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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

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POLITICS NATION
December 9, 2014

Guest: Alberto Mora; Mark Fallon; Laith Alkhouri, Jim McDermott, Alyona
Minkovski, Chris Witherspoon, Abby Huntsman



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

We start tonight with breaking news, the truth about torture. Democrats on
the Senate intelligence committee released their bombshell report on the
CIA today with stunning details about the worst abuses from the Bush war on
terror. Horrific acts done in our name. At least three prisoners were
subjected to water boarding. And one case described as a series of near
drownings. Others underwent forced rectal feedings, sleep deprivation, one
for more than seven days. In one case, interrogators threatened a prisoner
with a gun and a buzzing power drill. There were instances of slamming
detainees into walls, keeping one in a coffin-sized box. Making a sexual
threat with a broomstick, and in one case, a partially nude detainee was
chained to a concrete floor, died from suspected hypothermia.

The report also reveals 119 prisoners were held in the program. More than
the CIA officials ever admitted publicly. And a quote, "at least 26
detainees were wrongfully held." It`s a horrifying account. But today,
more debate about our key question. Did the program work? Did these
techniques stop terror attacks? Today, senators of both parties said no.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Coercive interrogation techniques
did not produce the vital, otherwise unavailable intelligence the CIA has
claimed.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I know from personal experience, that the
abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good in intelligence. And
what the advocates of harsh and cruel interrogation methods have never
established, is that we couldn`t have gathered as good or more reliable
intelligence from using humane methods.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But today CIA directors for President Bush wrote for the "Wall
Street Journal" insisting these interrogations saved lives. It`s just what
President Bush said when he first acknowledged the program`s existence back
in 2006.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can say that
questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has
saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks here in the United
States and across the world. This program has been and remains one of the
most vital tools in our war against the terrorists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, did it work? And could it happen again? The program only
stopped because President Obama signed an executive action ending it in
2009. A future president could overturn that decision. And once again,
allow torture, done in this country`s name.

Joining me now is Alberto Mora, who served as the Navy`s top lawyer during
the Bush administration and fought for years inside that administration to
stop the use of torture. He`s now a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy
School.

Thank you for being here, Alberto.

ALBERTO MORA, FORMER COUNSEL, U.S. NAVY: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Alberto, you and others inside the administration at that time
were opposed to these methods. What did people say to you when you tried
to stop it?

MORA: Well, you`re actually right about that. Every military lawyer I`ve
ever spoken with, including those I`ve worked with in the Pentagon at 9/11
and after 9/11. And every three or four-star admiral or general I`ve ever
spoken with on the issue, including combatant commanders and service chiefs
have felt that the use of torture was not only un-American and illegal, but
was damaging to the U.S. effort in the war on terror and a strategic
mistake, and damaging to our country.

SHARPTON: So then, why was it permitted if all of these people at all of
these different levels had that view, who overruled that? How was it
allowed to continue?

MORA: I think once we committed the torture, then we were locked into the
narrative that the torture was legal, was necessary, and was effective.
And also, we couldn`t admit that it was torture until this report came out,
really. It has not been the widespread admission or acknowledgment or the
level of brutality we admitted was torture.

But that`s significant because, of course, people who authorized or
implemented the program also sought to shield themselves from
accountability for having committed what is a crime then and it is a crime
today. I think the activity took place and then the narrative was
established and then for credibility had to continue, and mistakes could
not be admitted.

SHARPTON: Shielded themselves from committing a crime, interesting. You
know, the Senate report takes a lot -- it really talks a lot about secrecy,
about the program. It mentioned that internal CIA email from 2003 that
said the White House is extremely concerned secretary Powell would blow his
stack if he were to be briefed on what`s been going on. Keeping something
secret from the secretary of state, does that seem plausible to you?

MORA: No. And in fact, this is one of most troubling aspects of the
Senate`s report. Not only does it show that the CIA sought to avoid or
circumvent congressional oversight systematically, in fact an effort we
have seen in effect until the last few days, but also avoided or
circumvented administration discipline. So it`s not only the secretary of
state, but apparently, at least according to the report, the CIA failed to
accurately report its activities of the program to the president, in the
White House, to the department of justice to the defense department and to
the secretary of state. These are both troubling issues that demand
correction.

SHARPTON: I want to push you on that, because as you state another fact
that`s really startling. I want to underscore that. President Bush signed
a memo approving enhanced interrogation in 2002, but the Senate report
states, CIA records indicate that the first CIA briefing for the president
on the CIA`s enhanced interrogation techniques occurred on April 8th, 2006.

CIA records state that when the president was briefed, he expressed
discomfort with the image of a detainee chained to the ceiling, clothed in
a diaper and forced to go to the bathroom on himself. He wasn`t fully
briefed for four years. I mean, were they trying to keep the president
unaware of what was happening or was plausible deniability if he didn`t
know? How is it possible for him to authorize something and not even ask
for a briefing for four years?

MORA: This is not clear. Obviously, those allegations raise the prospect
that the president may not have been fully aware of the nature of the
program or was not fully informed as to its nature. And of course, also
the president relied on the memorandum advice and interpretation by his
advisers, including secretaries and the CIA director. But of course what
the Senate report also indicates is that all these briefings may have been
undercut, or flawed, because the individuals reporting to the president did
not themselves have an accurate understanding of what the program entailed.

SHARPTON: All right, Albert Mora, we`re going to have to leave it there.
But obviously, there`s a lot more questions on this and we`ll be watching
and following up with a lot on this particular issue. Very, very dark day
in America.

Alberto Mora, thank you for your time tonight.

MORA: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Joining me now is NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard
Engel.

Thank you for being here, Richard.

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: My pleasure. How are
you?

SHARPTON: Good. Richard, did the CIA go rogue, or was there more to it?

ENGEL: Well, I think in one element, I think the country went rogue after
9/11, not just the CIA. You saw military abuses. You saw intelligence
abuses. You saw overreach for surveillance systems that we`re still seeing
right now. And there were elements in the CIA that were desperate, that
acted, I think, inappropriately, stupidly. They contracted out, spending
millions of dollars to inexperienced people and ran a torture program.
That was a sanction --

SHARPTON: They ran a torture program?

ENGEL: Absolutely. And I think that went on for years and it went on with
support from very high levels of government.

SHARPTON: Now, there`s a real debate on whether these techniques got
useful intelligence. Give me your take on that?

ENGEL: Probably not as useful as has been described. It`s hard to know,
however, unless you were really in the room and reading the raw data.
Intelligence is one of these funny things. You have to take a small mosaic
of information and put it together with another piece of information and
another. And maybe this one tiny shred of evidence that you`ve got helps
connect all the other pieces.

So it`s very hard from the outside to say, the information that was given
to an analyst wasn`t useful, when the analyst may have thought it was
useful. And the CIA has been pushing back hard on this point. I think
this is the one point that`s probably the most difficult to know from
either side unless you are really involve in gathering --.

SHARPTON: But the report detailed a lot of inconsistencies between then
CIA director Michael Hayden and what he testified before the Senate
intelligence committee in 2007 and what they learned in their
investigation.

Director Hayden said interrogators were carefully chosen and carefully
screened. The report found some had issues of workplace anger management,
and one admitted to a sexual assault. Director Hayden said punches and
kicks are not authorized. The report mentioned when one prisoner was
punched several times. And Hayden said the waterboarding was only allowed
five days out of 30 days. The report found instances where a prisoner was
waterboarded on nine separate days over a two-week period. Can we really
know if the Senate was misled or not?

ENGEL: The Senate says that it wasn`t in this report anyway, wasn`t given
a full picture, that the things were sanitized, that there was an attempt
by the CIA to tone it down. But when you go back to the time I`ve spoken
to people who were involved in the old administration, also involved in the
CIA, there was a lot of talk back and forth. These briefings, the
intelligence that was being gathered, was being sent to the White House.
It was being delivered to the president. This program went on for years
and years.

SHARPTON: It was given to the president?

ENGEL: President information was passed on to NSC which passed it on to
the president. It was given to Hadley, was given to Condoleezza. That was
known then briefed the president. So this was not something that happened
in a vacuum for a couple of days. Coming back now and having a moment to
say, this is what`s happened, we should never let this happen again, and we
should air it in order to try to prevent it from happening again is one
thing. Pretending that they didn`t know anything about it at the time is
quite another.

SHARPTON: Now, and when you hear of ISIS now waterboarding, I mean, it`s
kind of very egregious to a lot of us, that maybe ISIS and others are doing
things that our government did that we didn`t really have a clear
understanding of.

ENGEL: On purpose. They are doing it on purpose, in order to say, we`re
doing to you what you did to us. Every time they execute a hostage, they
dress him in an orange suit to refer to Guantanamo Bay. So this is
absolutely --

SHARPTON: So the orange suit related to Guantanamo. The waterboarding
related that we did is a direct purpose for message that they are using of
things they are accused and now we`re finding to some degree it`s true that
the United States did?

ENGEL: That`s not just my analysis. They say that openly, that we are
doing to you what you did to us.

SHARPTON: Richard Engel, thank you for your time tonight.

ENGEL: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, more on our top story, and a blistering response to Bush-
era enhanced interrogation techniques.

Plus, are Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden ready to run for president? Both
are talking about it.

And President Obama delivers on the Colbert report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`ve been taking a lot of
shots at my job. I decided I`m going to go ahead and take a shot at yours.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And he took more than one shot. We`ll talk about it.
"Conversation nation" is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Curious about how FOX News cover the big report today on CIA
torture during the Bush years? Here`s a sample of the calm, level-headed
coverage we`ve come to expect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The United States of America is awesome. We are
awesome. But we`ve had this discussion. We`ve closed the book on this and
we stop doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not
to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this
discussion to show us how we`re not awesome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That sound bite is just totally awesome.

And here`s another one. Here`s the big breaking news that was so important
FOX just had to tear itself away from the torture story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ll cover the news as it happens. We are going to
move on now, though. A food fight is happening on Capitol Hill, a
political one. The possible changes to the first lady`s lunch rules that
would give schools a break. Could this be the beginning of the end for the
first lady`s program?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Carrots, broccoli? Why talk about torture when you can talk
about the first lady and celery? We`ll have more on the news from the
torture report, including claims that torture led to bin Laden. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: For years, the Bush administration insisted that so-called
enhanced interrogation techniques helped get key information from prisoners
to win the war on terror. But today`s torture report paints a very
different picture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEINSTEIN: We took 20 examples that the CIA itself claimed to show the
success of these interrogations. In each case, the CIA claimed that
critical and unique information came from one or more detainees in its
custody after they were subjected to the CIA`s coercive techniques. And
that information led to specific counterterrorism success. Our staff
reviewed every one of the 20 cases, and not a single case holds up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not a single case holds up. But even today, some supporters
insist that torture was necessary.

Joining me now is Mark Fallon, a former interrogator at Guantanamo Bay.
He`s written a piece for "Politico" this week called "Dick Cheney was lying
about torture." And counterterrorism expert Laith Alkhouri. Thank you for
being here to both of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Rev.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Mark, you were privy to information from some of these detainees
who were tortured. Was there ever any sign at all that valuable
information came from enhanced interrogation techniques?

MARK FALLON, FORMER INTERROGATOR: I`m unaware of any valid information
that was a derivative product of torture or any of the abusive techniques.
What I think you have to understand is, there was no basis for going down
that road. The people who created this program were not interrogators.
They did not utilize the subject matter expertise of personnel who had been
interrogating Al-Qaeda suspects for years. And they went down a road and
it was a disaster.

SHARPTON: Now three of the presidents -- it is President Bush, I`m
referring to, three of his CIA directors wrote an op-ed today, saying these
techniques led to bin Laden. Address this to you, Laith. They wrote,
there`s no doubt that information provided by the totality of detainees in
CIA custody was essential to bringing bin Laden to justice. The CIA never
would have focused on the individual who turned out to be bin Laden`s
personal courier without the detention and interrogation program. But
Senator John McCain said on the Senate floor today that enhanced
interrogation did nothing in the search for bin Laden. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: The most important thing we got in the search for bin Laden, came
from using conventional interrogation methods. I think it`s an insult to
the many intelligence officers who have acquired good intelligence without
hurting or degrading prisoners to assert we can`t win this war without such
methods, yes, we can, and we will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Leif, these are two very different accounts. Is there any
evidence at all that the use of torture led to the capture of Osama bin
Laden?

LAITH ALKHOURI, FLASHPOINT GLOBAL PANTHERS: I don`t believe so. There`s
actually no hard evidence to indicate that the use of enhanced
interrogation techniques led directly to the killing of Osama bin Laden,
which took place about almost a decade after 9/11. So if the enhanced
interrogation techniques worked in the first place, it wouldn`t have taken
us a decade to get to Osama bin Laden. That`s on the one hand --

SHARPTON: There is to your knowledge that we found out about the courier
by using the advanced interrogation?

ALKHOURI: There is absolutely no evidence -- there is no evidence to that
best of my knowledge that this was the case. And there are a number of
other cases where the CIA indicated that interrogation of people like Abu
Zubaydah or (INAUDIBLE) had led to capture or killing of suspected
terrorists or even foiling of future plots. But there`s actually no hard
evidence to the best of my knowledge.

SHARPTON: Let me go back to you, Mark.

The report details how CIA personnel reacted after witnessing a prisoner
being interrogated with these enhanced enhance techniques. On August 8th,
2002, CIA personnel reported, today`s first session had a profound effect
on all staff members present. It seems the collective opinion that we
should not go much further. Several on the team profoundly affected. Some
to the point of tears and choking up.

One day later, they reported, two perhaps three personnel are likely to
elect transfer away from the detention site if the decision is made to
continue with the enhanced interrogation techniques. Mark, how could these
observations from people who were there be ignored?

FALLON: Well, it`s part of what was basically a cover-up here. I mean,
what you had here is, you had personnel within the CIA who have contested
what happened. I know people who were there, I know people who are the
black sides and how disgusted some of these people are.

So right now is a time to illuminate the darkness on what we did, and let`s
start honoring the real patriots. The real patriots who stood up to this
stuff, the people who actually were disgusted by it and were forced to do
it, but this is a time in our history now where we have to move forward.
So we have to take a look at what we did, we have to be accountable for it,
and the people who ordered this need to be accountable. And then we need
to move on so we never, ever go down this road again. It`s made us less
safe.

SHARPTON: Laith, you know, another shocking, very shocking revelation in
this report is that the CIA out-sourced the detention and interrogation of
prisoners to two psychologists. The report says, quote "the CIA outsourced
virtually all aspects of the program. The value of the CIA`s base contract
with the company was in excess of $180 million. The contractors received
$81 million prior to the contract`s termination."

I mean, Laith, how surprising is it that the government entrusted to this
massive project and budget to two psychologists?

ALKHOURI: Well, we know that since 9/11 or post 9/11 engagement in that
part of the world, we contracted a whole bunch of contractors to do a lot
of so-called, dirty jobs. This is one of them. This is just an example.

SHARPTON: Outsourcing?

ALKHOURI: Outsourcing to contractors to do this kind of dirty job. So --
and the question is, what kind of oversight was done over these contracted
individuals? And what kind of action was taken to either eliminate, you
know, the use of bad interrogation techniques, or even just make the
interrogation itself much more, so much easier, less costly, much more
effective? We don`t know.

SHARPTON: Mark Fallon and Laith Alkhouri, thank you both for your time
this evening.

ALKHOURI: Thank you, Rev.

FALLON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Republicans are back to their old tricks, playing
hide and seek with the facts on health care.

Also, President Obama takes over late night and makes a big push for his
agenda.

All that, plus British royalty meeting American royalty in Brooklyn. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today was Darrell Issa`s last hoorah. He`s on his way out as
the GOP`s top investigator. But you won`t believe what he did today for an
encore.

Also, breaking news from President Obama. His brand new comments about
today`s big report on torture. During the Bush years. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Did you catch the game of hide and seek on the hill today?
Republicans hid from the facts. Instead, seeking a distraction. Former
White House adviser Jonathan Gruber has become a punching bag on the right
for calling voters stupid and bragging about the health care law`s lack of
transparency. Was it a terrible thing to say? Yes! And he apologized
today. But the reality is, the law is working. The rate of uninsured and
dropping. The growth of cost is slowing, and Americans like the new
coverage. So did any of this get into the GOP dog and pony show today?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Night before last, I was at the Kennedy
Center honors where they honored Tom Hanks. Famously Forrest Gump. The
ultimate in successful stupid man. Are you stupid?

JONATHAN GRUBER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE: I don`t think so, no.

ISSA: Does M.I.T. employ stupid people?

GRUBER: Not to my knowledge.

ISSA: Okay. So you`re a smart man who said some, as the ranking member
said, some really stupid things, and you said the same, is that correct?

GRUBER: The comments I made were really inexcusable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What about GOP Congressman Tim Walberg, what`s he hiding?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TIM WALBERG (R), MICHIGAN: Americans now know that government
transparency, under this administration simply means, what you see is not
what you get?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Surely Congressman Trey Gowdy would tell the whole picture,
right?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Do you see a trend developing here,
Professor Gruber?

GRUBER: I don`t understand the question.

GOWDY: It`s a lot of stupid quotes you`ve made. That`s the trend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There is a trend. Republicans are great at hide and seek. The
reality is, the law is working and it`s driving them crazy. And that`s
what they don`t want to say.

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, democrat of Washington.
Thanks for being here, Congressman.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: It`s good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: What did you think of that game of hide and seek today?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it`s more of the same game. They`ve been doing it for --
ever since the bill passed. They`ve been trying to discredit it. Tear it
apart. Tear it down, repeal it. Whatever you want to do. They`re trying
to do it as long as they get rid of health care for the American people.
And Rev, it ain`t working. In fact, the bill is working. Twenty six
percent reduction in the uninsured in this country. Now, that`s a fact.
All this other stuff is careless remarks people make in situations. But
the real facts are, it`s working, and the American people know it. And the
republicans are absolutely apoplectic trying to find some way to do the
President in, but they can`t do it because it`s a good idea.

SHARPTON: I want to follow up on them being apoplectic, because today
Politico reports republicans especially in the Senate want to launch
another big attack on the health law. Quote, "behind closed doors,
republicans are plotting one last tilt at the Affordable Care Act." I
mean, Congressman, is the fact that this law is working, is that what`s
driving republicans crazy?

MCDERMOTT: Sure. That was their fear from the very beginning, that what
the President was putting together would work for the American people and
then the people would say, gee, the democrats have delivered what we really
need. Security when we get sick. So they`re trying some way to tear it
apart, and they`re hoping against hope. What they`re going to try and do
is use the same mechanism that we used to put it together to tear it apart.
But there are already some things in there that they can`t touch. Things
like, if you can get insurance with a preexisting condition. That`s gone.
You cannot lose your insurance once you have it, just because you have a
preexisting condition. So they are fighting a losing battle, but you got
to give it to them. They are stubborn if they`re not very thoughtful.

SHARPTON: They are that. But let me show you, they`re really not getting
away with it with the public because in a new poll, 55 percent say
republicans are acting out of an antagonism toward Obama. Just 34 percent
say republicans are acting out of a deep belief in their vision. Is there
any question about what`s driving the GOP agenda, Congressman?

MCDERMOTT: There hasn`t been from the very start. It`s just taken people
a long time to realize how much they were going to push this issue. No one
in this country believes that people shouldn`t be secure when they get
sick, that they know they`ll be taken care of, that they won`t be
bankrupted by an injury. That question is not the question here. The
question has always been whether the President will get credit for doing
it. That`s why they called it ObamaCare. Because they wanted to call it
ObamaCare and then destroy it and they could say, well, you see, he wasn`t
much of a president anyway.

SHARPTON: You know the other big fight right now, the impact of the
President`s action on immigration. Today the President spoke about it on
Telemundo with Jose Diaz-Balart. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: All we needed was a vote in the
House. I gave Speaker Boehner a year and a half to try to get that passed.
I think personally he wanted to do it. He couldn`t get his caucus to go
along. And at that point, we had essentially exhausted the possibilities
in this Congress of getting something done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Are republicans going to block action on a range of issues,
starting with government funding, Congressman?

MCDERMOTT: I think it`s going to happen right from this point on until the
2016 election. They are going to try and drive his numbers down so that
people will say he`s a failure. We had the best job numbers last month
that you could have. We`ve gone up 330,000 people. The actual wage growth
was .4 percent, which is the biggest it`s been in months, in fact in years.
And yet they continue to talk about what a failure he is. That`s the whole
point, is to make him a failure, so that in the 2016 election, they start
to say, well, we`ve had a failed presidency, now we got to elect a
republican. That`s what this is all about.

SHARPTON: Congressman McDermott, thank you for your time tonight.

MCDERMOTT: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama just responded to the torture report.
We`ll have his comments.

Plus, are Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren thinking about running for
president?

And the court side royal summit everyone`s talking about is all ahead in
"Conversation Nation," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski, The Grio`s Chris Witherspoon and
MSNBC`s Abby Huntsman. Thank you all for being here.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks, Rev.

ALYONA MINKOVSKI, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: We start tonight with our lead story, the Senate torture report.
And what this comes down to is this question. Did we respond to 9/11
appropriately? As we mentioned, it was a blistering report with gruesome
details from waterboarding to forced rectal feedings, to threatening abuse
with a power drill. So did we get it right? I`ve long said the Bush
administration went too far. Moments ago, MSNBC and Telemundo`s Jose Diaz-
Balart spoke in a Telemundo exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Some of the tactics that were written about in the Senate
intelligence report were brutal. And as I`ve said before, constituted
torture in my mind. And that`s not who we are.

SHARPTON: Abby, what did we learn today that surprised you?

HUNTSMAN: I think what gets done without oversight. That we all read this
report and it just gives you a huge stomach ache, when you think about some
of the things that have happened over the past 10, 12 years. And the
responsibility is being put on the CIA, but we also have to ask Congress,
where were they when they could have been asking some of these questions?
And President Bush, he may not have been told about this, but that`s his
responsibility as president of the United States. You should know what`s
going on.

SHARPTON: Right.

HUNTSMAN: You`re the one in charge. John McCain I think made the
strongest point today when he said this is not even about our enemies.
This is about us. This is about how we want to be perceived on the world
stage. So, we have to ask ourselves that question. Not how are we feeling
in the moment. Because ten years ago, we didn`t feel safe. We wanted the
CIA to do everything possible to protect us. So, how are we going to feel
ten years from now about what we are doing today, and that includes even
the drone program.

SHARPTON: And that`s true. But, you know, Chris, you don`t do a lot of
politics, but culturally, America`s see, you know, were in the Jack Bower
movies, James Bond, have we become insensitive to torture, or do we almost
expect this?

CHRIS WITHERSPOON, THEGRIO.COM: I think certain things America might not
want to know to be true. Like this feels like a bad episode of the show
"homeland," and it makes you question the safety you have here in this
country. This institution as the CIA is meant to protect this country,
internationally, domestically, and I don`t feel that this institution
stands for what I believe that they should be standing for. I question
them now, more than ever.

SHARPTON: Alyona, let me show some more of what the President said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think overall, the men and women at the CIA do a really tough job
and they do it really well. And that was true then and it`s true today.
But in the aftermath of 9/11, I think in the midst of a national trauma and
uncertainty as to whether these attacks were going to repeat themselves,
you know, what`s clear is that the CIA set up something very fast, without
a lot of forethought to what the ramifications might be. That the lines of
accountability that needed to be set up weren`t always in place. And that
some of these techniques that were described were not only wrong, but also
counterproductive.

SHARPTON: Alyona?

MINKOVSKI: I think we`re being a little too easy on the CIA. Yes, you can
say that we responded emotionally immediately to what happened in 9/11, but
other details that are revealed here in this report are that internally
there were people that were saying that, this isn`t working. There are
people who were resigning, who were in charge of the interrogation program
because they saw that it was ineffective, because they saw that the
training wasn`t there, because they saw that what we were doing is gruesome
and a violation of our own standards as America and standards of
international law that we are violating. So I think that one of the key
points about what`s important and what`s really missing for us today too is
that despite laying it all out there, despite introspectively looking at
what we did wrong, we aren`t holding anyone accountable. Right? Nobody
who actually took part in the torture, nobody who ordered any of the
torture was interviewed for this report. No names are being named.

SHARPTON: The accountability.

MINKOVSKI: And actually learning, yes, for not holding anyone to account?

SHARPTON: All right. Now to a big vote from liberal group Moveon.org,
let`s move for the politics for the night. The group voting on whether to
campaign to persuade Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016.
Warren`s press secretary repeated today that she is not running. But if
the vote passes, Move On will spend $1 million to deploy staff for early
primaries and place ads. Alyona, Warren says no, but does $1 million talk?

MINKOVSKI: I think we`ve learned that money always talks, especially in
our political system. But I think there`s a lot of good party pressure
too. Right? Whether or not people really will let Elizabeth Warren run,
because so much has been thrown, at this point, into backing Hillary
Clinton. But I think that it`s really interesting because it shows that
there is support out there for an actual liberal and progressive candidate,
and that`s something that Hillary Clinton is not. She`s not going to take
on Wall Street. She`s much more hawkish when it comes to foreign policy
and the need and the desire for someone who is more progressive is still
out there.

SHARPTON: So is there room Abby on the left for progressives?

HUNTSMAN: You know, we`ve been talking about 2016 like there are going to
be 16 people on the republican side. And it`s already figured out for
democrat. It`s just Hillary Clinton. I mean, that is so boring to me.

WITHERSPOON: I think there will be a Clinton-Warren to get.

HUNTSMAN: I think, well, it could come out to that that but I do think in
the primary it would be fascinating to have Warren run, not just because
it`s two women, but it`s someone with really two different platforms. And
something Alyona you were saying, people love Warren because she is fresh,
she`s a fresh face. And she`s authentic. When she speaks, she is so
passionate about what she believes. I don`t agree with everything she
says. But I was watching her on Rachel Maddow recently and I thought, if
you`re going against her as a republican, that`s not a position I would
want to be in, because she`s speaks about the issue so well and she talks
to the people that really matter in this country.

SHARPTON: Do you see how the republican on the panel is so passionate
about having a democratic primary. I mean, you almost convinced me that
you were being objective.

(LAUGHTER)

Everyone stay with me. When we come back, President Obama hits the Colbert
report.

And that royal summit in Brooklyn.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel. Alyona, Chris and Abby, let`s go
next to President Obama killing on the Colbert report. He made an
appearance last night on the show, and then took over the host desk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Nation, as you know, I, Stephen Colbert --

(LAUGHTER)

-- have never cared for our president. Remember the original
Healthcare.Gov website, I think that`s where Disney got the idea for
"Frozen." They watch comedy shows. And I just don`t see the President
going on one of those. They`re beneath his dignity.

(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

They`re young. They don`t realize that everyone eventually grows older, at
sometimes a faster rate than others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Chris, why is he so good on comedy shows? I mean, does it work?

WITHERSPOON: As you said, he nailed this. This is Obama at its best.
He`s able to incorporate issues like ObamaCare, different issues that he
wants to touch tone and kind of talk about in a way this is satirical and
reach a young audience. Young people watched millions of folks watch the
Colbert report and he`s able to bring in a whole new audience and
invigorate them in the issues of the Democratic Party. This is him at his
best.

HUNTSMAN: It is him at his best. I mean, the question is, are young
people tuning into him still? Because he`s talking about a really
important issue, which is ObamaCare. And you need the young people to sign
up. So I think that was the strategy going into it. This is when he`s at
his best.

SHARPTON: No doubt.

HUNTSMAN: You think, not only is he president, but he`s funny.

SHARPTON: Is timing Alyona, everything just there?

MINKOVSKI: He`s funny, he`s also human. Right? It`s nice to see someone
be able to poke fun at themselves, even if they are the President of the
United States. But I think this is what always made him stand out. And
this is why there`s been such a cult of personality surrounding Barack
Obama, especially in the first election, because he has this ability to
just come out there and kind of win everyone over, be a rock star.

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, did you think we`d get out of "Conversation
Nation" without talking about the courtside Royal Summit? You know I am
from Brooklyn? Last night, Will and Kate took in a Nets game in Brooklyn.
And during a break in the action, British Royalty met Brooklyn Royalty. It
was Jay-Z and Beyonce greeting Will and Kate courtside. They talked for a
few minutes before the game resumed. Chris, to be a fly on the court for
this one.

WITHERSPOON: Oh my God! I would love to be there. I mean, this to me was
Royals meeting Royals. I was checking my Instagram, trying to see fans`
Instagram photos of them, just the interaction, the kind of behind the
scenes. There was a really great moment, and I think that the British, the
Royals have always been kind of enamored with pop culture here. I recall
photo of Princess Dianna dancing with John Travolta at the White House
years ago, and this to me is kind of a meeting of that, Prince William and
Beyonce and Jay-Z, it gets no better, their parents, it`s so much to kind
of connect on and you kind of saw that when you --

SHARPTON: Abby?

HUNTSMAN: Yes. We love this couple. I talked to someone who was at the
game last night. And they said, beyond the game, the moment everyone was
waiting for was this meeting between Jay-z and Beyonce and Kate and Will.
And apparently everyone just went wild. And you watch the interaction, as
you were saying, it looks like Kate and Will, they are actually just as
enamored with Jay-z and Beyonce as they are with them.

SHARPTON: And the British are enamored Alyona with --

MINKOVSKI: Can you blame them? The entire world is enamored often with
American pop culture, American movie stars, American music.

SHARPTON: Because even sometimes as you know, Chris, when their careers go
down a little here, they are still -- I went as a kid to England with James
Brown, and you`d have thought it was when he was at number one.

MINKOVSKI: But It`s BJ --

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

WITHERSPOON: You have so many stars like Adele, Amy Winehouse, major stars
that were influenced by soul music --

SHARPTON: Yes.

WITHERSPOON: By R&B. And you kind of see that when you meet these stars.

SHARPTON: Got to go. Alyona, Chris and Abby, thank you for your time
tonight. We`ll be right back with a call to action from President Obama.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight a call to action in the wake of Michael Brown
and Eric Garner, President Obama speaking out about the need for peaceful
protesting, to move the ball forward for change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I think as long as they`re peaceful, I think they`re necessary.
When they turn violent, then they`re counterproductive. The old adage,
power concedes nothing without a fight. I think that`s true, but what`s
also true is that a country`s conscience sometimes has to be triggered by
some inconvenience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And the country`s conscience has been triggered. Last night
LeBron James wore an "I can`t breathe" t-shirt, during the pregame warm-
ups. It was a statement protesting what a majority of Americans think
about a bad decision.

A new poll shows 57 percent of Americans say the Garner grand jury got it
wrong. Everyone deserves a fair shot, as we push the conversation forward,
we need to do the same with policies. Legislative action that will shift
things both on the books and in the streets. This Saturday, we`re having a
march in Washington with all the families from Ferguson, Staten Island and
others, to ask for legislation that would change things permanently on how
we assure a fair shot at justice. We`re not presupposing or trying to
prejudge what an outcome of a trial is. We just want to make sure there
are trials when there should be. Congress needs to act and that`s why
we`re going to Washington Saturday.

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

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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