Guests: Michael Crowley, Joan Walsh
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaykh Mohammed gets sympathy from the most unlikely of places, Barbara Walters‘s “The View.” That story ahead.
But first tonight, breaking news, new charges of a White House coverup, e-mails released earlier this evening implicating the White House, Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales in the growing scandal with the attorney general‘s office. The White House previously insisted that politics had played no part in the U.S. attorneys‘ firings and that neither Karl Rove nor Alberto Gonzales were involved. But the e-mails uncovered earlier by ABC News suggest the White House may have been lying on all counts. The ABC revelations forced the White House to release a string of e-mails involving Rove‘s involvement, and the picture that was painted could lead to significant political and legal scandals for the Bush White House.
Democrats quickly went on the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The new e-mails show conclusively that Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning.
Every time new information comes out, it proves that the White House was not telling the truth in their previous statements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And now it looks like Congress will drag Mr. Rove and the attorney general back to Capitol Hill to see if administration officials committed perjury the last time they testified under oath about this matter. Meanwhile the walls are closing in on Mr. Bush‘s long-time friend and attorney general, Alberto Gonzales. Republicans and Democrats alike want him to step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER ®, PENNSYLVANIA: I am not satisfied with what Attorney General Gonzales has had to say.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: And we now have strong reason to believe that despite the earlier protestations to the contrary, Karl Rove and political operatives at the White House and for the Republican Party played a role, along with those in the White House counsel‘s office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And making matters worse for an already embattled White House is the fact that Democrats on Capitol Hill are preparing to lunch a set of scorching investigations and are drawing up subpoenas as we speak that many believe may cripple the Bush presidency.
Here now to talk about it, Joan Walsh—she‘s editor-in-chief of Salon.com—Michael Crowley—he‘s senior editor of “The New Republic”—and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Michael, the White House has not been caught in a spin by tonight‘s breaking news, they‘ve been caught in an outright lie. Now, these e-mails that were uncovered directly contradict what the White House has been saying. Listen to what the president‘s counselor, Dan Bartlett, told America on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BARTLETT, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: There was a conversation between Harriet Miers and Kyle Sampson (INAUDIBLE) talked about after the of the second term in 2004, Would it make sense to maybe have a clean slate and start with a full—a range of new U.S. attorneys across the board? That was quickly rejected not only by Kyle Sampson in the Department of Justice but also not viewed as a good idea within the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Michael, that‘s just an absolute lie, isn‘t it.
MICHAEL CROWLEY, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: Well, Joe, you know, every day now, or every couple hours, it sounds like, we‘re learning that some new thing that they said was a lie and that they were planning—you know, now we‘re learning about the lies they were planning to tell at other times. I mean, one of these e-mails explained this whole song and dance they were going to do to make senators think that they were going to have a hand in replacing these attorneys, but they were just going to drag it out, and you know, pretend to be—help—giving the senators input, but they had no intention of doing so.
I mean, as with so many cases with this White House, when you peel back—when you pull back the curtain, you just see this incredible amount of spin and deceit and incredible cynicism.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and the question that I have is, Who‘s lying? Is somebody lying to Dan Bartlett? Is somebody lying to Tony Snow? You know, Tony Snow did a press gaggle on Tuesday off camera, and he said the same thing. He said it was all Harriet Miers‘s idea. But read one of these many e-mails that were uncovered earlier tonight after this ABC investigation, and it shows that the White House was directly involved.
Let me read this to you. Let‘s put that up. This says, “If Karl”—and this is Kyle Sampson. It says, “If Karl thinks that there would be a political will to do it, then so do I.”
And there are other e-mails, of course, that suggest that Karl Rove
was very interested in doing this, firing all 93. And that is the same
Kyle Sampson who was the attorney general‘s chief of staff, to (ph) Dan
Bartlett—man, about as close to the president as anybody other than Rove
told America just the other day he had nothing to do with this. Again, an outright lie. What‘s going on here?
CROWLEY: Well, remember, they hung Scott McClellan out to dry on the whole Joe Wilson thing, and who was—you know, Scooter Libby and who was talking to the press about Valerie Plame. I mean...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and again, that‘s my point. So who was lying to Bartlett? Who was lying to...
SCARBOROUGH: Who‘s lying to Tony Snow?
CROWLEY: I don‘t know for sure, Joe, but I mean, we‘re seeing a pattern in this White House that you can‘t trust what the spokesman is saying about these things, and you can‘t trust Gonzales. I mean, it sounds like things that Gonzales said in testimony on the Hill was also not true. So you know, how do we get to the bottom? Where‘s the end of it? I don‘t know.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what. They‘re all going to go back up to Capitol Hill, Joan Walsh. And it‘s ugly because it now looks—it doesn‘t look, it is—I mean, the fact of the matter is, somebody in the White House—we don‘t know who it was right now, but we will. Somebody in the White House was trying to throw Harriet Miers overboard to protect the attorney general, to protect Karl Rove, and by extension, to protect the president of the United States. They lied on Tuesday and said it was all Harriet Miers‘s idea. Of course, blame the lady that‘s out of town.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Exactly.
SCARBOROUGH: How serious is this, first of all, politically, and then how serious is it legally if you had White House officials lying under oath on Capitol Hill?
WALSH: I think there‘s very little doubt, Joe, that Alberto Gonzales lied under oath. He said flat out in January under oath to Congress, This is in no way political. Paul McNulty then went on in February, one of his deputies, and said, The idea that this is political has stuck a knife to my heart. And this is being shown every day to be a flat-out lie.
And you know, I‘m a feminist, but I have to say, what they‘re doing to Harriet Miers—chivalry is really dead at the Bush White House because...
SCARBOROUGH: And you know, we always hear about...
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? We always hear about Bush loyalty.
WALSH: Bush loyalty. Exactly.
SCARBOROUGH: But here you have somebody that has stuck by this president...
WALSH: The definition of loyalty.
SCARBOROUGH: ... through thick and thin. Remember—remember those
those—I thought they were sickening—Christmas cards...
WALSH: Love letters that she wrote to him? Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: ... love letters saying that he was the greatest governor in the history of America. And she really believed it. I said it‘s sickening. It wasn‘t sickening...
WALSH: It‘s despicable!
SCARBOROUGH: ... she loved this man.
WALSH: Just despicable.
SCARBOROUGH: They loved the family. And now they‘re throwing her overboard. When they...
SCARBOROUGH: Somebody at the White House knew that Karl Rove and the attorney general knew what was going on here.
WALSH: This is what I don‘t understand. I mean, look, we all know that they have the political power to do this, and these are apolitical appointees. But they lie with impunity. They lie for the fun of it. And they concoct—they leave this amazing e-mail trail of lies, and you know, pretend to consult with a senator, but actually, in states that don‘t have a Republican senator, they were saying, consult with Bush‘s political lead in the state. They go through all these motions, and really, they didn‘t have to, quite honestly.
SCARBOROUGH: And that‘s what I—I want to bring Pat Buchanan in here because, you know, Pat, this could have been very easily avoided. If when this scandal broke—and I know you agree with me here. If when this so-called scandal broke, somebody at the White House had stood and—Tony Snow had stood up and said, You know what? All of these U.S. attorneys work at the pleasure of the president, and he can fire and hire whoever the hell he wants to hire and fire, and if you don‘t like it, tough luck, that‘s the end of the story. People may not have liked it, but that is a fact. You talked about it the other night. They had the power to do that. But they certainly turned me off by being caught in all these lies. How serious is it, Pat Buchanan?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, politically, it‘s very serious now, and it‘s the Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby situation. They lied about a crime that they didn‘t commit. They have the right to fire all 92, rehire all 92, fire 10...
SCARBOROUGH: For any reason they want.
BUCHANAN: ... any reason they want. And there‘s nothing wrong with Rove sitting down and saying, Look, I think we need a clean sweep, real new energy in the Justice Department. Let‘s clean them all out. They‘ve done a good job. Send them letters. Get new young people in. Maybe that‘s a dumb idea, maybe it‘s a good idea. It‘s what Clinton did, what a lot of folks do coming in. Nothing wrong with it. But everybody is lying about it, so we assume somebody‘s covering something up. Now, no White House aide...
WALSH: Well, I think...
BUCHANAN: ... has testified to the Hill, but some of these folks over at Justice are going to have a problem if they testified under oath.
CROWLEY: But Joe, let‘s...
WALSH: I think they are covering something up. I think it‘s clear...
WALSH: ... that they are covering something up, Pat. You know, they took out Carol Lam as she was getting closer to Jerry Lewis. They took out...
WALSH: ... because he didn‘t prosecute—because he didn‘t—because he didn‘t...
BUCHANAN: Well, but look, look...
WALSH: ... move fast enough on alleged voter fraud...
BUCHANAN: Oh, come on! Webb Hubbell...
SCARBOROUGH: We can talk about the specifics of the U.S. attorneys. Of course, you could also say that Janet Reno took out a guy who was investigating Dan Rostenkowski a couple of days before...
WALSH: Yes, but then Dan Rostenkowski...
SCARBOROUGH: ... an indictment was going to come down.
WALSH: Rostenkowski was indicted.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s keep it on a bigger level here.
BUCHANAN: All right, well, let me say this. Let me say...
SCARBOROUGH: And let‘s talk about where this leads because, you know, “The Politico” quoted a prominent Democrat saying the following about investigations that are coming, “We‘ve only had the subpoena power for the last six weeks, and every tree that we‘ve barked up so far has had a cat in it. Imagine where we‘re going to be in six months.”
You know, it looks like, instead of six months, Pat Buchanan, they may only need to wait six hours.
BUCHANAN: Well, this is an incredible mess. You know, it‘s like Casey Stengel said. Can‘t anybody here play this game? They had every right to do this, and I don‘t know of any single—if they interfered with a criminal investigation, that‘s a serious problem. If they got rid of some, you know, Patrick Fitzgerald in San Diego they didn‘t like, that‘s no problem.
But Joe, I do think that—I mean, the way that it‘s been handled, these revelations, the whole sense of scandal, the whole sense of who‘s lying to who, it‘s become a major—they‘ve made a mountain out of what was a molehill.
SCARBOROUGH: And Michael, it is—if you have had people from this White House going to Capitol Hill, lying under oath, suddenly, it‘s not just a political embarrassment, it‘s a criminal crisis.
WALSH: Well, absolutely. And look, you know, this could lead to weeks and months of hearings. I mean, one reaction I have is that Democrats want to be careful that they don‘t—they now—it looks like they‘re going to have an excuse to drag up almost anybody they want and kind of torture them. And a lot of these people deserve it. But they want to be careful because the Republicans were seen to have gone overboard in the ‘90s with investigations. Democrats are nowhere near that point. But they have to remember...
CROWLEY: But I will say that this is what you get after all these years of having one-party rule, essentially.
CROWLEY: There was no oversight.
WALSH: And no oversight.
CROWLEY: And the metaphor that I think of is like leaving leftovers in the back of your fridge for four months, and you know, you don‘t look at them, and the Democrats are finally going in and cleaning out the refrigerator, and they‘re finding these old plates of food.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Joan, there is so much in there. Again, just because, again, there‘s six years of accumulated mess that Republicans...
WALSH: And no accountability.
SCARBOROUGH: ... never asked any questions about. And you know, the Democrats, Joan, look like they‘re ready to go into full-scale attack mode. I want to read you what a defiant Pat Leahy had to say about getting White House officials to testify before Congress. He says, “We‘ll subpoena the people we want. If they want to defy the subpoena, then you get into a stonewall situation I suspect they don‘t want to have.”
You know, the Democrats have been weak-kneed when it‘s come to the war, but Joan, it looks like they‘re ready to start fighting with investigations and the power of the subpoena.
WALSH: Yes, but you know, in a way, it‘s bipartisan, Joe, because what they did was take out eight Republican civil servants. These guys are Republicans. I saw John McKay on MSNBC earlier from Washington. These are really decent, believable people who were damaged.
WALSH: But beyond—the really devastating thing—let me finish—is that what they did was say that these were performance-related firings. John McKay got a great review in September...
BUCHANAN: All right. Well, look...
WALSH: ... while this plotting was going on.
BUCHANAN: Oh, come on, Joan. That‘s—all right, that‘s a nasty thing to do, if they did it. But these attorneys...
WALSH: They did do it.
BUCHANAN: ... are the toughest customers on earth! These guys go down there after organized crime.
BUCHANAN: They‘re hard-headed. They‘re tough.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and...
BUCHANAN: And they got to take politics. But let me say this, Joe...
SCARBOROUGH: And let‘s...
BUCHANAN: Let me say—let me say something...
SCARBOROUGH: Wrap it up. Go ahead.
BUCHANAN: All right. Wrap it up. The president of the United States should not let Karl Rove, who‘s his personal adviser, go up there and testify. I don‘t know, if Congress sends a subpoena, I‘d send it right back.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Well, we‘ve got a showdown...
WALSH: That‘ll be a fun fight.
SCARBOROUGH: ... coming up. And you certainly have the Supreme Court of the United States that‘s going to be dealing with these issues for quite some time, when you start talking about presidential privilege. Hey, Joan Walsh, thank you so much. Michael Crowley, thanks. And Pat Buchanan, as always, we appreciate you being here.
And coming up next, behind the scenes “Predator‘s” most controversial busts, from the brazen to the bizarre. “DATELINE‘s” Chris Hansen talks about the latest round of NBC hidden camera investigations. You won‘t believe what you see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, “THE VIEW”: Our government is sanctioning torture! The American government is allowing torture! It comes from the president all the way down!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: What was that rant about? It was about Rosie O‘Donnell defending the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on Barbara Walters‘s show. Will this finally be what forces the ABC News legend to get rid of Rosie?
And later: They say Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, and I‘m living proof of that. Well, now those peoples‘ scandals are about to come out in the open just in time for the 2008 campaign. Why Washington will never be the same.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you‘ve seen “DATELINE‘s” hidden camera sex stings, but now for the first time, find out what really happens behind the scenes. NBC‘s Chris Hansen opens up about “DATELINE‘s” most shocking busts and how the “Predator” series has taken on a life of its own. You know, “DATELINE‘s” nabbed more than 250 men in seven different states, leading to more than a few anxious encounters, including the moment the very first predator walked through the door.
CHRIS HANSEN, “DATELINE” (voice-over): When this first guy was walking up the driveway and it became clear that he was actually going to come in the house, you know, my heart‘s almost beating out of my chest. But with each guy who came in, I got a little better at asking the right questions.
(on camera): Hey, how‘re you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
HANSEN: Why don‘t you have a seat.
HANSEN: You don‘t have to put them up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
(voice-over): I wondered, quite honestly, whether or not everybody would just see me and run, not because they knew I was Chris Hansen with “DATELINE NBC,” but you know, whether it was the father who came home unexpectedly or was it the police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what‘s going on. I‘m not stupid.
HANSEN: It turned out most of the guys stayed and chatted. During that first day of that first investigation, we had something like eight guys come in. And it was difficult to keep up because I didn‘t have it down to a system then. And I‘d go to confront him, and I‘d say...
(on camera): You came here for Rachel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HANSEN (voice-over): Turned out it was the wrong transcript. I had to go back to the dining room and get the right transcript...
(on camera): It was for Beth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HANSEN (voice-over): ... and say, Oh, you‘re here for the 14-year-old girl. He goes, Oh, yes. yes. That was me, and continue on from there.
Probably the most unsettling thing that I‘ve seen—and we‘ve seen a lot of unsettling things in these investigations—but when we were wrapping up our investigation. It was towards the end of the investigation in Fort Myers, Florida. A man showed up for a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old boy, and we‘re watching on the monitors.
(on camera): He‘s getting out of the car.
(voice-over): He gets out. He goes to the passenger side rear door.
(on camera): Oh, no!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God!
HANSEN: He brought his son with him. He brought his son with him.
He‘s got his child with him.
(voice-over): And leads him by the hand, as if he were taking him to the zoo.
(on camera): Coming in the back door.
(voice-over): And walks in to meet this teenager boy with his son. The house was silent. I mean, there were guys in tears seeing this. And you know, gosh, I don‘t want to necessarily confront this guy in front of his 5-year-old kid. I don‘t want to traumatize him further.
(on camera): I got to tell you something, and I‘m going to tell you just straight up right now. I‘m Chris Hansen with “DATELINE NBC.” We‘re doing a story on adults meeting children, and since you have your child here, I‘m not going to pursue this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
HANSEN: But I think you know what you were doing here, don‘t you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I was just coming (INAUDIBLE)
HANSEN: My point is, because your child is here, I think it would be best if you just went ahead and left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes (INAUDIBLE)
HANSEN (voice-over): And he walks out, and the scene of police arresting him...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You come here! You come here~~! Let go of the child!
HANSEN: ... and sweeping this 5-year-old boy off his feet. It was very tough to watch. It was very tough to watch.
JAY LENO, “TONIGHT SHOW”: Chris Hansen, the correspondent for “To Catch a Predator,” the hugely popular series on “DATELINE NBC.” Please welcome Chris Hansen!
HANSEN: When we began our investigations into on-line sexual predators, we knew it was an important story and we knew it would be eye-opening, and we knew people would say, Oh, my gosh, this is really going on. But I had no idea that this thing would resonate with people the way it has.
We got a call from the Conan O‘Brien folks proposing to be a part of a skit for the opening of the Emmy Awards.
(on camera): I‘m Chris Hansen with “DATELINE NBC.”
CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O‘BRIEN: Oh, Gosh. OK.
Not what you think.
HANSEN: Welcome to another edition of “To Catch a Predator.”
O‘BRIEN: I‘m looking for the Emmys. I‘m hosting.
HANSEN: Hosting? That‘s what you call it.
O‘BRIEN: Yes. It‘s my—it‘s my second time.
HANSEN: So you‘ve done this before?
O‘BRIEN: Yes. I did it one time and I liked it, and I thought I should do it again.
HANSEN: Of all the predators I‘ve I met, this guy, screen name conebone69, was by far the creepiest.
O‘BRIEN: This is kind of—you think it‘s—very easy to explain.
HANSEN: Explain it, then.
HANSEN (voice-over): I think it was funny, in a way. We didn‘t show any disrespect for law enforcement or for people who‘ve been victimized by this crime. There have been spoofs on “Saturday Night Live,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, fella.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m Chris Hansen from “DATELINE.” Can I ask what the heck you were doing coming to see a 12-year-old girl in the middle of the night?
HANSEN: There are people who have taken issue with what we do. You know, perhaps we shouldn‘t expose the problem as much as we have, or in the manner we have. But the vast majority of people who stop me to talk about the story thank me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And they should thank him. America should thank him. And you can catch more of “DATELINE‘s” “To Catch a Predator” series next right here on MSNBC.
But coming up here: Rosie‘s at it again, this time defending a serial terrorist. Has she finally gone off the deep end? And is it time for Barbara Walters to step up and kick her off the set?
But first, it‘s “Must See S.C.” He may be out of the White House, but it‘s hard to separate Bill Clinton from a good D.C. scandal.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, let the horse out in the pasture, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you got to see. First up: As long as the president keeps making speeches, David Letterman‘s going to keep giving us great moments in presidential speech history. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, so is this a
is this, like, a huge distillery?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: If I had a dollar for every time I said that.
And finally, guess whose face keeps popping up on the latest D.C. scandal sheet? Well, just be aware you might not recognize his name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This week, the operator of a popular Washington, D.C., escort service sold her list of 15,000 clients to the media, prompting rumors that the names of many high-ranking government officials might be included. After reading the list, however, we are sad to report that it‘s mostly made up of such obscure names as Bill Clinton, Bill Clintman, Bill Clanton, Bill Clinston, Bill (INAUDIBLE), Bill Clintberg (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up: Rosie O‘Donnell, freedom fighter or defender of terrorists? Why her comments on “The View” today have the host in hot water again and why watching her is becoming torture.
And later: As the campaign season heats up, a Hollywood gossip Web site is reportedly ready to sniff out scandal inside the Beltway. Will tabloids help decide the future president? And how nervous should politicians and former politicians like Bill Clinton should they be?
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, the gossip site that‘s made a name in Hollywood may soon be taking on some of Washington‘s toughest players. Why strategists say it‘s going to make things even nastier in presidential politics.
And later, caution. Wait until you see who‘s suing Bill O‘Reilly. There is an Anna Nicole connection. That, my friend, is the definition of “Hollyweird.”
But first, speaking of strange—and I mean disturbing and strange—
Rosie O‘Donnell appeared to be defending terrorists today, on the same day that we found out that the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks admitted to beheading “Wall Street Journal” reporter Daniel Pearl.
And this is what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl.”
Well, guess who devoted about 10 minutes of daytime television this morning defending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Well, Rosie O‘Donnell. And listen to what she had to say about the terrorist‘s time in Guantanamo Bay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”: You don‘t think terrorists—you think that robs them of their humanity. That name “terrorist” makes them not human any more? They don‘t...
ELISABETH HASSELBECK, “VIEW” CO-HOST: No, they‘re definitely human. And I think that the problem with these prison camps in Guantanamo Bay, I think that what they need to do is start treating people as individuals and not as a group of people, which I think they have been. They‘ve just been kind of using a blanket treatment for everybody...
O‘DONNELL: They‘ve been treating them like, animals, Elizabeth, not like human beings. They have hoods over their head. They are tortured on a daily basis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, she went on and questioned the confessions, and suggested that maybe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was innocent, that it was the American government‘s fault for false confessions. So why does Rosie appear to be so concerned about the mastermind of 9/11? Has she finally gone too far on “The View”?
Here‘s Steve Adubato. He‘s an MSNBC media analyst. And Craig Crawford, he‘s an MSNBC political analyst.
Craig, let‘s start with you. Do you think Rosie has a point, that maybe it was the United States government‘s torture techniques that forced a false confession from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
CRAIG CRAWFORD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it‘s something to debate. I think the secrecy of the treatment of these folks and how the administration did not follow the Geneva Convention, wants to keep everything out of courts, the way they‘re going about this, Joe, I do think is going to cause people to always question whatever results come out of it, convictions, confessions, anything else.
We don‘t know for a fact that he was tortured. There‘s been some talk that he was waterboarded at some point, but there is always the possibility that what she raised could be true. I don‘t think she was trying to say she had any specific knowledge about it, but my guess is there are a lot of Americans out there who saw this confession today and something about it really didn‘t ring very true, to me. That ran across my mind right at the beginning.
And I think she has every First Amendment right to get out there and say that. And we‘ve come a long way from Bill Maher, you know, losing a show over saying something...
SCARBOROUGH: To Rosie O‘Donnell appearing to sympathize for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the guy that‘s been bragging about pulling off 9/11...
CRAWFORD: There‘s a difference between defending the criminal rights of someone and defending the crime. I mean, you can defend the criminal rights of an accused without defending the crime itself.
STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST: Joe...
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s listen to another clip from “The View” this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘DONNELL: ... this man, for whatever he did or didn‘t do, he is not the be-all and end-all of terrorism in America, and our government has not found the answer and this one thing...
O‘DONNELL: ... hood on his head and beaten to death.
O‘DONNELL: Why, since March 2003, has he not admitted it until now?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, actually, he had admitted a long time ago.
ADUBATO: That‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: She also looked at the picture that we‘ve seen from some time, suggesting that that picture was taken after the United States tortured poor Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, when, in fact, that was taken right after his capture in a Pakistan neighborhood. I mean, if this guy is not the be-all, end-all of terrorism, a guy that bragged who masterminded 9/11, then who is? I mean, what is this doing on ABC? What is this doing on Barbara Walters‘ show?
ADUBATO: Here‘s my view of this. And, by the way, Craig, we don‘t have to debate the theoretical issue as to whether she has the right of free speech. That‘s not the issue. With that right, Craig and Joe, comes a serious responsibility.
She‘s no longer the comedienne she was before. She wants to be a social critic? Fine. You want to say that this guy isn‘t really who he says he is? You want to say that he was waterboarded? Well, then back it up, Rosie. You are a social commentator now. You say that he was denied...
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, hold on a second.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve Adubato, what bothers me is the fact that a lot of people watch “The View,” a lot of people get their news from things like “The View,” and from Oprah, and Rosie O‘Donnell gives distorted views, and suggests to these women, these millions and millions of woman who are watching, that maybe this guy was innocent, this poor guy. I mean, she is so ill-informed.
ADUBATO: There‘s more to it than that, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, tell me why you‘re more disturbed than that.
ADUBATO: She said something else. First of all, she was wrong by four years with the picture, and she tried to imply that that‘s what you look like after being tortured. And when you challenge Rosie on these things, she‘ll say, “Yes, well, you know, I got that part wrong.”
Well, the other part she got wrong is she implied that somehow this guy didn‘t really have access to an attorney. And the reason, she said, she turned to Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and said, “Well, that‘s because of the Patriot Act.”
Well, Craig, Joe, it has absolutely nothing to do with being denied access to an attorney in the Patriot Act. But Rosie is a comedian. She doesn‘t have to be held accountable. She has more contempt for Donald Trump when she was in war with him than she does for a guy who swears he committed nearly 30 terrorist attacks or tried to.
SCARBOROUGH: And bragged about it.
CRAWFORD: I think you‘re ascribing a lot more responsibility to Rosie here than is warranted. I mean, I think she‘s still a comic. She‘s on a talk show. It‘s a water-cooler talk show. This isn‘t a news show; this isn‘t “60 Minutes.”
ADUBATO: No, no, she has to be held accountable, Craig.
CRAWFORD: I don‘t think she has to be held accountable for delivering the news.
ADUBATO: No, not delivering the news. Craig, don‘t you have to back up what you say?
CRAWFORD: Sure, and I—it would be better for her if she did. But I don‘t look to Rosie for information. I mean, she‘s an entertaining...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, thank God. That‘s why we have you on here, but a lot of people do.
CRAWFORD: And I don‘t think her viewers look to her for that...
ADUBATO: Well, they think it‘s a joke. They think that her saying—that Rosie is saying that this guy—he could never do these things, because, of course, the American government—she talks about Guantanamo Bay. That‘s a serious issue. She talks about Abu Ghraib, a serious issue. She ties them all together and says, “Obviously that means that clearly that this was coerced.”
You think that‘s a joke? You think that she‘s being a comedienne? I say she‘s moved into our realm, Craig and Joe, and has to be held to a higher standard.
SCARBOROUGH: And the thing is, if you‘re going to go on the show every morning and talk about the Patriot Act and be ignorant about it, and talk about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and be ignorant about it, and talk about torture and be ignorant about it, then, yes, I think you need to be held accountable. Let‘s listen to another clip from “The View” this morning, where Rosie was talking about what she‘s an expert about, what she studied for 30 years, that is, of course, constitutional law and how it‘s intertwined with the Patriot Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘DONNELL: They didn‘t allow reporters there, and he hasn‘t had a lawyer.
HASSELBECK: Well, let‘s get the man a lawyer, and then we‘ll see if he‘s still protected.
O‘DONNELL: Well, you know what? George Bush has prevented them from getting lawyers because of your favorite act, the Patriot Act.
HASSELBECK: I am a fan of that Patriot Act.
O‘DONNELL: I know.
HASSELBECK: It has kept us safe since 9/11.
O‘DONNELL: I know, but I think you‘re wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, Craig, Rosie said just earlier, last week, when she called—I think she called Hasselbeck a fool, or an idiot, or whatever else, said that the Patriot Act was the worst constitutional violation in the history of the United States. Everybody applauded in the audience, was cheering, yelling, screaming. Of course, I would suggest that slavery may have been a bigger constitutional abridgement.
CRAWFORD: I‘ve heard candidates for the presidency say similar things.
SCARBOROUGH: I would put slavery, and the internment of over 100,000 Japanese, and women not being able to vote, and many other things above the Patriot Act.
CRAWFORD: Well, I think Rosie is, you know, voicing the attitude of a lot of people out there that should be in the public marketplace. I mean, a lot of people look at a lot of these stories. They might get a few details wrong, with the issue of the nine—no, seriously, the issue of the...
ADUBATO: No, Craig.
CRAWFORD: ... I mean, just because she misquoted the Patriot Act doesn‘t mean the point is not well-taken that counsel is denied. There is...
ADUBATO: She also got wrong by four years when the picture was taken.
CRAWFORD: Counsel is being denied to a lot of these prisoners.
ADUBATO: That‘s right, but she doesn‘t know that in this case.
CRAWFORD: That‘s the main point that she was making, which I think is one worth debating.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Craig, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on today. We couldn‘t find a lot of people that would come on and defend Rosie. We appreciate it.
CRAWFORD: Let Rosie be Rosie.
ADUBATO: And let her be held accountable.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, let her be held accountable. Thank you, Craig.
Thank you, Steve.
And here‘s my point. You know, I go on a lot of shows. I love people like Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, but, you know, there is a responsibility when millions of Americans get their information from these type of shows. And if they‘re going to debate politics, then they need to be held accountable, and they need to make sure that they‘re responsible with information they pass onto the American electorate.
Because, after all, there are people that watch TV that get out there and vote and decide who‘s going to be the next president of the United States to lead this war on terror, and it seems to me that Rosie not only insulted some politicians today, she insulted the families of 3,000 victims on 9/11 who never came home the night of September 11th because of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. If that‘s who she wants to defend, I suppose that‘s her business. I just find it very offensive.
Coming up next, why politicians may be getting a celebrity treatment, and not in a good way. Celebrity gossip site TMZ is going to be gunning for politicians just as campaign season heats up, and nobody is going to be safe.
And later, O‘Reilly under attack. Who‘s suing the culture warrior?
The possibilities are endless.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, it was unseemly—actually, down-right ugly—the chapter in American politics when Gennifer Flowers was paid by a tabloid to dish dirt on then-Governor Bill Clinton. The scandal forced Clinton to go on “60 Minutes” to lie about Flowers, but to admit that he was less than faithful to Hillary.
Fifteen years later, this campaign season‘s sure to be similarly rocked by scandal, as the top three GOP candidates have eight wives between them. The “Washington Post” is reporting that TMZ.com is setting up shop in D.C., yes, the same people who have tortured Hollywood stars for some time are now coming to the Beltway, and nobody is safe, including Bill Clinton.
Here to talk about the impact of scandal-driven reporting and who stands to be Washington‘s version of Lindsay Lohan is Amy Argetsinger from the “Washington Post,” a reliable source, and also “InTouch Weekly‘s” senior Kim Serafin.
Kim, let me start with you. You‘re actually from Hollywood. And you know that, when TMZ started out there, everybody just kind of brushed them off. But I‘m telling you, these people are P.R. agents‘ worst nightmares. They‘ve connections. They‘ve got cameras. And they seem to nail a new Hollywood star every night.
Should Washington politicians kind of duck and hope for the best?
KIM SERAFIN, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”: Well, TMZ is very connected. I mean, they are everywhere. For a lot of people, they‘ve made stars out of them. I mean, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, I think a lot of people know about these stars because of them. Very famously, TMZ broke the Mel Gibson story, the Michael Richards story. So, you know, going to D.C., sure, people might want to be on the lookout. But you never know. Maybe they‘ll make celebrities out of Senate judiciary committee members.
SCARBOROUGH: But, unfortunately, though, when a Hollywood star like Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan or Mel Gibson behaves badly, when Britney behaves badly, TMZ gets it, they put it on there, that helps their stock go up. But as we‘ve seen in politics, and, again, you look at the candidates on both sides, it could get very ugly for them, right?
SERAFIN: Well, it could. I mean, maybe—am I too hopeful to say maybe this will make people in D.C. behave better?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I was going to say, yes, Amy, she is being way too hopeful, isn‘t she?
SERAFIN: I tried.
AMY ARGETSINGER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: I don‘t know about that. I mean, those of us who are here in Washington are very curious to see how it‘s going to play out.
There is already a lot, a lot of gossip coverage in Washington. And, in fact, the “New York Times” had a story a couple weeks ago where they were making fun of those of us who do gossip in Washington, basically saying that we‘re all fighting over crumbs, that a lot of what passes for salacious news in Washington is things like, you know, the senator from Missouri getting his braces off or Denny Hastert having gall bladder surgery.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, that actually sounds very sexy, Denny Hastert‘s gall bladder. But that‘s not the type of thing that TMZ digs up in Hollywood, and I don‘t think it‘s going to be the type of thing they dig up here.
And, you know, Amy, political consultants are already contemplating the role TMZ could play in the 2008 election. One Republican strategist told the “L.A. Times,” quote, “Sharks always circle in the water when they smell blood. TMZ‘s arrival in Washington signals that this would be one of the nastiest presidential campaigns in American history.”
You‘ve got to admit, Amy, there are a lot of angry ex-wives out there.
ARGETSINGER: Yes, but, you know, at the same time, I mean, there have always been media outlets for these angry ex-wives to take their stories to. And TMZ doesn‘t change the equation too much.
Let‘s remember, when TMZ started in Hollywood, they really were stepping into a void in many ways. The main paper in town, “Los Angeles Times,” very serious, very staid paper that models itself, in a lot of ways, after the “New York Times.” Didn‘t have a gossip column, didn‘t really have a celebrity beat.
TMZ kind of stepped into a void, brought some really good reportorial teeth into the stuff. I mean, they do the same things that a lot of the tabloids do, pretty pictures of people, but then they‘re also going to courthouses, looking stuff, getting good information.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, and they will get good information. And I predict -
you two are just so hopeful for the state of our country and beyond, but I am not. I think it‘s going to get ugly out there. I think TMZ is going to uncover a lot of dirt over the next year or so.
Amy, thanks a lot. Kim, stick around.
Coming up next in “Hollyweird,” Bill O‘Reilly is getting sued for calling somebody a fraud. Is irony really a reason for litigation? And there‘s an Anna Nicole connection. You‘ll hear about the case, next in “Hollyweird.”
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, tell your publicist next year you want to be “People‘s” sexiest man alive. Oh, wait you can‘t get that next year. I‘ve already reserved the spot.
Anyway, it‘s time for “Hollyweird.” First up, Bill O‘Reilly makes his “Hollyweird” debut. Prince Frederic von Anhalt, who claims to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith‘s baby, is suing the talk show host. Here to talk about it, E! Online columnist Ted Casablanca. And still with us, “InTouch Weekly‘s” Kim Serafin.
Ted, tell me about it. What‘s happening, O‘Reilly getting sued?
TED CASABLANCA, E! ONLINE: I think that Prince Freddie has no idea what he‘s getting into, playing with O‘Reilly, because all Bill said was that he was a fraud. And this is a guy who has reportedly purchased his own title. Plus there‘s a German TV production company that has contacted me, and they‘re preparing what they consider a really nasty expose on this dude, and they wanted me to...
SCARBOROUGH: He purchased his own title?
CASABLANCA: Yes, you haven‘t heard about that one?
SCARBOROUGH: Where does one go to be called a prince?
CASABLANCA: Well, this is done in Europe. You can buy doctorates.
You can buy, you know, queen titles. You can buy prince titles.
SCARBOROUGH: I love it.
CASABLANCA: Do you think he bought the wrong title?
SCARBOROUGH: Perhaps. Perhaps. I love it. Hey, and TMZ is reporting—speaking of TMZ—Britney Spears has found love in rehab. What can you tell us about that, Kim?
SERAFIN: Well, I‘ll tell you, sources are telling “InTouch” that Britney and Kevin Federline may be getting back together, they‘ve been talking a lot. But, yes, TMZ spoke to this rocker from the band Riva who says that he and Britney are talking, and he loves her, and, you know, he‘s not saying that they‘re in a relationship, but they do have pet names for each other.
SERAFIN: Like he calls her Sugar and Kitten.
CASABLANCA: Hey, I‘ve got...
SERAFIN: She calls him Mr. Secret Underground Guy, apparently, which, you know, rolls off the tongue.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, they might want to face it, Ted, they‘re addicted to love, huh?
CASABLANCA: Yes, she just keeps trading up for one loser after another. It‘s just incredible with this woman.
SCARBOROUGH: Maybe I should hang out in rehab. And speaking of incredible women, Angelina Jolie adopts a new son in Vietnam. Ted, stop the madness.
CASABLANCA: I think it‘s absolutely—no, wait, wait, come on, this is great what she‘s doing. I mean, where are the people who say that she should be waiting in line properly? You know, she claims that she‘s not getting any special treatment. Where were these people before who were trying to adopt kids around the world? I think it‘s great she is adopting kids who are underprivileged. I think she should adopt as many as she can.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and so, Kim, where does she stop, 10, 20, 50?
SERAFIN: You know, with her, you never know. But she does sort of—her actions live up to her words. When she says she‘s going to do something, she does it. She‘s brought a lot of attention to adoption. And she does say that she went through all the right channels that any American could go through these same channels and adopt a child from a different country. And she‘s got three adopted children now, and she‘s doing a great thing, bringing light to an important issue.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I joke about it, but she really is, and we command her for that.
Hey, Kim, thank you for being with us. Ted, thank you. As always, appreciate it.
CASABLANCA: Thanks for having me.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s all the time we have tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. But don‘t go anywhere. Up next, “To Catch a Predator,” “Dateline‘s” hidden camera undercover investigation goes to rural Georgia, where the predators can‘t help themselves, even though they know there‘s a chance they‘re going to get busted. Have a great night.
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