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Rachel Maddow guest: Botched Oklahoma execution was like watching medieval torture

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Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow discussed the botched execution of convicted killer Clayton Locket by Oklahoma prison officials. The state was set to execute two inmates on Tuesday evening, but after Locket’s death by lethal injection went awry, the second execution was postponed.

“You may have read lately that state prison systems have been finding it difficult — and in some cases, impossible — to get the chemicals that have traditionally been used in the lethal injection process,” Maddow said. The company that manufactured the main chemical no longer makes it and European companies don’t want their products used for the death penalty.

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The state of Oklahoma decided to keep the actual chemical formula of its execution cocktail a secret, but it was known that the poisons carried “a substantial risk of inflicting severe pain.”

The state supreme court ruled to stay the executions, but Gov. Mary Fallon (R) declared that the executions would go forward over the court’s objections. The court decided to reverse its ruling and the killings were slated to go forward on Tuesday.

In August of 2000, Clayton Locket and two accomplices carried out a vicious, brutal attack on a man and two 19-year-old women and the man’s 9-month-old son. The women were raped multiple times and one of them was shot twice in a ditch and buried even as she was in her death-throes.

“When a state executes a prisoner, it’s typical for reporters to be allowed to cover that punishment and write about it,” said Maddow. Locket’s execution was covered by AP reporter Bailey Elise McBride. McBride took to the social medium Twitter and announced Tuesday evening that the execution she was witnessing had gone horribly wrong and Locket was suffering a prolonged and painful death.

Locket died in a hospital of a heart attack, more than 40 minutes after he was injected with the execution drugs. Robert Patton, Oklahoma’s director of corrections, blamed “vein failure” for the fact that the drugs did not work on Locket.

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Maddow welcomed attorney Madeline Cohen to the show. She represented Charles Warner, whose execution was postponed for two weeks after Locket’s went wrong. Cohen said that state officials are lying about Locket.

“He did not have vein failure,” Cohen said. “That is dissembling by the Department of Corrections to cover up a horribly botched execution.”

Maddow said that something many people don’t understand is that while the Constitution protects U.S. citizens from cruel and unusual punishment, it does allow for executions, but dictates that they must be humane.

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Cohen said that what she wants for the sake of her client is transparency. She said that she wants to know what drugs the state intends to use and where they came from. Because of the shortage of death penalty drugs, she said, prisons are turning to “questionable sources” for the chemicals.

“This is the thing we never wanted to happen,” said Cohen. “This is what we’ve feared and why we need to have transparency in the process.”

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“It’s horrible,” she said. “We never want this to happen…It was like watching somebody be tortured. It was the farthest thing from a Constitutional execution that we can imagine.”

Watch video about this story, embedded below:

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The Republicans’ impeachment lawyer made 2 huge mistakes in questioning Gordon Sondland

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered complex and convoluted impeachment testimony on Wednesday about his involvement in President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal. He gave detailed evidence recounting the president and the rest of the administration’s involvement in his effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations of Trump’s political opponents — including by leveraging a potential White House meeting and a hold on military aid.

But he also, to the Republicans’ delight, left some ambiguity about how much Trump had been involved in the effort to leverage the aid, saying that he had “presumed” Ukraine’s announcement of the investigations would release the hold. And he noted that, in one phone call the president — as the scheme was slowly being uncovered — Trump angrily denied there was a quid pro quo.

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Rick Santorum smacked down for claiming Sondland testimony helped Trump

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) tried to argue that the testimony of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland actually helped President Donald Trump — and was promptly challenged.

"I think the Democrats had a good morning. I don't think they had a good afternoon," said Santorum. "I think what when the Republicans actually started questioning Sondland about the details, I think it fell apart a little bit."

"How so?" asked Chris Cuomo.

"He said the president never said any of these things to him," said Santorum. "In fact, what the president said, he quoted what the president said is, no, there's no quid pro quo. What he says is, well, I'm surmising, this is what I'm just sort of gathering. Did anything come from the president? No, it came from Rudy Giuliani."

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‘The cost of acquitting Donald Trump just went up’ for the Republicans: MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid

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MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid explained during the post-hearing wrap-up that things aren't looking good for Republican senators up for reelection in 2020.

In the wake of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony, things are getting more difficult for Republicans faced with a vote on impeachment.

"Even if [the numbers] don't move, the problem is going to be a lot of these people have to run for re-election, letting the president off the hook when it's pretty clear what happened," Reid said. "This is pretty simple, and if I'm Cory Gardener (R-CO), I'm not feeling great."

Brian Williams noted that Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) is one of the many Republicans "who's leaving town on a fast horse." If anyone could be pealed off by Democrats, Williams thinks it is Hurd.

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