Guests: Ed Royce, Bill Press, A.B. Stoddard, David Guthartz
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Welcome to the 6:00 p.m. edition of the show. President Bush‘s immigration bill is teetering on the edge of death at this hour. Opponents in the U.S. Senate voted this morning to continue debate, meaning that any Senator who was against that legislation is free to attach amendments to it, speak in dissent, or filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a supporter, has scheduled another vote for tonight. That could end the talking and force and up or down vote. If that fails, it is over, at least for now. The Senate would likely shelve the issue for months and the legislation would be delayed indefinitely.
But that does not mean the argument or the bitterness it has caused will disappear. The debate over immigration has caused a rift between President Bush and members of his own party. On Tuesday, Mr. Bush called opponents of his bill “fear mongers.” Well, yesterday Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California responded to the president‘s charge.
He said: “I contend the only thing the American people have to be scared about is this administration‘s mismanagement of border security and illegal immigration.” Joining me now is the man who spoke those words, Congressman Ed Royce of California, a Republican, I can‘t say that enough.
Mr. Royce, thanks for joining us.
REP. ED ROYCE ®, CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Overview first, is this bill going to become law? Or is it going to make it to the House?
ROYCE: That is really in the hands, I think, of the American people. I mean, the vote tonight is—the vote in the Senate to determine whether this bill moves forward. And I understand a lot of senators have received a lot of phone calls, public opinion is running three to one against this bill. And people hearing from their constituents is, I think, what is going to determine whether or not it becomes law.
CARLSON: It‘s almost unbelievable, the details of it. Jeff Session, the senator, Republican from Alabama, has issued a statement listing 20 loopholes in the bill. He says: “The amnesty benefits do not await the enforcement trigger. After filing an application and waiting 24 hours, illegal aliens will receive full probationary benefits, complete with the ability to live and work in the U.S., travel outside the country, return, their own Social Security card.”
If that is not amnesty—I mean, that is the definition of the amnesty. Twenty-four hours and boom, that‘s it.
ROYCE: It‘s an amnesty with a cost of $2.4 trillion going forward. And on top of it, there is this concern from the former Border Patrol agents, they had their press conference yesterday, and they explained that this bill itself will create a new wave of illegal immigration into the United States.
In particular, they said it would bring chaos, it would be disaster for the country. And they urged that it be defeated.
CARLSON: I think you are fear mongering.
CARLSON: I think that—the president has two explanations for what you just said. One, you are demagogue and probably evil, and so you are trying to whip the population into a frenzy of fear. Or two, you‘re just dumb, you haven‘t read the bill, which is true.
ROYCE: I‘m, I guess, tame compared to the Border Patrol agents who deal with the problem. They call it insultingly, unforgivingly bad legislation. I tend to go with those who have to deal—whose job it is day to day, the men and women in the Border Patrol who have to deal with the fact that the fence has not been built, that this bill is going to, in their opinion, compound the problem.
And they want some measure of protection and border security down
there. If they are telling us that the bill is bad and then they are
telling us that to do their job they need that border fence that has now
been signed into law, and only two miles of it built? Then why don‘t we do
why don‘t listen to our Border Patrol agents.
CARLSON: Does the bill say only two miles have to be built?
ROYCE: It says 854 miles have to be built. Only two have been built.
And the question is, why? The question, why, instead of doing border security first are we are doing a mass amnesty?
CARLSON: Why is your president calming you dumb and/or evil?
ROYCE: Well, I think probably the president would like to look at a certain legacy here in terms of getting this bill through. But the point is that this bill has been written by Senator Ted Kennedy, who had a hand in writing the 1986 amnesty act.
And having learned from 1986, when the situation became much worse as a result of that bill, and we had massive inflows of people illegally, once the bill was passed -- 70 percent fraud rate in the agricultural sector.
We have learned something from that, the fact that terrorists took advantage of the provisions to come in, get amnesty, and then get the training they needed in Pakistan, to have the first attack on the World Trade Center.
All of that should have taught us that we should listen to the 9/11 Commission. We should have border security. And this frankly is the opposite answer. This is the idea that we are going to have the open borders lobby dictate terms to us.
CARLSON: Well, they are certainly well-funded. Because there are people on both sides, left and right, Republican and Democrat, want to see more illegal aliens in the country. I want to put up on the screen the counter effort, much less well-funded.
This is an ad that you rolled out either today or this week from a grassroots group in Arizona about the border wall. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: it certainly is a big border.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: A very big border.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE ACTOR: Last year Congress authorized 700 miles of fence along the southern border.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Where‘s the fence?
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE ACTOR: But so far just a few miles have been built. Now Congress and the president want to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens instead of securing the border.
Call your senators and give them the message.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Where is the fence?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, I resented it when the president called into question the motives of the anti-illegal immigration lobby, me, you. But I have to say, given the fact that this fence has not been built and the president is pushing amnesty, I have to question his motives.
I mean, there seem to be people who actively don‘t want border security. Why is that?
ROYCE: Well, I believe many in the open borders lobby would like to see the free flow of labor into the United States. I think they think that keeps costs down for business and such. But the point is that the social costs are paid for by the taxpayers.
And this policy really has led to a position where if we grant amnesty, we suddenly have $2.4 trillion, as I mentioned, in welfare costs that our taxpayers will have to absorb. And going forward, I don‘t see how we can afford to pay for that.
So rather than give business the advantage, and disadvantage our own workers by driving down wage rates, I say it‘s time to build the fence, enforce border security, do the things that—like the entry/exit visa system where you actually check who is in the country.
This is what the Border Patrol agents want. It‘s already law. It has not been implemented. Employer sanctions already on the books not being implemented. Just implement the existing laws. Get that fence built. And let‘s get this problem under control.
CARLSON: So the United States helps pay for the wall that separates Israel from the occupied territories, thereby saving Israelis from being blown up with suicide bombs. That is something we are for. But it‘s somehow immoral and xenophobic for Americans to be in favor of protecting our own borders.
ROYCE: And according to the Heritage Foundation, it costs a thousand times as much times for this bill as it would to finish the fence on our southern border.
CARLSON: Yes. Fences actually work. I mean, you don‘t need to be a genius to know that. Yes. Congressman Royce, I appreciate your coming on, thank you.
ROYCE: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Move over, Jack, another name soon pass you as the most popular boy‘s name in the United Kingdom. I‘ll give you a hint, that name is not Thomas, not Joshua, it‘s Oliver.
Plus Barack Obama may be trailing in the polls, but he is expected to crush chief opponent Hillary Clinton in the vital fundraising race. Do donors really prefer Obama? We will out. You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: Today‘s USA Today features a remarkable item about immigration and the population of Great Britain. According to England‘s Office for National Statistics, the name Muhammad, and that includes all 14 spellings of it, is currently the second most popular name for babies born in the U.K.
Now Muslims comprise just 3 percent of the British population, but the birth rate among English Muslims is three times above the national average, and Muhammad is on pace to become the single most popular baby name there this year.
That fact is a curiosity, yes, but it points out the far-reaching implications of immigration policy. Here to discuss today‘s action on Capitol Hill, the current immigration proposal, its likely fate, we welcome, associate editor of The Hill newspaper, A.B. Stoddard; the author of “How the Republicans Stole Religion” and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press, whose show is just about as far left as you can go on the radio dial, but we‘re glad to have him here anyway.
Welcome to you both.
CARLSON: A.B. Stoddard.
BILL PRESS, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO SHOW HOST: Or shall we say, Muhammad?
CARLSON: Muhammad, there are so many Republicans who are so inflamed by the president and Ted Kennedy‘s immigration proposal that it‘s just—it‘s hard to believe that it has any chance at all of ever becoming law or making it through the House of Representatives.
A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: And I don‘t think the Democrats want to vote on it either. I mean, I think.
STODDARD: I think if you‘re a senator today, you‘re thanking the
heavens for the procedural vote. It‘s too perilous for both sides. It‘s -
Democrats, especially the ones running for president, I think they want to be part of a solution, but they don‘t—their amendments are failing, to try to expand the bill.
And they don‘t want to vote for this and they don‘t want it vote against it. On the Republican side, I think it is just sort of almost universally opposed. But I think that—I think when you have Byron Dorgan, Democrat—well, one of the most liberal Democrats in the Senate, working—you know, opposing a bill along with Republicans, there is not much hope.
CARLSON: Yes. I‘m really glad to hear that. I hope that‘s absolutely right. Bill, just leaving aside all the intricacies of the policy debate surrounding this bill, here is just an, I think, pretty common sense and pretty hard to argue with point.
The 1986 amnesty sent a very clear message to Latin America and anybody who would want to come here illegally, do it, and everything will be fine. And illegal immigration increased dramatically after Reagan signed that bill in 1986.
This is also an amnesty, I don‘t care what you say, it allows people that are here illegally to stay here legally, that is not going to cause a massive spike in illegal immigration? Of course it is.
PRESS: I have to agree with A.B. I don‘t think there is going to be a bill. I don‘t see—I‘m not disagreeing with your point...
CARLSON: It is kind of hard disagree with it—that, isn‘t it?
PRESS: Yes—no, that‘s right.
CARLSON: I mean, maybe we should have more illegal immigration. I mean, maybe that is a legitimate case to make, but you can‘t argue this won‘t cause more illegal immigration.
PRESS: Maybe because I lived in California 30 years, I think they pass a bill, they don‘t pass a bill, nothing is going to change in terms of immigration. And I don‘t see the constituency for this bill other than George Bush, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Teddy Kennedy, all right?
And nobody else wants this bill. Now I think you have to have a little bit more to get a major piece of legislation through. I think most of the people over there would just like for this thing to go away. And they.
CARLSON: I don‘t think it necessarily helps Democrats, whether.
CARLSON: And I completely agree with your political analysis. But I don‘t think, say, in the coming election—where Democrats have the obvious advantage, I don‘t think it necessarily helps them because they are essentially arguing that the U.S. does not have the moral right to protect and seal its own borders. How does that work?
PRESS: I don‘t understand why any Democrat is excited about this bill. First of all, I don‘t think it solves any problem. And secondly, I think if it passes and George Bush signs it, then he is—it is going to be a victory for George Bush. Why give Bush any victory at all? I‘d have to say, maybe cynically.
CARLSON: The only victories that endure are the ones that are recognized by people as victories. Right? So you can do whatever you want, but until people acknowledge that you did it and it is good, you don‘t win. And I think the only people who ever acknowledged Bush did anything right are people who are predisposed to like him. And they are exactly the same people who are predisposed to hate this bill.
In other words, Bush got prescription drug—the benefit—the Medicare benefit through the Congress, and nobody cares.
STODDARD: It‘s interesting, because he has infuriated his conservative base by telling them they are not doing the right thing for the country, they didn‘t read the bill. But at the same time, Democrats don‘t feel that he is really stepping up to the plate for this either, that he is working really hard to change minds in the Senate this week and pass the bill.
CARLSON: God, I think he is. Here is what the president‘s spokesman, Tony Snow, a good guy, tasked with saying things that are hard to believe sometimes, unfortunately for him. The president, as you said, goes out and says, you know, if you are against me on this, you are either evil, you‘re a demagogue, or you‘re a moron, you haven‘t bothered to read the bill.
You are like Hillary Clinton with the National Intelligence Estimate.
You know you are too lazy to actually do your homework.
STODDARD: And those other Republicans.
CARLSON: And those other Republicans, including John McCain. That‘s a very good point. Here‘s what Tony Snow says: “The president was surprised by the reaction. The speech in Georgia was, we have got a serious problem, we need to fix it. It was not in any way designed to be pointed at Republicans.” Huh?
PRESS: No. You know, first of all, boy, the president, to get this bill passed, is going to need some Republican support, right? If that is the way to get support, then I don‘t know anything about politics whatsoever. I could not believe that language. He really said, if you are against this bill, you do not want to do what is right for America.
It was in a—I think in the same mode as what he has been saying about critics of the war for six years. You either support the war or you are a traitor. You support my bill or you are un-American. And no wonder the Republicans were angry at that. And for the White House to be surprised, how could they be surprised? They knew what he was saying.
CARLSON: You see the irony in an administration that has staked its reputation—made its reputation national security, protecting us from terror threats, advocating a policy that would make it, in my view, easier for people we know nothing about to come into our country.
STODDARD: But clearly that is not the way that George Bush sees this bill. They are saying they are going to take 18 months and secure the border properly and only then is the rest of it going to unfold.
I think that he is truly like he is on Iraq, like Bill said, I think that he really believes this on principle. And he is exasperated with the opposition. And just like with Iraq, he can no longer kind of give that passionate, convincing speech.
It is—with immigration, I think he really believes, as his brother does who wrote this op-ed with Ken Mehlman in The Wall Street Journal, they are trying to appeal and you could see it when you interviewed Senator Martinez last week, to the Republican Party to fix itself, to heal itself in this dark 11th hour, before they lose another election. And it‘s not selling.
CARLSON: You know what? I‘m not claiming they smoke a lot of pot, but it seems that way, because that‘s how far off base I think they are politically.
With Barack Obama not far behind her in the fundraising race last quarter, Hillary Clinton has been forced to get creative when choosing who to target for donations. Wait until you hear who is on her list. If you‘re from Fiji, you already know.
And William Jefferson, the congressman indicted on 16 counts of bribery and corruption, among other things, is not alone in his defense. With the weight of the Congressional Black Caucus behind him, can Jefferson come out on top or at least remain in Congress? That is next.
CARLSON: Barack Obama surprised campaign watchers when his first-quarter fundraising totals were essentially as large as Hillary Clinton‘s were. A Clinton campaign memo leaked to The New York Times today reveals that Hillary and her machine felt Obama‘s heat and went to great lengths to stockpile cash this quarter.
Some of her well-moneyed targets were obvious. The Hollywood people. Gay and lesbian voters. Old allies like Warren Buffett. Others were less obvious, like Fujianese-Americans. Yes. The Clintons held two fundraisers targeting Fujianese-Americans. Still, the Huffington Post cited sources close to both campaigns who say that Senator Obama will have better numbers this quarter than Senator Clinton will.
What to make of all of it? Again, we turn to associate editor of The Hill, A.B. Stoddard; and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press.
Fujianese-Americans, they raised $600,000 for Hillary Clinton. Two Indo-American receptions according to The Times, raised $450,000. How can she lose to Obama when she has got the all-important Fujianese-American lobby on here side, Bill?
PRESS: When I saw that, I just said, it‘s over.
PRESS: It probably means also that she will have a Fujianese as her running mate.
PRESS: That‘s the cost part. You know, this is typical political fundraising. There are a lot of ethnic communities obviously in this nation. They are in pockets usually in big cities. And I can say with—and not ashamed of it at all, when I was Democratic state chairman of California, I raised a lot of money from the Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles, right?
PRESS: From the Vietnamese in Orange County, and from the Latinos in East L.A. You name it. And so Hillary goes where the money is.
CARLSON: We know this because this document—this fundraising document was leaked to The New York Times by, “an uncommitted Democrat who was not affiliated with either presidential campaign” according to The Times.
I don‘t think there are too many accidents of this magnitude in American politics, particularly when Mrs. Clinton is involved. What are the odds this came from her campaign, 100 percent or 99?
STODDARD: It‘s massive news when anything leaks out of the Clinton campaign, period. But I think that it is interesting that there is an expectations game where you try to say, it‘s really going to be bad and Obama is going to raise much more than us.
CARLSON: The Hillary people are saying that Obama is going to raise $40 million, to which the Obama people have responded off the record, that is insane, that is hysterical. We will be happy to get 10.
STODDARD: It is such a ridiculous game. But I think that you see her, and she has gone in her Senate races and in—now in her presidential campaign to the traditional pots of money in the party. And so she is now looking for new money. I mean, Obama‘s money was largely comprised of new donors. That‘s the strength of his fundraising.
And so just like Mitt Romney, at the end of the quarter I think she is feeling a little tapped out in terms of her source of fundraising.
CARLSON: That is so exactly what they are saying. This is the Barack Obama campaign, off the record, to news media: “It‘s a matter of pure mathematics. We had 104,000 donors in the first quarter, Clinton had 60,000. And while 75 percent of her contributors have maxed out, only 50 percent of ours had. So it had a lot to do with the potential to grow, and we did.”
I mean, that is kind of the nub of it right there.
PRESS: Exactly. You know what strikes me about this, Tucker, is that, first of all, Hillary is going to have all the cash that she will need. There is no doubt about it, right? And she is spending a lot. But Barack Obama will have all the cash that he has needed. And most of it is coming from—which is phenomenal, by the way, for a freshman senator, most of it is coming from small donors. And he is not spending very much of it at all.
So I mean, in terms of the money, you would not think it, but this young man from Illinois is going to be able to keep up with Hillary Rodham Clinton on dollars right down to the wire.
CARLSON: But the problem with it, it seems to me, is that he is making fundraising, as he makes everything else, into a serious of moral choices. So he says, I don‘t raise money from lobbyists. But according to Bloomberg, five of his 10 biggest sources of funds are groups of employees at law firms that lobby Washington. Is there a distinction?
I mean, I don‘t care who he raises the money from. I don‘t care if he raised it from Satan himself. I mean, it just doesn‘t bother me.
STODDARD: There is a distinction to him.
CARLSON: Yes, there is a distinction to him.
STODDARD: I think he is a (INAUDIBLE) that there is a difference.
PRESS: I think there is a distinction without a difference. I think, having once been a lobbyist myself, that lobbyists are outstanding citizens who have a right to contribute to campaigns.
But in terms of a political move, and being able to go out and say, I don‘t take any money from lobbyists, if he can pull that off and get away with it, it‘s to his advantage.
CARLSON: Boy, I just think he sets himself up. And I say this as a conservative admirer of him as the potential defeater of Hillary. I think he sets himself up for hypocrisy charges every time he gets high-handed.
California is one step closer to calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. But wait, has California become its own country?
And you remember this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You need help, you need somebody to help you. This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That‘s “America‘s mayor” and presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani doling out some of his most professional medical advice. We‘ll talk to the man on the other side of that. You don‘t want to miss that, an amazing interview, next.
CARLSON: Still to come, Paris Hilton is released from jail and instead sentenced to house arrest for 40 days. Meanwhile Scooter Libby is facing two and a half years behind bars. Maybe President Bush can arrange for a similar situation for him.
We‘ll get to that in just a minute but first, here is a look at your headlines.
ALEX WITT, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I‘m Alex Witt. Here‘s what‘s happening. We are awaiting word from the L.A. Superior Court clarifying exactly why Paris Hilton was let out of jail weeks ahead of time. As soon as we get that briefing to you from officials we‘ll bring it to you live.
New details about a Connecticut girl who vanished a year ago and was found hidden in a tiny room in a man‘s home. Police say the 15 year old girl assumed a new identity that made her part of 41 year old Adam Gault‘s family. Gault was arrested with two women who lived in that house. Police are checking to see if he had an inappropriate relationships with the teenager and other girls.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin presented President Bush wish a surprise counterproposal for an anti-missile system. Putin told the president the U.S. should use Russian controlled radar in Azerbaijan instead of U.S. anti-missile hardware in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Both leaders met in Germany at the G-8 summit.
And on Wall Street stocks fell for the third straight day amid interest rate worries and the rising price of oil, the Dow down almost 200 points. Don‘t forget, we‘re waiting for that live news conference for you but we‘ll get you right now back to TUCKER on MSNBC.
CARLSON: Should states put troop withdrawal on their ballots? The State Senate in California just moved in that direction yesterday when it approved the vote us out of Iraq measure. The bill would put the question of troop withdrawal from Iraq on the state‘s February 5th presidential primary ballot.
For that to happen, the State Assembly and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger must also approve the measure. But the Senate‘s approval does raise interesting questions. For one, aren‘t foreign policy matters best left to countries not states.
Back again, associate editor of “The Hill” A.B. Stoddard and nationally syndicated radio show host Bill Press. Bill, here is the wording of the actual initiative that could be on the ballot this year in our home state.
“Shall President George W. Bush, in support of the men and women serving in the armed forces of the U.S. end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and immediately begin the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces.
“And further, shall Bush and Congress provide the necessary diplomatic and nonmilitary assistance to promote peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East?”
So pull the troops out and fund Hamas, or whatever the second part of it means. What the hell is California and its voters, what are they doing weighing in on this?
WITT: And welcome everyone. I‘m Alex Witt at MSNBC world headquarters taking you right to some breaking news out of Los Angeles. This is a news conference in the Paris Hilton case. Let‘s take a listen right now to the L.A. Superior Court public information officer Allan Parachini with an update on why Paris Hilton was released.
ALLAN PARACHINI, L.A. SUPERIOR COURT PIO: I‘ve spoken with a number of you throughout the course of the day and during the morning I told many of you that we would not have anything to say other than responding to questions as they came in.
I was not intentionally misleading you at that time. We did not anticipate that through the course of the day, this story would get to a point that we are concerned that a serious misimpression of how the court system works may have been created.
And so that is why we want to address it. So, early releases in our system are very common. As you know the sheriff has a jail overcrowding problem. His department is under a consent decree limiting the number of inmates that can be confined. So we are accustomed to having inmates, defendants released early both of overcrowding issues and because of other matters. So in that sense it‘s not unusual for a defendant to be released early on a 45 day sentence.
However we take our sentencing obligations very seriously in all cases. And in this matter an unequivocal order was issued by Judge Michael T. Sauer providing for the incarceration for Miss Hilton for 45 days and specifically precluded her release to electronic monitoring and house arrest.
On Wednesday afternoon, June 6th. An official of the sheriff‘s department called Judge Sauer and advised him that Miss Hilton would be release and asked him to change his sentencing order. His response was he stood by the sentencing order and in the absence of a written application supported by substantial facts he would not alter that order and he did not do so.
I think if you read it, and it‘s in the packets we‘ve given you, I think if you read it you will agree that this is an unequivocal document. It does not leave much room for interpretation. It specifies that there is no work furlough, work release, electronic monitoring, weekend detention or housing a city jail facility. That is what is says.
Early this morning, the sheriff‘s department released Miss Hilton. This action is obviously contrary to provisions in the judge‘s sentencing order so the question is from you, that we have been getting all day, is what are you going to do about it.
And that is where the misunderstanding arises. In our system, the court sentences, the sheriff incarcerates. The sheriff has the power to release inmates early. We do not get the specify conditions of confinement, security status or anything else about what the sheriff - or what facility the person is going to go to. It‘s not within the court‘s domain.
In a sense, largely out of our control. The sheriff is charged with running the jail system. It‘s important to remember that in California, the county superior courts are part of the statewide judicial branch. The sheriff is part of the county government. We are not part of the same government structure even.
So it‘s unfortunate that an impression has been created that the court has somehow sanctioned this release because Judge Sauer took this position that he would not modify his sentencing order in the absence of a written application.
As of five minutes ago no such written document has been filed with the court. Questions?
QUESTION: (inaudible) to do what he did?
QUESTION: (inaudible) says he might file some sort of brief or motion to overturn this, who would happen then?
PARACHINI: It would depend on what they asked for. The city attorney has the ability to challenge the sheriff‘s actions. And he will whenever he does decide what his strategy is going to be. We don‘t have any control over that.
QUESTION: Are you saying that the sheriff‘s department has the power or the authority to override the judge‘s order?
PARACHINI: The sheriff‘s department, particularly in terms of length of term, can essentially override the judge‘s order, yes.
And you see that happening all the time. For example Miss Hilton was sentenced to 45 days. It was known widely from the get go, that she would probably on do 23. That is absolutely typical of how that system works. It‘s not surprising that a person would do 23 actual days on a sentence of 45 days.
PARACHINI: That is an issue you need to address to Sheriff Baca. We are concerned that the sheriff‘s department this morning for a while created the impression that the court had sanctioned the release and that is not true and the sheriff‘s department issued a news release a couple of hours ago confirming that that information was in error and it is in fact true that we did not order the release. Judge Sauer did not authorize the release.
QUESTION: Did he object to the release yesterday afternoon when he was noticed about the prospect?
PARACHINI: He said he would alter the sentencing order unless he received a written application supported by substantial facts, something, a filing that he could respond to as a judge.
QUESTION: Given the fact that they solicited that opinion from the judge, does that mean that they are now in contempt of court, the sheriff‘s office?
PARACHINI: No. All sorts of things are conceivable. We have no action pending of that nature.
QUESTION: Is the judge upset about it?
PARACHINI: I don‘t want to go there. This is a very fine line and we would ordinarily not do a news release on a first time DUI probation violation sentencing. And we have to be mindful that the court, neither the judge nor I can say anything about a pending case. The merits, the particulars of it.
What I‘m telling you, with the exception of the information I give you on the phone yesterday afternoon, everything I‘ve told you is in the court record and/or occurred on the record in the courtroom.
PARACHINI: The court is concerned that .
WITT: All right everybody, there we have certainly lost our signal. That was the L.A. Superior Court public information officer Alan Parachini talking, as I am joined here by our general manager and legal analyst, Dan Abrams.
He was doing a non-clarifying clarification.
DAN ABRAMS, MSNBC GENERAL MANAGER AND LEGAL ANALYST: That was supposed to be for clarification purposes, we‘re going to come out and make this entirely clear what happened. And they come out and say there was a firm order in place that says no electronic monitoring. And yet the sheriff‘s department made a decision to give her an electronic bracelet.
So are you saying they weren‘t allowed to do that? No. Are you saying they‘re in contempt of court? No. What are you saying?
All the court is saying don‘t blame us. This was the sheriff‘s decision to release her. It was the sheriff‘s decision to give her an electronic monitoring bracelet. It wasn‘t our fault.
But I don‘t think it‘s enough. I mean, generally the case is that a court makes recommendations as to incarceration as to what type of prison, which prison, but ultimately that‘s up to the Bureau of Prisons or the sheriff.
When there‘s a specific order in place that says no monitoring bracelet, it‘s a little bit of a tougher call here. There was real question there about whether someone - the D.A. could come in and say, wait a sec, we want to make a motion to make sure she has to go back.
WITT: It‘s as if the sheriff‘s department did so in full knowledge of their defiance because it would seem if they came to then and said, look we, they said yesterday afternoon we intend to release her early after she had merely been incarcerated for three days.
And they said we are not going to have the judge rewrite the order and say that‘s OK. We‘re not reneging on the sentence.
ABRAMS: It seems like the sheriff read the free Paris petition and just went forward with it. Really, as you point out, they went to the court, the court said send us the papers and the court never got the papers and the sheriff released her anyway.
So this is a court that is very angry, clearly, at what the sheriff‘s department did and they are embarrassed by it. And they are saying, don‘t blame us.
But I‘m still not really sure what they‘re can or can‘t do.
WITT: Well, he anticipated a rhetorical question at this point where he said, people are going to ask, so, what are you going to do about it and he rather shrugged. He didn‘t have an answer as to what they would do about it.
You‘ve got to wonder, Dan, in your experience, granted, this is quite a unique situation, but do you think there may be some sort of further laws? Do you think there is any dose of a chance that Paris can find herself back in jail?
ABRAMS: It‘s possible. The D.A. would have to get involved.
What the court administrator is saying is courts can‘t just do things on their own. Courts don‘t go out and catch people and courts don‘t incarcerate people, courts don‘t prosecute people.
The sheriff‘s department incarcerates, the prosecutors prosecute.
So other people have to come to the court is essentially what they are saying in order to get anything done here and this almost sounds like a plea on the part of the court, where they are saying hey, we are not happy about this at all. We would be very receptive to anything that a prosecutor might say about trying to incarcerate Paris Hilton again.
But they seem to also be acknowledging that that could be difficult because sheriff‘s departments have some much latitude when it comes to the terms of the incarceration.
WITT: Even though, as we said, it was specifically stated there would be no electronic monitoring device, no anklet bracelet put on even though she is on house arrest.
Do you think the sheriff‘s department could come to the L.A. Superior Court, to the judge there and say this is what we have done, this is why we felt we needed to do so. And at that point the judge could then rewrite the sentencing guidelines in agreement with the L.A. Sheriff‘s Department just to avoid all the hoopla there?
ABRAMS: I guess, but she‘s been released now. In essence, what the court is saying is they ignored us. They didn‘t care. We told them send over some papers and we‘ll think about it. They didn‘t send over any papers and they just released her.
And remember, this is the first thing he said was we were not planning on making a statement here but we want to come.
And the notion is this is somehow a clarification, come on, nothing is clarified here. What this was was a “this is not our fault” announcement. Do not blame us, the court, for the fact that Paris Hilton has been released in direct contradiction to what we said that this sheriff‘s department should do with Paris Hilton.
WITT: It is as if they are trying to absolve themselves.
ABRAMS: It‘s actually kind of amazing that there is a court officer in a really high-profile case coming out and saying the sheriff did what we did not want them to do. This is the last thing you want in high profile cases is the sheriff‘s department and the courts and the prosecutor all going after each other.
WITT: Not to beat up on the sheriff‘s department here. Just to have give them a bone here. The fact is they do this all the time. They do release inmates freely, all the time.
ABRAMS: They do but the problem here is that nobody made an announcement early on. She is in for 23 days but we may release her earlier instead. Surprise, surprise.
WITT: Dan Abrams, general manager and legal analyst. Thank you very much for your insights. And so you all heard it here. Not much to say. Not much of a clarification. But we‘re going to stay on top of this story for you. You can bet that. I‘m Alex Witt. We‘ll get you back to TUCKER right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is something really, really very sad about you, you need help, you need somebody to help you, this excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Thanks the miracle of the Internet you just heard a clip from then Mayor Rudy Giuliani‘s WABC radio show from 1999. The city of New York had made it its business to forbid city residents from keeping ferrets as house pets.
Giuliani castigated the caller, humiliated him for his ferrets‘ rights stance. Giuliani‘s supporters would say the mayor had a point. Critics point out that Mr. Giuliani was unduly harsh, even mean, almost out of control.
Still fighting the good fight and joining us now to talk about Giuliani‘s reign as mayor of his city is the executive president of the New York‘s Ferrets‘ Rights Advocacy, David Guthartz. David, thanks for coming on.
DAVID GUTHARTZ, N.Y. FERRETS‘ RUIGHTS ADVOCACY: Thank you very much, Tucker.
CARLSON: You have in your hands, my notes here say, one ferret is named Master Linus Van Pelt and the other Princess Katie Minimitts.
GUTHARTZ: Yes that is her.
CARLSON: How exactly - well, let me just get right to the point here.
Giuliani said that you ought to consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist and have him help you with this excessive concern, your devotion of your life to weasels. Have you done that?
GUTHARTZ: Why would I want to do something like that? That is basically what he is saying that anybody that has any involvement with any type of animal, whether they be a veterinarian, maybe a breeder or a manufacturer of products, which I am also, with regards the running a shelter, running rescue, working for the SPCA‘s is out there. Working for the Humane Societies.
If you own a pet of any sort, anything from a fish all the way up to a raccoon, for instance. You are considered crazy by his standards. Just because the man doesn‘t care for any animals, let alone people, does not make a person crazy.
CARLSON: So it sounds like you would not vote for Mr. Giuliani for president?
GUTHARTZ: I think that by right he should not even be allowed to run.
Because he‘s a detriment to society.
CARLSON: Because he does not like ferrets?
GUTHARTZ: No, the thing is this. It is only a symptom of a much larger problem. The man is a megalomaniac with overtones of a Napoleonic complex.
Now he has a long history of aggravated harassment against the public.
He has attacked so many different segments of the population.
Now when the city council passed intro 627-A, that was the ferrets bill, to legalize ferrets in New York City, bring it inline with New York State law, which says you‘re allowed to own, breed and sell ferrets throughout New York State, basically what he did was besides just vetoing it, he was so nasty to the city council, he basically made a terroristic threat to him, never to bring it up again. That‘s actually a criminal act.
CARLSON: He is just anti-ferret.
GUTHARTZ: He is anti everything.
CARLSON: But it sounds like he really does not like ferrets.
GUTHARTZ: It‘s not that he just doesn‘t like ferrets. He does not like what people stand for, he doesn‘t like the fact that people can care for an animal of any sort. He has never had a dog, he has never had a cat. He has never cared for an animal.
And then more recently with his behavior towards his children, that really goes to show his roots.
CARLSON: All right. David Guthartz, executive director of New York Ferrets‘ Rights Advocacy. David, thanks for coming on along with Master Linus Van Pelt and Katie Minimitts. We are glad to have you all on, thank you very much.
GUTHARTZ: Thank you. Take care.
CARLSON: Remember when we told you Paris Hilton was going to jail for three weeks? We meant three days.
Paris has been sprung from the joint and she is back among us. How did she swing that? Willie Geist takes a break from his welcome home Paris pool party, to fill us in on details. You are watching MSNBC.
CARLSON: And now for the latest on breaking news from the state of California, we welcome our chief Paris Hilton correspondent Willie Geist.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hell Tucker. I‘m going to make this quick. I know everyone is tuning in to see Ben Affleck on HARDBALL. I know my place in the world. So I will just get through this quickly and get out of the way, OK.
Tucker, as she has with so many of her boyfriends, Paris Hilton tried jail for a few days and decided it just wasn‘t for her. So she left early this morning and went home. I didn‘t realize that was an option. I‘m surprised more inmates don‘t take advantage of that. The L.A. County Sheriff‘s Department announced at a press conference today that Paris had been sent home to serve house arrest because of a phantom medical condition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WHITMORE, L.A.COUNTY SHERIFF‘S DEPARTMENT: It was determined that Paris Hilton would be reassigned to a community-based alternative to custody, electronic monitoring program. What that means is this: she has been fitted with an ankle bracelet, and she has been sent home. And she will be confined to her home for the next 40 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEIST: Paris reported to jail on Sunday night and got credit for five days served. That leaves those 40 days of her original 45-day sentence to be served on this Hollywood spread in the hills. Some of the paparazzi gathered around there. TMZ.com reports that a psychological problem was the reason for her release. If by psychological problem you mean the food was bad, she couldn‘t use her cell phone and the orange color of her jumpsuit went out of style like three years ago.
Paris released a statement this afternoon that reads, quote, I want to thank the L.A. County Sheriff‘s Department and staff of the Century Regional Detention Center for treating me fairly and professionally. I‘m going to serve the remaining 40 days of my sentence. I have learned a great deal from this ordeal and hope that others have learned from my mistakes.
I hope so too. Tucker, TMZ also reporting the ankle bracelet Paris is wearing requires that she stay within 500 feet of a monitoring unit that‘s inside her house. There are reportedly no restrictions on visitors, so expect a big welcome home Paris party at her place.
CARLSON: I think you may be being a little too cynical, Willie. I mean, she has dyslexia. I‘m not sure you‘re aware of that. That she does. She has trouble reading. While it is a psychological ailment, it‘s also very real to those who suffer from it.
GEIST: I‘m sorry. I feel terrible about that. I hate to actually take this story seriously, but it is really, really pathetic, isn‘t it, that they let her out.
CARLSON: It is also kind of offensive, honestly. It is offensive.
You think you could get out early?
GEIST: Don‘t even lie to us. Don‘t tell us she had a psychological problem. It‘s insulting to our intelligence. As you watched this story unfold, Tucker, today, I‘m sure you were wondering to yourself, what does the Reverend Al Sharpton make of all of this. Well, Reverend Al wasted no time inserting himself into the controversy. He said, in a statement of his own, quote, “I have served several sentences for civil rights and civil disobedience actions and I even fasted, which caused health concerns to prison authorities, who paid for a doctor to come see me daily rather than release me. This act smacks of the double standards that many of us raise.”
He also pointed, Tucker, that he was sympathetic to Paris Hilton‘s cause, because why, he appeared on Saturday Night Live with her in 2003, so they‘re tight.
CARLSON: You know, I got to say it, I kind of agree with the Rev on this one.
GEIST: As always! Also, Don King has weighed in. Just now crossing the wires, he says he‘s on her side because Paris Hilton, quote, is what America is all about. When he sees her, he‘s going to give her a hug, and, quote, tell her that I love her. Although they have never met. This would be the first time he meets her, but he‘s going to tell her he loves her. This thing is spiraling out of control very, very quickly.
CARLSON: This really is late Rome, I‘m sorry. It is.
GEIST: I know. It‘s getting really bad, Tucker. It‘s getting really bad. But we wish Paris all the best and we hope we get an invite to the party tonight.
CARLSON: Willie Geist.
GEIST: All right, Tucker.
CARLSON: I am not going to the party tonight. But I am going to celebrate in the privacy—
GEIST: Go watch Ben Affleck.
CARLSON: -- of my home. Yes, Ben Affleck on “HARDBALL” next. Ben Affleck, don‘t agree with him, pretty good guy—hopefully Ben Affleck will weigh in on the travesty of the Paris Hilton springing from jail.
GEIST: I‘m sure he‘s got a lot to say about that.
CARLSON: I was going to send her a Twinkie with a file in it. She had to wait another day because I was worried about the effect of it on her.
GEIST: She doesn‘t need it any more, Tucker.
CARLSON: Not necessary. Willie Geist, thanks, Willie. For more of Willie Geist news you can‘t use, you can check out ZeitGeist@TUCKER.MSNBC.com. It‘s excellent. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Have a great night.
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