'Up with Steve Kornacki' for Sunday, November 29th, 2015
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Show: UP with STEVE KORNACKI
Date: November 29, 2015
Guest: Jess McIntosh, Jeanne Zaino, Basil Smickle, Joe Watkins, Suhail
Khan, Saba Ahmed, Harry Carson
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC ANCHOR: The kind of news that could shake up the race
for the Republican nomination. Good morning I`m Richard Lui. Thanks for
getting up with us this Sunday morning. In Colorado, what the suspect in
Friday`s shooting has told investigators. Plus, we`ll tell you what
Planned Parenthood says leads to this kind of violence.
President Obama heads to Paris. That city, once again, on the world`s
stage. This time in an effort to save the planet. Also, it`s the first
Sunday game day for the NFL since Frank Gifford`s family announced he
suffered from a concussion related illness, another Giants Hall of Famer
will be along here with us to talk about that.
In politics, Donald Trump is speaking out this hour about his claim that he
witnessed American Muslims cheering in the aftermath of the September 11th
attacks. We`ll be joined by two prominent Republican Muslims to find out
how they are dealing with all of that rhetoric. And Chris Christie picks
up a huge endorsement in New Hampshire overnight. Could it be enough to
turn the race around for him and for the rest of them? But first, we want
to take you straight to Paris as we look at the Place de la Republique
where we have seen hundreds, if not thousands after the Paris attacks
gathered. Now, they are there in advance of the climate change climate
summit discussions. And they are not in support of what may or may happen.
Some in support of what has been - going to be proposed at those
discussions as they kick off tomorrow. We`ll be going live to Paris very
shortly, 3:00 in the afternoon local time in Paris, France.
But we are going to start this hour in Colorado Springs where almost two
days after three people were killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood
clinic there, we have new information about the suspected gunman, and what
he said to police after he was taken into custody. Law enforcement sources
telling NBC News that when Robert Dear was taken in for questioning he said
"No more baby parts," in an apparent reference to Planned Parenthood, but
authorities stressed that the suspect said many things to law enforcement
and that the motive still cannot be determined. The "Colorado Gazette"
reporting this morning that most recently, the suspect lived as a recluse
in the town of Hartsell, in a travel trailer with a woman and at least two
dogs, about 65 miles west of Colorado Springs. Meanwhile, a vigil was held
last night on the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus, as
members of the community remembered Officer Garrett Swasey, who was killed
in that attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE HANENBERG, EXEC. DIR. HEALTH SERVICES, UCCS: He was just an
amazing man that everybody loved to have here. He will be missed.
CHIEF BRIAN MCPIKE, UCCS POLICE DEPARTMENT: His wife is so proud of her
husband. Yes. She knew what he loved to do, and she knew the risks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: Joining me now from Colorado Springs is NBC`s Leanne Gregg. And now,
another day has passed. We are on a Sunday, normally a day of worship
there in Colorado Springs and many remembering the officer who lost his
LEANNE GREGG, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO: That`s right. They certainly are.
Yesterday, several vigils were held and today the investigation is
continuing. They`re still looking into Dear`s past, they`re talking with
people who knew him and they are going through mounds of evidence that
still needs to be processed. On Saturday, the U.S. attorney general said
that the federal government would provide any assistance it could in this
investigation, and meanwhile the community does continue to mourn. One of
those vigils held last night was in honor of Officer Garrett Swasey, killed
in the attack. He was described as a kind and a selfless man, a good
police officer, a father of two. He also was a champion ice skater. He
was close friends and grew up with former Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan who
said he was one of her best friends.
NANCY KERRIGAN, OLYMPIC FIGURE SKATER: They are like family, truly
instrumental in my life and in my growing up as a person and in my career.
David Swasey picked me up every day in high school, whether Garrett was
sick or well, coming with us or not he`d still pick me up and drove me to
the rink every day.
GREGG: David Swasey was Garrett`s father. We still don`t know anything
about the other two people who were killed in the attack. Their identities
won`t be revealed until after the autopsies are finished, that possibly
will happen tomorrow. Richard?
LUI: Leanne Gregg, NBC`s Leanne Gregg. Thank you so much for that live
report in Colorado Springs.
Let`s bring in Jim Cavanaugh, MSNBC law enforcement analyst and retired ATF
special agent. Jim, you`ve been watching this since Friday, you were
reporting on this, giving us your perspective on Friday on this very issue.
We`re now several days past. What is your thought here? You know,
officials being somewhat careful on motive, but we have the suspect`s
mention of body parts as I was just mentioning the quote that we`re hearing
from sources. What do you make of what that might mean?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think the motive is
really getting clearer by the minute and, you know, targeting we always use
in determining motive and when we look at the motives of violent crime, you
know, power, greed, revenge, hate and escape, this guy is not robbing the
Planned Parenthood, he`s shooting everybody at the Planned Parenthood. He
has no revenge motive that we know about, he didn`t work there, he wasn`t
fired from there. This is a power motive. He wants to impart his view,
his will on the people running the Planned Parenthood or people like them
that provide abortion services to women. It`s like a terror motive.
Terrorists use a power motive. They want to impart their will on you, they
want to control you. And I don`t think that`s going to change much,
Richard, his comments of the baby parts is indicative of what`s in his
mind. What - authorities also have to be cautious because, you know, they
have a criminal case and they can`t say something that might change and
they have defense attorneys to deal with, but it`s pretty obvious that this
is flushing out to be a motive where he attacked the clinic because they
provide abortion services.
LUI: I want to get your thought on this coming from the "Colorado Spring
Gazette" not confirmed by NBC News as of yet. They are saying that the
suspect solitary, as you heard, lived in a remote area, passed out anti-
Obama pamphlets and registered as an unaffiliated female. All of this, of
course, preliminary here. What does that tell you about what you might be
looking forward to try to put this all together?
CAVANAUGH: That he pays attention to current events, to politics that he`s
reading newspapers or on the web watching television. He`s paying
attention to those things and those things are affecting him and he decides
that he`s going to act it out in a violent way. He didn`t have a violent
criminal record. He`s not a convicted felon, and he apparently doesn`t
have a mental record of being treated for mental illness. So, there`s, you
know, we can`t just always say mental illness to excuse violent murder. I
mean he murdered a police officer from the University of Colorado, he
murdered two other people who were at the clinic.
There`s always a little underlying and some psychopathy probably in there,
the doctors will have to tell us, but it`s also a vicious, violent crime
with a power motive most likely to attack the clinic that provided the
services to women and we`ve seen that, Richard, in America unfortunately
for 45 years, bombings, arsons, murders in doctor`s clinics and I
personally have worked many of them, so it`s not a new thread of violence
LUI: Jim, thank you so much for joining us this morning. MSNBC law
enforcement analyst Jim Cavanaugh. Thank you.
CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Richard.
LUI: Now, the motive of the Planned Parenthood clinic shooter not
necessarily perfectly clear as Jim Cavanaugh was telling us. It`s clear
Planned Parenthood has been under intense scrutiny, both in Washington and
on the campaign trail as well. This summer, the anti-abortion group,
Center for Medical Progress released several controversial videos, which
made it seem as though Planned Parenthood officials were selling fetal
tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood maintains the videos were
"deceptively and misleadingly edited." Republican presidential candidates
boosted by the outrage over those videos regularly deride Planned
Parenthood and the services the organization provides. And Congress opened
an investigation into that matter, leading to nearly four hours of
testimony by Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards. And the
congressional push to defund the organization as well. The investigation
found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Now, with the organization under verbal attack in Washington in recent
months, investigators are looking into the strong possibility the clinic
was specifically targeted. Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned
Parenthood Rocky Mountains addressed the recent violence yesterday in an
interview with NBC`s Miguel Almaguer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICKI COWART, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ROCKY MOUNTAINS: Here`s a hate speech
going on in our country right now that could be causing more violence than
we might otherwise see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: Joining me now from Washington is Jess McIntosh, vice president of
communications at Emily`s. Thanks for joining us. You know, according to
Mother Jones since those videos released there have been at least four
suspected arsons as well as at least according to what we`ve seen five
cases of vandalism targeting abortion clinics around the country. Why are
we seeing this?
JESS MCINTOSH, EMILY`S UGT: I mean the abortion clinics and women`s health
clinics in general have been under attack for quite some time. It`s rare
that we see an actual murder. It`s been about six years since that`s
happened, but we have seen dramatic uptick in arsons and vandalism and acid
attacks in attempted bombings. I think that the videos themselves were a
form of attack on one woman`s health clinic, it was trespassing, it was
severe violation of patient privacy. The things that they were filming
without women`s consent were just really quite appalling and it`s not just
Planned Parenthood that maintains the videos were selectively and
deceptively edited. Their own filmmaker who said that the videos had been
selectively edited, they suggested some scenes were taking place inside
Planned Parenthoods that had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood. They
laid over voice overs to make it seem like they were describing something
that wasn`t happening, they cut things out and said that they had been in
there all along. But what`s the most disturbing is in the wake of these
videos, Republican presidential candidates have jumped all over them. We
have seen Congress spent taxpayer money investigating videos that were just
flat out lies and perpetuating this really dangerous overheated rhetoric
about what it is that Planned Parenthood does, which is provide health care
to millions of American women.
LUI: Jess, when you look at what was said by Jim Cavanaugh just moments
ago about this being a power play what is your thought about that?
MCINTOSH: I think that made a lot of sense. You know, obviously, I don`t
want to rush to ascribe motive to something where I`m certainly not on the
ground or knowing anything, but there does seem to be a real desire to
control women`s ability to make these decisions for themselves, and more
often that happens on the legislative level and we`re not talking about
anything physically violent, but all over the country, we are seeing people
chip away at women`s ability to have safe legal abortion care, whether it`s
in Texas, where they`re attempting to close down just about every abortion
clinic available to Texas women to Congress, where Mitch McConnell promises
to put defunding Planned Parenthood in the very next Obamacare repeal bill
right after the Thanksgiving holiday. We`re seeing this all over where
there is an attempt to make it much more difficult for women to access what
is a right for them to have abortion care. And women are - I mean seven in
ten want to keep Roe v. Wade exactly as it is. This is not actually a
controversial issue among the majority of American, women American voters.
It just seems to be in our political system.
LUI: Jess McIntosh, thank you so much, from Emily`s List.
LUI: We take it back to Paris, the story we are watching there. Some of
the live pictures here as folks gather there at Place de la Republique. It
was a key core during the post-Paris attacks of gathering - remembrances.
Now, they are gathering to either support or not support what will be
happening as the discussion of climate change is had by 140 world leaders,
including President Obama. NBC News` Gabe Gutierrez is live in Paris there
at - watching what is going to be happening. What will be discussed, Gabe?
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS: High there, Richard. Good afternoon from Paris.
We`re here at the Arch de Triumph. And not far from us, the (INAUDIBLE)
and Place de la Republique, as you mentioned. Tear gas has been volleyed,
and protesters have gotten into some scuffles with police. Now, as you
know, France is under a state of emergency and public demonstrations are
banned. Earlier this morning, we were at the Place de la Republique. And
climate change activists had laid down thousands of shoes to protest what
they saw as their voices being silenced in a way. They said that the world
needed to pay attention to climate change. There were some, though, that
felt that the state of emergency was appropriate and for their own safety
the public demonstrations should not be allowed. This is a massive climate
conference. As you mentioned, 140 heads of state are expected, tens of
thousands of people, highways will be shut down here in Paris, public
transportation also will be limited, but as you mentioned, Richard, right
now a situation is unfolding there at the Place de la Republique just to
our East. There has been tear gas, no word on any injuries right now, and
no word on exactly what sparked the confrontation with police.
We know that the security has been ramping up here in Paris over the last
few days. Since the beginning of November 120,000 troops and police
officers have been deployed throughout the country and for this climate
conference, 2800 or so were going to be at the site. Now, this
demonstration is developing in Paris. The actual climate conference will
be just to the north of Paris. But as you can see, Richard, this is a
developing situation and climate change activists, some of them, not happy
with the fact that they were not allowed to protest. Now, in the last few
hour as well, there has been - some that formed the human chain, but up
until the last hour or so, there hadn`t been any major confrontation with
police. Again, we are still waiting to see how this situation unfolds.
Richard, back to you.
LUI: Very busy month so far there in Paris. Gabe Gutierrez live for us,
thank you so much.
I want to turn to our panel, the executive director of the New York State
Democratic Party Basil Smickle Jr., Republican strategist and former White
House aide to President George H.W. Bush Joe Watkins and political
scientist NYE professor Jeannie Zaino.
So, the president, there a couple of things happening right now. First of
all, the post Paris attacks, have to address that certainly and then second
of all a very large objective for the president in terms of climate change.
How does he balance the two of those?
BASIL SMICKLE JR.: Well, I think what`s interesting is that there have
been scholars who have said all along that climate change impacts national
security and it impacts - it impacts terror. And I think bringing those
two together in Paris at this summit, the president`s taking it from sort
of a top-down approach and going to ground and saying look, we need to have
a real honest discussion about climate change and its impact on the
security of all of our countries and I hope that message sticks, but I know
he`s been having it in his conversation with world leaders.
LUI: And the U.N. secretary-general said the very same thing, when you
look at climate change you have to consider all of these other spheres.
And so, Joe, the question might be, what is the win for the president?
REV. JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, the win is doing what`s
best for the United States and what`s best for the world and how do you do
that? I mean we`ve got so many issues at play here. I mean you just have
the incident a couple of weeks ago or a few days ago where the Turkey -
Turkey shot down a Russian plane, a Russian jet. You had the incident, of
course, the terrorist incident in Paris which still has got that city in
its grips. I was actually there the day it happened with my wife, we were
there on vacation in Paris, and so we know what it was like for people in
that part of the world, that country. But ...
LUI: Right, and we watch it from the outside, but when you`re there on the
ground here, Jeannie, and all 140 some-odd leaders are going to be there,
they are going to see it front and center, it`s going to take away or
bifurcate some of the energy that at least was leading -- this was long
planned, the big debate about whether to continue this or not is going to
pull away from that one of the objectives from the president, $100 billion
a year for some countries who cannot afford climate change issues. For the
president here then, what is it that he`ll be able to ask for that will be
a win? Because the $100 billion doesn`t seem like it`s possible especially
when you look at what`s happening on the streets here.
JEANNIE ZAINO, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Yeah. And I think what we`re seeing,
is we`re seeing the repercussions of having this terrorist attack and as
you mentioned, this climate change talks which have been planned for a very
long time and enormous part of the president`s legacy. This is something
that President Obama has put a lot of stock in, didn`t talk about it
necessarily in 2012 like many Democrats thought he should have. But it has
been the focus of his second term, he would like nothing more than to come
out of this with being the first president of the United States to
seriously address climate change, because it hasn`t happened yet, and yet
with the terrorist attack hanging over to him to Basil`s point, let`s not
forget, a few weeks ago Bernie Sanders tied terrorism to climate change and
was laughed off the stage by many Republicans. So, that`s going to be a
hard needle, I think, for the president to thread and you are going to have
very serious protesters there who feel like they`re being shut down for
security reasons and unable to talk about issues they care about.
So, I think this is a very hard needle for the president to thread at this
LUI: With all of that, and then the president having to communicate not
only to the 140 leaders, but also to the world and then to the United
States and the electorate and those in the House, right, and those who lead
the states, and who have to ratify these as they go forward. As, you know,
I think there`s a couple dozen states that are suing the president right
now. So, we`re not going to follow some of your initial climate change
WATKINS: He has got a whole host of things on his plate right now. He has
got to figure out when he gets back to the States what is most important.
So, you can`t give equal weight to everything. So, he has got to consider
the fact that you`ve got state pushback on whether or not to allow refugees
to come into their states and that`s a huge issue for him and then you`ve
got - you`ve got 80 huge issues.
WATKINS: I mean where does this ball in terms of the huge issues. And
he`s got - there`s a national election going on here in the United States,
and we`ve got these sad issues with gunmen killing people.
LUI: But Joe, you know, what he does have as leader, if you will, of the
"free world" as well as leader of a country that leads on climate change in
some spaces. So does that not help him?
SMICKLE: Well, I think Secretary Kerry going back to your original
question has also questioned the legality of some of what`s being decided
in Paris, and recognizes how difficult it`s going to be to come back to the
United States and try to get the states on board, but the reality is that I
think the president going to Jeannie`s point as well, and to Joe`s point,
that of the issues that he has to tackle this is going to define his legacy
and I think he`s in a position right now to go to Republicans and say, I
dare you to tell me that I`m wrong, especially if you can combine as he`s
going to do, I imagine, the broader concept, concerns about terrorism.
LUI: Basil, I hate to interrupt you here, but we can see these live
pictures as there`s activity there on Place de la Republique. It`s a busy
afternoon there, but it`s also a busy morning here, in the United States.
We`re going to turn after the break to the race for the president. It is
9:00 a.m. in the East, 9:20 or so and what`s happened overnight is the
development of Chris Christie. But we also have, of course, Ben Carson
spending his Thanksgiving weekend meeting with Syrian refugees in Jordan.
What he is saying now about the trip and the people he met. Donald Trump
is also speaking out this hour about his claim he witnessed American
Muslims cheering as the Twin Towers fell and as I was mentioning, Chris
Christie getting a big political endorsement. Of all this together, could
it shake up the rest of the field as we move towards February?
LUI: Busy afternoon in Paris, 3:23 in the afternoon, ahead of the climate
discussions with over 100 world leaders we take you there right now,
protesters in the streets ahead of those talks, public demonstrations. The
state remains in a state of emergency, the city rather, in the wake of the
terror attacks two weeks ago, but that means no public demonstrations are
allowed, so that`s the conflict. Police have engaged with protesters
throwing stun grenades, as you see here. We`ll continue to watch what is
happening. We saw a bit of a scrum about ten minutes ago before we went to
break, but that will be happening. We will watch that for you here on
We`re going to get to what`s also developing in terms of a very busy
morning in the United States when it comes to politics, on the campaign
trail. We`ll have more later on new comments this hour from Donald Trump
and Ben Carson about the things they`ve said in the wake of the Paris
terrorist attacks and New Hampshire, though, this morning, this is what I
want to tell you about, the biggest political endorsement of the Republican
season on the front page of this morning`s "Manchester Union Leader" The
big winner, you see the picture of them on the left of that coveted
endorsement. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Manchester newspaper
writing "As a U.S. attorney and then a big state governor, he is the one
candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately
needs." To our panel on this, so he has not done well in the polls there.
Does this surprise you?
WATKINS: Well, you can`t - polls are sometime deceptive.
WATKINS: Because remember, nobody saw Santorum coming back in 2012 and
then suddenly he gets to Iowa and just blows everybody away in the Iowa
caucus. The same thing is true in New Hampshire. So, you don`t really
know until you know. Having ground game really matters and what we don`t
know is how good the ground game is with the various candidates. But this
is a huge plus for Chris Christie. This really puts him on the map now as
a candidate. Because if he can win New Hampshire, it`s a whole different
ZAINO: Yeah, I also think that we have to be hesitant. Endorsements
sometimes, especially in the very independently minded New Hampshire
population, they`re not likely to follow necessarily this endorsement, so I
think it gives him needed headlines and I think it`s important for that,
but I`m not sure it`s going to translate into votes necessarily.
LUI: And it isn`t - a recent "Boston Globe"/Suffolk poll shows that he was
way behind, 22 versus 4, I believe, percentage points. Get a little bit of
a bump, perhaps. But will it last? I guess it`s what ...
SMICKLE: It won`t last that long. But look, he`s a northeastern
Republican. It`s sort of the hometown, the son of the northeast, so to
speak. So, if they`re going to go with someone he`s the probably the most
likely person to go with, because he`s - I would imagine a bit more
moderate than the rest of the Republicans there.
LUI: He is a Republican governor of a blue state.
SMICKLE: Right. Right. And that`s exactly right. And so, I don`t see
this as - I don`t see this as earth shattering, but it does give him legs.
LUI: So, let`s throw this and the Paris attacks, the move for
international and domestic security, also, you know, him working very hard
to get that traction, that part of, you know, tough guy. Does this
actually have a halo effect in other states outside of New Hampshire that
can he build on?
WATKINS: But we`ll see. You know, you have to have money to have
organization, so it takes money. I mean anybody thinks that you can just
get it because you get an endorsement is fooling themselves. I mean you
have got to have money, because you have to pay people, you have to have
staff on the ground in every one of these states --
LUI: OK, so this turns into money?
WATKINS: Well, hopefully. That`s what you use this for, if you`re smart.
And he`s a smart guy. "I`ve gotten two e-mails already this morning saying
that he has gotten the endorsement of the New Hampshire union leader. You
send that around to every giver. You say, you know what, we`ve changed the
game, we are gaining traction, we have a shot to win New Hampshire and
suddenly you attract money.
ZAINO: But to your - do you think it helps that the issue has turned to
terrorism for somebody like Chris Christie because that`s something where
he`s stronger on than, say, a Donald Trump or Ben Carson, certainly?
LUI: We`ll get more of this ...
WATKINS: It brings up more that he hugged the president.
LUI: Hugged the president. We`ll have more on this a little bit later.
We are going on break now. But first, we get an update on what`s happening
there in Paris, and as we move into the mid hour of 3:00, we`ll be watching
what the protests are having at Place de la Republique. This as the
climate talks begin, and the concern, of course, is what sort of law
enforcement action will happen as the demonstrators gather out there on the
streets, they are not supposed to be able to demonstrate during the state
of emergency that is in place.
LUI: President Obama and leaders from around the country are gathering
here in Paris, hoping for wide reaching agreement on climate issues and a
climate pact. But there are demonstrators in the streets, and not without
some conflict. Just moments ago, there was tear gas grenades that were
used seen here, close to Place de la Republique, Place de la Republique is,
of course, the location where many individuals have gathered over the
recent weeks after the Paris attacks. This is not allowed, the
demonstrations, and so therefore, as we`ve seen some scrums at least this
morning, it is now 3:30 in the afternoon there. We are watching for yet
more potential of conflict, of course those watching this hope that that
does not happen. We`ll have more on this on MSNBC.
LUI: Watching breaking news coming out of Paris. Here, you see tear gas
grenades being fired in Place de la Republique. What was a very peaceful
for most of the time over the last two weeks, remembrances of those who
lost their lives at the Paris attacks. Now, this conflict between
demonstrators as well as law enforcement there is because in the state of
emergency it is not allowed to have these gatherings. During the climate
summit, no doubt increased pressure about what might be happening as
leaders try to put together what could be a $100 billion agreement to help
various countries with climate issues. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez is live from
Paris, not too far from that location, and part of this here, Gabe, is,
they`re already under a very tension-ridden time period, because we`re so
close to the Paris attacks, which just happened weeks ago.
GUTIERREZ: Yeah, that`s right, Richard. Well, within the past few minutes
we spoke with police here in Paris, they won`t say how many arrests have
happened within the past hour or so, but as you can see, the situation
still unfolding there at the Place de la Republique and we were there just
a little earlier this morning when the demonstrators had laid shoes there
on the Place de la Republique, and it was a silent protest, a peaceful
protest. And just a while after that, we are told that there was a human
chain where several thousand demonstrators participated, but as you
mentioned, Richard, France is under a state of emergency and public
demonstrations are banned, for the past few days.
There`s been a lot of debate over the, whether French government had given
up civil liberties for public safety. Of course, the government says it
must do everything it can to protect the public in the wake of the Paris
attacks. As you see there, though, sometime about an hour or so ago tear
gas was lobbed and what appeared to be stun grenades and the situation is
still unfolding, even though as 140 heads of state come here to Paris, the
security situation had been ramping up for several days, major highways had
been closed and we`re waiting to see how this all unfolds, Richard.
LUI: Gabe, very different than the past couple of weeks, because we did
not see this sort of conflict between those who were out in the streets and
law enforcement. It was much more, if you will, understanding of the
situation, and now we see this conflict. In addition to that, you have all
of these signs and what are you seeing on the signs of the demonstrators?
What does it reflect?
GUTIERREZ: Well, you have to keep in mind that this was a major rally that
was supposed to happen ahead of this climate conference, a massive climate
conference, the largest diplomatic gathering in France since 1948, and
organizers had hoped that hundreds of thousands of demonstrators would be
able to take part in this rally here on Sunday. In fact, there have been
many rallies throughout the world and major cities like London and even
Brussels, so far today, and as well as in the U.S.
So, I think many of the climate change activists had wanted this to be a
major day to have their voices heard. Some of them are frustrated that the
state of emergency has prevented these public demonstrations. And in fact,
over the last week or so we`ve heard that from the lawyers of several of
the people that have been placed under house arrest that some of them claim
to be climate change activists and they say they have no ties whatsoever to
radical Islamists, and yet they have been put under house arrest. That`s
what the lawyer of several of those have alleged, the government again says
that they are merely trying to protect the public during what is obviously,
a very difficult time.
So, again the police have not said how many arrests have - they`ve made
over the past hour or so, past two hours or so, but 120,000 troops and
police officers have been deployed across France since the beginning of
November. This climate change conference was already set to be a massive
security situation even before those Paris attacks just over two weeks ago,
LUI: OK, thank you so much, NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez live for us there in
And as we look at the protests that are happening all throughout the city
there, I appreciate that. Of course, we`ll be watching that throughout the
rest of this hour.
We`re going to turn now back to politics in the United States. Donald
Trump this morning continues to play defense on his unsubstantiated claim
he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering the September 11th
attacks. All this coming as Republicans struggle with Muslim American
voters whose support for the GOP has dwindled since George W. Bush left
office with some of the Republican candidates becoming increasingly hostile
to the United States Muslim population.
Question is, are they cutting themselves off from what would have been a
potentially powerful base? We are now joined by Suhail Khan, a former Bush
administration official and a senior fellow with the Institute for Global
Engagement. We also have Saba Ahmed, president of the Republican Muslim
Coalition. Thank you both so much for being here. I was mentioning George
W. Bush, Suhail. With the comments like we`ve been hearing, would the some
almost 3 million Muslim Americans that live in this country, why should
they support a Republican candidate, why should they vote for one?
SUHAIL KHAN, SR. FELLOW, INST. FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT: Well, as you pointed
out, Richard, there are millions of Muslim Americans across the country who
like our other friends and neighbors, support limited government,
individual freedom, strong defense and just growth in opportunity. That`s
why I`ve been a lifelong conservative. Unfortunately some of the comments
from folks like Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson really fly in the face of that
inclusive message that the GOP has had for generations going back to
Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
LUI: Saba, you told "The Daily Beast" that the GOP has created a hostile
environment, that`s what you said, for Muslims. If they were to want to
turn it around, what should candidates do and say to cultivate that
important Muslim American vote?
SABA AHMED, PRES., REPUBLICAN MUSLIM COALITION: I think GOP candidates
should reach out to their Muslim American constituents in key electoral
states, reach out to all the mosques. We have 2,200 plus mosques in the
United States. We all need to be represented, just like churches,
synagogues, other places of worship, just like any other faith community,
there is a strong voter base for conservatives, and I think Donald Trump,
Ben Carson, all the leading Republican presidential candidates ought to
reach out to their constituents, Muslim constituents.
LUI: Suhail, as I was mentioning, the support during the George W. Bush
election, 78 percent of Muslim Americans according to what we hear voted
What`s changed since then?
KHAN: Well, then Governor Bush was just so inclusive in his message. He
was the first candidate to visit a mosque in Michigan in 1999, and then you
remember after the horrific attacks of 9/11, he was very careful to visit a
mosque again, to stand for all Americans, the liberties of all Americans,
including Muslim Americans, and that is why you saw Muslim Americans
rallying around our president.
Unfortunately some candidates, in this time of fear and of concern for the
attacks on our country that we have seen in recent years, including our
allies in Paris and other places, now are trying to divide us based on
religion and ethnicity, and I think that is just the wrong path. It`s not
conservative. It`s not American, and I`m confident as we get closer to the
elections in Iowa and then New Hampshire, South Carolina, that a candidate
will emerge that will be inclusive, that will want to include all
Americans, regardless of their race or religious background, and we`ll
really move towards one America.
LUI: It`s been estimated here, Saba, there was a self-identified Muslim
who organized fund-raisers for former speaker of the House, John Boehner,
who said some tens of thousands of Muslim Americans would vote for a GOP
presidential candidate. Is that what you think as well? Does that sound
right, that number?
AHMED: Yes, of course. I think a lot of Muslim Americans identify with
the conservative Republican party platform. We are pro-life, pro-
traditional family values, pro-defense, pro-business, trade. I think a lot
of conservative agenda aligns with the Islamic values. We have held fund-
raisers for speaker and for a lot of other candidates, and we would like to
continue doing that and support the conservative leadership in Congress.
LUI: And there is also that other layer, right? When we are talking about
the Muslim American vote, we`re also talking about in many cases, in most
cases the minority vote, and when Trump and Carson have these controversial
statements, are they forgetting this layer to their remarks when they`re
focusing if you will on Muslims?
KHAN: That`s right.
AHMED: Yes of course.
KHAN: Oh, sorry, go ahead, Saba.
AHMED: I mean exactly, I think Trump and Carson need to, when I met with
them, Carson wanted me to host a fund-raiser for him and his campaign. But
I asked him about his anti-Islamic remarks, and he was very adamant he was
advised by Frank Gaffney and a few other folks who hate Muslims and who
have a very anti-Islamic agenda. So obviously if we`re going to change
their perspectives, we need to invite them to our homes and have a candid
conversation and change their perspectives on Muslim Americans. A lot of
them don`t actually know Muslims. He mentioned he grew up in Detroit and
he knew a lot of Muslims, but obviously he is not on a first-name basis
right now on his presidential campaign trail. He needs to have Muslim
advisers advising him so he can win the American Muslim vote.
LUI: Saba, talking about responses to the statements originally made, we
have this from Donald Trump on "Meet the Press" in answering the question
as to why he said what he said. Let`s listen to that and Suhail, I`ll get
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I saw it on television. So did many other people.
TODD: In Jersey City, you saw Jersey City --
TRUMP: In the area. I also heard Patterson, excuse me. I heard Jersey
City, I heard Patterson. It was 14 years ago, but I saw it on television,
I saw clips, and so did many other people and many people saw it in person.
I`ve had hundreds of phone calls to the Trump Organization saying we saw
it. It was dancing in the streets.
TODD: This didn`t happen in New Jersey. There are plenty of reports.
TRUMP: It did happen in New Jersey. I have hundreds of people that agree
with me and by the way --
TODD: It doesn`t make it true.
TRUMP: Chuck, you have a huge Muslim population over there, and that`s
fine. That`s fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUI: So Suhail, there is candidate Donald Trump, defending his comments
about Muslim Americans cheering after 9/11. That just happening on "Meet
the Press. " What`s your thought?
KHAN : Mr. Trump unfortunately is repeating myths that are out there on the
Internet just like the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot. This did not happen.
On the contrary, there were many Muslim Americans who died in the towers,
there were many Muslim American first responders who gave their lives
trying to rescue their fellow Americans. That`s the reality of 9/11. And
American Muslims are just as loyal and patriotic as their friends and
neighbors. And for Donald Trump to continue to double and triple down on
this myth that again just divides us is really something that again stands
not for what conservatives stand for and what America stands for.
LUI: Suhail Khan, Saba Ahmed, thank you both for spending your Sunday
morning with us here on MSNBC and for your perspective. We really do
AHMED: Sure, thank you for having us.
LUI: Up next the stunning revelation about one NFL legend and what it
means for one of the league`s biggest problems.
LUI: On Wednesday, Frank Gifford`s family announced that the sportscaster
and Giants hall of famer who died in August of natural causes had suffered
from a concussion related brain disease called CTE. His family said they
decided to have his brain studied after his death quote, "in hopes of
contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link
between football and traumatic brain injury." Gifford`s diagnosis comes at
a time when there is growing concern about the risk athletes face in many
different sports from repeated concussions. We`re joined now by Harry
Carson, a hall of fame linebacker for the New York Giants, who believes he
suffered more than a dozen concussions during his career and is still
suffering the effects of them today. Harry, thanks for joining us, and how
are you doing based on that very early diagnosis?
HARRY CARSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well, I was diagnosed in 1990 with post
concussion syndrome. I think I`ve learned over the years how to manage it,
which means -- meant for me I knew what my triggers were in terms of
bringing on headaches and so forth. So I`ve lived a very normal life as a
result of being diagnosed so early. That`s 25 years ago.
LUI: Right. Right. Right.
CARSON: The problem with players now is they are not diagnosed, and so
they don`t really know what they`re dealing with, they don`t know how to
manage their own conditions.
LUI: Frank Gifford, we started this segment with, you knew him well.
LUI: What does this mean that this has now been revealed for the rest of
the players, the rest of the NFL?
CARSON: I really don`t think it means anything. Because Frank played
during an era in which there were no protocols for concussions. Obviously
he was knocked out by Chuck Bednerick (ph) years ago, and it affected him
in some manner, but he came back to play. And what the Gifford family has
done, they have to be applauded, because they want to help add some kind of
word to the dialogue of concussions right now. I really don`t think it is
going to affect the game in any way, shape or form, because I think the
game is just going to move on. People are going to say, oh, that`s too
bad, but that`s what happens in football. It happened with Junior Seau.
Dave Duerson (ph). Those guys committed suicide, and Frank Gifford has
LUI: Harry, we have seen since that the NFL saying we are taking steps and
putting in protocols, yet last Sunday, as you are aware, there was a St.
Louis quarterback who appeared to have suffered from some sort of impact,
yet he was not pulled from the field. What`s your thought?
CARSON: Well, it`s hard when a player sustains a hit and he insists upon
staying in the game. Obviously during the heat of competition, you may not
necessarily have all of your faculties about you, but because you`re out
there and you`re playing a game, you have that warrior mentality and you
want to play. There was a player, whether it was Edelman (ph) or whoever,
in the Super Bowl against Seattle and New England. He sustained a
concussion. Right on the spot. But he came back in and he played, he
completed the game. When you have a player who is insistent upon staying
in the game, that really is a hard call. The officials, the coaches, the
medical staff really needs to step in and take over at that point.
LUI: Harry Carson, thank you so much, NFL hall of famer giving us your
CARSON: My pleasure. Sure.
LUI: And we`ll be right back.
LUI: As we close the hour, I`d like to thank our panel for being here this
morning. It`s been very busy. We continue to watch what`s happening in
Paris throughout the morning here on MSNBC. Melissa Harris-Perry is up
next. She`ll have a preview of the case for the first Baltimore police
officers to go on trial connected to the death of Freddie Gray.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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