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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  April 23, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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they bought up copies of the paper, inserted the fake letter into the paper and distributed them around new york, including at the paper's headquarters. the saving souls by proxy of new york readers everywhere and possibly giving the people who own that paper a glimpse of what might be, what could be if you ever cared. that's the best new thing in the world today. there is a link to the fake letter and a video from the whole prank from animal new york at right now. tonight the boston marathon bombing succe bombing suspect continues to tell his story, but his mother is telling a very different story. >> police have learned of a possible motive in the boston marathon bombing. >> why did they do it? we are learning about a motive. >> dzhokhar reportedly told investigators that he and his brother acted alone. >> the attack was fueled by
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religious fervor. >> dzhokhar was read his miranda rights in a brief bedside session. >> he nodded most of his answers. >> nodded four times to questions but spoke just one word. >> when asked if he could afford a lawyer, he spoke the word no. >> the house today will get a classified briefing. a senate committee will question the fbi. >> the fbi faces questions. >> there are limits on what can be done. >> there are ways in which you could further enable the fbi. >> these are all issues that are going to be developed. >> i want to get a sequester very quickly in here. >> a series of automatic, severe budget cuts. >> across the board sequester cuts. >> what does it mean for the overall debate? >> fbi agents will be furloughed. changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats. >> this is a result of the sequester. >> these cuts are not smart, they are not fair. >> this touches, you know, almost every big issue going on in washington now. >> president obama's early second term domestic agenda. gun control, the budget and
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reform. president obama is inviting the senators over for dinner tonight. >> all the women senators over for dinner. >> if you want to create a bipartisan agenda. >> no sign of progress anywhere. >> a great place to start is with the women senators. in the boston bombing investigation, nbc news has learned that the fbi is increasingly confident, their words, increasingly confident that the two suspects acted alone. nbc's pete williams reported that dzhokhar tsarnaev has told investigators that he and his brother were motivated by religious fer fvor and their reaction to the american invasion of iraq and afghanistan. the suspect's condition was upgraded from serious to fair today, according to the u.s. attorney's office in boston. as you know, he was found bleeding in a boat in a driveway in watertown just outside boston. the man who discovered him in
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that boat, david hanaberry spoke with msnbc today. >> i know i took three steps up the ladder. i don't remember stepping down off the ladder. i think i just -- this hits you more afterwards and you think, my god. we probably slept last night. this guy could be -- i don't know, it's surreal. >> the suspect's two sisters, a lena and bella tsarnaev released this statement today that did not include one word of defense of their brothers. our hearts go out to the victims of last week's bombing. it sad dens us to see so many innocent people hurt after such a callous act. as a family we are absolutely devastated by the sense of loss and sorrow this has caused. we don't have any answers, but we look forward to a thorough investigation and hope to learn more. we ask the media to respect our privacy during this difficult
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time. but their mother continues to refuse to believe that her sons could have done anything wrong. nbc's british partner itn spoke with the suspects' mother by phone. >> i'm sure my two boys are not responsible for this. >> reporter: you think they were there just as spectators, as innocent spectators? >> of course. well, last year they went, too. >> the suspects' mother then told cnn their protector is god, who iss allah, the only one allah. if they're going to kill him, i don't care. i don't care if my youngest one is going to be killed today. i want the world to hear this, and i don't care if i am going to get killed, too, okay? and i will say allah akbah. that's what i'm going to say.
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the older brother bought two e pyrotechnics at the company's seabrook new hampshire store. each kit contains a tube and 24 shells. tsarnaev paid $194 cash for the kits. michael isakov reports that a preliminary look at the cell phones and computers used by the tsarnaev brothers has found no indication yet of any accomplices. investigators say they are now trying to determine whether the older brother obtained money from family members, friends or other sources. a spokesman for the mosque the brothers attended in cambridge tells nbc news fbi agents have been questioning members and that the mosque has provided the names of at least three members who saw tamerlan disrupt services at the mosque. the most recent was on martin
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luther king day. he called a speaker a non-believer and a hypocrite because he compared martin luther king to the prophet mohamed. leaders of the congregation told him he should not come back if he was going to disrupt services. he did return in the last month but didn't cause any more problems. joining me now is terrorist analyst michael lighter, former director of the national counterterrorism center under presidents bush ask obama and msnbc's joy reid. michael, what do you make of the totality of the incident as it exists tonight? >> it is quite clear the fbi is developing an credibly strong case here. although we can't say for sure yet, it's almost certain that the older brother was the first who was radicalized, inspired by the same messages that has inspired other home-grown extremists and followers of al
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qaeda. an extremist suni islamic idealogy which is a warping of the muslim faith and drove them ultimately to view themselves being at war with the united states and thus targeting innocent civilians. >> joy reed, i want to get your reaction to everything that's unfolded so far. >> i think the mother's reaction is incredible, but she wasn't necessarily the person directly parenting these young men. she was in another country, and so the influence of the suspect who is still alive was really his brother who seems to be the first to be radicalized. it is pretty frightening. we tend to want this to be sort of a terrorist cell, some bigger conspiracy, something a lot less frightening than just two otherwise average young men living in the community, raised in the community and then becoming radicalized just of their own volition and deciding to do something so horrific really in their own community. it's actually, in a lot of ways, more disturbing. >> michael, what do you make of
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the difference in the reactions from their sisters and their mother? their sisters' statement very clearly, they're not making any kind of defensive comment about their brothers. they seem to be watching what's developed in television news and accepting kind of the obvious facts of the case so far. >> lawrence, i would say it is true that the sisters are probably closer to this than the mother who is overseas, and the father who is overseas. i have to admit that i have a bit of sympathy -- i had a lot of sympathy for the entire family. and, you know, any mother or father who is faced with this, i don't really think that these are especially useful witnesses as to what their child did or did not do and why they did or did not do it. when i think you're talking about so much grief and confusion that, again, these are not the witnesses to whom i would turn for factual evidence
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in a case. >> joy, the fireworks stuff, this stuff is legal in new hampshire, it's illegal in massachusetts. it's very common there. you drive up over the new hampshire border, you grab this stuff, and you bring it back. and the question is, is this where they got the totality of the gunpowder that they used for this bomb making? but the different state laws making different things easier to obtain here than there are part of what this story is about. >> yeah, and the difficulty of tracking. you know, you talked on the show about the tagging issue and not being able necessarily to trace where gunpowder comes from and just the mundane items they were able to put together, apparently, just by going on line and figuring out how to make such deadly destructive weapons. they didn't have to obtain sophisticated equipment. a lot of this was stuff relatively easy to obtain. i think that's another issue we have to look at. but as you said, we have disp r
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disparate state laws. each state makes its own laws. >> michael, just the probabilities involved. based on everything you've seen, the devices they've used s, the story that we learned how to do this on the internet. we were kind of inspired by some of these web sites we've gone to with extremist, islamic clerics who are on them and that stuff. is there anything you've heard developed from the suspect where you say, oh, no, that doesn't sound possible? >> this is actually a fairly typical story of home-grown extremists, in my experience. we've had a history of home-grown extremists in the united states having pretty extensive ties here in the united states. of course, the ft. hood shooter, nadal hassan.
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the basic profile of these two is not really inconsistent with what we've seen. and to your point about the internet, almost every home-grown al qaeda-inspired extremist that we've seen in the united states over the past five to six years has really been affected quite significantly by english-speaking extremist preachers on line. the most notable one is anwar lochi, but there are others in the world. and learning how to build the bombs, kind of being attractive to this virulent idealogy which so skews islam is relatively common. and i think magazines put out by organizations like al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, a magazine known as "inspire" and other places you can learn to make these bombs, this is the path that other extremists have taken and we've seen it again, i guess. >> and another element added to
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the mix was the american invasion of afghanistan and then iraq. >> right. and we also learned that the older brother was a devotee to the wars. so you have them buying into conspiracy theories. 9/11 was in the mix. so it's really not stuff just put out by terrorism overseas, it was also right here in the u.s. so it was a pretty scary combination. >> michael, at different points in our involvement in afghanistan and iraq, there have been concerns raised in congress ask raised by some observers, to what extent is what we're doing creating or provoking terrorism versus suppressing terrorism. what is your reaction to that calculation of suppress versus
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provoke in what we're looking at in this case? >> lawrence, you're slulabsolut right. this has been raised for a long time. the first person who raised this was secretary donald rumsfeld who asked in a famous memo, are we killing more terrorists than we're creating? from my perspective, having looked at radicalization and trying to counter the message, the wars in iraq and afghanistan are very, very commonly invocced in al qaeda and al qaeda-inspired propaganda to try to recruit other individuals to the cause. although that is undoubtedly true, i have to say i think it is difficult to really connect any one individual with these conflicts. there is no doubt, again, pictures, video of civilians being killed and the like, this is exactly what al qaeda uses to help radicalize and bring people into the idealogical fold. but again, i think just pointing
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to iraq or afghanistan is a little bit too simplistic, because generally these radicalization cases come from a really dynamic mix of factors. >> and joy, the pause that i would put over all of this is, this all depends on you believing this suspect in this hospital bed, and i for one am going to reserve judgment on everything he's saying. >> yeah, and it's in his interest to say that it was the older brother, that it was the now deceased suspect who now cannot counter any of his claims. it is very much in his interest as a legal matter to say that he was following what the older brother was doing. so i think, yeah, we have to definitely take what he's saying on that into account. >> joy reid and alec lighter, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thank you. sto now to a marine who lost his leg in afghanistan is helping with the boston bombers. he's live with what they can
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prosecutors are expected to file charges this week against dzhokhar tsarnaev for the murder of 26-year-old m.i.t. police officer shawn collier. shawn collier's funeral was held today at st. patrick's church in stoneham, massachusetts. tomorrow m.i.t. will have a memorial service for officer collier. it will be open to the m.i.t. community but closed to the public. vice president joe biden is expected to attend. no family suffered more in the boston bombing than the richard family of dorchester.
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7-year-old jane richard lost a leg. her mother denise suffered a head injury, and her eight-year-old brother, martin, was the youngest person to die in the bombing. the richard family released this statement. the outpouring of love and support over the last week has been tremendous. this has been the most difficult week of our lives, and we appreciate that our friends and family have given us space to grieve and heal. a private funeral mass was celebrated this morning with immediate family. we laid our son martin to rest, and he is now at peace. we plan to have a public memorial service in the coming weeks to allow friends and loved ones from our community to join us for a celebration of martin's life. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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boston medical center. sidney was hit by nearly fatal shrapnel and celebrated her birthday today in a hospital bed beside her mother's hospital bed. her mother celeste lost both of her legs below the knee. joining me now, captain cameron west who visited sidney and her mother. captain, tell me what you had to tell these victims of the boston bombing? >> yes, sir, mr. o'donnell. number one, it's an honor to be here in support of those that were injured, and to tell you, we went up to boston to try to motivate and show those that were injured a little bit of what they might experience in the next couple months and year with their amputation. and in turn we actually were motivated by these people of all ages, and that is what compelled us to get up there, and we were
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actually the ones that, you know, got that out of the visit. >> and so you as a marine were injured in combat and you suffered amputation yourself, didn't you? >> yes, sir. at the end of 2010, foot patrol , i was leading my platoon through the sangan valley, and we hit an ied. my injuries were amputation right above the knee and extreme damage to my right forearm and hand and loss of vision in my right eye. >> captain, your vision -- experience fascinates me, because i had a friend who was a combat veteran and lost a leg, and i invited him to talk about how life goes on.
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he can dance and ski and so many things. let's take a look at the video of you visiting the hospital. >> obviously she got her pretty looks from you, huh? great to see you. you look good. >> thank you. >> you look real good. >> thank you. >> this doesn't matter. this is just a change of scenery. it really is. g gabe here, he's moving and running, he's doing the pair olympics. you may want to do that someday. >> my sister did her first boston marathon this marathon. i've lived in this area my whole life. i've always watched the marathon. i've never actually come to the marathon to watch it. and i was so proud of her. she wasn't, you know, a born runner like some people are. she worked so hard to do it, and i was so proud to be there to cheer her on. and she, you know, was coming
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around to boyleston street. she didn't actually get to finish the race because of the bomb and everything. and so after -- was it matthew? her 11-year-old son said, mom, are you going to run the race again next year? and she said, yes, and then she was telling me the story. i always joked around like i'm not super athletic. i like to work out and stuff, but running has never been my thing because i always get the most horrible shin splints. so i was like, hey, i don't have shins anymore. i can do this. >> that's a good attitude right there. >> captain west, you know that they can have complete lives ahead of them, but sitting there in those hospital beds today, i golt to say, i would have -- if i was in one of those beds, i would have trouble believing you. >> yes, sir. and it's totally understandable. it's just the human factor of the whole situation.
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i mean, two years ago i was in their position, you know, and i thought that i wouldn't be able to be who i wanted to be, you know, later if life or right here in the present. and that's not the case at all. with technology, support system and just drive and determination, i've actually done more in the past two years than i've done, you know, in my entire life just, you know, being in activities, skiing, snowboarding, climbing mountains. anything that's unimaginable is definitely doable. and that's what we're trying to do to these victims that had a great loss of a leg or both legs, is just to show them that, hey, in a year, two years from now, you're going to be up running and gunning just like we are, and you're going to be where we are, and you're going d to be supporting somebody that just had a life-changing experience, and you're going to be their inspiration. like i said, when we went there to be the inspiration, we got
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more out of the trip than we could have ever given any of those that were injured. >> i'm sure you did. marine captain cameron west, thank you very much for joining me tonight, but more importantly, thank you very much for going to boston and telling them your story. >> it's my honor. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, the sequester cuts are finally hitting home, and if you think it's bad for air travel, wait until you hear what the director of national intelligence says it will do to intelligence gathering. mplishing even littlyou hae joint pain and stiffness...
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let me now be blunt for you and for the american people. sequestration forces the intelligence community to reduce all intelligence activities and functions without regard to impact on our mission. in my considered judgment, as the nation's senior intelligence officer, sequestration jeopardizes our nation's safety ask security, and this jeopardy will increase over time. >> that was national intelligence director james clapper last week warning the senate arms committee what the sequester could do to national security. in the spotlight tonight, sequestration budget cuts hit home. air travelers have faced long delays this week due to faa
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budget cuts that have reduced the number of air traffic controllers available for work. and as the fbi searched for the bomber suspects last week, national intelligence director james clapper was on capitol hill explaining how nearly $4 billion in cuts to the intelligence community could affect the nation's security. >> unlike more directly observable sequestration impacts like shorter lines to the parks and longer waits at the airport will be gradual and almost invisible until, of course, we have an intelligence failure. >> independent senator ang us king summed it up this way. >> we won't know what we've missed until something blows up. >> yes, sir. >> joining me now, one of the senators at that armed services committee hearing, senator richard blumenthal and the
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huffington post. we couldn't get an answer given air traffic controllers were told to stay home. are fbi agents going to be told to stay home? are u.s. assistant attorneys going to be told to stay home at some point? can you guide us in that? >> in his remarks, lawrence, director clapper made remarks about intelligence agents that may be given shorter hours or even furloughs, and the same, conceivably, very probably is true of prosecutors and fbi agents, although we have no confirmation of it. obviously, these impacts are the least visible. the most visible are the impacts on air travel. 4700 delays and 273 cancellations today alone, and then the less visible impacts on health care and headstart, meals on wheels for seniors, other kinds of service programs, including research for cancer,
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in effect, undermining what we can discover and cure for the future. >> it seems like nothing has gotten washington's attention to these sequester cuts more than what we're seeing in the air traffic story these days. >> well, before that, keep in mind there was the white house story which was a problem because it was in washington. the delta shuttle, the inconvenience in the delta shuttle line has also gotten washington's attention. and the impacts of sequestration have been felt far beyond the northeast corridor. headstart programs are taking kids off. private cancer clinics are stopping treating patients because they don't have the funds to do it. it's too expensive. military tuition has been denied in certain places. one of my particular favorite ones was a government auditing agency that helped save the government billions of dollars over the course of several years was forced to shut down its offices because of sequestration. we actually pulled the money away from an agency that helped
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us save money. these cuts are very blunt. they were designed to be blunt and discriminate because everyone thought they would be replaced. >> i want to hear what the senate house committee had to say a month ago about these cuts. >> sequestration would reduce the bureau's budget by $550 million for the remainder of this fiscal year. because 50% of the fbi's budget pays for personnel, and the personnel are our resources, they are the fbi, we have planned for the possibility of furloughs, and any furlough would pose a risk to fbi operations, in particular, in the areas of counterterrorism and cyber. >> senator blumenthal, what more could congress ask for in terms of a warning about what these cuts are doing? >> the question now, lawrence, is what congress will do about it. we proposed today that the sequester, the self-inflicted
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wound a very serious one, be avoided through a plan to use what is called the overseas contingency operation account, which is money that's been budgeted for an afghanistan war five years and more out that will simply not be used. the republicans counted that money as savings in their budget, the ryan budget, and we're saying let's take about 140 billion of approximately 600 billion that can be saved and avoid the sequester for the next five months. those absolutely chilling consequences not only to our intelligence operation but also to military readiness and the human impacts. and by the way, air travel is not just a luxury for a lot of people, it involves local economic development, it involves business korscosts ands like having a blizzard every day where air travel is stymied and
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stopped, so we really need to avoid these absolutely indiscriminate across the board cuts. >> but the house of representatives in particular, what's your sense of their ability to gather and do something about this? >> my sense is that there is very little willingness or ability to do anything about it. it all comes down to how you design a package to replace what is $85 billion in cuts for the next fiscal year, close to a trillion dollars in cuts over a ten-year period. how do you replace that? the two political parties have very divergent views on what should be done to replace it. it comes down, in simplest terms, to whether or not you use additional revenue and whether that should be a component of it. the president's budget does replace it, but house republicans want to get rid of just the defense part of it, keep the domestic stuff, and that's a non-starter for democrats. we're at a log jamb here, and i
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don't see any key component where it gets broken. >> senator blumenthal, i want to play an exchange that you had with mr. clapper last week. let's listen to that. >> you spoke about the challenges of recruiting and keeping the best minds in america which all of us want to be available to the american intelligence community. is there anything that we can do to encourage or support that effort? >> well, sir, it would be nice if they would get a pay raise occasionally, and it would be nice not to be threatened with furloughs. >> i take that to heart and to mind. >> senator, you raised such a very important, long-term question. people thinking about going into this line of work, a young law school graduate, perhaps, thinking i'd like to go into the fbi. today with furloughs and with sequester cuts, you have to wonder whether you'll be able to
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make your mortgage payments. >> it really is a profoundly significant question, lawrence, and i'm so glad that you've raised it, because we really need the best and the brightest to go into public service, whether it's the intelligence community or our military or our men and women in uniform are demoralized by the threats of sequester and lack of pay and support. and the military health care insurance program is threatened to the tune of about $3 billion, as are chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general demp se warned in a hearing just about the same time as general clapper. so the ripple effects for our entire economy, our social and political fabric are profound and far-reaching, and that's why, as has been just observed, the kind of gridlock that we see is so destructive. and by the way, you know, there
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were 52 votes, democratic votes, for an alternative back on february 28 that would have involved smart targeted cuts in certain areas of defense as well as the buffett rule millionaire tax and cuts in the farm subsidy program. there are ways to raise revenue that simply close loopholes without raising taxes, and we need to break that law again. >> senator richard blumenthal in connecticut and sam, thanks for being with us. how someone wrote for gun purchases and later shamed himself. and the president's dinner with the senators. tonight it's the women senators. ♪
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one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. kdays in the senate where te rule was written a 60% rule. in order to actually passed the measure required 60 votes.
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never mind that 90% of america supported the acquired 60 votes. the two most cow ardly votes cast on this one were from a democrat and a republican. senator max baucus in montana voted no, and everyone assumed he did so to protect himself in his reelection campaign next year, but he announced today he is want running for reelection. he knew that last week. senator baucus didn't wake up this morning and suddenly decide he wasn't running. that's not the way senators make the decision not to run, and that is not the way max baucus makes decisions. he is a careful, calculating and very, very slow decider. so when he cast that cowardly vote last week, he knew he wasn't running for reelection. and in the process, he betrayed the junior senator from montana, john tester, a democrat who cast
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the politically brave vote for a montana senator and voted yes. what john tester needed that day was political cover from max baucus, a little help. john tester needed to be able to say, when he went back to montana, hey, max voted for it, too. now, when senator tester goes back to montana, he's going to be challenged with, hey, baucus voted against it, why didn't you? the junior senator from arizona got exactly the kind of political cover that john tester would have appreciated from max baucus. the senior senator from arizona, john mccain, voted for expanding background checks. but that wasn't enough to pump up jeff flake's courage to do the right tlihing. senator flake, who has to explain his vote to the very same voters john mccain is accountable to followed the lead
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of his party instead of his senior senator and voted against background checks, something that 90% of america wanted. and in casting his vote, senator flake had to rewrite himself. karen teves wrote a letter to senator flake asking him to support gun safety legislation. she told the senator about her son alex, who was murdered while shielding his girlfriend from bullets in that aurora, colorado movie theater where 12 people were murdered and 58 were wounded. senator flake wrote a handwritten letter to the grieving mother. here it is. he begins by apologizing for the fact that she received a form letter from his office in response to what he calls "her heartfelt note." he says, i regret you received
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an impersonal response to such personal words. i regret your deep loss. while we may not agree on every solution, strengthening background checks is something we agree on. your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. thank you for your note, kind regards, jeff flake. so this freshman republican hand-writes a letter, telling a grieving mother that strengthening background checks is something we agree on. and then he walks into the senate chamber and raises his hand to vote against strengthening background checks. even though he had political cover from the senior senator from arizona, who was voting for background checks. freshman senator jeff flake rewrote himself on the spot and
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voted against background checks. he rewrote this letter on the spot. he voted against karen teves. he voted against the family that he said in his letter, quote, will be in heard them say somet
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you know, sometimes we just have to get away from the t testostero testosterone. we just have to get away from the fellows to get something done. >> this really could be -- over all the years, the different things happened, the gang of eight and these different crews get together of senators who think they're like-minded. but this continued bipartisan discussion that women are having in the senate is such a fascinating opportunity for the president. >> it really is. also remember you've got women in leadership positions in the senate. you've got