'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

March 11, 2014

Guest: Julian Epstein, Matt Katz

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The CIA thinks that Senate staff
might have spied on the CIA. And Senate staff definitely believes that the
CIA spied on them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee
dropped a bombshell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Dianne Feinstein made major waves in a
bombshell accusation against the CIA this morning.

personnel had conducted a search.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feinstein accused the CIA --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She accused of CIA of violating federal law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- of secretly removing documents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Undermining her committee`s oversight of the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now at issue is an internal review --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An investigation into allegations of CIA abuse -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- of this interrogation and detention program.

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: The rendition, detention and
interrogation program --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The George W. Bush era program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This dates back to the previous administration.

BRENNAN: Now, the Senate Select Committee has conducted an extensive
review of that program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CIA Director John Brennan responded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His response to charges of hacking.

BRENNAN: And if I did something wrong, I will go to the president and
I will explain to the president exactly what I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are a couple of issues here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really do have two sides of this story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accusations by unnamed sources have flown in the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Each side accusing the other of criminality.

BRENNAN: There have been many things written and many things said.

FEINSTEIN: There had been numerous press articles.

BRENNAN: Including I understand this morning --

FEINSTEIN: Press attention has focused on the CIA`s intrusion.

BRENNAN: Some fact and some pure fiction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the CIA spy on Congress?

FEINSTEIN: I rise today to set the record straight and to provide a
full accounting of the facts and history.


O`DONNELL: This morning, the Democratic chair of the Senate
Intelligence Committee went to the Senate floor and publicly accused of CIA
of potentially breaking the law by searching computers set up for committee
staff who were conducting a review of the CIA`s torture program under
President Bush.


FEINSTEIN: Besides the constitutional implication, the CIA search may
also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,
as well as the executive order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from
conducting domestic searches or surveillance.


O`DONNELL: This story began when Dianne Feinstein became the chair of
the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2009, the first year of the Obama
presidency, in a strong bipartisan vote of 14-1, the committee decided to
do a full review of the CIA`s so-called detention and interrogation

President Obama`s new CIA Director Leon Panetta suggested that for the
security of the documents involved, the committee staff would be examining,
Panetta and the CIA would provide a special secure location in northern
Virginia that would in effect become Senate property. The committee was
accustomed to maintaining its own secure files in the Hart Senate Office
Building, but they agreed with this unusual agreement in deference to the
CIA`s judgment about the extraordinary level of security needed for these

This morning, Senator Feinstein reviewed some of the problems with
that arrangement.


FEINSTEIN: On two occasions, CIA personnel electronically removed
access to CIA documents after providing them to the committee. This
included roughly 870 documents or pages of documents that were removed in
February 2010, and secondly, roughly another 50 that were removed in mid-
May 2010.


O`DONNELL: Senator Feinstein said this was in violation of the
committee`s written agreement with the CIA about how to handle these
documents. The problem was handled discreetly then as you might expect,
and it resulted in an apology.


FEINSTEIN: On May 17th, 2010, the CIA`s then-director of
congressional affairs apologized on behalf of the CIA for removing the


O`DONNELL: And then the system seems to be working well enough. As
the Senate staff continued its multi-year study of the CIA`s torture
program and began writing what is now a still unreleased report that is
over 6,000 pages long.

Then, in 2013, a document that the Senate staff had been working with
called the Panetta Review suddenly disappeared from the committee`s
computer system.


FEINSTEIN: When the internal Panetta Review documents disappeared
from the committee`s computer system, this suggested once again that the
CIA had removed documents already provided to the committee in violation of
CIA agreements and White House assurances that the CIA would cease such


O`DONNELL: And then at the beginning of this year, CIA director John
Brennan requested an emergency meeting with Senator Feinstein.


FEINSTEIN: On January 15th, 2014, CIA Director Brennan requested an
emergency meeting to inform me and Vice Chairman Chambliss that without
prior notification or approval, CIA personnel had conducted a search that
was John Brennan`s word, of the committee computers at the off-site

In place of asking any questions, the CIA`s unauthorized search of the
committee computers was followed by an allegation which we now have seen
repeated anonymously in the press. That the committee staff had somehow
obtained the document through unauthorized or criminal means, perhaps to
include hacking into the CIA`s computer network.


O`DONNELL: On the Senate floor, Senator Feinstein was outraged that
her committee staff was being accused even anonymously of possibly
committing a crime.


FEINSTEIN: The staff members who have been working on this study and
this report have devoted years of their lives to it, wading through the
horrible details of the CIA program that never, never, never should have
existed. They have worked long hours and produced a report unprecedented
in its comprehensive attention to detail in the history of the Senate.
They are now being threatened with legal jeopardy just as the final
revisions to the report are being made so that parts of it can be
declassified and released to the American people.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, David Corn, the Washington bureau chief
for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC political analyst. And Julian Epstein, a
former chief minority counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, and a
former majority director of the House Government Operations Committee.

Gentlemen, I could talk about this all night.

We use the word "unprecedented" all too much in covering news events.
This is unprecedented. It`s hard to think of anything like this that we`ve
seen on the Senate floor.

And, David Corn, as Senator Feinstein presented, the inspector general
of the CIA was bothered enough by what the CIA had done here that the
inspector general of the CIA referred the matter to the Justice Department
and then as Senator Feinstein explained, the acting general counsel of the
CIA filed a complaint with the Justice Department about the Senate staff.
So, you now have each side of this being accused somewhere inside the
Justice Department of possibly violating laws here.

But, David, this is not going to be solved any time soon, what
actually happened here.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Lawrence, I`ve been covering the CIA since
you worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was on the intelligence committee
back in the day, for decades now. And unprecedented doesn`t even begin to
describe what`s happening here.

O`DONNELL: That`s right.

And, David, as we`re on it, Senator Moynihan, Barry Goldwater, others,
had real problems with what the CIA did in terms of dealing with the
committee including saying that they were lied to in the committee. But
nothing, nothing at this level.

CORN: Yes. I mean, this is all-out war between the oversight
committee and the people -- the spies.

If I can go basic, I`ll go global for one moment here. I think this
is -- you know, without overstating the case a constitutional crisis. The
reason why is we live in an open democracy.

But we allow parts of our government, the executive branch to do
things in secret for national security reasons only with the provision that
what they do in secrecy is monitored by another part of the government.
Checks and balances. And that`s a legislative blanch. They`re supposed to
look at what they do and turn to us, the poor peons out here and say, it`s
OK, we`re watching all this secret stuff. It`s fine.

That`s the whole basis for why we allow the government to do things
that we can`t talk about and that we can`t know about.

But if there is no congressional oversight and this signals a total
complete breakdown in congressional oversight, it totally undermines the
rationale for secret government activity in our constitutional republic.
And this is going to take tremendous intervention on the part of the
president who`s taught constitutional law to resolve this, because of all
the problems that Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Barry Goldwater, and others have
had over the last 30, 40, and 50 years I think pale in comparison to what
seems to be the final breach in this ongoing struggle between congressional
overseers and the spies and spooks and secret warriors who work for the
U.S. government.

O`DONNELL: Julian Epstein, it was -- it was such an amazing speech to
listen to. And at the end of it, it seems there may have been the main
point of the speech. And that was the passionate defense by Dianne
Feinstein of her Senate Intelligence Committee staff.

And what`s so peculiar about this is here is a speech written by the
Senate Intelligence Committee staff defending the Senate Intelligence
Committee staff. And it seems like it was provoked by an article a few
days ago in "The New York Times" where that anonymous source appeared
saying, hey, maybe this Senate staff violated laws in the way they obtained
this document.

Senator Feinstein says the document was right in there in the 6.2
million documents that the CIA dumped on them.

it`s implausible that Senate staff were violating criminal laws.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I put that at below zero possibility myself.

EPSTEIN: I do too. If there was any suspicion of that that the CIA
had, they should have referred it immediately to the Justice Department for
investigation, rather than investigate it themselves.

And as you know, Larry, I`m not a knee-jerk critic of the intelligence
community. I was pretty defensive of them on the metadata issue. But
here, just to add to David`s point, this seems to be a monumentally stupid
fight for the CIA. On political grounds, if there are two people in the
entire country that the CIA has to be accountable to, one is the president
of the United States and two is the chairman or the chairwoman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee, who has been probably their best friend on
Capitol Hill.

So why they would want to pick a fight like her over something like
this is beyond me. That`s on the political level. On the legal level --

O`DONNELL: Julian, I want you to quickly give us a legal reading of
where you think the potential legal violations of law might be here.

EPSTEIN: I think the potential legal violations on the part of the
Senate staff are minimal, almost zero.

The legal violations for the CIA are many. There was clearly an
agreement between the CIA and the committee that the documents in the room
in question would be under committee control. In fact, there was a FOIA
request by the ACLU trying to get the documents related to the committee
report and the CIA said, we can`t give them to you. The committee is the
custodian of them.

So, if in fact the committee was the proper custodian of the
documents, and I think that`s the reasonable interpretation of the
information we know right now, then there are a lot of criminal and
constitutional issues. For example, there is a statute 1505 of the Title
18 that says any interference with a congressional investigation is a
serious criminal offense.

Going into committee documents, searching through them, and then
deleting documents I think would be a textbook example of interfering in a
congressional investigation. That`s one.

Two, as you know in the setup piece, in February 2010, and then in May
2010, the CIA admitted that it went in and actually deleted documents. But
that was after they had said first that that they denied deleting the
documents and then they blamed it on contractors. Then, they blamed it on
the White House. They said the White House directed them to do that. The
White House denied that and the CIA had to retract that.

But these series of denials the CIA has had now leads you to the
second criminal area they would have which is false statements.

The third area of criminal liability that the CIA has is the Computer
Security Act of 1986, which says no government agency can improperly access
the documents of another agency. It would clearly apply by my reading of
the statute, in terms of the CIA going into committee documents. And then
you get into a host of constitutional issues as well, Fourth Amendment,
speech and debate clause, separation of powers, all of which the Senate
committee and Dianne Feinstein, if they wanted to find a legal mechanism to
enforce they could through various different channels.

O`DONNELL: And quickly before we go, David, there`s also the
possibility here this could be a case of domestic spying by the CIA which
they are not allowed to do.

CORN: They`re forbidden from domestic spying and surveillance. And I
think it`s going to take a long time to sort this out. I hope we can do
this somewhat publicly because this really gets to the whole essence of how
our government works when it comes to the national security state.

Dianne Feinstein said today this is a defining moment in congressional
oversight. What she didn`t say but it`s implied is that if you don`t have
effective congressional oversight, then you really aren`t allowed to have
secret government activity.

So, a lot, a lot is at stake on this.

O`DONNELL: Julian Epstein and David Corn, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

CORN: Sure thing.

EPSTEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Bridget Kelly was in a New Jersey courtroom
today fighting for the right to say absolutely nothing about what she knows
about the George Washington Bridge scandal.

And how do you direct the president of the United States, the director
and co-creator of "Between the Ferns" will join me and explain how he got
the president to do his strangest White House interview ever.


O`DONNELL: Bridget Kelly went to court in New Jersey today to listen
to her lawyer make the case on why she should never have to say anything
about what happened at the George Washington Bridge, even though she wrote
the smoking gun e-mail, "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
That`s next.



BRIDGET ANNE KELLY: She`s a junior and she is (INAUDIBLE) --


KELLY: She has a prom next week.

CRITCHLEY: Next week?


CRITCHLEY: How old is she?

KELLY: Seventeen.

REPORTER: Ms. Kelly, do you have anything to say? Any comment at
all? (INAUDIBLE) something to the people of New Jersey that you served,


O`DONNELL: Bridget Kelly went to court today fighting for the right
to have nothing to say. Her lawyer pleaded with the judge today to allow
her full Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination to the
extent she would not have to turn over a single e-mail to the New Jersey
special legislative committee investigating the lane closures at the George
Washington Bridge, which she apparently ordered when she wrote the e-mail,
"time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Bridget Kelly`s lawyer used that very e-mail today to show how
anything that she turns over could be self-incriminating.


CRITCHLEY: So I start with this proposition. I do not concede that
my client sent this. Everybody says, "My God. This does it. This is the
document. Reduce the lanes."

OK, so when I look at this document, I look on its face -- on its
face, qdoes it regard the George Washington Bridge? Nope.

On its face, does it regard the reduction of three lanes to one the
length of the George Washington Bridge? No.

On its face, does it relate to activities between September 9th and
September 12th? No.

Now, it doesn`t on its face. So if I respond hypothetically, if I
respond and turn over this document, I will basically be testifying yes,
although it does not on its face relate to the George Washington Bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I authenticated that it does.


O`DONNELL: Reid Schar, the special counsel for the committee,
believes that that argument proves his point.


REID SCHAR, ATTORNEY FOR N.J. SELECT CMTE: The fact the defendant`s
position is we can`t get the e-mail that says it`s time for traffic
problems in Fort Lee, despite the fact we have a third party who`s provided
it to us in an e-mail from Bridget Anne Kelly with absolute particularity
highlights the absurdity of the situation.

If the standard is, everyone can withhold everything until someone, a
third party, has come forward and provided an affidavit that says this is
authentic, no one is going to be able to ever get anything in response to a


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Steve Kornacki, host of MSNBC`s "UP WITH
STEVE KORNACKI", and, Matt Katz, a reporter for Public Radio`s WNYC, who
created the blog the Christie chronicles.

Steve Kornacki, very good legal arguments on both sides today.

STEVE KORNACKI, UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI: Yes, it`s interesting, too.
And Reid Schar also ends up telling that the judge that they have received
information back -- remember they put out two dozen subpoenas in total.
It`s not just Kelly and Stepien we`re talking about here. So, Schar was
also saying the committee has received in response to those subpoenas more
information that suggests that Kelly, more emails sort of similar to that,
the one that Wildstein supplied that suggests there`s a basis for subpoenas
for Stepien and Kelly.

And now, we`re left in a situation where I think they`re given until
the end of next week, basically, to make that case to the judge based on
some of the further information they`ve gotten from the subpoenas, that the
subpoenas to Kelly and Stepien ought to be obeyed, which all of which means
the timeline on this thing I think has been expanded more than people were
expecting initially. We`re now looking at I think may be not resolving
this case until maybe April.

And then, of course, once you resolve this, there`s the question of if
this is appealed. So, then the bigger question starts to come into all of
this is by the time all of plays out, will we in the public, in the media,
ever see anything from Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien? Or will the U.S.
attorney before, you know, all of this gets sorted out?

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the judge said -- there`s that issue
of you can`t just claim the Fifth Amendment for anything. You actually
have to be facing some real legal jeopardy. Let`s listen to the judge
asking the committee counsel what about that, why don`t they deserve Fifth
Amendment protection? Let`s listen to that.


interesting in hearing is why you believe that the defendants do not have
reasonable cause to fear criminal prosecution? I mean, it seems to have
become well known that there is a federal investigation that is ongoing
into the lane closures for the G.W. Bridge.

SCHAR: When we initially set out that position, we did not have the
degree of information we have now. Given the additional information that
they provided in their responses to the initial brief, I think we probably
stand at our position within our briefs. But I`m not going to try to
aggressively defend that position.


O`DONNELL: Matt Katz, there`s a lawyer saying well, we really don`t
have any position left here.

MATT KATZ, WNYC: Yes. He really conceded there. It was interesting.

I mean, the judge grilled these lawyers for three hours today. This
went on a lot longer than any of us expected. It indicates she`s taking it

I mean, you can`t overstate the significance of how this case goes.
Now, if Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien, the former Christie campaign
manager, win here, then we may never know, depending on how the criminal
investigation goes, but we in the public may never know if anybody else
ordered Bridget Kelly to send that first e-mail.

On the other hand, if it goes to the special legislative committee,
then we may find out if somebody else sent an e-mail one minute before
Bridget Kelly`s email, saying, hey, close those lanes and then, Bridget
Kelly sends her e-mails.

Now, who ordered Bridget Kelly? There`s a sense in the statehouse
that she didn`t have the power to go ahead and do something like this.

So, the real tantalizing question is who ordered it? Was it the
governor? Was it somebody else? Was it -- you know, did she come up with
it out of whole cloth?

These are huge questions in this scandal, go right up to the
governor`s office. That`s why today was so significant and so interesting.

O`DONNELL: It`s -- Steve Kornacki, the immunity question looms large
here if Bridget Kelly had immunity she would not actually be able to refuse
to answer and refuse to respond to these things.

But the legislative committee is not in a position to give immunity
for the U.S. attorney`s criminal investigation.

KORNACKI: Exactly. That`s why I think I can -- you can understand, I
think, certainly strategically what, you know, she and her lawyer are up to
here. And that is the deal they are interested in cutting I think would be
with the U.S. attorney. It`s the same way from the very beginning of this
we`ve been looking at David Wildstein`s attorney saying, look, if the U.S.
attorney were to give immunity, he would have a lot more to say.

Bridget Kelly`s lawyer has not been explicit in saying that, but their
actions I think certainly suggests, look, what`s to be gained from them in
terms of turning over all this information to the legislative committee
when potentially and I think as Matt is saying there, there`s a suspicion
that the idea that Bridget Kelly ordered this, there aren`t many people
that believe Bridget Kelly ordered this herself.

If she could get some kind of immunity deal with the U.S. attorney,
that information would be a lot more valuable in that context that she`s
sitting on potentially.

O`DONNELL: Matt, quickly before we go, what`s your take on why
Bridget Kelly went to court today? She wasn`t needed there. She wasn`t
going to say a word. She was just going to expose herself to the cameras.

KATZ: It seemed like it was there for sympathy. It really did seem
like she was there brought by her lawyer and her lawyer was trying to pull
the public`s heart strings. I mean, I was standing there. When she comes
out of court, she was bombarded by the press.

He whispers to her, don`t answer any questions, and then she gets up
there and says -- someone says, how is she doing? He says, I`ll answer
that. He says, she`s unemployed, she`s a mother of four, she`s looking for
work, and this is very difficult for her.

And that might be what Steve is saying. She`s trying to sell herself
for possibly immunity from federal prosecution.

O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki and Matt Katz, thank you both for joining
me tonight.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, the director and co-creator of "Between Two
Ferns" gives us the behind-the-scenes report on how he got President Obama
to sit down for the strangest White House interview ever.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Justin, for being on. It`s really
exciting to talk to you especially right in the middle of your public

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You going to say anything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I just never interviewed a 7-year-old
before, so. What was the last toy you got in a happy meal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think I`ve ever ordered a happy meal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, me either. I don`t like that junk.



O`DONNELL: Zach Galifinakis is now picking on someone his own size,
sort of.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Let`s get this out of the way. What`d you
come here to plug?

think it`s fair to say I wouldn`t be with you today if I didn`t have
something to plug. Have you heard about the affordable care act?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I heard about that. That`s the thing that
doesn`t work. Why did you get the guy who created the zoo to make your Web

OBAMA: Healthcare.gov works great now. And millions of Americans
have already gotten health insurance plans. And what we want is for people
to know that you can get affordable health care. And most young Americans
right now, they are not covered. And the truth is they can get coverage
all for what it costs you to pay your cell phone bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this what they mean by drones?

OBAMA: The point is that a lot of young people, they think they`re

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you say invisible? Because --

OBAMA: No, no. Not invisible. Invincible. Meaning that they don`t
think they can get hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll just say it. Nobody could be invisible if
you said invisible.

OBAMA: I understand that. If they get that health insurance, they
can really make a big difference. And they`ve got until March 31st to sign

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t have a computer, so how does --

OBAMA: Then you can call 1-800-318-2516.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t have a phone. I`m off the grid. I don`t
want you people looking at my texts if you know what I mean.

OBAMA: First of all, Zach, nobody`s interested in your texts, right?
Second of all, you can do it in person. And the law means that insurers
can`t discriminate against you if you have a pre-existing condition.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, the director of the episode of "Between
The Ferns" with President Barack Obama, Scott Aukerman. He is the co-
creator of "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifinakis.

Scott, you`ve now entered, you know, film making history, TV history.
You have directed the president of the United States in a comedy scene at

which Nixon on "Laugh In."

O`DONNELL: So, how much did he know? Had he seen any of your
episodes of this before?

AUKERMAN: I do not know. I heard that he had, but not being him, I
couldn`t actually say with any kind of truthfulness that he has. I hope
that he has. The image of the president watching our dumb little internet
show is very funny to me.

O`DONNELL: Yes. It is. But watching, it wasn`t clear to me there
that he was completely, you know, kind of enjoying the joke. I think he
was getting the joke, but I`m not sure he was always enjoying the joke.

AUKERMAN: You know, he came into the room and he shouted out, two
ferns, and he seemed to be a fan. And he took it very seriously. He not
only came with jokes and with stuff that he wanted to do, but he sort of
was playing what we like to have the people play which is uncomfortableness
and not wanting to be there. And he knew that. So that`s sort of what --

O`DONNELL: All right, let`s watch some more of the uncomfortable


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how does this work? Do you send Ambassador
Rodman to North Korea on your behalf? I have read somewhere that you will
be sending Hulk Hogan to Syria or is that more of a job for Tonya Harding?

OBAMA: Zach, he`s not our ambassador.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we do about North idea?

OBAMA: Let`s move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to know, what`s it like to be the last
black president?

OBAMA: Seriously? What`s it like to be the last time you talk to a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it must kind of stink though that you can`t run,
you know, three times.

OBAMA: No. Actually, I think it is a good idea. You know, by run a
third time would be sort of like doing the third hangover. It didn`t
really work it very well, did it?


O`DONNELL: Scott, so how much time did you -- how many presidential
minutes did you use to do this? How much time was he there before you
started shooting? How much time -- tell me it was very little.

AUKERMAN: Well, the great thing about the shoot was the White House
wanted to be sure that we did it the way that we do all of the other
shoots. So they didn`t want it to be any kind of different experience for
us than it was for everything else. So we`ve done a lot of these. This is
our 16th episode, perhaps. And, you know, we really like to have them be
in the moment and very spontaneous and very genuine. So the great part
about it was the White House gave us time and said that they wanted us to
do the way we actually did it. They didn`t want it to be coming off like
any kind of an advertisement for the affordable care act. They wanted it
to be a real episode of "between two ferns." And along with that comes
enough time for Zach to slam the guest. So they didn`t want it just to be
a two-minute video talking about Obamacare.

O`DONNELL: They understood to leave air here and there.


O`DONNELL: Let`s look at more of the president being uncomfortable.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you planning on building your
presidential library? Or in your home country of Kenya? Because both
places seem like they would be --

OBAMA: Zach, that`s a ridiculous question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, not to bring up the birth
certificate, but you never really produced --

OBAMA: Where`s your birth certificate? Why don`t you show it to us
right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want to show to my birth certificate.
It`s embarrassing.

OBAMA: What`s embarrassing about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My weight on it. It said I was born seven pounds,
800 ounces. You know, what I would do if I were president, Mr. President?
I would make same-sex divorce illegal then see how badly they want it.

OBAMA: I think that`s why you`re not president. And that`s a good


O`DONNELL: Scott, you`ve created a controversy. Jay Carney was
actually asked at the White House press briefing today, was the presidency
in any way damaged by you --

AUKERMAN: By me personally.


AUKERMAN: I just feel that question is continually asked any time a
president does any kind of comedy thing, be it slow jamming the news of
laugh in or "Saturday Night Live." And I think it`s time to stop asking
that question. I mean, what is great about the administration is they knew
they had to reach an audience that isn`t watching Sunday morning shows.
They had to reach an audience that`s watching internet videos. And so,
they really embraced that and they came to us and said they were interested
in doing it. And it`s paying off. I mean, the only people that I hear
asking those types of questions are an older generation that, you know, is
not really that into these types of videos and they say these types of
videos are not attracting an audience that are them. So the people who
love it are the young people and that`s who it`s aimed at.

O`DONNELL: I want it very clear. I`m not asking the question, I`m
asking about the question --

AUKERMAN: I`m not saying you`re an older generation at all.

O`DONNELL: I`m asking about the question being asked. So we get that

Scott Aukerman, director and co-creator of "Between Two Ferns, season
three." Your other show, comedy bang, bang premieres on IFC. So, you`re
here to sell a lot of stuff.

AUKERMAN: Sure. I have my own show. I don`t just direct these

O`DONNELL: May 8th on IFC. Thank you very much.

AUKERMAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, how do you know Chris Christie is not running
for president? Look at who Rand Paul is attacking now. Rand Paul versus
Ted Cruz is in the "rewrite."


O`DONNELL: Republican David Jolley won Florida`s special election for
its 13th congressional district tonight which has been held by a Republican
for over 40 years. Jolley won 48 percent of the vote beating Democrat Alex
Sink who received 47 percent of the vote.

Rand Paul versus Ted Cruz next in "the rewrite."


O`DONNELL: Remember when Rand Paul and Chris Christie were battling
it out for front runner status for the republican presidential nomination?


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This strain of libertarianism
that`s going through both parties right now and making big headlines. I
think is a very dangerous thought. As the governor now of a state that
lost the second most people on 9/11 behind the state of New York and still
seeing those families, John, I love all these esoteric debates people are
getting in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rand Paul, for example?

CHRISTIE: You can name any number of them. He`s one of them. I
mean, these esoteric intellectual debates, I want them to come to New
Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that
conversation. And they won`t because that`s a much tougher conversation to

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The people who want to criticize me
and call names, they`re precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut
the spending and they`re gimme gimme, gimme all my Sandy money now. Those
are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough
money be left over for national defense. So I think it`s precisely those
people that are making us weak in defense.


O`DONNELL: Chris Christie was more than holding his own in his one-
on-one battle with Rand Paul. But then in the middle of a long press
conference, Chris Christie found himself saying this.


CHRISTIE: I delegate enormous authority to my staff. And enormous
authority to my cabinet. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of
some of the people on my team.


O`DONNELL: And Chris Christie`s presidential hopes ended with those
words. The media consultants to every Republican running for president
immediately pulled those two lines and had them ready to stick in attack
ads against Chris Christie which they soon realized they would never need
because Chris Christie`s presidential campaign is already over.

Rand Paul has been vindicated on Christie. Rand Paul was once the
only person saying that Chris Christie was abusing the federal money he was
getting for hurricane Sandy relief. There is now much more evidence of
that abuse. And Rand Paul isn`t saying a word about it. No I told you so
from Rand Paul. Proof from the man who is now moving into front runner
status for the Republican nomination that Chris Christie no longer matters
in the political calculations of Republicans running for president. Rand
Paul is now aiming at Ted Cruz and Ted Cruz knows it.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I`m a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are
good friends. I don`t agree with him on foreign policy. I think U.S.
leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should
be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad, but I think there is a
vital role just as Ronald Reagan did. When Ronald Reagan called the soviet
union the evil empire. When he stood in front of the gate and said tear
down this wall, those words changed the course of history. The United
States has a responsibility to defend our values.


O`DONNELL: No one invokes Ronald Reagan more than Ted Cruz. And Cruz
does it the way all Republicans do it. To reflect Reagan`s glory onto
themselves. But in an article for breitbart.com, Rand Paul rewrote the
Republican speech writers Ronald Reagan template and used Ronald Reagan not
to reflect glory on himself but to attack Ted Cruz.

Rand Paul wrote, every Republican likes to think he or she is the next
Ronald Reagan. Some who say this do so for lack of their own ideas and
agenda. Reagan was a great leader and president, but too often people make
him into something he wasn`t in order to serve their own political

Then Rand Paul did something Republicans never do. He specifically
said he is not the next Ronald Reagan. I don`t claim to be the next Ronald
Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being
sufficiently Reaganesque. But I will remind anyone who thinks we will win
elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out
as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not
the route to victory.

Now, Let`s mw see. Who has been trashing previous Republican


CRUZ: You want to lose elections, stand for nothing. It is all of us
remember President Dole and President McCain and president Romney. Those
are good men. They`re decent men. But when you don`t stand and draw a
clear distinction, when you don`t stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.


O`DONNELL: Rand Paul also reviewed some Reagan history that
Republicans never mention. Many forget today that Reagan`s decision to
meet with Michael Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks
of his time. Some of whom would even call Reagan in a (INAUDIBLE).

In the Middle East, Reagan strategically pulled back our forces after
the tragedy in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 marines realizing the cost
of American lives were too great for the mission. Reagan said his greatest
regret as president was sending those marines to Beirut in the first place.

Now, when is the last time a Republican reminded you of the misguided
Reagan strategy that left 241 marines dead and then Reagan ordering the
survivors of that attack to retreat? Rand Paul couldn`t bring himself to
go as far to use the word retreat, and so he said Reagan strategically
pulled back our forces.

Imagine what Republicans would call that if a democrat strategically
pulled back our forces in Lebanon after 241 marines were killed. Rand Paul
doesn`t like Ted Cruz`s phony tough talk about Ukraine, and he made it
clear in his article that no Republican has a better idea than President
Obama about how to handle the crisis in Ukraine.

Regarding Russia`s invasion of Ukraine, for example, there is little
difference amongst most Republicans on what to do. All of us believe we
should stand up to Putin`s aggression. Virtually no one believes we should
intervene militarily. So we are then faced with a finite menu of
diplomatic measures to isolate Russia on most of which we all agree. Such
as sanctions and increased economic pressure. Yet some politicians have
used this time to beat their chest. What we don`t need right now is
politicians who have never seen war talking tough for the sake of their
political careers. America deserves better than that. So do our soldiers.

Ted Cruz, of course, has never seen war. He never considered making
commitment to military service, but he is committed to portraying himself
as some kind of tough guy when it comes to foreign policy and military
strategy. And Rand Paul seems committed to not letting Ted Cruz get away
with that.


O`DONNELL: The latest information about the missing Malaysian
airlines flight is next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Seems to be banking around as if they`ve
seen something. The plane turns hard to get a closer look at some debris.
False alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just keep looking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More flights like this.



O`DONNELL: Malaysian Airlines flight 370 carrying 239 people made a
sharp turn and went off course, according to the Malaysian military, which
revealed today, that they continued to track the plane after its
transponder stopped reporting its position to air traffic control.
Officials say the Boeing 777 doubled back toward Malaysia and continued in
a straight line. Experts say that may mean the plane was still under a
pilot`s control. The military also said the 777 was last detected near
29,000 feet, almost 10,000 feet below cruising altitude.

Joining me now is James Cavanaugh, former ATF special agents and an
MSNBC law enforcement analyst.

James, what do you make of this new information?

things we talked about last night, Lawrence. A human hand involved, I
still feel and the evidence suggests there must be some human involvement
in that plane turning and the transponder being turned off. Because there
seems to be many redundant systems in those planes according to the airline
pilots and NTSB experts.

O`DONNELL: Now, why would the -- I mean, it seems like there`s more
to hear from the military. Why would they stop tracking the plane
especially when the transponder was turned off?

CAVANAUGH: Yes. It just doesn`t make sense. And it seems to be
ripping these families apart. I mean, they come out with this information
one way, went over the straits, didn`t go over the straits, five people
tried to board that we took their luggage, that wasn`t right. They need to
give the families a straight story, but it also hurts the investigation.

Something broke in the daily mail today as well where, you know, the
co-pilot had allowed people into the flight deck on previous flights. So
reports of lax cockpit security, you know, that may play into this as well.
It seems less like a mid-air explosion, catastrophically because the plane
turned. Who was in charge, who was piloting it.

You know, there was a very significant point, Lawrence, who was a
radio Japanese air made radio contact with this Malaysian plane on an
emergency frequency at the request of a Vietnamese air traffic controller
and he only heard murmuring on the radio. If that call was taped by the
plane or surfaced ship on the emergency channel, that tape should be
gotten, should be enhanced, and even a few words, even a few words on an
enhanced tape could break open the mystery. You know, he said he has a
bomb. There is a fire on the wing. We lost all the power. Saying we`ve
lost all the power, the flaps are gone or something. If it exists, if the
tape exist, even with the pilot could hear should to try to be recovered
and enhanced.

O`DONNELL: Still, so much more to learn on this amazing story.

James Cavanaugh, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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