tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC February 18, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
was justice really served here? watch that space. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. so when do you think voting starts? the 2014 congressional elections? well, it began today in the land of ted cruz. >> you know, people are just kind of sick and tired of what goes on in washington, d.c. >> now to the 2014 midterms. >> they're tired of the dysfunction. >> it's states like kentucky. >> the hot senate race in the bluegrass state. >> the frustration with mitch mcconnell. >> minority leader mitch mcconnell faces a primary challenge. >> where's mitch? maybe we can call him back. where's mitch? where's mitch? >> money talks. they spent over $1 million in negative ads attacking mitch mcconnell. >> super pacs knocking off senators, governors and congressmen.
mcconnell now has to go. >> i think they're both nervous. >> mitch mcconnell and john cornyn. >> both men are facing tea party challenges. >> then there's senator ted cruz. >> here's what happened. >> mitch mcconnell and john cornyn ended a ted cruz-led filibuster. >> playing with the debt ceiling is like playing with fire. >> mcconnell and cornyn rallied support for the bill. >> that's the kind of thing that kentuckyians are sick and tired of. >> democrats are count on the tea party to help them hold on. >> the democrat allison grimes will pose a formidable challenge. >> could we see mitch mcconnell ousted? >> yes, you very well could see that. >> in the epic battle between
ted cruz and the senate republican leadership, the republican base is about to finally have its say. early voting in the texas senate republican primary actually started today. mitch mcconnell's number two in the senate, john cornyn, who ted cruz refused to endorse is one of eight republicans on the ballot, which includes congressman steve stockman and this guy. >> as a u.s. senator from texas, you vote for texas. you don't stab her in the back by voting for cloture for obama care and you certainly don't do all this to please some guy who looks and fights like a turtle. i'm a texan. we don't need a belt white turtle telling us how to fight. >> i like turtle soup. >> really? >> i'm dwayne stovall and i approve of this message. >> republican leader mitch
mcconnell is facing his own primary fight, of course, against tea party candidate matt bevin. he was forced to defend the raising of the debt ceiling and how senate republicans view their constituents. >> in the 13 months i've been in the senate, it has become apparent to me the single thing that republican politicians hate and fear the most, and that is when they're forced to tell the truth. it makes their heads explode. and actually, debt ceiling example is a perfect example. the republican members of the senate, they all wanted the perfect show vote. make no mistake about it. this was their desired outcome. an awful lot of the republicans wanted exactly what barack obama, exactly what nancy pelosi
wanted, exactly what harry reid wanted, which was to raise the debt ceiling but they wanted to be able to tell what they view as their foolish, gullible constituents back home, they didn't do it. >> can you explain your votes on the debt ceiling increase. ted cruz in particular is saying that the establishment is thinking that voters back home are gullible. >> yeah look, my preference is for a debt ceiling to carry additional legislation that does something about the debt. but as you know, joe, the house of representatives couldn't pass anything other than a clean debt ceiling. they couldn't pass anything else. the speaker tried a whole lot of different versions, add-ones to the debt ceiling. couldn't get to 218 no matter what combination. so we were confronted with a clean debt ceiling in the senate or default. you know, i believe i have to act in the best interest of the
country. and every time we've been confronted with a potential crisis, the guy you're looking at is the one that stepped up and solved the problem, whether it was the fiscal cliff deal at the end of 2012 when everybody's taxes were going up, whenever it was last october in the 16th day of the government shutdown, or yesterday, or thursday, when it was clear that we needed to produce enough procedural votes to get to a debt ceiling vote in order to avoid a default. my job is to protect the country when i can. and to step up and lead on those occasions when it's required. that's what i did. >> joining me now, former ohio congressman steve latourette. he's president of the main street partnership. and joseph girth, political writer for the courier journal in kentucky. you were present when mitch mcconnell was being pressed to answer that.
it doesn't seem like a complicated answer to me, but i know how the senate worked. how did that answer go over in kentucky? >> the republican party at least in kentucky is pretty split right now. those who like mitch mcconnell probably thought that was a pretty good answer. those who don't like him, the tea party sorts, probably weren't too happy with that answer. they think that he should have stood up and fought raising the debt ceiling without getting the changes in that -- the cuts in that they wanted. he didn't do it, and they're not going to be happy. >> when they say that he should have fought on the debt ceiling, joseph, do they -- two things. do they believe it when he says the choice was the clean debt ceiling or default? and then secondly, do they think default is really a bad thing?
>> the vast majority of folks over -- the far right conservatives tend to think that default is not necessarily a bad thing. that they would rather see us default than raise that debt ceiling and continue paying bills they say we don't have the money to spend. now, matt bevin, mcconnell's opponent has said recently he doesn't think default is a good idea, but at the same time, he came up pretty hard against senator mcconnell after that vote. >> steve latourette, you're work on the republican side now trying to stop those candidacies like matt bevin against candidates like mitch mcconnell. did you ever think where you would come to the point where you're trying to explain to factions of your party that default is not a good thing? >> no. i mean, that is a shock to me. but i'll tell you, the one thing that makes my head explode is senator cruz. what he did to mitch mcconnell and john cornyn was reprehensible.
but your other guest was right. you do have some default deniers and some folks who think it wouldn't be so bad, you know. let's pay a few bills and so forth and so on. but if we default, it's not just a -- it's not a big deal. you know, thank goodness for mitch mcconnell and john boehner who don't take that view in the face of some pretty stiff criticism. >> steve -- >> you know, my -- >> go ahead. >> my newspaper, "the courier journal" as a jr. liberal editorial page, but his vote on the debt ceiling elicited a very, very kind editorial in his favor. >> yeah. >> well, let's go back to what ted cruz said. we just heard him say this. the single thing that republican politicians hate and fear the most, that is when they're forced to tell the truth. i got to say, if i just submitted to that to you, steve, as a blind quote, i didn't tell you where that came from in your
wildest dreams, would you pin that on a republican united states senator? >> well, sadly, you can't do that anymore. because i would know exactly where it came from. >> yeah. >> but the fact of the matter is, i mean, it's those kinds of statements that are just irresponsible. and if you go back to the government shutdown. this guy is a bomb thrower, he's a flame thrower, but he's got no exit strategy, he doesn't have a plan b. he doesn't have the responsibility of governing, which mitch mcconnell does. he can go on shows and say whatever the heck he wants. >> well, i mean, a guy who says the single thing that republican politicians hate and fear the most is telling the truth, steve, why is he a republican? >> i don't think he is a republican, to tell you the truth. i wish he would stop being a republican and leave the party. that would be a nice thing. he's really a libertarian. he comes out of the ron paul wing of the libertarian wing of the party, and, you know, they use the republican party as a
vehicle to get elected, but once in it, they want to canalize it and criticize it. if he spent half as much energy trying to defeat democrats and gain control of the senate as he does bashing other republicans, we would have 60 votes in the senate. >> joseph, why is mitch mcconnell struggling in his re-election campaign? kentucky? not necessarily so much against the tea party challenge, but against the democratic challenger allison grimes who's running very close to him, basically a statistical tie in the polls. that to me is shocking for an incumbent senator and certainly shocking for an incumbent senator who is the leader of his party in the senate. it maybe shouldn't be all that shocking. you look back to tom daschle. it seems to me one of the hardest jobs in government is being the minority leader. because you have to be saying no at every turn. senator mcconnell's problem in kentucky, if you look back at
the pole that my newspaper along with three other news organizations did recently that found that his favorable ratings were abysmal. 27% had favorable views of him. 50% of kentucky voters had unfavorable views of him. that's a tough nut to crack in an election year. he's got to figure out a way to increase his numbers. at the same time, possibly take down matt bevin, possibly take down allison grime grimes. his number against bevin looks strong at this point. he holds a 55-29 lead. but two years ago, dick lug re had a 55-30 lead over richard murdoch. mcconnell understands the threat and he sees it's he's prepared to take it off. >> joseph, where did he stray from the majority of voters in kentucky?
>> i think more than anything, it's just the level of fatigue that you get with a politician after they've represented you for 30 years. senator mcconnell was first elected to the senate in 1984. he had served a term and a half as a jefferson county judge executive, the top executive position in the largest county in kentucky for a term and a half before that. that's a long time. and you tend to make some enemies over time. and then on top of that, you have this tea party wave taking effect that just doesn't agree with some of the things he's done over the years. mcconnell has been a deal cutter. he's gone out and worked with the democrats on occasion. he's fought with them quite a bit on occasion also. but it's those times he's been able to cut deals with them that has really tick off this wing of the republican party. >> well, you know, i think of the careers of ted kennedy and robert byrd of west virginia.
their voters never tired of them. they stayed in the senate until their last breath. joseph gerth, thank you very much for joining us tonight and steve latourette, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, chris christie is raising money tonight for republican candidates. and former members of team christie are refusing to comply with subpoenas tonight. and the president focused on criminal justice today inform a meeting that included marc morial. and riots in a square filled with protesters. [ tires screech ] [ car alarm chirps ] ♪ [ male announcer ] we don't just certify our pre-owned vehicles. we inspect, analyze, and recondition each one,
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>> with christie on the new york side of the new york side raising republican senate candidates. a showdown today in subpoenas over the george washington bridge investigation. the two people chris christie have fired once again refused to comply subpoenas for documents. bridget kelly, the author of the most famous one line, time for
traffic problems in ft. lee. she's refused to hand over any more of her e-mails or documents in this case. sho zo has bill stepian. the refusal sets up a legal confrontation that will likely be resolved in court. chris christie has hired a criminal lawyer at taxpayer exfoens finally conduct an investigation on behalf of the governor's office. at least that's what they say he's doing. on what happened on the george washington bridge, an investigation that christie refused to do himself until long after the story had gotten completely out of control. christie fired bridget anne kelly without saying a word to her, according to the story of her firing that he told at his press conference on january 9. >> i have not had any conversation with bridget kelly since the e-mail came out. so she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why
she lied. because it was so obvious that she had. and i'm quite frankly not interested in the explanation at the moment. >> well, everyone else is interested in that explanation. and chris christie should be interested in that explanation now. chris christie showed absolutely no curiosity about what anyone involved in the scandal knew until after that press conference. and now chris christie has hired his criminal lawyer, who has his criminal lawyer, asking new jersey officials including the mayors of hoboken and ft. lee to cooperate with what is now the govr office investigation. team christie's investigation seems so far to be aimed at people such as the mayors who have said things that are problems for the christie administration. today mark sokolich, the mayor of ft. lee rejected team christie's request for an interview. the letter by mayor sokolich's lawyer says while the mayor has gone out of his way to be fair to all parties in this matter,
he wants to make sure that he respects the legal proceedings that are ongoing. in light of the parallel investigations being conducted at the same time regarding the same subject matter, i do not believe it would be appropriate for the mayor to be interviewed by you or to produce any bottoms. joining me now is attorney ari melbourne, co-host of msnbc's "the cycle." the showdown on the subpoenas they're refusing to deliver. what does the legislative committee do next to try to enforce those subpoenas. >> yeah, well, to enforce the subpoenas, what they will ultimately say is that even if these individuals can invoke a fifth amendment right not to verbally testify, that won't extend to handing over a lot of these documents. and that's something that can be litigated out and can be appealed to a court. as you point out, lawrence, and it can't be stressed enough. that was a two-hour press conference. about two hours. and you just played the most
important sound from it on this issue. and it can't be played enough, which was the governor saying then he didn't care, he wasn't interested. he fired these folks without looking into it, right? and what's happening now as you're reporting is he's paying a lawyer $650 an hour for a supposedly sbempbl investigation to go have those conversations that he refused to have at the time when he had the most leverage over those people, when they were his employees. >> the challenge to the subpoenas. what do you think is the legal basis for them refusing to hand over the documents being requested. and also, what is the legal basis that the people believes they have to obtain this to override an effect their fifth amendment objection. >> basically the case on point was about webster hubble. and it was an example where an investigative inquiry went too
far in compelling someone to basically go through and individually pick out the documents that was incriminating. that is to say instead of a blanket request like hey, give us your calendar entries or give us a bunch of documents. it was find these specific incriminating documents. and that goes into why we have a fifth amendment, which is you don't -- you don't have to incriminate yourself. you can't be forced to do that. it seems unfair. so that's the kind of claim you would make, that the nature of the request is such that you are basically, in lawyer speak, they call it testimonial in nature. it's as if you're testifying against yourself. and the committee's argument here will be particularly with requests that are fairly straightforward and broad. no, we're not asking you to do anything yourself. we're just asking you to hand over some basic materials. and they've said they feel really strong on the law. >> and it seems the committee has more than one way to get at least some of this material. for example, if they are
subpoenaing in the records, the e-mail records of the governor's office, some of bridget anne kelly's e-mails or all of her government e-mails would theoretically show up in that direction collection, but her personal e-mails on the personal account, which they were using in this situation, you would have to -- the subpoena would have to get those through her, it seems. >> that's exactly right, law rengs. when you look at these kinds of investigations, whether they're government or corporate. you try to do an end to end matchup. you try to say okay, we have every outgoing e-mail, every incoming e-mail. we want to do that for authenticity and thoroughness. in a lot of cases, particularly with regard to what we know to be suspicious activity, government e-mails and plans and meetings about a supposed traffic story of overall. the private stuff in the text is what they're trying to get at with these subpoenas.
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>> it has been said that if america has a cold, blacks have pneumonia. and in many areas, the criminal justice area, particularly with this last verdict in florida and in the economic area, we have deep concerns that we expressed to the president. he listened very attentively and will continue to push on income inequality. >> for 90 minutes today, president obama met with reverend al sharpton and others as part of a new initiative h he described this weekend. >> we're going to pull together private philanthropists, foundations, working with governors and mayors and churches and nonprofits and we're just going to focus on young men of color and find ways in which we can create more pathways to success for them.
we're not going to create some big new government program. but we're going to work with communities, businesses, so that, you know, whether it's helping to set up early childhood education so that young people can read early, or it is creating mentorship programs and apprenticeship programs so that a young person can get exposed to what a career is like in, you know, a factory as a machinist where you're getting paid $30, $35, but you may not even know that that option is available. across the board from the time they're young all the way through their first job, we want to help more young african-american men, latino men succeed. >> joining me now, marc morial, president of the national urban league who met with president obama this afternoon and msnbc's joy reid. you were in the roosevelt room with the president today. was jordan davis', the killing of jordan davis discussed?
>> it was underlying the discussion about criminal justice reform, the concerns about the zimmerman case. the jordan davis case, and what it means for the problems in the criminal justice system. we applauded the work of the attorney general to really take the bull by the horns and push his new smart on crime initiative. and he related to us that it was that kind of work and that kind of commitment which brought him to the obama administration. because the president certainly expressed a passion for making those sort of changes. so it was a backdrop. it's certainly underlied a lot of the discussions we had today. >> there's no question that obama the man and eric holder the man have an interest in this area in the first term of the obama administration, this kind of discussion did not occur.
>> in the white house for the first term, there were a lot of other imperatives. getting the economy not to bel faing off a cliff will be the first priority. you did have the 750,000 jobs a month being lost. they had to stabilize the economy first. the white house's way of sort of describing it,aire concern in the first term was that this would have seemed like a side track to the economy, which had to be job one. and then i think there's just the pragmatic concerns of being re-elected in a country where people were poised on some level to accuse the president of favoritism, of favoring amp can americans, doing things that were sort of unfair to the majority on behalf of african-americans. i think the white house maybe had been oversensitive to that. but now that the election has happened, and i think also in large part because of the trayvon martin case, the president has personally decided that this is something that he really wants to not just do, but also talk about. and that he does want to directly start addressing issues of race and racial disparity.
>> and lawrence, i think the other thing that what's been crystallized is in the post recession america, if we are fully in post recession america, the deep challenges that young men of color face with high unemployment, lower than necessary than necessary, i'm enthusiastic about what this announcement will mean next week. >> to my surprise, i've actually surprised some other people from time to time on programs like this one simply making the simple observation that it is always, it is always a recession in black america. we have an unemployment rate down in the 6 percentile area now, 6.8, 6.6, something like that.
it's double that, it's double that for african-americans. and the african-american unemployment rate has always been double the national unemployment rate. it's virtually impossible to get attention to that. >> it's impossible to get attention to it. and i think for a lot of americans outside the african-american community, they need to understand why clearly not all african-americans and latinos are struggling economically, the unemployment rate actually pulls up the overall unemployment rate. so that if african-americans had the equivalent of full employment, we've had 6% unemployment among white, white women for a couple of years. even when the economy was really, really slow and unemployment was up over 8%, it was because of high african and latino unemployment. when you have a country where the aging bulge is in the baby boom that is much whiter, let's just say, than the younger bulge, which is much more minority. if that younger cohort is underperforming economically, it is actually an existential
threat to the older cohort, because it is the younger americans who actually pay for the retirement of the aged. they have to pay into social security. so if you don't fantastic the economic problems of african-americans and latino, you actually jeopardize the social safety net for the group that seems sometimes less interested, or the least interested in programs targeted to those younger black and brown americans. >> you know, i would add this. and this is important. while it seems to be an issue that is hard to get attention inside the beltway from national policymakers, this is a recurring, intense passionate conversation at the community level. in cities across the nation that i visit. it is topic a, topic number one. higher than necessary unemployment in black america. the deep problems that young men of color face, and an understanding that it fuels the underground economy and the drug trait.
it fuels the violence problem that we have in many, many communities. that's why it's timely, it's necessary. i would even add, lawrence, this is a nation of great prosperity, a nation of great ability. a nation of great innovation. and a nation of great compassion cannot stand idly by and let people be in the circumstances that they are without trying to meet them halfway. say you've got to be responsible. say you've got to pull yourself up. but giving you the tools necessary and the open doors necessary for you to do it. >> marc morial and joy reid, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> tomorrow night on "the last word" jordan davis' parents will join me. coming up, the latest from kiev where riot police went after protesters, 14 protesters and possibly 7 police officers seem to have been killed.
when you only have one hand, you're not doing anything as fast as you used to, which is funny, 'cause i still do it better than her. you know, i don't think i was meant to sweep. it's a little frustrating. look. [ zach ] i can't help out as much as i used to. do you need help? [ doorbell rings ] let's open it up. it's a swiffer sweeper. swiffer dusters. it can extend so i don't have to get on the step stool. i don't know how it stays on there. it's like a dirt magnet -- just like my kids. [ afi ] this is a danger zone. that is crazy. ah haha! [ zach ] yeah. no, this definitely beats hanging out on a step ladder. good jump, baby. on a step ladder. if yand you're talking toevere rheuyour rheumatologistike me, about trying or adding a biologic.
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tonight to express concern and to urge restraint as riot police moved against anti-government protesters in the capital city of kiev. these are live pictures from independence square, where it is about 5:39 thursday morning. the protests started in november when ukraine's president bowed to pressure from russian president vladimir putin and backed out of a trade agreement with the european union. russia gave ukraine $2 billion in aid, money russia was withholding until the ukrainian government crushed the protests. at least 21 people have been killed in the protests today. nbc news chief correspondent richard engle has more. >> it has all the sign of a revolution. and it's taking place in kiev's independence square. anti-government demonstrators barricaded themselves in,
setting bonfires, throwing stones, and lobbing molotov cocktails to keep riot police 23r6 getting them out. they dared the police to kill their own countrymen. radical protesters tried to march on parliament. but rye i don't know police drove them back with rubber bullets, stun grenades and protesters say live ammunition. the protesters had weapons of their own, including, the government said, guns. police officers were reportedly shot dead. government forces tried to shut down kiev, stopping subway traffic to keep new protesters from the square, and issuing a chilling ultimatum to clear out or the state would use all legal means to restore order. but the protesters made a stand in independence square and now there's talk of revolution.
even civil war with international implications, reminiscent of the cold war. the ukrainian government is backed by moscow. the protesters want closer ties with europe and the united states. moscow today directly accused washington of playing puppeteer, manipulating the protesters. russia thinks the u.s. is behind the protests. today's violence, the worst since these clashes began three months ago, could be a start for a new future in ukraine. >> that was richard engle reporting. "the rewrite" is next. ♪ ♪ ♪
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we have a winner for worst political strategy idea of the year. and the win goes to the democrats. specifically the democrats running the big democratic party super pac, americans for prosperity. the conservative political group backed by the billionaire koch brothers has already spent over $27 million on house and senate campaigns since august. that is an unprecedented early spending in those campaigns where it is the norm to spend almost nothing on a senate campaign until the september of the election year. and the koch brothers are pouring money into the united states senate campaigns because they never want to see this happen again. >> i have decided to nominate an inspiring woman who i believe will make a great justice, judge sonia sotomayor of the great state of new york.
>> the single most important reason to vote for president is the president's choice of supreme court justices. justices serve decades after a president has left office and has more lasting impact on the governings of the united states of america than the president does. the most important reason for democrats to maintain control of the united states senate is to maintain control of the confirmation process for the supreme court justices, and everyone else the president nominates for senate confirmation. if the koch brothers have their way, president obama will never again be able to nominate a wise latina woman to the supreme court or possibly any court because republican control of the senate would mean that the senate would not allow the confirmation of the kwiends of judicial nominees that have been confirmed by the democratic senate. with three members of the united states supreme court pressing the limits of life expectancy,
according to acturarial tables, there are no planned resignations of the court that we know of, but a vacancy always remains a possibility. the people running priorities usa, the democrats' biggest super pac know all of this. and yet they have decided to contribute nothing to united states senate campaigns. and while they're at it, they've decided to contribute nothing to campaigns for the house of representatives this year. instead they're saving all of their money to pour into hillary clinton's presidential campaign. this provoked democratic senator dick durbin to tell "the new york times", with we're faced with the grim reality that more money is being spent earlier in some of these hot races than we've ever seen. we're spending some but we can't keep up with them. and it provoked david axelrod to recently, very politely tweet, with the senate seriously at
risk and the koch brothers spending prodigiously, shouldn't dem funders be focused on 2014 and not 2016 races, question mark. that question mark is so excessively polite, there's david axelrod not wanting to offend his friends at priorities usa or any of the big obama donors who are cooperating with this strategy. so instead of tweeting dem funders should be focused on 2014 and not 2016 races with an exclamation point, david axelrod politely poses a question that he knows the answer to. it is a shockingly bad strategy. priorities usa is now working towards making hillary clinton's time in the white house a pointless presidency. if the republicans win back the senate, they will win back control of much of the white house in effect, even if hillary
clinton is living in that white house. because a republican senate will simply not even consider confirming hillary clinton's first, second or third choices for anything. 41 out of 45 republicans in the senate voted against republican chuck hagel, who was once a senator, sitting beside them, to be president obama's defense secretary. imagine how far to the right of chuck hagel hillary clinton's defense secretary nominee would have to be in order to be confirmed by a republican senate. imagine how far to the right of sonia sotomayor and ruth bader ginsberg a supreme court nominee would have to be in order to even get a hearing in a republican controlled senate judiciary committee. such is the enormity of the
disaster that the biggest democratic super pac, priorities usa is now working to bring about. all the polls now indicate that priorities usa is probably going to achieve its dream of a hillary clinton presidency. but if priorities usa steps aside this year and allows the koch brothers to have their way in the united states senate, hillary clinton will be president in name only. and no, i didn't find a way to put a question mark on that remark, because i'll never be as polite as david axelrod. in the nation, we reward safe driving. add vanishing deductible from nationwide insurance and get $100 off your deductible for every year
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north korea crime against humanity. we will take a look inside what's happening in north korea with a man who has been there next. polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. oh, it's great. yeah. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. ♪ new at&t mobile share value plans for business. our best value plans ever. for example, you can get 10 gigs of data to share. and 5 lines would be $175 a month. plus you can add a line anytime for $15 a month. sharing's never been better for business. ♪ sharing's never been better for business. (meowright on cue. (laughs) it's more than just a meal, it's meow mix mealtime.
>> i can see many parallels between the story of north korea and the story of the axis powers in the second world war. one of the witnesses in one of the camps told of how he -- his duties included gathering up the bodies of those who had died of starvation and putting them in a pot and burning them. and then taking the ashes, sadly also the remnant of unburned human bodies and then burying that in nearby fields where it proved to be very good fertilizer. >> human rights watch released a video in conjunction with the u.n. report that features interviews with former prisoners.
>> joining me now is the author of "escape from camp 14 -- one man's remarkable odyssey from north korea to freedom in the u.s." blaine, it must be on the one hand gratifying to have provoked the u.n. to take action and to get into this investigation, but on the other hand, it is absolutely horrifying to be discovering what some of these
things, many of them, i'm sure you have already known. >> well, it's gratifying that the u.n. is forcing the rest of the world to pay serious and sustained attention to this issue. the facts that it disclosed yesterday on monday were not a surprise to people who have been following north korea, but the strie gent language, the insistence that all the countries in the world pay attention to this and never let it drop from their attention again is new and important, and i think it will force particularly china to deal with its role in facilitating what north korea does. >> blaine, how does the regime maintain its control over this system. it requires labor camp guards and prison guards who witnessed the most grotesque forms of inhumanity. >> what it does is keeps people
from knowing about the outside world. people throughout the country don't know -- their context is limited to what they're told from childhood. the camps are a classic tool of totalitarian system. they eliminate the few people who have the guts to speak out and they scare everyone else into silence. and measured by that stick, they've been incredibly successful. they've been in place for 50 years, more than 50 years, which is more than twice as long as the gulag and more than 12 times longer than the nazi camps. and they show no sign of changing. what's unique about north korea is its sustained capacity for cruelty to its own people. and what this report does in a way that no other u.n. report has ever done, is to point out that this is a very part of the system. and without this cruelty, without these camps without these kinds of murders and extermination and rape, the
state itself could not survive. and that's something the world needs to understand. there are no easy solutions, though unfortunately. >> when you imagine -- look, we lived through the collapse of the berlin wall, which i think many of us absolutely couldn't imagine until we actually saw it being dismantled. is there a scenario you can imagine where this regime goes the way of the berlin wall? >> you know, these kind of regimes collapse very quickly when they collapse. remember what happened in 1989, romania was there and then romania was gone in a matter of hours. so it could happen. but china sustains north korea. it gives its all its petrol. much of the goods that are traded in the country come from china. china wants a buffer there. and that's what makes north korea unique, is that china wants it to be there.
>> blaine harden gets tonight's "last word." thanks very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. chris hayes is up next. bullying the witnesses? let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. let me start tonight with this. at new year's he was the top republican in the country, the favorite, actually, to take on hillary clinton for the next american presidency. well, last night we discussed reports that new york port authority police themselves told drivers back in that september jam-up to blame the ft. lee mayor for the severe traffic problem. in the midst of these reports, governor christie pretends to probe the scandal himself that has bumped him from the front-runner spot.