PoliticsNation, Monday, August 11th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
August 11, 2014
Guest: Benjamin Crump; Les Mcspadden; Lesley Mcspadden, Adam Smith, Evan
Kohlmann, Ed Rendell, Joan Walsh
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That`s "the Ed Show."
I`m Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend
Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, reverend Doctor Dyson.
Thanks to you for tuning in.
The family and lawyers for Michael Brown are speaking now about the tragic
shooting death this weekend. Let`s listen in.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Happening over and over again.
People are getting no sense of justice. And to the point where it`s just
boiling over. And we really have to have our leaders all of this step up
to the plate and restore confidence for all people in America. Not just
some Americans but all Americans. Need to have confidence that if it
happens, you will get equal justice. There are some people who don`t
believe it. That`s what we are dealing with here in St. Louis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question about was your son worried about the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Thank you.
SHARPTON: The family, the mother and grandfather and attorney Ben Crump
will be joining us exclusively any moment.
But let me go to you, Jim Cavanaugh, first that I can ask you, as one who
has seen a lot and Jim Cavanaugh for our regular listeners know, but for
new viewers is an MSNBC law enforcement analyst.
Jim Cavanaugh, tell us what you will feel is the next steps on this case.
What will happen in terms of the FBI investigating and in terms of how that
works with local authorities.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right, Reverend Al. Well, I
think what the FBI is going to do is they are going to parallel or monitor
the case as it is conducted by the St. Louis county police homicide bureau.
And you know, I have a lot of faith in that homicide bureau. They`re a
good force. They are going to get the facts down on paper to the
prosecutor. I think they will do it right.
SHARPTON: The distrust -- and I have been involved in a lot of these cases
down through the years. Involved in many now as head of national action
network. The mistrust of local authorities is basically because a lot of
the local prosecutors and local police kind of have to work hand in hand in
many cases. And families wonder whether or not a prosecutor is as
aggressive as the outside federal authorities would be. How have you been
able to experience hearing from the law enforcement side whether or not
that`s something that they understand, resent or something you even feel is
CAVANAUGH: Well, I think it`s a great point. I mean, I think in the civil
rights era, you know, I did a lot work in Alabama. I was the agent in
charge of Birmingham, even in Georgia, ETF in Mississippi and Tennessee.
You know, I started many years ago. I saw the aftermath of the civil
rights era. I remember when there was 5500 night riding clansmen in
Mississippi years ago. And I remember how they permeated the police and
how people were afraid they wouldn`t get justice.
And what we are seeing now, Reverend Al from Trayvon Martin on is people
are seeing no action. You know, they are not seeing any action in these
cases. Prosecutorial action or decision making.
You know, I was a Florida cop. In that Trayvon Martin case, as uniformed
officer, I would have bagged and tagged the shooter that night. In fact,
the detective wanted to arrest him that night. And I think you would have
seen a different response from people. And now we have cases in New York.
We have this tragedy here from Michael Brown. And you know, prosecutors
have to step up, too. That case in Bedford Stiveson, where an officer
stomps a man`s head as he was being arrested. If a citizen did that to a
man I was arresting, I would immediately arrest that citizen.
SHARPTON: And that`s the point. A lot of police don`t say anything. You
deal with that case in (INAUDIBLE). The cops didn`t stop the cop that
stomped him. And you have the Eric garner case. And none of police say
the choke hold is illegal and have mercy even while he was holding them.
Let me show you in this case, though, Jim. Here`s what one eyewitness said
about the shooting. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know if the police chase after the guy full
force. He was unarmed. He ran for his life. They shot him and he fell.
He put his arms up to let them know he was compliant and that he was
unarmed. And they shot him twice more and he fell to ground like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, this was Saturday, the killing of Michael Brown. 18-year-
old unarmed young man in Ferguson, Missouri. And they have been protesting
since then. Some turned violent last night. And we are talking about this
-- we are waiting to have an exclusive with the family, the mother,
grandfather and attorney Ben Crump will be joining us momentarily.
We are talking -- let me go back to you, James Cavanaugh. She said -- the
eyewitness said he put his arms up. He was compliant. Are witnesses
accounts like these now a major part of the investigation?
CAVANAUGH: Absolutely, Reverend. That`s a major part of the
investigation. All the witnesses and the forensics. The bullets, the
number of shots from where they were fired. All those details will get
into the facts in the homicide bureau and the FBI will look at it, the use
attorney and the district attorney and make a decision.
But Look, we have a name in the criminal justice system for shooting a man
standing there with no weapon in his hands up. And it`s called murder. So
you know, if those facts hold like the young woman said and if the
forensics match, I mean, that`s a crime. Murder is a crime in the United
States. It doesn`t matter who commits it. Whether it`s the police or not.
SHARPTON: How will the FBI proceed? What will they do? How will they go
about their investigation? You see people standing up. It seems that the
symbol now is holding up the hands which is really making the point you`re
making. If that holds as evidence that`s murder.
CAVANAUGH: Well, that`s right. Nobody is going to change the facts in the
case. The police homicide detectives and the FBI agents here would gather
the facts. Nobody is going to change the facts. As Churchill said, the
facts are stubborn things. And organizations like the NAACP, the national
action network, the southern Christian leadership conference and the people
of Ferguson are going to ensure that this is in daylight. So I have no
doubt that the fact wills come out. It will are get to the desk of a
prosecutor. I hope without unnecessary delay. I think the problem in all
these cases, Reverend Al, if you look back at them in the recent in spite
of cases is there is too much delay before there is a prosecutorial
decision on whether it is a good shoot, a bad shoot and whether the
prosecution should move forward.
People say there is no justice. And when you look at it, you feel like
there is no justice. So this is important to every American, every single
American. If a crime occurs we want the prosecutor to do something about
it. If the crime didn`t occur, then you need to step up and explain it.
And that`s what we need to see.
SHARPTON: And I think that is why many groups are forced to expedite a lot
of the situation that are necessary without saying go too far and too fast
where you don`t weigh the evidence because they want to see a prosecution
say whether there is valid or not. Whether it ends up good or bad, pro or
Time works against really trying to get to the bottom of what`s happened.
And saying to the public they can have confidence that things are happening
in a way that`s speedy and fair. And I think you said it well, James. And
I think that`s all people want. In many cases we have no idea what the
evidence is going to lead to. But we want to make sure that the evidence
leads to something that`s fair for both the accused and the victim.
CAVANAUGH: And you know, Trayvon Martin`s parents were a tremendous
example of that.
SHARPTON: No doubt.
CAVANAUGH: The dignity they exhibited all throughout the thing. All they
asked for is what every American wants -- justice, fairness. They didn`t
ask for any revenge. They want a fairness justice. They didn`t want
violence. They conducted themselves just like this family in Ferguson,
All right, all Americans need this. We all need to see justice done. So I
would say, Reverend Al, we need to have the facts gathered certainly. And
we don`t want to rush to judgment against our police officers because we
are all behind the police officers. And even the civil rights groups are
behind the police officers. We want to have good police. But we don`t
need bully police. We don`t need police murdering our citizens. And we
don`t need interactions with police that start over nothing.
You know, one report I saw in the news where the officer told the young man
to get off the, you know, in the cursed, get off the sidewalk and curse at
him. Well, that`s not a professional police interaction at all.
SHARPTON: That`s the kinds of things that we have to deal with. And
believe me, we will.
James Cavanaugh, thanks for your time. We`ll be right back with a live
interview with Michael Brown`s family. First interview that they are
doing. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`ll have more on the Michael Brown police shooting in Missouri
with the first live interview with his family right after this.
SHARPTON: We are back with breaking news from Ferguson, Missouri, where a
community is reeling and a family grieving after an unarmed 18-year-old
named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday
afternoon. Brown was walking on the street when investigators say an
altercation occurred with the officer. They say Brown pushed the officer
into his police car and there was a struggle for the officer`s gun. The
officer allegedly got out of the car and shot Michael about 35 feet from
the vehicle. Witnesses said his body was on the street for some time. The
officer who pulled the trigger hasn`t been publicly identified. He`s on
Here is what we are learning today. The FBI has officially opened an
investigation into the shooting. Looking, they say, for a potential civil
rights violation. Moments ago we heard from attorney general Eric Holder
who says attorneys from the justice department will work with FBI agents
and he`ll receive regular updates.
And after some protesters turned violent last night, Michael Brown`s family
is calling for justice and peace. That`s what we need right now. You
cannot be against alleged reckless violence and then use reckless violence
yourself. A family is grieving and a heart-broken mother is searching for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: His mother Lesley McSpadden said her son was
a good kid looking forward to going to college next week.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, VICTIM`S MOTHER: He didn`t bother nobody. My son just
turned 18 and granule waited high school. He didn`t bother nobody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: McSpadden says her son didn`t deserve to
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: You are not God. You don`t decide when to take somebody
from hurt. That was mine. That belonged to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now are Les Mcspadden, Michael Brown`s grandfather
Lesley, his mother, and the family`s attorney Benjamin Crump.
First of all, Lesley you have our condolences and how are you doing? I
know this is something that`s a nightmare -- Lesley?.
CRUMP: How you doing and how are you holding up?
SHARPTON: Something wrong with her audio.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: I`m good. My son`s spirit is holding me up.
SHARPTON: I can hear her. Let me ask her what is it that she wants to say
to the nation. I heard her say that her son was to go to college today.
She wanted to see this as the day to beginning the rest of his life.
During her first interview, what is she wanting the nation to hear from
her? She`s called for nonviolence and peace but she`s also called for
justice. As his mother, what do you want to say to the nation?
CRUMP: What do you and Mr. Brown want to say to the nation who is watching
you about your son?
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: We want to say that my son was special. He was special.
He was a first for many, the first of a child. A first grandchild, first
nephew. He was basically born a king.
SHARPTON: Born a king.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: We should all be celebrating my son`s graduation and
going on to college, but we`re planning a funeral.
SHARPTON: What does she want people around the country and what is she
calling on the community to do?
CRUMP: What are you calling on the people to do around the country after
what happened last night?
SHARPTON: And the community.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: That was total chaos. And we are not for the violence
needs to stop. The support is all needed. All needed, but not the
violence. It doesn`t help any.
SHARPTON: Let me ask the grandfather, then I`m coming to attorney Crump.
Your message. I spoke with you and you seemed determined to have justice,
but to preserve the name and legacy and character of your grandson. What
do you have to say to people watching around the country as you grieve for
the loss of your grandson on the day he would have been going to jail --
going to college, I`m sorry. Not jail.
LES MCSPADDEN, VICTIM`S GRANDFATHER: Reverend Sharpton, my grandson was a
good kid. And you know, it`s a shame that these black kids here in St.
Louis and I`m sure around the world, they might as well walk around with a
target on their back because, you know, it just isn`t no justice. That`s
why I requested you and Mr. Valdez, too, to come to St. Louis and kind of
help us get through this because this shouldn`t happen. This is America.
SHARPTON: Well, I am going to come in there late tonight and see if we can
help to get a fair investigation.
But they tell me, Mr. McSpadden, he had his hands in the air. What is it
that you understand what happened to your grandson?
LES MCSPADDEN: I understand that my grandson was shot. I was under the
impression -- there are a lot of conflicting stories because the police
here won`t tell you nothing. But it`s my understanding that he was shot
eight times. And after he was shot twice, he went down to his knees and
held his hands up in the air. The officer continued go to his back and
continue shooting. That makes it an execution. And I mean, how could you
kill somebody and then get paid administrative leave? So if they`re paying
him, they are actually saying it`s OK to kill somebody and we`ll pay you.
SHARPTON: Mr. Attorney Crump, we have heard from the family for the first
time. They brought you in. What is it that you would like to see and I
know you have called for nonviolence. And I know you have called for the
justice department. The FBI is doing a preliminary investigation. What is
your message to the country?
CRUMP: Reverend al, this family especially Ms. Lesley McSpadden and his
father Michael Brown, Sr. They only want simple justice, Reverend Al. If
your child was executed in broad daylight and many witnesses say he had his
hands up and the police continued to shoot, they demand justice. And
that`s why people are so outraged because they say yet again how many times
do we have to go through this?
Attorney Anthony Gray, my co-counsel and Shaid (ph) and all of them talk
about the pattern that exists in St. Louis of young boys of color
continuing to be taken from us and nobody held accountable. Well, this is
where we will stand up for and say no more. And that`s why we are here
with this family.
SHARPTON: Now, what is your understanding, attorney Crump, that happened?
CRUMP: As far as we can tell, these parents and many others reject what
the police officer`s narrative is. That he tried to enter into a police
car. It doesn`t make sense. How many young brothers do you know try to go
in a car?
I think as the witnesses said, he was running away and the police that is
unexplainable gets out of the car even though he`s walking with t-shirt,
shorts and sandals on. Obviously no weapon. Ad they are running away and
he shoots them. And then as the witnesses recall, he put his hands up in
the air and the police continued to shoot and execute this child in broad
SHARPTON: Now he had on t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. So, it was
clearly visible to any trained law enforcement that he was not -- he didn`t
appear to be concealing any weapon.
CRUMP: Exactly. And that`s what attorney Gray and I are pushing forward.
Not only was it excessive force, clearly it was excessive force. But they
apparently lacked training because what officer would do this to a kid in
broad daylight. And his mother and father tell me that he left the scene,
left their baby child dead on the concrete at high noon and didn`t give him
the decency and the courtesy of getting emergency response or calling back-
up and those kinds of things. That`s troubling to these parents. And
that`s why they are so outraged today.
SHARPTON: What kind of support are you looking for around the country as
you try and keep people there nonviolent but at the same time moving
forward for justice, attorney Crump?
CRUMP: Well, first of all, as Ms. Lesley and Mr. Brown said, instead of
celebrating today, taking their son to a technical college they are having
to plan a funeral and they have to deal with the costs and expenses. And
then, we have to look at a second autopsy to try to get to justice because
they don`t trust and the local community don`t trust the local law
enforcement. And that`s a problem when our citizens don`t trust the police
to do right by us. That`s when people are frustrated. But even with that,
these parents and these families, all of them, are praying for calm. They
want not as you said, people just to be angry. We want justice for
SHARPTON: Let me ask you to ask her to tell us, as a mother, about her
son. I think people around the country should hear from the mother on what
type of boy this was.
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: As I stated before he was the first for many different
people. Aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas. My son -- my son just touched
many people. People flocked to him. He was special. He wanted to do
(INAUDIBLE) do his heating and cooling because he was good with his hands,
he is really good at taking things apart and putting it back together. He
could even fix your relationship if you had a problem with that. But
nothing, nothing, nobody could say could ever explain to me that he
provoked this, that he wanted this or asked for this. No, not my son. No
crime in walking down the street. No crime.
SHARPTON: He was called by a lot of people, I understand, Lesley, a gentle
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: That`s right.
SHARPTON: That kind of affection doesn`t match the description they are
trying to say that may maybe with these put it. That`s how you saw your
son as a gentle giant?
LESLEY MCSPADDEN: He was really big. Really bigger than me. Yes. A big
old teddy bear. A big old teddy bear. That`s why we called him mike-mike.
Oh, little mike-mike.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Mr. McSpadden, you and the family have called
for denounced the violence in the street and called for calm. Why is that
important to you as you are obviously grieving. You haven`t even finalized
funeral plans. And I want people to understand this mother is less than 48
hours after losing her son came forward today with you, the grandfather
basically to denounce the violence last night. What`s your message to
those that would protest and why is that important to you?
LES MCSPADDEN: It`s very important because people just walking around here
stealing, looting, burning their own community which don`t make sense to
nobody. Why would you burn your own community? Why do all that? All it
does is put a red flag on what we`re trying to do. You know, if his legacy
shouldn`t be about looting, stealing, kicking police cars. The thing to do
only way to get justice is for us to stay calm. And that`s the judicial
system work. After calm, we`ll get the right results and that way, his
death won`t be in vain.
SHARPTON: Let me say this. And I so was moved when you and I spoke by
phone yesterday, and talking to the mother. You`re exactly right. Those
that are saying whatever they are saying about the gentle giant who`s gone.
Want people to act in a violent way. They will be making people feel that
maybe it`s all Michael and them were. You don`t have the right to use your
anger and put your character on his legacy. And I think that anyone who
engages in violence is doing a detriment to Michael Brown, his mother, his
father, his family. And I think that`s what we should say. I have said to
you, the grandfather, I am saying that I am coming in since the grandfather
asked me to come in. But I don`t want people to desecrate his memory. We
must do what`s fair and right to have justice. We cannot do it by having
Attorney Crump, I think this is something all Americans -- I saw whites,
blacks, all kinds of people standing in that vigil peacefully. And I think
that`s what we need to do. And we need to support nationally, attorney
CRUMP: Absolutely, Reverend Sharpton. And we need everybody in America to
pray for peace. And we need the justice department to come in and make
sure this is a transparent affair investigation so everybody can trust the
SHARPTON: And I want to say again to the mother, nobody bear the pain like
a mother that we certainly around the country give you our condolences and
prayers. I will see you in the morning. But I admire your strength to
stand up for your son, his character, even though I know you bear an
unbearable pain to make sure his name is not muddied with those that would
loot rather than those that would lift up justice in his name.
Thank you for being with us tonight, Lesley, as well as Les and attorney
CRUMP: Thank you.
LES MCSPADDEN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: A short time ago President Obama spoke about the crisis in Iraq
on the airstrikes and on the ISIS threat. But Republicans are starting to
play politics with it. More on that next.
SHARPTON: Developing news tonight from Iraq where a political crisis is
now complicating the military and humanitarian crisis confronted by
President Obama. The current Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is clinging to
power. Even though a new prime minister has been nominated. Maliki has
been blamed for helping to tear Iraq apart. And just moments ago,
President Obama made it clear he has to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The only lasting answer is for
Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government. One that
represents legitimate interests of all Iraqis and one that can unify the
country`s fight against ISIL. Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in
this critical effort. The United States stands ready to support a
government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today we learned the U.S. has started arming Kurdish forces in
Northern Iraq to fight ISIS terrorists. U.S. war planes pounded ISIS
positions again today, trying to roll back the militant advance. The navy
released this video today of fighter pilots en route to missions around
Iraq. And this video shows U.S. forces dropping humanitarian aid to tens
of thousands of refugees.
President Obama has announced a limited mission to save those refugees, but
what the American people don`t want is to rush back into a full-fledged war
Joining me now, Congressman Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed
Services Committee, and Evan Kohlmann, the NBC terrorism analyst. Thank
you for being here tonight.
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Thank you.
REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA), HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Thank you, Al.
SHARPTON: Congressman, do you support the president`s actions so far and
his emphasis on long-term political solution in Iraq?
SMITH: I do. First of all, we have to try and contain ISIL. They are
clearly a very dangerous terrorist threat. They have taken territory in
Syria and Iraq. They pose a grave threat to the region. And they have
also announced plans to try to plot attacks and carry out attacks against
the United States and western targets. The problem is to contain terrorism
like that you need a reliable partner. And in Prime Minister Maliki we did
not have a reliable partner.
His sectarian corrupt approach to government is part of what drove so many
Sunnis into the arms of ISIL in the first place. So, the president is
absolutely right. We have to have a legitimate power sharing arrangement
in Baghdad. But in the meantime, with the Kurds we do have a group that we
can work with. We do have a reliable partner in Kurdistan.
SMITH: I mean, anywhere we can find sensible moderate Sunnis we need to
try to work with them and defend them against a group like ISIL that`s such
a great threat to the region and to us.
SHARPTON: But Congressman, you sound very reasonable. The war hawks on
the right are actually attacking the president`s foreign policy. Look at
SHARPTON: Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The president says that he`s going to
protect American troops and try to prevent humanitarian disasters. That`s
the extent of his policy. There is no policy.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And if we did attack, because he has no strategy to
protect us, then he will have committed a blunder for the ages. This
commander in chief has no strategy, he has no vision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, Congressman, is this anything more than just name-
calling at this point?
SMITH: No. The sad thing about it is, you know, both John McCain, Lindsey
Graham, the republicans. All they do is attack the president. Look, this
is a very difficult problem no matter who is president. We need our
national security leadership in both parties to work together and figure
out a solution. And all we get from the republicans no matter what the
president does is a knee jerk attack. They blame him for everything that
goes wrong, they blame them for every decision he makes.
We need to develop and work out a coherent strategy. We are not going to
get there when partisanship trumps every single decision the president
makes. There are certainly criticisms to be made. But let`s develop a
policy. Let`s not just have this knee jerk reaction that no matter what he
does, let`s attack him. That`s not going to help advance the foreign
policy interests that we desperately need to advance at this point.
SHARPTON: Evan, I want to play a disturbing clip from Australian TV today
that shows the horrific tactics used by ISIS. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There is outrage this morning over a photo of a Sydney
boy posing with the head of a slain soldier in Syria. The Australian
newspaper says, the photo was posted on twitter with the words "that`s my
boy" by Australian jihadist Khalid Shareef who is wanted by federal police
for terrorism crimes. Now, Shareef also posed in front of the Islamic
State flag with his three sons, all of whom are carrying guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, among the tactics that ISIS has been using, his beheadings,
crucifixions, burying people alive, mass executions. I mean, what does
ISIS hope to achieve with these kinds of tactics, Evan?
KOHLMANN: They really think that they`re going to establish a new
caliphate. And the leader of this organization Abu Bakr al Bagdadi at one
point was a nobody really thinks that he`s going to run the Islamic world.
And in some way if that plays towards our advantage because of the fact
that these folks are even more extreme than al Qaeda. They are
megalomaniacs. All they want is power. And what ends up happening with
these guys is that they end up torturing and killing the wrong people.
And we`re seeing that already in Northern Iraq and in Syria. Where these
groups are not only killing ordinary Muslims, they`re also killing al Qaeda
operatives. That kind of behavior is inevitably going to result in their
destruction. The problem is when is that going to happen? How soon is it
going to happen?
SHARPTON: So, there could be a backlash, Evan?
KOHLMANN: There already is a backlash. We are already seeing right now.
Sunni insurgent groups that initially had fought alongside ISIS helped them
takeover Mosul, they`re coming out now and saying, look, just because we
fought alongside ISIS, that`s because we don`t like the government in
Baghdad, we don`t like the government of Nouri al-Maliki. Don`t take that
to assume. We`ve joined ISIS. And what`s key now is to convince those
Sunni insurgents group to back off in terms of their working with ISIS.
And what we`re already seeing now, people are dying in terms of fighting
between the Sunni insurgent groups and ISIS. We need to make sure that
continues and we need to make sure that these groups start backing ISIS.
That they turn against them and they work with the government in Baghdad.
And of course, that`s not going to happen until Nouri al Maliki is out of
SHARPTON: Congressman, President Obama spoke to Thomas Friedman of the New
York Times over the weekend. And he said that if we left troops in Iraq it
would not have made a difference really is what he said to what is going on
now. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If they had done exactly what they did and we have had 10,000
troops there, that would not have presented the kinds of problems that we
have seen anyway. The difference would be, we would have 10,000 troops in
the middle of this chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Congressman, let me ask you. Do you think that staying in Iraq
for years or even decades was a valid solution?
SMITH: I do not. I mean, the president is absolutely right. The reason
for this, and Evan is absolutely right as well. The Maliki government
pushed out the Sunnis and pushed them into the arms of the most radical
terrorist group out there. Because as he said, the enemy of the enemy is
my friend. Those who are willing to take on al-Maliki they were willing to
support. And no amount of U.S. troops was going to change his internal
I mean, even while we had well over 100,000 U.S. troops there, brutal
sectarian violence took place in Iraq when the Sunnis and Shias were going
at each other. Those troops couldn`t stop that level of violence.
SMITH: Even in those numbers. Look, this has got to be solved by the
Maliki government. But the other thing we do have to do is where we can
find Sunni moderates who were willing to stand up to ISIL. We need to work
with them. And Iraq and Syria --
SHARPTON: I have to leave it there, congressman. Thank you so much,
Congressman Adam Smith. Evan Kohlmann, thank you both for being here this
SMITH: Thank you.
KOHLMANN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we know the GOP`s new agenda. But I think they
forgot to tell Ted Cruz about it. And later, how social media is
transforming the fight for justice.
SHARPTON: Election Day is still 85 days away. But republicans are already
measuring the drapes in the senate. And they are trotting out their big
agenda of what they will do when they control both houses of Congress. The
Keystone Pipeline, repealing ObamaCare and a balanced budget which would
involve gutting the safety net, missing from that official list,
impeachment. Even though a republican Senate could clear the way for it.
Senator Ted Cruz says, quote, "It is clear with the Harry Reid Senate,
impeachment of the president is not going anywhere." Well, what about with
the Ted Cruz Senate? What then? GOP leaders may try to downplay all this.
But it`s clear the base still wants it. Check out what happened at the GOP
Senate debate in Alaska last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE MILLER, ATTORNEY: I think we all agree that Obama is out of control.
He acts as almost a dictator in some sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What would it take for you to support the impeachment of
this president is this.
DAN SULLIVAN, ALASKA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I agree 110 percent that this
administration is out of control. If articles of impeachment come before a
U.S. Senate, you`re darn right, I`m going to focus on it. But I think the
vast majority where Alaskans and Americans are is to jump start this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: GOP candidates are campaigning on impeachment. And party
leaders can`t pretend otherwise.
Joining me now, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Salon.com`s
Joan Walsh. Thank you both for being here.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Governor, isn`t impeachment a big part of these midterms in the
FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, there is no question. It`s
been a part of the primary season. The primary season in many states isn`t
over yet. And the more it`s talked about in the primary season, the more I
believe they might be a force to forget about measuring the drapes.
Because the American people do not think the president has done anything
that warrants impeachment. They think it is a crazy idea. And they think
a party that`s promulgating that idea shouldn`t be in office. And I was
down in Louisiana, gave the speech to the Jefferson Jackson dinner on
Saturday. And Mary Landrieu, who starts to be in trouble, if Mary gets
support from democrats all across the country it counter balanced the
incredible amount of money being spent against her. I think she`s going to
win big for the election.
SHARPTON: You know, Joan, he mentioned that the president hasn`t done
anything impeachable. So, help me out here. FOX News host Mike Huckabee
this weekend was asked about impeachment. And I want you to listen to his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Let me be very clear. I never said he should be
impeached. I was asked a specific question. Had he committed impeachable
offenses? I said yes. But he`s not going to be impeached but he shouldn`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, that`s why I need help. He`s done impeachable acts
according to Huckabee.
SHARPTON: But he shouldn`t be impeach?
WALSH: This is crazy. Well, they do understand it. What they are doing
is rallying up their base to a point where, you know, if I`m a Tea Party
person, I`m saying if this man committed impeachable offenses which he
hasn`t, then why aren`t you impeaching him? And they are inflaming the
people that they say, you know, in one breath they need to control but say
they are trying to control and they are inflaming people that are going to
make it impossible for them to do any governing at all, when they, if God
forbid, they took over the Senate which I`m with Governor Rendell. I don`t
think that`s going to happen but Democrats have to get out and vote. I
really believe, Reverend Al that the minute they come up against one
another trying to balance a budget, they would fall apart. It would be
SHARPTON: But isn`t that the point Governor, if they had to come up with
balancing a budget? Like for example, one GOP Senate candidate said that
the GOP has to make a case that the GOP is struggling with their lack of an
agenda. He said specifically on health care, quote, "Republicans have to
answer to the when you repeal it, what are you replacing it with question."
SHARPTON: We owe the American people a solution to the problem. He really
has a point, Governor. The Republican Party hasn`t offered an alternative.
Americans tired of the empty attempts to repeal but don`t replace?
RENDELL: Yes. I think the more they talk about repeal, the more again it
drives the independent voter into the democratic column. Look, the problem
with what they are talking about is they don`t have a health care solution.
And to cut $5 trillion out of the budget in the next ten years to balance
it, it means you will have to rip Medicare asunder.
RENDELL: Now, do any republicans want to run on a platform of ripping
Medicare asunder? Do they want that to be the party`s motivation moving
into the 2016 election? If they do, they are facing an electoral tsunami.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Joan. Another favorite talking point, but
empty talking point from the right is the president`s vacation. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Nothing is easy for the poor.
Working hard, they tries as hard. He`s really on the golf course a lot,
doing everything he can. And all these events are conspiring against him.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He could be doing fund-raisers while in Martha`s
Vineyard if needed for that. So, that`s probably off the table.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You would think.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He could be playing golf, but he`s probably going to
be playing golf already.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But look at this. So far in his presidency, President Obama has
taken 125 days of vacation. At the same point in his presidency, President
George W. Bush had taken 407 days. Where was the outrage then? The GOP
agenda is a vacuum. And this is all they`ve got.
WALSH: This is all they`ve got. And that chart is just so wonderful. But
you will never see it on Fox News. If you see it, they will find some way
to make it look like the president took more vacation. They are so
fundamentally dishonest. They can`t get out of their own way.
SHARPTON: Well, we can have different opinions, we just cannot have
Governor Ed Rendell, Joan Walsh, thank you both for your time tonight.
WALSH: Thanks, Rev.
RENDELL: That`s right.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, my parting thoughts on the Michael Brown tragedy.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: More on the Michael Brown tragedy. How cell phones and social
media are changing the fight for justice. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Over the last couple of weeks we have seen an ugly pattern. In
New York City, Eric Garner placed in a fatal chokehold from a police
officer. In Los Angeles, a woman was pummeled on the side of a highway by
a police officer. Now in St. Louis, an unarmed teen shot dead, his body
lay motionless in the street. The key word in this pattern is seemed. The
difference between then and now is we are seeing it. We are seeing cell
phone and dash cam video. And photos. The technology is there.
And then it gets shared on social media and goes viral. Twenty three years
ago when the Rodney King beating was caught on tape it was shocking. And
it set up a national dialogue on policing in America. Today these scenes
are easier to capture. And we must capture them and we must make the
country deal with those that go over the line in law enforcement. I don`t
believe all the policemen are there. I don`t even believe the majority are
but those that are, we just must weed out. Just like those in our
communities at a bad, we must weed out.
Michael was to go to school today. Not jail. I said to his mother he was
going the to jail. I mean school. Because that`s what we`ve got to erase
from the minds of many in law enforcement. Every child is not a suspect.
They are a citizen. They deserve the same rights unless they do wrong.
But you can`t correct their wrong by doing wrong yourself. And we can`t
fight reckless violence by being reckless and violent ourselves. We must
become the change we seek as Gandhi challenged us.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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