August 7, 2014
Guest: Seema Iyer; Eric Guster, E.J. Dionne, Krystal Ball, Barbara
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks for
We begin with breaking news tonight. A humanitarian crisis and planning
for a possible military action in Iraq. NBC News reports President Obama
is now considering air strikes and humanitarian air drops to help tens of
thousands of Iraqi civilians who are under siege tonight by Islamic
terrorists. The militant group ISIS trapped up to 40,000 members of a
small religious minority on a mountain top in northwestern Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: They are unable to
access food and water. They don`t have access to shelter. And they have
fled persecution and efforts to leave the mountain are blocked by ISIL
forces vowing to kill them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The refugees are near the Syrian border without food or water,
surrounded by armed militants who have threatened to kill them. An aid
worker in the region says 40 children have already died with thousands more
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation for them is they are on the mountains,
they are on the sides of the mountains, they have got no vegetations, no
cover, sleeping in the open. No food, water or medical supplies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: President Obama met with his national security team earlier but
the administration is not confirming or denying any decision that`s been
made. If the president offers air strikes to help the refugees, it would
be the first American combat action in Iraq since troops pulled out in
NBC`s Kristen Welker is live at the White House.
Kristen, what do we know at this hour?
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Reverend Al, I can tell you
that President Obama in addition to meeting with the national security team
earlier today has been in meetings throughout the afternoon as he considers
what actions he might take to deal with that humanitarian crisis you
described in Iraq.
So just to recap, among the options, he`s considering air strikes against
selected extremist targets and also air drops that would provide food and
water to those tens of thousands of displaced religious minorities who are
trapped on the mountain top.
Now, earlier today, we asked the White House press secretary Josh Earnest
if President Obama had made a decision. He said that no decision has been
made but he reiterated the president isn`t going to put U.S. boots on the
ground. And he reiterated the administration`s call for a government
that`s inclusive. The Obama administration thinks that`s at the root of
the crisis. And so they continue their calls for that.
Having said that, they do acknowledge this is a humanitarian crisis. There
is a sense of urgency, a desire to deal with the situation to help those
people trapped now. And a way of thinking about this is the situation in
Libya. There was, of course, no appetite for boots on the ground in Libya
for significant U.S. intervention.
But the Obama administration believed that they needed to take action there
to deal with the crisis on the ground. And that`s similar to the thinking
that`s unraveling here at the White House right now. And I am told any
action that`s taken will be limited in scope.
So, again, meetings ongoing here behind the scenes at the White House. Of
course there is not a national appetite for military intervention. The
polls tell us that. But this is a different situation given the scope and
scale of the humanitarian crisis. As you point out, as many as 40,000
people continue to be trapped on the mountain top without access to food or
water. Back to you.
SHARPTON: Now, of course, Kristen, is there a timetable? I mean, has
there been any set time deadline that they are going to make a decision on
what to do.
WELKER: I think that`s an important question. They are not giving us a
specific timeline. But based on my conversations here, I wouldn`t be
surprised if we got some type of announcement about the president`s
thinking within the next 24 hours. There is a sense of urgency, that
something needs to be done shortly because, of course, as you said,
children are dying. As many as 40 children have died already. And there
is a real sense that this catastrophe could escalate.
And one word that was used in the briefing earlier today was genocide. The
possibility that this could become a genocide and does the administration
not have a responsibility to prevent it from happening. And so, that is I
think that`s part of what`s shaping the thinking behind the scenes and
shaping the sense of urgency here.
SHARPTON: Kristen Welker at the White House. Thanks for your time. And
we will be looking for you to give us any updates if something different
WELKER: I will, thank you.
SHARPTON: Now, let`s bring in former Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy
who was the first Iraq war vet elected to Congress and "Washington Post`s"
Let me go to you first, Congressman, what factors are the president
considering as he thinks about the new crisis this Iraq?
PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure, Reverend. You know, what the
president is considering right now is, you know, on the one hand you have
humanitarian assistance. You have 40,000 religious minorities who are
getting squeezed off on that mountain top by ISIS, which is a radical
group, as you know, to the right of Al Qaeda. And also potential military
strikes against ISIS because (INAUDIBLE) because they want to try and free
up the access roads.
I will tell you on the first part of it, Reverend, when you talk about
humanitarian aid, and there is nothing to confirm the Pentagon press
secretary just denied any air drops happening now. but let`s be very
clear. There are 40,000 people up there. We have serious report that
there are at least 40 casualties, deaths from ISIS because of lack of food
and especially water. So I anticipate -- I`m not confirming it`s
happening. But I anticipate there will be humanitarian aid driven by the
United States of America`s military to those 40,000 refugees on that
mountain top within hours.
SHARPTON: Well Congressman, they can`t really do the food drops without
some kind of air strikes because of the reports they are surrounded by is,
MURPHY: Not necessarily. You could still do without it, but it`s a two
pronged measure. So they still might -- they might still be able to do it.
And I think they would favor to do it without necessarily the air strikes
because those air strikes would be coming from above. But I do anticipate
those access roads being cleared by military strike and that would be
against ISIS and those access roads to obviously that area.
Reverend,. at the end of the day, it`s a tragic situation what`s going on
SHARPTON: No doubt. You`re talking about children.
You know, E.J., today the White House press secretary, he also seemed to be
-- well, he did set limits on U.S. action in Iraq. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EARNEST: There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq.
We can`t solve this problems for them. These problems can only be solved
with Iraqi political solutions. The president has also made clear that
American military action in Iraq would not include combat boots on the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Would this be an isolated operation or could we wind up being
involved in Iraq in a bigger way, E.J.?
E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I don`t think we will.
And I don`t think we should send troops back to Iraq. But I actually do
think air strikes would be appropriate in this case. And I have a feeling
that`s where the administration is going when you heard Kristen`s report
about the administration using the word "Genocide." I think that`s a
signal that they clearly think there is a responsibility to protect these
And when you look at the situation as it is now, ISIS is a very dangerous
group. The Kurds have been long-time U.S. allies. This isn`t something of
convenience all of the sudden. And they have been getting beaten on the
battlefield lately. And this is a genuine refugee crisis, 40,000 people,
members of religious minorities. Lord knows what would happen to them if
they had to surrender to ISIS.
And so, I think there is a logic that leads America to intervene with air
strikes, you know. And a lot of people say everything is a slippery slope.
I don`t think this would be a slippery slope. I mean, we are, even without
more military there, we are engaged with the Iraqi government right now.
We do have military advisers there. And I have a strong hunch without
knowing -- no one has told me. But given the signals they are sending I
think we will get to the a strike and I personally think that`s
SHARPTON: E.J., but an NBC poll just last month showed that Americans
regret the Iraq war. An overwhelming majority of Americans, 71 percent.
They said the Iraq war wasn`t worth it. Just 22 percent said it was. But
with this kind of humanitarian crisis, would Americans support some kind of
DIONNE: I think there would be some response. There`s been a lot of
attention to the fact that Christians face persecution right now. And I
think a lot of, obviously, a lot of American Christians would say can we
just let those people go? It`s the kind of reaction we should have to
people who aren`t necessarily Christians. But I think that will give the
president some support he wouldn`t have, if he does go for military force.
But look, I was not for the war. I think the war with was a mistake. But
you have to deal with the world as it is, not the world you wish you had at
the risk of sounding like Donald Rumsfeld here. And the president
inherited a mess there. He got our troops out. There is a new problem now
with ISIS. And I think, you know, it`s in the interest of the United
States to contain at least contain is. And I think it`s a humanitarian
obligation, in this case, to use our power because we have already affected
the balance of power by our earlier intervention there in Iraq whether we
like it or not.
SHARPTON: Congressman, the White House says there is no military solution
to this. What`s the purely political diplomatic way forward in Iraq, given
MURPHY: Reverend, that`s the end game, it is the political solution. I
mean, this does as they said today from the White House, the military
solution, whether it`s through the humanitarian aid which I anticipate,
through the strategic air strikes to break up access roads, so we can get
supplies for the 40,000 refugees.
I anticipate it as well. But that still doesn`t give you the end game. As
you said, Reverend, the end game is Malaki, a Shia leader going to reach
out to the Sunnis. Not the Sunni-ISIS members, but the moderate Sunnis in
the region that were on our side to kick out Al Qaeda many years ago. Will
he do his job as president of Iraq? It`s his responsibility. We can
encourage him as much as we want. But until Iraqi leaders show leadership
and show they want to govern as one and not govern as just as Shia leaders,
that`s the solution. And that`s what everyone should be hopeful for
because that`s the end game.
SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there.
Congressman Murphy and E.J. Dionne, please stay with us.
Again, we are watching breaking news from the White House. President Obama
considering air strikes in Iraq. We`ll bring updates throughout the show.
Also ahead, today`s other big story. The porch shooter found guilty of
murder in the Renisha McBride case. What this verdict could mean for self-
Also, a rare event, President Obama signs a bipartisan bill into law. But
as he was signing it, some Republicans were talking impeachment. Stay with
SHARPTON: Live pictures from the White House where tonight President Obama
is considering air strikes and humanitarian aid to help tens of thousands
of Iraqi civilians, those civilians under siege by Islamic militants. We
are monitoring events there at the White House and we`ll bring you updates
throughout the hour.
But up next, the so-called porch shooter found guilty in the murder of
Renisha McBride. What impact might this have on self-defense claims around
the country? That`s next.
SHARPTON: Guilty on all counts. A jury of 12 found Theodore Wafer guilty
of murder in the second degree, manslaughter and felony firearm in the
killing of Renisha McBride last November. On November 2nd, 19-year-old
Renisha McBride was intoxicated and crashed her car into a parked vehicle
around 1:00 a.m. A few hours later, drunk but unarmed, she ended up on
Wafer`s porch. Her family said she was looking for help. But the 55-year-
old shot McBride in the face through a closed door. At this trial, Wafer
took the stand in his own defense. Emotionally claiming he shot in self-
defense, but today`s verdict shows the jury didn`t find his claim credible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury find the defendant Theodore Wafer as
follows. Count one, murder in the second degree, guilty of murder this the
second degree. Count two, manslaughter. Guilty of statutory manslaughter.
Count three, felony firearm, guilty of felony firearm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Guilty of murder in the second degree. Guilty of statutory
manslaughter. Guilty of felony firearm. Wafer sat emotionless as the jury
read the verdict. He was taken into police custody and will be sentenced
in just over two weeks. Renisha`s friends and family cried as the verdict
was read. Her mother praised prosecutors after the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA MCBRIDE, VICTIM`S MOTHER: I kept the faith. And I stayed positive.
Also did Renisha`s father. He just kept telling me, it`s going to happen.
So I`m very pleased. I`m astonished.
We know as parents how we raised her. She was not violent. She was a
regular teenager. She was well raised and brought up with loving family
and her life mattered and we showed that. I didn`t have anger. I didn`t
have grudge. I wasn`t passing judgment. That`s God`s job. I just wanted
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This case has drawn attention to the self-defense laws in states
all over this country. The laws are open to interpretation and allow
people to act with a shoot first, ask questions later mentality. Perhaps
the verdict will get people to think twice before opening fire.
Joining me now, criminal defense attorney Eric Guster, criminal defense
attorney Seema Iyer and former prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst, Faith
Jenkins. Thank you for being here tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Let`s go around the hunt and start with you Eric, you expected a
ERIC GUSTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I did.
SHARPTON: Your reaction.
GUSTER: I was shocked we got a verdict, especially today. I thought it
would be either late tomorrow or first thing Monday when they went home and
thought about it. Because with this jury makeup and the charges as well as
the evidence, I didn`t think we`d reach a verdict at all, reverend Al.
SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m stunned. Absolutely stunned,
Rev. I, along with Eric, thought perhaps a hung jury. Then maybe
manslaughter. But absolutely no homicide. That is not justified here. If
you look at the charge, Rev., the prosecution was relying on the section
where it says that perhaps he knowingly created a very high risk of death
or great bodily harm, knowingly. That`s the crux of their argument and my
dissension here. Because Rev., everyone agrees it was 4:30 in the morning.
He woke up. He was alarmed. He was asleep. We don`t know if he was
actually fully awake. So I would have liked --
SHARPTON: We don`t know he wasn`t either.
IYER: I will tell you why, Rev. Because the defense should have called an
expert. A sleep expert to show that physiologically and there is science
to prove he was in between rem and awake cycle. And so, we don`t know his
cognitive ability and we don`t know because we didn`t have a expert --.
SHARPTON: Before we rebut, your reaction to the verdict.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: I am -- it was the right
verdict. It was the thing to do based on the law. Knowingly, he shot her
in the face. What do you think is going to happen when you shoots someone
in the face?
The ultimate question here was whether self-defense should have been
invoked. Whether he believed he was in imminent fear for his life or great
bodily injury, and was he reasonable in that belief. And when you look at
the fact, you have someone knocking and pounding on the door. He opens
that door and there is a closed and locked screen door between them.
That`s not an imminent threat against you that you are about to be killed
or imminently harmed. The jury got it right.
SHARPTON: Well, let me say this because this is why I think it has such
implications possibly around the country, as I said earlier. The jury
instructions fell out Michigan`s self- defense law, very clearly outlining
a person`s duty to retreat to avoid using deadly force. The instructions
say if the defendant honestly and reasonably believed that it was
immediately necessary to use deadly force to protect himself, herself from
an imminent threat of death or serious injury, the law doesn`t require
him/her to retreat. He/she may stand his/her ground and use the amount of
force he/she believes necessary to protect himself/herself. Obviously,
this jury does not believe he was in that position.
JENKINS: Right. He had other options. He claimed he could not find his
cell phone but you could find (INAUDIBLE) shotgun. He had other options.
He was in his home. Someone is pounding at the door. You can go. You
find your phone, you call the police. You don`t open the door.
IYER: Faith, he was asleep. He was asleep!
JENKINS: That`s not what he testified to.
IYER: He testified that he was woken up at 4:30 many the morning. Yes, he
was asleep. So we agree upon that. So with there, for we don`t know what
stage he was in. Did he really have his faculties together?
SHARPTON: He didn`t identify that. When he testified he didn`t say he was
asleep. Did he sleep walk to find the gun?
IYER: How do we know he didn`t, Rev.? He was woken up.
SHARPTON: But how do we know that he did?
IYER: Because he couldn`t find a cell phone.
IYER: That`s my bigger issue. It is now, why do we get this verdict?
Perhaps it is because the defense didn`t call an expert. A medical expert
should have testify as his state of mind.
SHARPTON: How much did he testify?
IYER: That`s not enough, Rev.
GUSTER: I don`t think he had a choice but to testify.
SHARPTON: How much did it help or hurt him?
GUSTER: I don`t think it helped or hurt necessarily.
IYER: It hurt him.
GUSTER: Because in this case, he had to explain some things. He gave
statements which statements are really what hurt him when he said initially
that it was an accident. That`s what really hurt him. And he didn`t know
the gun was loaded. In my opinion that was hurt him more than anything
else in the trial. Absolutely.
SHARPTON: But we haven`t heard from the jury as we are going to hopefully
one day soon hear from the jury and find out.
But we asked you before the show, what you thought some of the more pivotal
in the case where Eric and Seema, you both said that Wafer taking the stand
in his defense was a flash point. Listen to him make his case for self-
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THEODORE WAFER, KILLED RENISHA MCBRIDE: I can feel the floor vibrating,
windows rattling. I don`t know what`s happening. Scared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever felt this scared in your life?
WAFER; No. I didn`t know where this was going. I thought somebody was
coming through the door at any time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you pull the trigger?
WAFER; To protect myself, defend myself. It was them or me at that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Was it that they didn`t believe him or that it wasn`t enough for
them to believe it warranted the action?
GUSTER: I think it wasn`t enough for them to believe him. Because when
you have this case and you have different statements, that`s what can kill
it. That can eliminate your defense in that particular issue because the
jury saw, if you believe part or all of the testimony, then you disregard
all of it. And that`s what I believe what probably they did.
IYER: They were more reasonable doubts, that we are not presented to this
jury. For instance perhaps he was trying to just scare them off. Perhaps
he was going to fire a warning shot. And this wasn`t presented to the
jury. Again with the screen door, we still don`t know how the damage
And Rev., I`m saying to you and I hope that everyone at the table will
agree with me. He does seem remorseful. And in the dozens of homicides I
have tried, clients are not often remorseful for taking someone`s life,
even when they are more justified.
JENKINS: A lot of defendants are remorseful after they do what they do.
It`s about how he felt now. IT is about how he felt in that moment when he
shot and killed Renisha McBride and shot her in the face.
IYER: He called 911.
SHARPTON: There were conversations tonight with the police that were a
turning point in the case. Let`s listen to the statements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAFER: 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. It discharged and it --
unfortunately you know, that person was standing right there. Just like
that she went off. I didn`t expect it to go off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JENKINS: He lied that night. After he shot her, he lied. A 12-gauge
shotgun doesn`t just go off. And the prosecution presented evidence about
the number of steps it takes for someone to fire a 12-gauge shotgun. So
the night of the incident he said, it was an accident. This accidentally
happened. It just went off. Realizing that that probably wasn`t going to
work at some point he comes up with the self-defense claim. The smart
jurors saw those statements they realized at some point he didn`t tell the
truth and he came up with a self defense.
SHARPTON: Let me go further. He get sense in a little over two weeks.
What do you predict he gets? Life?
JENKINS: I don`t think he is going to get life. I think there are
mitigating circumstances here. He certainly didn`t put himself in this
situation. It`s sort of presented.
SHARPTON: So a long sentence. He could get up to -- tor second degree
JENKINS: He could get up to life.
SHARPTON: Manslaughter, 15 years, felony, two years.
JENKINS: I think minimum 15 years.
SHARPTON: What does he gets to you?
IYER: I think it`s more than 15.
GUSTER: I think it is 15 to 20, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: All right. Eric Guster, Seema Iyer and Faith Jenkins. You can
tell from the panel it`s a hot trial but it`s over. He found guilty in all
Thank you for your time tonight. We`ll watch the sentencing.
Still ahead, we are watching breaking news tonight from the White House.
President Obama is considering air strikes in Iraq. The White House just
released this photo of the president meeting with his national security
team in the situation room earlier today. More on this developing story
SHARPTON: We are following breaking news. The White House just released
this photo of President Obama in the Situation Room today meeting with his
National Security advisers on the crisis in Iraq. He`s considering air
strikes and humanitarian aid to help thousands of Iraqi civilians who are
under attack by Islamic militants. We are monitoring developments and
we`ll bring them to you as they happen.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight. NBC News confirms the humanitarian
mission in Iraq has begun. U.S. planes are in the air though the air drops
have not started yet. The President reviewing the need for air strikes in
Iraq to help tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Earlier today we saw a
sight that`s become all too rare these days -- a bill signing. This
morning President Obama talked about reforming the Veterans Affairs
Department including the new V.A. bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: In a few minutes we`ll take another
step forward. When I sign into law the V.A. reform bill that was passed
overwhelmingly with bipartisan majorities. And that doesn`t happen often
in Congress. It`s a good deal.
It doesn`t happen often. And so it`s big news when it does. The bill
provides over a billion dollars for 27 new V.A. clinics. Five billion
dollars to hire medical staff. And $10 billion to ensure timely care for
veterans. At today`s signing there was just one little question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, VERMONT: Do you remember how to sign these things?
OBAMA: Just barely. I don`t get enough practice. I want more. I want
more. I told folks after we signed the work force training bill. I said,
this feels good, doesn`t it? You know, we should do it more often.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Passing bills is now so hard it`s a joke. And that`s the cost
of the GOP`s gridlock and extremism. Today, Tea Party groups announced
impeachment rallies. Accusing the president of bald-faced lying. Bizarre
and erratic behavior. And supporting al Qaeda. It`s ridiculous. And yet,
impeachment is gaining traction in the right-wing media. Here`s Fox host
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE (R), ARKANSAS: There is no doubt he`s done plenty
of things worthy of impeachment. We don`t have order because we have a
president who has put the border agents 40 miles from the border. The
government is going to have to secure the border. There is a big
difference between what we owe God and what we owe Caesar. And right now
we have Caesar acting like God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Caesar acting like God? Elected Republicans should denounce
this stuff. Instead, some are actually embracing it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BILL FLORES (R), TEXAS: If you were to ask many folks in the house,
has the president violated the law and would he be worthy of oh
impeachment, I think a fair number of people would say yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Worthy of impeachment? A member of Congress echoing a phrase
used by far right pundits. It`s not worthy of our politics or this
country. If Republicans would put it aside, we would make some real
progress as today`s bill signing showed.
Back with me now is the Washington Post E.J. Dionne. And his new article
about the gridlock in Washington titled "Plain Vanilla Bipartisanship."
And MSNBC`s Krystal Ball. Thank you both for being here.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us.
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be back, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Krystal, how do we get to the point it is almost a surprise that
a bill to help veterans get through Congress for the president to sign?
BALL: Yes. It`s a pretty sad statement here. And in fact, of course the
numbers showed that it is in reality a surprise. Because we are on track
to have the worst Congress in modern history in terms of actually getting
things done. And a lot of it, you`re right to point to the extreme right
wing of the party that is really taken control of the Republican Party.
Now the leadership loves to say, well, it`s really Democrats that are
pushing this idea of impeachment. We are not talking about it. They`re
just using it as a political trick for fundraising and for their own
But in fact, when you have members of Congress, when you have former
presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee. When you have even Sarah Palin
who was, of course, once their vice presidential nominee coming out and
saying this president is lawless and should be impeached, that`s something
that we can`t just ignore. And also, you have to talk about the fact that
the leadership here has done nothing to tamp down that sort of discussion.
They have allowed the conspiracy theories that the president is, for
example, actually wants the undocumented children to come here. Wants the
nation overrun with illegal immigrants. They just allow that talk to go
forward and they do nothing to tamp it down.
SHARPTON: You know, E.J., in your new column you list so-called "Plain
Vanilla" Items, things Republicans used to support or should support given
their ideology. Like extending the earned income tax credit, refundable
child tax credit, infrastructure bill, minimum wage raise, pre-k expansion,
paid family leave, no rules for flexible work schedules. E.J., what do
conservatives say when you ask them about ideas like these. I mean, why
isn`t there support?
DIONNE: Well, I think you know, I divided my list in two. There are
already conservatives on the record for on the child tax credit, they talk
about it all the time. Although the house passed a bill recently that cut
it off over the long run for low income families which is not a good idea.
But they like that. Paul Ryan has formally supported extending the earned
income tax credit to people without kids. There are a lot of working
people out there who don`t have kids who need help if they work full-time
just to get even toward the poverty line.
Infrastructure, everybody used to support rebuilding our country. I quote
in the column, Steve Latorette, former republican member who said that he
left Congress when they couldn`t even pass a transportation bill anymore.
DIONNE: And I think that on some of the others which they used to support
like the minimum wage increase, they just have embraced these right winger
arguments that say this is a job killer when there are all kinds of studies
that show that that`s not what happens because minimum wage increase gives
people more purchasing power to spend in the economy.
SHARPTON: And they used to vote for minimum wage hikes.
SHARPTON: Krystal, a new poll shows something they did vote for. Most
Americans don`t approve. And that is Speaker Boehner`s lawsuit. Just 15
percent of Democrats approve. Thirty six percent of independents approve.
Republicans are the only group that support it. Sixty six percent. I
mean, should this serve as a warning to any republican, considering even
going further than that with impeachment?
BALL: Right. Well, they backed themselves into a corner here, right? In
2010 when they had the successful electoral wave and took over a lot of
state houses they redrew all these Congressional districts to be super
favorable for Republicans making them in deep red.
SHARPTON: And far right Republicans.
BALL: Exactly. Making them as deep red as possible. And so now we see
that they only care about the far right of the party. Those are the people
that they have given control too. So, while they can`t move on any kind of
policy that would actually move the country forward including immigration
reform which their own autopsy said they must get done, since they can`t
move on that, the one thing that they can do is anything to oppose this
president. And they think that in order to tamp down the impeachment talk,
the way to do it is through a lawsuit.
Now, they don`t realize that because of the rhetoric that they themselves
have engaged in calling the president lawless, the base is never going to
be satisfied with a lawsuit. If the president is lawless, the base thinks,
why not impeach him? That`s what they are looking for. So, this is an
attempt to try to get away from impeachment, I suppose. But we all know,
we can see where this is headed. They will never going to be satisfied.
SHARPTON: You know, E.J., some republicans who`ve called for impeachment
are now accusing the president of hyping it. Listen to what Michele
Bachmann said this week versus what she said two weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Please, go ahead and impeach me.
Impeach me. Because the president knows if the republicans do that, that
will help their electoral chances this fall. He`s trying to egg that on.
What our president has done is commit impeachable offenses so far. He`s
committed them in terms of his lawless acts. It is up to Congress to make
the case and explain to the people why we have to impeach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, is this a new GOP tactic to throw out something, hype it
up and then turned around and accuse the president and the democrats of
DIONNE: Well, you know, some of these republicans act as if they don`t
realize that recording equipment has been invented. So that you can
actually compare what they say.
BALL: We can hear you Michele Bachmann.
DIONNE: What they say, today, it`s astonishing. If you go back, there`s
been talk about impeaching the president for years.
DIONNE: And you bet, the democrats are going to talk about this threat
because it does mobilize their people -- but it mobilizes their people
because these -- the republicans have been talking about it over and over
again. And I think Krystal made a very important point. Which is, if you
look at the logic that they are using to justify their lawsuit, it is
exactly the same logic you would use to justify impeachment. If you keep
saying that President Obama is lawless, then why aren`t you impeaching him?
DIONNE: And so, you know, it`s really crazy. And when Speaker Boehner
came out and said, democrats are inventing this, I guess he, too, forgot
that recording equipment had been invented. Because you could spend this
whole show just showing footage of republicans calling for impeachment.
SHARPTON: Oh, yes. The recording equipment not only gets it, it retains
it. E.J. Dionne and Krystal Ball, thank you for your time tonight.
BALL: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: You should watch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.
Coming up, a new report on voter suppression should be a big wake-up call
for democrats this fall.
And more on tonight`s breaking news, NBC News reporting the humanitarian
mission in Iraq has begun to bring aid to tens of thousands of refugees.
President Obama also considering air strikes. More on that ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE BACHMANN, U.S. FIRST LADY: When it comes to the midterm election
this is November we need you to be as passionate and as hungry as you were
back in 2008 and 2012. In fact, you need to be even more passionate and
more hungry to get democrats elected to Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: First Lady Michelle Obama on how democrats need to get out and
vote this year. But a wake-up call in the Washington Post today. The
democratic base has the blahs. With a new poll showing key groups of
democratic supporters are much less enthusiastic about voting than usual.
But now is not the time to relax. Because voter suppression is very much a
reality. This week marks the 49th anniversary since President Lyndon
Johnson signed the voting rights act.
But a new report out today on the state of voting finds, quote, "voting
discrimination is a frequent and ongoing problem in the United States."
With hundreds of instances of voter suppression just since 1995. This is a
problem that isn`t going away and the fight is more important than ever.
Since last year the Supreme Court struck down crucial portions of the
voting rights act. We can`t under estimate the importance of this year`s
election or the importance of the right to vote.
Joining me now is Barbara Arnwine, the president of the Lawyers` Committee
for Civil Right which is put out this new report. First of all, thank you
for being here.
BARBARA ARNWINE, LAWYERS` COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: Thank you for having
me and covering this very important issue.
SHARPTON: Barbara, you found voter discrimination is still rampant. What
stood out to you?
ARNWINE: It`s very awful. I mean what stood out was all the number of new
voter suppression laws that have been passed, the number of lawsuits.
Three hundred and thirty two successful lawsuits against, you know, states
and jurisdictions for voting discrimination since 1995. So many other
things. Really what worries me is the finding in the report that the
federal government, the Department of Justice because of the Supreme Court
ruling will not be sending federal observers to the states to monitor
elections to make sure they are being conducted in a fair and racially
SHARPTON: Now, you know, the report found five states have the worst
records on voting discrimination.
ARNWINE: That`s right.
SHARPTON: They were Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South
Carolina. These states were all previously covered by section five on the
voting rights act. Doesn`t this show how much we needed that protection?
ARNWINE: I think the whole report shows that the Supreme Court got it
wrong last year in the Shelby decision. Because what we did was we went
out and we held 25 hearings all over the country. Over 400 witnesses. And
people came and they testified. You know, Arab Americans, Native
Americans, Asians, Latinos. You know, and African-Americans all testified.
People with disabilities testified, everybody testified about the many
barriers to being able to vote. And what came out of that report was that
we are living here in 2014 in an age where our democracy is threatened
because of rampant voter suppression and rampant voter denial.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Because I have been out there to Alabama
and other places with National Action Network. And we often see voter
suppression laws are justified by talking about voter fraud. But a new
report in the Washington Post found that since 2000 there have only been 31
alleged voter fraud cases that might have been prevented by voter I.D.
laws. Thirty one. That`s out of more than one billion votes cast.
SHARPTON: So the rate of alleged voter fraud cases that might have been
prevented by voter I.D. laws is .000000031 percent. They are looking for a
solution to a problem that doesn`t exist, Barbara.
ARNWINE: That`s because what they think the real problem is that people of
color are voting. We`ve got to understand that these laws are now really
designed to fight voter fraud. That they are actually designed to keep
people from voting. That`s why the lawyers committee and your
organization, the National Action Network, all the, you know, the NAACP and
so many of us will be out at the polls with election protection. You have
the right to vote.
We will be there. We`ll going to be protecting people`s votes. And if
people have a problem they can be able to call our hotline during early
voting. The 1-866-our-vote hotline so that people can get help. And
people can make sure that these jurisdictions are following the law and we
are going to make sure that people can vote so that they can make sure that
the laws are fair.
SHARPTON: We`ll be out there, we`ll be watching this one.
SHARPTON: Nonpartisan. No matter who you are going to vote for, you do
not, in my opinion, you do not in any way need to be impaired from voting.
Barbara Arnwine, thank you for your time tonight.
ARNWINE: Thank you so much.
SHARPTON: And for your reports.
ARNWINE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, more on the breaking news from the White House. A
humanitarian mission in Iraq to help tens of thousands of civilians
surrounded by Islamic militants is under way. The president also
considering air strikes. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We are following breaking news tonight. NBC News confirming the
humanitarian mission in Iraq is under way. And U.S. planes are in the sky.
Though they have not yet started dropping supplies. That aid is intended
for some 40,000 Iraqi civilians, under siege from Islamic militants.
The U.N. Security Council has condemned the militant attacks and called for
an international relief effort. President Obama is now considering air
strikes against those militants. We`ll bring you more developments as we
SHARPTON: The verdict in the case today of Theodore Wafer in killing of
Renisha McBride is something that many of us watched. Because many of us
have taken issue with the stand your ground and the castle laws that we
feel could lead to people doing what is wrong to innocent people. This
verdict was important to say let`s pause and let`s look at these laws.
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
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