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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Date: February 19, 2015
Guest: Stephanie Miller, Jose Antonio Vargas, Dianna Hunt, Brian Wice,
Patricia Zapf, Brian Wice, Mitchell Matorin, Ann Louise Bardach

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. That is
absolutely amazing to learn and at the same time unsurprising, that women
are better at cooperative activity in the place like the Senate than the

RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Exactly. Anecdotally, we`ve seen it
happen. To see it proven over time --


MADDOW: -- and over all of them is kind of nice.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Rachel.

O`DONNELL: Well, today, Rudy Giuliani clarified what he meant when he
said that President Obama doesn`t love America. And it turns out what he
meant is exactly what he said. And he just added a little more
clarification in the last hour on FOX News.

And here in Los Angeles today, the king of porn -- king of revenge
porn may be on his way to prison.


West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have we reached peak Obama derangement on the
right or is some of the recent criticism of Obama somehow justified?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are an Islamic movement, an extremely
unpopular one, a brutal one, a literalist one. But they`re certainly an
Islamic movement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A leader of the Republican Party said the
president doesn`t love us and doesn`t love the country.

not questioning his patriotism. He`s a patriot, I`m sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mayor did clarify his remarks this morning.

GIULIANI: He talks more about criticism rather than what an
exceptional country we are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m glad we got that covered up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defense rested in the trial of the man accused
of killing "American Sniper" Chris Kyle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After his honorable discharge, family and
friends say he wasn`t himself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forensic psychologists took the stand today, he
testified that the defendant, Eddie Ray Routh, suffered from schizophrenia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been called a nightmare bacteria by federal
health officials.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s already been linked to at least two deaths
at UCLA`s Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A super bug that can kill up to half the people

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there are fears now that nearly 200 others
may have been exposed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real cold air comes in tomorrow morning,
anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees below normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes there is some beauty in all this pain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s so cold, even parts of the Niagara Falls are
freezing over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What should be a view of gushing water, now a
wall of ice.


O`DONNELL: Here is how you know when former New York City Mayor Rudy
Giuliani is going to say something horrible. He tells you, he literally
says, I know this is a horrible thing to say before he says something
horrible. And according to a report in "Politico", that`s exactly what he
said at a private dinner for Scott Walker in 21 Club Midtown Manhattan last

Giuliani said, "I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not
believe that the president loves America."

Having lit that match for today`s political firestorm with those words
in "Politico", Rudy Giuliani then did one of those "this is what I meant to
say" appearances on FOX News today.


GIULIANI: First of all, I`m not questioning his patriotism. He`s a
patriot, I`m sure. What I`m saying is in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear
him say the things I heard Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear
Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America. I hear him criticize
America much more often than other presidents. And when it`s not in the
context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of
America, it sounds like he`s more of a critic than he is a supporter.


O`DONNELL: OK. So, Rudy Giuliani wasn`t questioning the president`s
patriotism. He would never do that. He`s not that kind of guy. He`s the
kind of guy who says the president doesn`t love America, which is like
totally, completely different from saying that the president isn`t a
patriot. And Rudy Giuliani is the kind of guy who thinks you don`t have to
love America to be a great leader.


GIULIANI: Putin decides what he wants to do and does it within half a
day, right? He went -- he decided he had to go to their parliament, he
went there in parliament, he got permission in 15 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I mean, that was kind of like a perfunctory,
I think.

GIULIANI: But he makes a decision and he executes it, quickly. Then
everybody reacts. That`s what you call leader.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Stephanie Miller, syndicated radio talk
show host, Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and
filmmaker, MSNBC`s Alex Wagner, and Sam Stein, senior politics editor at
"The Huffington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.

Alex Wagner, Rudy Giuliani, you know, he at least warns you.


O`DONNELL: He says, I know this is a horrible thing to say.

WAGNER: The fair warning shot.

Lawrence, I don`t know which speeches Rudy Giuliani has been listening
to, but the speech in question that`s garnered all this criticism, the
president made yesterday and he began with a 15-minute introduction about
how exceptional America was. I mean, this is a president who has credited
his own presidency with -- to American exceptionalism, who says at the
conclusion of almost every speech I`ve heard him and give, which is a lot
of speeches, that this country is exceptional in its union, in its ability
to overcome challenges. And was saying at the beginning of the speech that
about the threat posed by ISIS, that we overcome these challenges in front
of us and our union is more perfect at the end of it.

I mean, I think this is really Rudy Giuliani searching for a way to
undermine Barack Obama`s credibility. It goes back to conservative beliefs
that he`s not one of us, but really is not rooted in fact -- at least if
you are judging the president rhetorically, as I think most folks are, and
as Giuliani presumably is.

O`DONNELL: Well, Rudy Giuliani, this is what I meant to say tour,
continued into the last hour on FOX News. Let`s listen to his latest


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Mr. Mayor, do you want to apologize for your

GIULIANI: Not at all, I want to repeat it.

The reality is I -- from all that I can see of this president, all
that I`ve heard of him, he apologizes for America, he criticizes America.
He talks about the crusades and how the Christians were barbarians, leaves
out the second half of the sentence, that the Muslims were barbarians also.

He sees Christians slaughtered and doesn`t stand up and hold a press
conference, although he holds a conference for the situation in Ferguson.
He sees Jews being killed for anti-Semitic reason, doesn`t stand up and
hold a press conference.

This is an American president I`ve never seen before. I`m right about
this. I have no about it. I do not withdraw my words.


O`DONNELL: Stephanie Miller, he -- the president -- I don`t recall
the president saying that America was the leader of the Crusades. I missed
that part.


Lawrence, when someone starts a sentence with, this is going to be
horrible, it`s like when someone says I`m not a racist but n-word for a
black person. I`m not a homophobe, but f-word for gay person. I`m not a
sexist, but c-word for a woman.

That`s what this is. He absolutely is saying the president doesn`t
love America, and as Alex pointed out, the president speaks, he said only
in America could my story be possible, in every speech. Barack Obama is a
walking endorsement for what the United States of America is.

And this is just another example of the unprecedented disrespect that
this president has gotten.

O`DONNELL: Let`s just remind ourselves with a little snatch of that
first speech where the country saw Barack Obama for the first time, which
was, as loving a speech about this country as I`ve ever heard. Let`s
listen to this.


OBAMA: Well, I say to them -- tonight, there is not a liberal
America, and a conservative America, there is the United States of America.


There is not a black America, and a white America, and Latino America,
an Asian America. There`s the United States of America.


O`DONNELL: Jose, I cannot think of a Republican or Democratic
political speech that reached that height.

to say, because I`ve been watching and reading what Mayor Giuliani, who
used to be the mayor of one of the most diverse cities in America, I just
can`t believe it came out of his mouth.

I have to say too I can`t stop thinking about James Baldwin who said,
I love America more than any other country in the world and exactly for
that reason I reserve the right to criticize her perpetually.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing America and analyzing why we
are where we are, given the racism and sexism and the homophobia and anti-
Islam, you know, that`s going on in this country. There is nothing wrong
with criticizing America, so long as we`re awake on what`s happening.

And really, I -- what Mayor Giuliani has done is incredibly pernicious
and I think it speaks to the partisan divide that we have, and I think it
also speaks to why people are so turned off by this politics.


MILLER: How is it any different than when George Bush said we`re not
at war with Islam?


MILLER: That was a great point. We`re not at war with Islam. These
are not religious leaders, they`re terrorists.

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, is this an indication where the presidential
campaign is going to go, they`re going to campaign as much as they can
against President Obama and do it on personal terms?

SAM STEIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, past is prologue. The 2012
campaign, at least when it came to the foreign policy debate, was spent
with Mitt Romney reminding the American public that he wouldn`t apologize
on the world stage like the president did. I think, you know, Jose hits it
on the head, which is the playbook, and it has been for many decades, to
simplify this election into black and white, when these issues are matters
of gray.

So you can`t have a lengthy conversation about, you know, racism or
the nuances of foreign policy or the histories of religion, because they
can be put through this prism by people like Giuliani and use as a
political cudgel. So, yes, I do think this is where at least the foreign
policy element of the debate is going, in part because Hillary Clinton also
served with this president and she`s going to be tied to his foreign

O`DONNELL: OK. We have one more bit of what he just said within the
last hour on FOX News. Let`s listen to that.


GIULIANI: The grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshal Davis, who
was a communist, who the president --

KELLY: He fought in World War II.

GIULIANI: OK, you can fight in World War II and then you introduce
someone to a communist and the young boy gets --

KELLY: It`s a political world view. It`s not a hatred for the

GIULIANI: Communism wasn`t a hatred for America?

KELLY: I`m talking about his grand father, if he had a leftist view
of how politics in the United States should run doesn`t mean he doesn`t
love America, doesn`t mean his grandson does.

GIULIANI: Kelly, how about being in a church for 17 years where the
minister of the church says it`s "God loves America but God damn America."
Now, if you were in that church, wouldn`t you quit that church?


O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner, Rudy Giuliani has been doing his homework all
day and is now reaching back.

WAGNER: Rudy Giuliani got into a DeLorean and traveled back to the
year 2007. It`s unbelievable that we`re talking about the Reverend
Jeremiah Wright. It is because the Republican Party have no policy
prescriptions to offer the country, because unemployment is where it is.

There`s a very complicated foreign policy ahead of any candidate in
2016, and there are no answers. Jeb Bush`s answer to ISIS threat was, I`m
going to take them out. That`s not foreign policy. There is no
substantive discussion about anything, domestic or international coming
from the right side of the aisle.

And so, there is a regression, complete and unabashed as Giuliani
presents back to the year 2007 to talk about hateful, divisive politics
having to do with a church Barack Obama went to 10 years ago, which may or
may not informed some part of his world view, that may I add is quite
different at this moment than when it was even when he was a senator.

It is outrageous that this Rudy Giuliani`s line of questioning.

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, quickly on a political point, there`s Rudy
Giuliani at an event for Governor Walker. He said he`s not endorsing him
yet, he`s still looking for the right candidate. But what is he doing at a
Walker event if that`s not the campaign he`s going to sign up yet?

STEIN: That`s a great question. It`s almost more important than
these, you know, asinine comments that he`s reading off of his checklist on
FOX News.

He`s supposed to be a Chris Christie guy. I know if there`s been sort
of love lost in that relationship. But if you recall, during the bridge-
gate scandal, it was Rudy Giuliani who was sort of ubiquitous on cable the
only guy defending Chris Christie saying, give this some time, that the
investigations play out, I don`t think he`s guilty, so on and so forth.

If he`s now leaning towards either endorsing Scott Walker or flirting
with other candidates, it does say a lot not about Giuliani, but about what
Christie`s standing right now is with 2016 primary. Two articles popped
tonight from "The Post" and "The New York Times", both have basically said
the same thing, which is that the donor class and a lot of high profile
Republicans are souring on Christie, they think he`s taking too long to get
in. They don`t think he`s responsive to their emails or their needs.

I think that`s the bigger story here, is that Rudy is drifting and a
lot of people are drifting in the donor class as well.

O`DONNELL: OK. That`s going to have to be the last word on this
segment tonight. Sam Stein, Alex Wagner, Jose Antonio Vargas and Stephanie
Miller, thank you all for joining me tonight.

WAGNER: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the final witness for the defense in the
American sniper trial testified today. A psychiatrist who examined the
defendant, Eddie Ray Routh.


O`DONNELL: An Israeli government reports say Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and his wife have been wasting Israeli taxpayer dollars on an
extravagant lifestyle. The report says that Prime Minister Netanyahu, in
one example, spent $68,000 over two years just on hair and makeup.

Now, you`ve got to admit, look at that hair. It`s perfect. Just

Up next, a psychiatrist testifies for the defense in the "American
Sniper" trial.


O`DONNELL: The defense rested its case earlier than expected today in
the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the former marine accused of murdering real
American sniper Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. The defense attorneys
presented expert medical testimony today from Dr. Mitchell Dunn, a
psychiatrist, who told jurors that Eddie Ray Routh does not suffer from
PTSD, but does suffer from schizophrenia. Dr. Dunn testified that Eddie
Ray Routh believed that Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield were going to kill
him as part of a world takeover by pigs.

Dr. Dunn said that Eddie Ray Routh told him, quote, "When I first got
here to jail, I thought I was going to be cooked for people to eat." Dr.
Dunn, who did not meet Eddie Ray Routh until after a year after the
shootings, testified that Ralph was delusional and believed his neighbor, a
police officer, was actually a part of the Mexican mafia, that his former
girlfriend was half human, half pig, and that pigs were going to take over
the world.

Dr. Dunn testified, quote, "There was something really wrong with
Eddie Ray Routh on the day of the offense, and that something wrong was a
mental disease." Dr. Dunn also told jurors that Eddie Ray Routh admitted
that the killings were a mistake, telling the doctor, quote, "As soon as I
did it, I realized I made a mistake."

On cross-examination, Dr. Dunn testified that Eddie Ray Routh knew in
a general sense that killing is wrong.

Prosecutors are expected to call two expert rebuttal witnesses, a
psychologist and psychiatrist, on Friday.

Joining me now is Dianna Hunt, who was inside the courtroom today
covering the trial for the "Dallas Morning News," Brian Wice, a defense
attorney in Dallas, and Patricia Zapf, a forensic and clinical psychologist
with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Dianna, in court today, the defense had a second psychiatrist they
wanted to call but who was disqualified. What happened there?

DIANNA HUNT, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: He was disqualified, he was put on
the stand and the state questioned his credentials, questioned his
certification as a forensic psychologist, and the judge agreed with their
concerns and did not -- did not allow him to testify as an expert witness.
So, they went with the one expert, a psychiatrist who took the stand later.

O`DONNELL: And what was your assessment of Dr. Dunn`s testimony? How
helpful did it seem for the defense?

HUNT: It was a -- it was an astonishing day of testimony, quite
honestly. The pig people and high breed pigs and cannibals in the
workplace, and human rotisseries -- it was a very bizarre story that was --
that Eddie Ray Routh told to him while he was in Erath County jail.

He said that this is what people who have mental illness often are
really like. You may not know it, you may not be able to spot it, but
that`s what`s underlying some of these problems.

O`DONNELL: Brian Wice, two things. The disqualification of one
psychiatrist, which is fairly unusual -- usually when an expert witness is
being called, credentials have been tested, tested previously in other
cases. And then, secondly, what do you make about Dr. Dunn`s testimony and
how you think it landed in terms of the legal requirements for an insanity

BRIAN WICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, dealing with the second part
first, Lawrence -- it certainly gets them there. All they have to show by
a preponderance of the evidence, the fancy legal term for more likely than
not, is that at the time he pulled the trigger, Eddie Ray Routh didn`t
understand, couldn`t comprehend the difference between right and wrong.

But the sound bite from Dr. Dunn`s testimony that really impressed me
was the notion that he told this Erath County jury -- folks, insanity is
not like you think it is in the movies. I think that`s something this jury
can certainly understand.

Turning to the first point, Lawrence, it kind of was a rookie mistake
for their expert to pretty much get bounced before he had a chance to talk
to this jury. You know, it`s not like anybody can walk in and say hey, I`m
a doctor. I play one on TV.

You know, it`s like Mark Twain said, an expert is just some guy from
out of town. And before you get to testify, your credentials have got to
past the smell test, and in this case, the judge decided not quite close
enough for this jury to hear with this psychologist has to say.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Zapf, talk about the difference between the
psychiatric profession`s view of mental illness and legal definition of
insanity. I mean, here you have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and it`s a
repeated diagnosis by other psychiatrist over previously treating this

But that in itself isn`t good enough in an insanity defense.

mental illness is basically a foundational construct that needs to occur.
But then there`s also a legal test or a legal standard typically. And so,
in this case and many other jurisdictions, it`s whether the defendant knew
right from wrong at the time. Texas has a very narrow or limited standard.
And so, there`s not as much latitude in their standard. It must be shown
that the defendant did not comprehend, was not able to comprehend right
from wrong at the time of the crime.

O`DONNELL: And, Dr. Zapf, what are you hoping that people might take
away from this, what our understanding is of schizophrenia and PTSD?

ZAPF: Well, these are major mental illnesses. Certainly
schizophrenia, it`s a psychotic disorder. It`s always difficult for us to
look back on someone`s behaviors or actions at a different point in time.
And, you know, now, we`re looking back and trying to make sense of these
actions, which at the time are just not rational.

The person is not in touch with reality. They do not understand
typically what`s going on. They`re not thinking in a linear, rational
fashion. And for the rest of us who typically think in a linear, rational
fashion, it`s really hard to make sense of that. It`s difficult to kind of
grasp that.

So, even in evaluation, when you`re speaking to the defendant and
trying to get that defendant to tell you about what they were seeing,
hearing, thinking, what was going on at the time of the crime -- you know,
at the time you`re evaluating them, they`re usually on medication and have
their mental state somewhat under control.

They`re in an in touch with reality typically when you`re evaluating
them. So, they`re trying to make sense of their behavior at an earlier
point in time, as well. It can be confusing and hard to understand for a
member of the jury or a member of the public to look back and see, you
know, how someone could act so differently at a particular point in time
and not be responsible for their behavior.

O`DONNELL: That will have to be the last word on it tonight.

Dr. Patricia Zapf, Dianna Hunt, and Brian Wice, thank you all for
joining me tonight.

Coming up, the deadly road rain incident in Las Vegas leads to an
arrest today and more revelations about the people involved.


O`DONNELL: Dramatic new developments today in the Las Vegas road rage
killing of a 44-year-old mother.

NBC`s Miguel Almaguer has the latest.


MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS: The tense standoff lasted over an hour.
Las Vegas police in a quiet neighborhood, arresting 19-year-old Eric
Nowsch, wanted in connection to the road rage death of 44-year-old Tammy

The suspect`s vehicle caught on surveillance tape may have helped lead
investigators to his home.

is that the suspect involved in the killing of Mrs. Meyers is in custody
and off the streets.

ALMAGUER: Meyers was taking her daughter home after giving her
driving lessons when the road rage incident occurred. The mother of four
dropped her off at home and picked up her 22-year-old son, who was armed.
After finding the suspect, the suspect tailed the Meyers home, where he and
her son exchanged gunfire. Meyers was shot in the head.

BRANDON MEYERS, TAMMY MEYERS` SON: She didn`t deserve this. I did
what I had to do to protect my family.

ALMAGUER: Today, police made the arrest one block away from the
Meyers home, while her husband watched it unfold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They made my wife look like an animal, and my son.
There`s the animal, a block away. Are you happy?

ALMAGUER: Tonight, grief, disbelief, and many unanswered questions.


LAWRENCE O`DONNEL, MSNBC HOST: Tammy Meyers` husband revealed today
that the family knew the suspect prior to the road rage incident.


couldn`t tell you this before. He knew where I live.

We knew how bad he was, but we didn`t know he was this bad. My wife
spent countless hours at that park consoling this boy.

And he`s probably watching this right now and I know he`s got to feel
back. Because she was really good to him.

She fed him. She gave him money. She told him to pull his pants up
and to be a man, more times than I can count.


O`DONNELL: Las Vegas Metro Police say they are still looking for at
least one more suspect. Joining me now is Former ATF Special Agent and
MSNBC Law Enforcement Analyst Jim Cavanaugh. And back with me, defense
attorney, Brian Wice.

Jim Cavanaugh, it doesn`t seem as though the police have Indicated in
that gun fight that turned fatal who fired the first shot, and does -- will
that matter in the investigation.

Lawrence. I mean, certainly, defense attorneys would raise that issue for
Mr. Erich Nowsch. They`ll try to make him, you know, a self-defense


But I don`t think it`s going to wash really. The shooting happened at
Meyers` home, you know, after this road rage incident.

And if you look at the facts and listen to the police commanders, they
clearly believe Mrs. Meyers` was the victim. She left the home, dropped
the daughter off, picked the son up, and left to go try to find the car,
but only for five minutes.

And so, it`s -- you know, it`s quite possible that she thought that
Erich Nowsch was involved because she knew him, and he didn`t have a
vehicle, according to the neighbors.

So, she might have said, "Let`s drive around and see if that car is
around the block at Erich`s house. They were only gone five minutes.

Of course, when they drive by, possibly, Erich and a confederate see
them, followed them home, and then the shooting begins. So, clearly, she`s
a victim here. She didn`t do anything criminal.


She didn`t do anything wrong. Maybe, sometimes, it`s not a good idea
to do those things. And Mr. Meyers said he thought it was a mistake.

But, certainly, nothing criminal. And it`s murder and that`s what
he`s going to be charged with.


Brian Wice, what do you make of the fact pattern in this case in terms
of how it began, and then how Mrs. Meyers deliberately went and picked up
her son with a gun, and --


O`DONNELL: -- continued whatever it was that had begun.

WICE: You know, in retrospect, Lawrence, it`s easy to say that that
decision certainly wasn`t the brightest thing that could have been done at
the time.

But, at the end of the day, they believed they had the right to go out
and do what they had to do to seek out some type of reconciliation, or to
try to do to figure out what they could do to maintain their own safety.

Look, I agree with Jim. I think that the defense is going to have a
pretty difficult road to hoe in getting any traction at all on the self-
defense claim. Because we`re taught, the first day of law school, you
can`t provoke difficulty and then claim self-defense.

And while this defendant is going to be charged with murder, I really
think that the best case scenario might be --


-- voluntary manslaughter, that is, that the shooting occurred during
the heat of passion when the bullets started flying. It`s what we --


-- call an imperfect self-defense case. But, I think, Jim`s right. I
don`t think this is going to be your typical self-defense defendant that
catches the elevator with the jury when it`s over, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: And, Jim Cavanaugh, the legalities of this aside and the
upcoming trial aside, there are some pretty obvious life lessons here about
how to handle yourself in a situation like this, and if you find yourself
behind the wheel, getting a little enraged and engaged with another driver.

And everyone involved in this case did everything wrong that they
could possibly do wrong.

CAVANAUGH: Right. You know, we all sympathize with Mrs. Meyers
because we all are drivers, and we all have seen road rage, --


--we`ve all gotten mad behind the wheel. But the thing is, you know,
get away from it. If there`s an incident of a threat or an accident, call


You know, the police have got to find the gun. They`ve got to find
the confederate.

There was more than one man in the car. They`re looking for him.
They think the man they arrested today is the --


-- trigger-puller, Lawrence. And when they get the other guy, he`ll
be singing like Shakira, he`ll tell the story.

The 15-year-old is a witness as well, the son. So, they`ll wrap the
case up. But, yes, if it happens --


-- to you, you know, take a deep breath, pull over, let them go by.
And just, you know, have a better day. If you need to call the police,
then go somewhere safe and call the police.

O`DONNELL: Yes, just such a tragic sequence of decision-making here.
Jim Cavanaugh and Brian Wice, thank you both for joining me. Thank you
very much.


Coming up, the man who got the name, "King of Revenge Porn," for
posting private photos, some of them stolen, is on his way to being
sentenced here in Los Angeles.




At least 15 people have died in the frigid weather, from Ohio to
Tennessee, some from hypothermia. There are single -- single-digit and
below zero temperatures from the Great Lakes to the East Coast, and down in
parts of the South. Even Niagara Falls --


-- has frozen solid. NBC`s Dylan Dryer has a look at Niagara Falls as
you have never seen them.


DYLAN DRYER, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Soaring hundreds of
feet over Niagara Falls, a spectacular sight. Frigid air brought in via
the Siberian Express has encased the falls in ice, drawing a surge in
visitors from all corners.

It`s winter wonderland.

DREYER: Temperatures along the U.S.-Canadian border haven`t gone
above freezing this month, transforming what is actually a collection of
three waterfalls from just about every angle.

it just seems like really alive.

DREYER: Behind the falls, what should be a view of gushing water,
now, a wall of ice.

frozen here. And you can see the water rushing underneath snow, and coming
through little ports, which is really neat.

DREYER (on camera): The falls partially freeze this time every year,
with frozen mists and water, tracing everything they touch. But they never
completely freeze over.

There`s just too much rushing water, with 23 million gallons falling
every minute during the winter.

(voice-over): Last month, adventurer, Will Gadd, took advantage of
all that ice, climbing 147 feet in about an hour. The only time Niagara
Falls stopped flowing entirely was in March, 1848, blocked by an ice jam,
that allowed people to walk on the riverbed.

The landmark area is on track for one of the coldest Februaries on
record. And the ice isn`t expected to melt entirely until May.

they`re even more beautiful frozen than in the summertime.

DREYER: Dylan Dreyer, NBC News, Niagara Park, Ontario, Canada.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, the man known as the "King of Revenge Porn" is
going to plead guilty to federal crimes. That`s next.


The man known as the "King of Revenge Porn" has agreed to plead guilty
to hacking and identity theft charges, according to federal prosecutors
here in Los Angeles.


Hunter Moore, operated the Web site,, a forum for
people to post revenge porn. The U.S. Attorney`s Office says that Mr.
Moore, quote, "operated the Web site, where he posted, among other things,
nude or sexually-explicit photos of victims."

"The pictures were submitted, without the victims permission, for
purposes of revenge. To obtain more photos to populate the site, Moore
allegedly instructed an accomplice to gain unauthorized access to, in other
words, hack into victims` e-mail accounts."

"Moore then posted the illegally obtained photos on his Web site
without the victims` consent. The indictment alleges that e-mail accounts
belonging to hundreds of victims were hacked."

The "King of Revenge Porn" faces a mandatory minimum of two years in
jail, but he could be sentenced to up to seven years, and also could have
to pay a half a million dollars in fines.

Joining me now, Mitchell Matorin, an attorney who specializes in
Internet law, including revenge porn. And, back with us again, defense
attorney, Brian Wice.

Mitch Matorin, we`ve talked about these issues before. What`s
interesting about this particular prosecution is he`s not really prosecuted
for running a revenge porn site.

It`s actually a more basic kind of crime that he got caught. Just
explain that.

right. And I think that, you know, this indictment and the guilty plea is

But it`s an indirect attack on the revenge porn issue. Mr. Moore was
indicted for hacking into people`s computers and paying people --


-- to hack into people`s computers in order to steal the photographs,
which were then posted on the Web site. He was kind of a pioneer, if you
will, in the revenge porn industry.

Right now, it`s become so popular that there`s really no need to pay
anybody to hack into people`s accounts or to hack in at all. People, you
know, voluntarily go there and post pictures that they`ve located
themselves, either by hacking or not.

And so, the operator of the Web site itself doesn`t have to do the
types of activities that Mr. Moore was indicted for and that he pled guilty
for. So, this is -- it`s important, but I don`t think the importance
should be overstated in terms of the problem of revenge porn as a whole.

O`DONNELL: Brian Wice, this is like getting Al Capone on tax evasion


WICE: The "King of Revenge Porn." Think about that for a second,



WICE: That`s like being the coolest Osmond brother. I mean, when he
goes on down --


-- to the federal correctional institution, he`s going to be a really
popular guy. Look, it`s not just the defendant in this case that I really
think is unconscionable. It`s the chuckleheads who enabled him, --


-- the guys who helped really fund his lust for porn. You know, these
are the guys, in my estimation -- and look, I`ve been a criminal defense
attorney for 30 years and I`ve represented the good, the bad and the ugly.

But I try to stay away from the stupid. This is a guy --


-- who was trying to break into prison --


-- as much as some of my clients are trying to break out. And I
think, there`s a special level of "Dante`s Inferno," not just for Hunter,
but for the guys who enabled him, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes. And, Mitch, talk about how --


-- this is actually protected activities. He`s not stealing anything
and hacking, which is really what he`s gotten caught on.

But you can run a revenge porn Web site in a completely legal manner.
And explain how that is protected legally.

MATORIN: Well, under the Communications Decency Act, which is a law
that has a very good purpose and serves a very good -- serves a very good
purpose for legitimate businesses, a Web site operator cannot be held
liable for --


-- things that other people post on the Web site. Now, the reason for
that is so if somebody posted defamatory article, or something like that,
on a Web site that`s operated by somebody else, the owner of the Web site
itself is not going to be held liable for that.

The person who posted it is held liable. The problem with the revenge
porn sites --


-- is that they deliberately set out to make it impossible to
determine who posted that information. And they go ahead and they
Passively host it.

They invite people to post the pictures. They make it easy for them.
They refuse to track the identity of the people who are posting.

And then they just make it available. And then they claim that
they`re immune, under federal law, for being held liable for that.

And they`re actually technically right. The law, until it`s changed
to remove that immunity, these attacks based on criminal prosecution of Mr.
Moore, or the state laws that are being enacted to go --


-- after the people who are actually doing the posting. They`re
really indirect ways of attacking the real problem, which is that these Web
site operators do it for fun and profit.


And until you take away the fun with prison terms and take away the
profit with financial liability, they`ll continue doing it.

O`DONNELL: Mitch Matorin, could you -- could you rewrite the law so
that it would make this kind of Web site impossible, but not harm -- not do
any harm to all the rest of the Web sites out there that have input in them
from users that they do not control and that could then also possibly
getting snared.

I mean, how do you adjust this law.

MARTONI: Well, I think the easiest way to do it will be simply to
carve out Web sites that host nude and sexually-explicit photographs of
people without the permission of the people who are being depicted.

That would leave, you know, free the Amazon.coms or the Trip Advisors
or the other Web sites that host product reviews or other posts where
people might say things that -- that are defamatory or otherwise.

And, at the same time, it would allow prosecution, criminal
prosecution, or civil liability for the operators of the Web sites

O`DONNELL: Mitch Matorin and Brian Wice, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.


With Congressional delegations traveling to Cuba, momentum is building
for removing the embargo, with Nancy Pelosi and Conan O`Brien in Cuba on
the same week. How long can the embargo last.



The Russian band, Pussy Riot, released their first song in English.
And it`s called "I Can`t Breathe."

The song is dedicated to Eric Garner, the man who said those words 11
times before dying in a police chokehold on Staten Island.


PUSSY RIOT, RUSSIAN BAND: In New York City. I need to catch my

O`DONNELL: In the video released in Russia, Pussy Riot`s Masha and
Nadya are buried alive in a Russian riot police uniforms. The American
version shows protests in New York, at the scene of Eric Garner`s death.

You can find links to both versions on our Web page. On Pussy Riot`s
YouTube page, they write, "This song is for Eric and for all those from
Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror,
killed, choked, perished because of war and state-sponsored violence of all
kinds, for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for
change. We stand in solidarity."


Up next, change coming in Cuba.


House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and eight other --


-- House Democrats concluded their two-day trip to Cuba today after
meeting with Cuban --


-- Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel. It was the first time the vice
president received an American delegation.

Cuban officials are expected in Washington next Friday for a second
round of talks to reestablish diplomatic ties with the United States.


The United States cannot complete normalizing relations with Cuba
through presidential action alone. The Senate will have to confirm an
ambassador to Cuba, and Congress will have to repeal the trade embargo on
Cuba, which has been enforced since 1962 but was not actually written to
law by Congress until 1996.

is strong bipartisan support in the Congress of the United States to lift
the embargo.

REP. NYDIA VELAZQUEZ (D), NEW YORK: We have a lot to share, and a lot
that we can benefit from. And I hope that this is seen as we see it, as a
bipartisan effort that should be embraced by the two countries.

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The best way to promote human
rights is to accelerate this new process.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Ann Louise Bardach, a reporter and
author of "Without Fidel" and "Cuba Confidential." Annie, it`s an amazing
week to go from -- we had Senator Klobuchar down there, who`s sponsoring
the Repeal the Embargo --


O`DONNELL: -- bill in the Senate. Conan O`Brien, Nancy Pelosi.
That`s just one week in Cuba now.

BARDACH: Exactly. That`s why it`s been going for several weeks now.
And, next week, we have negotiations in Washington to try to move this
further along.

Basically, what we`re seeing here is a Cuban charm offensive. They
know the President of the United States cannot lift the U.S. embargo, so
what they`re seeking to do is charm one Congressional vote at a time.

So, they`re very focused on that. And then, we have a second agenda,
which is the summit, the upcoming summit in April in Panama, which will be
the first time that Obama, or any American president, will be shaking hands
with Raul Castro. So, that`s the big main event.


And so, everybody is kind of frantically playing their part to try to
move this along. And there`s a lot of pieces that have to happen before
that April summit.


O`DONNELL: And the dynamics seem to be very much two-way. I mean,
when I watched Senator Claire McCaskill go down there, the video of her in
Cuba was, she`s trying to charm that island into buying everything that
Missouri makes.

BARDACH: That`s right.

O`DONNELL: It`s all about agriculture, you know, --


-- "You want to get our agricultural products down here." But there`s
already an agricultural opening to Cuba.

BARDACH: That`s right.


O`DONNELL: And so, what I`m saying, when you see Nancy Pelosi, I
mean, she`s -- it doesn`t -- I don`t see someone who needs to be sold --



O`DONNELL: -- on opening this -- opening up our relations with Cuba.
She`s already there, those Democrats who are going down there are already

They do have some Republican counterparts, but how will this line up
politically in the House and in the Senate.

BARDACH: Well, you`ve got to remember, there is a Cuban-American
contingent in the U.S. Congress. There are eight of them.


The three senators -- the only three assigned --

O`DONNELL: Marco Rubio from Florida, Bob Menendez, New Jersey --

BARDACH: And Ted Cruz.

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm.

BARDACH: And they are not on-board with this.

O`DONNELL: Uh-hmm.

BARDACH: That`s three senators. The only Hispanics are Cuban-
American. Then you have another five Cuban-Americans in the House. And
they`re also not on-board.

So, they can create a bit of mischief here, and a bit of deal-making.
The big issue is human rights, you know. The criticism of the Obama deal
is that the U.S. didn`t get anything for this.

What I would argue is they got rid of a big headache.


You know, they had a 50-year headache.

O`DONNELL: Here`s what I get about this -- what did the Obama
administration, or any administration, get from Saudi Arabia ever --

BARDACH: Exactly.

O`DONNELL: -- on human rights. And, I mean, how does this suddenly
become something that`s applied uniquely to Cuba in dealing with it in
international relations.

BARDACH: Well, this has always been this special, unique
relationship, like the special Cuban Immigration policy.


Cubans -- any Cuban can come to the America, no problems.

Day one, you`re in. Anybody else, nothing. So, we`ve always had this
unique relationship, when it`s just really a vestige-old relic of the old
Cold War.

Now, the other thing to really watch on this trip is, is the urgency
to get Cuba off of the state-sponsored State Department terrorist list.
Because if they don`t --

O`DONNELL: It`s the only thing that was arguably weirder than the
embargo. It`s just amazing.

BARDACH: That`s exactly right. And many of us have been arguing this
for a long time when I worked at Brookings on this. This is the first
thing to go -- especially in the day and age of ISIS and all this Islamic
extremist terrorist group, -- the idea --


-- that Cuba, you know, Cuba, you know -- the sugar violence is a

O`DONNELL: It`s the government -- it`s the State Department of the
United States, saying we`re not really serious when we talk about terrorism
because we put Cuba on the list of state-sponsored -- there`s only four of


O`DONNELL: And this is one of them. It`s just the craziest thing
they do.

Annie, we`re out of time. I`m sorry, that`s --


O`DONNELL: -- going to have to be the last word. Chris Hayes is up


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