updated 7/29/2014 9:27:44 AM ET 2014-07-29T13:27:44

POLITICS NATION
July 28, 2014

Guest: Bernie Sanders, Karen Bass, Dana Milbank, Krystal Ball, Paul
Henderson, Seema Iyer

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks for tuning
in.

Tonight`s lead, impeaching the GOP`s impeachment caucus. One of the
highest ranking Republicans in the country is now openly flirting with
impeaching President Obama. A decade after an historic call to move beyond
this kind of poisoned politics. Ten years ago yesterday, a little known
senator elect from Illinois electrified the country with his keynote speech
at the democratic national convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, even as we speak there
are those preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad
peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight there is not a liberal America and a
conservative America. There is the United States of America.

The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue
states. Red states for Republicans. Blue states for Democrats. But I`ve
got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states and
we don`t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red
states.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and
stripes. All of us defending the United States of America.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That speech set Barack Obama on the path to the White House.
But it set off alarms on the right which saw an existential threat in his
message of unity and fairness.

Today, the effort to tear down President Obama has reached its logical
extreme. Impeachment. GOP Congressman Steve Scalise is the incoming house
whip, the third ranking Republican in the house. This weekend he refused
to say impeachment is off the table.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Will you consider impeaching the
president?

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: You know, this might be the first White
House in history that is trying to start the narrative of impeaching their
own president. Ultimately, what we want to do and see the president follow
the laws. But the president took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of
the land and he is not.

WALLACE: Impeachment is off the table?

SCALISE: Well, the White House wanted to talk about impeachment.
Ironically, they are trying to fund-raise off of that, too.

WALLACE: I`m asking you, sir.

SCALISE: Look. The White House will do anything they can to change the
topic away from the president`s failed agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He couldn`t give a straight answer. It was a revealing
exchange. Scalise knows he has to answer to his own party`s impeachment
caucus.

At least 16 Republicans in Congress have not expressed support for
impeachment. And the top ranking Republican, Speaker John Boehner, is
pushing impeachment light with his lawsuit against the president.

Republican leaders are playing with political fire. They would be wise to
remember that divisive politics don`t resonate with the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and
stripes. All of us defending the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are one people. It`s an idea that too many Republicans in
Congress seem to have forgotten.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat of California and
salon.com`s Joan Walsh. Her latest article is "why impeachment talk won`t
stop. GOP won`t shut up about it."

Thank you both for being here.

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, what do you make of this impeachment push decade
after Barack Obama`s historic call for unity. This kind of poison
politics.

BASS: Well, you know, maybe my Republican colleagues are tired of voting
time after time to repeal the affordable care act. And so, maybe this is
the latest fad. You know, the idea that Obama has done something that he
should be impeached for is really just very sad. And the idea of
impeachment which is based on three things -- treason, bribery, high crimes
or misdemeanors. Where is that? Where is the evidence of that?

SHARPTON: There is not even the accusation.

But, you know, Joan, you wrote about Steve Scalise`s refusal to take
impeachment off the table. And I want to read it because I thought it
struck at something that the Congresswoman also just dealt with.

They will never have, this is you, they will never have 67 Senate votes
they need to convict or oust the president. But that doesn`t matter. Just
a majority vote to impeach him puts an asterisk beside his name and that`s
what they`ve wanted all along. And that`s why Steve Scalise wouldn`t tell
FOX he won`t support impeachment.

Joan, do they just want to tarnish the president`s legacy? Is this just
about tarnishing and smear?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Yes. I think it is, reverend Al.
I mean, I think that even John Boehner`s lawsuit is about that.

But, you know, when they say now when John Boehner says no, I disagree with
Sarah Palin. We are not going have an impeachment, you know, I think that
stands through the November elections.

If they do well in November, if they win seats in the house and if they win
back, God forbid, the Senate, I think that that really gives this
impeachment caucus a whole lot of fire to say to Boehner, you know, we are
not with you. We want to seek impeachment. We`ve got the votes to do it.
And you know, we have lived through John Boehner saying we don`t want to
use the debt ceiling as a hostage and then using it --

SHARPTON: Yes.

WALSH: We don`t want to close down the government. And then they closed
down the government. So Boehner`s word is not good with the caucus that he
represents. So there is no reason to think this has taken off the table.

SHARPTON: But I can`t help but go back to the irony, Congresswoman.

Ten years ago yesterday President, then senator Barack Obama, great call
for unity. 2004 democratic convention. I had run for president that year.
All of us sat there hopefully bringing the country together. And where we
are now is like people are working overtime to find a way to be divisive.

BASS: Right. I mean, that was an incredible moment. And I think that
Obama has tried every days of his presidency to stand true to that speech
so many years ago to bring the country together. But any time you have a
faction of the Republican party that seems to have all the power which is
the tea party it is a question of whether or not Boehner will lead the
party or whether the tea party will lead the speaker.

And I mean, it will be interesting to see what happens. But Democrats now,
we have to use this as a warning. And we need to mobilize and organize and
do everything we can to hit the polls in November and to make sure that we
hold onto the Senate and to make sure that take back the house.

SHARPTON: Now, Speaker Boehner is out with the new op-ed explaining his
lawsuit against the president. You mentioned the lawsuit, Joan. He says
that it is about delaying the health care law with the president did quote
"I oppose the employer mandate in the president`s health care law. The
House of Representatives have voted to delay or eliminate it. But it is
letter of the law that was passed by Congress and signed by President
Obama. He simply cannot unilaterally rewrite it."

It is classic. The speaker agrees with the President Obama`s policy, but
not if the president is the one who implements it, Joan. I mean, this is -
-

WALSH: Right. They oppose the mandate that it should be happy that at
least it is being postponed. But of course, they can`t say that because
the president did it. It`s a weak case. There is a real question as to
whether Speaker Boehner has standing to even bring this case, whether the
court will hear this case. But this is his way of trying to channel that
fire of impeachment in a way that he considers productive. Because they
believe that impeachment would backfire on them. That`s why -- they
accused the president of stoking the impeachment fire. That`s not true.
He didn`t start the conversation. Speaker Boehner`s friends did.

But at this point, does the White House think, you know, it might not be a
terrible thing politically? Sure. They see some advantage. They don`t
want to see it, God forbid. But they recognizes some advantage and John
Boehner recognizes that it could blow up in their face before November.

SHARPTON: Now -- I mean, well, there is nothing wrong when taking a lemon
and making it lemonade. Don`t act like I am the one that started with the
limit.

But you know, the thing that so bogus to me, Congresswoman, is the whole
thing of questioning executive order and executive action.

President Bush issued more executive orders to this point in his presidency
than President Obama has. And he did it to advance his agenda, cut and
dry. He limited federal funding for stem cell research. He blocked
funding to overseas groups that provided abortion counseling. In 2006, he
waved the key sign-up deadline in Medicare part D.

What are they talking about? And none of them protested or send a word
against it when Bush did it. Nowhere near, I`m talking about impeaching
him. They didn`t even disagree with it.

BASS: Well, and not only that. I mean, it wasn`t just Bush. It`s the
last several presidents. President Obama has had far fewer executive
orders. But we have to look at the reason why he`s had executive orders
which, frankly, I applaud. He`s had executive orders because he doesn`t
have a Congress that`s willing to work with him.

All of us know that there are a lot of things that could be done to improve
the affordable care act. But if you`re going to vote over 50 times to
repeal it and you don`t want to even attempt to fix it, then that put the
president in a position that he really had no other choice.

So I think he should continue to do the executive orders. It`s the only
way to get anything done here. And I also think that, you know, at some
point the Republicans have to say, you can`t have your cake and eat it,
too. Let`s see. We don`t like the mandate. We want the mandate delayed.
He does an executive order, delays the mandate. And now he`s violated the
law?

SHARPTON: No. You can`t have it both ways. And we are going to keep
making sure the American people understand that.

Congresswoman Karen Bass and Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time
tonight.

BASS: Thanks for having us on.

WALSH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, self-defense or murder. Lawyers for the shooter of
Ranisha McBride are trying to use her past to set her killer free.

Plus, it is a Christmas miracle in July. Senator Bernie Sanders got
Republicans to actually agree to do something good for the country. We`ll
ask him how he pulled it off.

Also is America ready for Palin TV? She`s launching her own channel. And
it says a lot about the leadership vacuum in the GOP.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up next, Republicans in Congress have actually agreed to
do something good for the country. Senator Bernie Sanders joins me live to
talk about that.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I almost can`t believe it. But Congress has actually done
something.

Yes, days before their summer break, House and Senate chairman announced a
deal to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs. It includes $10 billion
for veterans to see doctors outside of the VA system. $5 billion to fire
new doctors and staff. And it requires the VA to get leases for 27 new
medical facilities.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the chair of the Veterans Affairs committee says
fixing the VA goes beyond politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: At the end of the day, whether you are a
conservative Republican or a progressive, people understand that this issue
should and must go beyond politics. That we have people who have put their
lives on the line, people who have come back with a whole lot of problems.
And it would be an absolute disgrace to this country if we didn`t address
their needs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It would have been a disgrace if we didn`t address these
problems. And this is something to celebrate. But this shouldn`t have
been a political fight in the first place.

Last week, the deal was near collapse because House Republicans didn`t want
to pay for it. Then 116 house Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Boehner
and senator Reid asking them to delay summer recess until they reached a
deal, writing, we owe it to our veterans to waste no more time.

It`s a real victory that lawmakers made this deal, worked through the
differences to do the right thing. And we better be ready. And we`d be a
better country and be in way better shape if they did this more often.

Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and chair
of the Veterans Affairs committee.

Senator, thanks for being here.

SANDERS: Good to be with you, Al.

SHARPTON: And congratulations on this deal. We don`t see a lot of deals
done these days. How did you get this done?

SANDERS: Well, I think both chairman Miller of the House Veterans
committee and I understood that it would be a total disgrace if we left
veterans who were hurting hanging out there and not addressing their needs.

Al, as you know, the cost of war is great. We got 500,000 men and women
coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and TBI. They need help.
We have overcrowded VA facilities all over the country. We need more
doctors, nurses, we need more medical staff. We`ve got to do that. We
have veterans on long waiting lines in many facilities. They have to go
out and get emergency care in the private sector.

SHARPTON: Yes.

SANDERS: The problems were before us. We came together and we address
them.

SHARPTON: I mean, it`s really great. I don`t want to minimize at all how
much this is a breakthrough. But, you know, Congress made a deal on
reforming the VA under your leadership in the Senate. But Republicans
refused to take action on so many other issues.

On immigration reform, the Senate passed a deal, but the house ignored it.
Republicans filibustered the president`s long-term plan to invest in our
infrastructure. And they filibustered a minimum wage hike which I really
want to focus on.

So I mean, another issue that shouldn`t be partisan is raising the minimum
wage. Republicans used to support raising the minimum wage. In 2007, 82
house Republicans voted for a minimum wage hike. So did 45 GOP senators.
Why won`t they come to the table and deal with this now, Senator Sanders?

SANDERS: Well, I tell you, Al. You and I know the national minimum wage
of $7.25 is starvation wages.

SHARPTON: Right.

SANDERS: That we`ve got to raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an
hour. But I got to tell you, this gets you right into the issue of
campaign finance and the role the Koch brothers and big money play in the
political process.

The Koch brothers and many Republicans believe not only that we should not
raise the minimum wage. They believe we should abolish the concept of the
minimum wage and if somebody could get a worker to work for $3 or $4 an a
hour, that`s what they want to see.

So what we`ve got to do, Al, it seems to me, is just rally the American
people who overwhelmingly understand that we need at least $10.10 an hour
for the minimum wage and making clear to the Republicans, those guys don`t
get reelected if they don`t support it an increase in the minimum wage.

SHARPTON: Let me throw this at you. Congressman Paul Ryan, he wants to
become the new face of fighting poverty. You know, and the GOP`s
representatives enduring that. But listen to what he said yesterday to
"Meet the Press."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The federal
government`s approach has ended up maintaining poverty, managing poverty.
In many ways, it`s disincentivized people from going to work. Able people
should go to work. And we should have a system that helps them do that so
that they can realize their potential.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction to that, Senator?

SANDERS: Yes. Able-bodied people should be able to go to work when there
are jobs available.

SHARPTON: Right.

SANDERS: But what Mr. Ryan isn`t telling you is that real unemployment,
counting those who have given up looking for work, those working part-time
when they want to work full-time. you know, what it is, Al? It`s not 6.1
percent. It`s closer to 12 percent. Youth unemployment is 20 percent.

If Mr. Ryan wants people to go to work, let`s rebuild the infrastructure.
Let`s put millions of people back to work.

SHARPTON: I mean, it amazes me, amazes me to talk about able-bodied people
should go to work and then you go vote against infrastructure bills, vote
against jobs bills. It`s like telling everybody to go swimming after you
have drained the pool of water.

Thank you, Senator Bernie Sanders. Thank you again and congratulations
again.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Coming up, jury selection under way in former Virginia governor
Bob McDonnell`s corruption trial. What was he doing inside that courtroom
the today?

But first, you thought the Republican party was already a reality show.
Now Sarah Palin has her own TV network. I`ll grab the popcorn. Come on
back for this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The right wings never get let the facts get in the way of a good
talking point especially when it comes to the affordable care act. This
was one of their favorites.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama`s policy is to let Medicare go broke in 11 and a
half years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama and Obamacare gutted Medicare of $500
billion. Now, that is true statement of fact.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There is only one candidate in the race
that gutted Medicare. Who is it? There is only one guy who cut Medicare,
$741 million . And that was Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Medicare is going broke, all because of the new health law.
Republicans even tried to win the White House with this talking point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: I can`t believe it. He`s
taken $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund to pay for Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t want a government takeover of health care. We
don`t want a raid of Medicare.

ROMNEY: We`ll restore the $716 billion President Obama has taken from
Medicare to pay for his Obamacare.

RYAN: We are the ones not raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Raiding Medicare to pay for the health care law. That sounds
pretty scary. Turns out it was also pretty wrong.

Today, a new report says Medicare will remain solvent until the year 2030.
That`s four years longer than expected. And it`s happening in part because
of the new health law. The report cites cost reduction measures as the
affordable care act requires.

It turns out the ACA is helping extend the life of Medicare and laying the
rest yet another GOP talking point. Joining so many others that vanished.

Did the right wing think we wouldn`t noticed their many scare tactics are
backfiring in a big way? Nice try, but here`s my talking point. We "Got
You."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: And now it`s time for POLITICS NATION`s guide to TV`s most
memorable moments.

SHARPTON: Welcome back. There have been a lot of memorable moments on the
small screen. We all remember when Fancy jump over that shark into our
hearts on "Happy Days." And we remember how Bill Cosby redefined our view
of what a sweater could be when he debuted "The Cosby Show." And who can
forget "Seinfeld"? Nine seasons for a show -- about nothing. But can
America handle an entire channel about nothing? Well, get ready, ladies
and gentlemen. Because Sarah Palin is going rogue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: And welcome to a new project. This
is a news channel that really is a lot more than news. Are you tired of
the media filters? Well, I am. I always have been. So we`re going to do
something about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Does Sarah Palin channel? It`s an online subscription network
touting all her favorite things -- impeachment, oil pipeline, and of course
lots of Sarah Palin. The home page also has a national debt ticker and a
countdown clock to President Obama`s last day in office. It`s a steal at
only $9.95 cents a month. Now, it would be easy to dismiss this kind of
thing, but that would be a mistake. Let`s not forget that Sarah Palin
brought a wave of Tea Party candidates into Congress -- people like Ted
Cruz, Allen West and Marco Rubio whose extreme views brought Washington to
a standstill.

The truth is projects like Palin`s new channel are filling a vacuum left by
the do-nothing Congress and the failure of GOP leaders in Washington. By
refusing to act, they have allowed far right wing voices like Rush
Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin to run wild and run the party.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Krystal Ball. Thank you both for being
here.

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

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Krystal, what does the Sarah Palin channel say to you about the
state of the GOP right now?

BALL: Doesn`t say anything good, I`ll tell you that much. I mean, I think
you`re right to say that there`s been such an abdication of leadership from
Republicans in Washington, not only in terms of taking some of the
irresponsible rhetoric out of the main stream. They have ceded control of
the party over the Tea Partiers. You can see that playing out right now in
the immigration debate. But also in terms of the fact that they really
have no ideas of their own to offer.

So the Republican Party has been captured by the cult of personality of
people like Glenn Beck, of people like Rush Limbaugh, like Sarah Palin.
Where since there aren`t concrete intellectual ideas to dig into, instead
they are looking for sort of flash and stardom. And Sarah Palin is hoping
with this latest effort to capitalize on that.

SHARPTON: Well, Dana certainly has never called them intellectual. But,
you know, here`s a video Palin posted on President Obama`s, quote,
"addiction." Watch this, Dana.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: Our government officials are addicted to OPM, OPM, other people`s
money. They are spending other people`s money, so the reason that
accountability, it`s like renter`s mentality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Renter`s mentality. Is this channel just another way for
Palin`s talking points to reach Tea Party voters and politicians, Dana?

MILBANK: That`s what she wanted to do, Reverend. But I have a feeling
this is going to be something of a hard sell. So, she wants people to pay
more a little bit more than they are paying per month to get Netflix but
all they will going to get from Sarah Palin is sort of cheap comedy at this
point. Because that`s all she`s been contributing to the national debate.
So, I suggest in the unlikely event, if any of your viewers out there are
thinking of subscribing, they probably want to go with the monthly option
as opposed to the year. Because she tends not to stick with these things
for very long. I think this will last even less long than Sarah Palin`s
Alaska.

BALL: Good vibes, Dana.

SHARPTON: But these right wing talkers, as much as we laugh, I`m talking
about Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, and Palin, they become the driving
force behind the Republican Party, Krystal. I mean, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I personally am calling to impeach the
President of the United States. This is impeachable.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is an impeachable offense. This
is in direct violation of the oath of office.

PALIN: The one tool they have are articles of impeachment. Let`s get
going on that. You don`t bring a lawsuit to a gun fight. And there`s no
place for lawyers on the front lines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They set the tone. They set the policy. I mean, are they
running the party, Krystal?

BALL: In a lot of ways, they are. They are certainly driving the
messaging, they`re driving the energy in the base, they`re driving who
turns out in primaries. And with that impeachment talk, you now see a
majority of the Republican Party thinks that the President should be
impeached. There is also astonishing numbers still about the number of
Republicans who think that this president wasn`t born in this country. So,
yes. Even if she`s reaching a small fringe which is likely to be the case,
even if you`re reaching that small fringe because turnout is low in
primaries, you can still have a disproportionate impact. And that`s the
really scary thing here. And the only response to that, the only answer to
that is for more people from the center, more people from the left to get
involved in politics so that it`s not run by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush
Limbaugh-inspired extremists.

SHARPTON: Because if there is not the counter involvement from -- I won`t
say the left. People in the Senate. People who don`t want to see the
extreme. In the vacuum, they drive the entire discussion, Dana.

MILBANK: Well, they do. And I suppose the only saving grace here is that
sector is already so cluttered with voices that adding Sarah Palin`s to it
probably doesn`t do a whole lot. Because let`s face it. She doesn`t have
quite the talent for this kind of thing, let`s say, Glenn Beck does. He
was able to go it alone after Fox News. Very unlikely for Sarah Palin to
be able to do that. And much more likely, she goes the way of Herman Cain
TV. Because she`s just doesn`t seem to have that kind of ability.

SHARPTON: Now, Palin has modeled her channel after Glenn Beck though,
Krystal. And Beck`s own digital channel which he launched in 2011. Beck
now boasts 300,000 subscribers who each pay individually $10 a month. The
site pulls in $36 million in annual revenues and that`s before commercials.

BALL: Yes.

SHARPTON: Of course, Sarah Palin and Beck have a right to make all the
money they can. But what if there is attention between ideas that make
good profits and those that make good policy?

BALL: Well, that`s a great point. And you have no accountability when you
want your own channel. There is no one, there`s no ombudsman, there`s no
one there to say, you know what I think, that`s a bridge too far, so to
speak. So, Glenn Beck can go out, he do whatever he wants. He has done,
whatever he wants. And unfortunately he`s been very, very successful at
it. Conservatives have set up this maim, of the media is lying to you.

SHARPTON: Yes.

BALL: The main stream media and Sarah Palin is certainly been a part of
that. Is lying to you. So, it setups an opportunity for them to say, we
are going to be the ones, we`re the only ones who will going to tell you
the truth. The irony of course is the messages they are selling are so
corporate-backed that actually no one in the, quote/unquote, elite media
would be afraid to put it out there.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there. Dana, I want
to ask Krystal what she thought of your beard. But we`ll do it next time.

BALL: Looks good!

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Krystal Ball, thank you both for your time
tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Krystal on "THE CYCLE," weekdays at 3 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, a key day in the trial of the man who shot and killed Renisha
McBride. Why are his lawyers trying to bring up her past to set him free?

Also, more on the speech that changed American politics. Why Republicans
are still scared of it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Was it self-defense or murder? It was day two of the
prosecution`s case. Fifty-five-year-old Theodore Wafer is charged with
second degree murder and manslaughter for shooting 19-year-old Renisha
McBride last November. Renisha showed up drunk but unarmed at Wafer`s
porch in the early morning. She just had crashed her car. Her family said
she wandered to Wafer`s house looking for help. But the 55-year-old shot
McBride in the face through a closed door, killing her.

Today, the prosecution took us right back to the front porch and what
happened right before that deadly shot was fired. Wafer said he was scared
for his life because someone was banging on his door. The forensic experts
in blood collection and fingerprints testified about what they found and
didn`t find on the scene.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He received a sample from the swabbed front storm
door. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, that`s correct. The DNA profile developed from
the blood stain from the front door matched Renisha McBride.

CYNDI MAXWELL, DEARBORN POLICE OFFICER: Number one is an impression that I
can`t tell you what caused it. Imprint two is consistent with the with
size of the last joint of the finger. Could have been made by a finger,
but it`s very smudged. I can`t use it to identify anybody. Number three
is not made by a finger or a palm or any ridged structure from a person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the defense countered with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: If you don`t collect fingerprints quickly enough it
can disappear.

MAXWELL: It can. It depends on the circumstances. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So, if you have an area -- if you want fingerprints,
would you agree with me it is not a good idea to wait 10 or 11 days?

MAXWELL: Depends on the circumstances. No, we would rather not do that.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You want to lift the fingerprints as soon as possible,
don`t you?

MAXWELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (INAUDIBLE)

MAXWELL: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Two different theories today. So which one will the jury
believe?

Joining me now are prosecutor and legal analyst Paul Henderson and criminal
defense Attorney Seema Iyer. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

PAUL HENDERSON, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having us.

SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Paul, let me start with you. How does this forensic evidence
play with the jury?

HENDERSON: It has nothing to do with what happened that night. That
forensics from the defense perspective is a distraction. Because at the
bottom-line, the thing that matters is that he was not at risk. He was not
in imminent danger. And he shot her through the door. They are going to
try and show that maybe they missed the collection, but there are no
fingerprints, there`s no evidence, there`s no broken glass. There is no
entry into his home. That`s what concerns me. I know the defense is
trying to raise it up and make it an issue. But it is not just an issue
with the ultimate issue in this case.

SHARPTON: Seema, do you agree?

IYER: Of course not. My friend Paul, my friend Paul, the former
prosecutor. You know that when a homicide occurs, what happens? We
preserve the scene. Crime scene arrives. We have evidence collection and
indication of a homicide, we have a medical examiner`s office to collect
evidence, to take swabs, to protect the scene. And in this case, they
didn`t go and do their job for 11 days, Paul. Eleven days.

SHARPTON: But what is that mean? In view of the defense attorney, why is
that important?

IYER: Rev, it`s important because evidence could then be contaminated and
evidence disappears.

SHARPTON: But there`s no doubt he shot her.

IYER: Sorry?

SHARPTON: We`re not doubting he shot, he`s not denying that he shot.

IYER: OK. Great question.

HENDERSON: From behind a closed door.

IYER: Folks, it is a self-defense case. They are putting self-defense
forward. Renisha McBride, that smudge, that fingerprint, that could
corroborate and I submit that it corroborates the defense of self-defense.

SHARPTON: How?

HENDERSON: I absolutely disagree. There is no self-defense there. There
is no proof that she broke a window, that she ever entered his domicile,
that she ever did anything more than stand outside even if the evidence
came back, which it does not show, that she had been banging or kicking on
the door. She didn`t try to enter the door. He didn`t even say that she
tried to enter the door. He said that he was afraid from behind a closed
door and shot her in the face.

SHARPTON: That statement that he made right after the police got there
doesn`t say any of that.

IYER: Right.

HENDERSON: Right. And the evidence doesn`t show it either.

IYER: Hold on. Hold on. There was booming and banging from two areas in
front of the house, OK?

HENDERSON: And booming and banging is not imminent risk. That is not
immediate danger.

IYER: At 4:30 in the morning?

HENDERSON: That is not elevated to an imminent danger.

IYER: Let`s talk about the forensics, because that`s what we started off
here. Paul, let`s talk about the fact that there was a muddy, what
appeared to be footprint on top of the air conditioner on the side of the
house which is also consistent with this man`s claim that he heard noise on
both sides of the house. So, how do we know that she didn`t try to stand
on the air conditioner and enter the house? How do we know that he didn`t
hear that noise and that put him in fear of his life?

SHARPTON: But it was only one shot through the door and he killed her.
So, if he thought it was other people, why did he only shoot only one time?

IYER: Number one, he said -- and this is conflicting and I agree it is
conflicting that he says that he thought the gun wasn`t loaded and then he
discharged once and now why did he shoot only one time?

SHARPTON: Oh, so he just discharged by accident, is what he said?

IYER: That`s what he said to begin with. He changed it.

SHARPTON: You can`t have an accident and self-defense, Paul.

HENDERSON: That`s exactly is.

IYER: He changed the theory.

HENDERSON: And Seema is a very good defense attorney to raise all these
confusing issues for a jury --

IYER: It`s a fact.

HENDERSON: You just focus on what that imminent danger. Was he in fear of
his life? Had she crossed the threshold into his home? And to answer
that, the answer is no which is why I believe that he`s going to be found
guilty.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something quickly before we have to go. The jury
before it came in, the jury today was not what is denied by the court
seeing some of the 2009 police report and Renisha`s screen name from 2009.
Also the prosecution objected immediately to the introduction of this
evidence. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There really is no reasonable cause to believe that
any of that information will be relevant and admissible in court. Mr.
Wafer didn`t know the victim in this case. They were strangers. It`s not
the situation where the victim and the complainant knew each other and knew
of each other`s history. And there is nothing relevant, nothing new. This
is an incident that the defendant brings up from 2009. Which would be, I
think the victim would have been around 15 years old. And so the people
object.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What was the defense trying to do bringing this in, Paul?

HENDERSON: Now, this really makes me angry. Because they are trying to
dirty up the victim by trying to bring in any kind of information about her
past which may have justified what he did in shooting her. Even if she had
been a bad person before -- which was not proven or introduced -- he didn`t
know it at the time. It is irrelevant what she did last week or last year.
It is irrelevant what her screen name was on Facebook or whatever social
media. What`s relevant is his behavior.

That`s why the judge kept it out. Because it was argumentative and it was
a distraction to the ultimate issue in this case which is why I believe
that he should be found guilty on this case. And I`m even going to stay
away from the racial component of him trying to justify why he may have
been more afraid of this young African-American woman outside of his door
who was injured and looking for help.

SHARPTON: All right. And we`ll have to leave it there, we`re going to
have both of you back on this case and of course other things. Paul
Henderson, Seema Iyer, thank you both for your time tonight.

IYER: Thanks, Rev.

HENDERSON: Thanks so much for having us.

SHARPTON: Coming up, jury selection in Bob McDonnell`s corruption trial
begins. We go inside the courtroom. And later, more on senator elect-
Obama`s speech ten years ago and what it says about Republicans blocking
him. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Jury selection is under way at the federal courthouse in
Virginia for the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
and his wife Maureen. They were seen walking into the courthouse today for
the start of the trial. They arrived separately and reportedly embraced in
the hallway before greeting and hugging supporters. One hundred fifty
potential jurors reported today. They are criminally charged with 14
counts of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts from a local businessman in
exchange for helping him promote a dietary supplement product from
McDonnell.

They are charged with taking the following -- a $20,000 shopping spree for
dresses here in New York City, a $50,000 loan for Maureen. Fifteen
thousand dollars to help pay for the remaining catering costs at their
daughter`s wedding. Golf outings for the family, a private vacation at his
multi-million dollar vacation home, a Rolex watch for the governor, even a
joyride in a Ferrari. McDonnell says, he repaid it all and deeply regrets
accepting the gifts. But he did nothing illegal. This is one we`ll
definitely be watching closely.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ten years ago tonight, I had one of the great experiences of my
life. Speaking at the Democratic National Convention, talking about the
promise of America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The promise of America provides that those who work in our
health care system can afford to be hospitalized in the very beds they
clean up every day. The promise of America is that government does not
seek to regulate your behavior in the bedroom. But to guarantee your right
to provide food in the kitchen.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub
floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride
the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught
me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start,
but where you are going. That`s family values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was a tremendous honor to take a message of fairness around
the country. And that memorable night marked the end of my presidential
run. But for another man, that convention was just the beginning. The
night before senator-elect Barack Obama brought down the House by talking
about what unites us all as Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: It is that fundamental belief I am
my brother`s keeper. I am my sister`s keeper, that makes this country
work.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

It`s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come
together as one American family. There is not a liberal America and a
conservative America. There is the United States of America.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and
Asian America. There is the United States of America.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a speech that still resonates today. Because Americans
want leaders that will put politics aside for a larger purpose. And it`s
possible. Even from Republicans. We have seen a republican Mayor Adam
O`Neal, walk all the way from North Carolina to Washington to protest the
GOP`s failure to expand Medicaid. And we have seen GOP Senator Rand Paul
bucking his party to push for criminal justice reform. That same Senator
Obama became president and convinced Newt Gingrich and I to go on the road
together around education. If you have a big enough vision you can be big
enough to work with people that don`t agree with you.

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


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BE UPDATED.
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