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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  September 17, 2013 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us on a sobering day here in washington, where we learned that all of our problems are not inferior from anywhere else far from home. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and tonight, the country reels from another mass shooting, the worst since newtown, connecticut, in december. it happened in our nation's capital. the washington navy yard, a complex of buildings a short distance from the u.s. capitol. tonight, at least 13 people are dead, including the gunman. police say another dozen are injured. questions remain surrounding the alleged shooter's motive, who reportedly had a grudge against the navy. when the news first broke this morning, no one knew what this was. confusion and chaos bringing the city to an absolute standstill. here's what that looked like.
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>> breaking news right now. security forces have just entered the building in search of a gunman who remains at large. this is an active shooting. it's here in washington, d.c. [ sirens ] >> we are hearing multiple shots being fired right now. we did hear that there is an officer down. so, we don't know if this officer down is one of the three folks we heard that was shot, but again, just seconds ago, we heard multiple shots being fired and then officer down. >> it seems right now people are rattled, but right now there's still a heavy police presence, s.w.a.t. vehicles are still being driven into the navy yard. it's being circled by helicopters here. >> i just wanted to point out, more police assets moving in here now, unmarked vehicles. this has been all morning. >> schools are in lockdown mode. u.s. capitol police have increased security around the capitol. >> just three gunshots straight in a row, pop, pop, pop. three seconds later, it was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, so it was like, about a total of seven gunshots.
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and we just started running. >> you heard that the traffic, the street traffic in that area was shut down. the metro stations in the area were shut down, the subway stations, but we've also been told that the d.c. airport, washington reagan national airport, just across the river from the navy yard, has also temporarily suspended operations. >> eyewitnesses reported what could only be a horrifying scene. >> as i was running, and i heard gunshots, and holy cow. i don't know, it could have been way above me, but i wasn't stopping to think, you know, what was going on. >> i was on the phone and somebody came over to my desk and said, hey, this is not a fire alarm, somebody has been shot in the building. so we ran around getting people out of the building, and as we were exiting the back door, we noticed him down the hall. he stepped around the corner, we heard shots and he aimed the gun at us and fired at least two or three shots. >> the biggest concern for us right now is that we potentially have two other shooters that we have not located at this point.
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so, right now, all we have on those potential other shooters -- and this is not confirmed. we potentially may have two additional shooters out there. >> it was a harrowing bit of information at the end of a news conference earlier today. here to help me sort through this is michael isikoff, nbc news special correspondent. what do we know about the shooter, singular, the possible suggestion of other shooters at this moment? >> first of all, on the possible existence of other shooters, the latest i'm hearing is that that's pretty much been discounted at this point. there was sort of out of an abundance of caution, the police chief mentioned it a couple times based on some videos, but no other information suggests at this point that this was part of some larger conspiracy. we do know that the suspect had been a naval reservist, had enlisted back in 2010, was discharged, had served at the naval command station at ft. worth, 3rd petty officer, as
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some sort of aviation electricians work, and then was discharged in january of 2011. now, just a couple months earlier, he had been arrested on misdemeanor charges relating to accidental firing of a weapon, but those charges were not pursued. the d.a. did not bring charges, and they were dismissed. so, on its face, he had no, certainly no felony record. he had a misdemeanor arrest but no conviction on that charge. but there has been suggestions that that and perhaps some other things led to his discharge in january of 2011. one naval official, navy officer was quoted today as saying there had been a pattern of
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misconduct. that misconduct had not been specified. a couple of quick things. first of all, just got a statement a little while ago from hewlett-packard, the big computer firm, saying aaron alexis was an employee of a company called the experts, a subcontractor to hewlett-packard on a contract to refresh equipment used on the navy marine corps intranet network. so, that may explain how he had access to the base. he was employed as a subcontractor with a company through hewlett-packard. spoke with a law enforcement official not long ago who said they believe the weapon, the ar-15 used in the shooting, had been purchased recently, in the last few weeks, at a virginia gun shop. no hard confirmation of what gun shop or that he was indeed the person who purchased the weapon, but apparently, there is some evidence to suggest that the weapon was purchased then. >> in terms of his history, we do know he has a history with firearms. that has been established.
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seattle police, i believe, also putting something up on their blotter about an incident with aaron alexis in seattle a number of years ago, even going further back than the neighbor in ft. worth, but we don't know anything so far, or nothing's been released from investigators about possible motive here, am i correct? >> no, but there was some interesting interviews with friends of his that at least pointed to possible motives. one was quoted as saying that he had been -- alexis had been upset with his employer for not paying him for work in japan within the last few weeks. it's not clear whether he -- what exactly the nature of that dispute was, whether he was -- why money was being withheld, but that does -- some sort of disagreement with the contractor. the other thing that is perhaps the most interesting that we've heard so far is that he was a debo take of violent video games. and i think one of his friends
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described him as obsessive on that, and playing with them constantly. now, that's at least one -- you know that does connect with aaron lanza, who was on the newtown shooting, but there's still a lot we don't know here. >> nbc news national investigative correspondent michael isikoff, thank you so much. all right, we're going right now live to a press conference that's taking place in washington, d.c., at the navy yard. it appears -- >> access availability for counseling for all impacted by today's events and any questions you might have. let me start with the current status on personnel still being processed at the base, and let me ask the admiral to address that. >> my name is vice admiral bill french. first of all, our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends impacted by this tragedy and event. right now, we are, our priority, our focus is on ensuring those folks, primarily civilians that are still on the base, are
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processed off in a very deliberate manner. we've got great coordination from all those folks, both federal organizations as well as those folks in washington, d.c., that helped us provide support for those individual civilians as they leave and go primarily up to the nats stadium. nationals have gone out of their way, canceling a baseball game tonight, as well as sending up food and support for all the folks going there to get access to metro, meet their family members to pick them up. >> tomorrow, the washington navy yard will be open. our plan is to bring in mission-essential personnel only. that is essential personnel only. liberal leave policy will be in effect, and personnel will be encouraged to telework, but mission-essential only personnel will come to the navy yard. now, tomorrow and this evening, we'll also be making counseling
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available to all those impacted by today's tragedy. uniformed personnel, civilian personnel and their families, counseling will be available both at nats stadium, parking lot "b," as well as at jbab, joint base anacostia-bowling tomorrow and in the days to come. transportation will be available for all personnel impacted to the base as well. i'd like to give you a phone number so that all those impacted can learn further details on how they can avail themselves of these services. that number is 1-800-222-0364. that's 1-800-222-0364. again, that's counseling available free of charge for all personnel impacted by today's events, uniformed personnel, civilian personnel as well as their dependents.
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earlier today, the secretary of the navy announced that he had provided a blanket waiver for what's called the special designee status for all personnel impacted by gunshot wounds today to avail themselves of services at walter reed naval medical center at bethesda. i guess we'd also like to make a point of thanking the community. the outpouring of support from the red cross, from the washington nationals, who not only canceled today's ball game but made food and water and beverages available to folks who have been essentially locked down on the base since 0700 this morning and who very likely will have several hours to go. metro police, the metro itself who have made transportation available free of cost to all our personnel, you see these buses continue to ferry them back and forth.
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what are we missing here? >> i think that's it. >> okay. if the admiral and i can provide further detail, we'd be glad to. >> jury name and spelling. >> assistant secretary of the navy juan, j-u-a-n, garcia, g-a-r-c-i-a. >> joining me now is nbc news reporter kasie hunt, who is at the scene today. kasie, what do we know, if anything, about who the victims are and what the state of the city is at the moment? >> reporter: we're just starting to learn who the victims were in this tragedy. this has been a day-long affair for especially this particular neighborhood, but the city as a whole. a big chunk of it essentially shut down for hours while they tried to figure out just what was going on at the navy yard. i got here pretty early in the morning, not very long after there were initial reports of a shooting. when i came in here, the buses were still taking people from the navy yard over to nationals stadium. you just heard the official
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there from the navy talking about how they're going to have counselors available there. there was, of course, supposed to be a baseball game. the nationals were supposed to play the braves. it was postponed, naturally. but i spent most of the day talking to eyewitnesses, some of whom said they had lost friends or that they knew that they had lost friends in the shooting. they didn't want to identify the victims yet, of course. that will be something that will occur in due time. but the people that i talked to described scenes of chaos and a lot of fear. one man i spoke with was inside a conference room thp pe barricaded themselves inside the conference room after they heard noises afar, and eventually, there was a spray of bullets that flew through the top of that conference room. another woman was in this open atrium that i know that we also saw discussed. yes, chris? >> do we know where the shooting happened and who are the kinds of people who were in the facility when it happened? >> reporter: sure. it largely took place inside one building, preliminary reports indicate. still, there were questions
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about whether some shots were fired in a different building. but the building this occurred in is one that houses -- the navy yard has a lot of civilian employees. it's an administrative headquarters for the navy. it's where the chief of naval operations lives. he's the highest ranking officer in the navy. so, most of the people who work there every day and who we saw streaming out after they were finally released from being held in lockdown were civilians. they weren't people in uniforms. there were a handful of sailors, a couple officers, but for the most part, it looked like any other office building. it would look like people in cubicles, like the normal people you would run into on the metro during the day. so, this doesn't have the same feeling as some military bases where it's, you know, enormous units of military personnel. instead, it's people who are doing sort of the day-to-day tasks of running the navy. this particular building houses the unit that's responsible for overseeing the navy's fleet. >> that's nbc's kasie hunt. thank you so much. appreciate it. >> reporter: thank you, chris. >> joining me now is john and
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riaz, an eyewitness and congressional staffer for nebraska congressman and lives near the navy yard. dom, what did you say this morning? >> i was running late for work and live in a building about a parking lot away from the navy yard complex, and as i went downstairs in the lobby, i saw a lot of, as you described earlier, civilian-dressed workers from the navy yard. this said there's an active shooter. so, i proceeded to my car, trying to get myself to work. as i come around the corner, i see what looks like police boats circling in the anacostia river, and that's when i came on to new jersey street and m streets and that's where i snapped some of the photos that my colleague, tim hogan, posted of a man who was lying unattended at the corner of new jersey and "m." and again, like him posting the clarifying tweet, we don't know exactly what the injuries were. i couldn't tell you what the nature of the injuries were, but i snapped those photos. and in the midst of what was a lot of pandemonium, a lot of folks coming out of the metro who worked at the department of transportation, and that's when i saw a lot of the first responders barreling down m
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street, i saw the squad car, and then i saw some police peel off, got out of their cars, begging folks to step away from the body and then started to put the caution tape up. and that's when two civilians ran over and looked like they started to resuscitate him. i don't know the injuries and that's what we posted in the clarifying tweet. then i went to the office and drove in and you could tell there was a lot of tension on capitol hill, the police were more stringent in their services and that alone put a lot of tension in the feelings of the staffers on the hill. >> there is a wall around the navy yard. it is a secure perimeter. there's only a few checkpoints, but it is also right in essentially a residential neighborhood, also near government buildings. so, there's a lot of folks around that area and during a morning commute typically, right? >> right, and i think the vast majority of them are coming in via the metro, right there on m and new jersey, going to work at the department of transportation. you're right, it's a very quiet neighborhood and very
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residential. >> don andres, thank you very much for sharing that with us. >> thanks, chris. >> we'll be right back.
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you've been seeing all sorts of reaction online to today's shooting at the navy yard in washington, d.c. if you'd like to post your thoughts to this tragedy, you can do so on our facebook page at i'll read some responses later in the show. we'll be right back.
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another really scary and chaotic scene saturday night in the middle of what is probably new york city's biggest intersection. at 48th and 8th avenue, right near times square, nypd officers were confronted by a man labeled
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as agitated and disoriented, who seemed to be throwing himself into the path of oncoming traffic. when police tried to subdue the man, he apparently reached into his pocket, pulled out his hand and pretended to shoot the officers as if his hand was a gun. i'll let police commissioner ray kelly tell you what happened next. >> one officer fired one shot, not striking the individual. another officer who had responded to the scene fired two shots at the individual, also not striking him. however, two bystanders on the northeast corner of 42nd street and 8th avenue were struck by bullets fired by the officers. >> did you get all that? the suspect was not shot at all, but those bullets fired from police guns found their way into the bodies of two bystanders. one person was shot in the leg while the other was shot in the buttocks. now, today, when news broke about the shooting at the navy yard in washington, d.c., almost
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immediately, gun advocates and conservatives offered their own versions of the heroic miss made famous by the nra's ceo wayne lapierre. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> just so you know, this weekend in new york, there were some "good guys with guns," trained professionals in times square saturday night, who ended up putting bullets into the bodies of innocent bystanders and not into the suspect. this is not the first time something like this has happened. about a year ago, two counterterrorism officers assigned to the empire state building, the kinds of officers trained to respond specifically to terrorist threats, shot and killed an armed murder suspect, but amid the chaos, nine bystanders were also shot. an 11-year study ending in 2006 that looked at the rate in which new york police fired their guns found that officers hit their targets just 34% of the time. now, take a moment and think about the mass confusion that
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typifies mass shootings like the one that we saw this morning. a lot of the time, we can't tell how many shooters there are. eyewitnesses are contradicting each other. now add a bunch of armed citizens, not cops, but ordinary, armed folks firing their weapons into that blur of panic and confusion. take a second and think whether that's going to make things better. but that's the argument coming from some gun rights advocates. these folks claim that killers methodically and deliberately choose sites where firearms are prohibited, gun-free zones, where there will be nobody on hand with a gun to stop them. almost immediately after the navy yard shooting was first even reported with the smell of gun smoke still hanging over washington, d.c., twitter was predictably bombarded with a barrage of tweets supporting this unsubstantiated claim -- "strange how every single mass shooting happens in a gun-free zone. it's almost like they don't work or something." then there was this tweet from one robert zimmerman, brother of george zimmerman -- "it's also an undeniable fact that areas sought out for the massacres are
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areas with strict gun control like d.c., like today." actually, that is deniable. a mother jones investigation funds that among the 62 mass shootings from 1992 to 2012, not a single case includes evidence the killer targeted a place because it banned guns. and a study conducted by mayors against illegal guns showed that in 66 mass shootings between january of 2009 and january 2013, no more than 13 of the shootings or 23% took place entirely in public spaces that were so-called gun-free zones. this reminded me of the exchange on the aurora movie theater shooting in colorado, when bill o'reilly asked bob costas if costas had been in that theater, would he rather duck down and hide or be armed and have the ability to defend himself? >> i don't want to have a gun on me, no -- >> okay. >> in that situation, in the dark, in the confusion -- >> i respect that. >> i think it's highly more likely that there would be additional carnage, bullets would be flying wildly all over the place. >> this seemingly basic logic of
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not having a bunch of people with loaded weapons in a crowded space is actually put into practice by the people who run gun shows. from the website of bill goodman's gun shows, "for your safety, please make sure all magazines and weapons are empty before entering a show. patrons who bring loaded magazines or weapons into the show will be refused entry and may be subject to prosecution." and i'd argue that same bedrock logic applies just as well outside of gun shows. [ man ] look how beautiful it is.
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go long.
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huge, good and welcome news for those opposed to war. possibly the single biggest diplomatic victory for the white house yet happened this weekend, and we're going to talk to a congressman who helped bring it about, coming up.
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we are not going to war with syria any time soon. that is the other big news coming out of washington, d.c., today, news of tremendous global importance and a huge victory for the obama administration, thanks to a deal hashed out between the u.s. and russia that could or would eliminate syria's chemical weapons. under the agreement forged between secretary of state john kerry and russian foreign minister sergey lavrov, syria must now present a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons within one week. international concessions will begin in november, and all chemical weapons must be
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eliminated by mid-2014. the syrian reconciliation minister said the agreement would avoid war and was a victory for syria. the next step is a u.n. resolution formalizing the process, and despite skepticism about syrian compliance, let's all take a second to recognize that this is a pretty amazing, peaceful resolution to what looked just a few weeks ago like an intractable, international crisis moving towards a military strike and further u.s. entanglement in a very bloody and brutal mideast war. as a solution to the precise and now a problem that president obama has identified, the need to reinforce the international norm against the use of chemical weapons. today, u.n. weapons inspectors presented their report to the u.n. security council, finding clear and convincing evidence that, indeed, the nerve gas sarin was used on august 21st in a rocket attack launched in the suburbs of damascus. and while the report was not tasked with and does not draw conclusions about who was responsible for the attack, reading between the lines of the
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report suggest it was indeed the assad forces. as noted by "washington post," they were not used by rebels, but sarin was fired from a regime-controlled area. chemical analysis suggests the sarin likely came from a controlled supply, that is, the sarin had chemicals in it specifically indicates its weaponized and the russian rhetoric on the artillery rounds strongly suggest they were russian manufactured. while the reds lucian is hailed by americans in a poll, there are war hawks who are disappointed with recent events. senator lindsey graham speaking today on the syria crisis. >> i like john kerry. john kerry is a friend of mine. he gave one of the most eloquent speeches a few weeks ago about why we have a duty to get involved in syria. did you hear that speech? did you thought we were going to launch an attack the next day? me, too. what the hell happened?
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there's a reason for 225 times presidents use military force without coming to congress. have you noticed, we're dysfunctional. when they asked me about coming to congress, i said, please don't. >> joining me now is congressman allen gracen, a member of that body lindsey graham has much faith in, democrats in who opposed military action in syria. it's an incredible thing to say. what's your reaction to that? >> i think he should resign and make congress better by leaving it. putting that aside, this is the greatest victory for enforcing peace since the end of the vietnam war. we established an important principle, which is that you can't take the public to war without the public's consent. it's the public's money, it's the public's blood, and now we'll finally see some public input and not have these matters decided by washington elites. >> and what i think is really interesting is that the way the politics of this play out is that in the president's decision
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to come to congress, what it did was it created space, it created an opening, right? and it was into that space that this diplomatic solution rushed. and yet, you will see theme who say, well, this shows there is not enough leadership and credibility, all these terms used to counter this kind of motion either by a president and other leaders. what's your response to that who look at this and say, oh, this is a sign of weakness? >> no, not at all. the president acted upon a humanitarian positive impulse. i understand. we disagreed about the efficacy of what he proposed, but not the fact that something needs to be done to relieve the suffering in seera, and that's sign of strength. as the president said, we are a nation of people who care, and that's good to know. unfortunately, i think the president could not come up with a war plan that could reach any sort of consensus within congress. the last count is 25 house members in favor, 263 against, but that doesn't change the fact the president wanted to do something positive to relieve suffering and we respect him for that. >> there is fascinating polling out of pew today, which basically said here's where the public is on this, in the wake of this announcement.
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they support the deal quite a bit, overwhelmingly. they also think they don't trust syria, they don't trust russia and they don't trust it will get rid of chemical weapons. i think it was such a mix of public opinion, because it seemed to precisely capture how complicated people's feelings are about the situation in general. does that sync up with what you generally sense? >> i think so. i remember a poll saying 57% of the people who supported attacking syria thought it would do no good. that's where we are right now. fortunately, we've come up with a procedure, a plan that actually might eliminate chemical weapons in syria. the fundamental problem with the administration's proposal is that it would not have done that, it would not have presented a new attack or even reduced the supply, the stockpile of chemical weapons in syria. now we have a way to do that, a good plan is much better than no plan or a bad plan. >> right, and that i think is an important point to point out. even the punitive strike that was on the table before, even if it did as suggested by those engineering it to create the capacity to deliver them there
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was no identification procedure, there was no the assad regime coming forward, admitting they have chemical weapons. in some ways, this is a more positive outcome than what was on the table with the military strike. >> the fundamental problem with the strike is that it would have led to proliferation. the intent of reducing command and controls of the supplies, you would have seen the weapons fall into the hands of the rebels and other forces, and that was a terrorist coup that could not be accomplished any other way, and that was very much on the minds of people in the congress as well as the fact that we could not predict or control what the syrian response would be. would they attack u.s. civilians? would they attack the navy fleet? would they attack our embassies in baghdad or in beirut? they have a lot of options. would they attack our ally in israel or turkey or jordan? we could not predict that. this is the way forward that actually runs none of those risks. >> there was a "new york times" headline about the fallout from the deal.
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it says deal represents turn for syria, rebels deflated. and the conceit of the peace and i've seen a lot of reporters saying the rebels are taking this harshly. they think this is bad for them, that this gives assad credibility. is there a twinge of regret you have as someone who was so outspoken in opposing the war, who i think played an instrumental role in getting the political system to this point where we're now sort of happy about this deal, is there any twinge of regret when you read that headline? >> which rebels are we talking about? are we talking about the al qaeda graduates or the anti-semites? which group are we talking about? no, we can't make our decisions that way. we have to protect americans. we have to protect america. we have to protect our allies. i can't make up my mind and determine my vote based upon whether a particular group in syria is for or against it. that is completely irrelevant. >> congressman alan grayson of florida, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you very much. a huge surprise in the race for most powerful man in the global economy, senator sherrod
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brown, who played a key role in this surprise, is going to join me.
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today, president obama marked what is recognized as the five-year anniversary of the financial collapse of 2008. in a speech this afternoon, he touted a more stable, growing economy but acknowledged much more work to be done. much of that work will come from
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the federal reserve, whose future leadership is very much in question after the president's reported top choice for the job, larry summers, took his name out of the running. >> it is said occasionally that i can be arrogant. of all the introductions i have received, that was surely the most recent. that question was both predictable and a good try. they want to sell me the books for the franchise. one of the things you learn as a college president is that an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket, there are two possibilities. one is that they are looking for a job and have an interview. the other is that they are an [ bleep ] hole. >> for all his unanimously acclaimed brilliance, larry summers is not someone who's won any popularity contests with his co-workers throughout his long career. >> of larry summers, i think we had a long history of arrogance and relative ignorance about poor people's culture. >> i don't think it's any secret that larry was not my first choice.
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>> despite his habit of allenting colleagues, summers also accounts some of the most popular people in the world as his supporters. >> larry summers did a heck of a job trying to figure out how to -- >> do you don't want to use that phrase, do you? >> there's an excellent reason why jon stewart gave the president a hard time about larry summers. that's because through his professional career, summers has been destructively and demonstrably wrong on many of the biggest policy issues he faced. he was wrong about derivatives regulation while working in the clinton administration, where he famously stone-walled regulator brooksley born, who asked questions about the lack of oversight of the derivatives market. >> i thought asking questions couldn't hurt, and i was shocked that there was a strong, negative reaction to merely asking questions about a market. >> born turned out to be prophetic. the issue she identified and that summers ignored were what played the central role in the great crash.
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after his tenure in the clinton white house, summers then moved on to an ill-fated run as the president of harvard where he made bad bets on interest rates while running the harvard endowment that eventually cost the school nearly $1 billion. it was also as harvard president that summers hypothesized that the lack of women in the science and engineering field could be acontributed to "issues of intrinsic aptitude." >> that the president of this great university should say that in his opinion, an explanation for why there is a lack of women at the top of any profession is aptitude differences between men and women, i was quite shocked. >> reporter: from there, summers went to work under president obama, where as a member of obama's transition team, summers fought with fellow economic adviser christina romer over the appropriate size for a post-crash economic stimulus package. while romer calculated that restarting the economy would require more than $1 trillion in stimulus, summers managed to
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bring the proposal down to around $800 billion. that was the second time larry summers fought with a powerful woman who was right, but somehow lost the argument to summers, who was wrong. and until this weekend, it looked like larry summers was going to ascend to the most powerful economic job in the entire world, chairman of the federal reserve, over the eminently qualified current fed vice chairwoman janet yellen. >> saying markets are in rally mode this morning following larry summers dropping out of the running for fed chair. >> but the backlash against summers' nomination grew so strong, particularly among the left, this past weekend, larry summers shocked almost everyone watching by withdrawing his name for consideration. yesterday, larry summers wrote in a letter to the president, "i have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve in the best interests of the federal reserve, the administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing economic recovery." joining me now is senator
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sherrod brown, democrat from ohio, on the senate banking housing affairs committee. senator brown, was this your doing? >> of course it wasn't my doing. i circulated a letter a few weeks ago on the senate floor, about 20 of my colleagues signed it in support of janet yellen, because the federal reserve has two functions. one is to dampen inflation, to keep inflation under control. the other is to do all they can to enhance employment and work towards a full-employment economy. the second part of that responsibility is not emphasized enough. i'm confident, as i assume the other 19 senators that signed that letter are confident, that janet yellen will do that. it's the president's choice. my job is to vote for or against the nominee, but it was to us, i think janet yellen will do a good job, but it's the president's call. >> there has been reporting that there were a number of no-votes on your committee from democrats. i mean, you and i have both been following this story, and you and i both know that circulating a letter in favor of janet yellen amidst all the speculation on larry summers sends quite a clear message. i mean, were there back-channel communications at the white house from you or from the committee about summers?
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speculation on larry summers sends quite a clear message. i mean, were there back-channel communications at the white house from you or from the committee about summers? >> there were none from the committee that i know of. i don't speak for the chairman. there were certainly discussions between members of the senate and people in the white house, perhaps with the president himself. i did not have a discussion with the president about larry summers or janet yellen, for that matter. it's unusual for senators to weigh in on something like this, and the discussions about larry summers really came mostly after that letter, but i think that the importance of that letter was simply that a number of the senators said to the president of the united states, we think that employment is at least as important as keeping inflation in check, and we think there should be a federal reserve -- there should be a fed chair who fits that bill. we thought janet yellen did and still do think that.
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but again, it's the president's call, as you know, chris. >> there's a really interesting situation playing out in which this is now the most covered, the most watched fed chair race ever. and i wonder whether you think this tremendously powerful position is benefiting from more public attention? >> i think the more the public knows about this, the better, because i mean, we've seen some of the fed chairs. the one that chairs -- well, the one that stands out particularly was alan greenspan, who got to be well known, but clearly had very little focus on what he needed to focus on, and that was full employment. his focus was on deregulation and, secondarily, i think keeping inflation in check, and the damage he did with deregulation that markets are self-correcting, for which he later apologized in front of a house committee, i think is particularly significant. but the important thing to me is whomever the president appoints, the questions about keeping attention on full employment and the fed playing a role as a
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regulator to make sure that these wall street banks, which are getting bigger and bigger, their wealth and power is unprecedented, the banks are again on wall street engaging in risky behavior, calling in many cases, meaning federal taxpayers subsidizing these largest wall street banks. i want a fed chair that's going to go after that and make sure that the banking system is more solid than it's been over the last decade or so. >> you make a great point, which is that under dodd/frank, the regulatory supervision of the fed chair is greater. senator brown, thank you.
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earlier in the show, we asked to hear your reaction to today's mass shooting at the navy yard in washington, d.c. we got a ton of answers posted to our facebook page, including shane c. woodbury. says "we have easy access to ghunz this country and not mental health. until this changes, we can expect more senseless tragedies
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like today in america to occur. wake up, america." and anne says "here we go again. and once again, the nation will go through a process of grief and mourning and hand-wringing, only to come out the other side knowing that nothing, not reason, not practicality, not compassion, trumps the unrestricted right by whay peifer in whatever circumstance to have whatever guns they want." [ thunder crashes ] [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit to learn your risk.
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even though our businesses are creating new jobs that have broken record profits, the top 1% of americans took home 20% of the nation's income last year, while the average worker isn't seeing a raise at all. >> that was the preds speaking earlier today about the unequal gains made five years since the great recession. heather mcgee is with a progressive think tank. alexis goldstein, a member of occupy wall street. heather, we talked to senator brown about larry summers. very unexpected, surprising announcement this weekend that
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shocked me when i saw it come in on an alert on my phone. the left was in revolt over larry summers, but they're always in revolt about something, and it never works. like, what happened here? >> i think it was really just sort of the lineup of really top-tier folks and not just the economic left, but you had the women's movement, you had university presidents coming out. you had a lot of people saying, you know what, this won't stand. and one of the key pieces i think was that you had someone from montana. the senator from montana, tester, who's really very close to the community banking sector, saying the little banks in the country don't want this wall street guy. >> well, okay, you just said wall street guy. and alexis, here's my counterargument. the way that this race is being talked about is larry summers, evil puppet of wall street big banks. janet yellen, good, progressive, folk hero who will fight for us normal people. and yet, here's what happened in international markets. when larry summers announced that he was retracting his name,
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they rallied, because wall street actually prefers janet yellen over larry summers. explain that one to me. >> i don't think that that's exactly what's happening. i think there might be some on wall street who's concerned that someone as fiery as larry summers might make the financial markets more volatile just because he's more volatile. but i think the reason that we saw the markets rally is, look, the obama administration has not been that creative in doing their appointments. yellen is from the clinton administration, and there was a photograph that the "washington post" circulated that showed us that obama's economic team is really no different than clinton's and janet yellen is a part of that. so, yes, if the best we can do is recycle people from clinton, is janet yellen the best pick? probably, but it would be great if we could be a little more creative in our selections and look at where the country is right now. obama seems to know that there is a populist anger about all the wealth going to the top, but is he really doing anything in his policies? >> no, i want to push back on this, because i think the way this is pictured, and we're talking about monetary policy, which is complicated, but extremely important,
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particularly with congress broken, which nothing's coming out of the boehner congress except terrible, horrible things for the macroeconomy, that the idea is that we think of it as zero sum. it's main street versus wall street, right? but actually, loose monetary policy, right? the federal reserve trying to stimulate the economy is actually good for wall street and also good for main street. it's possible we're not looking at the zero sum situation. >> right, and i actually think it's been a little bit oversold, the idea that summers would somehow be more hawkish on monetary policy. >> hawkish means more concerned about inflation than full employment. >> exactly. i don't think he'd do that. i think he feels a need to, quite frankly, probably keep the administration's record of job growth going. but the thing is, unfortunately, the way our deregulated, bloated financial sector works, actually, the money going through, from the fed through wall street isn't getting enough to main street. so, in fact, this easy money policy has been absolutely the best thing we could hope for because direct job creation and better policies out of congress
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are not going to happen, but it's actually not getting the main street in the way that it can and being gummed up in the sort of system that's going on with wall street the way it is with speculation. >> and this is a point that sheila bair has made, is that the zero interest rate policy basically incentivized the banks to just reinvest their money in treasureies, because that's less risky than loaning it out to the american public. so, that policy has been terrible for main street. so, i do think we have a wall street-main street split going on here. >> but do you want to see the next fed chair tighten? >> i want to see the next fed chair take advantage of all of the things that sherrod brown mentioned that dodd/frank took advantage of. there is an army of people at the fed that can do monetary policy. where there is a gap is whether or not someone will be serious about the powers they gave it under dodd/frank like the living wills or the stress test, and i think that will be more helpful to our economy, if we create a safer economy where we don't have too big to fail banks than whether we're dovish or hawkish on monetary policy. >> and when people are covering
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the debate about the fed chair, this is lost, usually because it comes out of the financial process exclusively and it comes out with traders making bets on which direction interest rates will go and whether money is going to be loose or tight, is this huge regulatory role of the fed chair. >> yes. >> i mean, you are essential lay the regulator of last resort for the entire industry, right? >> yeah. let's think, even before dodd/frank, which alexis and i worked really hard on, actually gave a lot more power to the fed and didn't deal with its conflicts of interest, which we would have liked to have seen. before dodd/frank, for 14 years, the federal reserve could have stopped subprime lending in the crisis. it sat on its hands -- >> it could have done it. it had the power to do it. >> it had the power to do it. i won't do this for your viewers, but it had the power, and in fact, was the only real regulator that had the power to regulate subprime mortgages for 14 years, basically could have prevented the foreclosure crisis. >> and just really quickly, post dodd/frank, the fed has the power to break up banks and split them up into
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glass-steagall-like entities, if it wanted to. >> and that power actually remains, and i think that's the underappreciated aspect of who the next person's going to be. incredibly important position, the most important economic position not just in the country, in the world. heather mcghee and alexis goldstein, thank you both. all right, that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. good evening, chris. thank you very much. and thank you for staying with us this hour. today's mass shooting at the navy yard facility in southwest washington, d.c., makes today the deadliest day in our nation's capitol in more than 30 years. january 1982 was when a 737 that had taken off from national airport, what we now call reagan airport, crashed into the 14th street bridge in washington and then into the icy potomac river. 78 people were killed in that crash that day, including 4 people who had been on the bring or on the ground and were hit by the crashing plane. incredibly, that same day in wa