Guests: Joan Walsh, David Caplan, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Cristina Gibson
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight: The White House on its heels over Iran. Is the Bush administration hyping Teheran‘s role in Iraq to start another war? And why Europe is now saying diplomacy will not work.
But first, increased bloodshed and carnage in Iraq as three bombs rocked Baghdad this morning, the blasts so massive that much of the city‘s skyline was blackened by smoke, turning day into night. Explosions could be heard while Prime Minister Maliki was giving a speech on security.
But in D.C. tonight, a different kind of war, with the president facing a showdown with Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans over his surge plan in Iraq, with insiders predicting that Mr. Bush may be rebuked by as many as 60 Republicans. And of course, Hollywood got in on the Bush backlash last night in the form of fawning over three chicks. (INAUDIBLE) the Dixie Chicks were the life of the party in Tinseltown at the Grammys.
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NATALIE MAINS, DIXIE CHICKS: Well, to quote the great “Simpsons”—ha, ha!
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SCARBOROUGH: Here now MSNBC political analyst and “Congressional Quarterly” columnist Craig Crawford. Also with us, Joan Walsh editor-in-chief for Salon.com and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Craig, the president seems to be fighting for his political life on Capitol Hill, at the same time that we‘re hearing these explosions while Maliki‘s giving press conferences on security, and too many Iraqis are losing their lives in Iraq. Does these attacks further hurt the president‘s chances in stopping from—being able to avoid a stinging defeat from Congress?
CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
Probably not. It fuels those in Congress who are wanting to pass non-binding resolutions opposing the troop surge. But at the same time, that‘s all they‘re doing so far. Some of those, like Murtha and others, who are more stridently anti-war, are saying this is just a first step. So I would say...
SCARBOROUGH: But Craig, if the president loses-...
SCARBOROUGH: ... 60 of his own people, though—if he loses 60 Republicans...
SCARBOROUGH: ... from his own party, opposing the president—the commander-in-chief‘s strategy at a time of war, that certainly has teeth, doesn‘t it?
CRAWFORD: I don‘t—it should in a democracy where the president listens to the public and the Congress, but I‘m not sure that‘s what we have here, Joe. I mean, I go back to what Dick Cheney said the Sunday before the mid-term election, when he acknowledged the public was against this war, and he said it does not matter, we‘re not running for office. Those were his words, and I think that‘s still the attitude of this White House.
SCARBOROUGH: Joan Walsh, look at these numbers from the Associated Press regarding violence in Iraq today, 133 people killed today in violence nationwide, three car bombs exploded, killing 78 people, wounding 166, and police found 32 bodies scattered across Baghdad. Joan, with the prime minister holding these press conferences and bombs going of in the background and bodies just being littered across the streets of Baghdad, isn‘t it hard for the president to go to Congress and ask them to stay the course, in fact, sort of up the ante here?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: It‘s very difficult, Joe, but that‘s not going to stop him. But I think that the House will have its say. I have to say I‘m pretty impressed by your old body, Joe. Sometimes they don‘t get the credit that the Senate does. But you know, this little resolution is a very impressive piece of political work. Last time I looked at it earlier today—I don‘t know, it could have grown, but when I looked at it earlier today, it was two paragraphs. And one is, basically, We support the troops, and the other is, We oppose the surge. It really gets at the heart of the conflict.
And you know, to what Craig said—look, this is not the end. Murtha and others have said there will be more. Salon reported last week that they‘re going to work on this through the appropriations process. They‘ve got a pretty novel strategy, actually, to...
SCARBOROUGH: But you know, Joan, you‘re talking about Murtha and Craig talked about Murtha. I‘ll guarantee you the White House isn‘t concerned about Murtha. They‘re not concerned about Pelosi.
WALSH: Oh, absolutely not.
SCARBOROUGH: They‘re concerned about these 60 Republicans. And you talked the language. Let‘s show the language of the House resolution right here to show you what 60 Republicans are now talking about voting for. It says, “Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.”
Joan, isn‘t that effectively a vote of no confidence against the president from, again, as many as 60 members of his own party, if it passes?
WALSH: It is absolutely a vote of no confidence, and that‘s why I truly believe that it‘s more than symbolically important. Do I think it‘s going to stop the president or stop the escalation? No, I‘m really not sure. I might have said three months ago, Yes, absolutely, but you know, we‘ve all learned together that this administration defies reality, that Dick Cheney was telling the truth when he said that the votes wouldn‘t matter. But I still think it‘s an important symbolic step and that they can and will get tougher in appropriations and they will appeal to Republicans...
CRAWFORD: It‘s like the old tree falling in the forest. You know, did it fall if nobody heard it? I mean, does this resolution matter if the president doesn‘t hear it?
WALSH: It really—it very much matters to the American people, and it‘s going to matter to the ‘08 candidates. I think they have to do it, Craig. I think they need to do more than that, but I think it‘s a very important first step, and I‘m looking forward to seeing what happens.
SCARBOROUGH: And you know, Pat Buchanan, there were times back during the Clinton administration where we‘d be scratching our heads, saying, Does it really matter to this president what the American public thinks? There‘d be one scandal after another. And of course, it didn‘t. He stayed the course. He survived. He got out of office. And I‘m not just talking about Monica, I‘m talking about shine (ph) and so many other scandals that broke that were just sort of brushed to the side.
But here we have a president who—again, it‘s remarkable. He may have 60 Republicans going against him, going against strategy in his war, and it seems like it may not have any real practical effect. I just can‘t think of a parallel in modern warfare for the United States, can you?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I‘ll tell you this, Joe. If they get 60 Republicans, that would be almost 290 votes to, say, 140 or 150 or something like that. That‘s a two-to-one repudiation of the Bush strategy. I think that would be a dramatic effect, if 60 Republicans go against him.
I‘d be surprised. I so think it‘s going to have this effect. This surge is the last surge we‘re going to have. Everybody knows that. It doesn‘t appear to be working now. But I will say this. If you pull out the American troops or if you didn‘t have a surge, that‘s not going to stop those bombs from blasting in Baghdad and everywhere else. As a matter of fact, when the American troops go out, this war‘s going to begin in earnest.
SCARBOROUGH: And I want you to see—because we keep talking about 60 votes. Take a look at what a senior Republican aide told “The Washington Post” today. It said, “The GOP leadership knows that Republicans from districts where the war is unpopular will have to vote with the Democrats to protect themselves.”
And Wayne Gilchrist, I believe, a congressman from Maryland, predicted that as many as 60 Republicans may peel off. The political impact of that, you say, may be significant because that could mean a two-to-one repudiation.
BUCHANAN: Oh, sure.
SCARBOROUGH: But practically speaking, what does that give Congress cover to do? Does it give Congress cover to start defunding parts of this war while still supporting the troops?
BUCHANAN: Well, first of all, Gilchrist is a very good man. He‘s from that Eastern Shore of Maryland. They‘re very patriotic down there. He‘s lost 23 dead, I think, down there in his district. He has signed onto that resolution, HJR-14, which says President Bush has no authority to attack Iran. I think there‘s a group of conservatives who are very, very tough on this. I think the message will be dramatic—if it is two to one, if there are 60 votes, Joe, that would be jolting certainly to me and to everyone else.
I don‘t know about cover in 2008 because I genuinely believe—look, by the end of this summer, Petraeus is going to have succeeded or Petraeus is going to have failed, and I think the Americans are going to be coming out one way another. And we will be far down the road in terms of what is going to happen when the Americans come home. And I am one of those who believes we better start focusing on that because peace is not going to be at hand. The real war, the big war, will be at hand.
CRAWFORD: Joe, what the Democrats are looking at in the appropriations process, short of defunding the troops there, are some half steps in the beginning, just keep ratcheting up the heat, such as closing Guantanamo, cutting some of the funds to the Iraqi government, some steps that will test how many of those Republicans will move along with them, once you get really specific.
WALSH: Well, there are actually...
SCARBOROUGH: How scared, Craig, are these Republicans of where the president‘s taken them? I mean, you‘re looking at a party—let‘s step back for a second here. You‘re looking at a party that went along with George W. Bush—conservatives, moderates, even some liberal Republicans went along with George W. Bush for the past six years. They now find themselves in the minority in the House and in the Senate. They find themselves on the run. They find themselves in a position where they may be in the minority for the next four, six, eight years.
Are Republicans ready, Craig, to bolt and just say, Enough is enough, we‘ve got to protect ourselves and let Mr. Bush fend for himself?
CRAWFORD: I mean, the age of Bush is ending, and although I think this vote on this resolution for those 60 Republicans who may bolt provides them some cover for their reelections in 2008.
CRAWFORD: But when it comes to more specific votes that actually do substantive things, they may not bolt...
CRAWFORD: ... because they‘ve got this cover of this vote on the resolution.
BUCHANAN: Joe—let me talk about the politics of this...
WALSH: But actually, I...
BUCHANAN: ... Joe. Let me talk about the politics of this. Let me tell you, if the Republicans bolt and they all turn on Bush and they dump him, it ain‘t going to save them in 2008 because the Republican Party will be divided. There‘ll be a hard core, just like the hard core that stuck with Nixon, and then there‘ll be a group that cut and ran from this policy after it failed, and the whole party will go down to defeat. They‘re not going to save themselves or their party by dumping their president.
WALSH: No, but...
CRAWFORD: ... ads out there. There are some ads out there from Moveon.org I‘ve seen already with little blurbs of the word “escalation” coming out of the mouths of well-known Republicans...
WALSH: You know, it might—it might be...
CRAWFORD: ... and attacking...
CRAWFORD: They‘re laying the groundwork for 2008 already.
WALSH: It might be too late for some people, but I think other people, redemption is possible. And the other things they‘re talking about in appropriations are things that would have teeth in Iraq, like restricting redeployment of National Guard troops, which would limit this constant sending people back, or making sure, for example, that troops who do go to Iraq are adequately trained and have adequate body armor, which we all know that they don‘t. So I think there are some pretty politically savvy...
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Joan, though...
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I want to ask Joan something, though, about this issue, this Iraq issue causing not only George W. Bush and some Republicans problems as we move forward over the next two years, but also Hillary Clinton.
WALSH: Hillary Clinton. Absolutely.
SCARBOROUGH: Listen to what Hillary Clinton faced this weekend.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I want to know if right here, right now, once and for all, without nuance, you can say that that war authorization vote was a mistake. Until we hear you say that, we‘re not going to hear all these other great things you‘re saying.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for it. I have taken responsibility for my vote. The mistakes were made by this president, who misled this country and this Congress into a war that should not have been waged.
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SCARBOROUGH: Joan, is that enough?
WALSH: No, it‘s not enough, Joe. You know, I think she thinks she‘s acting presidential. Remember how Bush said he couldn‘t think of any mistakes he made a little while ago. I mean, I think this is ridiculous on her part, and it‘s kind of perverse. She‘s insisting that she will not use the word “mistake.” And I‘m not all about people, you know, debasing themselves to apologize. That‘s not necessary. But if you‘re saying all these words—and we‘ve tracked it. We‘re running a story tomorrow, really looking at the evolution of what she‘s said, that‘s the word she won‘t say.
And you know, Obama is making this very difficult for her.
WALSH: I know, Joe, you think he‘s Bambi Obama and she‘s going to be Godzilla and swat him down, and I look forward to a long campaign arguing about that because I think he‘s been very canny this weekend in the way he‘s talked about it, and he‘s clearly calling her out for having authorized this mistake and bearing responsibility for it.
BUCHANAN: Joe? Joe...
SCARBOROUGH: I think—for the record, because he announced this weekend, I want to be gracious. I think he did about as good a job as anybody that was in the state legislature two years ago.
WALSH: All right, Joe. Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Joe, let me say this about Hillary, though. She‘s going to go through the tortures of the damned for the next year until she admits that she‘s made a mistake. But having done that, then she‘s going through the tortures of the damned again.
BUCHANAN: How do you say you‘re a United States senator, given all this time, a country hadn‘t attacked us, and you authorized George Bush to take us to war, 3,000 to 4,000 are dead, 25,000 wounded, the biggest vote of my career, I didn‘t do due diligence, I voted the wrong way...
WALSH: Oh, absolutely...
CRAWFORD: Somebody‘s got to speak up for Senator Clinton here.
CRAWFORD: First of all, Republicans like Pat who are calling on her to say she made a mistake—I don‘t know that Pat would do this, but others, once she did that, would immediately call her a flip-flopper. I mean, a lot of this pressure on her...
BUCHANAN: This is what I‘m saying! She‘s in terrible trouble!
CRAWFORD: ... is just to set her up for the flip-flop charge. I don‘t think that she‘s making such a terrible mistake.
BUCHANAN: I‘m not giving her—I‘m not giving her...
CRAWFORD: She‘s running against all liberals in this. All the liberals and anti-war Democrats running against her are going to split that vote.
WALSH: She is. And she‘s playing to the independents. It‘s true.
SCARBOROUGH: And let me say this. Republicans have beaten up Democrats since 1972 because of mean-spirited types like Pat Buchanan saying they‘re weak on defense.
SCARBOROUGH: I think Hillary Clinton...
BUCHANAN: We used to win all those elections, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: We did. I know! Yes, and by 49 states. But...
WALSH: Times have changed, guys.
SCARBOROUGH: I think Hillary Clinton is playing it perfectly. I think she‘s being—doing exactly what Bill Clinton would be doing. And you go back and you look at what was going on when that vote was cast, one year after 9/11, and you have the CIA director saying it‘s a slam dunk that there are weapons of mass destruction, the French are saying it, the British are saying it, the Russians are saying it. You have a 15-to-nothing vote in the United Nations, 1441, saying Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein says he has weapons of mass destruction.
I think this is a vote that you can defend, but then you can move forward and say, But the president so bungled and mismanaged this war, we find ourselves where we are now because of it. But if I were president, that wouldn‘t have happened.
That‘s my sermon for tonight. As Joan Walsh said, redemption possible for all! Joan Walsh, Pat Buchanan, thank you so much. Craig Crawford, stay with us.
Coming up next: Is George Bush hyping intel to start another war, this time against Iran? Or does he have a smoking gun to prove Iranians are all now in the business of killing U.S. servicemen? Plus, Europe says it‘s too late to stop Iran from getting nukes through diplomacy. Does that mean war? Andrea Mitchell reports next.
And later, bizarre new developments in Anna Nicole Smith‘s saga, the latest on the investigation. Plus, five men now claiming they could be the father. Let‘s say by the TV set. That number may grow through the hour. We‘re going to sort it out when we come back. And a closer look at Smith‘s lawyer-turned-lover Howard K. Stern. Is Stern already cashing in on his partner‘s death, and is he a black widow? That‘s coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: Is the Bush administration overselling its case against Iran to justify yet another war? Mr. Bush is claiming the Teheran regime is arming insurgents in Iraq with deadly devices that may have killed almost 200 U.S. troops. Iran is denying those claims as tensions escalate, with Iranian students taking to the streets—oh, this is a new tactic—to burn American flags! Never seen that one before! One protester held up a sign that read, quote, “We will make American generals the food of Persian Gulf fish.” Tell that to Saddam Hussein.
So how strong is the administration‘s case against Iran? NBC‘s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, looks into claims that the White House is hyping the intelligence. Andrea.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Joe. The Bush administration is on the defensive, denying that it is exaggerating the intelligence about Iranian support for insurgents in Iraq in order to justify a U.S. attack on Iran.
(voice-over): Is the government in Teheran responsible for the deadly armor-piercing devices that have been targeting U.S. troops in Iraq, as the White House and Pentagon claim? The president on C-Span today denied trying to create a pretext for war with Iraq.
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My reaction to all the noise about, you know, he wants to go to war, is, first of all, I don‘t understand the tactics, and I guess I would say it‘s political.
MITCHELL: But questions swirled today about the administration‘s long-awaited evidence laid out for reporters yesterday in Baghdad by U.S. military officials, who in a highly unusual step, would not give their names. The U.S. claims the targeted explosives used in Iraq are made in Iran. Even if true, would that prove Iran‘s government was involved?
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There‘s not a whole lot of freelancing in the Iranian government, especially when it comes to something like that.
MITCHELL: Teheran, which celebrated the anniversary of its revolution yesterday, today denied the U.S. charge. A spokesman said the United States has a long history of fabricating evidence.
How involved is Teheran? U.S. intelligence officials have some doubts. Nine days ago, the government‘s 16 intelligence agencies reported that Iran‘s influence was not a major driver of violence in Iraq. That same day, the White House said it wasn‘t satisfied the Pentagon‘s case against Iran was solid.
STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Quite frankly, we thought the briefing overstated, and we sent it back to get it narrowed and focused on the facts.
MITCHELL: So why is the evidence now ready, or is the administration trying to provoke a confrontation with Iran?
BRUCE RIEDEL, FORMER CIA OFFICIAL: This is extremely dangerous territory we‘re moving into now. We‘re accusing the Iranians of killing American soldiers on a battlefield. That raises the ante pretty high between us and Teheran.
MITCHELL: Administration officials say they had to make their case in order to protect U.S. troops from a growing threat, but they acknowledge that the evidence is at best, quote, “circumstantial”—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Andrea Mitchell. Still with us, MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford. Craig, is there any evidence that the Bush administration may be hyping this pre-war evidence against Iran, or is it serious business? Are Iranians actually going out and hunting down U.S. troops in Iraq?
CRAWFORD: I think this is one time the Congress and the American people better weigh in heavily and find out, as was not done before the Iraq war. And yes, I think this briefing in Baghdad Sunday—first of all, how odd they would release this supposed evidence and not allow the briefers‘ names to be used, wouldn‘t allow reporters to take pictures...
SCARBOROUGH: Why did they do that?
CRAWFORD: ... or video of the supposed evidence. I mean, that doesn‘t lend credibility. I mean, there is a chance this supposed evidence is going to backfire on them. It looks about as weak as some of the paternity claims for Anna Nicole Smith‘s baby.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, I‘m taking that personally!
CRAWFORD: All right.
SCARBOROUGH: So you think that, in the end, this evidence will be sort of put over to the side, like a lot of evidence that was used as a lead-up to the Iraq war to justify invading Iraq back in 2003?
CRAWFORD: Even the administration is backing away, Joe. I mean, not a single Pentagon official, State Department intelligence official is willing to put their name publicly on this supposed evidence. That alone has to tell you something. You have the Joint Chiefs chairman says, well, it shows that it was made in Iran, but not necessarily that it was directed by the Iranian government per se. So even the administration doesn‘t seem to be backing this up very much.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Craig, I‘ve been saying for some time, several years now, that there‘s no way that we can allow the Iranians to get nuclear weapons and we had to stop it. But there are reports out of Europe today that suggest the European Union has now thrown up its hands and said diplomacy against Iran isn‘t going to work, isn‘t going to stop nuclear weapons from being developed. You think this may give the Bush team a reason to launch military attacks against Iran, if this justification that they‘re trying to use about Iranians killing U.S. troops ends up not coming out all right in the wash?
CRAWFORD: Yes, even if this particular evidence in the briefing Sunday turns out sour, they do seem to have some momentum and we do have a deadline coming up with the U.N. later this month which would probably lead to stronger economic sanctions against Iran, which the European Union now seems to be endorsing. So that could be one reason for all of this activity with the administration, aside from trying to soften up world opinion for a military strike. That‘s one objective.
Another purpose of all this, I think, is to—the blame game. As the Iraq situation looks worse and worse for the U.S., Iran‘s a good target for blame to say, They‘re part of it. We failed because of Iran. That‘s also a good argument. And I think it also is an argument to support the troop surge, saying, Iran‘s in there meddling, we have to have this troop surge. So they have a lot of objectives here.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much, Craig, as always. Greatly appreciate it. Craig Crawford, great insights.
And coming up: Boy, we need insights on this. I don‘t know if Craig can help us or not! New twists in the Anna Nicole Smith case. Now a fifth man comes forward saying he could be the daddy, and now talk about the man who was nearby when Anna Nicole and her son died and why he may now stand to make $400 million because of their untimely deaths. We‘re going to be there live in the Bahamas for the very latest coming up.
But first: “Idol” lets the dogs out in “Must See S.C.”
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, untie the horses. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve got to see. First up, the “American Idol” auditions may be over, but the show is still coming under fire for its mean streak. Jay Leno shows us one of the more brutal examples of how far “Idol‘s” taken it this year.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): I hear the clock, it‘s 6:00 a.m. I feel so far from where I‘ve been. I‘ve got my eggs and my pancakes, too. I feel so far from...
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SCARBOROUGH: And finally, you ever wonder what stars really think about everyday life? Well, Conan reveals their deepest secrets in his latest celebrity survey. I love these.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT”: Most people die, Scarlett Johansson wrote, “with too many regrets”; Russell Crowe wrote, “before their time”; Larry King wrote, “but not me.”
I can‘t wait until my baby is old enough to say, Ben Stiller wrote, “I love you, Daddy,” that‘s very nice; Mariska Hargitay wrote, “Hug me, Mommy”; Donald Trump wrote, “Rosie O‘Donnell is a fat, fat loser.”
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SCARBOROUGH: And coming up next, bizarre new twists in the Anna Nicole saga. At least five men are now claiming to be her baby‘s daddy. We‘re going to have the count continue throughout the hour and update you when we get a baker‘s dozen.
Plus, new questions about her lawyer-turned-lover. We‘re live in the Bahamas with the very latest.
And later, “Hollyweird” is ready to embrace Tom Cruise again? Why the top gun‘s recent feud with Paramount may be coming to an end.
SCARBOROUGH: More bizarre details being revealed in the investigation surrounding Anna Nicole Smith‘s sudden death, with reports that Anna Nicole was popping at least 10 different kind of pills when she died. And photographs of the inside of her refrigerator have surfaced, revealing a stockpile of methadone and Slim-Fast. Ironic, of course, since Anna Nicole was TrimSpa‘s spokesperson.
MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby has uncovered some other explosive new details tonight, and she‘s live with us in the Bahamas with the latest.
Rita, what‘s the latest on the investigation down there?
RITA COSBY, HOST: Well, the latest on the investigation down here, it‘s really a focus on lawsuits, who‘s the father, also issues of who has custody of the kid.
I‘ll first get to the investigation, Joe, because the terms of the investigation, we reported exclusively that we have learned from some very strong sources, despite some denials that have been coming from the medical examiner today, but we stand by our story that we have been told that Anna Nicole had some recent surgeries, including a recent breast surgery that apparently left no scarring, but apparently had some, you know, sort of a temporary, some work on her breasts, and something that was, quote, called a “repair job.”
And I am told that, because of that, she was given a whole bunch of prescriptive medicines, a whole bunch of different kinds, some painkillers to ease the aches and pains. And some of those were the medications that were found by her bed. As you point from our reporting, that there were at least 10 different medications on the bed stand, the night stand right by her bed, when her body was found naked when authorities arrived, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, you also talked to Anna Nicole‘s family today.
What did you find out?
COSBY: Well, they are very furious, Joe. I mean, they want to get access to this baby. In fact, that has been the biggest problem for them at this point. They really, really are frustrated with what‘s happening.
Here, they came all the way down here and wanted to see—we spoke to the aunt, we spoke to the uncle, we spoke to the stepfather, and I also spoke on the phone with the mother. And none of them had been able to see the baby at all, period, and they feel that the baby is in bad hands.
They do not like Howard Stern. They do not feel he‘s a good father. But, remember, he is still listed on the birth certificate, so he has access to the kid.
And, you know, Joe, in addition to all of this, I‘ve got to show you the front page of the newspaper here today, because this is the newspaper. Everybody is talking about it. This is the headline of the paper here, the “Tribune,” where they talk about, show some very sort of suggestive pictures with the immigration minister here and Anna Nicole.
Apparently we‘re told that these kinds of pictures are going to be dripping out over the next few days and even the next few weeks in the local paper here. The immigration minister just had to address the nation, essentially, a few minutes ago with national television, doing an interview with state-run television here in the television here in the Bahamas, saying that it was just a friendly relationship, that he was just trying to help her. But you can just see all of the attention on this case, trying to figure out every little angle of Anna Nicole‘s life.
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, in New York, the pictures that were on the cover of the “New York Post” and other magazines, tabloids, were pictured of Anna Nicole‘s refrigerator. What can you tell us about that?
COSBY: Yes, and those pictures are quite striking. You‘re looking at some pictures there. This is from TMZ.com. They said, in the refrigerator, there was methadone, also vials of injectable medicine, and also Slim-Fast. And nearby the refrigerator, there were tablets of TrimSpa. Of course, she‘s a spokeswoman for TrimSpa.
But obviously, it suggests some very serious things that even, after all of this, when they got into what they‘re saying, these photos are very recent, according to TMZ. And they say, since these photos are recent, this is after everything. There was still methadone found in the refrigerator.
Remember, her son, Joe, died—this is Daniel—died suddenly, remember, at the hospital room, after she gave birth to her baby daughter, died from a combination of methadone and two other medicines. So it certainly looks very questionable that this there‘s methadone in her refrigerator, and I know for a fact that the medical examiner is looking into medicines as possibly being a cause of her death now.
SCARBOROUGH: It certainly does look suspicious. And, of course, TMZ also reported sometime back after the son‘s death that there may be documents out there that may be pointing to Mr. Stern as the person that provided that methadone to the son. We will see.
Thank you so much, Rita. Greatly appreciate the very latest. That report live from the Bahamas.
And here to talk about the new and surprising developments in the fight over who‘s the father of Anna Nicole‘s baby—and, of course, we‘ve got about half-a-billion dollars riding on the answer to that question, Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative journalist and author of the upcoming book, “Secrets Can be Murder,” and also David Caplan, “Star” magazine‘s deputy New York bureau chief.
David, let me start with you. Basically everybody this side of Art Linkletter are claiming that they‘re the father of Anna Nicole Smith‘s baby. What‘s the bottom line here? Who‘s the daddy?
DAVID CAPLAN, “STAR” MAGAZINE: Well, right now, we have five contenders. We have, you know, Larry Birkhead, Howard Stern. Her bodyguard came into the mix today. You know, there are so many people. Prince Frederick, Zsa Zsa Gabor‘s husband. There are just more and more people.
Right now, you know, the main contender looks like its Larry Birkhead. All these other people are coming out of the woodwork. And it‘s really bizarre. It‘s like they‘re really desperate for attention. I think the most shocking one so far is Zsa Zsa Gabor‘s husband, Prince Frederick.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, you may vote for that. I would say that her husband who‘s been dead now for, what, 12 years coming into this little horserace, that may be the one most shocking to me.
CAPLAN: That‘s weird, but, you know, at least there‘s a connection there. I think there was almost humor with when Prince Frederick came into the fray, but you‘re definitely right. I think, at the end of the day—and we sort of put aside all the bizarre people that have come forward—it‘s looking like Larry Birkhead.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Jane, this is all about $500 million, isn‘t it?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It absolutely is. You know, the tragedy of all this is, when you take all of the money, and you take away all the celebrity, it‘s looking more and more likely that this is really the garden variety story of drug addiction.
We‘ll know for sure when the toxicology reports come in, but drug addiction never operates in a vacuum. It always comes with a package. And that package: secrets, lies, double lives, duplicity, manipulation, and, to a certain extent, promiscuity and grifting. And those seem to be factors in this case.
I mean, if you look at everything, this massive paternity battle, refusing to take the paternity test, claiming that the mansion you‘re living in was given to you, even though person who is trying to get it back says, no, I didn‘t get it to you, you‘re a squatter. Either everybody is lying or this pair had some serious problems, and obviously drugs were a factor in that.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. Hey, Jane and David, stay with us.
We‘re going to be right back on the other side of the break.
And after the break, more on the mysterious death of Anna Nicole, including the man who‘s already reportedly made a million dollars on her death and could be getting a lot more money, Anna Nicole‘s boyfriend and attorney Howard K. Stern. Who is this guy? And how did he get so close to Anna Nicole?
And later, watch out, Britney Spears. Yes, that‘s K-Fed and Justin Timberlake together on the red carpet. The details, coming up in “Hollyweird.”
SCARBOROUGH: Anna Nicole Smith‘s death is once again putting Howard K. Stern into the spotlight under suspicion. He‘s the infamous lawyer-turned-lover constantly seen hovering at Anna Nicole‘s side.
Five months ago, Stern was right there in the hospital room when her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died of a drug overdose. And Stern was in Florida this week when Anna—this past week, when Anna died under suspicious circumstances. Now there‘s word that Stern is already cashing in on Smith‘s death with a reported $1 million interview before the former “Playboy” Playmate is even buried.
So who is this man? How did he get involved with Anna Nicole Smith? And what‘s his connection to the death of Smith and her son? Still with us, “Star” magazine‘s David Caplan and investigative journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell.
David, tell us about this guy.
CAPLAN: So Howard Stern has been a mystery to most people, but here‘s the deal with Howard. He‘s 38. He‘s born and raised in Los Angeles, and he‘s a lawyer. We always hear “lawyer Howard K. Stern, lawyer Howard K. Stern.” True, he did graduate from UCLA Law School, but, if you look at the records, the legal records, he‘s never been the attorney of record on any case, which sort of sounds bizarre if he‘s supposed to be a lawyer.
He also went to Berkeley College. So he has educational background, but the legal background is very fishy. Now, he became a bit of leech with Anna Nicole Smith in the mid-‘90s. So, really, ever since he was in his mid- to late-20s, he has been with Anna.
He negotiated deals for her reality show, with TrimSpa, and he‘s always been there. But a lot of his friends tell “Star” that he‘s always been a bit—had an overbearing presence, and that Anna Nicole wasn‘t always so fond of him being around and meddling with her family and personal affairs.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Jane, talk about what we‘ve heard in the past about his connection with the son who passed away. And we‘ve heard TMZ apparently has gotten a hold of some documents that suggest he may—and we‘re just saying may—have provided the methadone that was found in her son‘s system when he died.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, TMZ is reporting that witnesses will claim that they saw some kind of interaction involving methadone, Howard K. Stern, and Daniel, who later died, and flushing of something down a toilet, which looks suspicious. We‘ll have to see when that hearing occurs in the Bahamas late next month.
I‘ve interviewed Howard K. Stern. And the thing that I‘ve noticed about him is his lack of affect. In other words, when he‘s talking, there‘ve very little expression, and he‘s very hard to read. You get the general impression that whatever he‘s saying is not what he‘s thinking.
A lot of people are very suspicious over his claims that he‘s the lover of Anna Nicole Smith, for a lot of reasons. For one, he was her business partner and her lawyer for many years, and there was no hint of any romance ever. And then suddenly, when this paternity issue heats up, they start doing the hard sell on being lovebirds. The timing of that is very fishy.
But the biggest reason that I‘m cynical is, anybody who loves somebody, who is obviously a person who‘s struggling with addiction, doesn‘t let them live in what has been described as a pharmacy. And even if she had had a recent surgery, you don‘t take methadone, which was a photographed in her refrigerator, to recover from surgery.
So, at the very least, he‘s an enabler. He should have gotten her into treatment. There has been a report now that he was trying to take her to the United Arab Emirates so that she could dry out. But you know what? There‘s plenty of rehab centers right here in America. You don‘t have to consult the sultan of Brunei to get somebody off drugs.
SCARBOROUGH: And of course, now, David, two members of this family have died, possibly from methadone overdoses. Does anybody believe that Stern is actually the father of Anna Nicole‘s child and, because of that, could stand to make $400 million off of these two deaths?
CAPLAN: No one I‘ve spoken to believes he‘s the father. I mean, again, it‘s just this myth that‘s been created that Howard is the biological father of Dannielynn. No one really believes it. Everyone is pointing the finger at Larry Birkhead.
And again, his claims to paternity, his claims to, you know, her estate are all very suspect. And it‘s shocking, because no one believes it. We‘re really not addressing it. It seems like a complete fraud. And it‘s just out of nowhere. And his motives and intent seems very suspect. And even when Anna was alive, his association with her was very shady.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks a lot, David Caplan. Thank you, Jane Velez-Mitchell. Greatly appreciate it.
A quick programming note. Rita Cosby is live in the Bahamas at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for a special “MSNBC Reports” on the death of Anna Nicole.
But coming up here, “Hollyweird.” Is Tom Cruise no longer risky business in “Hollyweird”? Paramount may be ready to bury the hatchet with the top gun, coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, tell your manager next year you want the Grammy.
It‘s time for “Hollyweird,” baby.
First up, the former loves of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and K-Fed, meet on the red carpet this weekend. Here to talk about it, E! Online reporter Cristina Gibson. And still with us, “Star” magazine‘s David Caplan.
Cristina, I understand you saw this historic moment, this meeting of the minds. Tell us about it.
CRISTINA GIBSON, E! ONLINE REPORTER: I did. I was fortunate enough to be there. And you know what? L.A. is a very big city, but Hollywood is a really small town. So it was only a matter of time before Kevin and Justin came face-to-face. And it happened to go down at the Verizon Wireless Rolling Stone party here in Hollywood on Friday night.
Now, from what I here, it was a cordial moment on the carpet. They said hello and went their separate ways. But, you know, Kevin was there to watch Justin‘s show, and hopefully he was getting some inspiration for his own musical career. He certainly needs it.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s hope so. And, David, I understand somebody said that they may have even embraced each other. I mean, it‘s like a band of brothers coming together to retell war stories, right?
CAPLAN: Yes, no, this is great unearthing of the “X-Files.” They hugged each other. And Kevin even sort of mugged it up for the paparazzi there, tells them, you know, covers about him saying (INAUDIBLE) you know, don‘t talk about it. But they hugged. They embraced. And I bet they commiserated over what Britney has become.
SCARBOROUGH: I guess they have. And Viacom chief Sumner Redstone is now telling Sky News that he may work again with Tom Cruise. Talk about a reuniting. David Caplan, what‘s going on here?
CAPLAN: Yes, whatever happened to Sumner? Before, he hated Tom Cruise. Now, all of a sudden, he seems to be agreeing with Tom Cruise‘s new life.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, not only did he hate Tom Cruise, but he let the world know that his wife hated Tom Cruise.
CAPLAN: And many people wondered if it was really the wife who was decided it. But that‘s true. Apparently, Tom‘s new life, a married man, the head of his own movie studio, and doting dad, maybe that, you know, agrees well with Sumner, because Sumner saying, “I would probably work with Tom someday, but not immediately.”
So I wouldn‘t get too wound up that we‘re going to see some kind of collaboration. But for now, Sumner‘s saying, you know, the right things, and he‘s pro-Tom. But we‘ll see how long that lasts, because Tom Cruise, he doesn‘t have good longevity.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, may not last very long at all. And, Cristina, Lindsay Lohan—we get this news out of “Hollyweird” tonight—she‘s bought an apartment that used to belong to Marilyn Monroe. I don‘t know if I like the parallels there. Both of these women had some trouble with addiction. Tell us about this story.
GIBSON: It‘s a rumor that Lindsay has bought the apartment that Marilyn Monroe used to live in. And, you know, some people are thinking this is a little bit weird, but I say it‘s great, because now Lindsay is not living in a hotel anymore.
She had been living at the Chateau Marmont. Now, this is where John Belushi overdosed in 1982. So any of these old Hollywood hotels, their apartments, there‘s been a famous star who‘s been there or died there or murdered. So there‘s a lot of, you know, intrigue and suspense around old Hollywood buildings.
So, you know, just because there‘s parallels doesn‘t mean it‘s necessarily going to end tragically. And, hopefully, Lindsay is in rehab and getting herself sober, and we won‘t see any more similarities between these two ingenues.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, let‘s certainly hope not.
And, finally, talk about a little bit weird. I‘m hearing, David, that supermodel Elle Macpherson is saying she can‘t find a date. If that‘s the case, I can fill her dance card as many nights in a row as she wants. What‘s going on her, David?
CAPLAN: Yes, why is it always girls like Elle Macpherson who are complaining? She has told “Esquire” magazine that, not only is she single, but that she‘s been celibate for two years...
CAPLAN: ... and that she has trouble meeting guys. Two years, she‘s celibate, she‘s single, and she can‘t meet a nice guy. Poor Elle Macpherson.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, jeez, I‘ll tell you what...
GIBSON: Sounds like a pity party.
SCARBOROUGH: I have a whole control room of guys in Secaucus, New Jersey, that would be glad to help her out.
Cristina, there they are—yes, all of them.
GIBSON: I think she‘s just picky.
SCARBOROUGH: Cristina, tell us about it. Elle Macpherson having trouble with me?
GIBSON: I think she‘s just being picky. I mean, she is beautiful. She‘s a supermodel. She‘s hot. I‘m sure that she‘s just picky. But, hey, a girl has got to have standards.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. Hey, thank you very much, Cristina. Thank you, David Caplan. That‘s all the time we have for tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We‘ll see you tomorrow. Good night.
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