THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 30, 2014
Guest: Julian Epstein, Nia-Malika Henderson, Robert Costa, Jahmiel Cuffee,
Steven Drummond, Rashida Rahim
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, when I was watching Ari`s
interview today with Rand Paul, I just kept thinking, what`s Rachel going
to say? What`s Rachel going to say?
Thank you for that. That was great and it`s a great setup for one of my
guests tonight who is Mr. Ari Melber. We`re going to talk more about that
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Very good. Awesome. Thanks, man.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, when you can`t beat them, sue `em.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: We have reached a low.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The House gets serious about suing the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over his selective implementation of the Affordable
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Taking executive actions to
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HARDBALL HOST: A cheap impeachment.
OBAMA: They`re mad because I`m doing my job.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Are you willing to let any
president choose what laws to execute?
OBAMA: The only reason I`m doing on my own is because you don`t do
MATTHEWS: The House voted heavily along party lines.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Approved the bill authorizing a suit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s never happened before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was intended to, on one hand head off impeachment
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A failed attempt to impeach the president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then the other hand, quietly fuel it.
OBAMA: Everybody recognizes that this is a political stunt.
MATTHEWS: A quickie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop wasting time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently taking its marching orders from Sarah Palin.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Impeachment is a message that has
to be sent to the president.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Another Republican effort to
pander to the most radical right wing --
MATTHEWS: Throwing a haunch of red meat out there.
PELOSI: -- impeachment-hungry extremists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are birthers, and Tea Partiers and Minuteman
MATTHEWS: Hoping that this will satisfy them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will never, ever be satisfied.
O`DONNELL: Today, the question before the House of Representatives was,
should the House sue the president of the United States for changing one of
the deadlines in the Affordable Care Act by executive action instead of
asking Congress to change that date through legislation?
Five Republicans voted no because they said suing the president was not
enough. The House should be impeaching the president.
All Democrats voted no, and so, by a vote of 225-201, the House passed a
resolution to authorize a lawsuit against President Obama -- the first ever
legal challenge of its kind by either the House or the Senate against a
Civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, has seen many darker days in his
life, but today was clearly one of his worst as a member of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: From his first day in office, the Republicans in the House, in this
House, have never supported this president. Every olive branch he extended
was broken. But today, Mr. Speaker, we have reached a low, a very low
point. This resolution to sue the president just goes a little too far.
It is a shame and a disgrace. The American people deserve better. We can
do better. We can do much better!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: But the Democrats don`t believe they can do much better in a
House controlled by Republicans like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: We have chosen to bring this legislation
for today to sue the president over his selective implementation of the
Affordable Care Act.
REP. JEFF DUNCAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Our Constitution does not say that
the president gets to write his own laws. Our Founders knew that was a bad
REP. TOM RICE (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Our freedom is in peril, my friends.
We cannot stand by and watch the president shred our Constitution.
BOEHNER: Are you willing to let any president choose what laws to execute
and what laws to change? Are you willing to let anyone tear apart what our
Founders have built?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: President Obama did not seem worried today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Everybody right now, this is a political stunt. But it`s worse
than that, because every vote they`re taking like that means a vote they`re
not taking to actually help people. And by the way, you know who`s paying
for this suit they`re going to file? You.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is former chief minority counsel to the House
Judiciary Committee, Julian Epstein, and "The Washington Post`s" Nia-Malika
Nia, the president ended on that point about who is paying for this. And
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter in the Rules Committee got the Republicans
on record voting against a number of issues involving the payment of this,
that they could be uncomfortable for them down the road. But it looked
like the Republicans in the House of Representatives could not be stopped
on this one today.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s right. You saw the
president there. He was almost basking in this.
It was certainly something that the White House had predicted a while ago,
that this lawsuit would come forward and obviously pass the House. And
then they`re also talking about impeachment now that the lawsuit is a sort
of slippery slope.
And what the White House sees out of this so far is they`ve been able to
raise the Democratic committees millions and millions of dollars off of
this and they feel like this is something that is going to really rally
John Boehner, of course, thought it would do the same for him, but in terms
of -- and I talked to a couple of Republican strategists about this, and
they feel like John Boehner is riding a tiger with this issue, and that it
is really awakening a sleeping giant among Democratic voters in advance of
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Louise Slaughter said on the House floor
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK: This lawsuit goes against everything
that the majority has been working for, for the last four years. They have
tried over 50 times, spending $79 million to repeal the Affordable Care
Act. Anyone frankly listening to this is not going to now believe there`s
this great change of heart and they`re so broken up that it wasn`t
implemented in time and by the book that you`re going to try to sue the
president of the United States. I don`t think even kids watching Sesame
Street that would make any sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Julian, Louise Slaughter in the Rules Committee offered some
amendments that every Republican voted against, and they were really some
things that Republicans are going to have trouble justifying, including --
she offered an amendment saying that general counsel -- that they must
disclose how much has been spent on the lawsuit every week. Every
Republican voted against that. She also had them vote on an amendment
requiring that -- prohibiting the hiring of any law firm or consultants who
lobby Congress on any subject or who lobby the executive branch on the
Affordable Care Act implementation or have financial interest in the
implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
She actually got Republicans to vote against that in the Rules Committee.
And they still kept going down this road where they keep offering Democrats
these political opportunities to make these points.
JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER COUNSEL HOUSE JUDICIARY CMTE: She does. And I
think Nia`s point, this is ultimately going to be very bad politics for the
Republicans, just no question about that.
She makes quite the ironic point on the floor that the suit, the purpose of
the suit ironically is to force the Obama administration to implement
Obamacare more quickly than it might otherwise do that. So, it`s
incredibly ironic, and there are lots and lots of political opportunities
for the Democrats as there were in 1998 when we were going through the
impeachment episode. This may lead to impeachment.
But this suit will be dead on arrival. We talked about it before on this
show. The House does not have standing to bring this suit, because it
hasn`t been injured, even if --
O`DONNELL: Julian, just explain -- let`s just explain standing for a
moment. What would be an example of someone who would have standing to
bring this lawsuit?
EPSTEIN: So, if an individual was working for a large company or over 50
or 100 employees and wanted to be able -- that company did offer health
insurance and wanted to be able to take of Obamacare, and now, there was a
year or two delay depending on the size of the company in terms of when
they could take advantage, they might have standing to bring the suit.
O`DONNELL: And the standing is that they are an injured party by this
EPSTEIN: They are an injured party and that is a constitutional
requirement. Virtually, all of the legal scholars in this area,
conservative, liberal, otherwise, say that the house will not have standing
and this will not make it to court.
So, I don`t think there`s a chance this makes it to court. If it did, the
court would say this is a political question, Congress has other means to
deal with it. The other point is what the president did here by delaying
the implementation is not illegal. We`ve seen presidents since time
immemorial delay the implementation of statutes for legitimate purposes.
Bush did it with Medicare Part D, the prescription drugs for seniors.
Obama -- Clinton did it in 1997 with Medicare reforms in the 1997 Budget
Act. We saw Bush do it in 2007 with small business tax reform.
This has been done -- administration after administration has done this in
the area of environmental protection rules. There`s nothing at all new.
In fact, it`s settled law that the administration has some discretion in
terms of implementing regulations that are required by statute, even if it
means temporary delays.
The only time the courts step in is in the case of say George Bush, when
George Bush was delaying the implementation of clean air statutes, for year
after year after year because he opposed them. And somebody with standing
took it to court and they won in the Supreme Court on that. That`s a very
different case from here.
But presidents deferring the implementation as Obama is doing here with the
employer mandate on Obamacare for a year, or maybe two years, depending on
the side of the country, that is settled law. There is no serious law
professor, legal scholar in this country that will tell you otherwise. It
is a settled legal question.
O`DONNELL: Nia, voters don`t normally send people to Congress to sue other
branches of government, and the challenge for Republicans here in
explaining this to their constituents and to others is that they are suing
the president for doing something that they would have wanted him to do.
HENDERSON: Right. I mean, it`s a complicated argument that they have to
make to their constituents, some of whom, right, actually want him to
further. Some of them want him to actually be impeached. But then you
have to think also about the middle of the road voters, those independents
who don`t really want this to happen at all. I think the latest polls out
of CNN show that the majority of voters don`t want the lawsuit. They don`t
So, again, I think the politics of this are just very, very difficult for
Republicans who in many ways had the wind at their back weeks ago. And
looking at the map and looking at history and how midterms usually play out
for sitting presidents after six years in office. But with this, I think
they`ve given a lot of momentum to Democrats and now they`re going to have
a real national narrative and a national strategy against Republicans when
they didn`t have that before.
O`DONNELL: But, Julian, how does a Democrat running in this election
season make something out of this lawsuit?
EPSTEIN: Well, I think it is -- it is exactly what the president said
today, that the Republicans are wasting taxpayer time and money on
absolutely frivolous lawsuits that have no merit, while the president is
attempting to do the public`s business. If you noticed today, we had a
report that GDP growth was 4 percent in the last quarter, which is pretty
I think the president takes the high ground. He says he`s doing his job.
He`s attempting to get the economy going into full throttle. He`s
attempting to do all the other things that he`s been talking about on
global warming and other issues, and the Republicans continue down this
road of a totally futile lawsuit, that they even privately don`t take
publicly. And this is the substitute for their policy.
I mean, they continue to be brain dead when it comes to articulating any
serious economic or social policy for this country that has any popular
support. This is good for the Democrats.
O`DONNELL: Nia-Malika Henderson and Julian Epstein, thank you both for
joining me tonight.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
EPSTEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the bipartisan duo of Booker and Paul, Rand Paul,
sat down for an interview today on sentencing reform with Ari Melber. That
was the interview that Rachel was just talking about in her last segment.
Ari is going to join me on that.
And in "The Rewrite", the first lady talks about the importance of
educating girls around the world in a way that no other first lady ever
And later, Ted Cruz is at it again in the House of Representatives.
O`DONNELL: New Jersey`s Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Kentucky`s
Republican Senator Rand Paul are Twitter friends. This week, Rand Paul
tweeted, "Congrats to my friend Cory Booker for being number 44 out of 50
on the Hill`s most beautiful list." Cory Booker replied, "I hate to tell
you this, Rand, but I think we were late pity ads to this list of the young
Yes, Rand Paul`s on the list, too. Cory Booker was number 44, and Rand
Paul was number 9. Rand Paul, number 9 on a beautiful list.
Number 1 is Danielle Sykes (ph) who works in constituent services for
Republican Bob Gibbs of Ohio this past season. She had a member of the Red
Rockers, the dance squad for the Washington Capitals hockey team.
You just heard everything I`ve ever known about the Washington Capitals
hockey team, including its very existence, which I just learned in my
Ari Melber is going to join me next to talk about his interview with Rand
Paul and Cory Booker.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday in bipartisan vote, the United States Senate
confirmed the new V.A. Secretary Bob McDonald 97-0. Bipartisan votes still
happen on the Senate floor on noncontroversial nominations like that. But
what has virtually disappeared is the bipartisan teaming of senators on
Until now, the new bipartisan legislative team is Rand Paul and Cory
Booker. And today, Ari Melber sat down with both of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The problem with the war on drugs is taking
a lot of people who make youthful mistakes and punishing them for a
lifetime. I think if we can get them back into voting as well working,
they`re much less likely to get in trouble.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: This is an issue whose time has come.
America has a broken criminal justice system. We have 4 to 5 percent of
the globe`s population, 25 percent of the globe`s prisoners are right here.
Taxpayers are carrying that burden. We`re destroying lives. We`re making
communities less safe.
PAUL: I think as Cory has mentioned many times, this is a conservative
notion in the sense that also we`re spending an enormous amount of money on
BOOKER: People don`t realize this practice of solitary confinement has
incredibly negative effects on the development of young people. This is a
practice we don`t need to keep young people safe or to keep society safe.
In fact, if we`re interested in empowering people to succeed after prison,
we would get rid of this practice almost in totality.
PAUL: When you think about it, somebody smoked pot, somebody sold pot and
we`re going to put them in solitary confinement as a punishment for this?
So, it`s ridiculous. I think our attitudes towards this are changing. I
still don`t think any of these drugs are a good idea. I just think the
punishment that we`ve chosen is very wrong.
BOOKER: Honestly, right now, I don`t care about the politics. This is an
issue of justice. I`m finding allies all across the board. This is sort
of a post-partisan issue.
PAUL: When Senator Booker first came here, I thought he`d be somebody to
be open to discussion and I think he`s proven to be that and I think we
work in a very collegial way.
BOOKER: It`s been a pleasure to work with -- not just Rand Paul, but as
you know in Washington, (INAUDIBLE) teams are working together. This has
been a great pleasure, but we`ve got to get this over the finish line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ari Melber, we used to see this sort of thing a fair amount.
But what we didn`t see, even in the good ole days is somebody like Rand
Paul really out there on the right edge of his party, joining with somebody
on the left side of the Democratic Party, over an issue like this. This is
ARI MELBER, THE CYCLE: It is new. And Senator Paul`s positions here are
pretty clear. It`s restoring voting rights to former felons. It`s doing
record expungement, which is a huge issue, as you know, for folks who get
out of jail, paid their time and just want a job. He`s also looking at the
crack and cocaine disparity, which has huge racial implications, as we
And he said something off camera off about this, where I said, did you have
to give anything up to get this bill, the REDEEM Act to get together on it?
He said, not really, because whatever motivates him and Cory Booker, he
said we`re really both strong on this issue from different perspectives,
but we really want to clean this up. And banning solitary confinement for
juveniles is also something that they care deeply about, they want to do
O`DONNELL: This is one of those positions where liberal and libertarian
overlap just right. It`s fascinating to see Rand Paul doing this, and
doing it by the way more eloquently than most Democrats who stay away from
this subject. They don`t want to be associated with it.
I want to go to the part we`re not showing but Rachel was talking about it
in her final block of her show tonight, which I`m sure you saw, where he
got nervous today, Rand Paul did, when you talked to him about the Civil
Rights Act and he didn`t specifically bring up the Rachel interviews, but
he did these interviews including Rachel`s, which he clearly said things
that are very different from the way he talks about it now.
What do you think you were seeing today? I mean, he`s trying to deny that
he ever said some of these things, and he may eventually be able to brush
that away. He`s -- what you pointed out to him was he has clearly evolved.
He just doesn`t say he has evolved.
But let`s -- what do you think that evolution is about?
MELBER: Well, what he says is he would probably support the whole bill,
but he didn`t like or had reservations about the rules on private
businesses. That`s what he said at the time.
O`DONNELL: And you tried to get him on those particular titles of the act
but he kind of just filibustered past it.
MELBER: Which I thought could be interesting and I also thought it would
be fair, because as he said, he feels it`s been covered a lot, so here`s a
chance to raise it exactly. We gave him ample time to respond to it.
I think what we`re seeing there is a desire by him to skirt the substantive
policy discussion about whatever reservations may exist in some of the
interstate or commerce power that the government used and back off the
entire thing and just say, look, I support the Civil Rights Act. That`s
something he said before. He doesn`t want to get into.
O`DONNELL: Rachel`s point is interesting. He can`t say anything like I
was wrong and I`m moving on. He`s not the only politician we`ve seen in
that kind of box. I mean, Hillary Clinton was in that kind of box in the
last presidential election over her Iraq vote. She couldn`t quite bring
herself to get the words right about that, but in a way that would work
He probably wanted any problems with that particular subject in the Civil
Rights Act, and Republican presidential primaries, but do you think that
kind of thing is going to dog him throughout a presidential campaign?
MELBER: I think it is difficult when you look at the number of questions
in our politics that relate to federal versus state control. It`s an issue
on Obamacare in the Medicaid expansion. It`s an issue on some of these
discussions around corporate personhood and where do you want to locate
that power and do you want to have national or local rules?
He`s talked a lot and I think led eloquently on the idea that we should let
states figure out if they want to decriminalize pot, and he`s had a
provision that would actually make some of that easier.
But again, that brings you back to these questions of federalism. There
are some issues, Lawrence, as you know, as we`ve discussed, that are bigger
than state`s rights. We settled that controversy for the most part of this
country around race and civil rights. There are other areas where liberals
are saying, no, state rights are great for marijuana. So I don`t think
it`s easy for any politician, Hillary and the other, to walk away from a
nuanced or detailed discussion.
O`DONNELL: You know what I think we`ve seen in recent elections, it seems
to me that most voters don`t care what your past position but they care
about your position is now. I mean, that`s how Republicans were able to
declare Mitt Romney to be a conservative last time around because they just
cared about where he was now. They didn`t care that he was in favor of
abortion in the past.
MELBER: Yes, look, in the interview today, we talked a lot of policy. We
talk about the racial element of the war on drugs. We talked about all of
those issues. On the politics, he`s someone who`s made a bet here that the
best political answer is, this is in my rear view and every time it comes
up, I`m going to be clear, I support this thing, let`s move forward.
That`s the political and substantive judgment he`s made.
O`DONNELL: Fascinating to watch today. Thank you, Ari Melber.
MELBER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Thanks for joining us tonight.
Coming up, a LAST WORD exclusive: the third video in two weeks of violent
arrests by NYPD officers. The man in this video who was arrested will join
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, NYPD brutality. A police officer
caught on video in Brooklyn and accused of stomping a subdued suspect is on
desk duty tonight. It was the third video in two weeks showing alleged
brutality by a New York City police officer.
The incident started when approaching officers accused Jamil Cuffee (ph) of
rolling what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette. A witness caught what
happened next on his cell phone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not doing anything. I don`t understand what this
is about. He has no weapons. There was no probable cause. There was no
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a cop sheriff. So, obviously, you just violated
on this man`s property.
Y`all came over here. I work right there. And I`m not scared of the boys.
Y`all just started wailing on him. There`s eye witness. This is a black
community, brother. Remember me? I already got a lawsuit over there.
Yo, what are you doing? What are you doing? I got you, bro. I got you on
camera. I have you on camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me! Help me!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold my phone and record it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all just started jumping him when he was sitting in
the chair. What are you doing? They`re dead wrong. I already got that
right here. You just pulled a gun on that man for no reason.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t do that!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The man who you just saw stomp Jahmiel Cuffee is charged with
attempted tampering with physical evidence, obstruction of government
administration in second degree and resistant arrest.
The NYPD says the incident is under review by the internal reviews board.
Jahmiel Cuffee is here with us tonight to tell his story for the first time
on television along with his sister, Rashida Rahim, and his lawyer Steven
Rashida, I just want to begin with you. You didn`t want to watch what was
just happening to your brother. I noticed when the video was rolling, you
just looked down at the desk. Have you seen this video before?
RASHIDA RAHIM, JAHMIEL CUFFEE`S SISTER: Yes, I have.
O`DONNELL: But just now you just don`t want to see it again?
RAHIM: Yes. It`s too painful to watch.
O`DONNELL: How did you feel when you saw it for the first time?
RAHIM: I was outraged. I was hurt, you know, I just don`t understand why
the officer was so angry and felt the need to stomp and point a gun in an
unarmed man`s face.
O`DONNELL: Jahmiel, you`ve seen this video before now I assume. And when
you`re going through something like that, I know you can`t possibly know
what`s happening to you the whole time. Does this video help you
understand the totality of what happened to you there?
JAHMIEL CUFFEE, VICTIM OF POLICE BRUTALITY: First and foremost, I would
like to thank you, Mr. O`Donnell, and the NBC studios for having us. And
that ordeal is just something I can never go through again.
O`DONNELL: How do you feel? Did you have a head injury from this? What
happened? Were you take on the a doctor afterwards?
CUFFEE: Yes, I was taken to the EMS.
O`DONNELL: And what injuries did they find on you as a result of this?
CUFFEE: They just x-rayed my elbow and my knee.
O`DONNELL: Now, they were approaching you because they believed they saw
you with marijuana. Did you have marijuana?
O`DONNELL: And they say that you resisted arrest. Did you resist the
CUFFEE: I have no comment. And my attorney has to take care of that.
O`DONNELL: Steven, what`s your view of the resisting arrest charge here?
STEVEN DRUMMOND, JAHMIEL CUFFEE`S ATTORNEY: Well, if you look carefully,
there`s a distinction, Lawrence, between seeing and observing. I`ve gone
over this tape a number of times. These officers, as it appears to us,
they weren`t trying to make an arrest. It seems to me that they were
trying to initiate some kind of a struggle to further someone to end.
If you look at 12 seconds into the tape, the officer who ultimately did the
stomping and pointed a gun, he has his left hand, I believe, rested on the
Volvo. His right hand is rested on his partner`s back. He`s not paying
attention to Mr. Cuffee at all. So, if you are trying to --
O`DONNELL: Yes. It`s a very strange physical maneuver to watch.
You know, I think we have a freeze frame of the officer taking out his gun
which I find inexplicable on the situation. I think we can get it up on
the screen. We will at some point get the freeze frame of the gun.
In that video, the gun is drawn. We paused this, this afternoon. I
studied that. There was absolutely, Jahmiel, nothing in this event that --
anywhere around this event that suggested any need for the use of a gun.
Did you have a gun on you?
CUFFEE: Not at all.
O`DONNELL: Did they ask you if you had a weapon?
CUFFEE: Not at all.
O`DONNELL: Now, you know, the issue of whether you had marijuana, didn`t
have marijuana, resisted arrest or did not resist arrest has nothing to do
with the moment we see where the officer comes walking back and stomps on
your head. That is a very clearly unprovoked moment and it`s fascinating
that the video decided to follow him. That turns out to be a good choice
by the video to follow this very strange behavior.
When he, if you can remember, when he was walking away like that, what
situation where you in with the officers who remained behind, were you
being -- were you being better treated at that point or was there some
relief in him walking away?
CUFFEE: I was already on the floor.
O`DONNELL: Yes. You wouldn`t really tell that anything had changed when
he walked away.
CUFFEE: Not at all.
O`DONNELL: And what was the sensation when he did stomp you on the head
CUFFEE: Just pain and a loss of memory at the point in time. And that was
it after that. It was like I blacked out.
O`DONNELL: Did any of the other officers say anything to you about that?
CUFFEE: I would like to thank two officers that you see in the video for
their courageous help and it seems like they -- if they wouldn`t have done
that, that officer probably would have continued to do more harm to me.
O`DONNELL: So those two officers stopped what was going on.
CUFFEE: It was two officers there.
DRUMMOND: And Lawrence, let me interject there. The first time where the
officer is using what appears to be a stick or a baton hitting him. And
one officer at that point pushed him away. And as I said earlier, there`s
a distinction between seeing and observing. So if you observe carefully,
you`ll see that taking place. And then right by when the kick came,
there`s another officer who pushes him away. And those two officers, as I
indicated, they really want to express their gratitude to them because this
is a family, his father is a retired police officer. They have great
respect for law enforcement.
O`DONNELL: So you grew up with a badge in the house?
O`DONNELL: But there are other officers there. It looks like detectives
to me, who are doing nothing, nothing while this is happening to you, and
who are standing idly by as the law would phrase it, while you`re getting
kicked in the head.
RAHIM: It`s like accepted behavior.
O`DONNELL: Yes. It seemed like nothing out of the ordinary to them.
O`DONNELL: Steven, what is the legal future for this case?
DRUMMOND: Well, there`s a criminal case pending. And I`m fairly confident
that the district attorney in Brooklyn will review this matter and
ultimately those charge also go away. We are fairly confident about that
because given his passion, and what I`ve seen from him, not just as a
district attorney, but before he became a district attorney, I`m fairly
confident that he wants a different approach to how these officers police
And ultimately, of course, there will be a civil suit down the road, but
it`s very early to talk about that. The most important thing we would like
to get done is for him to get treatment. There was a cat scan performed
and ultimately he went to the hospital. Not right then and there, what
happened was, he was transported by these very same officers to the
precinct and he ultimately had to beg them to take him to the hospital. He
went to the hospital. A cat scan wasn`t performed. But he still had a
serious headache. The stomping on the head was terrible by itself, but the
most compelling part in my conversation with my client and wit the family
is the imminent fear that he felt when the gun was pointed to his head and
to his chest.
O`DONNELL: Did you know a gun was being pointed? Because it was out very
CUFFEE: Yes, I seen the gun.
O`DONNELL: Jahmiel Cuffee, I just stunned by what you`ve suffered in this
situation. There`s nothing that I saw on that video that provoked that in
Thank you very much for joining me tonight.
CUFFEE: Thank you.
RAHIM: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Steve Drummond, thank you very much.
DRUMMOND: Thanks for having us.
RAHIM: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, first lady Michelle Obama`s vision for the future of
girls around the world. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: And now for the good news. Who would you love to have at your
wedding who you don`t know? . Well, for Stacey (INAUDIBLE), her dream
guest was Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and so Stacey had the
audacity to send justice Ginsburg out of the blue a wedding invitation.
Justice Ginsburg replied with a handwritten letter.
Dear Stacey, every best wish for life`s most important partnership. I will
be in Santa Fe on your wedding day, but appreciate your invitation and
spirit lifting note. Cheers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Needless to say, Stacey (INAUDIBLE) didn`t expect a ply and she told NBC
news, quote "I cried but they were very happy tears."
Another powerful woman is next in the rewrite.
O`DONNELL: In the rewrite tonight, Michelle Obama wants to rewrite the
future of girls around the world. Sixty two million school-age girls
worldwide are not in school. Almost half of them are in Africa. I`ve told
you about the situation in Malawi where only seven percent of girls
complete high school, which is half the rate of boys` high school
Public high school in Malawi and many other African countries is not free.
Most families can`t afford the tuition fees for any of their children. But
with luck they might be able to squeeze together the money for one of their
children to go to high school. And that child is far more likely to be a
boy than a girl that.
That`s why we started a scholarship fund for girls as part of the KIND
fund, our partnership with UNICEF, that provides desk for African schools
and now scholarships for girls to go to high school.
This week, 500 remarkable young people who made it all the way through
those African high schools are in Washington at the Mandela young African
leader`s summit. They`ve had the thrill of hearing from two of their
heroes this week. On Monday, President Obama and today Michelle Obama.
Some of Michelle Obama`s predecessors as first lady could have spoken to a
group of young African leaders. Some of those first ladies could have said
important things, memorable things. But no other first lady in American
history could have shared the kind of personal memories and insights that
Michelle Obama did today with the Mandela young African leaders.
This was a day when all Americans could take pride in the fact that a woman
like Michelle Obama has the unique position that she does in this country
and she used that position to inspire people who we have every right to
hope are well on their way to making this world a better place. Now, I`m
going to get out of the way and let Michelle Obama do the rest of the
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I could give a perfectly
fine speech today about increasing investments in girl`s education around
the world. But I said I wanted to be honest. And if I do that, we all
know that the problem here isn`t only about resources. It`s also about
attitudes and beliefs. It`s about whether fathers and mothers think their
daughters are as worthy of an education as their sons.
As an African-American woman, this conversation is deeply personal to me.
The roots of my family tree are in Africa. As you know, my husband`s
father was born and raised in Kenya.
OBAMA: And members of our extended family still live there. I have had
the pleasure of traveling to Africa a number of times over the years,
including four trips as first lady, and I brought my mother and daughters
along with me whenever I can. So believe me, the blood of Africa runs
through my veins and I care deeply about Africa`s future.
OBAMA: Now, the status of women in Africa is also personal to me as a
woman. See, what I want you all to understand is that I am who I am today
because of the people in my family. Particularly the men in my family who
valued me and invested in me from the day I was born.
I had a father, a brother, uncles, grandfathers who encouraged me and
challenged me, protected me, and told me that I was smart and strong and
OBAMA: And as I grew up, the men who raised me set a high bar for the type
of men I would allow into my life which is why I went on to marry a man who
had the good sense to fall in love with a woman who was his equal. And to
treat me as such, a man who supports and reveres me and who supports and
reveres our daughters, as well.
OBAMA: Leadership is about creating new traditions that honor the dignity
and humanity of every individual. Leadership is about empowering all of
our people, men, women, boys and girls, to fulfill every last bit of their
God-given potential. And when we commit to that kind of leadership across
the globe, that is when we truly start making progress on girl`s education.
Because that`s when families and small villages around the world will
demand equal opportunities for their daughters. They won`t wait. That`s
when countries will willingly and generously invest in sending their girls
to school because they`ll know how important it is.
We all know the ripple effects we can have when we give our girls the
chance to learn. We all know that girls who are educated earn higher
wages. They`re more likely to stand up to discrimination and abuse. They
have healthier children who are more likely to attend school themselves.
My ancestors came here in chains. My parents and grandparents knew the
sting of segregation and discrimination. Yet I attended some of the best
universities in this country. I had career opportunities beyond my wildest
dreams. And today, I live in the White House, a building --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: But we must remember, we live in a home that was constructed by
slaves. Today, I watch my daughters, two beautiful African-American girls
walking our dogs in the shadow of the oval office. And today I have the
privilege of serving and representing the United States of America across
So my story and the story of my country is the story of the impossible
getting done. And I know that can be your story and that can be Africa`s
O`DONNELL: Ted Cruz is causing trouble again and this time it`s trouble
for John Boehner once again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s an old
saying in Tennessee, I know it`s in Texas, probably in Tennessee, that says
fool me once shame on you. If you fool me, you can`t get fooled again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We did have a script here that would have justified the use of
that video, but I won`t to get to Robert Costa really fast, national
political reporter for "the Washington Post."
Robert, Ted Cruz is at it again. He is apparently trying to get house
Republicans to vote against John Boehner`s emergency funding bill for the
crisis on what is, by the way, the Texas border. What`s the latest on
ROBERT COSTA, POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Ted Cruz met tonight at
his Senate office with a group of more than a dozen house conservatives.
He`s whipping against the house Republican leaders and this is putting a
lot of pressure on Speaker Boehner, a day before he goes to the floor with
his own border package.
O`DONNELL: And so how many votes will Ted Cruz need to tip this thing
COSTA: He probably needs about 15 to 16 votes. And that`s about how many
people were at that meeting tonight. Boehner is trying to adjust his floor
plan. Phone calls tonight, a flurry of them were going out to House
conservatives. He may add another vote to sweeten the deal that would
change and hit Obama on the border policy. But I think this is another
example of Cruz working against Boehner and really putting him in a tough
O`DONNELL: And Robert, apparently the Democrats are all working against
this bill. I mean, there used to be a method where, you know, the
Democrats would vote for this bill knowing it`s not enough but hoping that
in a compromise with the Senate it would be increased into something closer
to the Senate package. But they`re just against it, too. So Boehner has
to get all these votes on the house side.
COSTA: You read it so well, Lawrence. You are capitol expert. And I
think one of Boehner`s problems right now is he is trying to go to the
conservatives at the 11th hour. But when I spoke to Steny Hoyer, he said
Boehner and the House GOP leaders have not come to him, trying to seek
Democratic vote. So Boehner has a very narrow window, a low, a small
margin for error. That`s going to be a very difficult tomorrow. He`s
going to have a morning meeting on Friday trying to whip up some support at
the final few minutes.
O`DONNELL: And there`s really no precedent for this that I can think of.
And we talked about it before when Ted Cruz was doing this in the house
before. There`s also no tried and tested technique by house leadership to
prevent this. Does Boehner have a brighter idea this time than he did the
last time Ted Cruz started meddling over there?
COSTA: When I speak to House leadership aides, they have the same refrain.
This is an unusual situation. You have a senator weighed in to House
O`DONNELL: And so they don`t really have a play against this. They just
know -- they try to keep track of how many people went over to Ted Cruz`s
office tonight, things like that?
COSTA: They`re keeping tabs and all, but there is a debate within the GOP
leadership. Some people think Boehner should push a little harder against
Cruz for coming to cross the capitol and meddling in house affairs. But
the other argument that you are allowed for people close to Boehner is that
Cruz has such a grip on the grassroots that if you combat him, if you go at
him, you better be prepared to risk the outrage from those conservative
O`DONNELL: Robert Costa who knows what`s going on on that Republican side
gets tonight`s "Last Word." Thanks, Robert.
COSTA: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL