updated 2/4/2014 10:50:57 AM ET 2014-02-04T15:50:57

POLITICS NATION
February 3, 2014

Guests: Brian Murphy, Dana Milbank, James Peterson, Mark Hannah, Krystal
Ball

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the subpoenas. Just one hour ago, the deadline hit for
thousands of documents subpoenaed which New Jersey state lawmakers
investigating the George Washington bridge lane closings. Eighteen people,
many of them close aids and allies of Governor Chris Christie were required
to turn over e-mail, text, and notes dating back to September 2012. Some
have gotten an extension, but the clock is ticking.

This weekend, we saw another Christie aide resign, Christina Renna,
director of department of relations who is among the 18 people subpoenaed
and who once reported to Bridget Kelly, the fired official who requested
the lane closings.

For governor Christie, the continuing questions are having an effect. Here
is what happened at a Super Bowl event in times square.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Good afternoon, everybody. You`ve
already heard enough speeches --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But perhaps the biggest news tonight is the governor`s battle
with former port authority official David Wildstein who claims the
governor, quote, "had knowledge of the lane closures."

Christie says he had no prior knowledge. On Saturday, governor Christie`s
office responded with an attack on Wildstein, reaching back decades to
write, quote, "as a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a local school board
election. He was publicly accused by his high school social studies
teacher of deceptive behavior. " And, quote, "he had a controversial tenure
as mayor of Livingston."

But here is the problem. If that`s all true, why did Christie`s team hire
David Wildstein? Wildstein was known as the governor`s eyes and ears at
port authority where he had been installed in a plum job in 2010 by the
Christie administration. And when he resigned in December, the Christie
team praised Wildstein, calling him, quote, "a tireless advocate for New
Jersey`s interests at port authority," and stating, "we are grateful for
his commitment and dedication to the important work of the port authority."

That`s not exactly what they`re saying now. What a difference a scandal
makes.

Joining me now is Brian Murphy and Joan Walsh. Brian worked for David
Wildstein at a Web site covering New Jersey politics where he dealt with
both Wildstein and Chris Christie, the U.S. attorney at the time.

Thank you both for being here.

BRIAN MURPHY, WORKED WITH DAVID WILDSTEIN: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: Brian, let me go to you first. We have to start with this
Christie attack on David Wildstein for something he did at 16-years-old? I
mean, do you know David Wildstein? What do you make of this attack on him?

MURPHY: I`ve never met him in person. I worked for him when he was the
anonymous editor of this Web site, which they also attacked him in this e-
mail. It seems like a -- I mean, when I read it, it seems to me like
something -- I can`t imagine a communications professional, a paid person
on the staff was actually OK with this going out. It just seems like a
panic -- with dredging this up.

SHARPTON: But it seems very personal.

MURPHY: Yes.

SHARPTON: And almost venomous. I mean, what do you make of that?

MURPHY: I think it seems desperate, right? I mean, to reach back to that
and it did some pluck out things like he made unproductive moves. Well,
who doesn`t? I mean, you know, who cares what he did when he was 16-years-
old. This is -- I don`t know what they were trying to accomplish by doing
this. Because it seems like if you have witnesses who are thinking about
turning over documents and sticking, and you`re hoping they`re going to
stick by you and stay on your team, you want to project strength. You want
loyalty to feel like a two-way street. This feels like it`s a one-way
deal.

SHARPTON: But Joan, what do you think they`re trying to do here? I mean,
you a guy that was your eyes and ears.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Right.

SHARPTON: At the port authority. You have a guy that was praised by you.
And now, all of the sudden, someone representing you, your office.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: -- is saying he was a schmuck in high school and the high school
teacher said he was deceptive. I mean, what is going on here? Schmuck is
a Brooklyn term.

WALSH: Yes, we all understood.

MURPHY: I`m familiar that.

SHARPTON: I`m from Jersey.

WALSH: We speak Brooklyn here, Reverend Al. But it really goes back to
that crazy press conference where the governor really took the time to say
not only is David Wildstein not my close friend, he wasn`t even my friend,
he wasn`t even an acquaintance of mine. I was an athlete and I was in
student politics. I don`t know what he was doing. He called him out as a
loser and a nerd on national television, which was shocking at the time. I
mean --

SHARPTON: Then why did they hire him.

WALSH: Right, exactly.

MURPHY: Exactly.

WALSH: Why did they hire him. And what came from that memo to me was the
voice of Chris Christie, this bully and this person who can`t leave
something alone. Not only am I going to say you`re not my friend, you`re
not my acquaintance, I`m going to say you were a loser at 16, and your
social studies teacher didn`t like you. I mean, it`s like a Saturday night
live skit. It doesn`t seem like something that would really happen at the
(INAUDIBLE) of American politics.

SHARPTON: All the reverse is true. It maybe he is deceptive, maybe he is
tricky, maybe they hired him to do deceptive and tricky things.

WALSH: Right. That`s a good point.

SHARPTON: -- which is why they need to be very careful.

But Brian, what kind of guy is he? You said you didn`t know him, but you
worked for him. But you certainly know his reputation. You know people
that deal with him. Can he handle Christie and the administration or can
they handle him?

MURPHY: I think he is a details guy. And he is a guy who saves a lot of
paper. And I think he is a very dangerous enemy to make. I think it`s --

SHARPTON: Dangerous enemy to make? Why?

MURPHY: Dangerous because I think he probably, he is signaling in the
letter that his lawyers sent I think that he knows that there is certain
evidence that implicates the governor in this, that he may have evidence
that implicates port authority commissioners and things that they shouldn`t
have been involved in at the port authority. I think he is suggesting that
he knows things. And that if you give him the chance to talk, he is dying
to tell a story.

SHARPTON: In that famous two-hour press conference that governor Christie
had, he was certainly asked about David Wildstein. Let me show you what he
said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time. A
long time, well before the election. You know, I could probably count on
one hand the number of conversations I`ve had with David since he worked at
the port authority. I did not interact with David.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, "the Wall Street Journal" showed a photo of him since that
time.

WALSH: Just days -- while this was going.

SHARPTON: Do you get a sense, though, going back to you, because you`re
the one that said, Joan, you heard the voice of Christie in this, do you
get a sense that now because of this rebuttal article or statement that has
been put out that the governor knows Mr. Wildstein a lot better than he
said during that two-hour press conference?

WALSH: I think we`ve always known that. But I think a couple of things
are going on here, Rev. He is attacking Wildstein, which I think is crazy.
But he is signaling he is going to be on the attack. The other thing he is
doing repeatedly now is attacking the "New York Times" for their story on
Friday.

SHARPTON: Yes. And MSNBC.

WALSH: And MSNBC. Apparently today he released -- his office released
another attack, the daily caller, a right wing kind of scandal Web site
picked up on it. They have it exclusively. And it seems to me now that
what he is doing, he was never popular with the right-wing base. But he is
now going to that base. And he is now depicting himself as, you know, the
victim of the "New York times" and MSNBC and Steve Kornacki, who our mutual
friend and that never fails with the right-wing base. It certainly doesn`t
endear him to national media or to the voters.

SHARPTON: Brian, let me raise this question with you. The fact that you
worked at this site for what he called himself wily edge, this was David
Wildstein. Is that correct?

MURPHY: Yes, that`s right.

SHARPTON: Wily edge was David Wildstein.

MURPHY: Right.

SHARPTON: And the name of the site was?

MURPHY: Politicsnj.com.

SHARPTON: All right. Now, politicsnj owned by David Wildstein.

MURPHY: Right.

SHARPTON: Also was a major outlet for Chris Christie to leak some stuff.
That right?

MURPHY: All the time.

SHARPTON: All the time.

I mean, you know, and Steve Kornacki talked about this on his show that the
governor back when he was U.S. attorney would e-mail Steve. When I was
there, I`m sure I got communications from him, but I know for a fact there
was stories I wrote about where the only reason I was covering them, the
only reason I was the first guy to break it was because we had a tip, and
that tip came from the U.S. attorney`s office.

SHARPTON: So the governor and David Wildstein went to school together.

MURPHY: Right.

SHARPTON: But he didn`t know him.

MURPHY: Right.

SHARPTON: He used to leak as a U.S. attorney, top federal prosecutor in
that area, leak information to his Web site, but he didn`t know him. He
didn`t even know wily edge. He gives us a lot to have to believe, Joan.

WALSH: He gives us a lot to have to believe, and he is doing this all
along. This is another really bizarre thing about his counterattack, Rev,
because he is just giving us so much detail, almost gratuitous detail that
makes it easier all along the way to pick apart his story. He is giving us
details that we didn`t even necessarily need. And this attack on David
Wildstein and the particularity of it is both vicious, but it`s also very
specific and it`s very easily disproven.

SHARPTON: Well, we don`t know yet. But we`re certainly watching and we
will see what happens.

MURPHY: Yes, we will.

SHARPTON: Brian Murphy, Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, more on the scandal swirling around Chris Christie.
Tonight, there are new details about that so-called traffic study that some
say was used to hide the real reason those lanes were closed on the George
Washington bridge.

And the big game was a blowout, but did you see the real action last night?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You were saying you`re the leader of the
country.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You`re saying no corruption?

OBAMA: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: None?

OBAMA: No. There were some boneheaded decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Boneheaded decisions? But no mass corruption.

OBAMA: These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and
your TV station will promote them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I have a lot to say on how President Obama popped the right wing
bubble.

Also, come in, come in. Paul Ryan, this is planet reality calling.
Congressman Ryan says the Obama presidency is, quote, "increasingly
lawless." We`ll try to bring him back to reality for that one.

Big show tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Up next, Chris Christie goes on the attack, but will this
strategy help him or will it backfire? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: When the bridge scandal began heating up two months ago, Chris
Christie tried to use humor to try to deflect the controversy, joking that
he himself had moved the cones for the lane closures.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I worked the cones actually, Matt. (INAUDIBLE) to everybody, I
was actually the guy out there. I was in overalls and hat, so I wasn`t.
But I actually was the guy who was working the cones out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But he soon got serious, and his team went on the attack. Last
month, his office labeled MSNBC a, quote, "partisan network" for reporting
on Christie`s troubles. His office also went after Hoboken Mayor Dawn
Zimmer, calling her someone with a, quote, "political ax to grind." This
weekend they accuse "The New York Times" of sloppy reporting, and they said
that David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein.

Tough talk from a team under fire. But is it the best defense, a good
offense, or will Christie`s strategy for attacking his critics. Just raise
more questions than answers.

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell.

Thanks for being here, governor.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure, Reverend.

SHARPTON: If Christie has nothing to hide, Governor, why is he trying so
hard to discredit the media and his critics?

RENDELL: Well, they made a very big mistake in the original press
conference. In the original press conference, Bridget Kelly was trashed by
the governor. He called her a liar 31 times and Mr. Wildstein was trashed,
essentially he called him a nerd and said he was a bigwig in high school
and Wildstein was a nerd.

If you`re trying to keep people from turning on you, you treat them nicely.
You say Bridget Kelly was great deputy chief of staff. This is a real
shame she can`t stay on in the government and we thank her for her service.
And David Wildstein did so many good things for the port authority. But
they tried to bully them and to set up the he said/she said. I think the
governor`s people were aware of the fact that Wildstein was eventually
going to say the governor knew about it or maybe he ordered it. We have to
wait and see. And Bridget Kelly might do the same thing. So they`re
trying trash them to say that they`re liars right now, to implant that in
people`s minds, and to create the motive for lying to save their own skin.
So it`s a strategy. I don`t think it`s a good strategy.

SHARPTON: Now, we don`t know if Wildstein down the road, what he is going
to say as you allude to possibilities. We do know Wildstein`s letter says
that, quote, "evidence exists as well trying to -- tying Mr. Christie to
having knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were
closed."

Evidence exists. That`s a direct contradiction of what Christie told the
press in a news conference. What does this say to you, Governor?

RENDELL: Sure.

Well, first of all, it was never credible for Governor Christie to say that
for four days a major bridge in the United States of America, which leads
into his state had a horrible traffic jam that endangered public safety,
and he, an activist governor, never heard about it. That just defies
credibility.

Governors hear about things like that within hours from their happening.
And an activist governor would have taken steps to end it pretty quickly.
If it was me and I heard that the Ben Franklin bridge was closed for five
hours and causing tremendous traffic jams, I would have gotten on the
phone, Reverend Al, and said you have 30 minutes to remove the cones or
you`re all fired.

SHARPTON: And not only is he was and is a activist governor, he was in the
middle of a reelection campaign.

RENDELL: Sure. Can you imagine? Can you imagine this causing your
constituents discomfort for four days when you`re in the middle of a
reelection campaign and not doing anything about it?

SHARPTON: And nobody would tell you about it. I mean.

RENDELL: Ludicrous.

SHARPTON: Yes.

RENDELL: Ludicrous.

SHARPTON: But there is also news tonight about another key Christie ally,
Bill Baroni. He was a top executive appointed by Christie at the port
authority. Baroni resigned three weeks ago after testifying before the New
Jersey committee about the closures at the George Washington bridge. Well,
the "Wall Street Journal" says that Baroni was prepped for that hearing by
a port authority lawyer named Phil Kwon. And Kwon is the same man the
governor once nominated to serve on the state Supreme Court.

The port authority official ordered the closures, David Wildstein, was
allegedly also there for that prep. Wildstein`s lawyers says, quote, "the
counseling was conducted over a period of four or five days, and Mr.
Wildstein was present for much of it."

So governor, these are a lot of Christie allies all together in one place.
Does it seem as if the circle is tightening around governor Christie
himself?

RENDELL: Sure there are now seven or eight significant allies of the
governor who knew about the lane closings, and none of them told the
governor? None of them went to the governor and said is this OK? None of
them when they saw it was blowing up and causing public safety danger?
None of them went to the governor or alerted them about it? It`s just not
credible. It`s not believable. That`s the problem the governor has here.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, thank you for your time tonight.

RENDELL: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, they distort. He decides. President Obama`s tough
interview with FOX has the right wing up in arms tonight.

Also, Donald Trump is now complaining about the president`s wardrobe.
Seriously? Stick around. You`ll want to see this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Social conservatives have found a new scapegoat to blame for all
the problems of society, birth control. That`s right, the pill. It`s been
around for over 50 years, but in the year 2014, attacking birth control has
become a central right wing talking point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Many in the Christian
faith have said well, that`s OK. Contraception is OK. It`s not OK.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It makes her a slut, right? Makes
her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She`s having so much
sex, she can`t afford the contraception.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: We`ll put an end to the federal funding of
planned parenthood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And now opposing birth control has become a path to office in
the GOP. In North Carolina, all five Republican candidates vying to unseat
Senator Kay Hagan believe the states have the authority to ban
contraceptives, ban birth control? Really? But some on the right might
not like what effect that would have.

A new study says that through 2011, the abortion rate hit a record low.
And it thinks it`s linked to increased birth control use to lower the
abortion rate. Quote, "the increased use of contraceptives is thought to
have played a role in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies."

So to summarize, many conservatives are against abortion, but they`re also
against the thing that is leading to fewer abortions. That`s a tough pill
to swallow.

Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why that`s not a football but my shadow I see. It`s
six more weeks of winter, it must be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was the scene yesterday morning in Punxsutawney,
Pennsylvania, where the world`s most famous groundhog saw his shadow,
predicting six more weeks of winter. Thousands of people came to watch
Phil and the dignitaries wearing their top hats up there in gobbler`s knob.

Check out that guy there, literally wearing a hat of groundhogs. It`s a
scene straight out of the movie to "Groundhog Day" where Bill Murray lives
the same day over and over and over again, waking up every morning to Sonny
and Cher. And FOX News sure got into that "Groundhog Day" and that
"Groundhog Day" spirit yesterday, asking President Obama the same things
they talk about all the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: I want to get some things on the record. So
let`s begin with health care. Did he tell you, Secretary Panetta, it was a
terrorist attack?

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: You know what he told me, there was
attack on our compound.

O`REILLY: He didn`t use the word terror? I have to get to the IRS because
I don`t know what happened there and I`m hoping maybe you can tell us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Health care, Benghazi, and the IRS. For critics on the right,
these are scandals that just never end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is not about health care. It`s
not about insuring the uninsured. It is about the total control of a free
people. Under the guise of health care.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: A major scandal was developing in the wake of
last week`s assault in the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, we are witnessing a
widespread cover-up based on flat-out lies.

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is the way totalitarian states are
created. This is it. And as much as you want to say oh, well, that`s
hogwash, well, what were they doing with the IRS?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s the same old story on a loop. But here is the truth. The
health care law had problems, but is working. There was no cover-up on the
attack in Benghazi, and there was no conspiracy for the IRS to target
conservatives. So why are some Republicans so obsessed about all of them?
President Obama has a theory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: These kinds of things keep in surfacing in part because you and
your TV station will promote them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s a line I don`t think they`ll want to repeat.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and James Peterson. Thank you both for
being here.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Dana, the president tried to pop the right wing bubble live on
national TV. How are Republicans responding tonight?

MILBANK: Oh, they won`t respond well to that because he was there tweaking
the guy who has been delivering these things night after night to him. You
know, they do keep repeating these same issues that week after week, year
after year. But what seems to be changing is the anger and intensity with
which they do this. And this is the third time O`Reilly sat down with the
president, by far the roughest and nastiest exchange. I did some counting
there. He interrupted the president 42 times in ten minutes.

SHARPTON: Forty two times Bill O`Reilly interrupted the president?

MILBANK: In ten minutes. Of all the words uttered in this ten minute
interview, 40 percent were uttered by O`Reilly. So, it`s more that
O`Reilly was hosting Obama on the O`Reilly factor. It felt like that more
than an interview of the president.

SHARPTON: Wow! You know, James, the right wing media totally have been
going after these things, but it`s not just them. Here is Senator James
Inhofe, responding to date to the president saying Benghazi was
investigated. Listen to the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: It is just an outrageous lie. It`s kind
of hard to call it anything else. I will say this to my dying day. I know
people don`t realize it now, but that`s going to go down in history as the
greatest cover-up. And I`m talking about compared to the Pentagon papers,
Iran/contra, Watergate and the rest of them, this was a cover-up in order
for people right before the election to think that there is no longer a
problem with terrorism in the Middle East.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, this was the senator today. Now, that definitely was
security failures, but a worst cover-up than Watergate and Iran/contra? I
mean, what is he talking about, Professor Peterson?

PETERSON: Speaking in pure hyperbole there. I mean, you know, for all of
these so-called scandals, they`ve been debunked multiple times. Yes,
Benghazi was tragic. And there was security and communicative failings
prior to it. But there was no cover-up there have been many, many hearings
on it, much exposure about it and much talk about it, and to call it a
scandal is much ado about nothing. Same thing with the IRS scandal.
People need to understand this. There is no scandal there. The same
people that are being accused of using key words to try to find
conservative groups were using key words to try to find liberal and
progressive groups.

And it was the liberal and the progressive groups that ended up getting
deny status. No conservative groups were denied status. The thing about
this that is different from the movie, though, Reverend Al, is that in the
movie, eventually Bill Murray realizes that he has to make some changes so
he doesn`t get caught in the same loop of ignorance of his life. The
Republicans are not following that script so well right now.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Dana, Bill O`Reilly also asked the president
about visits the IRS commissioner made to the White House. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: Douglas Schulman, former IRS chief, he was cleared into the
White House, 157 times. More than any of your cabinet members, more than
any other IRS guy in the history by far. OK. Why was Douglas Schulman
here 157 times? Why?

OBAMA: Mr. Schulman as head of the IRS is constantly coming because of the
time. We were trying to set up the HealthCare.gov.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, first of all, 76 percent of the meetings the IRS
commissioner was cleared to attend at the White House involved the health
care law. And it`s only confirmed that he signed in for 11 events. I
mean, doesn`t that poke some kind of hole in the theory that he was there
all is the time, plotting against conservatives? I mean, Dana, are we
really to believe that the president of the United States himself would be
sitting, plotting against right wing groups with the head of the IRS? I
mean, what are we talking about?

MILBANK: Yes, this came up a year ago in the middle of all this. And it
was answered at the time. Of course, when you say something, it didn`t
mean he is here at the White House, as O`Reilly said, it meant he was
cleared in. And you`re automatically cleared in. And a guy in his
position for all these meetings that he didn`t actually attend. But the
whole thing doesn`t matter anyway because everybody has been through this
and all kinds of independent ways and have found as the professor was just
saying that the targeting that was done here was done to groups of all
political persuasions.

Likewise, with Benghazi. The whole notion of a cover-up doesn`t make a
whole lot of sense since as the president said today, they were
acknowledging a day after that it was a terrorist attack. And so it`s not
clear when you allege a cover-up, there has to be some information that was
hidden. But it seems all to have been out there within a few days.

SHARPTON: Now, let me brave something else here, James. You know, a tweet
from Hillary Clinton got a lot of attention last night. The tweet said,
and I`m quoting, it`s so much more fun to watch FOX when it`s someone else
being blitzed and sacked, Super Bowl. Now Hillary Clinton did do an
interview with Bill O`Reilly in the 2008 campaign. Has the network gotten
more partisan since then? Is that what her tweet indicates?

PETERSON: Well, FOX has been fairly partisan all along. I think that our
political discourse has gotten a little more toxic, and FOX sort of has
been a part of that process. And so I think she is kind of commenting on
that. Also, I think that there are other questions here. I mean, you
know, she is also arguing that the president is tackling and getting
physically involved as well. So his pushback is important. Some of his
strategies like not taking the bait on the question that Bill O`Reilly
asked from the viewer from the letter about transforming the country. He
did something smart in the interview, pushed back a little bit. But I
think for Secretary Clinton, it`s good for her to not be on the hot seat in
terms of some of these fake scandals with respect to the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: Oh, wow. See, that`s why I love to have you on Dana and James,
because I thought she was talking about the Broncos. Dana Milbank and
James Peterson, thank you both for your time.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

PETERSON: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Paul Ryan takes a detour from reality and claims
President Obama`s, quote, lawless with his angle. We`ll talk about it
next.

The GOP lawmaker who threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony gets
the full treatment from "Saturday Night Live."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The congresswoman is not interested in answering to
these new damning accusations.

MELISSA MCCARTHY, COMEDIAN: Have you been thrown out a window, bro?
Because you know, what? When I do that, I don`t open it first. You go
down with the glass. You get that?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I was just trying to --

(Angry gibberish)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Late last week, a Missouri State Senate Committee voted in favor
of a bill that would make it a crime for federal law enforcement agents to
enforce the country`s gun laws. Under the bill`s terms, agents could be
imprisoned simply for carrying out the nation`s laws. Now this is an
example of unconstitutional legislation. This is lawless. So why aren`t
Congressional Republicans whipped up into a frenzy about this? Instead,
they`re single mindedly focused on the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have an increasingly lawless presidency where he is
actually doing the job of Congress, writing new policies and new laws
without going through Congress. Presidents don`t write laws. Congress
does.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A lawless presidency? That`s all the right can seem to talk
about these days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: He is going to use executive fiat, legal, not legal?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Absolutely not legal, and really dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think the president has changed the constitution. He
has decided that it`s optional, and he is going to obey it when he feels
like it.

LIMBAUGH: What he does not have is the constitutional power to run this
country like a dictator. And yet that`s exactly what it sounds like.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He has usurped an extraordinary amount of authority
within the executive branch.

BECK: This was the State of the Union where our president declared he
would become America`s first dictator.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`ve never had a president with that level of audacity
and that level of contempt for his own office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A contempt for office. The president`s a dictator. He is not
legal. No wonder we can`t make any deals in Washington. The right doesn`t
think our commander-in-chief is legitimate.

Joining me now are Mark Hannah and Krystal Ball. Thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.

MARK HANNAH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Krystal, how can conservatives claim the president is lawless,
but then turn around and say they won`t obey gun laws?

BALL: Well, that`s exactly it. I mean, they are absolute hypocrites on
this issue. And the thing that really makes my head explode is when you
see Ted Cruz saying that the president is usurping power and acting like a
dictator.

SHARPTON: Right.

BALL: Ted Cruz, who he and this small minority of Congress shut down the
government because they couldn`t get their way through an election,
threatened our nation with default of our credit because they couldn`t get
their way in an election. They`re the ones who have really
disproportionately taken power and abused the constitutionally set up
separation of power and balance of power to get their way when the voters
don`t want it and won`t elect them to do it.

SHARPTON: Mark, you know, this weekend, Congressman Ryan was questioned
about why don`t they just impeach him if he is so lawless. Why doesn`t he
just impeach the president? Listen to his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But if you think he is lawless, circumventing the
constitution, are you going to move to impeach?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: No. Look, what we have a difference of
opinion, clearly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he is lawless, but he is not going to move to impeach him?
I mean, what is he doing?

BALL: Great follow-up question.

SHARPTON: I mean, explain that to me, Mark.

HANNAH: Congressman Ryan doesn`t believe what he is saying. You saw that
in the interview right now. He is laughing it off a little bit. He is
shrugging it off. Let`s think about this. What do all the guys have in
common, whether it`s Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan. Each of these is
trying to pounce on an increasingly right wing Republican base because each
of them has an eye toward 2016. And each of them is --

SHARPTON: Ah.

HANNAH: But let`s think about the danger here. When you start referring
to the constitution, which in many Americans` mind, it`s sacred, it`s a
sacred text. It`s a founding text.

SHARPTON: Right.

HANNAH: Once you start criticizing the president who by the way his job
before coming into office was as a constitutional law professor. He has
that much respect for the constitution. Once you start criticizing the
president of threatening the constitution, that`s just dirty politics.

SHARPTON: That`s to make him other than legitimate. It`s to delegitimize
the president. But see, there may be the other angle that mark touched on,
Krystal, and that is when you look at the fact that Paul Ryan is leading
the GOP primary field, according to a new poll, he is beating out Jeb Bush,
Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, even Rand Paul. Maybe what we`re hearing with
this lawless rhetoric is really playing to the conservative base and
dealing with trying to gain some mileage and being on that ticket.

BALL: Yes. I think that is definitely a piece of that. And they`ve all
been in sort of this competition to see how inflammatory they can be, to
see how outrageous they can be, to see how high -- how large a level of
accusation they can sling at the president, because this is what their base
has come to expect, and that is what they have conditioned their base to
expect. I mean, part of the problem here is what I loved in George
Stephanopoulos` follow-up question there is, if you are accusing the
president of being lawless, if you are accusing him of abusing the
constitution, then the logical place to go with that is OK, if he is so
terrible, then you should impeach him.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

BALL: In fact, what they`re base is demanding now from them.

SHARPTON: Well, when you look at the fact that they`re calling him lawless
because of executive fiat, as they say, look at this. Shortly after
getting declared president, George W. Bush met with Congressional leaders
in Washington. Here is what he had to say afterward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: I told all four that there
are going to be some times where we don`t agree with each other. But
that`s OK. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot
easier. Just so long as I`m the dictator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that`s what George Bush said. He used, then, the executive
orders to prevent U.S. from funding overseas clinics that are for
abortions, to tighten secrecy for presidential records, and to ease
standards for the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water, all by
executive order.

HANNAH: Absolutely. And to his credit, President Obama by executive order
rolled all of those back. The constitution, I mean, Paul Ryan is saying,
you know, legislatures, they create laws. You know, thanks for the civics
101 lesson, Congressman Ryan. We understand that. But executive order is
enshrined in the constitution. It`s something that goes back to the
emancipation proclamation to when Harry Truman integrated the armed forces.
This is an important part of our history. And let`s not mention that, you
know, President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than President
Bush, than President Clinton, than most of his predecessors. So to say
this is governing by fiat is just rich.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s also ironic for him to say, Krystal, that the
legislation, the Congress writes laws. That must have been back in the
good old days, because this Congress doesn`t write any law.

BALL: They might write them. They don`t pass them.

SHARPTON: But you know, at a candidate forum in Georgia just this weekend,
a GOP Senate candidate, the GOP Senate candidates were asked if they would
impeach the president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Clinton was impeached for perjury. Obama has perjured
himself on multiple occasions. Would you support impeachment if presented
for a vote?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, these are Republicans running for the Senate. Three of
them raised their hands that the president should be impeached.

BALL: Yes.

SHARPTON: This is the calling card. This is the ticket to run in the
right wing primary.

BALL: And that is, in a nutshell, the problem with the Republican Party.
Because those are not just like the fringe candidates in that primary.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

BALL: One of them is one of the front-runners. He may well get the
nomination, Paul Broun.

SHARPTON: In a red state.

BALL: In a red state. And right now Michelle nun, who is a democratic
candidate, is actually leading the Republicans in that state in the polling
because even in a conservative state like Georgia, the mainstream voter who
will be voting in a general election looks at that and says you people have
lost your minds. But that is what it takes to win a Republican primary
these days.

SHARPTON: And to really try, Mark, to make the president. Again, I`m all
for the debate. I`m all for everybody taking sides. Nobody is more
passionate than I am about what I believe. But why do we have to act like
he is not legitimate? Why make him lawless? What are we feeding into in
the minds of the American public?

HANNAH: Yes. We`re feeding into some pretty gross conspiracy theories I
think, Rev. And I think look, these three people that raised their hand
when they`re talking about impeachment, I think these guys might as well be
running for the chief engineer on the crazy train. But the problem is, and
Krystal alludes to it, is that these are the same people, the people like
Paul Ryan who are traditional, maybe on a little bit more, you know, common
sense conservative side have to appeal to. He has to appeal to two
Republican parties here. He has to appeal to the Tea Party wing, and he
has to appeal to more moderates in the rest of the country.

BALL: Not that they`re that moderate either.

HANNAH: Exactly. But the civil war and the Republican Party will be
interesting to watch for sure.

SHARPTON: We`re going to have to leave there. Mark Hannah and Krystal
Ball, thanks for your time this evening.

BALL: Thanks for having us.

HANNAH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Be sure to catch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
right here on MSNBC.

Up next, the Republican lawmaker who threatened to throw a reporter off a
balcony gets the full "SNL" treatment. Good stuff. You don`t want to miss
it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: From the moment we saw that GOP lawmaker threaten to throw a
reporter off the balcony, we knew it was destined for late night TV. And
here is how it went down on "Saturday Night Live" with guest host Melissa
McCarthy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: As you can see, the congresswoman is not interested in
answering to these new damning accusations.

MCCARTHY: Have you been thrown out a window, bro? Because you know what?
When I do it, I don`t open it first. You go down with the glass. You get
that?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I was just trying to --

(Angry gibberish)

You`re not a man. You`re a little baby. You`re a little baby. I`m going
to put you in a stroller and buckle you up and throw you down a flight of
stairs. Is that still on? You better run! I am freshman Congressman
Sheila Kelly and I am invincible.

Oh, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Drop the gun. Hands above your head. Put your hands
above your head.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All right. We have apprehended the suspect. We`re at -
-

MCCARTHY: I`m going live forever!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It just wouldn`t be so funny if it weren`t so true to life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the story of a man who was executed before his
final appeals were exhausted. Herbert Smulls was convicted of killing a
Missouri jeweler during a bank robbery -- during a robbery back in 1991.
Late Wednesday night Smulls was reportedly in the middle of a phone call
with his defense attorney when he was taken away by prison guards. At
10:11 p.m., the lethal injection began. At 10:20 p.m., Smulls was
pronounced dead. But it wasn`t until 10:24 p.m. That the U.S. Supreme
Court officially denied his final request to stay the execution. That
means his execution began 13 minutes before the Supreme Court had
officially allowed it to go forward. Now think about that.

What if the Supreme Court had decided to stop the execution? It would have
been too late. Smulls` lawyer says this is the third straight case in
which Missouri has moved ahead with an execution while appeals were pending
in court. Missouri`s attorney general says the state acted within the law.
But whether you support or oppose the death penalty, surely we can agree
that all appeals should be decided before the state puts a human being to
death. We debated the death penalty back and forth, I have, for decades.
Those that are for it say we must send a message to the criminal. Well,
when we can`t even wait for all appeals to be exhausted, what message are
we sending to all of us?

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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