tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 15, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PDT
right now on "andrea mitchell reports," holder in the hot seat. live pictures from capitol hill, where the attorney general is set to face questions about the i.r.s. targeting of conservative groups, as house speaker john boehner says he wants those responsible behind bars. >> the irs hat at mitted to targeting conservatives, even if the white house continues to be stuck on the word "if." now my question isn't about who's going to resign. my question is, who's going to jail over this scandal? can the pentagon solve its sexual assault crisis? for the second time in two weeks, a military member is accused himself. and honoring heroes, president obama pays tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty. >> as tough as the losses may
be, your mission does not stop. you never let down your guard, and those of you who you protect should never let slide our gratitude, either. >> we should not -- and only in the week of tragedy, we should do it every day. good day. eye chris cillizza in for andrea mitchell. eric holder is moments away from facing tough questions, surrounding the irs handling of conservative groups. while applications from conservative groups sat in limbo. this comes after a scathing report. and requested, quote,
unnecessary information end quote. the report blamed, quote, insufficient oversight, end quote, by irs management for allowing the problem to persist for more than a year. in the meantime p.m. p president obama called the whole thing intolerable and unexcusable and ordered the secretary to quickly implement the recommendations. joining mess is chris van hollen, thanks for taking time. >> a busy day. >> i want to start with the irs the news broke friday morning, the president did not speak until monday morning, and even the white house press secretary after that. what was cagey about his response, when in fact the irs admitted they happened. what is your feeling on whether the white house and president obama's at mrgs acted quickly
enough? >> i they they did. they wanted the report before making any final comment you the president acted very quickly, which it is. congress should do its job with respect to oversight. >> congressman, i know you've been involved in the disclose act, attempts to make more transparent the donor process with some of these groups. was something like this inevitable, giving the way the campaign finance laws have played out with the i.r.s. overseeing some of these groups? is this a -- are we reaping what we have sown legislatively here? >> well, chris, it was not inevitable that they would target right-leaning groups based on, you know, certainly key words, but the underlying point you are raising is an important one, which is that
after citizens united, which was the supreme court case that said corporations could spend as much as they wanted, you have a proliferation of these groups trying to get into this game and get tax-exempt status, and at the same time not have to disclose their donors, some of them under the guise that they're doing social welfare or educationally work. yes, it's wrong that the iismt rs selectively picked certain groups out. what's also important, though, is that the irs enforce this law uniformly i. otherwise there will be groups that exploit and abuse this tax law for political purposes, and in order to high their donors. so the irs needs to apply the law uniformly, but it should apply it. >> congressman, is the irs the answer here as we go forward, as an enforcement agency for these groups seeking tax-exempt status, who may dabble in voters education and things that touch
sort of politics action is the irs the right enforcement agency in your mind? or should this be moved elsewhere? >> in my view, we should avoid this whole issue by requiring full disclosure of groups who are involved in this political activity, spending money to try to elect or defeat candidates. i introduced a disclose act a number ofiers. we actually got it out of the house of representatives when the democrats were in the majority. we got 59 votes in the senate, but republicans blocked it through a filibuster. if we pass the disclose act, we would take away the incentive that these groups have to try to get this kind of tax status, because this particular kind of tax status is what allows them to hide their donors action so this way they can run political adds without telling voters who they were and without telling voters who's funding them. >> one other thing, given your role on the house budget committee, which is this.
we and everyone else in washington is talking about the irs, the a.p. seizures of phone records by the justice department. we're not talking about the budget or the debt ceiling or the possibility of a grand bargain. how much does this -- what's happened in the last 96 hours distract from that. is it a short-term distraction or long-term distraction in your mind to resolving our fiscal issues? >> i'm virile worried it would distract t -- very worried it will distract the congress. we should get to the bottom of these issues and get the facts. what worries me is some of our republican colleagues don't just want to get to the facts. they want to spin conspiracy theories and distract attention from the fundamental issues that we're facing right now. jobs and the economy, and we're seeing that right now, chris, in the fact that our republican colleagues refuse to go to conference on the budget, which
is the forum for moving forward on the economic, replacing the sequester, and making sure that we can get all americans back to work. and by dragging their feet on this -- on those important issues, i think, you know, they're pointing to all this other stuff that's going on, which is important to get to the bottom of, but congress should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. and i am nervous that some reps will use this as an excuse for not getting at the fundamental issues of the economy, jobs and the budget. >> congressman chris van hollen, i have never been good at walking and chewing gum, but i'll take it that you and the congress can. >> i hope so. >> thank you. we are seeing eric holder sit down. he is to testify before a house panel. i want to bring in to talk about what he will say and maybe what he won't 350e9 williams and nbc news national investigative correspondent michael isikoff. thank you both. pete, let's start with you.
what are we expecting here today? what more, if anything, do we learn? >> i'm going to guess not much, because on the irs question, he'll say, you know, i want there should be a criminal investigation, and they're investigating, and i don't know what more there is to say about that. on the toll records issue, getting the reporters records from the ap, their phone lines, he said yesterday it was the deputy attorney general who made that call, not him, though he did defend it. so there may be apology questions here about the overall administration approach to leaks. that may be a productive area for questioning. he probably can't say much more about the specific case of the ap. what happened here, he said he was one of the people who was read into this highly classified program to foil al qaeda plot to bomb an airplane, because he knew about it, he said he was questioned by the fbi, and for that reason, he said he took himself off or -- to use the legal term, recused himself, putting the deputy in charge of
supervising this. the investigation is being run by the u.s. attorney here in the district, but perhaps that's the area where members can talk about the policy of doing this. this is hardly the first time that the federal government has ever gotten reporters' telephone records. what seems unusual is the comprehensiveness, the main off number for three a.p. offices here in washington, new york and hartford. that i think is a somewhat surprising aspect to this. >> pete, thank you. i have to point out we're looking at the chairman of the committee, a republican from virginia. he is talking about the boston bombings. this hearing ostensibly brought to discuss law enforcement's ability to connect the dots and have potentially avoiding -- we expect a lot of the questioning to focus on, pete, what you're talking about with regard to the ap and phone records.
mike, i want to talk to you about the story that continues to unfold in ways that are fascinating and i think troubling for the administration, the irs story. can you bring us -- i feel like every 24 hours, i try not to sleep all that much, but when i do sleep action i feel like i miss things. this story pretty damns, that groups pass through this tax-exempt -- what's the latest and i guess more importantly, where do we go, if we know? >> on the irs story, it's not surprising that liberal groups would have sailed through, gotten their 501-4 status -- sorry. >> it's usually not that complicated. i've just been up late. easily, when we know the criteria said by the irs office in cincinnati, the bo element o, the ones they were flagging had
patriot tea party in the name. >> so obviously. >> those didn't have it in the name, so they were going to sail through. i think where this goes most immediately, on what the i relate s said in response to multiple her from members of congress last year when these tea party groups were contacting the rep members say we're being harassed, getting asked all these intrusive questions about donor information. >> right. >> why is this happening? four senators wrote letters to the irs. they got detailed responses back from irs acting commissioner -- deputy commissioner miller, now acting commissioner, then deputy commissioner, without any mention of all these problem that were known -- >> known problems, right. >> -- to officials in the irs at the time. so why were they not reviewing
that at the time? >> one thing says something else. >> let me say one more thing on this a.p. subpoenas. i think pete flagged it exactly right, the troubling aspect was how sweeping this was, but in addition it was done in secret. >> right. >> that they didn't notify the a.p. and apparently waited until up to 90 days, which was the limit under the guidelines that they could go. now they have a basis under the guidelines to do that, because if they say it would have posed a serious threat to the investigation, but that is a new wrinkle. then it gets litigated, goes to court. in this case they got the record without going to court, without giving the ap a chance to challenge it. >> the secretives in. thank you both. the u.s. military is facing its second sex assault scandal
in as many weeks. you heard that right. this time it involving an army sergeant responsible for handling sexual asought cases at ft. hood, texas. sources say the sergeant is accused of sexually assaulting a female soldier, forcing her into prostitution and assaulting two other victims. defense secretary chuck hagel has ordered the military to retrain, recredential and rescreen tens of thousands of military recruiters and sexual assault prevention officers. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health
plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+. thto fight chronic.ts tosteoarthritis pain.h. to fight chronic low back pain. to take action. to take the next step. today, you will know you did something for your pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is a pain reliever fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one non-narcotic pill a day, every day, can help reduce this pain. tell your doctor right away if your mood worsens, you have unusual changes in mood or behavior or thoughts of suicide. anti-depressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. cymbalta is not for children under 18. people taking maois, linezolid or thioridazine or with uncontrolled glaucoma should not take cymbalta. taking it with nsaid pain relievers, aspirin, or blood thinners may increase bleeding risk.
severe liver problems, some fatal, were reported. signs include abdominal pain and yellowing skin or eyes. tell your doctor about all your medicines, including those for migraine and while on cymbalta, call right away if you have high fever, confusion and stiff muscles or serious allergic skin reactions like blisters, peeling rash, hives, or mouth sores to address possible life-threatening conditions. talk about your alcohol use, liver disease and before you reduce or stop cymbalta. dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing. take the next step. talk to your doctor.
we expect if the irs as well as the ap -- on the right there's an empty podium. that's where jay carney, the white house press second tear, will be speaking. if it's anything like yesterday's press briefing, subject to a lot of tough questions about the same topics. stay tuned. with the latest controversies at the irs, the injures department and the linkering questions over the terrorist attack, this could be one of the worst weeks politically speaking of president obama's tenure in office. joining me to talk about it, nbc news capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell, my colleague ruth marcus, and today is her birthday. and chris 5/8, national correspondent at requests the national journal." kelly, this is a week we had chris van hollen talking about how much this distracts from what the president wants to get
done. he acknowledges obvious that they doesn't have that much time to get it done. what is the mood there? what are people saying about how long it goes, who it's good for? this is something that's assaulted capitol hill the last four or five days i want it's certainly put a grip on reporters and some of the members we've been talking to. i spend some time with max baucus. he had a meeting with steve miller. we talked about that meeting and with some frustration, baucus said he didn't really learn anything new and there were more questions than answers. he's requesting more documents more information to prepare for the hearing next tuesday. next week it would be a hearing palooza with tuesday and wednesday hearings relating to the irs. a baucus also gave cautionary advise to miller, saying -- it's the more the cover-up than the
original mall feesens that gets people into trouble, and he said that miller did promise to cooperate. there is a sense that the irs has made along with the benghazi and a.p. story sort of a triple-threat issue. a difficult time for the administration, and the rpg are taking cautious steps, strong words, you heard that from speaker boehner today, saying he wants to know who will end up in skral, but on the senate side i think you'll hear from lots of senators who want to have a chance to speak on this issue, but i think they also want enough swings at the bat, if you will, by talking today, asking the president to fully cooperate, then taking the next step, the next step, giving the administration a chance to talk about this, requesting that the president address it personally. it's a time for a lot of strategic planning, in terms of the politics, but also a time of waiting to see what unfolds. many people working through the big report as well, trying to
get a sense of what actually happened. >> first of all, kelly, you better trademark hearing-palooza quickly, or else i will. this seems like a waiting game. they have become huge stories in a very short period of time, everyone trying to figure out the details. kelly mentioned democrats discussing how president obama has reacted to this. let me play that somebody that robert gibbs, who once occupied the podium, white house press secretary, see what he had to say about how his former boss has handled this. >> the tenuor of this -- if the president had spoken on monday, less about losing patience for this, which is what i do with my 9-year-old, and used far more vivid language, well, if this happened, then we'll look at it sounds exceedingly passive to me. >> ruth, what i do with my 9-year-old, should he have come
out on saturday or sunday in for an administration that's been very sort of on the same page, former and current officials, this is alternates off the score russ book, right? >> when robert gibbs is criticizing the administration for not being groveling enough, there's a bit of a problem good. quite honestly, is inns it was clear on friday -- >> the irs admitted it. >> and why the president wasn't out there quickly saying i want to get to the bottom of this, and as the head of government, i can't tolerate this, and i'm sorry that it happened. i will make one quick prediction, which is that despite john boehner's possibly fondest hopes, no one is going to go to jail in this scandal. >> i love predictions. >> it's a weatherman situation. chris, i want to talk about where the president goes from
here. we can litigate and we will, and we'll continue to litigate how his's handled it since it happened. but on a lot of these issues, didn't know about irs until read it in the news report. didn't know about the ap story until he read it in the news reports. it seems as though -- and dana milbank, and others have commented sort of the bystander president at the moment. how does he solve that problem? which is more of an image problem than anything else. caution is often warranted. he's the president. when he says something, if it winds up not being true, it's a much bigger problem. how does he avoid he's on the sidelines while they -- >> i think this is frustration inside the white house. they feel like we have to keep distance with the justice department. the white house can't be seen as meddling in those for political reasons. they learned that lesson under
george w. bush. certainly also the political implications of the white house getting involved, they have to keep some distance action but the president can't mistake distance that he must keep, you know, from a by does that stander role. he needs to req size the idea that, while i wasn't involved directly, the buck does stop here. i mean, you had a congresswoman from kansas say it makes us miss harry truman. he's not getting a lot of cover from democrats in congress, either. >> surprise. >> we're definitely seeing that split. democrats will always privately tell you this is a president that doesn't have great relations with us. you're seeing they jumped almost faster than the president did. >> that to me is an important point. chris i think has hit on something important, which is that there isn't a massive overflow of goodwill for this president in the rank and file in his own party in congress.
some of this always exists. members of congress think their president's party is ignoring, but this is real. he doesn't have that group of people bhor going to stand up for him almost no matter what. how does that play out? >> we certainly hearing it. even with some of the clear outreach attempts the president has made, dining with members of congress, doing some things that are certainly a part of how you build a relationship, this is still a sense that it is not a relationship that's got much personal history. they respect the president. some have had their photograph taken with the president, but the number of democrats who tell me they've never really had a chance to speak to the president about the issue that is matter to them, something they're working on, something they would like his help with, that's sort of startling, how rare its even for people in pivotal roles, like a vote that's sought or
somebody that's front and center, not get a phone call from the president. we continue to hear that from democrats. so you don't have the ease of finding aliables who will quickly come to the fore, especially when we're talking about the politics. this could be an issue of people concerned if the tea party feels agrieved, they may have a resurgent. >> great point, kelly o'donnell, ruth, chris, we will be right back. time for entrepreneur of the week. alex garza of dallas runs four pizza patron franchises. garza says latino customers are attracted by the friendly bilingual staff and his product's usneaks flavors like a hall pinot mix pizza. for more watch sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc. we've all had those moments.
when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. let's see what you got. rv -- covered. why would you pay for a hotel? i never do. motorcycles -- check. atv. i ride those. do you? no. boat. house. hello, dear. hello. hello. oh! check it -- [ loud r&b on car radio ] i'm going on break! the more you bundle, the more you save. now, that's progressive. a body at rest tends to stay at rest...
while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, like celebrex, increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death.
patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. don't take celebrex if you have bleeding in the stomach or intestine, or had an asthma attack, hives, other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history. and find an arthritis treatment for you. visit celebrex.com and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. you are looking live at pictures of jay carney, the white house press secretary. he had a tough day yesterday, which he acknowledged, citing some pictures posted of him in "the washington post" of the many faces that recently basically ran from grim to bemused. obviously a tough moment for this administration.
we've been talking about about it throughout the show, targeting conservative gripes. the obvious a.p. scandal that broke on monday. certainly the a.p. -- the phone tapping, phone records seizure in secret by the justice department that eric holder has recused himself. he is testifies on the other end, about that as well as a number of other things. he's recused himself from that investigation, as well as benghazi, republicans continue to highlight benghazi. september 11th, 2012, that left ambassador chris stevens as well as three other americans dead. all of these things coming to a head at a very tough time for this administration. jay carney, the face in many ways, of this administration other than barack obama. we're going to go to jay.
he's beginning his introductory remarks, and we expect him to face a number of tough questions. while jay continues to talk, let's bring? jenny beth martin from tea party patriots. we may cut in to go to jay, but i want to get started on this, which is your group, a lot of groups similar to us, they now acknowledge that were targeted. tell me, it's been a relatively short period of time. tell me what the reaction within your group and sort of what's happened since the irs has acknowledged, yes, this is something we did. >> well, there is a small sense of vindication. we've been saying this is an issue and it's been going on. we were raising questions at the beginning of 2012, and they were brushed aside and the irs was denying it. there's also a sense of frustration and outrage that the
government is so out of control that this could happen. >> how many like-minded or similar groups have been in contact with? were you in contact with them before all of this came to light in terms of groups that also faced similar sort of circumstances, delaying, all those sorts of things. what's the common reaction been? >> the common reaction is we want to make sure that justice was served, and that the people who have discriminated against tea party groups are held accountable -- >> i knee to -- i hope we will come back. a lot of business on capitol hill. this is eric holder, you're looking at the chairman of the house judiciary committee, questioning eric holder, attorney general of the united states. >> other agencies of the government prior to the boston marathon bombing, but it does not appear all of the information was received by all of the pertinent parties, particularly the fbi which had conducted an investigation prior to tamerlan tsarnaev's trip to
russia, but not after. we would like to continue to work with you and know what the department is doing to adopt procedures for handling his -- >> that continues to be the chairman, that is the hearing in which eric holder, the attorney general is appearing. we will pop in and pop out. we want to bring back jenny beth martin, being a trouper and staying with us. how has this -- has there been -- i feel like the hallmarks of the tea party movement broadly is that it's a movement in a way, but it's a lot of individual groups acting. >> exactly. >> i know we're 48 hours into the irs acknowledging these errors, but what's been the reaction among your group and other like-minded groups. >> we're scrambling to make sure the people that actually were
affected to get here for the hearings. and people are saying keep going, keep fighting. this was clearly not limited government. >> i want to ask you this. you've heard a lot of people. mark ro rubio called for the resignation of the irs acting commissioner steven miller, and several democrats, at least have echoed that call. john boehner, though, the speaker of the house went further. he said this isn't about who gets fired and who doesn't. this is about who winds up behind bars. is that too much, given what we know? or do you think that's an appropriate level of concern? against you're speaking from somebody who fought this battle. >> i don't know what the laws are that they broke, so it's hard for me to answer that and say, okay, criminal charges, they need to be put into jail. i don't know what the laws are. what i know is the people who did this, they need to be held accountable, and procedures and laws need to be put in place so
this doesn't happen again. they used the irs as a political weapon. we can't have that, no matter whether you're republican or democrat, left or right, the irs is not supposed to be a political weapon. we cannot have that in our government. >> i've asked this of other folks. in your mind, is it your belief that can and should the irs continue to oversee some of these 501 c 4 groups or not? >> obviously the administration has acknowledged this is a black eye for the irs. they are going to struggle through it. can they, as someone affected by this, can they be seen as an honest broker going forward on matters like this? >> right now there's a black cloud over the entire irs. i think their integrity has been shattered. what other agency is going to administer this. you're dealing with organizations that have a tax status, they're collecting money, and the irs is supposed to make sure. it's got to be cleaned up, because the irs does have a
legitimate purpose in our government. we can debate tax reform at some later date, but right now, the way the law is set up, somebody has to administer it. it should be the irs. their integrity is shattered, and it's crucial we get to the bottom of it so they can do their job. >> jenny beth martin of the tea party patriots, thank you for a perspective and thank you for sticking with us. >> thank you. >> we are watching eric holder's testimony. we will dip in right now. here he is. >> over a lengthy two-month period. why was such a broad scope approved? >> there's been a lot of criticism. the head of the rnc called for my resignation despite the fact i was not the person involved in that decision. but be that as it may, i was recused in that matter, as i described, el guess, in a press conference that i held yesterday, the decision to issue this subpoena was made by the
people who are presently involved in the case. the matter was being supervised by the deputy attorney general. i am not familiar with the reasons why the subpoena was constructed in the way that it was, because i'm simply not a party of the case. >> it's my understanding that one of the requirements before compelling process from a media outlet is to give the outlet notice. do you know why that was not done? >> there are exceptions to that rule. i do not know, however, with regard to this particular kay why that was or was not done. i simply don't have a factual basis to answer that question. >> it's also been reported that the associated press refrained from releasing this story for a week under the department confirmed that doing so would not jeopardizes national security interests. that indicates that the a.p. was amenable to working with you on this matter. if that is the case, why was it necessary to subpoena the telephone records?
did you seek the a.p.'s assistance in the first place? and if not, why not? >> again, mr. chairman, i don't know what happened with the interaction with the ap and the justice department. i was recused from the case. >> i take it that you or others in the justice department will be forth coming with those answers to those questions, as you explore why this was handled, what appears to be contrary to the law and standard procedure? >> well, again there are exceptions to some of the rules that you pointed out, and i have faith in the people who actually were responsible for this case, that they were --
and i now recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. -- through the flow of information act in the past and have commented publicly about their outrage over the associated press subpoenas. but now i'm very delighted to learn that many have changed their attitude on this, and i am particularly glad to welcome the support of chairman darrell issa, as we move forward with this legislation. mr. attorney general, there has been criticism about tom perez
as attorney -- assistant attorney general and that he may have mismanaged employees at the civil rights division of the department of justice. are you able to comment on mr. perez's track record as a manager of the division and allegations that he politicized enforcement of civil rights laws? >> yeah, i think that tom perez has been an outstanding assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. i think he will be a great secretary. we are watching eric holder's testimony on capitol hill. we will continue to dip in if news warrants. and we will be right back. now f a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle.
available out there. i knew devry university would give me the skills that i needed to make one of those tech jobs mine. we teach cutting-edge engineering technology, computer information systems, networking and communications management -- the things that our students need to know in the world today. our country needs more college grads to help fill all the open technology jobs. to help meet that need, here at devry university, we're offering $4 million dollars in tech scholarships for qualified new students. learn more at devry.edu.
♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents, for 24 hours. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma, or can not empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. get emergency medical help right away if your face, lips, throat or tongue swells. toviaz can cause blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness and decreased sweating. do not drive, operate machinery or do unsafe tasks
until you know how toviaz affects you. the most common side effects are dry mouth and constipation. talk to your doctor about toviaz. there was this and this. she got a parking ticket... ♪ and she forgot to pay her credit card bill on time. good thing she's got the citi simplicity card. it doesn't charge late fees or a penalty rate. ever. as in never ever. now about that parking ticket. [ grunting ] [ male announcer ] the citi simplicity card is the only card that never has late fees, a penalty rate, or an annual fee, ever. go to citi.com/simplicity to apply. an american hostage that's been held in iran for nearly two years as, for the first time, been allowed to communicate with his family in michigan.
iranian authorities imprisoned the 29-year-old former marine over accusations that he was an american spy. sara hekmadi is the sister, andish malla is director at the wood row wilson center. i was saying this is a sat story that we hope has a happy ending. sara, let's talk about your brother and what if any bright light is there? >> well, we want to remain hopeful. for anybody that nose amir, he's very family oriented. he had med my grandmother when she visited from iran. she came to the u.s. during his childhood. he felt this was an opportunity to go and see her. he went for two weeks, and he went through all the appropriate channels here in washington, d.c. to obtain permission to go. and so during his two-week stay, he was with family. he was getting to know everybody. he was born and raised here, had
never been to iran, so this was his first trip. then after two weeks, he disappeared. >> some of the details of his confinement are frightening. there's no other word. 16 months, correct me if i'm wrong, 16 months in solitary confinement. as someone who has spent time yourself in this same prison, can you talk about how you endure? i always wonder this. how you endure something like that? and keep up hope in a situation that can at times look hopeless? >> i was 105 days in solitary confinement, but they appeared like 105 years. >> i can imagine. >> i didn't have even a watch. so the third time i saw the moon, i knew that i was three months in prison. but i'm an optimistic person, so i decided that i can't change
the situation, so i might as well make a very ridge i had program for myself and follow that program. so i would walk a lot in my cell if i was not called in spoke interrogation, which was eight to nine hours a day. i would walk, do a robbic exercise. i composed two books in my head, seriously, you know, woing on it. >> just to keep yourself animated? >> exactly. i would also repeat to myself all the questions and answers of the interrogation, because one of the tricks is that to com back to the same question two weeks later, three weeks later and catch you. >> slightly different answers. >> a discrepancy. >> amir has been able to communicate a bit, and i want to just read something he wrote to
your father, and that i want to then talk about. here's what he said. i'm always praying for you that god cures you. as for me, i'm overall healthy, i'm not in need of anything except to see you. give is some more context. >> in september my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. they removed the tumor, but he's currently going through chemothera chemotherapy. for a long period of time we have no way of conveying to amir that his father has cancer, and in fact at some point we had come to terms with him not knowing, because we felt that it might be better for his emotional state just to not languish in prison on top of that being away from my dad. >> absolutely. so what was really just tragic for us is not only enduring his imprisonment, but now dealing with my father's prognosis, and worrying that maybe he will not survive this treatment. >> i want to -- before we leave
it, i want to read something that we got from iranian authorities. this is the update on amir's sort of legal status. important to note he was sentenced to death, that was overturned, but he is in somewhat of a legal limbo. this is what we have -- as far as we know -- this is from the mission of iran to the u.n. -- as far as we know, from today -- his case is under consideration by the judicial authorities. halai, what do we read from that, if anything. under consideration, i'm sure that's probably not huge news to either of you. where do we go legally from here? >> i think this is quite a positive sign. >> because they easily could not have communicated with you. >> the communication itself is positive? >> is very positive. i think also commuting the sentence is a good sign.
>> commuting the death sentence. >> exactly. is there probably will be another trial, and hopefully his sentence would be reduced to maybe two years and then if he has all the amount of time he's been northbound prison -- how long has he been there? >> two years in august. >> exactly. and then they would let him go. >> i want to end on you. if you have a message you can -- i know communicating is extremely difficult, but what is the message you would like to leave him with? >> ultimately my message is not just to ply brother, but to the iranian authorities. we want to remain positive. we would love diplomacy and a dialogue that would allow him to come home. time is not on our side. we hope they will take into consideration that my father is ill, and he's been there over
600 days. he's endured 16 months of solitary and a month-long hunger strike. we really feel at this point we hope they'll take that into consideration and sent him home. >> thank you both for shining a line on a story that i think more people need to know about. thank you for taking the time. >> thank you. we will be right back. s ands baked in a ketchup glaze with savory gravy and mashed russet potatoes. what makes stouffer's meatloaf best of all? that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care, for you or your family.
with one extraordinary purpose... to get "man of steel" advanced screening tickets. [ movie announcer voice ] at walmart. see "man of steel" at your local theater before anyone else. get in line 8 a.m. may 18th at walmart. rated pg-13. get in line 8 a.m. may 18th at walmart. are you still sleeping? just wanted to check and make sure that we were on schedule. the first technology of its kind... mom and dad, i have great news. is now providing answers families need.
"washington post" editorial writer ruth martin is back spending her birthday by two two hits on "andrea mitchell reports." let's talk about this. we've been dipping in and out of the eric holder hearing. one thing that we have learned he's confirmed that his deputy did approve of the ap subpoenas, this is to collect a large amount of phone records, personal cell phones and work numbers for associated press employees.
what meaning do we take from that? we know that holder recused himself. he made that clear yesterday. >> well, there are very strict justice department guidelines for how you're supposed to handle these kind of subpoenas to news organizations or of information to news organizations. and the deputy attorney general jim cole i've known for many, many years. he's an experienced prosecutor. he was a line prosecutor in the property integrity section of the justice department. i have to say from the outside, these subpoenas seem way overbroad. >> months of -- right. >> you know, many different numbers. many different bureaus. but i also have to say, jim cole is not somebody who is hostile to the press or who would do this lightly. so i'm going to be really interested in eventually learning more about what happened. >> and can we step out from this one into the broader. because i feel like we spent the whole day talking in some ways
about how do you handle this much incoming? irs, ap, benghazi, we didn't even talk about it. health and human services and kathleen sebelius. there are some republicans up in arms over what's happened there. how do you handle this if you're in administration? you can't really pick and choose, can you? >> you can't pick and choose. and there's a damned if you do, and damned if you don't component to this. why is the administration in trouble on benghazi? it's in trouble on benghazi because it put out wrong information. why is it in trouble on -- pick your other one. >> irs. >> irs. right. it didn't respond quickly enough. so that isn't to say that criticisms are not correct in both situations. but it does give you an illustration of how hard it to handle this. by the way, can i tell you my conspiracy theory? >> always. i'm already interested. >> actual list, i'm never a believer in conspears. i'm actually a believer in
incompetence in many organizations and disorganization. but my conspiracy theory this is sa this is all hillary clinton orchestrated on leaks on the irs to distract from benghazi. >> we hadn't mentioned hillary clinton's name. ruth marcus. thank you for joining us. that does it for what is a very packed edition of "andrea mitchell reports." she's back tomorrow to talk with nicki song gas. tammer ron hall has a look on what's next on "institution nation." breaking news, attorney general eric holder still testifying on capitol hill after it was revealed that the justice department seized the phone records of ap reporters. we'll have the latest on holder's testimony. we were told it would be a grilling. so far, though, that's not happened. plus, new details on the irs scandal, including how tea party groups were targeted. we're getting nuggets about that
investigation. and two high-profile criminal indications right now. we're hearing from o.j. simpson for the first time since his conviction. and that woman, jodi arias, back in court for the death penalty phase of her trial after spending much of time since her conviction on suicide watch in a mental health facility. both of those trials. we'll bring you live testimony coming up. d? not that we like tooting our own horn but... ♪ toot toot. [ male announcer ] find gevalia in the coffee aisle or at gevalia.com
♪ [ agent smith ] ge software connects patients to nurses to the right machines while dramatically reducing waiting time. [ telephone ringing ] now a waiting room is just a room. [ static warbles ] hi, everyone, i'm tamron hall. the "newsnation" with breaking news right now. attorney general eric holder is testifying before the house committee. department 6 justice faces two erupt scandals including what led to the seizure of the associated press phone records. today's hearing was originally scheduled but the original request prompted a new focus that being the ap. >> one of the requirements before compelling process from a media outlet is to give the
outlet notice. do you know that was not done? >> there are exceptions to that rule. i do not know, however, with regard to this particular case why that was or was not done. i simply don't have a factual basis to answer that question. >> and it's also been reported that the associated press refrained from releasing this story for a week until the department confirmed that doing so would not jeopardize national security interest. that indicates that the ap was amenable to working with you on this matter. if that is the case, why was it necessary to subpoena the telephone records? did you seek the ap's assistance in the first place, and if not, why not? >> again, mr. chairman, i don't know what happened. there about with the interaction between the ap and the justice department. i was recused from the case. >> meanwhile today, the president honored law enforcement killed in the line of duty on capitol hill today. but last night, the president responded to the internal report on another scandal that b