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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Date: January 6, 2015
Guest: Christie Griffin, Sherrilyn Ifill, John Wisniewskia


Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Talk about a cliffhanger, Rachel.

MADDOW: I know.

O`DONNELL: Come on. Go ahead, take five minutes. Tell us about the
mall. I can`t wait.

MADDOW: I could unfortunately. That`s the thing that`s worrying
about me. I could. I won`t. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

Well, John Boehner was re-elected as speaker today and some of the
Republicans who dared to vote against him have already been punished.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s talk about this new Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is a festive day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opening day, swearing in is always a festive,
celebratory day.

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: The new Congress completely controlled by

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy new Congress day.

FALLON: Or as Republicans put it, aloha.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Boehner now officially re-elected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Congress, same speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boehner looks lamer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Honorable John A. Boehner.




FALLON: Obama recently said his New Year`s resolution is to
cooperate more with Republicans.

OBAMA: There is potential agreement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More cooperation this time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big battleground is going to be the United States

EARNEST: Mitch McConnell obviously has a different job now.

OBAMA: There are going to be areas where we disagree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keystone pipeline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president is going to see the Keystone XL
pipeline on his desk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that didn`t take long.

CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN: Obama rushes out on stage and shouts, are
you ready for some stuff that`s never going to happen?

FALLON: A lot of politicians have announced their New Year`s

to work here.

FALLON: Rand Paul, 2015, he resolved to stop asking his barber for
the "Ramen Noodle" cut.

you? My name is Joe Biden, Vice President Biden.

FALLON: Joe Biden went over to Brazil.

BIDEN: I just swore in your grandson.

FALLON: He said, it`s great to be here in the Amazon.

Always want to see where the books came from. Glad I`m here.


O`DONNELL: For the first time in eight years, Republicans now
control both chambers of Congress, and tonight, John Boehner has managed to
retain the title of speaker of the House of Representatives.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: This House will continue to be
led by a proud son of Ohio and a happy fan of the Ohio State football team.


PELOSI: A man of abiding faith, great heart and deep dedication.
John Boehner is truly a gentleman from Ohio.


O`DONNELL: Twenty-five Republicans mounted a symbolic revolt against
the gentleman from Ohio.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Clerk, I present for election for the
office for speaker of the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress,
the name of the Honorable Ted Yoho.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I present for the election of Office of Speaker
of the House of Representatives for the 114th Congress the name of Judge
Louie Gohmert, a representative from the great state of Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I place into nomination the name of Daniel


O`DONNELL: No, not that Daniel Webster.

Probably just because of name recognition, Florida Congressman Daniel
Webster received the most Republican votes after John Boehner with 12
votes. Louie Gohmert received three. Ted Yoho got two. And Rand Paul, a
senator actually won one vote.

And no, technically you do not have to be a member of the House of
Representatives to be elected speaker of the House of Representatives. So
Rand Paul can hang in there for some other year.

Here was Rush Limbaugh`s prediction earlier today.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: I tell you, folks, you have to respect
those that manned up for that vote against Boehner. That took a lot of
guts to vote against him because they know there`s going to be a price to
pay. Courage, remember that courage is never wasted.


O`DONNELL: This evening, Speaker Boehner removed Congressman Webster
and Congressman Rich Nugent from the House Rules Committee. Nugent
supported Webster and voted against Boehner today. Congressman Steve King
who nominated Webster tweeted, "Speaker Boehner kicked Webster and Nugent
off Rules Committee for voting against Boehner. No room for intimidation
tactics. I stand with them."

Joining me now, MSNBC political reporter Kasie Hunt, and "Mother
Jones" Washington bureau chief David Corn.

Kasie, why were there not more punishments issued today. There were
more votes cast against the speaker.

possible, Lawrence, that you could see more punishments to come. But, you
know, at the same time, the house speaker`s ability to punish people this
way is a little bit limited. And this revolt was so scattered, right? And
that`s why we didn`t see it succeed to a greater degree than it did. I
mean, you had this sort of collection of candidates.

I had one Republican privately call it the coalition of the aggrieved
in a conversation. And they weren`t able to unite around one single
potential alternative to Speaker Boehner. This was a protest vote.

And yes, it was a louder protest than we`ve heard in decades, but at
the same time, they weren`t able to keep it together. I think that`s kind
of the preview you`re going to have of the next two years of Congress,
where leaders are struggling to keep the sort of right flank together, but
the right flank doesn`t totally know how to hang together.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, let`s just dwell for a moment on how abnormal
this is in the House of Representatives. Most speakers of the House have
never been voted against by anyone in their party, not one vote, not one
person has ever dared to stand and say vote for me. And it isn`t even a
matter of daring most of the time. It doesn`t even cross their minds to do
this most of the time.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, that`s right, Lawrence. You know
that. And it shows the degree of aggrievement, if that`s a word, that some
two dozen or so Tea Party types feel in the House, that John Boehner for
all his obstructionism, for all his opposition to Obama, that 51 votes
against Obamacare were not enough. They still feel that the party has to
move further to the right and have more hostage-taking events when it comes
to the budget and, of course, to the debt ceiling.

You know, it will remain a problem for Speaker Boehner, but at the
same time, he has a bigger margin, a bigger Republican majority this time
than he had in the last Congress.

And it`s kind of interesting. How many votes did he get today as
speaker from Republicans? Two hundred and sixteen. How many does he need
to pass a bill without any Democratic votes? Two hundred and eighteen in
most instances.

So, he`s really kind of on the edge there of being able to tell the
Tea Partiers to take a hike. He may need them a little bit for some votes.
But it`s not going to be a greatly different dynamic than he`s had for the
last two years. The big difference is going to be what happens in the

O`DONNELL: Now, Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney who voted
against John Boehner two years ago but voted for him today issued this
statement, "We walked on to the floor two years ago with signed pledges,
handwritten promises for more than enough people to deny Boehner his job.
But when it came time to vote, almost half of those people changed their
minds, including some of those who voted against Boehner today. Fool me
once, shame on you."

Kasie Hunt, there`s the truth of it. These profiles in courage that
Rush Limbaugh thinks he`s watching actually proved themselves last time
capable of denying the speaker the outcome of winning, but they actually
didn`t have the courage to do it.

HUNT: Right. And that illustrates just the kind of power and kind
of politician that John Boehner is. I mean, he has -- he`s been here a
long time. That`s the difference between somebody like Boehner and even
this coalition, loose coalition of Tea Party people who are so upset. I
mean, think about what they`ve experienced since they`ve come into the
House. Most of them showed up here in 2010 with that Tea Party wave.
They`ve never known what it`s like to have a Republican in the White House.
And that`s what congressional leaders here are starting to say about their
goals for the next two years.

It`s to set up -- Mitch McConnell said in an interview, he wants to
make sure the way they govern doesn`t create this reception that having a
Republican president and a Republican Congress would be scary for the
American people -- his word, not mine.

So -- but the Republicans that we`re talking about, these Tea Party
types, most of them have no idea what it`s like to have your party in power
and to need to use Congress to try to govern. All they know is the

O`DONNELL: Today, Congressman John Lewis, the civil rights icon who
is portrayed in the movie "Selma", the beautiful and important film "Selma"
that`s out now, issued a statement about Steve Scalise, the House
Republican whip, asking him to publicly apologize for speaking before a
white supremacy group that was headed by David Duke.

Congressman Lewis said, "I think somehow and in some way,
Representative Steve Scalise should come clean and say what he did and
apologize to members of the Congress to his colleagues on both sides, the
Republican and Democratic side of the aisle.

David Corn, there is no one in the Congress in either body who
commands the kind of respect that John Lewis does on matters such as this.
What happens next?

CORN: It`s hard to see Steve Scalise doing anything which he hasn`t
done already, which is duck and cover and make excuses. And the leadership
of the House, you know, made a decision to ride that horse and not push him
out or force him into a more public apology or show more contrition than he
already has.

So, I -- you know, respect Representative John Lewis a lot. I find
it very difficult to believe that his words will move a recalcitrant
Republican leadership.

O`DONNELL: Well, he will be facing questions tomorrow. The House
leadership is going to have a press conference tomorrow.

Kasie Hunt, I`m sure you`re going to be there, Kasie, tomorrow?

HUNT: I hope so, Lawrence. I planned on it.

O`DONNELL: OK. Get a question in for us.

Kasie Hunt and David Corn, thank you both very much for joining me

HUNT: Nice to be with you, Lawrence.

CORN: Sure thing.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, an ethics complaint is filed against the St.
Louis County prosecutors in the Darren Wilson grand jury, who handled the
Darren Wilson grand jury for a mistake that we first exposed on this
program immediately after the grand jury transcripts were revealed.

And Chris Christie`s travel accommodation to see his beloved Cowboys
play football could actually get him into some ethics trouble.

And it was a murder that no one saw coming. A hedge fund owner was
murdered by his son according to police in dispute over $200.


O`DONNELL: Within the last hour, the commanding general at Fort
Bliss Army Base near El Paso, Texas, confirmed that one person was shot and
killed by a gunman inside the V.A. clinic in El Paso this afternoon.

Several local reports say the victim is a doctor but NBC has not been
able to confirm that. According to "Reuters", the gunman then shot and
killed himself. That El Paso V.A. clinic was in the news last year after a
federal audit showed it had one of the nation`s longest wait times for
veterans trying to see a doctor.

The Missouri prosecutors who did not get a grand jury to incite
Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown are now facing an
ethics complaint. That`s next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the transcript, the prosecutors
actually gave the wrong statute, the Missouri statute to the grand jury


O`DONNELL: That was on this program the day after the transcript of
the grand jury proceedings in the killing of Michael Brown was released.
After that transcript was released, it was in that moment that we learned
on this program that the assistant district attorney provided the grand
jury with the wrong law on police use of deadly force.

It was a version of Missouri law that had been ruled unconstitutional
by the Supreme Court before the assistant district attorney who handed it
to the grand jury became a lawyer. That`s how old it was. That is now one
of the items cited in an ethics complaint filed against the prosecutors in
the case. Robert McCulloch, Kathy Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley are now
facing a professional ethics complaint filed with the Missouri Supreme
Court alleging they violated professional rules of conduct by presenting an
outdated statute towards the beginning of the grand jury proceedings.

The NAACP legal defense fund has also used the fact that the
prosecutors used the wrong unconstitutional deadly force law to ask a
Missouri judge to convene a new grand jury and appoint a special prosecutor
in the case.

Joining me now in an exclusive interview is Christie Griffin, founder
of the Ethics Project. She filed the complaint against the prosecutors in
the Darren Wilson case.

Also joining me, Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense

Christie Griffin, what are the essential points of your ethics

points of the ethics complaint is that Robert McCulloch asked the St. Louis
County prosecuting attorney and the assistant prosecuting attorneys engaged
in a number of what we consider to be unethical conduct by, as you just
mentioned, by presenting an outdated statute that had been deemed
unconstitutional. They engaged in minimally what would be considered gross
incompetence by confusing documents, by mislabeling documents, which just
happen to be the evidence that was related to Dorian Johnson, who was the
key witness with Michael brown the day that he was shot and killed, and
also actually mishandling and losing certain documents, misplacing certain

They also just overwhelmed them without giving any kind of direction,
overwhelmed them by dump trucking the grand jury with so much of the
evidence by presenting them with interviews that had taken place prior to
actually coming before the grand jury, then having them re-testify in front
of the grand jury, which appeared to be an effort to create issues of
credibility, that their testimony might differ from one period to the next,
from the interviews with the FBI or with the police or with the prosecutors
and then what their actual testimony before the grand jury.

So, there was a long line. We actually cited at least 15 different
instances where we believe after reviewing the transcript that we felt that
looking at the Missouri rules of professional ethics that there were clear
issues of misconduct that the chief disciplinary council should investigate
and consider.

O`DONNELL: And your complaint quotes the transcript in several
spots, including that passage where they introduce finally the correct law
to the grand jury weeks after giving them the wrong law. And I read that
transcript on this be program. They never -- as you`ve shown in your
complaint -- they never explain to the grand jury what the difference is.

Sherrilyn Ifill, what is the NAACP hoping for in what you`re doing?

Defense Fund, separate organization to the NAACP --


IFILL: -- filed a letter with Judge McShane, essentially asking her
to use her authority, her administrative and supervisory authority to
address the issue of the process. And that`s really what we focused on.
We focused not on the personalities or any of the individuals. We focused
on the process of what was presented to the grand jury and how it was
presented to the grand jury.

Look, we`re --

O`DONNELL: Was there a lot of overlap in what Christie has just been
talking about?

IFILL: Some of it is. Some of the same conduct actually applies to
our letter and also to their ethics complaint. And essentially, we really
focused on four areas. We focused, of course, on the incorrect legal
standard that you talked about on this show and that`s been described and
talked about at some length. We talked about the fact that Mr. McCulloch
admits that he presented testimony to the grand jury that he knew to be
perjured before he ever presented it to the grand jury.

We also talked about the way in which jurors, grand jurors were
allowed to engage in their own investigation. In fact, they had been
admonished by the judge --

O`DONNELL: What is an example of that?

IFILL: Well, one of the prosecutors essentially told the grand
jurors if there were particular clip, audio clips or pieces of information
presumably from any source, that they wanted the other jurors to see that
they had found on their own, they could tell the prosecutor, just e-mail
her directly and she would get that information and present it to the rest
of the grand jury.

And this is after the grand jurors had been admonished by a judge
that they were not to engage in any of their own independent investigation,
but they were only to rely on the information that was being presented by
the prosecutor.

And then, of course, it`s the preferential treatment of the
witnesses. If you look at the way in which the witnesses were being
questioned, at one point, you know, we exhaustively went through these
transcripts. If you covered up the names, you would have thought the
prosecutors were Darren Wilson`s defense counsel. That`s the way in which
they were questioning him, providing him every opportunity to engage in
kind of exculpatory statements, and yet challenging the witnesses who told
a different side of the story.

And then, finally, at the end with the final instructions, that have
they were giving to the grand jury, it`s detailed in our letter and you can
see it on our website, if you can make sense of it, Lawrence, I would
appreciate you explaining it to me.

The attorneys, the two prosecutors are actually talking to each other
saying we`re not sure what the standard is, and they`re telling this to the
grand jury. We`re going to work that out. We have to figure that out.
We`re not sure yet. And that`s how they`re presenting this case to the
grand jury.

I heard it described as a dump on the grand jury. It was a dump.
But it was also done with a level of confusion and the process was so just
rife with mistakes and errors that we really think that Judge McShane has
to investigate this and if necessary convene a new grand jury.

O`DONNELL: You know, people hear things -- I think they hear things
like this discussed on TV all the time, legal experts. They don`t. This
is a truly shocking thing. What we`ve found in that grand jury, what you
found by reading it, and, Christie, what you found, what I found.

And it`s hard to get shocked by jurisprudence. It is a very
predictable course of action in all of its proceedings. This is really
stunning stuff.

We`re out of time for tonight. Christie Griffin and Sherrilyn Ifill,
thank you both very much for joining me tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, it`s not the high-fiving that Chris Christie might get in
trouble for, but the high-flying to that football game. It turns out to
now be a problem for him.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, in New York City today, a politician
delivered the greatest speech of his life. And it was a speech he never
wanted to give. That`s coming up.


O`DONNELL: In "The Spotlight" tonight, Chris Christie once again.
The New Jersey governor has had to defend his love of the Dallas Cowboys in
New Jersey after he was seen hugging their team owner at Sunday`s game in

But it`s not -- but it`s how he got to the game that`s now drawing
much more interest. Today, "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Chris
Christie accepted a plane ride to Dallas and a seat at a Cowboys playoff
football game in a luxury suite from team owner Jerry Jones, who has a
business relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
That business relationship Jerry Jones has with the Port Authority comes
from his involvement with Legends Hospitality, a group that won the right
to operate the World Trade Center`s observation deck when it opens later
this year.

Under the governor`s code of conduct, Governor Christie is allowed to
accept gifts or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are
paid for with personal funds.

Joining me now is New Jersey Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski.

So, this raises interesting questions. Does the ethics rule here on
gift acceptance define friend?

problem. There really is no bright line definition of friend. It`s going
to vary from governor to governor, from administration to administration.

And to give the governor the benefit of the doubt, the rule says what
it says. But the real question is, how real of a friend is this? I mean,
does Mr. Jones know the governor prior to him holding office? I mean, is
this really an after-effect of the governor happen to be the governor of
the state of New Jersey and in control of the Port Authority? That`s the
legitimate question here.

O`DONNELL: That`s what the ethics rule in Congress in Washington go
specifically to that. And they make it pretty clear. They say, you know,
this has to be a long-standing relationship. It generally speaking has to
predate your time in office. That`s how you can kind of prove this person
isn`t just hanging around with you because of your position.

WISNIEWSKI: Right. Well, I think in the court of public opinion,
that`s now going to be the governor`s to prove. Show us the Christmas
card, show us the personal note, show us the birthday greeting.

O`DONNELL: The other rule is his flight and all of that would have
to be paid for with personal funds. So, the owner of the team would have
to show that he used personal funds instead of corporate funds, which is
like a zero likelihood of that.

WISNIEWSKI: Right. And certainly the dollars are fungible and so
for somebody of that, you know, status, it`s not going to be hard for them
to demonstrate that there`s some personal connection to the funds.

But it really comes to the optics of this. It just looks horrible.
It really shows the governor not really thinking about the implications of
accepting this kind of gratuity.

O`DONNELL: OK, but -- and I`m going to your expertise in Jersey
politics. Does New Jersey care about the governor going to a football game
no matter how he gets there?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, I think -- there`s two issues here, Lawrence. Do
they care if he goes to a football game? I don`t think they care if he
goes to a football game. I don`t think they care who he roots for. I
think the question is whether he should be accepting this kind of enormous
gift. I mean, it`s not -- he`s not getting car service to Giants Stadium
and tickets in the bleachers.

He`s flying down in a private jet. That`s very expensive.


That`s not a gift that everybody gets. And I would suffice it to say
that it`s probably a gift he got because he`s governor of the State of New


WISNIEWSKI: That`s the kind of tone-deaf, hypocritical statement on
ethics, that you would think this governor would be on the other side of.
I mean, the man who`s preached ethics, who`s preached accountability is now
doing neither.

O`DONNELL: Well, he`s lucky he`s got a rule that doesn`t exactly
define what a friend is.

WISNIEWSKI: But the rule has to be changed.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s the situation. Assemblyman John Wisniewski,
thank you very much for joining us tonight.

WISNIEWSKI: Good to be here.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a politician delivered the greatest speech of
his life today. And it was a speech he never wanted to give.

It happened right here in New York. It was the governor of New York
eulogizing his father who was the governor of New York.


The lawyers for the woman who says she had sex with Attorney Alan
Dershowitz when she was underage are now suing Mr. Dershowitz themselves
for defamation against them, the lawyers.

Attorneys Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards accuse Mr. Dershowitz of a
public media assault on their reputations and characters in various TV
interviews, including this one yesterday on the "Today" show.


Her lawyers, Paul Cassell, a former federal judge, and Brad Edwards
deliberately and willfully filed this inner pleading, which they knew I had
no opportunity to respond to in court without doing any investigation.

These lawyers engaged in unethical behavior and should be disbarred.
It`s the legal equivalent of scribbling something on a toilet stall and
then running away.


O`DONNELL: Alan Dershowitz has denied the woman`s allegations. The
same woman is making similar claims against England`s Prince Andrew.

Buckingham Palace has also denied those allegations. The "Rewrite" is


Today, in the first week of his second term as governor of New York,
Andrew Cuomo gave the greatest speech of his life. It was political. It
was funny, humble, intimate, deeply moving and full of love.

It was the speech he never wanted to give -- the eulogy for his
father, the three-term governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, the governor who
would have been the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president
whenever he chose to run, but he never did.

You can watch this beautiful speech on our Website in its entirety at
LASTWORD@MSNBC.COM. Here`s a wonderful sample -- a s story of a young
politician, talking to the seasoned veteran who happens to be his father,
about the public game of politics -- speech-making.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: He had given a big speech that day
and I had called to ask how it went and how he did it. Did he do it from
notes, did he do it on cards, did he do it off the cuff.

And he said, "Oh, no, no. It was a very important speech," so he
wrote it out and he read every word.

And he went on to explain his theory, which he had explain before,
that you can`t possibly deliver a speech extemporaneously that is as well
done as a written speech.

He then invoked Winston Churchill as a proponent of the reading word-
for-word theory of speech-making. Now, you must understand the rules of
engagement in debate with Mario Cuomo.

Invoking in historical figure as a source in this context was not --
was more of a metaphor than a literal interpretation.

It really meant Winston Churchill could have said, or should have
said, or would have said --


-- that reading was best.



O`DONNELL: Andrew Cuomo thanked the dignitaries attending his
father`s funeral today, including President Clinton and Senator Clinton.

But he also thanked the team, the people who are never thanked enough,
the people who can get a governor in a lot of trouble, as we`ve seen New
Jersey, or who can really make government work, the governor`s staff.

I worked with that Cuomo team when I was on the team of the senior
senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan. And I was afraid of every
member of the Cuomo team because, as Andrew said today, his father was
really, really tough.

And let`s just say that that toughness got communicated very clearly
by everyone on the Cuomo team. They were tough like their boss because
they cared about what they were doing so much.

The work of governing was so important to Mario Cuomo. You won`t know
the name you`re about to hear, but please indulge me in this moment in
listening to them being thanked one final time because they so deeply
deserve it.


CUOMO: My father had a really fantastic team. They worked 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, because that`s the only way they knew how to work.

And Pam Brownan (ph), and Mary Trivali, and Mike del Giudice, and
Jerry Crotty, and Drew Zambelli, and Tony Burgos, and John Howard, and John
Maggiore, Mary Ann Crotty, and my father`s third son who, sometimes, I
think he loved the most, Joe Percoco, really did an extraordinary job.

And they did an extraordinary job with his funeral. And we want to
thank them.


O`DONNELL: Andrew Cuomo was the captain of that team but he wasn`t
taking credit for that today. Andrew ran his father`s three successful
campaigns for governor.

By the time Mario Cuomo was running for his fourth term in 1994,
Andrew Cuomo was in Washington, serving as Bill Clinton`s Secretary of
Housing and Urban Development.

Mario Cuomo looked unbeatable at the beginning of the election year.
But, in the end, it turned out the one gubernatorial campaign that Andrew
didn`t run was the one that Mario lost. That was the one note of regret in
Andrew Cuomo`s comments today.


CUOMO: Over the years, the press would love to give their
Dime store psychoanalysis of our quote, unquote, "complex" father-and-son
relationship, which all was a lot of hooey.

It is this simple. I was devoted to my father from the time I was 15,
joining him in every crusade.

My dad was my hero. He was my best friend. He was my confidante --
confidante and my mentor.

We spoke almost every day. And his wisdom grew as I grew older. When
it works, having a working partnership with your father adds an entirely
new dimension to the father-son relationship.

And for us, it worked. Politics is not an easy business. It
shouldn`t be. But we carried the same banner.

I helped him become a success, and he helped me become a success, and
we enjoyed deeply each other`s victories.

And we suffered the pain of each other`s losses. My only regret is
that I didn`t return from Washington to help in his 1994 race.

Whether or not I could have helped, I should have been there. It was
the right thing to do, and I didn`t do it.


O`DONNELL: Andrew Cuomo said today that his father`s speech-making
was not about what the audience wanted to hear, but what he needed to say.

Andrew said, that was the essence of Mario Cuomo. It was also the
reason he lost the governorship in that final campaign.

He would not tell the audience what they wanted to hear about the
death penalty. Mario Cuomo was opposed to the death penalty in all cases,
on practical and, of course, in his case, moral grounds.

In real governing terms, the death penalty was a purely academic point
in the state of New York. After Mario Cuomo was defeated by a Republican
running hard on the death penalty no one was actually executed by the state
of New York.

All Mario Cuomo had to do was "see the light," as some politicians
would call it it, adjust his position to the current realities. He didn`t
have to do a full reversal on the death penalty, he could have just come
out in favor of the death penalty for criminals who kill cops.

By 1994, Mario Cuomo was one of the last politicians standing against
the death penalty in this country. Liberals have been rushing to embrace
the death penalty since this moment in 1988.


first question goes to Governor Dukakis. You have two minutes to respond.

Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an
irrevocable death penalty for the killer.

Bernard. And I think you know that I proposed the death penalty during all
of my life.


O`DONNELL: Mario Cuomo had seen elections lost over the death
penalty. He knew what was happening to him, as a previously unknown
Republican, George Pataki, was overtaking him in the polls and reporters
pressed him on the death penalty every day of that final campaign.


FORMER GOV. MARIO CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: My position has always been
the same. Death penalty is wrong. The death penalty degrades. The death
penalty doesn`t deter anybody.

It costs lot of money. It`s unfair. It`s killed innocent people.
Life in prison without parole is the better solution.

I have said it a thousand times. I lost to Ed Koch in `77 and people
said it was the death penalty.

I was 38 points behind him in 1982 and people said, "You couldn`t
possibly take that position." My mother asked me to give up the position.

I`m going to die with the position. It could kill me in this
election, people say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: OK, are you ready to take that.

MARIO CUOMO: Nobody wants to lose. I want to win. There`s a lot I
want to do for this state.

Things like this pier. We can do all sorts of wonderful things. And
I`m better equipped than anybody to do it. I know that.


MARIO CUOMO: But if I were to give away my soul on this issue, no New
Yorker would want me. No New Yorker should want me.

The one thing you should get from your politicians, and we don`t get
them from all politicians, is the truth. At least let this bum tell me the


O`DONNELL: Mario Cuomo held on to his soul in that final campaign
because his opposition to the death penalty wasn`t a talking point. It was
a point of principle, a moral position. Unchangeable.

What you just saw is something you might not see again for a very,
very long time, a highly skilled politician losing a campaign over a point
of principle, over an issue that many politicians before and since have
flip-flopped on to save their political careers.

In politics and in many other areas of life, losing often tells us
much more about a person than winning ever can. I never admired Mario
Cuomo more than when I watched him lose that last campaign, clinging to
principle, clinging to his soul.

Andrew Cuomo let his father speak through him today about the tensions
in New York City between police and politicians and the community.


ANDREW CUOMO: They say your father never leaves you. If you listen
carefully, you will l hear his voice.

I believe that`s true. But one doesn`t need to listen that carefully
or be his son to know what Mario Cuomo would say today, that it`s time for
this city to come together.

It`s time to stop the negative energy and to move forward, that the
intelligent course, the constructive course, the responsible course is to
learn the lessons from the past tragedies, to identify the necessary
reforms, to improve our justice system, to have better safety measures for
police officers, and to move this city forward.

And that`s just what we will do. I promise you that, pop.


O`DONNELL: Andrew Cuomo said today that his father and he argued
about which one of them was the first to endorse Bill de Blasio`s political

And Andrew Cuomo talked about his father`s last night at a political
victory celebration, which was just last November when Andrew Cuomo won his
first re-election campaign.


ANDREW CUOMO: I loved winning the governorship more for him than for
myself. It was redemption for my father.

"Cuomo was elected governor." The first name was not all that
relevant. It was a gift to have him with us this past election night.

The doctors didn`t want him to go, but I insisted. Bringing him on
the stage for one more fist pump. Holding up his hand, I could feel his
energy surge.

His face brightened, his eyes shined as he gave us that great
satisfied smile one more time. He walked off the stage and said, "Wow,
what a crowd that was."

It was the best medicine I could provide for Mario Cuomo.


O`DONNELL: Mario Cuomo`s most famous speech was a keynote address at
the 1984 Democratic convention. Today, Andrew Cuomo said, "Mario Cuomo was
the keynote speaker for our better angels."

A few days ago, at his second -- as his second inauguration as
governor, Andrew Cuomo was hoping that his father would hold the bible when
he took that oath of office.


ANDREW CUOMO: The day of inauguration, I stopped at his apartment. I
went to his bed and I said, "Dad, inauguration is today. Do you want to
come. You can hold the Bible, or you don`t have to hold the Bible."

And there was no response. I said, "Well, let me know because there`s
a second event in Buffalo this afternoon and starts at 4:00 o`clock. And
if you change your mind, you can come to Buffalo."

During that afternoon, my sister played my inaugural speech for him.
He knew that the Buffalo event was at 4:00 o`clock. My father passed away
at 5:15.

He was here. He waited, and then he quietly slipped out of the event
and he went home, just like he always did because his job was done.



O`DONNELL: The 114th Congress sworn into Office today is --


-- eighty percent white. The percentage of white people in the United
States is now 63 percent.

Eighty percent of the House and Senate are now men. Forty-nine
percent of the American population is male.


Coming up, a son is accused of the brutal murder of his very wealthy
father over $200.


A wealthy founder of a hedge fun was murdered on Sunday in his home,
apparently, in a dispute over $200. Thirty-year-old, --


-- Thomas Gilbert, Jr., is charged with with homicide and criminal
possession of a weapon, after allegedly shooting his father, Thomas
Gilbert, Sr., in the head at the father`s apartment in Beekman Place, a
wealthy enclave near the United Nations on Manhattan`s East side.

According to law enforcement officials, Mr. Gilbert was angry because
his father wanted to cut his son`s weekly allowance from $600 a week to
$400 a week.


Joining me now is Jonathan Dienst, Chief Investigative Reporter for
WNBC in New York. Jonathan, there`s a lot of quickly developing
information and, I believe, you have late information now about the gun
that was used.

learning that the gun he obtained was from Ohio, that it was purchased at
gun dealer there, gun store there.


But they`re still looking to see if he himself purchased it or it was
done through a straw donor, or how the gun wound up here in New York City.
Regardless, he did not have a license for that gun, to own it here in New

And that part of the investigation is ongoing.


O`DONNELL: And what do we know about the accused. He`s a 30-year-old
graduate of Princeton, hasn`t worked in a while. Did he ever work.


DIENST: We`re told that he did work for some time at his dad`s hedge
fund and, periodically, had jobs under his father. But for the most part,
he was counting on his $2,400-rent to be paid by his dad, and that he was
getting $600 a week in payments from his dad.

And that the dad said, "It`s time to cut back, $400." According to
close friends or former close friends we spoke with, the suspect had a drug

He had some mental illness issues, and that they seemed to get worse
after he had graduated from Princeton University.


This is a guy who grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, went to
the best private schools, went to the best of universities, had all the --


O`DONNELL: And had to be a very hardworking student in those schools
in order to competitively make it into Princeton.

DIENST: Presumably so. And that, you know, in the circles he
traveled with, there were some, you know, very elite Upper East Siders, --


DIENST: -- who he associated with. But they tell us that, over time,
he became more reclusive, --


-- more paranoid, more angry. He had some past criminal arrests --
assault, drug abuse, some other arrests. Some of them were cleared after
he performed community service, so they`re being erased --


-- or sealed from his criminal record. And there`s still one
outstanding issue from a past assault case where there was a protection
order that he allegedly violated.

Then, the family house out in The Hamptons burned down two weeks after
that police complaint was filed.

This young man was never named as a suspect in that arson but a lot of
the friends and family members have their suspicions and concerns, --


-- and raised that with police. But police tell us that arson fire
remains unsolved.

O`DONNELL: And are people -- anyone around him saying, "We saw
something like this coming." I mean, not necessarily specifically this,
killing his father.

But you know how people can say this is following a line of decline
that he was on.

DIENST: It seemed there are some friends he was losing along the way.
There were some people -- again, he was becoming, according to friends,
violent in some instances where he got into fistfights and had arrests.

There`s one case back to 2007, 2008 where he allegedly assaulted some
EMTs who had --


-- come to sort of deal with some sort of drug dispute. Again, a lot
of the papers are sealed or dismissed, so we don`t know all of the details.

And, again, he`s not convicted in that case, but he had to perform
some community service as a result of it. So, there was some violence that
seemed to be increasing.

This is not about, you know, --


-- $200, and that`s why he did it, --


DIENST: -- although police say that`s the crux of his rage. A lot of
the close friends or former friends he had say he was having some mental

O`DONNELL: Now, what led the police to the son so quickly.

DIENST: The mother, mom -- the wife was there in the apartment when
the son came over and said, "I want to talk to dad about some of the money
issues that are going on. Can you go out, get me a sandwich. I`m going to
talk to dad."

She obliged. She left. She went to pick up some food. She came
back, she found her husband dead on the floor --


-- with a gun near him. And the son had vanished. She reported to
police that she feared her own son had committed this act.


O`DONNELL: Jonathan Dienst, thank you very much for joining us

DIENST: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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