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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
July 15, 2014

Guest: Tony Pipitone, Emanuel Cleaver, Michelle Cottle, Darryl Owens, Don
Terry

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: Good to go out and smell the fresh
air, but it`s good to be back.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: It is good to have you back, Ed. Good
to see you.

SCHULTZ: All right.

SHARPTON: You`re looking great.

SCHULTZ: I`m trying.

SHARPTON: And Thanks to you for tuning in. I`m live tonight in
Washington, D.C.

Tonight`s lead, a stunning report on new allegations about the KKK and a
Florida department. Right now, state officials are investigating two
police officers who are off the job for allegedly being members of the
Klan, one was fired and one resigned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: State agents delivered a report last week from
an international FBI investigation that indicated the two officers have
ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Forrest who also served as the town`s fire chief was confronted with the
information. And after speaking with his family, immediately resigned both
the police and fire jobs. The state attorney is now reviewing every arrest
made by either officer, especially those involving minorities, to see if
they will hold up in court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Both men have denied any ties to the KKK. But now any case they
were involved with, any arrest they made has to be looked at for possible
racial bias. And there are also growing questions about the past.

In 2009 in that same department, a police officer resigned after these
photos surfaced showing him wearing Klan robes. Those other Klansmen were
never identified. But the police chief at the time guaranteed that no one
else in the department was in the KKK.

But now, the man in that photo says that`s not true. James Elkins told the
southern poverty law center, quote, "they knew I wasn`t the only one then.
They just swept it under the rug. I hope they don`t get away with doing it
again."

The law center also says that Elkins estimated that at least four members
of the department belonged to the Klan when five years ago he was
patrolling the streets of fruit land park. He added that probably ten of
the 12 full-time officers were with sympathetic to the Klan.

These are disturbing allegations. The new police chief says most of the
officers from that time are gone, though not the two identified in the most
recent allegation. This part of central Florida has a long, ugly history
of KKK activity and racial violence. And it`s just down the road from
Sanford, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was killed two years ago. So
tonight there are tough questions about race and justice in Florida.

Joining me now is Don Terry from the southern poverty law center. He
interviewed that former Klansman for his report. And Darryl Owens,
columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, writing about criminal justice and race
relations.

Thank you both for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks for having me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Darryl, let`s start with these new allegations about the two
police officers. How does it affect cases they are involved with, past and
present?

DARRYL OWENS, COLUMNIST, ORLANDO SENTINEL: Well, it would certainly seem
that it would jeopardize cases both past and present because whether or not
the police officers actually did anything improper, there is the perception
that because of their bias that these cases could be tainted.

SHARPTON: Now, here is another quote, Don Terry, from your interview with
the former police officer who was in the KKK. Elkins said, quote, "the
entire purpose of the movement is to put people in government. You will
never get someone elected under the ticket of the night`s party or the
American Nazi party."

So, is this a new strategy for groups like the KKK, Don, to get them inside
of government and find a way to do it without with exposing who they are?

DON TERRY, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: I don`t think it`s a new strategy.
I think they are just trying to adapt to the times, maybe go under cover a
little bit. But they have always been Klans members in police departments,
especially in the south. It`s not as big a problem as it was in the 50s
and 60s, of course. This doesn`t happen -- you are not exposed very often,
but they were there a long time. But the numbers have been small recently.

SHARPTON: Now in 2009, a Florida corrections officer in a nearby county
was fired for being a Klans man. In 2010, a KKK imperial wizard claimed
that more Florida cops were Klan members. And earlier this year, a local
KKK leader said his group had infiltrated positions of influence. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you have seen is just the tip of the iceberg right
now. We have police officers, paramedics, judges, you know. They`re
everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So we are seeing this recently it`s hard to dismiss when you see
these examples time after time. Now popping up in this part of Florida,
Darryl.

OWENS: Yes. It is certainly disturbing. And if we can take the Klan
leader at his word, community is certainly should be concerned that this
may be a growing trend.

SHARPTON: Now, what is the center getting from its research, Don, about
hate groups in Florida and throughout the south? Is there any new data
that should raise concerns or is it that we have been ignoring this and now
it`s coming out? What is the sentiment able to uncover?

TERRY: We haven`t been ignoring it. We have been tracking these groups.
I`m not exactly sure on the numbers in Florida. But the numbers have been
not as high as had been in recent times. But still the issues are still
here. The economy is driving a lot of this. Still that hatred toward
President Obama is driving a lot of this. And so, the issue is still very
much at the forefront.

I would like to say that whether someone is in the Klan or not, I think
it`s the behavior of the police more than the membership of whatever hate
group or any kind of group they are in. For 20 years in Chicago there was
a band of police officers torturing and beating black suspects into death
row for crimes they didn`t commit. So or the cop, the officers, who beat
up Rodney King. They weren`t in the Klan. Or this recent officer who beat
up a black woman on the highway in California. As far as I know, he is not
in the Klan. But the issue is the behavior and training and insensitivity.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

But Darryl, if you have people in the Klan or in hate groups, certainly the
fact that they are colleagues didn`t turn them in, did not tell on them,
didn`t interfere with them, or it has got to be troubling, I agree with
Don, you don`t have be a Klan club member. But it`s hard to believe in
departments particularly that small that other members of that police
department would not have known who they were or that they were
participating in that. And they didn`t turn them in. This came from an
FBI investigation.

OWENS: Well, certainly, that`s a possibility. I would like to give the
other officers, at least, the benefit of the doubt because as you know, you
may or may not know what your colleagues are doing in their private lives
outside of their work hours. But hopefully if there were signs someone
could come forward and point out. It`s not illegal for police officers, of
course, to be members of hate groups. But it`s certainly is disturbing
that the people who are charged with protecting the community would have
this kind of racial animus in dealing with people of another race, creed or
ethnicity.

SHARPTON: Well, the history gives us 51 Florida Klans men were suspected
of murdering civil rights activist Harry and Harriet Moore. Reporters
track down their daughters this year to asked about the recent increase in
Klan activity. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVANGELINE MOORE, DAUGHTER OF VICTIM: I remember saying I don`t believe my
daddy is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Evangeline Moore was 20. She was on a train
from Washington, D.C. to visit her parents when, on Christmas night, a bomb
went off in their home.

MOORE: They murdered my parents. And it was done because of hatred.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These are the kinds of things that many of us felt was left
behind. But when we find even if it`s just two officers, Don Terry, we
know that we still must remain vigilant. Two is too many.

TERRY: Exactly. That`s what the police chief in Fruitland park is trying
to do, remain vigilant. He`s instituting diversely training, cultural
sensitivity training, he is really trying to get at and professionalize the
department. And as you said in your intro, most of the officers who were
around when Mr. James Elkins was there, retired or left, been fired,
decided to quit, or whatever. So it is really, it is a new department.
There were these two leftovers but the new chief is really, I think, is
sincere in trying to get them on a better path.

SHARPTON: Now, it seemed in your interview, Don Terry, with Elkins, he was
pretty forthcoming. What do you think is the reason he was exposing all of
this and is there other things that you think are noteworthy?

TERRY: Well, I think couple of things. I think he was bitter about how he
separated from the department. He told me he felt kind of betrayed by his
group, to other Klansmen who didn`t stand up for him and back him up. And
he just felt adrift. So I think it was kind of maybe there is a little
payback involved.

And he said his life is an open book. He is not going to hide who he is.
He is proud of being -- he doesn`t call himself a racist. He`s a white
nationalist. You have heard the rap. I`m not racist. I`m not prejudice.
I just think white people are being discriminated against. That`s his view
now.

SHARPTON: All right, we are going to keep on watching this. In fact, the
police chief you referred to is police chief Isaacs. And we hope to have
him on soon.

Don Terry, Darryl Owens, thank you both for your time tonight.

TERRY: Thank you.

OWENS: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Arizona residents protest the arrival of undocumented
immigrant children as hateful graffiti pops up in Maryland. Why this
border crisis is a defining moment of who we are as a nation.

Plus, President Obama calls out the GOP`s political stunts, wasting time
and money.

And an explosive investigation by the NBC investigating team at a Miami
station exposes a botched sting operation from the Miami Dade police. Four
were with killed, 52 shots fired. That exclusive video and the report are
of who broke this incredible story is here live. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Our facebook fans have a lot to say about the Republican
obstruction on the economy.

John says if it hurt it is economy and costs the country jobs, the GOP is
apparently all for it.

Good point, John.

And Debbie says it`s all about obstructing Obama, not helping the American
economy.

We`ll have much more on the GOP`s failed priorities coming up later in the
show.

But first we want to know what you think. Please head over to our facebook
page to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The continuing humanitarian crisis on our southern border is
devastating. But Republicans continue to do nothing to bring it to an end.
It`s been over a full year, 383 days to be exact. Since the Senate passed
a landmark immigration bill that would help millions of undocumented
workers get a chance at citizenship. But to this day, Republicans in the
house have done nothing. And while the president is trying to fix the
border crisis now here is Speaker Boehner today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What is the GOP plan to deal with the border
crisis financially?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We are awaiting Chairman
Rogers and the appropriations committee to scrub the president`s request.
I expect by the end of the week we should have answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: While Republicans play politics, hateful protests against
immigrants are breaking out across the country. Today in Oracle, Arizona,
protesters gathered to block immigrant children from being bused to a
temporary detention center.

And in Maryland, this disturbing message scrawled outside a proposed
detention center. No illegals here, no undocumented Democrats. It`s
misspelled, but the message is clear. Today the head of the GOP drove the
hateful message home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: So we don`t know what infectious
disease we are with importing. We don`t know as much as we should. And
these kids are being flown out, bussed out, driven out and they are ending
up all over the country and there is no end in sight. And, you don`t think
they are being deposited in these buildings with broken windows on 8th
avenue, do you? Make no mistake what this is. There is a deep resentment
for those who are affluent, those who have made it, what have you. It`s
cut everybody down to size time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let`s are remember who the majority of those undocumented
immigrants at our borders are, children. Children running from
catastrophe, many of them traveling by themselves. The debate over border
control and immigration reform is a real and legitimate one to have. But
the next time you hear about children near the border, just picture them as
your own. Then think what you would want our government to do.

Joining me live from Texas is Victoria Defrancesco-Soto. Thank you for
being here tonight.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Victoria, I see this border crisis as a defining moment of who
we are as a nation. What`s your reaction to some of the protesting and
ugly talk from many about these kids.

SOTO: It`s so saddening, Reverend. We have seen a number of protests here
in Texas, in California, now we are seeing them in Arizona. But sadly, I`m
not surprised. And what`s scary to me about these protests, is that this
is just the tip of the iceberg. That from protests, we walk a thin line
over to militia arming up that we are seeing on the border. Arizona has a
long history of having armed militias patrolling the border. And we have
seen a number of incidents of these arm militiamen taking the law into
their hands and killing innocent undocumented persons.

So this is my fear of what`s going to happen. Washington is stalemated and
the folks are doing thing on their own without respect for law.

SHARPTON: You know, elected officials are using ugly rhetoric to describe
the children. Listen to Florida representative Rich Nugent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RICH NUGENT (R), FLORIDA: A lot of these "children," quote/unquote,
they are gang members. They are gang affiliated. When you have those
types coming across the border, they are not children at that point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And Georgia representative Phil Gingrey, he wrote a letter to
the CDC saying the immigrant children are posing health risks. He wrote he
was concerned about reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases
such as swine, dengue fever, Ebola virus. The Ebola virus doesn`t even
exist in Central America. How can they make such claims?

SOTO: They are misinformed claims. And it`s about the hype. And these
kids who are coming are fleeing those gang members. It`s not the gang
members that are coming over. They are staying in Central America. The
kids want a new life and that is why they are coming.

And as far as disease goes, NBC News did a fantastic report on breaking
down these false claims. There is simply no there there. Yes, these kids
probably have some minor illnesses, you know. They have been on the road
for a couple of weeks. But nothing whatsoever in terms of epidemics or
outbreaks. They are either just hungry and tired children that need our
comfort and that need us to embrace them as a great country of the United
States that we are.

SHARPTON: And it is about compassion. I mean, last night, Glenn Beck was
on FOX News. And I must say, I find myself agreeing with him. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And I really fear that we are on the
edge of losing our country through this division if we don`t find ways to
say, look, we all love the children. We all feel the same way. These are
children who are in need. Now they are here, so what do we do? While
Washington is arguing, I think we have a personal responsibility for mercy.
And to be there to help them be the Good Samaritan, to be the Americans
that we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Glenn Beck saying that we have a responsibility to show
mercy. I mean, I don`t agree with Glenn Beck often, if at all. But how is
this missed by some the elected officials and the leadership in the
Republican party?

SOTO: Yes. I think a lot of it is the distance. Not being on the border.
When you were down here and you are seeing these people coming over it
touches you. And it`s easy to say those mean things when you are so far
away. And also, it`s politics, you know. You have a party line you are
going to stick to it. The fear from me is that it is only going to harm in
going into the 2014 midterm elections that politicos are going to use this
to pump up their base and drive a further line between us.

SHARPTON: Victoria Defrancesco Soto, thank you very much for your time
tonight.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama blasts the GOP priorities more
focused on lawsuits than jobs.

And this exclusive video you have to see to believe. Miami police kill
four including their own informant in a botched sting operation. The
reporter who broke the story joins me live. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Maybe it`s the heat getting to Florida governor Rick Scott or
maybe he`s just inconsolable about Lebron James leaving Miami. But the
Republican incumbent`s reelection campaign is in a bit of a summer rut.
And now, he`s got an issue.

A police union filed a complaint against the governor alleging him of
illegally coercing on duty police officers to attend a campaign event. In
Florida, it`s a misdemeanor for a public official to directly or indirectly
coerce any employee to engage in political activities. And employees are
prohibited from doing so during working hours. But maybe this is just
simple breakdown in communication. Governor Scott deserves a chance to
explain himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Some controversy with your visit to Tampa
last week with the law enforcement who were there with you. Do you really
think all of the deputies were off duty?

GOV. RICK SCOTT, FLORIDA: I`m very proud that last week we got police
chiefs endorsed me. I`m proud that the sheriffs have endorsed me. I`m
very proud of the support from the law enforcement. We invite them to our
campaign events. And I`m very appreciate the ones who came.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`m sure you`re proud, Governor. But how about answering the
question?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Did you think it was a problem to have on
duty law enforcement there?

SCOTT: I`m appreciative of both their support and those that come to my
events.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is this ground hog day-two or is he actually just repeating
himself?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You didn`t answer the question. Should there
be discipline?

SCOTT: Look. I`m appreciative of everybody who comes to my event. And we
are at a 43-year low on the crime rate. We should be very supportive of
our law enforcement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over
and over and expecting different results.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So do you think it`s OK for them to be there
on duty?

SCOTT: I`m very appreciative of the police chiefs endorsement last week,
the association, 40 sheriffs did. We have law enforcement come to a
variety of events. I`m appreciative of anybody who supports my race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For repeats` sake did governor Scott think we wouldn`t noticed
he is starting to sounds like a broken record? Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Is there a problem with the Miami Dade Police Department? Miami
Dade is Florida`s largest county. And now there are questions being raised
about the police in that county over a botched sting operation that left
four men dead including an informant working for them. The incident was
caught on police cameras and revealed an explosive investigation by the NBC
six investigating team at our Miami Station.

The story begins in June of 2011. Miami Dade police officers wanted to
lure three accused home invaders to a vacant house using a former felon as
an informant. The plan was for the informant Rosendo Betancourt to bring
the bring leader to the house in an SUV and meet up with the other two
other men to exchange money and drugs. All four men were armed. NBC6
investigative reporter Tony Pipitone explained what`s happened next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TONY PIPITONE, NBC6 INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (voice-over): But there is a
problem. Betancourt, the informant, was supposed to drive the invaders to
the trap and stay in the car. Gonzales has other ideas, a snag Betancourt
relays to detectives.

ROSENDO BETANCOURT, CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT: You heard everything, right?
The problem is he wants me to go with him.

I`m not. I have three kids.

PIPITONE: A bit later, Betancourt makes what`s likely his last call to his
wife.

BETANCOURT: OK, Bye, I love you.

PIPITONE: Then as officers listen in, Betancourt utters the code phrase
prosecutors say was supposed to signal a problem.

BETANCOURT: After this, I`m heading to Disneyworld.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: The informant utters the code phrase about Disneyworld to signal
to cops that something is wrong. But the police don`t stop the operation.
Instead, the four men head on foot together at the front of the house.
Sensing something is wrong, two of the men run off.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`ve got two subjects running west. Running west into
the trees.

PIPITONE (voice-over): Thirty seconds later -- and we warned you again,
you are about to see something quite violent. The third home invader darts
in front of the house holding a gun and is shot down by a sergeant. His
gun later found where he fell. That left only Betancourt, the informant at
the corner with 70 seconds to live.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`ve got one guy with his hands up.

PIPITONE: He surrenders, getting onto the ground as instructed by
officers. But the only cop there to give a statement swears Betancourt was
silent, not uttering the Disneyworld code phrase that would identify him to
police. Instead of handcuffing them, Sergeant Manuel Malgor says, he told
him to roll over on his back. That`s when he says to surrendering
informant made a quick move to a gun in his waistband. Cops fired 23
shots.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: Again, so the informant surrendered. His hands clearly in the
air, and on the ground. Police say they saw him reach for a gun. So, they
opened fire, shooting him 23 times. Away from the house, police shoot two
more men. You can see one of them lying there with his arms extended over
his head. He was armed. The other man throws his gun away and curls up
under a tree.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PIPITONE (voice-over): The four officers surround the unarmed man. And
when they say he moved for his waistband, unleashed 52 rounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Shots fired, shots fired.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: They fired 52 rounds. Officers claim their lives were in danger
because they saw the men reach for their guns in their waistbands. A
police union official believes the officers are heroes and says, quote,
"Savages were stopped." Prosecutors abide the officers` story but with no
additional evidence to contradict their officers` stories, there are no
criminal charges. But this exclusive video has questions being asked about
the nearly 600 police shootings in Florida. Over 15 years that have never
seen a single criminal charged.

Joining me now is Tony Pipitone, investigative reporter from NBC6 who broke
the story. Tony, first, congratulations on this amazing investigative
piece.

PIPITONE: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: You, your executive producer Robby Peel and the NBC6
investigative team have done some incredible work here. What prompted this
investigation?

PIPITONE: One of the things in Florida, the statistics you mentioned, all
those police shootings and a police officer has never been charged with a
shooting with homicide or manslaughter since way back really in 1989 really
when the laws changed because of a court decision to make him more
difficult to do so. So, we started looking at some of these shootings and
we started asking some questions, and in this case, which as you mentioned
happen over three years ago, it took two years for the police to finish its
investigation, turn it over to the state attorney.

Another year there. When he finally, the state attorney said we can`t
charge we decided to ask why. And to do that, we wanted to see the videos,
we wanted to hear the audio, we wanted to put together what happened in
that field over three years ago for our viewers.

SHARPTON: Now, prosecutors say they don`t buy the officers` account of
what happened. Let me play this. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I just don`t believe that he never opened his mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But you heard the officer who shot him say he never said
a word.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s what the statement says.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And you don`t believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don`t. And they know what the law is, and they know
as I said, magic words are OK, the suspect did something. And as a result
of what the suspect did I was in fear for my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Every single officer said they saw the suspect reach for a gun.
Is there any way to verify that, Tony?

PIPITONE: Of the four shootings, one of them was found justifiable. The
man who was shot at the head of the driveway had a gun in his hand. And
prosecutors said that was clearly justifiable. They said they cannot say
that about the other three shootings. Because there is no evidence to
contradict what the officers say happened. Of course, the only other
people there who were civilians were the three suspects and the two
suspects and the informant who were dead. So, without that evidence to
contradict what the police say they said they cannot in good conscious
bring a case to a jury. They don`t think it would get to a jury. They
said they believe a judge would throw it out at the end of the state`s
case. Just not any evidence to contradict what the officers will say.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to show the audience the research your team did on
police shootings in Florida. There have been 574 police shootings in the
state since 1999. But zero, zero criminal charges have been filed against
any police officer involved in a shooting since 1989. I mean, where is
this going? Will there be an investigation? This seems -- and I`m not
anti-police. And I`m certain you aren`t. But it seems unreal that with
almost 600 shootings none of them did anything wrong? No charges.

PIPITONE: Well, the gentleman you saw earlier, Don Horn who was the chief
assistance state attorney here, prosecuted a police officer in 1989, got a
conviction and then it was overturned because the Florida Supreme Court
said you can`t introduce into evidence that the officer violated policy.
If the officer claimed self-defense, then charge him as if he`s anybody
else on the street claiming self-defense. But you can`t say that well, you
know, I didn`t handcuffed somebody, or I shot somebody in the back or use
that as evidence that he committed a crime.

So, that`s why, since 1989 Don Horn, our State Attorney Katherine Fernandez
Rundle say that it is very difficult to bring a case against police
officers. What`s we`re doing is looking at these cases very closely and
letting the public see. And of course there is the United States
government as well that oversees all of this. And if they take an interest
in some case in Florida, then perhaps there could be a different outcome.

SHARPTON: But Tony, clearly this one appears to be very questionable when
you look at the videotape with guys that have surrendered. But we`ll keep
following this. Thank you very much. Great reporting.

Tony Pipitone, thank you so much for your time tonight.

PIPITONE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the Derek Jeter video that everybody is talking
about. Why it`s better than sports. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Is John Boehner more interested in suing the President or
creating jobs. With the first house hearing on his lawsuit tomorrow,
everything else is an afterthought. The House voted today on a bill that
only temporarily funds federal highway programs. The vote comes just weeks
before the highway trust fund runs dry putting hundreds of thousands of
jobs at risk. We need Congress to focus on real solutions to strengthen
the economy. But what are they actually doing?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Instead their big idea has been to
sue me. That`s what they`re spending time on. A political stunt that
wastes America`s time and taxpayer dollars. Keep in mind it`s your money
that they are going to be spending on these ridiculous pursuits instead of
just getting some work done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A new poll found 63 percent of Americans think Congress should
prioritize jobs over the lawsuit. So, how does Speaker Boehner explain
himself? Here he was today.

We`ll come back to him. But jobs are Republicans` top priority, he says.
Then why is the lawsuit front and center? I`m not buying it. And neither
are the American people.

Joining me now, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, democrat of Missouri and
Michelle Cottle. Thank you both for being here.

MICHELLE COTTLE, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Thanks, Rev.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congressman, why do Republicans insist on focusing on this
lawsuit?

CLEAVER: Well, you know, we are in desperate need of a transportation
bill, we are allowing this pathological partisanship interrupt us. And we
are in desperate need of it. But it seems to me that the Congressional,
the favorite form of Congressional transportation is right in the
president. And everything comes second to that. The number deal in
Washington, let`s ride the president. And in the meantime, 65 percent of
our highways are need of disrepair.

SHARPTON: Yes.

CLEAVER: Twenty five percent of our bridges are in disrepair and yet we
are suing the President which will not fix anything in this country.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, President Obama said today he supports the
plan to temporarily fund the highway trust. But Republicans shouldn`t be
proud of it. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: At the very least Congress should be keeping people on the job who
are there now. But all this doesn`t set us up for the same crisis a few
months from now. So, Congress shouldn`t pat itself on the back for
averting disaster for a few months. Kicking the can down the road for a
few months. Careening from crisis to crisis when it comes to something as
basic as our infrastructure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, right now Michelle, we are set to hit the debt ceiling
in March. And if this highway plan gets passed, we`ll run out of highway
funds in May. I mean, do the Republicans like governing by crisis?

COTTLE: Well, I think that that`s really all they can achieve at this
point. And one of the things that I think they`re looking to do is kick
this particular can, pass the midterms elections, they are hoping for gains
in the house, maybe even take back the Senate. And then they feel like
they can put their agenda in place more easily.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, it`s not just the American people who
want Congress to focus more on jobs. That new poll finds 58 percent of
Americans say the lawsuit won`t benefit people like them. And 51 percent
view the lawsuit as a political stunt. I mean, Boehner is getting all
kinds of criticism for this suit. Is he going to have to abandon it sooner
or later, Congressman?

CLEAVER: Well, I think he already knows. I`m sure that there are some
brilliant republican attorneys who have told him that the lawsuit is a
complete are waste of time, that it`s not going to go anywhere. That in
fact, he may not and congressmen may not have standing to file a lawsuit
which is what many of us are hearing. And so, but I think that it is
perhaps important to him to try to bend over a little toward the Tea Party
element in his party. I think John Boehner is a decent guy that will make
the trains run on time. But I think that he`s always looking over his
shoulder at a group of about 70 or 75 members who are irrationally
interested in dismantling the entire government. And so, they don`t see
anything about the failure to do a highway bill. They want to dismantle
the entire government.

SHARPTON: But Michelle, that`s the point. I travel a lot. Everywhere I
travel people are hurting. I mean, this is real. People cannot make ends
meet. And they are playing games around here because they want to try to
play politics with the Tea Party. People are suffering. People need these
jobs. And we are going over bridges in disrepair. This is real.

COTTLE: This is real. And it`s one of the reasons why they at least have
to have a temporary measure. Because when push comes to shove you`re
talking about jobs disappearing in republican districts just like
democratic districts. So, what they are doing is what they often do,
trying to avoid disaster right now so that they don`t get blamed for that
kind of suffering.

SHARPTON: Well, you know what`s interesting Congressman is Paul Ryan was
asked about the lawsuit. And today, he said something that was
interesting. I don`t know if he`s on board. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Under our constitution of self-government,
the court that really counts is the court of public opinion. We have to
remember at the end of the day the court of public opinion where the
American people hand down their verdict on Election Day is the final
arbiter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, he was speaking generally. But in this speech it`s clearly
weighed in on where public opinion is. And if that be the case in this
area, public opinion is certainly not on the side of what they are doing
with this lawsuit.

CLEAVER: Every poll suggests that the public is not interested in these
Congressional tricks and flips that are being done. What they want is
action. We are in desperate need of jobs. Are the recovery has been good
but it`s primarily benefit, the corporations so far. But what we`re going
to have is something that touches all of the people. And there is no such
thing as a republican or democratic highway. And the public understands
that. And if we don`t do anything pretty soon, I think that the public is
going to become even more knowledgeable about who is preventing this
country from moving forward. The largest number of permanent jobs can be
created more than anything else that Congress can do by passing a five or
six-year highway bill.

SHARPTON: But Congressman, you have been in Congress a while. And
Michelle you have been covering Washington. Isn`t it unusual to see it
become partisans over the highway bill? Usually Republicans and Democrats
come together on something as basic as this.

CLEAVER: Well, this shows you how horribly divided we are and how
partisanship plays into everything. The highway bill used to sail through
Congress because everybody knew it would create jobs and also deal with
some dramatic flaws in our highway system. But now with this irrational
hatred of government, nothing moves smoothly.

SHARPTON: Got to go. Thank you, Michelle Cottle. Thank you Congressman
Emanuel Cleaver. Thanks both for you for your time tonight.

Coming up, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks passionately on the civil
rights act. And later, a tip of the hat to the Yankees` Captain Derek
Jeter. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, Attorney General Eric Holder called on Congress to pass
updated voting rights legislation, saying that equal opportunities make us
all better.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: As it stands our society is not yet
color blind nor should it be given the disparities that still afflict and
divide us. We must be color brave and must never forget that all are made
better and more prosperous if all are given equal opportunities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s right. We must be brave while at the same time recognizing
there is an all-out republican assault on voting rights. Already this
year, 19 states have introduced some type of voting restriction. We must
continue to fight to protect the basic American rights that so many before
us fought so hard to gain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s become a cliche to say, there are no more heroes in this
world, and no matter the institution, the problems we face today may seem
hard to solve. But there are still people who help us put aside the
differences and make us proud. True role models. Derek Jeter is one of
them. After 20 years, he`s leaving the game of baseball at the end of the
season. No matter what walk of life you are in, even a red sock, you have
to respect the way he`s carried himself on and off the field. He`s handled
his talent and celebrity with nothing but class. And with the all-star
game tonight, a new ad from Nike celebrates his career. Because no matter
what hat you wear, you tip it to the captain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Now batting, number two, Derek Jeter. Number two.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`ve had a chance to get to know and meet Derek Jeter over the
years, most recently in April when the Yankees honored the late Nelson
Mandela with a plaque in Monument Park on Jackie Robinson Day. I tip my
cap to you, captain.

Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career on and off the field. 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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