updated 5/15/2013 10:17:29 AM ET 2013-05-15T14:17:29

POLITICS NATION
May 14, 2013

Guests: Karen Bass, Julian Bond, Kathie-Ann Joseph, Lindsay Avner

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, making sure justice is served. Moments ago, a
government watchdog issued a report blaming ineffective management at the
IRS for allowing agents to improperly target tea party groups. This just
comes hours after attorney general Eric Holder announced a criminal
investigation to learn if any laws were broken.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have ordered an investigation
to be begun. The FBI is coordinating with the justice department to see if
any laws were broken in connection with those matters related to the IRS.
Those were, I think as everyone can agree, if not criminal, they were
certainly outrageous and unacceptable. But we are examining the facts to
see if there were criminal violations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The attorney general also addressed another controversy
that we are learning more about today. The justice department`s decision
to secretly seize telephone records of journalists working for the
Associated Press. This apparently centered on an AP story from May 2012
that appeared to contain leaked details about a CIA operation in Yemen that
stopped an Al Qaeda plot. Law enforcement officials were trying to find
out who leaked that information. They obtained the records from more than
20 phone lines of AP offices and journalists without notice. The AP calls
it at unprecedented intrusion.

Today, attorney general Holder said he had recues himself from the
case before the records were ever seized.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLDER: I testified, I guess, back in June 2012 that I had been
interviewed by the FBI in connection with this matter. And to avoid a
potential -- the appearance of a potential conflict of interest and to make
sure that the investigation was seen as independent, I recues myself from
this matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Since then the leak investigation has been conducted by the
FBI under the direction of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia
and the supervision of the deputy attorney general, attorney general
Holder. But that hasn`t stopped the GOP from going extreme.

The RNC chairman said, quote "attorney general Eric Holder has
trampled on the first amendment. And that the president should ask for his
immediate resignation."

Others in the GOP are going right after the president. Boehner`s
office says the Obama administration better have, quote "a damn good
explanation."

Cantor`s office says it suggested a pattern of intimidation.

But the GOP is trying to have it both ways. Back when these national
security leaks to the media first came to light, the GOP demanded an
investigation. Twenty nine GOP senators called for a special counsel to
investigate. They wanted to know everything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We need to stop the leaks that are
endangering the lives of those men and women who are serving our country.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Watergate meant nothing. Watergate was
campaign documents, there was no real national security issue involving
Watergate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Make no mistake. We can`t live in a country where the
press is intimidated, but once again, the GOP is playing politics and
trying to have it both ways.

Joining me now is Democratic congresswoman Karen Bass. She serves on
the house Judiciary Committee which will hear from the attorney general
tomorrow. Also with me is Michelle Cottle from "the Daily Beast."

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK:
Thanks, reverend.

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me go to you first. There are real
concerns about what happens in the Associated Press. Genuine concerns.
But do you think the Republicans are operating in good faith here?

BASS: Absolutely not. I don`t think there`s any evidence of that at
all. I think this is a very consistent drum beat. A drum beat they`ve
been beating on since I`ve been here and I`m going into my third year.
They have had a long list of complaints about attorney general Holder and
frankly everybody else in the president`s cabinet. So, before we even take
step one of an investigation into what`s happened, they are calling for his
resignation? At some point in time, we need to get to the business of this
country. And the number one thing we need to be focused on is the economy
and jobs.

SHARPTON: Now Michelle, when you look at the fact that the president
and the attorney general is under attack, as I just read, but attorney
general Holder had said he recues himself before the records at AP were
taken. No one that I know would defend the intimidation of the press, and
certainly those of us that have felt that IRS and law enforcement, others
have gone over the line for political reasons, would not in any way justify
this.

But if he recues himself and was not involved, one has to look at the
fact that the house has had a mission against this attorney general for a
while. In fact, he`s the first attorney general in history to be held in
contempt of Congress. When you look at the fact that the house oversight
committee chairman, Darrell Issa, who called for his resignation today, is
also hypocritical in the sense he said today the actions by the justice
department are, quote "obviously disturbing." But back in 2007, he was one
of just 21 house members to vote against a bill that would have protected
the Associated Press in this case.

So while I think we need to get to the bottom of this, we better be
careful about whose shovel we`re letting dig to the bottom here.

COTTLE: I mean, it true, I think, the attorney general in particular
has been a good target for Republicans over the years. I think Reince
Priebus himself wanted Eric Holder to resign over fast and furious.
Before, you know, years ago we had him under fire. Everybody thought he
was going to be let go because of where you try terrorism suspects.

This is not the first time. I mean, every few months we find a new
reason that the attorney general should be fired according to the
Republicans. But it`s perfect with their kind of agenda right now.
Because they don`t want to talk about things like immigration and the
economy. And they`ve got the midterms coming up. And scandal season makes
for really good politics for them.

SHARPTON: Now, congresswoman, again, I think that -- and it was
Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican Party, that called for the
attorney general`s resignation. But it was Issa who led the fight to hold
him in contempt.

And, again, we are not at all saying this is not egregious and must be
looked at in terms of AP because whether its government overreach and
intimidation on the left or the right, it`s wrong and must be condemned.
But we must also make sure that those that look into this are doing this in
a balanced and fair way and not just playing some cheap political points at
the expense of the freedom of the press.

BASS: Well, absolutely. And I do have to say, and I`m sad to say,
that I have a hard way believing that they would actually look at it in an
objective manner. If you begin before the investigation even starts by
calling for the resignation. And you remember last year, it was so
disrespectful to attorney general Holder that a number of us walked off the
floor and refused to participate in the vote to hold him in contempt. And
as you mentioned, the first time in U.S. history for this to happen.

But, you know, if it`s not the attorney general, it`s the EPA. It`s
homeland security. I mean, you just go down the list. And just as your
other guest said, it`s really every few months that there is a call for his
resignation.

So, I really think that this is shameful. We need to get back to the
business of the country. And this kind of situation really needs to stop.

SHARPTON: And I think that we need to say let us have a thorough and
full investigation and let the matter fall, let the sword fall where it
may.

But Michelle, let us not forget that the Bush administration`s dealing
with reporters also came into question. NPR reports three years ago, the
justice department`s inspector general found evidence that the FBI was
getting phone records from the "Washington Post" and "The New York Times"
in the Bush administration without following guidelines regarding
reporters. I don`t remember Republicans or the right wing screaming when
that came out. That seemed to be a collective case of Republican
laryngitis.

COTTLE: Yes. It all depends on whose team you are batting for, who
is in power at the time. This is not an unusual practice. I think what`s
upset the AP in particular is the scope of what has been done here. You
know, the number of reporters and the amount of time.

But that said, the Republicans were, you know, very quick to step up
and start making Nixon, you know, the kind of Nixon comparisons that we all
get to hear every time somebody does something slightly, you know,
questionable here.

And it`s just the scandal season. They are going to add this to the
long list of other things that, you know, may or may not actually make
people think along the lines of a government that the Republicans want you
to think is way out of control and overreaching and way too big brotherish.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Karen Bass and Michelle Cottle, thank you for
your time this evening. And let me say before we move on to the chair of
the RNC, Reince Priebus, it would seem to me very strange that the one
person that has said they were recues from the situation before what all of
us feel is wrong is the one you want to resign. Even in the middle of
something that could appear to your benefit, you never fail to mess it up
by overreaching.

Let it go, Reince. Let it go where it`s got to go. The more you push
it, the more it`s going to backfire.

Ahead, the IRS scandal under President Bush. We will talk to the
former head of the NAACP Julian Bond, about why Republicans didn`t care
when the IRS was targeting civil rights.

Also, the Republican obsession with creating a new Watergate for
President Obama. We are throwing some sand in the gears of the GOP scandal
machine.

And Angelina Jolie`s courageous choice. Inspiring millions of women
and putting a new focus on health care inequality in America.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.

Today, many in our facebook community were outraged over the story of
a Latino outreach director for the Republican Party who became a Democrat
because of what he called the, quote "culture of intolerance in the GOP."

Sergio says, a culture of intolerance would be an understatement. Bob
says, finally a common sense Republican is seeing what the GOP is and what
it really stands for.

William asks Republicans, how is that rebranding thing going for you?

Good question, William.

We want to hear what you think on this sue. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Back to our breaking news.

The inspector general`s new report on the IRS says the agency used
inappropriate criteria to target conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
The report says the IRS used that criteria for 18 months starting in 2010.
Delaying paperwork and demanding unnecessary paperwork from those groups.

But, we also learned today that recent reporting on Benghazi was
apparently wrong. The White House did not demand changes to the so-called
talking points in order to protect the state the president. It`s what the
Obama administration has been saying all along. This is why we can`t have
a rush to judgment. We need the facts. But the GOP isn`t interested in
getting the facts. They are just interested in ginning up a scandal.

Politico reports a third of all GOP led committees in the house are
now investigating some aspect of the Obama administration. A third.
Republicans seem to think there are Watergates all over the place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This makes Watergate look like
child`s play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is far worse than Watergate. I mean, nobody
died in Watergate.

MCCAIN: Somebody said to me the other day, this is as bad as
Watergate. Well, nobody died in Watergate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an administration practicing now serial
deception. This is Watergate.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Forget the bottom like we
did in Watergate and Iran contra.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Everything is Watergate. In fact, we counted at least six
scandals that Republicans have declared to be Obama`s Watergate. Benghazi,
the president`s administration policy change, Solyndra, fast and furious,
the national security leaks and president Obama`s birth certificate. The
truth is, Republicans don`t have a constructive agenda for the country so
they`ve committed themselves to a destructive attack on the president.

Joining me now are David Corn and Joan Walsh. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thank you, Rev.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: David, are Republicans more interested in finding new so-
called Watergates than in finding the facts?

CORN: Oh, God. When you put it that way, Reverend, I don`t know
which one to go with a or b. As a Watergate baby, I`m kind of in this
business because I grew up at the time of Watergate. I know that`s hard to
believe. You know, it kind of to me is really insulting to Watergate to
compare any of this to Watergate.

Then, you had a break-in that was covered up by the president himself
who told the CIA to tell the FBI to obstruct justice so they wouldn`t
figure out it all led to his secret money campaign to re-elect himself.
So, that`s Watergate.

Watergate was big. Watergate -- we did have Nixon trying to use the
IRS to get enemies. But since then we passed laws so the president`s not
allowed to talk to the IRS. So, even people saying he should get out there
and start firing people in the IRS; that would be against the law.

It`s quite clear a lot of these things, there are either questions to
resolve -- there are still questions to resolve with Benghazi, what
happened beforehand with CIA warnings and state department preparations.
There are questions to resolve with the IRS. I have questions for the
justice department about going after the AP reporters to plug leaks. But
none of this gets even close to Watergate. We can keep the sandbags at
home.

SHARPTON: Now a question about it.

Joan, I mean, they seem obsessed, though, with finding a scandal. And
let me show you the field day they`ve been having over at FOX, for example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She asked the president about Benghazi. Which he
essentially dismissed as a political side show. The Benghazi scandal, by
the way, it is a scandal. And John McCain yesterday said it was a cover up
as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A real culture of deception has been revealed.
The deception in terms of saying what the truth was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Possibly new evidence that the White House was
heavily involved in whitewashing the narrative in the aftermath of the
Benghazi terror attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has been a cover up from the very
beginning. I was in the White House during Watergate. I know all about
cover ups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This definitely is a creative rewriting of
history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, they are obsessed with it. They are saying things
that has no basis of facts even the whistle blower, if you`re going to
listen to a whistle blower, which you should, at least listen to what he`s
whistling. He`s not saying that the White House and the president were
directly involved in changing anything.

WALSH: No, he`s not, Reverend Al. I mean, we started out today with
three alleged scandals surrounding the White House. And we`re ending the
day with really only one thing that`s of concern. That is the subpoena of
the AP records. I`m very concerned about that. But let`s get back to the
other --

SHARPTON: All of us are.

WALSH: All of us are. But let`s get back to the other two. I mean,
this inspect general`s report today comes out and says, yes, it was
inadequate management. But no one in the report, no one has put this
anywhere near the White House. As David says, there`s no president.
There`s no one in the White House ordering this.

And we know sadly there`s been a history of tampering, perhaps, going
in the other direction with the NAACP. You`ll talk about that later. On
Benghazi --

SHARPTON: Many of the groups I`ve been involved with.

WALSH: Churches, I mean. Absolutely. On Benghazi, I mean, I have
got to give credit to Jake Tapper of CNN. He broke a big story today that
showed that these alleged -- the massaging of the talking points and the e-
mail, the specific e-mail that showed that the White House was supposedly
protecting the state department in this, this e-mail -- Jake Tapper and I
have it on my blog, published the whole e-mail. It never mentions the
state department. It is a very straightforward e-mail talking about --

SHARPTON: They edited the e-mail.

WALSH: So, they edited the e-mail. They didn`t edit it to take stuff
out. They edited it to add stuff, to affirmatively add stuff that`s not
there in the e-mail. So, Benghazi is going away. I believe the IRS will
go away, too. We will see about the AP

SHARPTON: Now David, when you really get down to it, though, because
a lot of people that are watching are saying, OK, what is this really
about? Well, let me deal with something "Politico" says. That I think
puts some focus as to why the GOP may be doing this.

They are focus -- I`m reading from "Politico." Focusing on scandals
that play well with its base ahead of the 2014 midterms is great politics
for the house GOP leadership. Perhaps the best thing about this spate of
investigations is that it has unity without having to scrounge 218 votes
for any legislation. What could have happened that the GOP had to come up
with actual ideas for legislation? The fact is, this is about the only
thing they can get their caucus to agree on is trying to scandalize and
demonize the president and the attorney general.

CORN: Well, I think it`s much easier to be talking about all this
than it is to deal with immigration reform where they are split. Or
talking about perhaps bringing about another default when we get to the
debt ceiling debate and the budget talks which are coming up. Protecting
tax cuts for the rich. And while we have sequestered cuts affecting people
who go to head start and get food stamps or who wait on line for planes. I
mean, on the policy front, there`s a lot of things they don`t want to talk
about because either they are against public opinion, or they are
internally at war with themselves.

So, this just gives them a lot of chaff. And to throw up in the air a
lot of flames. And remember, this is a fundamental point here.
Republicans do not have to beat Democrats or the president when it comes to
policy matter. They just have to make people sort of so disgusted with
Washington that they say, a pox an everybody. And Republicans can do that
very easily by bringing everything into the gutter and creating these
distractions.

SHARPTON: Well, but I think, Joan, when you look at it, I mean, I
will show you how bizarre it gets. And when I was raising the point
reading what "Politico" said about playing to your base, when you look at
the polls, of Republicans, 70 percent think it`s worse than Iran contra, 74
percent think it`s worse than Watergate, 74 percent think it`s worse than
the teapot dome scandal.

But here`s something interesting. A new national poll finds that 39
percent of Republican voters who think Benghazi`s the biggest political
scandal in American history don`t actually know where it is. They think
it`s in Egypt or Iran or Cuba or Syria or Iraq or even North Korea and four
percent were not even willing to guess. I mean, for a party so obsessed
with Benghazi, you would think they`d at least know where it is and what
they were talking about.

WALSH: They don`t care where it is, Reverend Al. They just care
who`s in the White House. And you know, we talked about the election.
What are they going to do? They can`t run against Barack Obama again.
Well, they are running against Barack Obama and they are tying up the White
House and they are tying up the agenda and it`s really unfortunate because
we have real problems.

SHARPTON: Real problems from immigration to jobs, jobs, jobs.

WALSH: Guns.

SHARPTON: And they`re messing with some things that happened that
were serious in terms of not only the liberties of the press, but what
happened in Benghazi and what happened that those leaks were about, as the
attorney general, it put lives at risk. This is serious stuff. This is
not petty politics.

David Corn and Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

CORN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Dick Cheney accuses president Obama of a cover
up. Really? Republicans seem to be suffering from scandal amnesia.
They`ve totally forgotten about the Bush years.

Also, today`s stunning news about Angelina Jolie and her new focus on
getting quality, affordable health care for millions of women.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Angelina Jolie, actress, film maker, activist, is one of
the most famous women in the world. And now she announced her courageous
personal decision that may literally save women`s lives. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: As we`ve reported, if IRS investigators targeted
conservative groups, there should be consequences. Unfair IRS
investigations are not new. Just months before the 2004 election, the
chairman of the NAACP spoke at the group`s annual convention and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN BOND, FORMER CHAIRMAN, NAACP: If you oppose the war, they say,
you don`t support our troops. That`s nonsense. If it was up to us, every
man and woman stationed in Iraq would be safely at home with their loved
ones right now. They`ve tried to patch the -- economy and every other
domestic problem with duck tape and plastic sheets. They wrote a new
constitution for Iraq, and they ignored the constitution here at home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was NAACP chair Julian Bond in July of 2004. And
guess what happened? Just three months later, the IRS launched an
investigation into the NAACP`s tax exempt status. Just a month before the
2004 election, the IRS began auditing the NAACP. If the group lost its tax
exempt status, it would have crippled the civil rights organization.

After nearly a two-year investigation, the IRS decided the chairman`s
comments didn`t violate the group`s tax status. We`ve heard a lot of
republican outrage this week about the IRS. But I don`t remember hearing
any republican outrage when the NAACP was investigated just as George Bush
was trying to get re-elected. Hmm. I wonder why.

Joining me now is Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP. Thank
you for being here tonight.

BOND: It`s my pleasure, Reverend. Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Now, Mr. Bond, you were chair of the NAACP when it faced
this audit. How did the IRS explain their investigation back in 2004?

BOND: The letter we got from the IRS said that I had criticized
President Bush. Now, you know, I`ve been a citizen of the United States
since my birth. And I`ve always believed that with that citizenship came
the right to criticize presidents, mayors, people in public office, anybody
you chose. And was just shocked to see this was the rationale for what for
us was two years of struggle, a lot of money we had to spend, expensive
lawyers we had to hire to protect our tax exemption.

Because as you just said, had we lost our tax exemption it would have
crippled the NAACP. Of course, the people who are behind this knew that
and thought it would cause this great deal of trouble and make us less
effective than we would have been in the upcoming election.

SHARPTON: Now, you criticized his policy in Iraq. Do you think audit
by the IRS was political?

BOND: Oh, absolutely. It was absolutely political. Because we asked
the IRS to tell us who had complained. And we found a long list of
republican office holders including the former governor of Maryland who was
then a house member who had complained with the IRS or had had a
constituent write them and tell them -- complain to the IRS about the
NAACP. So, we`re surely political.

SHARPTON: Now, we`ve heard some Republicans who`s tried to use the
IRS who attack President Obama this week. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: We can`t count on the
administration to be forthcoming about the details of this scandal.
Because so far they`ve been anything but.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s a bit of faux outrage. And I wonder what is
the President going to do.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: How dare the administration imply
that they`re going to get to the bottom of it. This was the targeting of
the President`s political enemies effectively. And lies about it during
the election year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, did you recall any of these republican leaders being
outraged in 2004 when NAACP and you went through this, Mr. Bond?

BOND: Of course, they don`t know what outrage is. For them this is
really what one of them said, this is faux outrage, this is faux anger.
These are people who are trying to sell the country on a false premise that
somehow or another President Obama is behaving badly. You know, they`ve
done nothing but say no to him from the day he was elected all those years
ago and will continue to do that and continue to try to block his policies
until he leaves office.

SHARPTON: You know, one of the things that amaze me is Karl Rove said
this week, it would be a huge story if liberal groups were audited under
President Bush. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BUSH: We`d have
every group that had -- of liberal or progressive tendencies demanding
answers and marching on the White House and leaders of Congress, Democrats
in Congress, you know, demanding to have answers. I mean, it would be a
nightmare at the Bush White House had this been done on our watch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Had this been done on their watch. It was done on their
watch! It was done to the NAACP. It was done to a lot of us. Do you
remember marches on the White House and the media outrage that you`re
hearing now, Mr. Bond?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOND: No, of course not. Not by these people. Their outrage is
selective. They are outraged when their friends are threatened. But when
the people like the NAACP or organizations like people for the American way
or when liberal churches are threatened with the loss of their tax
exemption, these people have nothing to say. Their mouths are shut. They
don`t speak. They`re just not present.

SHARPTON: Now, I think it`s also important to add that our point here
is we don`t think anyone ought to be intimidated for political reasons.
But we also have to have one standard and one set of rules and not have
people play politics when they take positions only when it`s their side of
the -- of the political aisle. And I think Senator Harry Reid pointed out
today that other IRS targets during the Bush administration. Let me show
you what Harry Reid said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (R-NEV), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: It wasn`t long ago
that the IRS inappropriately targeted the NAACP. Green peace. And a
California church. At that time, we didn`t hear a single republican grand
stand the issue then. Where was their outrage when groups on the other
side of the political spectrum were under attack?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And I think that`s the point. I`ve seen you take positions
event many in the African-American community may not have thought was right
but it`s been consistent and all with saying is that there should be
consistency here or we can also suspect politics.

BOND: Absolutely. You need to have the same rules for everybody.
Whatever their party is, whatever their political beliefs are, whatever
they stand up for, everybody`s got to play by the same rules. And these
people, these Republicans, don`t believe that the same rules should apply
to everybody. They believe they should only apply to them if they`re good
for them. And if they`re not, then they don`t have to obey them.

SHARPTON: Karl Rove, I`m waiting to hear from you about the NAACP.
It`s a few years late, but come on, Karl, you can do it. Julian Bond,
thank you for your time tonight.

BOND: Thank you, Reverend. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, I have a big announcement to make about this
show and helping Americans. And a courageous choice for one of the world`s
most famous people. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: She`s one of the world`s biggest stars. One of the most
beautiful people in the world. And today Angelina Jolie reveals big news
that can help save women`s lives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A shocking story today about one of the world`s most famous
people. She`s Angelina Jolie. The academy award winning actress, the
international movie star, film director, screen writer, activist. But the
biggest headline of Jolie`s career may have come today. In the form of an
op-ed she penned for the "New York Times" this morning. The title simply
says, "My Medical Choice."

After being diagnosed as a carrier of the so called breast cancer
gene, she writes, quote, "My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent
risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer." Once I
knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize
the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventative
double mastectomy."

This is normally a very private decision for women to make. But Jolie
decided to go public to raise awareness and hopes. And she hopes it will
educate women about their own options. It`s a brave and courageous choice.
Angelina, you should be commended for this award winning performance.

Joining me now is Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, a breast surgeon at NYU
Medical Center here in New York. And Lindsay Avner, founder of
Brightpink.org. She was diagnosed with the breast cancer gene and had a
preventative double mastectomy at age 23. Thank you both for being here
tonight on this important topic.

DR. KATHIE-ANN JOSEPH, BREAST SURGEON: Thank you.

LINDSAY AVNER, FOUNDER, BRIGHTPINK.ORG: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Lindsay, as one who has been through this, what was your
reaction to the news this morning?

AVNER: Well, when I woke up this morning I was absolutely shocked.
You know, usually Angelina Jolie is so reserved as a celebrity. And for
her to make the decision to be so public and so vulnerable was absolutely
inspiring to me. And the thousands of Bright Pink women around the
country.

SHARPTON: Now, tell us how did you make the decision to have a double
mastectomy.

AVNER: Well, like Angelina Jolie, I have a very strong family history
of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. My grandma and great grandma
died a week apart both from breast cancer. And my mom is an 18-year
breast, 17-year ovarian cancer survivor. So, at the age of 22, after
testing positive for the same mutation Angelina has, the BRCA1 gene, I made
the decision at 23 to remove my healthy breasts and followed up with
reconstruction because I wanted to be the first person after generations of
women in my family to not develop this disease that had stalked us for so
long.

SHARPTON: Wow. Dr. Joseph, Lindsay did this. Angelina Jolie did
this. Have you seen more of these types of preventative surgeries?

JOSEPH: Absolutely. As women, more women and more doctors are being
educated about learning about their family history and then getting tested,
more women are making that decision and saying, you know what? I don`t
want to have this ticking time bomb going off over my head.

SHARPTON: And it is a ticking time bomb. I mean, it`s got a -- it
has real impact. It is a very personal decision.

JOSEPH: It`s a personal decision, 87 percent lifetime risk. Doesn`t
mean that every woman is going to get breast cancer but it`s a huge risk.
And so they come into my office and they say, Doc, I don`t want -- I want
them off.

SHARPTON: Right.

JOSEPH: Now, it doesn`t mean that every woman who has the gene has to
make this choice. But it`s an option.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to show you this number. If you`re in the
general population, you basically have a 12 percent chance of getting
breast cancer in your lifetime if you have the breast cancer gene. Your
chances skyrocket to 65 percent if you have that gene. That`s huge. Do we
know if certain ethnic groups get the mutation more than others, doctor?

JOSEPH: Yes. The Ashkenazi Jewish population has the highest
incidents of the BRCA gene. But this gene make no mistake about it, this
gene has been found in pretty much every ethnic group. So, you don`t have
to be Jewish to be at risk. I`ve had women who are African-American,
Hispanic, Asian, you name it, who come in and have been found -- who have
been tested and have the BRCA gene.

SHARPTON: Lindsay, let me go back to you. This genetic test showed
you have a higher chance of getting ovarian cancer. Has that influenced
your decisions any?

AVNER: Well, I`ll tell you, I feel as though I`ve overcome the breast
cancer mountain, so to say. But the ovarian cancer one is still ahead.
The doctors say that I need to have my ovaries out at 35, 40 at the latest.
And so being 30 years old -- there`s some big decision I`m going to have to
make ahead. We do know for women being on the birth control pill can
dramatically reduce your risk for ovarian cancer. That being said, when
you`re looking at the numbers that we have, that these BRCA mutations
indicate, unfortunately we don`t have a great test for ovarian cancer. So
the surgery will be a decision I need to make and one that I will make in
the coming years.

SHARPTON: Now, how important, doc, is getting information out? By
Jolie coming out, will that help get this out a lot?

JOSEPH: Oh, it`s a tremendous help. I`m so -- she should be
commended for coming out publicly. It`s such a personal decision. Because
so many women don`t necessarily know that their family history is so
important. And it`s not just -- also, we focus, because it`s breast
cancer, we focus on the maternal side. The mother`s side. This gene can
be passed down also on the father`s side, too. I just want to p that out
there. This is -- this is what we call an autosomal dominant gene. So,
this gene can be passed down on either side.

SHARPTON: Now, Jolie also talks about the cost of testing for the
breast cancer gene in her op-ed. She writes, "It has got to be a priority
to ensure that more women can access gene testing and life saving
preventative treatment. Whatever their means and background, wherever
they live, the cost of testing for BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 at more than $3,000 in
the United States remains an obstacle for many women." Why is the test so
costly? And does insurance cover it?

JOSEPH: Most insurance companies do. Not all don`t. And I`m glad
she wrote that. Because the problem is that there is only one company in
the United States that does the test. They have the monopoly on it.

SHARPTON: One company?

JOSEPH: One company.

SHARPTON: Isn`t that kind of unfair? I mean, if only one company has
it, suppose --

JOSEPH: This company has owns the patent. It is a gene, but they
have the patent. There is a lawsuit going on now. This is round two.
Between this company, myriad and geneticists and the ACL -- excuse me.

AVNER: ACL. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

JOSEPH: Thank you.

Because the issue is whether or not a company can have a patent on the
gene. Something that`s naturally occurring.

SHARPTON: Now, who should get this genetic testing for breast cancer?
Second, two first degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer, one before
age 51. First and second degree relatives diagnosed with breast cancer or
ovarian cancer. Male relative diagnosed with breast cancer. If you`ve
been diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. You know, what is
triple negative breast cancer, doctor? What is it? And why is this a
reason to be genetically screened?

JOSEPH: So, triple negative breast cancer refers to having a cancer
that tests negative for both the estrogen receptor, the progesterone
receptor and something called her 2, that`s a protein that sits on the
tumor. So, if you`re negative for all three, that`s one of the most
aggressive tumors you can have. That has ramifications for African-
American women where a third of all are cancers, are triple negative which
contributes to our worst prognosis.

SHARPTON: OK. Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph and Lindsay Avner, thank you
both for joining us tonight.

JOSEPH: Thank you.

AVNER: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Thank you for having me. I want to talk for a moment about
a new project we are undertaking on this show. It`s called urgent care.
And it`s an ongoing investigation into the continuing desperate shape of
health care for millions of people in this country. We are shining light
on the urgency of the health care crisis. Many Americans can`t afford
basic care. There are kids that have never been -- have never seen a
doctor.

Americans who can`t afford treatment for life threatening illnesses.
And this just isn`t right. It isn`t fair. We have a special edition of
POLITICS NATION live from the clinic in New Orleans on Wednesday, July 3rd.
As MSNBC viewers have done in the past, we need you to help make the clinic
a reality. You can donate, volunteer or sign up for an appointment with a
doctor if you need to see one on July 3rd.

Go to National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics website at
nafcclinics.org. Or you can go to our Facebook page. It`s you who can
help make the difference in providing care to those in need. We hope you
can join and support us in this cause and make every Americans dream of
health care coverage a reality.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Here`s some perspective on all these controversies in
Washington. Former Vice President Dick Cheney went on FOX News this week
to offer his unique opinion about the attack on our consulate in Benghazi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY (R), UNITED STATES: I watched the
Benghazi thing with great interest, Sean. I think it`s one of the worst
incidents, frankly, that I can recall in my career. The cover-up included
several officials up to and including President Obama. And the cover-up is
still ongoing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s quite a statement coming from the man who brought us
the Iraq war. The vice president also repeated the GOP`s favorite new
talking point. About how they kept America safe during the Bush era.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: In my past experience, when we got into these situations,
especially after 9/11, we were always on the step, locked and loaded, ready
to go on 9/11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s stunning. What Cheney and his gang is basically
saying is that we were great when it comes to stopping terror attacks on
9/11, as long as you don`t count 9/11. Republicans seem to be suffering
from scandal amnesia. They`ve totally forgotten the Bush years. It`s a
scandal when more than 3,600 Americans are killed or injured in a war that
was sold to us under false pretenses. It`s a scandal when we learn that
President Bush has secret -- has a secret program to spy on American
citizens without a warrant.

And it`s a scandal when the vice president of the United States`
chief-of-staff, Scooter Libby is convicted of lying and obstruction of
justice. Look, there is no question that there are some serious issues
that are facing the Obama administration now. The President himself is
demanding answers. Particularly on the IRS controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: If you`ve got the IRS
operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is
outrageous. It is contrary to our traditions. And people have to be held
accountable and it`s got to be fixed. So we`ll wait and see what exactly
all the details and the facts are. But I`ve got no patience with it. I
will not tolerate it. And we`ll make sure that we find out exactly what
happened on this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But by any standard, this administration has one of the
cleanest records in recent political history. And the GOP`s desperate
search for Watergates won`t change that. The Bush/Cheney crowd can`t
rewrite history. They may try, but we won`t let them get away with it. We
will be consistent and say what was done wrong when it was against those on
the left or the center is wrong on the right. But we will not let those
rewrite history. You can`t make rights wrong. And you can`t make wrong
right.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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