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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, July 21st, 2014

Read the transcript to the Monday show

July 21, 2014

Guest: Simon Ostrovsky, Michael Weiss, William Taylor, Chelsea Rose

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, as you can see, the month of
the beard on TV has come to an end.


O`DONNELL: Here`s the thing, I`m in Washington for a couple of days.
And you know, I always -- in Washington, I always feel more comfortable
looking like a senator.


O`DONNELL: Or -- or, Rachel, at least like a lobbyist. Who`s going
to talk to you otherwise here?

MADDOW: If I saw you on the metro, I`d think you were an intern,

O`DONNELL: There you go. That`s what I`m really going for.

Rachel, thank you so much.

MADDOW: Welcome back. Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And today, Vladimir Putin finally spoke out about the shoot down of
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys are armed, they`re drunk and they`re
out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Confiscation of items from the crash site by
Russian separatists.

trying to hide?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: International outrage is growing.

TONY ABBOTT, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: It is an absolutely shambolic

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Putin, you have to man up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Putin today finally called for international
access to the crash site.

OBAMA: That is the least that they can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your crime scene is in a war zone controlled by
your suspects.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Literally, drunken separatists
soldiers --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Propping these thugs up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cover-up on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know what happened here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turning now to the Middle East.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The war between Israel and Hamas militants is

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the deadliest days in Gaza.

OBAMA: We don`t want to see anymore civilians getting killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gaza is under siege.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try to resuscitate diplomatic efforts to end the

OBAMA: It now has to be our focus to bring about a cease-fire.

FEINSTEIN: This is a very hard time -- Gaza, Russia, the Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The game in Ukraine hasn`t changed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russian government has the capacity to end
this crisis.

KERRY: Russia needs to step up and make a difference here.


O`DONNELL: The self-proclaimed prime minister of the region
controlled by pro-Russian fighters finally handed over black boxes from
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to Malaysian officials tonight.

Also, there was a protest tonight in the Netherlands, the home country
of most of the victims, much of their anger`s being directed at Russia and
the pro-Russian separatists who are -- who most of the world blames for
shooting down the plane and now hampering the investigation and recovery.

A father who lost his 17-year-old daughter told NBC he blames Vladimir


HANS DE BORST, DAUGHTER KILLED ON MH17: And my child lies there in
the fields. And no one can reach her. Can I have my small piece, a sock
or t-shirt or ring?

Thank you very much, Mr. Putin, leaders of the separatists or the
Ukraine government for murdering my loved and only child. She`s been shot
out of the sky.


O`DONNELL: It`s been five days since the missile blew Malaysia Flight
17 out of the sky and almost 200 of the 298 victims have been recovered,
even as fighting continues near the debris field. Tonight, a train loaded
with bodies and refrigerated carriages departed en route to the Netherlands
where the plane took off last Thursday.

Finding more bodies may be difficult as NBC`s Keir Simmons discovered
when he toured the area.


KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS: There`s little dignity for the dead here.
Most of the victims have been removed. But their possessions are still not
collected. We find a wallet empty in the fields where the wreckage fell.
The debris covers a huge area, parts of the plane are scattered over
several miles.

This was the cockpit. Look at it.

The front wheel embedded, and when we reached the heart of the crash
scene, you can see why officials fear many passengers may never be found.


O`DONNELL: The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously today for all
countries to cooperate with the investigation of the downing of the plane.

As a member of that Security Council, Russia also voted in favor. But
that`s not enough for President Obama.


OBAMA: Given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia and
President Putin in particular has direct responsibility to compel them to
cooperate with the investigation. That is the least they can do.

The Russian-backed separatists who control the area continue to block
the investigation. They`ve repeatedly prevented international
investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage. As investigators
approached, they fired their weapons into the air. The separatists are
removing evidence from the crash site.

All of which begs the question, what exactly are they trying to hide?


O`DONNELL: Vladimir Putin finally spoke about the crash today and
said what he should have said the day it happened.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: It is essential that a full team
of experts under the auspices of ICAO is at the crash site. We must do
everything to ensure its full and absolute security, ensure humanitarian
corridors that are necessary for its work.


O`DONNELL: Joining me on the phone from Ukraine is Simon Ostrovsky of
"Vice" magazine. Also joining us, Michael Weiss, foreign policy editor for
"The Interpreter" magazine.

Simon, what are the conditions now in the -- in the search area of the
debris field?

SIMON OSTROVSKY, VICE NEWS (via telephone): I actually don`t know
that. I`m not at the search field. I understand they`ve taken some debris
away from the field, I think, a lot of the bodies have been picked up, as
you mentioned in the introduction. And some of them have been put on to a
refrigeration train and they`ve been driven away, we believe, in a
direction of Kharkiv, which is a major Ukrainian -- which is under
Ukrainian control, where they`re going to be looked at by forensics experts
so that they can start trying to identify the bodies.

But I think the situation out there has changed over the last couple
of days in observers and investigators have been allowed to look at the
field now for the first couple of days. You have the pro-Russia
separatists forces are saying that it was too dangerous for members of the
organization in Europe to go out on to the field and therefore their
security details weren`t allowing them full access.

But, you know, although you can hear the conflict going off from that
area, that doesn`t necessarily mean that it`s too dangerous for people to
actually inspect the field. And so, that`s a lot of people started asking
themselves why the separatist leaders were earlier on, insisting that the
international observers didn`t have full access, raised a lot of questions
and a lot of eyebrows, and I think that`s why you had the American
president finally come out and say what he said today.

O`DONNELL: It was quite striking to hear the secretary of state
referring to these guys as operating in a kind of drunken stupor.

Simon, what would you add to a characterization of these separatists
who have been in control of that area?

OSTROVSKY: Oh, I mean, I`d say they`re separatists, and I`d say that
they are pro-Russian. But, you know, I wouldn`t generalize each and every
one of those individuals as drunken or in any other state.

They support joining Russia and separating from Ukraine. I mean what
else can you say about that?

O`DONNELL: Michael Weiss, Vladimir Putin finally today said something
he clearly easily could`ve said in the first hour of this, saying that it`s
essential that a full team of experts investigate this crash. What else --
what do you make of what else Vladimir Putin had to say today?

MICHAEL WEISS, THE INTERPRETER: Well, yes. I mean, it took him five
days after the crash site has been hopelessly contaminated after the
belongings of the victims have been stolen after the black box went missing
for five days until it was now reportedly handed over to the Malaysians for
him to come out with a statement like this.

Look, this is similar to what Russia and the Syrian regime have also
said about atrocities committed in Syria. We need an independent
investigation, oh, but not just yet because we have to protect the safety
of those coming in to inspect the scene of some carnage.

Look, the Russian government today came out with other statements
which deserve a lot of media scrutiny and attention, including that not
only was Ukraine responsible for shooting down this plane but the United
States was responsible for shooting down this plane. The Kremlin`s line
currently is -- and, again, took them five days to come up with this one --
a Sukhoi 25 Ukrainian fighter jet, that`s a ground assault fighter jet, by
the way, was tracking the commercial airliner and then shot it out of the

Well, there`s a problem with that. The commercial airliner was shot
out of the sky at an altitude of 33,000 feet. The Sukhoi 25 has a maximum
altitude of 23,000 feet. So, the Russians couldn`t even Wikipedia their
way into useful propaganda in this scenario.

I consulted aviation experts today. I put this case to the one of
them and he replied with a word I cannot repeat on primetime television.
So, they`re getting creative and imaginative and they`re also throwing a
lot of sort of, you know, chum, and, you know, evidence or pseudo evidence
to misdirect people, talking about the BUK anti-aircraft systems.

In addition to saying a plane shot this plane out of the sky. They`re
also propounding this theory that actually it was a BUK anti-aircraft
system, but one that had been confiscated from the Ukrainians. It`s not
that Russia had provided.

So far, no evidence to suggest that is in any way, shape or form

O`DONNELL: And Vladimir Putin said today that Russia will do
everything we can so that the conflict in Ukraine moves to some sort of
peaceful settlement. We`ll see what he actually does do in that regard.

But he also said something about blame.
And let`s listen to that. He seems to be saying that all parties are to
blame here. Let`s listen to that.


PUTIN: We have repeatedly called on all warring parties to
immediately stop the bloodshed and to sit down at the negotiating table.
We can confidently say that if June 10 fighting in eastern Ukraine, were
not renewed then this tragedy would not have happened for sure.


O`DONNELL: Michael, your reaction to that.

WEISS: Yes. Look, would there be a separatist movement? Would these
guys have heavy material and antiaircraft missiles without Vladimir Putin?
The answer is no.

So, if he wants a peaceful solution, he has a very simple decision to
take, which is pull out his men -- I said before on the air, these aren`t
just pro-Russian separatists, many of them are Russian nationals, including
the so-called commander in chief of the separatist militia, Colonel Igor
Strelkov, who is a Russian military intelligence officer.

So, pull out your guys from eastern Ukraine, take away their toys,
which you`ve given them, shut down the border which you control and not
just that you control, but your FSB, your Russian security services
control. I mean, it`s not very easy to drive a BUK anti-aircraft missile
system without being seen or detected. It`s like driving a tank from the
United States to Mexico.

And then the crisis will be resolved. There was a cease-fire agreed
to a few weeks ago, the separatists broke it.

Another cease-fire will probably happen imminently. I have no doubt
the separatists will keep carrying on.

And, you know, look, Europe has to really make an important decision
here about what they want to do. This was -- this happened on European
territory. Most of the victims are Europeans. You saw the protests on
your show in the Netherlands of people protesting, blaming personally
Vladimir Putin.

So, the question about dependency on Russian money, Russian gas, Nina
Khrushcheva said on MSNBC earlier today, it`s a great line and more people
should take it up. You know, the old refrain of the Cold War was "better
dead than red". Well, the new refrain is "better cold than dead". And
that`s decision that Europe has to make.

O`DONNELL: Michael Weiss and Simon Ostrovsky --thank you both very
much for joining me tonight.

Coming up, in New York City, what is the penalty for selling
cigarettes illegally? Last week, the penalty was death.

And in the re-write, the secret Republican tax increase is not so
secret anymore. Some of you actually paid that tax today.


O`DONNELL: Well, the crisis raging on the southern border of Texas,
that state`s Governor Rick Perry decided the very best place for him to be
this weekend was Iowa. Upon his return to Texas, he formally announced
that he will send National Guard troops to the Mexican border. Perry
intends to send a few hundred National Guard, possibly as many as 1,000,
but the governor admitted he does not know how the deployment will be paid

The Republican candidate to succeed Perry as Governor, Texas attorney
general, Greg Abbott, bravely said, quote, "Texans are willing to put boots
on the ground. But we expect Washington to foot the bill."

Texas politicians of both parties have never been shy about expecting
the federal government to foot the bill for their bright ideas.

Since the National Guard does not have the authority to arrest anyone,
it is not clear how they will keep themselves busy on the border.
Democratic Texas State Representative Terry Canales said, "A soldier
standing there with a gun who cannot detain or arrest somebody, they might
as well be carrying broom sticks."

Up next, Israel versus Hamas, and the hopes for a cease-fire.



most grotesque war I`ve seen. I mean, not only does Hamas target civilians
-- ours -- and hides behind their civilians, it actually wants to pile up
as many civilian deaths as possible. If there`s any complaints and there
should be about civilian deaths, they belong -- the responsibility and
blame belongs in one place, Hamas. I don`t think anyone should get that


O`DONNELL: That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an
interview with Brian Williams earlier today. As of tonight, more than 570
people in Gaza have been killed while 27 Israelis have died in that
conflict. While the death toll continues to climb, Secretary of State John
Kerry is in Egypt tonight trying to help negotiate a cease-fire.

NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is in Gaza City
with the latest.


continuing to be bombed tonight, Palestinian sources tell us that tomorrow,
there could be a 5-hour humanitarian cease-fire. Israel hasn`t agreed to
it. But if it holds, it could pave the way, possibly, for a longer, more
permanent settlement. And that would be welcome by many here in the Gaza

These are the final moments for 10 Palestinian fighters. Dressed in
Israeli uniforms, this morning, they ambushed and killed four Israeli
troops. Here, they are trying to sneak back into a tunnel to escape.
They`re fired on and killed.

Two militants may still be on the loose in a nearby Israeli kibbutz.
There`s panic as the search goes on. The militants are never found.

Israel is finding the fight in Gaza tougher than it expected. The
militants better trained, streets booby trapped, their tunnels, extensive.

So, Israel is using its heavy weapons, artillery and air strikes
pounding the densely populated Gaza Strip.

The injured continue to arrive at Gaza city`s main hospital. This
services hundreds of thousands of people. And it`s overwhelmed.

Upstairs is the children`s ward. The 10-year-old Fatima was so badly
hurt by Israeli fire, she can`t talk. Her younger sister Maja (ph) lies
next to her.

Dr. Iwad Iksan (ph) tickles her feet. Maja can`t feel it. She`s
completely paralyzed.

He tries to comfort her. She doesn`t know her mother and two sisters
died in the blast that left her frozen in this bed.

Dr. Iwad says they can`t help her here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our services here is not so sophisticated to treat
cases like this.

ENGEL: Dr. Iwad heads to the E.R., children on gurneys seem to be

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a Palestinian child, guilty of the most
horrible crime to be born Palestinian in Gaza.

ENGEL: This ground offensive has lasted only a few days. Already,
hundreds are dead and thousands wounded.

And just tonight, Israel struck an apartment building here in Gaza
City as rescue workers and volunteers moved into the building, the building
collapsed on top of them. At least 20 people were killed. And it`s events
like these that show how important a cease-fire could be.

Richard Engel, NBC News, Gaza City.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor and editor at large for
"The Atlantic", Steve Clemons.

And former ambassador, William Taylor. He helped negotiate conflicts
between Israelis and Palestinians and is currently a vice president at the
Institute for Peace.

Ambassador Taylor, the note in there by Richard Engel, that there
could be a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire tomorrow. But Israel has not
agreed to it. What could Israel`s reasons -- Israel`s reasons be for not
agreeing to something like that?

trying to get something for a cease-fire, maybe that`s the -- that`s the
negotiation that they`re looking for. It`s hard to say why anyone would
oppose a humanitarian pause in order to resupply or get wounded out. But
maybe it`s a negotiating tactic.

O`DONNELL: And, Steve, I mean, five hours. I`m not sure it`s even
quite worthy of the phrase cease-fire. I like the word pause better.

STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: A couple others have been five hours in
duration, but I think it would run against the Israeli narrative they`ve
been the most forthcoming in embracing cease-fires thus far and Hamas is
not. So, this would be the first time that Israel failed to come forward
in this particular conflict. So, it would be out of step.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what President Obama had to say today.


OBAMA: Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel
attacks from Hamas. And as a result of its operations, Israel has already
done significant damage to Hamas` terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

I`ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the
rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.
And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the
international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting
and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in


O`DONNELL: Ambassador, what is your sense of what John Kerry is
trying to do right now?

TAYLOR: My sense is he`s trying to get the two sides to sit down and
talk. And that`s going to have to be the way this particular incident
ends. It also is the way the broader conflict is going to have to end. He
tried for months, as we know, to try -- to get the negotiating into a place
that would resolve these issues. And in the end, several months ago, it
stalled. But it has to come down to people talking to each other.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Secretary Kerry yesterday on "Meet the


KERRY: Israel has every right in the world to defend itself. But
we`re hopeful, very hopeful that we could quickly try to find a way forward
to put a cease-fire in place so that the underlying issues, so that we can
get to the questions.

But you cannot reward terrorism. There can`t be a set of pre-
conditioned demands that are going to be met. So, we support the Egyptian
initiative, joined in by Israel and others to have an immediate cease-fire.


O`DONNELL: Steve, he sounds completely in sync with Benjamin
Netanyahu there.

CLEMONS: Well, Egypt has basically shut the back door for Hamas. And
so, when you look at the players involved in other conflicts, other
stakeholders in the Middle East, the Saudis, UAE, the Qataris, the
Jordanians have played a much more important role than they have thus far.
You have a big division, the kind of Sunni-Shia civil war beginning to rage
throughout the region. And so, there are significant distractions.

And there are within the Arab League significant differences between
key players there. You`ve got the Qataris and the Saudis barely speaking
to one another.

So, it`s hard in this case. Egypt is not looked at as a fair broker
by Hamas. And so, in that mix, John Kerry`s a very compelling man and I
think he`s a great diplomat. But he doesn`t have the pieces in place that
have been traditionally there for previous American peace brokers.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to one of the Israeli spokesmen said to
Andrea Mitchell today.


until now has been that every cease-fire proposal that`s been put on the
table and specifically those Egyptian proposals that are supported by the
U.N., supported by the Arab League, supported by the United States,
supported by the Europeans, those proposals have been consistently rejected
by Hamas. Now, we accepted those proposals. Had Hamas accepted them, too,
this fighting would have been over.


O`DONNELL: It seems to stay consistent with that line that they would
be -- they would be in a position where they`d have to accept that five-
hour pause.

TAYLOR: Normally, what a negotiator will do, what a mediator will do
is talk to both sides before making a proposal. The problem this time is
the Egyptians didn`t talk to Hamas. They talked to the Israelis, they
probably talked to others. They didn`t talk to one side.

That`s not going to lead to an agreement.

O`DONNELL: Steve, who is the -- who`s your sense of who is the best
player we have on the field in this crisis right now?

CLEMONS: Oh, that`s a very hard one. You know, in terms of the U.S.
foreign policy right now, John Kerry`s about all we got. But I think, and
we`re lucky to have him.

I think ultimately, it`s going to be an odd bedfellow kind of
arrangement. You know, you have the Turks and you`ve got Qatar who are
closer to Hamas than any other party. And so, you need to bring them into
the dance somewhat, and you somehow have to get the Israelis who have a
very, very serious commitment to blowing up these tunnels and just leaving
and seriously eroding Hamas` military capability.

But you see the human toll just going crazy. And many people,
including myself have been saying, how do you prevent yourself from
creating another generation of insurgency? Another generation of Hamas,
you know, opposed to you given what you`re doing.

And so, in that, John Kerry needs to bring all those people together
and I think he`s very capable.

O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons and Ambassador Taylor, thank you very much
for joining us tonight.

Coming up, the NYPD banned chokeholds more than 20 years ago. We will
show you a video of a chokehold that an officer used last week and the
tragic outcome. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, police use of deadly force.

The sale of cigarettes is heavily regulated and taxed. There are
federal regulations and taxes on cigarettes and state regulation and taxes
on cigarettes. In New York City, it is illegal to sell cigarettes that
bypass those regulations and taxes. So what do you think the penalty is
for standing outside with a handful of cigarettes that you are selling
individually? Well, on Staten Island last week, the penalty for that was


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time you see me -- I`m tired of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t touch me. Don`t touch me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t


O`DONNELL: That was 43-year-old Eric Gardner grabbed in the choke
hold by an NYPD officer and wrestled to the ground where he can be heard
saying, I can`t breathe, I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe.

He was then left lying motionless on the ground for at least seven
minutes with police officers making absolutely no attempt whatsoever to
resuscitate him. When emergency medical technicians and paramedics
arrived, they also made absolutely no attempt to administer CPR or
resuscitate Eric Gardner.

The 43-year-old father of six was pronounced dead on arrival at
Richmond University medical center. The NYPD officer who put Eric Gardner
in a choke hold has been placed on modified assignment and stripped of his
badge and gun. The NYPD banned the use of choke holds over 20 years ago.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton
had this to say.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I want to offer my deepest
condolences to the family and loved ones of Eric Gardner. He was a loving
husband and caring father and grandfather. This is a terrible tragedy that
occurred yesterday, a terrible tragedy that no family should have to
experience. I have instructed Commissioner Bratton to ensure that it will
be a full and thorough investigation of this incident.

have been a choke hold. But the investigation both by the district
attorney`s office as well as by our internal affairs will see to make that
final determination as part of our investigation.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Jim Cavanaugh an MSNBC law enforcement
analyst. He is also a former police officer and an ATF special agent. And
Chelsea Rose Marcius, a reporter at "the New York Daily News." She has
been covering this story.

Jim, what is your reaction to that video?

Lawrence, is excessive. It`s unnecessary. It`s excessive force in a rare
situation like this. I mean, you question even why were any police forces
arresting the guy for selling one loose cigarette, 50 cents or a few loose
cigarettes. It should be a citation, not a physical arrest.

And a choke hold is clearly against NYPD policy. And it`s unnecessary
force. He -- the choke is said, if you look at the still photograph when
he goes down on the sidewalk, that choke is set deep in his neck. And you
could see how difficult it would be to breathe. And your chest would be
heaving to get some air.

So that is very excessive. But, you know, some of the other officers
we can talk about, but they don`t look like they`re doing anything
necessarily excessive.

O`DONNELL: Chelsea, what is the status of the investigation at this
point? The NYPD, obviously, is doing their own investigation. But what
about the district attorney?

we know that the NYPD was at the house over the weekend. We saw them
coming out with several bags, a box. We`re not sure exactly where the
district attorney is right now. But the NYPD`s internal affairs division
has been pursuing this. We`re not -- we`re just all anxiously awaiting at
this time what their findings will be.

O`DONNELL: And Chelsea, what do we know about the officer who has
been removed from duty with his badge and his gun at this point? What do
we know about his previous history?

MARCIUS: Right now, we`re also learning about that. We know Daniel
Panteleo has been with the NYPD for eight years. So he has served for a
little while. This wasn`t a rookie kind of situation.

But he has been someone that we are just getting to know. And just
getting to learn more about. As far as we know, he has not come into any
kind of contact with internal affairs and has any sort of problems like
that so far. So that is another thing we`ll be also looking at as we move
forward in the story.

O`DONNELL: Is -- there is a report that the Staten Island advance
reports that Daniel Panteleo the one that put the choke hold on has been
sued twice before for violating the civil rights of people he`s arrested.
One of the suits is still open. And the other suit, the city was forced to
settle for $30,000 for two men who objected to the way he handled them when
they were arrested.

And Jim Cavanaugh, most police officers and the NYPD and every
department around the country go through their entire 30-year careers
without ever being a part of a settlement like that.

CAVANAUGH: Right. I think they`ll have to look closely at that in
their internal investigation, Lawrence, about you know, the behavior of the
officer. But you watch that video closely, and I`ve watched it many times,
"The Daily News` was the first to post that clear video. You can see the
choke hold set in there deeply. And I think that`s really the biggest
problem. The other officers I don`t see striking punching, kicking or
doing anything that seems to be the normal force you would use in an

There was enough officers there to be able to arrest Mr. Gardner by
grabbing his arms and getting the handcuffs on him. Quickly, there`s
eight, ten officers in the frame. And there`s some big dogs. And you can
hear one officer in the video say, OK, OK, he`s down. As if trying to de-
escalate the situation.

So I think it`s got to be carefully looked at by internal affairs.
And a little respect for Mr. Gardner.

Just one last comment, Lawrence. Mr. Gardner is addressing the
officers as officer. He`s not attacking them. He`s showing them respect,
and he`s a guy who is reacting to be over policed because he`s being over
policed. And he`s just upset about it. He`s not intoxicated. He is not
mentally defective. He is not striking at them.

So I hope the commissioner will look at this and I believe he will. I
think he`s a first straight guy and maybe get some new policies in there.
We need a lot more talk on the street to de-escalate. We need sergeants to
step in. We certainly don`t need choke holds on citizens for the most
extreme minor violations, or any violation for that matter.


And Chelsea, the U.S. attorney for the jurisdiction over the Staten
Island area is saying that they`re closely following the NYPD investigation
developments. There`s obvious potential for a civil rights violation in
this arrest. And there have been some protests about this. Tell us about
those protests.

MARCIUS: Yes, I was just at one myself yesterday. I mean, people in
the community are gathering to really rally around the family and to say,
look, we`re not going to take this. This, you know, choke hold or anything
from cops in the area.

Now, I do want to say that, you know, while we call it a choke hold
and what certainly appears to be a choke hold, we`re still waiting for that
to be determined by internal affairs. But, you know, Reverend Al Sharpton
has come out. You know, you saw the family, you saw the wife, and you saw
the children come out and say with Al Sharpton, standing by him and saying,
we`re not going to do this. You know, she`s in tears. She`s, you can
tell, the family is just in imaginable pain.

So, we are going to continue, I`m sure to see rallies and people
coming out to support the family and the community that has felt, according
to them, that they are, you know, a target by the Staten Island police.

O`DONNELL: Well, I`ve got to say, Jim, you know, that point that
Chelsea just made, is you know, internal affairs will determine whether
it`s a choke hold is kind of the standard position in most of these

But when you have a video like that and you have the NYPD commissioner
saying it appears to be a choke hold. There is no suspense left on how the
internal affairs department is going to rule on what we`re looking at
there. There`s nothing else to call what we`re seeing in that video.

CAVANAUGH: Well, you can look at the picture yourself. Look at the
photograph when the officer`s on the sidewalk with his arm locked deep into
Mr. Gardner`s neck. Now, he`s choking him. I mean, we can get into some
discussion of the technical aspects whether it fits the definition of a
mixed martial arts absolute choke hold that would cut off the blood to both

At anyway, he has cutting off his ability to breath and the man can`t
breathe. He was saying he can`t breathe. He`s choking him. And, you
know, my test on things like torture is, what if he was doing it to me?
Well, if he was doing it to me, he`d be choking me. And so, that`s a
pretty easy test.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And there`s no question without that video, I have
no doubt that the officers involved would be completely exonerated for what
went on there. But that video is something they`re going to have a lot of
trouble getting past.

"New York daily News" reporter, Chelsea Rose Marcius and Jim
Cavanaugh, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.

MARCIUS: Thank you, Lawrence.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, when is a tax not a tax? When do they use
another three-letter word for that? Well, when Republicans vote for it.
That`s in the rewrite.

And Republicans love to play the what would Reagan do game, but they
just never seem to remember exactly what Ronald Reagan actually did do.


O`DONNELL: And now for the good news, and what might be our very last
world cup update.

I say might be because I thought we were already done with the world
cup. But it turns out a member of the world cup winning German soccer team
is using his bonus money wisely. Mesut Ozil is donating $500,000 to pay
for surgeries for 23 Brazilian children. He teamed up with BigShoe, a
charity dedicated to helping children around the world get necessary

Ozil announced the donation on his facebook page writing, quote "prior
to the world cup, I supported the surgery of 11 sick children. Since the
victory of the world cup is not only due to 11 players but to our whole
team, I will now raise the number to 23. This is my personal thank you for
the hospitality of the people of Brazil." That is really good news.

The rewrite is next.



nobody had to sacrifice their core principles. Our principles are don`t
raise taxes, reduce the deficit. This bill reduces the deficit by $23
billion, and it does not raise taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter


O`DONNELL: Remember that? Paul Ryan not sacrificing his core
principles. That was Paul Ryan at a joint press conference with democratic
budget committee chair Patty Murray announcing the bipartisan budget act of
2013. It was Paul Ryan`s attempt to rewrite the draconian sequestered cuts
written into the budget control act of 2011 which President Obama signed
into law on the day the United States was scheduled to breach the debt
ceiling for the first time in history.

House Republicans demanded $1 in deficit reduction for every dollar
that the debt ceiling was going to be increased. And since nearly every
house Republican had signed Grover Norquist`s pledge to never ever raise
taxes in any way. That meant it had to come from spending cuts and none of
it came from tax revenue, unless you look really closely.

It`s always difficult to find enough spending cuts for legislation
like this, which is why Democrats, including President Obama were willing
to include some tax increases in this package to help with the deficit
reduction. Close some tax loopholes.

But remember, the Republicans were absolutely opposed to any tax
increases, including closing any tax loopholes. So what did they do? They
found a tax increase that they could pretend was not a tax increase.

And some of you began to pay that new tax today. It is a federal
sales tax on airline tickets. It was increased today by almost 125
percent, 125 percent tax increase, 169 Republicans in the House of
Representatives voted for that sales tax increase that went into effect
today, nine Republicans in the Senate voted for it.

Here`s how one passenger reacted to the sales tax spike.


JANE BARKER, TRAVELER: I think it gets prohibitive to take a family
and travel. Everything is added on. You know, you keep building and
building and building and getting feed to -- so to the point that you can`t

JAKE BARKER, TRAVELER: I mean, to add to the cost there for
passengers to fly, that`s kind of absurd.


O`DONNELL: So how did Republicans who had signed Grover Norquist`s
pledge never to raise taxes in any form get away with doing this?

Well, it was only one way. Grover Norquist helped them get away with
it. He let them off on a technicality.

Grover said at the time, by far the worst element of the bipartisan
budget act of 2013 as the per ticket airline fee hike that goes to the
transportation security agency. The bill, however, structures the TSA
ticket fee not as a tax but as an offsetting receipt to pay for TSA

In so doing, this fee straddles the line between a tax increase and a
user fee without technically crossing into tax hike territory. The
provision is scored by CBO as a spending cut in the form of an offsetting
receipt and has been since TSA was first created by congress. This is a
very bad way to write legislation. CBO`s scoring methodology is gimmicky
and it does not hold up to strict scrutiny as a serious policy initiative.

And I thought Grover was all about strict. But even though Grover
didn`t like it, he didn`t fight it. He did not call it a tax even though
it is. He went along with Republicans pretending it`s a user fee. That is
a fee collected on each airplane ticket simply to cover the costs of
running the TSA budget and running those airlines with the TSA security in

The trouble with that, and Grover didn`t mention this, the trouble
with that is the money collected on these tickets doesn`t go to the TSA
budget. It goes into general revenue, the very same big pot that your
income tax goes into.

Republicans voted for this, not to improve the TSA, not to increase
spending at the TSA, Republicans voted for this tax for the same reason
Democrats and anyone who has ever voted for a tax has voted for that tax,
to raise revenue for the government.

Calling a tax a fee is a favorite tactic of Democrats and Republicans
and federal and state governments. Sometimes a fee is a fee. But as in
this case, when it pours, billions of extra dollars into the treasury,
billions more money than the TSA actually needs or is capable of spending,
well, we have another three-letter word for that and it`s not fee.



President Obama`s trying to be deliberative, it comes off as indecisive.
He`s trying to be thoughtful, comes off as weakness.


O`DONNELL: Eugene, Lindsey Graham`s trying to be a senator, but comes
off as Republican running for reelection.

does. I mean, on somewhat, well, they can`t help themselves, right? I
mean, it just kind of, you know, attack, attack, attack.

O`DONNELL: Well, I love this thing about --

ROBINSON: Whatever he`s doing, he can`t do a good thing.

O`DONNELL: Yes. He`s trying to be deliberative. I mean, I guess
Lindsey Graham is granting the truth that the president is trying to be
deliberative according to he said that.


O`DONNELL: But it appears to some people to be indecisive. That`s
his big complaint of the way it appears.

ROBINSON: Right. Because I`ve decided that`s the way it`s going to
appear to be. Right.


And then there`s this Republican kind of dream going around, if Ronald
Reagan was in there, this would be so different. And the difference might
be that there would be no Russian sanctions, no additional Russian
sanctions. He never imposed any additional sanctions on the Soviet Union
for anything they did.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And it`s -- they have this very sort of gauzy,
hazy memory of Ronald Reagan, right? In the Ronald Reagan years. And a
whole lot of stuff apparently just didn`t happen in their world. So, you
know, Benghazi happens and this is the worst thing, you know, that`s ever
happened and forget about the marine barracks in Lebanon which, of course,
happened under Ronald Reagan, 250 Americans killed. It was a security
lapse. But somehow it`s not --

O`DONNELL: And the response --

ROBINSON: Forgotten.

O`DONNELL: Yes. The Reagan response was to just walk away.

ROBINSON: Was to walk away. To simply --

O`DONNELL: No one paid a price for it.

ROBINSON: It wasn`t, we`re going to track them down and bring them to
justice, it was we`re out of here.

O`DONNELL: And John Kerry on "Meet the Press" yesterday made an
important point, David Gregory rattling off a list of things in which
Russia is cooperating fully with the United States, very important issues,
including involving Syria. And that`s a level of complexity that most of
the Washington commentators about this refuse to acknowledge. That there
could be more one thing you`re trying to accomplish with Vladimir Putin.

ROBINSON: Exactly. And so, how do you forget about Syria and Iran
nuclear issues and all the different things that a country, that the United
States simply has to deal with Russia on. So it`s not as if we can just
sort of craft (ph) the relationship -


O`DONNELL: And Lindsey Graham says, well, that`s not important. The
important thing is calling him a thug. If you don`t call Putin a thug,
then you`re not doing your job. Gene Robinson, thank you very much.

ROBINSON: Lawrence, great to see you.

O`DONNELL: You get tonight`s last word. Thank you. Chris Hayes is
up next.


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