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PoliticsNation, Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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July 31, 2014

Guest: Lloyd Doggett, Dana Milbank, Karen Finney, Eric Guster, Faith

Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

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

Tonight`s lead, Republican chaos on Capitol Hill. Just before going to
summer break, a stunning display of speaker Boehner`s failure of leadership
and the tea party`s stranglehold on the GOP.

The wild series of embarrassments started this morning when speaker Boehner
touted a GOP bill cracking down on illegal immigrants.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Republicans are committed
to addressing the humanitarian crisis on the border in a responsible way.
First bill on the floor helps secure our border and speeds return of
unaccompanied children back to their home countries.


SHARPTON: But just hours later, speaker Boehner pulled his own bill.
Because the right wingers thought it wasn`t harsh enough. It was a major
humiliation. But then Republicans reversed costs yet again, saying there
might be a vote after all.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: I want to advice all members that
additional votes are possible today. We will send out information as soon
as it is possible.

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: We`re going to have to call some members
back. They already left on the representation that this was the last vote
of the day. Can the gentleman give me any idea of when we will have notice
as to whether or not there will be further votes?

MCCARTHY: I`m hope fell by late this afternoon, we`ll be able to notify
the time limit.


SHARPTON: Republicans then huddled behind closed doors, trying to come up
with a plan. By the time they came out, it was clear they had failed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, what`s the plan, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Working with our members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Into the night?



SHARPTON: Republicans have now scheduled another meeting for tomorrow
morning. Postponing their five-week vacation by one day. What happened
today was a farce. But the punch line was speaker Boehner`s statement
after pulling his bill. When the man suing the President for acting on his
own told the President to act on his own.

Quote, "there are numerous steps the President can and should be taking
right now without the need for congressional action."

Even for the least productive Congress in history, what happened today was
an embarrassment. Instead of phony lawsuits, let`s see some real action.

Joining me now are Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Democrat from Texas, and
MSNBC`s Krystal Ball. Thank you for being here.

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

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS: Great to join you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me go to you first. What does today`s chaos
reveal about Republicans in the house?

DOGGETT: Well, they wanted to take a holiday, but the real problem is
they`ve taken a holiday from reality. You`ll remember when the speaker was
back telling some of his buddies at home about how he kept running into
interference in his caucus and they were telling them it was too hard. He
was kind of ridiculing them a little bit.

Well today, it was too hard. They wouldn`t make the difficult choices.
They`re on cruise control. They don`t want to deal with coming to the
middle where the American people are. They keep moving further and further
to the right. They`re overwhelmed with fear. They are afraid of
immigrants, they are afraid of little children at the border, they are
afraid of their own shadow and making a decision. And throughout it all,
you know they`ve got -- they`ve really got impeachment on their mind. If
they talk about the failure of the secure border and the failure of the
President o secure the border, that there are eventually building up to the
notion after this election, hoping people will stay home, and not vote,
they`re voting up to a Republican Senate that will impeach this President
because he didn`t protect us from little children trying to escape violence
in central America.

SHARPTON: You know, I suspect, Krystal that the congressman is right there
at impeachment, but just given the course of what happened today, have you
ever seen anything like this?

BALL: It was remarkable because let`s keep in mind, the $659 million bill
that they were expected to vote on today was already a far cry from --
forget --

SHARPTON: $3.7 billion the President posed.

BALL: Right. The President proposed $3.7 billion. But even the
Republicans themselves were reportedly aiming for something around $1.5
billion. They couldn`t get that. So then they come up with $659 million,
plus a vote saying they didn`t like dock, which was the President`s action
on immigration previously. This was supposed to apiece the conservative

And even those dramatic actions were not enough for the far right in the
caucus. Now, I`m so glad that the congressman said what he said, which is
that there`s another choice. There`s a choice to come to the middle, to
actually craft a proposal that can get Democratic support from reasonable,
good minded folks like Congressman Doggett, and you could actually have a
real solution that had a chance of passing not only the house but also the

But because they have gone down this path of trying to pander impossibly to
the right wing and the part of the party, they end up with what is just an
object embarrassment and utter failure.

SHARPTON: Congressman, you know, Ted Cruz is a driving force behind this.
He rallied Republicans to oppose this bill, the Boehner bill. Here`s what
he said last night.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We will not solve this humanitarian crisis
unless and until we end President Obama`s amnesty. The cause of the
humanitarian crisis we`re facing right now is President Obama`s laws.


SHARPTON: Congressman Doggett, I have to ask, who is the real speaker of
the house, Boehner or Senator Cruz?

DOGGETT: Well, you have to wonder. It`s like the government shutdown all
over again. He was here having a little pizza party with some of these far
right members of the house and the not so right, insisting that they be
against everything.

I think what he just said, that you brought up, Reverend Al, is so
important. I have met with these dreamers. These young people who have so
much potential for our country. And he wants to put an end to their
presence and their opportunity to contribute to our country in San Antonio
and Austin, all over the country.

These young people have so much potential. And then again, as Krystal said
as far as coming to the middle, you know, even the chamber of commerce, all
these business groups recognize that immigration reform would grow our
economy, would mean new jobs, but their Ted Cruz and the extremists saying
no, deny these young people their rights, even though they`ve known no
country but America, don`t let them participate.

SHARPTON: But Congressman, how do we explain the Republican party just
rolling over and vowing to Ted Cruz and this far right. I mean, how does
this look to the rest of the country? This is the most embarrassing thing
I have seen on the hill in decades, if ever.

DOGGETT: It is certainly embarrassing for the country. But you know, it`s
a little like that government shutdown last fall. That could not have
happened had there not been so many House Republicans of the same attitude
as Ted Cruz. I have to say, after what you have seen today, he`s sort of
the center of the Republican caucus in the house now. They reflect the
same views. They want to shut down everything and to do as little as
possible to just get through this election so they can gain the ability to
take over all of our government. We just can`t let that happen.

SHARPTON: Go back to your point, Krystal. The President had proposed a
$3.7 billion package. Senate passed the $2.7 billion. Speaker Boehner`s
bill was just $659 million. Not even got to a billion. It was less than
one-fifth of the President`s plan, and yet he couldn`t even bring it to the
floor. I mean, how can Americans have any trust in the house GOP to govern
at all?

BALL: Well, they don`t. They don`t have any trust in the House GOP. I
think their approval rating is something like in the 20s right now, not to
mention the approval rating of Congress itself.

SHARPTON: That was before today.

BALL: And that was before today. So they don`t have trust in this
Republican caucus. And I think that John Boehner and the leadership and
the rank and file have proven them right.

I wanted to go back quickly to a point that Congressman Doggett was making
there about the DAC, the deferred action about the dreamers. Not only are
you saying to these young people who have so much to contribute to this
society, we don`t want you, but by getting rid of DAC action, you`re also
taking enforcement resources away from going after actually violent folks
who we do want out of the country. So not only is it wrong and is it
immoral to treat the dreamers that way, but it also is not safe for the
country. It`s irresponsible for the country to think that way.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

You know, Congressman, here`s the house schedule created by the GOP
leadership. Between now and the mid-term elections, today, they decided
they will work tomorrow. After that, it`s a five-week break. And then
they`re only working two days in October. And another week off at the
beginning of November.

I mean, how bad is it for Republicans that this is the last thing Americans
will remember them for, right before they go on vacation?

DOGGETT: Absolutely. To say to the country that between now and Election
Day, they only plan to be here nine or ten days and only parts of those,
and they leave right there on the table all those things that they told us
they would address like the voting rights act, tax reform, tong-term
funding for our highways and public transportation system. One problem
after another, and all they offer us is one excuse after another.

To leave at this point and leave this issue about the children on our
border pending and as Krystal has pointed out, really just proposing to
give a fraction of the amount of money the President said was necessary,
it`s a giant embarrassment for them. It shows they cannot leave. As of
this late hour, Reverend Al, they have yet to tell us when we`ll be here
tomorrow or the weekend or whatever. And what new right-wing proposal they
plan to put out for us to consider.

SHARPTON: What is your prediction, Congressman? Will they get a budget
through? Will they come through with anything?

DOGGETT: I think that they are afraid to shut down the government again,
although this Ted Cruz does have another month or so to work on them on
that, but they`re afraid to shut the government down again. So I think
they`ll try to limp along, really afraid of their shadow, afraid to do
anything significant, and just get by in hopes they can get through this
election, try to claim the Senate, and then impeachment or whatever else
they may want to pursue, but certainly not in the interest of the country
or where most Americans are, if they participate fully in our democracy.

SHARPTON: And let`s not forget, they`re on track to be the least
productive Congress of any since 1947. It is amazing, every time I think
I`ve heard it all from this crowd, they come with something else.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Krystal Ball, thank you both for your time

BALL: Thanks, Reverend.

DOGGETT: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Be sure to watch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, what today`s Republicans collapse means for President Obama?
He`s taking action. What are they doing?

Also, stunning allegations of police corruption in one of America`s largest
cities. Cops accused of kidnapping, robbing, and beating suspects, even
dangling one man off a balcony. It`s in tonight`s justice file.

Plus, the GOP impeachment whiplash. Who is for it, who is against it?
It`s a flip-flop on a massive scale and we`re not going to let them get
away with it.


SHARPTON: Today, President Obama was doing his job. While Republicans
were failing to do theirs. How will today`s GOP collapse affect the
President`s agenda? That`s next.


SHARPTON: Today, we saw complete implosion by Republicans in the House of
Representatives. Simply put, they can`t do their job, but the President is
doing his. Today, he signed an executive order requiring federal
contractors to give their workers more rights in labor disputes.


OBAMA: If you want to do business with the United States of America, you
have to respect our workers, you got to respect our taxpayers and we`ll
spend a lot of time working with and listening to business owners so we can
implement this thoughtfully and make it manageable for everybody.


SHARPTON: This is what the President is doing just one day after GOP
lawmakers voted to sue the President for his alleged abuse of executive
powers. The Republicans are crack up and falling apart. And today`s new
fiasco reveals once again why President Obama is taking action where they
failed to act.

Joining me now, a former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, and political
strategist Angela Rye. Thank you both for joining me.



SHARPTON: Governor, it`s frustrating that the GOP is refusing to do their
jobs. But does this represent an opportunity for the President to act?

RENDELL: Absolutely. The President in the past has missed opportunities,
in my judgment, to be a strong leader, to convey to the American people
that he`s going to get things done. He`s been frustrated. Sometimes you
can tell he`s lost patience with the congress. But now he`s acting on his
own and he is acting on issues that the majority of the American people,
the significant majority of American people agree with.

So I think he is looking like a strong leader. I think that will be his
benefit and the benefit of Democrats in the midterm election. And it also,
as you pointed out in the last segment, be a crushing blow to Republicans.
If this is the last thing they see, this total inability to do anything
about the border. If this is the last thing they see the Republican
Congress do about the border problem before the election, I think it will
energize the Democratic base, the Latino base and will make independent
voters think that there is just not capable of governing.

SHARPTON: Given their schedule, it may be the last thing, and talk about
frustrating, Angela, when you look at the fact that the President himself
expressed disbelief over the lawsuit the Republicans passed last night.
Watch this.


house of the representatives of Republicans, and voted to sue me for taking
the actions that -- that, that we are doing to help families. They
criticized a provision. We modify it to make it easier for business to
transition, and that`s the basis for their suit.


SHARPTON: I mean, it`s damned if you do, damned if you don`t, Angela. I
mean, this is absurd.

RYE: Rev., as you told me in the past, I`m going to tell you, Pastor, but
moving right along.

You`re absolutely right. He is. And you know, to Governor Rendell`s
earlier point, he said that, you know, initially he was kind of frustrated
with the President, kind of, you know, taking this more calm approach to
passing policy, to signing bills into law. And I think he was trying to be

This President came in to the White House trying to be hopeful, thinking
that maybe people would join hands, join together, and do what`s best for
the American public. And that is not the Congress that he`s dealing with

These are folks that will absolutely stand in the way of progress, that
will absolutely just inhibit anything from going well for the American
people, whether they`re in their districts or not. These folks are now
saying, yes, Mr. President. We`re going to sue you for taking it a step
too far, for using your executive power in a way that is abusive and
violates the constitution. But today, Mr. President, because we can`t seem
to get this border law under control and we can`t seem to get agreement in
our conference, we want you to use that same executive power that we just
yesterday were telling you we`re suing you for. These folks are crazy.

SHARPTON: That executive action, governor, you know if Congress can`t
address immigration, President Obama said he will take action himself. In
a move that would grant work permits to potential millions of immigrants
and allow them to stay in the U.S. without threats of deportation.

Now, the President is trying to fix a broken system, but he can`t do it all
himself. In your judgment, will Congress be able to get its act together?

RENDELL: Not on immigration reform. And in fact, give the President high
marks for waiting for Congress. He didn`t want to take executive action in
this area because he was hoping that there would be a comprehensive bill

And we should pass a comprehensive bill. Over whelming number of
Americans, and you know this Revered, where you talked about it, including
Republican voters, want immigration reform. They want a comprehensive
package. They want a fair package.

The President waited for the Congress to act. He waited and he waited
until now it`s apparent that they have no intention of doing anything this
year. So the President is forced to act, and he is acting forcefully. And
I think he`s going to get high marks for it. He`s looking like a leader.
He is saying if you won`t do it, I will to the maximum extent of my
constitutional powers, I will do what is necessary. This is clearly an
area that he has the power to do what he`s asking and saying that he will

SHARPTON: You know, Angela, it is immigration, but there`s a lot of
unfinished business the Republican party is leaving in Washington. Minimum
wage, fair pay, jobless benefits, and of course, immigration reform. I
mean, this is not a ringing endorsement for the GOP especially right before
the 2014 midterms.

RYE: Rev., and the other thing that`s big for so many of us, as you know,
is the voting rights amendment act. How do you go into an election where
people`s rights have been compromised day after day in states that were
required to submit to preclearance before and now those same laws are not
intact. There are tons of people who can bead impacted by that. And the
fact that they`re saying it doesn`t matter, that they`re not living up to
what they said they would do in their GOP autopsy report, the fact they`re
saying, Mr. President, you need to wait for us to act and then they can`t
move, all that is entirely problematic. And I hope the American people
will wake up and pay attention and realize that not only does their voice
count but so does their vote and I hope they go to the polls.

SHARPTON: But Governor, as they head into the midterm given the schedule
to leave Washington, leaving all of these things unresolved, even
unaddressed, from minimum wage to fair pay, on and on and on, how do you go
and campaign in your districts and not be faced with some questions on some
of these that even hit your own constituents if you`re a conservative

RENDELL: Well, they better hope that they can get the far right out 100
percent, because they`re going to need a far right overwhelming turnout,
because independent voters, moderate voters, conservatives who are
responsible, are going to say, this party just can`t govern. And
additionally, Rev., I love to hear this talk of impeachment. Because you
know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of the impeachment against Bill
Clinton in his second term.

You know that second-term Presidents in the midterm election almost always
lose votes in the House and Senate. But that year, because the impeachment
was so clearly a political process, that the American people didn`t want
undertaken, they punished the Republican party, and Democrats gained Senate
seats and house seats.

So I think the more impeachment talk there is, the craziest there is, there
clearly is no basis for it. The more that independent voter, the more that
moderate Republican puts his hands to his head and says I can`t vote for
him, they can`t govern and they`re nuts.

SHARPTON: That`s what happened in 1998, Bill Clinton`s midterm, you`re
right. Angela was only in kindergarten then.

Governor Ed Rendell and Angela Rye, thank you both for your time tonight.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

RENDELL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the real head of the GOP is hopping mad over
impeachment. We`ll show you how Republicans are trying to rewrite history.

Also, the justice department considered stepping into a case of a police
beating caught on tape. That`s part of tonight`s justice files.


SHARPTON: Some right-wing pundits started talking about impeachment just
weeks after President Obama`s first inauguration. Now, it`s bubbled over,
and blown up in their face. Republicans are starting to reap what they`ve
sawn. We`ll talk about that, next.


SHARPTON: We`ve heard a lot of back and forth from Republicans in the last
few days over whether or not they want to impeach the president. But
today, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said there was one easy way for Speaker
Boehner to get rid of any confusion.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), CALIFORNIA: We`re wasting taxpayers` money
giving a blank check for a lawsuit that is a road to impeachment. They can
take that off the table anytime they want, but they haven`t. All they have
to do is say to their people, it`s off the table. I had to say that.


SHARPTON: She told Democrats they weren`t going to impeach President Bush.
Speaker Boehner should do the same thing. But what have we seen instead?
A whole lot of dancing around the issue.


impeachment is coming from the president`s own staff, and coming from
Democrats on Capitol Hill. We have no plans to impeach the president. We
have no future plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What about the folks in your conference calling for it.
They are talking about impeachment.

BOEHNER: I disagree.


SHARPTON: He disagrees with those banging the impeachment drums, but he
doesn`t condemn them. He doesn`t have plans to impeach the president, but
he`s not taking it off the table. He wants to have it both ways, and why?
Just ask the leader of the party. What he thinks about impeachment.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: While I, El Rushbo have not once
advocated for this, despite the fact the media is putting me at the head of
that class doing it, I do think it is a mistake politically for the
Republicans to take it off the table. I`m talking about in a strategic
negotiation, you never give up that kind of an option. You always make the
other side think it`s possible. Same thing with impeachment, so you don`t
take impeachment off the table.


SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh would never dream of calling for impeachment, but
dangling the idea out there every now and then, keeping it as a constant
threat to undermine the president, that`s perfect for the far right. And
perfect for Speaker Boehner.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Karen Finney. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: Dana, you wrote today that Boehner doesn`t want to antagonize
conservatives. Your piece said that`s most likely why Boehner wouldn`t
grant a vote on a democratic substitute bill on an amendment explicitly
ruling out impeachment, instead, he gave a brief speech on the floor on
Wednesday saying nobody should be allowed to tear apart what our founders
built. No one should tear us apart? Doesn`t that seem a little funny
considering their suing the president, Dana?

MILBANK: Yes. You think. Look, I mean, John Boehner is trying very hard
to hold on at this point. That`s why he can`t get up there and say, guys,
look, it`s off the table, because he`s not, as we saw this afternoon,
he`s not in control of his own people. They are running wild, and he`s
just trying to stay maybe half a step in front of them so he can maintain
his leadership post at this point. I think he made a tactical error in
saying, all right, we`ll have this lawsuit thing and that will quiet them

And it`s had the opposite effect. You know, I mean, and even before that,
you can`t say that they weren`t seeking the impeachment you had one member
of the House distributing articles of impeachment to his colleagues. I
could at least 10 or a dozen who have explicitly called for the president`s
impeachment. So, you can`t sort of un-ring that bell once it`s happened.

SHARPTON: Well, let me stay right there for a minute, Karen, because some
conservatives are trying to blame Democrats for the impeachment talk while
other right-wingers are still pushing for it. Listen to this.


KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH ADVISOR: We have to be very careful not to be
useful, you know, stooges for the president. He wants the conversation in
the next 97 days to be about impeachment.

MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Here`s the dead truth. Obama should be
impeached. But he won`t be impeached.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I think this is a huge distraction, and
politically, it would be stupid for the Republicans to bite that apple.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The remedy is an unpleasant one. It`s not a lawsuit
because it would be thrown out. Madison provided the remedy in the
constitution. It`s removal from office.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`re talking about impeachment.



SHARPTON: You know, they seem Karen to be having a rough time getting
their story together. I mean, you know, they can`t get it straight, can

FINNEY: No, they can`t. That has been a problem with this republican-led
Congress for quite some time, hasn`t it? I mean, it`s so ridiculous, this
whole notion, I mean, trying to say that it`s Democrats` fault once they
see that it was backfiring. We all know what the game was when Boehner
essentially tried to put up this idea of a lawsuit, right? That was -- he
was trying to kind of have it both ways, try to satisfy the far right.
That didn`t work. As Dana pointed out, there`s at least 11 members who
have called for impeachment.

There`s a couple members who actually voted against the lawsuit, one of
whom said because it didn`t go to impeachment. I mean, so for them to
suggest that Democrats are fabricating this is pretty ridiculous, but it
shows how fractured the party is ad Dana pointed out and how little control
John Boehner actually has at this point. You know, the other thing that I
would say is it also shows, I mean, last week, there was some reporting
that coming out of their caucus meeting, some of the members were saying
they couldn`t go home for the break without some kind of vote either on
impeachment or the lawsuit. So they have really ginned up their own base
on this as well.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, it`s funny when you look at it, at who really
wants impeachment, a recent poll found Republicans and conservatives are
for it, but here`s who`s against it. Democrats, independents, men, women,
whites, nonwhites, people under 50, people over 50. Those who earn less
than $50,000 a year. Those who earn more than $50 k. People who didn`t go
to college, people who did go to college. I mean, nobody wants this. But
the republican base is the only one that wants it. The impeachment talk
has gotten Democrats to donate money. But will it mobilize independence,
too, is the question, Dana.

MILBANK: Well, depends on how far they go. I mean, they have mobilized as
many of the pro-impeachment folks as they could long ago. I mean, there is
that segment who is for impeachment who also believes that the president
was a Muslim who was never elected. That`s going to remain that way. Now,
are they at this point whipping up the independence to turn against the
impeachment idea? Probably not, because it hasn`t come to actually having
the hearings, actually putting articles out there. And that`s why the
leadership says we have to stop this before we get, you know, a capital "C"
crazy put on our lapels.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana brings some to mind, Karen, because there are
some on the right that said the President likes the impeachment talk, like
some claimed he liked the birther talk. Watch.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is his birther issue part two.

That`s right, the birther thing is over, the black thing is over. So now
he needs to have -- he needs to be able to call for justice.

ROVE: Just like he wanted people to step forward on the birther issue
because he knew it undermined the credibility of Republicans and
conservatives and served his, President Obama`s, purposes.

HANNITY: He loves to be a victim, I`m beginning to notice. A victim of
birtherism. People are birthers.


SHARPTON: SHAThe president liked it, the president loved it when they said
he wasn`t an American. I mean, really?

FINNEY: Oh, yes. He loved it. That is exactly what he wants to be
talking about, not jobs or the economy. You know. Reverend, this is such
an embarrassment to our country, to our democracy, to Congress. I mean,
it`s shameful what these folks are doing. Think about the other issues
that are going on in addition to what`s going on here in this country in
terms of, you know, the economic issues, the jobs issues.

But think about what`s happening in Gaza and Israel right now. Think about
what`s happening in the Ukraine in the aftermath of that downed plane and
those families that grieving and just trying to get in there to actually
investigate. And these fools behind me are wasting time and money on
something that is about ginning their base, but has nothing to do with
making this country a better place or strengthening our democracy. It is
truly shameful.

SHARPTON: No, it is shameful. Dana, we`ll predict, will they get it
together and have a vote?

MILBANK: Oh, I don`t think they will. I think John Boehner will not allow
that to happen because it would -- it would damage his party too much.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Karen Finney, thank you both for your time

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

FINNEY: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, new details about that police beating caught on tape.
What did the officer claim led to this violent behavior?

Also, a stunning police corruption scandal in one of America`s largest
cities. Police accused of selling drugs and beating and kidnapping
suspects. It`s in tonight`s "Justice Files."


SHARPTON: We`re back with tonight`s "Justice Files."

Joining me now, criminal defense Attorney Eric Guster. And former
prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: We start with that police beating caught on tape in Los Angeles.
The Justice Department is now considering an independent investigation into
the California highway patrol officer caught beating a woman earlier this


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, my God. He`s grabbing her, (bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, my god. And then they say police brutality. Arrest
him. Oh, (bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, (bleep), he is beating her up.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, my gosh, why?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is that a cop?


SHARPTON: A newly released police report on the incident says Marlene
Pinnock ignored the officer`s command to get out of the lanes of traffic.
And it claims she became physically combative, after which, a physical
altercation ensued. The officer on the tape continues to work for the CHP
on administrative duty.

Faith, the officer claimed Marlene Pinnock got physically combative. But I
mean, we don`t see that on tape, but we maybe didn`t see the whole tape.
But even if she did, how does it justify the beating we see on that tape?

JENKINS: There is no justification. There is no justification. This is
very clear. Even if a person becomes physically combative, once they have
been detained, it`s over, it`s done. And what you see on the tape is a
woman lying on the ground, straddled by a police officer, taking numerous
blows to the head. There is no justification for that. I don`t know if
this officer needs anger management, if he needs to be fired or if he needs
to be criminally prosecuted or all of the above, but something has to


GUSTER: Yes, sir, what I believe is going to happen in this particular
case, I believe the officer will be disciplined, but because of his
behavior, but what they`re going to argue is that this lady was in traffic.
She was walking out into traffic. She was being combative and a danger to
herself and to others. That`s what the defense is going to try to prove in
this case to try to claim that the officer did not use excessive force. It
was excessive force.

SHARPTON: So with one laying on the ground and him pummeling her like that
was necessary to get out of traffic?

GUSTER: I don`t believe so, Reverend Al. However, what the defense is
going to say is that this lady was trying to overcome resistant, she was
trying to fight back and he didn`t have a choice to do that to save her
from herself and to other people in traffic. I don`t think it won`t work
that way but that`s what they`re going to argue.

JENKINS: It won`t work because the video speaks for itself. The video
speaks for itself. This woman is lying on the ground, and by the way, the
people, the witnesses who videotaped that, they said what happened before
this encounter. She was running around or walking around vehicles and the
officer couldn`t catch her. Maybe he was upset. Maybe he was angry, but
that does not justify you taking it out on her and beating her the way he

GUSTER: That`s what they`re going to argue. This woman was running in
traffic on a freeway.


GUSTER: That`s going to be one of their biggest arguments in that
particular case. Yes, he should not have punched her the way he did.
However, she was --

JENKINS: You`re supposed to help people. You could have helped her. He
beat her inside.

GUSTER: She was a danger to others. However, it was excessive.


SHARPTON: All right. Well, this report, this new report is going to be
very important because this is new for him to say she was combative, we`ll
be following this very, very closely. Let`s go to Philadelphia where a
stunning, I mean stunning corruption scandal has sent shock waved through
the city`s police department. Six narcotic officers have been arrested on
charges of kidnapping, extortion, and drug dealing. Following six years of
alleged abuse of authority.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: They allegedly targeted suspected drug dealers,
kidnapping, beating them, illegally arresting them and going into their
properties, taking drugs and money, even selling drugs on the street.
Together splitting about a half million dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The six officers stole upwards of half a million dollars
of cash, drugs, even watches and clothing. Most of their targets were
suspected drug dealers. In one case, they allegedly dangled a man off an
18th floor balcony before stealing $18,000 worth of belongings. Two of
those indicted police officers stopped a suspected drug dealer somewhere
along this street. They allegedly stole $30,000 right out of the car he
was driving and then illegally held him overnight and stole 80 grand more
right out of his home.


SHARPTON: These accusations are shocking. And local reports say more
police could soon be implicated. The arrests follow a two-year joint
investigation by the FBI, federal prosecutors, and Philadelphia police.
And right now, all the legal cases these officers whatever are involved in,
are in serious jeopardy.

Eric, what do you make of the charges against these officers?

GUSTER: Well, police officers have a high duty and the high standards.
And sometimes officers get on the wrong side of the law. Now, it`s going
to be very interesting how they defend themselves. They`re going to say
that the drug dealers are lying and that Walker, who was the officer who
actually turned on his fellow officers, he was lying to try to get himself
out of a robbery case. So, it`s going to be very interesting how they
defend that. And I have seen so many of these cases throughout my years of
officers shaking people down, taking money from people, that it takes a
federal investigation to get them to justice.

SHARPTON: Yes. You know, Faith, already people who were arrested and
convicted by testimony from these officers are threatening to sue. Listen
to what one man who filed the suit has to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What they did to me, they deserve everything that comes
to them and then some. They locked me up for no reason. I did six months
in jail. My wife and kids suffered, my grand babies suffered while I was
in jail.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Were these officers above the law?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Absolutely, the way they treated me and took my rights
away from me, absolutely.


SHARPTON: Are we going to see a flood of lawsuits now coming in now,

JENKINS: Yes, you are. And I would say that most police officers in
Philadelphia are really good cops who worked really hard with their apples
in every profession. And you`re just looking at some of the bad apples.
But now you have to look at their sworn testimony in every indictment, in
every trial, every time they have testified, because these are clearly
officers who are willing to perjure themselves and go beyond what they`re
allowed to do and commit criminal acts. So, you can`t trust them, you
can`t take their word for it, especially when it comes to people`s lives
and people who are serving sentences in jail now.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to simply follow this closely as well. Eric
Guster and Faith Jenkins, thank you both for your time tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

GUSTER: Still ahead, President Obama makes a powerful personal statement
about his mission for his final years in office.

SHARPTON: But first, Governor Rolex goes on trial in Virginia. Bob
McDonnell was once the GOP`s rising star. But now his dirty laundry is
getting aired in court.


SHARPTON: Today, the government`s star witness was back on the stand in
the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. And his
wife Maureen. They`re charged with illegally accepting more than $165,000
in gifts from wealthy businessman Jonnie Williams. In exchange for
allegedly helping him promote his diet supplements. Today, Williams
detailed the lavish gifts he gave the governor and his wife. That included
the use of his private jet and Ferrari as well as dinner, golf, spa
sessions, and nearly $16,000 worth of gifts in a New York shopping spree.

Maureen McDonnell`s attorneys claim she had a crush on Williams, but Johnny
Williams denies that saying, quote, "This was a business relationship." I
thought we had an understanding. She was helping me. They were helping
me. Today, the jury got to look at the $6,000 Rolex watch he gave
McDonnell. Williams said he regretted buying him the Rolex and that he
felt lending them money could be wrong. Quote, "I think it`s wrong. It
would be violating laws. I was uncomfortable." No matter the outcome,
this trial is undoubtedly a fall from grace for Bob McDonnell, once a
rising star in the GOP. We`ll keep following this story.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, it`s easy to get disillusioned with what we see
in Washington, D.C. especially on a day like today. With Republicans
showing they have no interest in actually getting something done for the
American people. But this afternoon, President Obama reminded us that
public service matters. It`s important. It`s about a cause greater than


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Sometimes work in Washington can be
discouraging. Sometimes it seems as if the agenda that you`re trying to
pursue helping working families and middle-class families is sometimes it
seems that`s not the priorities up on Capitol Hill. But if you remember
why you got into this work in the first place, if you remember that this is
not just a job, but it should also be a passion, that it should also be
part of giving back.


SHARPTON: That`s what public service is. It`s all about giving back.
President Obama got personal in his remarks today, too.


OBAMA: I tell folks, I`ve now been president for more than five and a half
years. And I`ve got two and a half years left, and I want to squeeze every
single day. I want to squeeze as much out of every single day. This is
not just a job. It`s a privilege we have. And we`ve got to do -- we`ve
got to take advantage of it. We`ve got to seize it, because that`s what
makes it worthwhile.


SHARPTON: Fearing discouraged is easy. Having hope and staying positive
is hard work. But hope is what we must be willing to work for. Every
single day, squeeze out of every moment the hope of knowing that what you
do matters. Hook yourself into a cause bigger than you. A cause that
you`re passionate about. That`s what you get up for in the morning. That
hope. That faith that you can make a difference in whatever way you can.
That will overcome any despair and discouragement. That`s what separates
people that live for a purpose and those that just live a life that doesn`t
mean anything at the end. The president hit that one on the head.

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


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