Guests: Nancy Pfotenhauer, John Nichols, Wesley Clark, Steve Hall, Pam Bondi, David Schwartz, Tom Morris, Lisa Ling, Lauren Bush
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Michael Mukasey is one step closer to becoming the next attorney general. Even though he still refuses to say that, yes, waterboarding is torture. By an 11 to eight vote today with two Democrats joining the Republicans, Mukasey passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning that he will almost certainly pass the Senate. So, what happened to the Democratic majority? Couldn‘t they have forced him to take a stand on the issue before agreeing to pass? That‘s a question everyone is asking. Tomorrow marks one year since Democrats came to power. So, the question, did they cave or as Mukasey championed Chuck Schumer said today in the “New York Times” quote:
“Judge Mukasey would be more likely than a caretaker attorney general to find on his own that waterboarding and other techniques are illegal. to defeat him would be to abandon the hope of instituting . many reforms .”
Look, I think in the end Schumer‘s right. I have said night after night they should have pushed harder for an answer about waterboarding. It is torture. But Schumer says the Congress will pass a law outlawing it. Mukasey says he will enforce it so the practical matter isn‘t Mukasey the best the Democrats are going to get from this president. Joining us now is MSNBC analyst, General Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander and a Hillary Clinton supporter. Republican strategist, Nancy Pfotenhauer and John Nichols, Washington correspondent for “The Nation.” Thanks all of you for coming on. I appreciate it.
All right. John, you‘ve written an article basically saying that you think that Mukasey is some ways worse than Gonzalez. But the bottom line is you think it would be better for the country, better for your position if they reject Mukasey and either accept the fundamental system that is in place or President Bush nominates somebody else?
JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Absolutely. Look, there is no question that Michael Mukasey is an extremely competent prosecutor and jurist. He‘s also a good manager and at the Justice Department now they do need all of those things. The problem was that in his testimony to the Senate, he acknowledged in every sense that he is as flawed as Alberto Gonzales is in his thinking. His philosophy says that the president of the United States can live outside the rule of law at odds with the Constitution of the United States and the Justice Department will help him to do that.
ABRAMS: Look, here is my fundamental concern said in simplest way possible. Gonzales was a crony. That was his problem. No one has ever suggested that Mukasey will be a crony. And he has said that he will—he said in the testimony he will resign if the president rejects his advice that something is unconstitutional. You are saying you don‘t believe him?
NICHOLS: Dan, this is not merely about the issue of waterboarding or even some of these narrow questions. This is about the question of whether you have an attorney general who affirmatively says to the president, look, you have to live within the rule of law.
ABRAMS: You don‘t think Mukasey will do that?
NICHOLS: At every turn he avoided.—No, I do not. He made that very clear. Listen to his testimony.
ABRAMS: I did.
NICHOLS: In regard to the questions from Patrick Leahy, in regard to the questions from Russ Feingold as - Herb Kohl, the last senator and a very moderate Democratic senator said today, Mukasey‘s own testimony disqualified him from serving as attorney general.
ABRAMS: Let me—I will bring you in one second, Nancy. I think this is wishful thinking on the part of Democrats. In their heads they‘ve got this fantasy candidate they‘re going to get in place of Michael Mukasey and he‘s going to be their guy. You know what? It‘s not going to happen.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, this is the kind of quintessential question of politics. Do you stand on an ideal? Waterboarding is wrong. Mukasey should have said it was wrong. I wouldn‘t vote to confirm him if he wouldn‘t say it was wrong.
ABRAMS: Really? So, you would take a chance and take -
CLARK: Here is what I would do. I would hold his nomination hostage for that law that says that waterboarding is illegal. Then I would put some other strings on him and make it very clear to him that we expect to report to the Congress.
ABRAMS: But you would be holding hostage for the Democrats. I mean holding hostage for the Democrats to pass the law.
CLARK: No, I would be holding it hostage for the Republicans to agree that this is a law that‘s got to be passed so that it‘s not just a partisan law, it‘s a bipartisan law. I think if you do that, then you‘ve got a chance that you‘ve got an attorney general who can do some things but you fixed the law.
ABRAMS: Nancy, look, I am more concerned about the damage that Gonzales has done to the credibility of the Justice Department than anything. and, for me, the notion of rejecting Mukasey means that the fundamental system that Gonzales has created stays a little bit longer and I think, and you may not agree with me on, this I think that‘s more awful than Mukasey, who I think even John Nichols concedes is a man with a generally good reputation and I can tell from you knowing people in the legal community that he does have support on both sides of the aisle.
NANCY PFOTENHAUER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think that‘s absolutely the case or you wouldn‘t have seen the vote that we saw in committee today. But just you know to put on our Senate hats, if you will, if someone had a strong philosophical opposition to the position that Mukasey has taken on torture, there is a very simple way to grind this to a halt. The Senate rules are designed to allow you to grind it to a halt. And there are seven very powerful words, it‘s “I suggest the absence of a quorum” and you say them over and over again until you get agreement.
ABRAMS: Do you think he should have done that?
PFOTENHAUER: Well, I think—all I‘m saying if I were an individual who had a strong philosophical opposition to the ambiguity surrounding the issue of torture, I sure would have been tempted to do this as a Democrat. Now, I have to agree with you—and I‘m sure I will hear about this from some of my Republican friends, but I have to agree with you on the issue of the Gonzales Justice Department.
ABRAMS: One of the worst in history.
PFOTENHAUER: I think that the way things were handled there was—you just almost indefensible.
ABRAMS: Alright, let me play this piece of sound because Chuck Schumer has really become his great advocate. I mean he‘s the one who stepped forward and said I‘m going to cross party lines in the Judiciary Committee and I‘m going to support him. I think that changed everything. Here is Chuck Schumer back in 2006, I believe it is, on MEET THE PRESS immediately after the Democrats won, actually before, I think, the Democrats won. But this is in July of 2006, before the election talking about why the Democrats needed to win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: I think what the American people
want is for the Congress to hold the president‘s feet to the fire. I think
the American people -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. So, he says he wants him to hold the American
the feet to the fire. But he‘s not really doing that here.
CLARK: He could if you were to link the nomination to the change in law to make it clear that waterboarding is illegal and put some other restraints on the Justice Department. You can have it both ways if you play the politics right.
ABRAMS: John, I am surprised that you really are willing to risk it in effect. And say you know what? My concern is you want to do it as a matter of principle and yet you maybe ignoring the practical realities of what it means.
NICHOLS: Absolutely. I believe it‘s a matter of principle. Especially as regards to the Constitution of the United States. The founders fought a revolution against the King so they could establish the rule of law and say that presidents had to obey the Constitution and the laws as passed by Congress.
PFOTENHAUER: The rule of law, by the way, is something that unites both parties.
NICHOLS: Principle. The democratic party -
ABRAMS: So, that means you would agree with me then, correct?
ABRAMS: As a practical matter, this vote of principle would mean that we would have a worst person as the attorney general until this president leaves?
NICHOLS: No, I wouldn‘t agree with that at all. The guy who is sitting there now is a native Wisconsinite. I am a Wisconsinite as well. So, I always believe we are a superior breed. So the bottom line is, no.
I don‘t think -
ABRAMS: You are not being serious about -
NICHOLS: Not any worse—look, I‘m telling you this. I don‘t think a caretaker is the problem here. I think that an attorney general who is philosophically at odds with the principle that the president must follow the rule of law is an inappropriate person to have.
PFOTENHAUER: If I can just jump in for one second and say this is an issue that the importance of the rule of law and the respect for the rule of law is something that crosses party lines. There is a big portion of the Republican base, if you will, that is libertarian in nature, that strongly supports the rule of law that has been very offended by what they view to be, you know, basically the evisceration of the rule of law. And it‘s a mistake for people to smooth over that and I understand the pragmatic impulses here. And but it—but focusing on the significance of this debate is nothing that anyone should be ashamed of.
ABRAMS: You know, look, and the bottom—look, again, to me, we need to get rid of the cronyism.
ABRAMS: We need to get the Justice Department back to being a position—you want to talk about principle. The principle should be that we have a Justice Department that we can respect, even if you don‘t agree with it and that‘s my problem. This has become a Justice Department we don‘t even respect. All right. Nancy Pfotenhauer, John Nichols and, appreciate it General Clark is going to stay with us.
Coming up: Bill Clinton now joining the course of critics complaining that Hillary is being treated unfairly. Now, even comparing it to John Kerry being quote, “Swift boated” during the 2004 election. Come on, really?
And a teen admits to hiring a hit man to kill his parents. He got captured in a police sting set up by his own mother. The motive his parents took away his play station. Not a joke. And a Texas teen is believed to have been kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend and taken to Mexico. It happened the same day her ex was supposed to be in court after assaulting her. He never showed up. Coming up.
ABRAMS: Bill Clinton is coming to his wife‘s defense as she drops in the latest national poll down 7 points since last week‘s debate in one poll. Now the former president is comparing the grilling Senator Hillary Clinton faced at that debate to the swift boat ads that derailed John Kerry‘s campaign. That‘s a new one. First the campaign made a joke of it. The guys ganging up on her. Then Hillary said they went after her because she‘s the frontrunner. Geraldine Ferraro chimed in saying the attacks were sexist. And now the former president is opening is a whole new counter offense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR U.S. PRESIDENT: We saw what happened the last seven years when he we made decisions in elections based on trivial matters . When that scandalous Swift Boat ad was run against Senator Kerry . I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again. Ya‘ll raise your hand if you‘re for illegal immigrants getting a driver‘s license . I believe immigration needs to be discussed. And it‘s fine for Hillary and all the other Democrats to discuss Governor Spitzer‘s plan. But not in 30 seconds, yes, no, raise your hand. This is a complicated issue.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: So just so I understand what is he saying is it‘s not OK to ask Hillary a yes or no question about immigration? Why are Hillary supporters, including her husband, making excuses still? Back with us is General Wesley Clark, a Hillary Clinton supporter and Amy Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill” newspaper. All right, General Clark, I mean, it just seems to me that this is a kind of ridiculous comment for the ex-president to make that somehow she just can‘t be asked about immigration issue in 30 seconds because if she is that‘s effectively swift boating what they did to John Kerry.
CLARK: Well, first of all, he‘s got every right to stand up for his wife and to be angry if he feels angry about the way she was treated.
But I will tell you this about that question. There was a question about
Governor Spitzer‘s program. We didn‘t ask about Hillary‘s position on
immigration. We asked about the Governor‘s -
ABRAMS: It‘s her position will come out by asking do you agree with that position or not?
CLARK: So, what she said she was struggling with it. There were some reasons behind it. And that it was a reflection of the failure of the Congress. So, I was at the debate. I listened to it. I was out in the audience. I thought it was a reasonable answer to a complicated question.
ABRAMS: Look, but I think, Amy, the problem here is that this becomes the sort of Clintons together Achilles heel and that is that they are never able to sort of tell you exactly where they stand. And for Bill Clinton to then come out and say, you know what? She‘s being swift boated effectively and it‘s unfair to ask her a question about immigration in 30 seconds. I don‘t think that‘s helpful.
AMY STODDARD, THE HILL NEWSPAPER: You know, she has done such a brilliant job all year defying expectations and re-positioning herself in the political landscape. Not as a liberal anymore. Not as a partisan anymore. She‘s run this very gutsy, very disciplined, general election campaign, a hawk on foreign policy. She‘s run invincible, inevitable candidate. And she‘s proven that they laugh it off, smile it off, float above it all posture works best. I have no idea why she would choose at this point, you know, two dozen points ahead or so in the polls when she‘s not in any political peril after a bad debate night to shift have from a position of such strength to weakness.
ABRAMS: Well, look, we know from the latest poll, she‘s now, this is the CNN poll, she‘s down to 44 percent, I say down to 44 percent from 51 percent, Obama‘s now up four percent from 21 to 25. But this is what Barack Obama said about this alright, he said it‘s absurd to compare a simple yes or no question about immigration that Senator Clinton still won‘t answer seven days after the debate to the despicable Republican attacks against John Kerry and Max Cleland‘s patriotism. I agree with that Les.
CLARK: Well, I think she‘ll answer of course about immigration.
ABRAMS: What about swift boating? What about the comparison on that it‘s Swift Boat?
CLARK: Here is what I see in politics. Is if you charge someone that has a certain character aspect to them and then you ask them a specific question, they answer the question but you don‘t retract the charge. Now, she‘s answered a number of questions, those charges are still out there. That‘s the swift boating implication.
ABRAMS: Come on.
CLARK: No, it‘s a serious thing. Everyone who‘s ever run for office knows that there are certain things you say. There are certain things you try not to say. Barack Obama is no different. John Edwards is no different. They‘re all the same. They‘re all running for office.
ABRAMS: I‘m not making a character judgment here.
CLARK: But I did hear it as a character judgment in some of the criticisms that somehow she was unable to take a position or something like that.
ABRAMS: That‘s not a character judgment. That‘s a practical
political evaluation, that she‘s not answering the question. That‘s not
STODDARD: She has not had her military service or her honor called into question. She‘s not been morphed into Osama bin Laden. This is a regular back-and-forth in a presidential campaign. She‘s well suited to deal with this. She knew it was coming. She‘s actually been really good at dealing with it all year long. At one point in the debate in August, I refer to this a lot, she just smiled and said I‘m just taking this all in she has this great line about how all these men are obsessed with her. For her now to talk about a vast - you know to talk about a vast male conspiracy.
CLARK: I don‘t think these people are her surrogates. I don‘t think that she‘s behind this. I think these are individual people speaking their own opinions.
ABRAMS: Well, of them are -
CLARK: I think she‘s been very strong. I think she‘s been very direct. And by the way, I thought it was a pretty good debate performance.
ABRAMS: It was a good debate performance or not, I think it was bad move to have Bill Clinton comparing this to swift boat at this point but - General Clark, thanks a lot for coming in always good to see you.
CLARK: Thanks, Dan. Good to see you too.
ABRAMS: Amy Stoddard, as always, thanks a lot.
STODDARD: Thanks, Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up: A teenager busted in a police sting set up by his own mother. Admits in court he hired a hit man to kill his parents. Even threatened to slit his mother‘s throat while she slept, why? She took away his Playstation and some posters.
And the presidential candidate‘s wife with the silver tongue literally. She talks about her tongue ring and let‘s just say I‘m not sure I wanted to know who gets access to it. That‘s up next in Beat the Press.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.
First up: CNN‘s Larry King does not like to ask his guest anything that makes them uncomfortable. But it was Larry getting uncomfortable during an interview with Jerry Seinfeld about the end of his show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: You gave it up, right?
JERRY SEINFELD: I did.
KING: They didn‘t cancel you? You canceled them?
SEINFELD: You are not aware of this?
KING: No. I‘m asking you.
SEINFELD: You think I got canceled? Are you under the impression that I got canceled?
KING: Have I hurt you, jerry?
SEINFELD: I thought this was pretty well documented. This is CNN.
I was the number one show in television, Larry. Do you know who I am?
KING: Jewish guy, Brooklyn.
SEINFELD: Yes. 75 million viewers last episode.
KING: Why are you taking this so bad.
SEINFELD: That‘s a big difference between being canceled and being number one.
KING: OK. I‘m sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Next up: Over at CBS, Hanna Storm was questioning Elizabeth Kucinich, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich about being an unconventional potential first lady but it was her hubby who made me uncomfortable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNA STORM: I know that your husband doesn‘t want to focus on your tongue ring but do you have one, correct?
ELIZABETH KUCINICH: I do.
STORM: And would you remove it if you became first lady or leave it in?
ELIZABETH KUCINICH: It‘s part of me now. It‘s been there 10
years. So -
STORM: Can we see it?
ELIZABETH KUCINICH: No, you can‘t. Sorry.
DENNIS KUCINICH: That‘s my privilege.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Yuck. Just because she married him doesn‘t mean we want to hear about it. Finally as part of MSNBC green week Matt Lauer is in Greenland and during a live shot we saw the perils of live TV particularly in a region not really accustomed to TV cameras.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER: Excuse me, nice to see you.
UNIDENTIFIDED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
LAUER: There‘s not a lot of English spoken here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are English.
LAUER: I‘m from the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ha.
LAUER: Nice to see you. They have an ATM here. You need cash.
Because so many things are flowing in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter.
LAUER: Matt, Peter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter.
LAUER: Nice to see you. We will have much more with Peter from the low and other ends of the Earth when we continue on a Tuesday morning. We‘re back right after this. You like that, huh? You had fun?
UNIDENTIFIE MALE: I don‘t know.
LAUER: Wave to the people in the United States. Wave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That literally is just walking by. We need your help Beating the Press. If you seen the amusing, absurd, hypocritical, good or bad, go to our Web site Abrams.msnbc.com. Leave us a tip in the box.
Up next: A teen admits in court he tried to hire a hit man to kill his parents after they took his Playstation away. He was busted in a sting set up by his own mother. And National Geographic‘s Lisa Ling takes us inside the black market of body parts. Coming up.
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, a Texas teen missing since Halloween night may have been abducted by her ex-boyfriend taken to Mexico the same day he was supposed to be in court for assaulting her. And “National Geographic‘s” Lisa Ling on the black market of body parts. This illegal practice is growing. She will be here. And forget her parenting skills and put aside her most recent live performance. Britney spears‘ new album is now topping the charts. She will be one of tonight‘s winners or losers.
But, first, a 16-year-old admits to hiring a hit man to kill his parents. To top it off, his mother helped organize the sting operation to catch him. Apparently, after having his TV watching privileges and horror, his PlayStation taken away due to poor grades and bad behavior Cory Ryder decided to hire somebody to kill his parents. He arranged the hit with the mother of one of his friends, and met what he thought was the killer in a hotel room. Turned out to be undercover cop. Cory offered to pay for the hit with his stepfather‘s new pickup truck. Cory pled guilty to the charges.
On the phone with us now is Sergeant Steve Hall with the St. Mary‘s County Sheriff‘s office. He helped set up the sting. Prosecutor Pam Bondi and defense attorney David Schwartz. Thanks to all of you for coming on. Appreciate it. All right. Sergeant, tell me about the sting operation and how the mother was involved.
SERGEANT STEVE HALL, ST. MARY‘S COUNTY SHERIFF‘S OFFICE: Well, Dan, the sting operation was set up after information was received that he was actually threatening to kill his parents. Really, the only involvement of the mother was to initially reach out to us and tell us about that threat.
ABRAMS: How did she know of the threat?
HALL: I think a friend of the family actually alerted her to it and then she contacted the police.
ABRAMS: This kid‘s been in trouble before?
HALL: I believe the investigation revealed that he had been in some kind of trouble but obviously nothing as serious as what ended up happening.
ABRAMS: I mean, the “The Washington Post” said at age 14 he smashed lights at a county fairgrounds, and has stolen fire extinguisher. He allegedly stole $45 from his sister‘s piggy bank. And these don‘t seem like the crimes of a potential murderer.
HALL: Exactly. There was nothing to suggest that he was headed down this particular road. Those are the kind of activities that we unfortunately see with a lot of youth. But I have to say nothing that would suggest that kind of behavior.
ABRAMS: Pam Bondi, this kid has pled guilty. He is going to serve four years and be out of a juvenile detention center by the time he is 21. Murder for hire. Surprised that he‘s going to juvenile?
PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR: I am, Dan. It scares me to death because he did have a history of violence, although his mom hadn‘t prosecuted him in the past. He had threatened her. He had kicked her. He had punched her. He told her he was going to stab her, and then later, they found a knife in his possession.
And the scary thing about keeping him in the juvenile system is, once he is 21, is he done. There is nothing else they can do, Dan. And at least if he was kept as an adult, he could be on long, long term supervision to follow whatever punishment he was given to ensure that this doesn‘t happen again to someone else. It frightens me.
DAVID SCHWARTZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That‘s why we have so many problems in this country with what Pam suggested. You know what? We give up on children so easily, Dan. This child is 16 years old. He had an extensive psychiatric history. They threw him off probation for those lesser crimes that you talked about before.
Why give up on children? Why not put him in a juvenile detention? He only pled guilty to the solicitation, not the attempted murder. I want to clarify that also.
ABRAMS: Sergeant, is it clear that this was over, at least in part, his PlayStation being taken away?
HALL: Well, I know that the parents were definitely trying some kind of a progressive, you know, corrective measures to try and curtail his behavior. I think that may have been a factor, but certainly, I don‘t think that was all that was causing him to make that kind of a decision.
ABRAMS: Pam, how do you go about working with a mother on a case like this where you‘ve got a mom who is saying, “I think my son is trying to kill me”? She reaches out to the police. How do you help set that up if you are the prosecutor or the authorities involved in trying to deal with mom?
BONDI: You - well, first, you rely on great law enforcement officers like Sergeant Hall and his people, great police work in this case. You know, it‘s a very delicate situation, Dan, because I prosecuted a 15-year-old girl who ended up murdering her mother.
So it‘s very real that it could happen and it could actually take place. This mother, of course, loves her son. She had been to court. She is scared to death of her son. That‘s what she said all along. So, you know, she doesn‘t want to hurt him but she also needs to protect her and her husband as well.
ABRAMS: Sergeant, how much contact did you have with the mom as you were helping to set this up?
HALL: It was limited but enough to initiate the investigation. Obviously, we thought the threat was credible and we needed to take measures appropriate to deal with it.
ABRAMS: David, do you blame the parents?
SCHWARTZ: I think the parents, of course, have some blame. Look, I haven‘t studied the situation personally but, you know, there was some allegations of abuse in the past. You know what? The police - they - of course, they are saying they did a great job. But you know what? They set up a psychotic 16-year-old child to lure him into a hotel room, make him make those statements.
ABRAMS: So they should have let him kill her?
BONDI: He put a hit on his parents, Dan.
SCHWARTZ: This is not an attempted murder. This was a statement made from
someone else. He didn‘t put a hit on his parents. These were statements
BONDI: They have a recording of him trying to hire a hit man.
SCHWARTZ: And I want to hear the recording. I want to hear the recording.
ABRAMS: He admitted it in court that he was -
SCHWARTZ: He admitted to solicitation. This was not an attempted murder case. And that‘s why it needed to be prosecuted in juvenile court. That‘s the answer to the question. This is not an attempted murder case. This is a troubled teenager who needs help, not being put in an adult jail for the rest of his life.
BONDI: It‘s a miracle we are not here on a double homicide.
SCHWARTZ: It‘s not a miracle. Please, people say things all the time.
It‘s a child, a troubled child, please.
ABRAMS: Sergeant, you can ignore David Schwartz if you want. Thanks a lot.
SCHWARTZ: He shouldn‘t ignore me. He should take me seriously.
ABRAMS: I know. I‘m just kidding, David. I know.
SCHWARTZ: All right. We need to watch the government and the police.
HALL: Well, we just need to clarify what solicitation is, I guess.
ABRAMS: Yes. Now, I understand. Sergeant Steve Hall, thanks a lot for taking the time. And David Schwartz, as always, we appreciate it.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: All right. A 17-year-old girl gets a protective order against her ex-boyfriend on September 29th, then disappears a month later. Texas authorities think Adelene Ruiz is being held against her will in Mexico. They found signs of a struggle in her truck, and a witness heard a scream. The boyfriend‘s mother, though, is saying Adelene was at the house the night the pair went missing and the relationship was voluntary despite the protective order.
Joining me now is “America‘s Most Wanted” correspondent Tom Morris. Pam Bondi is still with us. All right. Tom, how certain are the authorities that this woman was taken against her will?
TOM MORRIS, CORRESPONDENT, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED”: They are certain enough that they have launched an all-out search and an AMBER alert. The history of alleged violence by Charlie Zelaya(ph) against her and the protective order lead the police to believe that she would not have gone with him willingly. She was supposed to be in court to deal with this matter on the 2nd of November. And on the 31st, Halloween, he allegedly abducted her.
ABRAMS: So what do we make, Pam, of the fact that the mother of this guy is saying, “Hey, look, she was over at the house, everything was good”?
BONDI: Well, the difference here, Dan, is what we have witnesses that are saying she was yelling, “Let me go. Let me go,” prior to her disappearing. And as Tom just said, there was a restraining order. There was going to be a court hearing. They had a very volatile history. And, of course, this is a mother that loves her son and I‘m sure doesn‘t want to believe that he is capable of this.
ABRAMS: Yes. How do you go about, Tom, finding this guy? I mean, how good - you know, people always say going to Mexico, right? Taking someone to Mexico. It seems like any time anyone does anything they talk about going to Mexico. But the bottom line is, is this not true, Tom? The Mexican authorities are pretty helpful in helping to find people like this.
MORRIS: They are these days. And the Texas Rangers, authorities on both sides of the border are looking for them. The latest sightings have been in the Brownsville area. You have to remember these are two American kids. They may be Hispanic, but they are American.
He is not really trying to go and live down in Chihuahua. More than likely, they are staying on this side of the border where is he going to feel a little more comfortable, probably has more people that might be able to help him. I think this will hopefully come to a peaceful resolution, and I pray that she will come back safely.
ABRAMS: All right. Why do you think peaceful resolution? I‘ll tell you, I‘m very frightened of this situation. You got an ex-boyfriend who had a protective order against him. You now have that girl missing. Why are you so confident it will be a safe resolution?
MORRIS: I think that you take a guy like this, he really wants this girl alive. I don‘t think he has reached that point, based on his history, where he‘s really at that threshold of killing her. I think that he wants to be with her.
ABRAMS: Put aside killing her. He could certainly be hurting her, right?
MORRIS: He could be. He could be. But I have a gut feeling this is going to be resolved in a way that will be satisfactory that everybody is praying for her.
ABRAMS: Do you know something, Tom, that you‘re not telling us?
MORRIS: No, it‘s just, you know, 14 years of doing this, Dan. You get gut feelings about some of this stuff. And I just have a feeling this one going to turn out all right.
ABRAMS: Pam, I‘ve got to tell you, if Tom knows something that maybe he can‘t share with us, that‘s one thing. But I‘ll tell you I‘m very concerned about a situation where you have a guy who had a court order against him for alleged - for abusing this woman and he is an ex. You have an angry ex-boyfriend dragging his girlfriend all the way down to Mexico, I‘m worried.
BONDI: Sure. I think we all are. And I hope Tom is right and I‘m sure the whole country is praying for her. But Dan, I think your concern is very valid because they have had such a volatile relationship.
He‘s taken her out of our country. But, hopefully, she knows him well enough to try to communicate with him and protect herself. And hopefully, this will have a peaceful resolution and I hope that the two of us are wrong.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Well, look, let‘s all hope for the best. Tom Morris and Pam Bondi, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
BONDI: Thank you.
MORRIS: Thanks, Dan.
ABRAMS: Up next, “National Geographic‘s” Lisa Ling goes underground to expose the black market of body parts. She‘s with us to talk about what is called transplant tourism and the body trade. And, later, Lauren Bush, model-turned-activist, niece of President Bush will be here. She is turning burlap into cash for the United Nations.
ABRAMS: Do you know more than 95,000 people in this country are waiting for a new organ this year? Less than 30,000 will actually get one. Now, the black market for body parts is booming. Coming up, “National Geographic‘s” Lisa Ling goes underground to explore the black market for body parts. Scary. She will be here.
ABRAMS: When I think black market, I think drugs or money laundering, not body parts. But then, when you look at the numbers, it‘s not quite as hard to believe. This year 95,000 people in this country are desperately waiting for a new organ. Fewer than half will get one. Many will die waiting.
When you are talking about life or death, people turn to extremes. In a fascinating new documentary, “National Geographic Channel” correspondent Lisa Ling took a unique and disturbing look inside the underworld of body brokering in a new documentary. We will talk to her in a minute. But first, a look at inside the body trade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA LING, CORRESPONDENT, “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL”: He used the alias Wong. He‘s a Chinese physician who now lives in exile in Europe. Dr. Wong agreed to an interview only if we hid his identity. Not comfortable with being photographed in silhouette, he constructed a mask from a cereal box.
DR. WONG CHINESE PHYSICIAN (translation): In China, people don‘t donate organs because Chinese philosophy believes a person needs to have an intact body after death so the soul can have peace in heaven. Because of this reason, the number of organs donated by Chinese is very limited. But there are many people waiting to receive organ transplants. We don‘t have enough for ourselves. When the foreigners come, they get organs from special channels.
LING: China executes more people than all other countries in the world combined - according to some human rights organizations, as many as 10,000 men and women a year. At some of the execution sites, ambulances and medical staff stand by. Dr. Wong says he was at one of these executions and assisted in the harvesting of organs from prisoners.
WONG: After the shots, he fell to the ground. We had no time to think about it. As soon as we carried him into our ambulance, we turned him on his back, cut him open, and removed his kidney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Wow! Here now is “National Geographic Channel” correspondent, Lisa Ling. Lisa, thanks a lot for taking the time. We appreciate it.
All right. So, Lisa, how is this viewed in some of these other countries, like China? I mean here, obviously, we would say, of course, this is against the law. Of course you can‘t do this. I would assume it‘s against the law there as well.
LING: Well, in 2007, China banned foreigners from going to their country and receiving an organ somehow. And that‘s the problem with this issue. The laws regarding organ sales and organ donation is very nebulous. In the United States, you can actually donate your kidney. You can give someone your kidney. You just can‘t charge people for it.
ABRAMS: And so then people get involved in scams, right? They say, “Oh I was just giving it,” and they are paying the person under the table?
LING: That could certainly happen. And there have been cases when it has happened. But it is - as you have said earlier in the piece, there are close to 100,000 people in this country alone who are awaiting organs. And it is just an - it exemplifies the huge, huge demand and short supply that exists.
ABRAMS: All right, speaking sort of the way this is done and obviously this is unregulated because it‘s not legal, here is another piece from the “National Geographic Hour” talking to a woman who actually sold one of her organs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALACCA(ph), A WOMAN WHO SOLD HER KIDNEY (translation): I was told I would get the money when the operation was complete.
LING: Twenty-four hours later, her kidney is extracted. She is told it‘s been transplanted into the son of a wealthy foreigner, a foreigner who likely paid some $40,000 for the kidney. After the surgery, Malacca(ph) gets only $700, less than a fifth of what she said she was promised. Just a few weeks before our interview, her son became sick. Jaundiced, swollen legs, his kidneys are failing and Malacca(ph) has no kidney left to give.
MALACCA(ph) The doctors said you gave away your kidney. Now your child needs a kidney. Who will give it to him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Now, Lisa, it sounds like this is about desperation on one side and extreme poverty on the other, right?
LING: Well, it poses so many interesting questions. And that‘s one of the things I really find so intriguing about this issue. On the one hand, if someone close to you, if someone you love, is in desperate need of a vital organ, to what lengths will you go to try to secure that organ?
And on the other side, in India, it‘s so surreal to go to entire villages where you start asking around, “How many of you have sold your kidneys?” And people just surround you and they lift up their shirt and show you these gigantic scars because it seems as though the entire village has sold their kidneys.
The problem in India is because it‘s illegal to sell an organ, the black market is just thriving. And unfortunately, because there are middlemen used to broker the deals, the middlemen are ultimately the ones who manipulate these poor people who are selling their organs. They are promised something like $2,000 and sometimes don‘t receive any of it.
ABRAMS: Lisa Ling, thanks a lot for coming on, as always, taking on the tough and very important issues. I commend you for that. You do that regularly. Thanks a lot.
LING: Thanks for having me.
ABRAMS: “Inside the Body Trade” premiers Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on “National Geographic Channel.”
ABRAMS: Up next in “Winners and Losers.” GOP Presidential hopeful Ron Paul raking in a hefty haul of $4.2 million in 24 hours yesterday, setting a new fundraising record. Britney Spears‘ new album, “Blackout,” selling more than 300,000 copies this week, putting her back at number one. And model turned activist Lauren Bush using burlap sacks to help the United Nations to feed the hungry. A lagging presidential candidate brings in a record amount of cash; a sagging pop star revives her career; or a presidential niece bagging big time charity bucks with style. Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 6th day of November 2007. Our first winner, GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul who hauled in eye popping $4.2 million in 24 hours yesterday, a cash bonanza that set a new one-day record for the Republican Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON PAUL, GOP PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL: Who knows? That may well be a big day and a big event and it may be national news if anything comes close to what has been projected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The grass roots ground swell was brewing on the internet for weeks, perhaps turning the long shot GOP candidate into a real contender.
Our first loser? Real GOP contender Fred Thompson, who made himself seem like a long shot. A reporter waiting to interview the laid back former lawmaker tried to hurry his crew along saying the next president of the United States has a schedule to keep, to which Thompson replied and so do I. The self-deprecating quip leading to more questions about whether he is really in it to win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED THOMPSON, GOP CONTENDER: How badly do I want to be your president?
On a scale of 1 to 10, I‘m about a six.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Our second loser, apparently inebriated Shia LaBeouf, busted in a Chicago drugstore for reportedly refusing to leave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIA LABEOUF, ACTOR: I‘m sick of myself now. Now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You‘re done with yourself. I‘m done with me.
LABEOUF: Yes. I‘m done with myself. I‘m dead to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The allegedly disorderly drunk booked for trespassing after a security guard told cops he wouldn‘t take a hike. But the nearly blacked out star somehow managed to grin for his booking pic. The newest mug shot hall of famer, Shia LaBeouf.
Our second winner. Never shy to be in the buff, singer Britney Spears. Her new album, “Blackout” is topping the charts, Britney‘s best seller moving more than 300,000 copies. Although I‘m guessing one fan in particular may be responsible for snatching at least some of those.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CROCKER, BRITNEY SPEARS‘ FAN: Her song is called “Give Me More” for a reason because all you people want is more, more, more, more, more. Leave her alone!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But the big loser of the day? Brazilian soccer phenomenon Kerlon, whose unusual style is a real pain in the neck for opposing teams. Instead of dribbling the ball with his feet, Kerlon bounces it on his head over and over. The seal-like soccer star leaves rivals with only one choice to defend him. Take him down. Those vicious kicks causing him some major pain for using his strong head.
The big winner of the day? Head strong model activist Lauren Bush, now trying to kick start the use of environmentally friendly burlap bags. It‘s a two-for. The president‘s niece now working with the UN selling the bags to help feed the hungry while also working to increase the awareness of the need to at least recycle plastic ones.
All week long, MSNBC universal is going green to raise awareness about important environmental issues. So here now is Lauren Bush who is working with New York City legislators on a bill to recycle plastic bags. Lauren, good to see you.
LAUREN BUSH, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me.
ABRAMS: How is it going? Is this really going to happen.
BUSH: I hope so. I do think it is. I think there is a lot of momentum out there. I think people want these bins to be put in grocery stores so they can bring back their plastic bags and recycle them. And I think they want more reasonable bags.
ABRAMS: Is that what the legislation would do? Well, basically say you have to have a recycling bin in every - what? Grocery store?
BUSH: Every grocery store over a certain square footage. And I think it‘s really about making these easy, accessible, environmental choices, you know, an every day accessible thing to people.
ABRAMS: You told me before there are a billion plastic bags used in New York every year?
BUSH: Yes. There is an estimated - it‘s estimated that New Yorkers use over a billion plastic bags a year, and that takes each plastic bag - it‘s a process called photo degrade. And it takes over a thousand years to biodegrade - not even biodegrade, photo degrade in landfills.
ABRAMS: So you want people to stop using plastic bags all together?
BUSH: Yes, I would.
ABRAMS: So they would have to bring one of the Bush sacks with them, right?
BUSH: Well, they could. They could. But there‘s many reusable bags out there. The feed bag, which I helped create and design would feed one child in school for one year. And so you are not only doing something good for the environment but you are also feeding a child in school.
ABRAMS: Do you think - I mean, there is a lot of this legislation and talk about plastic bags. You told me before San Francisco is one of the most aggressive about it. Do you ever see a time in this country where there will be no plastic bags in grocery stores, seriously?
BUSH: I hope so. I think that‘s the ultimate goal. I think the biggest problem people have is just forgetting their bags when they go to the grocery store. They are running around all day. So I think you can buy a $1 plastic or a reasonable bag at the grocery store. So I think it‘s about making it accessible and making it there for people to buy our feed bag, or buy many other reasonable bags out there.
ABRAMS: Lauren Bush, doing good things, that‘s why she‘s a big winner.
BUSH: Thank you. Yay!
ABRAMS: Good to see you. Thanks a lot for coming. Appreciate it.
BUSH: Thank you.
ABRAMS: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Stay tuned for “LOCKUP, NEW MEXICO.” See you tomorrow.
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