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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  April 27, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PDT

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are there more suspects in the boston bombings? that's what one member of congress is suggesting. we'll get the very latest. plus, why are officials searching a landfill for evidence in the case? flooding fears on the rise. why there's new alarm today in the midwest as some rivers head for record highs. new revelations today from amanda knox just days before her book about being accused of murder and spending four years in an italian prison. hello. it's high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." an arrest in tupelo,
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mississippi, in connection to the investigation with poison letters sent to president obama. kristin, with a good afternoon to you, what can you tell us about these new developments? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. the fbi has confirmed that this afternoon special agents arrested 41-year-old everett dutschke who is a martial arts instructor in tupelo, mississippi. no word on what specific charges can or will be filed. according to local officials, they say this arrest is in connection with the investigation into those ricin-laced letters that were sent to president obama and members of congress. i can tell you, alex, i have been talking to our local affiliate in mississippi who says that his home, dutschke's home, was searched by investigators on tuesday and wednesday of this week. so this arrest comes after that. now, of course, if you will recall, this past tuesday prosecutors dropped charges
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against elvis impersonator paul kevin curtis. they thought he was behind the letters. he declared his innocence along, and so this past tuesday they did drop the charges against him. now, just for some background, alex, this all relates to those ricin-laced letters that were addressed to president obama and to a republican of mississippi, senator roger wicker. those letters were intercepted though. they were intercepted at off-site mail facilities. so to be very clear, they never got close to their intended targets, but given the timing of this, this happened just really a few days after the boston bombing, it certainly added to the heightened anxiety and alert here in the nation's capital. so at this point in time there is another person in custody, but, again, no word on charges. we are hoping to get more information a little bit later on today. >> i want to double-check, is this the man who -- he disappeared for a while but
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allegedly still cooperating with police. is this the same guy? >> reporter: yes. that is what my understanding is. he has been cooperating with police and, again, remember, they searched his home tuesday and wednesday of this week. so he was taken into custody, and the fbi stressed without incident. it doesn't appear asug h put up a fight today, but, again, we are still just learning sort of bits and pieces about this arrest. so we're hoping to get a little bit more information from the authorities down in mississippi. alex? >> okay. the interrogation here will be very, very interesting to hear the results of th. thank you very much. a major development in the boston terror investigation. a top ranking congressman says he expects more arrests. republican mike rogers of michigan told reporters, quote, i hear a lot of definitive statements out there that it was just these two men and it's over, but i will tell you i hear these briefings every day, and i don't think this is over. meanwhile, nbc news has learned the mother of the two suspected brothers, dzhokhar and tamerlan
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tsarnaev, was added to a federal terrorism database 18 months before the bombings. the list includes 700,000 names. it does not mean they are suspected of carrying out terrorist activities. rather, it serves as a base for relevant federal agencies to produce more specific watch lists. both suspects' parents are back in chechnya today. their son dzhokhar was in police custody and their other son, tamerlan, was killed in the police battle. the mother says her sons were framed. >> what have you done with my son? he was alive. why did they need to kill him? why didn't they send him -- why did they kill him? why? why did they have to kill him? thot him alive, right? he was in their hands. >> well, let's go to boston. nbc's michelle franzen. so, michelle, with a good day to you, let's get the latest on the
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investigation. investigis tt we're learning more about a second car, the green honda that the suspects were also spotted in during that day of the manhunt and the car that certainly police say was used during the shooting that ended up killing the cambridge m.i.t. officer sean collier. now, state police, massachusetts state police, re-enacted the green car. they brought it back to cambridge in that area and we're also learning more about the devices themselves, the bombs, and just how they were made. federal authorities moved the boat from the driveway and watertown home a week after a manhunt and shootout ended with dzhokhar tsarnaev being spotted hiding under the boat's tarp. >> we were able to look right through the plastic as if it wasn't even there. >> the 19-year-old was also moved to ft. devon, a high security medical prison outside
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of boston. it followed a week of his recovery at beth israel hospital where he was formally charged monday at a bedside hearing. authorities say since his arrest, the surviving suspect has been able to provide details about the bombs he and his older brother, tamerlan, are accused of making. nbc news obtained government analysis on the bombs. the design reportedly similar to one outlined in the al qaeda affiliated "inspire" magazine uses low explosives that are consistent with commercial fireworks. it's packed with shrapnel and triggered from radio controller components. how-to instructions experts say the bombers used and took a step further. >> this design indicates a level of sophistication and determination to really make these bombs reliable. >> reporter: investigators are also tracking other leads, searching a landfill in new bedford. law enforcement officials say they are looking for tsarnaev's
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laptop and receipts for fireworks. back in boston victim jeff bauman, who helped identify suspect number one for the fbi, told a local radio station he noticed the elder brother just before the deadly bombing. >> he just struck me odd and that's what i remember of him, and then next thing you know, you hear fireworks and i'm on the ground. >> reporter: also new gripping details on the carjacking victim known only as danny who spent a harrowing 90 minutes with the suspects before escaping and alerting police. he told the fbi and northeastern university professor james allen fox he heard tamerlan confess to shooting m.i.t. officer sean collier. >> he said i just killed a cop in cambridge. >> reporter: and no details about how that re-enactment, if any, provided any information for police. big questions surrounding that green honda and details that we don't know yet, but nbc news
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certainly has learned other details, of course, revolving around the parents. they're back now in chechnya. no word yetn why they traveled to chechnya, and, alex, meantime back here along boylston street and copley square, the memorial that has been here throughout the duration, a steady flow of busy time as people come by and pay their respects. >> all right. thank you so much, michelle franzen, for that report. let's go to fargo, north dakota, where officials are keeping very close watch on the red river ahead of predicted record flooding. volunteers have been pulling together for days now to build sandbag barricades. there is a chance the river uld reach those sandbags by about the middle of the week. >> to be honest, this is going to be fargo's fifth record flood, so i'm not putting my guard down at all because mother nature knows how to throw a party. >> some party, right? the weather channel's reynolds wolf is tracking the flood system for us. reynolds, with a good day to you, what do you think area residents can expect today and i
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guess in the coming week looking at midweek in particular? >> well, alex, my friend, i can tell you i think they're going to get exactly what they expect. they're going to see the waters begin to rise. and i have to tell you, one of the reasons why it could happen or definitely should happen is because of the warmer air we have. you have to remember up in parts of the northern plains, they have had a banner year in terms of snowfall and with the warming temperatures, temperatures going up today and tomorrow into the 70s and 80s, that means that snow is going to melt, and that snow is going to feed into the red river which means that river waters are going to rise up. already take a look. we've got a flood warning in effect not only for places like minot but of course in fargo and right across the river over in moorhead, minnesota. i think 1.67 million sandbags already been filled up by people in the community and they're going to need them. if you look at the forecast, we see the water rising up into major stage around 30. -- 38.0 feet.
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if you have rain in the area or additional snow melt, we could see it possibly surpass the forecast. they're not taking any chances there. they know it could be devastating for a lot of places in the community. if you look at history, some of the top five crests from the worst being back there in 2009, march 28. they had 40.84. i was actually there at that time for two weeks covering that for another network. 2011, 38.81. right now we have it possibly taking the number five spot, but you never know. there are always some uncertainties and there's a chance it could get a bit higher. but people's spirits are up and they're hoping for the best. back to you. >> but it certainly seems this time of year, look at that march and april, yikes. okay. thanks so much. appreciate that. there are new developments in an apparent trosh plot to blow up a passenger train where the alleged terrorists could have been targeting americans. but don't worry, he'll find someone else. ♪ who's that lady?
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some headlines making news out on the west coast. in colorado the pueblo chieftain has an article entitled marijuana repeal considered in colorado. some officials want to add a caveat to the tax proposal that recreational pot won't be legal anymore unless voters approve the taxes. and the salt lake tribune has a story called "first look inside flds house and a theory on odd construction." this one is about a compound once owned by warren jeffs, the mormon fundamentalist leader who is currently imprisoned for sexual assault and aggravated swaument sexual assault of children. a room has heavy wooden doors with walls more than a foot thick. the paper reached out to the flds seeking comment but their
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calls were not immediately returned. there are some new twists today in that terror plot thwarted in canada. two men are accused of plotting to derail a passenger train that runs between new york and montreal. at issue is why one of the suspects who had been convicted of serious crimes was not already deported. joining me now, toronto globe and mail national security reporter collin frees. welcome, collin. >> thank you. >> so for those unfamiliar, can you give us a quick sense of this alleged terror plot? how much devastation it might have caused had it some to fruition? >> that's a very difficult question to answer, alex, because the police say this plot was not imminent and it may have been more aspirational. what we do know is the two men who are arrested stand accused of wanting to derail a passenger train crossing the canada/u.s. border, possibly by taking a
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bridge out from under the train as it crossed a river. so that could have caused -- they are charged with conspiracy so murder. so you could imagine dozens or scoresf people could have died in such an attack. >> absolutely. these guys are 30 and 35 respectively. what about talk, colin, that they were associated with al qaeda in iran? >> that was quite the allegation when police laid charges on monday. they announced that the plot was an al qaeda supported plot and that there were elements in iran who -- of al qaeda who gave guidance and direction for the plot. this was a surprising allegation given that, you know, al qaeda is not a group that would get along with iran's ayatollahs who are totally part of a different islamic sect. >> what's interesting here is, you know, we don't typically associate canada with al qaeda terror attacks, especially on
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your home soil. who you canadians reacting to all this? >> i think canadians are surprised, but in the last couple months there have been cases of canadians who have died overseas as militants affiliated with al qaeda i fiaffiliated gr in yemen -- sorry in algeria and somalia. so the notion of homegrown terrorist is not new to us, but we have not had any attacks here such as what you saw in the united states in 9/11 or even anything along the lines of what happened in boston this month. >> yeah. colin, is there discussion that this train that was being targeted ran between montreal and new york, so, in other words, it could still attack the united states in some tangential way, be it with the passengers that were on board or if they decided to blow it up at a place that was maybe, you know, on u.s. soil? i mean, is that something that's
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been discussed? >> yeah. unfortunately, police in canada, unlike u.s. police and prosecutors, don't lay out the elements of the case until it comes to trial. so it's very murky. the route of the train i believe is from new york to toronto. somewhere along that route, possibly right at the border, there was a feeling they could derail the train, but we have no concrete elements of how this plot would have gone down, and there's been no recovery of bomb or bomb materials. so, again, whether this was an aspirational attack, it could be. police just said nothing was imminent. >> look, you're a national security reporter there, how much of a threat is radical islam in canada? >> it's a good question. i mean, how much of a threat is radical islam in the united states, in europe?
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what's happened over the last 10, 12 years is that core al qaeda is a terror group that's been smashed and fragmented and it's now seeking to give -- what's left is seeking to give inspiration to people instead of command and control operations, directing operation its in the united states. so what we're facing in north america, in europe, in canada, in the united states, is self-starting people who take inspiration from al qaeda and can perpetrate attacks something like the boston marathon. it's a real challenge for police and intelligence officials to know what might be coming next. >> right. what's interesting here, wasn't the alert to police, didn't that originate from within the muslim community? >> well, this is something police are highlighting. when they announced the charges they brought a bunch of muslim leaders to toronto and thank them for creating a climate
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where muslims in canada could feel comfortable coming forward to police with the information that disrupted the alleged plot. there hasn't been a tremendous amount of conversation between police intelligence agencies and the mainstream muslim community, who, frankly are as much threatened as anybody by those extremists outlying elements that would, you know, use religion to commit an atrocity. >> all right. well, colin freeze of the toronto globe and mail, thank you so much, colin. >> thank you very much. so how did the two men isn'ted in the boston bombing fund their operation and where did the money come from? some new insight from a "boston globe" reporter in just minutes. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness?
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eric traffic controllers by moving funds around. the faa says the furloughs were implemented because of the across the board budget cuts known as the congress passed a fix, a band-aid, but these cuts are scheduled to keep falling across other parts of the government that provide vital services for the american people, and we can't just keep putting band aids on every cut. it's not a responsible way to govern. >> after passing that legislation, congress headed home for a nine-day break. joining me now political reporter for u.s. news and world report, lauren fox and white house reporter for "the washington post" david nakamura. lauren, big government in the boston terror investigation today with republican congressman mike rogers saying he blefelieves there will be mo arrests in this case. what are you hearing? >> you know, the intelligence committees have been having briefings all week on the hill. he's been one of the most outspoken lawmakers and he says with all the evidence of how
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these weapons were created, he believes that this may not have been something that the two brothers could have just done on their own. so what he feels like is that there may be more arrests coming. obviously, he's the guy in the room, these are classified briefings. i haven't heard outside of that information any corroborating sources who would agree with that, but i feel like this is an ongoing investigation and we'll have to continue to watch. >> it's as if he's sort of implementing common sense given the nature of what they were able to pull off here. how consuming has this been, david, the whole dealing with this, addressing within the white house, the investigation for this president? >> it's been pretty consuming because this came obviously as a big surprise. there's a lot of big questions remaining. the white house is under sort of a lot of scrutiny to sort of make answers with the law enforcement agencies. these guys were on the terror watch list and they don't have a lot of answers so far i think and that's the concern and i think but at the same time -- and the president rightfully so has had to make it a priority
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because the public is so concerned and at the same time that's been troubling for the rest 6 his agenda because it sort of overshadowed a lot of what else he's trying to do. >> speaking of that, immigration, something you have been covering extensively. how much does the boston terror attack affect or delay potential legislation? >> what's interesting is i think the critics of immigration reform of using the boston -- these are long-time critics. they're using bhand in boston to make the case let's slow down. we don't know what's in that 800-page bill we need to look at it and we're concerned about it. these are people who have had long-time kerns. there are a lot of people who are supportive so said these guys are using it as an excuse. proponents say it will change it for the best. more border security. we can track people better. but i think it will be used and it's over the next several
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months as immigration sort of comes to the fore or becomes debates, they will try to slow it down. >> with regard to the faa furloughs, the public was clamoring, congressmen and women were clamoring because they're having to use flights -- >> they're waiting in airports. >> absolutely. >> so why is it that congress chose to address this issue of the sequester or have i just answered that question? >> you have absolutely answered this question. when the public is upset about something and when members of congress are directly affected by something, this is an issue that's going to get dealt with. this was a very painful cut and people saw that it was a very painful cut. meanwhile, you have a lot of other areas of the government that have been affected by sequester. you have things like head start has experienced cuts. so education programs, research programs have experienced a lot of cuts. >> senior programs. meals on wheels. >> meals on wheels has gotten significant amounts of cuts. what you're seeing is there's a
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real idea to do something when people are feeling the need and they're getting calls from constituents. meanwhile, i don't know if we'll be able to see moving forward if there will be this loud outcry like this was the airports. >> have you been able to determine whether the faa with this sequester cuts needed to furlough employees or was this kind of a sequester grandstanding to make a point which clearly they did. >> they did. they announced early on they were going to have to shut down control terminals and furlough all these people. this is something that the obama administration has been warning about for months and they're still talking about doing that at the pentagon and other key places. when you talk about areas where congress might want to step in, they might have concerns, that's another area. but i don't know that the furloughs are going to be sort of as alarming as the white house believes. there's a lot of individually people have concerns in those departments, but i think for the general public so far there hasn't been as big an outcry. >> you have to wonder, the sequester cuts that you mentioned from head start to
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meals on wheels and the others, are you getting any sense that if -- piecemeal if people start opposing those as vociferously as people did the air-traffic controller furloughs, might congress have to then come back and do these sort of band-aid fixes? >> well, you know, one of the reasons that a lot of the house democrats were upset with the legislation on friday was they say this is a band-aid and we should be doing big sweeping bills. i feel like the momentum will run out to keep doing each of these smaller-type band-aid bills even if public outcry grows for each of these areas. >> okay. well, lauren fox and david nakamura, thanks. also congratulations, new dad. >> daughter is growing fast. >> three weeks or something. >> three months old. >> well, yeah, that's pretty fast. thank you so much. today we ask viewers if after the recent faa legislation will congress be forced to stop other sequester cuts?
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here are some of your tweets. kevin says, i wish congress would place as much interest in educating our children as they did on getting their butts home. kelly tweets, curious, congress works at breakneck speed to ensure no waiting in airports for their umpteenth break, yet for us, good luck. r.d. writes, introduce bill sto-to-immediately stop cuts to head start and force a vote. and as we learned, you can't force congress to dove anything. thank you so much for sending all those tweets. amanda knox speaks out about why she says she is still paralyzed by fear. what do you think? that's great. it won't take long, will it? nah. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save.
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welcome back to weekends with alex witt. it's time for the headlines at the half. syrian rebels attacked an air business. the raids follow two weeks of advances by syrian troops.
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31 people have been killed in the wor fs of the attacks. the first commercial flight of a boeing 787 dreamliner took place for the first time since those planes were grounded earlier this year. the plane left ethiopia and landed without incident in kenya after a two-hour trip. the jets were grounded after incidents with two smoldering batteries on two different planes in january. it was raining golf balls in the heartland sort of. a cluster of storms brought powerful winds and large hail to oklahoma city. trees and power lines were downed and a small section of the city was without electricity. nearly 12 years after the 9/11 attacks, a startling discovery in an alley not too far from ground zero. this is a picture showing part of an airplane landing gear believed to be from one of the airliners that hit the world trade center. nbc's rehema ellis is in lower manhattan for us. what's the latest on this discovery? >> reporter: alex, i'm about two
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blocks from ground zero and investigators want to take a closer look at what's wedged between two buildings behind me where police are now standing guard. it appears to be part of a jet's landing gear, four feet by five feet, in a narrow alleyway. you can just make out the word boeing and identification numbers. >> about 86 feet from -- >> new york's police commissioner inspected the site himself saying they're assuming the battered metal is part of the landing gear from one of the planes that destroyed the world trade center killing almost 3,000 people. >> the chief medical examiner will do an examination of the area around this part to see if it's toxic in any way. they will also check to see if there's any human remains at the site. >> reporter: authorities say workers inspecting the building made the startling discovery earlier this week. in a strange turn of events, the alley lies right behind that
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proposed controversial islamic cultural center that was subject to intense criticism for being too close to ground zero. now the discovery comes just as the city has stepped up efforts to identify the remains of 9/11 victims. >> it's kind of scary that they're still finding bits and pieces. >> reporter: how the aircraft part got into the narrow space is a mystery. >> could have it have been lowered at some time? it's possible. there's a rope that's on it that looks like it's intertwined with that part. >> reporter: the area has been secured as a crime scene. on monday the medical examiner will be here to investigate the site, which is being documented with photographs. and they will try to determine how they will remove the item or if they will remove it. alex? >> an extraordinary discovery. thank you so much. the more we learn about the boston marathon bombing, the
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more new questions are raised. where did the suspects' money come from? and what went on in the car they hijacked before their confrontation with the police? joining me now is boston globe investigative reporter michael razendies. welcome back to the program. i'm curious where the guys were getting their money. it appears the parents didn't have much at all. students say dzhokhar drove around a bmw. >> i think actually the opposite is probably the reality. we don't know for certain whether the tsarnaev brothers received any assistance, but it's looking more and more like the bombing of the boston marathon was an example of homegrown terrorism on a budget, if you will. i mean, each of these bombs could have been made for under $100 with commonly available components, pressure cooker stuffed with ball bearings and
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nails and commonly available explosive material. s about we know now when they staged their haphazard escape, they were broke. they had no money. furthermore, we know a lot now about how they were living, and while dzhokhar did seem to have more money than his older brother, the fact of the matter is he was a scholarship student at umass dartmouth and i think that's where a lot of his funds came from. we know fromself source that is he was a marijuana dealer. so i think his money was coming from dealing marijuana and the scholarship money he had. >> yeah. any idea how -- how did tamerlan fund the six months in russia last year? >> that i don't know. that's more of a bit of a mystery. maybe he had family connections over there and as i said, we're not certain whether there was any outside assistance offered to these two or not. but he obviously had family connections over there. we're not certain how he funded that, but we know he was a
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stay-at-home dad and living off his wife's salary as a home health care worker. >> okay. your colleague, eric moskowitz, has an article where he interviewed the carjacking victim danny. it's fascinating. some of the stuff they were talking about, they're talking about girls, credit limits for students, the marvels of the r mercedes-benz ml 350. it seems to teenage normal. >> eric did write a terrific story. i think as he said, a lot of this was reminiscent of a quinton tarantino movie with these humorous remarks these guys were making about music and girls. what's really remarkable is after the bombing, there's a growing pile of evidence that suggests they were utterly casual about what they had done, just going about leading their
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routine lives. it's quite amazing. >> absolutely amazing. you have to wonder if that's going to play into the cold-hearted interpretation of dzhokhar's actions as he's the only one who survived this. when danny, and this is not his real name, but sort of his american name, when he escaped, he called the cops immediately. he was critical to the police locating the brothers, wasn't he? and if so, how? >> well, i'm not sure i understand that you mean he was critical of the police locating the brothers. >> he had an iphone. didn't he leave that iphone in the car and, if so, if it was on, the ping, couldn't the cops trace that? >> well, that's how they found them was because of the cell phone. so, in fact, i think he did the right thing and it was leaving the cell phone behind that allowed the police to pick up the brothers, absolutely, yeah. but i don't think that he was critical to my knowledge of the police. i think the police were grateful that he did the right thing -- >> i'm sorry. i meant critical to the police's investigation. i'm sorry if that came out wrong. i don't believe he was critical
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of the police and i apologize if i didn't say that right. the article notes that the police had danny then go and do this drive-by lineup after he escaped to try to identify the suspects that they detained. do we have any idea who those people were or what they were doing at the time? >> no, we don't. i think when we reported that, it was the first i learned of that. i don't think we have any more detail on that, but it is very interesting. >> yeah. there have been suggestions that this was not an operation conducted exclusively by these two men. is there anything in the investigation at this point that gives any concrete evidence to that fact? >> i have not seen any, and i have not heard any. it's not to say it didn't happen, but, again, you know, it looks like very home grown kind of operation. was there outside assistance? perhaps. did tamerlan receive some instructions when he was in russia? perhaps. but again, this looks very, very
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home grown, very low budget operation, and not very well planned out when it came to the escape, that's for sure. >> yeah. okay, bostmichael, thank you. >> sure. what did the fbi learn from the surviving suspect before he stopped talking? and is that admissible in court? a customer thought? describe the first time you met. you brought the flex in... as soon as i met fiona and i was describing the problem we were having with our rear brakes, she immediately triaged the situation, knew exactly what was wrong with it, the car was diagnosed properly, it was fixed correctly i have confidence knowing that if i take to ford it's going to be done correctly with the right parts and the right people. get a free brake inspection and brake pads installed for just 49.95 after rebates when you use the ford service credit card. did you tell him to say all of that? no, he's right though... >> sure.
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challenge that with olay facial hair removal duos for fine or coarse hair. first a pre-treatment balm then the effective cream. for gentle hair removal at far less than salon prices. there's no place like home. a hunger strike at the prison in guantanamo bay has expanded. 100 of the 166 prisoners at the u.s. base in cuba have joined the strike. 19 are receiving liquid nutrition through a nasal tube. lawyers for the detainees say the military is undercounting the number of strikers. prisoners began their protest in february against the conditions of their indefinite confinement. in today's office politics, my msnbc colleague and host of "up" steve kornacki. he admits his new show hours are making for a strange sleep cycle. i asked steve why when 90% of
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the country supports gun control, congress can't deliver legislation supporting it. >> it has been almost like a classroom demonstration of the disfunction that drives everybody crazy in the political system in washington, in congress, on capitol hill. the reality is the 90% number i think gets thrown around a lot. there are a couple reasons why that doesn't translate into everybody is going to pass it. if you break that 90% down, half of the people who say that they are for universal background checks think we already have universal background checks. they just assume we do. >> it makes sense. >> right. why wouldn't we? i think people are very busy and they have kind -- most people i think do not -- definitely do not follow politic was the intensity that somebody like me who does it for a living follows it. it creates this atmosphere, i think, where there's a lot more room for interest groups and that sort of thing to hold sway and i think there are other factors but i think that's sort of the biggest one. that 90% doesn't translate into
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90% of the country watching this like hawks and that's what would need to happen. >> but even within the democratic party, i mean, you would think that would be an automatic. there were those who did not support it. >> yeah. well, within the democratic party so red state democrats, people who come from montana or alaska or arkansas. you look at a guy, mark pryor, senator from arkansas, he will be up for re-election next year in arkansas. arkansas a state -- it's bill clinton's state, used to be a democratic state, it's trended sharply in the republican direction. mark pryor looks like an iffy bet for re-election. a guy like pryor probably looks at this and says if i vote for this, the pro-gun groups are going to raise holy hell in my state for the next two years and they're not going to be telling people, well, he voted for the background check. they're going to be telling people he voted against guns. he voted against gun rights and gun culture. he voted against arkansas. >> but, you know, the common sense here, sometimes doing the
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right thing has its own reward. do you think anybody who voted against the bill in their heart believes it's the right thing? >> no, i think so. you know, there were stories -- for instance, heidi heitkamp, the senator from north dakota, freshman democrat, apparently according to the reporting out there, basically told the white house, basically told democrats pushing this that -- because they needed 06 votes to pass this. she said if you're at 59, i will vote for you. i will be the 60th vote and get this passed but i'm not going to be -- if you're at 54 and you want to get to 55, that's not going to be me. so she was basically saying, look, if my vote will make a difference, i'll be there. otherwise i'm going to try to protect myself the way i see it in my home state. a lot of those calculations go on. it's one of those things that can be maddening about politics but i don't think this is the only vote where that sort of thing happens. >> we're hearing disco music. we visited this with chris hayes who used to occupy this office.
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i guess it's time to ask you about you being a single guy man about town going to the dance scenes -- >> i requested this song by the way. i asked them to put it on. ♪ >> i'm trying to figure out, in theory by new saturday and sunday is going to be monday and tuesday. last weekend we did the show. i got out of here at 8:00 on saturday because we finish the show saturday morning and then we work until sunday. i got home and i just sat down on the couch and -- >> it's like i am so not going out. >> i fell asleep. yeah. >> poor guy. falling asleep at 8:00 at night. tomorrow at this time steve shares his thoughts on the politics behind immigration and the federal budget and what it's like to go out for a run in the dark early morning hours of the weekend before he gets to work. in light of green week, we begin today's number ones by clearing the air. a new american lung association report says the air is getting generally better but we have a long way to go. the best places for air quality
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are cheyenne, wyoming, st. george, utah, and santa fe, new mexico. eight of the ten dirtiest cities are in california. los angeles is fourth on that list and that's due in part to all that traffic. a study says l.a. has the country's worst traffic congesti congestion. i was just there. it's true. folks averaging 59 hours stuck in traffic last year. l.a. is third on the global list with brussels first of the worst, antwerp second. san jose, california, one of the happiest cities. san francisco is second. the nation's capital third. people named gwyneth paltrow the most beautiful woman in the world. did you check out that see-through dress she wore at the iron man 3 premiere. it comes a week after the poll named her the most hated celebrity. jealousy perhaps, right? and those are your number ones.
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a couple years ago when i was here, i read from my book of misarticulations. fortunately, my verbal phonation and electrocution have improved.
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the surviving suspect in the boston marathon twin bombings is being treated at a federal prison medical facility, but there are lingering questions surrounding the initial fbi interrogation of dzhokhar tsarnaev. legal analyst lisa green is joining me in d.c. in our studio. with a welcome to you, my friend, i'm awfully glad you're here. he's been moved out of the hospital and into a federal prison medical facility. interpret what's going on there and can they still speak with him under these circumstances? >> let's talk first about the move to the -- from the hospital to the prison facility which would seem to be something you would do once you had confidence that it's a secure location, of course, and that he gets necessary and appropriate care. i think another factor might well have been his proximity to victims of the bombing in the same hospital, and i think family members were understandably sensitive to that. so now we've moved him away and i think that is sensitive. but, again, the foremost
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importance here is making sure he's well and in a secure place. >> is there anything the public defender can do with this and say this wasn't the right move. >> if it harmed his care, but i think it's fair to say everyone's goal is to make sure he's available for ultimately trial. >> well, and ultimately available to talk or not because the reports are that once he was mar ran di mirandized there it went. >> there's a public safety exception that apparently was used to get some initial questioning done. but, you know, even if he's mirandized and he speaks, later on when we get closer to trial, the defense can move to have some of that evidence suppressed. they can say it wasn't really voluntary. he had received his miranda warnings properly, but given the extraordinary circumstances, including his health, that information may not come in. in fact, there's tons of other evidence as we've all -- >> hold on.
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this can't be a slam dunk case because he allegedly admitted to the bombings, admitted to helping in the killing of officer sean collier of m.i.t. all these things. if he admitted them, that can't be admitted in court? >> no, no, no. it's a separate thing. let's move the admissions aside for just a minute and look at the bulk of other evidence available to prosecutors in this case. the video evidence. eyewitness testimony. i don't think there's a legal expert who doesn't think, double negative, that this would be an extremely strong case for prosecutors to bring whether there is admissible testimony from the suspect. >> okay. with regard to eyewitnesses and the like, how important will that be? because aren't eyewitnesses sort of -- it's 20/20. that very brave young man who was at the forefront of i believe it was the second bombing and, you know, he was able to give an eyewitness description. >> uh-huh. >> but does that play into the case itself? >> yeah, it's all building blocks and you're building a
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case with a lot of different supplies at your disposal, but i think, you know, it does seem to be here, not just eyewitness testimony, but in our amazing 21st century situation where there are cameras everywhere and clear photographic evidence, clear video evidence of where the suspects were at the time of the bombing. i think prosecutors should feel confident they have a lot of information to build a very strong case. >> i think so. well, we'll have you back and we'll talk more about it in the days to come. thank you, lisa green. breaking news in just this past hour. an arrest made in connection with the ricin letter sent to president obama and to other public officials. we have a live report next. for the little mishaps you feel, use neosporin to help you heal. it kills germs so you heal four days faster neosporin. also try neosporin eczema essentials.
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terrorist ties. and paralyzed by fear, amanda knox speaks out about her nightmare in prison and how she's trying to get past it. good day to all of you. welcome to weekends with alex witt. we're coming to you from washington where it is 1:00 in the east, 10:00 a.m. out west. we have a new twist in the boston terror investigation. nbc news has learned the mother of the two suspected brothers was added to a federal terrorism database 18 months before the bombings. the list, known as t.i.d.e., includes some 700,000 names. it does not mean that those are suspected of carrying out terrorist activities but it serves as a base for relevant federal agencies to produce more specific watch lists. also new a key congressman says he expects the feds to make more arrests. mike rogers of michigan says there are, quote, clearly more persons of interest. landfill near boston has now become a part of the search for clues. investigators are combing through piles of trash looking
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for any evidence connected to suspect dzhokhar and tamerlan tsarnaev. in watertown, officials have moved the boat where dzhokhar was found hiding last week. he remains in police custody. his older brother was killed in the gunfight with police. for the first time the man behind one of the ou connick photos to come out is sharing his incredible story. jeff bauman came face-to-face with tamerlan tsarnaev before the bombs went off. he lost both legs but was able to give authorities a description of the suspicious man. >> i was still conscious when i was being transported from the blast site to the hospital, and the whole time, when i was in the hospital, i was giving descriptions of the guy, the first guy, the guy with the hat and the glasses, the aviators and the 5:00 shadow. >> tamerlan, suspect number one.
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>> yeah. i was real adamant about it. >> nbc's michelle franzen in boston for us. michelle, what is jeff bauman revealing about that day? anything more than what we heard there? >> reporter: you have heard just a glimpse of it. a first-hand account of jeff bauman who lost both legs during that time, but also just remembering the details, enough of them where he was able to alert the fbi and let them know, give them a good enough description, and he also detailed in that radio interview of just exactly how different suspect number one, tamerlan, was. >> well, i was with my girlfriend's roommates, and we were having a great time, you know. we were watching the runners. everyone was having a great time. just that one guy, you know. he didn't look like he was having a good time. so he was right next to me at that point, and he had a bag, and he had his glasses. he had like kind of like a
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leather sweatshirt type of deal and it was warm out. he was just an odd guy. he just struck me as odd and that's what i remember of him. and then next thing you know, i hear fireworks and i'm on the ground. >> reporter: and enough detail, of course, to get the fbi and federal agents to release those photos of the suspect that, of course, led to that manhunt and that shootout in watertown. we're back here along boylston street on this saturday. copley square behind me is filled with people who are coming here at this makeshift memorial that's been here since the beginning following those deadly bombing attacks. and they're out here. they're looking through photographs, messages people have written. they're laying flowers down and just talking with one another as life here in boston gets back to normal. alex? >> okay, michelle franzen, thank you very much for reporting, especially from right where you are there. we're following some developing news in tupelo,
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mississippi, where there has been an arrest in connection to the investigation to poisoned letters sent to president obama and other officials two eks ago. kristin welker is at the white house for us. what is the latest in these developments? >> reporter: alec, good afternoon to you. fbi officials confirm that special agents did arrest 41-year-old everett dutschke this afternoon, and authorities in tupelo, mississippi, say that the arrest is in connection with those ricin-laced letters that were addressed to president obama and members of congress. at this point in time though, no charges have been filed and no word on what specific charges will be filed. he is being held in a detention center expected to be arraigned on monday. now, his home was actually investigated by authorities tuesday and wednesday. so reporters have been outside of his house on a number of different days this week, alex. our local affiliate actually interviewed him earlier this
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week. take a listen to what dutschke had to say. >> i had absolutely nothing to do with those letters and the person that was -- her defense attorney or his defense attorney said -- steered them in my direction because i was probably an easy target. >> now, you heard him mention he. he is referring to the other person who was actually arrested and charged with this, an elvis impersonator named paul kevin curtis. charges were dropped against curtis on tuesday, and we do know that the two men knew each other, though it's not clear exactly how well they knew each other. so this puzzle is still being pieced together, alex, but we do know that this man, everett dutschke, is under arrest at this hour and we are waiting to learn more about what charges he might face in the coming days. alex? >> as we were taking a look at the man who has been cleared, it's an extraordinary story. thank you so much, kristin
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welker. let's get some further keft from clark kent irvin. with a welcome to you, what are you hear being this arrest? >> well, it's not surprising to me that officials would hone in on this person so quickly. obviously, there's intense interest. this is against the backdrop of the boston investigation. of course, this is reminiscent of the anthrax attacks of some ten years ago, so it makes perfect sense this arrest would happen owe so quickly and we'll see what this fellow has to say. >> i'm curious, ricin, is it an easy thing to handle? one must be really careful, right? >> that's exactly right. it requires a considerable degree of sow nis ifof sophisti. handled improperly it's instantaneously lethal. it depends on the concentration, of course, but this is a very serious matter, no question. >> we talked about the backdrop, and this came against the bombings in the boston marathon. the mother of the two suspects he you have two memrs of
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the same family put on a watch list, you'd think that they're going to stay there. did tamerlan fall off the watch list? what happened? explain this list, what it's all about. >> the watch list is really the master terrorist watch list. it's about 700,000. it doesn't mean, as you said, that every person on the list is a terrorist, but it means that they're at a minimum is some suspicion as to whether they have terrorism ties. it's the backdrop for the no-fly list and the proper terrorist watch list that the fbi uses. and so, you know, it seems to me that there are a lot of quesontoe answered here. both the fbi and the cia we know were contacted by the russians. as for whatever information they had on this person, the fbi ran it to ground, went through their databases. they even questioned both the mother, the rest of th mbers of the family, and the elder tsarnaev himself. ultimately determined there was nothing and then asked for further information. the russians interestingly did not provide it. then the russians went to the cia and asked for its
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information. the cia ran it to ground, didn't find anything. the cia put it on this t.i.d.e.s list but the name for the eller tsarnaev brother was spelled incorrectly. there were two birth dates. when he came back to the country it didn't sync up. we need to know exactly what the russians -- what they learned about him during the course of his time there and at a minimum it seems to me there ought to have been some questioning of tsarnaev when he returned. one question is whether they had the legal authority to do that. if they didn't have the legal authority to do that, then obviously the congress needs to provide that legal authority. if they did have the legal authority and didn't do it, then obviously that was a huge missed opportunity. subsequently we learned that there were these youtube postings that he placed and that's apparently when he was ralcleized and when this plot was launched. >> how unusual is it for russian intelligence and u.s.
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intelligence to work together. >> it's not unusual at all. we have our difficulties government to government with russia, no question, on iran and syria. but as far as counterterrorism is concerned, there's generally close cooperation, and it's striking to me that we would have asked the russians for information actually three times, the fbi asked a second time we've learned this past week, and they didn't provide it. so it's inconceivable to me that the russians weren't closely following him given their concerns so we need to know what they learned about him when he was in russia and we'll lern it soon, no question. >> i'm sure you learned republican congressman mike rogers has suggested more arrests will be forth coming. where does that come from? >> you know, he is privy to classified briefings. he's chairman of the house intelligence committee. he's not known as someone who bandys about charges loosely. it's interesting and it's important that he said that and we'll see what happens in the coming weeks. >> from what you know, do you think these arrests would be
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here in the united states or elsewhere? russia, chechnya? >> i don't think we know that really. it's conceivable there could have been people here helping them. certainly it's conceivable there could have been people abroad. this was a fairly sophisticated plot, so it would be surprising to me if there were no other people involved. >> a sophisticated plot though that originated as we understand now from this online al qaeda magazine "inspire." >> right. >> are officials familiar with this magazine? do they look at it and monitor its possiblecations online. >> they do. they do monitor it. that's one reason why it's still up on the internet because it's arguably advantageous for us to have access to it and other jihadi websites that give some indication what is terrorists are thinking and planning. the flip side is is this analogous to yelling fire in a crowded theater. the first amendment like all our amendments are not absolute. since we have seen this plot that apparently was inspired by this magazine and the how-to was
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given to the terrorists, it calls into question whether it should continue to be up it seems to 34e. >> what strikes more fear in your heart, that they acted alone or that they were part of a greater organization. >> i think this is the consensus. if they acted solely on their own inspired by al qaeda but acted alone, because that really is the hard toast spot. that's worse than finding a needle in a haystack. >> the homeland security secretary napolitano says the system pinged. >> right. >> when tamerlan tsarnaev left the country. so leaving the country pinging. how is it -- is it just because of the birth date and the spelling that we talked about, but they nailed him on the way out. >> what she was referring to is yet another database called text and that was the database that the fbi put his name into. that gives alerts to customs officials at airports when people of concern are leaving and entering the country.
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now, when he left the country in january of last year, there was that alert at the airport, but the fbi didn't do anything because they had already cond t conducted their investigation. the russians dn't give any further information. when he camek, another ping but by then the alert had expired. and as you say, the t.i.d.e.s alert didn't ping because the name was entered incorrectly and the birth date was entered incorrectly. we still have problems with our databases and communications between and among our law enforcement and intelligence officials. >> hard to hear that but i'm sure it does exist. thank you so much. i'm sure we'll be talking with you again clark kent irvin. what you're seeing is part of an airplane landing gear glefd to be from one of the airliners that hit the world trade center on 9/11. the four foot wide part was found in an alleyway. the medical examiner will be conducting further
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investigations at the site on monday. is congress in the mood to eliminate even more sequester cuts? that's next. found in an alleyway. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness?
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the largest fund-raising effort to help victims of the boston bombings is now almost $26 million. kenneth feinberg, the overseeing of the one fund tells the associated press he hopes to meet with families by june 15th and issue checks by the end of june. big relief for airline passengers. congress' last minute maneuver before a week-long break ensures air-traffic controllers will return to work. many have been furloughed leading to hundreds of frustrating delays and cans clags. the faa said the furloughs were implemented because of budget cuts from the sequester, and here is what the president is saying about it. >> i hope members of congress will find the same sense of urgency and bipartisan
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cooperation to help the families still in the crosshairs of these cuts. members of congress may not feel the pain felt by kids kicked off head start or the 750,000 americans projected to lose their jobs because of these cuts or the long-term unemployed who will be further hurt by them, but that pain is real. >> joining me now is senior washington correspondent for politico anna palmer and msnbc drkter perry bacon, jr. we had senator joe manchin who said congress is acting with self-interest because congressional members have had to get on planes to go back to their districts, they're feeling the plane and that's why there is action. >> we've seen an issue that affects congress and affects lots and lots of americans. it mostly affects people who are federal workers and that's not most people but the congressmen are getting calls. they're affecting themselves. you see this has moved them to act quickly. it's unfortunate on other issues they're not affected as much. they might act quicker and better. >> do you think people need to
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call about meals on wheels -- >> and gun control for that matter. that would probably help move those issues. we're hearing two issues down the pike, nih funding and people who work in military hospitals. those are politically popular causes. >> let's take a listen now to republican senator susan collins of maine talking about this faa bill. here it is. >> i'm delighted that the senate has just passed a bipartisan bill to resolve a serious problem confronting the american traveling public and our economy. and it's nice to know that the when we work together we really can solve problems. >> so, okay, they solved this one problem, but is there a disconnect with washington to have congratulate one's self for doing that. >> as somebody who is going to take a flight next week, i'm
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excited it's going to be fixed but het start, this is a one offing they have chosen to fix because they heard a lot about it. they're ignoring other critical things. >> so was she also ignoring that congress caused this problem in the first place? i mean, just saying. >> absolutely, yes. >> i mean, it's self-congratulatory senator speak when they pass anything that there's any kind of bipartisanship on at this point. you know, there wasn't a lot that was happening there. >> how about this, perry, a band said has been put on the faa now. do we think the nature of how this happened, the expediency, the bipartisan nature of it, caa of things facing congress right now? >> i expect there will be a couple other programs in the sequester, i mentioned military hospitals, i think you will see that kind of speed on an issue where basically 100% of americans are for military hospitals working. immigration, gun control, on a
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grand bargain, i wouldn't hold your breath. congress will be moving as slow as it likes to. in a lot of ways the sequester took a long time to pass but it's not great policy though. things have not moved as fast as they should have. we knew this was come yet congress did nothing until the last moment possible until the effects were happening. >> all right. let's move to the discussion about syria and i want to begin with you because it seems, anna, there's evidence of some use of chemical weapons. this is something the president has called a game changer and previously a few months ago in the fall he said if that happens syria is crossing a red line. the president is crossing a red line there. what are the white house options? >> i think they're being very cautious right now. they're looking at saying they're investigating, making sure they're taking kind of prudent action here. secretary of state kerry was briefing members of the house and the senate this week and said the option on the table are
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everything from, you know, potentially no-fly zones to all kinds of different kind of things, but they didn't necessarily at least the senators and the members that we talked to at politico, weren't saying force. that wasn't one of the things they were really trying to lay out there. >> okay. perry, your latest article, i have it right here, titled media declares obama's second term doa but don't count him out yet. >> we took the gun control thing and some people wrote about it and said this was the end of his agenda, suggested he was going to be weakened in the future. i was at the white house thp they think they can revive gun control. they think it's possible to find more votes. kelly ayotte, one of the republicans who voted against gun control, has faced a lot of pressure from people on the lef because she's in a blue state and they think there's room to move on gun control, get manchin, toomey, a few others together on that issue. then immigration we think has a great chance of passing, of course. president still working on the
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grand bargain. he's got at least one more year to really solidly legislate before we start talking about the midterms and hk and joe biden and marco rubio and the presidential race but there's still time for him to get things done even on gun control. >> perry bacon, jr., anna palmer, good to see you both. >> thanks. amanda knox's tell-all book comes out next week but what is she saying about being retried for murder? that is next. what do you think? that's great. it won't take long, will it? nah. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. dig in and save with vigoro one-quart annuals, four for just ten bucks.
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preview. >> it's been a year and a half since amanda knox's tearful homecoming. >> what's important for me to say is just thank you to everyone. >> since then she has said little else. but in an interview with "people" magazine, the now 25-year-old opens up saying it never occurred to me that i would be considered a suspect. knox was an exchange student in italy when her roommate meredith kercher was brutally murdered. knox and her boyfriend were accused. prosecutors painting fox as a vixen or cuddling with sollecito instead of crying. >> she says there were all sorts of moments of heart break we did not see. >> in her new memoir "waiting to be heard" knox says she wants to set the record straight. she tes people i am not a murderer and describes her anguish during four years in an italian prison. >> amanda describes her ordeal as being one where her privacy was invaded, where the guards
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were leering and touching and in her space. >> knox says she considered suicide and credits her family and sollecito with keeping her going. the two aren't together anymore, but she says they are close and talk often. knox is back in seattle, back in school dating an old friend who wrote her letters in prison. she has no plans to go back to italy for a new trial and says she is often still paralyzed by fear and worries about kercher's family saying her father thinks i'm the killer of his daughter and that's painful. i really hope they read my book. so that italian court has cleared the way for knox and sollecito to stand trial again. in italy there is no double jeopardy but experts say there is little chance that the u.s. would extradite her and, again, her lawyers tell us she will not go back. alex? >> okay. thank you so much. i appreciate that, kristin dahlgren. . parts of the boston terror suspects make a sudden move but will they be coming to the u.s. anytime soon? suspects make a su
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will they be coming to the u.s. anytime soon? parts of the bosto suspects make a sudden move but will they be coming to the u.s. anytime soon? suspects make a su will they be coming to the u.s. anytime soon? teor suspects make move but will they be coming to the u.s. anytime soon? hey! did you know that honey nut cheerios
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welcome back to weekends with alex witt. coming to you from washington this morning or afternoon now. new details emerge about the parents of the boston bombing suspects. they are now in chechnya. here is what tsarnaev's mother told reporters. >> they are already talking about i am terrorists. they told i was doing some terroristic -- what did they tell, some kind of operation i was kind of preparing or i already did something. i don't know. people are telling different, you know, information. they already want me, him, and all of us to look as a terrorists. >> nbc's adrian hmong is in moscow for us. with a good day to you, the families in chechnya, do we know what they're doing there now? >> reporter: good day, alex. it's not very clear.
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they arrived in chechnya yesterday and a relative of the family, a relative told us that it's possible the father might be going -- undergoing medical tests. he's been very ill. he's missed out on one day out of two days of questioning with the fbi and the russian federal security service which took place earlier this week in dagestan. it's not clear if they're really preparing to go to the u.s. as youalex, now that the cia has confirmed that the mother was put on a watch list in the fall of 2011 along with the name of her older son, tamerlan, who was killed in the police shootout last week, it's not clear if they're going to be rushing to the u.s. just yet, alex. >> what about the contact between russian intelligence and u.s. officials about this case? are we learning anything more about that? >> well, it still remains a bit
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murky. the fbi has insisted they were only approached once by the fsb, the russian federal security service, in 2011. this was before tamerlan actually went back to russia for about six months last year, 2012. the fsb have said here, they have alleged that they actually reached out again to the fbi or to the u.s. authorities in 2012 in the fall after he returned, after tamerlan returned to the u.s. they have said that they were concerned that he had been meeting with a suspected militant here in dagestan. but the fbi maintains they have only been contacted once. >> okay. so tsarnaev's mother, the woman we were just listening to there from chechnya, she's placed on this list. it does not mean she's a suspected terrorist, correct? i mean, she's just a person of interest or there's something that has alerted u.s. authorities to say take a closer
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look? >> reporter: well, yes, that's correct, alex. it means that she was put on a watch list because her son, his name had been flagged. there was no evidence to suggest that she was actually involved in any sort of terrorist activity. now, just to be clear, there were two instances in which her name came up. the first time apparently was the fbi. this was again 2011 when they had been approached by the fsb to look into her and her son because apparently the russian authorities believe that they were religious militants or people who had been converted and were traveling to russia for any sort of militant activity. the second time her name came up was with the cia. again russian authorities contacted them. they approached them and said we're concerned. could you take a look. now, the cia has not confirmed anything about the details of what was passed on to them. >> okay. thanks so much.
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new intelligence reports about syria's possible use of chemical weapons is putting president obama under increasing pressure to take action. earlier today nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel told me why the president isn't making any hasty decisions. >> when you think about a chemical weapons use or even a nuclear weapon use, you think of a mass attack. what happened when the saddam hussein government punished a city, a town in this case, and killed thousands of people. or the chemical gas attacks of world war i where thousands died in clouds of mustard gas. what seems to have happened in syria on perhaps two occasions is there were a small number of casualties and small amounts of sarin were found. now, i'm not trying to say that that wasn't a bad thing. but it's not what you would expect when you're using a weapon of mass destruction. was it an accident? were they intending to kill more
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people but the weapons didn't function properly? were they sending a message to the opposition or to us? it wasn't a mass casualty chemical weapons-style attack. there's something strange about what happened. >> well, the president declared last summer that if the assad regime used chemical weapons, it would be crossing a red line and it would not be tolerated. joining me with more on syria as well as the very latest in the boston bombings investigation i'm delighted to welcome democratic congresswoman jan schakowsky. so glad you're here. as we pick up on what richard engel was talking about, it appears that there's evidence of some chemical weapon use. is that not the red line which the president said cross it and it's a red line we're going to have to do something? >> there's a difference between intelligence which leads us to believe that they are using chemical weapons in some way, who exactly and where and when, not confirmed yet, and evidence.
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evidence meaning that you can connect the physiological evidence. you can look at some blood. the kind of evidence that you can actually take, for example, to the united nations and say -- >> irrefutable. >> -- we have irrefutable evidence that this is being used and it's being used by the assad regime against its own people. so we have not connected all the dots yet to make sure, and i really appreciate the fact that the president rather than just going in guns blazing is taking a very deliberate approach because this is a very complicated situation. >> it's complicated in part because as richard was explaining, when you think about the use of chemical weapons, you think about massive attacks. you think about what saddam hussein did to an entire village and wiped that out. thousands of people can be -- >> wmd, weapons of mass destruction. >> but in this case it would appear that it is like a dozen, maybe a couple of dozen people,
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as many as four different attacks according to intelligence reports. so how much does that muddy the waters in terms of reaction? >> i think it does. it's unclear why that would be used as a tactical weapon in such small amounts. is it a signal that the syrian government was sending that, yes, we have these weapons and we'll use them? was it a mistake, as richard engel postulated could be a reason? so i think before we take definitive action in terms of the red line clicking something on as the president said, it's not an on or off switch, we need to do more. it's important to note we're not sitting around doing nothing as i think some of the critics may assu assume. >> with 70,000 dead, there are critics who would say, look, why is it this has to be the red line over which we would cross because --
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>> cross to do what? >> that's the question. >> the united states of america is already the single largest giver to the opposition forces in syria. yes, it's nonlethal, $250 million, but that includes body armor, a bunch of the equipment that can be used in conflict by the opposition. we're helping coordinate to make sure that all aid goes to those more moderate forces so we're not helping the al qaeda related organization in syria. this is a very complicated and difficult situation, and not clear what action taken by the united states would actually advance the situation there. we're looking at all the options. people aren't sitting around watching people die in syria. >> okay. let's move to boston because i know you heard the chairman of the house intelligence committee on which you sit, mike rogers, saying that he thinks more arrests are forthcoming. based on the intelligence which presumably you're familiar with as well, why would he say that?
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>> every relationship that these two brothers have had is being investigated. these people are being questioned. they're being watched. they're being identified in the united states and elsewhere to make sure -- this is one of the broadest investigations that we've had. we will see whether or not there are others who are more than just persons of interest, if there's -- was plotting for another attack. we know the brothers might have been heading to new york to times square, but so i do think that we're going to see a number of important developments. >> we talk about the cia having added tsarnaev's mother to this terror watch list called t.i.d.e. of which there are some 700,000 names reportedly, and yet all of this still happens and there can be critics who would say these guys slipped through the cracks. are you frustrated or do you think that protocol was followed and that it was just a matter of
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something is not syncing up like the misspelling of a name, the different birth dates, two different birth dates. that would cause this kind of confusion in the system. >> i know that the fbi did follow up on the russian identification or flagging of the older brother. there's no question about that. and the investigation that they did, though he is still in the database, did not lead to in no-fly list. so i think it is worth looking to see if there's still some additional siloing going on between the cia and the fbi. if there are lessons that we can learn to make sure that there is the kind of sharing that needs to happen. but it's not as if he was ignored by u.s. authorities. >> how about tamerlan and dzhokhar's mother? is there any indication that she may have been part of something in an active way here related to boston? >> all of that is part of this
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broad investigation. i want to say one thing, alex. think of the fact that these two people were caught, one is dead, one is jailed, in a very short time by law enforcement from the top, from the fbi to the local law enforcement. it's really quite an achievement. i think we should make sure we can do better ahead of time so we avoid that, but it's been a remarkable effort and continues to be one. >> well, i would agree with you, and i have said many a time over the past couple weeks that, in fact, we have to be right 100% of the time because we're trying to protect this country and terrorists only have to be right once. >> that's correct. >> okay. representative jan schakowsky, so good to see you. >> thank you. training for terror, was it solely a website that caught the tsarnaev brothers how to build a bomb or did they get help? the big three, next. ♪ [ male announcer ] purpose elevates what we do.
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it is time for the big three terror edition. new twists, bomb builders, and what's next. let's bring in my big three panel. president of liberty group ventures, kirsten todd who specializes in security strategies, president of custom protective services john cutter, and msnbc law enforcement analyst and retired atf special agent in charge jim cavanaugh. with a welcome to all three of you, john, i'm going to begin with you. why would a congressman who has access to sensitive information say he believes there will be other arrests in this case? i'm referring to republican -- represent rather, mike rogers, a republican of michigan. >> i think what he's trying to do is instill some confidence in the american people that law enforcement and the federal agencies are actively pursuing this investigation to the bitter end. if there are other arrests to be made, they'll be made. >> okay.
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kirsten, what is this we hear about a land fissile search and looki looking for a laptop? >> because we are trying to gather as much information as possible, there's clearly evidence leading us to explore opportunities for where there could be additional evidence in all of this. i think we have to keep looking at all of the options because this is such a broad investigation. >> yeah. hey, jim, i know you have been with us since the start. what is your biggest takeaway from all of this? you have been in this investigation as its evolved. what wha have you taken away from it? >> there's going to be other associates of the brothers. there's going to be other people. they're not the unabomber. they didn't live in a cabin in the woods so they know people and they associate with people. that's going to have to be rooted out by the agents. are they just friends, relatives? they could be people that are involved in radical views but not necessarily co-conspirators. >> right. so that wouldn't come forward with any sort of an arrest.
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i mean, a friend, someone who knows them, i mean, that's not going to be arrest worthy as has suggested. >> even if someone was involved in radical, fanatical discussions doesn't necessarily mean they're a co-conspirator but they could be. that's a delicate line because you can be radical and fanatical but you don't have to be involved in a conspiracy to bomb the marathon. that's what we have to root out. i'm sure there are other people that are friendly and talked with them and they want to find who they are. >> i want to stay with you as we start our second topic, the bomb builders. it seems it was relatively easy for these guys to read this al qaeda magazine, an online magazine called "inspire" and from that be able to construct these bombs without significant training. is that plausible or do you think one of the brothers had training and notably probably tamerlan during that sick months he was overseas? >> that's a great point.
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"inspire" is well-known to the intelligence community and law enforcement. john, the nypd, it's a must-read. we were all reading those kind of things. it has the manual to build then he gets immersed with them and maybe picks up hands on training and testing.
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we don't note answer but that's what they are trying to explore. >> so, john, new york city security as it currently stands works it have been able to catch this attack before it happened? >> well, no one can ever say for sure that they would catch an attack before it happens. obviously, with the nypd and all the other agencies involved in new york city, especially at the new york city marathon, they go through painstaking meeting after meeting to make sure that a potential incident like this doesn't happen. doesn't mean that it couldn't, but i think there would be a good likelihood that they would be call the before actually getting to that point. >> in part, because of the technology new york has it place, and you know public technology like this all these cameras works that have prompted these guys getting caught? are they foolproof? >> i think there's nothing that's foolproof what you are trying to do is create the resiliency to prevent and when something does happen to contain t cameras are certainly
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something that we are looking at more closely as part of security measures, particularly in open areas, whether it's entertainment events or sporting events, which which is quite critical looking forward. >> okay. i will ask you all three to sit up tight. coming up next what can authorities learn from the boston bombings to learn about future attacks. both tylenol and bayer advanced aspirin
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we're back with the big three. i'm going to you, john, because we have information that came out of a hospital interview with the fbi and the surviving suspect. in fact, he reportedly said they were going to new york city to attack there. does the boston attack show that there are plenty more vulnerable spots? >> anywhere in this country is a vulnerable spot. anywhere you have individuals that have this type of attitude, they can have an attack anywhere. >> yeah. well, make a good point t can happen anywhere for sure. how about kirsten what is next in the investigation and where do you think is the biggest
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question being answered at this point for you? >> i think one of the big issues that we need to look at is how we counter violent extremism and looking at the strategy that the president released in august 2011 that focused on communities and it focused on international relations. and that was two elements we really need to be focussing on moving forward author type of event, how can communities play a role in identifying these types of individuals? and then again looking at our relationships, not just with the countries with whom we are alleys by those country wes don't have -- not necessarily strained relationship bus more challenging relationships, like russia, we really need to be cooperating with for. >> jim, same question to you what is the big question unanswered when you move forward, what direction do we need to improve on? >> well, that was excellent. i agreed completely with that but just layer on top, nobody can come off of any list if they leave the country. if they leave the country they can't come off any list by executive order. secondly, i would think that the police chiefs need to look and
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start to double -- think about doubling the squad cars immediately under a terrorist attack in the greater metropolitan area r you don't know where they are. you double the cars, rifle the cars, at least. and then the third one, leff ranlgt digital technology even further with virtual agents and it would really help. >> okay. well, thank you so much, guys. appreciate that. kirsten todd, john cutter, jim cavanaugh. that is a wrap-up of "weekends with alex witt." see you tomorrow at 12 eastern. up next, craig melvin walking in the studio now.
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it won't take long, will it? nah. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. dig in and save with vigoro one-quart annuals, four for just ten bucks. a good saturday afternoon to you, i'm craig mel vichblt you are watching msnbc, the place for politics, coming to you live from the nation's capital. congress did something they rarely do these days, vote for something. >> members of this house are going to run for the airports and they will pat themselves on the back and say job well done. >> now the faa has the funding it needs.


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