THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
April 14, 2014
Guest: Nia-Malika Henderson, Sal Rizzo, Gene Robinson, Mark Potok
ALEX WAGNER, GUEST HOST: Welcome to the new GOP. Wait. Haven`t I read
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republicans testing the water for 2016 all showed up
in New Hampshire this weekend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The latest round of Republican rebranding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The re-relaunch of the GOP.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was on full display at a conservative conference in
New Hampshire this weekend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were a few legitimate aspirants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a few speakers is more interested in free
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve heard money, I`ve heard this, I`ve heard sex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forget Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of you are probably in favor of gay marriage,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can they agree on their party`s future?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you`re in luck because the new GOP is not going
to talk about it as much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can they build a new party with the same old
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The door is not going to open up until we
have something to offer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can this work for Rand Paul specifically?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking more about libertarianism.
PAUL: Three out of four people in prison are black or brown. These are
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does it play within a GOP primary?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rand Paul is contrasted against Ted Cruz.
PAUL: If you want to be consistent, we cannot be the party of fat cats and
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good luck convincing the party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb Bush has also been trying to use some more
moderate centrist language.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeb Bush is not going to change his immigration
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His name drew boos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The percentage of the white vote continues to decline.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can they agree on their party`s future?
PAUL: Parts of the message has to reach out to people who we haven`t been
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s the big problem for Republicans going
WAGNER: I`m Alex Wagner, in for Lawrence O`Donnell.
America, meet the new Republican Party. It was unveiled in the all-
important presidential primary state of New Hampshire at this weekend`s
Freedom Summit sponsored by Citizens United and the Koch brothers,
Americans for Prosperity. It sounds totally new and different already.
Rand Paul used his speech to put Republicans on the couch, to point out
their failures, and to outline a new Republican agenda based on bold action
and the Bill of Rights. But no, really, there was actually a lot about GOP
failures on taxes, on the debt, and on defending amendments other than the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: You go to Washington and what passes for bold is, oh, we`re for
revenue neutral tax reform. I, frankly, don`t care. If that`s what you`re
for, I`ll go back to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and be an eye surgeon but I
want nothing to do with the timidity of revenue neutral tax reform.
Some say, well, we can defend the Second Amendment but let`s just ignore
the Fourth Amendment. Or let`s defend the Second Amendment but not that
First Amendment, that`s not for conservatives. Hogwash.
Some would say that you can have freedom and yet have indefinite detention
of American citizens. That you can have freedom and not have the right to
the trial by jury by everyone.
I had this debate with one of the other senators. He happens to be a
Republican senator. And I said, my goodness, you`re going to take an
American citizen and send them to Guantanamo Bay without a trial? And they
said, yes, if they are dangerous.
And I said, sort of begs the question, doesn`t it, who gets to decide who
is dangerous and who is not?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: But wait, rand Paul is not finished. Republicans have also failed
in lots of other ways, like in their support of corporate welfare and in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Some will say we don`t have enough for welfare and for entitlements
but we`ve got plenty of money to bailout and give corporate welfare.
Hogwash. We shouldn`t be sending one penny to rich companies. We send --
we send $20 billion a year in direct subsidies to companies. Corporate
welfare should once and for all be ended.
The top 100 companies in our country average $200 million a piece. And
you`ve got Republicans in Washington saying, oh, the XM bank, we`ve got to
be for that.
Rich companies don`t need your money. And it`s an insult to those among us
who say we don`t have enough money for these other programs but we`ve got
enough money for our rich friends.
If we want to be consistent, if you want to grow the movement, we cannot be
the party of fat cats, rich people and Wall Street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: Nope. Rand Paul is still not done. Republicans have also failed
in showing empathy towards less fortunate Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: The unemployed -- anybody here ever been unemployed? Anybody here
ever have a tough time? Anybody ever have their salary reduced?
There are members of our movement who have all suffered, who have all had
those problems, but we have to show concern for people out of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: And how would Rand Paul make actionable this empathy, this concern
for people who have had a tough time and are out of work? What bold, new
policy did Rand Paul propose at the Citizens United for Prosperity Freedom
Summit to create jobs and help the unemployed?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: More unemployment insurance, frankly, I think they`d rather have a
When is the last time in our country we created millions of jobs? It was
under Ronald Reagan. What did Ronald Reagan do? He set forthrightly,
let`s cut everyone`s taxes. He did dramatically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: Joining me now, Krystal Ball, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE", and
Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "The Washington Post".
Krystal, the eye surgeon from Bowling Green, Kentucky, has a big new idea
for the Republican Party and that big idea appears to be the very same old
KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: Wait for it.
WAGNER: Wait for it.
BALL: Reagan. Tax cuts.
WAGNER: Yes! It`s fairly unbelievable that he teased everything up and
then lands in the same place that Republicans always end.
BALL: Yes, this is -- this is all they have.
I mean, kudos to Rand Paul, he really does talk the talk and I appreciate
what he says about the injustice of the criminal justice system and that`s
an area where he has been different from the Republican Party and has moved
that party and been a thought leader there.
On the economy, though, all of the rhetoric about wanting to end the
subsidies and not be the party of the corporate fat cats, what about when
it comes to cutting regulations on businesses and imposing a tax on
taxpayers through cutting too much regulation and giving these business as
free pass? I would bet that he`d be singing a very different and very
standard Republican tune in that area.
WAGNER: Yes, Nia -- I mean, Krystal brings up an important point. There
was polite applause. Yes, we don`t want to be the party of fat cats but if
it actually came down to putting a piece of policy on the table, I doubt
that members of the House Republican Conference or even Senate Republican
Conference would have as much enthusiasm, applause or no. Your thoughts?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: No. I think that`s right. I
think rand Paul is trying to figure out a new way to talk as a Republican
and highlight some of the things you mentioned there in terms of the
criminal justice, black and brown people being disproportionately affected
by drug sentencing.
But when it comes down to it, he`s sort of working in sort of the same
toolbox, right, and also has to figure out a new Republican way of talking,
he also has to throw red meat to the base, right? And in that way, he`s
doing it in the same way and talking about rolling back regulations,
talking about tax cuts.
But again, I think you do have to give him credit there for trying to
figure out how these sorts of conservative ideas relate to real people, and
in that way, I think we are hearing something slightly new from him, and I
think we`ll hear a lot from him over these next many months as he very much
publicly in these speeches is trying to almost on his feet trying to
grapple with this issue, what it means to be a new Republican.
WAGNER: Krystal, speaking of new Republicans, my favorite entry in the
annals of hypocrisy today is Mike Lee, who had some interesting words at
the very conference. Let us take a listen to what Mike Lee had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: As Republicans, an conservatives, we`ve got to be
far more engaged in the act of finding converts than identifying heretics.
We need to sharpen more pencils than knives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: He`s saying we should not cannibalize our own. Mike Lee who has
been the Robin to Ted Cruz`s Batman on so much heretics-finding in the
Republican Party. I just think, you know, it comes down to platitudes and
not policy and it`s as if Mike Lee thinks he can just say this and people
will forget all of the things that he has done as an elected member of the
BALL: Right. Mike Lee being famous for essentially shutting down the
government, as Ted Cruz`s sidekick over really a full hearty attempt to
repeal Obamacare, which, of course, was never going to happen.
WAGNER: And made life difficult for his fellow Republicans.
BALL: Absolutely. Absolutely.
And something very interesting happened to Mike Lee, senator from Utah
after he did that. His popularity in his own state fell off a cliff in one
of the -- if not the most conservative state in the country. Even there
they said this is too far. This is unreasonable. You are making the
So, it`s interesting that he`s singing a very different tune now because I
think the original tune that he was singing in trying to piggyback off Ted
Cruz was not working out so well for him.
WAGNER: Sharpen more pencils than knives.
OK. Nia, now, this would be my second entry in the annals of hypocrisy
this week, which are getting -- it`s going to be a big week apparently, for
starting it out like this. "The A.P." is reporting something called the 14
in `14 campaign launched by the RNC to recruit and train women under the
age of 40 to help spread the party`s message in the final 14 weeks of the
They are encouraging candidates to include their wives and daughters in
campaign ads, have women at their events and build a Facebook-like internal
database, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
This seems like one of those things Republicans do that is all talk and no
actual action, if you are talking about substantive policy that will
actually help women. You are -- give me your assessment on how successful
you think something like this can be.
HENERSON: Well, they launched this, Sharon Day, the co-chair of the
Republican Party, launched this today in West Virginia, a very important
race there with Shelly Moore Capito probably going against Natalie Tennant
on West Virginia for this open Senate seat. If you look at the Growth and
Opportunity Project, which was released about a year ago which was the
Republican reset, one of the things they wanted was to put more women out
front, not only as candidates but as surrogates and that`s something that
we are starting to see more of.
If you also look at where Democrats have had the edge, it`s not only with
women, particularly single women, it`s also with sort of a volunteer army.
So, this what the RNC very much wants to create with this 14 in `14 project
that they announced.
And one of the things that they`re going to do is really try to go into
blue areas in red states, right? In Arkansas, the big counties there that
went for Obama. So, you know, I think, again, Republicans are very nervous
about the war on women. They very much know that it worked against them
and this is their attempt to push back them in terms of messaging.
But again, in terms of policy, I`ve talked to several women who were
running, Mia Love, who`s running, of course, in Utah. Joni Ernst, who`s
running in Iowa. You ask them, is there some specific sort of policy --
WAGNER: Is there any there there?
HENDERSON: Right. Is there some sort of policy that you`re trying to talk
to women about and they often say, well, our policies aren`t about women,
they are about everyone. Of course, you counter that with what Democrats
are doing and they are rolling out women`s economic agenda.
So, it`s very much different on both sides of the aisle.
WAGNER: It`s amazing to me, Krystal, very quickly, that Republicans are up
in arms about the Paycheck Fairness Act and say it`s playing identity
politics and they maligned Democrats. And this effort, which actually has
no policy behind it, is not actually that same thing.
BALL: Yes, and I just want to point out that you think your wife or
daughter in your campaign commercial is hardly a revolutionary idea, but I
will tell you that red state Democrats, this is not just like a side issue
for them. They also recognize how important it is to get women out and
just how powerful equal pay and the Paycheck Fairness Act is.
This is not like a little hobby horse thing. This is actually a really
important issue for Democrats in this election cycle.
WAGNER: And the Republican understands how unsuccessful they have been,
thus far, in recruiting female candidates.
Krystal Ball and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you both for joining me
BALL: Thanks, Alex.
HENDERSON: Thanks, Alex.
WAGNER: Coming up, what you hand over when there aren`t transcripts?
Mental impressions. The latest on the Christie investigation is next.
And just ahead, the hate crime in the heartland. A white supremacist will
be charge with hate crimes in the shooting deaths of three people.
And an exclusive look inside the world of the people who make cocaine and
smuggle it into the U.S.
WAGNER: And now an update on why I`m sitting here tonight bringing you THE
LAST WORD instead of Lawrence. Lawrence and his brother Michael were hurt
in a taxi accident on Saturday. They were vacationing in the Virgin
Islands and were brought back by air ambulances to the U.S. for medical
treatment. Michael is in Boston. Lawrence is here in New York. Both of
the O`Donnell brothers are in good spirits, as always, and doctors expect
them to make a full recovery.
Since the news was announced this afternoon, LAST WORD fans have been
sending well wishes and asking where they can send flowers. I did, too,
and we found out the hard way that we can`t. The hospital where Lawrence
is being treated will not accept flowers of any kind. So, do not send
roses because, friends, I think we all know the way to Lawrence O`Donnell`s
heart and it is the KIND Fund.
Lawrence, if you are watching, I stole some chocolate off your desk. We
all really miss you. Please get well soon and hurry back.
WAGNER: Today, Chris Christie`s lawyers released notes from 75 interviews
conducted as part of their taxpayer-funded investigation into what happened
at the George Washington Bridge. These memos were for interviews that were
not conducted under oath and did not include transcripts. According to the
memos themselves, they are, quote, "a summary of the discussion that
reflects counsel`s mental thoughts and impressions."
Among the 75 people whose recollections were filtered through mental
thoughts and impressions, Governor Christie, Lieutenant Governor Kim
Guadagno and Mike DuHaime.
Not on that list, David Wildstein, Bridget Kelly, Bill Stepien, David
Samson, or any other Port Authority employee.
We have also learned that the governor`s troubles have now expanded into
New York as Cyrus Vance, the district attorney for Manhattan, has issued
subpoenas for documents and records between Christie staffers and Port
According to "The Wall Street Journal," that request is part of an
investigation into Port Authority construction projects, including the
rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. Today, Anthony Sartor, a long-
time commissioner of the Port Authority, who was chair of the subcommittee
in charge of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, he submitted his
And if all that wasn`t enough, the New Jersey "Star Ledger" is reporting
that three former officials with the New Jersey Ethics Commission are now
accusing Governor Christie`s office of, quote, "unprecedented interference
with an agency set up to be free of political influence." Christie, they
say, pushed the agency commissioners to replace the executive director at a
time when she was investigating a member of his staff and in so commission
doing, Christie crossed a line no other governor had before."
Joining me now is Sal Rizzo who reported the story at the ethics commission
complaints for the `New Jersey Star Ledger", and Josh Barro, a national
correspondent for "The New York Times" and an MSNBC contributor.
Josh, let`s start with the Mastro memoranda, the impressions, the mental
watercolors that have been painted for the viewing public.
According to Randy Mastro`s report, Christie had no specific recollections
of conversations with Baroni and Wildstein, especially on the 11th -- the
day in question -- when Wildstein said he talked to Chris Christie about
bridgegate. But he remembers other things, including this, which defies
explanation. I will read an excerpt from that memoranda.
Before the 9/11 memorial event began, the governor recalled that Mrs.
Christie asked to use a bathroom and David Wildstein directed her to a
large white Port Authority trailer. She went into the van and then exited
saying that there was no bathroom in the trailer. A female Port Authority
police department officer who was possibly Baroni`s driver, then took Mrs.
Christie to the bathroom. Otherwise, Mrs. Christie was with the governor
throughout the event.
Now, explain to me how you as a governor of the state don`t remember
anything about a possible traffic jam that was inconveniencing tens of
thousands of your own residents, but you do remember about your wife being
guided to the wrong ladies` room?
JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think the details on where Mrs. Christie
went to the restroom on September 11th are really important thing, that
it`s good that the taxpayers of New Jersey pay probably a couple thousand
dollars of legal fees --
WAGNER: Just for that detail.
BARRO: Just for that detail.
I mean, this report is so weird. Like you conduct an investigation like
this, where you do all of these interviews and don`t keep transcripts or
recordings of the interviews, it`s hard to think of any reason to do that
other than you don`t want people to come into possession of those
transcripts of the interviews and use them in their own investigations.
So, it`s another thing that points to this report, having been basically a
political act trying to put forward Chris Christie`s versions of events in
the story and I don`t think that was a good use of taxpayer money but I
also don`t think it was effective.
This report hasn`t been received in the way that I think the governor`s
office was hoping that it would as an authoritative account of what
happened leading up to the bridge lane closing.
WAGNER: Yes. Sal, josh makes a really good point. This is supposed to be
the great vindication tour for Chris Christie. And yet in this report,
it`s clear that the specifics and the vagaries are very purposeful and both
intended on giving the governor as much wiggle room or as much leeway as
I read one other excerpt: The governor did not recall any conversations at
all that the senior staff retreat about the Rockefeller group and did not
recall any conversations with the lieutenant governor about Mayor Zimmer at
the senior staff retreat. Nor did the governor recall any conversation
with the lieutenant governor about Mayor Zimmer`s May 1st of last year.
I mean, that does not exactly, I think, signal -- I don`t think New Jersey
taxpayers would give that report a vote of confidence, if you will.
SAL RIZZO, THE STAR-LEDGER: The standard caveat is that this is the
governor`s lawyer writing this report. So, if it comes to pass that the
U.S. attorney considers the governor`s office to be a target of the
criminal investigation, what is the governor going to do? You know, is he
going to report stuff that could incriminate the governor`s office?
There`s a very fundamental question about the purpose of this report. And,
you know, I think you guys have laid it out well. Some of these details
seem to be a little irrelevant and some of them seem to be, you know,
furthering the story that is very convenient and very practical for the
governor to be using right now.
WAGNER: You know, and, Josh, it feels like the investigations continue to
mushroom. The fact that Cyrus Vance has gotten involved, that New York
prosecutors are now engaged in this, I think continues to raise the stakes
for the Christie administration in a really meaningful way.
BARRO: Yes. Well, who doesn`t want a piece of this?
WAGNER: Who can`t get a piece of this? I mean, there are myriad entry
BARRO: Yes. No, I mean, it`s when you have a bi-state agency like this
and you`re dealing literally with a crossing that is in the jurisdiction of
two different states, there are a lot of prosecuting officials who can get
involved in something high profile. Chris Christie knows about this. He
built his political reputation by being an aggressive prosecutor who knew
how to find investigations that would people pay attention to and that
would raise his own profile.
So I`m not surprised that you`re seeing New York getting involved in this
and I think it also reflects how the governor`s office has been a step
behind in responding to this scandal. They didn`t appreciate the legs that
it would have.
The fundamental reason that people are interested in this story nationally
is that it`s so simple. It`s not that a few lane closures was of immense
national importance. It says it`s a scandal that anybody can understand
and it says something quite specific about the way that the governor had
managed the state of New Jersey that I think is compelling to people. And
so, it`s going to have legs and people are going to get involved where they
So, yes, you`re going to see mushrooming.
WAGNER: Hey, Sal, you broke the news about the ethics committee
investigation. You broke it in the pages of the "Star Ledger" and online.
Tell us more about specifically what went down there and what the
implications are for this administration.
RIZZO: Well, first of all, this is a very powerful agency because they
have subpoena power. It`s like a court of law. And they can find people
tens and thousands of dollars if they find that they have done something
very egregious as far as the conflict of interest goes.
And so, the accusation is very serious that the executive director of the
agency, Kathleen Wiechnik, she had opened an investigation into a member of
the governor`s staff back in November 2010. It was something about feral
cats, apparently a secretary in the governor`s office had been using her
state e-mail account to press some county officials to look into feral cats
that had popped up on her property.
So, this is how it all began. Then a couple weeks later after Kathleen
Wiechnik, the director, tells the governor`s office that she`s
investigating this matter, she gets someone to a meeting in Trenton just a
couple weeks later and she`s told you have to step down. We have to
And now, you know, this is an independent agency. For something like this
to happen, what is the message that someone would get, you shouldn`t be
investigating the governor`s office? You should turn over the complaint if
the governor`s office asks you?
And so, you know, the chairman says I made a decision to replace Kathleen
Wiechnik before this was filed but it was still during the time that this
investigation was opened that she was replaced.
WAGNER: Feral cats and port-a-potties. This is now what we`re being
forced to talk about. Thank you, Governor Christie.
Sal Rizzo and Josh Barro, thanks for your time tonight, gentlemen.
RIZZO: Thank you, Alex.
WAGNER: Coming up, a known white supremacist now faces hate crime charges
for the shooting deaths of three people.
And later, a last-minute surprise from President Obama.
WAGNER: In the spotlight tonight, a hate crime in the heartland.
Federal authorities say they have enough evidence to treat yesterday`s
shooting spree at a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement home
outside of Kansas City and the hate crime.
State officials have already filed first degree murder charges. Police
arrested 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, a
former green beret and Ku Klux Klan leader. He reported shouted Heil
Hitler as he was arrested.
NBCnews.com reports in the name of white supremacy, Frazier Glenn Cross has
organized armed militias, stockpiled military weapons and plotted to kill
the founder of the southern poverty law center which sued him in 1984 for
trying to intimidate blacks in North Carolina.
This morning at the Easter prayer breakfast, President Obama spoke to the
timing of this tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That this occurred now as
Jews were preparing to celebrate Passover, as Christians were observing
palm Sunday, makes this tragedy all the more painful. Nobody should have
to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers.
Nobody should have to fear for their safety when they go to pray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: Three people were killed in the shooting spree. Dr. William Lewis
Corporon and his grandson, 14-year-old, Reat Griffin Underwood were killed
at the community center. Dr. Corporon was a retired family physician. His
grandson an eagle scout. The third victim, Terry Lamano was killed at the
nearby retirement home where she visited her mother every Sunday.
While slain outside of Jewish facilities according to their families, all
three victims were members of Christian denominations.
Joining me now is Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law
Center and Jim Cavanaugh, MSNBC law enforcement analyst. He is also a
former police officer and ATF special agent.
Mark, let me begin with you. The Southern Poverty Law Center has had Mr.
Cross on its radar for quite some time now, but reports today indicate that
he may have been sort of estranged from his white supremacist networks.
How common is it to have a lone Wolf extremist?
MARK POTOK, SENIOR FELLOW, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, lone Wolfs
are really the most common type of attackers we see from the domestic
radical right. There was a time when conspiracies really were hatched in
smoky rooms with lots of men in them and that kind of thing, but that is
very much not true these days. Some 20 years ago or so there was an
important essay called "leader less resistance" on that very idea, that we
need to operate as lone wolves who are in very small cells because
otherwise our organizations will be destroyed. So that is really what we
see as the norm and it does appear that Frazier Glenn Miller, aka Frazier
Glenn Cross, did act as a lone wolf in this case.
WAGNER: Jim, let me ask you, how much of his history do federal
authorities need to consider in building the case for a hate crime?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, that`s a great
question, Alex, and it really is an easy answer. All of it. You know, you
have free speech and you`re free to hate and the government shouldn`t and
can`t do anything to you for that. But when you hurt, when you murder,
when you assault, when you kill, then everything you have ever said, every
one of these vial, despicable videos that this guy has made, his internet
postings, videotapes, speeches, every single one of those for his whole
life can be used to show his motivation.
And so, really, this is going to be solid evidence for a hate crime and
it`s bracketed by the fact that he`s yelling Heil Hitler after the murders
of the eagle scout and the grandfather and the woman and the retirement
Again, you know, the same thing we get from the Klan, we`ve gotten it for
40 years, mark and all the heroes at the Southern Poverty Laws Center know
it and we chase these guys all over the country. This guy is not new to
any of us. The FBI got him with 20 pipe bombs years ago. He`s always been
into this stuff.
WAGNER: Mark, you know, There is a videotape of Cross in 2005 being
interviewed by NBC affiliate KYTV and I want to play that for everybody
just as so we can see the level of vitriol that he was spewing in public
for decades. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re fed up by it, people, believe me, and we`re going
to take our country back. They are third class citizens now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you worry about defending people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course not. They need to know. They need to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: Mark, when someone is out there making death threats, training
paramilitary group, speaking so plainly about racist hatred, what can
anyone actually do to sort of monitor and sort of -- and do whatever --
what systems are available to try and stop someone like this from taking
the next step?
POTOK: Well, there`s really not a whole lot that can be done in many
senses. Most -- almost everything that Glenn Miller says is protected by
the first amendment. It`s only now, when he`s apparently committed a major
criminal act, that as Jim says, these matters about his ideology can be
Really, properly the best chance to stop Miller came many years ago in 1987
when he in fact was arrested for, among other things, conspiring to murder
Morris Dees (ph). He was probably looking at 20, maybe even 30 years in
prison but what he did was cut a deal with the federal government to
testify against his friends in the white supremacist movement.
He was a key witness in a very famous crowd, the 1988 court Smith sedition
trial which basically had a parade of the best known rights supremacist
leaders in the country on trial. And Miller in fact did testify against
What happened, though, was that the case fell apart. It was a disaster for
the government. It could have hardly have ended in a worst way. Nobody
was convicted for anything at all. A juror actually ended up marrying one
of the defendants. So it was a train wreck. And perhaps Miller managed to
salvage a little bit of his reputation in that way. I mean, for a long
time he was essentially persona non grata but he`s made his way into the
movement, publishing and posting thousands and thousands of times to racist
websites and so on.
WAGNER: Mark Potok and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for joining me
CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Alex.
POTOK: Thank you.
WAGNER: Coming up, as the U.S. shifts its attention and funds in the war
on drugs, cartels in Colombia shift their methods to keep the drugs flowing
into the United States. A rare look at the making of cocaine is just
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Former presidents
compare their libraries the way other men may compare their -- well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: That was president George W. Bush speaking at the LBJ library last
week because right now below the belt humor is all the rage in the
Republican Party. House speaker John Boehner`s primary opponent, tea
partier J.D. Winter egg, a high school teacher, is out with a new political
ad that proves J.D. Winter egg spent most of his days surrounded by people
with raging hormones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You make a great team. It`s been that way since the
day you met. But your erectile dysfunction, it could be a question of
blood flow. Sometimes when a politician has been in D.C. too long, it goes
to his head and it just can`t seem to get the job done. Used on a daily
basis, Winter Egg in Congress will help you every time the moment is right
to have your voice be heard at the federal level.
When using winter egg, it`s important to know that the borders will be
secured, second amendment rights protected, Obamacare and planned
parenthood will be defunded and commonsense will be used in solving the
nation`s problems. Other signs of erectile dysfunction may include
extremes skin discoloration, the inability to punch oneself out of the wet
paper bag or maintain a spine, (INAUDIBLE) smoking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And golf.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have a Boehner last longer than 23 years, seek
immediate medical attention, Winteregg. Because Boehner shouldn`t count as
chickens before they hatch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m J.D. Winteregg and I approve this message but I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: Winteregg has virtually no chance of winning. John Boehner won
his 2012 primary election with 84 percent of the vote. But that doesn`t JD
Winteregg can`t class up the joint in the meantime.
Up next, the U.S. continues to lock up millions of Americans on drug
charges but the drugs themselves are still flowing. We will show you the
inside of a cocaine manufacturing house, next.
WAGNER: Maryland governor Martin O`Malley signed a bill today
decriminalizing small amount of marijuana possession in his state. Senate
bill 364, reduces the penalty for possessing less than ten grams of
marijuana from a criminal to a civil offense punishable by fines. Just
last week "the Washington Post" reported that a decriminalization of
marijuana in an increasing number of states has caused wholesale prices of
marijuana to drop so far that cartels are now abandoning the plant to grow
the more profitable one, the opium poppy.
The U.S. has also helped to put a dent in Colombia`s cocaine industry,
giving billions over the last decade to the Colombian military to fight the
Narco traffickers. In 2012 alone, Colombian authorities destroyed 2356
labs. But as in Mexico, Columbia`s cocaine producers are finding more
creative ways to keep the drug industry alive, moving out of the huge
plants in the jungle and into disposable urban labs.
Our partners advocative got an inside look. Here is Toby Muse reporting.
TOBY MUSE, REPORTER (voice-over): Cocaine exports account for roughly 2.5
percent of Columbia`s GDP. And while authorities have made the series den
in Columbia`s cocaine industry, producers and traffickers of the drug are
finding ever more creative ways to keep this $8 billion business thriving.
So, who is really winning the so-called war on drugs? I wanted to see the
cocaine industry up close to find out what people who produce and traffic
the drug really think.
I reached out to some sources and I eventually found a senior cartel boss
who gave me the green light to film. First off is an urban cocaine lab.
When the day came, it turned out to be a little more complicated than I
imagined. I got into a taxi with an escort from the cartel that quickly
blindfolded me to hide the location of the cocaine lab.
The cartel man asked a lost questions, making sure that I wasn`t an
undercover cop. During the long drive I had a lot of time to think about
who exactly I was trusting my life to. Colombia`s cartel has a track
record of killing anyone who gets in their way. I was relieved when the
blindfold came off and I was in the lab.
I started filming. In a sweltering room, two men labored away at making
cocaine. They work directly for the Colombia cocaine cartel. The purpose
of making cocaine is really just a matter of chemistry. Naturally growing
coco leaves are mixed with lime. This activates the alkaloid from the
leaves. Then kerosene of water are added.
The mix of kerosene and alkaloid from the leaves is siphoned off. Sulfuric
acid and sodium carbonate are also added. This mix is put into a microwave
oven creating a paste. The microwaves are working so much it often causes
the house to lose its electricity. Mix in a little hydrochloric acid and
(INAUDIBLE) and you have what is called pure cocaine.
These small urban labs are the latest shift in Colombia`s cocaine industry.
Previously there were huge labs operating in the jungle where the leaves
are harvested, but these labs were easy to detect and vulnerable to being
raided so the industry is decentralizing with smaller more disposable labs
I`m following the trial of the products from the lab. This cocaine will be
sold inside Colombia. I meet with the local dealer who also happens to be
But the world`s demand for the drug also has to be met. I`m on my way to
meet a trafficker who works by himself outside of the cartel system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It`s sent to Europe but more
commonly to the USA. That`s the biggest market. Lots of consumption and
the cost is high. Also, it`s easier to enter America.
MUSE: He ships pure cocaine in a liquid form. He gives me a demonstration
of how to turn the liquid into powder. Traffickers use liquid cocaine
because it can be hidden in a variety of ways. From mixing it other
liquids to soaking pieces of clothing so the drug seeps into the threads.
The clothing is then shipped. When it reaches its destination abroad, the
cocaine is extracted from the clothing using the same method that you see
here. He`s got other methods if the police crackdown on this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The business is always evolving,
just like the police are. Traffickers used to use the old methods but now
liquid is the way to go. You can`t just have one method.
MUSE: Once the liquid is transformed into powder, the result is pure
cocaine. He doesn`t believe the war on drugs can ever be won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To talk about legalization would
be devastating. It would end the business. Now you can earn so much.
Legalization would be terrible.
MUSE: He says some day he would like to get out of the business. But that
day is a long way off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In 20 years time I`m going to get
away from this business, but not quite yet. I want more.
WAGNER: That was Toby Muse reporting for our partners Advocatives.
Coming up, at this morning`s prayer breakfast, there was a surprise guest
who gave the closing prayer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think it`s fair to say that those of us of the Christian faith
regardless of our domination have been touched and moved by Pope Francis.
Now, some of it is his words, his message of justice of inclusion,
especially for the poor and the outcast. He implores us to see the
inherent dignity in each human being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGNER: That was President Obama at the White House this morning
addressing 150 Christian leaders at the fifth annual Easter prayer
breakfast. After speaking about the importance of faith, justice, and
inclusion, President Obama surprised Bishop Gene Robinson, the country`s
first openly gay bishop and asked him to come and deliver the event`s
Bishop Robinson who retired as a bishop of the Episcopal diocese of New
Hampshire tweeted, podiums preaches at the Easter prayer breakfast, then,
out of the blue asked me to close with prayer. OMG.
Joining me now is Bishop Gene Robinson who is also a senior fellow the
Center for American Progress.
Bishop, thanks for joining us. There were no cameras, unfortunately, to
catch that prayer. So tell us, if you will, what that moment was like for
you and what you said in that closing prayer.
BISHOP GENE ROBINSON, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I`m
kind of glad there weren`t cameras. I`m not sure how I would want to see
it. The OMG was actually a prayer for help.
You know, I did what I always try to do in prayer, which is to ask God`s
blessing on all of God`s children worldwide. I asked a special blessing on
this nation and our president. And also since you mentioned Pope Francis,
I always pray for the poor and the oppressed and the marginalized. I think
God cares especially about them.
And to be quite honest with you, I can`t remember all of what I said
because I had no time to prepare for it.
WAGNER: And perhaps it was better that way. You had divine intervention.
Bishop Robinson, you know, you talk about Pope Francis, the president
himself has made huge strides on this issue. Pope Francis has in many ways
opened up a new chapter for Catholics around the world.
How optimistic are you that the catholic church and broadly the Christian
church in general is getting closer to opening its doors truly and
meaningfully to the LBGT community?
ROBINSON: I think it`s taken on an era of inevitability. You know, we see
such change in the culture. I mean, President Obama`s evolution on this
topic is really a reflection of what has happened all across the nation,
across every demographic group and certainly among young people, they just
don`t know what the big deal is and I think we will see even the more
conservative religious groups understanding that the love that two people
share, one for another, is of God and the gender of those people is not the
important thing, it`s the love and the relationship and that`s what really
WAGNER: Let me ask you very quickly before we go, the Pope has made this
last week the strongest condemnation of any Pope on sexual abuse within the
clergies that I feel compelled to personally take on all of the evil which
some priests -- not all of them and ask for forgiveness for the damage they
have done. Do you think this is the beginning of a reconciliation period?
ROBINSON: Well, I hope so. You know what, every victim of abuse, be it
children or adult wants to hear, I am so sorry, this should never have
happened to you and to hear the church and the Pope himself take some
responsibility for that and to say how sorry he is, I think it`s the first
step. There are many other steps to be taken, to make sure that all of our
churches are safe but it`s a beginning.
WAGNER: Bishop Gene Robinson gets the "Last Word."
Congratulations! I am Alex Wagner, in again for Lawrence O`Donnell. You
can catch my show "Now" Monday through Friday at 4:00 p.m. eastern --
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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL