PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
June 18, 2014
Guest: Jim McDermott; David Brock, Anne Filipic, Ryan Grim, Carmen St.
George, Faith Jenkins
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "the ED Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.
Tonight`s lead, the right is more wrong than ever on Iraq. President Obama
met with congressional leaders this afternoon to discuss what to do about
the new Iraqi crisis. Islamic militants are taking over more of the
country. Today seizing Iraq`s largest oil refinery.
The "New York times" reports the president is considering selective
airstrikes using drones, but is not considering a massive shot and all type
bombing campaign. And that of course, isn`t enough for the war hawks on
Today, former vice president Dick Cheney and his daughter, announced they
are forming a new political group to attack President Obama`s foreign
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Empty threats,
meaningless red lines, leading from behind and engagement with rogue
regimes put America on a path of decline. President Obama repeatedly
mislead the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Cheneys followed up that little gem with a "Wall Street
Journal" op-ed in which they write, quote, "rarely has a U.S. president
been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong, really? I can think of a
president who got things pretty wrong over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The British
government learned Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of
uranium from Africa. The Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal
some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
Major combat operations and Iraq ended in the battle of Iraq. The United
States and our allies have prevailed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That president turned out to be so wrong causing so many people
to suffer. Mr. Cheney knows that firsthand because he, too, was a war
hawk, spreading mass deception.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: That report that has been pretty well confirmed that he did go to
Prague and he did meet with senior officials, Iraqi intelligence services.
My belief is we will in fact, be greeted as liberators.
And I think there in the last throws, if you will, in the insurgency.
It was the right thing do and if we did it over again we would do exactly
the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: If he could, Cheney would do it all over again, exactly the
same. That`s why we can`t listen to him and people like him now.
Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington and
U.S. navy veteran and E.J. Dionne from "the Washington Post."
Thank you both for joining me.
E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Congressman, what did you think when you heard about these new
attacks from Mr. Cheney?
REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Well, the war in Iraq is a monument to
the hubris of Dick Cheney. He has gotten everything wrong from the very
start. From the lies they told us about whether there were weapons of mass
destruction right straight on through to the stupid moves they made in
dissolving the Iraqi army and then taking apart the whole civil society
right down to the school teachers that they belong to the Baptist (ph)
They dismantled this country and they have then tried to put it back
together by putting somebody in place who is connect Iranians. Now, that
simply set off a battle between Arabs and Persians that`s been going on for
hundreds of years. And everything they did was wrong. And now they say,
it`s all Obama`s fault when he can`t figure out how to get us out of it.
He`s gotten the troops out and now we have to be sure that we don`t do
anything to make it worse. I don`t think we should give them any weapons,
al-Maliki shouldn`t get a single helicopter or bullet or anything.
SHARPTON: You know, E.J., your response when you see Cheney. The
congressman said it is a monument to the hubris of Dick Cheney. What do
DIONNE: Well, I was truly, honestly, truly astonished when I read this
piece this morning. Because this wasn`t just a policy piece saying Obama
has this policy and I think he is wrong about that. I mean, he came very
close to accusing the president of treason. He wrote, I`m quoting Cheney
and his daughter, Liz, President Obama seems determined to leave office
ensuring he has taken America down a notch.
So he`s saying Obama wants to weaken America. He goes on to say, President
Obama is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past
and squandered our freedoms. Squandered our freedom? I mean, this was
SHARPTON: I mean, this is also very, very personal, E.J. And accusing the
president almost of treason. I mean, this is some very strong language.
DIONNE: I thought it was -- I don`t think I`ve ever seen anything from a
former president or vice president about a current president like that.
And as congressman said, I mean, Dick Cheney got a lot of things wrong.
There was a great interview that the late Tim Russert did where Tim was
saying, you know, people were saying it is going to take a couple hundred
thousand troops over some years. And Cheney said, no, that`s an
exaggeration. I don`t believe that.
There are a whole bunch of things in that Tim Russert interview who died a
few days before the war, where every one of his predictions was wrong. So
that to have Dick Cheney out there now saying these things about the
president, was really remarkable. I mean, people can have differences with
President Obama --
SHARPTON: I don`t want to move off that.
Congressman, let me go to you. I mean, have you ever heard anything like
this. A former vice president saying that a sitting president is
determined to take America down a notch, that he is on track of securing
his legacy as the man who portrayed our past and squandered our freedom. I
mean, have you ever heard or even read about a former vice president or
president saying this about a sitting president?
MCDERMOTT: This is the most continuous vicious attack on a president that
I have ever seen or read about. It`s hard to imagine anything else they
could say about the president that they haven`t already said.
Here it comes out this morning. They come out and say it again, like it
was like, he was there when the war was started and look at the mess they
made of the country. They were there. Cheney was there. He was sitting
right there when they did it and to turn around and turn the propaganda
machine on and say, this guy`s a traitor, he`s taking the country down a
notch, is absolutely -- I mean, it is reprehensible. There is no other
word for it.
SHARPTON: And yet, E.J., former vice president Cheney is not alone.
Today, senator McCain suggested we should have left troops on the ground in
Iraq, instead of coming back home in 2011. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Iraq was largely under control thanks, to
David Petraeus and Ryan Cocker and the surge in 2011. If we had left, and
it`s a fact, and if we had left that residual force behind, history would
be very different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, not personal on the president like Cheney, but certainly as
wrong on the policy, E.J.
DIONNE: Well, here is the remarkable thing is that President Obama was
trying to negotiate a deal with Prime Minister Maliki that would protect
American troops if they were there to make sure that they weren`t in bagled
(ph) in something with Iraqi law and al-Maliki wouldn`t make the deal.
And the Republicans seem inclined to blame Obama entirely for the fact that
that deal wasn`t made. And under those circumstances, the president
couldn`t leave troops there.
This kind of talk is really letting al-Maliki off the hook because al-
Maliki has pursued policies for some time now that have alienated Sunnis in
Iraq who have been sympathetic to his government and certainly opposed to
the extremists who are gaining ground now. And so, it is al-Maliki`s
policies that we should be troubled by, not President Obama.
SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, a 2008 study looked at the right-wing
propaganda on Iraq from September 11th to the invasion in 2003. It found
that top members of the Cheney-Bush administration made 935 false public
statements about Iraq. I mean, we couldn`t trust them then. How can we
trust them now?
MCDERMOTT: There`s no way you can trust anything. What is amazing is that
a new source like "the Wall Street Journal" would even put something on
their page. Because this man has no credibility whatsoever.
Maliki is a puppet of the Iranians. And he was told by the Iranians, he
couldn`t sign an agreement that would keep 10,000 troops in Baghdad because
the Iranians don`t want Americans in there and they were not going to let
him signed an agreement that would have kept them there. Nobody talks
about the fact he has been doing the Iranian business for the whole time.
That`s why the Sunnis are so angry. They want a nonsectarian government.
They want to have a secular country like they were before in which
everybody had a chance.
SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there, Congressman McDermott
But let me tell you, this is some very tough, very -- it is unprecedented
kind of language for vice president or sitting president, the venom is
Thank you for coming on tonight but I today say that.
Coming up, where`s the apology to Susan Rice? New details about Benghazi,
show that it`s past time for Republicans to say sorry for their smears.
Plus, Dr. Sharpton`s new diagnosis for the GOP. The dilutions of health
care took another big hit today.
Also, was a police officer justified in killing a suspect in handcuffs?
And did a controversial make my day law, let this man`s killer walk free,
is in tonight`s justice files.
SHARPTON: The "New York times" reports today the Benghazi attackers were
motivated to act because of a video. We have more of that coming up.
But should those who attack Susan Rice on this apologize for their
comments? That`s our question of the day.
How should Republicans who attack Susan Rice over Benghazi apologize? With
a statement, with a phone call, with flowers or all of the above?
The poll is live on our facebook page and on twitter. So go now and be
sure to leave a comment about what you would do. We`ll have your answers
later in the show.
SHARPTON: Today an enormous blow to the right wings. Famous phony
scandal, Benghazi. Right now, the suspected mastermind behind the attacks,
Ahmed Abu Khattala, is in U.S. custody being interrogated by American
officials. But already, new details are being -- are emerging that
undermined the GOP false narrative.
Since the attacks, three senators have led the charge -- John McCain,
Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte. Over and over they`ve raced to the TV
cameras to attack the administration. And above all, to try and destroy
the career of Susan Rice.
At the time of the attacks, she was U.N. ambassador, a top candidate for
the secretary of state. McCain, Graham and Ayotte vowed to block the
nomination. Their strategy was character assassination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: With the comments she
made on those Sunday shows, that was either incompetence or blatantly
misleading the American people.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: She`s the point person, so
disconnected to reality, I don`t trust her.
MCCAIN: Just a select committee. If appointed, clears her of any
wrongdoing besides not being very bright.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: She`s not very bright. These were ugly insults. Which they
justified by saying Rice had misled the American people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYOTTE: In contradiction to what ambassador Susan Rice said on every
Sunday show when she first went on on this incident that this was, of
course, not a spontaneous reaction to a video.
GRAHAM: She was making things up. A protest was caused by hateful video,
we had nothing to do.
MCCAIN: Why did our ambassador to the United Nations in interviews five
days after the attack also try to blame on the hateful video?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It was their big talking point. Susan Rice had misled by citing
an anti-Islam video. And yet, the "New York Times" reports today the
attackers were in fact motivated by that video. Quote "as the attack in
Benghazi was unfolding a few years later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow
Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the
insulting video according to people who heard him.
This isn`t the final word, but is a crucial one. It is a direct account
for witnesses show ere there. And it exposes the emptiness of the shameful
GOP`s attack on Susan Rice. Senators McCain, Graham and Ayotte, certainly
know where the cameras are. It is time for them to hold another press
conference to apologize.
Joining me are David Brock, founder of media matters and Jonathan Capehart
from "the Washington Post." Thank you both for being here.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, should we hold our breath for an apology from these
CAPEHART: No. You shouldn`t because you will die. They will never
apologize for anything that they`ve said about the president with regard to
Benghazi, about Susan Rice, with regard to Benghazi. No, they are never
going to apologize at all.
SHARPTON: You know, senator Lindsey Graham is now attacking other Obama
officials for the decision to try Khattala in criminal court. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: This is a mistake by the Obama administration. They are turning
the war into a crime. And Eric Holder`s decision to read this terror
suspect the Miranda rights within days is going to come back to haunt this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, instead of apologizing to Susan Rice, he is now attacking
Eric Holder for using a lamest rhetoric to do it. I mean, that`s what he
is using is a lamest rhetoric to do this.
DAVID BROCK, FOUNDER, MEDIA MATTERS: Absolutely. Look, it is clear the
Republicans are going to give up on this issue. We should be celebrating
this as a victory, not just for the administration but for the country.
You know, it took President Bush looked for 2,688 days for Osama bin Laden.
They came up empty-handed. This was a really carefully done security
operation. This was an armed suspect. He was taken out of enemy territory
without incident. So, this is what really what success looks like.
And now, the world is going to see the American system of justice at work,
not just our military. And so, this is handled in exactly the right way.
The Republicans won`t give up on this because they clearly polled the issue
and they are desperate to turn out their November mid terms and they think
this works for them. They think feeding conspiracy theories to their base
works. And of course, their latest one was that news of this broke to
somehow help Hillary Clinton out with her book tour and interview on FOX
SHARPTON: But you wrote the book on Benghazi, how important, David within
is this to you with the time of reporting that there`s one in fact
motivated by the video according to some that were there and listening as a
man was speaking?
BROCK: Well, it is absolutely critical. I mean, we looked closely back
when we published our book, "the Benghazi Hoax" at the Republican case
against Susan Rice. It never made any sense and it makes even less sense
It made no sense because, of course, President Obama came out in the Rose
Garden and referred to this as a terrorist attack the very next day. So
the idea that there is an administration cover-up never healed any water.
We know that Susan Rice, the talking points were originated, and they were
signed off on in the intelligence community. It was the best information
at the time. If you read closely what she said, she held out the
possibility of involvement by extremists. And of course, now today, it is
reported that the suspect said this anti-Islam video played a role after
And so, I think that is a very big revelation. Of course, I don`t think
the Republicans will admit that. They`re not going to apologize to Susan
Rice for reasons Jonathan said. They are still going to hold on to this
issue. This is always been from day one when the tragedy was happening and
unfolding and Mitt Romney try to politicized it. This always has been
cynical politics for Republicans and at the same event.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, big revelation to you?
CAPEHART: Yes, it is a big revelation. Look, when Susan Rice did the
Sunday shows, you read transcripts of her remarks on the shows, there are
lots of caveats in there. From information that we have now, the
information that we have today. And you know, I think as secretary Clinton
has said, you know, it was the fog of war. You`re trying to get
information of an incident that is happening in realtime and then, days
later where you are trying to talk to sources on the ground, get the best
intelligence that you can.
We`ve seen this time and time again. When something happens on day one,
the narrative and the evidence as a comes in changes. And so, we shouldn`t
be surprised that, you know, what we`ve learn bed Benghazi might be a
little different today than what we knew on September 11th, 2012.
But look, what`s happening here is that you have Republicans who are trying
to question the president`s foreign policy capability, question the entire
foreign policy team. And that isn`t to say that there aren`t criticisms
that should be leveled against the president, but they should at least be
based on fact and not on conspiracy theory and not on lies.
Jonathan, before this week the Republicans love attacked the administration
for failing to catch any Benghazi attackers. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYOTTE: The president stood up to the presidential campaign and said, we
are going to hunt these people down who committed these terrorist acts and
nothing has happened.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: I just
don`t see any commitment from the administration to bring these people to
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Over a year later, we still haven`t apprehended
and brought to justice the murderer who took the lives of those four brave
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, I wonder, Jonathan, now that Khattala has been taken
into custody, are any Republicans going to apologize to the president of
accusing him of not doing enough to get him when in fact they were working
on this all along while these statements were being made?
CAPEHART: No, they`re not going to apologize, no. For the same reason why
senators Graham, McCain and Ayotte won`t apologize to Susan Rice.
Look, it says, if they don`t see it happening, from minute to minute, they
don`t believe anything is happening at all. The president has demonstrated
time and time again, that he can walk and chew gum and run and do all sorts
of thing at the same time. And the idea that president would just simply
allow someone who attacked a U.S. facility, killed an American ambassador
and three other Americans and not do anything to bring the person to
justice, is outrageous.
You know, I remember a time as David said, when something like this
capturing someone who targeted Americans, killed Americans, was a time that
would be a rallying time for Americans --
SHARPTON: And not everybody --
CAPEHART: Sure, not any more --
SHARPTON: They are driven, Jonathan, by a right-wing media, as David
I mean, David, Media Matters found that FOX News spent almost 40 percent of
its interview with Hillary Clinton on Benghazi. And yet, many on the right
wanted more. The headline on the conservative news site, "News Max," was
quote, "angry at FOX News softball interview with Hillary."
Right-winger Pamela Geller is an example. She tweeted quote, "very
disappointed at Bret Baier, hashtag HillaryFOXnews unchallenged, you let
her get away with murder, hashtag figuratively. hashtag, literally.
I mean, is this why Republicans will never apologize, they are scared of
the far right was only accept ugly attacks on the Obama administration.
BROCK: Sure. Well, the elected Republicans are afraid of tea party
challenges. And the fact that if you look at some of these comments, you
just look at -- look at what goes on some of these right-wing web sites
about Hillary having blood on her hands. That`s what some conspiracy
And the fact is that secretary Clinton was asked pointed questions in that
interview with FOX, and as we showed, 40 percent were on the pseudo scandal
that is only of interest to FOX viewers. I guess it is good for their
But what really happened here is they did not like secretary Clinton`s
answers. She was very clear that she took responsibility for this tragedy.
That she took accountability and implemented all 29 recommendations of the
state department review because she was focused on the future and focused
on trying to prevent something like this from happening again.
And she was totally transparent all the way through. The results of that
review have only been one or two released since 1998. And so, I think the
right-wing base that was infuriated because they just couldn`t catch
secretary Clinton --
SHARPTON: Well, I think you are right. I`m going to have to leave it
David Brock and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for your time tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
BROCK: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, putting the affordable in the affordable care act.
Yes, another GOP talking point tonight is dead tonight.
Plus, the push to change the Washington Redskins` team name takes some
major turns today. Why the team owner is under pressure to act?
And was a police officer justified in killing a suspect in handcuffs? You
be the judge, ahead.
SHARPTON: Last month, we have a funeral here on this show. We gathered
together to mourn the sad loss of so many bogus GOP talking points on the
Affordable Care Act. And today, another talking point is dead. It joined
so many others that have been buried before our eyes. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Remember all the right-wing`s panel we used to hear about health
care law. They said it would be unaffordable, it was socialist. The sky
is falling. But today, those talking points are dead. The Health
Department out with a new report on plans bought on the federal exchange.
Eighty seven percent of people who bought plans got subsidies and average
monthly premium is $82 a month.
Less than $100 a month for quality health insurance. So the claim that
plans would be unaffordable (beeping) wrong. We are also learning that
more insurers are flocking to the law. In 10 states, at least 27 new
insurers were offered plans on the marketplace next year. These are four
profit companies that think the law would help their business. So the
talking point that is just a big socialist scheme (beeping) that`s bogus
too. This law is helped millions of people get insurance is working and if
Republicans want to keep thrashing it, they will need to get a new set of
Joining me now are Anne Filipic, president of the group Enroll America,
which worked to sign people up for health care. And Ryan Grim, Washington
Bureau chief of the Huffington Post. Thank you both for being here.
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thank you, Reverend.
ANNE FILIPIC, ENROLL AMERICA: Thanks for having me, Reverend.
SHARPTON: And nearly 70 percent of people who bought plans from the
Federal Exchange pay $100 a month or less. I mean, that`s less than a lot
of people`s cable bills. What does this mean for people who work and who
were worried about cost?
FILIPIC: Well, I think that report from HHS shows that not only are
millions of Americans finding quality health coverage, they are finding
affordable health coverage. And I think it`s really a sign that the
Affordable Care Act is working. That this really isn`t win for consumers.
And as you said, the amount that people are paying is really less than what
they often pay for a cable bill or cell phone bill. And I think people are
really seeing the value and the opportunity that is there for them.
SHARPTON: You know, Ryan, Louisiana Senator David Vitter has been opposed
to the health care law from the start. But now he is running for governor
and he seems open to the Medicaid expansion. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: We need to improve and reform Medicaid.
And I want to look at everything that could be brought to bear to do that.
Now, could more federal resources help to do that? They could if it is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, Louisiana`s current governor is against the Medicaid
expansion. So why he`s been keeping his options open?
GRIM: Well, you know, Vitter is not running for president, you know, he
knows that because of his scandal play the past, that`s never going to
happen. And he had said, if I`m elected governor, that`s the last
political office that I`m going to run for. And people in Louisiana of
course would like to have more federal money than less federal money.
Every state agrees with that. There is a very kind of conservative
taxpayer rights arguments to be made that says, we should get our tax money
back. It is almost perverse to say, no, we want to pay taxes to the
federal government but let the federal government keep that money instead
of returning it to the state. That`s not a very conservative argument at
all. So Vitter is actually on very solid ground if he wants to make this
argument from the right.
SHARPTON: You know, it is good that David Vitter is open to Medicaid
expansion but Republicans in 24 state are still blocking it. I mean,
expert say blocking the Medicaid expansion will kill thousands of people
each year. And what do you hear from people who fall into that Medicaid
FILIPIC: Well, one of the successes of the Affordable Care Act is that
over eight million people have gained coverage through Medicaid over the
last several months. But because of the choices of some state leadership
as you have pointed out, there are over 5.8 million people who are falling
into this gap. And I think what we`re seeing now is that some of those
people in states like Louisiana and Texas and Florida, they are starting
to talk to their friends and their family in states like Ohio and Maryland
and Arizona where they expanded Medicaid.
And they are saying, wait a second, we have really similar experiences. We
are both struggling to pay the bills here. And you`re getting coverage and
I`m not. They`re saying, what`s up with that? You know, where is the
opportunity for me? And I think what you`re starting to see is that this
is becoming real to people. It is moving from a political site to a
personal one. And people are starting to stand up and ask what`s going on.
SHARPTON: Ryan, do you think the people will break in Washington around
this repeal effort?
GRIM: I do think it eventually will. And for one reason. You know, the
curious thing about this movement is that there is actually no organized
interest group behind it. In other words, it is obvious who is fighting
climate change. You know, the Koch Brothers, you know, who are oil barons,
coal barons. You know, it is obvious who is fighting, you know, Wall
Street reform. But it is not obvious what particular special interest is
fighting expanding Medicaid.
You know, vaguely, it`s the wealthy who want taxes reduced in the long-
term. But they`re not organized around it. This is a purely partisan
issue. And like she said, once it gets on to the ground, and people say,
wait a minute, why am I paying taxes to the federal government but not
getting money back? I do think that over the years, you`re going to see
that dissolve. But it`s going to cause a lot of damage along the way.
SHARPTON: You know, Anne, the latest polls starts from Gallup show 13.4
percent of Americans are uninsured. It`s still too high. But it is the
lowest level we`ve seen in five years. How can we drive this number down
FILIPIC: Well, you know, Reverend, I just came from Enroll America`s
national conference where we had over 800 leaders from across the country
having just that conversation. Sharing best practices. Sharing our
experiences about what works. So that we can do an even better job in this
coming enrollment period. Continuing to get the word out. And I think
that`s the number one thing. It`s telling the story of that HHS report.
Of the fact that 70 percent of people who enroll on the federal
marketplace, who got a subsidy, got one for under $100 a month, that`s
opening people`s eyes and we have to continue to get the word out.
SHARPTON: Anne Filipic and Ryan Grim, thank you both for your time
tonight, it`s a very positive story and it`s just getting better.
GRIM: Thank you, reverend.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, tonight`s justice files, disturbing video of an
officer shooting and killing a suspect in handcuffs.
Also, the controversial make my day law. Let this man`s killer go free.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re back with tonight`s Justice Files.
Joining me now, criminal defense Attorney Carmen St. George and MSNBC legal
analyst and former prosecutor Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for being
FAITH JENKINS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
CARMEN ST. GEORGE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: First tonight, new video of a deadly police shooting in El Paso,
Texas. A warning, this video is graphic. It shows Officer Jose Flores
shooting and killing body builder Daniel Saenz in March 2013. Saenz was
under arrest for assault. The tape shows him resisting the officer and a
prison guard at the same time. Flores takes out his gun and shoots signs
through the shoulder and into his chest. Saenz later died at the hospital.
Police say the gun went off accidentally when the guard stumbled into
Flores. A grand jury declined indict him early this year. The city didn`t
want this video released at all. Claiming it would violate the dead man`s
right to privacy. Faith, after seeing this video, what is your take on the
JENKINS: Well, when I look at the video, you clearly see someone who is
fighting the police officers. And he is also handcuffed. Police officers
have a very dangerous and difficult job. No one disputes that. However, I
don`t believe that this gun went off accidentally. He first reached for a
taser, put the taser back, and then he pulled out his gun. Officers had --
SHARPTON: He first reached for his taser.
SHARPTON: Never fired it.
JENKINS: Fired it then put it back. Here`s my issue, officers have a
spectrum of force that they can use and they are trained on when and how to
use that spectrum. At the very end of its deadly force, their job is to
use every other means of force, every other possibility that they can use
to detain a prisoner, to detain someone who is fighting back, before deadly
force. He has a taser. He could have used the taser. Instead, he used
GEORGE: Well, he used his gun because, what is not shown in that video, is
what happened shortly before this incident, which is that a taser was used
on this person at least five times and he withstood it. So the taser was
not going to have any effect. The police officer has an obligation at that
time to subdue the suspect. He had just flung two people off his body. He
has exceptional strength. Another thing that the viewers don`t see from
this video is that this body builder is over 200 pound and just previously
had been able to take handcuffs that he had behind his back and he was
agile and flexible enough to get his hands in front of him.
So, this is somebody that they were in fear for. They had no ability to
call for back-up. This officer had to act immediately. And I think the
video corroborates his account, what he tells the grand jury, which is
basically, this was accidental. He pulled his gun out, the other person at
the scene was flung off and he struck the person -- struck the office`s
hand and the gun went off. It is very terrible. Agreed.
JENKINS: Earlier that day --
SHARPTON: I don`t think I can hold you back.
JENKINS: Well, earlier that day, this prisoner had been unruly and they
used a taser earlier that day. However when they used the taser, he was
able to resist that force. But they weren`t able to hold him down without
resorting to deadly force earlier in the day. This is a completely
different scenario. And you look at this scenario and the question is,
could we do --
SHARPTON: So, this person did not directly follow the --
JENKINS: No, we did not. This was earlier in the day. So just because
earlier in the day, it took five times to tase him, that doesn`t mean you
don`t try -- and you resort to using your gun.
SHARPTON: Let`s go to Colorado and the controversial Make My Day self-
defense law. A prosecutor has decided not to charge the man who killed in
acquaintance during a brawl inside his home on New Year`s Day. Joseph
Hoskins shot Randy Cook inside Hoskins` home after a night of drinking.
When the fight moved into the bedroom, Hoskins tackled Cook and shot him.
It`s all because of Colorado`s Make My Day law, the state`s top version of
the self-defense law. The District Attorney wanted to charge the shooter,
but says the law prevents him from doing so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The idea of letting someone who shot and killed another
human being with a shotgun slug at point blank range, letting him get away
with it, really troubles me.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m sorry that Colorado`s criminal justice system
doesn`t have an answer for justice for Randy in this situation. I didn`t
write the law. I took an oath to uphold the law. And that`s what I`m
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Carmen, how does this make my day law tie prosecutors` hands?
GEORGE: I simply think that I wish we didn`t call to the Make My Day law,
because it makes people, it makes communities feel that you have a certain
power, and you have a right and an obligation to just go ahead and shoot
people that come into your home. That`s not really the purpose. The
purpose is to defend your home. Defend your property when you feel in
fear. And that is what the circumstances are. The prosecutor here is
upset. Feeling that his hands are tied. Not because justice wasn`t done.
I think more because he could not have had the case presented to the grand
jury based upon the laws in Colorado.
SHARPTON: They did name it Make My Day, I mean, obviously, we`re making a
JENKINS: Well, and the statement is, this is another version of the castle
doctrine. Where you can protect yourself in your home and you will have a
duty to retreat when --
JENKINS: The prosecutor is upset about this case like we have other
prosecutors frustrated about other cases in this country where he does not
believe deadly force was necessary. This was a situation where I think in
the beginning, there was mutual combat. The homeowner, the person who did
the shooting in the case, invited and gave his address to an individual who
showed up with the victim. And they had a fight and that fight rolled over
into the house.
Now, because they were in the home when the shooting occurred and they were
uninvited, he is now protected by the Make My Day law. That is the issue
here. That law is really meant to protect the unsuspecting homeowner whose
home is being broken into or burglarized or someone is coming in and they
think that they are about to be the victim of the crime. Not for
situations like this when there was a fight, there is mutual combat and
this man knew people were coming.
SHARPTON: And the guy was not intruding in the home, Carmen. The guy was
allowed in to the home.
GEORGE: I don`t see the facts that way, Reverend. The facts were that
they had basically an argument on Facebook. Somebody is flexing -- one
party is flexing on the other one. But what happened is, two people came
upon one person. They started a fight. The fight continued into the home
and the homeowner felt in fear of his life. The prosecutors can`t really
say he doesn`t know whether he didn`t feel in fear of his life. He wasn`t
there. And you have no other witnesses. For some reason, you know, maybe
we should be questioning, why isn`t that third person a witness to this.
SHARPTON: Well, that`s the problem with these laws. You have to be in the
person`s head and you`ve got one guy that you don`t know what is in his
head and you`ve got another guy dead.
Carmen St. George and Faith Jenkins, thank you both for you time tonight.
JENKINS: Thank you.
GEORGE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, 50 years after the freedom summer, the voice of the
civil rights movement, Aretha Franklin, tells me about getting a little
And a major development today has the pressure mounting on the Washington
Redskins` owners to change the team`s name.
SHARPTON: All summer long here on POLITICS NATION, we`re celebrating and
remembering the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act and the freedom
summer. Aretha Franklin`s music really provided a sound track to that
history. She`s been called the voice of the civil rights movement. Asking
for a little respect. Today I sat down with Aretha, and I asked her about
that legendary song.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Did you have any idea when you recorded "Respect" that it would
going to be what it was?
ARETHA FRANKLIN, MUSICIAN: No, I really did not. I did not have any idea
that the civil rights movement would adopt that as its mantra.
SHARPTON: So that was not what you had in mind.
FRANKLIN: To begin with, no. Mine was more about a relationship thing was
where I was coming from, man to woman, woman to man. And just people
generally who want respect. Even children. Want respect in their own
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And the entire interview with Aretha Franklin airs tomorrow
night. We cover a lot of ground. And parts of it, I guarantee you will
surprise you. That`s tomorrow here on POLITICS NATION. Please join us.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a moment of change for the Washington, D.C.
football team, the Redskins. The U.S. patent office has cancelled the
team`s trade mark registration. Stating the name is disparaging of Native
Americans. The team says it will appeal the ruling. And can still use the
name. But if the decision holds, the name Redskins will no longer be
registered to them and it could hurt their ability to profit from the
brand. Team owner Dan Snyder has defied calls to change the name for
years. But today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, it is only a
matter of time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY REID, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: There`s no trade mark any more for the
Redskins. Dan Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this
but it is just a matter of time because he is forced to do the right thing
and change the name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The name is an insult to Native Americans. It needs to change.
And it`s happened before. For decades, the names of mountains, lakes and
rivers all across the country contain the "n" word, as in "n" mountain.
That doesn`t change until 1963. When the government finally scrubbed the
"n" word from all federal maps. The later year, the same was dubbed for
other ethnic and religious slurs. This name needs to change. An insult to
any group is an insult to every group. In America, no one, no one should
be disparaged and be considered acceptable.
Finally, it is time for the result of tonight`s question. How should
Republicans who attacked Susan Rice over Benghazi apologize? Twenty six
percent at POLITICS NATION says, with a statement. One percent says with a
phone call. Another one percent says, with flowers. A whopping 72 percent
says, all of the above.
Thanks to all who voted. You can join the conversation by heading to our
Facebook page and tell us what you think they should do. We want to hear
what you think.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. HARDBALL starts now.
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