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Meet the Press Transcript - November 23, 2014

MEET THE PRESS -- SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, tension in America on two fronts: race and immigration. In Ferguson, Missouri, ground zero for racial tensions.

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE:

Once you push so far, what do you do? You fight back.

CHUCK TODD:

The governor preemptively declares a state of emergency.

JAY NIXON:

Well, I'm not preparing for that. I'm preparing for peace.

CHUCK TODD:

And the nation waits to find out if a white police officer will be indicted for killing an unarmed black teenager. We'll go live to Ferguson. And in Washington, where Republicans vow to fight the president.

JOHN BOEHNER:

You're damaging the presidency itself.

CHUCK TODD:

After he unveils a sweeping executive action to get five million undocumented immigrants the right to stay and work legally in this country.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Our immigration system is broken. And everybody knows it.

CHUCK TODD:

Plus an American icon accused. Bill Cosby remains silent over multiple accusations of sexual assault as he loses a sitcom deal and Hollywood seems to walk away from him while venues cancel shows. And remembering former Washington D.C. mayor, Marion Barry. She died overnight at the age of 78.

I'm Chuck Todd and joining me to provide insight and analysis are NBC's Joe Scarborough, former Democratic governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, Amy Walter of TheCook Political Report, and MSNBC and Telemundo anchor, Jose Diaz-Balart. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

And good morning. Two big stories dominating the news this Sunday. We're going to go live to Ferguson, Missouri in a few minutes. But first, it's the aftermath of the president's decision on immigration. In total, about five million undocumented immigrants are now shielded from deportation under President Obama's plan. Who are these five million?

About four million are undocumented parents of legal American residents. And about 300,000 are young people who were brought to the country illegally but when they were children. The plan also applies to immigrants who have been in the U.S. for five years or more and they can pass a background check.

What's not there? Six million aren't covered at all and there is no pathway to citizenship right now for those five million that are covered. Deportations are being halted, but only for three years. There's also tougher border security being promised and deportation focus that is on new immigrant arrivals as well as criminals. Now in the aftermath, the GOP has been unified on one issue: how they describe the president.

JOHN BOEHNER

He's not an emperor. But he's sure acting like one.

TED CRUZ:

An unaccountable monarch.

CHUCK TODD:

And now the question is whether or not Republicans can get a bill passed through Congress. The president says he's done his part.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

I cajoled and I called and I met. I told John Boehner, "Yeah, I'll wash your car. I'll walk your dog. Whatever you need to do. Just call the bill."

CHUCK TODD:

I asked my colleague John Yang to go down to Arizona to get a firsthand look at how people on the ground are reacting to the president's plan.

(BEGIN TAPE)

JOHN YANG:

El Mirage, Arizona, outside Phoenix, is the kind of place where President Obama's immigration policies become real, potentially changing lives.

MAIRA GOMEZ:

I'm going to be able to go to college now.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

Maira Gomez, brought here against the law from El Salvador by her parents ten years ago, is now eligible for protection.

JOHN YANG:

What do you want to study?

MAIRA GOMEZ:

I want to become a nurse and then become a detective.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

Sixteen-year-old Maria Flores watched the president on her laptop at soccer practice.

JOHN YANG:

How did you feel?

MARIA FLORES:

I felt happy because, you know, my mom’s going to be -- you know, she's going to come out of the shadows.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

Maria's a citizen because she was born in Arizona. But her single mother is an undocumented, Mexican immigrant. Now her mom may work legally and not worry about being deported.

JOHN YANG:

Tell me what that's like to live in the shadows.

MARIA FLORES:

It's a really, you know, a big thing because, like, a lot of people are, like, you know, scared of, you know, sheriffs, you know, getting deported. Or, like, you know, not seeing their families ever again.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

Which is Maricopa County, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio is known for his tough stand on illegal immigration. He's already suing to block the new policy, calling it a "free pass" for undocumented immigrants.

JOE ARPAIO:

What about all the millions of people that come into our country, they wait for years to get here, and they do it the right way, and now how do you think they feel when you give them a "get out of jail" card free to these five million people?

JOHN YANG (V/O):

We asked a number of Republican groups for comment and they declined.

JOHN YANG:

El Mirage was founded by migrant farm workers from Mexico who wanted to put down roots of their own. Today, their descendants and newer arrivals, both documented and undocumented, still play a crucial role in the area's economy.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

No one knows how many undocumented immigrants already work illegally on farms, in restaurants, or in construction.

JOHN YANG:

What would it mean to this community if everyone who was undocumented was deported?

MAIRA GOMEZ:

This community would become like a ghost town. It'll be empty.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

Fourth generation West Valley farmer Kevin Rogers says the new policy helps agriculture get the workers it needs.

KEVIN ROGERS:

Today's folks don't want to work in the field. They don't want to drive my hay baler at 3:00 in the morning. They don't want to harvest lettuce. This is a career they choose not to do even at $10, $15 an hour they choose not to do that.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

For Maria Flores, it means hope for the future.

MARIA FLORES:

Go to college, you know, I'll have a better life. And I'll go through what mom has been through.

JOHN YANG (V/O):

The kind of future anyone would wish for the next generation. For Meet the Press John Yang, El Mirage, Arizona.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Again, a lot of Republican groups in Arizona did not want to respond on camera when we sent John Yang down there. I'm joined now by two members of so-called "gang of eight." They were the ones who drafted a bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 that passed the Senate only to essentially die in the House. Though technically, there's still a few more weeks of the session there.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Thank you both for joining me. Senator Flake, let me start with you. Very quickly, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his lawsuit, there's possibly a couple others that states may file. Do you support Arpaio's lawsuit against the president?

SENATOR JEFF FLAKE:

Well, what I think we ought to do is put legislation on the president's desk. You know, the president has only addressed one small portion of what needs to be done with immigration reform. We've got to do border security, interior enforcement, guest worker plan, and have a mechanism to deal with those who are here illegal. He has done one portion of the latter. So I'd rather move legislation on the other three items and put it on his desk. That would be my approach.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that. But so are you for or against this lawsuit?

SENATOR JEFF FLAKE:

I haven't even seen the lawsuit. So I don't know what it contains. I do think that--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think it's appropriate to sue the president on his action?

SENATOR JEFF FLAKE:

I do think that the president moved beyond his authority, no less than The Washington Post editorial board has opined about that. Having said that, for my role in the Senate, I think we ought to put legislation on the president's desk. That ought to be the response.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Menendez, let me pick up on legal case here. The question is whether the president can be impacting millions of people with prosecutorial discretion and things like that. Are you comfortable that this meets a constitutional test?

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ:

Oh, absolutely. Look, 11 presidents going back to President Eisenhower on 39 separate occasions issued executive actions on immigration over the last 60 years. And the most recent significant one was President Reagan and the first President Bush, who issued executive actions that protected 1.5 million undocumented people in the country, which is about 40% of all the undocumented in the country at the time.

And over a hundred constitutional law professors in the country have issued statements to the president before he acted that this was well within his authority. So look, as a result of the president's actions, more felons will be deported, more border patrol will be at the southern border, more people will pay taxes, and more families will be able to stay together. I think those are goals that are worthy of being achieved.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Flake, are you against the policy that the President's implementing? It doesn't sound like you are.

SENATOR JEFF FLAKE:

No, I should say that we did much of what the president did. In fact, it went even further in the Senate bill. And almost every piece of comprehensive or other immigration legislation has been proposed in Congress did at least what the president did. The problem is the way he did it is going to make it very difficult to move the other parts of immigration reform that we really need. So it's not that he did something that we wouldn't have done otherwise. It's the way he went about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Menendez, I want to pick up on that point. I've heard this from others who actually, activists, who now worry because the president did this, there's no urgency anymore to pass immigration reform in Congress.

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ:

Well, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Look, I think that the bill that Senator Flake and I put together, along with others, that got 68 out of 100 votes in the Senate. We don't get those kinds of votes on major, contentious issues. We did over a year and a half ago, it's been languishing in the House. They still have time to pass that bill and do the comprehensive nature that will strengthen our security, promote our economy, and preserve our history as a nation of immigrants.

And so there's still clearly a persistent, urgent need to do that. The president could not and did not extend his legal authority beyond that which he could. Which is why he can't deal with the whole issue. Only Congress can do that. We did it in the Senate. The House needs to act. There's only one person stopping us from achieving this. And that's Speaker Boehner. Put the bill on the floor. I believe it would pass, and we would move forward.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, I'm going to table immigration here for a second. Ask you both one quick foreign policy question. Senator Flake, House Republican led intelligence committee released a Benghazi report, and basically, it's pretty exculpatory. The key findings: no intelligent failure prior to the attack.

Security at C.I.A. facilities were sufficient. Yes, security at state department facilities were inadequate, and yes, some of the development of the talking points that Susan Rice used were flawed. But no wrongdoing, none of the conspiracies found. Is it time for Republicans to drop the Benghazi conspiracy theories?

SENATOR JEFF FLAKE:

Well, I've always thought the biggest problem with Benghazi is how it was cast by the administration and the remarks that Susan Rice just really threw in the face of what we knew was going on. But with regard to the other things that were addressed by this report, well, yes, I thought for a long time that we ought to move beyond that.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Menendez, the president now is announcing that he's going to be expanding the presence of troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Vice President Joe Biden had famously said in 2011, "They're getting out of there in 2014 come hell or high water." That's not going to happen. Are you comfortable with the president's decision?

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ:

Well, look, we have to preserve the very essence of what we achieved in Afghanistan, in pursuit of our national interest and national security. That means making sure the Taliban isn't resurging. And that makes sure that along the Afghan/Pakistan border, we deal with the remnants of Al Qaeda that still are there. So I think those actions are appropriate. And on the other issue, I'm glad the witch hunt is finally over. That's the bipartisan report that you referred to in Benghazi, and it's time to move forward and have embassy security that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly, Senator Menendez, is the Afghanistan decision a lesson learned by the president you think on what's going on in Iraq?

SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ:

Well, they're not exactly the same. And obviously, in Afghanistan, this leadership, the new presidency invited us and has signed a bilateral security agreement that was essential for us to have our troops there. In Iraq, we couldn't get former Prime Minister Maliki to agree to that. And that's a big difference.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat from New Jersey, Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, thank you both for joining me. I want to bring the panel in right now. Joe Scarborough, Bill Richardson, Amy Walter, Jose Diaz-Balart. Joe, let me put up some fascinating poll numbers that is a reminder that politics is everything when it comes to immigration.

Here's December, 2006. President Bush's plan for undocumented immigrants, among Democrats, a majority opposed it. Come 2014, in the NBC Wall Street Journal poll, President Obama's plan for undocumented immigrants, a majority of Democrats, 63% were in favor. Now let me show you Republicans.

Republicans for President Bush, a majority, a smaller majority, a majority were in favor of his plan back in 2006. Essentially, the same plan that President Obama's pushing. And guess what? We're near 80% of Republicans opposing it. Are you shocked that the political party of the president matters so much?

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

Well, Republicans and a lot of Democrats turned on W. Bush as he went further in the immigration debate. Turned on John McCain, almost caused his presidential campaign to go under in 2008. So this is a really tough decision for either party to approach.

But for the Republican party, I think the President's overstepped his bounds. I think what he's done may be proven to be unconstitutional, if you look at case law and you go back to Youngstown. That said, the Republicans have a lot of choices to make. We've been talking about hearing about impeachment, political suicide, shutdowns, political suicide, defunding. It's just not possible.

What are you going to do? You've got a system right now that has 11.3 illegal immigrants in this country and you can only deport 400,000 a year. You're going to defund those agencies even more? So it looks like it's turning to the Supreme Court makes the most sense. And if they just use the words that President Obama used in 2011, 2012, 2013, where having said--

CHUCK TODD:

Well, actually this now, Joe, I'll play them so you don't have to read them.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

This is not how a democracy works. This is not how our constitution works.

CHUCK TODD:

Because I want to set up Jose over here. Let me play those remarks of the president himself questioning his legal authority.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system. That for me, it's just simply through executive order, ignore those Congressional mandates, would not conform with my appropriate role as president. We start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. I'm not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.

CHUCK TODD:

Jose, you've done a ton of reporting on this. We're finding quite a few legal scholars that are questioning its legality.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Yeah and the purposes of that interview that I had with him in context, that was the 30th of January, 2013, the first time he went back to Del Sol, a school in Los Angeles.

CHUCK TODD:

And he was cajoling. He was hoping to--

(OVERTALK)

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

He was optimistic.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

And I've got to tell you something. He felt that he did not have the authority to, for example, and that was a very specific question I asked him, "Why not include DACA parents?" You know, parents of DACA kids. And he said, "I don't have the authority."

CHUCK TODD:

Which, he didn't include them in the--

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Which he did not do.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

And that's important to say. Now, on the issue of deportation, when you've got a wishy-washy president on immigration, the last six years, there have been more than two million deportations in this country. That's the entire population of Houston that has been deported. And every single time someone is deported, the question that many ask is, "Well, what about those kids that are born in the United States of America? Should they have their families destroyed because their parents are undocumented?" He's dealing with this issue because the House of Representatives didn't do squat.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

(OVERTALK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

But you just fell. And I've got to say this, every time I see the White House or Democrats say, "Well, he had to do this because Congress wouldn't do anything on it," I know there are liberal justices that cringe because they go, "Okay, that's what the separation of powers is for." And if you go back to controlling precedent, the president's executive orders are looked at most suspiciously when he does something that is against the will--

(OVERTALK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

--of Congress.

CHUCK TODD:

Go ahead, you were with the president I know on Friday. But should he have given Congress five more months? He essentially said, "I'm going to sign this order on June 1st if you don't act."

BILL RICHARDSON:

Oh, I think the president didn't take this action before the election, respecting the will of--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think that was the right call?

BILL RICHARDSON:

No. I think he should've done it.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

BILL RICHARDSON:

Because I think it would have increased turnout in Colorado. But look, I was around. I voted for this, I'm that old. I voted for the--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, '86, yeah.

BILL RICHARDSON:

And then George Bush, President George Herbert Walker Bush signed an executive order exactly like this, 1.4 million, 40% like President Obama did, and there was no uproar, because they did the right thing.

JOE SCARBOROUGH

But that was--

(OVERTALK)

BILL RICHARDSON:

Ronald--

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

--to a specific bill though. That's what the president will order today--

BILL RICHARDSON:

But it was families.

(OVERTALK)

BILL RICHARDSON:

No, it was families.

(OVERTALK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

This was such a critical point.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, and if it's--

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

That was pertaining to a 1986 bill passed by Congress, it was clean up operations. This was the--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

It was cleaning up a bill. It is different.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

Right. The president here is making new policy because he doesn't like what Congress has not done. That makes all the difference.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly.

AMY WALTER:

It's very surprising that Republicans knew this was coming, and they keep talking about--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

--have a response.

AMY WALTER:

Let's have a response. This has been coming down the pike for months.

CHUCK TODD:

Months. Its almost here.

AMY WALTER:

Something, anything.

(OVERTALK)

AMY WALTER:

Here is your bill.

CHUCK TODD:

Exactly.

BILL RICHARDSON:

Let me--the politics, ten million families are now affected by this act and by the Affordable Care Act.

CHUCK TODD:

And they're going to be loyal.

BILL RICHARDSON:

And they're going to be loyal. They're going to remember.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that is--

(OVERTALK)

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

--so is Maria Flores and her family.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I'm going to pause, you guys.

(OVERTALK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

--like Jeff Flake said, they have to pass legislation.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right. I think you're absolutely right why Flake went there. I'm going to pause it here. We're going to have more on this, I promise. Coming up, the tension of what the grand jury will do in the Ferguson shooting case. We'll be there live.

***Commercial Break***

CHUCK TODD:

Marion Barry died overnight after a brief stay in a Washington D.C. hospital. Barry rose to national prominence as mayor of Washington D.C. He was a commanding presence for decades. He served four terms as mayor and one term in prison. Marion was a civil rights leader who became mayor, a symbol of self governance for African Americans who put many blacks in positions previously reserved for whites.

But he also struggled with addiction and famously was arrested in a sting operation in a Washington hotel. He had been lured there by a former lover. And while that arrest is what many Americans outside Washington remember, for Washingtonians, at least for some of them, they forgive him because of his days as a civil rights leader. Marion Barry was 78.

* * *Commercial Break* * *

CHUCK TODD:

And welcome back. The eyes of the nation are focused on Ferguson, Missouri, where residents are awaiting a grand jury decision on whether police officer Darren Wilson will stand trial for shooting dead 18 year old Michael Brown in August. That killing triggered violent confrontations between protesters and police in the town outside of Saint Louis over the summer.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a preemptive state of emergency on Monday and hundreds of reporters and satellite trucks have already converged on this suburban town. But are they preparing for the worst or making an already delicate situation even more tense? NBC's Ron Allen starts our coverage this morning in Ferguson.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

Just about every one of the 107 days and nights since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson, Rasheen Aldridge has faced down the Ferguson police.

RON ALLEN:

What do you think you are accomplishing now?

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE:

I mean, we'll continue to keep the presence here because we want to let them know that we're not going anywhere.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

His passion taking him to the halls of power.

GOV. JAY NIXON:

Rasheen Aldridge Junior.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

His shirt says, "Demilitarize the police." Governor Jay Nixon appointed Aldridge to a 16-member high level commission tasked with finding solutions to problems like poverty, education, policing, issues fueling the protest.

RON ALLEN:

You can be on the governor's commission and also out here?

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE:

Yeah. I mean, I'm going to be me. I'm not going to join this commission and be a sellout.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

At 20, Aldridge is the youngest member. A student who washes cars to help pay for college. With goals well beyond justice for Michael Brown.

RON ALLEN:

Do you think they're going to indict the officer?

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE:

No.

RON ALLEN:

You don't?

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE:

If there was an indictment, we wouldn't stop protesting. We would continue to be out there, trying to see change, changes. Changing the system, the justice system. So people are not in the system for the time that they don't need to be. And change could also be a livable wage for people so they don't have to continue to live paycheck to paycheck.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

Meanwhile, the tension builds in Ferguson for the grand jury decision whether to charge Officer Wilson expected any day now. Governor Nixon has declared a state of emergency, criticized by many as too confrontational and too soon. Nixon has said it's his responsibility to protect public safety.

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

I'm not preparing for war. I'm preparing for peace.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

Now, with protests planned in as many as 100 cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Boston, the nation's top cop has called for everyone to take a deep breath.

ERIC HOLDER:

The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials in every jurisdiction to work with the communities that they serve to minimize needless confrontation.

RON ALLEN (V/O):

Back on the streets of Ferguson, Aldridge, who sees all of this as a generational fight, vows to be out there regardless of what the grand jury decides, with his young comrades.

RASHEEN ALDRIDGE:

They understand that this isn't the same standard civil rights protest. This is a group of folks who are just tired of being pushed against the wall. And once you push so far, what do you do? You fight back.

RON ALLEN:

Here outside the courthouse this morning, you can see that there are barricades in place. We expect the grand jury to reconvene on Monday. It's unclear whether they will vote, unclear whether they will hear more evidence. It's a very secret process. And that's creating a lot of anxiety, because people don't really know exactly what's going on.

There's a lot of distrust, especially from the community of the victim, Michael Brown and his family. They simply don't trust this process as being fair. And again, everyone taking precautions. A lot of businesses boarded up, the barricades in place, and we wait to see what the grand jury will do. Chuck?

CHUCK TODD:

Ron, thanks very much. I'm joined now from Ferguson by Anthony Gray, he's a lawyer for Michael Brown, Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, who joins me from our studios in Rockefeller Center, and Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology at Georgetown University who is here with me in Washington.

Mr. Gray, let me start with you. Ron Allen just brought up sort of the anxiety of the secretive process of the grand jury. Now grand juries, to be effective, need to be secretive. What are you concerned about in this process? Are you concerned about the secrecy, or are you simply concerned that they're not going to indict?

ANTHONY GRAY:

Well, I'm not concerned that they're not going to indict. I am concerned about the process itself. There seems to have, like you said before in your lead-in to this segment, there's just a level of distrust over the whole process and those that are involved in the process that I think that that's adding a level of anxiety to this whole situation that doesn't have to be necessary had they done things a little bit differently in the beginning.

CHUCK TODD:

You believe if there is a trial, even if it's a trial that the cop is found innocent, Officer Wilson is found innocent, that having the trial itself will be therapeutic for the community?

ANTHONY GRAY:

I think it may be therapeutic, but you've got to understand, Chuck, there are people that are locked and loaded into how they feel about this situation. And anything short of reaching their full expectation, will just never be satisfied. And you've got that small, or maybe perhaps a large group of people that feel that way. And I'm not so sure if it'd be therapeutic for them. It may be therapeutic for the community however.

CHUCK TODD:

Mayor Giuliani, I'm curious what you thought of Governor Nixon's decision. You've managed the largest city, frankly, it's bigger than most states. So Governor Nixon declares a preemptive state of emergency not for a natural disaster. Was that the right call?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, you know, it's hard to second-guess a governor in a situation like that. What I would've done, and I've had three situations similar to this, I would've had a state of emergency, but I would've kept it quiet. In other words, I would've kept my police on alert, I'd have kept them in places where you couldn't see them. Be ready in a moment's notice to stop any kind of violence.

But maybe not do it in advance. But it's hard to second-guess him. He had a tremendous amount of violence back in August. And, you know, had he not declared a state of emergency, he'd probably get criticized for not doing it. But what I'm concerned about is no one is explaining the grand jury to people. I mean, we're not educating people.

Grand juries are secret to protect innocent people. That's why they're secret. It's a federal crime to release information from a grand jury. Because a grand jury has a very low burden to prove probable cause to commit a crime. And this grand jury is under incredible pressure, incredible pressure to indict.

I feel sorry for these people because they know if they walk out of that grand jury room and have not indicted, they may have created a massive riot in their city and maybe throughout the United States. To me, that kind of pressure is completely inconsistent with the American criminal justice system. And the people who are putting on that pressure should be ashamed of themselves.

CHUCK TODD:

Michael Eric Dyson, I want to go back though to this decision to preemptively declare a state of emergency. It was interesting to hear Mayor Giuliani say he would've done it without telling anybody about it. Because that seems to be the criticism, is Trevor Burrus at CATO wrote this, he said, "When troops march in with an expectation that protests will become violent, it creates a crowd atmosphere of ugliness and conflict," quote, "the paramount concern has become officer safety, not to protect and serve the community."

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Right, I mean, Mayor Giuliani speaks about what's, you know, unconscionable and what should be indicted. What should be indicted is the criminal justice system that continues to impose undue burdens on African American, Latino, and other poor people. Number two, the police force is not to be an occupying force. They are to be there to protect and serve.

If you happen to be in a majority population where the police have acted that way, then your expectations follow suit. But if you've been in the community where I have been, where I've been personally subjected to countless and repeated efforts of the police to contain for no legitimate reason, then that's a different story. So yes, you know, the sources tell me that Attorney General Holder is highly upset by the--

CHUCK TODD:

Governor Nixon?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

By Governor Nixon's, you know, particular actions there, because they send the wrong signal. They're not there to protect duly, appropriate forms of protest by people who are citizens.

CHUCK TODD:

Now let's talk about the larger issue here that I think other communities may need to confront. Mayor Giuliani, I want to show you this graphic of the disproportionality of white police forces basically not looking like the communities that they serve. I highlighted six here of the most dramatic.

This was a Washington Post analysis of census data. Where basically the proportion of white police officers was much higher than the proportion of the white population. Miami Gardens, Florida, right outside the city of Miami, we see there El Paso, Texas, Compton, Gary, Indiana, Newark, Detroit. I mean, all of those place could become future Fergusons. How do you make a police force that looks like the community they serve?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, I mean, starting with Mayor Koch, Mayor Dinkins, myself, Mayor Bloomberg, and now Mayor de Blasio, we've tried very hard to make the police force in New York City as proportionate as we possibly can. We go out of our way to do that. I think we do a pretty good job. Not a perfect job. But the reality is--

CHUCK TODD:

You're not on this list, so that's a good thing.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Right. I was glad to see that we weren't, by the way. But the fact is, I find it very disappointing that you're not discussing the fact that 93% of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We're talking about the exception here.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Well, look. First of all--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--it's about a distrust issue.

RUDY GIULIANI:

We are talking about the significant exception. 93% of blacks are killed by other blacks.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Let me reply to that.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I would like to see attention paid to that that you are paying to this and the solutions to that.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Be taken up in time. Can I say this, first of all, no black people who commit crimes against other black people go to jail. Number two, they are not sworn by the police department as a agent of the state to uphold the law. So in both cases, that's a false equivalency that the mayor has drawn, which is exacerbated tensions that are deeply imbedded in American culture.

(OVERTALK)

RUDY GIULIANI:

It's the reason that--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Black people who kill black people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail. If a jury can indict a ham sandwich, why is it taking so long?

(OVERTALK)

RUDY GIULIANI:

--it’s hardly insignificant.

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. Mayor, let me ask you--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

It's the trust issue. It's a trust issue.

RUDY GIULIANI:

It's hardly insignificant.

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

I didn't say it was insignificant. I said it was--

(OVERTALK)

RUDY GIULIANI:

It is the reason--

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

your false equivalency, sir.

RUDY GIULIANI:

It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Not at all.

RUDY GIULIANI:

93%.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

The police presence cannot make it--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--those who are criminals and those who call the police.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Let me--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--the criminals.

RUDY GIULIANI:

What about the poor black child that is killed by another black child? Why aren't you protesting that?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Those people go to jail. I do protest it. I'm a minister. They go to jail. Why don't you talk about the way in which white policemen --

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--undercut the ability of--

(OVERTALK)

RUDY GIULIANI:

So why don't cut it down so so many white police officers don't have to be in black areas?

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

They don't have to be. It's a matter of the effect of the state occupying those forces, sir.

RUDY GIULIANI:

How about 70%-75% of the crime in my city--

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

How about your attitude reinforces--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--problematic perspectives that prevails in a culture--

CHUCK TODD:

I think this is a debate--

RUDY GIULIANI:

So how about you reduce crime?

CHUCK TODD:

This is a debate--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

When I become mayor, I’ll do that--

(OVERTALK)

RUDY GIULIANI:

White police officers won't be there if you weren't killing each other 70% of the time--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--this is a defense mechanism of white supremacy at work in your mind, sir.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Michael, I'm going to stop it there. Michael Eric Dyson, Mayor Giuliani, as you can see, this has a lot of tension to it, a lot of heated debate. Thank you both for being here.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Anthony, thank you very much for coming on. Let's hope there's a lot of peace in Ferguson. Are you confident there's going to be peace in Ferguson?

ANTHONY GRAY:

I'm not. It's difficult to predict how people are going to respond. I'm hopeful that there will be peace in Ferguson, and I'm prayerful that peace will reign.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Mayor Giuliani, Michael Eric Dyson, Anthony Gray, thank you all for being here.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

A spirited conversation for sure. Let me quickly go to the panel. Amy Walter, I think we just saw the emotion and the tension that comes out of here. I think that it's clear the issue here is trust between the black community and a white police force.

AMY WALTER:

Right. And it's not always just about the police. I mean, this is about a bigger brother cultural issue in terms of communities feeling like they are outsiders and not connected to other parts of America. And I think that's what we're seeing here. I mean, we're focused specifically on this grand jury, on this specific crime. But it is much more than what happened that night there. That's why people are turning out. It's as much about the feelings of being misplaced and--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

It's almost as if this shooting is in the background there. This is not part of it.

AMY WALTER:

Right, this is much more.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor, did you ever declare a preemptive state of emergency that was not about a natural disaster during your two terms?

BILL RICHARDSON:

No, I did one on immigration. But I do think that the Governor Nixon, who's a good governor, I think calling in the national guard was a little excessive. Now, in the state of emergency, a governor has flexibility to either do it like Giuliani said, silently, add more police. But I think we've got to focus on the lessons learned. Look, the grand jury, as I understand it, only has about 5% of the information. Let the grand jury proceed. Let's do something about diversifying police forces.

CHUCK TODD:

That's training.

CHUCK TODD:

Diversified police forces is the issue.

BILL RICHARDSON:

But also training--

(OVERTALK)

BILL RICHARDSON:

Training our police officers more effectively. And then I think lastly, do we need all these tanks, all this equipment, and all these--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

--police makes it--

(OVERTALK)

BILL RICHARDSON:

But I think at the same time, let's be calm about this, peaceful protest, I mean, there were a lot of inequities in our criminal justice system, as the professor mentioned.

CHUCK TODD:

Joe, are you concerned that Gwen Ifill did this tweet, she said, "It almost looks as if people are going to be disappointed if there's not violence," that there almost seems to be too much preparation, frankly news media even playing a role.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

I mean, there's so many things to be concerned about. You've got to be concerned about a police force in Ferguson that was disproportionately white. There was egregious, the criminal justice system, obviously there are two Americas when it comes to young black males compared to young white males.

CHUCK TODD:

We saw it play out right there between Michael and Mayor Giuliani.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

And I'm also really concerned right now about this police officer. That there is a burden on the grand jury to not indict. And Michael said, "You can indict a grapefruit." You can indict a grapefruit. But I would say that a grapefruit would have a similar opportunity to--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

But that community needs a trial.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

Well, look, you say they need a trial. They need a trial.

CHUCK TODD:

They need a trial.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

If this is an indictable offense. If they get the evidence, if they pore through the evidence, and if it's justified. I mean, this guy has constitutional rights as well.

(OVERTALK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

And very quickly, I do think it is all about Michael Brown. I think that's the focus. I think that's the focus since day one in August when this occurred. And one more thing, people are upset that they're not being represented by authorities, change the system. Register and vote.

CHUCK TODD:

There you go. All right. In a few minutes, the story that's also been grabbing some headlines this morning. This is the front page of Sunday, this Sunday's Washington Post. More accusations against Bill Cosby. We'll be right back.

* * *Commercial Break* * *

CHUCK TODD:

We'll be right back. We'll have the fight over Keystone. How important is it really? And a discussion on the Bill Cosby accusations.

* * *Commercial Break* * *

CHUCK TODD:

And welcome back. There were many takeaways from my road trip across swing states ahead of the midterms. And one thing I couldn't help but notice was how cheap gas was. Well, right now, it's cheap because of the slumping global oil price. And it has huge implications for the U.S. economy, but also raises the question, with all of that going on, why is Washington so obsessed with a little pipeline known as Keystone?

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

The debate over Keystone XL, the final 1,200 miles of the Keystone Pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, has become a caricature of itself.

PROTESTORS:

Not oil. What? Soil.

BARBARA BOXER:

It's called Keystone XL, extra lethal.

MARY LANDRIEU:

Hooray, we can also create jobs not just in the U.S., but in Mexico. Hooray. It can help us solve some of our immigration problems.

CHUCK TODD (V/O):

Pencil in a confrontation between the White House and the new Republican majority for January. The Democratic Senate temporarily blocked Keystone authorization this week. But a Republican Senate will likely approve it next year, forcing the president to decide whether to issue his third veto ever.

But here's the thing. Keystone is largely a symbolic fight. Canadian tar sands oil is already getting to refineries in the U.S. by barge and train. The state department estimates that the pipeline's construction would support about 42,000 temporary jobs, but only 35 Keystone jobs would be permanent.

And whether Keystone is approved or not, a U.S. energy boom is already transforming the debate over energy policy. Thanks to the domestic shale oil boom, gas prices are at a four-year low. Below $3 a gallon in more than 35 states, driven down by the tumbling price of oil, now at just $80 a barrel.

U.S. crude oil production is up almost 80% since 2008. By 2015, the U.S. is expected to temporarily surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia, as the world's top oil producer. But environmentalists argue that there is a cost to growing energy independence. They say shale oil extraction and hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" have a higher environmental cost than traditional drilling.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Big expose back this morning about North Dakota and fracking in The New York Times. We're going to discuss that in a few minutes. I'm joined by Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of the book, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company. Daniel, let me start with you. Are we energy independent?

DANIEL YERGIN:

We're not energy independent, but we're certainly moving in that direction in a way that would not have been expected five years ago.

CHUCK TODD:

But that's what's so stunning, is it's a five-year shift. Is it all shale oil at fault?

DANIEL YERGIN:

Yeah, that's why OPEC is meeting and is in a panic because of this incredible growth in U.S. oil production that has really taken them and many other people by surprise.

CHUCK TODD:

And the impact this has, John, is not just on the American economy and gas prices. We're in the middle of negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. We've got sanctions against Russia when it comes to how they dealt with Ukraine. And yet, the price of oil dropping serves as, like, an extra sanction against Iran and Russia. Explain.

JOHN HOFMEISTER:

It is. It's an extra sanction because it reduces their economic clout. Well, we've seen what happened to the Russian ruble. Iran is not able to subsidize many of its programs.

CHUCK TODD:

They need to have oil to be at $100 or more a barrel for them to balance their budget.

JOHN HOFMEISTER:

Yeah, the estimates are Russia needs well over $100, Iran even more. And the consequence of that is the people of Russia, the people of Iran will suffer as a consequence of the low oil price. That's why the panicked feeling within the OPEC meeting coming up on Thursday. But the reality is, we will be short of oil in the world over the next several years as global growth exceeds oil production. So we need all the production we can have. We need all the infrastructure we can build to make sure the U.S. is taken care of.

CHUCK TODD:

Daniel, are we though rushing things too much? I look at what theNew York Times story this morning about North Dakota and there's not a lot of regulating going on. When the lead regulatory commission in the state of North Dakota, as The New York Times pointed out, are run by elected officials, including the governor, that just screams potential conflict of interest.

DANIEL YERGIN:

Well, in fact, the oil and gas industry is pretty highly regulated. What's happening in North Dakota, it's gone from nowhere to being the second-largest oil producing state in the country. And underneath those three elected officials are 12 departments that actually do the regulation.

CHUCK TODD:

Right, but you're confident that real, decent regulation is happening? That Times story didn't make it seem like it is.

DANIEL YERGIN:

Well, I think that in every state where you've had this type of growth, it's there, it's Ohio, you have to get the regulatory machinery in there, and it's certainly very, you know, it's stronger than it was two to four years ago. And they have to get it in a place to deal with the scale of this activity. Because as you say, it is happening fast, it's also happening fast in Texas, with is has a well-established regulatory system.

CHUCK TODD:

Right, and John, do you think the federal government needs to get more involved?

JOHN HOFMEISTER:

No, the state government can do it, provided they follow what the other states are doing. The federal government has a role to play offshore and in certain EPA requirements. But the states have to take care of the states. And I agree with Daniel, that the rush has been so rapid that it's not caught up yet. But the industry, the industry wants regulation. It wants a level playing field for all the actors. And the reputation of the industry demands adherence to tough regulations.

CHUCK TODD:

Now Daniel, in 2009, when I was covering the White House, there was talk of a comprehensive energy bill that was going to be all of the above, including nuclear power. And it was close to happening. There would've been a price on carbon. Is that urgency gone now, because all of a sudden, of this shell oil boom? And is that a bad thing?

DANIEL YERGIN:

Well, I think it's really changed the mentality where we have this great sense of competency. By the way, all around the world, people look at the United States and we talk about U.S. decline, they see this as a source of U.S. trend. So nuclear--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

--any time you have an energy source, right?

DANIEL YERGIN:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s seen as strength.

DANIEL YERGIN:

And that in terms of nuclear, it's obviously slowed down. So we don't quite have an all-of-the-above energy policy. We have a kind of some-of-the-above energy policy.

CHUCK TODD:

And John, are you confident that the oil companies can handle pricing of carbon?

JOHN HOFMEISTER:

Yes. Many of them are actually advocating pricing of carbon. I was very heavily involved in cap and trade back when it was put forward by Congress, and helped with--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Is there an argument to Republicans that you could make to make that happen? Or no?

JOHN HOFMEISTER:

Yes. Cap and trade is a system that actually generates economic value. The Republicans have trashed it unfortunately, and it's got a bad reputation. But I think it's far better than a carbon tax when all is said and done because you can direct the activities towards reducing carbon with the cap and trade system.

CHUCK TODD:

Daniel Yergin, John Hofmeister, thank you both very much.

JOHN HOFMEISTER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

We'll be back in just 30 seconds with the latest on an American icon that's been accused. Bill Cosby.

CHUCK TODD:

And welcome back. The panel is here. And Michael Eric Dyson has rejoined us because he's the author of the 2006 book Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? Let's start by discussing the latest allegations against Bill Cosby.

Michael, front page of The Washington Post has a bunch of interviews with some new folks this morning. But let me go through a quick timeline of events here and how this all came up. There's rumors of him sexually assaulting women have been around Hollywood for years. But it came back in October. A comedian Hannibal Buress basically called Cosby a rapist during a standup routine, and that routine went viral.

Then, November 13th, Barbara Bowman wrote an essay, Bill Cosby Raped Me, put that in The Washington Post. November 16th, a publicist Joan Tarshis writes an essay for Hollywood Elsewhere, recounting two times where she alleges that she was raped by Cosby. November 18th, an interview with Entertainment Tonight model Janice Dickinson alleges being assaulted by Cosby.

And of course, the fallout. NBC, Netflix pulled projects with Cosby on November 19th, three more women come forward on November 20th. Michael, you wrote this book on Cosby. Is this something that a whole bunch of people knew about but a lot of us didn't?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

I think so. It was an open secret to many people, at least the allegations. But as Dr. King was fond of quoting, "Truth crushed to Earth will rise again." And you can't anticipate what will happen. The internet ten years later. I wrote a book ten years ago, Mr. Cosby was highly irate.

A new biography that has come out talked about his hatred of me. And I understand that, because I challenged him. And I challenged him on the fact that he was going around the country giving moral lessons of condescending elements to young African American people. And they were nasty and vicious.

CHUCK TODD:

And this is where the retaliation is coming from a little bit, right?

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

It's more because he was basically preaching?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Well, he's throwing rocks and he's living in the glass house. And so that contradiction will always get you sunk.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Amy, it's interesting, you know, Bill Cosby, I mean, look, I'll be honest, I'm sure, you just said there, I think no one, before, there was Oprah, Bill Cosby did more, I think, to bridge white and black America together culturally in a way that seemed to be inclusive, not exclusive.

AMY WALTER:

I'm a child of the '80s.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, I watched The Cosby Show, my kids watched Little Bill. I grew up with Fat Albert. There's just so much about Cosby that just seems just nothing but positive.

AMY WALTER:

It does sort of feel like, and this has been happening a lot, even just this week, the allegations coming out of the University of Virginia and the fraternity system there. That it's almost like every day there is another element here. And being the female on the panel, where you do feel as if all of these institutions that were supposed to protect women, the ones that, the people that we saw as icons that were out there as, you know, people we looked up to, it's all sort of crumbling away. And so I think it's a broader statement to culturally on why people feel so disconnected and so frustrated with what we want to call the establishment. Because it's not doing what it was supposed to do.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, the expression, "Say it ain't so, Joe," came from Shoeless Joe Jackson, and he's gambled. And Joe, I feel that, I sit there with Cosby and you're like, "Just say it ain't so." I mean, I think part of the reluctance for a long time by the mainstream media to cover this is because nobody wants to believe it.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

Well, he's a transformative figure. I mean, he's a transformative figure. You talked about The Cosby Show in the '80s, you could talk about Fat Albert in the '70s. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1963. I can tell you the deep South in '67, '68, '69, my parents were playing Bill Cosby records. Remember when you used to? I mean, it'd be--

CHUCK TODD:

Those comedy albums, yeah.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

Bill Cosby was transformative. You know, Mika, my co-host had said--

CHUCK TODD:

I’ve heard of her.

JOE SCARBOROUGH:

--"Why aren't people more interested in talking about this?" And I said, Two reasons. One, the reluctance because he's a transformative figure. Secondly, 40 years later, it's hard enough to prove a negative in real time. Now all of this is coming out 40 years later.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

And a man has legitimated, Hannibal Buress is a comedian and an off-comment, you know, off the--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, and all that's what goes viral.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Yeah, well, yeah. But what's interesting is, legitimating--

(OVERTALK)

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

--experiences, unfortunately, that's part of the rape culture that's been challenging. And the internet has done so in a very powerful way.

(OVERTALK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH

--how does he prove the negative?

CHUCK TODD:

Well no, that's, you--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

--Exactly, and you don't unring the bell.

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, the bell's never been unrung. He's now going to be known as an alleged rapist.

BILL RICHARDSON:

I think two points. One, Bill Cosby needs a real crisis manager to come out and not just say, "Okay, this--"

(OVERTALK)

BILL RICHARDSON:

He needs to come out and face these charges. Secondly, you know, my wife Barbara handled when we were in office a lot of these sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence. There's still a judicial system that doesn't respond adequately to dealing with these problems. And we have to do that on a national basis.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

There's always a difference between the public person and the private person. And regardless of his positions on social positions, even society's positions, I think it's time, not presuming guilt or innocence, but it's time for this part, the private part to be--

(OVERTALK)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Amy brings up a good point about the UVA situation, what's going on there and this, which is it does feel as if women have a harder time proving this for some reason.

(OVERTALK)

AMY WALTER:

Well, the big, major figures and institutions that make it very hard to--

CHUCK TODD:

They are powerful against this.

(OVERTALK)

AMY WALTER:

--even in this day and age, it's just amazing.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, before we go, I want to congratulate my friend and colleague and mentor and a friend to all of us here, Tom Brokaw. He's going to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom tomorrow. How cool is that? Tom, you're going to be on a baseball card. Topps actually puts out cards of all those Medal of Freedom winners. It's awesome. Have a very happy Thanksgiving. That's all for today. We'll be back next Sunday, because you know why, if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *