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PoliticsNation, Thursday, September 11th, 2014

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September 11, 2014

Guest: Brian Katulis; Eleanor Holmes Norton; Lisa Bloom; Jason Whitlock,
Nan Orrock, Lee May, Lizz Brown, Kendall Coffey

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

Tonight`s lead, breaking news on ISIS. The CIA just released a new
estimate of the terrorist group`s strength, estimating that it can muster
between 20,000 and 31,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. That`s a big
increase from the CIA`s last estimate of 10,000 fighters.

This new estimate underscores President Obama`s message about ISIS during
last night`s primetime address to the nation. Today, secretary of state
John Kerry is traveling across the Middle East, meeting with leaders in the
region to roll out the President`s battle plan. And in an interview with
NBC News, Kerry said the coalition to fight ISIS is coming together.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think, and the President believes, the
ingredients are there. We`re impressed by the countries that are coming to
the table. Been a very productive meeting today. Significant commitments
of support. And over the next weeks and months, we`ll release as more of
the story unfolds.


SHARPTON: Meanwhile, the Pentagon launched two more air strikes against
ISIS targets in Iraq. And back in Washington, leaders on both sides of the
aisle were largely supportive of President Obama`s plan.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: I`m confident we`ll put our
political differences aside and work together to give this administration
the tools it needs to meet ISIS head on.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We stand ready to work
with the President, to put in place a plan that would destroy and defeat
ISIL. And frankly, we ought to give the President what he`s asking for.


SHARPTON: A rare show of support from the GOP leader. But, Speaker
Boehner also said house Republicans are not yet ready to commit to a stand-
alone vote on the President`s plan.


There`s no decision to be made on how we`re going to proceed.


SHARPTON: But President Obama isn`t waiting. He`s moving ahead to defeat
ISIS overseas and protect Americans at home, just as he promised last


that we will hunt down terrorists who threatening our country wherever they
are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria,
as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency. If you
threaten America, you will find no safe haven.


SHARPTON: And today, 13 years after the September 11th attacks, the
President talked about the resolve of the American people.


OBAMA: For you, for our nation, these have been difficult years, but by
your presence here today in the lives, the service that you have led, you
embody the truth that no matter what comes our way, America will always
come out stronger. We carry on because as Americans, we do not give in to
fear. Ever.


SHARPTON: Even as Americans remember one of the most terrible days in our
nation`s history. This President will not let fear determine our future.

Joining me now is congresswoman -- democratic congresswoman Eleanor Holmes
Norton from the district of Columbia, and Brian Katulis, senior fellow at
the Center for American Progress. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Congresswoman, a good number of Republicans say they want to
vote off the rising action against ISIS. So why haven`t their leader
scheduled one? I mean, what`s your read on that?

NORTON: Well, they want it both ways. They don`t dare speak negatively
against what the President is doing, with 70 percent of the American people
behind him. And ISIS, as your news flash just told us, building very
rapidly, but they`d like to be able to criticize him when he goes in
without having the guts to stand with him as he does what they want him to

SHARPTON: Now, Brian Katulis, let me ask you. You heard the breaking news
at the top of the show, the CIA is estimating ISIS can muster 20,000 to
31,000 fighters. How do you react to this and give me the context of how
this can be mustered and where, give me the context of this.

KATULIS: Well, it`s obviously an alarming number, but equally alarming to
those numbers are the capacities that ISIS has. And I think what`s great
about President Obama`s statement last night, he was very measured. He
made very clear that ISIS is a threat to the region, first and foremost.
But as we`ve heard from counterterrorism officials and U.S. intelligence
officials, there`s been a very balanced presentation of what threat it
actually may represent to the homeland, which is less than Al Qaeda, say in
the Arabian peninsula.

And that`s important, having that balanced assessment is not what we had
under the Bush administration, if you recall. We had a lot of threat
mongering. So, those numbers are important. I think they represent a
wake-up call for the region itself and what we see with Secretary Kerry and
Secretary Hagel, trying to build this regional coalition.

That coalition needs to respond to these incendiary actions by ISIS. And I
think they need to be the leaders in this. We can back and support them,
but that`s what`s different about what President Obama`s trying to do here,
is to get allies in the region to pull their weight.

SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, I remember you and I and others were
very early opposed to the Iraqi war. And last night, the President made it
very clear, this is not like the Iraq war. Listen to this.


OBAMA: I want the American people to understand how this effort will be
different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve
American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. The strategy of taking
out terrorist who is threaten us, while supporting partners on the front
lines is one we`ve successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.


SHARPTON: Is this what the American people will support, Congresswoman?

NORTON: And this is why I think they will, Reverend. This is not the Bush
coalition of the willing. The willing turned out to be, of course, the UK,
Australia, the U.S., and almost no or very few Arab or Muslim countries.
By saying once again that we will not send troops on the ground, the
Republicans were sending a message to those who are most at risk. The
Muslim and the Arab states, that the coalition on the ground this time, has
got to be led by them. That is a salient difference.

We will do, Reverend, what we do best. What we do is air strikes. What we
do is training. We have done our part, and I wish we hadn`t, because it
caused the chaos that we`re paying for now, when we went into Iraq. But we
have done all we need to do in large numbers on the ground. It`s up to
those who are at risk to finally come in and save themselves.

SHARPTON: You know, Brian, as I listen to the Congresswoman, I`m reminded,
the President compared the fight against ISIS, to fighting terrorists in
Somalia and Yemen. Now, the "New York Times" reports that since 2002,
there have been 361 U.S. air strikes in Pakistan, 100 in Yemen, and 11 in
Somalia. How does this help explain the President`s plan for ISIS?

KATULIS: Well, it demonstrates that the President is not interested in
invading and occupying these countries for a long period of time. There`s
going to be no ground troops. It demonstrates that he`s been ruthless in
the use of force against these terrorist adversaries that we have. It also
shows, though, I think, if you look at western Pakistan, if you look at
Somalia and Yemen, I think the downside to that is, it has not yet produced
the sort of sustainable institutions that these societies need in the long

So I think the upshot has been and the good thing has been, President Obama
has been vigilant. There has not been an attack like we have seen and saw
13 years ago on this country, and it is in large part because of his very
aggressive and assertive posture and his leadership and those working in
our government. The down side is that these societies unfortunately are
still very broken.

SHARPTON: Which is what I think is the open question here, what happened
afterward? But I think he was comparing the approach in terms of the air

But let me also say this to you also, Brian. You`ve written that we have
an opportunity for real unity. I want to quote from piece you wrote.
Quote "there are important debates to be had about components of the
overall policy Obama presented, but the thin veneer of discord masks a
potential national consensus, if we allow it."

How does it help that there`s a lot of room for agreement here?

KATULIS: Well, I think -- what I`m talking about there is that some of the
rhetoric that`s used, like you saw Senator John McCain and others, which I
think aren`t as constructive as what I think the real debate should be.
The real debate should be how do we actually equip the Syrian opposition
forces? That`s a tough thing to do. The real debate should be how do we
keep this regional coalition together when many of those countries in the
region don`t trust each other and lack key capacities?

But essentially what I was arguing in that piece for U.S. news and world
report was that there`s really no other game in town when you think about
the framework that the President presented. There`s one other big
alternative, which is just stay home. And actually, you know, that`s
fairly credible to some people. I don`t agree with it, but I think the
basic argument that President Obama made is a framework that most Americans
can agree with, because, look, we`re not going in with large numbers of
ground troops. It won`t be as costly as the Iraq war, and we`re trying to
keep Americans safe.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, is it the only game in town? I`ve not heard a
real concrete detailed plan from any -- on the other side of the aisle from
you, or any of the President`s critics. He laid out four points last
night. Is there any other game in town, or will we have a consensus
because he`s put specifics out that people can live with?

NORTON: Reverend, as reluctant as the American people are to look another
war in the face, they know there`s no other game in town. They can see
that there are at least a hundred Americans over there. They see that ISIS
is drawing from all over the Arab world. They know at this time, unlike
with the Iraqi war, there is evidence that the United States is in danger,
and that makes it the only game in town, and we got to start playing that
game right now.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Brian Katulis, thank you
both for your time tonight.

KATULIS: Thank you, Reverend.

NORTON: Always a pleasure.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the NFL launched an independent investigation into
the league`s handling of the Ray Rice case. What are they looking for?

And a potentially major development in the investigation into Michael
Brown`s killing. And apparent realtime witness reaction to the shooting.

And never forget, more from the day`s tributes and memorials and what we
can learn, 13 years later.


SHARPTON: An independent investigation into the NFL`s handling of the Ray
Rice case is under way. What are investigators looking at, and when might
we get answers? That`s next.


SHARPTON: And now to the controversy surrounding the NFL and commissioner
Roger Goodell. The NFL has launched an independent investigation into the
league`s handling of the Ray Rice case. The investigation will be led by
former FBI director Robert Mueller, and will be assisted by two NFL owners,
John Mara of the New York Giants, and Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh

The news comes after the Associated Press reported a law enforcement
official sent this video of ray price -- Ray Rice, I keep calling him ray
price -- punching his then fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago.
Goodell has denied seeing this video until it was released by TMZ sports on

Since that AP report last night, we haven`t heard from commissioner
Goodell. But an NFL spokesperson says the investigator will have the full
cooperation of all NFL personnel, including full access to all records.
This week, before the investigation was launched, Goodell was asked about
his job.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Do you feel like your job is on the line?

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: No, I`m used to criticism. I`m used to
that. Every day I have to earn my stripes. Every day I have to do a
better job. And that`s my responsibility to the game, to the NFL, and to
what I see as --


SHARPTON: So what will this investigation reveal? And is Roger Goodell`s
future with the NFL safe?

Joining me now is Jason Whitlock. He`s writing about what he
called Roger Goodell`s epic failure and Lisa Bloom, attorney and legal
analyst for Thank you both are being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Jason, where do you think this investigation goes?

WHITLOCK: I don`t think the investigation is going to go much of anywhere.
Roger Goodell`s paid $40 million a year. He`s helped select this former
FBI director. It`s being overseen by two NFL owners. It`s not an
independent investigation. It`s a highly dependent investigation --

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. So let me get this right. Goodell has appointed
this investigation, and they will report to Goodell?

WHITLOCK: Well, I think Roger Goodell helped them reach the decision to
select this former FBI director, and John Mara has already come out on
record that doesn`t want to see Roger Goodell fired, and he supports him.
So I think they`re going to reach the conclusion that they`re paid to
reach. And so, I look at this as an opportunity to stretch this thing out.
When they had a Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin locker room situation in
Miami, that investigation took four months.


WHITLOCK: If this investigation takes four months, I think they`re hoping
some of the public clamoring for Goodell`s ousting calms down.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Lisa. So we learned about the scope of the
investigation from the NFL owners involved. They are seeing answers to
specific questions. What efforts were made by league staff to obtain the
video inside the elevator? Was the video delivered to someone at the
league office? If so, what happened to the video after it was delivered?
I mean, Lisa, how are they going to go about getting these answers?

BLOOM: So, I want to give them props for starting an investigation. This
is a very good start. But this is way too narrow. And as you point out,
the people who are running it are suspect. How about a woman, for example?
It`s a domestic violence issue. It`s taken women all over social media
clamoring about this all week to bring this to the attention. And I might
add, our male counterparts who are very supportive like you, Reverend Al,
on the issue of domestic violence.

But is it so wrong to think that we should have, you know, a domestic
violence advocate or an attorney, somebody who`s really been outspoken in
this field, heading up this investigation? That`s number one.

Number two, I want to say, I remember the Penn State case, the horrible
child molestation and cover-up, and another former FBI director, Louis
Freeh did an investigation that I thought was very powerful and scathing.
And if this ends up being similar to that, then very good.

But it shouldn`t be limited to Ray Rice. I think there should be a full
investigation at the NFL about the culture of violence against women that
we`ve been talking about for many, many years, and it`s still going on,
witness this cover-up --

SHARPTON: This is beyond NFL, this is beyond Ray Rice. But I think that
clearly this one was to operate with integrity and calm down. Because this
is -- you know, Jason, when you look at kids around the country that see
this kind of behavior, people say to me, we don`t know what happened before
and after on the tape. Whatever happened, what we saw is so despicable, we
need to understand who would in any way try to give some kind of cover and
lack of punishment here. From watching this man pull this woman like a
sack of potatoes. I mean, it`s unbelievable that children would look at
this and feel that this is the basis of how people should operate or

WHITLOCK: Well, if there`s been anything positive about this, it has been
the discussion that has started, and I think the education that has
started. I have to cop to myself, I didn`t think what he did on tape was
possible. I really didn`t. I thought the tape would show a fight, I did
not think a man could spit on his baby`s mother twice, knock her out, stand
over her and then treat her like a misbehaving piece of property. I didn`t
think this level of depravity and pathologist really existed.

And so, this has been educational for me to understand what domestic
violence actually looks like. And I`m glad this is happening. I hope
people are getting educated. And that we should be standing shoulder to
shoulder with women, demanding accountability, from not just Roger Goodell,
but the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, the general manager of the Baltimore
Ravens and the head football coach. They should have looked into this and
exposed this sooner. Back in February or March, this need to be exposed,
because it need to be put in our faces and make us deal with the realities
of domestic violence.

SHARPTON: And Jason, the Ravens didn`t need the NFL to move. But, you
know, let`s not forget, Lisa, before this second tape was exposed by TMZ
sports, they were only talking about a two-game suspension here.

BLOOM: It`s absolutely outrageous. And you mean to tell me, the NFL with
the hundreds of millions of dollars that washes through it every year,
needed TMZ to do its investigation for it, that the NFL couldn`t have
picked up the phone and called the hotel, because we know that every
Atlantic City casino has cameras everywhere, especially in the elevators
and said, you know what, we need that, please give it to us. And
apparently that call wasn`t made.

SHARPTON: So what is it? They`re not sensitized, they don`t care? How do
we change that?

BLOOM: It`s money. Isn`t it obvious that it is money? They didn`t want
to see this video. Apparently according to the AP report, in April, law
enforcement tried to give it to them, or did give it to them. It`s like,
we don`t want it, we`re not going to call. We asked law enforcement, they
didn`t give it to us. They didn`t want to see reality. I think there`s a
lot of denial around domestic violence. A lot of people really don`t want
to believe it. They don`t want to have to get rid of somebody on their
team who is profitable for them.


WHITLOCK: Lisa, I don`t want to -- because I know you know this. It`s
more than just money, though. This is textbook global sexism and the abuse
of women. And when men are in charge of judging other men, when they`re
sexist, we fall down and fail, and that`s why they need a woman
investigating the NFL.

SHARPTON: Well, one thing we agree on, all three of us, a woman should
have been on this team to investigate. Jason Whitlock and Lisa Bloom, I`m
going to have to leave it there. Thank you both for your time this

BLOOM: Thank you.

WHITLOCK: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the Michael Brown investigation. A new account
from witnesses just after the shooting could be a critical new piece of
evidence for the grand jury.

Plus, some disturbing news from Dr. King`s hometown of Atlanta, where he
fought for rights for so many years. Stunning comments from elected
officials about African-Americans and their drive to vote. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Virtually all the eyewitnesses to the Michael Brown shooting
agreed on one thing. He had his hands up in the air. And now a potential
new piece of evidence could be critical in the grand jury investigation.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Now to a potentially critical development in the investigation
into the shooting of Michael Brown. New details on what may be the first
real-time witness reaction to emerge. Two construction workers who
apparently saw it all unfold, their reactions just moments later caught on
cell phone video taken by a bystander. NBC News hasn`t verified it, so
we`re not airing it. But the key, one of the workers used the phrase
"hands in the air," saying, quote, "he had his expletive hands in the air."
He then raises his arms and says, quote, "Man, he was going like this."
Again, this reaction appeared to be from right after the shooting. Before
it became a national story. It matches witness narratives in the days and
weeks after the shooting, describing Michael Brown with his hands up.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He`s running this way, he turns his body towards this
way, hands in the air, being compliant, he gets shot in his face and chest
and goes down and dies.

DORIAN JOHNSON, FRIEND OF MICHAEL BROWN: Shot struck my friend in the
back. He then stopped. He was going to stop to turn around with his hands
in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Michael body jerks as if he was hit. Then he turns
around and put his hands up and the officer continues to shoot him until he
goes all the way down to the ground.


SHARPTON: The county prosecutor says, the grand jury could continue
meeting for another month. The question tonight is, how significant is
this new account, and will the grand jury see it?

Joining me now is Lizz Brown, attorney and columnist for "St. Louis
American" and former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey. Thank you both for
being here.



SHARPTON: Lizz, how important is this new account?

BROWN: It`s critical beyond description. We have, like you said,
Reverend, we have real-time conversation. Real-time conversation that
would be admissible in any court of law. An excited utterance. It`s
something that would come in as legitimate evidence. We have someone
collaborating that the hands were up in the air. Why is that important?
Because we believe that during the grand jury assessment, the grand jury
determination, that the police officer is going to be assessed in terms of
whether or not he was responding as a result of aggressive actions directed
towards him. We now know, as we`ve always known, that his hands were up.
And secondly, when we evaluate this, we evaluate it also in terms of the
court of public opinion. It is additional evidence that`s going to make it
impossible for people to respond positively if there is no indictment.

SHARPTON: Ken, do you prosecuted a lot of crime. How important is this
real-time tape, as opposed to the other witnesses we`ve already heard?

COFFEY: It`s terrifically important. Just as Lizz described. As you
point out, it corroborates what some other witnesses have said. It`s real-
time. It`s something, because there`s going to be disagreements among
witnesses about some details. We know that. And we certainly don`t know
everything the witnesses have said. But now you have a videotape that gets
to one of the most critical questions of all. What was the exact moment of
Michael Brown`s action? What was he doing as he was being gunned down? He
was trying to surrender.

That`s a haunting image. It`s an image that we won`t see, in a sense, but
is now being brought back to us by eyewitnesses. It`s going to go back to
that jury, if there`s an indictment, and they`re going to disagree about a
lot of things, but they`ll agree on the fact that he was unarmed, that he
was trying to get away, after the initial exchange with the police officer,
and that he had his arms up, which is the sign to signal the symbol of

SHARPTON: I`ve got to ask you this, Kendall. Does this in any way change
your opinion of whether there should be an indictment here?

COFFEY: Well, I think it makes the case more prosecutable. In other
words, we don`t know all the evidence and I`m reluctant to get out and say,
based on, you know, what we`re hearing in the media. But now we have
something that a prosecutor could put in front of the jury, added to
everything else we know, added to what we think are going to be compelling,
forensic reports, again we don`t have all that information, and suddenly
this is a case that could get a conviction if it`s prosecuted. Again,
assuming that the other things add up the way we think they`re going to add

SHARPTON: Lizz, here`s what one of the construction workers apparently in
the new video told a local TV station about the shooting a few weeks ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I see somebody staggering and running, and when he
finally caught himself, he threw his hands up and started screaming, okay,
okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. At first his gun was down, and then walked
until he got about eight to ten feet away from him, and then he shot at
him, six, seven shots. I heard -- it seemed like seven. Then he put his
gun down. That`s when Michael stumbled forward, I`d say about 25 feet or
so, and then fell on his face.


SHARPTON: So, does that account have more credibility if the new tape
apparently showing his real-time reaction can be verified?

BROWN: Yes, it does. Like Kendall said, this is a moment of surrender.
So the voice that you just heard was adding additional verbal surrender to
it. Okay, okay, okay, okay. This was a person that was attempting to be
compliant. Being compliant in every day that he knew how to do, even with
bullets in him. This is incredible. And there`s one more component and
layer that we have to add to these two witnesses. One, they`re not from
Ferguson, and two, they`re white. And the color matters in because we have
this history in our country of racial issues. Right?

So we now have people outside of the race of the person that was killed,
and we have people that are from outside of Ferguson. So the grand jury
can`t say that, well, the only people that we had witnesses from are people
that lived in his community. Although that shouldn`t matter at all, now we
have witnesses, not from the community, the not from the age group, and not
from the race of Michael Brown, and that is huge.

SHARPTON: How important is that, Kendall, that they are not from Ferguson,
they`re not his age group, and they`re not his race? How important is

COFFEY: Well, I think it`s going make them perhaps the most believable
witnesses that step into that courtroom. And what they`re saying, if
believed, is mighty incriminating, with respect to Officer Wilson.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Lizz, here`s what the Washington Post
wrote about how prosecutors are running the grand jury process. Quote,
"Instead of telling grand jury members what the charges they believe the
police Officer Darren Wilson should face, they`re leaving it open-ended for
now, and involving the grand jury as co-investigators." Now, the
implications of that you`ve attacked here on that show. How does that
change, if anything, with this new information, new evidence, if it`s
presented to them?

BROWN: Well, it doesn`t really change anything. What we`re getting from
the prosecutor is a signal, a signal of surrender. We have prosecutors who
want an indictment. Never leave it up to the grand jury to say, or rarely
leave it up to the grand jury to say, I think he should be charged with
this. Because the grand jury, it`s likely that this grand jury is seeing
the prosecuting attorney`s office do something that they have never, ever
done in front of them. They have never advocated for a charge on someone
who is a defendant. What does that say?

What does that signal to the grand jury? It signals that they don`t want
an indictment. And it`s another reason that I believe very strongly that
there will be no indictment. Because everything that the prosecutor is
doing is signaling, I don`t want an indictment.

SHARPTON: Well, then the feds will have to deal with this. But let me ask
you, Kendall. As a -- sitting in that prosecutor`s chair, the concerns,
that continued outrage in the community, what gravity does that have?

COFFEY: Well, they`re concerned about it. But prosecutors, local
prosecutors are very concerned about what local police think. Long after
this case is no longer on the headlines, they`ve got to deal with the local
police community, and they care deeply about what the local police, who to
them are like teammates and extended family, they care deeply about what
the police think. The police don`t want Officer Wilson to be indicted.

SHARPTON: And that`s why a lot of us feel it`s got to be taken out of the
local police culture, so we can have a fair appraisal of the evidence.
Lizz Brown and Kendall Coffey, thank you both for your time tonight.

BROWN: Thank you.

COFFEY: Thank you, Reverend.

BROWN: I appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a story we have to talk about. The republican effort
to suppress the vote is happening right now all over the country. And now
we have Georgia secretary of state on tape warning about, quote, "minority
voters." That`s next.


SHARPTON: Tonight, some disturbing news from Georgia. The new front in
the shameful nationwide attempt by the GOP to suppress the vote. The
secretary of state, a republican, has been caught on tape warning about
minority voters turning out at the polls.


BRIAN KEMP (R-GA), SECRETARY OF STATE: In closing, I just wanted to tell
you real quick, after we get through this run-off, you know, the democrats
are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering
all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on
the sidelines, and if they can do that, they can win these elections in


SHARPTON: This is blatantly partisan. It`s a blatantly partisan comment
from the state`s top election official. He then went on to urge
republicans to match those efforts.


KEMP: We`ve got to do the exact same thing. I would encourage all of you,
if you have an android or Apple device. Download that app, and make it
your goal just to register one new republican voter.


SHARPTON: This is the same person who is investigating Georgia`s largest
democratic voter registration effort, accusing the group of committing
voter fraud. There`s a concerted effort on the right to make voting more
difficult for certain folks in Georgia. State republicans have already cut
24 early voting days from the calendar this year. And on Tuesday,
republican State Senator Fran Nilo (ph) wrote an angry response to a new
early voting station in DeKalb County. Quote, "Now we`re to have Sunday
voting at South DeKalb mall, just prior to the election. This location is
dominated by African-American shoppers and is near several large African-
American mega churches. We`ll try to eliminate this new election loophole
in January."

And when he was criticized for those comments, he doubled down, saying he
would, quote, "prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the
number of voters." What is this lawmaker worried about? That early voting
would be too convenient for African-Americans? That they wouldn`t be
educated enough to vote? We can`t sit by and let voting rights come under
attack in Georgia, where Dr. Martin Luther King began his long fight for
voting rights and equality. And not anywhere else in the U.S. where those
rights are being attacked.

Joining me now is Georgia democratic State Senator Nan Orrock and Lee May
Interim CEO for DeKalb County. Thank you both for being here.

LEE MAY, DEKALB COUNTRY INTERIM CEO: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

STATE SEN. NAN ORROCK (D), GEORGIA: Thank you, good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Senator Orrock, let me ask you, what do you make of these new
comments from Georgia secretary of state?

ORROCK: I`m not surprised because he`s a republican and a member of a
party here in Georgia that`s been blocking access to voting. They passed -
- we passed the second voter I.D. bill in the country, was passed here in
Georgia by the GOP. So there`s been a steady drum beat of the republicans
trying to suppress the vote in Georgia. They should be encouraging voter
participation. That is put democracies all about. But instead, our
highest official, in charge of elections is caught on camera making these
kinds of comments about minority voters. And then proceeds to actually
attack a non-partisan voter registration project that`s going on here in
the state.

SHARPTON: Yes. Now, Mr. May, it was your push to expand early voting
sites that prompted the GOP lawmaker to talk about African-American
shoppers and more educated voters. What`s your reaction to that?

MAY: Well, it`s unfortunate that Senator Millar took this position. We
were simply attempting to increase accessibility to the polls. You know,
the trend in DeKalb County, Georgia, is that during presidential elections,
voter participation is as high as 70 percent. But during off-year
elections, it goes down as low as 40 percent. And so, by adding one
additional day on October 26, it gives us an additional day for people to
get out and vote. And on top of that, we also expanded the locations of
where they can vote as well. Now, we put it at South DeKalb Mall, which is
predominantly African-American area, but we made the attempt to expand it
throughout all of DeKalb Counties, that`s the north and the south, democrat
and republicans. So, we`ve attempted to do it in a very fair and balanced

SHARPTON: Senator Orrock, but I`m seeing this all over the country. We`re
on a tour, non-partisan, to deal with voting rights, they are clearly
trying all over the country, but specifically in Georgia and in other parts
of the south, to suppress the vote. What is the idea of stopping people
from having the ability to vote early, to have days that they can vote
early, because of their work schedules or childcare or daycare? Or
Sundays, coming after church. I mean, this is a very concentrated effort.

ORROCK: There`s no question about it, Reverend. They`re playing hardball.
They cut in half the number of days for early voting after we had such
successful turn-out in the recent presidential race. They cut it in half.
They are now hooping and hollering and saying they`re going to block us
from having Sunday voting days. We should be working together to bring
more and more people into civic participation, into being engaged with
voting and participating in politics.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

ORROCK: And instead, we see them blocking at every point. I think they
know their days are numbered, that when large numbers of people vote,
they`re not going to do well with their narrow, narrow views on race and
the fact that they`re virtually, really, almost an all-white party, and
they seem to fear people voting in the communities of color. This is a
consistent pattern. They introduce legislation and tried to pass it this
last year, of saying that local counties can shut down early voting as they
wish. It`s been one bill after another, all designed to suppress the vote.
You would think that they would be trying to improve their record. You
would think they would be trying to move past the days of the old south.
But sadly, they want to take us backward.

SHARPTON: But if you look at the strength Lee of the African-American
vote. And for example, in your state, where you have a tightening race,
that is between Michelle Nunn and republican candidate Perdue, it`s down to
1.4 percentage points. When you see that kind of tight race, African-
American voters coming out and many of them would -- assumed by the
republicans go for the democratic candidate, it is really a real strategic
move to suppress that vote for clear political reasons, aside from some of
the bias that may be involved.

MAY: Well, and the Senator Millar stated it was about partisan politics.
And so whatever it takes to give them their advantage, I think they`re
willing to do. You know, in DeKalb County, we are a predominantly African-
American County. We`re the most heavily democratic county in the entire
states. So our county really does matter. And so, guess what, if you do
have more people coming to the polls, early and on Election Day, it is
going to make a difference throughout DeKalb County. But the interesting
thing is, through our efforts, this was a non-partisan efforts.

Is it wrong to want to get more people out to the polls? It`s something
that, you know, my ancestors, that we rest on. I wouldn`t be in elected
office had not our ancestors fought and bled to give greater access to the
polls and that`s simply what we`ve been attempting to do through this
effort. And other counties have taken our lead on that, locally Fulton
County, the largest county in the state, you know, and others counties as

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there, but I promise you, I`m
going to be all over this, all over the country on this in the next several

MAY: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton. We need it.

ORROCK: Tell the story, tell the story.

SHARPTON: State Sen. Nan Orrock, DeKalb County CEO Lee May. Thank you
both for your time tonight.

MAY: Thank you.

ORROCK: Thank you very much. Pleasure to be with you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama`s message to America 13 years after
9/11. Why we can`t let fear cloud our judgment.


SHARPTON: On this 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks,
President Obama led a moment of silence at the White House, along with the
First Lady and the vice president. Before traveling to the Pentagon to
speak at a memorial ceremony. His message was one of endurance.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Thirteen years after a small and
hateful minds conspired to break us, America stands tall, and America
stands proud. And guided by the values that sustain us, we will only grow


SHARPTON: More on remembering what happened 13 years ago and what we can
learn from it, next.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the lessons of 9/11, 13 years after those
terrible attacks. The threat from ISIS has revived a certain level of fear
and anxiety across the country. That fear is understandable. But we can`t
let it control us. Today President Obama spoke at the Pentagon memorial
about what the 9/11 terrorists hoped to achieve.


OBAMA: We carry on, because as Americans, we do not give in to fear.


SHARPTON: We can`t give in to fear. Fear blinds us. Fear leads us to bad
decisions. And betraying American values, and we saw all of that in the
years right after 9/11, from Gitmo, to Abu Ghraib, to the Iraq war itself.
That`s why it`s important for President Obama to be cautious and deliberate
about another war overseas. But don`t mistake caution for fear. We must
be cautious not to put lives at risk unnecessarily. But we must never
harbor fear. We must never be a place that we can have fear be the reasons
we make moves. Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear

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


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