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tv   Jansing and Co.  MSNBC  November 20, 2013 7:00am-8:01am PST

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join today at good morning. i'm chris jansing. 50 votes, senator kirsten gillibrand, a passionate advocate for victims of military sexual assault now has half the senate behind her bill to take prosecution out of the chain of command. number 49, senator dean heller, joined her at a news conference yesterday. and number 50, the majority leader, harry reid, announcing his support shortly after. gillibrand's bill would turn the investigation over to prosecutors instead of commanders. she is expected to speak on the senate floor today and a vote is coming this week. >> they must create an independent, unbiased, military justice system that is deserving of the sacrifice that the men and women in the armed services make every single day.
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>> the question of how to prosecute sexual assaults in the military has deeply divided the senate, pitting senator claire mccaskill against gillibrand. mccaskill is offering her own bill to make changes to the process but keeping commanders involved. >> i would be less than candid if i didn't say it has been frustrating to have one policy difference dominate the discussion of this issue over the previous few weeks without anyone even realizing the historic reforms that are contained in this bill. >> the american people appear to be with gillibrand, according to the abc/washington post poll. 59% supporting independent prosecution. i want to bring in our company, politico senior congressional reporter manu raju and molly ball is the atlantic's national political reporter. good morning. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> as you both know, this crosses party lines. gillibrand has the support of eight republicans, including ted cruz, rand paul, chuck grassley,
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but can she get to 60? >> well, that's the question at this point. but she's made so much progress from where she started. and i think you see why a lot of democrats think very highly of kirsten gillibrand, the way she has worked so hard behind the scenes and worked across the aisle to persuade people to support her approach to this. she's refused to give in or to compromise with the other approach that was offered, and she's really drawn support from a lot of unexpected quarters. i think with senator reid offering his support now, that's a big deal and that could potentially move some votes into her column as well. >> manu, as you know not taking sides is the white house. jay carney wouldn't say which bill the president supports. considering the armed services chairman, carl levin and claire mccaskill are pushing their plan, how do you think this plays out? >> i don't think it's going to pass. she's going to need 60 votes. even if she does get 60 votes, getting that through a house
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senate conference committee is extremely grim. given the opposition from a lot of the defense hawks, from the pentagon to her proposal, there probably will be some changes to how the military prosecutes these cases and deals with these internally, but i don't think there's going to be taking this outside of the chain of command given the staunch opposition from a lot of powerful folks on capitol hill and beyond. >> i want to bring in captain lori manning, who is director of the military project, sara plumber is a former marine and sexual assault survivor. good morning. >> good morning. >> both of you, as i understand, favor senator gillibrand's amendment taking the power of prosecution out of the chain of command and you appeared at a presser with her yesterday. captain manning, we all know the statistics are horrifying. thousands of sexual assaults every year. having served in the navy for more than 25 years, why do you think senator gillibrand's approach will help? >> i was not only in the navy
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but i was also a commander. i was what they call a convening authority, i convened court-martials. there was a time when it was necessary for cos to be able to do that, but those days of past. we have professional lawyers now. i didn't make medical decisions about my troops, although i had responsibilities for them, and i shouldn't be making decisions that require deep legal training either. i think it will serve the overall justice in the military much better to make this change. >> sara, you have a very personal interest in this because you were sexually assaulted while you were in the marines and you've talked about the horror of having to tell your story over and over and over again up the chain of command. tell us what happened, why this is so important to you. >> well, it's so important to me because i think being able to take some of these cases out of
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the direct chain of command reduces any additional confusion and impartiality that's there. all we're really asking for are impartial, unbiased, trained legal professionals to be handling these cases as best as they can. >> in fact one of the ways you've put it, sarah, is you've said the military judicial system falls flat on its face in handles assault cases. i saw once you likened it to getting raped by your brother and having your father decide the case. tell us what you think it would mean to have an independent military prosecutor. would it have helped in your case? >> well, i think having an independent military prosecutor would, as i said, reduce some of that bias that's just naturally there. i think it's almost unfair for commanders to be placed in the position that they are now, to be asked to be the final word on a lot of these cases, to be deciding what goes to trial or not. to be deciding what the final
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say-so is. in a way, that's putting them in a position that they're really not trained for and not ready for. and in fact detracts from good order and discipline, although that's the argument that's being made to keep it in the chain of command by saying that helps with good order and discipline. i think on the contrary it actually threatens good order and discipline for commanders. >> captain manning, take us inside some of these conversations. have you had opportunities to talk to other members of the senate, people who were on the other side of this issue? >> yes, i have. and i've talked to senator mccaskill's office. i don't know of anybody that wants things to stay as they are. senator mccaskill has been a wonderful supporter of military women and avidly wants to stop sexual assault in the military. it does distress me when this is portrayed as a cat fight. i like her bill also. we need everything we can throw
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at this, and i think everybody is trying their darndest. but most people making these decisions have not been military convening authorities and i have. and i'll tell you, i come down on take the felonies away from me, i don't have the training side. >> i also want to ask you both about this report in politico today, and i don't know if you saw it, but there was an internal army e-mail that they had advising army spokes people to use less attractive soldiers for marketing purposes, i'm talking about women. and here's a quote from that memo. in general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead. and then they showed this picture as an example of what they say is a pretty woman undermining the rest of the message. captain manning, it seems, and maybe i'm doing a bit of a stretch here, but not long ago there were warnings that women in battle zones wouldn't be able
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to handle it, they'd be too emotional, they'd distract their male colleagues. do you see this kind of thing as a similar misconception. >> i thought when i saw it it was something from the military satire website, duffel blog. i couldn't believe it. a woman's looks, good, bad or in between should have nothing to do with who's picked for pictures. although i've seen the military use good-looking men sometimes, particularly the ones that have worked in legislative affairs, to help them get through some of the people in a congressional office when they wanted to talk to the congress member. so it happens the other way around too. >> sarah, i understand you're not in the military anymore, but do you think it is still hard, is still more difficult for women or is it still sort of an uphill climb whether it is something as terrible as sexual assault or just trying to get some parity within the ranks? >> well, i think although it is challenging for women, it's not
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necessarily an kbaimpossible upl climb. i don't think that detracted me from joining. i don't think it detracts many of the women who join today. we know it's going to be a challenge, that's something you take on knowingly but you're willing to take on that challenge. it's challenging for men as well. we all have different obstacles we have to face or different nuances for men and women. and just to comment on the politico article, i would say too that's just a continuation of victim blaming. whether you're talking about women's looks, what they're wearing, where they are or whether the bystanders are responsible or not, it's just a continuation of victim blaming and that's what makes that wrong. >> sarah plummer, captain lori mang, thanks to both of you for being with us. >> thank you. we have some breaking news to tell you about coming out of washington. congressman trey radle was in court on cocaine charges. we just learned he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year probation. the freshman republican from florida said in a statement he is sorry to have let his family
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down. now, we should also mention he has been a guest a few times on this program. back with me are manu and molly. in a statement he also said i struggle with the disease of alcoholism and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice. as the father of a young son and a husband to a loving wife, i need to get help so i can be a better man for both of them. does he leave court today and then head in for votes later this afternoon? is there any possibility of disciplinary action? >> i doubt it. right now the house republican leadership has said let the legal system handle this. of course it's going to be the political system. this is -- he's a freshman who won in a competitive republican primary last year. he was by no means a runaway winner in that primary. he could certainly be vulnerable to a primary challenge now. i don't think the democrats have much of a chance of taking that seat back. mitt romney won that seat with about 60% of the vote.
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but certainly in the primary. so we'll see how thooe he deals with this back home and on capitol hill but that could determine his political future. >> he was a co-sponsor to reform the nation's mandatory minimums. let me play what nancy pelosi said about this yesterday. >> it's really interesting right soon on the heels, that date, on the heels of the republicans voting to make sure that everybody who had access to food stamps was drug tested. it just is like what? to get food stamps you have to be drug tested? and so i hope it will humanize, shall we say, their thinking. >> i don't know, maybe wishful thinking on the part, molly, of nancy pelosi. but does she have a point? >> well, i think of course you're going to see the partisans on the other side try to turn this into a partisan issue. we could just as easily say this is what happens when you elect journalists to public office,
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that having been congressman radel's previous career. there could be some issues in a republican primary. we always see with these kinds of scandals there is immediate low a lot of intense pressure on someone to resign. but if they ride that out and play it smartly and don't get into more trouble, which sometimes also tends to happen, that members tend to be able to survive these sorts of things if they can convince their constituents that it is a slip, that it's a one-off, that it's not indicative of a larger problem that's going to affect him doing his job. >> molly ball, manu raju, good to see both of you. meanwhile virginia state senator creigh deeds had a psychological examination. gus deeds was released because there weren't any psychiatric beds available anywhere in western virginia. just a month ago he had dropped out of college. senator deeds is now in fair condition, recovering from stab
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wounds in his head and chest. police say he was actually able to walk away from the attack to look for help and he stopped a cousin who was driving along the highway. but this incident brings attention once again to virginia's troubled mental health care system. more than six years after the virginia tech massacre. advocates believe it is still lacking reform and money. they're plastic but deadly and they can slip through metal detectors. but legislation making these weapons illegal is about to expire. congressman steve israel is leading the charge to make sure the ban continues. he's next. [ woman 1 ] why do i cook? to share with family. [ woman 2 ] to carry on traditions. [ woman 3 ] to come together even when we're apart. [ male announcer ] in stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and more, swanson makes holiday dishes delicious. gravy and more, on the table by not choosing the right medicare d plan. no one could have left this much money here. whoo-hoo-hoo! yet many seniors who compare medicare d plans
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there's a race against the clock to renew a ban on undetectable weapons which is set to expire in just a few weeks on december 9th. it's taken on a new sense of
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urgency with the rise of 3-d printing technology that allows people to make metal-free plastic guns in their own homes. blueprints for one gun known as the liberator have been downloaded more than 100,000 times. i want to bring in congressman steve israel, democrat from new york and chair of the democratic congressional campaign committee. good morning. >> thanks for having me on. >> you've been spearheading efforts in the house to renew this bill. where does it stand right now? because i tell you when you hear that number, 100,000 downloads, and you look at these guns, it's pretty scary. >> chris, you're right. the clock is ticking and every day that goes by makes the situation much more dangerous for the american people. in 1988, we passed the undetectable firearms act because we did not think it would be a good idea to allow bad people to smuggle firearms through metal detectors on our planes and in high security environments. that was done in the reagan administration. it was renewed in the bush administration. it was renewed in the clinton
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administration. renewed again in the bush administration. when we renewed that law, the prospect of a 3-d printed plastic gun was science fiction. today it is a reality and we are only two weeks away from the expiration of that law so we need to very simply extend the law, modernize it and protect the american people. >> let's talk about what you mean by modernizing it. even if you renew a ban, how does law enforcement stay on top of these 3-d printing technology, congressman? is there anything else that you folks in congress can do to help make sure these guns don't get onto airplanes or into a courthouse, for example, where metal detectors are used? >> first of all, i have nothing against throw-d printers. i think they can transform technology in our economy. i do have something against making it easier for terrorists and criminals to bring 3-d printed guns through metal detectors. here's what we need to do. we should extend the law that expires on december 9th and we should also modernize it to
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require that when a gun is manufactured, that it has to have certain metal parts and that's precisely what my legislation does. >> and what are the chances it gets passed and gets passed before the deadline? >> if it was passed under reagan and if it was renewed under bush and clinton, there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to pass it now, except for one reason and that is this house republican caucus is so obstructionist and so extreme that they have not yet lifted a finger or had a single hearing on this legislation. it is unacceptable that they would refuse to even have a hearing or schedule a vote on this bill when it was supported on a bipartisan basis over the past several administrations and in the past several congresses. it goes to the fact that this republican congress is more obsessed with repealing the affordable care act 40, 50 times than extending a law that has had bipartisan support and never been the subject of controversy in the past. >> let me ask you about obama care if i can. there's a new poll that has
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record low approval ratings for the president and for the affordable care act. the administration says it's fixed two-thirds of the worst bugs on the website, but i think they say as much as 40% of that project is still kind of being built. how concerned are you that this health care site won't be ready by november 30th? >> they need to get this right and they need to get it right fast. >> what are they telling you? do you have any inside information about where they are that gives you confidence it will be ready? >> i don't have any inside information but i'll tell you what information i do have. while they need to acknowledge weaknesses and deficiencies in this program, we also need to acknowledge the successes. and so, for example, yeah, the website is broken and ait needs to be fixed. but in my district i no longer will have to get a letter from a woman with breast cancer saying that they have been kicked out of their insurance because they had breast cancer. i will no longer have to try and help constituents with children, whose children lost their insurance because they happened
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to be children. and so we need to make sure that where there is a weakness, where there is a flaw, where there is something that is going wrong in the affordable care act it is fixed, but also continue to build on the successes of this law. >> i also want to talk about 2014. obviously there are concerns on the democratic side about how all of this will play into it. but you guys raked in an impressive $7 million last month. i know that you've said you believe it's part of the backlash against the republican agenda. and republicans haven't released their numbers yet that i've seen but "the new york times" is reporting that a koch brothers super pac is spending millions targeting vulnerable senate democrats. how much do you think obama care is playing into republican fund-raising and how will it ultimately affect those congressional races? >> well, there's no question that the reason that the republicans are fixated on repealing and defunding the entire affordable care act is because they believe it works with their base. i want to make sure it works for the american people.
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i want to make sure that the law works for the american people. so as i said before, fix it, improve it, don't repeal it. let me say one other thing on that because you cited some data about the affordable care act. every poll that i have seen is consistent on one thing. a vast majority of the american people want to fix and improve the law so that it works for them. a minority of the american people want the law completely repealed and defunded. there was a national journal poll out just yesterday. 58% of the american people want to fix it, want to make sure it works, want to give it more time and about 38% of the american people want it repealed and defunded. and so the republicans will continue to be obsessed with junking the entire law and putting health decisions back in the hands of insurance executives while democrats remain obsessed with fixing and improving it and making sure that it works. >> congressman steve israel, it's always didngood to have yo the program. thank you. >> thank you, chris. couple of major decisions with abortion and they have
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nationwide implications. let me start in albuquerque would voters rejected that ban on abortions performed after 20 weeks. abortion opponents had hoped a victory in new mexico could create momentum nationally in their long-running fight. but the supreme court refused to block the texas abortion law and that means doctors who perform abortions in clinics there must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. a move opponents say will keep a third of the state's clinics closed. meanwhile, a proposal to keep u.s. forces in afghanistan for another decade or more, we've got the details coming up just ten minutes from now. joe d . and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early, he'll find some good people to help guide him, and he'll set money aside from his first day of work to his last, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense.
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john geist writing too many video games, not enough baseball and football, et cetera. fred orth said heard the same comments back 50 years ago from my gym coach about the kids from the depression era. we didn't walk or run as much. we're not nearly as coordinated on the high beam. of course we had zip computers, minimal tv. we walked only three or four miles a day instead of the eight miles each way uphill that our parents did. who hasn't heard those stories. let us know what you think. we'll read comments on the hair. just head to facebook/jansingco.
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considering. american troops are taking the news in stride. >> we still need to have a presence here, it's very, very important. >> i think every airman, soldier and sailor understands what they're doing when they sign, sign the contract. >> i'm joined now by msnbc military analyst and medal of honor recipient, lieutenant colonel jack jacobs. always good to see you. >> oh, you demoted me. i'm a real colonel. >> a full colonel. >> as long as i get the pay, it doesn't matter -- >> and do you? >> occasionally. no, the government is sequest sequesteri sequesteri sequestering. >> so this draft means basically as much as another year there and they want a lot more troops than we're talking about. what's going on here, jack. >> they'd like to have lots more troops. they say otherwise. because lots more troops mean -- means more their own troops getting trained, which they desperately need and they know they need, but maybe more significantly, more money. more money means more money for the afghans, means more money
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for kabul, for contractors in the country. i'm talking about afghan contractors in the country. so they would really like to see lots more ooerch, even though t don't say so publicly. >> a member of the afghan military was interviewed by our folks on the ground there. take a listen. >> we need some more strong support from the international community, especially from the u.s. >> if they're not ready to get up and running, how much of a threat is this in terms of -- and this is the concern that we hear expressed a lot, of terrorism, of al qaeda? >> well, it's picked up, as a matter of fact. there are areas inside afghanistan, the typical troubled areas which are still troubled and in some cases more troubled and will get even more troubled when we reduce the size of our footprint there. places like kandahar and the eastern border with pakistan.
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all different places that are erupting now and will get even worse over time. the real question is not whether we need 6,000 or 15,000. the real question is whether or not we have the political will to put the real number of troops on the ground we need in order to train the entire afghan army for the entire duration of the time they need to be there, and the answer is absolutely no. >> yeah, part of the political equation here, and nobody envies this, is you have a president who ran and was elected the first time in large part because he was against the wars. he was somebody who said we're going to get out of iraq, we're going to get out of afghanistan. and yet here he finds himself in a situation where he sees national security interests being argued for keeping members of the u.s. military there. you wonder if this is what he had in mind with his afghanistan policy. >> well, he said specifically iran, lousy war. afghanistan, that's the good war and we're going to go there and fight it because the bad guys are there and suggested we were going to stay there long enough to eliminate the taliban.
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the timing for all of this is terrible for the president. he's reeling in domestic politics and in the polls with obama care. he can't unilaterally yank everybody out like he'd really like to do it and like to do it right now, because then everybody is going to be all over him for pulling out of, abandoning afghanistan after all the lives we've lost. his choices stink. and so what he's going to do is take the middle ground, leave some people there. people get off his back for a while until the midterm elections and then that will be the end of it as far as he's concerned. then he can yank people back. >> colonel jack jacobs, always great to have you here. >> thanks for having me here. >> thank you. checking the news feed this morning, george zimmerman is a free man, released from jail on $9,000 bond. but he is facing charges of felony assault, accused of threatening his girlfriend with a gun. during a court hearing yesterday, pruosecutors also revealed zimmerman's girlfriend accused him of choking her during a separate incident.
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zimmerman's attorney says he's $2.5 million in debt. anything else to everything else, his wife served him with divorce papers behind bars. zimmerman has had a series of run-ins with the law since being acquitted of the shooting of trayvon martin in july. the senate voted down a pair of amendments that now essentially makes it easier to transfer prisoners out of guantanamo bay. the next step, the bill goes to the house where it's expected to meet opposition. this is just a step in the white house's efforts to eventually close gitmo. u.s. state department officials just arriving in geneva. the u.s. and five other world powers meeting today to ink a preliminary deal to curb iran's nuclear program. opponents, including some american allies say iran is getting too much relief from sanctions. iran's supreme leader supports the talks but says there are limits to the concessions iran will make. the nsa reporting a record 888% increase in the number of individuals, just everyday people, who want to know if
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they're being spied on. but the nsa isn't saying. instead they're sending out prewritten letters saying the nsa can neither confirm or deny that their personal information was gathered. the increase coincides with edward snowden's reports about nsa spying on civilians. olympic superstar lindsey vonn will be back with her doctors as we wait for more information about her crash during a training run in colorado yesterday. she had to be helped off the slopes. vonn is trying to come back after a serious knee injury in february, and the sochi games are just three months away. today's tweet of the day comes from nbc new york anchor. quote, adam levine named sexiest man alive, edging out vladimir putin, who claims he won the swimsuit competition. okay, here's the cover of "people" magazine. adam levine and russian president vladimir putin. we have that picture? well, then how can we have people judge who's the sexiest man alive?
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i nominate jack jacobs. we'll be right back. [ male anno] need help keeping your digestive balance in sync? try align. it's the number one ge recommended probiotic that helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ stay in the groove with align. ♪ need help keeping your digestive balance in sync? try align. it's a probiotic that fortifies your digestive system with healthy bacteria 24/7. because your insides set the tone. stay in the groove with align. ♪ [ male announcer ] laura's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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powerful sinus relief. sudafed. open up. although swaddling may calm a crying baby, it may cause orthopedic problems later in life. researchers from great britain say swaddling forces the baby's hips to straighten and shift forward, which can cause them to misalign. they say swaddling can be safe if the legs are not wrapped tightly. president obama heads to arlington national cemetery in a few hours to pay tribute to john f. kennedy. the first lady, along with bill and hillary clinton will also be
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at jfk's gravesite to lay a wreath. a recent poll shows 61% of americans don't believe lee harvey oswald acted alone. a theory fueled when this section of the infamous film was shown to a national audience in 1975 in all its graphic detail. that prompted congress to act the following year and form the house select committee on assassinations. >> this committee does have an obligation of trying to provide truthful answers to the american people. i do not begin my work on this committee with any theory of conspiracy or any theory whatsoever. but i do take cog is in ans of the fact that fully four-fifths of the american people have serious question with respect to to the findings of the warren commission. >> chris neidermeier had a front
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row seat as a legislative aide to then congressman christopher dodd. we're also joined by nbc news presidential historian, michael beschloss. good morning. >> good morning. >> after three years of investigation the house committee reached the following conclusions and they were in direct contrast to the warren commission report. first, jfk's report was probably a conspiracy. two gunmen were involved. and that the warren commission and fbi failed to adequately look into a possible conspiracy. chris, you say from the outset in fact there was a lot of pressure on this commission to downplay any conspiracy. >> chris, there was. and it was surprising because this commission followed senator frank church's committee in the senate. and one of their jobs was to look at how the fbi and the cia had interacted with the warren commission. they concluded that they obstructed the commission. that j. edgar hoover had asked the fbi to conclude their investigation quickly and they did not share with the warren commission everything. so when i stepped in as a very young legislative aide to
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congressman dodd back then, it was the expectation of the members of committee that we were entering with an open mind and that they would share everything with us. but it became very clear pretty rapidly that the old saying pulling teeth was sort of what our job was like. we would send questions over and it was hard to get answers back. we seemed to get the most rapid response from the fbi and the cia. when we had testimony before people coming before the kmity that were part of a large plethora of individuals who advocated one conspiracy theory or the other. they were very quick to debunk anything in that direction. >> you said at one point you got a phone call that at the very least unnerved you. >> it did. i'm a very judicious person. maybe that's because i'm a lawyer and tend to be conservative. but i was very young at the time and idealistic and got involved in public service in large part because of kennedy so i was honored to be working on this. as the investigation went along and mark lane, who was one of the early proponents of the conspiracy theory had written the first book "rush to judgment" was doing the rounds
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of the committee. even though it was a small committee of 12, it was even smaller on the subcommittee dealing with kennedy's assassination. there was one dealing with martin luther king and one with kennedy. so these five congressmen were lobbied extensively. around the time, it's funny how it's been 35 years, but you sort of remember certain things. i remember at the time when it was moving along and starting to progress in the direction of the conclusion maybe being a conspiracy that i started getting rapid calls from the fbi staff on -- asking questions about what my view was on things they were sending up to the committee. obviously they were trying to find out what i was telling the congressmen. those questions were not at all of great concern because agencies often ask legislative assistants their views on things. what was unnerving was shortly after the last calls i received, i received a call from an intelligence officer who knew in great detail what i told another fbi agent and i was leaning toward a conspiracy and then proceeded to ask me how i was
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doing at georgetown law school and how did i like this particular course and what about my friends. here am i just putting it in context. i was a very junior member of a junior member of the house on an investigation that mattered to them greatly and he is disclosing to me that he knows a lot of personal information about me. that maybe my opinion that say i expressed to his colleague, which he knew all about maybe weren't the right ones. maybe with my bright future i should consider other options other than a conspiracy theory. i didn't want to overreact. i was young at the time and mentioned it to a few people on the staff but it was certainly unnerving an chilling in a rather subtle -- you didn't know if he was a rogue intelligence agent or what, but for someone in my position doing the work i did, it was a bit unnerving. >> michael, does that surprise you at all? how significant was it even, given the context of the time, that the house panel opened this investigation? >> well, it was almost inevitable because in the mid-1970s, that's when americans learned for the first time about
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assassination plots by the united states against foreign leaders, including fidel castro during the kennedy administration. so the next question that americans asked was, aha, was the warren commissioner told that we were plotting against castro, because that would have been a big motive for castro to try to plot against president kennedy. and the answer, of course, was no. the warren commission was never told anything as a body about these plots against fidel castro, so americans said, well, the warren commission verdict cannot be trusted. it was sort of a poisoned test tube. we'd better do something new. the question is whether the best way of investigating the assassination then was to turn it over to a very political investigation of the kind that we just heard described. >> what did the kennedy family think about the house investigation, do we know, michael? and what about the conclusion, obviously, which is that there likely were two gunmen, that there was a conspiracy? >> the kennedy family in general
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has not commented on these things with a few sporadic exceptions. as far as the verdict, the idea of two gunmen, that was based largely on acoustical evidence that has been largely disputed since then and probably a conspiracy. well, probably is probably not a word that a congressional body should use to describe something as grave as this. yes, lee harvey oswald was unbelievably connected with all sorts of groups who certainly wished president kennedy ill but they never found the hard piece of evidence that would stand up in a court of law. >> do you think that piece of evidence exists, michael? if not to give us a conclusive decision but shed more light on it? i know the records in the kennedy collection are going to be opened in 2017 unless the president intervenes. >> precisely. >> do you think there's something significant out there? >> it's always possible, but you tell me. 50 years have passed. this is one of the biggest questions in americans' minds
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about their history. i think the best thing we can say now to be careful with the evidence is to say, yes, oswald was almost against imaginable odds connected with all these groups that certainly did not like president kennedy, but at the same time is there a piece of evidence saying that he was acting on behalf of a larger conspiracy. hard to say that there is. >> is there a question that's hanging out there as someone who was so close to it, chris, that you're waiting and think you could get the answer to potentially? >> well, chris, michael has made a lot of very valid points. i would just add three things. there was a feeling at the time that had the kennedy family really wanted to get to the bottom of this, perhaps more information would have been shared with us but it was understandable with the president murdered and now robert kennedy murdered that perhaps ted kennedy and the rest of the family needed to get on with their lives and didn't want to open up the can of worms. sending, the cia agency's relationship to our committee, they're liaison and michael
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raised those points and i think they were right on. he was employed by an anti-castro group that os walled was involved in prior to the assassination that was never disclosed to the committee. about ten years ago the chief council to the committee blasted him for not disclosing that to us and said that he should have been brought up to the committee to -- for investigation. the last point is congressman dodd, who i worked for, did file one of the -- there were four dissents filed to the committee report. three that said there was not a conspiracy. congressman dodd believed there was a conspiracy but believed the ballistic information, not the grassy knoll information that michael referred to that since has been debunked because of acoustical information. but there was 1.66 seconds between the first bullet and the second bullet that was fired. there was no information persuasive to the committee. in fact the fbi did a test on it in '64 and couldn't replicate it. the committee did a test and couldn't replicate it. the reason congressman dodd filed his dissent because they promised another test, a final
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test and they didn't. within a year after the report they had four marksmen that tried to replicate it from the washington police department and couldn't do it in time. and the only people that could were two staff members who did it without focusing and using the telescopic range. and so the feeling was that oswald could not have fired two bullets in close proximity without focusing because the vehicle was moving and he was so high up. so congressman dodd said i believe there were two people in the building and there was a film to show there was another body potentially in the window but who knows. it's 35 years later, now 50 years later from the event itself. >> chris neidermeier, fascinating story. michael, always great to see you, thanks for coming on. today is the 50th anniversary of president kennedy establishing the medal of freedom, the highest civilian award in the u.s. next hour, president obama will present that medal to 16 people. among them, former president bill clinton, oprah winfrey, the first female astronaut to travel
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into space, sally ride, baseball legend ernie banks, women's rights activist gloria steinham. a posthumous award to the first japanese american to serve in congress. we've got the full list at we're expecting to see that ceremony at 11:00 and we'll have it live for you right here on msnbc. many cereals say they're good for your heart, but did you know there's a cereal that's recommended by doctors? it's post shredded wheat. recommended by nine out of ten doctors to help reduce the risk of heart disease. post shredded wheat is made with only one ingredient: one hundred percent whole grain wheat, with no added sugar or salt. try adding fruit for more health benefits and more taste in your bowl. it's the ideal way to start your heart healthy day. try post shredded wheat. this has been medifacts for post shredded wheat.
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just moments ago we saw senator kirsten gillibrand take the floor to talk about sexual military assault and push the amendment to take prosecutions out of the chain of command. she started by thanking senator claire mccaskill who's pushing her own amendment. let's listen. >> although we disagree on my amendment, i want to remind all our colleagues that the defense authorization has been made stronger in innumerable ways by
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senator mccaskill's work, advocacy and dedication. i also will be supporting her amendment today because i think the provisions in that amendment will add even more positive changes to the command climate and will help victims feel like they have a stronger voice. >> still not clear exactly when there will be a vote on that amendment, but -- or on the bill but we do expect it this week. that's going to wrap up this hour of "jansing & co." thomas roberts is up next. the agenda next hour, president obama and president bill clinton coming face to face for the first time since the former president threw a big monkey wrench into the debate over the aca with his keep your health care plan statement. that was the start of the massive pr nightmare for the white house. and we are just moments now from when president obama will award bill clinton and 15 other distinguished americans the medal of freedom. we're going to bring you that ceremony live. plus tea party-backed republican congressman pleads
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guilty. congressman raddel to possession of cocatiinecocaine. the florida congressman also voted to test food stamp recipients for drugs, so will he stay in office now that he's pled guilty? and the tragic story of a virginia state senator stabbed by his own son who then committed suicide. it's raising some very troubling questions about help for the mentally ill. we have so much coming up in the next hour. don't go anywhere. when it's donut friday at the office, i use my citi thankyou card to get 2x the points at the coffee shop.
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i'to guard their manhood with trnew depend shields and guards. the discreet protection that's just for guys. now, it's your turn. get my training tips at good morning, everybody. leading off now with live pictures from the white house where this hour president obama will award the presidential medal of freedom to 16 distinguished honorees. the medal of freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor awarded to people who have made contributions to the national interests of the united states, world peace and other significant contributions to our country. i think right there we're seeing secretary clinton, hillary clinton arriving on scene. bill clinton being one of the recipients today. this year is especially poignant
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as it marks the 50th anniversary since president john f. kennedy established the medal of freedom. this week also marking the 50th anniversary since jfk's assassination. as i mentioned, former president bill clinton is among those being honored as well as oprah winfr winfrey, sally ride are among those being honored just moments from now. we'll have live coverage of this service. the medal of freedom ceremony just moments away right here on msnbc. i'm thomas roberts, but we lead off this hour and our agenda with the news of a u.s. congressman pleading guilty to possessing cocaine. this news breaking just in the last hour. freshman florida republican trey radel entered his guilty plea. he was busted in a federal coke sting last month, ratted out by a drug dealer by federal authorities. he swept into office with tea party support and is promising to seek pro


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