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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

July 16, 2014

Guest: David Nakamura, Ann Gearan

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks for that and
thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. Rachel has
the night off.

We start with this man, this is Adam Kwasman. And Adam Kwasman is a 31-
year-old Tea Party candidate, who`s currently running for Congress in
Arizona. He`s a Republican, he`s a member of the state legislature. Right
now he`s trying to win the Republican nomination for a seat in Congress.
And if he does win that, if he does win that nomination, then he`ll get to
face off against Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick in the general

So first things first here, in order to win in November, Adam Kwasman needs
to win his primary. And in order to win his primary, he needs to rally his
party`s base. His conservative Tea Party base, to get them excited about
him. And yesterday he got a huge political gift. The perfect opportunity
to prove to the base what a true believer he really is. Well, at least
that`s what Adam Kwasman thought he had been handed when he showed up to
help with a group of protesters near Tucson, Arizona.

Those protesters were there to blockade a bus full of immigrant children
that is reportedly coming to town. And so Kwasman saw a huge political
opportunity here. After all, what issue riles up the Tea Party base more
than fighting immigration? It was a chance for Kwasman to be not just a
hero to his local Tea Party, to the Tea Party in his district, but to Tea
Party activists everywhere. To make a name for himself nationally, to
raise money, to get out front on the issue of immigration. And so he did,
sort of.


BRAHM RESNIK, REPORTER, KPNX: Adam Kwasman was making a speech.

Justice holds a blindfold over --

RESNIK: But then the Republican congressional candidate suddenly stopped,
he got word a bus was heading down the road and took off for it.

But then the Republican congressional candidate suddenly stopped. He got
word a bus was heading down the road and took off for it. It`s what
Kwasman and the Oracle protesters were waiting for, a confrontation with a
bus full of migrant children. Kwasman tweeted from the scene. "Bus coming
in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law."
He included a photo of a yellow school bus.

KWASMAN: I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses, and
the fear on their faces. This is not compassion.

RESNIK: That fear on the faces of migrant children Kwasman told me he saw
in Oracle. There`s just one problem. Those weren`t migrant children on
the yellow school bus. They were YMCA campers from the Marana School

Do you know that was a bus with YMCA kids?

KWASMAN: They were sad, too.

RESNIK: Reporters at the scene saw the children laughing and taking
pictures on their iPhones.

KWASMAN: I apologize. I didn`t know -- I was leaving -- I was leaving
when I saw them.

RESNIK: Kwasman later deleted his original tweet. But we found it on
Politwhoops. A site that captures politicians` deleted tweets. He did
backflips trying to take back the story.

KWASMAN: I said I saw children. I saw children.

RESNIK: Right. But those weren`t migrant children.

KWASMAN: Those were not migrant children, that`s fine.


KORNACKI: And so now Adam Kwasman is getting national attention all right,
although it`s probably not the kind of national attention he was looking

This was a very embarrassing thing for Kwasman. There`s no question about
that. But no matter what you think of what he was trying to do or about,
you know, what he thinks he was trying to do or what he thinks about
immigration at all, if you just look at the raw political calculation
behind his mistake, well, you can understand why Kwasman was out there
doing what he did.

He`s trying to get ahead on the right. He`s trying to win a Republican
primary. And so he tried to do something that those voters would like. It
didn`t work, he didn`t think it through. But there you go. That was his
political motive.

And if you start to look at things that way, you can see a lot of different
political motives that are at work right now, as our country`s leaders
grapple with the flood of undocumented children who made their way across
the border.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your city is pretty compassionate toward immigrants.
So would you take some of those kids here while they`re being --

ERIC GARCETTI (D), MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: We`re going to. Yes, we`ve
already talked to HHS who reached out to us. Many of their parents are
here. And before you get partisan, before you tell me where you are on
immigration, these are children. As a father, who are we as Americans if
we don`t step forward first and say, these kids who are isolated, alone,
maybe they`re doing the right thing, maybe they`ve made mistakes, forget
all that first. Let`s get them some place safe and secure.


KORNACKI: So that`s the Democratic mayor of Los Angeles. His name is Eric
Garcetti. He was announcing yesterday that yes, the city of L.A. is going
to be taking in some of the undocumented immigrant kids. He wants them to
come. And the thing is, when you think of what might motivate Eric
Garcetti politically, well, what he said also makes sense. He`s the mayor
of a city with a huge Latino population. It`s a place that is directly
affected by all of this. More than a lot of other places across the

You could argue that he`s making a noble and humanitarian decision with
what he said right there. But it also happens to be a smart decision for
him politically.

And now contrast that, contrast what Eric Garcetti there -- said there to
what`s going on 3,000 miles away, 3,000 miles to the east of Los Angeles in
the state of Connecticut. That`s where the Democratic governor, his name
is Dan Malloy, has denied a request from federal authorities to temporarily
house up to 3,000 migrant children from Central America at a school in his

Now Dan Malloy is a liberal Democrat, but he`s also running for re-election
in what is a heavily white, heavily suburban state. And Malloy already
isn`t that popular in Connecticut. Right now polls have him running neck
and neck with his Republican challenger. So it`s not hard to see that Dan
Malloy has decided that welcoming those children to Connecticut would be
risky for him politically.

To save himself this fall, to win reelection, to keep his political career
going, he needs to say no right now to Washington. He needs to say no to
those children.

And now think about another Democrat, Martin O`Malley, he`s also a
governor. He`s governor of Maryland. He`s also a liberal Democrat, but
unlike Dan Malloy, he is not running for re-election this year. But he is
very interested in running for president, running for the Democratic
nomination for president in 2016.

And so right now, to put himself in position to maybe possibly have a
chance of being the Democratic candidate for president in 2016, Martin
O`Malley really needs to go after the hearts and minds of the Democratic
base. And that Democratic base really seems to want to find a place for
those kids.


GOV. MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), MARYLAND: I believe that we should be guided by
the greatest powers that we have as a people. And that is the power of our
principles. Through all of the great world religions. We are told that
hospitality to strangers is an essential human dignity. It is a belief
that unites all of us.

Any concerns you might have or feelings you might have toward these refugee
kids, think about the country we want to leave to our children. We are not
a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain


KORNACKI: So that`s Martin O`Malley saying he`s about helping the kids.
On some political level, that also makes sense because he`s preparing to
run for the Democratic nomination for president. He`s targeting the
national Democratic base. He`s basically lusting after the presidency, so
he`s concluded the Democratic base is all about keeping the kids here.

Except then there`s also this, because Martin O`Malley is still in his day
job the governor of Maryland. And within the state of Maryland, acting as
the governor of Maryland and not as a prospective presidential candidate,
he seems to have some reservations about those kids. And maybe it seems
like he`s trying to have it both ways.

We learned last night details of a private conversation between Martin
O`Malley and the Obama administration. They were leaked out. Those
details showed that the governor basically said, no, I don`t want these
immigrant kids in my state. And please take the repost site you`re looking
at in Maryland off the list of options.

And if that seems somewhat odd because the governor seemed to be for
housing the kids and everything we just displayed, at least he did last
week, so Governor O`Malley defended himself in a phone interview today. He
said, quote, "What I said was that would not be the most inviting sight in
Maryland." There were already hundreds of kids already located throughout

He continued, quote, "Whatever the motivation was of the people at the
White House that leaked it to you, I`ll leave that to you to determine."

So this is a complicated issue obviously and the administration is putting
fears out there to every state, every city. There are a lot of kids who
need places to stay right now, and they`re asking everyone. So it`s
unclear exactly why this happened with O`Malley, and exactly what`s going
on right there.

But we are at an interesting moment here. Right at the moment where a
genuine humanitarian crisis is butting up against the motives and
calculations of politicians. So why does it matter what political
incentives or what strategic imperative that might be motivating different
politicians to say and do all these different things in the face of this
crisis? Well, it matters because for better or worse, they`re the ones who
have to solve it, or at least they`re our best chance for getting it

For at least improving the situation maybe at any time in the near future.
So now right now, there`s a new bipartisan, bicameral border bill. It`s
been introduced on Capitol Hill. It`s been introduced by Republican
Senator John Cornyn from Texas and Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar,
also from Texas.

Their bill would essentially rewrite the current 2008 George W. Bush law so
that minors from Central America can be treated like those from Mexico and
Canada. In other words, so that they can be deported more quickly. That`s
the intent. And it appears that the administration isn`t totally against
this bill. They haven`t officially come out and endorsed it, but they`ve
sent some pretty strong signals that they`re open to it, or that they`re
open to something like it.

And you`ve got a president who wants the House right now also to approve
the $3.7 billion he`s asked for. And he knows that he has to get
Republicans on board with that request. It`s a Republican House, he can`t
get the money unless Republicans sign off on it.

You`ve also got Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, the Democratic leader,
who wants the same thing, she wants that money to pass as well. She wants
the president`s huge request to go through. And she knows they need to get
Republicans to go along with that as well. And so both of them think that
the Cuellar-Cornyn bill or something like it is the way to get Republicans
on board.

Here is Pelosi last week signaling her openness to changing the 2008 Bush
law, it got the president`s appropriations request passed.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: You can have a different view
about the value of a provision of the law, and as I said, it`s not
something that would be a deal breaker as we go forward. If that`s the
face saver for them, let them have their face saver. But let us have the
resources to do what we have to do.


KORNACKI: So that was Nancy Pelosi saying last week that changing the 2008
law is not a deal breaker for her. Not a deal breaker for Democrats. But
the thing is, the Democratic base, that same Democratic base that Martin
O`Malley from Maryland is trying to appeal to, that base now we find out
hates the idea of changing the 2008 law, and they`ve been pretty outfront
about it the last week, very publicly opposing that idea. And apparently
Pelosi heard that base, and so today she decided to reverse course.

She came out saying that she would not back changes to the 2008 law, that
she would oppose them. In an interview with "The New York Times," she said
that she spoke with Cuellar, and that she would be opposing his bill. She
said, quote, "I do think the bill that was introduced is exactly the wrong
way to go. It`s the only immigration bill we`re going to have, one that
hurts children."

So the top Democrat in the House is now against the Cornyn-Cuellar
proposal. And today the president met with the Congressional Hispanic
Caucus. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is united against the Cuellar-
Cornyn bill. Well, they`re basically united against it because one of
their members also happens to be Henry Cuellar. He was at the meeting,

Anyway, we are quickly learning where most everyone in the Democratic Party
stands on this new proposal other than the White House, though. Because we
have heard from unnamed sources in the White House, we have not officially
heard from them whether or not they will back this plan.

Would the president support it if it means getting Republicans to vote for
the money that he says he badly needs to fix this crisis? And if he does
do that, will there be a Democratic revolt? Will there be a vote if he
makes that compromise? What is the White House`s thinking in all this?

What we`re seeing right now is the merger of a humanitarian crisis and raw
politics. It`s not pretty. But if we`re going to get answers on this,
they`re going to come through the political process. And these are the
political realities that we are all looking at right now.

Joining us right now is David Nakamura. He`s the White House reporter for
the "Washington Post."

David, I appreciate you taking a few minutes tonight. I want to start by
playing a quick sound, some new sound that came in, in the last couple of
hours, from that -- after that meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus
with the president today. Juan Vargas, Democratic member of the House,
said that he got the distinct impression that the president is against the
Cornyn/Cuellar bill. Let`s play what he said.


JUAN VARGAS (D), CALIFORNIA: When we came here, I thought he was in favor
of changing it, modifying it. When I left, he didn`t say this, but he all
but said, no, you know, I think we can do it under existing law. There`s
some leeway there. So I don`t think he`s going to be pushing for a change.
He better not. I think he`s going to get great resistance from the
Hispanic caucus and a lot of Democrats. I mean, this law is important, we
shouldn`t change it.


KORNACKI: So David, can you shed light on what`s going on here? Because
we had reporting last week that the White House sounded like they wanted
this to get Republicans on board. We the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is
against it. And now a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is
saying, yes, the president basically told me he`s against it. Is that
where things stand? Is he against it? Do you know?

happening is that the White House has signaled to Congress that they`d like
more flexibility for the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to move
more quickly to deport these kids because they`re saying this is a crisis
that we have to stop. The only way to do that is to send the kids home,
make it clear to the Central American countries that you can`t send your
kids on these dangerous journeys here.

What the White House has not done is send over specific language. And I
think that`s because of this backlash among liberal Democrats as you laid
out very clearly, and the Hispanic Caucus and others like Nancy Pelosi and
Harry Reid. So I don`t think the White House wants to take the lead.

Again today, at the White House briefing, Josh Earnest, the spokesman,
said, yes, we would still like that flexibility, but again, he was not
clear and did not come out, as you mentioned, and give support to this bill
which they`re still going through. So I think what`s going on is sort of
getting the gauge of how many Democrats might support it, you have Ron
Barber of Arizona saying he will support the bill, but so far not a whole
lot of Democrats are coming forward to support this.

The problem for the White House, they really want that $3.7 billion, and
Republicans are saying, we`re not going to give it to you unless we get
these changes to the law. So that`s probably the problem for the White
House and why probably they`re not completely ruling it out.

KORNACKI: Yes. So that`s the impasse we seemed to be at there. These
things have sort of become linked here, this Cornyn-Cuellar proposal or
something like it, the idea of changing that 2008 law to make deportations
of these kids across the border much easier. That idea has been linked to
this $3.7 billion that the president badly wants.

I guess from the standpoint of -- on the Republican side, are we giving the
Republicans too much credit here in terms of saying well, if you link these
things they`ll go along with it, or have we -- is there a chance that hey,
even if you link them, that Republican base, because we know how far to the
right they are at immigration, that even then they reject it.

NAKAMURA: Absolutely. And I think the fear among the Democrats is that
you`re going to get this -- after all this talk of the president`s mandate
after the 2012 election among Latino and Asian communities and all the
effort that they put into this big bipartisan comprehensive immigration
reform bill that never made it through, of course, the House of
Representatives, that in the end if you go forward with this Cornyn-Cuellar
bill, and you don`t get a lot of the money that you might need to take care
of the kids while they`re here and so, you would have this ultimately
enforcement first provision after all this talk about Democrats having the
advantage on immigration politically and going for sort of more
humanitarian humane approach to sort of providing protections to
undocumented immigrants who were here.

And that in the end you`d have a losing hand like this. So I think there
is concern that Republicans would not go along with the money even if they
got some of these tougher provisions in the law to allow immigrants to be
sent home more quickly. And that`s why you`re seeing more and more
Democrats peeling off and putting up a stronger fight and I -- you know,
the Catholic bishops and the immigration advocacy groups and the AFL-CIO
have all come out now and said they`re against going forward with this bill
without greater leeway on the money and other protections for the kids.

KORNACKI: Yes, getting tougher and tougher if the president had some
desire to cut some kind of deal there to see how he could do that
politically in his own party. Again those political realities budding up

David Nakamura, White House correspondent for the "Washington Post," really
appreciate the time. Thanks for joining us tonight.

Lots more lead tonight, including the Republican Senate primary that
already had a runoff and will have another runoff if the Tea Party has its
way. Plus, some fun with the former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown of
that variety, and maybe, just maybe, some very welcome news from New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie. Stay tuned.



MITCH TYNER, CHRIS MCDANIEL : He is naive. Call Chris McDaniel naive. He
had no idea that this amount of election fraud was going on, even in the


KORNACKI: Ever since he lost the Republican Senate primary runoff in
Mississippi, Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel has said the election was
stolen. And he says it was stolen because his opponent, incumbent Senator
Thad Cochran, recruited Democrats to vote in the runoff. And to vote in
that runoff for Cochran. Quoting McDaniel, "This election was a sham, and
I will fight against it until the very end."

And ever since McDaniel lost in that runoff last month, his supporters have
been combing through poll books in Mississippi`s 82 counties. They`ve been
looking for evidence that voters cast a ballot in the Democratic primary on
June 3rd and then in the Republican runoff on the 24th. That`s something
the state law says that you can`t do.

As of Friday, McDaniel claimed his campaign had found 8300 irregularities
so far. His campaign has been promising they`ll president the evidence to
the public for that claim. But while we`ve been waiting for that evidence,
we`ve also gotten lots of brand new data about Mississippi`s still not
quite settled Senate Republican primary. And first of all it does appear
to be true that as many had been assuming, incumbent Senator Thad Cochran
did indeed reverse his downward spin in this contest by coaxing voters who
usually support Democrats into supporting him.

Specifically Cochran drew African-American Democrats into voting for him in
the runoff. "New York Times" reports that Cochran`s margin of victory over
Chris McDaniel came from the state`s most heavily Democratic precincts.
These are places where President Obama got more than 90 percent of the vote
in 2012.

So if it`s true that Cochran won by turning out African-American Democratic
voters, then what about the Democrat in the Senate race? He hasn`t gotten
much attention so far, but there is a Democrat who`s going to be on this
November`s ballot. And his name is Travis Childers. Childers served in
Congress as a very conservative Democrat, but then he lost his seat in the
2010 GOP wave.

It was pretty clear what his strategy was when he entered the Senate race.
He was hoping that Republicans would nominate McDaniel, that they wouldn`t
nominate Cochran. In a new survey from Public Policy Polling shows why he
was hoping for that because against Cochran who as of right now is going to
be the Republican candidate this fall. Against Cochran, Childers is losing
by 16 points.

But look at this, if McDaniel somehow becomes the Republican candidate,
then Childers suddenly has a real chance at this thing. He actually leads
by one point in that hypothetical matchup.

So now if you are a Mississippi Democrat, ask yourself, which one of these
would you prefer? Would you prefer to have your candidate down by double-
digits or would you prefer to have your candidate up by one to have a real
chance of winning in November?

See, to me, that has always been the great mystery about this Mississippi
election. Instead of helping Republicans to nominate Cochran, the guy
who`s probably going to go on to win easily this fall. If you`re a
Democrat why not stick him with a Tea Party guy especially when the Tea
Party candidates are up for Senate and so many other states have led to
painful losses for Republicans in races they otherwise should never have

Against Cochran, the Democrat basically has no change in Mississippi. But
against Chris McDaniel, he might.

So the Democrats` cooperation here remains kind of a mystery. The other
big mystery here is whether Chris McDaniel has in fact found enough
problems with this election that he could convince a court to throw out the
results and to order a new vote.

Sam Hall who`s a political reporter for the Jackson Clarion Ledger said
that it seems unlikely to him that that`s going to happen. He says that
McDaniel volunteers have told his paper that they just aren`t finding huge
numbers of suspect ballots. Maybe in the hundreds in the biggest counties
he says, but not nearly enough that McDaniel could create doubt and warrant
a new election.

McDaniel`s biggest supporter in all of this has been the Club for Growth.
And the Club for Growth told the "Wall Street Journal" yesterday that
McDaniel needs to hand over some solid evidence of illegal votes. Quote,
"If there`s -- if there`s clearly evidence of wrongdoing, that there would
be ballot integrity issues, I suppose it would be appropriate for him to
pursue those. But it would have to be clear."

So when your biggest backer said it`s time to put your cards on the table,
that`s some real pressure for you. Today in Mississippi the McDaniel
campaign held a press conference where his lawyers said they were going to,
quote, "discuss evidence we have documented in our next steps."

The press conference came around. Now McDaniel himself was nowhere to be
found, he`s getting ready for a newly announced Truth and Justice Tour of
the state. So that meant that the job of discussing the evidence as he had
promised instead went to his lawyers, and his lawyers said they have found
a lot of evidence but no, they`re not going to show it to you yet.


TYNER: We`ve heard it our entire lives in Mississippi, votes are being
fought. Ballot boxes are being stuffed. They are false affidavit ballots.
They`re invalid affidavit ballots, they`re invalid absentee ballots. We`ve
heard it our whole life. It`s amazing. You`ve seen problem after problem
after problem.

Am I going to sit right here and try my case in the media and do a tit-for-
tat with the Cochran campaign? No, we`re not going to do that. We`re
going to be mature about this. We`re going to put it all together in a
complete package. We`re going to get that together, and at the same time
that we file a challenge, we`re going to give you a complete copy of it.


KORNACKI: The McDaniel campaign said today they expect to file that
challenge within 10 days. It should give us all plenty of time to get the
popcorn ready.


KORNACKI: Quick spell check, BQHATEVWR. Whether that was the result of a
pocket tweet as claimed, the product of someone typing the word "whatever"
while doing the Balkan sleuth with both hands or there`s something else
entirely, it was the handy work of one of America`s politicians who never
seems to miss a banana peel or a slip on a record and step on a misspelled
nocturnal tweet that makes no sense.

He`s former U.S. senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts or New Hampshire or
Massachusetts. And he`s making himself useful to folks who follow politics
in his own unique and entertaining way, stay tuned.


KORNACKI: If you`re a foreign correspondent, part of what you do, part of
what your job is to be in the middle of war zones. Today, many journalists
from various local and international outlets including our own NBC News
team were in Gaza City. And they were there when bombs began to fall at a
local fishing port.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Our camera recorded the shot. An Israeli shell
smashing into a Gaza City port. It was broad daylight, there was no
warning, it wasn`t the precision war Israel says it`s fighting. A group of
boys, cousins, playing on the beach, now running for their lives. Until
seconds later, another shell hit. Israel claimed it was firing at Hamas
militants at the border but the dead were four young boys.

Several others from the same extended family were wounded, including
Watazam (ph), he managed to crawl up the beach to a nearby hotel. Medics
rushed the boys to a hospital. Parents started to arrive, unsure what
happened but expecting the worst.

A mother asked, "Where is my son? Where is my love?" Then her worst fears
came true. "Pray for your son. Pray for your son," a relative told her.
"He`s now a martyr."


KORNACKI: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel tonight
reporting on the latest casualties in the ongoing violence between Israel
and Hamas. Israeli officials say they are investigating the deaths of the
four dead boys who are between the ages of 9 and 11 years old. Several
journalists who witnessed the attack delivered first aid to the wounded,
treating them on a terrace of one of the hotels and helping to carry them
out to waiting ambulances.

Now in the ninth day of fighting, the United Nations reports that more than
200 Palestinians have been killed. Including more than three dozen
children. Last night the first casualty on the Israeli side was reported
as well. A man killed by mortar fire as he was handing out food to Israeli
soldiers just hours after an Egyptian brokered ceasefire broke down.

Earlier today the Israeli military dropped leaflets across northern Gaza
warning some 100,000 people to evacuate the area. NBC News foreign
correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin reporting from Gaza explained that, quote,
"The vast majority of the people here do not take the warnings seriously
because it`s not clear where they`re supposed to evacuate, too."

Thousands of rockets and ammunitions have been fired on both sides since
violence broke out earlier this month. Many of the rockets coming from
Gaza have been blocked by Israel`s so-called Iron Dome Missile Defense
System. Israeli government says it`s objective is to target Hamas. The
Palestinian group that controls the area around northern Gaza. Israeli
officials say the military has gone to great pains to avoid civilian

Now as proof, the military released this video earlier today showing that
officials had on several occasions held off on bombing areas where
civilians had been identified. Also today the Israeli government issued a
call for an additional 8,000 reservists, in a country where military
service is mandatory. And that brings the total number of mobilized troops
to 52,000. Possible sign that Israel could be readying itself for a ground
invasion. Something the government has yet to rule out.

President Obama addressed the escalating conflict late this afternoon.


diplomatic efforts to end the violence between Israel and Hamas. As I said
repeatedly, Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that
terrorize the Israeli people. There`s no country on earth that can be
expected to live under a daily barrage of rockets. And I`m proud that the
Iron Dome system that Americans helped Israel develop and fund has saved
many Israeli lives.

But over the past two weeks, we`ve all been heartbroken by the violence.
Especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza.
Men, women and children who are caught in the crossfire, that`s why we have
been working with our partners in the region to pursue a ceasefire, to
protect civilians on both sides.


KORNACKI: And late today Israel agreed to the United Nations brokered
humanitarian ceasefire for five hours tomorrow. That will allow aid to
reach the nearly one million people in Gaza who are currently without
water. But that ceasefire is not a permanent agreement. In the region
often mired in conflict among the many questions around this current crisis
are what can the United States do to temper the violence? And how much
longer and how much wider is this conflict going to go?

Joining us now is Ann Gearan. She`s the diplomatic correspondent for the
"Washington Post."

So, Ann, maybe you can help me make sense of two conflicting things I`m
seeing today. Number one, five-hour ceasefire has been arranged for
tomorrow, at the same time, calling up 8,000 new troops. Are we looking at
really what`s just the calm before ground invasion here?

Israel is answering the -- starting to be rising international call for
some calm and a step back here from nine days of bombardment and --
although that international call has not been loud or really anywhere near
what Israel has come -- the kind of criticism that Israel has come under in
previous conflicts you are starting to hear it. So the humanitarian five-
hour ceasefire which Hamas has apparently also agreed to tonight is in no
way -- would in no way preclude Israel from then continuing the
bombardment, escalating it later tomorrow, or potentially moving toward the
ground offensive that Netanyahu and others have been threatening.

KORNACKI: You talk about that mounting sort of international pressure
here. So in the event that this moves -- that Israel decides to move
toward a ground invasion here, is there a sense of what the United States,
what the United States government thinks of that, and if the United States
government would have any leverage there in saying, yes, go ahead and do
that, good idea or no, don`t do that?

GEARAN: The United States does not want Israel to mount a ground
offensive, and has said so, the State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said
it the other day. Others have as well. But it isn`t of course the United
States` decision to make, and all that President Obama or Secretary Kerry
or anyone else really can do is to try to advice from the sidelines and
apply the significant pressure that the United States does have, the
leverage that the United States does have over Israel. And you`re starting
to see that happen.

For the last several days, the United States has been notably silent in not
criticizing Israel in previous conflicts, notably in 2012, that criticism
from Washington really started much earlier and was much louder. Now what
you`re starting to hear, and I think what President Obama was prefacing
there in his remarks tonight is a much more public, much larger and
concerted diplomatic effort which would probably include Secretary Kerry
making the rounds of those other countries that might potentially be able
to help here.

You saw that the offer from Egypt the other day, which was -- which quickly
fell apart, the United States considers that still a live ball. And it
would be possible to try to revive that and garner some additional public
support in the Arab world and elsewhere, to actually make that a going

KORNACKI: All right. Ann Gearan, diplomatic correspondent for the
"Washington Post," thank you for being here tonight, appreciate it.

GEARAN: Thank you.

KORNACKI: Scott Brown was the former senator from the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. Massachusetts. Apparently that warrants repeating. Why?
Well, that`s just ahead.

But first, we have one more thing about President Obama`s incredibly full
plate right now when it comes to foreign policy. During that previously
unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room this afternoon, the
president urged an end to the fighting between Israel and Hamas. He also
announced a brand new round of sanctions against Russia. President Obama
announced today that the U.S. government is imposing sanctions against two
major Russian energy companies, a pair of leading Russian banks, as well as
eight different Russian arms companies.

Earlier in the week the White House reportedly summoned a group of European
Union ambassadors to a briefing where they were shown brand new
intelligence of Russian interference in eastern Ukraine. And then today
came those new sanctions.


OBAMA: Given its continued provocations in Ukraine, today I have approved
a new set of sanctions on some of Russia`s largest companies and financial
institutions. Now we are taking these actions in close consultation with
our European allies who are meeting in Brussels to agree on their next


KORNACKI: Right around the same time that President Obama spoke, leaders
from the European Union announced that Europe is also now planning to
ratchet up the sanctions against Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin who is traveling through South America
right now told reporters that his new round of sanctions will backfire on
the West and it represents, quote, a serious blow to Russia`s relationship
with the United States. This new round of sanctions is being described as
the toughest to date. The president indicated today that more sanctions
could be coming if Russia`s interference in the Ukraine continues.

We`ll be right back.



GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Someone went rogue on my watch. Now,
listen, I`m accountable for that, and if you haven`t watched what`s been
going on the last six months, I think there`s been a decent amount of
accountability thrown my way and that I`ve accepted. When something like
this happens, first thing is, they want to put you in cuffs and send you
away. He`s got to -- he has to have known, he knew. From the beginning of
this coverage he was like, he knew.

Now when I turn over every e-mail, every text message, everyone gets to
look at it, and it`s become clear now in six months, he didn`t know. Then
they go, OK, well, gees, if we stick to that equation, then we lose, so
let`s shift it to well, all right, he didn`t know, but he created an
atmosphere where this type of thing was permissible. Bull. I didn`t.


KORNACKI: That was Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey today during an
interview with CNBC`s John Harwood and he was doing what Chris Christie has
become very good at doing lately. Saying that he accepts responsibility
for the George Washington Bridge scandal while declaring his distance from
it and doing all of it with classic Christie defiance. And clearly the
governor is once again feeling his oath about his national presidential


JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: So as we let you go, you`re running?


CHRISTIE: You know, it`s such a great question.


You know, I -- let me give you a different answer. Because, you know, you
were obnoxious enough to ask again. So I might as well give you something.


The fact is, that you should wary of people in my opinion who are
overanxious to make that decision before they need to, and by the way, it`s
pretty nice to be asked, you know? Because if you really stink, they don`t


You know? If you`re really awful, no one`s asking. You know, I`ve had
some of my predecessors that were never asked, I can guarantee you, man.
Never asked.


KORNACKI: So maybe Christie knew something about his presidential
prospects that the national news media didn`t because, as of today, we have
some pertinent information that may explain why he`s feeling so chipper.
An NBC News poll out this morning that shows that while almost a third of
Republicans in Iowa view Christie negatively, half of them view him

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad telling the "New York Times," quote, "Really,
most people here have never heard of the George Washington Bridge story."
And they, quote, "don`t care much about it." Governor Branstad also
contending that those who have heard of the Bridgegate scandal have, quote,
"moved on."

And meanwhile, in New Hampshire, that other first in the nation
presidential testing, an NBC poll shows that over half of Republicans in
that state view Christie positively, another poll last week shows him
leading all possible 2016 contenders in New Hampshire.

So there`s good reason for Chris Christie`s confidence. That what happened
in Fort Lee did not matter and will not matter in Des Moines or Nashua.
But the mess that he so badly wants to leave behind it`s still there and
it`s still roiling. Late last month, Shawn Boburg at the Bergen Record
reported the state legislative committee that`s looking into Bridgegate
plan to call 13 more Christie administration and Port Authority officials
to call them to testify under oath before that committee in the coming

And now the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, is conducting his
own separate investigation into the lane closures. But the legislative
committee`s lawyer, Reid Schar, his name, has made sure to not call
witnesses unless they get the all-clear from the U.S. attorney`s office,
and today, Heather Haddon, reporter with the "Wall Street Journal," reports
that the U.S. attorney has asked the committee to hold off on calling nine
of those potential witnesses it wanted to call, including Governor
Christie`s top political strategist, Mike DuHaime, his former chief counsel
Charlie McKenna, and the mayor of Ft. Lee, New Jersey, Mark Sokolich.

Now Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney, his office typically does not release
any information about its ongoing investigations at all. We don`t know why
the U.S. attorney would ask the legislature to not call those nine people
to testify. But in any case, that report indicates that he is interested
in talking to them. And it does present a new clue as to the direction of
the U.S. attorney`s investigation.

And tomorrow, we might learn a little bit more, too. Because the next
staff member to testify before that legislative committee is Governor
Christie`s incoming chief of staff, Regina Egea is her name. She was the
head of the authorities unit while the Bridgegate scandal was playing out.
What is still to come from the ongoing investigations in New Jersey remains
a complete mystery, both for the subjects of the investigation and for the
investigation`s impact on the political life of Chris Christie. Regina
Egea is scheduled to testify tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Watch
this space.


KORNACKI: Scott Brown is in the news today for some very Scott Brownish
reasons. If that name sounds a little familiar to you, but you can`t quite
place it Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts back
in 2010 and it was a genuine political shocker. A very impressive victory
by Brown, that pretty much made him an overnight national political

But the thing is, when you become an overnight star in politics, or in any
other field, for that matter, when you aren`t necessarily ready deal with
the spotlight, or the scrutiny that comes with national renowned, it`s easy
to forget or not to realize the public figure you become, which didn`t take
Scott Brown that long to do.


SCOTT BROWN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I rely on Gale`s love and support and
that of our two lovely daughters. So I want to thank Ayla and Arianna for
their support as well. And just in case anybody who`s watching throughout
the country, yes, they`re both available. Oh, no, no, no. No. Only
kidding. Only kidding. Only kidding, only kidding. Arianna is definitely
is not available, but Ayla is.


KORNACKI: That was his victory speech back in 2010. That was how Scott --
the Scott Brown era of national oratory started. That era lasted for the
next two years until he was unseated by Elizabeth Warren in 2012. It was
an era that included some other moments when Brown pretty awkwardly stepped
in it. There was the time he seemed to say that he was involved in secret
meetings with kings and queens, or when he suggested he was being called
constantly by President Obama and Hillary Clinton for his help with

And of course after he lost to Warren, he became a legend on social media
with his now immortal buck whatever tweet. Now here`s the thing. When
that campaign ended in 2012, when Brown lost to Warren, he was actually
still very popular personally in Massachusetts. And polls show that he`d
be the clear favorite if he decided to run for governor there in 2014, to
run for governor this year. So it was sitting there for him, it was his
for the taking.

It was the logical thing to do. But it`s not what Scott Brown did.
Instead, he decided to leave Massachusetts. He decided to move north to
New Hampshire, to run for the Senate there, against Democrat Jeanne
Shaheen. At least, I think he moved to New Hampshire because it didn`t
take long for the Scott Brown moments to start up again.


BROWN: That`s the big difference between Senator Shaheen and me and many
other people in the Massachusetts delegation, and Senator Shaheen in
particular, the president. I`m not for amnesty and never have been.


KORNACKI: So it`s always best to remember which state Senate seat you`re
running for. A new polling today suggests that voters in New Hampshire
might appreciate that because that polling shows that Senator Shaheen is
now leading Scott Brown by eight points in the race. And former Senator
Brown`s campaign awkwardness goes beyond his geographic malapropism. Most
recently, it involves inclusion in the (INAUDIBLE) club, the do anything to
avoid a question set. Among his most notable members, we have Nevada
Republican Senate candidate, Sharron Angle, whose tactic back in 2010 was
just to say polite words in a parking lot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can we talk about your anger? What do you mean
when you say second amendment remedies?

ANGLE: So thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Second amendment remedies, anything?


KORNACKI: We kept asking into the parking lot, but received no answer.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why won`t you answer what Second Amendment remedies
means? Nothing at all? It`s a simple question.


KORNACKI: And there was also the "excuse me, senators only" move that was
executed by former Kentucky senator, Jim Bunning, in the Capitol Hill


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We just wanted to ask you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, this is a senator only elevator.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can I come on the elevator?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you may not.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell us why you`re blocking this vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already did explain it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Well, what is the issue? And are you concerned
about the people who are employed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. I`ve got to go to the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator, can you just explain to us why you`re
holding this up? I`m sure you have an explanation.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK. Are you concerned about those that are going
to lose their benefits?


KORNACKI: And there was the sprinter view featuring Dana Bash and Michele


about is the fact that you said that he had -- you talked about the
excesses that he`s engaged in, the fact that he has a dog walker, which is
not true.

REP. MICHELE BACHMAN (R), MINNESOTA: The big point of my speech was about
Benghazi. This was an absolute disaster.


BASH: Do you want to focus on --

BACHMANN: That`s what`s important. Do you want to talk about dog
handlers, and there`s four Americans killed?

BASH: But Congresswoman, you`re the one who brought it up.

BACHMANN: These are Americans.

BASH: You`re the one who brought it up.


KORNACKI: Well, New Hampshire Senate hopeful Scott Brown may have topped
them all, though, going somewhere he figured he could not be cornered. A
reporter for the "Guardian" newspaper writes that after trying in vain to
get ahold of Brown`s public schedule, he tracked the candidate down at a
restaurant. He said he wanted to ask him about his recent stance on the --
the stance on the recent Hobby Lobby ruling.

That seems like a reasonable thing you`d want to know about a candidate.
But, alas, Brown, according to the article, stood up, walked to the back of
the diner, and then took shelter in the bathroom.

Repeating here, former Senator Scott Brown, wanting to avoid a reasonable
question on the campaign trail, decided to take shelter in the bathroom.
One of his staffers apparently joined him in there, then shuttled the
former senator away from the restaurant, thereby avoiding answering the

As they say, any port in a storm.

That does it for us tonight. Rachel`s going to be back here tomorrow
night. You can catch me on my show this weekend, "UP," Saturday and Sunday
mornings, 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. And now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD."
Ari Melber is sitting in for Lawrence O`Donnell tonight.

Ari, take it away.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Steve. I don`t know about you, but to say
Scott Brown is a carpet bagger, I feel like that sometimes too sitting in
for other people`s shows.

KORNACKI: Yes, I feel like an impostor, too. But we got to live with it,

MELBER: Have a good night, man.

KORNACKI: All right.


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