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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  April 4, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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attorney general eric holer. he's expected to speak any moment now. nbc news has learned the attorney general will announce the obama administration will not try self-proclaimed mastermind khalid shaikh mohammed in a civilian court. he and four other co-conspirators will be tried before a military commission at guantanamo bay. joining us now, michael isikoff and as we wait on this news conference here, jay carney, press secretary for the white house, said a short time ago the president's concern that the perpetrators of that attack be brought to justice as swiftly as possible. you're hearing reaction from both sides. mostly people who criticized the decision in the first place announced by holder in 2009. >> right. this is no way around -- this is a stunning reversal for the obama administration and for attorney general holder in particular. this was -- the decision to try
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khalid shaikh mohammed and the other conspirators in federal court in new york was probably the biggest decision of his tenure as attorney general. he fought hard and pushed for this and has been completely overcome by the politics of it. opposition from new york politicians on both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans, and, of course, ferocious resistance from a republican congress. so what we can expect now is arguments that there is little choice that the obama administration has left. that's still going to disappoint a lot of progressives, a lot of people who say this is a total abandonment of president obama's first promise as president to shut down gitmo. where are these trials going to be held? in guantanamo bay, and it's going to remind the world and remind the country that he was unable to fulfill the first thing he did as president. >> and, michael, going back to november 13th, 2009, eric holder at the time said, quote, i am
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confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial just as they have for over 200 years. how might eric holder, i guess, justify this complete reversal? how do you explain what is happening here? do you lay the blame with congress who put up obstacles according to the administration to keep these -- the civil trial from happening? >> i think we can expect some of that, although i don't think he wants to be too in your face on this. the really interesting thing for me to watch here is how holder handles all the questions about the inevitable legal challenges we're going to see to those military commission trials. time and again after holder made that announcement in november of '09, he and his people said, look, if you think taking these trials to untested military commissions is easy, you have got another thing coming here. there is plenty of issues. these sorts of military
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commissions have not been used for these kind of trials ever before. it's unprecedented. there's going to be inevitable challenge after challenge. i pospoke with the president of the aclu said who said absolutely there's going to be years of litigation on venue, evidence, on everything tried to these trials that's going to delay that kind of swift justice. >> you have to also factor in the supreme court today rejected three separate appeals from current and former gitmo detainees who had filed challenges on their indefinite detentions which brings us to the conversation and the topic you have touched on from the beginning here. will gitmo ever close? >> and, look, it's hard to see any kind of end game for closing gitmo at this point. not when we've not -- we've got 9/11 trials now apparently ready to be teed up for guantanamo.
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i've been told the defense department plans to announce other charges against other high-profile defendants as early as next week, one being the alleged mastermind of the bombing of the "uss cole" in 2000. these are all proceedings that will be taking place in guantanamo. >> at the time how did the administration justify the decision to pursue civilian trial as opposed to military commissions, michael? >> you know, this was very much a part of the core philosophy of most of the people in the obama administration, in top legal jobs, and during the obama campaign that civilian justice is better than military justice or at least military commission justice. a lot of that was push back, grew out of opposition by then-senator barack obama and most other democrats to everything president george w. bush was doing.
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it was the bush administration that first -- >> michael, attorney general eric holder -- i'm sorry to interrupt. eric hold ser oer is out now. let's listen in. thank you, michael. >> sure. >> in november of 2009 i announced khalid shaikh mohammed and four other individuals would stand trial in federal court for their roles in the terrorist attacks on our country on september 11th of 2001. as i said then, the decision between federal courts and military commissions was not an easy one to make. i began my review of this case with an open mind and with just one goal, to look at the facts, to look at the law, and to choose a venue where we could achieve swift and sure justice most effectively for the victims of those horrendous attacks and their family members. after consulting with prosecutors from both the department of justice and the department of defense and after
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thoroughly studying the case it became clear to me the best venue for prosecution was in federal court. let me be clear. i stand by that decision today. as the indictment unsealed today reveals, we were prepared to bring a powerful case against khalid shaikh mohammed and his four co-conspirators. one of the most well-researched and documented cases i have ever seen in my decades of experience as a prosecutor. we had carefully evaluated the evidence and concluded that we could prove the defendants' guilt while adhering to the bedrock traditions and values of our laws. we had consulted extensively with the intelligence community and developed detailed plans for handling classified evidence had this case proceeded in manhattan or in an alternative venue in the united states as i seriously
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explored in the last year. i am confident that our justice system could have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over 200 years. now, unfortunately, since i made that decision, members of congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any guantanamo detainees to try in the united states regardless of the venue. as the president has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security. decisions about who, where, and how to prosecute have always been and must remain the responsibility of the executive branch. members of congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. yet, we have taken one of the
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nation's most tested counterterrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications. we will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions. but we also must face a simple truth. those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future, and we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice. i have talked to these family members on many occasions over the last two years. like many americans, they differ on where the 9/11 conspirators should be prosecuted, but there is one thing on which they all agree. we must bring the conspirators to justice. so today i am referring the cases of khalid shaikh mohammed
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h ramsey binalshibh, aease ali, and masa which to the department hf defense. i have directed prosecutors to dismiss the indictment that was handed down under seal in the southern district of new york in december of 2009 and a judge has granted that motion. prosecutors from both the department of defense and justice have been working together since the beginning of this matter and i have full faith and confidence in the military commission system to appropriately handle this case as it proceeds. the department of justice will continue to offer all the support necessary as this critically important matter moves forward. the administration worked with congress to substantially reform the military commissions in 2009 and i believe they can deliver fair trials and just verdicts. for the victims of these heinous
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attacks and for their families, that justice is long overdue, and it must not be delayed any longer. since i made the decision to prosecute the alleged 9/11 conspirators, the effectiveness of our federal courts and thousands of prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officers, and defense attorneys who work in them have been subjected to a number of unfair and often unfounded criticisms. too many people, many of whom should know better, many of whom certainly do know better, have expressed doubts about our time honored and time tested system of justice. that's not only misguided, it is simply wrong. the fact is federal courts have proven to be an unparalleled instrument for bringing terrorists to justice. our courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists since september 11th and our prisons today, our prisons today safely and securely hold hundreds, many
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of them serving long sentences. there is no other tool that has demonstrated the ability to both incapacitate terrorists and collect intelligence from them over such a diverse range of circumstances as our traditional justice system. let me be clear and let me be very clear. our national security demands that we continue to prosecute terrorists in federal courts and we will do so. our heritage, our values, and our legacy to future generations also demands that we have full faith and confidence in a court system that has distinguished this nation throughout its history. finally, i want to thank the prosecutors from the southern district of new york and the eastern district of virginia who have spent countless hours working to bring this case to trial. they are some of the most dedicated and patriotic americans i have ever encountered and our nation is safer because of the work that they do every day.
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they have honored their country through their efforts on this case and i thank them for it. i am proud of each and every one of them. sadly, this case has been marked by needless, needless controversy since the beginning. but despite all the arguments and debate that it has engendered, the prosecution of khalid shaikh mohammed and his co-conspirators should never have been about settling ideological arguments or scoring political points. at the end of our indictment appear the names of 2,976 people who were killed in the attacks on that deadly september day nearly ten years ago. innocent americans and citizens of foreign countries alike who were murdered by ruthless terrorists intent on crippling our nation and attacking the values that we hold dear. this case has always been about delivering justice for those victims and for their surviving
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loved ones. it is about nothing else. it is my sincere hope that through the actions that we take today, we will finally be able to deliver the justice that they have so long deserved. thank you. > >> if i could, two questions. what you describe as the blocks in congress what just passed at the end of last year, yet there was a whole year when thathande the grand jury so why not move faster. and in february you ran into some 9/11 families on capitol hill and you told them in your opinion that going to military commissions was rolling the dice. now, today you have said that going to military commissions you had complete faith in the process. so has there been a change in your thinking? >> i made clear in terms of what i think the best venue for these cases, i continue to think the article three courts are the best place to bring them.
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with regard to the amount of time it took, in 2009 we were in the process of reforming. we reformed the military commissions. there was local concerns expressed about the bringing of the cases in manhattan, we had to deal with that, and then congress started to deal with these restriction that is they put in place. we tried to fight them. we have made this decision as quickly as we could taking into account all of the factors and as i indicated, i considered the possibility of bringing this case in a place other than manhattan but within the southern district of new york. >> mr. holder, is it your understanding that bringing these cases in military commissions allows for seeking of the death penalty? that's one of the concerns that was raised previously about bringing these case there is? >> i think the death penalty can certainly be sought. it's an open question about whether or not somebody can plead guilty in a military commission and receive the bedeh penalty. >> if these military commissions
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are held at guantanamo, won't it mean the facility will have to stay open for many months if not years. >> we will fight to get those restrictions lifted. it will necessarily have an impact on our ability to close guantanamo. it is still our intention to close guantanamo. it's still our intention to lift those restrictions. >> how long do you anticipate these commission trials will take? >> i'd refer those to the department of defense which i think will be issuing a statement sometime later this afternoon. >> mr. holder, can you -- you've been pretty clear on how you feel about the congressional actions here, but presumably most of those lawmakers represent constituents who have their own views. is it your thinking that you know best and that there is just no room for the public's view on where a trial should be held? >> no, i don't want to hold
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myself out as, you know, omniscient or anything like that. the reality is though i know this case in a way that members of congress do not. i have looked at the files. i have spoken to the prosecutors. i know the tactical concerns that have to go into this decision. so do i know better than them? yes. i respect their ability to disagree, but i think they should respect the fact this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function. i have to deal with the situation as i find it, and i have reluctantly made the determination that's cases should be brought in a military commission. >> and the public, such as the groups in new york city that came to oppose the trial there, should they have any voice at all in such a decision? >> we took into account a whole variety of things in trying to make a determination as to where these cases should be brought and it was one of the republicans why i considered the possibility of bringing it in otisville prison which is in the
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southern district of new york, would not have come up with any of the concerns people had about bringing a case in manhattan. would have lowered the cost but even that option was taken off the table bicongress. look, i grew up in new york city. i grew up in queens. i went to school in manhattan for high school, for college, for law school. it is still a place i consider home. i had full confidence in the ability of the people of new york, the authorities in new york, to try this case safely and securely in new york city. if i didn't have that faith, i would not have made that initial determination. it is still my view that that case could have been tried in manhattan. >> from what you just said about the death penalty, you said it's an open question. does that mean there's a very real chance they could serve life in prison as opposed to getting the death penalty which you'd probably have a better chance of that in the eastern district of virginia? >> again, i will defer that to the folks at the department of defense who will be responsible for these cases. it is an open question, but it is one that could be resolved and we'll have to see how it
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plays out. >> that sounds like ten more years of litigation all the way back up to the supreme court, maybe 20 years after the anniversary this could still be litigated. >> well, i have confidence in the ability of the folks in the military commissions and on the military side to bring these cases before the appropriate authorities within a relatively short period of time and to resolve them and what i hope i have done today is to hasten the date by which victims and the families of victims will have some certainty. thank you. >> attorney general eric holder standing by his 2009 statement that federal courts would be the best place to prosecute terrorism suspects such as alleged 9/11 mastermind khalid shake mohammed. let me bring in nbc investigate guy sinvestigates michael isikoff. he was saying those who
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criticize the federal courts should know better and do know better in regards to their criticism of him wanting to hold this trial in the federal courts. >> that was a somber and not happy attorney general having to make this announcement. you can see how much he cared about this, how much he wanted this to go the way he originally decided, and to have to make this announcement today basically taking back what he'd said before was a very painful thing for him. you could see it in the way he expressed himself. one thing that leapt out at me i should say is that question about the death penalty. when he was asked, it's an open question whether you can plead guilty before a military commission and still receive the death penalty. we all know that khalid shaikh mohammed in his original arraignment in 2008 basically
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did everything but admit his involvement in 9/11, expressed his pride in that bombing, in that attack, and yet now if he sticks to that, he may not be able to receive the death penalty, and how is that going to go down with the families and with the american people in general? that's a really big question. >> michael, that is the big question. i just got in statements from senators mccain and lieberman. in their statement they say it is the right decision and we strongly commend the president ant the attorney general for reaching the decision as we and many others have called for. let me go to pete williams, he was in that news conference. michael isikoff's point, you will have a lot of people today asking then is it possible that these people will not face the death penalty as a result of a military commission? eric holder saying that is still open at this point. >> what he said was open at this point is a much narrower question, not about whether the death penalty is available at
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all. >> right. >> but whether someone who pleads guilty can get the death penalty. khalid shaikh mohammed already tried to plead guilty once and that's why this issues arises. there is potentially a way around that, and that he could try to plead guilty. the court in theory could accept his plea but if they want to pursue the death penalty, they would have to still have a trial. now, that gets us into sort of uncharted territory which is, of course, the attorney general's point and one of the points that's been made by a number of legal scholars who have looked at this and basically said we have 200-plus years of tradition in the federal courts. lots of questions resolved by the supreme court about what a defendant's rights are. we don't have that kind of a record before military commissions. and that was the attorney general's point originally, that he felt the case would be on firmer procedural footing in a federal court. presumably the military will
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want to get some of these issues resolve before it comes around to these important cases. military officials have said they can move quickly. they have this indictment that we learned was filed when the attorney general said these cases would be in civilian court. there's already a case ready to go. the military can have that case ready but it doesn't look like the trials would start as early even as this fall. they can get the cases filed but in terms of the trial, they're clearly months away. >> all right, pete. thank you so much for getting on air with us. i know you were just wrapping up inside the room where eric holder was speaking. thank you as well michael isikoff for your time. we're going to go to a quick break. we'll be right back with more news here on "news nations." in here, machines tell factories when they're thirsty. so soft drink companies can manage thousands of vending machines in real time. ♪
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plus, more cracks found in at least three southwest airline planes. we'll have the very latest.
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logistics. exactly. see you guys tomorrow. welcome back to "news nations." re-election kickoff. president obama launches his 2012 campaign. plus, more cracks found in at least three southwest planes. and today's new station gut check. bp reportedly wants to start drilling again in the gulf of mexico. should the u.s. allow the company responsible for america's worst oil spill get back to drilling? it is today's "news nations" gut check. president obama has now launched what could become the most expensive election campaign in u.s. history topping $1 billion. the president officially kicked off his re-election bid today in an e-mail to supporters and a video posted on his campaign website that featured supporters talking about the president. >> i don't agree with obama on everything, but i respect him and i trust him. >> there's so many things that
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are still on the table that need to be addressed, and we want them to be addressed by president obama. >> now, the president does not appear or speak in that video which also unveils the obama campaign logo for 2012. as for the e-mail, it went out to 14 million of president obama's supporters. joining us is savannah guthrie. savannah, it's about the money. i mean, when you're talking about $1 billion, you get in early so you can raise that incredible amount of money that will likely be needed. >> it's definitely about the money early on, and this does pave the way for the president to start doing his own fund-raising and some of those trips have been pland planned to chicago, san francisco, l.a., just this month. if you get in early you can stretch out that fund-raising over the course of months and going into next year so it doesn't feel like you're packing it all in and create the impression that all the
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president is doing is fund-raising for his re-election. so that's one reason to do it. the machinery has been kind of getting up and running for the last few months. he's had key aids depart to the campaign. the campaign is going to be headquartered in chicago, but as fate would have it on the day that the president announces his re-election campaign, you have eric holder coming out just in the last hour as you had on your show coming out and saying that conspirators for 9/11, chiefly among them khalid shaikh mohammed will be tried at gitmo so it highlightses one of the key broken promises. so the timing is not fantastic for the president. >> we are talking with michael and pete regarding the tone of eric holder's news conference where he said these were obstacles or restrictions put in place by congress who did not have the information available for what he called a powerful case against khalid shaikh
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mohammed and said, quote, there were people attempting to score political points with this issue that, as you point out, might make some of the president obama's supporters unhappy with him. >> i thought it was striking how defiant eric holder was being. he essentially said my hands were tied by congress. i think it's inappropriate that congress has usurp what had belongs to the executive branch. i made a determination. i know this case best, eric holder said, and yet he has to bow to the political realities, that congress wasn't going to fund a trial up in new york city. he's also playing a little bit of internal politics himself. he's the head of these federal prosecutors, these line prosecutors who have been pouring a lot of hours and heart into this case for years, and now they're learning they're not going to be able to bring it across the finish line to trial. so the attorney general is clearly standing by his original decision that the best place to try khalid shaikh mohammed was
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in federal court in new york city but he had to bow to the political realities and settle for the military commission at gitmo. >> timing all ties into the president announcing his re-election campaign. all right, savannah, and to talk more about the president's re-election campaign nationally syndicated radio talk show most michael smerconish. i'm curious to hear what people are talking about as we know the president and those who are getting in place for this re-election bid would like this to be the headline but this hour it's been eric holder and guantanamo bay. >> well, relative to guantanamo bay, i don't think that the president or eric holder made the right choice or the wrong choice. i think they made the only choice because those cases have been pursued through a military tribunal path and to now take them out of that system and try them in a civilian criminal system to me would be like beginning a criminal prosecution in one country and then trying to resolve it or take it to trial in a different country. so i think this is the way it
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probably should go. on the president's announcement, you take a look at that two-minute video and i think there are a lot of keys, a lot of insights into who is being targeted by the obama campaign. everything is deliberate. each one of those faces, the constituency they represent works they look like. it tells you a lot. it says once again independents and middle of the road people are going to call this shot. >> what do you make of some republicans criticizing the president for starting his 2012 campaign as the shut down for the federal government looms, unemployment remains near 9%. you even have tim pawlenty releasing this 35-second video showing bleak images of home foreclosure, high gas prices, and mitt romney tweeted i look forward to hearing details on your jobs plan as are 14 million unemployment americans. but again none of them fully committing to running for their party's spot on the ticket. >> i think you've got to pick and choose your criticisms. you know, a broken clock is
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correct twice a day and when these critics of the president jump on him for absolutely everything, for example filling out his march madness brackets which took, what, 10, 15 minutes. i think then when they criticize other more serious aspects, it loses its resonance. >> but specifically the criticism from people who by all accounts do plan to run for president, tim pawlenty announcing his exploratory committee, mitt romney by anyone's guess -- i don't think you even have to guess, you know he wants to be president and run for president. why come out swinging this way because it brings us to the logical question, then when are you going to step into this race or woman, whoever plans to run. >> i have to get this off my chest. look at all that is on the president's desk. there is never going to be a day during the course of his administration where there's nothing burning, there's no problem. >> what's a good day? >> this is a great day when he should make the announcement.
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his response to them ought to be the water is warm, why don't you finally jump in and let's get it on. >> thank you very much, michael. we've missed you and glad to have you back on. >> thank you. developing now, investigators say they found cracks in more southwest airlines following a terrifying experience in midair. new photos show that five foot hole that opened up in the plane's roof less than 20 minutes into friday's night. right now southwest is inspecting dozens of its boeing 737 approximate300s. 57 planes have been checked and put back in service. joining me is jim tillman, an aviation expert and former pilot. it's great to have you on. three planes found with these significant cracks. what do you make of the developments here? >> i'm not a bit surprised. we have cracks in airplanes all over the fleet of every airline there is. it's because of all kinds of factors that have been plaguing the airline industry for a long time.
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however, i'd say that 99% of all those cracks have been, well, not something that required a great deal of attention. attention, yes, getting them corrected, patching them, doing what should be done in normal maintenance, yes, all those things are factors, but i don't consider this to be a situation where we can expect to see airplanes falling apart all over the sky. >> and with that said i don't want to be an alarmist. i know you said 99% but it only takes one situation to greatly impact the airline industry and cause fear within people when you see that picture of that five-foot hole there, that's enough to do it for some. with that said, that particular aircraft had shown signs of stress prior to. so with that said, what changes, if any, do you believe need to happen? you've got 54-plus planes put back into service, but you still have three that showed some problem, so much so they're not back on the lineup. >> tamron, we're learning a
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great deal out of this situation. we're very fortunate to have had this come off without having anybody get seriously injured, and the authorities are going to go over this with a fine tooth comb. they're going to come up with techniques for inspections. they're going to come up with frequencies for inspection. they're going to come up with all kind of ideas to protect us in the future. so i feel very confident that we're really on the right side of this issue. we are now in a position where our lessons learned will protect us in the future. >> southwest says the highest priority is the safety of our employees and customers. prior to the event regarding flight 4812 we were in compliance with the faa-mandate ed. mcdonald's says it will hire 50,000 workers in just one day. company leaders say they are hiring cashiers, cooks, and
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managers. the hiring event takes place later this month. mcdonald's held a similar event last year where more than 60,000 people applied for about 13,000 jobs. a 2-year-old boy who went missing is found alive thanks to the family dog. rescuers outside of columbia, south carolina, say tile e tyle jacobson wandered off and his la ra d larador retriever followed him and kept him warm. the launch of "endeavour" is being delayed. it allows the russians to send a cargo ship to the international space station. the shuttle commanded by mark kelly will now lift off on april 29th. there's a lot going on today and here are some things we thought you should know. rod blagojevich wants the government to hand over notes from any interviews president obama gave to investigators
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about blago's corruption case. the defense argued president obama may know something pertinent to the allegations that blagojevich tried to selle president's vacated gnat ssenat. and the president and the first lady will host angela merkel and her husband. it will be the first state visit by a german chancellor since 1992. haley barbour's wife is not thrilled by the idea of her husband running for president. she says it's a huge sacrifice for a family to make. barbour has not officially announced a campaign bid. those are the things we just thought you should know. [ male announc ] invting for yourself is a necessity.
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nbc remember interrupts it's regular programming to bring you this special report. martin luther king jr. was killed tonight in memphis, tennessee. shot in the face as he stood alone on the balcony of his hotel room. he died in the hospital an hour later. >> that was exactly 43 years ago today and tributes are happening across the country to remember dr. martin luther king jr. including at the state capitol building in tennessee where a silent vigil will be held during the legislative session. joining me is a political analyst. earl, thank you for joining us yet again. here we are again asking the question about the dream. have we achieved the dream and what needs to happen next? >> that comes up all the time. have we, in fact, become the color blind society dr. martin luther king not only dreamed about but as you well know marched, rallied, demonstrations
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in the course of the monumental contribution that he made. well, the short answer is yes and no. yes, in the sense we have an african-american president, african-americans are doing better than ever, some african-americans in terms of the businesses and professions. obviously no legal segregation anymore. politically we have a record number of african-american elected officials. the barriers have broken down to any formal segregation and discrimination. however, that's only part of it. if dr. king were alive today, my guess is, tamron, remember, one of the big cornerstones of dr. king's passion was jobs and justice. not just racial discrimination. remember, the march on washington, the poor people's march. i think the day dr. king would be front anddeeply disturbed about some of the things we're seeing around the country in terments of ts of th and the plight of the poor. >> i want to play something
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reverend al sharpton said this morning. even the incarceration rate when you look at young african-american men. let's play it. >> i think as we remember dr. king today and give him credit for a lot that we have achieved, i think that we would be betraying his memory and betraying the american dream if we did not say we have to really -- what do we have to do to close the gaps in those area that is remain very blatantly unequal in this country. >> and these gaps are not small, earl. when you look at health insurance, 88% of whites have health insurance. about 20% of blacks are uninsured there. you look at the income level, the unemployment rate is double when you look at the black community, and something i don't think was talked about enough, the incarceration rate and that african-american men more likely to be incarcerated or on parole or probation as opposed to being in an education system.
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>> again, we're looking at part of the dream fulfilled, but also part of the dream for many not a dream but a nightmare. so tamron, you ticked off the things and the reverend sharpton did, too, education, the gap. health care, a gap. the astronomical prison incarceration, gap. the poverty gap. what we're seeing is something dr. king isn't really have to grapple with. we're really seeing a two-tiered america, black america. we're seeing african-americans that are doing wildly successful on the one hand but then we're seeing a whole stratum of african-americans that are dismally failing in all the areas you and the reverend sharpton and others have ticked off. we're seeing a two-tiered america. dr. king's dream and his legacy to an extent has been fulfilled, but to a huge extent for millions of others it's still lagging. >> earl hutchinson, contributor and author. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> by the way, make sure you watch msnbc all this week as we continue our series.
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it's called "a stronger america: the plaque agenda. ed schultz will host a special show on sunday, april 10th. coming up, it's a hot one. less than a year after the worst oil spill in our country's history, bp reportedly ready to ask to start drilling again in the gulf of mexico. what does your gut tell you? knows how to make things that are good for you. new v8 v-fusion + tea. one combined serving of vegetables and fruit with the goodness of green tea and powerful antioxidants. refreshingly good. the markets never stop moving. of course, neither do i. solution: td ameritrade mobile. i can enter trades. on the run. even futures and forex. complex options? done. the market shifts... i get an alert. thank you. live streaming audio. advanced charts. look at that. all right here. wherever "here" happens to be. mobile trading from td ameritrade. number one in online equity trades.
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welcome back. we've been getting a lot of tweets from viewers watching us. this came from carol ray. she says defunding closing gitmo is more than an obstacle. congress is too chicken to close gitmo dems and gop. thank you very much for sending us your tweet. join the "news nations," e-mail us at newsnation@msnbc.com. you can tweet me or at facebook. time now for the "news nations" gut check. less than a year after the oil
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rig explosion that killed 11 workers and triggered the worst oil spill in u.s. history, bp is seeking permission to resume drilling in the gulf of mexico, but interior secretary ken salazar insists today there is no deal or special talks with bp regarding its effort. salazar indicated bp would be allowed to resume drilling if it shows it can comply with new regulations now that the moratorium on deep water drilling has been lifted. joining me by phone is craig tofaro, president of the st. bernard parish in louisiana, southeast of new orleans. thank you so much for joining us. >> you bet, tamron. >> so ken salazar saying that there's no deal, no special talks with bp, but if that turns out to be the case, what's your opinion on bp going back in and drilling there? >> well, you know, i think two separate issues. obviously bp has to remain accountable and do what they need to do to make things right as they call their slogan in
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terms of the oil spill of almost a year ago. things are still not right across the board in many cases for louisiana fishermen and business people so they need to take care of that. as far as the issue of the moratorium being lifted and in some cases what's been replaced with a permatorium our belief in many cases in louisiana is if a company is show the ability to do things safely, to follow the rules, our country is nowhere near in a position to move from our dependence on oil, so whatever production is necessary we believe should happen, but certainly should happen in an appropriate and lawful manner. >> well, there were many in your region when the moratorium -- before it was lifted, greatly were opposed to it because they felt it was another blow to the economy despite the fact of the oil covering the gulf near where
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you are located now. is this about money? is it about that there's a need also for that region of this country? >> well, our state has a great deal of interest in oil production and oil exploration. our citizens and many business people depend on those activities. so in a time last year when we were struggling to deal with the oil spill, we felt like the moratorium was an added blow that was unnecessary while maybe well-intended. we felt the moratorium did more harm than good. so we're fully supportive of the work getting back on in the gulf, both in the onshore as well as the deep water exploration and production. i think it's good for louisiana and it's good for our country. >> and what about the story that some of these managers with transocean received big bonuses here, as you point out, the gulf
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coast is still recovering and people are still trying to get back on their feet after the disaster. >> tamron, i think that points to the inequities of the system and the situation of not necessarily being as sensitive financially and economically to the disaster that was created. that should be a primary issue in terms of granting a permit to anyone who has done damage, hey, you can do the work and you can do it safely. if you have an ongoing issue that you have not completed, you need to make sure that that's complete before you go on and get a pass on a new permit. >> both the cleanup and the financial aspect of it. some might say clean up your mess before you move on. >> i believe that's appropriate. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, tamron, for taking the time. >> what does your gut tell you? should bp be allowed to resume drilling for oil in the gulf of mexico? go to newsnation.msnbc.com.
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should arizona impose the first of its kind $50 fee on made kad patients who smoke or or overweight? 42% of you said yes. 58% of you no. that does it for this monday edition of "news nations." thank you for joining us. you can see us tomorrow and every week day 2:00 p.m. eastern time on msnbc. thomas roberts is filling in for martin bashir and he's up next.
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s it hit helps the lhe of companipanies like the she smallestt ofof startups.ups. th ththat lets yos your employeloy, pa and custcustomersvate and sharee so you can can unleash tsh the of your mor your peopleople. good affidavternoon. i'm thomas roberts in for martin bashir. drill, baby, drill. less than a year after the worst oil spill, is the government about to allow bp to drill again. and southwest grounds more plan

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