updated 3/6/2014 11:42:41 AM ET 2014-03-06T16:42:41

POLITICS NATION
March 5, 2014

Guests: Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jan Schakowsky, Cynthia Tucker, Seema Ayer,
Ken Padowitz

Cummings and adjourned the IRS meeting without letting Congressman Cummings
ask a question. Republicans are using an international crisis to push their
domestic agenda and says that should show that the U.S. is going to be
moving forward on becoming energy independent.>


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight`s lead, Darrell Issa`s witch
hunt. This Republican congressman has repeatedly vilified the president.
Persecuted the attorney general and turned his committee into a kangaroo
court and we saw it again today.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

SHARPTON: Chairman Issa hauled a former IRS official back before his
committee even though he knew she`d plead the fifth and refuse to testify.
He grilled her repeatedly all for show, all for the benefit of the TV
cameras. Then Issa abruptly ended the hearing without allowing a single
Democratic lawmaker to ask even one question. The Democrats ranking member
Congressman Elijah Cummings was not having it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Therefore, we
stand adjourned.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Chairman, chairman, I have a
statement. I have a procedural question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I
have a procedural question. Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like
this. You just cannot do this. This is -- we`re better than that as a
country. We`re better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few
minutes to ask a procedural -- now you`re turning me off.

ISSA: We have adjourned.

CUMMINGS: I don`t care. The fact is I am asking a question. I am a
ranking member of a committee and I want to ask a question. What are we
hiding? What`s the big deal? May I ask my question? May I make my
statement?

ISSA: You`re all free to leave. We have adjourned but the gentleman can
his question. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Cutting off the mic. Silencing a fellow congressman. Then
things even got more heated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: That is your question?

CUMMINGS: No, let me say what I have to say. I have listened to you for
the last 15 or 20 minutes. Let me say what I have to say. Chairman, I
have one procedural question --

ISSA: Miss Lerner, you`re released.

CUMMINGS: But first I would like to use my time to make some brief points.
For the past year, the central Republican accusation --

ISSA: We`re adjourned. Close it down.

CUMMINGS: -- collusion directed by or on behalf of the White House.
Before our committee there is a single document or interview one witness.
Chairman Issa --

CHANT: Shame, shame, shame, shame.

CUMMINGS: This was the targeting of the president`s political enemies
effectively and lying about it during the election year. He continued this
theme.

ISSA: Where is your question?

CUMMINGS: If you will sit down and allow me to ask the question, I am a
member of the Congress of the United States of America. I am tired of
this. We have members up here each who represent 700,000 people. You
cannot just have a one sided investigation. There is absolutely something
wrong with that and it`s absolutely un-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear. Hear.

ISSA: We had a hearing. It was adjourned. I gave you an opportunity to
ask a question. You have no question.

CUMMINGS: I do have a question.

ISSA: I gave you an opportunity.

CUMMINGS: Chairman, what are you hiding?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Chairman Issa twice cut off the mic. And then he turned his
back and walked away while the ranking Democrat was still speaking. It was
a revealing display. Republicans aren`t interested in the facts faced with
a tough response. They just simply refuse to listen.

Joining me now is D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a member of the
oversight committee who was at the hearing today and salon.com`s Joan
Walsh.

Congresswoman, Chairman Issa cuts off the microphone and refuses to let
Democrats speak. What`s your reaction?

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON D.C.: Reverend Al, you know,
our committee is not known for its dignity or civility. Remember, this is
the committee that denied us the right to even have one witness. And that
made a national figure of Sandra Fluke when they had an all-male panel on
contraception. But this is a low and that was I thought the bottom.

But when you deny the ranking member one minute, and usually he would have
five minutes at least, after you have taken 12 minutes, by the way, in
violation of ethics. Ethics says of the D.C. barge which we are held says
you cannot call a witness if you know in advance that that witness is going
to take the fifth. He called her anyway.

SHARPTON: Right. And knew she was going to take the fifth.

NORTON: Knew it. And you will notice that ranking member Cummings kept
saying what are you hiding? Reverend Al, this is what he was hiding. His
staff had asked Lerner -- Ms. Lerner`s lawyer if he would proffer what she
would say. And if -- and normally if you ask that, you give the witness
immunity. Then we all could find out what there is to be known from Ms.
Lerner. So he said, yes, I would be willing to do a proffer to say what
she would say.

What chairman Issa was trying to do today was keep us from revealing that
we could have learned exactly what she would have said. And he didn`t want
ranking member Cummings to get that out and I`m putting it out here right
now. That`s what he was hiding.

SHARPTON: So he really didn`t want that to come out. So this display was
in many ways covering something which is what Congressman Cummings referred
to when he said what are you hiding.

NORTON: Precisely. That has to be explained. What did he mean? When his
staff says would you as a lawyer, an acceptable procedure, a proffer tell
us what you would have said and he says yes, then she`s -- he`s there
sitting beside her. He should have asked the lawyer what she would have
said. Then the committee, a committee to investigate, would have had
exactly what we`ve been asking for. Tell us, Ms. Lerner, what you know.
And he wanted to do a show. A show in violation of every ethical norm.
And he got away with it by turning off the microphone.

SHARPTON: Now Joan, and this is supposed to be what they want to know is
the IRS had the IRS targeted right wing groups, had IRS going after the tea
party and all. So why would you be playing games when you`re the one
claiming that you really want to know and the lawyer said I will tell you.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: OK, here you go. We`re going to
let you know because they haven`t been interested in getting to the bottom
of this. That`s been clear from the beginning. And the congresswoman
knows better than I do. I mean, Congressman Cummings has been the picture
of patience and discretion and calm throughout this whole ordeal. He has
said again and again and again let`s release all the testimony we`ve taken.
Let`s release all the evidence. Let`s put it into the public realm. And
Issa shuts him down again and again.

Today was brand new, though. This was thuggishness (ph). I`ve never seen
anything that thuggish. When he was like actually does the throat slit to
cut the mic action, who treats another congressman like that, Reverend Al?
I mean, I would ask the congresswoman if she`s seen anything like that in
her life. It was beyond disrespect.

SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman, Mr. Issa -- Congressman Issa also told
reporters he`ll continue his investigation which he swore is not political.
Listen to this, Congresswoman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: At this point we will continue our investigation into the IRS
targeting of conservative groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, how much of this is a political play for
Republicans in the election in November?

ISSA: None. Not a shred of it. Not a smidge of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, you know the thing that is flagged by the IRS for extra
review is that they`ve done it on the right but they`ve also done it on the
left. On the right terms like tea party, patriots, 9/12 project. But also
on the left. Terms like progressive, occupy, acorn. All of them have had
the designation of being flagged for extra review by the IRS. But you
notice chairman Issa, Congresswoman Norton, said our investigation into the
targeting of conservative groups. And yet he didn`t want the lawyer to
tell us what this witness would have known.

NORTON: That proffer is the answer. And Reverend Al, it would have been
very easy to simply -- in fact, I think he would have been the hero of the
hearing if he had brought this out. Instead he suppressed it. This was a
show. It was an abuse of power. And it defeated his purpose. Because if
the point was a show, the talk is all about tonight him silencing the
ranking member.

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, the fact is the GOP`s IRS investigation, they`ve
had 16 hearings, 255 IRS employees involved, 97,000 hours spent responding.
It has cost the IRS $14 million. But a treasury inspector general said
they found no political motivation at all by the IRS.

WALSH: They found nothing. And they keep going back again and again to
the same dry well. And Congressman Issa then selectively leaks things,
wrongly leaks inaccurate information, leaks the opposite of things that
Lois Lerner said. She`s specifically on record telling her people do not
use political criteria, do not look at politics. And he says the opposite
to FOX News. He treats FOX News like it`s a fourth branch of government to
help him prosecute this case when there`s no basis and we know that,
Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Joan Walsh, thank you
for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thanks.

NORTON: Always a pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, what led to the eruption on Capitol Hill? When we come
back, what`s really behind Darrell Issa`s witch hunt? The long years of
smears and scandal mongering.

And if at first you don`t succeed, try 50 times. Republicans holding a
50th vote to repeal Obamacare. And we`re celebrating "Politics Nation"
style.

Plus, fair or crazy? A New Jersey teen sues her parents for college
tuition money. Tonight you be the judge.

And the must see clip of the night, Jon Stewart responds to the FOX News
food stamp obsession. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: If you`re selling phony scandals, then Darrell Issa`s buying.
Up next, we`ll look at his long and ugly history of attacks against the
Obama administration. And what`s really behind it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUMMINGS: He continued this --

ISSA: What is your question?

NORTON: If you will sit down and allow me to ask the question. I am a
member of the United States of America. I am tired of this. We have
members over here each who represent 700,000 people. You cannot just have
a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that
and it`s absolutely un-American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: GOP congressman Darrell Issa, the man at the center of today`s
farce on Capitol Hill. He has a history of witch hunts against this
administration.

Before he even took control of the house oversight committee, he promised
to hold hundreds of hearings on the Obama administration. He spent the
last five years searching for scandals everywhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: This is a failure. It needs to be investigated. Our committee can
investigate it.

Solyndra is a story of political interference. Picking winners and losers.

And that includes fast and furious.

We are here today because failures within the IRS are not isolated to just
tax-exempt division.

Four months ago when Obamacare opened for business --

This fast and furious and things like it are the beginning of an attack in
the second term of the second amendment.

The 9/11 attack on Benghazi.

This hearing is now over but this investigation is not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You see, the investigation is never over with Congressman Issa.
If it`s not Solyndra, it`s Benghazi or Obamacare. And this year promises
more of the same. Congressman Issa`s agenda for 2014 includes more
hearings on the IRS, Benghazi, and Fast and Furious. What a surprise.

Joining me now are Joy Reid and Ryan Grim. Thank you both for coming on
the show tonight.

JOY REID, MANAGING EDITOR, THE GRIO/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, HUFFINGTON POST/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:
Thank you.

SHARPTON: Joy, is Issa just throwing stuff at the wall, it doesn`t matter
if any sticks at all?

REID: No, it`s interesting. Because so Darrell Issa`s job is to sort of
make real a lot of the conspiracy theories you see on the right and right
wing media. They`ve got these bogeymen about the president -- about the
Obama administration. That they really, really, really, want to believe our
genuine scandal would lead to that. It`s Darrell Issa`s job to deliver.
And the problem is he keeps promising that he`s going to deliver. That any
day now he`s going to deliver hard proof on Solyndra, the IRS, or Benghazi
has some meat to the so-called scandal. He has come zero so far.

And I think one of the reasons is partly because you have Congressman
Elijah Cummings sitting there on the other side of that disk saying where`s
the proof? And if you try to put out false information, I`m giving the
facts. And I think he did that again today too.

SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, back in 2010, this is very interesting. This is
before Congressman Issa even took over as oversight chairman. He went on
Rush Limbaugh`s show and said this about president Obama. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISSA: It`s going to acrimonious. There`s no question. He has been one of
the most corrupt presidents in modern times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he later apologized for saying that. Most corrupt
president. Later apologized. But how can you be objective when you have
that kind of view?

GRIM: And it`s remarkable, too, because objectively he`s not that corrupt.
You can disagree with this president politically and ideologically, but
relative to recent presidents, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, there are no real
scandals. All of those other presidents have had very real scandals.
Reagan easily could have been impeached for what he was doing.

But this works for Congressman Issa. You know, he just recently went to
New Hampshire where he raised a ton of money. He has raised more money
than almost any other member of the House of Representatives, other than
Paul Ryan who`s coming off a vice presidential run.

So this works for him because he`s not getting involved in legislation that
parts of the Republican Party might disagree with. He`s just hating on the
president which they all agree with. So that builds his power. And going
into 2016, you`re going to see him be a powerful force. Not necessarily a
candidate, but somebody that has to be reckoned with.

SHARPTON: Now you know, Joy, that Congressman Issa also led the push to
hold attorney general Eric Holder in contempt. It is the first time in the
history of this country an attorney general has been held in contempt.

REID: Yes, absolutely. And it was another instance in which just like
today with Congressman Cummings he actually got tremendous pushback on live
TV. Because Eric Holder pushed right back at him and said, you know, you
are going to need to respect me as well as attorney general of the United
States. And again, it came up empty.

I think the problem is you do have this need on the right to portray
President Obama as simultaneously this weak, ineffectual president, and
this dictator. This is guy who is doing all at the same time. But you
have to eventually have some meat there.

But what`s amazing to me is there have not been more repercussions to the
fact that they haven`t found anything. Darrell Issa has spill, we had a
congressman on today who was at the committee (INAUDIBLE) who said they
spent $14 million just investigating --

SHARPTON: I just reported that, yes.

REID: Yes, IRS. They haven`t found anything. And I think for spending
all that taxpayer money --

SHARPTON: And the IRS money defending it.

REID: Absolutely. And he hasn`t found anything. But there seems to be no
comeuppance because the right needs to keep believing this.

SHARPTON: But you know, Ryan, even GOP members and leaders are scared that
the Congressman Issa has taken president attacks too far. Late last year
"Politico" wrote, quote, "GOP leaders think Issa should stop personalizing
the scandals by insulting Obama and his aides and focus on the facts." So
could Issa`s overreach had hurt the party especially in an election year?

GRIM: Those are tactical problems that they have. Notice that they`re not
saying that they want them to back off the president or back off any of
these investigations. They`re basically just saying, hey, frame your
message slightly differently. Instead of saying that Jay Carney is a paid
liar. Say he`s not being forthright with the American people and continue
with your Benghazi and your Fast and Furious. And Fast and Furious, what
are we? Three, four years into this thing? I mean, you would think that -
- OK, you get 18 months. If you have a major network like FOX behind you
pushing a scandal and you have un-feathered investigative power, you get 18
months to find something. If you don`t, you have move on. I mean, three,
four years?

REID: The problem that the only way to these things work is if you can
take a scandal that starts out in right wing media and have it metastasized
to the rest of the media or have it go beyond just your base that`s
feverish on the radio. And they can`t. Because there`s nothing to it. So
independents won`t pick this up because they`re going to look for facts.
They`re not with the Obama fever. So, they`re only talking to their base
over and over and over.

SHARPTON: And I don`t think it`s a matter of people that are pro-President
Obama or pro-attorney general Holder. It`s more people saying I have too
much respect for my own skills that I`m going out there on something that
there`s just no there, there.

GRIM: I think a lot of the mainstream media is snake bitten by it too
because he has put out, you know, the partial transcripts or he has pushed
them in a direction particularly with the IRS one and the media jumps on it
and then they get to look a fool with the congressman.

SHARPTON: Well, there is the cutting off the mic act today doesn`t help
him with adults. Let`s put it that way.

Joy Reid and Ryan Grim, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

REID: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch joy on "the Reid Report" week days at 2:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, the vote that President Obama calls a travesty. It`s gotten a
lot of Americans very upset. I`ll tell you what happened.

Also, if at first you don`t succeed, try, try, and try again. We got a
special "Politics Nation" surprise for Speaker Boehner to mark his 50th
attempt to roll back Obamacare.

Plus, the dramatic video of a mother who drove her three kids into the
ocean in this. Is this a case of mental illness or attempted murder?
That`s ahead in tonight`s justice files.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Playing politics with crisis while President Obama`s dealing
with a series situation unfolding in Ukraine and many on the right
attacking him. But now they have a brand new talking point.

Today, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine somehow has to do with
drilling for oil?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We can`t supplant Russia`s
influence. We won`t so long as we have to contend with the energy
department`s achingly slow approval process.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think we should
move forward on natural gas exports very quickly. I think we should
approve an LNG terminal to go to Europe. I think we should approve the
Keystone Pipeline. I think we should show that the U.S. is going to be
moving forward on becoming energy independent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So using this crisis to push a pipeline? Yes.

And on the headline on a right wing blog says quote, "Ukraine crisis means
drill, baby, drill." So the answer to the problems in Ukraine is to drill,
baby, drill? Wait a minute. What happened to yesterday`s attack? You
know, the one from Senator Lindsey Graham when he tweeted, quote, "it
started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price,
you invite this type of aggression. "

It started with Benghazi. But I thought it was about drilling? So I
wonder what`s next. Repealing Obamacare will show Putin who`s boss? Or
slashing food stamps will keep Russian troops at bay?

Do they think we wouldn`t notice they`re using an international crisis to
push their domestic agenda? This isn`t even close to a nice try, but we
got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Nobody who works full-time should
ever have to raise a family in poverty.

(APPLAUSE)

That violates a basic sense of who we are. And that`s why it`s time to
give America raise. It is time to give America a raise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama on the road today making the case for raising
the minimum wage. But back in Washington, Speaker Boehner`s house was
voting for the 50th time to repeal part of the health care law. Their 50th
vote. Can you believe this? President Obama had a little fun with it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You know what they say. Fifth time is the charm.

(LAUGHTER)

Maybe when you hit your 50th repeal vote, you will win a prize. Maybe if
you buy 50 repeal votes, you get one free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Get one free. I think the President`s onto something. They
should win a prize. Gold is the traditional gift for a 50th anniversary,
so how about a golden gavel for Speaker Boehner? Or maybe a golden golf
club. Or a golden stethoscope for the health care expert. This vote was a
complete waste of time. And if the definition of insanity is doing the
same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I think our
Republican friends are definitely in trouble.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, democrat of Illinois and
Cynthia Tucker. Thank you both for being here.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Reverend.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER: Good to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, with today`s vote do you sense -- do you feel a
sense of deja vu?

SCHAKOWSKY: There`s no question about it. They had a similar vote to this
one last year. And the vote was almost exactly the same. Same number of
Democrats that actually voted for it. And the same number of Republicans.
So they just keep trying. And of course it`s overwhelmingly the
Republicans who want to, you know, repeal the mandate for individuals. The
effect of that, of course, would be to raise insurance rates and have about
11 million people without insurance. And those would be the healthiest
people. And the youngest people. And it doesn`t work. And Mitt Romney
knew that when he did that in Massachusetts. That there had to be a
mandate.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Cynthia, today was the 50th House vote to repeal
ObamaCare. Let`s first take a walk down memory lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We could repeal ObamaCare and get
this monkey off the backs of the American people.

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: The worst example of the
abuse of the rule of law has really been with the President`s health care
law.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: If ObamaCare is ever implemented and enforced,
we will never recover from it.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Let`s repeal this failure before it
literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But Cynthia, the truth is that the law is working. I mean, at
least four million people have enrolled through the health care exchanges.

TUCKER: Of course it`s working.

SHARPTON: And just yesterday, Cynthia, a compromise in Arkansas to keep
Medicaid in expansion. I mean, is the tide starting to turn?

TUCKER: Well, the polls show that a majority of Americans support keeping
ObamaCare in place. Despite the relentless drum beat against it by
Republicans that continues. Most Americans know that the old system was
dysfunctional. That people who desperately needed health insurance could
not afford to pay for it. So among ordinary Americans out there who have
some experience with the health care marketplace, yes, the tide has turned.
Among Republicans in Congress, clearly the fever has not broken. But they
do not care if people can`t afford health insurance, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Now, you know while Republicans Congresswoman were hard at work
on their latest repeal vote, the President was talking about where their
priorities should be. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This should not be that hard, you`d think. Because nearly three in
four Americans, about half of all Republicans support raising the minimum
wage. The problem is Republicans in Congress opposed raising the minimum
wage. I don`t know if that`s just because I proposed it. Maybe I should
say I oppose raising the minimum wage. They`d be for it. That`s possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, maybe he`s onto something there, Congresswoman. Are
they against it because he proposed it?

SCHAKOWSKY: I think they`re against it because they are completely out of
touch with the American people. The benefit of raising the minimum wage
would be felt in our economy, people would have some money in their pocket.
And, for example, $46 billion over ten years would be saved from the
S.N.A.P. program, from the food assistance program.

SHARPTON: Right.

SCHAKOWSKY: Because people would be able to afford to feed themselves.
Which is certainly a goal -- ought to be a goal in our society. Though the
Republicans are out of stop on ObamaCare too, I think they are making a bad
bet if they think that they`re going to ride to the November elections
opposing ObamaCare. Because just today about 13 million Americans have
benefited from ObamaCare. And I hope by March 31st which is the deadline
for signing up, we`ll going to see millions more.

SHARPTON: Now, Cynthia, you know, I want to give a news flash to the
Republicans, this is an election year, midterm elections, they are against
ObamaCare which millions are signing up for are working. They`re against
minimum wage which would stabilize a lot of families and lift people out of
poverty. Even the CBO reports that they`re against so many things that
every poll indicates Americans are overwhelmingly for. I mean, does this
lead to some political consequences in your judgment, Cynthia? Or are we
dealing with such a gerrymandered map it doesn`t matter?

TUCKER: Well, clearly in the House the map is gerrymandered and it would
be extremely difficult for Democrats to get control of the House of
Representatives again.

SCHAKOWSKY: Oh, I disagree.

TUCKER: The Senate however is another matter.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, Congresswoman, you disagree. Tell us why.
Give me the democratic majority.

SCHAKOWSKY: There are a number of districts that have been gerrymandered,
but there are far more where we have competitive races and where we can --
we have at least 52 districts that are in play right now. And there are a
number that we know that we can win. We only need to win 17. And so we
feel optimistic still because the Republicans are on the wrong side of most
issues that the people really care about that we can win. So Cynthia, no,
we can do it.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, we`re going to have to leave it there. We`re
going to see about that. We won`t be going anywhere. Cynthia and I will
be watching, Congresswoman.

SCHAKOWSKY: We will be. And good luck.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Cynthia Tucker, thank you for
your time tonight.

Ahead, a pregnant mom intentionally drives a van with three kids into the
ocean. Thankfully everyone is safe. But now comes the legal questions.

Plus a New Jersey teen sues her parents to pay up for college.

And the biker paralyzed after being run over by an SUV in New York City
speaks out for the first time. The POLITICS NATION justice files, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for the justice files. The big criminal justice
stories making headlines today.

Joining me now, former prosecutor Seema Ayer and criminal defense lawyer
Ken Padowitz. Thank you both for being here.

SEEMA AYER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Start tonight in New Jersey and a story is getting all kinds of
attention. Eighteen-year-old Rachel Canning, a high school cheerleader and
honor student is suing her parents Shawn and Elizabeth for money to go to
college. Rachel claims physical and verbal abuse. The parents say it was
just discipline. The court says it was the first time they`ve seen each
other since October and so far the judge ruled with the parents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE PETER BOGAARD, MORRISTOWN SUPERIOR COURT: We want to establish a
precedent where parents live in constant fear of establishing basic rules
of the house. Since if they institute a rule that junior doesn`t like,
junior can move out and can move in with another family. He can sue for
child support, attorney fees, car, cell phone, and a few hundred grand in
college.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Another hearing is set for next month. Seema, should Rachel get
paid?

AYER: Absolutely not, Rev. I don`t know about you, but are you hearing
whispers of Casey Anthony here? She`s a narcissistic, self-centered young
lady. And the investigator who conducted the assessment agreed that she is
spoiled and the judge also agreed with that. So why should we start
setting a precedent when she`s legally an adult. If they pay her for
college. And let`s talk about the millions and billions of children in
this country who are getting financial aid and going to college that way.
Why is she entitled to more?

SHARPTON: Ken?

KEN PADOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the judge sounds like a
very wise man. I clearly -- we don`t want to have a precedent of every
parents` nightmare with their children are going to end up suing them
because they don`t like a rule that the parents instituted in the House. I
don`t know if this child is self-centered or narcissistic. Maybe she`s
just been given very bad advice and is somewhat misguided. But in any
event, I think the judge is correct to get counseling as the priority here.
Get this people, this family into counseling and let`s see if they can
repair this relationship in the form that it deserves to be repaired in at
a counselor`s office and not in a courtroom.

SHARPTON: No. And we just saw photos of the mother and father crying.
They do need counseling. But I had to think about if it had been me suing
my mother, I would have been the one crying.

AYER: I would have been spanked, Rev.

PADOWITZ: I wasn`t going to say that. And now to a biker paralyzed in an
altercation in New York City speaking out. You remember this video from
back in September? The driver of a range rover was chased by bikers and
dragged out of his car and beaten in front of his family. Just before one
of the motorcycle riders was run over by that range rover is now paralyzed.
Eleven have been indicted, but the driver has not been charged with
anything. And today the victim broke his silence on the "Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: As soon as he hit me, I shut my eyes. I didn`t want to
open my eyes because I knew he had hurt me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you blame the driver of the SUV who hit you for
your injuries?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No. I don`t blame him. Because at the end of the day,
I`m not him to know what was going through his mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He doesn`t blame him, but his attorneys said they`re leaving the
door open on a lawsuit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Gloria, I know you haven`t yet, but are you planning
to sue either the driver or the city of New York?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We have not filed a civil lawsuit.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I know. But will you?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, we don`t rule anything out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ken, is there a case against the driver?

PADOWITZ: Well, of course there`s always a case that could be made by an
attorney. Whether or not it`s going to be successful in court is
completely another matter. I think with this gentleman who suffered
terrible injuries and it`s a horrible thing that happened to him that he
has to live through, I think he basically articulated what many of us are
thinking when we see that video. Is that if we have to protect our family
and we think we`re under attack, that many people would do what the driver
did in this case which is step on the gas to get out of a situation that he
considered dangerous for his family. So there may be a lawsuit in the
future, but I don`t know how successful that may be.

SHARPTON: Seema?

AYER: I think it`s very helpful for it -- that he hasn`t been prosecuted
in criminal court. So the likelihood of a civil suit is greater.
Additionally, let`s not forget Rev that this is a man who had no license
and at the time of the incident, 16 tickets, outstanding tickets in several
different states. So let`s not forget who he is actually.

SHARPTON: All right.

AYER: And whether -- I`m sorry. Was he getting off that bike to terrorize
the driver or whether he was trying to protect his friend?

SHARPTON: All right. Finally, a terrifying moment caught on camera. A
pregnant mom intentionally drives her van into the ocean in Daytona Beach,
Florida. With her three children ages three, nine, and 10 inside.
Bystanders runs towards the van to help with water rushing into the car,
waves tossing it around. Two of the rescued children were pulled from the
car and they were able to pull the third child from the car as well. Today
the sheriff talked about charges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF BEN JOHNSON, VOLUSIA COUNTY: We`re looking to see if criminal
charges are going to be appropriate. Or if it`s for medical issue. This
time we don`t know yet. It`s early in the investigation, but we want to
get to the bottom of it to determine which is the correct way to go about
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Seema, should there be charges brought against the mother?

AYER: Like the sheriff just said, the first step is investigating a
possible medical situation. Now, think about this, Rev. The bystander
that was there, Mr. Tessenier, he stated that the mother had a blanked out,
spaced out look on her face.

SHARPTON: While she was driving into the ocean.

AYER: While they were taking her out of the car. She wasn`t responsive.
She wasn`t responsive to the bystanders. She wasn`t responsive to law
enforcement. That corroborates a potential psychiatric issue here. If
there is one, I believe that the state may hold off in pressing charges at
this point and continue an investigation.

SHARPTON: Ken?

PADOWITZ: I don`t know about that. From what I`ve heard, the sister of
this woman actually called the police and the police stopped this woman a
brief time before this incident occurred. And this incident may be
described as a murder/suicide situation. So there may be charges. An
insanity defense is something the defendant may consider if in fact, she`s
charged with a crime. But insanity defends historically rarely work and
are usually unsuccessful at trial.

AYER: But first, Ken, do you not agree that they have to investigate her
medical and mental health history here? Maybe that`s why the sister
called. Maybe there is a history here which is why she got to her breaking
point and had a psychotic episode.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to step in. I love justice files because we
all get into this and riled up, but I`m going to have to leave it there.
Seema Ayer and Ken Padowitz, thank you both for your time tonight.

PADOWITZ: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Jon Stewart calls out the right wingers for their
strange obsession with food stamps and seafood. You`ll want to see this.

Also, today`s shameful vote against the man that President Obama wants to
lead the charge on civil rights. What was this vote really all about?
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We know many on the right want to slash food stamp spending.
But today a solution. A new report says raising minimum wage would reduce
spending for the food stamp program by $46 billion over the next decade.
But even with that, I`m sure some in the right wing media would keep
focusing on food stamp fraud. Last night Jon Stewart took on one
particular obsession. Seafood. And it was hilarious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: The least you could do is "A," not spend
it on food that could be used as a weapon in the coming class war.

(LAUGHTER)

And "B," spend it on healthy nutrition food like seafood. People say, eat
more fish. You could use that. The fox hounds would have no problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This picture says it all. People using food stamps to
buy gourmet crab legs?

LAURA INGRAHAM, AUTHOR, "OF THEE I ZING": Is it now considered acceptable
for a burgeoning number of people to be on food stamps. Is it so
acceptable that, you know, fresh seafood, whatever it is you want to get is
no problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Give the people what they want. Fresh seafood.

STEWART: I think we established that it is possible if you`re on food
stamps to buy seafood. Which is apparently now considered the Mercedes of
food. We don`t want food stamp recipients eating junk. But we also don`t
want them taking our nice human food. What`s the right mixture of quality
and class-based shame?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that is some must see TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a slap in the face of anyone who cares about
justice and civil rights. Today`s Senate Republicans and even a few
Democrats rejected Debo Adegbile, President Obama`s nominee to head Justice
Department civil rights division. The president called the vote a travesty
based on wildly unfair character attacks. Attorney General Holder said,
quote, "At a time when significant voting rights cases and other
consequential matters are pending, it is more critical than ever to have a
confirmed leader for the civil rights division." That view was echoed by
Senator Harry Reid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: They`ve distorted this man`s good
name in an attempt to score points politically and block confirmation of a
faithful defender of voting rights which the Republicans do everything they
can to not protect. They want fewer voting people. They don`t want people
to vote. And they especially don`t want poor people to vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Adegbile was voted down today because of his work at the NAACP
legal defense fund. That`s the legendary civil rights firm founded by
Thurgood Marshall. It`s the group that brought us the Brown versus Board
of Education case ending segregation in schools. But today critics pounced
on the group`s defense Mumia Abu-Jamal, a man convicted of murdering a
police officer back in 1982. Abu-Jamal has always claimed his innocence,
but senators voting no today declared the President`s nominee guilty by
association. Even though he was merely given this defendant his
constitutional right to a fair defense.

How can you hold a lawyer responsible for the alleged crimes of his client?
It would have a chilling effect on courts all over the country and undercut
every American`s right to a fair trial. What does it say about the judges
who for all of these years voted to give Jamal a new trial or voted another
hearing? Who were more directly involved than this man who was just a part
of the legal defense firm that was there to make sure this man had a fair
trial when there were so many questions that were still unresolved. This
is a bad precedent. It is bad voting. And those Republicans and Democrats
we need to remember they did this.

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.
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