'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: June 3, 2015
Guest: Eric Lichtblau, Jeremy Peters, Dana Milbank, Rob Watson
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again
tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, just when we get used to
it being the 21st century --
MADDOW: Yes --
O`DONNELL: You tell us a story like that, an amazing --
MADDOW: It`s amazing stuff, North Carolina, man, yes --
O`DONNELL: Really stunning --
MADDOW: Thanks --
O`DONNELL: Thank you Rachel. Well, we now know what Jeb Bush looks like
when he is not telling the truth and the Duggar family has a new defense
lawyer, Megyn Kelly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I`m running for president in 2016, if I
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb Bush has not actually announced his --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Candidacy.
BOB SCHIEFFER, JOURNALIST: You see, it`s pretty obvious that you`re
running for president.
BUSH: I`d like to run, but I haven`t made the decision.
JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Even Hillary was like, Bush,
SCHIEFFER: You`re raising huge amounts of money, do you feel that you have
violated the law --
BUSH: No --
BUSH: Of course not --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The family name may be affecting Jeb Bush.
BUSH: My brother is not going to be a problem at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time has made George --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bush look better to people --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call it united states of amnesia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush said this weekend that he has learned from his
brother`s successes. I haven`t even learned about --
His brother`s successes, so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate floor could be held hostage by presidential
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we`ve got some people running for national office
trying to, you know, draw attention to their campaigns.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Using the Senate floor to campaign for president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul who is fund-raising off of this, Marco Rubio,
Ted Cruz --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That at the end of the day, the Senate has to function.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindsey Graham is in New Hampshire --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be the first bachelor elected president in 130
years. And he`d also be the first candidate to choose his running mate in
an elaborate rose ceremony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Fred Wertheimer who was president of Common Cause for 14 years
and is now the president of Democracy 21 has spent his working life trying
to clean up our politics.
He has spent his working life fighting the corrupting influence of money in
our politics. The "New York Times" has called him, "the country`s leading
proponent of campaign finance reform and the dean of campaign finance
Many of the reforms that Fred Wertheimer has advocated are now part of
campaign finance law, and Fred Wertheimer believes that Jeb Bush is
violating that law.
He co-signed a 15-page letter with Gerald Hebert of the Campaign Legal
Center calling for an investigation into Jeb Bush`s willful violation of
federal campaign finance laws.
Fred Wertheimer did not follow the hopelessly naive path of sending that
letter to the Federal Election Commission, which has jurisdiction over
civil enforcement of campaign finance laws and mostly ignores those laws.
He sent that letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch who has prosecutorial
jurisdiction over criminal violations of campaign laws because Fred
Wertheimer believes that Jeb Bush is two things that Jeb Bush denies being;
a candidate for president and a criminal.
In his letter to the Attorney General, which reads like a highly detailed
criminal prosecution brief, Fred Wertheimer says both Bush and the right to
rise Super PAC are violating these prohibitions.
And in so doing, they are engaged in a scheme to allow unlimited
contributions to be sent directly on behalf of the Bush campaign and
thereby violate the candidate contribution limits enacted to prevent
corruption and the appearance of corruption.
There is only one defense that Jeb Bush has against these criminal
accusations and it is a defense that no one believes. The defense is that
he has not yet decided to run for president.
Here is Jeb Bush yesterday pretending that he has not yet decided to be a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: If I run, if I`m a candidate, and that decision is going to be
forthcoming real soon, my intention is to run on my record and my ideas and
run to try to win the presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is Bob Schieffer on Sunday raising questions provoked by
Fred Wertheimer`s letter to the Attorney General.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIEFFER: Do you think in some way you might be just at least violating
the spirit of the law? Do you feel that you have violated the law --
BUSH: No --
SCHIEFFER: Here? --
BUSH: Of course not, I would never do that, and I`m nearing the end of
this journey of traveling and listening to people garnering, trying to get
a sense of whether my candidacy would be viable or not.
We`re going to completely adhere to the law, for sure. Look, politics is
politics. There`s always people that are going to be carping on the
And should I be a candidate, and that will be in the relatively near future
where that decision will be made, there will be no coordination at all with
any Super PAC.
SCHIEFFER: Now, you`re not telling me that there is a possibility you may
BUSH: Look, I hope -- I hope I run, to be honest with you. I`d like to
run, but I haven`t made the decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, "New York Times" reporters Eric Lichtblau and
Jeremy Peters who is also an Msnbc analyst, and Msnbc political reporter
Kasie Hunt in Dallas.
Kasie Hunt, you`re on the campaign trail, you`ve seen Jeb Bush say this
stuff many times, that stuff about I haven`t really decided yet.
Every once in a while he slips up, but does he -- does he get it right
every -- most of the time? Is it like a 90 percent rate where he actually
says the words the way the lawyers are telling him to say it?
KASIE HUNT, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, MSNBC: Except for that one time,
But that sort of shows you exactly where his head is. And for him also to
tell Bob Schieffer I am hoping that I run, I mean, he is the only one that
can answer that question.
So, I`m a little unclear on what he is hoping for. But I think like in the
-- in the broad scheme of things here, you have to look at the fact that
this campaign is essentially rewriting the rule book for how to operate a
campaign in the context of this new Super PAC era.
We`re still waiting to see how it takes shape. But this Super PAC that`s
going to be supporting Jeb Bush`s eventual candidacy is, they`re talking
about having it be doing fund-raising, doing direct mail potentially,
polling, almost outsourcing the usual campaign functions to this Super PAC.
And we`re really in unchartered waters on that. And I will say, it`s not
just Bush. I mean you hear candidates on both sides of the aisle saying,
look, we may think this system is a problem, but I`m not going to be the
one that`s going to unilaterally disarm.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to that one moment Kasie just referred to where
Jeb Bush slipped, told the truth and then dropped back into the mode that
he is in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I`m running for president in 2016 and the focus is going to be about
how we -- if I run, how do you create high sustained economic growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Eric Lichtblau, there was, you know, he got the "if I run" back
in there. And in your report in the "New York Times" today, Fred
Wertheimer said certainly isn`t the only person who thinks this is a
violation of law.
ERIC LICHTBLAU, WASHINGTON BUREAU REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: No, I spoke
with a bunch of campaign finance lawyers who believe that he is -- if not -
- if not pushing the line, perhaps even crossing it at this point.
Because it is so clear to just about everyone that he is going to be a
candidate for president. And in the meantime, without declaring himself a
candidate, he is using the Super PAC that Kasie mentioned to raise as much
as a $100 million.
And get around the normal campaign finance restrictions that would be in
place if he, in fact, were a candidate.
O`DONNELL: And Jeremy, the big problem, political problem here, is he`s
reached -- he`s long past the point where everyone in Iowa who watches him
say that knows that he`s not telling the truth.
They`re sitting there watching him say something that they know he knows
isn`t true and they are looking at him and they`re looking at the way he
talks when he is very comfortably saying something that isn`t true.
And that just isn`t a good thing for a politician to get people used to
what you look like and sound like when you`re not telling the truth.
JEREMY PETERS, NEW YORK TIMES: It is a bit of an image problem. I think
one of the issues is -- and Eric lays this out pretty well in his story.
Is the problem with the law is that you get into reading somebody`s mind
and you can`t really prove what`s in Jeb Bush`s mind, and then the law
would need to be clarified.
And I think, you know, finding the political will to do that right now --
good luck. One of the things that struck me as so interesting about this
debate in this contest is this election is going to be fought, we think,
over a lot of populist ideas.
A lot of, you know, issues of economic populism. And it would seem that
campaign finance reform, especially with all of the very wealthy people who
are exerting so much influence.
It would seem that this is a moment that is right to take advantage of that
populist tenor right now, that`s really kind of infused the election.
O`DONNELL: And Eric, I want to go back to this notion that it`s hard to
tell when someone is a candidate or isn`t a candidate.
If you go into Fred Wertheimer`s letter, which is very specific about all
of the statutes involved here, and there are many.
In one of the thresholds that`s very clear is, an individual becomes a
candidate if the individual raises "funds in excess of what could
reasonably be expected to be used for exploratory activities.
Now, funds in excess of what could reasonably be used for exploratory
activities, he is way over that amount and has been for months and months
There`s very --
LICHTBLAU: Oh --
O`DONNELL: Clear lines, legal lines that this campaign has crossed.
LICHTBLAU: And there is even a clearer legal line that says that once you
have either raised or spent $5,000, well, Jeb Bush flew past that in the
first few seconds after he announced last December that he was actively
considered to run.
What he`s done though is to use this outside Super PAC so that it`s not his
campaign per se that`s raising the money since he doesn`t have a campaign.
It`s an outside Super PAC, so he can say, he has not raised a single dollar
himself. But meanwhile, the Super PAC is holding you know, $25,000 ahead
fundraisers in Washington and New York and Palm Springs.
And he`ll probably have over a $100 million in the bank by the time he
O`DONNELL: And Kasie, a lot of us have been treating this as kind of a
joke for a while, that oh, clearly, you know, you know, a couple of months
ago, this seemed like kind of a funny joke, obviously he`s decided.
On the trail when reporters are approaching him, is it getting more
uncomfortable when they start probing this question that has legal
HUNT: I think that the questions have gotten more pointed, Lawrence, and
it is a question to a certain extent of transparency which is how one
reporter put it to him on the trail earlier.
I think some of it stems from the fact that he did make that slip. And in
many ways, that`s one of those things where, you know, they say that you
tell the truth in politics when you say something that is true, but that
nobody actually wants to hear.
And this of course isn`t necessarily one of those apolitically correct
moments, but you know, he revealed himself in a way that we all knew to be
true with that slip-up.
And I think it started or helped kick start the conversation that we`re
having now. But again, I think that the other -- the other issue here that
we haven`t touched on is the toothlessness of the Federal Election
Commission at this point.
The way that it`s structured, the way that the complaints take, you know,
months and months to wind their way through the system.
It`s unclear to me how any of this gets addressed if that particular agency
continues to operate the way that it has.
O`DONNELL: Eric, talk about that, the -- how the FEC has in effect been
defanged by politicians.
LICHTBLAU: Sure, you know, I interviewed the chairwoman of the FEC, Ann
Ravel last month, who admitted to me that she sees no hope that the FEC
would enforce blatant campaign finance violations this election season.
We`ll probably have as much as $9 billion or $10 billion spent by November
2016, but there`s no reason to think the FEC will crack down on abuses and
there is no reason to think the Justice Department is going to -- is going
to step in.
Either despite letters from Fred Wertheimer and other people. And I think
it`s also worth pointing out that the governor, Governor Bush is one of
only a number of candidates who are doing this.
We also have Scott Walker, we have Chris Christie, we have Rick Perry and
others who are actively campaigning, who are raising money and yet have not
declared themselves candidates.
And yet, you know, they, too, fall in that same category. Jeb is just sort
of taking it to a whole another level in terms of the money he`s amassed
and the network that he`s set up.
O`DONNELL: Eric Lichtblau and Kasie Hunt, thank you both for joining us
HUNT: Thanks, Lawrence --
LICHTBLAU: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, what it means for the Senate when 5 percent of the
senators are running for president.
And Richard Clarke will join us to discuss the effects of the changes in
the Patriot Act that President Obama has signed into law.
And the Duggar family has a new defense lawyer, Megyn Kelly just guided
them through the easiest interview they could possibly have faced.
O`DONNELL: Another day -- Democrat decides to run for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINCOLN CHAFEE, FORMER RHODE ISLAND GOVERNOR: Elections are all about
choices and in the Democratic primary now, there is some choices and that`s
And I know that with my record, my high ethical standards and my vision for
the future, I`m going to be a good choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee today
became the fourth announced Democratic candidate for president.
Up next, how the Senate, United States Senate has become the campaign
headquarters for some presidential candidates.
O`DONNELL: The United States Senate used to be considered the liability
for candidates running for president, but with five senators running for
president, they are now trying to use the Senate to their advantage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: This is a debate about whether or not a
warrant with a single name of a single company can be used to collect all
the records, all of the phone records of all of the people in our country
with a single warrant.
I will object and I do, I object.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If you think these provisions of Obamacare are
so onerous, are so damaging, are killing so many jobs, why won`t you
provide an exemption for the people that live in your state?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: So, I wanted to come to the floor today to
speak about the risks that Iran poses to the world and as a result the
legislation before the Senate at this moment.
Sadly, I believe that the direction this deal is headed almost guarantees
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Dana Milbank, columnist of "The Washington
Post" and an Msnbc analyst who wrote a piece today entitled "Republican
Senators hold Congress hostage to their ambition."
And Jeremy Peters is back with us. Dana, what`s going on in the Senate as
you see it?
DANA MILBANK, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Lawrence, it`s sort of
what you would expect.
The Republican Party is largely leaderless left right now and where we
have, you know, maybe eight or ten official candidates and twice that many
unofficial candidates and of the four Republican candidates in the Senate.
Well, you want to break free from the pack, so you want to generate a lot
of attention. So, we saw a Rand Paul doing it this week on FISA and the
We`ve seen Ted Cruz do it on the Homeland Security shutdown, Loretta Lynch,
we`ve seen Marco Rubio do it early on Iran as in a clip you played.
We`ve seen Lindsey Graham do it with the export-import bank. And you know
what it is? It`s actually good for their campaign because it helps them
break free from the pack.
What is not good for is actually governing and you know, Mitch McConnell is
certainly pulling his hair out of this point, because he can`t keep things
in order here.
And this is how it`s going to be for the next year and a half or so. And
the ambitions of these guys running for office basically are at odds with
governing in a way they get ahead by proving that their own party in the
United States Senate can`t govern.
Jeremy Peters, I think this is going to be -- some of these calls are going
to be trickier than we might think. Obviously, there`s going to be a lot
of stumping by the candidates on the Senate floor when they can.
But the case of Rand Paul for example on the Patriot Act, he has been an
opponent of the Patriot Act, he was doing what was consistent with his
position on this.
It`s hard for me to imagine him approaching this any different even if he
were not a candidate for president.
PETERS: I agree with you 100 percent. This is the core of Rand Paul`s
convictions. I mean, this is as his top adviser put it to me the other
day, this is why Rand Paul is in the Senate.
So, even if he weren`t running for president, I don`t see this playing out
any other way, Rand Paul would have been on the floor objecting and then
cheering when he forced the expiration of this bill.
But I think the point that Dana made earlier about the way that government
has just not -- governing does not exist on Capitol Hill at the moment.
Has -- you know, this has been true for a while and that has given these
senators who are running for president an opening, an excuse to just kind
of basically perpetuate what`s been going on here.
So they don`t see any big break with the norm here by holding things up. I
mean, let`s not forget that Ted Cruz basically brought the government to --
the federal government to its knees in October of 2013 because he felt like
And he wasn`t running for president then. So this president has been there
for a while and I think, you know, unfortunately, having these guys all run
for the White House has just made what was already a problem quite worse.
O`DONNELL: And Dana, to Rand Paul`s actual points that he was making on
the Senate floor, I don`t see the math -- the political mathematics that
says that was helpful to his campaign.
And I don`t --
MILBANK: Yes --
O`DONNELL: See how that --
MILBANK: Yes, good --
O`DONNELL: Picks him up votes that he doesn`t already have out there among
Republican primary voters.
So this is a -- this is a difficult one, I think, to make the case that
this was for his campaign because I just don`t see -- I don`t --
MILBANK: No --
O`DONNELL: See how this helps his campaign. Am I missing something about
how that was working?
MILBANK: Well, look, it was timed with a -- his book release came at
exactly the same point when he was doing these interviews all over the
So -- and, you know -- and certainly the idea of having a ten-hour or
whatever filibuster it was on the floor is about showboating.
Now, I agree with you, I agree with Jeremy, this is very much his issue.
The irony here is if he hadn`t been doing the showboating, he had some very
serious, legitimate, reasonable amendments to this NSA Patriot Act
legislation that probably would have been accepted.
But he spent a week antagonizing his own Republican colleagues so much with
what he`d done, that they essentially wouldn`t take up his amendment.
So in the end, he wound up setting back his libertarian cause, his civil
liberties cause, but gained himself some publicity in the act of --
PETERS: Well --
MILBANK: Doing that. Now, does that help his campaign in the long run? I
don`t know, but the idea is he`s been flailing a bit anyway.
His campaign hasn`t taken off, presumably his calculation is getting him --
his face in the -- on the broadcast and his name in the headlines is going
to help him.
PETERS: He did -- he did benefit from some fortunate timing here. I mean,
the book tour just happened to coincide with his vote.
The book tour had been planned for months, so, I don`t -- I don`t know that
I would even view it quite that cynically. But I do think that there is a
benefit here in Rand reconnecting with his father`s supporters.
Now, let`s not forget that his father`s supporters, even though Rand`s last
name is Paul, were not on board with him 100 percent. There were a lot of
people who felt that he is -- you know, who still feel that he is
He`s not, you know, he`s not a true blooded libertarian. So, you know,
this allowed him to get back in front of them.
Whether it convinced enough of them, enough of them to give him the basis
support that he needs to do well in a state like Iowa.
I don`t know, but at least he is now getting a second look. And I`ve been
hearing a lot of that this week from libertarians I`ve been talking to is
that, they were wary of him and now they`re thinking to themselves --
MILBANK: Right --
PETERS: OK, I`ll give him a second chance.
MILBANK: And the -- and the -- and the broader picture here is Rand Paul
is polling basically about half of where he was, if you look at the -- at
the horse race maybe a year ago, and his filibuster this time was largely
unsuccessful compared to where he had been before.
So, I think he`s probably maxed out in terms of what he`s going to get with
the libertarians and he needs to somehow broaden his base from this point
Not clear to me how he does that, but I think basically this was a
situation of, you know, make sure they spell your name right and get your
face out there.
O`DONNELL: Dana Milbank and Jeremy Peters, thank you both for joining us
MILBANK: Thanks Lawrence --
PETERS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Duggar family was carefully guided through an
interview tonight about child molestation in their family by their new
defense lawyer Megyn Kelly on "Fox News".
O`DONNELL: Investigators were back at the scene today in the Roslindale
section of Boston where yesterday an FBI agent and Boston police officers
shot and killed a man who authorities say was plotting to kill law
enforcement officials and was under a 24-hour surveillance by the U.S.
joint terrorism task force.
Boston police said 26-year-old Usaama Rahim threatened them with a
military-styled knife after he was stopped for questioning in the parking
lot of a CVS.
Police said they opened fire on Usaama Rahim after he refused to stand
down. "Nbc`s" justice correspondent Pete Williams has new details on that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: NBC News has learned that three weeks ago, based
on Rahim`s social media postings and messages, the FBI put him under 24-
hour a day surveillance.
Agents disclosed today that they were watching as he went online, May 25th
and 27th ordering three knives with long blades from Amazon. They say Rahim
and two others met last Sunday and talked about Rahim`s plan to behead a
victim in another state, someone not named in court documents.
But just yesterday the FBI says Rahim changed his plan, saying in a
wiretapped phone call that he wanted to attack police Tuesday or Wednesday,
adding, "I`m just going to go after them, those boys in blue, because it`s
the easiest target."
Yesterday morning, alarmed by that call, the FBI decided to break cover and
question him before he got on a bus with one of his knives.
O`DONNELL: Law enforcement officials tell NBC News that the victim, Usaama
Rahim, talked about killing in another state with conservative activist
Pamela Geller who gained attention last month when a police officer foiled
an attack outside a Draw Mohammed event her group was hosting in Garland,
Officials tell NBC News that unlike the plot to kill police, discussion
about killing Pamela Geller was just talk and more like a fantasy.
Another suspect in the investigation was in federal court in Boston today.
25-year-old David Wright was charged with conspiring with Usaama Rahim to
destroy evidence of the plans. According to court documents, the suspects
were monitored using phone surveillance.
Last night, President Obama signed the USA Freedom Act which continues most
of the provisions of the Patriotic Act, but ends the government`s bulk
collection of telephone records.
Joining us now is Richard Clarke who served the previous three presidents
as a senior White House adviser on issues from cyber security to
counterterrorism. He also served as counterterrorism adviser for President
Obama`s first campaign. He is the author of the new book "Pinnacle Event."
Richard Clarke, looking at the security situation through the situation in
Boston, did anything happen in the change in the law from the Patriotic Act
to this new version of the law that would affect this kind of investigation
that was going on in Boston?
RICHARD A. CLARKE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER IN COUNTERTERRORISM:
Absolutely nothing. This is a case of the system working very well. Using
the law the way it is now and the way it was before, going to the FISA
court, getting a court order, getting wiretaps, putting someone under
surveillance, and being able to act quickly. The change in the law only
restricts programs that, frankly, didn`t work. Programs like the telephone
O`DONNELL: And what does it take? When we hear in Pete Williams` story
that they decided to put him under 24-hour surveillance, what do you have
to do to earn that surveillance?
CLARKE: The 24-hour surveillance is extremely rare because it takes a lot
of people to do it. The FBI have to believe, based on conversations and
Facebook chatter, that there`s some imminent threat that the person
involved is not just interested in terrorism, but is about to commit a
terrorist act. And in this case, apparently, he was.
O`DONNELL: And in your view, to go back to what`s happened in the Congress
on changing the components now of the Patriotic Act, Mitch McConnell
described that as a victory for Edward Snowden. Is that the way you would
CLARKE: No. Lawrence, when the Snowden revelation started, the president
appointed five of us to an intelligence review group to look at all these
programs and to look at the law and to make recommendations for change.
Six of our recommendations for change are incorporated in the USA Freedom
What`s so disturbing about this whole episode with Mitch McConnell and
frankly with the White House is the way they`ve exaggerated the importance
of programs that really are not that valuable. Mitch McConnell made a big
deal about trying to save a program that had never once prevented a
terrorist attack. A program that everyone was willing to give up inside
All the experts were willing to give it up. Mitch McConnell was out there
trying to protect it. And then you have the president of the White House
saying, oh, we can`t have a gap in coverage here because there were
important things like the lone wolf provision.
Lawrence, they`ve never used the lone wolf provision. And so I think what
O`DONNELL: What is the lone wolf provision?
CLARKE: It means that you can -- you can go after a terrorist even if you
can`t identify that person as belonging to al Qaeda or ISIS. In other
words, you don`t have an organization behind them, but you think they`re
going to be a terrorist, anyway, an anarchist. They`ve never used it. And
I think it really diminishes the credibility of the administration, of the
FBI, and certainly of Mitch McConnell when they make these exaggerated
claims about the need for these laws that, frankly, have never been used in
some cases or have never been productive in others.
O`DONNELL: And in your experience working inside the administration, the
exaggerated claims seems to have infected all of our politics. It used to
apply mostly to domestic issues and even just a certain range of domestic
issues. But it seems that in the 21st century, we have seen the executive,
the president, exaggerate a situation involving national security,
involving foreign policy, in order to get to some outcome that might
include a lesser version of what they`re actually asking for.
This kind of -- this public negotiating stance where you claim you need,
you know, 100 percent of this thing when you know 80 percent will be
perfectly useful. Is that your sense of how this is working now in the
CLARKE: I think it`s more a matter of the media people in the White House
and the administrations, both in the last two administrations. Where they
want to paint a cartoon picture of the world because they want to simplify
things so that they can persuade people. They play down to the American
people. And frankly, it doesn`t work because, ultimately, someone will
say, hey, that`s wrong. You`re exaggerating, and then they will lose
credibility. They would be much better off telling the somewhat more
complicated but truthful answer.
O`DONNELL: Now the commission that President Obama created, that you`re a
member of, that suggested these changes in the Patriotic Act that have now
largely been affected, is that something you could imagine the Bush
administration -- could you imagine that being their reaction to the
CLARKE: Oh, hell no, no. You know, the people on the commission had all
worked in the White House before for some president or other. We had
people like the former acting director of CIA. We had me who -- national
security for 30 years. We were not the ACLU. But we came out in the same
place as the ACLU on a lot of these provisions because we know with the new
technology, what a government can do to take away privacy.
And we also know that in our lifetime, the government has abused its
ability to do that sort of thing. Not now, but in our lifetime. And so we
think there has to be more transparency and oversight because some day you
might not have a Barack Obama in the White House and some day you might
have somebody more like Dick Cheney who comes up with these programs which
are clearly illegal and, in this case, unproductive, but could erode or
O`DONNELL: Richard Clarke, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, the Duggar family speaks for the first time about sexual
molestation within their family. And luckily, they were speaking to the
friendliest interviewer they could have found.
O`DONNELL: Well, by now, we all know what happens to guys with TV shows
when they stop doing their TV shows for a few months.
Presenting Stephen Colbert`s beard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": There are two
things that anyone with a beard knows. One, you rely on your loved ones to
tell you when there`s cheese in it. And two, when you shave, you get to
redefine your whole face and that`s great because I need to find a new look
for the new show.
What would I look like with a moustache, say, or a Vandyke or whatever
Chuck Todd calls that thing that`s crawling around his mouth. So let`s see
what we can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" debuts September 8th.
Up next, Megyn Kelly just did an hour long interview with the Duggar family
about child molestation in their family, and she sounded like a member of
the family herself.
O`DONNELL: Tonight, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of TLC`s "19 Kids and
Counting" talked to FOX News about their son Josh Duggar who confessed to
molesting five girls, including four of his little sisters when he was a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM BOB DUGGAR, FATHER, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": Twelve years ago, we went
through one of the most darkest times that our family has ever gone
through. And our son, Josh, came to us on his own and he was crying. And
he had just turned 14 and he said that he had actually improperly touched
some of our daughters. And it was --
MICHELLE DUGGAR, MOTHER, "19 KIDS AND COUNTING": We were shocked. I mean,
we were just devastated. I don`t think any parent is prepared for a trauma
like that. And I think we had one ray of hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The parents said that Josh told them several times that he had
inappropriately touched his sisters, but it wasn`t until he admitted
touching one of his very young sisters that the parents sought help outside
of the home. Of course, all of these girls were very young, but the
Duggars somehow made a distinction for one of them being the youngest and
that somehow spurned them to more action.
Here is Michelle Duggar talking about the day that Josh left for what they
call -- and never really described -- a Christian treatment program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. DUGGAR: That evening, whether they left and took him --
J. DUGGAR: That same night.
M. DUGGAR: That same day.
J. DUGGAR: They took him out.
M. DUGGAR: He just was weeping and shared immediately what he had done.
And so we were weeping and the little one was like, what`s wrong? Where --
why is daddy and Josh leaving as we`re all weeping. The next day and for
days and days I was saying, you know, Josh has done some very bad things
and he`s -- he`s very sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The biggest outrage that Jim Bob and Michelle see in this story
is the unauthorized release of juvenile criminal records. That has now
become their new cause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. DUGGAR: It was actually -- this information was released illegally.
And so I wonder why all of this press is not going after the system for
releasing his juvenile records. That is a huge story. Now what our son
did 12 years ago is -- I`m sure it`s a major story to them, too. But yet
hopefully justice will be served on the ones that released juvenile records
to protect other juveniles from their records being released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Kevin Fallon, senior entertainment reporter at
"The Daily Beast" and Mary Gail Frawley-O`Dea, a clinic psychologist who
has worked with sexual abuse survivors for 30 years.
Kevin, first of all, to the interview, I cannot imagine a softer,
friendlier interview. If they had chosen someone from the family instead
of Megyn Kelly to do this, she framed the whole thing at the beginning in
those classic FOX News culture war terms of, you know, the Duggars are on
our side, FOX News` side of the culture wars, and all those critics -- she
kept referring to people who think there might be something wrong in the
Duggar family as critics, as if there`s some mean streak in them.
KEVIN FALLON, THE DAILY BEAST: I would agree that I think a lot of us were
really hoping for an interview where the moderator would be like wagging
her finger at them and shaming them and damning them to hell.
O`DONNELL: Well, look, no, no. At least -- no, no. I mean, just things
like -- just the slightest hint of skepticism. What Megyn Kelly did was
not just accept every word they say as absolute truth, she glossed over all
sorts of basic facts of this thing that we already know.
FALLON: Yes. I will agree that she did accept everything at face value,
but I do think that she asked a lot of questions a lot of us are wondering
and with the big many questions, she even teased them herself as the big
many questions, like the ones you want to stick around for. She asked what
they were thinking about signing on for reality TV show after hiding all
this stuff for over a decade.
She asked, you know, how they view -- do they view themselves as hypocrites
with all of us attacking them as. So I think that she did ask a lot of the
really tough questions. But like you said, she glossed over a lot of
things and she didn`t really give them the kind of hell that we wish that
O`DONNELL: Mary Gail Frawley-O`Dea, how would you -- as a clinical
psychologist, what was your reaction to what you were hearing in how the
parents treated this situation? Admittedly an incredibly difficult
situation to figure out how to deal with.
MARY GAIL FRAWLEY-O`DEA, WORKS WITH SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS: Well, I think
that one of the things that they did then and they`re still doing is to
minimize it. At one point Jim Bob said, well, it wasn`t rape, and he made
a point saying several times that it was just over the clothes and that the
girls themselves didn`t even now it was happening.
And one of the things I thought of is that family -- it wasn`t safe in that
family for the girls to know what was happening or to speak of what they
knew was happening, and that they`re assuming that they do know everything
that happened when they only know what their son told them happened. So I
think they`re minimizing it.
I think also that Jim Bob still has an arrogance about it that they have
done the best they could as parents and yet he decided who would be
involved in knowing about this and when and how. He chose to whom his son
would disclose. They acknowledged during the interview that the treatment
center such as it is, that he was sent to, did not have professional
counselors involved, although they said later he did have professional
So I -- I think that it was a minimization and an arrogance that continues
even now. And as you said, they are now the victims, which is kind of a
classic institutional response to sexual abuse. And I guess if you have 19
kids and two sons-in-laws and some grandchildren and you`re an institution.
But that`s basically what the Catholic Church said also when their scandal
broke loose that it was people who had an agenda, it was anti-Catholics who
took a few bad apples and turned it into a scandal.
So I think that this family -- everybody failed these girls and failed
Joshua. Their parents, certainly, the elders, the counselors, nobody
really did what they should have done until Harpo TV, Oprah`s company,
O`DONNELL: Yes. Leave it to Oprah to be the only one in the story who
does the right thing.
O`DONNELL: Mary Gail, quickly, because we`re going to have to take a
break, we`re going to come back to it, but what do you make of in this
entire interview, this entire hour, the only outrage I saw and the only
outrage I heard from Megyn Kelly and the Duggars was about the violation of
privacy of juvenile records. That was what got them outraged.
FRAWLEY-O`DEA: Right. Well, and unfortunately it`s typical in incestuous
families for the family to deny the societal response. The family`s
default response to sexual abuse is denial. It wasn`t that bad. He didn`t
mean it. It`s not going to happen again. He confessed. He says he`s
sorry. That unfortunately is the classic response and more common than
not. But you`re right, the only outrage was about their being victimized.
O`DONNELL: Kevin Fallon and Mary Gail Frawley-O`Dea, thank you very much
for joining us tonight.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the father who wrote an open letter to Michelle
Duggar asking for an apology for disparaging his family and fighting
against his right to marry.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have a man who wants an apology from Michelle
O`DONNELL: Here is a robocall that Michelle Duggar made last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. DUGGAR: The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this
Tuesday night that would allow men -- yes, I said men -- to use women`s and
girls` restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas
that are designated for females only.
I don`t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past
child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right
to enter private areas reserved for women and girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Megyn Kelly asked her about that tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. DUGGAR: I think that protecting young girls and not allowing young men
and men in general to go into a girls` locker room is just common sense.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But this is different because you injected
child molestation to it.
J. DUGGAR: I think she actually said pedophile in that and actually
pedophile is an adult that preys on children. Joshua was actually 14 and
just turned 15 when he did what he did. And I think the legal definition
is 16 and up for being an adult preying on a child. So he was a child
preying on a child.
KELLY: So you do not view Josh as a pedophile?
J. DUGGAR: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Robert Watson, a gay father of two boys who
wrote Michelle Duggar a letter asking her to apologize for her advocacy
against LGBT rights.
And, Rob, I just want to clarify for the audience that apparently we
clipped off some of that for time, but what Michelle Duggar was talking
about, as Megyn Kelly made clear, is she was talking about the possible
rights of transsexuals to -- transsexual women to use ladies rooms, girls
rooms. That`s what this was about. This was -- this ordinance had nothing
to do with the possibility of convicted pedophiles being allowed to go in
there and do this. But tell me your reaction to what you heard tonight.
ROB WATSON, EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: I was very
frustrated from a parent. I didn`t hear an honest account. What they
described, their reactions, were not -- didn`t pass the litmus test for me
as a parent. But also on the issue you`re talking about for transgender
people, they were totally mischaracterized. That is not what a transgender
And Megyn Kelly didn`t dwell on that. She let them change the subject and
they didn`t even touch on the other campaign that the Duggar family has
against LGBT families. I wrote a letter trying to reach the humanity in
Michelle Duggar from the humanity of me as a dad and there was no human
there in that interview. She was -- it was either denial or whitewashing
and I`m not sure which.
O`DONNELL: You know, I had never seen these people or heard their voices
before tonight. And so, you know, it`s -- I don`t have any pre-existing
impression of them prior to tonight. But, you know, clearly they`re trying
to hang on to this TV show, which is worth a lot of money to them. But it
-- I think they clearly did have a very difficult dilemma within that
family. If you just try to throw out all the atmospherics that are around
this right now, what do you do in that situation where the son comes and
tells you this stuff and you`ve got obligations to your son, you have
obligations to your daughters?
WATSON: They did have a dilemma. What my interpretation of it was when
they described it was that they made everything perfect. He came back, he
was a changed man. Everything was fine.
WATSON: It was great.
O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s right.
WATSON: And then their MO is to then attack people they don`t understand,
which is LGBT families who are made up of families that are adopting foster
O`DONNELL: Yes. And then Megyn Kelly asked them if they`re worried, you
know, after he came back that there might still be a threat and they said,
oh, absolutely not, he`s completely changed, like you say, like a miracle
Rob Watson, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
WATSON: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Chris Hayes is up next.
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