tv The Cycle MSNBC April 29, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
to a gain. nearly three years after his death the latest chapter in the michael jackson legal saga begins. today the biggest story in the nba is happening off the court. all of that plus "the cycle" was invited to the white house correspondents dinner and we have pictures to prove it. this hour marks two weeks after the boston bombings. the investigation is focusing on the suspect's mother. the mom is still in russia after changing travel plans and she is not coming to the u.s. her press conference has turned heated. she is no terrorist. tsarnaev says her recent embrace
has nothing to do with extremism. the russians did not tell the u.s. aboutt it until after the bombing. other family members say the mother had a quote big-time influence on her older son. she was placed on the cia watch list in 2011 along with her son. the massachusetts investigators are working to see if her sons really acted alone. this weekend's land fill search came up empty for the bomber's laptop. let's start with richard esposito. what do you have? >> the overall question for investigators is what turned a boxing champion into a radical?
there is a line. you begin somewhere without being radical. sometimes you meet someone. sometimes you get inspiration online and that brings you further along the path. and then you get to the period where you are sure you are going to act and start planning. and then there is the action. in this case no one was able to catch them before the action and bombing at the boston marathon. now you reconstruct this and try and see what people missed or what could have been known that wasn't known. today the fbi is at tamerlan's widow's house, katherine russell and they are interested in seeing what they might find, what she might say, what she might have known. so there will be a focus on the family and not necessarily a focus on did they help him but what they could have known along the way. did they know enough to come to authorities and chose not to? some would-be terrorists have lived with room mates and the
room mates have not known how far along they had gone. that is one part of what they are going to look at. they are going to reconstruct the rest of the crime scene and see who fired what bullets at who, what happened when they killed the cop at mit. what happened when the transit came and how close did they come for leaving boston and heading for new york where they admitted they intended to throw bombs in times square. and that's about where they are right now. >> those are all important questions. thank you so much. terrorism analyst is a senior partner. being a muslim does not mean you're an extremest. from what you know about talking about jihad on the phone with
tamerlan and people saying she was becoming increasingly radicalized. should the fbi have been doing something about all of this? >> i think you have to take what she is saying with a huge grain of salt. that being said this is a bit of monday morning quarterbacking. if the fbi was going out and investigating everybody who says the word jihad on a telephone conversation they would run out of agents pretty quickly. that is feasible. there is no way the fbi has resources. there are a lot of people who would question whether or not we want to be investigating every person that says the word jihad on a telephone conversation. there are numerous instances where the fbi has failed in the past. i'm not sure this is it. >> unsurprisingly since boston the people's perceived perception of whether there is likely to be a terror attack in
the next few weeks has gone up. we have 51% saying they think it is likely we would have a terror attack in the next few weeks. where is the biggest threat coming from? we are still getting details here. it looks like the tsarnaev's are not linked directly to a terrorist organization but they were inspired by the tactics and the warped ideology of jihaddy organizations. is thatt is that the bigger threat. >> there are others that are trying to target the united states. that will always be a threat. the problem is that the fbi and the cia and other u.s. intelligence agencies have a good handle. they have a fairly good handle. it is a much harder task trying to find home grown extremists, people that don't travel abroad to a training camp, people who don't have an explicit tie to an
al qaeda organization and someone who trains themselves on the internet. very recently al qaeda put out a video titled you are only responsible for yourself trying to encourage people to do this. there is inspire magazine. this is a tactic that other organizations are familiar with and it is very difficult for the fbi to try to find a needle in a stack of needles. there are no signs of radicalization and nothing that would rise at the level of being able to put these people behind bars or give the idea that this is someone who will carry out an act of violence. listen to the words of those around the tsarnaevs. nobody had a clue even people around them on a daily basis they had no idea. i think the idea that fbi. >> intelligence officers at the
ci and other -- between the calls for fbi and cia and other intelligence that russia had been monitoring mom and son conversations it looks like russia was self-interested and right. your take on what it's like for us the united states to put intelligence into proper categories when we might distrust the source. >> you have to put everything into context. russia has a long standing con flkt in the caucuses. russia called everybody who fights them in the caucuses a terrorist. you see numerous jihad groups coming out saying we are fighting a war against russia. we are not fighting a war
against the united states. we are not looking to target the united states. so i think this is very important to put into context. the groups talk about violent jihad. they carry out acts of violence. they target trains and power stations and aircraft. that does not make them necessarily a direct threat to the united states. these groups do not apparently want to target the united states. they distance themselves from the boston bombings. we have to be very careful when we get foreign intelligence warnings. sometimes it can be very challenging especially when they come in bits and pieces and we are only getting small slivers of what is actually being gathered. quite clearly the russians did not give us every piece of information. it makes it exceptionally difficult for us to piece it out beforehand. >> we are talking a bit about
the fbi. some of the most helpful information was not from government surveillance but from private surveillance. boston you will be seen by at least 233 total cameras. we are approaching london which is one of the most surveillance places in the world. from your experience in the investigations are there concerns here that obviously when it is a private camera there aren't more requirements or safe guards that we associate. >> it is a double edged sword. these cameras are proving intergrl. this is a lot of times the way we are able to find perpetrators quickly. on the other hand it is a bit to think that you can walk around in a major u.s. city and not escape the eye of the unblinking eye of the camera. and i think people have to be
aware oft that that the civil lirblts or not if you are walking around in a major city like new york, boston, washington, d.c. it is fair to assume you have the unblinking eye looking at you hopefully being used in a way that protects us and not infringing on civil liberties. >> big brother is watching indeed. up next six months to the day since superstorm sandy hit. a business owner who put aside his own loss to help his neighbors. that is just the beginning of the story. on saturday night at the white house correspondents dinner. >> we have had some difficult days. but even when the days seem darkest we have seen humanity shine at its brightest. we have seen first responders,
>> reporter: it looks like nothing has happened here for some families. i think you can hear the sound on and off. that is the sound of a jackhammer. people are trying to bring their lives back together. so many are struggling to make that happen. we talked to folks who have come to look at their property. one man says he hasn't been on the second floor of his home in six months. he can't get up there because the stairs are gone. the storm ripped through his home knocking out everything on the first floor. the fortunate thing for this family is they have flood insurance and home insurance. he says he has received about 2/3 of the money but part of the problem is finding workers because there is so much work to be done. in addition to that i should tell you that people are wondering about what the building codes are going to be and whether or not they are going to have to raise their homes above the level where they are now. because this is really beach front property. and i can throw a stone and you
could hit the water. that is how close they are. and how beautiful it is it also is what caused it to be so dangerous here. there was a beach wall and it is gone. you only see fragments of that wall in the alley ways between the houses now. it is a real struggle now for people to come back. recovery is slow here. >> thanks for that update. the cost of sandy in money and lives is staggering. first the money some $65 billion in damage. you remember the political wrangling over that sandy aid package from washington. much of that money has been distributed to storm victims. at least 113 people killed in at least nine states. residents have remained strong. many of them sacrificing their own recovery to help others around them. one of those people is steve member of the nonprofit organization the gray beards. steve, thanks for joining us.
why don't you tell us about some of the good work that your organization has been doing in the months since sandy hit? >> since sandy our organization initially 99% of our members were struck by sandy. and we were digging ourselves out. after a few weeks we got our selve sa selves up and running. people were very generous and gave us donations of over $1 million. our board of drirectors decided that money would go out to the sandy victims. what we do each week we review the requests from people in our neighborhood and handed out directly to sandy victims. >> and steve a lot of people have been talking about the tremendous coordinated government response. governor christie said he
thought obama kept his word on that. you are doing this through private donations and private community service. do you think this is an example of hitting the right balance between the public and private response? >> well, we heard about the $50 billion that was going to make it out to the people in the community that the president signed a bill for the relief. it is good to hear about it but better to see it. a lot of our people aren't getting to see that money because the bureaucracy is causing problems for people to get the end result of getting money in their hand to rebuild. >> and you mentioned that some 90% of your members were personally hit by superstorm sandy. out of that you came together to provide relief to your whole community. how has that process of being involved yourself in the relief effort helped with your own sort
of personal recovery? >> well, we are called resilient because we have been through so much. we are very close knit community. you walk down the block and you usually know somebody not by name necessarily but you recognize their face. our neighbors are all willing to help each other, look out for the elderly and handicap. it has been so many years that we have been up and running 11 years. we are not brand new to this process. we are used to helping people but not in the proportion that we are helping now. and it gets our name out there which is great but unfortunately the funds run out after a while. $1 million is a big number but when you have $50 billion worth of damage $1 million is kind of
a drop in the bucket. we look to people to help us out. >> there are a lot of people watching who can help you out in small and large ways. what is the number one thing that you and your neighbors need and the people could call and donate somewhere, what is the number one thing you would like to see them give? >> if people want to contribute they can contribute online. we are set up at graybeards.com. and my promise to the donors is 100% of the money that they donate will get to a sandy victim. >> that is great. before we let you go i wanted to ask you about something our nbc reporter just mentioned that some people are ready to rebuild and they can't find the work er to do it. are there jobs to be had? >> a lot of volunteers are coming out. do you mean volunteer jobs or paid jobs? >> i mean paid jobs, construction jobs?
>> there is plenty -- you walk up and down the streets there are contractors in almost every house on the block. i have been contacted at the office from people as far away as texas to come out and work out here. i know a lot of the groups like habitat for humanity are set up out here. they are mostly volunteer, though. but we could use whoever wants to come out and help we can use the help. >> all hands on deck. thanks very much for joining us. more "the cycle" straight ahead including how three of your four neighborhood cyclists spent the weekend. for seeing your business in a whole new way. for seeing what cash is coming in and going out... so you can understand every angle of your cash flow- last week, this month, and even next year.
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>> my comfort zone. >> i get it. these days i look in the mirror and i have to admit i'm not the strapping young muslim socialist that i used to be. >> they are very close to each other. >> a record number of african-american senators, two. in other words, there are more in the senate. i admire their commitment to cover all sides story. in case -- >> my son was in new york saying i wish daddy was here. 999 other people were at the annual gala at the hilton where
politicians, hollywood and dc insiders and news folk like me make conversation. what the hell could butler have to talk about. being on "the cycle" for a month doesn't make the cut. >> russell simmons i concur. one of the best of the night was starring kevin spacy. >> new faces, old faces and new faces and old faces. and i do sympathize not just for the back stabbing leno but having to host. it must be hard to make jokes about a town that is one. democrats, republicans, the white house, congress. you all came together to make
th spoof. i may lie, cheat and intimidate. mr. president, welcome. >> only thing better is the house of cards. i saw it through the whole weekend the way d.c. loves it. kevin spacy is going to all of the parties. famous afternoon brunch. they said here comes the president and they brought up the president from scandal. there was the spielburg piece that the president went through where he talks about daniel day
lewis playing him in a movie and then obama pretending to be daniel day lewis playing himself. so it's this metaphor for how d.c. loves to mix itself into hollywood playing d.c. to make it look better. it is a fun night. >> you say i wasn't there. i do want to correct the record. i think some other people at the table might back me up. i was there. we have a photo i stepped in and got the group photo. there i am between them. >> that is just the way you look in black tie. >> in tuxedo. >> that is your formal look. >> that is his self projection coming out. >> people don't realize when i dress up i get more balleriffic. some people dwlaut lo-- thought
looked like russell simmons. i was glad to be there. >> what was your favorite moment? >> be sure it is one that wasn't on c span. >> i love when the president talked about outreach and what the republicans should do. >> that was on tv. >> anyway, my favorite moment i think overall the president was probably better. i think he is a tough act to follow for a professional comedian. the president is so good at delivering a line that it is a tough act to follow. we were talking about especially after he gave a heart felt shout out to the victims in boston. i liked a moment from conan where he was making fun of the huffington post. >> i see the huffington post has
a table which has me wondering if you are here who is covering miley cyrus's latest nip slip? who is assembling the top 25 yogurt-related tweets, seven mistakes you are making with bacon. that is a real one and you should be ashamed of yourselves. >> i had to look up that article. it is real. and they added to the top if you are looking to the article conan referenced this is it. this is an easy event to mock. i will say one thing that is great about it is sometimes the media does take itself too seriously and there are news outlet rivalries. it is great to have a night where everybody is getting made fun of and everybody is laughing about it. >> that is great. >> i was struck by how thin the line is between being somebody and a nobody because you get this invitation. you are like i am honored.
i must be somebody. and then you get there. if you are like me you are clearly a nobody. it is clear from the second you get there. someone behind you is taking sharon stone's picture and they are like would you mind moving? michael douglas is taking the chair out from underneath me. i'm like sorry mr. douglas. it was bizarre and humbling to be in a room with so many people that are either famous or admirable and those two are exclusive or infamous. >> psy was there. >> there were plenty of those. there were people in this business that i have come to admire and ran into some political members, congressional members that i haven't seen in a while which is fun. in this weirdness and crazy sort of i don't believe hereness i did manage to find my people. and my people were clearly willy
and corey robertson from "duck dynasty." >> who is that on the right? >> that is my fiance. had a great night talking about hunting. >> you know what i love when conan said that fox is the jocks and msnbc is the nerds and c span is the kid with the peanut allergy. >> i thought media jokes were old. >> they are there. >> he had moments. >> if you go back and listen to the audio or rewatch the conan speech he gave a shout out to "duck dynasty" and the loud scream of approval might have been -- >> the president's new nickname
for big pete, big poppy. wow. nice. i turned around and said go sox. big news in the gay community and sports world today. 13 season nba veteran and washington wizards center jason collins has come out as the first openly gay pro ball player in u.s. history saying i am a 34-year-old nba center and i'm black and gay. he is happy now to start the conversation about it. the nba is giving him props for taking the national lead on the issue. nba commissioner called it a water shed moment. we are proud of him for coming out. do you think collins coming out will lead to other players coming out? it only takes one to open the door. like us on facebook. share your opinion about this
and other important stories. today is the opening day of the michael jackson wrongful death trial. this is the song that the president came out to. [ male announcer] surprise -- you're having triplets. [ babies crying ] surprise -- your house was built on an ancient burial ground. [ ghosts moaning ] surprise -- your car needs a new transmission.
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they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine... but she's still going to give me a heart attack. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. in los angeles another jackson trial is starting today this one by the jackson family against concert promoters who backed the ill fated comeback tour in june of 2009. the civil trial could last three or four months. dr. murray administered that fatal dose of the anesthetic. the jackson family says he shouldn't shoulder all of the responsibility for the death. they argue the promoters fail in
their duty to protect jackson's health. our next guest is no stranger to this kind of jackson family drama. he was the leading defense attorney for jackson's molestation case and his new book has new ideas. co author of "mistrial" an inside look at how the criminal justice system works and sometimes doesn't. thanks for being here. >> i want to start with something very controversial that you write in this book. you say cops lie. everyone in the court system knows it but if questioned about it they will deny it. no one wants to talk about it because we appreciate our police officers putting their lives on the line for us. you walk through an assault case where you basically had a police report that didn't mention someone pointing a gun at the victim in question. and then at trial you say essentially the whole story changed. the cops were lying. tell us about that and can you
back up the charges you are making? >> i not only back them up you have jurys that find the clients not guilty because they don't believe it. that is one of the reasons that separates our system from any other is that jurors can judge the credibility of people and officers. it is one of the dirty secrets of the criminal justice system. if you got anybody, even prosecutors alone sometime and let their guard down they would tell you they know it. it doesn't -- there is the motivation that the end justifies the means. if you just embellish a little bit the idea is that they are doing god's work so therefore they need to maybe stretch it a little bit. >> let's talk about lawyers for a second. there is this great scene of mine in back to the future 2 where marty mcfly is marveling
at the future of the justice system in the future. to be serious, some prosecutors have come under fire recently and the idea of proscuatory reform has gotten new legs i'm thinking specifically of the case of u.s. attorney karman ortiz and her role in the prosecution of internet hacker scharts. how big of a problem is proscue toproscue -- prosecutorial zeal. >> one thing is never saying you are sorry. you only have to look at duke lacross and what happens at the federal system where there is overcharging where people if they are innocent can't risk the
idea of going to trial. and it is a real problem. a week does not go by where you don't see anybody released from prison. and that should give people a lot of pause. we write in the book one of the solutions may be in defense lawyer who commits malpractice you can get sued. a police officer can get sued. the only person with immunity is the prosecutor. given some of the things we have seen maybe there shouldn't be immunity. >> we are locking up millions of nonviolent drug offenders, a complete waste of human capital. in your book you talk about that you agree we should not be locking up nonviolent drug offenders. >> i tell you something. some of the most conservative judges, there is a particular judge here who is one of the
toughest on crime, here in california we lead the world practically in incarcrating people. all you have to do is walk into a courtroom and you see that almost 80% of the calendar are people charged with drug crimes which is utterly ridiculous. we are wear houarehousing peopl >> one thing i appreciate about this book is you lay out specific actionable reforms. i did want to get you to weigh in on more of a moral question. if the criminal justice system is so flawed and no matter how we reform it it will be based on human beings. can we in such a flawed system in good conscience sentence people to death? >> no. anybody who has worked in the system i think you have to come to realize that it makes no
sense. when you see these people being exonerated and walking off of death row who were absolutely innocent and you say those will argue that shows the system works. i have the opposite reaction to that. that makes me lose sleep. how morally could we decide we are going to put people to death and why do we need death penalty machinery and rap r rry and app cost standpoint. it is clearly broken. what is the difference between life without parole and endless appeals where people are going to die on death row anyway. >> before we let you go we have such an important point in the book about jury nullification. what is that and why sthould people care? >> we have a case we tried last year where a guy had been molested by a priest some 35
years ago up north. that priest was never prosecuted. he then tracked down the priest and found him, beat the holy sin out of him and the police arrested him. he was the one who was charged. the jury when faced with that set of facts sent out a note and asked the judge even though he has admitted it, what is jury nullification? judge told him you can't do that. i think the judge was wrong. the jury clearly thought it was wrong and acquitted will lynch of those charges. so jury nullification is when a prosecutor is overboard or has been overreaching it allowing the jury to do the right thing because that is after all what the system was designed to be. up next are you frustrated by washington in action? we have a guest who says he has the solution to you. what do you think? that's great.
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covering politics you often hear people frustrated by how far apart democrats and republicans are on important issues and their seeming inability to govern. the solution is to create a party in the middle ideally the centrist party takes from the best ideas that the republicans have and the best ideas that the
democrats have and make sensible proposals and represent america's rational center. in the past groups like the no labels and american's elect have focused on a third party challenge for the white house. our next guest says the solution for political paralysis lies closer to home and says as few as four or five senate seats could change the way congress operates. joining us is congressional candidate in the 2009 illinois special election outlines how a third party could rise up in his new book "the centrist manifesto." >> let me start with the premise here and i am going to pretend i am just a voter. as a voterer we want to see passion in our political leaders. and it would seem to me that centrism for the sake of centrism is hard to bring out
that passion. if i am voting for someone i want to know where he or she stands. it is hard to tell where someone stands if they are just in the middle. are we stickers that say vote for me, i'm neither here nor there on any issue? >> i think you're absolutely right. and the key to a centrist party or to getting the folks in the middle to coalesce in a meaningful way is to be passionate about not just splitting the difference but standing for something. you have this large and growing segment of americans disaffected by what's going on. we have to get past the point where those folks simply identify themselves as not something else. you can be indpenltependent, an so on. to get things done in america, you have to be something. the idea behind the book is to organize people in a passionate way to run your own candidates around the best of the democrats and the republicans. there's a lot to like about each
party. the good things are not mutually exclusive. that's an idea that i think people can get excited about. because it represents a path forward out of this morass we're currently in. >> charles, in the book, you walk through some of those ideas like taking individualism from the right and prosperity, but also a different approach to having a safety net. one question, though, for people reading the book is, are the biggest problems in washington that we're not unleashing the ideas of both parties, or are there a lot of other ideas on the side of the road that never even get embraced? you know, regulating the banks, getting money out of politics, reforming our prison system, something we were talking about earlier today. what about all the good ideas that aren't even discussed in our two-party system? wouldn't that be a place for a third party to organize? >> i don't think they're mutually exclusive. let's take an idea that is on the front burner, the whole fiscal mess. we know there's a pragmatic
bipartisan solution. we saw it come out in september 2010 with the simpson/bowles commission. it's a set of positions that every policy person i know across the moderate spectrum thinks is a good start. it was left there to flounder. paul ryan voted against it. the president didn't embrace it. meanwhile at about that time, 60% of americans said they would support some compromise on the budget even if it included things they didn't agree with. so the politicians were behind the folks on main street. now, to your other point, yeah, there are a whole binunch of otr good ideas. one way to think about an operative centrist party is to get 100 people in the room that represent the political speck truck. start discussing an issue. take the 20 loudest most abstinent people on either side and send them out of the room and say with the 60 left we'll make progress on prison reform, make progress on drug policy, progress on reforming entitlements because we want to
get something done in a pragmatic way. >> charles, part of the problem is the 20 people who are highly motivated are the only ones voting at this point. i think step one is to get people engaged in the political process. we can have more on that conversation another day. charles wheelan, author of the "centrist manifesto." up next, toure with the reality check for those of us who want to live in a certain liberal fantasy. doesn't that sound lovely? >> i like the sound. [ male announcer ] what?! investors could lose tens of thousands of dollars in hidden fees on their 401(k)s?! go to e-trade and roll over your old 401(k)s to a new e-trade retirement account. none of them charge annual fees and all of them offer low cost investments. e-trade. less for us. more for you.
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in "the american president." and i know michael's here tonight. michael, what's your secret, man? could it be that you were an actor in an aaron sorkin liberal fantasy? might that have something to do with it? >> just might. so what's a president who does not live in an aaron sorkin liberal fantasy to do? the answer, my friends, could be less leadership, or leadership that's less bold at least on domestic issues. some people are not mentioning any names, but some of them are women with red hair who write for "the new york times." some people think a president can ram through legislation if he twists enough arms or charms yuf lawmakers. as political science professor francis lee writes in "beyond ideology," the chance of a party line vote skyrockets. lee found 44% of party line votes are on issues with no
ideological significance. by pushing an idea a president linking its success with his and the opposition party is motivated to oppose it in order to not help him succeed. lee writes, "parties are institutions with members who have common interests in winning elections and wielding power. not just coalitions of individuals with similar ideological preferences." parties care less about ideology, more about who's up and who's down and how to defeat the other party and fight about nonideological issues because even there they have room to battle over power. they want us to think they're centrally about ideas. in many ways they're centrally about winning. increases partisan division by giving the opposing party a chance to be seen as delivering a defeat to the president. president obama may have intensified this dynamic by making a call for post-partis post-partisanship and bridging the divide in washington a depart of his '08 campaign. that heightened the value of d.c. republicans opposing him at every turn so they could say, look, he said he'd end the
partisan division but it's even worse. yeah, it's worse. because you're obstructing everything. you can see the effect of a president getting behind an issue in gun legislation and immigration reform. on guns the president got on his bully pulpit giving republicans all more incentive to oppose. on immigration, he's laid back and let the senate gang of eight lead and that legislation looks headed for maybe 70 votes in the senate. its success will be associated more with marco rubio and the house may want to find a way to get behind it in order to help burnish the senator's resume for 2016. it congressional republicans were thinking they were leading hispanics to think humane policy comes with a democrat is in the white house, they'd surely kill the bill. sometimes the most effective form of presidential leadership is to let others lead. defusing partisanship by being less out front, thus making himself less of a target and less tied to an idea of success. this sort of group dynamics works for all of us. a mentor of mine, whom i'm
extraordinarily fond of, once told me when you enroll other people in your idea and let them have a stake in your success, then you'll have an easier time getting people on your side. i'm still learning that. but hey, if leading a little less doesn't work out, the president could go try living in an aaron sorkin liberal fantasy. sounds like a really nice place. all right. that does it for us. speaking of a really nice place, it's time for the martin bashir show. >> thank you, sir. good afternoon. it's monday april the 29th. and has a line been crossed? has a former governor sunk his latest campaign? and has sarah palin finally jumped the shark? there's hope out there on a monday afternoon. >> knowing that potentially chemical weapons have been used, it doesn't tell us when they were used, how they were used. >> the president has laid down the line. can't be a dotted line. >> the world is watching. >> iran is paying attention to