PoliticsNation, Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
September 11, 2013
Guests: Cynthia Tucker; Bill Richardson; Emanuel Cleaver, Abby Huntsman, Karen Finney, Joy Reid and Faith Jenkins
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, we remember. Today, the country is remembering those
who lost their lives 12 years ago, September 11, 2001, a day we will never
forget. At the White House, the president observed a moment of silence
after he spoke at a ceremony at the Pentagon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let us have the
confidence and the values that make us Americans which we must never lose.
The shining liberties that make us a beacon to the world. The unity and
commitment to one another that we sustain on this national day of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The unity and commitment to one another is that unity that
rose from the ashes of tragedy 12 years ago today. Unity across America,
unity in the political world, putting aside partisan differences. But
today, 12 years later, that political unity is lost.
President Obama has a serious decision to make on Syria. Whatever
your politics, there is no easy answer. It`s tough. It involves hard
questions, and it`s deeply personal. That is so troubling about what we`re
seeing in our politics today.
The leading Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell is sending out
stunningly cynical messages to his supporters. The letter says McConnell
could not support the president`s authorization for use of force in Syria.
And then McConnell try does fund raise off it.
Quote, "anything you can contribute will go a long way towards our
Cashing in on a crisis? It`s grotesque.
Today, also marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S.
consulate in Benghazi where four Americans was killed and where some
Republicans today -- where are they today? Rallying against this
administration after a year of baseless, phony scandal mongering on
Rudy Giuliani, who led New York City through its time of crisis,
attacked the president today on 9/11, over Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I have significant
questions about the action of the United States government that night,
including our president. I still don`t know where he was that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Here`s where the president was that night, in the White
House, at work. This photo is on the White House Web site. It`s easy to
find. This president is confronting serious questions about serious
issues. It`s one thing to disagree. It`s another to be disagreeable.
Whatever your politics, let`s remember that unity we had 12 years ago
Joining me now is former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson and
Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver from Missouri.
Thank you both for joining me tonight.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you reverend.
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Ambassador Richardson, you favored a military strike on
Syria. Obviously, a lot has changed in the last 48 hours. Where are you
RICHARDSON: Well, I`m supporting the president. I think it`s
important that we explore this diplomatic initiative. I`m very skeptical
of the Russians, the Iranians. I`m skeptical of a potential solution, but
I think it needs to be explored.
Now, what I would like to see is a strong effort in the security
council that is in addition to taking the weapons away from the Syrians, a
cease-fire. I think what is also needed is talks leading to a political
settlement, some kind of arms embargo.
Let`s go a little further, Reverend. I think the president has put us
in a position now where the Syrians and the Russians for some reason wanted
a pause. They have thrown diplomacy out. So I think it`s a very, very
sensitive period. But let the administration pursue these negotiations.
I`m skeptical. I have dealt with the Russians before in the security
SHARPTON: You were the ambassador to the United Nations. So as you
say, you have dealt with them. You have dealt with them there at the U.N.
would you trust them, and if you would not trust them, how would you
safeguard every step of the way to as we have been hearing people say that
you`ve got to check, trust but verify? How would you verify, Ambassador?
RICHARDSON: Well, I do trust the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. He
was my counterpart at the U.N. I don`t trust President Putin. And what
I`m concerned about is that this is a delaying tactic, a stalling tactic to
get the Congress to affect the votes of people like Congressman Cleaver.
So, what you have to do is an airtight resolution in the security
council, a timeline on when is it that they are going to get these weapons
out. As I said, an arms embargo that prevents weapons to come in. Also
finding ways for a cease-fire, a talks leading to a political settlement.
Let`s try to get more than what we`re trying to get, which is the
elimination of the chemical weapons from Syria into the Russian hands,
verification, real inspectors, Reverend, as you mentioned. Technical
people, not political people.
SHARPTON: Now Congressman Cleaver, the president said that, well, he
said this about the potential diplomatic agreement on Syria`s chemical
weapons, you and a lot others including I have questioned a strike. He is
trying to deal with negotiations now, even though he has clearly said that
a strike is still on the table. But here is what he said about a potential
diplomatic agreement over Syria`s chemical weapons. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It`s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed. In
any agreement, it must be verified that the Assad regime keeps its
commitments. I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a
vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path.
Meanwhile, I have ordered our military to maintain their current posture,
to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Congressman, how much can we trust a deal around president
Putin and President Obama -- and President Assad with President Obama?
CLEAVER: Well, I trust President Obama. And I think he has done the
right thing sending this to Congress. I think he`s also done the right
thing in delaying action until Secretary Kerry is able to come up with
something with his counterpart from Russia.
You know, Bashar Al-Assad is not to be trusted. But keep in mind, the
president is right about this. Assad never put his best foot forward until
his other foot was in hot water. And because of that, I think we are
having some movement. I would prefer some kind of diplomatic solution.
Every military strike we launch as the world`s super power will strike some
chord and vibrate throughout the remainder of the 21st century. And so,
I`m nervous about it. But, I`m hoping that we won`t even have to vote.
That we will have a settlement coming from Secretary Kerry.
SHARPTON: Now Ambassador Richardson, we are looking at the fact that
the president already has gotten Syria to admit in effect, that they do
have these weapons, something they were denying, and the locations. How do
we deal with this? I mean, how do we understand that we are verifying
them, that we know that we are getting all of them? I mean what is the
process now that we would gain some kind of trust that we`re not just being
stalled, but that we are actually doing something to get rid of these
weapons? Or are they going to play a game with us in your judgment? What
does the U.N. do to secure that we are not being played with here?
RICHARDSON: Well, what is critical now, Reverend, is the United
Nations security council. Five members, Russia, China, Britain, France and
the U.S. any of the five can veto. So, the Russians can show that they are
serious by not vetoing a resolution that`s airtight. That verify, as you
mentioned, that secures the chemical weapons outside of Syria.
Syria has now admitted they have them because for some reason, they
were scared of the strike. So, a verification system, inspectors that are
qualified, that are technical, that are not from Syria, that are not from
Russia, that are international, a timeline, I think we should give them a
These weapons have to be out by a date certain. Seven days? I don`t
know, I think I would give it to technicians. But the security council and
Russia, whether they veto or not, and they have already shown some
difficulty in dealing with our ambassador and a potential resolution. But
they can veto anything and it won`t happen. That`s the danger of the
security council and Russia if they are not serious, they can halt progress
on a diplomatic solution.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there, former U.N. ambassador
Governor Bill Richardson and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.
Thanks for your time tonight.
CLEAVER: Good to be with you, Reverend.
RICHARDSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, income inequality in America hits a record high.
But the right wing has the answer, attack the poor.
Plus, reset and refocus on the economy, jobs, health care. President
Obama on building our nation here at home.
And we`re learning more about the altercation George Zimmerman got
into with his wife and father-in-law. Someone asked, what are you going to
do? Shoot me? The police report and new video ahead.
Also, what`s on your mind? E-mail me, friend or foe, I want to know.
"Reply Al" is ahead.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will.
Today, many in our facebook family were talking about the anniversary
of the 9/11 attacks and how it was observed across the country. Many
shared how they recognized and remembered today too.
Lonnie says he observed with a prayer. God bless the U.S.A.
Cathy says I work for the department of defense, and we all went to
the flagpole and had a moment of silence as well.
Dathene says I put out my flag and prayed for all the victims and
their families. I also prayed for an end to the hatred and violent speech.
Well said, Dathene.
We want to hear from you. Please head over to facebook and search
"Politics Nations" and like us to join the conversation. It keeps going
long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: A new study reports that the gap between the top one
percent in this country and the 99 is wider than it`s been in decades. In
fact, it is the widest it`s been in decades. Yet, the GOP attacks, you
have it, the 99 percent, not the one percent. Their policies are
contributing to this huge income gap. They help the top one percent. They
hurt the 99 percent, despite contributing to the problem they continue in
And last year, the one percent in this past last year, the one percent
has an income growth of over 20 percent. Yet, the 99 percent, they just
seen one percent increase in their income. And on top of the gap, we hear
this barrage of attacks on the poor, this barrage of attacks in mean
spirited words coming from the right wing about the working poor in this
country. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We don`t want to
turn this safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into
lives of complacency.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Self reliance means if anyone
will not work, neither should he eat.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Really poor
children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have
nobody around them who works. They have no habit of I do this and you give
me cash unless it`s illegal.
RYAN: Teach a man to fish, he can simply feed himself for a life.
Don`t simply feed fish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Many people who are working in poverty work every day.
This statement is not only ludicrous, it is insulting.
Joining me now is Jared Bernstein.
Thanks for coming on the show, Jared.
JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: My pleasure, Reverend.
SHARPTON: This war on the poor with rhetoric and has the results
being that we are, that we`re seeing the widest income gap between the top
one percent and the other 99 than we have seen in decades. And their
policies of the GOP seems to be targeting every day Americans like we
learned in the automatic budget cut. For example, we will have $529
million from special education funding affecting 300,000 students, Jared.
BERNSTEIN: Exactly. I mean, if you listen to the rhetoric of the
kinds of people you are playing in the introduction just there, you would
think that the problem with America is that poor people have it too great.
They have got too much money and rich people don`t have enough there for we
need to cut their taxes.
You know, really you think I`m being over the top here. But in fact,
that really has been the Republican strategy to think back to the campaign
of Paul Ryan who you played there and Mitt Romney. It was very much about
slashing that portion of the budget that helps provide some opportunity for
folks in the bottom, say third of the income scale at the time that you`re
sharply cutting back taxes paid by those at the very top. So, it`s taking
the kind of statistics that you showed in the introduction to this segment
and actually making them worse after tax.
SHARPTON: Now, you know the GOP cannot stop talking about food
stamps, food stamps, food stamps.
SHARPTON: But what is amazing to me, in the very same farm bill that
there, we get food stamps, look who is receiving the subsidies in that
bill? More than 18,000 people living in the country`s largest cities
received $24 million. I mean, in the same bill, the subsidies are not
going to the food stamps in the farm bill.
BERNSTEIN: Right. There was one tea party Republican who is
inveighing against the poor from getting nutritional benefit from food
stamps when it came out that he was actually getting -- he is a farmer, her
was getting 3.5 million in subsidies from the farm bill. He didn`t want to
talk about that so much.
Look. Let me put this very simply. Anyone who can hear my voice and
see my face, ask yourself the following question. Who was it that tanked
the economy in 2007/2008? Was it the poor people who are now scraping out
an existence on low-wage jobs and food stamps? You know, was it the people
who are under the poverty rate struggling to make ends meet? Or was it the
actual financial elites at the very top of the scale who according to these
data today have not only recovered but have claimed almost all the growth
for themselves. Ninety-five percent of the growth and income between 2009
and 2012, according to the study went to the top one percent. So, you
know, ask yourself, really, what can this possibly be about?
SHARPTON: Well, Jared Bernstein, thanks you for your time this
And, you know, part of it is in the language that we allow to be used
to have this discussion. If you`re in the top one percent, if you have
been irresponsible, if you have done things that would cause your business
to go under and government helps you, we call that bailout. We call that
subsidies. If you are poor, work every day and need a little help from
your government that you have fought wars for and paid your taxes, we call
that welfare and hand outs. We need to have one language for government
dealing with the citizens.
Coming up. New video and new questions, did George Zimmerman have a
gun during the altercation with his wife? We have the police reporter
But first, President Obama`s focus here at home on jobs, on education
and on the middle class. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Tonight, the newly released police report from the George
Zimmerman investigation raising more questions than answers. And just
moments ago, the lawyer for George Zimmerman`s wife spoke out about the
altercation at her home. That`s ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I know Americans want all of us in Washington, especially me,
to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home, putting
people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: People want to see work done at home. Now that we have a
diplomatic solution to Syria, at least in the works and that we`re striving
for, the president resets the agenda to dealing with domestic issues. Most
Americans agree, it`s time to focus on home.
The NBC poll shows that 74 percent say U.S. should do less around the
world and focus here at home. But the GOP is so divided, they are wasting
their energy on Obamacare and giving the president all kinds of grief as he
tries to help Americans with health care.
Yet, the president`s trying to focus back on the agenda of the
American people, job creation and training, the budget deal, implementing
the health care law, increasing minimum wage, college affordability. It`s
time to concentrate on the agenda in America for Americans.
Joining me now is Cynthia Tucker and Abby Huntsman and Karen Finney.
Thank you all for joining me tonight.
CYNTHIA TUCKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Thanks, Rev.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Thanks, Rev.
ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Cynthia, does the president now have room to reset his
TUCKER: Well, of course he does. But that does not mean that the GOP
is going to cooperate with him. This is a group of people who are
absolutely dedicated to ruining the President`s agenda, no matter what`s on
it. And so they`re going to continue with these silly votes to try to
defund Obamacare. They`re going to continue with their efforts to cut
funding further from food stamps.
They`re going to continue to push aside immigration reform. But it`s
also true that the American people are beginning to see how obstructionist
they are. They, their caucus is divided. And, you know, the president has
the ability to go ahead and get many things done anyway, he can issue
executive orders. And the advertising the rollout for Obamacare is
continuing even now.
SHARPTON: Well, you know, Karen, when Cynthia talks about what
they`re trying to do for example with Obamacare, the number one focus is
attacking a law that goes into effect in just 20 days.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s right.
SHARPTON: While we`ve been focused on a lot and necessarily so.
Twenty days from now Obamacare goes into effect. Let`s listen to the GOP
as they attack this law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL BROUN (R), GEORGIA: If you continue funding Obamacare,
we`re going to defund you and get you out of office.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Obamacare is a disaster. I heard that
the Tea Party was done, and you guys were ready -- I said you want just
half of Obamacare, do you want half of it?
PAUL: How about a fourth of it?
PAUL: How about we defund the whole damn thing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, Karen, you know, once people start to see the impact
and the effect of Obamacare.
SHARPTON: Will these attacks help the president?
FINNEY: Well, yes absolutely, I mean, look, once, the people who
already are in the system are a testament to how it`s working and why it`s
working. And that`s part of why the Republicans have been so desperate to
find some way. I mean, now they`re talking about holding hostage the debt
ceiling in order to delay implementation of Obamacare for one year.
There`s one point I really want to make. We saw just an incredible amount
of attention and focus from democrats and republicans over this last week.
I bet you had higher attendance at briefings and hearings than we
probably ever have gotten on conversations about snap and the budget. So
if these guys are going to say to the President that they really care about
the domestic agenda, well, then they need to have that kind of focus on
these same issues and on trying to find a way forward on these issues, not
just on blocking those issues.
SHARPTON: And with the same time kind of attentiveness. Let me ask
you, Abby, the tapes I played where you have the attacks on Obamacare and
the strong and vibrant rhetoric. It may be popular in the base, but does
it really help the Republicans in the long run?
ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": No. Absolutely. I mean,
how do you describe insanity? Isn`t it doing something over and over and
over again when you know what the outcome`s going to be? I think that`s
what you`re seeing here, they only know they have the short period of time
left that they keep fighting this because once the genie is out of the
bottle you can`t put it back in there. But, you know, I think Karen makes
a great point, what Syria has done is, force all of us to reset the button
and really think about what we care most about and I think we found we`re
not only war-weary, but I think our problems here at home are far outweigh
anything else. And people care about a job. They think, how can we get
involved in conflict abroad when I wake up without a job in the morning.
HUNTSMAN: So that`s why this is fall is going to be incredibly
important and unfortunately it`s going to be a huge mess. The only thing I
see coming to some sort of a compromise is maybe the debt ceiling. And
that`s going to be very difficult in and of itself. But you talk about
immigration, you talk about the budget for example, I don`t think it`s
conceivable for the Republicans to budge in some of the areas. You see
Paul Ryan who`s leading on the budget in the house. It`s not realistic.
It`s not going to get to the Senate.
SHARPTON: Right. But when you look at the fact Cynthia that the
President is concentrating on going back dealing with the middle class, let
me show you a statement he made to get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`ve been visiting towns
across the country talking about what we need to do to secure a better
bargain for the middle class and everybody who`s working hard to get into
the middle class. Joe and I are going to keep pushing for a better bargain
for the middle class, a better bargain for the next generation.
What we should really be thinking about is how do we grow an economy
so that we`re creating a growing, thriving middle class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A growing, thriving middle class. Build the middle class.
Create something for the next generation. Here at home, isn`t that what
America wants, Cynthia?
TUCKER: Well, of course it`s what America wants. It`s absolutely
poll after poll shows that`s what America wants. But you have a GOP that
is dedicated to destroying Obama, even if that means they also have to
destroy the country. They don`t care about the middle class. They don`t
care what`s happening to the average American. They`re only focused on
doing whatever they can to defeat Obama`s agenda. The only good news -- I
think it`s absolutely true. I think the fall is going to be unbelievably
difficult, messy, bloody in political terms, because Obama is going to have
to drag the GOP kicking and screaming to some compromises on some important
issues. They simply don`t care about the welfare of the country as a
SHARPTON: Well, you`re right, Cynthia, about that because Karen, when
you look at and Abby mentioned it, they`re actually threatening, some
Republicans, to default the government`s obligations in order to stop the
health care law.
SHARPTON: Eric Cantor is pushing a plan to demand one year delay of
the health care law to raise the debt ceiling. Congressman Jeb Hensarling
says he`s quote, "listening to the plan and looking at it carefully."
And Paul Ryan says, quote, "I think the best fight over Obamacare is
on the debt limit."
FINNEY: That`s right, and you know what Rev? We`ve been hearing
about these members who have been either for or opposed this resolution in
Syria talking about how much they are listening to their constituents.
SHARPTON: Right. The e-mails. Right.
FINNEY: The phone calls that they`re getting, the e-mails that
they`re getting, the town halls. Well, guess what, if they listened to
their constituents in a majority of those districts, people would support a
lot of the ideas that the President is talking about. We actually know
that. We have the data. So, if they`re really -- and I actually think
there`s an opportunity both for the President and for Democrats to really
hold the Republicans` feet to the fire. If they`re going to use the
rhetoric that they care about the people in their district, and that`s why
they`re either going to support or not support something as, you know,
gravely important as whether or not we get into airstrikes, certainly
whether or not we`re creating jobs in this country or raising the minimum
wage deserves that same kind of focus, attention and paying attention to
what the polls say and what the people in their own districts say which
again is usually on the side of the president.
SHARPTON: But they only listening to their constituents when the
constituent are saying something they want to hear.
FINNEY: Of course.
SHARPTON: I mean, the constituents don`t want to see them cutting
head start the kids but they don`t hear those phone calls. But Abby, the
thing also that`s disturbing -- and you`re a republican and proudly that,
but you`ve got to deal with some of the ugliness on the far right, it has
to disturb you. I mean, like, at a recent Tea Party rally just yesterday,
just yesterday, Buzz Feed found people carrying signs that compared
President Obama to Hitler. Another sign said people were enslaved to
Obamacare. And another actually compared President Obama to Osama bin
Laden. I mean, he`s the one that got Bin Laden and killed him. I mean,
this is disgraceful.
HUNTSMAN: It`s disgusting. I mean, I think even Republicans can
agree that that`s disgusting. As you said, this is the extreme end of the
party. And you know, we`re talking about defunding Obamacare. They don`t
have the support. They don`t have the vote. So that can only last for so
long. But at the end of the day, as Karen was saying, you know, what do
the people want? You know, they want jobs. And I think the best thing we
can do is infuse a little bit more confidence into the marketplace.
You know, we have these artificial political clips that we do time and
time again which I think only hurts jobs. So our focus really this fall
needs to be on coming to some sort of a compromise on the debt ceiling.
That should be the focus I think that`s really the only thing we`ll be able
to get done. And it will likely be until 2014 we can really start talking
about progress on some of the other issues like immigration for example.
SHARPTON: And I hope we see some of the attentiveness that Karen
talked about, it would be good for America to feel like they`re a priority
of the American government for once. Cynthia Tucker, Abby Huntsman and
Karen Finney, thanks for your time tonight.
Be sure to catch Abby on "THE CYCLE," weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern
right here on MSNBC and watch "DISRUPT" with Karen Finney weekends at 4:00
p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC as well.
Coming up, Florida Governor Rick Scott and the state`s attorney
general postponed an execution, but you will not believe why.
And what really happened between George Zimmerman and his wife? New
surveillance video emerges today along with new questions from the police
report. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY SIMS, SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN`S LAWYER: Shellie Zimmerman wants this
relationship to end with a whimper and not a bang.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The lawyer for Shellie Zimmerman speaking just moments ago
after another day of developments in the George Zimmerman investigation.
Police just released their report from Monday when Shellie called 911 to
say George was threatening her with a gun. According to the police report,
Shellie told the officers that George quote, "Reached his hand into his
shirt to what she assumed was a gun." And then he said to her father,
"Step closer," to which her father replied, quote, "What are you going to
do? Shoot me?"
Also today, newly released surveillance video shows Shellie Zimmerman
following George with an iPad during the incident, recording his behavior,
the video then shows George destroying the iPad and throwing it to the
ground. But without that potential evidence, police are not pressing
charges for now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER ZACH HUDSON, LAKE MARY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We`ve had an
opportunity to take a good hard look at that iPad. The iPad is in a really
bad shape. At this point, we do not have the tools available to
effectively look at the video on the iPad. As it stands right now, there
will not be any charges anytime soon without that iPad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now, Joy Reid and Faith Jenkins. Thank you both
for being here. Joy, the police can`t get the video from the iPad, so no
JOY REID, GRIO.COM MANAGING EDITOR: Yes, and you know, it`s
interesting Rev, over the last 72 hours, I`ve had a lot of conversations
with lawyer friends and police officers friends, and none of them finds
this situation familiar. Typically, as I understand it and Faith knows
better than I, in a domestic violence incident, it doesn`t really require
the alleged victim to say I want to go forward with the charges for there
to be some adjudication, for there to be an arrest.
SHARPTON: Especially in Florida.
REID: Especially in Florida. Normally, at least as one officer
friend of mine put it, they would have just taken them both into custody
and sorted it out at the jail. So there was obviously some former
preferential treatment before the notoriety of this couple. And then from
there, it`s just been sort of a hot tasered (ph) mess in terms of what the
Lake Mary police are saying, was there a gun, was there not? His former
lawyer was now up for media analyst said, there was. Was there a gun or
SHARPTON: No. He not only said it was a gun he told us where the gun
was. And now we have another witness who confirms there were guns in
Zimmerman`s car. In the police report, a woman sitting in the car with
Zimmerman, quote, "stated there were guns in the vehicle but they had
concealed weapon permits for the gun." The police patted him down, but
never found a gun on him. But she says they were in the car, Faith.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right. And so this gun issue is
really becoming an issue now. Because they just had a press conference
where Shellie Zimmerman`s attorney spoke out. They`re not backing down.
They`re saying that he has his hands in a position where he`s saying, step
closer in a threatening manner and they do believe that he had a gun on
him. So now the question is why wasn`t that pursued further. And I know
that Shellie Zimmerman perhaps didn`t want to sign an affidavit at that
time, but we prosecute, as a prosecutor, we prosecute these cases without
cooperating victims all the time.
JENKINS: In fact, that`s the norm and the police know that. So when
they go to a scene, they gather as much objective evidence as they possibly
can to make a case without the victim, because it`s expected, even if they
cooperate in the beginning that at some point they may become
SHARPTON: Well, let me show what Shellie Zimmerman`s lawyer said,
clarifying that she thought George had a gun. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMS: Anybody in the world that knows their husband`s always armed,
has his shirt worn differently, has a brand new holster where this would be
where he`s placing his hand and he`s inviting some trouble would know that
he`s probably armed. You don`t want to take a chance. But added to that
equation, your husband happens to be named George Zimmerman. So Shellie
had a valid reason why she believed that George was armed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And now we find Joy that the lady with them that was in the
car said, they in fact did have guns, whether they had a license or not, if
he was threatening and had access to arms, that`s got to -- that should
have at least be in the interest of the police.
REID: No. Absolutely. And I mean, if the lawyer also went on to
talk about cases in which someone called on a domestic violence case and
the police didn`t find a gun and there was still a pursuit of the case by
REID: The fact that the police are asserting no gun when George
Zimmerman`s former attorney Mark O`Mara said, not only did he have a gun
but he was resting his hands on it to make sure it didn`t shift.
REID: This story is all over the place, but at the end of the day, as
Faith was saying that they pursue this cases anyway in a domestic violence
cases, is because a lot of the time the victims will become afraid to go
forward or will change their mind. The law is designed to take that out of
the equation. And to allow the safety. Look, domestic violence is the
leading cause of injury, in terms of these kinds of cases. You are much
more likely to be shot until in a domestic violence altercation.
SHARPTON: But let me ask you something else that struck me when --
Faith. In the police report, Kelly told the cops about this iPad, that he
smashed the iPad on his leg and then took out a knife and prior it open, he
then quote, "threw the iPad on the ground." Now, George claims he grabbed
the iPad because Shellie was hitting him with it.
SHARPTON: But he has a knife. So if you stopped him from hitting
you, why do you start chopping it up with a knife and throwing it? I mean,
and the knife, gun in the car? I mean, there`s a lot of stuff going on
JENKINS: Well, because he knew that he was being recorded, according
to Shellie Zimmerman. He said, he was being hit with the iPad as you said
but the police checked him, there was not a mark or a bruise in the area
where he said he was being hit. And then he goes on to destroy it and take
it apart, why? Because he knows there`s probably incriminating video and
evidence on that iPad that he goes on to destroy it. If you really just
want to take the iPad away, I mean, this is sort of, you know, is George
Zimmerman really a victim of bad circumstances repeatedly?
Or is this really how he acts in situations all the time where he
reacts in a very violent and aggressive manner, goes the extra step to
destroying the iPad, takes a knife, takes it apart, really to get to the
inner workings of the iPad. And I think that you only do that when you
know there`s something on there that could incriminate you.
SHARPTON: And listen to the policeman saying, why the evidence could
have been important to him. Listen this because police officer Hudson, let
me read it to you, told the Orlando Sentinel that quote, "It`s also
possible George Zimmerman would be charged with destruction of evidence for
breaking the iPad." If there`s evidence in the iPad, he could be charged
with destroying it. And if there was evidence there that was not destroyed
or altered, it could have been incriminating.
REID: Right. And I think that could have been and the potentials, I
think that would probably what bothers a lot of people in this case. It`s
the fact of what is not being done and the fact that there seems to be so
much restraint when it comes to this one individual that it doesn`t seem
like the authorities in question want to pursue it. And I guess if they
wanted to, they would.
SHARPTON: Got to go. Joy Reid and Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for
your time. And one note. George Zimmerman has sued NBC Universal for
defamation. The company strongly denies the allegation.
Florida`s Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General have no problem
executing people, as long as it`s on their own time, that`s next.
SHARPTON: Florida republican Attorney General Pam Bondi is a rising
star in the Republican Party, saying all the right things.
PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Mitt Romney leads by example.
With everything he`s done. The first thing he`s going to do when he`s
elected is what? Repeal Obamacare. Whoa!
We are not participating in a program that we believe is
Oh, and I have so much respect for Rush Limbaugh, of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But Ms. Bondi just made an offensive decision that exposes
her real priorities. The Tampa Bay Times says reports that she persuaded
Florida Governor Rick Scott to reschedule an execution on Monday night in
order to accommodate a reelection fund-raiser. No matter what you think of
the death penalty, this is shocking. Rescheduling an execution so she can
raise money? It`s a betrayal of the public trust. Ms. Bondi has issued a
statement admitting the mistake, saying quote, "we absolutely should not
have requested that the date of the execution be moved."
But she hasn`t actually apologized. And the statement doesn`t go far
enough. The irony here is Ms. Bondi has supported Governor Scott`s drive
to speed up executions in Florida, potentially depriving the accused of
opportunities to prove their innocence. So, she`s all for speeding up
executions, unless it interferes with her political calendar. Did Ms.
Bondi think we`d ignore her shameful decision? Nice try, but we got you.
SHARPTON: It`s time for Reply Al. Remember, friend or foe, I want to
know. Mark writes, "Will Republicans negative comments and actions help
motivate people to vote them out of office? There`s a popular saying let
your haters be your motivators."
Well, that popular saying is true, you know Mark? The more people
come with ugliness and insensitivity, the more they show people we better
get up and do something. I know in my own activism, the uglier people and
the more irrational people got, the more they made the case for me. It`s
almost like political martial arts. You learn to use the weight of your
opponent to your advantage. So vote and expose those that are not in the
interests of American people.
Finally tonight, a symbol of hope. In the rubble of 9/11 attacks,
survivors found this single tree that survived the devastation of that day.
The survivor tree. Today it stands tall at the 9/11 memorial. A symbol of
resilience after tragedy. And now the September 11th memorial has launched
a new program sending seedlings from this tree to communities that embody
that spirit. Seedlings are being sent to Boston in remembrance of the
city`s strength after the marathon bombings.
Also to Prescott, Arizona in honor of the 19 firefighters who lost
their lives this summer, and to the Far Rockaway here in New York, a
community hit hard by hurricane Sandy. I remember 12 years ago today, I
was in New York, in Brooklyn when the World Trade Centers were attacked.
And I remember going to my headquarters and talking to people who didn`t
know if their loved ones were living or dead. I remember a young man that
stayed with my family, friends of my daughters, for nine weeks as he
struggled. Waiting every time the phone rang because his mother worked in
the World Trade Center, and he hoped every time that phone rang it was her
telling him she was all right or someone had found her.
And little by little, that little boy had to realize his mother was
never coming back she was not part of the foreign policy of the country.
She had nothing to do with what the conflict was about. You see, it`s
ordinary people that suffer as a result of decisions made by those at the
top. That`s why 9/11 we remember ordinary people and ordinary people need
to be protected and respected.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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