tv Politics Nation MSNBC June 27, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
>> they were observing the sales and purchases. they were not part of it. >> they were not part of it. and that has been something that has been mistakenly reported now for a long time. they were never part of it in the fast and furious case. there was no effort to get more guns to the strawç purchasers. the effort was to stop them but the question was how. >> now, the republicans claim atf agents deliberately let over 2,000 guns walk as a result of fast and furious. is that not true? >> that is not accurate. agents in the course of their investigation and through shoe leather work identified 2,045 guns that their suspects had purchased. they entered these guns and the serial numbers into a suspect gun data base. but the fact of the matter is
75% of the guns in that data base, they never surveilled. they didn't know about until after the fact. 183 of those guns the suspects had purchased before the investigation even began. it was their diligence that led them to enter the over 2,000 serial numbers into the data base. but now congress is saying that's the number of guns they walked or lost track of. that simply is not true. >> john duston was a whistle blower in the fernandez case. in fact, your article says he in fact was one of the solid appoints of actually being involved in gun walking himself. he sold six ak draco pistols to
suspected gun trafficker. he wasç never charged. how significant is that? >> it's significant because dodson and several other agents he was alied with holds up proof that guns were walked. an e-mail sent by their supervisor saying we're having friction in our group. says nothing about gunwalking. one month after he wrote that e-mail, dodson actually pitches, proposes a plan to walk guns in a completely separate investigation. dodson pushes. submits to a supervisor. john dodson who is issa's chief whistle blower is thenly agent who actually used taxpayer funds, purchased guns, and put them into the hands of a suspected trafficker. >> so the main witness, the main whistle blower of what atf
agents wrs doing, john dodson, was the only one that actually did this. >> that is correct. and whatever your definition of gunwalking and there have been so many in the course of this investigation, that is really the most egregious example that he procured the gun and put them into the hands of the trafficker. there is no other exame of phoenix group seven of that occurring. >> so the attorney general of the united states for the first time in history is facing contempt. largely based on the word of one of the witnesses. this witness who in fact is the only one that participated in the sale. you've done six months investigating this. "fortune" magazine. what's the bottom line the american people should know from your investigation? >> the bottom line is the atf agents in question did everything they could to seize guns and basically prosecutors determined that they didn't have
grounds under the laws as written to seize most of the guns that wound up flowing ultimately to criminals. that is a far cry from guns being walked. the fact of the matter is the agents and the prosecutors say they were following the laws as written. so you could argue with the laws. but it's not a question of throwing the laws aside. that is not what occurred nor is it the case there was a tactical plan to walk guns. which is a claim that has become fact. >> thank you so much for being with us tonight. let me go back to you congressman schiff. you heard what she has said after her investigation. if her investigation is true and "fortune" magazine has printed it, why are we so far away from the truth and why is the american public led to believe there was this gunwalking operation when in fact it was
not. i mean, how could this possibly happen and why are we on the verge of the attorney general in contempt. >> if those facts are correct, the reason they haven't come to the surfaceç until now is that not really been the focus of the government reforms investigation. they haven't really been interesting. how did guns so-called walk across the border, who's responsible, how did this idea come about. or did the idea in fact come about which has been popularly understood. i think the way in addition to this reporter's diligent work that we're going to get though bottom of this is not through committee work but through the inspector general investigation that the attorney general himself got initiated. i would imagine the i.g. is looking into issues that have been raised today in your program. which is what were the agents trying to do? was this is problem of not having probable cause to arrest or was this is problem i've been
working on which even if you make the arrests are there charges to bring them to justice or to get them to roll over on higher ups in the cartels? the penalties on these straw purchases are wholly inadequate. may not want to bring charges against straw purchasers because they can't get much cooperation. >> all right. i'm going to have to hold it there. thank you congressman hiff, dana milbank, and katherine eban of "fortune" magazine. we'll be right back. i went to a small high school.
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we're back with more on efforts to hold eric holder in contempt of congress. some republicans have a theory on the reason for the fast and furious gunwalking program. earlier this month, florida congressman john mica explained it. >> people forget how all this started. this administration is a gun control administration. they tried to put the violence in mexico on the united states. so they concocted this scheme sending our federal agents sending guns down there and trying to cook some little deal to say we've got to get more guns under control. that's how all this started. >> the fast and furious program
was concocted to get more gun control in the united states. it's an interesting theory. do you buy it? joining me now is that congressman, john mica. republican of florida. congressman, first of all, thank you very much for coming on the show tonight. >> good to be with you and good to talk about an important topic tonight. >> fine. andç we just played a piece of your interview. >> right. >> do you believe the obama administration was hoping for gun violence? >> no. i think that they were trying to find a way to impose more restrictions and gun control in the united states. and blame, again, the violence on drug trafficking and the murders that were taking place in mexico on arms from the united states entering mexico. >> so you believe that they concocted this program to have guns going to mexico so something could happen that they could then come in and deal more with gun control?
>> absolutely. that was the purpose of it. a and the whole thing became terribly botched. they lost control of the guns. this is the department of justice using hard earned taxpayer money to buy weapons then supplies them to drug dealers and murderers in mexico. it's unbelievable. and losing track of the weapons. >> that is why the committee has started the investigation into this program? >> absolutely. when you have a federal agent, first again you've got to go back february 4th of 2011. department of justice denied any knowledge of the program in a letter to us and we actually know that they tried to cover this up because they knewç tha we knew.
and actually could have come clean as early as march. they were involved and they should let us know. instead of doing that, they went nearly 11 months and stone walled the committee not providing information. >> but you are aware today that your chairman said today mr. holder didn't know about it. >> well, he may or may not. >> but he's the one you're talking about holding in contempt. >> again, we don't know all the facts. and what we've asked for are the documents. we've gotten about seven or 8% of the documents we've identified. but there's no way to make a determination. maybe mr. holder is innocent. >> well, then why are you trying to hold him in contempt if he may be innocent? >> because he is in contempt. he's in contempt of not providing us with the documents. we are a legitimate investigative committee in congress. we're responsible for overseeing taxpayer money. and we're responsible for the
agency like the department of justice. all we want is information about a program that went horribly wrong with an agent killed with weapons zplieed by the department of justice. >> i want to get to that because there's a published report saying the weapons weren't provided by the government. you're asking -- the oversight committee says the contempt vote. that you basically have been refusedç documents that starte february 4th. and you just said maybe the attorney general didn't know about the program. your chairman said day he probably didn't know. so therefore, he had no motive to personally hold back documents that could have implicated him. maybe when he said -- >> you're talking somewhat in circles. >> no. i think y'all are talking in circles. you're saying he didn't know yet he's up for contempt.
maybe these things are very sensitive. >> he's in contempt. period. it's that simple. >> you're admitting he doesn't have a personal reason to be hiding them. if he didn't know. >> i didn't admit he didn't have a personal reason to be hiding them. i don't know that. what i'm trying to do is for the committee ensure we get the documents. that we hold people accountable. someone is responsible for first developing this program. someone for not overseeing this program. the weapons used to kill an agent. >> all right. let's go back to that. i agree with that. if we're concerned about the program. is have you heard of operation wide receiver where 450 guns walked in 2006? >> it's possible. >> he you heard of it? is it possible? have you ever heard of the program? >> i don't know. i don't know much about it.
i know there wereç programs before -- but there's never been a program where a man was killed. >> why don't you just answer what i asked you. did you hear of the hernandez case in 2007? >> again, i don't know all the details. >> but you heard of it? >> yes. >> so why didn't -- if you think that this particular program was developed in order to get rid of guns, why don't you think operation wide receiver which was the same type of program, why wasn't that concocted by bush to get rid of guns here? or the hernandez case? or the mendrano case. why all of a sudden would you start with this fast and furious unless you're saying mr. bush was also conspireing? >> the big difference is all of the bush activity that you described were handled in an
orderly fashion. >> how do you know that? you have not called them before your committee. how do you know that? you just said you don't even know about i them. you said you had heard of them. >> first of all, no one was killed. >> you said you don't know much about them. how do you now know they were done orderly? >> because we do not have reports of anyone being killed or maimed in those programs. what we were trying to do is track guns. that's been done many times. no one's ever blown it so badly as to have these guns -- >> congressman,ç with all due respect -- >> most guns we fd are in mexico and in the united states. >> you are investigating whether some government -- the justice department concocted something to go against guns. then why aren't you investigating all of the programs since they started to see if they were concocted? or are you only trying to sell a
conspiracy theory on this administration and this attorney general? >> well, because none of them had the consequences of this where a federal agent was killed, several hundred others were killed. >> but no one -- no one argues that -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> no one argues we are outraged about what happened to the agent. you're not investigating that. you're saying this was concocted around gun control. and if it was concocted, then the three programs that were identical ahead of it could have been concocted. but you've not called one of those officials in front of your committee. >> because no one was killed. we have law enforcement exercises in which guns and weapons and sometimes even drugs are transmitted in the trafficking network so that we can capture people. but i don't know of any of the instances you've cited or we have seen that has resulted
in -- >> how could you see it if you never called it in front of your committee? you started by saying you know little about the committee. it's amazing how you got to know more and more asç we talked. congressman, thank you for your time tonight. >> and i certainly know more than you're providing your viewers. >> i'm asking you questions. i think you're the one that's providing my viewers tonight. thank you very much. >> your questions are just going in circles. >> that's right. we're circling the wagons about how very suspicious your selection of witnesses has been. thank you very much. >> you should get the information conducted. good to be with you. >> i think we should. and i think that clearly we should investigate all the way back, all of the programs and see if your conspiracy theory has any merit not only now but all the way back. i think we should also investigate the "fortune" magazine story that says none of this was sold by federal government agents. and i also think we ought to investigate why if your chairman
has said that the attorney general had no knowledge of this, why he's up for contempt tomorrow because he wouldn't have a motive. >> because he did not supply us with documents. he will be held in contempt. because he did not cooperate. thank you. good to be with you. >> about a conspiracy theory that they did all of this to con together to fight the nra and you that are pro-guns. but george bush who did the same programs had nothing to do with that kind of conspiracy. >> and people were not killed. >> we don't know what happened. you have not called them before the committee. >> well, again, we know the death that took placeç here, t loss of keeping track of the weapons. that was not the case in the other instances. >> you said you didn't know much about it. a number of things could happen. inquiring minds wan't to know. you should have called them in
front of the committee. >> gd attempt to try to blur the issue tonight. good to be with you. >> good to have you with us. we'll continue watching it. thank you very much. willard romney arrived in a town still recovering from bain capital takeover. the same day we get evidence the bain attacks are working. plus the coordinated corporate-backed effort to suppress votes hits new hampshire, texas, iowa, and florida. why we must fight their relentless push. ♪
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tough ads are running in swing states like virginia and ohio. watch. >> day one, president romney stands up to china. >> but would he? the washington post has just revealed that romney's companies were pioneers in shipping u.s. jobs overseas. >> last week alone the obama campaign spent more than $1.5 million in ohio alone and it's paying off. a new poll shows president obama leading romney in ohio 47% to 38%. and an nbc poll shows him leading by eight points the nation's battle ground states. joining me now ana marie cox and wes moore. thank you both for being here.
>> thank you. >> let's start with you. are the bain attacks working in the rough belt swing statesç le ohio? >> the attacks are definitely working. more important than the bain attacks, something people aren't understanding. this isn't about an attack on the mitt romney business record. it's about how he somehow created jobs. there is a difference between being an investor and actually creating jobs and businesses that actually accelerate job growth. that's where mitt romney is finding a disconnect between his rhetoric and what happened between the record that puts forward. >> now, let me ask you ana marie. the vice president in washington today was mocking romney's campaign outsourcing and offshoring argument. let me show you what he said. >> if you're looking for work, that's a pretty cruel joke.
i can picture one guy in my old neighborhood standing next to another guy in the unemployment line and say john, did you get offshored or outsourced? which happened to you? >> ana marie, how do you respond to this kind of attack by the vice president? >> it's very clever. and of course for the people standing in line for a job, it really doesn't matter if you were offshoring or outsources. and it doesn't matter whether he was a successful businessman. i think everyone can agree he was. the skills that make you a successful çbusinessman, but d they make you a successful president? or do they make you able to create jobs for more americans. i mean, clearly he created more jobs. he just didn't necessarily create them here. so i think that's the thing that voters are having to look at. i think it's smart to let the vice president make this argumentnd let the voters see
what's happening for themselves. it's impossible to villainize someone who was doing the best he could. >> i think the challenge is that the idea of the best he can do. people understand in order to grow, in order to have growth and revenue inside the company, the difference is when you start making it the baseline of your campaign you're a job creator. the problem isn't necessarily the record. the problem is the rhetoric he's putting behind the record. >> he's the one that said i'm a job creator. look at my record at bain. no one brought it. >> the president did not introduce that. mitt romney introduced that. >> the fact is as he continued to begin to examine these areas raised by the president and vice president, it seemed to have taken impact. his favor is down 6% since may.
and he's up five points in his unfavorable to 41%. that's a problem. >> i think what's happening is the president's strategyç and e president's team's strategy, talking about things like his business record and about things he would have done to detroit had he been the commander in chief. by bringing these to the american people, that's the way to bring the negatives up before mitt romney has a chance to defend himself. i think the strategy they're putting in place is working effectively. >> i want to turn to another big issue in some battle ground states. immigration. earlier this week the supreme court struck down most of arizona's anti-immigration law. ana marie, you wrote a column saying quote, arizona's law wasn't about filling in where federal government wasn't. the arizona law attempted to go
beyond the authority of the federal government. now, how will this ruling effect the political debate in 2012 and for that matter beyond? >> well, you know, it's interesting. if you look at the polling on this issue, americans are sharply divided. but what you see is people who strongly agree being the first category. then very short after that being strongly disagree. then we get into details of the law. people are compassioned about immigration. it's turning that into law and turning that into things people can understand is difficult. what a lot of people don't understand is the changes the president is making aren't going to effect a mass number of people that are trying to get in the u.s. something like 8 millionç peop a year try to get into the u.s. the debate we're having about police stopping people in cars, about whether or not young people can stay in the country is kind of just rhetoric.
it's just politics. although it is very helpful to find someone as a candidate like mitt romney who can't speak to the human aspects of it much less lay out his policy on it. >> i'm going to have to hold it there. thank you both for your time tonight. >> thanks. ahead, the corporate-backed republican effort to block the vote is in full swing all over the country. but today the fight is on. that's next.
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[ male announcer ] should've used roundup. it kills weeds to the root, so they don't come back. roundup. no root. no weed. no problem. ahead, we have big news on blocking the vote from new hampshire, tho florida, to iowa. hampshiro, tho florida, to iowa. vote are in full swing. what they're doing and how can we fix it? that's next.
of florida, a federal judge rejected the justice department's request to stop rick scott's voter purge. a lawyer says the purge may now continue. but democrats are stepping up to fight. more than ever before for the comes election. folks, they are relentless, which is why we must be vigilant and why we must keep eyes open. and keep fighting. joining me now is ion sancho, supervisor of elections for leon county in florida. and judith browne-dianis head of an advocacy group against the florida purge. thanks for both of you for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> ion, let me start with you. a lawyer for the election officials say the purge in florida may continue. what do you make of it? >> it may continue, but qui
frankly, i think that there won't be a purge in the state of florida. one of the prongs the judge useç in denying the federal government's request is since the state stopped pushing it, the federal government couldn't prove irreparable harm which was critical to get an injunction. because basically 64 out of the 67 counties in florida have simply stopped purging and pursuing this program. and the state in its response today said it can -- it was not going to pursue the purge. which is sort of curious because in some sense the federal judge is saying a purge can continue, but the state of florida saying we're not going to do it. and in terms of practical matter, the supervisor of elections aren't going to pursue this because the election is too close at this point. absentee ballots have to be in
the mail within a week. the election is here for all practical purposes in florida. >> so when the lawyer says the purge can continue, he may be technically right, but you're saying the supervisors have to get ready for the election. and you're saying the state itself are saying they're not going to move forward with this. so in effect this has successfully stopped a purge that many of us feel is unfair. >> well, the purge has stopped. but i think if you look back over what's happened, the governor has emerged with a -- i think, a win/win situation for him. because he's energized his tea party base who believes that, for example,(tiat obama stole the election in 2008 to begin with. and there are all of these dead people and illegals in the voting rolls which you and i both know is a complete falsehood. he's gotten away with that in the press in florida. he doesn't need to have an act to purge.
he's already intimidated and frightened voters who are concerned over whether their votes will count this november. >> judith, can you believe some conservatives in florida thinks obama stole an election in 2008. let me ask you. you filed a separate lawsuit. how do you view all this in florida and how do you view the override of the veto by the governor in new hampshire? >> that's right. well, reverend sharpton, the lawsuit is still around. and we're going to continue to fight this. we have to be vigilant. we were disappointed by the outcome of this particular lawsuit by the department of justice. it does give the governor the green light to move forward on continuing to compile a list that targets particular exposure. we know that list, you are least likely to be on that list if you were white and republican.
so we're not really sure that ion sancho is that he's not going to move forward. there are two particular counties that we've been hearing about that they're continuing to move forward with this purge.ç but we have to put this in the context of what's happening across the country. what happened in pennsylvania with the majority leader saying that -- i mean, he exposed the whole plan. if americans don't understand what's going on yet, they should have understood it yesterday when they heard those comments by the majority leader of pennsylvania who said now mitt romney can win because in fact we have put voter i.d. in place. >> he said he will win because of voter i.d. i played the tape last night. that's why many of us are out here fighting. but we had one victory today. in north carolina they failed to
move in override in that state. >> and look how many times they tried in north carolina. and that's what this is about. it's relentless. it is a relentless effort to suppress the vote. >> i've got to go. ion sancho and judith browne-dianis, thank you for your time tonight. i want people to know, we must -- i don't care what your party, what your belief -- we must protect the vote. all the voter suppression schemes, we must all be against. i don't care how you vote but i care you have the right to vote. with no games. this is what people gave their lives for. we cannot let it be turned around now. thank you for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now.ç fast, furious and fiction. let's play "hardball."
good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with a shocker. you know the story of how u.s. government agents allowed guns to go to the drug cartel? the story for issa, the nra, and the entire american right? well, according to a new report from "fortune" magazine, not the nation or "the new york times," "fortune," it didn't happen. the u.s. government never used a tactic of letting the guns reach the bad guys in mexico. it just didn't hapn. which raises the bigger question. if it didn't happen why is eric holder and the obama administration failed to kill the story? didn't they learn from the charges against john kerry if you don't knock down a story, it knocks you down. our guests tonight are matt miller former spokesman for the department of