updated 8/4/2014 9:03:06 AM ET 2014-08-04T13:03:06

POLITICS NATION
August 1, 2014

Guest: Jim McDermott, Goldie Taylor, Susan Milligan, Paul Henderson, Seema
Iyer

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, breaking news. Right now the House is debating the GOP`s
new immigration plan with a vote set for later tonight. It comes after the
GOP`s embarrassing implosion yesterday that developed into chaos and
infighting.

In a surprise news conference late today the President called out House
Republicans for holding this sham vote while refusing to address the real
issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: House Republicans as we
speak are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable versions of a bill
that they already know is going nowhere. That can`t pass the Senate and if
it were to pass the Senate, I would veto. They know it. They`re not
actually trying to solve the problem. This is a message bill they couldn`t
quite pull off yesterday so they made it a little more extreme so maybe
they can pass it today, just so they can check a box before they`re leaving
town for a month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: On the border supplemental?

OBAMA: I`m going to have to act alone because we don`t have enough
resources. We`ve already been very clear. We`ve run out of money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s going to act alone because the GOP is leaving him no
choice. Republican leaders have surrendered control of the party to tea
party extremists. Tonight`s vote comes a day after right wingers handed
Speaker Boehner a humiliating defeat, forcing him to pull his border bill
because it wasn`t harsh enough.

Since then Speaker Boehner has spent a frenzied day throwing red meat to
the far right, trying to satisfy their hunger for attacking the President,
and today they finally sound satisfied.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: This House is going to make a resounding
statement today that says, stop, Mr. President, don`t violate the
constitution.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: If Barack Obama would stop
campaigning long enough and come back here, we could actually do something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The GOP rhetoric is ugly and the plan they`re voting on tonight
is downright cruel. It would change a 2008 law that would make it easier
to deport children from Central America. It would block President Obama`s
2012 action to stop the deportation of illegal immigrants who came here as
kids, and it would stop President Obama from taking similar executive
actions in the future.

So Republicans have finally found something they agree on, deporting
children. That`s their unifying message. This vote tonight is a sham.
The President already says he`ll veto it. It`s a way of pretending to camp
out the border crisis while ignoring it. And today, President Obama said
he`ll take action himself.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington and
the "Washington Post" E.J. Dionne. Thank you both for being here.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Thank you.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you,
reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, Speaker Boehner is desperate to apiece the far
right on this and we still don`t know for sure if they even have the votes.
What does this make -- what do you make of this debacle?

MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, Rev., I was sitting here thinking about my
grandmother who 167 years ago in 1847, was put on a boat by her parents
alone at age 12 and sent to New York where there was no one to meet her.

Now, if this Congress had been in place at that time, they would have said,
where are you from, and she would have said Ross common in Ireland. They
would have sent her right back to the famine to die. That`s the kind of
thing we`re looking at here. They don`t want to find out the problems of
these kids. They don`t want to make any reasoned judgment about whether
they should be kept here or protected. They have simply forgotten Jesus`
command to suffer the little children to come unto me. They simply don`t
believe that.

SHARPTON: Wow. That`s a heavy statement there.

You know, E.J., "the Washington Post" talked to Speaker Boehner`s allies
about senator Ted Cruz`s role in tanking the border bill that Boehner was
proposed until yesterday and the quote is when asked why they thought of
Cruz`s meddling and what they thought of Cruz`s meddling, Boehner
associates were livid. I mean is there a sense in the GOP that Speaker
Boehner now has less control over the House than Ted Cruz?

DIONNE: Well, I think there is that sense out there. I was at a session
that Speaker Pelosi -- Leader Pelosi had with a group of reporters
yesterday, and I asked her what she thought of House whip Ted Cruz, and she
said around here we call him the speaker.

And I think that the Republicans and Speaker Boehner has always been
furious about this and this was an enormous embarrassment to him yesterday,
that he couldn`t bring this bill to the floor because he didn`t have the
votes.

And I think that this week may be a turning point in our discussion. I
mean there are many occasions for turning points. This might be it. You
had two things. One is voting on this really, really right wing bill,
which sends a message that the Republicans don`t even want to welcome the
dreamers, people who, you know, came here not of their own accord as kids
who do well in school. Those kinds of people, I would think they would
want here, but secondly, the same week that they sue the President for
allegedly abusing his power, they were also saying, well, President Obama
should have solved this problem on his own. Well, which is it? I mean
they can`t -- you know, I think when the country looks at this, they`re
going to shake their heads and say this version of the Republican party
under control of a very right wing group is not the Republican party a lot
of Republicans used to vote for. And so I wonder what`s going to happen
after this week out in the country as we approach the election.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me ask you. Is Ted Cruz now running the House
Republicans?

MCDERMOTT: It`s pretty obvious he is. He is the -- he`s the icon of the
right, right, right wing of the party. And he goes over there and whips
them up and promises them that he will protect them in their elections and
that he`s going to run for President down the road here and he`s going to
lead the party to where it ought to be.

The belief of many of these guys is we didn`t go far enough into the ditch
last time, that`s why we lost in 2012. So they`re going to follow this guy
right further deeper into the ditch. And he really has a hold on them
because they have -- they`re like -- they`re like debutees in a religion.
They`re not compromising, talking to anybody. They`re just sitting over
there talking to themselves and they come out with a bill worse than the
last one. We think we`ve seen the worse, but they come out with the one
today.

SHARPTON: You know, E.J., today, President Obama came out himself talk
about the GOPs blocking emergency action on the border crisis as well as
other commonsense issues. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In circumstances where even basic commonsense plain vanilla
legislation can`t pass because House Republicans consider it somehow a
compromise of their principles or giving Obama a victory, then we`ve got to
take action. Otherwise we`re not going to be making progress on the things
that the American people care about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: E.J., I mean, doesn`t tonight`s sham vote really say that or
confirm that? And in many ways say why the President ought to be making
the moves for direct executive action himself?

DIONNE: On the border crisis, he really has no choice. He`s going to have
to move money around all by himself. It`s not like he didn`t go to
Congress and say, look, I need $3.6 billion or at least some sum of money
because I want to solve this crisis that you guys were yelling to me about
only a few weeks ago.

So he made it very clear he wanted Congress to help him so they could act
together and they have said no. And what you`ve got, I think, on the
Republican side are some parts of the party that believe that it`s
unprincipled to work with the President of the United States if he`s with
some other party or Barack Obama. And in the assistive separated powers
like we have, you can`t governor the country if that`s the way you`re going
to operate.

And again, I think that`s going to be the central matter of discussion this
fall. Because it is not about, you know, when President talked about plain
vanilla, none of this is about left-wing stuff. This isn`t just about
basic problem solving and we can`t even do that.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, amid the chaos yesterday, one GOP
lawmaker really showed how frustrated he was with the far right. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How are you going to get the votes? What`s
going to be different?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll get the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll get the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What changes tomorrow that wasn`t there today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope some people grow up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What do you think, Congressman, that some people in the tea
party grow up overnight?

MCDERMOTT: Well, I think he threw some more raw meat in this bill, this
non-dreamer bill and said vote for this thing. You can go home and talk
about that and then pass the other one which does a little something.

Rev., you`ve got to think about this. This is little kids we`re talking
about, 52,000 kids. And the President has to be taking care of their
health and their safety. And these people on the right are treating them
like they were cattle that kind of had wandered into their farmland and
they need to put up another fence and shoo them back on the other side.

These are kids. These are live human beings, and they`re treating them
just awful. I don`t know how they face themselves when they go home. But
he`s given them just enough red meat that they think they can go home and
convince the voters they were protecting them and therefore they`ve tried
to get one rid of these things that wandered into our neighborhood. It`s
not going to work.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going have to leave it there.

Congressman McDermott and E.J. Dionne, thank you both. Have a good night
and weekend.

DIONNE: You too, Reverend. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the one thing Republicans don`t want to talk about.
We`ll look at what GOP lawmakers have been doing while President Obama has
been creating jobs, millions of them.

Also, the shooting death of Ranisha McBride. A new look at how her
killer`s lawyers are trying to use her past to set him free. It`s in
tonight`s justice files.

Plus, right wingers finally admit on camera that Speaker Boehner`s lawsuit
against the President is loaded with hypocrisy. We will show you the tape
ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news from the House floor. GOP
lawmakers, they`re planning to vote within the next few hours on their
border bill. That would make it easier to deport immigration children.
That`s what they`re focused on.

But tonight we also have good news on the economy. And President Obama ice
calling out Republicans who are standing in the way of progress. That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In my first term if I had a press conference like this typically,
everybody would want to ask about the economy and how come jobs weren`t
being created and how come the housing market is still bad, you know, why
isn`t it working. Well, you know what? We did work, and the economy`s
better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama this afternoon touting another strong jobs
report. This month the economy added 209,000 jobs. That`s six straight
months with 200,000 new jobs created for the first time since 1997. In
fact, 2014 is currently on track to be the best year for the U.S. job
creation since 1999. The private sector under this President is growing,
53 straight months of private sector job growth. A remarkable streak, the
longest in American history.

And when you compare this President`s record to his predecessor, it`s not
even close. There have now been 6.3 million jobs created under President
Obama. Under President Bush the private sector lost 646,000 jobs. Yet
we`re still hearing Republicans crying that President Obama`s policies are
killing jobs. Today the President called out Republicans for failing to
advance an agenda that could further boost the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Unfortunately, there are a series of steps that we could be taking
to maintain momentum and perhaps even accelerate it. But there are steps
that we could be taking that would resolve in more job growth, higher
wages, higher incomes, more relief for middle class families, and so far at
least in Congress, we have not seen them willing or able to take those
steps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Right now Congress should be doing more to create jobs. But
instead we see them fail to do theirs.

Joining me now is jack Bernstein. Thanks for being here.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: My pleasure, Rev.

SHARPTON: Jared, put this in context for us. Fifty three straight months
for private sector job growth, how historic is this streak we`re running
right now?

BERNSTEIN: Well, as you said earlier, it is a historic streak. That`s
almost 10 million jobs in the private sector. The unemployment rate, 6.2
percent last month, has come down a full point over the last year. And by
the way, a couple of months over this recovery, we had the unemployment
rate coming down for the wrong reason because people were leaving the labor
market. In fact, since last August the participation rate, the share of
the population who are participating the labor force, has stabilized, and
that`s another very important trend. It means that this decline in
unemployment is precisely the kind of decline we want because more people
are getting jobs.

SHARPTON: You know, Jared, today in your blog you pointed out one of the
major gaps in the economy recovery, quote, "wage growth remains one very
important area that continues to reflect the slack that still besets the
job market. Until things tighten up a lot more, too many workers will
continue to lack the bargaining clout they need to claim their fair share
of the growth."

I mean how important is raising minimum wage to the recovery and health of
the economy, Jared?

BERNSTEIN: Well, that`s a real part of the problem that I outlined there.
And I`m very glad you raised that point for a couple of reasons. One, it
gets right to the point the President made. By increasing the minimum
wage, an idea that is, by the way, extremely popular with people across the
country, even a majority of Republicans support that idea, we can help
adjust those workers at the bottom of the pay scale who lack the bargaining
clout as I said to claim their fair share of the growing economy, an
economy that expanded at a four percent rate in the last quarter.

But also this wage story is important for the Federal Reserve. We know
that the job market is improving, the economy`s picking up some pace. But
as long as wage growth remains as tepid as it`s been, it`s important for
the fed to hold back in terms of putting on the brakes, continuing support
the recovery.

SHARPTON: You know, today, the President address some of the policies he
says are being blocked by Republicans. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`ve been an advocating on behalf of raising the minimum wage,
making it easier for working folks to pay off their student loans, fair
pay, paid leave, all of these policies have two things in common. All of
them would help working families feel more stable and secure and all of
them so far have been blocked or ignored by Republicans in Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, is there any way to measure how much Republicans have
hurt the economy with their policies and their votes?

BERNSTEIN: I think it`s tough when you come to those kinds of measures,
but I`ll tell you one thing. Last year in 2013 we know through measuring
precisely that kind of effect that these congressional inactions actually
took 1.5 percent growth off of last year. That translates to something
like a million jobs. So that`s a big story in and of itself.

I`ll tell you something else. Interestingly, the President has been trying
to push every one of those issues as best he can by rule changes or
executive order and that`s been helpful. He doesn`t need the Congress for
that. But it tends to be very narrowly targeted. It only hits a few
people. So the fact is he`s trying to broaden out that very important
agenda.

SHARPTON: What do you project will happen in terms of the growth of the
economy and jobs in the private sector in the next two years? Tell us what
we could look for as Americans in your estimation over the next two years?

BERNSTEIN: Let`s talk about the job market. I think what we`ve seen now
in month after month with payroll gains that have been 2,000 or higher is
that we really are into a solid period. I don`t see the kind of head fakes
that we got earlier in this recovery where you do OK for a few months and
then you backslide.

I`m pretty confident the underlying job market is going to continue to add
employment at around this pace. If the labor force continues to firm up as
I suggested earlier, that means we could see another point off the
unemployment rate over the next year and a half. That moves us closer to
full employment to a point where the folks who haven`t been benefitting
from wage gains ought to be able to get a better shake in that regard.

But all of that is contingent on Congress not throwing a wrench in it. And
think it`s the congressional Republicans who need to be listening to that.

SHARPTON: Jared Bernstein, thank you for your time tonight and have a
great weekend.

BERNSTEIN: You, too, Rev. Thanks.

Still ahead, new evidence that speaker Boehner`s lawsuit is blowing up in
his face.

And the President is calling out the Republicans for their hi hypocrisy on
their executive actions.

But first the first lady gets personal with a powerful statement about her
roots and how far we`ve come as a country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

This week first lady Michelle Obama got personal in a way we rarely see.
She spoke at a summit for young African leaders about where she comes from
and how much the country has changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: My ancestors came here in
chains. My parents and grandparents knew the sting of segregation and
discrimination. And yet I attended some of the best universities in this
country. I had career opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. And today I
live in the White House.

The roots of my family tree are in Africa. As you know, my husband`s
father witnessed born and raised in Kenya. And members of our extended
family still live there. I have had the pleasure of traveling to Africa a
number of times over the years including four trips as first lady, and I
brought my mother and my daughters along with me whenever I can. So
believe me, the blood of Africa runs through my veins and I care deeply
about Africa`s future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A powerful statement there from the first lady. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": There`s nothing new
about the House Republicans embarrassing themselves, but this week Speaker
Boehner and his cronies took it to a whole new level and this afternoon
President Obama called out the hypocrisy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Yesterday, even though
they`ve been sitting on a bipartisan immigration bill for over a year,
House Republicans suggested that since they don`t expect to actually pass a
bill that I can sign, that I actually should go ahead and act on my own to
solve the problem. Keep in mind that just a few days earlier they voted to
sue me for acting on my own. And then when they couldn`t pass the bill
yesterday, they put out a statement suggesting I should act on my own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. Just a day after the House voted to sue the
President over taking executive action, they told him to take more
executive actions. It`s enough to make your head spin. Even some
Republicans admit that it makes no sense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Look, you can`t say on the one hand that the
president`s overreaching by acting without legislative authority and
direction and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction
in another area.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It is ridiculous to sue the president on a
Wednesday because he oversteps the law and as he has a dozen times
illegally and unconstitutionally and on Thursday say that he should
overstep the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It is ridiculous, but the entire House lawsuit is
ridiculous. It`s nothing more than impeachment-like, and now we`re seeing
it backfire on the Republicans. The campaign for House Democrats announced
today they received $4.8 million in online donations just this week coming
from 240,000 donors. It`s the best week online fund-raising the House
Democrats have ever had. The American people want to focus on real issues,
and the more republicans focus on these silly stunts, the more
opportunities they hand to President Obama and the Democrats.

Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Susan Milligan. Thank you both
for being here.

SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Thank you.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Susan, Republicans sue the president one day for taking
executive actions and then telling them to take more executive actions.
Doesn`t it show they aren`t serious?

MILLIGAN: It remind me of that joke, Rev, where this couple is
complaining about a restaurant and the one says the food is terrible. The
other one says, I know, and the portions are so small. You can`t have it
both ways. You can`t, you know, threaten legal action which most people
don`t think isn`t going to be upheld in the courts anyway and then, you
know, ask him to take action because they`re incapable of doing it. I
mean, right now they`re struggling to get enough support for a show vote on
immigration, I mean, not even for real legislation.

What surprises me is that they haven`t learned from their mistakes in
terms of what an electoral mistake this is. Impeachment didn`t work for
them in the past. Shutting down the government didn`t work for them in the
past. Not raising the debt ceiling hasn`t work. So, I know that they`re
trying to energize a side of their base because a lot of a November
elections will hinge on turnout. But I think they`re really alienating a
lot of not just independents but even a moderate Republicans.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, we heard a lot of Republicans claimed
Democrats are the only ones talking about impeachment, but listen to what
the leader of the party says on the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I never have called for the
impeachment of Obama. All I`ve said is that I think that it`s a mistake to
take the option off the table and take the ammo out of your arsenal. But
I`ve never said pull the trigger on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Boehner has refused to take impeachment off the
table. Don`t want it but they don`t want to take it off the table. Is it
better for them to use it in their minds as a constant threat?

TAYLOR: You know, I think it is good for at least the republican base
to use it as a threat but some people really aren`t threat. There are
mainstream Republicans, there are elected members of Congress who have
openly called for this president`s impeachment. Or they have talked around
it. Is it to say, you know, we would impeach him but we don`t have the
votes. They`re attempting to placate a base. Speaker Boehner has run the
political calculus on this.

Unfortunately it`s been a bad math. And so, rather than stop this
language very early on, nip it in the bud, he`s let it play out itself out.
And he`s come to a halfway notion by filing this lawsuit. But those things
as you know it only work to the Democrats` favor. It helped them to raise
money. It helped them to raise volunteerism. Like you said, you haven`t
seen House Democrats who`s had trouble by the way, historically raising
money, you haven`t seen them bring in this kind of treasure trove in the --
really the year since this president has been elected.

SHARPTON: You know, Susan, "The Daily Beast" also is reporting that
impeachment is still a hot issue outside of Washington. Quote, "In the
remaining republican primaries across the country, the issue is front and
center. With GOP candidates signaling that they are more likely than their
opponents to remove Obama from the oval office." Will we see more
Republicans talking about impeachment as they hold town halls during the
summer break, Susan?

MILLIGAN: I think what you`re going to see from some Republicans is
an unwillingness to take it off the table or to say what a stupid idea it
is because they`re worried about alienating the base. But there not -- a
lot of the veteran Republicans on the hill, particularly in the Senate, are
not happy about it. I spoke with Senator Hatch about it just the other day
and he said, oh, nobody over here in the Republican Party is talking about
it. I said, what about Sarah Palin, what about this person.

And he got this sort of steely looking inside and he said, Sarah`s
not sitting here. And I know that sounds like it`s tame comment but
honestly from Senator Hatch who`s usually sort of much more gentlemanly.
That was, you could see the irritation in his eyes, you fell this was the
side of the party that, you know, making mistakes and they are the ones you
have to live with it and then they may end up paying for it at the end of
November.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, in face of this phony lawsuit, President
Obama says he`ll keep taking executive actions. Listen to him this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Look. Any time Congress wants to do -- work with me to help
working families, I`m right there. The door`s always open. More than
that, I`m -- I`ll go to them, I`ll -- you know, wash their car. Walk their
dog.

(LAUGHTER)

But where they`re doing so little or nothing at all to help working
families, then we`ve got to find ways as an administration to take action
that`s going to help.

We can`t wait, so if they`re not going to do anything, we`ll do what
we can on our own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president is acting, the republicans are blocking.
Goldie, does that give Democrats something to run on in the midterm
elections?

TAYLOR: In fact, it does. Not only are you going to continue to see
more fund-raising happening on the side of the democratic aisle, but you`re
going to see much of this messaging being pushed through the grassroots.
You`re going to see much more volunteerism, meaning people getting out to
vote. You know, for Speaker Boehner, this is like poking the president in
the eye -- and having the president poke you in the eye or saying he poked
you in the eye and then say, hey, turning around and poke me in the other
eye. Sued you for this one. But I`m not going to sue you for this one.

This president has signed fewer executive orders than almost any
other president that we`ve known in modern history. I think any other
president in modern history. And so to say that he is overusing this pal,
that he is some sort of imperialist king, I think really is a misnomer.
What`s really happening here is that Speaker Boehner and the entire
leadership, they`re being pushed by their grassroots do things that they
know are dangerous to their party. Turnout elections are always base
elections. They`re always about the very grassroots, you know, dyed-in-
the-wool, both Democrats and Republicans turning out. What Speaker Boehner
and -- are doing is letting their grassroots turn out the democrat
grassroots to this fall. And I think that`s an unfortunate, unfortunate
strategy.

SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor and Susan Milligan, thank you both for your
time tonight. Have a great weekend.

MILLIGAN: You, too, Rev.

TAYLOR: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: Coming up. New questions tonight about the defense tactic
in the shooting death of Renisha McBride. Why are the killer`s lawyers
trying to bring up her pets?

Also, should young girl stand trial as adults in the bizarre slender
man case? The "Justice Files" are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks for having us.

PAUL HENDERSON, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: We start tonight in Detroit. Where the defense has begun
their case in the trial of Theodore Wafer. Wafer is charged with second-
degree murder and manslaughter for shooting 19-year-old Renisha McBride on
his front porch last November. This week, the prosecution rested their
case after calling more than 20 witnesses to the stand. But before the
defense put their first witness on the stand they repeatedly tried to have
information about Renisha`s past introduced into evidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERYL CARPENTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We had Amber Jenkins testify
about a dope house. We heard that in evidence. Why now can`t I now bring
in the evidence of Renisha`s cell phone pictures which shows she deals
drugs, marijuana specifically. I think the screen name for Renisha McBride
on twitter is very important. Her screen name is young and thugging. It
is admissible and furtherance of self-defense to claim to prove that the
victim was the probable aggressor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Using the victim`s past to prove that she was the, quote,
"probable aggressor." Paul, the defense attorney has asked for this
evidence to be introduced at least three times now. What do you make of
this strategy?

HENDERSON: You know, I`m really sensitive to these tactics to
denigrate the victim. And in this case I think it`s really frustrating
that they`re really trying to show the jury that maybe she was a bad person
without any evidence. I think in this case it`s racially charged, it is
irrelevant, and it is prejudicial and that`s exactly why the judge kept it
out as he should have and I`m angered about it.

I hope the prosecutors are as angry as I am and express that to the
jury about their defense of this victim in this case. I think it`s
ridiculous that they keep trying again and again and again because it`s
clear what their thinking is. And they`ve even said they thought she may
have been up to something. There`s no evidence of that. There`s no proof
of that.

SHARPTON: You know, Seema, I`ve mentioned the defense has attempted
repeatedly to get evidence about Renisha`s past admitted in the evidence.
In pretrial motions they asked for cell phone photos of Renisha with cash,
marijuana, and a gun Renisha`s criminal record and evidence of a 2011 car
crash that Renisha was involved in to be introduced. The judge denied all
of this evidence in pretrial hearings. Since the trial has started the
defense has asked twice for cell phone photos of Renisha, with cash,
marijuana, and gun. Over and over again.

IYER: Rev, that`s our job. We have to repeatedly make applications
to preserve the record because later on some appeals lawyer is going to say
you didn`t do your job, defense attorney. Now, what Paul was saying is
accurate. The past is the past. However, if they can show character of
Renisha, hone in on that period of time right before the murder took place,
and during that period of time, if we can show that Renisha`s behavior
pointed to aggression, pointed to her being the one who started the fight,
then you may have relevance.

SHARPTON: But there was no fight. He shot her through a screen door
after opening the front door. What fight?

IYER: I use fight in a very loose term, Rev. I`m saying in the sense
that she was pounding on the door and the defense attorney, I believe there
was some testimony that there could have been somebody else there, so that
brings out some more reasonable doubt. Also going toward the fact that why
there was two different boomings in two different areas of the house
corroborating the defendants.

SHARPTON: But there has never, Paul, been any corroboration or any
evidence that there was anyone else including a statement that made
initially by him that night.

HENDERSON: Ever. That is all imaginary and we`re wondering what
could have been and what might have happened. All of that is irrelevant
because there`s no proof of any of that. And what we know is that she was
injured, that she was looking for help, that it`s 4:00 in the morning. Of
course, you have to bang on the door to get attention. She wasn`t even
aggressive enough to get through a screen door, so all of those arguments I
find to be false on the defense and I`m glad that the judge sees through
them and ruled them -- ruled that information and that kind of evidence
out. I`m hoping that the jury sees through all of this as well and looks
at this for what it is and finds him guilty at the end of this case.

IYER: Paul, I just want to remind you after the accident took place,
one of the neighbors -- somebody called 911 and Renisha McBride left the
scene twice. Not once, but twice.

HENDERSON: Right,

IYER: So, if she stayed there when she was highly intoxicated almost
three times over the legal limit, help would have arrived.

SHARPTON: Well, but the problem is -- wait a minute. The problem
with that is we`re going from if there was another person there leaving the
scene in accident. And that, one plus three does not equal two. Now, to
the so-called slender man trial in Wisconsin. Today, a judge ruled that
one of the two girls charged with trying to stab their friend is mentally
incompetent to stand trial. The two girls were both charged as adult with
attempted first-degree homicide after they allegedly tried to stabbed their
friend to death to please a mythical monster from the internet called
slender man. Both suspects are just 12-years-old.

So, MSNBC will not identified them. One suspect told police that
slender man demanded they kill to show their dedication to him. Today, the
judge ordered one of the girls to be committed for evaluation and
treatment. Her lawyers hopes the charges her will be moved to juvenile
court. Seema, should the girls be tried as adults?

IYER: This age is so preposterously young. Wisconsin says 10 years
old as adults. That is too young. I think it should be moved to juvenile.
And some things they can do, Rev is they look at the severity of the crime
but they can also do psychological testing, such as IQ testing, educational
level, reading comprehension, and if those girls test younger than their
biological age, that could be a reason.

SHARPTON: Paul, should they try them as adults?

IYER: Yes, you know, I agree with Seema. It`s a complicated issue
and what they`ve done is make the charging mandatory when someone over the
age of 10 is involved in a violent crime but I think a review like this is
expected and necessary so that a judge in a third party can make an
evaluation as to whether or not it is proper and whether or not someone
should be held accountable because it`s a complicated legal issue. You`re
looking at mental competency and you`re looking at guilt and then you`re
overlaying that whole process with an evaluation of whether or not these
individuals should be charged as juveniles and adults and really at the end
of the day, I think this raises the question that we`re constantly
answering in the criminal justice system about as to whether or not it`s
adequate for the criminal justice system to address issues of mental
illness over and over again.

SHARPTON: Paul, I`m going to have to leave it there. Paul Henderson
and Seema Iyer, thank you both for your time. Have a good weekend.

IYER: Thanks, Rev.

HENDERSON: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Again, we`re watching that breaking news tonight on the
house floor. Lawmakers debating a GOP bill that would make it easier to
deport immigrant children. Moments ago democratic Congressman John Lewis
delivered a passionate speech on the House floor opposing the GOP plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: There is no such thing as an illegal
human being. History will not be kind to us if we fail to do what is
right, what is just. We must pass bipartisan comprehensive immigration
reform and we must pass it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A reminder of what this debate is all about. We`ll keep
watching the breaking news tonight.

Still ahead, on the day that "Get on Up" opens in theaters nationwide,
I`ll look back on how James Brown changed America and changed my life as
well. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, the New York City medical examiner ruled that a
police officer`s chokehold is what caused Eric Garner to die last month.
In their report, the medical examiner says, the cause of death is
compression of the neck. The choke hold, compression of the chest, and
prone positioning during physical restraint by police. They officially
ruled the manner of death a homicide. This cell phone video shows the
officer putting Garner in the choke hold as three other officers surrounded
him.

The 46-year-old father of six repeatedly told the officers he
couldn`t breathe as he was taken down. Now that we know the official cause
of death, the legal process needs to move forward and today New York Mayor
Bill de Blasio says, he was committed to reforms, more broadly police and
city leaders across the country need to join with people in the community
to work on solutions and make sure this kind of tragedy never happens
again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What exactly do you call your style of music?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, I call it James Brown music. Because it`s so
far ahead of his time. Take another record, any record you got on your box
at home. It`s not going to sound like mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was a clip from the new James Brown film "Get on Up"
opening in theaters nationwide today and reminding the world of what a
historic figure he was. James Brown revolutionized American music,
practically inventing funk and creating beats that were and still are
sample to this day. He also changed American culture. His song "I`m black
and I`m proud" gave an anthem to the new black pride movement. He was a
leader, a role model for millions of black men and women. The night after
Dr. King`s assassination, a James Brown concert in Boston was almost
canceled due to fears of rioting. During the show police and fans started
pushing and shoving. Tensions escalated until James Brown single-handedly
restored the peace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`re not being fair to yourself and me either,
all your race. I asked the bullies to step back because I think I could
get some respect from my own people. That makes sense. But are we
together?

(Crowd): Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That night there was rioting in 160 cities across the
country. But not there. It became known as the night James Brown saved
Boston. They Godfather certainly changed America. But he also changed my
life. I was 18 when James Brown took me under his wing. His son Teddy had
just died. I came from a broken home myself. And it was the tragic loss
of his son that made out relationships stronger. I became like the son he
lost and he became the father I no longer had at home. He taught me a lot
about defining yourself. He taught me to believe in yourself if no one
else did. He taught me to be the head of your owner fan club.

Don`t use your circumstances to define you. Reach for the top no
matter what. He never would allow me to make excuses. When I would have
my pit parties about my socioeconomic or family standards, he would tell
me, you`ve got to reach, you`ve got to define and believe in yourself.
Don`t be like everyone else. James Brown taught me how to get on up. I
hope some young men and women across America gets that from this movie.

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.
END

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