that were critical of the State
Department and did the job that the Inspector General`s office is supposed
to do.

So the implication that the office was vacant and the door was closed and
nothing was going on there simply isn`t true. Why there wasn`t a permanent
appointment, I honestly don`t know the answer to that.

O`DONNELL: And at the -- at that department and others, the secretary has
control over certain appointments and not over others.

But most stories indicate that Hillary Clinton had extraordinary control
over who got nominated for those jobs at the State Department.

Did she have control over who was nominated for inspector general?

AXELROD: I would doubt that, but honestly, I don`t know, I wasn`t involved
in those discussions. And as I said, the person who was there didn`t have
a political pedigree.

So I`m not sure that that was a favorable -- a favorable situation for her.
I just don`t know the answer to it. But can I take advantage of this
moment --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead --

AXELROD: To just respond to one thing that was said in the last segment?

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

AXELROD: This notion that these young guns are going to lead forward or
that the elders are going to eat the young.

The problem is the young guns are leading them, but the young guns have
them arranged in a circular firing squad --

(LAUGHTER)

And that`s the problem for -- that`s the problem for the Republican party
right now. They`re being led by the young guns right over a cliff just to
mix my metaphor.

O`DONNELL: We followed it, we got it, made sense. All right --

AXELROD: OK --

O`DONNELL: Stay with us, we`re going to take a break, when we come back,
the latest from Oklahoma.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHANTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will never be an -- S.A.E, there will never be an
-- S.A.E, you can hang them from a tree, they`ll never sign with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: You can hang them from a tree, but they can never be members of
the oldest southern fraternity, according to that fraternity`s own song.

Today, the University of Oklahoma expelled two students who are said played
leadership roles in that video. University President David Boren said
those students "created a hostile environment for others."

Tonight, we now have statements from one of the expelled students and from
the parents of another.

Nineteen-year-old Parker Rice issued this statement in Dallas tonight,
saying "I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night.

I know everyone wants to know why or how this happened?

I admit it likely was fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before a bus
trip, but that`s not an excuse. Yes, the song was taught to us, but that
too doesn`t work as an explanation."

His statement then never does explain why we see him here leading the song
in this video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHANTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will never be an -- S.A.E, there will never be an
-- S.A.E, you can hang them from a tree, they`ll never sign with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Parker Rice`s statement continued, "I clearly dismissed an
important value I learnt at my beloved high school Dallas Jesuit." I`m sure
Dallas Jesuit was happy to be included in this statement.

"We were taught to be men for others, I failed in that regard and in those
moments I also completely ignored the core values and ethics I learnt from
my parents and others."

The parents of 20-year-old Levi Pettit issued a statement tonight also in
Dallas saying, "as parents of Levi, we love him and care for him deeply.
He made a horrible mistake and will live with the consequences forever.

However, we also know the depth of our son`s character, he is a good boy.
But what we saw in those videos is disgusting while it may be difficult for
those who only know Levi from the video to understand, we know his heart
and he is not a racist."

Joining me now, Anthony Douglas, the President of the Oklahoma Chapter of
the NAACP. Mr. Douglas, how do you expect those statements to be received
in Oklahoma tonight?

ANTHONY DOUGLAS, PRESIDENT, OKLAHOMA CHAPTER, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE
ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE: Well, I think if those statements are
sincere, I think the state of Oklahoma, as well as the students at OU can
accept those statements, that they are sincerely being made.

And I truly believe from my heart that those students truly believe that
their statement that they`re giving and their parents support them, that
they are also giving -- they`re all sorry for the statements they made.

O`DONNELL: And Parker Rice also said in his statement, "I am seeking
guidance on how I can learn from this and make sure it never happens
again."

Mister -- what guidance would you -- would you (AUDIO GAP: 00:02:27 to
00:02:30) --

DOUGLAS: One of the guidance that I would give them and to all the
students involved, that I would like to see them come out in the community
and volunteer in the African-American community.

Get to know the people in the African-American community. As the NAACP,
and we have a chapter on campus, to work with the NAACP.

And I think this is supposed to be an alternative to show the true meaning
of forgiveness, that they go out in the community and work with us.

O`DONNELL: Christina Greer, as a professor, you have contact with college
students all the time. You know, when I look at the parent`s statement
saying we know it`s in his heart, he is not a racist.

It just reads to me as another pair of American parents who don`t know
their child.

GREER: Right. And I think it`s -- you know, obviously parents job are to
love their children, we`ll give them that. But let`s also be very clear.

Your sons did this and they said these things and they will have to face
the consequences. But having -- being a professor in a university and
speaking to students of all different backgrounds, we know that these
things happen and we know that they happen across country -- across
colleges across the country.

In the African-American community, in the Latino and Asian communities, in
the LGBT community, these are the constant assaults that students are
under, right?

And many colleges just don`t do enough of the work. It`s heavy lifting to
do social justice work. It`s really heavy lifting to do anti-racist work.

And I think there`s a lot of lip service paid to it. I think there are a
lot of apologies that are made after the fact, and commitments by
university --

O`DONNELL: Professor, I just wanted to interject, as you speak, and I want
you to continue this. But that, what we`re seeing is a new video tonight
of protests at the University of Oklahoma over this issue.

Go ahead professor, sorry.

GREER: So I mean, yes, their apologies can be accepted by whomever wants
to accept the apology. But let`s be very clear that these words carry
meaning, right?

For not just the students on the campus who are African-Americans, over the
students who consider themselves allies, right?

It`s not just about the two boys who led the chant, it`s about all the
other members on the bus that sang along, right?

If they -- they need to be held accountable as well. Because if you
consider yourself an ally, you don`t condone that behavior, whether alcohol
is consumed or not.

Let`s also be clear, these people are under 21, that`s just by, you know.
So for me, as someone who`s dedicated her life to helping to shape the
minds of young Americans, young college students.

This is really problematic that they don`t understand, not just the N word,
right? Which so many college students throw around across the country, but
the use of hanging from a tree.

And we know that this particular fraternity has been kicked off of campuses
across the country. They actually had a black pledgee die at Cornell a few
years ago which have been kicked off of campus, right? And so you`d have to
sort of look at that in a much larger narrative with the SAE community.

But hanging from a tree has a historical narrative in this country. And
when so many colleges are really quick to want to be post-racial, which
most people of color know that it absolutely does not exist.

It can`t exist. Because racism exists, and you can`t have racism without
racists. So just because you don`t want your son to be hurt because they
are suffering the repercussions of their actions.

Let`s be clear, there is something in its foundation that is wrong.
There`s something in the moral fiber that is wrong. There`s something in
the moral fiber of this country that is wrong.

Like we can`t separate the conversation from two segments ago about the
behavior of senators toward our black chief of staff from this type of
behavior, right?

I mean they`re not completely opposite. Some people may see them as just
unrelated events, the same way many people see unrelated events between
Eric Garner and Tamea Rice(ph) and Mike Brown and Tony Richardson, right?

These are things that if we`re going to put together a narrative, we have
to put together a holistic narrative of race and racism in this country.

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, I don`t know if you`ve spoken to the President
since this story has come out, but you`ve been with the President when
we`ve seen different racial incidents occur in America.

What do you imagine his reaction to this is, and what do you suppose he`s
telling his daughters about it tonight?

AXELROD: Well, look, it`s deeply -- obvious deeply offensive, deeply
troubling, sickening on the one hand. On the other hand, you know, I just
want to -- without disputing anything that the professor said.

Let`s also recognize what just happened. This appeared on social media and
the entire country responded with revulsion to it. The president of the
University of Oklahoma was -- took action on it.

You have protests as you mentioned on the campus to the behavior of these -
- of these young men, the repulsive behavior of these young men.

Let`s take some solace in that. We have a lot of challenges in our
country, and we have since the beginning of the republic.

But as the President said in Selma on the weekend, we`ve made progress, and
the fact that the country has made this practice unacceptable when exposed
is an encouraging development.

O`DONNELL: OK, we`re going to have to take a break right there. Anthony
Douglas, thank you very much for joining us from Oklahoma tonight.

Going to take a break, coming back with more from this panel. Also later,
in the rewrite, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama in Selma is named after
a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.

It is long past time to rewrite that name.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 DISPATCHER: Lincoln County 911, location of the emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sprague, Washington, downtown, the main street. A
man grabbed a two-year-old baby child and was running with it. And the
little kids started screaming.

So far, we haven`t seen him, but we got the baby.

911 DISPATCHER: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s OK.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We got the baby and he`s OK. That was the most important thing
about how this story ended that day.

Police in Washington State are searching for a man who tried to abduct a
two-year-old boy, Owen Wright, from a park on Sunday.

The kidnapping, seen on this grocery store surveillance video, was stopped
by Owen`s eight-year-old sister, Delicia, and 10-year-old brother, Brenden,
who chased the suspect down the street.

Then, two teenagers, both freshmen in high school, joined in that pursuit.
The kidnapper dropped Owen and escaped.

Owen was uninjured. Police in Washington State are searching for a man who
tried to -- let`s see, we`ve got -- joining me now by phone is Andrew
Crane. He`s one of the teenagers who helped stopped that kidnapping.

Andrew, you saw the chase going on and joined it immediately. And then
what happened.

ANDREW CRANE, TEENAGER WHO PURSUED KIDNAPPER (via telephone): After I
joined the chase and the child -- we did make sure the child was OK. After
the chase, the man turned the corner.

We did not see him again after that. But we continued to search for him to
make sure that no more damage could be done.

O`DONNELL: And how long did you search for him.

CRANE: We searched for a good four to 4 1/2 hours.

O`DONNELL: But when you saw this in action, it sounds like you had no
hesitation. You just got right in there.

CRANE: Yes. A child`s life was in danger and, at that point, there wasn`t
really much to think about. Having your own life at stake for a child, I
think that the child has a better chance having a good life than a teenage
boy who could screw up at any moment.

And families don`t deserve to be ripped apart like that.

O`DONNELL: And, Andrew, did you know the Delicia and Brenden Wright, the
two little kids chasing after their little brother?

CRANE: I did not know them.

O`DONNELL: And what were they -- when you caught up with them and they
were reunited with their baby brother, what was that moment like.

CRANE: It looked like the family is extremely attached to him. It seemed
like they loved their brother dearly. And, you know, families deserve that
kind of connection.

O`DONNELL: When you saw this -- you saw this man running with this child -
- how did -- did you figure out what this was about as you were looking at
it.

CRANE: I didn`t figure it out immediately. But once I did hear the child
scream, it kind of shifted pages for me.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Look, Andrew, that was heroic of you. Can`t thank you
enough for doing that.

I`m sure that the guy trying to run away with that baby -- you and your
friend adding to that chase was all part of what saved that baby, and
probably saved his life.

So, thank you very much for doing that. Thanks for joining us tonight.
Andrew Crane, that was really heroic. Thank you.

CRANE: Uh-hmm. Anytime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Coming up next, Hillary Clinton said she obeyed all the --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- rules about her e-mail. And so, case closed, right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Hillary Clinton held what was really her first press conference of her
presidential campaign today. And, for some reason, every question was
about e-mail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Andrea, Andrea. Thank
you, Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you,
Madam Secretary. Can you explain how you`ve decided which of the personal
e-mails to get rid of, how you got rid of them and when, and how you`ll
respond to questions about you being the arbiter of what you release.

CLINTON: In going through the e-mails, there were over 60,000 in total
Sent and Received, about half were work-related and went to the State
Department, and about half were personal, that were not, in any way,
related to my work.

I had no reason to save them but that was my decision because the federal
guidelines are clear. And the State Department request was clear -- for
any government employee, it is that government employee`s responsibility to
determine what`s personal and what`s work-related.

I am very confident of the process that we conducted and the e-mails that
were produced.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, John Wonderlich, Policy Director for the
Sunlight Foundation. John, did you get all your questions answered today.

JOHN WONDERLICH, SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION POLICY DIRECTOR: No, there are a ton
of questions left unanswered. I think the main lesson that we learned
today is we got a better sense of --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- what Secretary Clinton or what Hillary feels like she needs to address.
And we got a better picture of their sense, of the political problem, than
we got of what actually happened.

O`DONNELL: One of the things she said --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- was that she complied with every law, rule and regulation, including, I
guess, in her mind, that 2009 regulation that she was subjected to, that no
previous secretary of state was subjected to, which says that the e-mail
must be preserved in the State Department`s record-keeping system.

WONDERLICH: Right. I think there was a lot of word parsing going on in
the way she described the "laws that bind me," is one phrase she used.

In a statement that they released this afternoon, the texts kept saying,
"it was allowed." And you have to wonder if she means --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- that she allowed herself to do it or there was tacit approval from the
White House because they never objected. I think there`s a lot of subtexts
to some of these statements.

And the bigger concern is that this is being treated more as a political
matter than something that a former --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- secretary of state should take seriously in terms of looking back at her
own public service. So, this really still violates, I think, our shared
sense of what senior administration officials should do with their work.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, John Wonderlich has a lot more questions about
this. But does the political media, does the campaign media have a lot
more questions about this after today?

JOHN ALLEN, BLOOMBERG NEWS HOST: Absolutely, Lawrence. I think the one
that Andrea Mitchell asked is a very important one -- you know, "Which e-
mails did you decide -- how do you know which e-mails you decided to keep,"
--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- "which ones you decided to give back to the State Department." I think
there`s still a question as to who Hillary Clinton believes these e-mails
belong to, herself or the government.

That`s a big question in terms of whether she basically took government
property or not. I think there are a ton of questions here.

But the real question, Lawrence, is is there one set of rules for Hillary
Clinton and another set of rules for everyone else, because we haven`t seen
this with any other government official.

Everybody else interprets the rules and the laws in one way. And Hillary
Clinton has got a completely different way of interpreting it.

And, I think, that`s the danger to her. That, and what we`ve seen, has
been a really, really sloppy and awful media response to this issue. It
took eight days to come back --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- with the answer that the reason that she did this was for convenience.
If that was what she wanted to say she certainly could have tweeted that
eight days ago.

So, I think there are a lot of questions remaining, you know. In her
column right now -- I`ve talked to a few Democrats today, who say they were
satisfied with what they heard today.

And I think she was able to shore up her base a little bit.

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, looking at this as her first campaign press
conference, which it really is, how would you grade it.

You said right away -- you`re the first guest I`ve talked to about this on
program, you said that they weren`t handling it very well last week. How
would you grade this today.

DAVID AXELROD, MSNBC SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the fact that you and
I last spoke six days ago when they had the press conference, today is part
of the answer.

If you wanted to build a huge crowd and inflate a story, that would --
they`ve pursued the strategy to do that. As Jonathan said, if you -- you
know, there`s no answer that they gave today that she couldn`t have given a
week ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

And it would have been wise to do so. I think she did the best she could
with what she had. And you asked about the politics, I suspect that those
who like and support Hillary Clinton will accept what she said.

Those who don`t like her will be incensed by what she said. And folks in
the middle will kind of shrug and move on because it --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- becomes a kind of abstruse argument. And that may be the strategy that
kind of play rope-a-dope until this thing passes.

O`DONNELL: Christina Greer, I thought she handled it in a way that voters
would understand everything she was saying, and it all sounded reasonable
to them.

The Jonathan Allens of the world, those demanding political reporters and
the lawyers out there, and John Wonderlich, the people who know all the
details of the rules and regulations, of course, are not satisfied.

But her job today was to convince voters that there`s nothing to worry
about here.

CHRISTINA GREER, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Right,
but I agree with Jonathan in the sense that, you know, this is kind of
vintage Clinton, in the sense that these two -- and I`m putting her with
her husband -- are consistently in the news, where there`s a set of rules
for the people, and then there`s always a set of rules for the Clintons, --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- that they thought they understood, and then they kind of go to the line.
Sometimes, they overstep the line.

But there`s always an explanation with them. And, I think, that`s going to
be interesting piece with independent voters -- those who remember the good
old `90s or the bad old `90s, right.

Those who remember the drama that associates the Clintons every single time
they`re in the spotlight. I think they thought they had more friends in
2008 than they actually do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

I think that they need to really make a case in 2016. Because there are a
lot of people who find the Clintons exhausting.

So, it wasn`t just about Monica and white water. Now, we have -- you know,
in Benghazi, whether it`s legitimate or not.

And, now, we have e-mail gate. There`s always something. Sometimes, it`s
legitimate, --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- sometimes it`s actually not fair, right. But there`s something about
that last name in this country that comes with so much baggage.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a quick break here. David
Axelrod, when we come back, --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- I`m going to ask you -- If you were the -- a one-device guy when you
were working in the White House, or did you have the separate one for
personal and a separate one for business e-mail, as I do right here on this
table right now.

All right, we`re going to be back with more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

We`re back. And, David Axelrod, I want to go to you. Hillary Clinton said
today that she just opted for convenience.

I`m reading her words. She said, "I thought it would be easier to carry
just one device for my work and for my personal e-mails instead of two."

When you worked in the White House, did you carry just one device.

AXELROD: No, I had two. You know, I famously once disabled a Blackberry
with a jelly doughnut. So, that`s a whole other story.

So, it is always good for me to have two devices in case that one of them
was on the fritz. But I did have one for personal use and I had one for
government use.

But I did have e-mails that came into my personal e-mail that had something
to do with public business. And when I did, I was instructed to copy my
White House account on it, which is what -- which is what I did.

You know, she didn`t have a State Department account apparently, so she
didn`t do that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

I will say, Lawrence, what you`re going to hear back, and we`ve heard some
of it today, is everyone, including me, sort of self-edited our e-mail and
decided what was public and what was private.

So, in that sense, what she did wasn`t different. And everybody has to
make a judgment -- does this belong --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- in the public domain. This is a public matter that`s being discussed
here.

And so, we`re all asked to use some discretion in that regard. And she`s
right about that.

O`DONNELL: Well, Jonathan Allen, what she`s -- what she`s wrong about on
that is the idea that everyone else is doing it the way she`s doing it.

What David is talking about is, looking at his government e-mail, and
noticing that some of those that might come from family members or someone
else to his government, actually don`t belong on his government e-mail.

And he is absolutely allowed to delete those. But the government server
will mean they`ve never really completely disappeared, which is a huge
difference when it comes to Hillary Clinton`s e-mail.

ALLEN: Well, this is a question of really who owns these e-mails. It`s a
question of Hillary Clinton basically determining what`s in the public
record.

People have joked before that the Clintons like to rewrite history. In
this case, they`d prefer that it not be recorded at all.

And I think that that`s a problem in terms of presenting yourself and --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- your judgment to the American public. I don`t think most voters will
get into the e-mail question but I do think they`ll care about who it is
they`re giving power to and how they approach things.

Hillary Clinton has got some of the best scandal defense lawyers in the
history of the United States and they`ve done a very good job for her at
many times in interpreting laws and then fighting against investigations.

And, I think, in this case, the legality that she was seeking has become a
huge political problem for her.

O`DONNELL: We are out of time on this. Professor Christina Greer, thank
you very much for joining us for the first time tonight.

GREER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We really appreciate that. Jonathan Allen, David Axelrod, John
Wonderlich, all of you, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

ALLEN, AXELROD, WONDERLICH: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- why it`s time to rewrite the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma,
Alabama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Tonight brings yet another resignation in Ferguson, Missouri. This time,
it`s the Ferguson City Manager, the most powerful official in Ferguson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Ferguson City Manager John Shaw`s resignation was announced during a city
council meeting tonight, with members voting unanimously to approve a
Mutual Separation Agreement, as they called it.

John Shaw was named in the Justice Department`s report last week as one of
the officials responsible for the inappropriate conduct by police and the
courts in Ferguson.

Coming up next in the --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- "Rewrite," changing the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma,
Alabama. Who do you think it should be named after.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

The Honorable John Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, marched across
the --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma 50 years ago. And, last night, he was on
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

JON STEWART, COMEDY CENTRAL HOST: This is -- you`ve just crossed the
bridge and this is, I guess -- is this the police force from the town?

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: This is Alabama State Troopers.

STEWART: Uh-hmm.

LEWIS: And we get to this point, the state trooper speaks up and said,
"This is an unlawful march."

STEWART: Uh-hmm.

LEWIS: "It would not be allowed to continue."

STEWART: Uh-hmm.

LEWIS: "I give you three minutes to disperse and return to your homes or
to your church." And Jose Williams said, "Major, give us a moment to kneel
and pray."

STEWART: Wow.

LEWIS: And the major said, "Troopers, advance." And you saw these men
coming toward us. They put on their gas masks, --

STEWART: Oh.

LEWIS: -- they started beating us with night sticks.

STEWART: Well, that`s the next -- the next shot here is -- this is --
that`s you. That`s Jon Lewis.

LEWIS: I was very young then. I was 25 years old. I had all my hair and
a few pounds lighter.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Consider for a moment the transcendent grace of John Lewis, a
grace that allows him to look at a picture of himself --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- being viciously beaten in a racist riot by police who are intent on
denying him his essential dignity as a human being and his civil rights as
a citizen of the United States -- to look at that picture of himself 50
years later and find something to laugh about.

That is a picture of John Lewis in the process of having his skull
fractured. But he can look at that picture now without a trace of
bitterness. He can look at it --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- the way a hero would look back at that, without a trace of self-pity.
He is nobility personified.

I`ll never forget the moment when I was working in the Senate and someone
told me Congressman John Lewis was on the phone, asking to speak with me.

The young people in the office didn`t know who he was. But I did and I
grabbed the phone with excitement and real awe.

I had never met John Lewis but I knew his voice. And there he was on the
phone, the real John Lewis.

I`ve been in the Oval Office in meetings with the president and many more
famous Washington power players then but this, --

(LAUGHTER)

-- this was something else entirely. This was one of the great heroes of
the Civil Rights Movement, one of the country`s greatest living heroes.

And, on that day, in that moment, he needed a favor. He was trying to get
something done for his district in Georgia, and he needed help with getting
it through the Senate.

Now, I was ready to do whatever he asked for before he said a word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

The bridge he was beaten for trying to cross, the bridge that he eventually
successfully crossed with Martin Luther King, Jr. was named and is still
named the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Edmund Pettus was born in 1821 into a wealthy slave-owning family. he
became a decorated Confederate general in the Civil War. And, after the
war, became the grand dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.

University of Alabama History Professor John Gigi says, "The bridge was
named for him, in part, to memorialize his history of restraining and
imprisoning African-Americans in their quest for freedom after the Civil
War.

If Edmund Pettus had still been alive, and in command of the Alabama State
Police that day in 1965, John Lewis might not be alive today.

It is long past time to change the name of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. A
Change.org petition has a 166,403 signatures in support of changing the
name. And, today, as I was --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

-- idly scrolling through Twitter, I came upon a brilliant suggestion from
Irish Stewart, changing the name of the bridge to the John Lewis Bridge.

The bridge American heroes like John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr.
marched over was named for an American disgrace. Let`s rename it for an
American hero.

END

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>







Watch The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET


Sponsored links

Resource guide