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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

June 18, 2014

Guest: Steve Latourette; Dave Zirin; Sahil Kapur; Brian Cladoosby

be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. The fans of the Japanese
world cup team are the greatest manifestation of that in a long, long
while. And that is the best briefing in the world tonight.

Thank you for being with us. Now time for "the Last Word."

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Dick Cheney said what?



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: This morning there was an
op-ed piece in "the Wall Street Journal."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rarely has a U.S. president been wrong about so much at
the expense of so many.

MCCONNELL: Who would write that? How about Dick Cheney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former vice president Dick Cheney.

MCCONNELL: Chief architect of the war.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: He`s out there attacking President
Obama over Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so

WAGNER: Dick Cheney is not talking about the U.S. president who led
America into a blood bath face on ginned up and false intelligent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama has repeatedly misled the American

WAGNER: No. Dick Cheney is talking about President Obama.

MATTHEWS: Pretending that he, Dick Cheney, wasn`t the perpetrator of the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be as respectful as possible to vice
president Dick Cheney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How preposterous. The man is shameless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot find the words to say how I feel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think he`s the one to be giving us advice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope you`ll join us.

MCCONNELL: Unfortunately, all they try to be away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hard but necessary task to have restoring American
strength and power.

MCCONNELL: It was the biggest foreign policy blunder in the history of the

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re forming an alliance for a strong America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An organization to defend America and attack Barack

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope you will join us.

MCCONNELL: Thanks, but no thanks.


MELBER: Good evening. I`m Ari Melber in for Lawrence O`Donnell.

We begin tonight with a development that`s bad for Republicans and good for
our foreign policy debate in this country, the falling stack of Dick
Cheney. And to appreciate just how far he is falling, consider his
standing at the beginning of the Obama presidency.

When President Obama delivered one of his first major national security
addresses in May 2009, the recently departed vice president wanted in on
the action, so he watched that speech on a stage at a conservative think
tank and then dramatically gave his live response.

Back then, yes, of course many Americans already knew that Dick Cheney`s
foreign policy was a failure. We just finished a whole election about
change. But Cheney was still treated as a major foreign policy force.

Official in Washington have treated him that way. A lot of the press
treated them that way. And so, his attempt to position himself as the de
facto official response to the president like some sort of state of the
union rebuttal was diligently reflected by "Politico`s" and a lot of the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: President Obama stood firm today on his
policies for fighting terror, and closing the prison at Guantanamo. And
former vice president Dick Cheney answered with a defensive Bush
administration policies and new challenges to Mr. Obama.


MELBER: There was lots of coverage like that you might remember. Obama
said this, Dick Cheney said that and cable news channels, including this
one, studiously ran split screen coverage that day.

Dick Cheney, right now, still lives in a world where he`s on par with
President Obama issuing his responses, but the rest of the world is moving
on. So where did he take his rebuttal today? To You Tube.




We stand in a critical moment in the life of our nation. The policies of
the last six years have left America diminished and weakened. Our enemies
no longer fear us. Our allies no longer trust us. Empty threat,
meaningless red lines, leading from behind and engagement with rogue
regimes have put America on a path of decline. Threats to America`s
security are on the rise.


MELBER: The Cheneys also announced a new organization there to advance
that cause. They amplified their message with "the Wall Street Journal"
op-ed and a joint appearance on FOX News. This new group alliance for a
stronger America says it will quote "educate about an advocate for the
policies needed to restore American power and pre-eminent something Cheney
has been trying to do says Barack Obama`s election."


CHENEY: He`s making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise
the risk to the American people of another attack. We`re three months into
the new administration. I don`t think there are members of Al Qaeda around
the world saying oh, gee whiz, isn`t that great? Barack Obama and his
administration are no longer going to ask our guys tough questions.

President Obama now seems afraid to make a decision. The White House must
stop dithering. Waffling while our troops on the ground face an emboldened
enemy endangers them and hurts our cause.

I think Barack Obama is a one-term president. He wanted to take us down a
peg. To the extent there`s an extremist or political view in Washington
these days. I believe it`s the president of the United States, and he`s a
very, very weak president. Maybe the weakest certainly in my lifetime.


MELBER: And back over some of those years, reporters would present
Cheney`s critique directly to President Obama.


with Dick Cheney.


MELBER: But tonight, even in the potentially friendly bubble of FOX News,
it was actually Cheney who had to answer attacks on his own record.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In your op-ed, you write as follow, rarely has a U.S.
president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.

But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well
in Iraq, sir, with almost $1 trillion spent there, 4500 American lives lost
there. What do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at
the expense of so many?

CHENEY: No, I fundamentally disagree.


MELBER: Now, let`s take a step back.

Today, everyone in politics is buzzing about this return of Dick Cheney,
but please don`t call it a comeback. I think we`re witnessing something
that`s actually rare in politics, because so often the vanity of failed
politicos keeps them out of the spotlight at inopportune times.

Dick Cheney does not have that compunction, so he`s emerged, at the very
nadir of his policy and political credibility. Republicans don`t want him.
Democrats don`t fear him. FOX News doesn`t trust him, and You Tube, you
can have him.

Joining me now, Richard Wolffe, executive editor of and Jonathan
Chait, a columnist for "New York" magazine.

Good evening, gentlemen.

Richard, what are we to make of what I`m not calling a comeback of Dick

this is the last throes, if you will, of Dick Cheney. And look, here is a
man who purports to say that the president has allowed al Qaeda to take a
foothold in Iraq.

Let`s just revisit a little bit of history. Before Dick Cheney led the
decision to invade Iraq, there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq. He allowed Al
Qaeda to get a foothold in Iraq. He knows that full well. He allied
through history. Fix and chooses what he wants. As you point out, not only
does he have no credibility, he does not have any throw weight as they say
in the military.

MELBER: Throw weight and not a lot of support. It`s family members that
want to be in these You Tube videos, not a lot of other Republicans.

Jonathan, you also zeroed in on this "Wall Street Journal" op-ed and he
sort of linguistic half-way charges of treason that are danced around
there. You write, throughout their call in the Cheney`s continually tiptoe
up to the line of accusing Obama of treason without quite stepping over.

And then just a few moments ago, Megyn Kelly, in this interview, was asking
Cheney about what the nonprofit will do. Take a listen to that.


MEGYN KELLY FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Tell us how this nonprofit can do anything to
stop a president.

CHENEY: Well, for one thing, Megyn, we think it`s an opportunity to get
out and talk about these issues in a very objective fashion.


MELBER: Square that with your reporting on his writings.

he`s trying to do is an objective. I would say that you framed the issue
in an interesting way. But there`s one missing piece which is that Dick
Cheney now has to fight a battle within the Republican party. He used to
complete the Republican foreign policy thought. But under President Obama,
there`s been a much higher growth of anti-interventionist thought just as
there was under President Clinton because when your party is out of power,
you buck much more distrustful of the use of power and the government.

So this whole strain of anti-interventionist thought that has been led by
Rand Paul, but has really gained a following among a lot of Republicans is
a dire threat to Cheney`s ability to even speak for the Republican party
which was taken for granted as recently as 2009.

MELBER: Yes. And that`s a significant difference in the war of foreign
policy ideas. Glenn Beck who also has a lot of purchase here in the
grassroots did something pretty remarkable that is also worth listening to.
Let`s hear that.


GLENN BECK, RADIO SHOW HOST: Not one more life. Not one more life. Not
one more dollar. Not one more airplane. Not one more bullet. Not one
more marine. Not one more arm or leg or eye. Not one more.

The people of Iraq have got to work this out themselves. Our days of being
the world`s policemen, our days of interventionalist, is over. If we are
directly attacked, so be it. But this must end now. This cannot become
about the Democrats. This has to become about the principles, because in
the principles, we all agree. Enough is enough. Bring them home. Period.


MELBER: Richard?

WOLFFE: Extraordinary moment. I mean, it is an extraordinary moment.
That sentiment is widespread. People who care about the armed forces
understand that, as well. And you know, you have to look at what
underscores that. It isn`t just about the suffering and the tremendous
cost. It`s a sense that Iraq has to be a sovereign nation, has to be
responsible for its own future.

If America is seeking endless war and endless occupation, it is no longer
true to what people like Glenn Beck say, which is America`s tradition of
being a constitutional power, not a colonial power. And that`s what, I
think, Dick Cheney is way out of the main stream. He`s way out of the main
stream of Republican thinking at the time. Remember, the pillar of
Republican thinking now Ronald Reagan never launched anything like what we
saw in Iraq.

MELBER: Jonathan, briefly, are there other conservatives who will tell
them to pipe down?

CHAIT: Sure. He`s really at war with Rand Paul, even the Ted Cruz aren`t
going to like him much. And he is just a terrible (INAUDIBLE). They have
no interest in having Dick Cheney come out and be the face of the party.

MELBER: All Richard Wolffe and Jonathan Chait, thank you both for joining

As we go from You Tube to TV and back again. Coming up, why Republicans
are letting Laura Ingraham call the shots and what you`re not seeing at the
world cup. Also, chipping away at the defenses of Dan Snyder and
Washington, D.C.`s controversial football team name. That`s tonight.



JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I loved my years as a reporter.
But as you, better than anybody else understand the reporting, it can
sometimes be an autonomous exercise, it`s your story, it`s your byline.
What was so different about this experience for me is it was all about a
team effort and all about a goal that had nothing to do with any
individual, not even the president. That`s been extraordinarily gratifying
to be a part of.


MELBER: There you see outgoing press secretary Jay Carney, thanking the
president, the administration and the White House press corps before giving
his final briefing today.

Next up is Josh Earnest who takes over as press secretary for President
Obama tomorrow.

And coming up tomorrow, Laura Ingraham, the conservative fringe and the
threat to the new GOP.


MELBER: House Republicans are set to elect Eric Cantor`s replacement
tomorrow by secret ballot. Many favor Kevin McCarthy, who is officially
next in line. But tea party congressman Raul Labrador has been running to
the right of the right here. So where better for him to turn than
conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who defied GOP leaders, of course,
by campaigning for Cantor`s primary opponent who won last week.

It sounded like a goof plan for Rau Labrador. But yesterday, he told them
he is not conservative enough.


REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: With the promised that we`ve allowed the
media to define immigration reform as granting amnesty to the 11 million
people. Immigration reform is actually fixing our current immigration
system. It`s actually making --

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO SHOW HOST: You sound like Chuck Schumer. That`s
what he says, right? So Schumer says the same exact thing, we have to fix


MELBER: You sound like a Democrat, that`s not good for him, and it didn`t
get better from there.


INGRAHAM: We have this fair pledge out there. I know you know what it is.
But will you today say you will not engage in any of this push for foreign
or guest workers or an immigration reform pathway while Barack Obama is
president, will you agree to those principles?

LABRADOR: No, I will not, Laura. I think we need to take care of --

INGRAHAM: So you`re where Cantor is, because he won`t either.

LABRADOR: No, no, I`m very different than Eric Cantor. I would have been
talking about -- I`ve made it clear for the last year that we shouldn`t
have a bill for immigration reform in the House of Representatives.


MELBER: Labrador broke a couple of basic rules of politics there. First,
never repeat the thing you`re denying you are in your denial. In that
case, Eric Cantor. Second, know who your friends are. He obviously
believed Ingraham was a friend because he thinks he`s to the right of the
other candidate. But either she doesn`t agree based on immigration pled or
she`s so certain that he`s going to lose tomorrow, she doesn`t want to look
like she`s backing a loser.

Now on the policy, let`s look at the pledge. It`s basically a right wing
litmus test from the federation for American immigration reform, which
poses the question to candidates, will you promise to protect American


INGRAHAM: So you won`t sign the fair pledge, even though you says you
don`t want to work on immigration reform as long as Obama is in office. So
you won`t sign the fair pledge which says no more guest workers, no more
illegal immigration, no more immigration reform. You won`t sign that.

LABRADOR: No. I believe in legal immigration, Laura. I`m not against
legal immigration.

INGRAHAM: But you`re wasting your time and you`re squandering your
conservative bonifidies (ph) in the process.


MELBER: Joining me now, former Republican congressman from Ohio, Steve
Laterette, we will talk about your Republican bonifidies and Maria Teresa
Kumar, president and CEO of voter Latino and MSNBC contributor, as well.

Good evening to you both.



MELBER: Maria, your thoughts on that interview?

KUMAR: Well, I think it was disastrous for Labrador. As you said, he
actually thought that he was going into the (INAUDIBLE). And if anything
what happened is he was going to the lion`s den. And I think,
unfortunately, you`re right. Laura doesn`t want to back someone that`s
going to lose. And she is trying to make sure the he is not safe when it
comes into the vote come tomorrow. So this is absolutely disastrous for
him. But Laura is once again, she`s making headlines, which is exactly
what she wants to do.

MELBER: Congressman, your thoughts on that and how do these outside
strategies work in what is what we are reporting unlike the speaker`s race
the majority leader race being a secret ballot tomorrow?

LATOURETTE: Well, I mean, I enjoyed listening to this clip today because
it reminds me a little bit, you are little too young, but on of "Saturday
night live" they used to have a skit on who is most macho. And so, it
seems now on this discussion, we have to say who is more conservative than
that person.

You know, Raul Labrador, just like Eric Cantos, is a pretty conservative
person. And for Ms. Ingraham to say that they`re not conservatives really
stretches their credulity. But you know, Maria is right. It`s like taking
your kids to Disney world where, you know, Mickey mouse will pop up she is
popping up in Virginia seven. Now, she wants to weigh in on the majority
leader`s race. I think it`s pretty sad.

MELBER: You got "Saturday night live" in there. You got Disney world in
there, Congressman. But what about also, tell us, does it make a
difference when they go in tomorrow and have this secret ballot?

LATOURETTE: No, absolutely not. As I mentioned Labrador is by definition
a tea party Republican. You`ll find his picture there. Where you won`t
find his picture tomorrow is under majority leader. It`s not even going to
close, if it is more about making a statement than giving some of the
naysayers in the conference, the opportunity to vote for somebody. But I
don`t think that many of the 244 members of the house are going to take
this candidacy very seriously.

MELBER: Right. His letter I, should, mention felt cursory. They did when
one of his dear colleague letter that was sent around Congress. There is a
page and quarter. It had no specifics. Now, maybe he`s making those cases
more quietly on the phone about what he would really do. But obviously the
onus more on him since he`s on the outside track to mix this race up. Let
me play, Maria, Ingraham laughing at one point, and Congressman Labrador is
as the conversation got a little more intense. Take a listen.


INGRAHAM: It`s like running into the wall at 50 miles per hour. Cantor
can lose, you know, McDaniel can win in Mississippi. Got Lamar Alexander
is on the line in Tennessee. And you always do, we got to do immigration
reform. I don`t mean to laugh here, but this is like we`re all sitting
here going, this can`t really be happening. This is like were in the fun
house here. Labrador is a smart guy and you have to see the writing on the
wall and they`re looking to you as the conservative alternative to Kevin
McCarthy. That means, rule of law, enforcement, American people, standard
of living, that`s first things you need to focus.

LABRADOR: That`s exactly what I just said. The only difference between
what I said and what you`re saying is you want me to sign a pledge that I`m
not going to sign because we can actually fix this problem.


MELBER: Now Maria, I`m willing to take Laura Ingraham seriously, because a
lot of conservative voters are, but she`s equating and she says here, rule
of law enforcement, American people standard of living with something that
is so far right, it basically says there should be no immigration
whatsoever. Which I don`t think is really economically realistic for the
kind of nation we are.

KUMAR: Well, no. And if she is talking about American values, we actually
need immigration, because in large, a lot of these young immigrants are
much younger than the rest of the American public.

But let`s go back a little bit, the fact that she`s questioning whether he
is a bonified tea party is complete ludicrous. Because not only is he,
that`s one of the reasons why, as Steve mentioned, they`re actually putting
him on the ballot tomorrow, because one something to watch out for
tomorrow, Ari, is if he gets all the tea party candidates, all the tea
party members of Congress, all 40 of them, that`s good. But if he gets any
more, that`s a signal to other Republicans that maybe the country isn`t
ready for immigration reform just yet.

But if he gets 40 or less, it`s a signal to the rest of the congressional
members the country is ready and Congress is ready to move forward behind
McCarthy, because McCarthy is one of the few members that is actually
behind closed doors, been a champion of immigration reform.

MELBER: And so, Congressman, briefly, does much change out of this vote,
or if it`s McCarthy who was the under study to Cantor than its status quo?

LATOURETTE: Yes. It`s pretty much status quo. The real contest for
tomorrow will be the whip. And there, you are going to have a much more
spirited contest, a little bit like one. Gingrich was booted out a couple
of years ago, when they try to go after Dick (INAUDIBLE). And so, they,
you know, John Boehner. And so, I think that is going to be the real story
tomorrow afternoon and that`s going to be who is next whip is.

MELBER: We`ll keep an eye on that. I do agree that is interesting. The
whip race is more wide open with the three of them. But then again, with
the cert ballot, it is fait to say, you never know 100 percent until the
smoke rises out of that Republican Vatican.

Steve Latourette and Maria Teresa Kumar. Well, it is rhetoric. Have a good
evening, you guys.


KUMAR: Thank you, Ari.

Up next, the dramatic police crackdowns and the protests that are going on
behind the scenes at the world cup matches that you`ve probably seen. Dave
Zirin joins me.

And what could lead the Republicans to threaten another government shutdown
before the election? They have some ideas. That`s coming up, as well.


MELBER: In the spotlight tonight, Brazil World Cup.

The biggest conventional story there today is probably Spain`s shocking
loss to Chile, which eliminates the defending champion from the world`s
most popular sporting event. But a story that probably won`t get as much
coverage, the tear gas and stun grenades that some Brazilian police fired
at a few hundred protesters in (INAUDIBLE) this morning that just before
the Netherlands played Australia.

Those protesters, you can see some of them there say, they are reflecting
the concern of millions more resilience opposed to their government`s
expenditures of an estimated $11 billion. Let me repeat that, $11 billion
on hosting this world cup, a significant amount of spending for a nation
where over 20 percent of the nation live below the poverty line.

Take for example the stadium in (INAUDIBLE), Brazil, a remote area in the
middle of the Amazon. Brazil paid $270 million to build it, but it will
only host four world cup games there. And critics predict it will rarely
be used once the tournament ends.

Much of the government resentment comes from the millions of Brazilians who
live in the sprawling Favela (ph) or poor urban areas. And in preparation
for the world cup, the Brazilian government reportedly strengthen the quote
" pacification effort in many of those areas, increasing the number of
security, encouraging people to engage with drug dealers and gang members
resulting in an uptick of violence there.

Now, Brazilians are living into those have also been uprooted to make way
for some of these sports facilities. In fact, "Nation`s" columnist Dave
Zirin visited the Fovea (ph) in Rio where over 700 families were displaced
by the government to make way for a stadium parking lot which reportedly
hasn`t even been built yet.

Zirin wrote that this community, all around are empty lots, case studies in
demolition, with the jagged remnants of what were once people`s homes there
for all to see. The owner`s memories have become someone else`s garbage on
one wall, is pre-paint and what happened to the families no one leaves here

And joining me now, in a special guest appearance from Rio De Jenario is
columnist for the "Nation," Dave Zirin. Also author of the book,
"Brazil`s dance with the Devil, the world cup, the Olympics and the fight
for Democracy."

Good evening to you. And tell us how the protest and unrest have been
going and what you`re seeing on the ground there?

DAVID ZIRIN, COLUMNIST, NATION: Well, it`s a stunning story, Ari. And
even more stunning by the fact that it`s happening at all. You see, every
mega event, whether we`re talking about the Olympics or the world cup,
always contains some displacement, militarization of public space, and
deaths. And yet in Brazil, and it`s really unprecedented, historically.
You have a mass movement in advance of one of these mega events. In this
case, of course, in advance of the world cup.

Last year, the largest demonstration since the fall of the dictatorship
almost 30 years ago. More than two million people in the streets of
Brazil. And more recently, there have been significant strikes and land
occupations. And since the world cup has started, the demonstrations have,
without question, been smaller, but I`ve been on several of them reported
on them and taken pictures of them. And even though they number in between
say 500 and the low 1,000 or 2,000. What`s particularly news worthy, is
the stunning response by Brazil`s police.

One demonstration I was at earlier this week, actually live ammunition was
fired in the air by the police, an act that was caught by the Associated
Press and received international coverage. But even without that live
ammunition, the tear gas, the stun guns and the incredible overwhelming
show of force to make people literally scared to want to join the
demonstrations or to want to come back tomorrow.

MELBER: Yes. And there is also been some pushback on this idea, "the
Washington Post" ran a piece, Brazil protest paradox with the pie chart
basically showing that the government`s investment in the world cup, while
significant, is a slither compared to the investment on health and

Walk us through that argument that at least somehow as that the government
had made. And also, something you know a lot about, how this frustration
fits in a culture that still loves soccer.

ZIRIN: I mean, lies, damn lies and statistics about the question of the
billions of dollars that go to these other priorities in Brazil. Because
as you know, we can make the numbers say what we want. But what the
numbers don`t show is that a lot of these investments that Brazil has made
over the last decade in health and in education and in fighting poverty
have slowed dramatically as Brazil has entered into a mild recession. And
that`s the really -- I think a very interesting thing that people need to
understand about Brazil is that they`re now the fifth largest economy on
earth. They discovered oil. They`re the largest exporter to China. They
export more cattle than any other country on the earth. And they were
riding high with a huge economic boom over the course of years. And that`s
when they won the Olympics and world cup.

But then their economy slowed as economies do. And what`s paid the price
for that? It has been the funding for those social programs. Yet the IOC
and FIFA and the organizations that oversee the Olympics and the world cup,
they don`t care that your economy has slowed down. They are not like -- my
world, that we won`t build the new stadium, we won`t demand the new facial
recognitions software when putting down your security measures. Because by
all means, your economy is slow, no.

They say you made your commitments. We want to see your actual skin in the
game, regardless of how your economy is doing. And that`s what`s really I
think fueled a lot of the anger that Brazilians feel.

I have to tell you another thing that`s fueled a lot of the anger that they
feel is seeing the stadiums go up while those social programs are cut. And
the Brazilians I talked to here, there are stickers everywhere, Ari, that
say things like we want FIFA quality schools. We want FIFA quality
hospitals. We want FIFA quality wages. I mean, that`s the slogan of some
of the stadium workers who have been going on strike, the security guards.

And I got to tell you, you hear folks talk and they still love soccer, but
there`s this feeling of alienation as if the games are only really being
set up for wealthy Brazilians and foreign tourists, and there`s a big
velvet rope that says FIFA that`s keeping them out of the party.

MELBER: Very well put. And I appreciate your reporting, the writing
you`ve been doing from the ground and joining us tonight. Dave Zirin,
thank you.

ZIRIN: My privilege, Ari.

MELBER: Coming up, one way to push the Washington, D.C. football team to
finally listen up and change its name.

But first, we have Jonathan Capehart here. And he is going to give you a
new and pretty good reason you might want to consider voting in 2014. It
has to do with impeachment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: with, maker of fair or rent.
June 18th, we are making stuff, making stuff. It is good for OK go. It is
good for the White House. It`s good for America.


MELBER: Today, the White House hosted its first-ever maker`s fair with an
assist from the band there, OK GO. The makers fair is a nationwide series,
a do it yourself festival. The kids call it DIY, they really do. And it`s
where people can showcase hand made products and inventions. The
administration says the president wants to encourage more students to enter
fields that create and design and ultimately manufacture.

Now, the organizers of fair who came up their own special spelling there, a
point that president joke about today.


staff about is, why is there an e at the end of fair? I mean, I wasn`t
sure if they`re jousting. Do we all have to get dressed up or what? So
I`m just warning you, next year the E may be gone. I don`t know exactly
who came up with that. This is America. We don`t have at the end of


MELBER: Spelling jokes are always hard to do. If anyone can do it, maybe
it`s the president.

And coming up next, Republicans are talking about a government shutdown and
impeachment. What`s up with that?



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`ve made it clear now for
months and months and months. We have no interest in seeing the government
shut down.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I don`t want the government to shut down. The
American people don`t want the government to shut down.

MCCONNELL: It keeps the government from shutting down, which nobody wants.


MELBER: That is what Republicans said just before the last time they shut
the government down. And after plenty of criticism and eight months later,
you might think they`re over it for a while, especially with the midterms
coming up and many might be over it, but not everyone.

A new site talking points memo reports that few senior house Republicans,
and even some Senate Republicans are weighing whether to threaten a
shutdown to stop President Obama`s new climate change policy. TMP quotes
the ranking member of the Senate budget committee, Alabama Republican Jeff
Sessions saying, quote, "I think Congress needs to give serious thought to
utilizing its constitutional power, the power to fund or not fund.

TPM reporter said he will (INAUDIBLE) notes that when asked about using the
appropriations bill to undo those EPA rules, Senator Sessions said, quote,
"that`s one of the powers that Congress clearly has. The article goes on
to quote "other Republican senators besides Jeff Sessions, including John
Thune, who is actually the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate,
Saxby Chambliss and Ron Johnson who also supported the idea of using
government funding legislation to block this climate change policy. And if
the murmurs of the new shut down aren`t crazy enough for you, there`s this
from a congressman Lou Barletta who talked about impeachment in a recent
radio interview.


REP. LOUR BARLETTA (R), PENNSYLVANIA: What do you do for those that say
impeach him for breaking the laws? Could that pass in the house? It
probably could. Is the majority of the American people in favor of
impeaching the president? I`m not sure.


MELBER: He`s not sure. Barletta`s communications rector has clarified
that statement saying the congressman isn`t into impeachment. And now,
we`re joined by Jonathan Capehart from "the Washington Post" and Sahil
Kapur from "Talking Points Memo" who was doing that report.

Good evening, guys.



MELBER: Jonathan, let`s stipulate at the beginning here that we`re not
talking about some widespread rush to this.


MELBER: And yet we`re kind of in a weird time, post Eric Cantor where this
kind of discussion seems to correlate with the idea that Eric Cantor, who
is Mr. Obstruction, wasn`t anti-Obama enough.

CAPEHART: Yes. It`s a very strange thing, although the talk of
impeachment has been going on since at least 2009, and sort of ramped back
up again last year when Republicans went out to town hall meetings and
reports started coming out of congressman actively talking about the option
of impeachment. And they all talked about the fact that while they
probably had the votes in the house to impeach the president, the problem
was once those articles of impeachment go over to the Senate where the
trial of the president would take place, that the president would not be
convicted because the Senate is run by Democrats. The Democrats control

And one of the things that I put out there today, and what personally one
of my fears is, what kind of craziness would the Republicans actually
entertain, actually do if they actually had control of the Senate?

And my fear is, if they do get control of the Senate, there`s nothing
stopping to people, the Republicans in the house, who would really love to
impeach the president, to actually do it. Because it is two set process.
The house impeaches, the Senate convicts.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, the old story, one of the founders there was that
George Washington said that the Senate was like, you know, the little tea
saucer that would cool down the teacup.

But Sahil, that really raises the question of whether George Washington
could have envisioned a tea party with this hot of a teacup. Why don`t you
walk us through the report you did here on the climate stuff.

KAPUR: Right. So Ari, what`s happening now is there`s a lot of enthusiasm
on the Republican side for doing whatever they can to block the president`s
climate regulation which is designed to places standards on coal fired
power plants and reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 3030 from 2005

What Republicans are realizing is that they had one way to do it, and
that`s the appropriations process. They can`t force the president`s undo
it. But they can use the power of the purse to say we`re not going to
offer you any funds unless you reverse this thing.

So what a number of House Republicans, senior house Republican and a number
of senior Senate Republicans who I spoke to are floating this strategy of
using upcoming appropriations legislation which has to be passed by
September 30th in order for them the government shut down. And they`re
talking about inserting a provision in there that would bar implementation
of the climate regulation. Now, it does do into effect in 2015. So they
do have a little bit of time. But this really is the perfect storm of
Republican discontent. This has all the elements that could lead to the
kind of frenzy than we saw with Obama carrying the shutdown last year.

MELBER: Let me jump in. You mentioned Obamacare and here is the thing. I
see that the -- you got some of these Republicans threatening it, and as I
mention in the leader, they are not back ventures. Some of them are in

But if this didn`t work for them for Obamacare, why would climate, EPA,
carbon emissions, aka boring stuff, why would that work for them here in a
place where their main beef with Obama didn`t?

KAPUR: Well, that`s the thing, Ari. Conservatives don`t view this as
boring. They view this as, you know, a war by President Obama on red
America, that`s the narrative put out there. You have all the elements.
You the overreaching executive. You have economic regulations, which
conservatives don`t like. You have something that scientists and
environmentalists support, which conservatives are not happy about.

So when you put all these together, and how the element that could rip up
the conservative base and Republicans are kind of encouraging this. If you
listen to Mitch McConnell, he is going on the senate floor every day
hammering the president over this.

And even some Democrats in red states like Allison Lundergan Grimes, are
not in favor of this regulation. So the real question is whether, in the
next three and a half months, and three and a half months on to the long
time. Nobody thought at this point last year that Obamacare would lead to
a shut down.

The question is what happens in the next three and a half months. If
Republicans want to continue using this for fund-raising, the question is
whether conservatives are going to demand, that they follow through and
actually put their, you know, out their money where their mouths are and
demand that this goes.

MELBER: Jonathan, go ahead.

CAPEHART: You know, Ari, one of the things that we have to keep in mind,
because, you know, I think conservatives in Congress, particularly the
house, are feeling emboldened. The loss of majority leader Eric Cantor
last week and potentially the loss of Senator Cochran in his runoff
election, I believe, it is on Tuesday is going to be -- will have an
incredible effect on what happens in both those chambers and how willing
Republicans on Capitol Hill are -- how willing they are and how far they`re
willing to go to push the president on a whole host of issues, from what
Sahil wrote about t, you know, threatening a government shutdown, all the
way to what I wrote about today, also impeachment.

They`ve made it clear from the very beginning that they will do anything
and everything to stop the president`s agenda. They met long before the
president was even inaugurated and they`ve been carrying it through for the
last five years. And so, if it means shutting down the government, if it
means causing a constitutional crisis, they`re willing to go there.

And I say this, because, you know, and Sahil was there too, we have now
seen Republicans on Capitol Hill twice take the national economy and the
global economy to the cliff by threatening and jeopardizing the full faith
and credit of the United States to prove a point. The last time trying to
repeal Obamacare. If they`re crazy enough to do that, they`re crazy enough
to do the two things we`re talking and right now.


KAPUR: And Ari, I think that`s exactly right. I think the fact that Eric
Cantor lost, and the fact if Thad Cochran loses, there`s going to be a
strong, you know, sense we need to do something strong confrontational.

MELBER: Right. And move to the right or just completely jump off the ship
itself, one or the other.

Jonathan Capehart, Sahil Kapur, thank you very much for joining me tonight
and for your reporting.

And coming up, Washington, D.C.`s football team gets a cancellation notice.


MELBER: A little political news update. For you here, are three lines
from the Texas Republican party platform which was just adopted on the
voting rights act. We urge that the voting rights act of 1965 be repealed
and not re-authorized. On socialism, quote "socialism breeds mediocrity.
America is exceptional, therefore, the Republican party of Texas opposes
socialism in all its forms. And third, on red light cameras. They say we
call for the ban of red light cameras in the state of Texas. I could go
with maybe the third one.

Up next, what really happened today with the name of the Washington
professional football team.


MELBER: The Washington, D.C. football team has effectively fought off many
challenges for their use of a derogatory name, but today they lost a
challenge before the Obama administration. And a decision by the patent
and trade mark off. This was tow to one decision. The office canceled six
registrations that belonged to the team, ruling quote "The registration
must be canceled because were disparaging to native Americans." The ruling
can be appealed n federal court push the NFL franchise says it plans to do.
And their lawyer says today`s ruling will have no effect on the team`s
ownership of and the right to use the Redskins` name and logo. The team
will continue to own and be able to protect its marks without the
registration. We`ll get into that a little more in a minute.

Now, today`s decision is just the latest development in what is now a very
important and growing public outcry. United church of Christ calls for a
boycott, 50 senators urged NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to change the
game. And then there was this ad criticizing the team which plated during
the NBA finals.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unyielding. Strong. Native Americans call themselves
many things. The one thing they don`t.


MELBER: This is a story about ethics, about diversity, but it is also
about politics. As you look at the growing criticism, it`s not only native
American groups, and the also elected officials. And as we`ve seen
recently with the NBA and the problems with Donald Sterling, mounting
public pressure, politically focus., well place at the right time can lead
to real change. But the question here is whether that happen finally at
the NFL?

Well, joining me now is Brian Cladoosby, president of the national Congress
of American Indians. Good evening.

Good evening, Ari. Thank you for having me on.

MELBER: You bet, your thoughts on today`s ruling and the road ahead?

CLADOOSBY: We are very pleasantly surprised that the patent and trademark
office came out with their ruling recognizing this is a disparaging and
offensive name being used by the Washington football team.

MELBER: When you look at the political response, which is we`ve been
reporting as part of this, I want to show senator Harry Reid talking today
in response to Dan Snyder, of course, the team owner who said never, never,
never going to change it. Here was senator Reid today?


REID: Daniel Snyder says it`s about tradition. I ask what tradition?
Tradition of racism? It is all the writing is on the wall. It`s on the


MELBER: How does that kind of pressure coming there in the well of the
Senate play out?

CLADOOSBY: I`m very happy on behalf of the national Congress of American
Indians as the president of that organization to have supporters like
senator Harry Reid and my own senator from the state of Washington, Maria
Cantwell, coming out strongly on this issue and making very positive
statements that this name is -- definitely needs to be retired.

MELBER: Yes. You mentioned Senator Cantwell, who of course has been a big
leader on this, helped organize that letter that got up to about 49 -- 50
senators. I know you`re speaking to us from Seattle which is I am from.
And i used to work for senator, I should mention before playing the
discussion I heard with Let`s take a look here.


MELBER: Do you think that businesses have as much obligation to terminate
sponsorships as they did with the Clippers?

SEN. MARIA CANTWELL: I hope the business community does get involved. I
hope they do Yes, I hope they will send a strong message. As they
possibly can.


MELBER: So there you have a sitting U.S. senator saying basically saying,
people should really consider boycotting. That came up much more
forcefully I would argue though in the L.A. Clipper`s example than here.
What do you think needs to happen on the front of boycott?

CLADOOSBY: Well, I believe those advertisers that do a lot of work with
the Washington football team definitely need to seriously re-examine. And
I would be more than happy to have discussions with these companies that do
a lot of business with the Washington team and just let them know exactly
how we feel about this term and this name.

MELBER: Is it time for fans to boycott?

CLADOOSBY: Well, I think the fans have to make up their own mind. I think
us just getting the information out there, about, you know, this is the
21st century, and we have to move beyond this. If you look at the history
of this, in 1755, before this country was established. King George put a
bounty on the Penobscot Indians, and they got paid for killing men, women,
and children and they had to bring in the red skins to prove that they did
murder a native American. So genocide and racism is definitely connected
with this name.

MELBER: That`s well put. Appreciate the history and a lot of people
keeping an eye on how this could change, especially after the patent and
trademark ruling.

Brian Cladoosby, gets tonight`s "Last Word." Thank you very much.

I am Ari Meber, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. You can find me on facebook

And Chris Hayes starts right now.


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