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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, March 16th, 2015

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Date: March 16, 2015
Guest: Cathy Scott, Erin Murphy, Perez Hilton, Chemi Shalev, Harry Enten,
Josh Barro, Kiki McClean

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Job, and I`m not paraphrasing -- texter Anthony
Weiner, so this guy is now running to join those dubious ranks and win the
Michael Grimm seat.

And he is campaigning on the promise that he is too old to be too gross to
get this job, and I`m not paraphrasing the campaign pledge.

This is his quote directly to the "New York Observer", "I am too old to
know how to put a naked photograph of myself on the internet."

So vote for me! Best campaign T-shirts ever. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST
WORD", Ari Melber sitting in for Lawrence tonight, good evening Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel, a wonderful debunktion
junction, thank you --

MADDOW: Cheers --

MELBER: For all of it.

MADDOW: Thanks my friend.

MELBER: We are just three hours away now before the people of Israel voice
their opinion on Benjamin Netanyahu and whether he should stay in power.

Also Hillary Clinton picking an important battle tonight with Republicans
and another voice emerging on the Dolce and Gabbana controversy, Perez
Hilton will join me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A stunning, Hollywood ending.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight Durst is behind bars in New Orleans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The arrest took place just hours before the dramatic
inclusion of "Hbo`s" documentary "The Jinx".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell did I do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Already acquitted of one murder charge, now charged
with another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I killed them all, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a confession to three murders?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hours from a cliffhanger election in Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stepping up the nationalist`s rhetoric --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Said today that no Palestinian state will be
established under his watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran`s pen pal Senator Tom Cotton.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Somebody who`s been in the United States
Senate for sixty-some days --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you planning to contact any other of our

SEN. THOMAS COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: So important that we communicated this
message straight to Iran.

signed the letter, I don`t think it was a mistake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ferguson area man charged with shooting two cops
gets his first day in court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeffrey Williams has admitted firing the shots --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He may have been shooting at someone other than police

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A massive cyclone pounded the small island of Vanuatu.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Locals are calling their devastated island nation, hell
on earth.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elton John is calling for a boycott of Dolce and

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks to some controversial comments made by the
designers --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gone on to seemingly trash surrogates; gay adoption
and IVF, your archaic of thinking is out of step with the times, just like
your fashions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bracket fever Monday morning and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: March Madness is here --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We spend some time with yours this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should do, the field of 68 is set.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventy million brackets are expected to be filled

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kentucky Wildcats is the number one overall seed.





MELBER: Good evening, I`m Ari Melber, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. And we
are about three hours away from sunrise in Israel when voters will go to
the polls for an election that could oust one of the most controversial
leaders in modern Israeli history, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And from Tehran to Washington, leaders are closely monitoring tomorrow`s
election, the results could even impact the Obama administration`s effort
to close a nuclear deal with Iran this month.

Security, often a key issue in Israeli elections, but Netanyahu`s harshest
criticism of any diplomacy with Iran and his deteriorating relationship
with President Obama have become central issues in this campaign,
especially after that address to the U.S. Congress two weeks ago.

Netanyahu was accused of playing politics in that speech which pivoted
between thanking and imputing President Obama.


support of American -- of America`s people and of America`s presidents;
from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel, don`t be
fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn`t turn Iran into a friend
of America.

To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle
but lose the war. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear
weapons, it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of

Ladies and gentlemen, I`ve come here today to tell you we don`t have to
bend the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the


MELBER: That speech was hotly debated in America and Israel. And while
Netanyahu insisted his focus was on security there, not on politics, his
campaign was soon touting the address in political ads you see there up on
the screen.

Joining me now to talk about this big election, Harry Enten of
FivethirtyEight, Chemi Shalev, U.S. editor for the Israel newspaper
"Haaretz", Dean Obeidallah of the "The Daily Beast" and Josh Barro from the
"New York Times", also an Msnbc contributor.

Welcome to you all, this is a big race. Chemi, let me start with you,
you`ve been following this. What is Netanyahu`s closing argument, and why
is this race so close for him when he called this early election?

CHEMI SHALEV, EDITOR, HAARETZ: Well, I think he first of all, he
miscalculated. He thought that he was going to be sort of -- that this
would be an easy victory for him.

And it turned out that the moment that he called this election, which by
the way, nobody knows to this very day why he called them.

He found out that, that sort of -- something snapped in Israeli public
opinion and people were actually, a lot of people were suddenly deciding
that they were quite happy to see him go.

So he`s been fighting an uphill battle. He -- the last polls that we knew,
he was about four seats behind, which is already on the cusp of a
significant gap for his rival Isaac Herzog.

But he`s been waging a very tough fight in the past four days, we don`t
have any real evidence of how that`s affected. There`s anecdotal evidence
that he`s been closing the gap.

And what he`s been doing is that he`s been lurching to the right. That`s
not what a politician usually does under these circumstances.

He usually -- and even Netanyahu in his previous campaigns has first of all
secured his base and then lurched to the center. But now because he`s
concerned that -- first of all the center is lost to him.

And second of all that he is very anxious to become the biggest party, he`s
lurching to the right, he`s trying to cannibalize the other parties that
are in his right wing bloc.

MELBER: Right, and let me -- so on that point, let me bring in Harry on
the numbers. What does this look like in a system there in Israel where
you do have to form a coalition at the end of the day.

HARRY ENTEN, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: I think that`s the key question. Going in
to round one, we have a pretty decent idea that Netanyahu`s party is going
to finish second.

Though, to be honest, with the margin of error, you know, we have four or
five days since the last polls, he could come out with a plurality.

But in the second face where he has to form this coalition, get the 61
seats, you know, that`s the real question going forward.

And can he put those right-wing parties together and to get a few center
parties and we just don`t know the answer to that yet.

MELBER: And Josh, when you look at the campaigning, there are a bunch of
familiar American faces, people would know who are over there.

Paul Begala, advising Herzog, who is considered the more center-left
challenger to Netanyahu, and Jeremy Bird who worked for Obama, famous in
both his campaigns on the internet operation, a consultant for this group
V-15 trying to defeat Netanyahu.

And in his closing arguments, we`ve seen Bibi Netanyahu say basically
number one, no Palestinian state ever, and number two there`s some sort of
international conspiracy against him.

JOSH BARRO, JOURNALIST: Yes, and this isn`t a new thing, you saw Clinton`s
administration advisors going over there in the 1990s to advise campaigns.

You`ve been seeing that from the right, where you`ve been seeing from the
left is really much more of a focus on domestic issues.

This obviously when we talk about the Israeli election here in the U.S., we
focus a lot on Iran and security issues.

But the message is from Zionist Union and from the other center in left
parties have focused around the cost of housing, around the cost of food,
much more domestic bread and butter concerns.

And so it`s interesting to see this almost as a referendum on security
policy where there isn`t that as big a debate as you might think over
foreign policy as you see in the U.S. versus the focus on economic issues.

MELBER: Well, Dean, that`s the part that will be familiar to American
audiences who are not focused on the Israeli election, although now that
it`s coming tomorrow, it`s in the news.

That is the idea that there`s a conservative political effort to inject
security arguments even when they may not be top of mind for all voters.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, THE DAILY BEAST: Exact. As an example of what you`re
saying, the control of Israel put out a report about a month ago, saying
there`s a housing crisis, and Netanyahu`s response on his Facebook page did
say, the housing is an issue, but let`s talk about Iran.

And the blowback was swift by people, his adversaries and people on
Facebook, just the average Israelis where we had to take it down.

He reminds me of Giuliani in 2008 where he just -- you know, a noun and the
verb 9/11 and Joe Biden, they fund them for that.

It`s also a noun and a verb in Iran with Netanyahu being tone-deaf to what
it seems like in the polls where people basically want to talk about social
issues in their country.

MELBER: Chemi, let me play for you some new sound from President Obama in
an interview "Vice Magazine" just put out today about the Republicans and
their effort to undermine him on Iran.

Take a listen to that.


OBAMA: I`m embarrassed for them, you know, because it`s not how America
does business.

For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah; the supreme leader of Iran,
who they claim is our mortal enemy and their basic argument to them is
don`t deal with our president, because you can`t trust him to follow
through on an agreement.

That`s close to unprecedented. We were looking at the history to see if
there was an example of it, we couldn`t find one. It damages the country.

It damages our standing, it`s not productive.


MELBER: That`s American president`s frustration with the opposition party
playing politics on the international stage.

Netanyahu though as head of state has been accused of making the U.S.-
Israeli relationship part of his political theater.

Is that a fair criticism of having -- for Israeli voters?

SHALEV: I think a fair criticism of him persuading voters is that even
though they may not trust Obama, he`s not very high on their trustworthy
list, he has mishandled relations with U.S. administration.

MELBER: Bibi Netanyahu has? --

SHALEV: Bibi Netanyahu has. And I think that, that actually, ironically
came to the fall as a result of his speech.

I mean in the first two days after his speech to Congress, he was getting
good reviews that was a, you know, dramatic scene and he was getting
standing ovations.

But then I think it started to hurt him, he started to see then that
whatever deficiencies, say, President Obama has regarding Israel, Netanyahu
has not handled the relations well, and I think that, that is one of the
reasons that he began to slip in the polls.

MELBER: And that goes to this right-wing -- next is Josh, the other thing
I want to play from late today with Tom Cotton, actually wrote that letter
to the Ayatollah before he ever got around to giving a speech on the Senate

People can judge those priorities however they see fit. But tonight he did
give his first speech, I want to play some of it and him quoting Netanyahu.
Take a listen.


COTTON: My objections to the ongoing nuclear negotiations are well-known.
I`ll simply note that the deal foreshadowed by the President allowing Iran
to have uranium enrichment capabilities and accepting an expiration date on
any agreement.

To quote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "doesn`t block Iran`s path to
the bomb, it paves Iran`s path to the bomb."


MELBER: What do you make of that Republican echo, and will Netanyahu be
quoted as much if he does lose this race tomorrow?

BARRO: Well, I think the thing about the echo that should be reflecting
back in Israeli politics is, the question is not so much about interfering
in the U.S` internal affairs, it`s about interfering in U.S` internal
affairs and not being successful at it.

What Netanyahu has done here, it`s not in speeches like that from Tom
Cotton gotten this letter out and really turned the Iran negotiations into
more of a partisan issue than they were before in the U.S.

You have substantial Democratic support in the Senate, at least in theory
for a bill that would force Congressional approval over any deal with the
President would broker with Iran.

But as the Republicans have turned up the dial on this and partnership with
Netanyahu, you`ve seen Democrats pulling away from that, saying they`re not
going to provide votes to pass a bill like that until after the deadline
for the President`s Iran negotiations.

You`ve seen Angus King who is an independent who caucuses with the
Democrats, saying that the partisanship on this has made him more reluctant
to support tough measures --

MELBER: Right --

BARRO: Against Iran. So, it`s not just that Netanyahu has been
interfering, but as he makes Israel a part as an issue in the U.S., he
actually undermines Israel`s interests in the U.S.

OBEIDALLAH: So, when you were going to talk about security and you just
talked about Iran, he is ignoring the Palestinian issue intentionally.

In fact, until today, he`s too powered in this thing, two states, two
states, he never run to two states. You remember 2009, Netanyahu was
against two states.

He talked about the peace offering a waste of money and a waste of time.
Pressure by the Obama administration made him embrace two states.

Today, he says I don`t want a Palestinian state. Like Palestinians don`t
deserve self determination because it`s part of his plan.

If you are an American, and you say Israel doesn`t have a right to exist,
you`re called an anti-Semite.

But Netanyahu could say Palestinians don`t have a right to their own state,
and that`s part of politics and that`s wrong.

MELBER: And Chemi, you`ve written about what significant that he is making
this last-ditch plea, basically going away from a two-state solution.

SHALEV: Well, I don`t want to put too much into it because he`s a
politician. And believe me if things force him to re-embrace the Bar-llan
speech and the two-state solution because he`ll have for example a national
unity government which could happen, that could be his only option.

He`ll find a way to wiggle out of the formula. But I think that for a lot
of people, who never believed his 2009 speech anyway, who never thought
that he actually meant to support a two-state solution.

This today comes as a kind of confirmation. You see, and we told you all
the time that he wasn`t serious, now he is saying it by himself.

So I think it hurts him on the international stage, and we have to wait
until tomorrow to see whether it hurts or helps him on the Israeli stage.

MELBER: Exactly, and still start voting in a few hours, which would be
tomorrow morning in Israel. Chemi and Dean, thank you for joining --


MELBER: We`ve got Harry and Josh sticking around for more paneling.

Coming up, breaking news regarding Robert Durst whose story documented in
that blockbuster "Hbo" documentary, "The Jinx", an L.A. district attorney
just officially charged him with first degree murder, we have a lot on

And Elton John, now Perez Hilton, a lot to say about Dolce and Gabbana`s
comments on gay adoption in IVF, and Perez will join me live.



Clinton`s hard drive.

You know, they`re all upset with Hillary Clinton and they say we need these
e-mails, and not only that, they just forget the e-mails, we want to get a
look at your hard drive.

And I thought well, wasn`t that the last Clinton scandal?



MELBER: Hope Republicans just rolled out a plan though to stall the
President`s attorney general nominee and inject abortion into a human
trafficking bill, which is giving Hillary Clinton a chance to go on the

Tonight, and maybe move the conversation beyond all those e-mails. Why the
former secretary of state is back on offense, that`s next.


MELBER: When you are presumptively running for president, the battles you
pick matter. Hillary Clinton has not started many battles during what many
believe is her pre-campaign period.

She did give a few Republicans a nudge for their ignorance about vaccines
recently. She dialed up the pressure when some Republicans tried to
undermine those Iran negotiations, an issue she knows well as America`s
chief diplomat.

But late today, Hillary Clinton confronted Republican domestic policy on
very strong terms. Squarely addressing conservative efforts to restrict a
woman`s right to choose and play politics, she says, with one of the
President`s most crucial nominees right now.

Clinton wrote on Twitter late today, "Congressional trifecta against women
today, blocking great nominee, first African-American woman AG for longer
than any AG in 30 years.

Number two, playing politics with trafficking victims, number three,
threatening women`s health and rights."

Back with me to discuss, Harry Enten and Josh Barro, and joining us is Kiki
McClean, a Democratic strategist who is a senior advisor for Hillary
Clinton in 2008.

Welcome everybody. Kiki, what did you think of Hillary Clinton`s
statements there?

thought there goes Hillary Clinton; the woman who`s always been standing up
for women and children.

That`s been her whole life`s work, so I don`t think it`s anybody`s surprise
that they`d look up and see after the kind of week we`re having, that she`d
stand up and having -- have something to say about it.

Particularly on all three fronts, human trafficking, a woman`s right to
choose, I mean, these are the fights that she`s led for a long time.

And she`s not going to be quiet when she sees a broken Congress really
holding women back and --

MELBER: Let me --

MCCLEAN: Holding them down.

MELBER: And let me ask you Kiki, a lot of people get frustrated when they
feel like some politicians won`t call a spade a spade, even if people
understand what the restrictions are.

So for example, some of the politicking that goes on against women who are
appointed or against people of color, sometimes isn`t directly called out
by the White House or other folks.

We know that. What did you make of Hillary here saying very simply,
Loretta Lynch is the first African-American woman --


MELBER: Attorney General nominee, in fact and putting that out there?

MCCLEAN: Well, you know, here is the beauty of it, this -- the things that
she pointed to on Twitter today are really quite simple, aren`t they?

They`re very clear. It didn`t take a lot of words to say it, she could do
it on Twitter, and she used her voice for the things that she`s always used
her voice for.

And like I said before, no one should be surprised by that. When you look
at human trafficking, when you look at somebody`s -- like Lynch and what
that means for this country, she`s not going to just stand by, she`s always
been that kind of advocate.

BARRO: Well, I think what we`re seeing here that Hillary who is officially
not running for president, doesn`t have a campaign officially.

So what happened with the e-mail story, not only was she slow to be able to
respond to it, she wasn`t out there driving the message in a particular
direction, because she doesn`t have that apparatus and isn`t out there
actively campaigning.

So this I think is a preview of that, her saying these are issues that are
important, these are issues that I want to focus on --

MCCLEAN: But that -- but that`s --

BARRO: The Democrats care about --

MCCLEAN: Not new, right? Everybody understands that these issues that she
talked about today, this is not new that she`s interested in them.

There`s a long record of caring about and fighting on these issues. So
regardless of 2016, I think when she looked up, saw a Congress not just
doing nothing, but actually standing in the way, you would have heard her
voice on these things.

BARRO: Well, I think these are issues that she would be talking about in
the campaign.

I think what we saw for the last few months was that Hillary was not
talking a ton in general publicly, about -- wasn`t that engaged in the
political debate, which I think is part of how she got caught, you know,
unaware in that story.

This is about her trying to drive the conversation, obviously these -- this
is not the first time she`s spoken on these issues, but over the course for
the last couple of years since she left the position of being secretary of

She has been less directly engaged publicly in these issues, I think this
is a move back toward what is likely to be a campaign.

ENTEN: You know, there`s been a lot of talk over the last few weeks that
Hillary Clinton is not a good politician.

Well, she just went after Congress, that`s a very smart politician with
congressional approval ratings hovering in the teens.

And you know, we see Congress, most people don`t think that Congress has a
lot of hard work to do and that they`re not working as hard as the American

So Hillary Clinton, very smart move. This is the reason she`s the
presumptive Democrat nominee, if she, you know, actually enters the race,
it`s because of smart moves like this that gets her the votes.

MELBER: Well, and Kiki, I don`t want to be unfair to the Republicans who
are holding up this nomination, but --

MCCLEAN: Oh, heaven forbid.

MELBER: Well, but it`s very hard on the facts to be fair to this kind of
delay which as Hillary said, it`s 30 years, you have to fight and go back
30 years to find the president.

Let me just read --


MELBER: Some of these senators who have already voted for her twice,
Loretta Lynch in her prosecutorial role, Senator Shelby, Sessions, McCain,
Inhofe, Crapo, Grassley, Robert, McConnell, Hatch, Collins, Carper and

We have more if you put up the other full screen of folks who voted for her
once in 2010 --


MELBER: That is to say, Kiki, that these are people who are on the record
supporting Loretta Lynch in her government role and have not --


MELBER: To this day come up with objections. They`re just not giving her
a vote --

MCCLEAN: Here -- yes, here is the interesting thing about what the
Republicans are doing with this. The vote is easy, the politics for them
are hard.

And so what they do is they hold a different issue hostage, because of
their politics now, we`ve got a human trafficking bill, and understand I`m
passionate about this.

I`m involved with an organization, Polaris, on the front lines of human
trafficking. They hold different issues hostage because they`re not brave
enough to deal with their own politics.

But your point about their record should make this vote very easy for them.
And this is completely unnecessary on all three of the issues that
Secretary Clinton outlined --

MELBER: Let me go to Josh on that --

MCCLEAN: In her Twitter --

BARRO: Yes --

MELBER: So on the politics, Josh, where does this lead for Republicans?

BARRO: Well, the resistance to Loretta Lynch isn`t about Loretta Lynch.
It`s about two things, one is A, sort of blanket opposition to anything the
President does --

MCCLEAN: Right --

BARRO: And B, it`s about immigration. Republicans are very upset about
the executive action on immigration, they wanted to try to hold up Homeland
Security funding, found out that strategy doesn`t -- didn`t work.

And because much of the -- what`s done there is done through the Justice
Department, they`ve been talking about that issue and Loretta Lynch`s
support for the President`s action there as a reason for holding her up.

And then on the human trafficking issue, it`s -- there`s this item that was
in this piece of legislation, been in there for months.

Democrats apparently didn`t notice it until a few days ago, which says that
funds raised into this fund to support victims of -- victims of human
trafficking can`t be spent on abortion.

Now there are a lot of provisions in federal law preventing federal funds -


BARRO: On being spent on abortion. This is an extension of that debate,
it`s not a new issue, it`s not a new position for Republicans or Democrats
on either side of this.

What was surprising was the Democrats were willing to sign on to a bill
that had this provision in it restricting abortion funding.

Apparently, the reason Democrats were until this week, willing to sign on
to it, is they just hadn`t noticed that provision was in the bill.

MELBER: Yes, and Kiki, it is true that there is a policy disagreement
there that we all know about --


MELBER: On choice on abortion --


MELBER: The problem here being they`re trying to, as we said link it to
Loretta Lynch. Your final thoughts --

MCCLEAN: You know, it`s not even -- it`s not even linking, right? Right
now Republican leaders, their positions aren`t popular across the country.

So rather than just have an honest debate about an issue on its own merits,
right? They don`t go there, they try to slip it in and hide it in other
things that, it`s kind of like putting a peas in the mashed potatoes,

MELBER: And nobody likes that. Thus --


MELBER: You want --

MCCLEAN: Exactly --

MELBER: The mashed potatoes straight up with butter, nothing else in them.
Kiki McClean, Harry Enten, Josh Barro, thank you so much.

Up next, one day after that bombshell finale that the "Hbo" docu series,
"The Jinx", Robert Durst now charged with first degree murder, we have more
on this breaking news, that`s straight ahead.


MELBER: Breaking news tonight. The district attorney in Los Angeles
announcing this evening he is formally charging Robert Durst with first
degree murder.

Over this weekend, New Orleans police arrested Durst for the two thousand
murder of his friend Susan Berman.

Now this unusual arrest comes just as Durst was thrust back into the
national spotlight one night before the finale of an exhaustive six-packed
documentary series probing Durst`s life, that`s when this arrest occurred.

Now these film makers spent about ten years investigating him, his first
wife disappearing 33 years ago, it was all for an "Hbo" series you may have
heard of "The Jinx".

Now, in the series finale, Durst is confronted with circumstantial but
potentially damning evidence suggesting his handwriting seemed to match a
letter that Berman`s killer allegedly sent to police at the time of her

Now Durst was unable to distinguish his own handwriting from the letter,
and then after the interview, he leaves the room to use the bathroom.

And this is what everyone`s talking about. He was still wearing his
microphone from the interview, so the cameras were still rolling on what
was an empty room.

And as you are about to see, Durst can be heard talking to himself about
that interview and what he apparently thought was a private moment.


BERMAN: There it is. You`re caught. I`m having difficulty with the

What the hell did I do. Killed them all, of course.


MELBER: Joining me now is Cathy Scott, author of "Murder in Beverly Hills:
The Mob-Style Execution of Susan Berman, Her Crime Boss Father and the
Deadly Secret She Took to Her Grave."

Karen Desoto, a former prosecutor and legal analyst for "WEEKEND TODAY" on
NBC, and Erin Murphy, an NYU law professor who studied DNA evidence.
Welcome to an expert panel.

Cathy, what did you think of this blockbuster video here that we`re seeing.

think, you know, in the long run, it`s going to turn out to be damning.
You know, he thinks he can get away with murder --


-- and he just caught himself up.

MELBER: From observing all of the people involved in this, what did you
make of the way he sounded there. What did you think of him in that

SCOTT: I think it was a holy moly moment for him. He realized what he`d
done, and he was reacting almost immediately --


SCOTT: -- to it.

MELBER: And, Karen, how would this work --


-- if a prosecutor wanted to use this now in what is a new case against

KAREN DESOTO, NBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, obviously, you can use the
handwriting exemplars but, whether or not you can indict and arrest a
person, and whether or not --


-- you can convict them are two different things. So, although this is new
evidence, and that`ll help get, obviously, help with the arrest or help get
the indictment but, at the end of the day, is this one piece of evidence
going to be the smoking gun that gets him convicted beyond a reasonable


MELBER: And, let`s start, Erin, with something you know a lot about. As a
general matter, people say, well, if it`s bad news for the bad guy, we want
it in the case.


Why is it, just generally, that, sometimes, this kind of evidence isn`t a
good idea to be in a case.

ERIN MURPHY, LAW PROFESSOR, NYU: Well, typically, the Fourth and the Fifth
Amendment, which limits police`s ability to interrogate suspects or collect
evidence, may come into play and prohibit evidence from being used because
you`re trying to deter police misconduct.

In this case, I don`t think that will be an issue because he`s a private


MELBER: And to pause on that, what you`re saying is that that is to defend
people`s rights. So, sometimes, the bad news doesn`t get in.

MURPHY: Exactly.

MELBER: Here, you think, though, it goes in. Why.

MURPHY: Here, I think, it goes in, first, because these are not police
officers. And it seems as though they were not working with police. They
were not entangled with the police, working at the direction of the police.

In today`s terms, you know, we see cases, let`s say, hackers, who hack into
computers and find child pornography, or other people who, as a private
actor or a private citizen, go around collecting evidence.


And most courts will say, as long as you`re not working with police, the
rules that apply to police, the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, don`t apply.

MELBER: So, Erin, lawyer to lawyer, let me say --


-- that you just -- you just mentioned something, working with police. Let
me read to Karen something from "The New York Times" about these

They say, Mr. Durecky, also the show`s director, struggled with whether to
bring this letter they had --


-- to law enforcement authorities. If they did so too soon, they have
lawyers who told them, they could be considered, boom, law enforcement
agents in the event of a prosecution, possibly jeopardizing the material`s

Mr. Smirling said, "We had a moral obligation and obligation to the
families of the dead to see that justice was done." They began speaking to
L.A. investigators in early 2013.


DESOTO: Well, listen, the whole crux of this case is whether or not this
is going to be a confession, this recording. And his interviews are going
to be let into evidence.

Are they going to be admissible. Are they not going to be admissible.
Obviously, we know that the handwriting and the comparison is going to be
allowed in.

The more damning evidence, which is own words, his own words, him saying,
you know, "I killed them all."

MELBER: "I killed them all."

DESOTO: Is that an excited utterance, which is going to be a hearsay
exception. Is that going to be a communication, kind of similar to bugging
a bathroom. Did he have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

MELBER: But what you`re referring to is that, normally, that kind of thing
wouldn`t be allowed in, --

DESOTO: Correct.

MELBER: the hearsay, because it`d be offered as truth. And that kind of
thing should be taken as testimony, Erin.

MURPHY: Although the one thing I would say is that there is fairly,
universally, an exception to the hearsay rule, for the statement of a party

And, here, the prosecution would be introducing this evidence against the
defendant. And so, pretty universally, that means it would be admissible
even as an exception to hearsay.

MELBER: And, Cathy, go ahead.

SCOTT: Can the case as well as this is not the only evidence that they
have against him. They`ve been building the case against him since Susan
was killed in 2000.

And they`ve got ballistics on a bullet that they can take to, you know, to
the FBI to have them --


-- retested, if they haven`t already done that. We don`t know what other
evidence they have against him.

DESOTO: Well, his own words.

SCOTT: As for the letter, they had a chain of custody.

DESOTO: His own words are what is going to be damning. And you can --

SCOTT: Right.

DESOTO: talk about the admissibility all you want but the conversation was
over. He was in a men`s bathroom, he had a reasonable expectation of
privacy, and is that an unlawful, illegal interception of a wired

And I would have to say, it pretty much sounds like that to me. So, it`s
going to be, ultimately, up to a judge.


MELBER: And you mentioned a judge, the judge who oversaw an earlier case
against him, where he was found not guilty, --

DESOTO: Right.

MELBER: -- was on MSNBC --


-- just this evening, talking about what judges often talk about -- "Is
there a case that answers this question." Because this really is


She suggests no. Take a listen to this.


SUSAN CRISS, JUDGE IN DURST`S 2003 MURDER TRIAL: It`s going to be real
hard for him to say that he was tricked or coerced or they`ve had some
expectation of privacy, or that this was taken from him any way but
knowingly and voluntarily.

Now, one of the odd things that I may think about this is there`s not going
to be any case law on whether the admission to the confession of someone
who goes into a television interview voluntarily --


-- and admits to being a serial killer gets submitted. So, as usual,
there`s no precedent for anything that happens in this case.


MELBER: Apparent in the argument there would be, who care you`re in the
bathroom. You knew you were mic`d.

DESOTO: No. Because the conversation was over. He got up. He said, "Is
the interview over?" "Yes, it`s over."

He goes into a closed bathroom with nobody in that. And he`s muttering.
That is not a conversation.

MURPHY: I have to jump in. Because all of this would be true if the
police were doing this -- were doing the action, if they were the ones

But this is just a private citizen recording. And even private citizens --
even police officers who engage in unlawful behavior can always violate the

DESOTO: Well, technically, nobody is recording, though. Technically, he`s
talking to himself. And it would be equivalent to putting a bug in a room,
which is illegal.

MURPHY: To me, the more interesting question is whether this suggests
there might be some questions with the authenticity of the evidence.
Because we want evidence to be reliable and we want it to be what it`s
supposed to be.

And these are documentary filmmakers out to shape a narrative. They`ve
certainly gotten a lot of press attention for this particular clip.

And so, we might wonder, where`s the rest of the clip. What was said to
him beforehand. Is it, in fact, --

DESOTO: And at what point did they go to the police.

MURPHY: Exactly.

DESOTO: At what time were they getting legal advice. At what point were
they having conversations with the police to make them an agent --


-- of the police department.

MURPHY: That could be a critical fact.

DESOTO: But, at the end of the day, do we have a smoking gun.

MELBER: And so, Cathy, the other question I think people at home might
wonder, that I wondered is, --


-- why was he talking in the first place.


SCOTT: Well, because he`s quirky and he talks to himself. You know, he
kind of gets a kick out of himself for being so quirky. And he, at other
times, in one of the earlier episodes of "The Jinx," he talked to himself
as well.


He was practicing what he was going to say on camera and didn`t realize his
mic was live. He`s just a quirky individual who walks around the streets
and starts talking to himself. So, I think it`s a habit.


But I think it`s all intentional. I think he -- and if you noticed, what
he said was, you know, "You`re caught."

He speaks to himself in the third person. The guy is a nut. And he`s a
crazy nut.

I think that it is damning. And I think it`s going to hurt him. And time
will tell whether they let that in court or not, but I think they`ve got a
lot more than just that.

MELBER: And on that quirkiness, Erin, is there an argument to be made in
court that, well, he was play-acting multiple voices, so it may not had
been strictly accurate what he was saying.

MURPHY: Sure. The question, I think, would be, first, does that change
the inadmissibility. Is it substantially more prejudicial than probative,
if what he was doing was, say, responding to the director`s prompt to
practice a confession, or, "What would you say if you did confess."

That might make the tape seem inauthentic and, therefore, not admissible as
evidence. But if it`s just a question of him going into a bathroom and
saying these things, whether he was sincere or not, that sounds like a jury

That`s something a jury will have to decide.

DESOTO: Right, exactly.

MELBER: Erin Murphy and Karen Desoto in New York, and Cathy Scott in L.A.,
thank you all for your expertise on a fascinating that, I`m sure, we`ll be
talking about again. I appreciate it.

DESOTO: Thank you, Eric.

MURPHY: Thank you.

MELBER: Coming up, the American Sniper trial --


-- captivated the nation today. Jodi Routh revealed new details to Dr.
Phil in what is her first interview since her son was convicted of killing
American Sniper, Chris Kyle, and Chad Littlefield.




the defendant, Eddie Ray Routh, guilty of the felony offense of capital
murder as charged in the indictment.


MELBER: It has been almost three weeks since Eddie Ray Routh was found
guilty of murdering --


-- Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sniper portrayed in the film, "American
Sniper," and Kyle`s friend, Chad Littlefield. Routh was sentenced to life
imprison without the possibility of parole. And in her first interview
since --


-- the trial, Routh`s mother told Dr. Phil how Chris Kyle ended up meeting
the man who killed him.


DR. PHIL, CBS HOST: What did you say to Chris that night.

JODI ROUTH, EDDIE RAY ROUTH`S MOTHER: I said, "Chris, would you be
willing to help my son. He`s a former Marine and he has PTSD and he really
needs some help and we`re not getting what we need."

He said, "Yes, I would be willing to help." And that was my first day in
several years that I really felt like anybody even cared that Eddie got the
help he needed or not.

DR. PHIL: You had absolutely no idea that asking him for help, that a week
later, he would murder Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield? Of course, you had
no idea.

JODI ROUTH: I would have never asked if I had an idea that this could

DR. PHIL: What do you say to yourself about that now.

JODI ROUTH: It`s a very hard feeling for me. And I know it`s not my
fault. And, of course, hindsight`s 20/20.


MELBER: That`s a tough interview to watch. Up next, we have a story and
an interview with Perez Hilton, who will be here to respond to Dolce &



ANDREW GARFIELD, ACTOR: So, when will it be finished.

JESSIE EISENBERG, ACTOR: It won`t be finished. That`s the point, the way
fashion is never finished.


EISENBERG: Fashion. Fashion is never finished.

GARFIELD: You`re talking about fashion. Really, you.

EISENBERG: I`m talking about the idea of it and I`m saying that it`s never


MELBER: They say fashion is never finished because style is always
evolving. But a big political controversy is hitting the fashion world
right now.

And it`s all about whether two leading designers have evolved enough. Two
weeks ago, --


-- legendary and openly gay fashion designers, Dolce and Gabbana said they
wanted to celebrate motherhood at a special runway show in Milan, featuring
models and some of their children.

Last week, the designers tackled motherhood in an interview with an Italian
magazine, saying they oppose gay couples adopting children.

Dolce added, quote, "You were born and you have a father and a mother or,
at least, it should be like this. That`s why I am not convinced by
chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent," end quote.

Many are firing back. Elton John posting online, quote, "How dare you
refer to my beautiful children as synthetic. And shame on you for wagging
your judgmental little fingers at IVF, a miracle that`s allowed legions of
loving people, both straight and gay to fulfill their dream of having

"Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times." He wrote, "Just
like your fashions, I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana ever again," end
quote, Elton John.


And with that Instagram post from him, the worlds of fashion celebrity and
beyond are now taking up sides in this debate. Some even calling for a

Joining me now, someone on Team Elton, celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton.
His son, Mario, conceived with a donor egg and carried by a surrogate
mother. Good evening.


MELBER: Let me start with something you tweeted. This has been both
serious and light. But you tweeted your son`s reaction to the Dolce and
Gabbana comments here --




And that`s already got a lot of pick-up. Can you expound.

HILTON: Well, you know, unlike other people, maybe a teenager who
accidentally gets pregnant, it took a lot of work for me to have my son.
It took a lot of planning and it took a lot of love.

And I really think that he is the biggest --


-- blessing I`ve ever had in my life. And were it not for In Vitro
Fertilization, you know, he would not be --


-- here today. I would be blessed to have more. Adoption is also an
option but, you know, they`re entitled to their opinion, as they said, and
they defended with their --


-- statement. But how you express your opinion is very important. You can
express your point of view without doing it in a really hurtful, small-
minded way.

And that`s what they`ve done. They`ve offended so many people, not just
gay parents but also, you know, heterosexual couples that have no other
option but In Vitro.

MELBER: Do you think that, well, --


-- they are gay, as I mentioned in the reporting here, do you think what
they said was, in some way, homophobic or anti-gay.

HILTON: Absolutely. There is internalized homophobia. And just because
you`re a member of a group, doesn`t mean that you`re exempt from, --


-- you know, homophobia or racism. And just last week, there was that
Univision journalist who was fired for comparing Michelle Obama to an ape.
And he is a black Latino.

You know, their comments are indicative of where they grew up and their
very Catholic upbringing. But, like Elton John said, it`s not with the

MELBER: Let me read to you a statement that --


-- Stefano Gabbana made here as this evolved and sort of became a bigger
discussion point, quote, "We firmly believe in democracy --


-- and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it.
We talked about our way of seeing reality. But it was never our intention
to judge other people`s choices. We do believe in freedom and love."


Do you view that as conciliatory. And how important, do you think, the
free speech piece is of this, because a lot of folks have moved a lot, in
politics and in culture, on these issues. But that takes some sort of
public square, some public space to debate them.

HILTON: Well, I think their statement is a complete disregard to what has
happened. So many couples, people, families, have said their statement --


-- has been hurtful. And not once have they apologized, saying "We`re
sorry." Because they`re not. And that`s fine. They`re entitled to their
opinion just like John Galliano a few years ago, who was entitled to his
very offensive, anti-Semitic opinions.

Unlike this situation, John Galliano was fired from Dior. Dolce and
Gabbana are Dolce & Gabbana. They`re not going to get fired.

But, you know, now, hopefully, stylists, celebrities --


-- and just regular consumers will choose to not support their homophobia,
and choose to not support them disregarding families, regardless of how the
families came to be.

MELBER: You make that comparison. Do you think this is as offensive as
that other kind of discriminatory speech or hate speech?

HILTON: As a gay man and a gay father, I do.

MELBER: And what do you think then the consequences are. You have talked
online as Elton John did as we showed, about, basically, a type of boycott

What is the end game. I mean, fashion is very different than politics. In
politics, you say, well, what is the goal. What is the objective, right.

Is to further separate them from their company and create losses, or to
have them further feel consumer pressure to change their public position?

HILTON: I think the objective, you know, is really just to have the
conversation, "How dare you say my family is less than."

No, my family is equal to anybody else`s. All that matters is that you`re
loving your child as much as possible, that you`re present, that you`re
working on being the best parent possible.

And these comments that Dolce and Gabbana have made aren`t any new
comments. They`ve made very similar --


-- comments being against same-sex marriage in 2006. The difference
between 2006 and 2015 is that, thanks to social media, thanks to the re-
tweet button, thanks to the hashtag, their small-minded, hateful,
homophobic words coming from two gay men, have now spread around the world
very quickly.

And I`m thankful for that.


MELBER: Perez Hilton with a message of thanks and inclusion. Thank you
for joining us tonight.

HILTON: Thank you.

MELBER: And, coming up, the mass --


-- devastation from a cyclone that hit a country that was once considered
paradise on the show, "Survivor."



Mitt Romney`s son, Josh, has confirmed to the "AP" that Mitt Romney is
going to step into boxing ring for a bout with Evander Holyfield. The
former Republican presidential candidate is going to spar with Holyfield,
who`s a five-time heavyweight boxing champ.

Romney will, however, be wearing full protective gear and a tuxedo. The
event is part of a fundraiser for a group in Utah called CharityVision,
which supports vision restoration surgery for people with curable blindness
around the world.

So, it is a big risk for a good cause. Now, up next, the aftermath from
Cyclone Pam.


A massive storm hit the island nation of Vanuatu over the weekend. The
category five --


-- cyclone destroyed more than 90 percent of the buildings, according to
the nation`s president, asking for international help. NBC`s Miguel
Almaguer has more.


state of emergency. And many here are in a state of shock.

This picturesque harbor is now a symbol of the disaster. The death toll
here is expected to climb as crew search for the missing in communities
that have been washed away.


Locals are calling their devastated island nation, "hell on earth." Boats
smashed, roads washed away, power out. Homes, bridges and hospitals are

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: It was terrifying. It was just the whole room was
just like it was raining inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1: Food, no. No light. All of our gardens are
destroyed by the wind.

ALMAGUER: A direct hit from a category five monster storm, with winds of
nearly 200 miles an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: I`ve never seen or heard anything like that noise.
It was frightening. It was supersonic.

ALMAGUER: What the winds didn`t rip apart, the ocean swallowed. On outer
islands, locals tell us, entire villages are washed away.

Vanuatu is a poor country also known as a paradise, the setting for the
reality show, "Survivor" in 2004.

This weekend, Hailey and Trent Williams saw their dream honeymoon become a

TRENT WILLIAMS, ON HONEYMOON IN VANUATU: Quite a destruction there is.

HAILEY WILLIAMS, ON HONEYMOON IN VANUATU: This beautiful five-star resort
just --


HAILEY WILLIAMS: -- levelled.

ALMAGUER: The true death toll may not be known here for weeks. This is
what search teams are up against -- a landscape that`s been ripped apart
and redefined.

Finding anyone in something like this would be a miracle. Tonight, the
storm has passed, leaving behind one of the worst disasters to ever ravage
the Pacific.

What do you do now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 2: I don`t know. I don`t know what to do now.


ALMAGUER: Neighboring nations are sending in military officials tonight to
help with the relief and supply effort here. They are also scouring all of
the neighboring islands to look for the missing.

Now, back to you.

MELBER: Thanks to Miguel --


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