Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Read the transcript from the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

June 23, 2014

Guest: Margie Omera; Donna Edwards, Angela Rye, Jamelle Bouie, Maureen

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 GOP`s impeachment fever has been a right are wing
fantasy since President Obama took office. But now the GOP rhetoric and
actions are getting more direct. For the first time an official Republican
state party has passed the resolution on impeachment.

South Dakota Republicans claim the president has, quote, "violated his oath
of office in numerous ways." And they are calling on, quote "our U.S.
representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president
of the United States."

It`s a radical measure based on nothing. That`s out of step with what most
Americans think and yet it could find a sympathetic ear among tea party
extremists in Congress.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: President Obama Barack Obama`s
legacy will be, and I predicted this a year ago, the establishment of
lawlessness in the United States of America.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We are seeing at the same time liberty under
assault. We are seeing our constitutional rights under assault like never


SHARPTON: The president is lawless. Liberty is under assault. It`s
absurd and alarmist rhetoric. But it`s becoming mainstream in the GOP.

This weekend, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal warned, quote "I can sense
right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States, where people are
ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C." He`s made similar
warnings before.


JINDAL: There is a rebellion brewing in these United States of America.
People like you and me are saying enough is enough. We don`t want to
become like Europe.


SHARPTON: A rebellion on the far right? They simply don`t accept this
president as legitimate. Last week we saw former vice president Dick
Cheney, accused the president of betraying America. He was asked about it
this weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It almost seems like you are accusing the president of
treason here saying he`s intentionally bringing America down a notch.

any disrespect for the president. But I fundamentally disagree with him.
I think he`s dead wrong in terms of the course he`s taken this nation. And
I think we are in for big trouble in the years ahead because of his refusal
to recognize reality.


SHARPTON: He didn`t intend any disrespect when he accused the president of
the United States, President Barack Obama, of betraying our past and our

Republicans are out of ideas. They are losing power as a national party.
And they have turned to impeachment fantasies as a substitute for real

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart. His recent article called "about how
President Obama will be impeached" and`s Joan Walsh.

Jonathan, let me start with you. The South Dakota GOP passing a resolution
for impeachment. I mean, did you ever think it would get this far?

ago, no. Meaning when George Bush was president, the idea that a political
party in any state calling for the impeachment of the president was

But ever since, pretty much as you said, the beginning of the Obama
administration, Republicans have been using any and every so-called scandal
to call for the president`s impeachment. Last summer at town hall forums
around the country, Republicans were hearing from tea party activists
demanding they start impeachment proceedings against the president because
they didn`t believe his birth certificate was real.

And so, now we are seeing is that sort of the natural extension of that,
going from the grassroots to the party organization. And now, you and --
not now, we have been hearing for a few years now members of Congress,
members in the house and Ted Cruz in the Senate also is entertained the
idea of impeachment.

And it`s something that, I think, the American people should take very,
very seriously. You know, yes, President Clinton was impeached and that he
enjoys a sky high approval rating. But it is not something that people
should take lightly. It is a mar on the presidency. And Republicans have
been trying to add that asterisk to President Obama`s legacy from the very

SHARPTON: They have been trying to add that asterisk, Joan. In fact, the
South Dakota Republican party cites four issues in its impeachment
resolution. The prisoner exchange for Sergeant Bergdahl, the affordable
care act, environmental regulations by the EPA. And it says the president,
quote, "abused his executive privilege."

You know, if I didn`t know better I would suspect that they just are
searching for any reason to impeach this president because they want to put
that to his legacy.

absolutely right about that. And you said it before, Rev. They are out of
ideas. They have nothing holding the party together. Their party would be
in civil war except for the unifying idea of the hatred of President Barack

And so, you have somebody like Bobby Jindal who we saw last year telling
his party not to be the stupid party anymore, sounding as stupid as the
rest of them. I mean, when you call it as hostile takeover and you
insisted it is a rebellion, when we live in a democracy, win the next
round. You have a great shot at the 2014 midterms if our voters don`t turn
out, right?

You play by the rules and win this war of ideas. But turning to this
rhetoric constantly that makes the president into tyrant is terrible for
the country. In the long run it`s really terrible for their party.

SHARPTON: But Jonathan, Congressman Lou Barletta is the latest in Congress
to start talking about impeachment. Listen to this.


REP. LOU BARLETTA (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We have a president that`s taken this
to a new level. And it`s put us in a real position where he`s absolutely
ignoring the constitution, ignoring the law, ignoring checks and balances.
You know, the problem is, you know, what do you do for those who say to
impeach him for breaking the laws or bypassing the laws? You know, could
it pass in the house? It probably could. Is the majority of the American
people in favor of impeaching the president? I`m not sure.


SHARPTON: You know, it`s really amazing, Jonathan. He says you could
probably get the house to impeach the president. But he admits that the
majority of Americans don`t support it. I mean, do they realize they are
really out on a limb on this one?

CAPEHART: Yes. And the congressman appears to realize that. But also,
his comment continues. He said also it would basically be impossible for a
democratic-controlled Senate to convict a democratic president in the White

And so, that`s why in the piece -- thank you for citing it -- about how
President Obama could be impeached, that`s the one thing stopping
Republicans in the house from really moving forward.

If the Republicans take over the Senate in the -- after the midterm
elections, then that break will be gone. And Republicans, -- tea party
Republicans in the house in particular will feel emboldened in pressing the
issue, in pushing for impeachment of the president. And I want to remind
people that impeachment writ large is a two-step process. You need a
simple majority to impeach in the House of Representatives, but you need
two-thirds, 67 votes, in the Senate to convict. If the house moves on step
one, President Obama`s legacy is marred.

SHARPTON: No. Senator Ted Cruz said, quote, Jonathan following that up,
"to successfully impeach a president you need the votes in the U.S.
Senate," which you just said. And you recently warned a Republican
controlled Senate could lead to Obama becoming the third president
impeached and the first ever to be removed from office. It really
underscores what`s at stake in the midterms, doesn`t it?

CAPEHART: Yes, it does t. We know that first part of the sentence,
President Obama being the third president impeached in our nation`s history
is a very real possibility. It is a very high hurdle, however, to make him
the first ever president convicted in the Senate. You need 67 votes. And
even if the Republicans take over the Senate, it will be very hard, I
think, for Republicans to get those 67 votes.

But again, I stress that once those proceedings start in the Senate,
President Obama would already have been hobbled by having are become the
third president of the United States impeached.

SHARPTON: But Joan, that`s why you say voters have to turn out because if
the Republicans get control of the Senate, you really could see some of the
far right-wingers really try to go there.

WALSH: Yes. Jonathan`s right. I don`t think they would ever get 67
votes, but they would get enough votes to embolden them. And all this,
really is, it is not about taking him out of office.

SHARPTON: Smearing him.

WALSH: It`s about smearing him and it is also about tying the country in
knots playing up, they lost the culture wars. They want to renew culture
wars. We would be fighting each other. I have no doubt that the press,
the majority of voters are on the president`s side on this. But they just
need their noisy minority and they just need to raise a lot of hell and
block progress.

SHARPTON: And what amazes me is that when you hear Jindal talking about
hostile takeovers, earlier this year a law student asked Justice Antonin
Scalia whether the income tax is constitutional. Scalia said that it is
but added a warning and I`m quoting him, "but if it reaches a certain
point, perhaps you should revolt."

I mean, can you imagine if people on the left or even the center was
talking about revolts and rebellions? I mean, this is amazing.

WALSH: It is Ruth Bader Ginsburg was telling us today, you know, get our
guns and revolt against the government? I mean, no. We live in a
democracy. And we have orderly change of power. And people have the right
to vote and died for the right to vote. So, this kind of rhetoric coming
from the right is just so irresponsible.

SHARPTON: Jonathan this Capehart and Joan Walsh, thank you both for your
time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

WALSH: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, with one day to go, the Mississippi Senate run-off is
getting ugly. The black vote could be the key. Now reports of tea party
poll watchers are surfacing.

Plus, President Obama`s fight for fairness today with a warning to GOP
obstructionist, he will act alone.

And 25 years later, justice finally comes to five young men sent to jail
for a brutal central park assault they did not commit. Donald Trump called
for the death penalty 25 years ago. Wait until you hear what he`s saying
now. My commentary is ahead


SHARPTON: At the White House today, President Obama hosted a major summit
on how to help working families. And gave us an idea for our question of
the day.

What do you think could help -- could most help working families? Raising
the minimum wage, more affordable child care, more affordable health care,
or all of the above.

The poll is live on our facebook page and on twitter. So vote now. We`ll
have your answers later in the show.



or Barack because things are different now, you know. We live in the White
House. Grandma lives upstairs, thank God. And we have resources that we
never could have imagined. So this isn`t the fight isn`t about us. It`s
about every mother and father out there who doesn`t have the leverage to
make those demands. And we are fighting for them.


SHARPTON: That was first lady Michelle Obama speaking moments ago at the
White House summit on working families. From day one, the president and
first lady have been fighting for fairness thin this economy on everything
from equal pay to the minimum wage. And today, the president said that to
continue growing our economy, we have to take care of workers, both at the
office and at home.


flexibility, a decent wage. These are not frills. They are basic needs.
They should be bonuses. They should be part of oh our bottom line as a

At a time when women are half of the work force among our most skilled
workers, are the primary breadwinners in more families than ever before,
anything that makes life harder for women makes life harder for families
and makes life harder for children When women succeed, America succeeds.
So there is no such thing as a women`s issue. There is no such thing as a
women`s issue. There is a family issue and an American issue.



SHARPTON: Being able to take care of our families, it`s not a woman`s
issue. It`s an American issue. And the president takes it personally.


B. OBAMA: One of the best perks about being president is anybody will hand
you their baby.


B. OBAMA: Here!

The reason it`s so powerful is because I remember taking the night shift
when Malia was born and when Sasha was born. I was lucky enough to be able
to take time off so I was there for the 2:00 a.m. feeding and the soothing
and just getting to know them. And making sure they knew me. And that
bond is irreplaceable. I want every father and every child to have that
opportunity. But that requires a society that makes it easier to give
folks that opportunity.


SHARPTON: Today, President Obama ordered the government to expand flex
time for federal workers and called on Congress to pass laws, helping
pregnant employees.

But while he`s working on policy solutions, the Republicans are focused on
political stunts. Last week Senator Mitch McConnell unveiled his solution
to help working class families. The so-called working parents` home office
act would let people claim deduction on their taxes if they put a baby crib
in their home office.

That`s right, a home office crib gets you a tax break. McConnell claims
it`s just the kind of thing that could make a difference in people`s lives
now. It might, if you have a home office. But most working class folks
don`t. It`s time for solutions that help all Americans, not just a select

Joining me now are Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Democrat from Maryland.
Today, she was at the White House summit on working families. And
Democratic strategist Margie Omero.

Thank you both for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, family leave, fair pay, affordable child care,
how can anyone in Congress object to the issues the president raised today?

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think the president got it just
right. And only Republicans and special house Republicans could object to
that. Object to giving families the kind of flexibility that they need the
n the work place.

And the president got it right. When women succeed, Americans succeed.
Engaging women fully in the economy helps all families succeed. And the
president lay down an agenda. He said, you know what, I`m going to do what
I can do as president. But it`s time for Congress to act. And I would say
it`s time for Republicans in Congress to act and deliver child care that`s
affordable and accessible for the American people.

Pay equity, making sure women are paid equal to what men are paid for the
same work experience. And the kind of flexibility, paid leave that parents
need so that they can take care of a sick child or that sandwiched
generation can take care of a sick parent.

SHARPTON: You know, Margie, the president spoke about his fight to raise
the minimum wage across the board and all the way across the country as
well. Listen to this.


B. OBAMA: Since I asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, they have been
a little bit slow, shockingly. But 13 states have taken steps to raise it
on their own.


Even if Republicans in Congress refuse to budge on this issue this year,
everybody knows Americans deserve a raise including the American voters.


SHARPTON: Now, Margie, most Americans support the push for raising the
minimum wage. A recent poll shows 71 percent of Americans want to see the
federal minimum wage raised, 71 percent.

OMERO: Yes. I mean, a lot of these proposals that the president has been
talk thing about. They transcend party lines. They transcend gender
lines. And they affect the entire economy, not just women. It`s not just
about women`s rights sort of in the hypothetical sense. It`s really about
the family economy. And I have done -- I have talked to so many moms about
the issues that concern them. I`m a mom myself. And the role of having
great child care, great health care, workplace flexibility is enormously
important to how a household functions. And it`s not just about whether or
not it seems fair. It about making sure kids have the opportunity to
succeed. They have a stable work environment. They aren`t moving around a
lot. They are able to go to school well fed. I mean, these are all
related. And that`s why I think what the president has been doing in
talking about the issues is incredibly important.

SHARPTON: And they are supported, Congresswoman Edwards, by many
Americans. You cited some of the things that he dealt with today that you
say were on target. A recent poll shows most Americans support the things
he was speaking about today, 92 percent support equal pay, 75 percent
support a required number of sick days, 71 percent support paid family

EDWARDS: Well. And you know what, Reverend Al, 100 percent of Democrats
in Congress and in the House of Representatives support that, too. And all
we need is about 20 Republicans who are going to go along with the majority
of the American people for raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an
hour to providing quality, affordable and accessible, and a nurturing
environment for child care our children in this country.

And again, equal pay for equal work. Look. African-American women make 64
cents on the dollar to what their counterparts make. Latinas, 54 cents on
the dollar. This is really unacceptable. We have to engage women fully in
the economy, so we get 100 percent return on 100 percent of our work force.

SHARPTON: And you know, Marge, a lot of what President Obama spoke about
today would help single mothers, especially single mothers. This is a
group that the right wing has gone after repeatedly. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They taught women better not have a man in your house
because you will get more money if there is no guy there.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Unmarried women are looking at
government for everything.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: I heard the story over and over and over.
How as a young girl in high school she was bored with high school, and
someone suggested why don`t you drop out of high school and have a baby?
And then the government will send you a check. They will send you a check
for every baby you have out of wedlock.


SHARPTON: And I mean, generally, Margie, the Republicans have had a
problem with women voters. I mean, look at the fact that in 2012, 56
percent voted for President Obama. Only 44 percent of women voted for

OMERO: Yes. When I hear stuff like that it makes my blood boil. I mean,
if some of these guys spent one day doing the kinds of things that single
moms in this country have to do year after year after year, they wouldn`t
be able to make it. I mean, it is the language that they use. It doesn`t
have the language of coming together and trying to help all of us as a
public, as a country. And that`s what some of the proposals are about.
Not looking at women versus men or single moms versus married dads, but
what`s best for everybody and what`s best for families, however that family
is composed.

SHARPTON: Now Congresswoman, while you and others were in the White House
summit, the head of the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh, talked about the
working families summit which he called the women in the work place summit.
Listen to this.


LIMBAUGH: The whole point of this is to create a lie, a false impression
that women are still mistreated and stomped on, disrespected, and it`s --
we`ve got to change this. It`s a way of continuing this silly, nonexistent
war on women mean.


SHARPTON: Unequal pay is not offensive. It is a -- you guys just have a
motto complex, Congresswoman.

EDWARDS: Well, unequal pay for women is an actual fact. And I have to
tell you, women of America aren`t prepared to take advice about what it
means to be a woman in the work place for Rush Limbaugh. He doesn`t know
anything about it.

And the fact is that women are struggling in this economy. And if we fully
engage them in the economy it`s about, not only them being able to take
care of themselves and their families today, but their requirement security

Young women understand this. And young women across, all across this
country and unmarried women across the country are prepared to vote for
leaders who carry an agenda that`s really about them in the work place.

And I would say, you know, there are Democrats all across the country. We
care about the issues. These are our values. And women are prepared to
vote their values during this election season. And I will say again,

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Margie Omera, thank you both for
being here tonight.

OMERO: Thank you.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, 50 years after the freedom summer, when activists
40 died for the right to vote, a tea party Republican is are bringing poll
watchers back to intimidate voter at the ballot box.

But first, Scott Walker`s attempt to discredit prosecutors has landed him
in tonight`s "got you."


SHARPTON: Coming up, what is First Lady Michelle Obama planning after she
leaves the White House? Is she headed into politics? She just talked
about it. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Is more trouble brewing for the Republican Party? We are hours
away from the Mississippi GOP Senate primary run-off. And post Cantor
collapse this one has everyone watching. It`s been one of the ugliest and
bizarre races I have ever seen. Incumbent Thad Cochran against Tea Party
challenger Chris McDaniel. This is the race where a blogger with ties to
McDaniel allegedly broke into a nursing home to take pictures of Senator
Cochran`s sick wife. Anna McDaniel`s staff and two others were also locked
in a courthouse for hours on election night.

Now with a day to go, things are getting even stranger. The New York Times
reports that Cochran is courting Democrats, and particularly black voters
in the primary. Yes, a republican is quoting the black vote in
Mississippi. Now, that`s how extreme Chris McDaniel is. Team McDaniel is
responding with poll watchers. Three conservative groups backing McDaniel
are sending out, quote, "Election observers to supposedly observe whether
the law is being followed."

This is blatant voter intimidation. And it couldn`t come from a candidate
with a worse record on race. McDaniel has spoken before a neo-confederate
group. After Hurricane Katrina, he criticized the, quote, "Welfare
dependent citizens of New Orleans," saying they, quote, "ignored common
sense and waited for the great federal father to save them." And let`s not
forget his line about reparations.


STATE SEN. CHRIS MCDANIEL (R), MISSISSIPPI: Social Security went broke.
Millions of illegals poured across the border, trying to become citizens
and they`ll all want theirs. And reparations, let me just get crazy with
it. If they pass reparations and my taxes go up, I ain`t paying taxes.


SHARPTON: So this is what the GOP is facing in a few hours. Fasten your
seat belts the next 24 hours in Mississippi are going to be interesting.

Joining me now are democratic strategist Angela Rye and Jamelle Bouie,
staff writer for Slate. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Jamelle, 50 years after freedom summer, poll watchers are in
Mississippi. What`s your reaction?

BOUIE: My reaction is the same as yours. It`s just blatant voter
intimidation. There is no reason to have sort of these independent,
unaccountable poll watchers brought in just immediately after Senator
Cochran announced he was reported which was reaching out to African-
American voters. The reason we have them there, other for intimidation,
and in fact there`s research to shows that if there is one way to get
voters to not vote. To get people to feel uncomfortable, and anxious, and
stressed out about voting it`s to have poll watchers checking credentials,
making sure people are citizens. And you know that these poll watchers
might not going to be checking -- I mean, to be perfectly honest they are
not going to be checking white voters to see if they are properly
credentialed. They are going to be checking black voters.

SHARPTON: Angela, we have seen more of this poll watching groups come up
from the right in the last several years. It`s really become more and more
and more obvious. And what they have apparently been doing according to
all the reports that we have seen is an increased amount of interrogation
leaning toward intimidation. Your thoughts?

RYE: Sure. I think first and foremost, dealing with Mississippi poll
watchers, the irony of this happening during the anniversary of freedom
summer. Fifty years ago, the country was dealing with voter intimidation
and threats from the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. And today, we are
dealing with this run-off. And I just can`t even imagine what Mississippi
voters must be thinking. If not irony -- the Mississippi has the highest
black electorate in the country as reported after the 2012 exit polls.
It`s no mistake that this is a country that was -- sorry, state that was
covered by section five of the voting rights act and needed to be pre-
cleared. This is case in point for why this state needs to be covered by
the voting rights act and why Congress needs to act on the voting rights
amendment. Because section four being gutted does not bode -- particularly
black Mississippi voters very well at all.

SHARPTON: Now, Jamelle, you were writing about Cochran`s attempt to reach
out to African-American voters. You wrote, and I`m quoting you, if there
was a time to support Cochran, now is it. If I were voting in Mississippi,
I would swallow my partisanship and cast a ballot for Cochran. He`s not a
great choice. But given the circumstances, he is probably the best one.
Do you see Cochran as the less of two evils?

BOUIE: Yes. The difference between Cochran and McDaniel, is like Cochran
isn`t as rigidly ideological. Right? McDaniel is against all government,
all spending. Everything that could possibly come to the federal
government. Cochran certainly is a conservative but he is the kind of guy
who is happy to bring billions of dollars and funds and projects to a
state. And not someone you can work with, not someone you can cut deals
with, not someone who you might leverage over.

Have you end up being responsible for him going back to the Senate? Now,
this would be different if the democrat in the race in the general
election, Childers has stood like a very good chance of winning. But I`m n
not sure that he does. So, in that case, why not vote for Cochran? And
like I said, it`s not the best choice available but it might be the right
one for this particular circumstance.

SHARPTON: But Angela, wouldn`t the Democrats` chances be better if you had
an extremist like McDaniel as the republican nominee? Wouldn`t that drive
out a lot of people in the middle, add a lot of Democrats?

RYE: It could, Rev. But it`s also does run a huge risk. Because he is so
ideologically off base, he could rev up the base in Mississippi there. We
know that the country is become increasingly polarized racially over the
last several years surprise, because we have a black man in the White
House. I think even note that Cochran getting democratic votes could help
his chances if very well could. The problem is, the folks that would most
likely be voting to support Thad Cochran would have automatically be
ineligible because they all voted in the democratic primary a couple of
weeks back. So, they are not eligible to vote in the run-off. Something
could happen -- I think the one good thing on his side is I have heard that
absentee ballots are up for this particular run-off. So, that is
definitely something in Thad Cochran`s favor.

SHARPTON: Now, Jamelle, McDaniel supporters say, they`re going to take
full advantage of the fact that Mississippi is welcoming poll watching.
But the Department of Justice says, it is paying attention. It put out
this statement. The department is aware of concerns about voter
intimidation and is monitoring the situation. Voters that experience
problems are encouraged to call 1-800-253-3931. Why is this kind of poll
watching so intimidating, Jamelle?

BOUIE: Because it`s not being done or probably won`t be done in the spirit
of sort of trying to get the most open and I guess, legitimate elections.
What they are there for, what they were called in for is in response to the
fact that Cochran is reaching out to traditionally democratic voters. And
when that`s the circumstance, it`s just going to seem intimidating. I
mean, I vote very regularly, and if I went to the polls and someone, you
know, aggressively asked me to see my ID card, to see my identification, I
would feel intimidated and I`m like an educated guy who votes. Right?


BOUIE: So, I have to imagine that if A, this is a usual circumstance you
are voting in a republican primary.


BOUIE: And B, you`re not used to this then you just going to feel

SHARPTON: All right.

RYE: Why don`t they watch when they were in the courthouse?

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Angela Rye and Jamelle
Bouie, thank you both for your time tonight.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

BOUIE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a story not getting enough attention. A human rights
crisis happening right now in the city of Detroit. Over 100,000 are
affected. We are live in Detroit.

And Donald Trump says, the Central Park five settlement is a disgrace. He
is wrong. My commentary ahead.


SHARPTON: There`s a human rights crisis happening right now in Detroit.
It`s a crisis about water. A basic human right. But in the financially
bankrupt city of Detroit, half the city, mostly low income residents are
having their water shut off. Three months ago, the Water Department
threatened it would shut off service to more than 150,000 customers who
haven`t paid their bills. Now they are following through. City residents
have seen their water rates more than double over the past decade.

Just as the city`s poverty rate has been rising to near 40 percent.
Thousands are without water to drink. They can`t cook, can`t bathe. Or
even flush the toilet. And now activists are taking action. Several
groups just filed a report with the United Nations commission for human
rights to intervene and restore services immediately.

Joining me now is Maureen Taylor, the chairperson of the Michigan Welfare
Rights Organization, a group working to help low income people deal with
the current water crisis in Detroit. Thank you for being here, Maureen.

you again, Reverend.

SHARPTON: You know, you`re dealing with directly with the people who are
losing access to water. What are people telling you, Maureen?

TAYLOR: Well, Reverend, mostly people want to know what happened and how
this happened. And we are very good at explaining our history. Let me
just take a second to set it up for you. At one time Detroit had somewhere
around 1.4, 1.5 million residents. We are now down to about 715,000. What
happened? That`s what the question is. We had a Dodge Main, we had a
Chevrolet Gearenex (ph), we had a -- lynch road assembly, we had a rouge
complex where the late great General Becker used to work. And there was a
time when at the Ford Rouge Complex, Reverend, there were 100,000 workers
that were building cars that started at the front and drove off the line.
Now today at the Rouge Complex, you have less than 9,000 workers?


TAYLOR: Making two or three times -- what happened, Reverend? And what
the question is when people ask us, technology that used to enhance labor
now has replaced it. Robots, R2D2, that is who is on the line now. Four
hundred thousand manufacturing jobs disappeared.

SHARPTON: So, the jobs disappeared, people struggling to pay their and in
the midst of this, they cut their water off for being two, three months
late with their water bill. And once the water is shut off, it`s nearly
impossible to get it turn back on. According to the report, quote, "Even
when people make efforts to pay a portion of their water bill," the Water
Department will not turn their water back on unless they pay 30 cents per
gallon of the amount owing which in many cases is thousands of dollars." I
mean, how do they expect to get out of this situation, the people that are
in it?

TAYLOR: Reverend, it`s scandalous. Right now they are looking at 3,000
water shut-offs a month. And they have instituted this starting right
around February. The people at the Water Department say, that`s not that
bad. Well, it is that bad. When you turn off 3,000 waters every month in
residential communities it`s outrageous. It`s demonic.


TAYLOR: You cannot manage it. Because what they want is a percentage of
the bill and so many people that are left in the city of Detroit, we have
minimum and maximum wage opportunities and minimums and less than minimum
wage jobs. It`s a different circumstance. So, our unenlightened
politicians and, you know, I heard you mention a bankrupt city. We are not
a bankrupt city. We are living in a city that is being bankrupted by banks
and their hoochie-mama girlfriends that we call corporations. We`re not
bankrupt. We have -- this is the arsenal of democracy, Reverend. Water is
life. You can`t take water away from people unless you assume that you
want people to die. And that`s what`s going on here. There is an entire
gentrification of what`s going on in the city.

SHARPTON: But it`s only getting worse, Maureen, let me point out a few
things. I want the national public to understand this. Just last week the
Detroit City Council approved an almost nine percent hike in the water


SHARPTON: The average monthly water bill in Detroit is now $75. Compare
it to the national average which is only $40.

TAYLOR: That`s right.

SHARPTON: I mean, how do people pay these increase?

TAYLOR: You can`t.

SHARPTON: The method of Water Department is using, only hurting people`s
chances. The report says that as a cost cutting measure, the Water
Department stopped sending bills. It then installed smart meters that read
retroactively so many families are hit with bills for thousands of dollars
and many of those bills were from former tenants including water bills from
nearby abandoned housing.

TAYLOR: Doesn`t matter where they come from. You have 30 days in which to
pay them. Doesn`t matter where the bills come from. You have a 30-day
window of opportunity to be able to manage. And I`m telling you Reverend,
all of this is being orchestrated from one, two, three, Koch Brothers
Boulevard. All of this is coming. Where again, apparently the one percent
has decided that poor people, regular working people have too much money.
Rich people don`t have enough. And the way we interpret it, the cost of
living is going up and the chances of living is going down. This is a
demonic and a horrible circumstance.

SHARPTON: Without water, you absolutely seem to me to be right.


SHARPTON: And we`re going to stay all over this story.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: This is a human rights issue. Maureen Taylor, thank you. And
thank you for the great work you do every day and for your time tonight.

TAYLOR: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, stay with me. Donald Trump`s shameful statements
about the Central Park Five. Why is he still trying to impugn these
innocent men a quarter of a century later?

But first, the First Lady opens up about whether she`ll ever run for
political office. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Will the First Lady ever consider going into politics herself?
She addressed that today at the White House Summit on working families.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When you and your husband leave Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Let`s see. Malia will be in college.

OBAMA: I know.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sasha will be in high school.

OBAMA: Mm-hmm.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There are many people that are wondering, what`s your
next act?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Will it be political?

OBAMA: No. It will not be political.


SHARPTON: She seems sure about that. But I bet even the idea of her
running gives Republicans sleepless nights.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight a powerful story of justice. We have reported
the positive news of New York City settling with five men known as the
Central Park Five. The men who were exonerated of rape after serving
prison terms from seven to 13 years for a crime they didn`t commit 25 years
ago. Back then, Donald Trump led a rush to judgment. In 1989, Trump took
out this full page ad in four New York papers calling for the death penalty
saying criminals of every age should be afraid. We know how wrong he was
about this case.

And over the weekend Donald Trump wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News
saying, quote, my opinion on the settlement of the Central Park jogging
case is that, it`s a disgrace and the recipients must be laughing out loud
at the stupidity of the city. Do you know what a disgrace is? Losing your
childhood for something you didn`t do. That`s a disgrace. Donald Trump
was wrong 25 years ago. And he`s wrong again. Oh, in a recent interview,
Trump talked about me said, quote, I know Al Sharpton very well. And I
have always had a very good relationship with Al Sharpton.

Yes, we did know each other. And I have known him for years. But this is
not personal. I`m not going for the bait and call you names, Donald. None
of this is about liking a person. It`s about policy. It`s about justice.
It`s about doing what`s right. This is not about you. This is about five
young men who were coerced and lost the best years of their life. And
those of us that are mature enough should stand up and keep the eye on the
prize. Justice, justice, justice.

Finally tonight the results from our question of the day. What do you
think could most help working families? Most of you think comprehensive
approach is necessary. Nine percent said raise the minimum wage. Two
percent said, more affordable child care. Another two percent said, more
affordable health care. And 87 percent said, all of the above. Thanks to
all who voted. Do you have another idea to help working families? Tell us
about it. Join the conversation by heading to our Facebook page. We want
to hear what you think.

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


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2014 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of

Sponsored links

Resource guide