Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Monday, August 4th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

August 4, 2014

Guest: Carmen St. George, Faith Jenkins, Dana Milbank, Jess McIntosh, Jan

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks for
tuning in. I`m live in Washington.

Tonight`s lead, the GOP gets carried away with its own impeachment mania.
Today, the right wing has a new and even more outlandish strategy to tear
down President Obama, threatening to impeach him for things he might do in
the future.

A prominent tea party congressman, Steve King, is wanting the president not
to take executive actions on immigration later this summer.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: I think Congress has to sit down and have a
serious look at the rest of this constitution and that includes that I-word
that we don`t want to say. And I only say that now on this program because
I want to encourage the president, please don`t put America into a
constitution crisis.


SHARPTON: So he wants to encourage the president by threatening
impeachment? That`s a new one. And there`s more.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But you`re saying that if he were to do
that, then impeachment would be on the table?

KING: I think then we have to start to sit down and take a look at that,
where would we draw the line otherwise? If that`s not enough to bring that
about, I don`t know what would be.


SHARPTON: A member of Congress is talking impeachment over something the
president hasn`t done yet? It`s startling. But it`s the sort of thing
that`s now common in the GOP. Today, Republican senator Rand Paul vilified
President Obama for the same thing, possible executive action in the future
on immigration.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: You can`t do it by royal edict. You can`t
have a king do it. You can`t have lawlessness and you can`t have a
president just say if they won`t act I will. I have a pen. I have a
phone. I will act. He`s terribly dangerous to the country to allow that
to happen.


SHARPTON: Lawlessness, royal edict, a king. The GOP strategy is blatant.
Last week, the party imploded over immigration. In a crushing
embarrassment, Speaker Boehner at one point had to pull his own bill when
right wingers revolted. In the end, they settled on a far right plan to
deport children. Now, to obscure their own broken agenda, they`re in a
frenzy to attack President Obama.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: What Harry Reid has the opportunity
to do is to come back and join us. We`ll be here anytime, any day,
anywhere, anyhow. And he needs to put the other handcuff on this lawless
president`s hands so that we can strain this president from granting
amnesty. We do that tonight with this bill. We invite Harry Reid to bring
the Senate back and put the handcuff on the president`s other hand so that
we can have sovereignty again on our southern border.


SHARPTON: The president should be in handcuffs? Now, it`s tempting to
dismiss some of this radical rhetoric. But keep in mind, the same GOP
lawmakers now warning of impeachment and handcuffs just days ago held the
party hostage on immigration until they got their way.

Joining me now are Nia-Malika Henderson and Krystal Ball. Thank you for
being here.

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

with you.

SHARPTON: Krystal, Steve King and his allies caused chaos in the GOP over
immigration and they ultimately got their way. Could they do the same with

BALL: Well, you know, it would be hopeful to be able to dismiss this as
the ravings of the radical right and we`re going to push them to the side
and focus on what the majority of the Republican caucus wants, which I
honestly don`t think is impeachment. But it is troubling when you look at
the record, when you look at the fact that maybe most of the Republican
caucus didn`t want to go along with shutting down the government, but they
did on immigration after 2012.

There was an autopsy report where the cooler heads in the party said, look,
guys, we have to deal with comprehensive immigration reform. We have to
move forward in a more productive direction. And after some initial
movements in that direction, now they`re in the position of appeasing the
Michele Bachmann`s and Steve King`s of the party.

So unfortunately, even though they don`t represent the majority of the
caucus, even though they are relatively a small number, they have so much
power. They have been handed disproportionate power and thus far, there`s
no one within the Republican leadership who has any courage or any
willingness to stand up to them.

SHARPTON: Now, that brings me to a question to you, Nia-Malika. Nate
Silver of said Republicans have a 60 percent chance of taking
control of the Senate in the midterm elections. If that happens, will
Republican leaders have a harder time resisting right-wing calls, far right
wing calls for impeachment?

HENDERSON: It could be. And I think, a good test for where Republicans
might see themselves going, should they win the Senate, is this recess.
What happens when they`re in some of these town halls in their different
states across the country when they get questions about impeachment? Do
they say that it`s a bad idea, that it`s completely off the table, or do
they sort of say, well, this is somewhere we might consider going? That
this is something that is on the table?

So I think we have a big test ahead of us in August to see what Republicans
want to be because you have seen from the vast majority of Republicans
really saying that impeachment is off the table, that it really is only a
small sliver of the party that wants to do this. People like Sarah Palin,
people like Michele Bachmann who isn`t actually running again for her seat.

But whether or not the establishment wants to deal with this, I think we`re
going to have to see in August what they say.

SHARPTON: But the establishment wanted to deal with immigration, Krystal,
and Steve King and then were able to turn that around.

A columnist, for example, for the right wing "National Review," John Fund,
says Republicans should impeach the president. They should sensor him.
Don`t impeach him. Censure him.

Quote" a resolution of censure would serve as a warning, a constitutional
yellow card that Congress and the American people will not tolerate abuses
of power indefinitely and that presidents who so overreach risk having a
permanent block on their record."

Now, we have seen lawsuits, we have heard calls for impeachment. Is
censure the next right wing frontier?

BALL: Well, it`s a sad state of affairs that the reasonable wing of the
Republican party just wants to sue and censure the president versus the far
wing of the Republican party that wants to impeach him.

I mean, they`re all looking for a way to prove how much they dislike this
president. And even when you see the talking points from Rand Paul where
he`s saying that the president`s lawless, it`s imperial presidency, we hear
these over and over from the Republican party. Those are code words that
are signaling to the base, you know, we`re with you. We agree with you
because they have led their base down this path of saying that he`s such a
terrible president that it only becomes logical in the base`s mind. Well,
if he`s so lawless and he is so terrible, then why aren`t you taking that
next step?

So the lawsuit, the idea of censuring him, those are all ways to let
themselves off the hook with the base for not taking the extra step of
impeachment. Let`s keep in mind, though, we`re going to have some new
Republican members of Congress coming into the House likely next January.
And a good number of those folks likely ran on something about how terrible
this president is and how impeachment would be appropriate. So it`s not
just Michele Bachmann who, as Nia-Malika points out, is going to be
retiring, but you`re going to have a whole crop of new recruits who ran in
this environment coming in and trying to prove how true this conservative -


SHARPTON: And will this new crop, Nia-Malika, go for censure, is that
going to be enough?

HENDERSON: Well, you know, I think we`ve seen a bit of a slippery slope,
which Krystal talks about, this idea if you open the door to the president
being lawless, then you have got to go -- you`ve got to expect the
questions of what do we do next? Is a censure, is it a lawsuit that looks
like it has no chance of going anywhere, at least as long as this president
is in office, or is it impeachment?

So you know, when Steve King says the I-word has got to be on the table,
then, the lawsuit is obviously on the table and maybe censure as well.

SHARPTON: I have to ask you this, Krystal. My mother would always tell my
sister and I we had to behave ourselves when there was run company.
There`s a lots of foreign heads of state in Washington. The African
(INAUDIBLE) 50 head of state. GOP Congressman Mo Brooks accused Democrats
and the president of waging a so-called war on whites.

BALL: Wow.

SHARPTON: Listen to this.


REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: This is a part of the war on whites that`s
being launched by the Democratic Party, and the way in which they`re
launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It`s a
part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued it in
2012 when he divides us on race, on sex, greed, envy, warfare all kinds of


SHARPTON: Now, we have heard this rhetoric before from a lot of the right
wing talkers and pundits. But does it bother you that we`re now hearing
this creep into the halls of Congress? I mean, these are elected
congressman we`re talking about.

BALL: Yes. It`s sad. It`s infuriating, frankly. And you know, as you`re
pointing out, Rev., what`s shocking here is he says it directly. He just
comes out and accuses Democrats of some war on whites. But there`s this
whole mythology in the conservative right that white men are the real
victims in this country, that white Christian men are under attack, and
that fuels a lot of the anger and the resentment you see in the base of the

So yes, it`s deeply shameful for the country for this congressman to be
using that kind of rhetoric and accusing Democrats of something so ugly and
so wrong.

SHARPTON: And Nia-Malika, all of us pursue to try and correct wrongs but
do it in a way that we bring people together. War on whites, I mean, you
cover Washington better than most. I mean, where`s this coming from? I
haven`t heard this since the angry white male vote 20 years ago, 25 years

HENDERSON: Yes. You know, I think you did correctly locate it in some
ways in the radio, right? These sort of right-wing radio hosts who have
quite an audience, they have said things like that, I think Glenn Beck said
something like that. He sort of backed away and apologized more recently,
but I think the sort of longer term --

SHARPTON: He called it stupid.

HENDERSON: Yes. He call it so. But I think the longer term problem that
Republicans have is whether or not this permanently damages their chances
with that Obama coalition which partly was white. It was also African-
Americans and it was also Latinos. Does this kind of rhetoric really have
a lasting impact on this party? And their chances at building a more
rainbow coalition that will support their party?

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika Henderson and Krystal Ball, I`m going to have to
leave it all. Thanks for your time tonight.

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

Coming up, a fight erupts between Nancy Pelosi and a Republican
congressman. And he forgot to check the facts.

And if you`re a Benghazi conspiracy theorists, it`s not a good day for you.
Wait until you see a new GOP House report. Guess they`ll have to come up
with a new one.

And a dramatic day in the Detroit court. The man charged with murdering an
unarmed teenager takes the stand. It was emotional, and it was surprising.
What did he say happened the night he fired that deadly shot? Stay with


SHARPTON: Our Republican lawmaker tells a whopper on the House floor, and
runs into a buzz saw named Nancy Pelosi. We`ll talk about that and the
GOP`s do-nothing agenda next.


SHARPTON: I didn`t think it was possible for the GOP-controlled House to
get any worse. Speaker Boehner`s house is home on vacation, resting after
all that lack of work.

Right now, Congress is on track to pass the fewest number of bills since
1947. Giving new meaning to the phrase do-nothing Congress. On issue
after issue, House Republicans have ignored the needs of the American
people and we`re seeing just how personal it`s getting.

Late Friday, Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino accused Nancy Pelosi of
ignoring the issue of immigration when she was speaker.


REP. TOM MARINO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You know something that I find quite
interesting about the other side? Under the leadership of the former
speaker and under the leadership of their former leader, when in 2009 and
2010, they had the House, the Senate, and the White House, and they knew
this problem existed, they didn`t have the strength to go after it back
then, but now they`re trying to make a political issue out of it now. What
we need to do is pass this legislation, make sure these children get back
to their families and we need to line up and protect this border from
people coming across.

It is true. I did the research on it. You might want to try it. You
might want to try it, madam leader. Do the research on it. Do the
research. I did it. That`s one thing that you don`t do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentleman will address his comments to the speaker.

MARINO: It works both ways, Mr. Speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman will continue. The gentleman is

MARINO: With that, I urge my colleagues to vote for this legislation
because apparently, I hit the right nerve.


SHARPTON: It was a stunning moment, and Nancy Pelosi crossed the House
floor to confront him, reminding the congressman that when she was speaker,
the House did act on immigration, passing the dream act. But they don`t
care about the facts, and guess where the congressman ran early this


MARINO: I`m not afraid to speak up. I`m a street fighter and I`m not
going to continue to have someone belittle and make statements that aren`t
true. And I`m going to stand up and fight for my constituents.


SHARPTON: If he actually cared about fighting for his constituents,
passing laws would be a good place to start.

Joining me now is Congressman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois.
Thank you for being here, congresswoman.


SHARPTON: You know, this attack on Nancy Pelosi really illustrates how
personal it`s getting. What`s your reaction?

SCHAKOWSKY: I would say that it`s sexist and that it was patronizing. Do
the research, Madam Leader. And he got exactly what he deserved. And then
for him to claim, I was the tough guy. I`m a street fighter, really? On
the floor of the House?

Misrepresenting what really happened. He did the research. And talking to
her in that condescending way. I`m really offended. And I was proud of
her for marching over. And by the way, she did it after the microphones
were off. She went over to talk to him personally. He broke the House
rules as the speaker and the chair said. You know, you`re not supposed to
direct comments personally, and he did just that. He deserved what he got
and shouldn`t be proud of it.

SHARPTON: Now, the campaign on for House Democrats put out a memo today,
Congresswoman, saying that Republicans are limping into August. Quote
"while House Republicans pander to their base and ignore the middle class,
House Democrats will spend August touting our middle-class jump-start. Our
action plan to create jobs in America, ensure equal pay for equal work and
make college more affordable."

Now, does this break off an opportunity for Democrats going into the
midterm elections?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, we`re going to be talking about things people really
care about, the kinds of things they discuss over their breakfast table or
their dinner table. Wondering if they`re going to be able to afford to
send their kids to college. People who are working two, three jobs and
still not even, you know, barely able to survive. We`re going to be
talking about raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work.

I mean, women should be very offended by this Republican agenda. Not about
repealing the affordable care act, but by making sure that we provide
health care to women and the contraceptives that they need.

We`re going to be talking about issues that people really care about, and
the Republicans in the meantime are going home talking about how they`re
suing the president of the United States. And by the way, I just would
like to know what the dollar figure, the price tag is for that foolishness.

SHARPTON: You know, some of the biggest issues that we`re facing talking
about price tags, are issues of economic fairness. President Obama talked
about that recently with the economist. Take a listen.


hedge fund manager say, he`s just trying to stir class resentment. No,
feel free to keep your house in the Hamptons and your corporate jet, et
cetera. I`m not concerned about how you`re living. I am concerned about
making sure that we have a system in which the ordinary person who`s
working hard and is being responsible can get ahead. And are seeing modest
improvements in their life prospects, if not for themselves then certainly
for the next generation.


SHARPTON: Leveling the playing field. Are these the kind of issues that
your constituents care about, Congresswoman?

SCHAKOWSKY: Yes. I am so offended that we left Washington without
extending unemployment insurance benefits, for example. You know, people
who have been out of work through no fault of their own, over 3.5 million
Americans who are really struggling. We were reading letters from them
every week in front of the House of Representatives.

These people are hurting. We could have easily passed -- it would have
taken us two minutes to extend unemployment insurance benefits. Meantime,
many of these people are going to end up homeless, no roof over their
children`s head. It`s really a sad thing when Congress neglects those

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thank you so much for your time

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a dramatic day in court as the shooter of Renisha
McBride takes the stand in his own defense. We`ll tell you what he said
about the night he shot her dead.

Also, why is Speaker Boehner spending taxpayer money on questions that have
already been answered? A new report exposes the GOP`s Benghazi hypocrisy.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: The August sun is bringing out the summer heat in the Kentucky
Senate race. Minority leader Mitch McConnell vowed to make Barack Obama a
one-term president. That didn`t go so well for him. Now, he`s in the
fight of his political life. A recent poll shows the five-term incumbent
neck and neck with his Democratic challenger, Allison Lundergan Grimes.
She also outraised him again last quarter by nearly $1 million. And it
looks like Grimes is just warming up.

This weekend, McConnell and Grimes faced off at the annual fancy farms
picnic in the blue grass state, and Grimes stole the show.


for Senator McConnell`s retirement party. If Mitch McConnell were a TV
show, he`d be "Mad Men" treating women unfairly, stuck in 1968, and ending
this season.


SHARPTON: The zingers just kept on coming. To be fair, Senator McConnell
got in plenty of jabs of his own, but if you ever heard Mitch McConnell
speak, you know his lines were delivered with a little less zest.

One thing is for sure, in the Kentucky Senate race, the heat is officially


SHARPTON: A dramatic turn in the Renisha McBride murder trial today. In a
surprise move, Theodore Wafer, the man charged with murdering the 19-year-
old was called to the stand. In November, he shot and killed the teenager
on his front porch when she showed up drunk but unarmed. Her family said
she was seeking help after a car accident. On the stand today, he gave his
account of what happened that night.


THEODORE WAFER, DEFENDANT: I hear this noise on the side of my house. I`m
not sure what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What`s the noise sound like?

WAFER: Loud. Knocking, banging. But I`m in my recliner.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Then what happens?

WAFER: It starts up again at the front door. Now it`s louder.


WAFER: That got me up.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And is the sound staying the same or is it getting

WAFER: Each time, it`s getting more violent. It`s escalating. The side
door starts getting attacked.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Is it worse than any sound you`ve heard yet?

WAFER: Yes. Directly on the door, my entry door itself. And I could feel
the floor vibrating, windows rattling.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What is going through your head?

WAFER: I don`t know what`s happening. I`m scared.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Have you ever felt this scared in your life?


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What`s your heart feeling like at this moment?

WAFER: It`s racing.


SHARPTON: Wafer testified he grabbed a baseball bat to scare off an
intruder, but the pounding got louder and he went to get his gun.


WAFER: I knew I had to get my gun. I didn`t know where this was going. I
thought somebody was coming through that door anytime. I had to find out
what was going on. I wanted to investigate this. I wasn`t going to cower
in my house. I didn`t want to be a victim. I went to the front door.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What is going through your head?

WAFER: This is trouble. This is not good.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Then what happens to you?

WAFER: So I open the door all the way, as much as I could. And soon as I
did that, this person came out from the side of my house so fast. That`s
when I raised the gun and shot.


SHARPTON: He didn`t want to cower so he shot. Will the jury believe he
acted in self-defense?

Joining me now, trial Attorney Carmen St. George and former prosecutor and
MSNBC legal analyst Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: I want to hear from you both, starting with Faith on how did he
do and what was your take away?

JENKINS: Well, his direct examination, that`s the easy part because he
gets to put his story out there and it`s not challenged. Where the rubber
meets the road in this case will be cross-examination because his various
stories of how and why he shot that gun will eventually come out because
now that he has testified today, we`ve heard three accounts of how and why
she he decided to shoot the shotgun. First it was an accident.

Then on the police video, he said that he was angry, he was mad, and he was
going to put an end to the knocking, and now today, he`s talking about
being in fear and the worst fear that he`s ever felt in his life. If
you`re a prosecutor on cross-examination, you`re going to attack him on
those various stories because now he`s giving three different accounts.
The law is very clear in Michigan on when you can use self defense and they
want to attack his story, attack his credibility and then turn to the jury
and say he can`t be believed. He`s told too many inconsistencies here.

SHARPTON: Carmen, your reaction?

GEORGE: Rev, I think he comes across as poised, compelling. I think the
jury has pause at this point to consider the self defense. He had to take
the stand. This is not a surprise to me, I don`t think too many, because
he has to assert his self defense. He has to give the jury something to
hold onto. He has to explain how he felt at that moment and what caused
his fear. And I think he`s doing it. I think he`s very controlled. He`s
presenting himself as balanced. I don`t think he`s giving off the
appearance that he`s making up a story. Yes, frankly, he`s going to be
cross-examined on the points that he gave the police a particular story or
version when inquired, and even he has to explain the accident versus at
this point the feeling of fear. But I think that that can be explained,
especially when he`s a person on the stand being able to deliver it.

SHARPTON: Well, Faith, let me play his original story on the scene was
that the gun discharged. Here`s what he told officers on the scene moments
after he shot Renisha.



WAFER: A consistent knocking on the door. And I`m trying to look through
the windows but every time I look through the windows, and the door it`s
banging somewhere else, so I open up the door kind of like who is this.
And the gun discharged. I didn`t know there was a round in there. I don`t
get it. Who`s knocking on your door at 4:30 in the morning, bang, bang,
bang, somebody wanting in.


SHARPTON: He seemed pretty composed there as he was telling a story that
he seemed like sounded reasonable.

JENKINS: Right. He`s very clear there. I didn`t even know there was a
round in there. The gun discharged. It`s almost like a reflex action.
And now on the witness stands today, he`s also very clear. I wasn`t going
to cower in my own home. He`s basically making a statement, someone is
threatening my home and I don`t have to cower in my own home, but that`s
not the law. The law is if someone is breaking into your home, you have
the right to use deadly force, or if you`re in fear for your life because
someone is posing an imminent threat towards you. That`s the law.

The law isn`t if you don`t feel like cowering in your own home, you get to
shoot and kill someone. That`s not the law. And also, his emotions on the
witness stand today. He showed various emotions, he cried numerous times
and now you`re going to have the prosecutor bring out that tape. He was
interviewed for two and a half hours the night after he killed Renisha
McBride. How many times that he cry then? Zero. Absolutely none. But
now in front of the judge, in front of the jury, in front of finder, a
fact, he`s getting emotional and crying. Is that --

SHARPTON: Carmen, let me deal with that. He became very emotional at
various times in his testimony today. Listen to this exchange with his


CHERYL CARPENTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Now that you know who it is, are there
days that you think about Renisha and her family?

WAFER: Every day. So devastating. This poor girl. She had her whole
life in front of her. I took that from her.


SHARPTON: Now, he showed a lot of remorse, crying today. But he`s got to
contrast that in the two and a half interview the day after he killed her
where he showed no emotion, remorse, or any tears at all. How does he deal
with that, Carmen?

GEORGE: Well, Rev, I think that what is displayed in front of the jury is
important here because he`s showing empathy and he`s showing emotion. And
that`s frankly necessary. I think that if he came across as stoic and
unemotional about it and frankly not cowering within his own home, if you
look at it that way, he`s going to look as the person who just takes a gun
and wields it at whoever comes through the door, but he basically was able
to explain to this jury that there was knocking, again, I have said it
before, on the side, in the front.

He`s letting these jurors think that there`s more than one person or at
least he believes that to be so. And that`s important. Yes, they
certainly have to deal with statements that were made before and the
position he`s taken at trial. That is certainly important, especially with
respect to the gun and whether it`s fired accidentally or intentionally at
this point.

SHARPTON: Faith, what does a prosecutor have to do tomorrow?

JENKINS: The prosecutor has to cross-examine him and get to the bottom
line with his inconsistencies because the night he was interviewed after
the shooting, the only emotion he said he felt the moments before he shot
that gun was anger. He said he was mad. That is not self-defense.

SHARPTON: Carmen St. George and Faith Jenkins, thank you both for your

JENKINS: Thank you, Rev.

GEORGE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, that`s a wrap. The Benghazi obsession might be over,
folks. Wait until you see a new report released from Republicans.

And a politics nation exclusive. We have the birthday cards Republicans
are sending President Obama.


SHARPTON: Turns out even some Republicans are fed up with the right.
Their scandal mongering especially on Benghazi. A new report from the GOP-
led House Intelligence Committee is demolishing once again the right`s
favorite myth about the terror attack in Benghazi. The report hasn`t been
released publicly yet, but Democrats say it confirms no one was
deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld, and no stand-down
order was given to U.S. forces. This was a bipartisan report adopted
unanimously last week from a committee where Republicans outnumbered
Democrats 12-nine.

This follows a slew of investigations over the past 18 months, all looking
for smoking gun to implicate the president and his administration in a
scandal that doesn`t exist. Eight different committees, 25,000 pages of
documents, 13 Congressional hearings and 50 special briefings. None of
them finding any evidence of a cover-up, but that`s not stopping the GOP`s
witch hunt. Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy is gearing up for his
special Benghazi committee with his first public hearing next month
throwing out questions that have already been answered time and time again.
It was a tragedy what happened in Benghazi, but it was not a scandal. But
Republicans just can`t seem to let it go.

Joining me now, Dana Milbank and Jess McIntosh. Thank you both for being



SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Dana. How many times do Republicans need
to prove themselves wrong before they actually believe it?

MILBANK: Well, you know, you could look at this and say this just proves
that a conspiracy is broader than anybody thought because now even all of
the house Republicans on the Intelligence Committee are part of the cover-
up trying to protect this administration. So, this is the fourth
comprehensive report, one at the State Department, one Senate Intelligence,
then we had two house committees, both controlled by Republicans, both
saying, hey, guys, nothing up here. Nothing up here with the talking

Nothing up with the stand-down orders. Yes, things may not have been
handled as best as they could have. No conspiracy. Nothing doing here. I
suspect it will only fuel further the belief among Republicans out there in
the grassroots that they`re getting a raw deal and that Trey Gowdy and his
special committee better really find out what`s going on.

SHARPTON: You know, Jess, Congressman Gowdy announced this special
committee hearing, we`ll be meeting in September, next month. And they`ve
already hired staff, and they requested and been given a $3.3 million
budget. You know, I thought Republicans were supposed to be the fiscally
conservative group. How can they justify this complete waste of taxpayer

MCINTOSH: If facts or the threat of national embarrassment were a
deterrent for the Republican Party, they would have knocked this off a long
time ago, but clearly it`s not. What boggles the mind to me is that this
is 2014, and this is supposed to be their year. They have the map. It`s
the midterms. They have the narrative. This is supposed to be
Republicans` year, but all they can do is talk about investigating Benghazi
and how they`re not talking about impeachment, which doesn`t actually offer
a ton of voters. And these are house Republicans we`re talking about. A
lot of them are asking voters for a promotion. This is the team that
Republicans are going to try to take back the Senate with. And I can`t see
that being appealing to voters.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, time and again, Republicans have compared
Benghazi to Watergate. Listen.


JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Somebody the other day said to me, this is as
bad as Watergate. Nobody died in Watergate.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Benghazi gate is the right kind of
term for this. I think this is very, very serious. Probably more serious
than Watergate.

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: That`s going to go down in history as the
greatest cover-up. And I`m talking about it compared to the Pentagon
papers, Iran contra, Watergate and the rest of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Get to the bottom of it like we did in Watergate and

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: If you had Watergate and Iran-contra together
and multiply it times maybe ten or so, you`re going to get into the zone of
what Benghazi is.


SHARPTON: Eight investigations have found no wrongdoing, and it`s worse
than Watergate?

MILBANK: Well, that`s what makes what`s happening with this report
extraordinary. And it`s important to say that we don`t have the documents,
but nobody is yet challenging what the Democrats on that panel are saying.
So what is making this Republican-led committee decide unanimously to knock
this down? Maybe they have had about enough of it because you have seen
the Intelligence Committee, Armed Services, other committees getting
shunted aside to handle this over to Trey Gowdy. And I think what you`re -
- the willingness to get this out in public now is saying, wait a second,
you`re not going to tell us that we didn`t do our job. They did do our
jobs and they found out where the evidence have been pointing all along.

SHARPTON: Jess, let me ask you. What does this do for Darrell Issa who
has really been the one driving this until we get to Gowdy?

MCINTOSH: I go back to the point about them seemingly being impervious to
embarrassment. So, I guess it doesn`t do very much to Darrell Issa at all.
But it should make Republicans afraid, not just for 2014, but for 2016
also. When Emily`s list first polled about the possibility of electing a
woman president, we found that battle ground voters thought that women were
likely to have the right judgment, priorities and ability to cut through
partisan bickering and put families first. In the face of numbers like
that, I could see how Republicans might be very, very frightened of a
potential Hillary Clinton presidency.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s interesting you brought that up because they`re
hoping, Dana, that this Benghazi stuff would also hurt Hillary Clinton.
Listen to what Rand Paul said on Friday.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: If you`re not in charge enough of the state
department to be in charge of the people who work for you and you don`t
read the cables from one of the most dangerous spots on earth, frankly, you
preclude yourself from ever being the commander-in-chief at this time.


SHARPTON: Now, what`s interesting about that, Dana, is they accuse the
Obama administration of politicizing Benghazi. Isn`t that exactly what
they`re doing there?

MILBANK: Well, of course, and we`ve seen fund-raising off of Benghazi.
It`s going to get harder and harder to do that now that you even have
elected Republicans in the house saying it. But you know, I suspect that
it will not stop anybody. We`ll probably see all this as some sort of
conspiracy because it`s occurring on President Obama`s birthday.

SHARPTON: Can they try -- because of the birthday. You had to slip that
in, Dana. Jess, can they -- their attempt to put this at Mrs. Clinton`s
feet backfire on them politically?

MCINTOSH: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I think that every time they pull a
stunt like this, it just more clearly shows the contrast between the two
parties. Democrats including Hillary Clinton are talking about things like
raising the minimum wage, economic opportunity, ending gender
discrimination and pay, access to health care, and Republicans are spending
taxpayer dollars on insulting stunts. I think that voters are going to see
that very clearly in 2014 and in 2016.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. Dana Milbank and Jess
McIntosh, thank you both for your time tonight.

Still ahead, as Dana said, it`s the president`s birthday. We have a very
special birthday for President Obama. We`ll have some fun imagining what
kind of birthday wishes he would get from people like Darrell Issa, Mitt
Romney, and John Boehner. Stay with us.



going to ask me of how I was going to spend my birthday. What happened to
the happy birthday thing?


SHARPTON: He was disappointed that reporters didn`t ask him about his
birthday last week. But today is the day. Happy birthday, Mr. President.
He turns 53 today. And the well wishers are pouring in. First Lady
Michelle Obama tweeted, "Happy birthday to the man who always makes me
proud. Thank you for your friendship, honesty and compassion. I will love
you always." Bill Clinton writes, "Happy birthday, they say the job of
president ages you, but, well, that`s it." Vice President Biden tweeted,
"Happy birthday, President Obama." With a great photo of the two sharing a
laugh. But you might not expect this one. Many Republicans also sent the
president birthday greetings. And POLITICS NATION has the exclusive.

We were able to get our hands on them. Ted Cruz writes, "Happy birthday,
King Obama. Only you could have just given yourself a birthday." Even
Darrell Issa sent one. "Happy birthday. Hope you can blow out all the --
I mean candles on your cake this year." Mitt Romney has been back in the
news. He writes, "A special happy 53rd birthday, Mr. President. I usually
only acknowledge when someone turns 47." "Happy birthday, President Obama.
It`s your party, and you can cry whatever you want to," signed John
Boehner. And Rush writes, "Hope you enjoy your day back home in Kenya."

Happy birthday, President Obama. That is if this really is your birthday.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, finding solutions together to prevent further
tragedy. The New York medical examiner has concluded that Eric Garner died
from a chokehold and that was his cause of death. It was listed a
homicide. It`s now time for the city and police officials to work with
community leaders to take positive steps together for justice. This
weekend here in New York, police officers arrested the man who recorded the
video of the police chokehold that killed Eric Garner.

Ramsey Arthur was arraigned on weapons charges today. His case will now
proceed through the criminal justice system as it should, but of course,
that arrest doesn`t have any bearing at all on the Garner case. The video
that Mr. Arthur recorded speaks for itself. And if the district attorney
has a conflict of interest in prosecuting a man who may be also called as a
witness, then the Garner case should be turned over to federal authorities.
But tonight, the important thing is also to create positive change from
this tragedy.

And to work together on solutions that move us forward. Illegal chokeholds
must be held accountable. I don`t believe all cops are bad, I don`t even
believe most are, but we must deal with those that are wrong, just as we
deal with bad elements in the community. We must come together sometimes
and say things that make us uncomfortable, but we must seek solutions, not
just get caught up in the noise on our way to doing that`s.

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


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

Sponsored links

Resource guide