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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  May 30, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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been involved in or heard of or would think would be a wise policy. >> as nbc news michael isikoff reports, holder did sign off on a search warrant allowing for the seizure of fox news reporter james rosen's email records. that investigation was rooted in whether or not rosen violated the espionage act. yesterday, the two top republican members of the house judiciary committee asserted that holder's testimony appeared at odds with the role he apparently played in the rosen inquiry. meanwhile, holder's boss, president obama, has ordered the attorney general to review the justice department's leak investigations, but holder is off to a rough start. as part of that review, holder is calling for meetings with the media, but already several outlets, the a.p., "the new york times" and cnn have rejected the offer because the white house has stipulated it remain off the record. nbc news has been invited, but has not decided whether or not to attend. in a statement, a spokesperson for the a.p. says if it is not
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on the record, a.p. will not attend and instead, will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter. while the media and the administration will continue to debate whether or not the meetings can and should be on the record, reluctance to meet with holder underscore as larger question regarding the attorney general's role in the investigation. national review editor, rich lowrie sums up the inherent problem in holder's assignment. what eric holder has done is so troubling to everyone, including eric holder that president obama has ordered a review of the poli policy. eric holder has a tight july 12 deadline to report back to eric holder. let's hope he can manage to be fair to air holder. joining me today, the "new yorke yorker"'s rick hertzberg, chris hayes, former dnc communications director and msnbc host karen finney and washington bureau chief of the huff huff, ryan
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grimm and joining us from nbc news, is national investigative correspondent, michael isikoff. michael, let's begin with what is happening here. the question, which i think remains unanswered, which is eric holder the right man to be running this doj investigation. >> well, first of all, investigation may not be the right word here, what they're doing is reviewing the guidelines to see whether they need to be be updated or revised in light of all the disclosures. it's not as though there's an allegation of the violation of the law. on the other hand, there are some serious issues here. particularly as it relates to that rosen search warrant. the doj defense of holder and why he, he they're saying he didn't mislead the committee is because the question was crafted in terms of potential prosecution of a journalist and holder says he couldn't imagine that happening. never heard of it. and when you ask them, well what about this search warrant,
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identifying james rosen as a potential co-conspirator for violations of espionage act, the response is, well that was, we didn't prosecute rosen, we never intended to prosecute rosen. we just wrote that, and they're not being explicit about this. but they're clearly implying it. in order to get that search warrant, in order to get the content of his emails with his source. but the problem is, that raises a problem in and of itself. either that search warrant was presented in good faith to a federal judge, or it wasn't. and if you identify somebody as a possible co-conspirator, and then say, well we didn't really mean that, we just were trying to get the emails, we were trying to get the judge to pass off -- that's not a very good defense and a federal judge could take quite a bit of umbrage about that. that could present problems for the people who prepared the search warrant and ultimately, the individual who signed off on it, attorney general holder. >> and just to be clear here, so
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effectively, holder was saying, or what the justice department investigated these folks with a search warrant ha was predicated on possible violations of the espionage act. but now holder is saying 0, no, no, we were never going to prosecute them under the espionage act. >> we were never going to prosecute the journalist. the source was in fact indicted for violations. >> ryan, there are a lot of questions here. and the media piece i think is an interesting turn of events, although perhaps maybe not surprising, fox news is now reporting that they will not attend the meeting with eric hoeder. as a washington bureau chief yourself, where do you stand on this in terms of it being on the record or off the record. >> we've told them we won't attend off the record. >> you've told them on the record that you won't attend an off-the-record meeting. >> i didn't specify whether it's on or off the record. so they're free to use it however they want. >> on background. >> i'm fine with off-the-record meetings. i meet with officials all the
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time off the record to talk. but that's to talk about editorial things. not to talk about whether or not the practice of journalism is a criminal activity. that's something they can talk to lawyers about or they can talk to us about on the record. but we have an answer to that. it's not criminal. we're going to try to get whatever information we can, and that's the end of it and you know, he can't, he can't you know try to criminalize it on the one hand, and then say he's not criminalizing it and call us in and say off the record, you guys are not crooks. or you are crooks, whatever he wants to eltell us off the record. >> i'll play the devil's advocate, having been a communications director, i'm not saying i agree with it. the rationale being, this is why we do off-the-record meetings, my suspicion is they would like to have a frank conversation. there may be details as to why they pursued this route with this particular journalist that they don't feel they can say on the record. i'm putting it out there. >> to be clear, chris, the idea here is to revisit the guidelines as michael isikoff says. now if you have an
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off-the-record meeting this is what the aclu has said in the wake of all of this, speaking to buzzfeed. if you're supposed to be meeting with the media to get their input on how the guidelines were changed and it's off the record, well then the doj can change the guidelines and say we had our meetings with the media. >> that's part of the problem. the other part of the problem in terms of the meeting is the genre of the meeting is a little confounding. what kind of meeting is this? there are off-the-record briefings on matters of editorial import where you could have an off-the-record briefing with the secretary of the department of hud. this is how we'll roll out our new program and there's meeting of policy between two different groups in conflict. this is falling in some bizarre middle space. i think that's the source of the confusion. is this a policy dispute between the people who are subject to the policy and the people crafting the policy, the department of justice? or this an editorial briefing. in terms of the practice, matt cooper had a great piece about this. he's someone who did -- >> knows about it.
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>> he went to jail for a long period of time, refusing to testify. he made the point that the thing that protects journalists has always been essentially norms and practice. it's not the constitution, if you look in terms of how the courts have decided on this. even a shield law is kind of flimsy. >> a shield law that we have right now. >> incredibly flimsy. his point is, it did does come down to a kind of taboo. that taboo is incredibly important. what's so troubling about what the department of justice has done is they've seemingly eviscerated the taboo. they say you've got it try all of these other things first, the attorney general has to sign off. but if every time you have a leak investigation it ends up being the case that we've tried everything else and the attorney general signs off and we're just seizing journalists' records. >> the espionage act piece of this is really -- >> that's one of the worst pieces of legislation ever. it was adopted in the hysteria around entering into the first world war. it was used during the red scare.
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it's a sat sight to see the obama administration placing its reputation atop this particular law. >> woodrow wilson himself went around the country basically saying i think this is kind of a terrible piece of legislation, but you're forcing me to -- and daniel patrick moynihan wrote a great book called "secrecy" with a great section on the espionage act. that gives you a sense of the terrible history it has. >> in terms of the use of the espionage act, the administration has used it six teams to accuse government officials of leaking intel. you know you look back at how the espionage act was used recently. aldridge ames was an c.i.a. operative in 1994 acting as a russian spy for nine years. the kgb paid him for documents. robert hansen, was an fbi counterintelligence agent arrested in 2001 for selling highly classified documents to russia. i mean this is spy versus spy stuff. and the implication that somehow james rosen is on par with these you know, operatives i think is
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shocking to most people watching this. >> well the context here is that this administration has brought more leak prosecutions than any in history. using the espionage act. six times. to bring criminal prosecutions. and they've been very clear and they were very clear throughout the first term, that they intended to be quite vigorous and aggressive on this. and they had no apologies for it. in part it was democrat, democratic political appointees who wanted to show they were tough on national security leaks. wanted to show members of congress they were going to aggressively pursue these. and it was in that mindset that we're going to be tough on national security leaks, that you got the subpoena for the a.p. phone records and the, they were and the secret seizure of the emails of james rosen. identifying him, and so that has
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to be understood as the context, they defended themselves until recently. no apologies for all of these leak prosecutions, but when you bring these leak prosecutions, that's what they lead to. >> and this, the democrats being tough on national security, to be honest, i think has worked pretty well for democrats in the last couple of years. at the same time you read i mean, look, these accounts are just coming out. the "daily beast" publishes an account yesterday saying that holder realizes the magnitude of what he's done while sitting at his kitchen table and reading the headlines in the "washington post." i think of the many things that have been sort of revealed if that is in fact fact -- if that is in fact the truth -- is this idea that they wouldn't have better considered their actions. >> but i think you know to me the larger problem and i'm not necessarily saying i'm comfortable with what holder did. i'm actually more uncomfortable, more broadly, from the beginning of all of this. starting with you know, the patriot act that we are in a
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territory where we have conflicting values. right? we don't want to have information out there that endangers national security. but who gets to decide what that is? on the other hand, i mean i find it, there's an irony that you know, some of the same news organizations, i'll call it fox, who are doing that on the one hand, are also criticizing the administration for the leaks. so you can't have it both ways. >> they were beating the drum for leak investigations. >> so my -- part of the problem though is the nature of the threats that we're facing are moving faster than law. than our own sort of in our own ability to take a step back and say, how do we feel about this. what are we going to do? >> i agree with you in the broad sort of argument there. but in this specific case, we're talking about a story that the white house did not seem particularly reluctant to have out there in the days and weeks that followed its printing. >> yeah. true. >> there's no evidence that any of these leaks have harmed national security. what they've done in general is embarrass the people whose job it was to keep it secret.
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and you know, so they're using their prosecutial power in a vengeful kind of way. that's all that this is. and you know for holder to admit that the prosecution or that the subpoena was not intended for a prosecution, reminds me of the aaron schwartz case where they put out a press release and said, this criminal is going, he could get up to 30 years in prison. and then when they were criticized, when people said that's way too much, you're seeing all this guy was doing was sharing some journal reports. they said oh, we were never going to actually give him 30 years. >> the other -- >> stop and actually think about all this stuff. i mean when we're talking about drones, when we're talking about, there's a lot of this that happened that we're now sort of trying to figure out on the fly. >> here's the other wrinkle to this and the other shoe to drop on this is the stuxnet leak investigation. a big story in the "new york times" about the triumphant thing that the administration did. it was this incredible virus that took out the nuclear
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program. it's an incredible story, david sanger in iran. it's clear that information was classified and it is very, very clear from the articles that it was leaked by senior administration officials. there's no way it wasn't. so the question is, okay, fair's fair. if you're going to go after some low-lying guy in the state department for leaking something, then you should be going after whoever the senior administration officials are. and the other shoe to drop in all this is there is no way in my humble opinion that "the new york times" was not subject to the same kinds of warrants. we haven't seen them yet. but i would bet they're going to come out. because if they went after the a.p.'s phone records, there's no way that holder could have pursued -- >> the kill list was printed in "the new york times" and there are a number of very controversial pieces in the times as printed. michael before we let you go, the future of eric holder here. a.g.s tend to occupy the catbird seat historically. alberto gonzales was not without controversy, janet reno was not without controversy. as we look at you know the percentajury claims and his
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testimony, what is your assessment of how questionable his future is or how much in jeopardy it is? >> look, i don't think he's in any legal jeopardy of any kind. on the perjury allegations. that seems way over the top. but clearly, he's been weakened here. i mean he does have a very strong defender in the president. they are very close. and so he's got that. whether this you know, adds up to political pressure on him to step aside, i don't know. i think he's, i think that "daily beast" article was very telling. that he really has been stung by the disclosures about this. and is probably really agonizing about what he did. and but that still should not insulate him from having to answer some very specific tough questions about why he approved that search warrant. what was going on, what the discussions were. and whether it was filed in good faith or not. i think that is a really
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significant line of inquiry that needs to be pursued. >> the first two letters of agony are a.g. michael isikoff -- >> nice. >> thank you for your time and intel. after the break, michele bachmann may be riding off into the sunset but there's a whole new crop of republican sheriffs in town. vigilante cowboys who like much of congress, talk the talk, but rarely walk the walk. we'll talk fear-mongers and doing nothing, next on "now." 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 --
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michele bachmann may be out,
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but her tea party brand of obstructionism extremism and willful disavowal of fact-based evidence is still alive and kicking in the u.s. congress. last night, senator ted cruz kept the home firings burning as he touted a new generation of republican flame-throwers to a group of donors in new york city. >> if you sit back and you list who are the brightest stars in the republican party, you come up with names like marco rubio, like mike lee, like rand paul. like pat toomey, like scott walker. you have to go back to world war ii to see such a transformation of the people leading the fight, leading the argument for conservative principles, being an entirely new generation of leaders, stepping forward. >> a generation of republican firebrands may be the loudest voices in the room. but lately their screaming has had little to do with actual governance, at present the gop's winning formula seems to be
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complain about the other side not doing anything and then do nothing yourself. nowhere is the strategy more prominent than in congressional budgets negotiations. for four years the republicans kplamed that president obama and the democrats have ignored regular order. the way bills are passed, in which both chambers vote on their bungts adgets and reach a compromise. it's the republicans who are ignoring regular order. for the past two months, republicans have been blocking a meeting between house and senate negotiators unless they can get a commitment that the budget talks will not lift the debt ceiling. in plain english, that amounts to no negotiations unless we get to keep the hostage. and yet, some republicans, those who come from the long tradition of actually governing aren't having any of it last week on the senate floor, senator john mccain tore into senator mike lee for his obstructionism. >> the senator from utah keeps talking about backroom
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closed-door deals. if the senator from utah wants to get rid of the quote back-room all of the other adjectives anded a verbs that he used, what is, what is the process? what is the process? how do we reconcile legislation that's passed by one body and the other body? there's, that's what we've been doing for a couple of hundred years. >> but is the gop listening to anybody who actually wants to perform the job he or she was elected to do? for the last 200-odd years, the world's greatest deliberative body may have been a place of legislation and compromise, but it appears that tradition is ending. last year, the 112th congress went down in history as the most unproductive the country has ever seen. passing only 238 laws. according to the "washington monthly" the current congress is on track to shatter the dubious record set by its predecessor. 66 days into the current session, congress has passed a
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whopping 10 laws. and those laws are less than game-changing. latest piece of legislation passed by the 113th congress? public law 113.10, which specified the size of precious metal blanks used for national baseball hall of fame commemorative coins. rick, are we to believe ted cruz, that this is the greatest generation of fighters since world war ii? >> is it not exactly a panoply of churchills. >> this is as if it's israel versus palestine. republicans are saying here's my preconditions for negotiations. is there any precedent for that? i mean one house pass as bill, the other house passes a bill in the same subject. then you have a conference to try to reconcile them. you don't have, you don't have years of -- of this is my precondition. and let's call in the secretary of state and the united nations. >> they're going to have to go to camp david to get a budget.
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>> and they're not actually, the only reason they're closed-door meetings is for, is for the audio. i mean -- you can't have the open-door, you got these marble hallways outside. these are completely open meetings. you can walk in there, sit down, put your c-span cameras there. these are not secret things. the house passes something. the senate passes something. >> your facts are getting in the way. cut that out. >> that's what they don't like about them. >> right, they can't defend their budget to the public. >> they're going to have to be on the record about things that they don't want to actually admit they're against. >> the other thing about this is the dirty secret here is the strategy they used back in 2011 on the debt ceiling deal absolutely 100% worked. the budget control act is the creation of that high-stakes hostage drama. it created the supercommittee which died. now the sequester. we are sitting here laboring under the economic drag of the austerity imposed by the sequester. we have levels of austerity greater than what we've seen in
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europe if you're them thinking completely logically. why not take another run at that strategy? why go away from it? >> it's two-fold. there's that legislatively, which seems to have been a boon for republicans. but there's also the electoral strategy. which is to say, michele bachmann may be gone, but i will read from the great e.j. die yuan, the minnesota right-winger deserves to be memorialized, she perfected a tactic well-suited to the current environment, toss out baseless charges and eventually some of them will end up in the mainstream media get a handful if of your accusations and strange takes on reality into the political bloodstream and you've won. bachmann's method is now current currency and a great way to raise money. in the first months of 2013, members of the house have collected $68 million, boehner is at the top. $2.4 million. cantor, $1.2 million. bachmann at a respectable $678,000. >> they have institutionalized
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the concept of the ceremonial vote. right. we're going to vote for the 37th time against the affordable care act because some people didn't get to vote against it before. now we're going to do it now and raise money off of that we're not going to try to fix the problem. we're not going to sit down and tell you here's, these are the things we would change. no, no, no we're going to have a strategy on how we screw the president, not necessarily how we help the country. and that's, i mean that's basically what the strategy is. >> but you know, ryan, i was really happy to see john mccain airing out mike lee on the floor of the senate. saying what do you propose we do? and actually saying the straight talk express seems to be pulling back into the station. i don't know how long it can linger there. but can anybody actually listen to that? >> i don't know. because house republicans, some of them really do believe they can use the debt ceiling and extract more concessions. you can see that just by the strategy they're taking. but paul ryan has specifically said that it house leaders, privately. he says i think that obama is going to negotiate on this.
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they told him no. like you, you yourself have said it would be a cataclysm if we went over this cliff and we're not doing anything. but they're convinced that they can get something out of it. >> the other amazing thing, the other reason they're opposed to the regular order and conference committee and coming back to the budget, then there's reconciliation there. that means it's going to be an up or down majority vote. and ted cruz explicitly said i do not trust an up or down majority vote. we've gotten to the point where the in terms of institutionalizing dysfunction, the 60-vote threshold has been so institutionalized, they're using the 60-vote threshold, the normal thing, the reason to not go through the normal budget procedure. because the normal budget procedure has a majority vote. >> rick, a lot of people think harry reid punted by not pushing for filibuster reform. there's renewed talk. there's talk that he maybe has 51 votes, that he could do it. and yet it's weird to me he stands on i guess bipartisan principle here. of with regard to not pursuing more zealous reform. and yet, those, that he is
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theoretically protecting, are so -- embrace the idea of sort of bastardizing parliamentary procedure for their own ends. >> if you look further down the road than the current horrors, the democrats really have got to make filibuster abolition part of their program. it's got to be, it's got to be like pro choice. it's got to be, it's got to be a litmus test. because this has been going on for years and years. and it's probably, it's the biggest block to doing anything about our country's props. and it's the easiest one to fix. all it takes is 51 votes in the senate. >> it plays exactly into the mightset of the tea partiers. the mindset of where the republican party is, which is to prove that government is dysfunctional. government doesn't work. by actually making it not work. by standing in the way of actually how it's supposed to work. they're trying to, i mean they're winning their larger
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argument by creating the very crisis, right, that contributes to that argument. >> that's why it's such a mistake for democrats to think we don't want to get rid of the filibuster, because what happens when the republicans are in power, they'll get to pass their bills. no, no, no what you said, karen, is right their whole philosophy as government doesn't work. they're delighted to throw wrenches into the gears. >> particularly with judges, they have no problem getting through scalia. >> when the president tries to fill judicial vacancies, they're accused of packing the court. the hypocrisy knows no bounds. sadly we have to leer it there and i have to say good-bye to my good friend, chris hayes. >> am i going into a hospice care or something? >> no, no. >> you'll be back next week -- >> i just, we love having you on the show. and so therefore, anyway, god, i really stepped in it there. chris hayes, thank you, my friend. we'll be batwatching your show l
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in" tonight and every week night, 8:00 p.m. right here on msnbc. we have breaking news on a pair of suspicious letters in new york city. we'll get a live report on that, and the latest ricin letter mailed to president obama, that's coming up next. a friend under water is something completely different. i met a turtle friend today so, you don't get that very often. it seemed like it was more than happy to have us in his home. so beautiful. avo: more travel. more options. more personal. whatever you're looking for expedia has more ways to help you find yours. here to take your lettuce from drab to fab with new lean cuisine salad additions. just byol. first, thaw your dressing. next, steam your grilled chicken and veggies. then, dress it. add your crunchy toppings. and voila. enjoy.
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ we are getting in some breaking news, the white house has confirmed that a third ricin letter mailed to president obama was intercepted yesterday by the secret service. officials tell nbc news, that the letter was similar to letters addressed to new york city mayor mike bloomberg. the bloomberg letters disclosed by authorities yesterday threatened physical harm if the sender's guns were taken away. the white house is not commenting on the letter. but the secret service says it has been turned over to the fbi joint terrorism task force. jonathan dienst has details. >> three letters in all, one to the mayor yesterday, one to his
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lobbiest who helps in gun control in washington and the third letter found at an off-site facility by secret service agents and investigators tell us they believe all three letters are connected. they believe all three letters sent by the same sender because the wording in all three letters threatening the quote from the letter, right to bear arms is my constitutional god-given right. and i will exercise that right until the day i die. what's in this letter is nothing compared to what i've got planned for you. now, investigators stress, no one has fallen ill or and the president was not in any danger because again, this letter found yesterday addressed to the white house, was stopped and seized at an off-site facility. and is now been sent to a lab for testing. preliminary testing on other two letters, the one to the mayor and his lobbyist in washington, those did come back preliminarily as positive. additional testing still under way. so concerning, concern that the
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fbi is looking in louisiana where this was mailed from, shreveport, louisiana, the only real lead they have right now in terms of who might have sent this. no suspects, no name attached they're going to do some forensic testing on the envelopes, fingerprint, right now the search is on for whoever is sending these letters to political leaders associated with gun control, the gun control movement. back to you. >> jonathan dientz, thank you for the update. last year, chicago saw a dramatic spike in murders, but that wasn't only its increase, the city has seen a rise in foreclosures and in school closings. we discuss the cycle of poverty and violence, next on "now." music ...
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all your important legal matters in just minutes. protect your family... and launch your dreams. at we put the law on your side. there are people all across this country who are still hurting. people whose homes are still under water. people just a few miles from
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here, who desperately want to work. and can't yet find work or can't get the skills they need to work. there are people just a few miles from here who are still worried about gun violence striking down their children on the way to school. >> at a fundraiser in chicago last night, president obama touched briefly on the issue of gun violence. upon waking up this morning in his home town, he was greeted with this headline in the chicago tribune. a woman, 56 among four dead, 11 wounded in city shootings. the paper reports that 11 others survived attacks during a period of about 12 hours in which 15 people were shot. these days, those statistics are commonplace, in 2012, the windy city saw its number of murders surge to over 500 following a relative decline since the homicide rate peaked in the 1990s, largely a result of the gang violence that has plagedded the city's south and west sides. yesterday at a press conference,
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illinois congressman proposed tackling the city's gang problem with mass arrests, using $30 million in federal funds. >> it's a big project, could involve upwards of 18,000 arrests, i think it's completely within the capability of the united states government to crush a major urban gang. >> that drew the ire of illinois congressman bobby rush who told the "chicago sun-times" that the senator's approach was an upper middle class elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about. real talk from bobby rush. rush argued that the millions would be better spent on job creation and job training in distressed communities. chicago's violence would seem to be part of a broader trend precipitated by the foreclosure crisis which "the new york times" reports disproportionately affected the city's poor. 62,000 properties in chicago were vacant at the end of last year, with two-thirds of them clustered at if to form a sinkhole in just a few black neighborhoods on the south and
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west sides. the city's recent violence and urban plight is chronicled in a photo essay entitled "chicago fire: navigating the city's epidemic of youth violence" in the april issue of "fader" magazine. joining us is editor in chief of "the fader" matthew. why did you guys take on the issue ever chicago and gun violence. what i will tell everybody is a beautiful, really moving photo essay. what brought you to this issue? >> "the fader" is a music magazine. a young people's culture magazine. and about a year ago we did a story with a rapper from chicago. a 17-year-old kid signed to a major label, gotten to be very popular and has had a lot of trouble with guns. not long after we put him on the cover with the magazine he was back in jail for guns. and as we were thinking about
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our yearly photo issue, we thought about what's important to young people. who are the kids that read "the fader kwrgs who are the kids in "the fader" what's important to being, it's hard to be a kid right now. that's what i'm saying. we realize that issues of safety are what's important to young people and chicago is the place where all of these kids just felt just felt at sea. like and they were all shooting each other because of that. >> we talk about rick, we've talked a lot about gun safety on this show and other shows and the wake of newtown. but the epidemic that frequently goes underdiscussed is that plaguing the nation's biggest cities. the sort of problems in and around gun violence. and one piece i think is certainly the proliferation of weapons of war on the city streets. but another part of this is systemic failure and institutional failure and communities and neighborhoods and you look at, i think the statistics relating to the foreclosure crisis in chicago
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are staggering. that two-thirds of it is centered in a couple of blocks. in a poor black community in chicago. and we ask ourselves, what are we doing to stem the tide of violence. how to combat it and addressing the issue of income inequality and poverty in this country would seem to be one piece of it. we focus on the gun issue because, because that's the physical thing that causes the violence. but this is a lot bigger than that. and if you think it's difficult to do something about guns, and it is because chicago has got great gun laws. but you can just go a few miles away and buy all the guns you want. that's crazy and insane. if you think it's hard to deal with that try dealing with these other problems, much deeper problems. >> you know, i worked in inner city l.a. in the early '90s with the proliferation of the gang culture, particularly girls and the gang culture. one of the things i think we're missing in all of this, a lot of this is about lack of hope. lack of power, lack of power
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over their own lives. i mean remember back then, you know i was 22 years old. i was talking with 16-year-old girls who had no idea what it would be like to be 22, have your own apartment. have your own car. that just seemed completely out of the realm of possibility. and guns represent power. i'm not saying i agree with it, but i think we also have to understand you know, these kids let's be honest, our culture at this point, we throw these kids away like gar back, we don't care, we're not making the investments, and they know it, that's part of why they're doing this. >> in the interview that you have with alex in the magazine, who has been covering chicago and the epidemic of violence for years now. he says there are reasons why people are shooting each other who have nothing to do with the availability of guns and everything to growing up with the incredible distress and despair. it speaks volumes to how we abandon those at the bottom. >> there are kids shootsing each other for no reason, nothing to do with anything. it's not just about talking
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about the future. talking about right now. and just talking in general. these kids have no outlet. if you have no place to say, hey, i'm upset about my other friends who got shot. i'm upset about what's happening inside my family. i'm upset about foreclosures, i'm a kid and all of these are really serious adult problems and they're bearing down on me. you're going to talk to somebody who wants to talk to you and more often than not it's the kid on your block and you get in a clique because they're there. they're on the corner and they've got a gun. >> senator mark kirk's point that he wants to lock a whole bunch more people up. if mass incarceration would work to solve this problem, we wouldn't have that problem. i think we underestimate how much it might be causing some of the problem. prison and confinement is by its very nature a violent act. we underestimate how pervasive prison is in you know, in the cities. one in three are going to go to jail at some point during their
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lives. one in nine at any point. black males between the age of 18-34. these are violent places and it -- they're going to lead to more violence. >> we should talk about the cost of violence. we talk about the cost of incarceration. violence costs chicago $2.5 billion a year, which amounts to $2500 per family. that's reflected in hospital costs, ambulances, autopsies, police overtime and trauma care. i will say matthew, matt, that the trauma piece of this i think is overlooked. you guys talk about this in the story. these communities have been traumatized. this is sort of as i said before, systemic failure and an increasingly isolated problem. not isolated in terms of -- its importance and the fact that it is not happening in multiple places. but communities are sort of the university of chicago crime lab study, the exodus of certain
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parts of the wealthier parts of the city, from chicago. and you increasingly have neighborhoods where there is no sort of hope where there will be a future left. >> think about the $2500 a family. what could you do with that in a school. the school is the one foundation for these kids. they don't have money. there's no -- there's, property taxes and getting into schools. there's -- they're firing teachers. they don't have counselors. if you took the money and put it in the school. put it in a classroom and let these kids talk, you might not have to take the money and spend it on the back end. >> bobby rush talking straight talk to mark kirk. we'll see. these are the big problems that we're facing. investment in communities, long-term versus short-term measures like incarceration. but "the fader"'s matthew snipper. the piece is in the april issue of the magazine, worth picking up immediately. thank you very much. coming up, president obama has plucked some key members of his administration from republican ranks.
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president obama is tapping a former bush justice department official to head the fbi. but will it quench the obstructionist thirst of some republicans? we'll discuss coming up next. hey kevin...still eating chalk for heartburn? yeah... try new alka seltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief!
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president obama will tap former hedge fund james comey to head the fbi. he served as a senior justice department official under george w. bush his larger assignment
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was standing up to the white house and blocking the reauthorization of the warrantless wiretapping program. rick, it seems as if you must be a republican, if president obama hopes to get anyone through any sort of nomination process, he or she must have logged in some time in the republican administration. >> above all, in a job like this one. i mean, we i've just been trying to think if there ever was an fbi director who wasn't a republican, and i don't think i can come up with one. certainly j. edgar hoover, had some would describe as a new deal democrat. >> to your point, karen this guy stood up to the powers that be and said, we should not renew the warrantless wiretapping program. a program that must be said the president re-authorized and signed into a five-year extension at the end of last year. there's a little bit of an irony based on the conversation we were having about our current a.g. the thing is this guy, because of that he's going to appeal to the left.
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because of the republican it's going to make it politically much harder for the republicans to oppose his nomination. it should be a very fun set of hearings. one way or the other? i think you know, ryan, we were mentioning this, the republicans have so many irons in the fire that in terms of optics, politically it with seem incumbent on them to secure safe passage to this nomination. >> this isn't the fight they want to pick at the moment. for that reason, the president is getting a lot of credit for a very clever move. it's kind of the definition of winning a battle, but losing the war. what do you wind up with? republicans in your administration. >> and you're a democratic administration, so you know, it's nice to have your little team of rivals here. what it speaks to is the effectiveness of the gop's obstruction. that the only way to get something through is -- >> sure, but we have someone trying to uphold civil liberties in a position where it really counts. >> are there no democrats that the president could appoint? >> that are also filled with integrity and courage?
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>> let's step away from the partisanship for a minute. and let's hope that essentially what this man's record will say is that this is a person who wants to uphold the law regardless of republican or democrat. i think that's part of the message of what happened under the bush administration. that he was willing to take that stuff, go to the mat. >> and i can see obama pointing this guy, even if he had 70 votes in the senate. this is, this is a real obamian kind of a point. >> on that positive note we will leave you and say good-bye. thank you to rick, karen, and ryan and be sure to check karen finney's new show as yet untitled, we are eagerly awaiting a title, starting june 8th on msnbc. i'll see you back tomorrow at noon when i'm joined by melissa harris-perry, david corn and "vanity fair's" bethany maclaine. until then can you find us on "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. in
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breaking right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- poison plot. nbc news confirm as third ricin-laced letter was headed to president obama. intercepted, though. it contained the same threats, including ricin-laced letters sent to new york mayor, michael bloomberg. and the gun control group that he founded. you know, i'm not angry, there are people who i would argue do things that may be irrational. do things that are wrong. but it's a very complex world out there and we just have to deal with that. the nation's next top cop, former bush administration official, james comey. in line to replace robert mueller at the fbi if he's confirmed. what kind of statement is the president making by choosing him? the heat on holder, criticism over the leak investigations escalates as republican lawmakers claim that the attorney general lied to congress. plus, is russia playing a double game in