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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 11, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST

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says why trump's muslim ban is no joke. >> i no longer think he's funny. he has gone way over the line and what he's saying now is not only shameful and wrong, it's dangerous. plus, jon stewart and the 9/11 first responders. jon stewart returns to tv to shame congress for abandoning america's heroes. >> bring da trump. >> these 9/11 first responders are the most top notch first class diamond encrusted heroes america can produce. don't let congress play politics with this necessary bill. good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. ted cruz has been the most
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disciplined republican candidate not to criticize donald trump to reporters, at least, but his remarks about trump and ben carson at a private fund-raiser in new york obtained and released by the "new york times" put cruz squarely in trump's political cross-hairs. >> people are looking for who is prepared to be a commander in chief, who understands the threats we face. who am i comfortable having their finger on the button. that's a question of strength but it's also a question of judgment and i think that is a question that is a challenging question for both of them. so my approach, much to the frustration of the media, has been to bear hug both of them and smother them with love, because i think, look, people are who they are. i believe gravity will bring both of those campaigns down. >> chuck todd is msnbc political director and host of "mtp daily"
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at 5:00 eastern every day. well, chuck, ted cruz now, the real ted cruz talking to supporters, doesn't know that somebody's taping it, and the "new york times" -- >> what did he say that any candidate wouldn't say? ultimately, if you are running for president, you believe -- there's no doubt. let me sort of defend here, is this an attack or is this reality? ted cruz said reality, which is ultimately the decision by the voters, should be a decision about who you trust as commander in chief. now, there's no doubt when he's implying. but he didn't directly say it. >> he's also saying that i'm going to keep giving a bear hug in public but i'm not going to say this. he has been the one candidate not to rise to the challenge of saying what he thinks about donald trump's comments about muslims. >> he wants the wink and the nod. he wants to be able to say i'm supporting trump but you know, to people that may like what, you know, he's basically trying to appeal to the voter that likes the blunt talk of trump. if you look at our poll yesterday that we released, the
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part that says do you think trump, you know, is damaging the republican party or something like that and we did trump says what's on his mind but essentially does it inelegantly or hey, he says what is on his mind and there's nothing wrong with it. well, about 35% of republicans believe they like what he has to say but not how he says it. that's who cruz wants. he wants those voters to be going the commander in chief test, you know i'm not going to be irresponsible in my rhetoric or erratic. that's what he's trying to imply. but in his defense, i wouldn't call it a full-blown criticism. he was making your what i would call a traditional contrast that's plainly obvious but what candidate wouldn't? >> he's been trying to avoid poking the bear and now the bear -- >> the bear is starting to poke. it doesn't matter. you don't have to poke the bear very hard. >> his tweet this morning is, looks like at ted cruz is getting ready to attack. i'm leading by so much, he has to.
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let's take a look at the nbc news/"wall street journal" poll on donald trump. the people who disagree with what he said about the muslim ban, the proposed ban, temporary or otherwise, 57%, 25% agree but when you look at the breakdown by party, that's -- >> it's more of a split inside the republican and there's something else here. our pollsters, i had them both on yesterday, they're not ready to say why per se, but there's a surprisingly large undecided on this question. meaning it's higher than 15%. when you have -- on something that is -- >> on the muslim ban? >> on the muslim ban question. this was live caller survey. but on a question like this, you can't help but wonder are there people if you are sitting undecided on this question, are you really undecided or do you not want to tell somebody that you are talking to on the phone? you can't help but ask that question in this, because if you saw, there is an online survey
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out there that contends there's a higher percentage of folks -- >> is this the bradley effect going back to mayor bradley, tom bradley -- >> it could be. >> people didn't want to say they wouldn't vote for an african-american for mayor back then. >> that's right. but it didn't exist with obama. that's not to say it does exist. however, our pollsters were surprised that waitsit was a li higher than usual on undecided on something that is so well known. this wasn't exactly, everything that trump says. so these numbers could be a little bit higher in favor of trump. >> i will tell you that the white house views the trump muslim ban as pure racism and a number of them senior officials saying this isn't surprising we have seen growing racism over these seven years. this is the way they are ascribing the criticisms of the president which may be a copout, may be a combination of factors, but they see it as part of the subtext of american politics,
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reaction against this president. >> well, i would take it in a slightly different direction. i have had this conversation with the same administration folks or similar administration folks that made this argument. i pointed out well, it's a certain group of voters who feel as if the government has let them down. wall street let them down. media's let them down. their own situation, corporate america's let them down. these folks, this is a working class person who doesn't have as good of a job as their parents had and are wondering why. the culture's changed dramatically around them in the last decade when you think about some of the social changes. and so this is -- they feel like outsiders. they feel as if the political system has made them the outsiders and they used to be in their minds part of, you know, remember there's part of trump's message, make america great again. the again is the code word. the again is -- >> it used to be the majority
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white and it's no longer ours. >> it used to be a high school education got you the good job. and it used to be you could move up -- there's a lot of i want to get, it's the used to bes. it's the agains. >> but there is a subterranean text. >> they're susceptible to the race -- they're susceptible -- >> -- george wallace. i have seen this before. >> they're susceptible to it. the point is what's the root? the root is economic distress. okay? that's the root here. that's all. that's why both republicans and democrats should be very careful. don't condescend to these voters. these voters are economically hurting. trump has given them somebody to lash out at. the chinese are the ones taking your jobs. the immigrants, they're taking your jobs. the muslims are making you insecure. he's using different tactics that resonate with this group of voters but at its root is both a cultural and economic frustration change that's --
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>> let me tell you very quickly, ted cruz now responding and he doesn't want any part of this take on trump. he tweeted the establishment's only hope, trump and me in a cage match, sorry to disappoint. donald trump is terrific. >> look at that. >> backing down. >> when you look -- >> and hash tag is deal with it. >> when you look at where this race is going, if you believe it's basically now in three lanes, an establishment lane, the traditional conservative lane that cruz is starting to occupy and donald trump's new lane. he's essentially tapped into this group of voters who have never really participated in a republican primary, they have been republican voters but not primary voters. cruz will have a better chance at trump's supporters than he will at rubio's supporters. that's the bottom line. >> and be sure to watch "meet the press" sunday on nbc news. >> marco rubio. one of those three. >> "meet the press daily" today at 5:00. new developments in the san
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bernardino investigation. an fbi dive team continuing to search for evidence in a lake three miles from the site of the attack. nbc justice correspondent pete williams joins me with the latest. pete, do they suspect that some evidence may have been dropped there before or after or both? >> both, andrea. yes. that's the supposition. they have been told the couple might have tried to throw something in the lake and they have also told -- been told and have developed their own information suggesting that the couple spent some time in this park around the time of the shooting. that tent you see there is just the edge of the lake. those ropes lead to the divers down in the lake. the tent is there to process evidence as they get it, photograph it if they get evidence if they recover it, but basically, they are doing a short-term and a long-term attempt to figure out what the couple was up to leading up to the shooting. the long-term one is the one we have heard more about. when did they become radicalized and that timeline seems to be increasing. there's now they say, the fbi has said there is some
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indication they were radicalized or at least syed farook was as early was 2010. but the short-term one was what were they doing in those four hours between the shooting and the time that they got involved in the shootout with police and were killed. were they intending to go some place else? were they hiding things? they want to figure that out. they also want to look at the hours leading up to the shooting. so they are looking at traffic cameras all around that center and all the roads that lead up to it between there and their house. they trying to fill in as many of those gaps as they can, as they try to answer what are now the basic questions in this case. what led them to shoot at the inland center, why did they choose those victims, what other attacks did they have in mind, and did anyone else help them in any way. help them plan it, help them get money, help them get the materials that they needed. those are the critical questions and that's what they're trying to do here. >> and very quickly, what about this possible sham marriage?
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enrique and his ukrainian wife who was related by marriage to farook. >> that's become a sort of side question here. it's one of the little detours but they are looking into it. enrique marquez is the star witness right now for the fbi. he's the one who knew syed farook the best. he's a former neighbor. he has been telling them a great deal about what he knew about syed farook. it turns out that syed farook has a brother who is married to a woman from ukraine and her sister is married at least on paper to enrique marquez, although neighbors have said they never saw a woman in the house and marquez's own mother told us yesterday that she didn't know he was married. so they're looking at that, was that marriage to keep her here, to allow her to get citizenship and was it a favor that marquez did for his friend syed farook. >> pete williams, thanks very much. up next, police are talking
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we the jury impanelled and sworn in the above entitled cause do upon our oaths find as follows. defendant is guilty of the crime of sexual battery and set punishment eight years. >> that's former police officer daniel holtzclaw breaking down as the first guilty verdict is announced in court. he was accused first of assaulting or raping 13 african-american women while working as a beat cop in oklahoma city. the jury found him guilty of 18 of 36 charges, including first degree rape. i'm joined by nbc's charles hadlock who is outside the courthouse in oklahoma city, msnbc chief legal correspondent ari melber in new york and "the
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washington post" editorial columnist ruth marcus. in terms of what happened in court and what the city is doing about this, as i understand it, it was an all white jury and the victims were all african-american which is one of the issues here. >> reporter: that's right. it was an all white jury, so a lot of people thought that will this town be able to turn out a verdict, a just verdict in this case. it turns out they did, according to the people involved in this case. this case involves a police officer with three years on the force. he patrolled the northeast section of oklahoma city. he had the night beat and he used his patrol car to stop women, particularly black women with criminal backgrounds. he sexually assaulted them. the theory was in his mind, that if he attacked these women, that they would not come forward and if they did come forward, they had such a horrible criminal background, no one would believe them.
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but prosecutors say he made one mistake. his last victim was a 57-year-old grandmother. she did not have a criminal background and after she was sexually assaulted by this officer, she went to the police and the police launched an intensive investigation and found 12 other women who had similar stories. the jury turned out, they believed most of them. he was convicted of as you said, 18 of the 36 counts. that's enough to put this man away for 260 years. now, right now there's a news conference under way just a few steps from here. a lot of activists are involved in this press conference along with a couple of the victims. one of the talk points is going to be will this sentence, the man will be sentenced on january 21st, will this sentence be consecutive or concurrent. a lot of people are voicing their opinions about this. the district attorney says they will be consecutive sentences. in his mind, in his words, he said i don't want to see this
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man have the dignity to see the light of day for the years to come. so this press conference is under way. we hope to hear from some of the victims, perhaps later in this hour. andrea? >> in fact, we can see that benjamin crumm represents some of these victims and is appearing with them. we will bring that to you shortly. he's still introducing some of the people. first, ari melber, the legal implications here as you might from the outside say well, the system worked, he was found guilty of 18 of 36 of these counts by a white jury, but their argument is that there should have been more convictions and now they want to stay on this case as charles was just saying through the sentencing. >> that's right. we just heard that from one of the speakers at the beginning of that press conference saying that five women's accusations were not actually used for the indictment. of course, the prosecutors did what you sometimes see in particularly heinous cases which is throw everything at it, even charges that may have had some evidentiary issues, simply because they wanted to make the
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point and while there isn't a life sentence that's automatic here, what they did by stacking so many indictments for so many of these brutal terrible crimes, sex crimes and first degree rape, by stacking that all, they basically have the equivalent of a life sentence with over 200 years now based on that dramatic conviction late last night. one other point on the race here, we see times where a particular crime is based on race of course, like a hate crime. this was a little different. race was not an element that they had to prove, but the prosecution as you were reporting chose to get into that, because they wanted to show that there was basically, their theory of the case was this was a serial battery rapist who used the condition or class or perception of class of the victims to try to make sure that they would all be the type of people that he didn't think, that he didn't think people, the system or the courts would believe. namely people with a criminal record or relatively poor black women.
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so the prosecution added that in because they felt it was part of the fact pattern. they used that and what we now know about this jury is that they accepted that theory of the case. >> ruth marcus is here with me as well. ruth, this is so egregious as the jury found that he was basically cruising in his patrol car in uniform and accosting women and assessing their vulnerability and their inability to use the criminal justice system to defend themselves. >> indeed. we ask the question about whether the system worked here. i think the system in the end is working in the criminal aspect but the system clearly failed at the beginning. the notion two-fold, that first this officer felt empowered and that he was going to be invulnerable in pursuing and attacking and raping these women because the system would protect him and that they did not feel empowered to complain or bring it forward because they did not believe that they would be
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believed. that is just an indictment of the larger system, not the prosecutorial system but the system of the police department and the state of race relations in the area and perhaps the country. that's to me the really disturbing part of the case. >> and charles hadlock, what about the prosecutor and the police chief? have they been asked to explain why this police officer was working with impunity, that nobody was overseeing this, there was such an impression among the victims that they could not find redress? >> reporter: yeah. he was operating under the radar, so to speak. they didn't know anything about this. but when that 57-year-old grandmother came forward, the sex crime detective immediately recognized that they had had a complaint earlier against a police officer but they couldn't put two and two together. they couldn't identify who it was. after using some gps technology in the officer's vehicle, they
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were able to pinpoint exactly where he was, how long he was at these stops. there was perhaps a paper trail involved that would lead them to the victims and that's how the case unraveled and how they went forward with the prosecution. >> ari, what next steps do you expect legally for these victims? >> well, for the victims, of course as we wait to hear them in this press conference, many of them i think legally have been heard. that is to say, they have been able to testify formally which led to this dramatic indictment that is equivalent to more than a life sentence. they can speak out publicly. it will also be interesting legally to hear from the jurors if any choose to speak out, especially given some of the racial dynamics that were such a big deal in the community and i think more broadly, and then the next stage in the actual proceedings here will be a assistan sentencing hearing in december. essential essentially, that's where the up to 200 plus years will be
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formalized but no mystery there. we know that this individual will essentially get the equivalent of a life sentence for these crimes. >> benjamin crumm still explaining how he first came to the case and when he introduces these women, we will go to this live. ruth, this is more than a question about rape victims and particularly women of color who often feel that they are so vulnerable and have no protection under the law. >> it brings actually together two things we have been talking about in the last few years. one is women who or men, actually, but sexual assault victims and whether authorities tend to believe them or whether authorities, especially when those accused are in positions of power, whether they take it seriously, and the second are issues of color, not just with people who are sexually assaulted but other people of color who are mistreated by the police and what is so powerful about this case is that it brings those two strands
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together. one legal thing that i would add, and i don't know enough of the details here to know whether there's a basis here but one other possibility is civil litigation against the police force. did they have any reason to think that this officer was conducting himself in a problematic way, was he properly supervised, where are partners, did no one in the force have any inkling of this? there are always questions of civil negligence even after the criminal case has been appropriately dealt with. it does seem that the force did respond appropriately once it came to their undeniable attention. >> can i make a point on that? >> please do. >> just to echo that, i think one of the issues in this case, this obviously has captivated attention across the nation because of the horror of the crimes and this being a serial rapist who was an officer, but one thing you will hear from women's advocates in the legal area is that sometimes there's a frustration that it takes this, it takes someone being a repeat offender rapist, have multiple
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women accusers, to get traction in some cases with prosecutors. the idea that one woman alone testifying or making an accusation isn't quote unquote, enough, that that is a significant problem even in cases that are quote unquote, less heinous or don't involve this sort of serial offense, obviously a single sex crime is a very serious offense. so even as this case is interesting, i'm very interested as we will hear any moment from the women who went through this who now testified and now want to speak to the country about it, essentially, at the same time there is another note to this from women's advocates we hear about, which is it should not take a chorus of women who get heard in the justice system if they have an accusation of a serious violent felony. >> i think happens actually a really interesting point. you shouldn't have to be a 57-year-old grandmother to be taken seriously. rape is rape, no matter what your age, no matter what your
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income level, no matter whether you are somebody who might have been stopped on suspicion of committing another crime, and it's the sense of powerlessness that some of these other victims apparently felt that's the most powerful, really, to me and we need to make sure there's a system in place not just in oklahoma city but across the country where people know that their complaints of mistreatment or in this case, rape, are going to be taken seriously, no matter what their color or social status. >> and ari, the other point i know you are making as well is that rape victims are very afraid to come forward, because their history is going to be put on trial by defense attorneys. and there are different standards of proof in different states, in these cases, as to how much of their background can be gone into, but in many cases,
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the women are put on trial and are torn down and cross-examined and that then becomes a real deterrent to other women coming forward in most cases, women victims. >> wi >> that's exactly right. it is two-fold in this case. i think the hands of the women who will speak momentarily are being raised. in this case it was the fear of being cross examined on your own conduct. you are the accuser and you end up being cross-examined about how you live your life when you are not literally on trial. second, a credibility cross-examination because here, he preyed on people that he thought wouldn't be believed because of their class and criminal records. >> right now, benjamin crump is introducing two of these women as survivors. let's go to this press conference. >> so before we let them speak, i will just say these few observations. i'm here as the president of the national bar association as well
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as representing these women and miss morris and two other women who wish not to have their names come forward. and we respect that. they are still dealing with a lot. i scratch my head as i talked to ted, i said what is it about these 13 women that is problematic or troubling, what is it about them? what is it, why are they unworthy of national media attention in such a sensational situation as a serial rapist with a badge? raping a dozen women. what is it about them? aren't they american citizens?
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don't they have civil rights? more importantly, don't they have human rights? these rights that are fundamental, that extend beyond state and federal law, these rights that are endowed by our creator, these basic human rights that are premised on the principles of humanity? what is it about them that there was no national outcry as if this would have been another group of women who have been violated by a serial rapist with a badge? where is the disdain? where is the contempt? where is the national outcry for their equal justice? where is the national outcry for their equal protection?
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you know, when i talk to these women, they were concerned because they knew that they were going to be attacked as often is the case in rape cases. they're victims, and no, they weren't perfect people. who amongst us are? some might not consider them model citizens but they were citizens, they were americans, and their lives matter. their experiences mattered. and it mattered just as if this was a group of 13 white women. their lives matter just like them, if this was a group of 13 asian women. their lives mattered just like
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them if this was a group of 13 hispanic women. their lives mattered just like them and so we are here to declare that black women's lives matter, too. and we will not let them be by themselves, isolated and alone. we would not let this be swept under the rug. we have gotten criminal justice, the majority of them. some of them did not. and that is troubling to us. but we expect to get full justice so attorney solomon simmons and attorney hall and i will be representing them in civil litigation for them to get whole justice, just as anybody's mother, grandmother, daughter,
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wife would deserve, as any of them would deserve. and so i want to tell you, they are not professional speakers, they didn't ask to be here, they didn't ask to get raped, they didn't ask to be violated in this dehumanizing, this vile disgusting manner, but it happened to them and with god's help, they are going to speak out about it and they are going to do the best they can do. so i ask that you respect them as victims and you remember that they are victims trying to tell about a very painful experience. first you will hear from the hero, the true hero in all of this, with her daughters by her side, miss janey liggins.
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speak loud and take your time. >> first, i would like to say good morning, everybody, and give all the praise to god. i just thank god that i can stand here today and talk and say this. i was violated in june by a police officer. he stopped me on 50th and lincoln for no reason whatsoever, pulled me over, and fondled me and did certain things to me. i was out there alone and helpless. didn't know what to do. in my mind, all i could think that he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me. he did things to me that i didn't think a police officer would do. he made me perform oral sex on him. i didn't know what to do. i was so afraid. i was afraid for my life.
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i kept begging him, sir, please don't make me do this, don't make me do this, sir, please. you're going to shoot me. he said i'm not going to shoot you. i said are you going to shoot me? only thing i could see was my life flash before my eyes and the gun in his holster on his right side. as i tried to look up at his name, i was afraid to because i said if i know his name, i know he's going to kill me. so that, i didn't do. so he did so many things to me and i was so afraid and i was out there like i said, so helpless, god's will, he let me live and he let me live to tell this story like a lot of victims are not able to do, and i thank god above for letting me do that. all i can say is i was a victim, i was traumatized, i went to therapy, i had a stroke behind
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this, and i still live with this day after day, and all i know is i wasn't a criminal. i have no record. i didn't do anything wrong. you said i did something wrong. you said i was swerving which i was not. you just wanted to stop me. so all i can say is i was innocent and he just picked the wrong lady to stop that night -- >> yes. >> and now -- >> ruth marcus, we just heard the example of how this all came unraveled. >> he just picked the wrong lady to stop. >> her fear, he's wearing a uniform, he's got a gun. obviously the jury reacted the same way we are reacting to this. >> i thought that was so powerful, so chilling.
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she brought us into this scene where she was afraid to look at his badge and his name plate because she thought he would kill her if she knew who he was. that was as credible and emotionally wrenching a witness statement as i have ever heard. >> ari melber, there could indeed be civil cases that come out of this. >> there could be civil cases. just to echo what you both were saying, listening to that, he picked the wrong lady to stop that night. what a powerful and moving statement from someone who went through what we just heard and we are bearing witness to it and reporting on it. she says he pulled her over for no reason, that he threatened her, that he forced her to perform oral sex on him and that she feared for her life, that she thought in that terrible incident which she says has given her emotional stress, led her to therapy, she later had a stroke, she says this terrible period, she says she was afraid he was going to murder her as well. just heartbreaking and hard to
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listen to. she's also standing up and saying he picked the wrong person, the wrong woman, as we said. so just remarkable. i will say two legal points. number one, there has been a movement to make sure that there is a place in court for victims' statements, above and beyond how prosecutors deal with them which is a strategic decision. most states have now created that space. i think we just heard with our own ears there why that's important, to hear directly from the people. number two legally to your question, yes, you have this conviction in a criminal standard which of course means it would be legally easy to move forward and win on a civil standard against the officer because the civil standard, much lower than what he's already been convicted of. i heard benjamin crump in the press conference make a reference to pursuing a civil suit against the officer. of course, if he goes in to jail and doesn't have money, there are questions about how much you
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would get out of him or his family or estate but obviously it's about more than that. i'm just saying that for legal detail. so we are learning from this press conference, reference made to possible civil suits as well. >> thanks to you, ari melber, of course, and charles hadlock in oklahoma city and ruth marcus. we will talk to you. coming up next, health coverage for the 9/11 first responders. jon stewart taking his crusade to late night and capitol hill to stop congress from abandoning the men and women who were there for the rest of us. one of those heroes joins us next. your body was made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis. before you and your rheumatologist move to a biologic, ask if xeljanz is right for you. xeljanz is a small pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz can reduce joint pain and swelling in as little as two weeks, and help stop further joint damage. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections,
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oh no... (under his breath) hey man! hey peter. (unenthusiastic) oh... ha ha ha! joanne? is that you? it's me... you don't look a day over 70. am i right? jingle jingle. if you're peter pan, you stay young forever. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. ♪ you make me feel so young... it's what you do. ♪ you make me feel ♪ so spring has sprung. after the sacrifice that our first responders made -- >> boring! sorry, jon. sorry. i hate to go pro on you here, but you have been out of the game for awhile. that's got no zazz. no one's going to listen to you unless you, i don't know how to put this, trump it up a little bit.
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do you want the attention or not, jon? >> i do. >> let's do this. >> i think that's trump enough. these 9/11 first responders, let me tell you something. hey, these 9/11 first responders are the most top notch first class diamond encrusted heroes america can produce. don't let congress play politics with this necessary bill. >> i don't know whether to laugh or cry. jon stewart, enlisting his late night friends to prevent health care benefits from expiring for 9/11 first responders suffering from debilitating ailments after spending months on the pile and being told that there was no health risk. >> you send a message to your congressperson and especially senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to let him know it's
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not okay to use these people as political leverage. the hash tag is worst responders, use that and let's ask the people who are supposed to represent us to represent us. >> john feel is founder of the feel good foundation, demolition supervisor at ground zero. he has been working with jon stewart to get the first responders bill renewed. he joins me now. thanks very much for being with us. what hopes do you have now? what are you hearing from congress? >> one, thank you for having me. i'm a big fan. so thank you. we saw the fluid situation, we just left the hill last night, late last night. we haven't had much sleep but there was some outstanding issues that were resolved this morning and we are confident that we are going to get locked into the omnibus sometime tonight. there were two different drafts ready to go, one from the house with chairman upton and one from senator gillibrand whose office has been working diligently.
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the credit that they don't get they deserve because they have been immensely great. jon stewart has been great. we're not ready to pop the champagne and pop the cork yet, but we are confident that this gets done sometime over the weekend and there's a vote next week, and those who are sick and suffering from 9/11 can get on with the rest of their lives, whether it's two years, four years or eight months. congress' biggest problem was they wanted to go home for the holidays. we just wanted to get on with our lives. what many people don't know is the act was a must-pass bill. it was the marilyn monroe of health care bills and all bills in congress. it was sexy. everybody wanted to attach themselves. just like senate majority mcconnell -- mitch mcconnell last week when the transportation bill, we didn't get in there when we thought we would. everybody is trying to attach themselves to our bill because it was a must-pass bill. we had 67 co-sponsors, bipartisan co-sponsors in the senate. 270 in the house. this should have been done a long time ago but every time we got close, they moved the goalpost back. we stayed above the fray.
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and we didn't lower ourselves to them. when this is said and done, we are going to walk away knowing we were better than them and our resolve was tested. just like on 9/11, we were better than them then and we're better than them now. >> this was health benefits approved for five years. it was permitted to expire can. in this renewal, if you get it, is it going to be another short term renewal or is it going to be a permanent entitlement? >> no, this is a permanent health care bill with a five year vcf. the permanent health care bill is $3.5 billion permanent for as long as we live. let's not kid ourselves. there's nothing permanent about 9/11 responders. we are going to die off like other permanent bills in congress, those people will be there forever. we are going to die off. the vcf is five years at $4.6 billion. this was a two-part bill. and we are comfortable with a five year, $4.6 billion vcf and we are comfortable with a permanent health care bill. that's what we wanted. right now we are in a good
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place, a better place than we were last night, a better mapla than we were this morning. this was our story to tell. this was our ending to tell. jon stewart and senator gillibrand, they just narrated that story. it's those men and women that continue to take to d.c. all year with over 600 meetings and 22 trips a and about 1,000 miles of walking the halls of congress. all of those who were across the country in 433 out of 435 congressional districts that kept e-mailing and making phone calls and faxing. it was a team effort and it's the most humbling thing i have ever been part of. after doing this for 12 years, i'm tired, i want to go home, and i want to move on with my life but we still have a lot of work left to do even after we get this passed. >> jon stewart and you were on the hill last week. let's play a little of his report on it. >> finally caught up with senator rob portman on his way from voting to make sure people on the terrorist watch list could still buy guns. >> as i said, we will let folks
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know and i have already that i supported the question, let's find a way to pay for it. >> you know you can find money. so that pay for it stuff really doesn't reach -- it's not passing the litmus test with me. i'm sorry. >> that night, senator portman of ohio signed on to the bill. maybe shame does work. but if it doesn't, maybe we should all just follow around mitch mcconnell, making this face at him. >> so john feel, thank you for what you have done. we are going to be on this and we will follow it and stay with you and check back next week. thank you so much for being with us today. >> thank you for having me. the media has always been our sword. thank you. >> thanks very much. coming up, syria's endless war. the civil war raging on, still going on, shows no sign of ending. the human toll from mothers displaced by the conflict and their families. some cash back cards love to overcomplicate things. like limiting where you earn bonus cash back.
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after four and a half years of civil war, nearly half of syria's population has been displaced and russia's air strikes since september 30th are only making it harder for those who remain. joining me now is gale ahman, senior fellow at the council on foreign relations who just returned from the syrian-turkish border where she saw the struggles faced by refugees firsthand. thank you very much. good to see you safely back in new york. tell me your take-aways from your reporting trip to the border. >> you know, the gap between the conversation in washington and the reality on the ground for people who are seeking safety could not be bigger. you have people in washington talking about ticking time bombs or keeping syrians out and when you are on the ground, what you meet are moms who are stretching mealtimes to two a day so that they can feed their kids, moms who are fleeing barrel bombs, who have seen their children thrown from balconies on to the ground below and are really just trying to find a way to get to
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safety. then you see teenagers who are really dreaming of something better, but finding so many obstacles in their way and you are just incredibly moved by it. honestly, you come away shocked that the world is not doing more. >> and we still are not getting response from the turks, from turkey, from the government, to shut down the border in terms of the flow of not only foreign fighters but oil and other supplies that are the financial life blood of isis. >> what you see now, too, is with the bombing coming from russia, the humanitarian space, the place for safety, for civilians trapped inside syria, is getting smaller and smaller. i was there with an ngo mercy corps and you see mercy corps and many others struggling to figure out can we get aid in, blankets for kids, socks, food kits, you know, basically sleeping bags so refugees who
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are now erinternally displaced inside syria can have something to keep in to allow them to keep out the chill. you really do see the humanitarian toll this has taken because we are so busy talking about the policy, we so often forget the people whose lives have been caught in the crossfire of a civil war, now close to entering its fifth year. >> what are you hearing from the mothers? >> they want two things. i think americans will recognize both of them. one is to go back to their country and two is to put their children in school in the meantime. i interviewed one 15-year-old girl who has been out of school for five years. members of her family were killed as they were trying to get out of syria. she is now in syria -- sorry, in turkey with her mother and she said that this english class that she's now able to take is really her lifeline, her hope, because she hopes to teach english one day when she can find a future that doesn't include war because she wants other kids to have the opportunities that she didn't have. >> at this stage, what should
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the u.s. government do? because the policy acknowledged by many that the policy has not worked, democrats as well as republicans critical of what the white house has suggested as being too incremental, what steps should the u.s. take diplomatically and militarily? >> you and i have talked about this over the years. you have had very far-reaching rhetoric from the podium assad must go, matched by incremental steps on the ground. i think there's been a hesitance to get into another war in the middle east. but containment clearly has reached its limits and the european refugee crisis is a proportion we haven't seen since world war ii. you have to see a diplomatic push that includes a real discussion about the question of assad's future and i do think that whether we like it or not, we will see more discussion about special operations forces and the fight on the ground against isis. >> of course, the call to get a regional sunni force on the ground which is still not working but you have syrian --
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resistant leaders meeting in riyadh. that is the big hope. thank you so much. >> great to join you. this week, antonin scalia shocked the supreme court watchers with comments he made during oral arguments on that challenge university of texas, the challenge to the university of texas's affirmative action plan. justice scalia said in part quote, there are those who contend that it does not benefit african-americans to get them into the university of texas, where they do not do well as opposed to having them go to a less advanced school, a slower track school, where they do well. one of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the university of texas. continuing in his quote, they come from lesser schools, where they do not feel that they are being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them. i'm just not impressed by the fact that the university of texas may have fewer, maybe it ought to have fewer. the supreme court is expected to release the audio of those arguments from earlier this week later this afternoon. we will have a lot more on
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msnbc. that does it for us for this week for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." thanks for watching. follow the show online on facebook and on twitter. "msnbc live" is up next. ks from♪ (rudy barks) well, it's more like "fa la la la la la la la la" but you're in the same vein. say happy holidays with milk-bone! the possibility of a flare swas almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal. until i talked to my doctor. she told me that humira helps people like me get uc under control and keep it under control when certain medications haven't worked well enough. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems,
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♪ everything kids touch during cold and flu season
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sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox. good friday. i'm craig melvin. we start with breaking news. moments ago, two women who say they were sexually assaulted by a former oklahoma city police officer just spoke about their ordeal. the oldest victim, a 57-year-old grandmother, talked about the encounter. >> pulled me over and fondled me and did certain things to me. i was out there alone and helpless, didn't know what to do. in my mind all i could think that he was going to shoot me, he was going to kill me. he just picked the wrong lady to stop that night. >> yes. >> daniel holtzclaw broke down
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in tears as the judge read the jury's decision. jurors there found him guilty on 18 of 36 charges of sexual assault, among them four counts of first degree rape. the jury then recommended more than 260 years in prison. in a facebook post, the oklahoma city police department said it was quote, satisfied with the jury's decision and firmly believes justice was served. nbc's charred hles hadlock is i oklahoma city. an emotional day for the victims who spoke out again less than an hour ago. >> reporter: yeah. the news conference is just breaking up here behind me. what an emotional testimony by some of the victims. what they testified to here was what they testified to on the stand. that was they were scared to death that they were going to be killed by this officer if they didn't comply with his sexual demands. one of them was a 57-year-old grandmother. let me back up a

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