Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, August 24th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: August 24, 2015
Guest: Robert Reich, Jared Bernstein, Josh Barro, Susan Sarandon, George

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: In the story as it develops -- "Onion" as a
news satirical newspaper, I mean, every time you peel open one layer of
this thing, there is another absolutely incredible layer lurking just

We will keep an eye on this story as it develops, please watch this space.
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 evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, you leave me wondering how many
days left in the Rand Paul for president campaign.

MADDOW: I know --

O`DONNELL: It just can`t be that long.

MADDOW: It`s Rick Perry versus Rand Paul, they`re unto the opposite of the
finish line.

O`DONNELL: Exactly --

MADDOW: That`s right --

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel --

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, the stock market has gone up steadily every year during
the Obama presidency and Republicans have never given President Obama any
credit for that.

But today, when the stock market went down, Republicans knew exactly who to
blame -- President Obama, of course.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news from Wall Street, stocks plunging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was by Wall Street`s standards a historic drop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After some half-hearted rallies, the Dow dropping more
than 3.5 percent --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This wasn`t about the U.S. economy faltering, it`s
about the global economy losing steam.

TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: We have nobody that has a clue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more chaos, I think the better for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the selling kind of came out of fear --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically, it`s worries about China`s economy and
China`s market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even the markets are exciting to watch, they don`t
represent the whole of the economy. Try not to get mesmerized or nauseated
by political nonsense.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: The President of China is coming; a man named Xi

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States has a big economy, it`s deep, it`s
resilient and it`s more or less stable.

O`REILLY: Do you know Xi Jinping? I never heard of him, I don`t know who
he is.

UNIDENTIFIFED FEMALE: Vice President Joe Biden held a surprised private
meeting with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the story that`s really electrifying
Washington; the whole political world --

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Presidential candidates on both
sides, Republicans and Democrats are laying out their agendas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biden would be 74 years old at inauguration, if
elected, as older than President Reagan was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you that my 95-year-old grandmother in
Illinois still drives to work and goes to work, so I`m sure she would
consider Joe Biden to be a pretty young French chicken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden`s great treasure right now is his
trustworthiness, his authenticity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is the original authentic candidate.


O`DONNELL: The markets in Asia have just opened, the Shanghai index is
down 6 percent right now.

This comes one day after what`s being called China`s black Monday; the
collapse of China`s stock market today was followed by drops in markets
around the world.

Here in New York, the Dow fell 588 points today. President Obama`s Press
Secretary Josh Earnest said this.


calls to Chinese officials about this, but the President as a matter of
course is updated on developments in the economy.

The Treasury Department has been closely monitoring global markets
including those financial markets in China.

You`ve also seen read-outs that have been issued by the Treasury Department
of conversations that Secretary Lew has had with senior Chinese officials
in the last couple of weeks.

Most of those conversations however have focused on the recent shift in
China`s exchange rate regime and its economic reform agenda.

And this is consistent with the case that we have long made to -- made to
China, that they should continue to pursue financial reform to increase
exchange rate flexibility and to move rapidly toward a more market-
determined -- a more market determined exchange rate system.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, Bill O`Reilly began the discussion of the subject with
the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination by admitting
that he, Bill O`Reilly has no idea who the President of China is, and then
Bill O`Reilly treated Donald Trump as Fox News China expert.


O`REILLY: Why do you think the stock market is going down?

TRUMP: Well, you look at what`s going on with China or generally with
Asia, and you know, I`ve been saying for a long time on your show and on
anybody else that wanted to listen that we`re tying ourselves so closely to
Asia, and in particular to China that this is going to be trouble for our

And not only now have they taken our jobs, and they`ve taken our base, and
they`ve taken our manufacturing, but now they`re pulling us down with them.

And I said we can`t do this. We can`t allow this to happen. And we have
to do a big uncoupling pretty soon before it`s too late.


O`DONNELL: This afternoon, Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker
said President Obama should cancel a state visit with the President of


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Why would we be giving one of our
highest things a president can do, and that is a state dinner for Xi
Jinping; the head of China, at a time when all these problems are pending
out there.

We should say those should only be -- those honors should only be bestowed
upon leaders and countries that are our allies and supporters of the United
States, not just for China, which is a strategic competitor.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, economist Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and an Msnbc contributor.

Also with us, Robert Reich, former Clinton Labor Secretary and professor at
the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "Saving
Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few", that`s out September 29th.

Also with us, Josh Barro, reporter for the "New York Times" and an Msnbc
contributor. Professor Reich, do these Republican candidates have it

Do they have anything about this situation right?

BERKELEY: Well, I don`t think they have anything right, Lawrence about


But particularly about this situation. I mean, the idea of somehow
dividing the world, getting ourselves independent of China; the largest
economy in the world is absurd on its face.

This kind of isolationism, jingoism, kind of, you know, first Trump hated
Mexicans or at least gave the impression he did, and now it`s all the
Chinese fault.

This doesn`t help the situation one iota. Now, the big problem here, if
there is any fault at all, it`s that China is growing so fast, it`s the
biggest economy in the world, and it`s not as transparent as it needs to be
as hard for investors to know exactly what`s going on in China.

Which means that it is easy to overshoot in terms of hopes and also
overshoot in terms of fears.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of China expert Donald Trump with Bill
O`Reilly tonight.


TRUMP: Our government -- our government should have stopped China from
devaluing --

O`REILLY: They can`t! --

TRUMP: They never even bring them up, it`s the number -- of course they
can --


TRUMP: You know how they can?

O`REILLY: Yes, how?

TRUMP: Very simply, Bill, it`s so simple, they put a tariff on Chinese

O`REILLY: All right --

TRUMP: You know --

O`REILLY: You`re going to --

TRUMP: China --

O`REILLY: Then you got a trade war, all right --

TRUMP: Yes, I do --

O`REILLY: Then you got to trade --

TRUMP: You have to do that and then --

O`REILLY: All right --

TRUMP: You bring it back to normal. You have no choice, you do --


TRUMP: That. Our government doesn`t even -- and by the way, China does it
to us. Do you think that we sell to China without a tariff? They call it a
tariff, I call it a tax.

O`REILLY: There`s --


O`DONNELL: Jared Bernstein, your reaction?

I`m closer to Bob Reich than Donald Trump on this so far, let me put it
that way.

I do think that there is a good question, I think, in the economy today as
to how much exposure does the American economy have to these upheavals that
we`ve seen in the last few days, particularly today in the markets.

That`s actually a good substantive question, but you won`t get that at all
from the kind of bombastic you just heard from Trump. For example, I`d
love someone to ask Donald Trump what share of U.S. exports go to China?

Because if China is weakening, one might say there is a problem for the
U.S. economy if our share of exports is predictably large. In fact, it`s
about 7 percent, that`s not nothing.

But neither is it anything that`s going to derail the U.S. recovery. So
yes, we`re very interconnected and there are real issues here. I don`t
think you`re going to get them talking to politicians who are just trying
to scapegoat.

O`DONNELL: So Jared, we`ve been running a segment on the show called
questions for Donald Trump that we hope will -- some point will be asked in
the presence of the debates.

But here is the -- here is the -- you don`t give the answer, OK? You just
give the --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, yes --

O`DONNELL: Question --

BERNSTEIN: That would --

O`DONNELL: And then we let --


O`DONNELL: Trump try to figure out the answer. Well, let`s listen to what
Carly Fiorina said to Chuck Todd yesterday about this.


CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Let me start with the news of the
week in the markets. You obviously -- is a former CEO, what`s going on?

inevitable. I was expecting this a bit sooner. It`s inevitable because
you have a huge economy like China slowing down.

The Chinese economy clearly is struggling now in a serious way, that has a
big impact. You have the Federal Reserve, it`s going to have to stop
printing money eventually, and people see that coming.


O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, there`s a little bit more substance in that answer.

JOSH BARRO, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, well, I mean, I think the first part of
that was correct, which is that China has been growing at 8 percent or more
a year for decades, which was not going to go on forever.

And we`re seeing a slow down as Bob discussed, we don`t know exactly how
much of a slowdown it is because the data that you get from the Chinese
government is not very reliable.

They say their economy is growing at 7 percent --


BARRO: That`s pretty clearly not true, but --

O`DONNELL: Right --

BARRO: We don`t know what the right number is. But I think something that
we`re not getting from the right or the left is that, this
interconnectedness is inevitable.

We saw a statement from Bernie Sanders there about how this is a result of
years of unbalanced trade policies. And we have had unbalanced trade
policies with China.

But the thing is, if those policies had been balanced, if China, back when
its economy was growing strongly, had had a stronger currency, hadn`t been
basically playing with the system so that their exports would be especially

Basically, they would have been selling us less stuff, we would have been
selling them more stuff. We would still be very interconnected.

In fact, we`d be sending more exports to China and we would be more exposed
to risk when the Chinese economy falters.

So, I think what we need from politicians which is honesty we`re not
getting is that this interconnectedness is inevitable in the world today.

And we just need to figure out how to create buffers. We actually had a
really big policy success 20 years ago.

There were financial crisis that swept through Asia, all of these crisis
that happened there, the U.S. government and other governments around the
world put up a lot of money to protect governments that were under pressure
from their creditors because there was a financial panic.

That`s the sort of thing that can be necessary in situations like this.
Those are the sorts of things that governments need to be prepared to do.

It`s not about scapegoating and not about pinning this as us versus China.
Because in fact, right here, we`re dependent on China doing the right
things for itself.

What we want now --

REICH: All right --

BARRO: Is for China to do things that will grow its own economy so they
don`t drag us down.

O`DONNELL: And let`s --

REICH: Lawrence, if I could just --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead --

REICH: Hop in just quickly. You know, blaming China or even making this
conversation centered on China does sort of alleviate the United States of
our own responsibility here.

I mean, we`ve got a middle class that has not grown in terms of purchasing
power and yet, we expect somehow we`re going to maintain enough purchasing
power to continue to grow the economy.

That`s absurd. Secondly, we still have a financial sector that is engaging
in a great deal of speculation.

People are concerned -- for example about commodities markets, well, look
at Wall Street and look at the speculation in commodities.

Look at the volatility we`ve had, you know, volatility is directly related
to speculation. So, let`s not blame China for everything --

BERNSTEIN: I think --

REICH: That`s going on today --

BERNSTEIN: I think that`s a great point. I also would like to distinguish
between the stock market and the real economy. I didn`t think today was
pretty by any stretch of the imagination.

It was an ugly day for the stock market. But the stock market is not
necessarily the real economy. And when Josh correctly points out that
China is slowing down, we don`t know how much.

If it is growing, say, at 5 percent, that`s not a disaster for China. And
in fact, much of what China is trying to do is to grow a little bit faster
through internal consumption and less excessive bubbly kinds of

So actually, I am not sure that the interconnectedness which is very real,
is painting as negative an economic picture as it might sound.

Markets are doing their thing, these financial markets are doing their
thing, they`re correcting some big bubbles, I`m not sure that the
underlying growth picture is obviously a big problem going forward, we`ll
have to see.

O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, you know, that thing you mentioned from Bernie
Sanders, I read that, and it wasn`t all that clear to me that he was
specifically referring to the stock market drop today.

There was real silence out of the Democratic side of the presidential
campaign. And that`s why I`m not playing you anything that the Democratic
candidates had to say about this, because they didn`t say anything about

BARRO: Yes, well, I mean I think -- there have been real problems that
have been created in the U.S. economy from trade policies that have created
these imbalances.

We basically had high unemployment for years in part because we`ve run
these big trade deficits, let China make everything instead of us making

There isn`t really news about that this week. So, that`s a fine thing to
point out, but that doesn`t really have much to do with what`s going wrong
in the China stock market or what`s going wrong in our stock market.

O`DONNELL: All right, everyone stay with us, coming up in our series of
interviewing presidential candidates, another Republican presidential
candidate will join us tonight.

Also Susan Sarandon will be here to discuss the case of a man on death row
scheduled to be executed in three weeks. And according to reports tonight,
Biden has the blessing.

The Biden for president campaign is just a bumper sticker away from maybe
being a reality.


O`DONNELL: Last night, wrestling fan Jon Stewart hosted a big, fake
wrestling event and said this --


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: You know, I`ve spent the past 16
years talking about politics, it`s nice to be back in reality.


Let me tell you the difference between politics and what you`re going to
see tonight. The WWE performers that you will see tonight, they respect
their audience.


O`DONNELL: Up next, this just in. A statement from the Vice President`s
office about his discussion with President Obama today about possibly
running for president.


O`DONNELL: There are reports tonight indicating that Vice President Joe
Biden is leaning toward a 2016 run for the presidency.

These reports come after Joe Biden met privately with Senator Elizabeth
Warren at the Vice President`s residence in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
Those kinds of meetings don`t take place on Saturdays in August in

Today, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about how
President Obama would react to Joe Biden running for president.


EARNEST: The President has indicated his view that the decision that he
made, I guess, seven years ago now to add Joe Biden to the ticket as his
running mate was the smartest decision that he ever made in politics.

And I think that should give you some sense of the president`s view of Vice
President Biden`s aptitude for the top job.


O`DONNELL: And of course, that answer led to a very logical follow-up


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I assume, I mean, as our president would support
Vice President Biden if he were to run? And this obviously a better
decision than the Secretary of State he chose.


EARNEST: So, well, let me suggest --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you said it was his best -- the best decision he

EARNEST: Yes, it was, it was. And I think what the President had spoke at
quite some length about the appreciation, respect and admiration he has for
the service of Secretary Clinton, particularly in her four years as
Secretary of State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just not his best decision.

EARNEST: Well, again, I think all of you and your coverage of some of the
President`s comments about Secretary Clinton have noted how warm those
comments were.

I`ll just say that you know, the Vice President is somebody who has already
run for president twice. He`s been on a national ticket through two
election cycles now, both in 2008 and the re-election of 2012.

And so I think you could the case that there is probably no one in American
politics today who has a better understanding of exactly what is required
to mount a successful national presidential campaign.


O`DONNELL: And after a report emerged tonight indicating that Joe Biden
got President Obama`s blessing this afternoon at their one-on-one luncheon
of blessing to run for president.

We just have received this statement from Kate Bedingfield, she`s Vice
President Biden`s spokesperson. She says in her statement, "sources
continue to speculate about something they know nothing about.

The lunch was a private meeting between two people; the President and the
Vice President." Josh Barro, as a journalist, evaluating that particular -

BARRO: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Statement, did we just learn anything?

BARRO: That statement is not a denial --

O`DONNELL: It`s not a --

BARRO: First of all --

O`DONNELL: No, it`s a nothing.

BARRO: It says -- it has unabridged without denying the report, I mean the
sourcing in this report was that a senior Democrat said this is what
happened in the meeting.

Now, I can think -- a couple of --

O`DONNELL: There`s --

BARRO: Senior Democrats --

O`DONNELL: There are two senior Democrats in that meeting.

BARRO: Yes --

O`DONNELL: One is President Obama, the other is the Vice President. For
this to be properly sourced as we have every reason to believe it is, it
would have to be one of them.

BARRO: I mean, that would make sense. I don`t know, but the broader
pattern --


BARRO: With this --

O`DONNELL: Which one has an incentive to leak? --

BARRO: That`s a good question. And this has been the broader pattern with
this -- with the -- I mean, we were talking in the break, the deathbed
conversation with his son.

There are not that many people in the room when you are having a deathbed
conversation with your son and then it ends up in this case in "New York
Times" Op-ed page in an account of this.

It`s clear -- I don`t know whether Joe Biden will run for president, it is
very clear from the context clues that Joe Biden would very much like
people to believe that he`s going to run for president.

And while that`s been true for a while, I think the attitude in the press
as of a month ago and before had been, Joe Biden wants people to think he`s
in the running, but he`s not going to run.

The move that he`s taken over the last month in these various things that
we`ve seen including this stuff today with the meeting, with the President
and these warm comments from Josh Earnest seem to be indicating that he --
that this is actually a thing that he`s going to do.

O`DONNELL: Jared Bernstein, this reminds me of other politicians I`ve seen
in this situation where they are very actively, consciously planning to run
for president.

And sometimes, as I believe in the case of Mario Cuomo that we saw here a
generation ago in New York, they never actually make it to announcement day
because the plan gets canceled before they get to announcement day.

You worked for Vice President Biden in this administration as one of his
economists and one of his advisors, what is your reaction to the way this
story is developing?

BERNSTEIN: I think that the Vice President is probably looking at the
layer of the land. I thought the likelihood of him jumping in -- or maybe
a month ago was really low.

But as Secretary Clinton has stumbled, she had a tough August, I think,
perhaps that probability needs to go up. That was how I was thinking about

And now you have these developments that you and Josh were just discussing,
and of course at this point, it`s gone significantly higher.

However, he`s late. There is a fair bit of money wrapped up, now I
understand that there may be some donors that are interested in helping to
support him.

It is a little bit tough to get your ground game going at this point in the
game. And again, there are contingencies I suspect, that is; if the
frontrunner on the Democratic primary side begins to pull away in a
significant -- to a significant extent, some of that calculus on his part
might change.

So, it`s not a done deal in my view by a long shot.

REICH: You know, Lawrence, if a politician or in fact anybody is thinking
about running for president, normally they set up an exploratory committee
so-called, where they kind of test the waters.

But a sitting vice president can`t set up an exploratory committee. And I
think what Joe Biden has been doing and with all of these maneuvers over
the last month has been doing the equivalent of an exploratory committee
and he`s getting closer.

If I were a betting man, and I`m not, I would say we`re going to see a Joe
Biden enter the race.

O`DONNELL: Well, it seems that Joe Biden is his exploratory committee, he
certainly -- I think the exploratory committee chairman and that meeting
with Elizabeth Warren this weekend is so unusual under these circumstances.

Let`s listen to what Elizabeth Warren said on local Boston television.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it a mistake for your party to anoint her as the
nominee so early on?

WARREN: Oh, I don`t think anybody`s been anointed. I think that what`s
going on right now is that presidential candidates on both sides,
Republican and Democrats are laying out their agendas.

And this is going to give voters a chance to look at them and decide.


O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, I`ve been watching her a lot in the Boston coverage
and elsewhere -- and Elizabeth Warren is masterful at never saying anything
negative about Hillary Clinton.

And as far as I can tell, never saying anything positive. I don`t know
where to find the positive comment from Elizabeth Warren.

BARRO: Yes, you know, this has been -- this has been very consistent in
Elizabeth Warren when she`s talked about the presidential race.

She is as you say -- she`s avoided criticism but also has avoided saying
anything that suggests an endorsement or that she accepts that Hillary is
going to be the nominee.

But Elizabeth Warren is very strategic about policy and she picks her
fights. And I think part of the reason that she would keep her powder dry
is that she has specific things that she would want in a Clinton
administration if there`s a Clinton administration or in a Biden
administration, if there`s a Biden administration.

REICH: But even more significant here is the fact that Joe Biden goes to
Elizabeth Warren now, why Elizabeth Warren? Because there is in the
Democratic Party right now a huge populist upsurge.

And it`s not just leftist, it`s anti-establishment, it`s basically the
Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party and Joe Biden doesn`t want
and he`s not going to get anointed by Elizabeth Warren.

But the mere fact that he went and talked to Elizabeth Warren is very
significant in terms of him trying to grab --

BARRO: That --

REICH: At least part of this group.

BARRO: You know --


Occupy Elizabeth Warren? I think he would fake it.

BERNSTEIN: I think that -- I think one thing there though, Bob, is that no
one would mistake Joe Biden for I think anything but an establishment

I mean, similar to Mrs. Clinton in terms of -- these are not outsiders.
And one of the things I found interesting and these -- you couldn`t find
more different people than Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

But at some level, these are -- these are outsiders who are generating a
certain amount of excitement based on this idea that the --

REICH: Oh --

BERNSTEIN: System is broken --

REICH: There`s actually no --

BERNSTEIN: Elizabeth Warren --

REICH: Question, there is no question --

BERNSTEIN: And Senator Warren comes from that place as well. I think
there`s a question as to whether -- how does Joe Biden position himself in
that kind of outsider or insider Liz Warren wing of the party? That`s yet -

REICH: Well --

BERNSTEIN: To be seen --

O`DONNELL: It was a --

REICH: He`s not going to be able to position himself as an outsider
because --


REICH: You said --


REICH: He is --


REICH: Establishment. But I think that, you know, the -- Bernie Sanders
and what Bernie Sanders represents, you are absolutely right.

I think there`s an anti-establishment, anti-ruling class growth upsurge,
not only in the Democratic Party, also in the Republican Party. It`s the
most dynamic part of this campaign so far.

If you`re going to succeed in running for president, you`ve got to tap into
that somehow.

BARRO: But I think there`s a reason Elizabeth Warren hasn`t thrown her lot
in with Bernie Sanders. She`s kind of neither an insider nor an outsider.

She`s someone who works very effectively within the system for change. I
think, you know, there is an opening for where the Elizabeth Warren primary
would be here.

There`s a reason she wouldn`t, you know, go with Sanders.

O`DONNELL: OK, I want to close this with what will be considered a wild
thought. There was a lot of speculation about, is this a ticket as Joe
Biden trying to create a ticket of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

That -- OK, let`s accept that thought for the moment, what about reversing
the ticket? Jared Bernstein, how much does Joe Biden like being Vice

Might he propose to Elizabeth Warren, why don`t you run for president with
me as --

BERNSTEIN: And then that --

O`DONNELL: Your experienced Vice President?

BERNSTEIN: No, he might not.


BERNSTEIN: Let me -- as if weigh in on that.

REICH: I have never heard of anybody who loves being vice president,
particularly beyond eight years.

BERNSTEIN: Exactly --

O`DONNELL: Well, he --

BERNSTEIN: Eight years is enough --

O`DONNELL: Certainly -- he certainly seems to have enjoyed it more than
anyone else --


O`DONNELL: Has done.

BERNSTEIN: That`s true.

BARRO: I think also if Elizabeth Warren wanted to be president, she`d be
running already.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to leave it there for tonight and there
will be more tomorrow I`m sure. Jared Bernstein, Robert Reich and --


O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, thank you all for joining us tonight, thank you.
Up next, Susan Sarandon joins us, she`s trying to stop the execution of a
man on death row in Oklahoma that is scheduled for September 16th.


O`DONNELL: Here is a scene of Susan Sarandon in her Academy Award winning
role as Sister Helen Prejean in the movie "Dead Man Walking" with Sean
Penn, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in the film.



Did you rape her?

PENN: Yes, ma`am.

SARANDON: Do you take responsibility for both of their deaths?

PENN: Yes, ma`am.


O`DONNELL: Today, Susan Sarandon and Sister Helen Prejean are once again
teaming up to bring attention to another death penalty case. The case of
Richard Glossop, who is sentence to die on September 16th for the murder of
his boss, hotel owner, Barry Van Treese. Joining us now is Susan Sarandon.
Susan, how did Sister Prejean get you involved in this case?

SARANDON: It was easy. She just called and told me that their was an
innocent man and that he had exhausted all of his trials as people who are
on death row have even before they are exonerated.

And, when I heard the details of the case, it seemed like the only way to
possibly stop the execution and get a stay so that all these information
that jurors were not privy to, because he had representation. The only way
to get another trial or to get someone to look at this would be to get a
stay of execution.

And, the only way to get a stay of execution was to have some kind of
public outcry, because you know, it was just a done deal. And, so started a petition when they saw the information. And, there
has been over 150,000 people signing on.

And, as more and more of the facts come out, there has been more letters
written, more calls to the governor. Because the governor has an
opportunity now to be a hero and to say, "OK, you know, we have waited 17
years. This guy has been on death row for 17 years."

Let us look at this information that was not shown to the jurors, that has
not been known before. And let us look and see if this guy is guilty,
because I really think that he is innocent. There is absolutely no DNA.
No physical evidence linking him to the crime.

The man who actually committed the crime at 19 years old, Mr. Snead, did
not even mention Richard for the first four times he was under
interrogation. He gave eight statements, all of them contradict each
other. T

Here is a videotape, which shows him being interrogated, during which time
there suggests that he implicates someone else, and that is when the story
changes after about four times of him giving a statement. And, they
suggest that he change his statement so that he gets life, which he did, in
exchange for handing over Richard Glossip.

So, none of this was shown to any of the jurors during any of the two
trials that he had. None of the contradictions were shown. There is no
physical evidence or motive. And, he has always said he was innocent to
the point where he would not, you know, make any kind of a deal, which is,
of course, a mistake that people make when they are innocent. They think
that the truth will free them, which is true if you have the
representation. But if you do not, then people never hear the truth.

O`DONNELL: And, the article that you wrote about this for, you
take us through the two trials. There were two trials with two different
lawyers, and in both of these trials, the kinds of evidence that you are
talking about now did not come out.

We know about it now, through the assistance of a new law firm, which is a
very capable team representing him now, unearthing evidence that had not
been part of the case. And, what is always amazing to me about this is
when governors say, "Oh, well, we, this case has been tried. It has been
appealed. The whole thing is locked down." And they, and all you are
asking for is more time to look at this and somehow the governor in
Oklahoma is resisting that.

SARANDON: Well, and I apologize to the governor, because I said she was a
horrible person, and I do not know her, and that was really wrong of me to
say that. But in a matter of life and death, I feel very passionately
about this. And, it is clear that it would be a miscarriage of justice,
and that it is a horrible thing to not at least give a little bit more time
to examine these things.

I do not think the people of Oklahoma would want to make a mistake, nor do
I think that the governor would want to make another innocent man die. The
argument that he has already been through some trials -- you know, every
single person over 150 people that have been exonerated, all went through
some kind of due process.

But badly, or, you know, there was corruption, or there was misinformation,
or there was not -- the first trial was just completely thrown out, because
it was so ridiculous. And, then the second one got a little bit better
representation, but nobody really investigated.

And, of course, if you do not have money, then that reflects the amount of
help that you are going to get also. And, so now these lawyers are working
pro bono. They have found a lot of contradictions in all of the
testimonies that the murderer made. And, we are hoping that Richard, you
know, will get a chance to prove his innocence once again, with better


SARANDON: And this is what is problem, you know, with the death penalty,
is that it is so capricious and arbitrary. The fact that the murderer
would be getting life and he is going to be executed in less than a month.
I mean, surely this seems wrong to people.

I mean, you have to examine this and say something is wrong with the way we
apply the death penalty, even if you are for the death penalty for
religious reasons or whatever, we cannot -- we do not do it very well.
And, this state executed two men right now, recently, and they used a kind
of mom and pop pharmacy, because Europe will not sell us the drugs anymore,
because of the death penalty. They realized that they were being used to
murder people.

And, so they went to a bogus source or somebody who did not do it very
well. And, he knows the two guys before him died awake and screaming.
That there was acid in their veins, because the drugs were not working
properly. So, even that got botched. So, this poor man is waiting for his
turn to use these bad drugs to be put down as you would a dog.

O`DONNELL: Susan Sarandon, thank you very much for bringing this case to
our attention, and thanks for joining us tonight.

SARANDON: Well, if people want more information and want to sign onto the
petition, again, it is Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Susan very much. Thank you.

SARANDON: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up. Two more senators come out in support of President
Obama`s deal with Iran, including Democratic Senate Leader, Harry Reid.





friend, your outstanding Senator, Harry Reid, for holding this summit. I
want to thank him, by the way, for his strong statement over the weekend in
support of a deal that is going to make sure that Iran does not get a
nuclear weapon.


O`DONNELL: That was President Obama tonight in Nevada, praising Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid for supporting the Iran deal. 28 democratic
senators now support the Iran deal. The latest being the Michigan Senator,
Debbie Stabenow, who released this statement today. "I have determined
that the imminent threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon outweighs any
flaws I see in the international agreement. For this reason, I must
support the agreement."

The president now needs just six more senators to support the deal in order
to sustain a veto. If the deal is as expected reject by congress next
month. According to the hills whip count, four democrats are leaning yes,
and 12 more are undecided.

This weekend, the Iran deal also received an endorsement from Brent
Scowcroft, National Security Adviser, Republican President, Gerald Ford and
George H.W. Bush in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post.

Brent Scowcroft writes, "I urge strongly that congress support this
agreement, decades of experience strongly suggest that there are epical
moments that should not be squandered. President Nixon realized it with
China. President Reagan and George H.W. Bush realized it with the Soviet
Union. And, I believe we face it with Iran today.

Up next, Republican Presidential Candidate and former New York Governor
George Pataki will weigh in on the Iran deal and on the frontrunner for the
republican nomination, Donald Trump.




scenario, OK? Illegal immigrant mother and father living in Los Angeles.
Two children who are American citizens, born here. If you are president,
do you order authorities to take that family into custody?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have no choice. I am sorry,
Bill. We have to bring them out. And, if they are wonderful people, which
I am sure they will be, and we have so many wonderful people, we will bring
them back in an expedited fashion, but we are a land of laws.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump proposes that American law enforcement round up a
population, the size of everyone in the state of New York over the age of
21. Joining us now with his reaction to that is Republican Presidential
Candidate and former Governor of New York, George Pataki.

Governor Pataki, I wanted to give that figure, because we talked about 11,
rounding up 12 million people, what does that look like? How much of
America is that? It is this entire state about the age of 21.

going to take kids who were born and raised in the United States and deport
them. The scenario that I use is you have a 9, 10, 11-year-old girl born
in America, speaks fluent English, has never been to Mexico --

O`DONNELL: American citizen.

PATAKI: Or wherever her parents came from -- an American citizen. And you
are going to send police or troopers or soldiers into the classroom and
drag her out and send her to a country she has never been? This is just

O`DONNELL: Well, there is no legal authority for that. That was lost in
the conversation on Fox tonight. Well, O`Reilly kind of referred to it,
but Trump does not seem to know, there is absolutely no legal authority to
touch those children.

PATAKI: There is no legal authority. But, you know, it is ridiculous, and
it is Trump with a ridiculous policy on immigration. But, what is really
troubling to me, Lawrence is so many of my fellow republicans seeking the
nomination are saying, "Well, there is no legal authority or it will never
get past congress." That is not the reason to oppose it.

The reason to oppose it is, it is nuts. That makes no sense. It is un-
American, inhumane. It makes self-deportation seem like a humane approach
to dealing with illegal immigrants. You know, I am a great believer in the
rule of law. People, their parents have broken the law, and I would make
them pay a sanction for that. But, you do not deport 11 million people
including American citizens. That is ridiculous.

O`DONNELL: You are the governor of one of our major border states.


O`DONNELL: I mean I think we have come to that point in our politics where
we think of the Border States as just being the southern states.

PATAKI: That is right.

O`DONNELL: You have Canadian Border, but you also have the giant port of
New York --

PATAKI: Right.

O`DONNELL: The JFK airport, this massive entry point for immigrants legal
and not legal immigrants. What do you learn from that kind of experience
that you feel some of these other republican candidates do not seem to know
especially Donald?

PATAKI: Well, first of all, I am a great believer that we have to have
legal immigration and we have to do more to enforce the laws and make sure
people come here legally, whether it is the borders or whether it is
overstaying visas when they come as visitor.

It is the rule of law is critical, and we have to enforce that. But,
ultimately, when people have been here, have obeyed the law, have not been
dependent on government, they have made America stronger. You look at a
school where there are people who have come from over -- the parents come
from 80 different countries.

And, it works well and it helps create this exciting fabric that is New
York and that is America. We need to believe in the rule of law, but we
cannot reject people. And, I fear that in the case of Latinos and
Mexicans, a lot of it is because they do not look like us.

They do not necessarily sound like us, but they are adding to America. The
vast majority have contributed greatly, whether it is serving in the
military or working in job others would not take. Obey the rule of law,
control out borders, but do not even think about sending 11 million people

O`DONNELL: When voters look at this republican primary ballot, they see
the name Pataki. What if they cast that vote, what would they be voting
for that they cannot get from Bush, Walker, Kasich -- Some of the other
names on that ballot.

PATAKI: You know, an experienced leader with a vision, who can work across

O`DONNELL: What about policy? Is there a policy difference?

PATAKI: Oh, I think from the policy standpoint, there is a very real
difference. I believe in decentralizing government, reducing the size of
the federal government. De-powering Washington. One thing I share with
Trump is a real dislike for the Washington establishment.

I think they have corrupted the federal tax code and taken advantage of the
ability to hire lobbyists and peddle influence. And, we have to change
that throughout the tax code. Get rid of the loopholes. Lower the rates.
But, one of the major differences is I was a conservative Republican
Governor in a deep Blue State with a statehouse and assembly. That was
more than 2-1 democratic.

But I was able to bring together a consensus behind policies that work to
give people opportunity in this state. I could do that in Washington. You
know, republicans are not going to be able to do things like repeal
Obamacare simply with republican votes. You need to bring along democrats,
I can do that.

O`DONNELL: You actually think you can get democrat votes to repeal the
affordable care act.

PATAKI: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because, you sit down with them and show
them how to stop it.

O`DONNELL: People who voted for it.


O`DONNELL: You get them to reverse their vote.

PATAKI: Yes. Yes, I think so. Because, you would sit down with them and
say, "It is a bad law," just does an example. Virtually, every union
member over the next few years is going to have to pay a Cadillac`s tax or
lose benefits to your constituents. Here is as an alternative. What is
your alternative? I would get the votes, repeal Obamacare and replace it
with a better law.

O`DONNELL: Well, they are. What is true -- what is true is there are
various pockets of democrats who want to repeal some of those taxes in that

PATAKI: Right. That is true.

O`DONNELL: We are going to have to take a break and come back with more of
this. Governor Pataki is going to be with us when we come back.


O`DONNELL: We are here with Presidential Candidate George Pataki, who I
always thought was a moderate republican, governor of New York. I just
learned you are a conservative governor of New York. We are going to take
another break, we will be right back with more.



O`REILLY: What do you make of this Donald Trump phenomenon?

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, you know, look, I think it brings a
lot of interest to the republican field. I think it is a net positive for
everybody. And, I also think it is an indicator that there is a lot of
folks out there that are just sick and tired of Washington. I think Donald
Trump`s tapped into that.


O`DONNELL: That was Republican Party Chariman Reince Priebus over the
weekend on Donald Trump`s candidacy for president. Back with us is
republican presidential candidate former Governor George Pataki. Governor
Pataki, now George Wallace tapped into something big too. I mean you can
tap into something. It might not be good for the Republican Party --

PATAKI: Well, I think --

O`DONNELL: Do you think Trump is good or bad for the party, itself?

PATAKIL I think the anti-Washington sentiment is very real. Cuts across
party lines, and I think that is republicans should run on that basis. I
think that is one of the reasons Jeb Bush is having such a hard time
catching fire, because he is not seen as an outsider.

I think Trump`s immigration plan is a disaster for the republican party,
unless like me, are candidate were putative, because we do have to do well
among Latinos, and we should, but not where even an accommodating of
something that is ridiculous as sending 11 million people out of the

O`DONNELL: To the president`s deal with Iran, we see with Harry Reid
moving over the weekend, that the president is now a few senators away from
probably having these locked in. Are you opposed to this?

PATAKI: I am. I think it is an awful agreement. I think it is really
going to hurt America, hurt our allies and the cause of those who believe
and respect for the rule of law. Just over the weekend, Rue Hahny, the
prime minister of Iran is it out there, saying, "Does not matter what the
U.N. It does not matter what they signed.

They believe they had the right to get any weapon they want whenever they
want too. That has been the approach all the way through. We are giving
them this massive sanctions relief. We know they are going to use it to
support terrorist activities. And, in exchange we get a document that
delays a nuclear program, that today is illegal. It makes no sense to me.
I heard the comment by Brent Scowcroft.

O`DONNELL: I just think he is wrong. He was equating it to China --
Mexico and china. China was a secular regime, yes, a ideological regime
but secular. Iran is a theoretical regime. They take a very long view and
they are driven by God, not by geopolitical reality.

O`DONNELL: If you were President, what would you do with the deal if it is
there deal if it is there when you get that?

PATAKI: I would reject the deal. I would imposed American sanctions. I
would see to get as many other countries to go along with that and tell
them, you have a choice. If you are an international company, you can deal
with Iran, which has a $400 billion GDP or you can deal with the United
States, which has a $17 trillion or $18 trillion GDP.

And, I think we would have the ability to isolate them economically, very
quickly. One of the most troubling aspects of this deal is their access to
the international banking situation. We know those back have engaged in
terrorist support in the past. They will probably do it again. That is
something that is important to them.

O`DONNELL: So, you think you could reassemble a multi-state sanctions
arrangement like we have now. You could bring Vladimir Putin --

PATAKI: I think Putin would be very hard to bring back, but Putin right
now is selling Iran an advanced missile system. And, two weekends ago, the
head of the -- the Iranian revolutionary guard illegally in violation of
the international sanctions went to Moscow.

He did not go to buy caviar. He went there to arrange to buy weapons once
they have this $450 billion. So, I think whether we have the agreement or
not, Russia is going to be doing things not in the interest of the west or
the United States.

O`DONNELL: Quickly. Transpacific partnership agreement that president is
working on.

PATAKI: I think it is a very positive step forward not just economically
but also geopolitically, because we want to bring South Korea, Japan, our
traditional Asian allies closer to us, but also new allies, potential
allies like Vietnam, like Singapore, like Malaysia and others.

O`DONNELL: Would it be helpful to what we just saw happen in the stock

PATAKI: I think it would be helpful. I think we want to have a stronger
American economy. We want to be less reliant on products made elsewhere
and particularly in China.

I think we have to make more things here. One of the reasons to throw out
the tax code is we are driving factories, driving business, driving
investment overseas. We should bring them back to America.

O`DONNELL: We are out of time for your tax plan, but I want to hear the
details on that next time. Governor, thank you very much for joining us

PATAKI: Lawrence, thank you. I appreciate it.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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

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

Sponsored links

Resource guide