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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

March 12, 2014

Guest: John Cox, Jim Tilmon, Stan Brand, Vicki Divoll; Stephen Cohen, EJ

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: We have breaking news about
Congressman Darrell Issa tonight.

But first, there`s also breaking news about the missing Malaysia
Airlines flight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some startling new developments this morning in
the missing Malaysian jetliner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The release of three grainy satellite photos
from China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These images were taken at about 11:00 a.m. on

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we`re looking at may be part of the

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An airplane the size of a 777 doesn`t just vanish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chinese have been very vocal in their
criticism of the Malaysians and how the search has been conducted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The search and rescue teams are spread out over
31,000 square miles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane was originally on a course that took it
towards Vietnam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the Malaysian military a couple of days ago
had suggested --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Boeing 777 plane may have doubled back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane made a U-turn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could not confirm if the aircraft was, in
fact, the missing Boeing 777.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, the military said, well, we`re not sure

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, it seems like we are more confused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Potentially, they`re looking in the wrong place

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- than what is first (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-two ships and 39 aircraft from a dozen
countries are now involved in the search.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened to the missing flight and its 239
passengers and crew?


O`DONNELL: The Chinese government has published new photographs
tonight that could be the first physical evidence involving the missing
Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared on Friday night with 239 people
onboard. These satellite images were posted on a Chinese national defense
technology Web site and appear to show something in the South China Sea
just off the southern tip of Vietnam, east of Malaysia.

The location is not far from the scheduled flight path of the missing
Boeing 777 airliner, which was headed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But
the area is in the opposite direction from the turn that the Malaysian
military said yesterday they had detected on radar.

The Malaysian defense minister said tonight, there is only confusion
if you want to see confusion. Yes, he actually said that.

NBC`s Tom Costello has more on the new photos.

TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Lawrence, good evening.

If true, this could prove to be a big break for searchers looking for
Flight 370 since it disappeared early Saturday morning. The Chinese news
agency reporting these images were taken at about 11:00 a.m. on Sunday from
a government satellite over the South China Sea. The images, according to
the Chinese show three objects that seem to be floating in the ocean, large
pieces, 43 by 59 feet, 56 by 62, and 78 by 72.

Importantly, these images are identified as being in the very area of
the South China Sea over which this plane was last reported, halfway
between Malaysia and Vietnam. The coordinates put the wreckage south of

And this is an area that`s been searched heavily by dozens of ships,
planes and helicopters from a dozen navies. Again, if it shows plane
debris, then it never made a U-turn and headed back towards Malaysia and
the Strait of Malacca, as the Malaysian military has been suggesting over
the past two days.

The development comes as the defined search zone today grew to 31,000
square miles -- to the east of Malaysia, the South China Sea and the Gulf
of Thailand, to the west, the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea, with
the Indian navy joining the search, pursuing the theory that the plane did
double back.

Again, the images do depict the wreckage, it would immediately refocus
this investigation on what caused the crash, mechanical, human error or
something else. And keep in mind, U.S. intelligence agencies have said
U.S. satellites did not pick up any indication of an explosion in the sky
that night.

I talked to the folks at Flight Radar 24 in Stockholm earlier today.
Their radar data shows that the plane made a slight jaw to the right, part
of the normal flight path to Beijing, and then it dropped off the radar.
The transponder stopped transmitting and the crew stopped responding to
radio calls.

U.S. military and intelligence agencies say they have no information
on these Chinese images. And, importantly, the Chinese have been very
vocal of the criticism of the Malaysians and how this search has been
conducted thus far.

But tonight, the weight now to see if these images are, in fact,
pieces of debris of Flight 370.

Lawrence, back to you.

O`DONNELL: Tom Costello, thanks.

U.S. officials tell NBC News tonight they, quote, "cannot attest to
the veracity of the Chinese imagery." And a spokesperson for the U.S.
Seventh Fleet, which is helping in the search, tells NBC News they now have
no plans yet to change their search area after the Chinese satellite

Joining me now is John Cox, a former U.S. Airways captain for 25 years
and now CEO of Safety Operating Systems. And Jim Tilmon, a former American
Airlines captain for 30 years.

John Cox, what do you make of these new satellite photos?

JOHN COX, FORMER CAPT., US AIRWAYS: Well, I think it`s certainly
evidence we need to look at. There has been a lot of conflicting
information, and as a good investigative team would do, they`re running
down each one of them as the information becomes available. That`s -- I
think it`s wise that they have aircraft going to the area. They can
dispatch some ships with potentially underwater search capability. I think
certainly they will do that.

O`DONNELL: Jim Tilmon, we have a description indicating that it might
be three different pieces. You heard those measurements Tom Costello was
talking about. But, of course, it could actually be more pieces of than
that of different measurement.

But based on what we`ve heard so far, what do those measurements and
the size of those pieces indicate?

hope these are pieces of the airplane. It will give us some place to start
from that makes good sense.

But I`m very skeptical about that because the size and the shapes of
the pieces that have been described just don`t fit the pattern of what
could come off of that airplane. That`s one thing.

The other thing is these pictures were taken I believe on Sunday. I
don`t know how close the actual wreckage would be now if they are still
floating or if they are not. So, we`re still looking and looking with
great sensitivity with all kinds of listening devices and all that.

But I agree with the U.S. in terms of saying, let`s keep the patterns
that we have going. Let`s push forward with what we know until we get
something better.

O`DONNELL: I want to get -- as pilots, I want to get both of you to
react to what we`ve been learning over the last couple of days about one of
the pilot`s record of behavior, inviting people into the cockpit as guests,
smoking in the cockpit, things like that.

John Cox, what`s your reaction to what we`ve balanced budget hearing
about that.

COX: Well, I think it`s a sole source -- I`m not 100 percent sure
there`s hard evidence to back this up. I`m not in any way -- I guess I
would say I`m not -- I don`t believe we have sufficient evidence to make a
conclusion that says that the alleged activities of the first officer would
have any effect on this accident.

So, I mean, when I hear sole source information like this as an
accident investigator, I tend to be a little bit skeptical of it. And the
relevance to this tragedy, I`m not sure you can draw in any way to it.

O`DONNELL: Jim Tilmon, what about you in terms of what we` heave
heard, read about the pilot`s behavior in the past.

TILMON: Well, I don`t know if it`s true either. I agree, you get
sole source information and you don`t know where it came from or why it
came from.

But in the unlikely world that it may have happened, I`ve got to tell
you, that kind of discipline is the kind of thing that does lead to all
kinds of problems, particularly for security. If it`s true that this first
officer was doing this, he couldn`t do it without the captain`s approval.
I mean, so it makes one wonder about where it came from.

The thing I`m really concerned with is that something had to happen
and it had to happen very quickly, because if you examine the conversation
that we do have, they were switching from the Malaysian controllers to the
Vietnam controllers, it was just a normal "roger", whatever. And then
immediately after that, these transponders went off the line. What
happened there?

O`DONNELL: John Cox, what about the transponders? Does that -- does
that -- what we know about it, does that indicate any indication of that
being a willful choice on that airplane?

COX: Well, it`s certainly capable of beings switched off, but what it
truly says is there is an elect call power interruption to the transponder.
That would have been by a switch or it could have been in the interruption
of the power source. We don`t have enough to draw a conclusion either way.

In addition, there`s a device on there that`s known as ACARS also that
would automatically transmit from time to time and that didn`t occur

So with the addition of them not transmitting over the communication
radios, either HF Satcom or the VHF radios, that is also consistent with a
potential electrical issue. We know that we don`t know. And as we try to
put the pieces together with this limited information, it`s a bit

O`DONNELL: Jim Tilmon, given the limited information that we have at
this stage, what are the still available theories as to what happened to
this plane?

TILMON: Well, there are a lots of them. You can kind of take your
pick. But of course, if we`re talking electrical problem, we`re talking
about a massive electrical problem. There`s so much redundancy on this

You just one thing after another thing after another thing that are
backups to make sure that you don`t ever get to the place that you`re down
to nothing. But even if you were, let`s say the generators at the engines
all went out at the same time, all those normal generators went off the
line. There`s a rat, they call it. It drops out of the bottom of the
airplane and it has a propeller on it, and it turns to generate electric

So then the captain would be able to have his navigation instruments,
he be able to communicate although it would be a radio with not a lot of

To me, that`s why I taught catastrophe from the get-go. Something
really awful had to happen to have all of this occur at one time.

O`DONNELL: John Cox, what`s your theory at this stage? The best
theory we could look for here.

COX: Well, I think the thing to look at is, as we do with any
accident investigation, there`s going to be a lot of elements here.
There`s going to be probably a human element. There may very well be an
environmental element. There is potentially a mechanical element and there
could be a security element.

So, I think that it`s -- the biggest thing is that we keep an open
mind, we get all the information, the evidence that we can, and we begin to
assemble it in a carefully controlled method that`s proven. And that leads
us, we let the evidence lead us to the conclusions that we can.

I tend to agree with Captain Tilmon, I think that there may have been
a catastrophic event onboard. What precipitated and exactly what that was,
we don`t have the information yet. And I`m hesitant to speculate because
of 30 years of being an accident investigator, you tend to need and want
hard evidence before you draw any conclusions.

O`DONNELL: I think I can speak for the audience here that we all
appreciate your caution, both of you, in theorizing about what possibly
happened here.

John Cox and Jim Tilmon, thank you both very much for joining me

COX: My pleasure.

TILMON: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have breaking news about the moment when
Darrell Issa did this --


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Therefore, we stand adjourned.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Mr. Chairman, I have a statement.
I have a procedural question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have a
procedural question.


O`DONNELL: My next guest has advised the House of Representatives
that Chairman Issa committed a fatal parliamentary error when he did that.

And, 24 hours after Dianne Feinstein said the CIA may have illegally
tampered with some Senate computers, the Republican vice chair of the
Senate Intelligence Committee objected, not to what the CIA may have done,
but to the simple fact that Senator Feinstein was discussing it publicly.

And in "The Rewrite", Rick Perry and I, and probably you, finally
agree on something. Guess what it is. Tweet me your guesses. The answer
is coming up.



O`DONNELL: Sarah Palin`s exit music there was, of course, "Titanium"
by Sia. And Sia didn`t like that one bit. Sia is a vegan, animal rights
activist, who has appeared in ads for PETA, and who has said, quote, "I had
my first boyfriend at 17 and my first girlfriend at 21."

Yesterday, she tweeted this, "Needless to say, I do not endorse Sarah
Palin or her use of `Titanium` in any way, shape or form."

Up next, the parliamentary expert who has advised the House of
Representatives that Darrell Issa committed an irreversible error in his
conduct of that unprecedented hearing when he allowed no other member of
the committee to speak.



ISSA: Ladies and gentlemen, seeking the truth is the obligation of
this committee. I can see no point in going further. I have no
expectation that Ms. Lerner will cooperate with this committee and
therefore we stand adjourned.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Chairman, I have a statement. I have a procedural
question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have a procedural question.

ISSA: We`re adjourned.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You
just cannot do this. This is -- we`re better than as a country. We`re
better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few minutes to ask a
procedural --

Now you`re turning me off.


O`DONNELL: In that unprecedented moment, when Darrell Issa adjourned
a hearing without allowing any other member of the committee to speak, he
not only violated committee norms and protocols, he committed with one
House of Representatives parliament expert has called a fatal error.

Joining me now is attorney Stan Brand who has served as general
counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives under the speakership of
Democrat Tip O`Neill, and NBC`s Capitol Hill reporter Luke Russert, who
broke this story.

Stan Brand, you have advised the committee, Elijah Cummings, and the
House of Representatives that what we just witnessed on video there is a
fatal procedural error for the investigation of that committee,
specifically in regards to Lois Lerner.

Explain to us what you saw happen there.

Lawrence, aren`t beanbags. They`re legal proceedings with very strict

Before a witness can be held in contempt, they have to be given in the
words of the Supreme Court, a clear-cut choice between compliance and not
compliance. So, before the House could successfully prosecute her, leaving
besides her claims of Fifth Amendment immunity, they never gave her a
direct order and overruled her objection. They simply adjourned the
hearing and moved on.

So, a central element of the offense, which is her deliberate refusal
to answer could never be sustained in a court of law.

O`DONNELL: The offense, Stan, would be contempt of Congress? That`s
what they would take?

BRAND: Yes. They would refer her to the U.S. attorney in the
District of Columbia under the criminal statute. And the government would
have to prosecute her in a court. And they would have to demonstrate
beyond a reasonable doubt that she deliberately refused to answer.

Well, without giving her the clear-cut choice between answering and
not answering, they failed a key element of the offense.

O`DONNELL: And there`s a letter that we have obtained tonight where
Elijah Cummings has written to the speaker. And as I understand it, you
helped advise Congressman Cummings in the legal grounding of this letter?

BRAND: I did.

O`DONNELL: Luke Russert, you broke the story on the Hill today. What
is the reaction in committee and beyond the committee?

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: Well, Democrats, Lawrence, understandably are
very happy with this interpretation of the law. It`s not been a good day
for Democrats. Our NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" polls show President
Obama at 41 percent, the David Jolly special election in Florida, and this
is an issue they`ve been paying a lot of close attention to because they
felt Chairman Issa overstepped his boundaries in the investigation of Lois

They reiterated a point to me that Lois Lerner last week was ready to
testify if given one more week to prepare a written statement and
testimony. Darrell Issa didn`t want to do that because a lot of folks on
the Democratic side, and even some aides privately, what Chairman Issa
would really like to do is have this contempt vote play out in Congress.

Now, that`s not going to happen this week. Next week, they`re in
recess. It could possibly happen in committee two weeks from now and then
go to the House floor.

John Boehner put the brakes on Darrell Issa and his committee a little
bit after this blow-up with Elijah Cummings.

But now with Elijah Cummings and Democrats have this legal
information, which Republicans right now are dismissing and calling it --
or a spokesman for Issa is calling it flawed, it gives them some ammunition
to go back. And if nothing else, Lawrence, what this perhaps will end up
being is a legal question, if the House holds Lois Lerner in contempt, it
then goes to a federal judge and the House Democrats will say is it really
worth this amount of millions of taxpayer dollars to go through a
parliamentary question like this in an investigation where the facts as
they`ve come out have not directly linked the Obama White House to the IRS
mis-goings that occurred in Cincinnati in 2010.

O`DONNELL: Well, the speaker of the House knows who Stan Brand is. I
don`t care what the Republicans are saying, this legal analysis is being
taken very seriously by the speaker tonight.

I just want to read, Stan, a reaction from Darrell Issa`s spokesman
about this. A written statement where they say, "Chairman Issa
specifically informed Ms. Lerner of the committee`s formal determination
that she had waived her Fifth Amendment right not to answer her questions.
Before asking a series of questions, he then offered her fair warning that
a refusal to answer could lead to a contempt finding which ultimately must
be made by the full House of Representatives."

What`s your reaction to that statement, Stan?

BRAND: The case is made clear, many he`s got to overrule her
objection in an explicit way and give her an opportunity to comply or not.
Having failed that --

O`DONNELL: And the court looks for all of that specifically in the
record of the hearing.

BRAND: The congressional record in enforcing these contempts is
abysmal. Eighty percent of them are acquitted, dismissed or reversed on
appeal because of just such infirmities. That`s the record of these cases
in the federal district courts.

O`DONNELL: And let`s go -- I just want to show one thing before we
go, which is what Issa himself said after that hearing about contempt and
is he actually going for contempt in this. Let`s listen to this.


ISSA: At this point, we will continue our investigation into the IRS
targeting of conservative groups without the testimony of Ms. Lerner.

REPORTER: Are you considering contempt?

ISSA: You know, that`s certainly something that has to be considered.
There`s committee rules, I`ll go through that. But like we said, we`re
going to confer afterwards.


O`DONNELL: Stan, there he is admitting right there, agreeing with you
that he hasn`t established the grounds for contempt yet.

BRAND: And even if he did, he`s got two years to wait for an outcome.
You know, the easy way around this, Lawrence, if the narrative that the
Republicans has is to be believed that Lois Lerner was a tool for the White
House and the Treasury is to give her immunity. And then find out what she

But they don`t really want to hear what she knows. They want to beat
her around the head and make her the poster child for this. In a real
investigation, she would have gotten immunity in a New York minute and
testified already.

O`DONNELL: And the truth is --


RUSSERT: And, Lawrence, on that point -- I just want to say on that
point, there`s a lot of accuracy there, because that is something that
Elijah Cummings has said throughout this process. Give her immunity, allow
her to testify and let`s get to the bottom of this, because if, in fact,
these allegations are true, the IRS did have more stringent procedures for
allowing political groups to get registered in this capacity, that`s
troubling for all Americans, no matter your political stripes. And so far,
they`ve been reluctant to do that, probably why? Politically, this feeds a
lot of red meat for the base.

O`DONNELL: And they already have a complete record of her involvement
here, because they already have every one of her IRS e-mails on this
subject, which is something the Republicans on that committee never
mentioned, that they already obtained those.

Luke Russert and Stan Brand, thank you both very much for joining me

BRAND: My pleasure.

RUSSERT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, an unusual partisan divide erupted in the
Senate Intelligence Committee today, which usually operates in a very quiet
bipartisan fashion. Without actually mentioning Dianne Feinstein`s name
today, the Republican vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said
he thinks the problems that Senator Feinstein has been having with the CIA
should never have been discussed in public.

And in "The Rewrite", Rick Perry got booed just for walk on the stage
of the Jimmy Kimmel show last night. And then he got applause, including
from me for what might be the one thing Rick Perry and I agree on. Hint:
you can smoke it or bake it or, you know?



SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: It should not be described or
discussed in the public domain, but like all other intelligence committee
matters should remain within the purview of the confines of the
intelligence committee.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, we are going to discuss it
whether he likes it or not. That was Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss,
the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee in a not-so-vailed
rebuke this evening on the senate floor to Senator Dianne Feinstein, the
chair of the Senate intelligence committee who did exactly what Chambliss
says no one should do in the public domain.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: When the internal Panetta
documents disappeared from the 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 activities.

On January 15, 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 facility.

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: Senator Feinstein said she was outraged yesterday that her
committee staff was being accused of possibly committing a crime, but she
said on the floor that it was possible that the CIA had, in fact, committed
a crime.


FEINSTEIN: Besides the constitutional implication, the CIA`s search
may also have violated the fourth amendment, the computer fraud and abuse
act, as well as executive order 12333, which prohibited the CIA from
conducting domestic searches or surveillance.


O`DONNELL: For more than 24 hours after that dramatic speech,
Washington wondered what the intelligence committee`s vice chairman Saxby
Chambliss was thinking of this unprecedented airing on the Senate floor of
Senate intelligence committee intrigue by the committee`s leader. Now we
know why Senator Chambliss was not on the Senate floor yesterday supporting
Senator Feinstein.


CHAMBLISS: The Republican committee members on the Senate
intelligence committee and staff were not involved in the underlying
investigation of the detainee and interrogation report. We do not know the
actual facts concerning the CIA`s alleged actions or all of the specific
details about the actions by the committee staff regarding the draft of
what is now referred to as the Panetta internal review document.

No forensics have been run on the CIA computers or, as my colleagues
refer to them, as the sissy computers at the CIA facility, to know what
happened, either regarding the alleged CIA search or the circumstances
under which the committee came into possession of the Panetta internal
review document.

Given that both of these matters have been now referred to the
department of justice, it may take us a while before any accurate factual
findings can be reached. And a satisfactory resolution of these matters
can be achieved. It may even call for some special investigator to be
named to review the entire factual situation. Eventually, we will get to
the bottom of this.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, E.J. Dionne, columnist for "the Washington
Post" and an MSNBC analyst and Vicky Divoll, a former general counsel to
the senate select committee on intelligence and a former deputy legal
adviser to the CIA`s counterterrorism center.

Vicki, you`re in this unique position of having worked for both, the
CIA and for the committee. I want to get to your experience on this, but I
want to go straight to a couple of things that Senator Chambliss said that
surprise me.

He said that no Republican staff on the committee was involved in the
underlying investigation that`s going on here. I`m a little surprised to
that. I thought that that committee worked and the staff also worked in a
much more bipartisan collaborative way.

VICKI DIVOLL, FORMER CIA LAWYER: Yes, I found that surprising too. I
don`t know if there has been any previous public statement about the fact
that Republican staff was not involved in the three year-plus review of
these documents. But I found that is surprising as well. I found a lot of
things about what Senator Chambliss said surprising.

O`DONNELL: Well go ahead, Vicki, what else?

DIVOLL: Well, I mean, he`s rebuking the chairman of his committee for
making a public statement, and he`s publicly making a statement rebuking
her. It seems quite hypocritical for him to do that. I thought Senator
Feinstein`s comments were incredible and very unusual on the hill and quite
bold and brave in my opinion.

O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, there`s another clue in here about what CIA
director Brennan might be thinking in his denial that they in any way
invaded Senate computers. Saxby Chambliss says no forensics have been run
on the CIA computers, he calls them. He calls them CIA computers. He says
or what my colleagues, meaning Feinstein, refer to as the SSCI computers
meaning the Senate committee`s computer.

And as we explained last night, the CIA set up these special computers
for the Senate committee off campus from the Senate so that they would have
intense security around this material, but they were to be considered
Senate computers. And it seems that Saxby Chambliss any way does not
consider them Senate computers and therefore there could not have been an
invasion of Senate computers if they were CIA computers.

(INAUDIBLE) politics, just as service to this atrium (ph). I mean, I think
you put it very well, but they made a deal, Feinstein was very clear about
this. And she talked about the document that was signed by the committee
chair and vice chair and Leon Panetta that this computer was to be regarded
as a Senate computer. That the CIA wasn`t going to mess with it. In
deference to the CIA, they were doing this at a facility away from the

So in Feinstein`s telling, which sounded credible to me as she told
it, it was very clear that this belonged to the Senate. Brennan seems to
want to argue that because it wasn`t actually in the Congress, this
actually belonged to the CIA. But what I don`t understand, there are a lot
of things that are hard to understand, but one of them is why after this
story started trickling out last week, the CIA or people sympathetic to it
started leaking against staff on the committee to the newspapers, which
tried to put the staff in a bad light.

And it`s pretty clear to me that it was that leaking that enraged
Feinstein and pushed her to go to the floor because she didn`t want her
staff or her committee to be impugned anonymously by a CIA folks with an

O`DONNELL: Vicki Divoll, as a formal counsel working inside the CIA,
what is your reaction to the CIA acting general counsel referring a
complaint about the Senate staff possibly tampering with CIA computers,
referring that complaint to the justice department.

DIVOLL: I think it was fascinating and it`s hard to figure out
exactly what was going on there. You know, ironically, this crimes
reporting requirement on the agency, the general counsel`s office is
required by law, by laws passed by Congress, ironically, to pass to the
justice department any evidence of a crime. That`s their obligation.

So, it`s possible that rather than trying to be a bully, which it
certainly looks like he was doing here and Senator Feinstein alluded to
that, he was just doing his job in passing this information to the justice
department for them to use as they see fit. We don`t really know that yet
and we may never know that.

O`DONNELL: And E.J. -- Go ahead, E.J.

DIONNE: What I want to say is that is one possible explanation, but
the Feinstein claim is the deputy general counsel -- the acting general
counsel is named, I think she said 1,600 times in the report. And so, her
claim is he`s got a conflict of interest here to begin with and this was
being done purposefully to put the committee and its staff in a bad light.
We`ll find out which version is true.

O`DONNELL: Well, no one is getting the last word on this story
tonight. We will be staying with it.

E.J. Dionne, thanks for joining us. And Vicki Divoll, thank you for
bringing your invaluable perspective from both the committee and the CIA to
us tonight. Thank you both.

DIVOLL: Thank you.

DIONNE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Rick Perry was on Jimmy Kimmel last night and
he actually remembered what he was there to say. And even the people who
booed when Rick Perry walked on to the stage later liked what they heard.
That`s in "the rewrite."




JIMMY KIMMEL, TV HOST: I find interesting things about you and I. I find
them hard to believe. You once shot a coyote while you were jogging.

RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: That`s true.

KIMMEL: You jog with a gun?

PERRY: I do interviews with a gun.



O`DONNELL: It`s Texas week for Jimmy Kimmel, who is taping his shows
at the south by southwest festival in Austin. A new and improved Governor
Rick Perry made an appearance on the show last night and he was able to
remember everything he wanted to say even though he was greeted with a
sound familiar to some politicians, but unfamiliar to late night talk show
guests when they`re introduced.


KIMMEL: Welcome, welcome. Thank you for coming.


KIMMEL: There are people. I don`t know what is going on.

PERRY: I said there is three places you want to make sure you don`t
want to be introduced if you are in a business I`m in. A hockey match,
rock concert and now the Jimmy Kimmel show.


KIMMEL: WELL, I thought maybe here in Austin you would get a
favorable response, but what have you done to make these people dislike you
so intensely?



O`DONNELL: Well, he`s done a lot. He is opposed to women`s right to
make their own choices regarding their reproductive freedom. He is opposed
to occupational safety regulations that would prevent disasters like the
explosion out of fertilizer plant in Texas which killed 15 people 11 months
ago. He did not allow the Medicaid expansion under the affordable care act
in Texas which is the state with the highest rate of people without health
insurance in the country. And he has presided over the executions of more
death row inmates than any other governor in American history.

But Rick Perry is not wrong about anything. He went into semi-hostile
territory last night knowing there was at least one thing for which he
would get well deserved applause.


KIMMEL: In January, you said you might possibly favor decriminalizing
marijuana in the state of Texas. Is that true?

PERRY: What we did was we for over a decade, we`ve lowered the
penalties. I mean, we are trying to be smart about it. You don`t want to
ruin a kid`s life for having a joint. And that was historically what you
saw. And we put drug courts into place, we`ve -- I think kids make really
smart decisions about dealing with people, particularly when it comes to
these small amounts of drugs. And we`ve been able to shut down a prison in
the state of Texas. I mean, that is conservative, man.

KIMMEL: And did this decision have anything to do with Willie Nelson.
Did he lobby you in any way for this?

PERRY: You`ve got to love Will.

KIMMEL: Well, yes.


O`DONNELL: OK. You don`t got to love Rick Perry. But you do got to
admit that he isn`t wrong about everything.


O`DONNELL: The latest developments in the crisis in Ukraine. That is





O`DONNELL: That was Ukraine`s interim prime minister at the White
House today after meeting with President Obama. Today, President Obama
once again called Russia`s invasion of Crimea, a violation of international


OBAMA: We have been very firm in saying we will stand with Ukraine
and the Ukrainian people in ensuring that territorial integrity and
sovereignty is maintained. What the prime minister I think has rightly
insisted on is that they cannot have a country outside Ukraine dictate to
them how they should arrange their affairs. And that there is a
constitutional process in placed and a set of elections that they can move
forward on that in fact, could lead do different arrangements over time
with the Crimean region. But that is not something that can be done with
the barrel of a gun pointed at you.


O`DONNELL: President Obama said that if the Russian government
continues to try to in next Crimea, there will be an unspecified cost.


OBAMA: We will continue to say to the Russian government that if it
continues on the path that it is on, that not only us but the international
community, the European Union and others will be forced to apply a cost to
Russia`s violations of international law and it is (INAUDIBLE) on Ukraine.
There is another path available. And we hope that President Putin is
willing to seize that path.


O`DONNELL: President Obama today also urged Congress to act quickly
on an aid package to Ukraine. But of course, Congress does not know how to
act quickly on these things. The House of Representatives last week passed
a rigger (ph) $1 billion loan package today. The senate foreign relations
committee approved a different version of the bill which would have to be
passed by the Senate and then reconciled with the house bill. And then, of
course, passed again by both the Senate and the house in identical form
before it could be signed by the president. None of that has a chance of
happening before Congress goes on a week`s recess on Friday.

Secretary of state John Kerry will go to London on Friday to meet once
again with the Russian foreign minister, just two days before the Crimean
voters decide whether they want to continue as part of Ukraine or become
part of the Russian federation.

Joining me is, Stephen Cohen, New York University professor of Russian
and Slavic studies.

Stephen, it seems like the next big event here is going to be that
vote. What will be the import of it when the votes are counted?

say where I think we are now.

O`DONNELL: OK, go ahead.

COHEN: The vote goes in this context. I don`t want to disturb your
listeners going to bed after watching you. I think we`re three steps from
war with Russia. Two steps to a new Cuban missile crisis.

O`DONNELL: Stephen, you`ve just disturbed our listeners.

COHEN: Well, I`m trying to get the attention of unwise lawmakers both
in Moscow and in Washington and in Europe.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

COHEN: I can`t tell you how serious this is. There is a proposal in
Washington and Europe to move NATO troops to the west Ukrainian/polish
border. Planes are already on the polish airstrip. If that happens, I
believe Putin will mobilize those 150,000 troops he was practicing last
week and move them into southern and eastern Ukraine. That`s the Cuban
missile crisis. The next step, we live through it is war. Now, if you
want to go to the referendum on Sunday in that context, I follow you now.

O`DONNELL: Well, I can see you needed to get that out first. I guess
we can only hope that those are just the stunting that is commonly done in
these situations with troops and ships and that sort of thing.

But to the vote on Sunday, what do you see as the outcome? And where
does that leave the players?

COHEN: Two things are happening. President Obama and secretary of
state Kerry are telling Putin and it`s an ultimatum, and no Russians like
ultimatum, that if they go ahead with this vote, and remember what the
Crimean people are being asked to vote on, do you want to be in the Russian
federation or do you want to be an independent republic and remain with in
Ukraine for now.

I don`t know how that vote will go. But we`re essentially saying to
Putin, if you go ahead with any move to bring Crimea into Russia, all
diplomacy ends. If all diplomacy ends, Lawrence, what`s next? War.

Putin will not back down on this referendum. But I can tell you as a
fact that in Moscow now, there`s a struggle around Putin about what to do
with the result of the referendum. One side is saying Putin, Crimea has
always been Russia`s. Let`s just take it back and end this nonsense. The
other side is saying no, that might be such a provocation that war results.
Therefore, say you heard the Crimean people when they spoke on Sunday that
we want to be in Russia and we`ll see. And then you begin to talk to the
west with Crimea as your, Putin`s, bargaining chip. And he`s got to make a
decision now, which course he will follow.

O`DONNELL: And the truth is, there are no agreed upon international
principles about how you hold a vote like this. The United States is
maintaining if you`re going to have this vote, it has to be all of Ukraine.
But in Puerto Rico, for example, they have -- they are allowed to have
their own vote on whether they want statehood, commonwealth status,
independence, and we don`t say for them to get statehood the entire United
States would have to vote on it.

COHEN: You know, there are some issues that would be funny if it
wasn`t so serious. Both Putin and Obama went to law school. This whole
thing become a kind of Shyster`s lawyers game. Obama says today that
there`s a constitutional process that stands behind the acting prime
minister of Ukraine who visited Obama today. There is no constitution in
Ukraine. The people who took power over through the constitution. Putin`s
position is the government in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine has no
legitimacy in law. It`s the deaf talking to the deaf.

O`DONNELL: Stephen Cohen gets tonight`s last depressing word.

Thank you very much for joining us, Stephen.

Chris Hayes is up next.


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