tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC September 3, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
as the unintended consequences of president bush's the seemingly unintended consequences, today president obama answered the question about what his objective is in dealing with the latest unintended consequence of president bush's war in iraq. >> our reach is long and justice will be served. >> stepped up rhetoric against isis. >> we will follow them to the gates of hell. >> are we trying to contain this threat or defeat it? >> our objective is clear, to degrade and destroy isis. >> the rhetoric is not matching the strategy. >> is this president being too cautious? >> the u.s. is in fact in this for the lock haul. >> sending another 350 military
personnel to protect our embassy in baghdad. bringing the total to more than 1100 troops in country. >> it might be time to go back in there. >> the americans can go in and clear the area. but as soon as they leave, the islamic state comes back. >> working with the allies in the gulf in the region is critical. >> throughout europe, there is growing concern. >> we will not waver in our aim of defeating terrorism. >> we shouldn't shoulder this burden alone. >> are we at war or not is >> the united states will hold them accountable. >> we will not be intimidated. >> president obama is in wales tonight on the eve of the nato summit there. he'll meet tomorrow with the british prime minister to discuss forming an international coalition to combat the islamic state. at a press conference in estonia this morning, president obama was asked about the objective. >> our objective is clear.
that is to degrade and destroy isil so that it's no longer a threat. not just to iraq but also the region and to the united states. >> president obama also spoke for the first time about the death of american journalist steven sotloff. >> whatever these murderers think they'll achieve by killing innocent americans like steven, they have already failed. we will not be intimidated. their horrific acts only unite us as a country to take the fight to these terrorists. those who make the mistake of harming americans will learn we will not forget and our reach is long and justice will be served. >> a spokesman for steven sotloff addressed the media today. >> he merely wanted to give voice to those who had none. to the syrian plumber who risked his life by crossing regime
lines to purchase medicines, their story was steve's story. he ultimately sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world. steve was no hero. like all of us, he was a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness. >> vice president joe biden said this this morning. >> if they think the american people will be intimidated, they don't know us very well. when people harm americans, we don't retreat. we don't forget. we take care of those who are grieving, and when that's finished, they should know we will follow them to the dates of hell until they are brought to justice. because hell is where they will reside. hell is where they will reside. >> joining me now is former ambassador william taylor, he served in the baghdad embassy in
2004. and william mccants at the brooking center, and a former state department adviser on counterterrorism. ambassador taylor, we seem to be in the endless flow of unintended consequences of the war in iraq, and this flow of consequences seems endless. what makes us think that we have the power to end these unintended consequences here and now? >> well, we have a challenge that we have to face, and it sounds like this administration is beginning to face up to that challenge and take some steps in order to deal with it. it is a challenge that has threatened americans, it's killed americans. as the president and vice president both said, this is something that we deal with, that we respond to. we have forces in iraq, again, that can begin to deal with this problem.
>> william, should we really be using the death of two american journalists who went over there into that area knowing exactly what the risks are, we should be using the death of those two individuals as some justification for an escalation of some form of war? >> no, we shouldn't. we should be using the risk of the jihadists in the islamic state to our allies in europe and the region. we can't allow the death of two journalists, however horrific they may have been, to dictate our response. i think that's why the president is taking a go-it-slow approach trying to figure out the right way forward. it's one thing to take the fight to isis in iraq. it's quite another to go into syria. >> let's listen to what secretary of state kerry said today. >> the real face of islam is not what we saw yesterday. when the world bore witness again to the unfathomable brutality of isil terrorist
murderers. we have taken the fight to this kind of savagery and evil before, and believe me, we will take it again. those who have murdered james foley and steven sotloff in syria need to know that the united states will hold them accountable too, no matter how long it takes. >> ambassador taylor, secretary kerry just said we've taken the fight to this type of savagery and evil before. we will take this fight again. when have we won this fight? >> well, we fought this fight to a stand still, where there was a chance for the iraqis to put together a government. we then drew down our forces farther than we probably should have. we should have left some there. but that was close to a success. and giving the iraqis the ability to put together a government.
they then did not do that. >> how surprising. william, have we won one of these fights that we claim that we're now so capable of fighting and crushing the islamic state? >> there's been mixed results over the past ten years. look, when one of these groups takes over territory, they don't last very long. their dentology ends up being repugnant to the population they control. they end up making enemies with the local tribes. we have to play this one smart. if we go in too strong, we're only going to rally people to their side. we have to take it slow and find the right partners on the ground to deal with the islamic state. not just in iraq but in syria, because if you don't remove their home base in syria, they're just going to come right back into iraq. >> well, we don't have much of a record, ambassador taylor, of playing it smart in this region. and i don't see where the confidence comes from tonight
that we know how to do this, that we know how to take on something like the islamic state and take this fight to them and, as the president has said, to degrade -- i understand the intention to try to degrade. but then he goes as far as to say destroy. what will come in its place if, by some amazing luck we actually were capable of destroying them? >> well, what should come in its place is a representative government across iraq, eventually across syria, but that may be farther on. but the iraqis have the opportunity now to put together a government that can control that territory, that can include the sunnis, the shia, the kurds, in a government that can really govern. that's what should come after the defeat, the destruction of isil. >> so william, our new plan for nation building in iraq now is,
all we have to do now for nation build thing is to destroy and defeat and eliminate the islamic state. then nation building will carry on just fine? >> well, the people on the ground get a vote too. we've reached this point because the iraqi government did not want to allow the united states to leave troops in the country. we respected their wishes, and they were also politically not able to get their act together and make sure the sunni voices were being heard. that's why we're being faced with this insurgency. the threat is so dire now. perhaps the parliament will begin to come together and coalesce into finding a government. >> ambassador taylor, since every action we've taken in iraq over the decade has led to a future down the road from that action that was worse than prior to the action we took, what makes us think that the next action we take there will
somehow, for the first time ever, actually make it turn around in another direction and make it finally better? >> well, we probably -- we can assume we have learned some things about what works and what doesn't work. you mentioned nation building. we didn't do so well in that because the iraqis need to build their own nation. it's not americans or the international community that's going to build it. it's going to be the iraqis. they have the opportunity to put together a government that includes all the voices that have been excluded in the past. so they may have learned something as well this time. >> william, how about the american option of doing nothing? the one option that america has never chosen whenever it's in the crossroads in iraq? >> i think that's what we've done so far, and we probably could have continued to do nothing had the islamic state not taken over so much territory in iraq. they are now on the borders with jordan and saudi arabia. those are two of our principal allies in the region.
they've gathered hundreds of thousands of foreign fighters that can go back to europe and wreak havoc in the homes of our allies. the obama administration is being pressed to act now. >> ambassador taylor, who should we look to for guidance now on what to do there? and who -- by that, i mean is there someone who has been right about this situation there at every crossroads in just say the last ten years or so? or has everyone who has been involved in the decision making and opining about it at some point been wrong about something? >> maybe a little bit wrong about iraq on all sides. however, the kurds have been pretty steadfast. the kurds have put together a government, a society, a military force that's been able to accomplish a lot of what they're trying to do and develop an organization that can be good for their people, the kurdish
people. so there are some people there. there are people in the iraqi government who are able to pull things together, and they are making that attempt. but in general, the answer to your question is, it has to be the iraqis. >> let's listen to what one observer, phil robertson of "duck dynasty" has to say about what we should be doing now. >> you either have to convert them, which i think is -- would be next to impossible. i'm not giving up on them, but either convert them or kill them. one or the other. >> now, ambassador taylor, this comment has gotten a lot of ridicule today, but it actually is not that different from what joe biden has had to say or what many senators have had to say. kill the islamic state, wipe
them out, because obviously converting them is a very unlikely proposition. >> we have no business trying to convert anyone. we do have business trying to defend the united states, its people, and our allies in the region. that may take killing some of the isis and indeed destroying the isis organization. >> william, forgive me for not seeing that much difference between what phil robertson of "duck dynasty" said and what is being said on the senate floor and what is being said in washington every day. they don't say it as crudely, but certainly if the islamic state wants to surrender, which would be the conversion element of what phil robertson said, that would be okay. but if they don't, what everyone in washington i'm hearing is saying is just kill them all. >> well, you can kill them but you need to have a long-term plan for what you hope to accomplish. both in iraq and in syria. and syria is the really difficult part of this problem. vice president biden talked
about going into the gates of hell. syria is the gate. whatever it is we're moving towards, we can't just go after the islamic state without a long-range man for the future of syria, because it's going to shape the nature of what we do in that country and who we support in the opposition. >> well, let's see if it's as good as our long-range plans for any other country we've made long-range plans for in that region. thank you both very much for joining me tonight. coming up, why the kansas senate race just became the race to watch this year. and in the rewrite, a little something to say about why eric cantor quite congress early to go make some money. and good news tonight. we have some really good news, police news.
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nbc news has learned that tomorrow the justice department will announce a civil rights investigation of the entire ferguson, missouri police department. the fbi and the justice department civil rights division have been investigating the shooting death of unarmed teenager michael brown by ferguson police officer darren wilson last month. the new investigation will cover the last several years of operations in the ferguson police department. the justice department will also investigate the st. louis county police department. up next, so imagine you're running for senate. you're a republican running for senate and your democratic opponent drops out of the race. you're happy, you're thrilled, right? game over. wrong.
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in a dramatic development tonight in a key senate race that could determine the control of the united states senate, the democratic candidate in kansas has dropped out of the race to unseat incumbent republican senator pat roberts. senator roberts immediately accused the democratic candidate, chad taylor, of making a deal with an independent candidate in the race, businessman greg orman. polling indicates that orman has a better chance than taylor did of beating roberts with one poll showing orman ahead of roberts by ten points. tonight, the roberts' campaign issued this statement --
>> joining me now is executive editor for msnbc.com and msnbc political analyst richard wolf. richard, big doings if kansas tonight. this is a gigantic moment here for the democrats in terms of trying to knock off republicans in the senate. if they can possibly take kansas out of the republican column, it could change the outcome for control of the senate. >> no question this is big news, lawrence. who would have thought this would be the matter with kansas? pat roberts looking at this big deficit, and railing look, he's trying to punch a number of buttons in that statement. it's one thing to say my opponent is an independent, but he's also not just an independent, but a liberal democrat. harry reid is the button he's trying to push this that statement. if you look at how the polling is going, his democratic opponent was doing pretty well.
>> what was pretty clear was, with all of those candidates in the race, the democrat was not going to be able to pull this off. so that decision to drop out was probably not ultimately that difficult looking at polling. let's listen to what orman has to say, for example, he talked about if elected as an independent, would he vote democratic or republican. >> ultimately if elected, there's a reasonable chance that neither party will have a majority in washington. if that's the case, what i've said is i'm going to caucus with which ever party is willing to go to washington and start trying to solve problems as opposed to just pleasing the extremists in their own base. >> richard wolf, that sounds like the right answer for
kansas. >> right, especially a liberal democrat. that's how the politics has shifted. he's taken the right approach for kansas, but you have to understand that he's riding this wave of really an anti-republican governor sam brownback in kansas, who has practically bankrupt the state with his tax cuts. when you factor that in with a senator who was damaged on the right from his primary who has been therefore, you know, there's room here for frankly the let's clean up washington position, which is what every good independent stands for. >> yeah. and roberts is coming out of a difficult primary where he was portrayed as being out of touch, not a resident of the state anymore he's been gone so long. let's listen to what orman said about governor brownback and about the medicaid expansion.
>> you know, i think the message that governor brownback has sent to the working poor in kansas is, if you have a health care crisis, your best solution is to quit your job. i think that's a bad message to send. i think we have a real issue in kansas with our critical access facilities that are now underfunded as a result of governor brownback's decision. ultimately, i think he's made a poor decision there. >> richard, here he is running in a state where the incumbent, pat roberts' approval rating is 27% among registered voters. 44% disapprove of him. that is an incumbent who is ripe for defeat and it may well be that a democrat couldn't do it in kansas, but an independent. >> yeah, look, we often think that these states are so locked into one kind of politics, we
forget that absolute power corrupts absolutely. then you're looking at states like georgia. again, when democrats have written it off for so long, but the political establishment starts to rot and get demographic changes, the circle does turn here. it may not be enough to breathe a new lease of life for president obama, but if the republicans don't get back the senate this time, it will be ten years, five cycles that they will have been out of control in the senate, and that's got to be devastating to a party that still cannot get statewide offers, never mind nationwide offers. >> if orman wins, it could be up to him and his decision who he votes for. it could be up to him about who controls the senate. richard wolf, thank you very much for joining us tonight. coming up, a new development in the george washington bridge
scandal involving another friend of chris christie. and now that eric cantor has gone to work for wall street, he's now a part of that same wall street that elizabeth warren wants to fix. and she has something to say about eric cantor tonight. that's in the rewrite. don't just dream of being the hero. make it happen. i can't believe we're missing the game for this. we're not-- i've got xlte. it doubles our 4g lte bandwidth in cities nationwide, so be that guy with verizon xlte. now get 1gb of bonus data, and our best pricing ever on the more everything plan. while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can ease arthritis symptoms but if you have arthritis, this can be difficult.
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>> that is just one account that 11 police officers stationed at the george washington bridge last september have shared with investigators about the lane closures, according to the record. the police officer who delivered the orders not to touch the traffic cones on the very first day of the lane closures was police lieutenant thomas chip michaels. the first time we all heard the name chip michaels here at msnbc was when steve karnaki reported this. >> if you live in a small world in new jersey politics, you do know that name. he's a powerful new jersey republican whose family had long and close ties to chris christie. ands who has invested tens of thousands in chris christie's political future. and it is his brother, jeff michaels' brother, thomas chip
michaels, who was on the scene when the lanes were shut down. >> today, the newspaper revealed that chip michaels did more than drive david wildstein around the traffic. chip michaels and a police officer sergeant then visited the officer in person, at his post to tell him that his radio communication had been inappropriate. memos were obtained of interviews that the new jersey celebrity committee connected with witnesses, including chip michaels. one memo reports --
>> joining me now is brian murphy, a former reporter for politicsnewjersey.com, currently an msnbc contributor and has been reporting on the george washington scandal since the story broke. alfred, we're now at very -- clearly now into the leak stage of the investigation. your newspaper able to obtain some memos from inside the investigation and connecting the chip michaels dots that seemed to be laying out there, just kind of obviously as they turned out to be, connected to not only the bridge closure but keeping the lane closure going. >> i think this is i think very upsetting on so many levels. we were kind of used to the idea that politicians may put
politics in front of public safety. when we see that law enforcement has put politics in front of >> i think this is i think very upsetting on so many levels. we were kind of used to the idea that politicians may put politics in front of public safety. when we see that law enforcement has put politics in front of public safety. it goes from being business as usual to risky business. it think this is upsetting that you have law enforcement people on the scene, seeing the situation getting out of control, being told to "shut up." i mean, that's just -- that's beyond unacceptable. i think this is going to resonate very, very strongly with people all throughout new jersey. this is very much appears to be a flagrant abuse of power. >> brian murphy, you knew about the michaels brothers long before any of the rest of us. chris christie grew up with these guys.
>> that's right. the interesting thing in this scoop today is that we didn't know the extent to which jeff michaels was playing -- or chip michaels was playing a role in actually sort of maintaining and keeping this quiet during the week that this goes on back last september. steve and i figured out back in february that chippewas the guy who drove david wildstein around. we didn't know that chip told this officer to keep quiet. we didn't know that chip called his brother jeff during the week before the lane closures and mentioned, you know, that this might happen. didn't know -- says he didn't know quite what to make of it, but told his brother, jeff, a big-time republican lobbyist, that this was about to go down. so al's right that it is disturbing and alarming that we know that the port authority police leadership, we know their union is extremely close and supportive of governor christie. we don't know the extent which the officers and command structure of that police department were a part of this operation.
>> quoting more from the memos and the -- that are in paper now, lieutenant michaels said that he did not, at the time, think much of the call, when he was called by wildstein about asking about closing down lanes and mentioned that he passed it along to his brother jeff. alfred, this material that has been leaked is presumably just a small set of things that are now available inside the investigation, given how many people that they've spoken to. can we expect a kind of a flow of leaks over the next several months? >> well, from the point of the record, i would say i would hope so. i don't know how the materials are going to trickle down.
there's a lot of things that people expect will happen soon. i think people keep looking at what's going to happen with the -- with the u.s. attorney paul fishman looking into this, whether there will be indictments, because then a lot of information that we don't have i think becomes much more public, and these people who are not talking and people not talking might want to talk, might give us a little better clue as to the why, and really how this whole operation, you know, came into being. but i do think there's a treasure trove of information we've yet to see, and all of it is increasingly disturbing. and i think we're approaching the one-year anniversary. it's just next week from when those lanes close.
i suspect there will be more for us to find that will upset us. >> and brian, chip michaels apparently told the investigators that the plan was to close those lanes for a month. >> that's right. he did. he told the chief that. the chief told me that back in february. i think i may be one of the last people in the press that he spoke to. because that was around the time when everybody lawyered up. but that was the word passed along this was going to go on for a month. so how did chip michaels know enough to say that at the time? the story line has been that this was a closely held -- the details were closely held among david wildstein and brigitte kelly and a small handful of people. but clearly they were more involved and we'll learn more. >> brian, before we go, the part where he's saying "shut up," which mean what's going on here has to be kept a secret, means that chip michaels knows there's a reason why it has to be kept a
secret. he knows more than just, you know, someone says we've got to do this to the lanes. he knows there's some kind of motivation behind this that the illegitimate and must be kept secret. >> which is why i think it's okay for us to read malicious intent into some of the e-mails exchanged around that time by some of these other secondary characters. we can give them generous reading when they say they don't know anything, we can take them at their word or look at how they behaved and it suggests otherwise. >> right. thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, what senator elizabeth warren has to say to eric cantor about eric cantor's new job on wall street. that's in the rewrite. and later, the good news. two real hero police officers will join me. that's coming up. tures with too. but they have to use special care
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the boston media because that's how he campaigned for a massachusetts senate seat through the boston media. last week, scott brown told friendly boston radio host howie carr that voter fraud was perfectly okay with him. out of state voters coming to new hampshire to vote for him was okay. listen to this. >> a little joking about voter fraud, only i don't know if scott brown was joking. 860 is a connecticut area code. brown moved to new hampshire in
2013 and registered as a voter there in december. the last time he made news on the campaign trail, he criticized senator sheen for raising the debt limit, even though he voted to raise the debt limit, too. and he said what he would do to bring jobs to his new state. >> when folks say what are you going to do to bring jobs, my job is to make sure that the government stays out of your way so you can grow and expand. >> up next in the rewrite, the senior senator from massachusetts, elizabeth warren versus eric cantor.
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electoral defeat into a $3.5 million win. $3.5 million is the minimum amount that eric cantor will be paid in his first year as an investment banker. investment banking is, of course, not banks as we consumers know it. there are no drive-through atms involved, and nothing we would really recognize as banking. it's really just deal making, business deal making, massaging money into more money and taking home huge amounts in the process. by huge, i don't mean his starting salary of $3.5 million. i mean the hundreds of millions that far less famous investment bankers take home every year for doing nothing particularly difficult or valuable. the two best ways to get into investment banking are going to fancy college or business schools, with a very old name. or becoming a powerful member of congress.
eric cantor had no intention of becoming an investment banker, until this happened. >> i know there's a lot of long faces here tonight, and it's disappointing, sure. but i believe in this country. i believe there's opportunity around the next corner for all of us. >> well, there was opportunity around the next corner for eric cantor. that was him three months ago losing in a republican primary in virginia. congressman cantor had seven months left to serve in the house of representatives before a new member would be sworn into his seat. but eric cantor couldn't wait to get out of congress and elizabeth warren thinks she knows why. here's what she told katie couric. >> let me ask you about former house majority leader eric cantor's new job. he just landed a multimillion
dollar job at an investment bank. i saw you shake your head as soon as i mentioned this. >> you know, how wrong can this be? that basically what's happening here is that people work in washington and, man, they hit that revolving door with the speed that would blind you, and head straight out into the industry. not because they bring great expertise and insight, but because they're selling access back into their former colleagues who are still writing policy, who are still making laws. i just think this is fundamentally the wrong approach, and i think it's -- it worries me about what happens if people in government are looking for that next job. yeah, i'm working now, you know, not as much money as i could be making, but when i leave here, that's where i'm headed.
that ultimately infects whatever it is that they're doing. i just think this is wrong, just wrong. >> never mind that eric cantor ran for a two-year term when virginia's 7th district re-elected him to congress in 2012. why should eric cantor hang out in congress making $174,000 a year? that's what his paycheck was busted down to when he lost his leadership position. $174,000 a year when he could immediately hang his congressional mementos in his congressional banking office and immediately start making $3.5 million a year? who would hang out for that low pay? why hang in there and represent the people of the 7th district for another five months? just because he said he would when he ran for that office? if eric cantor had stayed in office until the end of his term, he would have been paid an
additional $72,500 for those last five months. instead, he will make $1,458,333 by running out of the door as fast as he can. >> serving as the 7th district congressman and then having the privilege to be majority leader has been one of the highest honors of my life. i'm honored that i've had the privilege to serve and represent the people of virginia's 7th district. >> i'm sure eric cantor meant it every time he said it, that representing the people of the 7th district was one of the highest honors of his life. but for eric cantor and many other members of congress, democrats and republicans before him, honor has a price.
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don't just dream of being the hero. make it happen. i can't believe we're missing the game for this. we're not-- i've got xlte. it doubles our 4g lte bandwidth in cities nationwide, so be that guy with verizon xlte. now get 1gb of bonus data, and our best pricing ever on the more everything plan. and now for the good news. in april, two seattle police officers responded for the second time in a week to a miner disturbance at a home where two young sisters lived with their
grand parents. police officers noticed that the only bed was in the grand parent's bedroom and in the girl's bedroom, there was just a single blanket on a dirty floor. the girls were 6 and 12. the officers could see that the grandparents cared about the children but simply could not provide more. >> joining me now to tell us what they decided to do, seattle police officers jeremy wade and ryan gallagher. officer gallagher, you left that house, driving down the street and started talking to each other about it. what did you decide to do? >> once we got to the end of the block, we just -- we knew we had to do something. we talked about it to each other and said, are there any programs or anything like that, that we
can think of? there just wasn't anything that could fill their immediate needs. so we just took it to the next step after that. >> and officer wade, what was the next step? >> yeah, we just got some of our own money together. we went to ikea and bought the two girls brand new twin beds and bedding. a couple days later, on our normal shift, stopped at the house and asked if we could set up these beds in the home for the girls. they were beyond excited and thrilled to have the beds. >> and officer ryan, you realized you guys were out there, you have seen things like this before and you know there's a bigger need than that. so after doing that, for those two girls, you decided to take this to another level. what are you doing with this now?
>> yeah, we talked about it to each other. we talked to the seattle police foundation and talked to our chain of command. we just said hey, is there any way that we can make this bigger, because there's a greater need and we see this as police officers every day. we go to houses where, you know, you may not see something, but in our houses we may take for granted, like a bed. so we teamed up with ikea and got the word out to the seattle police foundation and put it on facebook and everything, social media and we got a number of requests for beds. this saturday, we're going to be filling about 50 of those orders, 50 beds for 50 different kids in the seattle area. >> yeah, this is a fantastic program. what i love about it is, you just -- officer wade, you just went into room and you saw a desperate need there, and you realized there was actually
something you could do something about. a lot of something you see on the street you can't do anything about, but you realized you could do something here. >> yeah, it was something that hit home. you know, we're both fathers, kids, young kids as well. i couldn't man my kids sleeping on the door. just wanted to do something for them.
when is enough, enough? let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. tonight we ask the brutal question, can president obama live with americans being beheaded every two weeks from now until january 20, 2017? this is precisely what the islamic state is threatening. the only question is how the president can top them from