PoliticsNation, Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
September 18, 2014
Guest: Karen Bass, Ryan Lenz, Jim Cavanaugh, Dave Zirin, Joy Taylor
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight in Cincinnati.
We start with breaking news on Capitol Hill. The Senate is voting on
President Obama`s plan to train and arm moderate Syrian troop -- rebels who
are fighting the terrorist group ISIS. The House past the plan last night.
The vote comes after a day of startling headlines about ISIS, suggesting
the group`s reach goes far beyond the Middle East.
Early this morning, Australian police arrested 15 people, stopping what
they described as an ISIS plot. One man has already appeared in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was ordered to behead random people in public.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Searches were conducted across the suburbs of Sydney,
that included in excess of 800 officers. It`s the largest operation of its
type undertaken in Australia`s history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a serious concern right at the heart of our
communities, we have people that are planning to conduct random attacks.
Today we`ve worked together to make sure that that didn`t happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Australian raid comes just days after U.S. prosecutors
indicted a New York man on charges of attempting to provide financial
support to ISIS and recruit others to fly to Syria to join them.
Clearly the threat is serious. And the Obama administration is already
taking decisive action. With the U.S. military carrying out two more
airstrikes today against ISIS in Iraq, one targeting a large group of
terrorists on the ground.
This is an issue of national security. It shouldn`t be about politics.
But when secretary of state John Kerry testified at a House hearing on ISIS
today, some Republicans jumped at the chance to take cheap shots at the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, (R), FLORIDA: The president doesn`t have the will to
do all that is necessary in Iraq and Syria.
REP. JOE WILSON (R),SOUTH CAROLINA: The Obama mistake, the Benghazi
assassinations cover-up --
REP. STEVE SHABOT (R), OHIO: An indication that he may not fully accept
that radical Islam is indeed something that does exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Bringing up Benghazi, claiming the president doesn`t have the
will to do what`s necessary. These tactics are childish and they belittle
the serious work that this administration is doing to keep Americans safe.
Joining me now, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat of California, and
former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. Thank you both for being here.
REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Good evening.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you were in that hearing today. I mean, what do
you think when your Republican colleagues went after the president in the
discussion on is?
BASS: Well, I think truth be told, I think they can`t help themselves.
But I do have to tell you that I don`t think that characterized the overall
hearing. And then the proof is in the pudding. The vote happened
yesterday and it`s very clear that the majority of Congress supported the
president`s proposal. And so I think that really characterizes the entire
SHARPTON: Governor, the American people support action against ISIS but
not ground troops. And that`s the president`s approach. So why are so
many Republicans going out of their way to criticize him?
RENDELL: Well, they`re wrong. They misread the American people. First of
all, the things that you talked about, Rev., bringing up Benghazi at the
hearing like this, that sickens the American people. We used to be a
country when we were threatened abroad or threaten at home, we unified
together, we put partisanship aside. I think that`s what the people would
like to see. So I think the Republicans are hurting themselves by doing
this. They maybe even hurting themselves out of repercussion in the
But more importantly, everyone seems to forget, the Republicans who say, we
should do more, we shouldn`t rule out putting troops on the ground, we
can`t be successful if we don`t put troops on the ground, they forget the
lesson of Kosovo. In Kosovo, using air power, we defeated an entrenched
government, we brought down an entrenched government without losing one
American fighting man or fighting woman. We didn`t lose a pilot, we didn`t
lose a plane. It was a tremendously successful venture. And I believe air
power with the type of things the president is doing in terms of terrorism,
can be successful.
SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman, defense secretary Chuck Hagel says that
the Pentagon signed off on a plan for striking ISIS in Syria. He`s
approved it, but President Obama hasn`t agreed yet. We`ve launched about
180 airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq. How critical is this next phase?
BASS: Well, I think the next phase is very critical, because, you know,
everybody has seen the treachery of ISIS. And then you reported earlier
about the potential group in Australia and what they were trying to do.
And we`ve also heard about people being recruited in the United States. So
that tell you, that`s something that is deeply troubling to me.
I think that there needs to be absolutely comprehensive approach. And we
need to look at what we can do to stop people from wanting to get involved
and being recruited. You`ve even seen new stories about young women who
are going over and offering themselves as brides. So this needs to be
stopped and it needs to be stopped worldwide.
SHARPTON: Governor, the vote to arm the rebels is frankly a complicated
one for many people on both sides of the aisle. But even many Republicans
are criticizing the hawks in their own party who want boots on the ground.
Listen to Senator Rand Paul and what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The interventionist clamor for boots on the
ground, we should remember, they were wrong about Iraq. They were wrong
about Libya. They were wrong about Syria. When will we quit listening to
the advocates who have been wrong about every foreign policy position of
the last two decades?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, Governor, why are the hawks in the GOP still prominent
after their failure in places like Iraq?
RENDELL: I don`t think they are. I don`t think they have the ear of the
American people, Rev. I think the American people are solidly against
putting American troops on the ground to fight this war, solidly for air
power, solidly for steps to degrade ISIS and to stop terrorism. There`s no
question about that. But the American people are next. And again, the
Republicans look foolish.
And to our Democrat who voted against the president, I would have a
message. Remember Kosovo. When the president of the United States says
we`re going to do this without boots on the ground, he can mean it and he
can enforce it and implement it.
The fact that General Dempsey came and said we might use boots on the
ground, it doesn`t matter what General Dempsey says. Because under the
constitution of the United States, it matters only what the president, the
commander in-chief says, and President Obama has been crystal clear. We`re
not putting American fighting troops on the ground.
BASS: But also --
SHARPTON: But Congresswoman, there are reports that around 100 Americans
are fighting with ISIS.
SHARPTON: Secretary Kerry addressed that issue today. I want to play
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: What I want to make certain is that
anybody who has a passport returns in handcuffs, not through customs with
their passport, and that`s our goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What -- I mean, how does the U.S. deal with Americans that are
sympathizing with is, Congresswoman?
BASS: Well, you know, I think that we need to get to the bottom of it in
those communities. I mean, we certainly know that there are communities
where people have been recruited from. And the fact that they`re that
disaffected, they are that alienated, we need to really reach out into
those communities and find out what`s driving this. And I think that it`s
critically important that we stop this.
So I think we need to do some soul-searching. We need to get involved in
those communities and see what`s driving this, and do everything we can to
stop it. I just think that`s one of the worst parts about this. And it`s
also one of the most dangerous.
So it`s not like ISIS is going to invade the United States. But clearly,
if people are being recruited from here and go over there, what is to stop
them from coming back here? That`s the danger here inside of the United
States. It might even be from our own citizens.
SHARPTON: Isn`t that, Governor, the difference between the potential in
Syria and Iraq, then Kosovo, that ISIS is a different type of enemy, and
that you have the whole politics with Assad in Syria and all, isn`t there?
So differences here than we faced in Kosovo?
RENDELL: There`s no question. All right, I used Kosovo example to show
that was that air power can be successful in degrading, and in that case,
really bringing down a government. So you can`t underestimate the power of
air power combined with counterintelligence. And we got to do the
One thing I want to say, Rev., is that the American Muslim community,
overwhelming, 99.9 percent is revolved it by what they see ISIS is doing.
As the president (INAUDIBLE), as the President said so forcefully, you
cannot in the name of religion behead an innocent person. That`s not
Islam, it`s not Christianity, it`s not Judaism. And the American Muslim
community is standing firm against ISIS.
SHARPTON: That`s an important point, thank you.
Congresswoman Bass and Governor Rendell, thank you both of you for your
BASS: Thanks for having us.
SHARPTON: We`re watching the Senate vote on arming Syrian rebels against
ISIS. We`ll bring you the results of that vote as soon as we have them.
Still ahead, breaking news on Chris Christie and the bridge gate scandal.
We`ll tell you about sources close to the feds, and what they`re saying
about the investigation.
Also tonight, yet another NFL player arrested for domestic abuse. Our
brand new poll reveals whether Americans think the league has fumbled its
response to the scandal.
And how police are ramping up the search for an accused cop killer with
anti-government history. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Big news tonight on the Chris Christie Bridgegate scandal.
Breaking news from inside the investigation. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight and it`s a big one. WNBC reporting just
moments ago, federal officials say Prosecutors and the FBI have found no
evidence that governor Christie had any advance knowledge of, or
involvement in, the shutting down of traffic lanes leading to the George
Now, officials do caution the investigation is not yet complete. But it`s
been ongoing since this news exploded back in January. And so far, it`s
turned up nothing. No doubt about it, this is good news for governor
Christie. Since the nation learned about the infamous email, time for some
traffic problems at Fort Lee, Governor Christie has said he didn`t know
Tonight`s news shows investigators have nothing, so far, they have nothing
proving otherwise. Joining me now are Michelle Cottle and Krystal Ball.
Michelle, your reaction to the news? How big is this politically?
MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK: Well,
Christie is certainly going to come out and say he is only vindicated, but
that, you know, the legislative panel that`s been looking into this, that
he was criticizing earlier, you know, needs to wrap it up. I mean, this
could do well for him because there`s nothing the Republican base enjoys so
much as the idea that one of their own is being persecuted. So he could
actually make, you know, make a good use of this.
SHARPTON: Krystal, I mean, this could be a huge political boost for the
governor and even into his rumored looks at 2016. What do you think?
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Yes. And what folks are saying is
that he has never stopped thinking that 2016 was a possibility. He has
never stopped planting those seeds. So he certainly will try to use this
news to great effect. And I think Michelle is absolutely right, a few
things that the Republican base love more than the media in their view,
unfairly attacking someone. So he`ll try to use that for all it`s worth.
But I really think that throughout all of this, even -- and I think we`ve
said this all along, even if it comes out he had no advance knowledge, hat
he really didn`t know what was going on, there`s a lot of questions raised
about the sort of culture that existed in his office where folks who were
so close to him could have orchestrated this lane-shutdown in seemingly in
retribution, political punishment. We still don`t understand exactly what
that political punishment was in relationship to.
So still a lot of questions here, but absolutely good news for him. He
will try to say, you know, he`s been vindicated that, that this shouldn`t
stick with him at all. But I do think that there are general issues of
culture and corruption and being a bully that are unresolved, that will
stick with him regardless.
SHARPTON: Well, but Michelle and I agree that there`s legitimate questions
of the culture. But was the opponents, was many of us that are critical of
him, did it become so overplayed that the fact that they may have found
nothing on him, may overshadow those that would look at the culture? Is it
that the opposition overran the runway on this, or will people be able to
step back and look at, but it doesn`t clear the culture and the
possibilities that some people on his staff may have done wrong.
COTTLE: You know, I think it`s going to come down to your political
tendencies anyway. I mean, people who were completely convinced that
Christie was up to something, and that he was a bully are going to look at
this and say, yes, well, maybe he didn`t know, but it doesn`t change the
kind of broader issue. Whereas people who tend to be sympathetic and
inclined to like Christie, are going to say, see, we told you he was just
being punished because people don`t want him to run in 2016 and give the
Democrats a real battle here. So I think it will depend on how you lean
SHARPTON: Now, but Krystal, he still has a long way to go, because there`s
still port authority, there`s still the hurricane sandy funds, so we`re not
talking about everything is over here.
SHARPTON: And we`re talking about some aids that were very close to him.
We`re not hearing reports they`ve been cleared.
BALL: Yes. And I think the tough thing for him politically too is not
only do you have this investigation continuing and question continuing to
linger around him. But you also have a state that hasn`t done well in
comparison to the rest of the nation in terms of jobs. A lot of his budget
prowess that he was so proud of, has crumbled and that`s has been another
issue for him. And he has been on a step with the base of the Republican
party on a number of issues.
So even if they`re inclined to forgive him and back up behind him on these
particular allegations, I think he has a tough argument to make that he
really has been the sort of effective governor that he initially was
SHARPTON: Now, Michelle, here`s a recent poll of Iowa Republicans about
the potential 2016 GOP field. Former governor Mike Huckabee is at 21
percent, followed by Paul Ryan at 12 percent. Governor Christie is near
the bottom at six percent. What does today`s news due to Christie`s
reputation among Republicans in Iowa and elsewhere?
COTTLE: Well, you know, with the Iowa Republicans, you know, they like
their social conservatives, and I`m not sure that Christie`s problems with
Bridgegate would have -- you know, even without those, that he would be
doing fantastically in Iowa. That`s the part of the base he has trouble
with. So the question now is whether or not he can play the victim card
such that he actually rallies the base around him. And this is pretty
effective. You can see Rick Perry out on the trail doing something very
similar with his indictment at the hands of Democrats back in his home
state. You know, this kind of partisan, you know, targeting message really
works well and it could actually help Christie.
SHARPTON: Now, the big one would be if he were to run and go through the
nomination, Krystal, if he faced the presumed democratic nominee, which
most people feel is Hillary Clinton if she runs. A recent poll asked
voters about a possible 2016 match-up between Hillary Clinton and Chris
Christie, 47 percent said they would vote for Hillary Clinton, 41 percent
said they would vote for Chris Christie.
If he comes out playing a victim, that`s not a wide margin between. Does
he give her, assuming both would have run and assuming both of them are
nominated, does he give her a better challenge than others in the field
that we are looking at in the field of the Republican party?
BALL: Look. I think Chris Christie is a phenomenally talented politician.
I think it is remarkable that he was able to win as much of the vote and
from as broad a coalition in New Jersey as he did. Although we have seen
some of the sort of hard handed tactics potentially that were used to gain
that bipartisan coalition. But I think he is a very skilled politician.
And before the Bridgegate scandal and before we really solve the budget
sort of fell apart in New Jersey and him having those sorts of issues, and
before we really zoomed in on the fact that the job creation numbers there
hasn`t been very good either, I thought that he would be the most
formidable Republican candidate. But with all that swirling around, I
think it`s hard for him to make the case that he would really be an
effective executive at the federal level.
SHARPTON: So, could he run on this, Michelle? Is this enough of a bump,
given the rest of the things that Krystal is outlining, for him to make an
argument to run and raise money now and go for it?
COTTLE: I don`t think he ever really had to make a big argument about why
he needs to run. They are all running. Everybody`s out there running.
The question for him has always been, can he get through the nomination
process with a base that`s suspicious of him on a number of levels on
various issues? I think this probably does help him with that, but that
doesn`t, you know, touch at all on what happens if he makes it through to
SHARPTON: All right, well, I`m going to leave it there. But I don`t care
how we cut it, it`s a big news and a good news for the governor.
SHARPTON: Michelle Cottle and Krystal Ball, thank you for your time
BALL: Thanks, Rev.
COTTLE: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00
p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.
Coming up, a Pennsylvania trooper is laid to rest today as the massive
manhunt for his killer continues. Tonight a new twist in that manhunt and
more on what authorities are calling anti-government leaning.
Plus, another NFL player arrested on domestic abuse charges and is raising
new questions for Roger Goodell and the NFL. We will hear from the
commissioner when that`s would we will raise the question tonight. Stay
SHARPTON: Breaking political news tonight out of Kansas and it could
decide who takes the Senate. Moments ago, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered
Democrat Chad Taylor`s name off the ballot for the Senate race this fall,
making it a two-man race. It`s a major blow to Republicans who counted on
winning this seat. And with it, control of the Senate.
With Democrat Chad Taylor on the ballot, Republican Pat Roberts leads by
two points over independent candidate Greg Orman. But take a look at this,
with Taylor off the ballot, Orman leads Roberts 48-42.
Republicans never counted on losing Kansas. And with news tonight, it`s a
major blow for them. To be continued.
SHARPTON: A massive manhunt continues in Pennsylvania with a cop killer on
the loose. And a community on high alert. The shooting suspect, Eric
Frein, is now a federal fugitive after he allegedly ambushed two police
officers on Friday night, killing one and seriously wounding the other.
Police announced today Frein has been added to the FBI`s ten most wanted
fugitive list. As the search for the alleged killer intensifies, local
schools were shut down again today, and people in the community are on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYNOLD HANSEN, BLOOMING GROVE RESIDENT: It`s very rural. There
could be bunches of places he could be if he`s hiding.
SUSAN STEELEY, LAKE WALLENPAUPACK RESIDENT: I believe that with this
person on the loose, that everybody is not safe. There isn`t a person
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today, 40 miles away from the scene of the crime, the
officer was laid to rest. Hundreds of police lined the streets as the
community paused to remember the trooper gunned down. Frein was an
experienced sharpshooter. His father says he quote, "doesn`t miss." But
police had a warning for Frein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: In the event you
are listening to this broadcast on a radio, while cowering in some cool
damp hiding place, I want you to know one thing, Eric, we are coming for
you. It is only a matter of time until we bring you to justice for
committing this cowardly act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There are still very few details about the alleged
shooter. Is this a case of a lone wolf? Or was Frein motivated by
something else. Day six of the search and a town on edge. There are still
more questions than answers in this case.
Joining me now are Ryan Lenz of the Southern Poverty Law Center and
Jim Cavanaugh, a retired ATF agent who played major roles in the five-year
hunt for Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph, and the Washington, D.C. Sniper.
Thank you both for being here.
JIM CAVANAUGH, RETIRED ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Thanks, Reverend Al.
RYAN LENZ, THE INTELLIGENCE PROJECT: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: Jim, day six of the search, people believe Frein is still
in the state. Do the odds go up or down that they`ll find him the longer
CAVANAUGH: Well, I think he`s likely there, Reverend Al. You know,
his plans looked a little bit busted because he got his four-wheeler, you
know, mired in the mud in this pond. That happens to these guys. You
know, he may be a great marksmen, but he might not be a very good four-
wheeler. And he got that thing caught up in there and his plan sort of
changed. So if he`s gone into the mountains on foot and not obtained
another vehicle, you know, they`re hoping to have him hemmed in there, and
you know, squeeze him down with the tactical teams from the state police,
and the FBI and the ATF, and the county S.W.A.T. teams, to try to squeeze
him down and keep him in there and hope he doesn`t bust through the
SHARPTON: When you say "squeeze him down," what exactly are they
doing in the manhunt, Jim?
CAVANAUGH: Well, the way they do it, Reverend Al is we`ve done it
many times, we set up a joint operation center that`s hugely out of
national guard armory, a community college, a big school, and all the
commanders are there and investigators. They track the leads, every tip
that comes in, that might be his whereabouts. A sighting, a man in
camouflage, it all comes into that command center. But the tactical teams,
the S.W.A.T. which means special weapons in tactics in the SRT, which means
special response team, those are the same thing with different names.
They`re put out in certain areas that he may frequent or have known
to, done some of his re-enactment activities in, and they`ll be trying to
find him. And they have long rifle teams, special rural operations who are
very good at that, certainly in the federal service and the state police as
well who operating a lot in rural environments. So we can maybe try to
squeeze him down and locate him. There`s a big danger here that he can set
an ambush. Because this is the kind of guy he is, he`s playing soldier,
he`s done this before --
SHARPTON: That`s what I want to ask you. I want to show you pictures
again of Frein with his rifle. How do police go about trying to catch him
if he`s such a good shooter?
CAVANAUGH: Well, they hope to find him by seeing him first, because
the teams will lay still, maybe by air, with infrared radars from, you
know, night planes and helicopters might be able to locate him. The secret
is to be able to locate him first before he sees you, then you can get
stand-off distance enough to kind of squeeze him down correctly. But he`s
going to want to lay ambushes, so I`d want to interview the re-enactors
that he`s worked with before and say, what kind of ambushes did he lay,
where did he do it? What he know about his plans? And maybe you can, you
know, get ahead of him a little bit.
SHARPTON: Ryan, let me go with you, your organization, the Southern
Poverty Law Center reports that quote, "it`s at least the third deadly
ambush of North American police officers by apparent anti-government
extremists since the beginning of the summer. The attacks have left six
officers dead from Canada to Las Vegas." The Southern Poverty Law Center
has been tracking this increase in anti-government fringe groups over the
last several years. Why are you seeing this surge?
RYAN LENZ, THE INTELLIGENCE PROJECT: Well, I think the surge is
largely a result of a feeling that the country is changing. They feel
that, you know, with Obama in the White House, that they feel that they`re
progressive politics at work and they feel that there is need for reaction.
You know, it tends to follow history.
SHARPTON: Now, the Sovereign Citizens Movement is a loose group of
people with anti-government leaning. The movement has its roots in Posse
Comitatus and anti-Semitic group they reject federal, state, and municipal
laws. They believe all taxation is illegitimate. And the FBI classified
them as a domestic terrorist movement. Right now, there`s no evidence,
none, showing Frein is affiliated with this movement, but he has expressed
anti-government and anti-police sentiments, according to police.
SHARPTON: But there`s been an increase in sovereign citizen movements
since 2010. What can be done about these kinds of groups, Ryan?
LENZ: Well, look, I mean, Frein has expressed anti-government views.
But there`s nothing to indicate that he`s a sovereign citizen. However,
amid this anti-government movement we`ve been tracking for many years,
there has been this widespread perspective on law enforcement that they are
not, you know, the keepers of the peace, but they are actually the army of
a totalitarian government. And so that people would target law enforcement
officers and increasing that`s becoming apparent, that`s a reaction to this
idea that the federal government is evil in some respects.
SHARPTON: You know, Jim, you`ve dealt with a lot of these cases.
What the community I said is on edge? What is it like for the community?
How does the community deal with these kinds of things? Because I noticed
some are refusing to be intimidated. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t think that our life should be altered.
Yes, they should take precaution, definitely. But, no, I don`t believe
they should close the schools. I think we should just go on. Because then
he is winning, that`s what he wanted.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That gives him some kind of sick ego boost. I
really think that would be the case. And if he can hear any of this, I`m
sure he feels he`s winning at some point, and he`s not going to win. I
have faith in the law enforcement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, how can people feel safe? You see these people
not intimidated. How do people feel safe in the community under this kind
of situation, Jim?
CAVANAUGH: Well, what they got to do, Reverend Al is what they`re
doing, being alert, but not alarmed and scared. Be alert. Take the proper
measures. I think it`s been very prudent that some of the schools have
closed for a short period of time. And I think we should give law
enforcement authorities a chance to try to locate Frein. And that may
come, you know, in the short-term. Hopefully, it may come in the next
week. So we shouldn`t, you know, worry too much about his feelings.
We should be worrying about the safety of all the children, the
people that maybe work at courthouses. Law enforcement officers are duty-
bound to go after him, and they`re going to do that, but of course they`re
armed and they`re trained and they have the equipment. So they`ll going to
go after him. So, be smart, you know, there`s no reason -- I think that
people in Eastern Pennsylvania are doing the right thing and hopefully
he`ll be caught in short order.
SHARPTON: Jim, Lenz -- I`m sorry. Ryan Lenz and Jim Cavanaugh, thank
you both for your time tonight.
LENZ: Thanks, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, the Senate has voted, 73-22, to authorize
President Obama`s plan to arm moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against
ISIS. The Senate vote did not go along party lines. With senators as
different as Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul voting no, while democratic and
republican leaders voting yes together. The House passed the plan last
night. It will now go to the White House for the President`s signature.
Still ahead, the growing NFL scandal. Another player arrested for
domestic abuse. And new questions tonight about why a billion dollar
business gets to operate as a non-profit. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, President Obama is going to make a
statement on the Senate ISIS vote in just a few minutes at 7:00 p.m.
Eastern Time. The Senate passing that resolution just moments ago. The
House passed it last night. He`ll be speaking from the state dining room
at the White House. You can watch it live right here on MSNBC. But we
have developing news tonight with the NFL. Scandals have dominated
headlines for weeks, and tonight we`re hearing directly from the American
people. A new poll showing just 27 percent approve of the NFL`s handling
of the recent domestic violence allegations. Fifty three percent
And this comes as Arizona cardinals player Jonathan Dwyer was
arrested last night for allegedly head butting his wife and breaking her
nose back in July. And throwing a shoe at the 18-month-old son. Dwyer
denies all the allegations. The team deactivated him and the NFL is
reviewing the case. Yet it`s another challenge for the league, this month,
four players have been suspended over allegations of violence. Each time,
owners, officials and coaches have said it`s all about doing the right
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I know the league is very judicious about that, I
think they work really hard to do the right thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our overriding goal is been to do the right thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We constantly strive as an organization to do the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But tonight, the questions about what the right thing
means continues to pile up for Commission Roger Goodell. New criticism
about the San Francisco 49ers leading Ray McDonald play despite domestic
violence accusations. In Congress, Senator Corey Booker is asking why the
NFL is a tax-exempt organization. And tonight, Americans want answers.
Joining me now is Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation. And Joy
Taylor, co-host of "The Zaslow and Joy" radio show on Miami`s FM 104.3, The
Ticket. Thank you both for joining me.
JOY TAYLOR, CO-HOST, "THE ZASLOW AND JOY SHOW": Thank you.
DAVE ZIRIN, THE NATION SPORTS EDITOR: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Joy, how much pressure is on the NFL right now to address
the concerns Americans still have?
TAYLOR: A lot of pressure. They`re getting a great deal of
attention, as they should, and I really believe it`s mostly because it
started with the Ray Rice situation and them being so light on him, despite
how gruesome the video was, even the first video, showing him pulling her,
you know, unconscious body out of the elevator. I believe if they had
handle it properly from the very beginning, there wouldn`t be so much
pressure on them right now. But, you know, Roger Goodell is nowhere to be
found and people want answers, as they should.
SHARPTON: Dave, what do you think? How much pressure is on the NFL?
ZIRIN: Well, there`s enough pressure that Roger Goodell is right now
in Dick Cheney`s bunker. Nobody`s seen Roger. He has disappeared from the
scene. And this is classic, classic scandal management that the NFL is
trying to do. They`re getting Roger Goodell out from in front of the
cameras, and instead what they`re doing is trying to show everybody, as you
said, Reverend, that they just want to do the right thing, without actually
saying what the right thing is. And I think this is because the NFL owners
want to defend Roger Goodell, they want him to stay commissioner. Because
he has made them a ton of money.
And we need to keep our eye on the ball as a public and keep asking
these two very important questions. The first, what did Roger Goodell know
and when did he know it? He still hasn`t answered that question about the
Ray Rice video. How irresponsible and derelict has he been in dealing with
domestic violence? And the second question which no one wants to talk
about is to what degree is the violence and head injuries and painkillers
on the field a contributing factor to the domestic violence taking place
off the field?
SHARPTON: Joy, you know, calls are growing for the commissioner to
speak out as Dave was saying. Respected NFL reporter Peter King says
today, it`s past time, commissioner. Quote, "the league is in chaos, and
America needs to hear from him. I believe he certainly should have spoken
by now. A good start would be for Goodell to hold an all-comers press
conference, no holds barred. Answer everything. It`s past time." I want
to hear from both of you on this. What do you think? Will he talk, Joy?
TAYLOR: Well, he has to at some point. Eventually he has to say
something. I believe if he came out and did something like that, just had
a press conference and was just open and answered all the questions and
accepted fault for the situation, it really would soften the public`s anger
towards him. It just seems like they`re hiding something and they`re
trying to treat the situation as if it`s just going to go away. It`s
really arrogance in my opinion, because it`s like the NFL doesn`t feel like
the rules that apply to everyone else apply to them. And that`s just not
the case anymore, with social media, with all of the different media
outlets that are available now to the public, people get information and
you can`t handle things the way that you used to and just put out a lie and
hope that nobody finds out. People will find out. And I think that is the
feeling that fans and people are feeling is that they`re not getting the
whole truth. And for all the money and the support that people pour into
the NFL, it feels a bit unfair.
ZIRIN: Oh, I agree with Joy.
SHARPTON: Dave, what --
ZIRIN: Yes, I agree with Joy so much. He has to get in-front of the
hot light and answer some of these questions. The reason why he`s reticent
to do so, is that Roger Goodell has got a little bit of the George W. Bush
problem. Which is that every time he opens his mouth, he puts a silver
foot in it, and it just doesn`t come out very well when he tries to
articulate. And that goes to all the men in-charge of the NFL. Today, a
spokesperson for the NFL put out a statement in the "New York Times" and he
talks about and I quote, "the role of the female in the National Football
League." I mean, they use this kind of language that sounds like it comes
out of 1952. They don`t know how to communicate with the 21st Century
audience on issues of domestic violence, on issues of racism like you see
with the Washington football team name, and certainly not on the issues of
head injuries. They are just deflecting and getting out of the way and
Roger Goodell looks worse every time he opens his mouth.
SHARPTON: Yes, but on the same poll, Joy, more on this NBC poll, the
question was raised, should NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell resign? Twenty
percent said, yes. Forty three percent said, no. So Americans don`t like
the way this is going, but don`t want him to go. I mean, is this what
you`re hearing on the radio?
TAYLOR: Oh, no. A lot of people are calling for Roger Goodell to
resign, but it`s not our choice. And the fact of the matter is, he makes
the NFL a ton of money. And that is the most important thing. We all know
money is the bottom line. It`s why none of the big sponsors have actually
pulled out yet. They`ve said that they`re concerned but there`s still
there. Because that audience for the NFL is huge. And Roger Goodell is a
big part of that. So him handling these issues poorly does not reflect on
the bottom-line and the numbers. And that`s why I don`t feel like he will
go anywhere. Even though I feel like he`s handled the situation terribly
and not done the right thing at any point, he still makes them a lot of
SHARPTON: Dave, I have to go to you on this. This has put a renewed
focus on why the NFL is a non-profit group and why the NFL has a tax-exempt
status. Here`s the league`s office revenue in 2011. It`s $255 million.
And here`s the taxes they paid. Zero. Dave, I know you covered this story
for a long time. The league`s under a microscope now. Will this change?
ZIRIN: Well, I`ll tell you what, I`m really glad that Corey Booker,
Senator Booker is asking the question. I don`t know if Corey Booker,
Senator Booker would like the answer for why the NFL keeps this tax-exempt
status. It`s because the NFL has a pact that spent $1.4 million in the
last two election cycles. And they employ 26 full-time lobbyists in
Washington to stroke lawmakers and make sure they keep their tax-exempt
status. This is something that dates back to the 1960s.
It was put in a foreign aid bill, that`s true and you can look that
up, and it was pushed through by two Louisiana politicians who made a deal
under the table with then Commissioner Pete Rozelle that it would deliver
the New Orleans Saints as the next NFL team. So, this is a very dirty
story that expresses everything that`s dirty about both Washington, D.C.
politics and the National Football League. And you know, I believe in what
Dr. King said, that sun light is the best disinfectant. We should talk
about this. Let`s talk about why they have tax-exempt status. It speaks
about so much that`s wrong in Washington.
SHARPTON: Dave Zirin and Joy Taylor, thank you both for your time
ZIRIN: Thank you.
TAYLOR: Thank you for having us.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we`ll hear from President Obama in just a few
minutes on the Senate passing his plan on ISIS. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: President Obama due to speak in just a few moments on his
plan to arm moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS. We`ll go
live to the White House next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, we are awaiting a statement from President
Obama on the Senate ISIS vote. The Senate passed that resolution on a plan
to arm Syrian rebels just moments ago.
Joining me live from the White House north lawn is NBC senior White
House correspondent Chris Jansing. Chris, what can we expect to hear from
the President tonight?
CHRIS JANSING, NBC SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a
victory for them. They said from the very beginning that they wanted only
one thing from Congress after the President laid out his plan for fighting
ISIS and that was the authorization to arm and to train the Syrian rebels.
So this assures that he gets it. It wasn`t even close. The vote 78 to 22.
And of course this follows the House vote yesterday, all part of the
continuing resolution that will fund the government through December 11th.
But it does a couple of things. It sends out a message that Congress is
united with the President in their determination to fight ISIS. The
President has said he would welcome any sign from Congress that they would
put together a united front.
The second thing is obviously they`re going into the U.N. General
Assembly, the President is still working to put together an international
coalition to fight ISIS. So, it also helped with that. So, I`m sure
you`ll going to hear from the President about how important this is moving
forward to arm and equip the Syrian rebels. Certainly it doesn`t end the
debate though. Also a lot of folks who worries it`s a slippery slope and
others who think it`s yet not enough. Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Well, "HARDBALL" will have full coverage of the speech
next. Chris Jansing, thank you for your time tonight. And thanks to you
for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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