PoliticsNation, Thursday, January 8th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 8, 2015
Guest: Fred Burton, Christopher Dickey, Marq Claxton, Mark Hannah, Angela
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR, POLITICS NATION: Thanks to you for
We start with breaking news on the manhunt for two suspects in the Paris
terror attacks. French SWAT teams are going house to house in a town about
90 miles northeast of Paris. Helicopters are flying overhead, trying to
locate the suspects. Over 24 hours after an attack on a magazine in Paris
left 12 people dead, a third suspect turned himself in.
And also today, the first images from inside the magazine`s offices,
showing the gruesome carnage. And moments ago, the "New York Times"
reporting one of the brothers may have received months of training from Al-
Qaeda in Yemen, including training in small arms combat and marksmanship.
And we should note, last night NBC News reported that one suspect had been
killed and two were in custody. Today obviously we know that`s not the
case. It`s a fast developing story, with a lot of moving parts. We`re
committed to accuracy on this and we have all the angles covered tonight.
Our team coverage looking at the manhunt, the terror connection and the
police investigation. We start tonight with NBC`s Ron Allen in Paris.
Ron, what`s the latest on the manhunt?
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Reverend Al, we`ve not heard much
from the authorities for the past few hours, since night has fallen here.
We`re getting fairly regular updates from our colleagues on the ground
there. It`s about 90 minutes away from here. But things seem to have gone
quiet. And you might expect that at night. There was a huge police semi-
military-style operation going on up there, with dozens of officers, SWAT
units going door to door.
Apparently, following some pretty serious leads that they had for these two
suspects. But of late, we`ve not heard a lot about what`s going on up
there, and it`s really unclear whether there was a solid lead, solid
information, or what. There have been tips, reports of possible sightings
of the suspects throughout the day. So at this point, it`s really unclear
exactly where they are in this manhunt. And there`s a lot of territory to
cover up there.
SHARPTON: Now, we`re getting reports, were these two suspects already
ALLEN: Yes. The younger brother had been under surveillance. Had been
arrested and charged and convicted of crimes dating back to 2008 or so.
So, yes, they were known to authorities. The other brother was described
as being on the fringes of his other brother`s activities. So, yes, they
were under surveillance. I believe as many as a thousand or so young men
who have ties to these jihadi groups, who the French authorities have been
trying to keep tabs on for -- in recent years. And since the attack of a
day ago, they have several dozen they are trying to keep under close
In his comments, the interior minister, and others have said essentially
that they don`t have enough officers to do 24-hour surveillance on so many
individuals. And there`s some indications that these two may have slipped
through the cracks. They are also the two brothers on the United States
no-fly list for some time. So also known to U.S. authorities.
SHARPTON: Now, what do we know about the 18-year-old suspect who turned
ALLEN: Not much. Unclear. And there have been reports just that he
maintains that he had nothing to do with this. And that he`s presented an
alibi supported by classmates, friends, others, that he was not there when
this happened. We do not think that he has been charged with a crime. We
believe he`s still in custody and being questioned.
There`s also the third suspect that was involved in the shooting of the
policewoman this morning in the south of Paris. So that`s another suspect
that they are definitely looking at as a possible murder suspect. So --
and that`s in another part of the city.
The point being that this is a wide-ranging operation. There are things
going on all over town. You can perhaps hear sirens in the background.
Some of that is normal, but some of it is not. There`s a heavy police and
military presence in and around Paris. And that`s going to be stepped up
tomorrow. That`s what the interior minister said in his remarks.
So that`s an indication perhaps that this may not be over. And no one
knows exactly what might happen next.
SHARPTON: All right, NBC`s Ron Allen, thank you for your reporting
Now let`s bring in Michael Sheehan former deputy commissioner of
counterterrorism for the NYPD and Jim Cavanaugh, retired agent and MSNBC
law enforcement analyst. Thank you both for being here.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC ANALYST: Good evening.
MICHAEL SHEEHAN, FORMER NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF COUNTERTERRORISM: My
SHARPTON: Michael, what`s your assessment of the manhunt up to this point?
Well, they`re having some difficulty finding these two guys. But I think,
Reverend Al, eventually they will find them. These guys made mistakes
already. They left an I.D. card in a car which allowed the police to
identify them and plaster their pictures all over the country. And they
got some leads to where they are physically, but they`re going to need help
now from the local people to identify these people and get some tips. But
I think eventually with this massive manhunt and the French are very, very
competent police, that eventually they`ll find these two guys.
SHARPTON: Jim, do you agree? Give me your assessment of the hunt? And is
there any chance, Jim, these suspects could elude police for days to come?
CAVANAUGH: Yes, they could elude the police for a while, Reverend Al. And
I agree with Michael, look, climbing the mountain in these cases is the
identification of the actors. Just like in this case, that is the hardest
task for law enforcement. It`s not the apprehension, if you know who they
So they claim the mountain. They got to the tip of Everest by knowing who
they are. And now they`re trying to squeeze the cord on down. They think
maybe they`re in the forest north of Paris, on foot, in a car. But these
guys have the keys to a car. They have Kalashnikovs and maybe a rocket-
Now, they win the gun battle with the innocents at "Charlie Hebdo," but
they are not going to win the gun battle with the French police. They are
going to lose that gun battle, but they maybe people that can put a rocket-
propelled grenade into a police vehicle or engage the police with
Kalashnikovs. So this could get pretty ugly.
The thing is, are they still in that area, or have they carjacked someone
else? Are they in a home, holding a family hostage, eating their food,
replenishing? You know, there`s a lot of things they can do at the moment
and the police have to find out what that is.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Michael, I said earlier that we had a report
that the younger brother had been trained by Al-Qaeda. And what does that
say to you?
SHEEHAN: Yes, that`s correct, Reverend Al. We had early indications that
he had linkage to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, that`s AQAP, which
right now, Al-Qaeda is separate from ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The main
operational arm of Al-Qaeda has shifted to Yemen, to AQAP. So the fact
that he has connections with the most operational arm of AQ, which is in
Yemen now is very significant.
If he went there for training, they`re very highly qualified terrorists
there that could have given him advanced training on weapons, explosives,
rocket launchers or any other type of weapon. This is an extremely
dangerous character right now, but I agree with Mr. Cavanaugh that this guy
eventually will, if he confronts the French gendarmes, he will lose.
They`re highly armed and they are highly competent.
SHARPTON: Now, Jim, you know, there are reports that the 18-year-old says
he has an alibi. Here`s what the independent reports. The classmates of
an 18-year-old suspect have protested his innocence by saying that he was
in class at the time of the incident in which 12 people were murdered.
Now, what`s your take on this, Jim? And is it possible there were actually
only two attackers, not three?
CAVANAUGH: Right. It`s possible there was only two attackers. You know,
we saw the video where they killed the French officer on the ground and you
only see two attackers and one of the two attackers is driving the vehicle.
You don`t see a third man. Of course, that`s only a snapshot of what
occurred that day. There`s other witnesses that reported three.
And then you have the shooting in the south of France that killed a
policewoman and a man dressed all in black with a bullet-proof vest. So
you know, if there was a third actor, he could have escaped to the south of
Paris, he`s on his own, he`s in the streets. You know, the police come up
on him, what`s the motive to kill this officer and a street sweeper? I
mean, doesn`t appear to be a robbery or anything. Why is the man wearing a
bullet-proof vest, dressed in black? It could be separate.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you about that, Michael. What does that say to you,
a man in another part of Paris but kills a police officer with a bullet-
proof vest? Does that say anything to you, Mike?
SHEEHAN: Absolutely, Reverend Al. As Jim said, we`re not sure who this
character is. But it increasingly looks like it`s tied to this incident,
either by the third person, as was mentioned, or a copycat, or someone who
was inspired by this attack and decided to go out and take action on his
own. Neither way, increasingly looks like he could be tied to this action,
but we don`t know for sure right now.
With regard to the 18-year-old, it`s my sense right now, by the guess that
this guy is innocent. When you heard his name on television, he came in
and turned himself in. Now, he may still be involved, we don`t know, or
perhaps that guy`s name is fairly common. Perhaps that name is still out
there. We don`t know yet about the third individual. But my sense is an
18-year-old guy is probably not involved.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, Jim, the "New York Times" reports one
witness who was inside the magazine`s office says the attackers told her,
quote, "you are a woman, but think about what you`re doing. It`s not
right." Then he turned to his partner, who was still shooting, and
shouted, we don`t shoot women, we don`t shoot women, we don`t shoot women!
Now, they did actually kill one woman, but what do you read from those
CAVANAUGH: You know, it`s a typical criminal, sociopathic behavior.
They`re trying to grab some, you know, noble -- nobility in their criminal
actions. We don`t do this, you know, we do this, you know. In fact, the
whole scenario, we`re avenging the insults to the prophet, trying to show
how noble they are. We don`t do this to women. Look, then they killed a
They`re cold-blooded killers. They don`t care about the prophet either.
They just want the legitimacy that Islam can give to the terror groups.
They want the power of that, the power of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the
world who do not subscribe to this. They`re trying to grab that power.
And we should never let them take it. We should never let take it. And we
have to fight that at every turn.
I think the world is ready to do that mentally and strategically,
digitally, across the web, physically with arms, police, military. And
Michael knows from his experiences in Washington and with the NYPD, that`s
the way the war goes. It`s on all fronts, ideologically as well.
In the United States, we`ve let that drop down. You know, this 50-unit
thing at the state department needs to be a lot bigger to counter this
SHARPTON: Michael, you have experience. With 24 hours in to this story,
assess it for us, where are we?
SHEEHAN: Right now, actually, as Jim said, they`ve made good progress by
identifying who the two shooters are. So that is really a major step
forward. And they will find these two guys. But it`s very troubling,
Reverend Al, because I`m very afraid that in France, which is a lot of
tension in France right now. Every night there are individuals burning
cars in the suburbs of France. So that`s more of a social, sociological
But there`s a lot of anger there with the Islamic community so I worry
about copycats coming out to try to duplicate what these guys have been.
But as far as this case is going, they made significant progress. And I`m
very confident, as Jim as mentioned, that they have these guys` names and
now it`s a matter of tracking them down and putting them in handcuffs. Or
if they resist, they will be killed.
SHARPTON: All right, very important questions raised by Michael Sheehan
and Jim Cavanaugh. We`ll certainly be following and watching this. Thank
you both for your time.
SHEEHAN: You`re welcome.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, how did the alleged terror suspects become cold-
blooded murders? A 10-year-old video emerges, showing one suspect just
before he was radicalized.
Plus, is it domestic terrorism at home? The FBI is investigating a
Colorado building rocked by an explosion. It`s home to the NAACP.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden I heard this big boom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the military, so it was pretty much equivalent
to an IED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right here as he`s headed up the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever did it took off right away, though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Plus, President Obama is touting the economy today. But you
won`t believe who is trying to take credit.
Big show ahead. Please stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, new video of President Obama leaving the French
embassy moments ago, offering his condolences after the terror attack in
Paris. He signed a condolence book to honor the victims and to show
solidarity with the people of France during this moment of national
tragedy. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our breaking news.
Authorities are scouring parts of northern France, looking for the two
brothers suspected in the Paris terror attack. These men were known to
French intelligence. The one on the left was arrested on terrorism charges
in 2005. At the time, he was preparing to go to Iraq where he planned to
fight with Islamic militants. But before that, he was reportedly not a
devout Muslim -- smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, and listening to rap
Joining me now is Christopher Dickey, foreign editor for "the Daily Beast"
and Fred Burton, the vice president of intelligence for strat 4, a global
intelligence and advisory firm. He`s also a former counterterrorism agent
with the United States state department.
Thank you both for being here.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, FOREIGN EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Thank you.
FRED BURTON, VICE PRESIDENT OF INTELLIGENCE, STRAT 4: Pleasure.
SHARPTON: Christopher, these men are known to French intelligence. Will
that make it easier to find them, though?
DICKEY: Well, in some ways, it does. I mean, I think one thing that
people haven`t realized so much in the United States is that during all
this manhunt of the last 24, 36 hours, the French authorities have been
arresting the relatives of these people. They`ve put, I think, seven of
them in prison or in jail, detaining them and questioning them for now
several hours and probably will be for several days.
SHARPTON: They`re arresting relatives of these two brothers?
DICKEY: Yes. You know, they`re detaining them and questioning them. So
they`re holding them in jail while they search for these guys. Because
they believe that this is what they call a family cell. That`s one reason
it was hard for French intelligence to penetrate. When all the members of
the cell are related to each other, it`s not easy to run somebody in on
them as you would do with a more diffuse kind of cell.
The kid that you were talking about earlier, the 18-year-old who may or may
not be innocent but who turned himself in and said he has an alibi, he`s
actually related to the wife of the younger of these two brothers that have
been named and whose pictures have been shown. So it`s all in the family.
And that`s one of the things that the police are concentrating on, is
breaking into that family, getting people in that family to talk, getting
as much information as they can to go after them.
Fred, what would your take be on if this is a family cell. What problems
does that raise and what advantages may that raise in terms of the manhunt
and the pursuit of these guys?
BURTON: Well, I think Christopher is spot on with that from an
investigative perspective. In essence, you`re going to have family members
that are going to be somewhat reluctant to share what they may know.
Having said that, I know from my dealings and working with the French in
the past on various terrorism investigations, they are very good. They are
very thorough. And I`m reasonably confident that they`ll probably get two
or three of the family members to talk at some point.
I think at the end of the day as Christopher noted so wisely, that when you
start looking at this, when you lack the human intelligence to penetrate
the cell, that`s where the French lose that window and eyesight into what
might be a foot.
SHARPTON: Now, Christopher, the brother who served the time in jail for
terrorism was featured in a 2005 French television program. I want to play
a British translation of part of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A point of view, a reference point, that is what this
young man, Cherif Kouachi was looking for. We can see him in these
pictures taken in the summer of 2004.
At the time Cherif had the same sort of dreams as many in the area where he
lived. He was a fan of rap music, more inclined to hang out with pretty
young girls than to attend the mosque. In a few months, he was to become a
committed follower of (INAUDIBLE). During his lessons this is what Farid
(ph) is said to had thought him.
Farid (ph) told me that scripture offered proof of the goodness of suicide
attacks. It`s written in scripture that it`s good to die a martyr.
Cherif was quickly won over. He also wanted to go and fight. His
preparation involved jogging sessions in the park (INAUDIBLE), during which
he made fleeting contact with the self-professed arms expert who explained
to him how to use a Kalashnikov.
Thanks to Farid`s advice, my doubts evaporated. I was afraid, but I didn`t
say so. Farid clearly influenced my decision to live in the sense that he
provided a justification for my coming death. Cherif Kouachi is today in
prison and alive. He perhaps owes this to the police who arrested him at
the same time as (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Christopher, this is very interesting to me. Ten years ago now
this was, they knew of these guys. Ten years ago. And how does someone
who appears to be very normal, how does he become that radicalized? I
mean, what happens?
DICKEY: Well, you know, you`re talking about guys who don`t have much
direction in their lives and they`re looking for purpose. I mean, you
might ask yourself, how do guys in the projects of the United States decide
they`re going to join a gang? Why do they do that? Why do they post
facebook pictures of themselves with guns, saying that they`re going to go
fight the other bad guys across the road? Why do people do that? They do
it because they want to belong to an organization. They want to belong to
something that gives their life purpose and that gives them as young men a
sense of power, a sense of meaning something in their own society, to their
peers, and frankly, in many cases, to women.
So I think that`s the kind of mentality that you start with, and that`s the
kind of thing that these Islamic recruiters, like the one talked about in
the film, that`s the kind of thing they exploit. I`ve seen it in places
like Gaza. I`ve seen it, really, in many places in the Arab world, the
Muslim world, and in Europe as well. If you have a recruiter who goes to
these young men when says, you don`t know what you`re doing, you don`t know
where you`re going, you`re smoking hash and delivering pizzas, you have no
purpose in your life. You don`t even know how to be a man. I`m going to
show you how to be a man.
It`s a very seductive line. You then say, you are going to go and protect
oppressed people. Our people, the Muslims around the world, they`re
oppressed, they are occupied, they`re fighting occupation in Iraq, they`re
fighting occupation in Palestine. You need to help them. And you can help
them. You can devote your life to helping those people by waging violent
Again, it`s a very seductive message for people who are lost, adrift, and
wondering what to do with their lives.
SHARPTON: Fred, you know, that`s a very, very important point, isn`t it?
BURTON: Most certainly, it is, Reverend Al. When you look at this in
context, what`s striking to me are the similarities to Boston, where you
have the younger brother, the older brother, the family nexus to this, and
at the end of the day, this is how these kinds of things develop, where you
might have that influence and that family nexus to bring that person into
the fold, to go forward with this kind of plot.
But let`s be clear here, this was a well orchestrated plot. These
individuals conducted fairly effective preoperational surveillance to
identify the French counter surveillance agents that were in place. They
went into this operation with the intent to kill the cops first, so they
could get to their target set. This is something that`s right out of an
Al-Qaeda playbook that I`ve seen historically. And that`s the frightening
part of this kind of attack.
SHARPTON: Christopher Dickey and Fred Burton, thank you both for your time
DICKEY: Thank you.
BURTON: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, concerns about a potential act of terror and hate
right here in the U.S. what the FBI`s looking for in that apparent bombing
attempt against the NAACP.
Also, the GOP`s new attack on Obamacare in the House. Mitch McConnell`s
bizarre claim about the economy, and a big announcement from a democratic
fire brand, Barbara Boxer. Stay with us.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Breaking news, we`re
getting in video of President Obama at the French embassy. Just moments
ago he signed a condolence book to honor the victims of the Paris terror
attacks, saying, quote, "on behalf of all Americans, I extend our deepest
sympathy and solidarity to the people of France. Terror is no match for
freedom and ideas we stand for, ideas that light the world, viva la
France." We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re following a breaking story in Colorado tonight. A
potential act of domestic terror and hate. Right here at home. The FBI is
on the ground in Colorado Springs, looking for a person of interest after a
home-made bomb went off outside the local chapter of the NAACP Tuesday
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The FBI tells News 5 an explosive device next to a
gas can was detonated, but the can didn`t explode. Leaving singe marks
against the building that houses Mr. G`s hair design studios and the local
chapter of the NAACP. Federal agents are trying to figure out if this was
a targeted attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: No one was hurt in the blast. But witnesses say the
explosion rocked the neighborhood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: First I heard the boom and I felt the shake of my
house. It was so hard, I felt like it shook the whole wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: All of a sudden I heard this big boom.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I was in the military. So, it was pretty much the
equivalent to IED. There was smoke everywhere. The building on the side
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Right here as it`s headed up the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The FBI still doesn`t saying who was being targeted, but a
spokesperson today said, it`s certainly a possibility of being a hate crime
or domestic terrorism. So who are they looking for? And how will they
Joining me now is Marq Claxton, former New York police officer and
director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance. Thank you for being here
MARQ CLAXTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Marq, do you think this was a targeted attack?
CLAXTON: I think it`s really too premature and too early in the
investigation. I think there`s a lot of work that needs to be done on the
ground, you know, by the federal authorities, investigators to really get a
clear and concise picture about what`s moving forward. Right now, they`re
really in the stage of following the breadcrumbs, which is the available
evidence before anything definitive can be indicated.
SHARPTON: Now, the FBI is looking for a person of interest. Here`s
the description. He`s a balding white male about 40 years old. He was
driving a white pickup truck from 2000 or older. The truck might have a
missing license plate. Marq, how do they go about finding this person now?
CLAXTON: Well, they`re going to do some very basic investigative
steps. Of course the first thing they`ll going to do is to interview any
possible or potential witnesses and get an idea and lock in a time frame
itself. Then I`m sure they`re going to be canvassing the area to see if
there`s any possibility of video evidence, et cetera. And if those two
things don`t pan out and become definitive, then I`m sure that they`ll be,
you know, looking through the DMV, the motor vehicle databases and trying
to kind of isolate and lockdown a smaller group of possible suspects.
SHARPTON: The Colorado Springs gazette reports that the bomb went off
behind the barber shop on the opposite side of the building from the NAACP.
Does that tell you anything?
CLAXTON: Well, it just opens up a lot of possibilities. And that`s
why I say it`s early in the investigation because you never know where
these investigations will lead. And the obligation of those people who are
investigating it really is to follow the evidence. You don`t know what
CLAXTON: You don`t know any specific and detailed information enough
to be definitive about it.
SHARPTON: Because don`t most people that do hate crimes, terrorists
attacks like this, wouldn`t they have put a message somewhere? Or wouldn`t
it be for them to make a statement and we don`t have anything like that
CLAXTON: Yes, that`s commonly done, and there`s no clear and concise
statement about whether or not there was any message, indication, or anyone
who even wanted to take credit for it. And then there`s also the
possibility of the lone-wolf type of scenario, someone who has a personal
grievance and is carrying out these type of terroristic acts.
SHARPTON: Well, the barber who runs the shop was there when the
explosive device went off. Listen to how he describes it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I heard a tremendous explosion. It came from the
northeast side of the building. It was so loud it sounded like -- it
almost sounded like it was in the building, that`s how loud it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What other kind of information will they want from him or
CLAXTON: I`m sure they`re doing a basic investigation which will
include interviewing all the witnesses, all people connected with, you
know, both the barber shop and the NAACP office. They`re volunteers, et
cetera. And they`ll going to be asking them any possible, any potential
discrepancies, any beefs, any arguments, any threats, all that will be --
SHARPTON: Did you see anyone in the area leaving up?
CLAXTON: Did you see anyone in the area leaves up? Is this person
that supposedly was seen in the area? Is he commonly seen in the area?
Have other people seen him? There`s so much information they have yet to
really release, I`m sure they`re busy on the ground conducting this
SHARPTON: We`ll certainly be watching. And former NYPD policeman
Marq Claxton, thank you for your time this evening.
CLAXTON: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Speaker Boehner is hard at work, trying to take
the health care away from millions. We`ll tell you why none of it matters.
Plus, why is Senator McConnell taking credit for the economy today?
And new video from Cleveland police shooting of a 12-year-old. What
it says about that case. The need for a conversation and why communities
and police need to come together.
SHARPTON: President Obama`s out on the road touting the economic
comeback. Earlier today he was in Phoenix, talking about housing.
Wednesday he was in Detroit pushing for the auto industry and
manufacturing. The economy is looking up. Unemployment is down to 5.8
percent, a six-year low. We`ve seen 57 straight months of private sector
job growth. And gas prices have dropped to $2.18 a gallon. All of this
despite unprecedented obstruction from republicans in Congress. That
brings me to the funniest clip of Mitch McConnell you will ever see. Check
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: After so many years of
sluggish growth, we`re finally starting to see some economic data that can
provide a glimmer of hope. The uptick appears to coincide with the biggest
political change of the Obama administration`s long tenure in Washington.
The expectation of a new republican Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A new republican Congress. Oh, I get it. He`s saying the
republicans saved the economy from the brink of collapse.
The democrats got a kick out of that too. The DNC released a
statement saying, quote, "ha-ha ha, ha-ha ha-ha, that Mitch McConnell is
one funny guy. Oh, yes, he is. He should try stand-up with that kind of
Joining me now is political strategist Angela Rye and democratic
strategist Mark Hannah. Thank you both for being here tonight.
MARK HANNAH, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Mark, you know, I`ve heard some funny jokes, but how funny
is Mitch McConnell taking credit for the economic recovery?
HANNAH: Oh, it`s hilarious. I think the funniest thing is that he
said that with a straight face. I mean, what`s he going to do next?
SHARPTON: Well, that`s good comedian work.
HANNAH: I mean, it just shows how diluted the republicans are. And
they`re diluting themselves and they`re trying to delude the American
people. I mean, what next is he`s going to take credit for the fact that
Ebola has gone now and we`ve contained it here in United States. The fact
is he`s been actively opposing all the economic priorities of the Obama
administration, now flipping it around, trying to take credit for it. And
let`s not forget he also painted a very dystopian picture of the economy
when he was running on the campaign trail, running against Alison Grimes.
So, you know, he was all doom and gloom then, but now that he`s got his
majority in the Senate, things are looking up at least for him.
SHARPTON: I heard you laughing loudly Angela Rye.
HANNAH: It`s a good laugh.
RYE: Rev, I`m laughing because I want you to read the quote again.
He said ha-ha ha. Anyway, it`s a laughing matter. It absolutely does not
pass anyone`s laugh test. I think the craziest thing is as you said at the
outset, we`re talking almost five years of consistent job growth. We`re
talking 11 million jobs. We`re talking the President doing this through
almost solely executive action, touring around, talking to the private
sector about how to partner to ensure there are jobs created. We`re
talking ObamaCare creating jobs and we`re talking Mitch McConnell saying,
hell no, we won`t go the entire way. The funniest thing about this is,
this guy was sworn in as majority leader yesterday. What could he have
possibly done overnight? And he definitely didn`t get a bill to the desk
of the president. This is ridiculous. And he`s counting on people to not
know the political process. He`s counting on people to think that in
November, they were sworn in and they`ve done three months of a lot of
work. Give me a break.
SHARPTON: Let me get to that. Now to the new republican Congress
ringing in the New Year with some ObamaCare bashing. Yes, Speaker Boehner
is back to work and the first big move is to throw people off their health
care plans. They passed a bill that changes the definition of a full
workweek. One and a half million people would lose their plans. But guess
what? None of it matters, a new Gallup poll shows the uninsured rate is
falling. We have the lowest percentage of Americans without insurance in
the last five years. See that steep drop-off? It started around the time
ObamaCare became law. It`s more than four percent in just a year. But
they`re not looking at facts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The fantasy land of ObamaCare, the
fatal conceit of the central planning behind this law is that in reality it
just doesn`t work.
REP. SCOTT PERRY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Central planning did not work in
the USSR, doesn`t work in Cuba and, I wish you`d quit trying to place it in
the United States.
REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I know the harm that`s being done
by this CAIR act that is totally unaffordable and uncaring.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Angela, Mitch McConnell has promised a vote, but the
President already said he`ll veto it. Why are they wasting time with this?
RYE: I think they`re trying to use it as a messaging marker. There
are pieces out today that talk about how they`re even trying to switch
factually what this Bill actually does. They`re saying that, oh, if we
increase the full time workweek to 40 hours, then people will be prevented,
or companies will be prevented from kicking people off with health care
plans. It does the exact opposite. The folks who were writing the
ObamaCare law, the Affordable Care Act were smart, and they knew even at
the time of writing the law, people were trying to cut people`s hours down
from 40 to 35 to 30 so they wouldn`t have to provide healthcare coverage.
That is what that 30-hour requirement does. So for them to go back and
reverse it is only protecting, what, Rev? Corporate interests.
SHARPTON: So they`re trying to throw people off the health care plan?
I mean, is that a political winner for them, Mark? Because they don`t have
the votes to override a veto. They don`t have that amount of vote.
HANNAH: No, they don`t have. And I think it`s a lot of political
theater. There are some people who think that they`ll going to try to
catch it to some spending bill or some budget resolution and make it --
make the President have to sign it, but let`s think of who is actually
going to be hurt by this. People who have white collar jobs, who work 40
hours a week. They`re not going to be, you know, cut down to 35 hours a
week. The people that -- there are going to be people working at Walmart,
large retail chains, large restaurants, fast-food workers, I mean, these
are the people who are going to be really crippled by this law. Who are
going to get the vulnerable people. And it`s just outrageous, the amount
of double-talking that`s happening, and the amount of uninsured that has
decreased, I`m surprised that Mitch McConnell has not taking credit for
that too while he`s been trying to --
SHARPTON: Stay with me, Mark. Angela, we`ll be right back.
HANNAH: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We are back with our political panel, Angela and Mark. Now
to a surprise announcement today from a political power house. After more
than throw decades in Congress, Senator Barbara Boxer announced she will
not be running for re-election in 2016. But she did it in an unusual way.
Posting a video of herself being interviewed by her grandson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Um, grandma, have you made a decision regarding the
2016 Senate race?
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: I have, Zach, definitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Has your age played a role in your decision?
BOXER: Finally the question the reporters love to ask. No,
definitely not, Zach.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Care to expand?
BOXER: Here`s the thing. Some people are old at 40. And some people
are young at 80. It depends on the person. As for me, I feel as young as
I did when I got elected. I was in my 50s when I got elected to the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I`ve known Senator Boxer for a long time. She`s a fighter
for fairness and she will be missed. Barbara Boxer was trending on twitter
all day long. Angela, she`s been a powerful voice in the U.S. Senate,
RYE: She absolutely has been a powerful voice. A great ally from
when I worked on The Hill for the CBC. So absolutely.
SHARPTON: Mark, her presence has certainly been felt and I mean now
you have Barbara Boxer there but I mean you have Elizabeth Warren there,
but for a long time, Barbara boxer had to carry that alone.
HANNAH: Yes, she is a progressive giant. I mean, she`s a diminutive
giant at under five feet tall. But she has big shoes metaphorically to
fill. She co-expanded the Matthew Shepard Act, expanding hate crime
legislation to gays and lesbians.
HANNAH: So, she leaves a long legacy behind and --
SHARPTON: A lot of energy, a lot of fight, I certainly have respected
her work, and I am going to anxiously wait and see, a lot of talent out
there will probably be considering to run to take her seat. We`ll talk
about that at another point. Angela and Mark, thank you for your time
HANNAH: Thank you, Rev.
RYE: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, what new video from the Tamir Rice
shooting in Cleveland Park says about that case? And the need for a
national conversation about policing in America. Tamir Rice was the 12-
year-old boy, shot and killed by police in November while holding a pellet
gun. We`ve seen this surveillance video showing that police shoot him less
than two seconds after arriving on the scene. It`s already been reported
that officers didn`t try to help Tamir, as he lay gravely injured on the
ground. But now the extended video from after the shooting has been
released. And it`s raising even more questions. Ninety seconds after the
shooting, Tamir`s 14-year-old sister comes running up and is taken down by
She had heard the gun shots and had come to see what happened. She
was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser just a few feet
away from her brother lying on the ground. It`s not until four minutes
after the shooting, until the first aid is applied by an FBI agent who
arrived on the scene. This is the first medical help the 12-year-old boy
receives since he was shot. Eight minutes after the shooting, a paramedic
arrives, while Tamir Rice is still alive on the ground. He didn`t die from
his wound until the next day. This is what his mother says happened when
she arrived on the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMARIA RICE, MOTHER OF TAMIR RICE: I noticed my son laying down on
the ground, and I went charging and yelling and everything at the police
because they wouldn`t let me through, and then I see my daughter in the
back of the police car. The same car that the shooter got out of. As I
was trying to get through to my son, the police told me to calm down or
they will put me in the back of the police car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: For many people, what happened to Tamir Rice and his
family, even after the shooting, reflects a larger problem, a problem of
callousness, of insensitivity. In Ferguson, police left Michael Brown`s
body on the street for four hours. Four hours. Imagine what that was like
for his family, his friends, his neighbors. And here in New York, many
were shocked by the casual way Eric Garner was treated in the minutes after
the chokehold that led to his death. We need to change this. We need a
positive way forward, because both police and the communities they serve
have so much at stake. Think about the two New York police officers who
went above and beyond the call of duty this week to investigate a robbery.
Their shift was over. They didn`t have to respond. But they did. And
were shot and wounded for their bravery. One officer was released from the
hospital yesterday. The other is still hospitalized and will need
extensive physical therapy.
Police officers risk their lives every day and we must respect how
they serve and protect the community. At the same time, the people in
those communities need to feel that they also have the respect from the
police. Their compassion, their humanity, and that`s the conversation we
need to have. We can`t just turn our backs on it. Ultimately, police and
citizens need to be open to find common ground. And we`ll only get there
by having the courage to have an honest conversation. And what everyone
can do to help make this dream of police-community unity a reality. No
name-calling. No blame-game. No finger-pointing. But an honest
conversation where we really discuss the problems and with mutual respect
and the upholding of the law for all, and respect for all lives.
Thanks for watching. I`m al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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