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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: February 3, 2015
Guest: Jim Arkedis; Tulsi Gabbard; Regina Moran; Emanuel Cleaver; Angela
Rye, Jason Johnson, Faith Jenkins, Liz Plank, Eric Guster, Caroline
Modarressy-Tehrani


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

We start tonight with breaking news. President Obama meeting with a key
ally, King Abdullah of Jordan, at the White House. Just hours after ISIS
released another video of a brutal execution, a Jordanian pilot burned
alive in this highly produced clip, you can see the pilot wearing an orange
jumpsuit and speaking into the camera. Later he was locked in a cage and
burned alive. The execution reportedly took place a month ago on January
3rd.

This video shows the moment when the pilot`s father heard of news of his
son`s execution. Around the same time the president was saying that the
execution will not slow the coalition`s attacks on ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we`ll redouble the
vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure
that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. It also just indicates the
degree to which whatever ideology they`re operating off of, it`s bankrupt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: King Abdullah will return to Jordan following tonight`s meeting
with President Obama. Jordan has vowed revenge. Some reports say they`ll
execute at least one of their own ISIS prisoners.

Joining me now, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, and Iraqi
war veteran as well as a member of the house armed services committee.
Also with me is Jim Arkedis, a fellow at Truman Project.

Thank you both for being here.

JIM AKREDIS, FELLOW, TRUMAN PROJECT: Thank you for having me, Reverend Al.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Gabbard, the president is meeting with King
Abdullah as we speak. Was this execution aimed at scaring Jordan out of
the coalition against ISIS?

GABBARD: Well, first of all, I just had the chance to meet with King
Abdullah, along with other members of the armed services committee just a
few minutes ago. We were able to express our condolences to him and the
Jordanian people directly and to let them know that we stand in solidarity
with them in this fight against Islamic extremism. Under which these
horrific acts are being conducted.

I think that whatever the intention was of this slaying, I think it`s
having the opposite effect, where the Jordanian people are very angry and
are absolutely doubling down on their commitment to fight against not only
ISIS, but each of these Islamic extremist groups that are causing so much
death and destruction, not only in the Middle East, but in other parts of
the world.

SHARPTON: Now you say you just met with the king, and that the Jordanian
people are very angry. What was his mood? Did he give any indication of
the level of his anger? Did he even discuss, infer, anything about
execution of ISIS members there in Jordan?

GABBARD: He was very resolute, exhibited strength and commitment to
fighting against ISIS, and these other Islamic extremist groups, wherever
they are, that this is not just a situation of an eye for an eye, but he
recognizes that this is a battle that will not only be won militarily, but
also will be won idea logically, and that we have to look at it within that
context of a short-term goal and a long-term goal and the fact this is as
much an ideological war as it is a military war.

SHARPTON: Jim, you hear the congresswoman talk about the anger, and you
hear her talk about the king being resolved that they must fight both in
the military, and in ideological way. How do you combat something like is,
Jim? How do you fight this?

ARKEDIS: Well, first of all, at this point it unfortunately has to involve
our military. I say that with a fair amount of consideration, because at
this point, and obviously going back to last summer, there is no question
that our military has to be involved. And the first step for Congress to
take is to approve a new authorization of the use of military force
directly related to ISIS.

Right now the Obama administration is basically relying on authorizations
from 2001, 2003. We have to update those. But, as we pivot to a longer
term, this is about ungoverned spaces, groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda and
Iraq, and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al-Qaeda core have all come
-- have all gained power because they`re allow to do thrive in areas that
don`t have governance.

SHARPTON: I got that, Jim. But what I`m trying to do is really cut
through a lot of what people consider beltway talk. What can be done? I
understand what has been permitted, but what can be done? We`re talking
about people beheaded. We`re talking now about people being burned alive
in a cage. How does their -- how do we stop this? How does there develop
from this a real approach that the Arab nations that joined the fight
against ISIS and others will be willing to participate in.

ARKEDIS: Well, if there was any doubt that they would before -- I mean,
this video that we have seen is obviously galvanized. It has driven a
wedge between perhaps in fence sitters, where we`ve seen that both in its -
- in what the attackers have said in terms of the coalition, and its
involvement, will probably get to a point where the Arab street, for lack
of a better term, will become enraged at what we have seen, and quickly
pivot and begin to support their leadership in this fight.

SHARPTON: All right. Now Congresswoman, on that -- this is the first
video where a victim was burned alive. What are your colleagues do you
feeling on both sides of the aisle? I understand authorization, I
understand the need of Congress to exert its influence, but what do you
think that the Congress, both Republican and Democrats are prepared to do
in light of this, with the whole world looking at the United States?

GABBARD: I think first of all, you are right, Reverend, this is an issue
that transcends partisan politics. This is an issue where you have
Democrats and Republicans coming together from a broad
ideological/political spectrum, recognizing the direct threat that this
Islamic extremist movement, these horrific activities are posing, and that
we must take action against that. And I think the first step to do that is
recognizing exactly who our enemy is.

I`ve served in the army now for about 11 years. And one of the very first
things that you learn is you must know your enemy in order to defeat them.
So the very first thing we have to do is understand exactly who they are,
understand their motivation, understand their tactics, that these are
radical Islamic extremists, and then come up with the very effective
strategy to defeat them, and that strategy may vary based on the geographic
locations of where they`re active. So it`s not going to be a cookie cutter
one size fits all the solution in order to defeat this enemy.

And I think the second thing we have to be careful of is to make sure this
doesn`t become a so-called religious war. Just the other day I heard
Senator Lindsey Graham call this a religious war. And that`s a very, very
dangerous thing because what that does is confuse the issue, and it
actually has a dangerous effect of fomenting religious bigotry, implying
that this is a war somehow maybe from Christians to Muslims, and mixing up
the fact that this is not a war against all Muslims. This is a war against
very radical Islamic extremists.

SHARPTON: Jim, reports say that the prisoners that Jordan was planning on
trading in exchange for the pilot will be executed, including a female
would-be suicide bomber. What`s your reaction?

ARKEDIS: Well, as you mentioned in the piece, King Abdullah of Jordan said
that he didn`t want to get down to an eye for an eye level. And I`m afraid
that this is basically what it is. I would encourage Jordanian leadership
not to just chuck out the rule of law. Yes, this woman was engaged in a
plot in 2005 that went awry. She was convicted, but there was a stay of
execution, and moratorium on executions throughout Jordan in 2006. It was
reinstated last month. And then all of a sudden once we have this burning
of the pilot, Jordan has been prepared to it looks like chuck out the rule
of law and speed up her execution.

So when we stoop, when we in the coalition stoop down to the level of those
who would do us harm, it really hurts our own legitimacy. So let`s adhere
to the rule of law and let`s make sure that we are holding ourselves to a
higher standard.

SHARPTON: All right. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Jim Arkedis, thank
you for your time this evening.

GABBARD: Thank you, Reverend, aloha.

ARKEDIS: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: More breaking news ahead.

The GOP voting just moments ago to repeal Obamacare. We`ll hear from a
cancer survivor whose healthcare would be directly affected.

Also the vaccine debacle for two Republican contenders. Chris Christie and
Rand Paul scramble to contain the damage as Hillary weighs in.

Plus, an ugly legal fight brewing over the Robin Williams estate.

And a surprising twist with Mike Huckabee`s comments about Beyonce.

"Conversation Nation" is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: He was known as the world`s greatest athlete, and today Bruce
Jenner is once again a very hot topic on the social media scales. The
Olympic gold medalist reportedly plans on publicly coming out as
transgender, and it has our "Politics Nation" social media community very
interested.

Dee wrote, no judging here Bruce. I wish you peace.

Eric said I applaud Bruce Jenner for sharing what must be a very different
decision and process. It will help others.

We`ll be talking about Bruce Jenner later in the show and what his change
means for transgender rights in America.

But please keep the conversation going on facebook, or tweet us
@politicsnation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with more breaking news. Late today House
Republicans voting yet again to repeal the affordable care act, the first
full repeal vote of the new Congress. It`s their 67th attempt to repeal,
revise or defund the law since 2010. Sixty-seven times we`ve heard them
roll out their tired old talking points on the house floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP, TOM EMMER (R), MINNESOTA: Today Congress will vote to get rid of this
fundamentally flawed an unworkable law.

REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: Big liberal gourd government that is
embodied in the laws that are known as Obamacare.

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: This unconstitutional mess called Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s an act of pure political destruction. Republicans have
offered nothing in place of the law. They have offered nothing to help the
9.5 million people who have signed up for coverage this year, and who would
lose that under repeal.

President Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it gets to his desk. Today
he met with ten people who have directly benefited from the health law.
And he talked about how the GOP`s political games could hurt real people,
people like Regina Moran of Philadelphia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Regina at the age of 12 was asking to have a series of cancers.
And anybody who has a chance to talk to her would know we want her to
succeed. She`s overcome incredible odds. Why would we want to take health
caraway from her.

To my friends on Capitol Hill, I would ask them once again to consider why
they would think it an important priority to take away health care for some
10 million people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat of
Missouri, and Regina Moran who we just heard the president speaking about.

REGINA MORAN, MET WITH THE PRESIDENT ABOUT ACA: Thank you both for being
here.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be here, Rev.

Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Congressman, why are Republicans so determined to repeal a law
that`s helped million regain health coverage.

CLEAVER: Well, I just voted against it again. You know, even a horrible
football coach would not run a play 57 times if it didn`t work. The worst
coach wouldn`t do that. But I think what is going on here is this law has
been demonized so much and so badly and so often that in order to try to
gain or maintain some level of response to that base, they`re willing to do
this over and over again, with their hoping the base doesn`t understand
it`s going no place. It`s not going anywhere. It is one of those
redundant political acts that signifies nothing.

SHARPTON: Regina, you met with the president today. Tell our viewers what
would happen to you if the affordable care act was repealed and your
coverage was taken away.

MORAN: Well, Mr. Sharpton, if the act was repealed, I would then again be
penalized for having a preexisting condition. And I don`t think myself or
anyone else in America would ask to have cancer once, let alone twice. I
would probably most likely be forced to pay a premium of about $500 or more
a month with absolutely no prescription coverage. And I am on several
medications that I have to take for the rest of my live that would probably
cost about $1,000 a year alone just for medications.

SHARPTON: So you`re not a political leader, you`re not into the partisan
bickering, but you had a preexisting condition and this act helped you.
And you`re saying that without the act not only would you be barred because
of the preexisting condition, but it would be beyond your means to be able
to afford the premiums.

MORAN: It would be the act nod just helped me. It saved my life. It
allowed me to breathe and relax and enjoy being cancer free. I`ve been
able to plan my wedding and pursue my graduate degree. And without this
incredible piece of legislation, I wouldn`t be able to do that, you know.
I`m not asking for a handout, I`m just asking for basic health coverage.
And I don`t feel that I should be penalized for a disease, again, that I
never asked for.

SHARPTON: I mean, you know, Congressman, you and I are preachers, but no
one said it better than Regina -- I`m not asking for a handout. I want
coverage. What about that can we get the Republicans and others to
understand? This is above partisan politics.

CLEAVER: Well, I think that the majority of Americans, the overwhelming
majority of Americans are supportive of the affordable care act, even if
they don`t know it. We have, you know, 129 million Americans with
preexisting conditions who now don`t have to worry about not having
insurance. And I think it`s a theological issue. It is a human affairs
issue. It is a medical issue.

It ought to be a human right that if we have the capacity to provide
medical care for anyone, and this young lady is a perfect example, we ought
to do it. She`s not asking for somebody to give her some kind of check
that she doesn`t merit. She is asking for the opportunity to be a healthy
American, and she`ll take care of herself if she has her health.

SHARPTON: Regina, you know, the president reads ten letters a day. You
came to the White House`s attention, because you wrote the president a
letter, not knowing that he would read it and respond. What made you write
the president?

MORAN: I wrote the president, Mr. Sharpton, just because I really wanted
to thank him. As I said in my letter, there are no words in any language
that did describe my deep and heartfelt gratitude. He truly along with
everyone who worked on this amazing piece of legislation really impacted my
life. And I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude because they
finally have allowed me to breathe and to relax. And other than hearing I
was in remission, this was the best news in the world, hearing that I would
have insurance and I wouldn`t have to worry about it for the rest of my
life.

SHARPTON: What did you say to the president today when you met him?

MORAN: After saying, of course, it was an honor, I just thanked him and I
just explained to him my story and really truly how he`s helped me and
millions of other people in this country. I just continue to express my
gratitude and really just let him know that I truly appreciate it from the
bottom of my heart.

SHARPTON: Congressman, I might add, when I mentioned Regina`s preexisting
condition that she had already mentioned here tonight, she had cancer since
she was a child. And I think that it`s important people understand the
severity of some of the preexisting conditions that has no hope without
something like the affordable care act in terms of that being able to get
insurance and get coverage and this kind of repeal the Republicans would
just take it away.

CLEAVER: It`s tragic because many preexisting conditions don`t just occur
to Democrats, they don`t just occur to people who don`t have jobs or don`t
have insurance. It is all over a country, all over the country.

Regina has just inspired me, because I complain about the fact I have to
trek from my office over to the capitol and vote no on attempt after
attempt to repeal the affordable care act, but every now and then I think
it`s helpful for the nation and certainly for those of us here in Congress
to see a human face, to see someone who has been helped by the legislative
action. I feel good. I thank the president for signing that bill.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, and thank you, and
God`s blessings to you Regina Moran. And I`m going to tell you, the
Congressman nor I will forget you. Thank you for your time tonight and
thanks for share your story, Regina.
MORAN: Thank you. It was an honor.

CLEAVER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a measles outbreak is forcing the 2016 GOP field to
speak out on vaccinations, and let`s just say it`s getting awkward.

Plus, Olympic gold medalist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner, is ready to
talk about transitioning to a woman.

And emotional testimony today in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial today.

Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now to a developing story. With the measles outbreak, the
vaccination debate is becoming a heated political football.

Hillary Clinton is now weighing in tweeting, the science is clear, the
earth is round, the sky is blue, and vaccines work. Let`s protect all our
kids. Grandmothers know best.

But while she says the issue is settled, a lot of Republicans -- a whole
lot of Republicans disagree. Chris Christie went into damage control mode
after saying parents need, quote, "some measure of choice with vaccines."
And Senator Rand Paul said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I`ve heard of many tragic cases of walking,
talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after
vaccines. I`m not arguing vaccines are bad idea. I think they are a good
thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn`t
own your children, parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the theory linking meant to disorders the vaccines has been
thoroughly debunked. And today, he had to walk that statement back, too
saying quote "I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were
temporally related. I did not alleged causation. I support vaccines."

Meanwhile, others on the right are using the issue to attack the big bad
government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what morals and values are right for my
children, and I think we should not have an oppressive state telling us
what to do.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I`m not trusting president Obama to tell me
whether or not to vaccinate my kids, by the way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This shouldn`t be about President Obama and it shouldn`t be
about politics. It should be about public health.

Joining me now are Angela Rye and Jason Johnson. Thank you both for being
here.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Glad to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Angela, each of these republicans have said they vaccinated
their own kids, so why do they say the issue should be up for debate?

RYE: Because the President Obama said something different than what they
said. Rev, just like you said in the coming into this block, you know,
this should not be about President Obama, so much so that now Dr. Rand Paul
-- let`s not forget that, this medical doctor had to walk a journalist in
with him to get a vaccination today to demonstrate just how supportive of
getting vaccines he is. This is all crazy, it`s politics, and this is not
a political football. This is a measles outbreak that has now hit 100
people, as you know Rev, more people than the Ebola outbreak has hit.

So, when you think about a Chris Christie who wanted to quarantine someone
who just displayed symptoms of having Ebola, not even diagnosed to having
Ebola, it`s interesting that his take on measles is so much different.

SHARPTON: But Jason, this is not a party line issue. Some people are on
the right and left are opposed to vaccines. But we`re not seeing high-
profile democrats kind of deal in this issue. Why?

JOHNSON: Well, because they recognize that it`s not necessary for them to
get votes. What the republicans are doing is because there`s a train of
people in the republican grassroots who don`t the government, who don`t
trust Obama, and who think that anything that has to do with institutions
are inherently bad. And I think this is a real problem for the Democratic
Party. Much less so than the Republican Party. You know, this is a same
party that 25 years ago, you remember Rev, that Barbara Bush sat down with
baby`s ahead HIV, and hugged them and kissed them and played with them.

SHARPTON: Right.

JOHNSON: And she says in a public, look, you know, we don`t want to
believe in this sort of mess about HIV, I can`t believe the Republican
Party is going to these kinds of mess now but they used to have a much
better history.

SHARPTON: It brings me to this, Angela, a lot of republicans are also
coming out today in support of vaccines. Just today, Speaker Boehner,
Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Bobby Jindal and conservative commentator Dr.
Ben Carson. All kids should be vaccinated they said. Even Ted Cruz said
children should be vaccinated. How do you see this playing out inside
their party? Specifically with 2016, and the 2016 field.

RYE: Well, what I think we`re seeing is more of the same, Rev. You didn`t
mention there is also I think Representative Marsha Blackburn who said the
same thing that this should not be a political situation. This is
something we`re needing to protect the lives of children. And the reality
of this is, is again, we`re seeing the Republican Party being extremely
divided, there`s the extreme far right, there`s the libertarian wing and
the Tea Parties. Folks kind of all involved there.

But you also have Ted Cruz who is a Tea Party member with having a very
common-sense approach to this. Another doctor Ben Carson having a common-
sense approach to this. And that`s the first time I`ve said that since
reading his book "Gifted Hands." So, I think that this is again more the
same. They are very divided, and they are going to do whatever they need
to do to peddle more votes.

SHARPTON: But Jason, it seems that the GOP has a problem with Science, I
mean, a little while ago, it was climb that change now it`s vaccines. It
seems like there`s a problem with them dealing with things that are
scientifically well established.

JOHNSON: Well, yes, especially when you have two doctors who are going to
be running for president with Ben Carson and Rand Paul. But unfortunately
I don`t think it`s necessarily the republicans have so much of an issue
with science. They have an issue with anything that`s going to go against
their ideology. They don`t believe that pollution is an issue, so they`re
going to fight the science that`s against pollution. But notice,
republicans love science when they want to argue against abortion.

Republicans love science when they want any sort of argument about how the
economy works, so Republicans only like certain kinds of science that
happened to work with their ideology. Unfortunately when it comes to
something like the measles, it`s a communicable disease, we shouldn`t be
arguing about this, because it`s a safety issue, not a politics issue.

SHARPTON: You know, Angela, a lot of this is about republicans being anti-
regulation, anti-government, but if you take that too far, it can be scary,
it can even be gross. Listen to what Senator Thom Tillis said about the
regulation that restaurant employees wash their hands after using the
bathroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I said, I don`t have any problem
with Starbucks if they chose to opt to this policy as long as they post a
sign that says we don`t require our employees to watch their hands after --
in the restaurants, the market will take care of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, really, Angela? Really?

RYE: No, really no! Like that is so disgusting. Let me just say on
behalf of Starbucks, as a Seattle Washington born and raised person, that`s
disgusting. And I wish he would have used another example. I hold that
lowdown dirty, and that has a brand-new meeting now. Low down dirty, Thom
Tillis never touches me or anyone close to me. You know, you have my
former boss on earlier, Congressman Cleaver. And Rev, he used to say all
the time, if someone does not wash their hands, they are a bad person. I
think that is so true. That`s disgusting. That`s disgusting.

SHARPTON: Yes, it is. And what is enlightening, Jason, is we never knew
Angela had a boss.

(LAUGHTER)

Angela Rye and Jason Johnson --

RYE: You`re my other boss.

SHARPTON: Thank you both for your time tonight.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

RYE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, an emotional day in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial.
The victim`s girlfriend takes the stand.

Plus, Robin Williams` widow and his kids fighting over the estate. The
Justice Files is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time for the "Justice Files." Joining me now former prosecutor
and host of "Judge Faith," Faith Jenkins. We start with the legal fight
that pits the late Robin Williams` children against his widow. They are
locked in a battle about how to speed up everything he left behind
according to court document. Williams left his kids personal items and
memorabilia, like his Oscar from "Good Will Hunting" and his widow says the
kids should get his famous suspenders from "Mork & Mindy."

But here`s why it is complicated, Williams left his wife the house, its
contents and money for upkeep. His wife says that as she grieved, things
were taken from the house. Spokesman for the children released a statement
to NBC saying, in part, quote, "Robin`s children want nothing more than to
be left alone to grieve. The fact that they are being force into these
legal proceedings adds insult to terrible injury." NBC also reached out to
Williams` widow, but she has not yet replied. Faith, legally what does
this fight boil down do?

FAITH JENKINS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think it`s going to boil down to the
definition of memorabilia. Which in how it`s to be define and interpreted
in Robin William`s will. Here`s the thing. This is his third wife that he
married in 2011. Prior to that, in his will, he left his entire estate to
a trust with his three kids as the beneficiaries. After he married his
third wife in 2011, he updated that will to include her in the will, now
saying if I die, everything in the House, in this house is to be left to
her. So now the kids want to go in and they say, hey, there`s memorabilia
in there, that belongs to us. We want to go in, we want to get our
father`s memorabilia, you`re not entitled to that, so she was going to
court essentially to get clarification on what the memorabilia means.

SHARPTON: How does a judge work that out, Faith?

JENKINS: Hopefully the judge is going to try to get the parties to talking
come to some kind of resolution. But then he`s going to look at the
intent, what is Robin Williams` intent? This is a recent marriage, 2011.

SHARPTON: Right.

JENKINS: So, I think the judge is probably going to look at most of the
memorabilia that Robin Williams accumulated. He accumulated it before he
ever married his third wife. And so I think the judge is going to take
that into a strong consideration and the children probably have a good
argument that a lot of that memorabilia was intended to be left to them.

SHARPTON: Will there be attempts as they each side prepares for this if
they don`t -- to try to get outside parties or some outside evidence as to
what Williams might have meant more specifically?

JENKINS: Right, if it goes forward and go to court, I`m sure they`ll have
testimony, and people may be caught in the children will probably testify
as to what was meant about this will, but the judges want to look at the
four corners of the document first, and see if he can interpret the four
corners of the document that will and they go forward from there.

SHARPTON: All right. Now to an emotional testimony in the Aaron Hernandez
murder trial today. The former NFL start is on trial for first-degree
murder. He and two other men are accused of killing semipro-athlete Odin
Lloyd nearly two years ago. The victim`s girlfriend took the stand today
and got emotional talking about the phone call from police she`ll never
forget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM MCCAULEY, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Approximately how long did
that call last?

SHANEAH JENKINS, GIRLFRIEND OF ODIN LLOYD: Maybe ten, 15 minutes?

MCCAULEY: And did you learn something at that time?

S. JENKINS: Yes.

MCCAULEY: And what did you learn?

S. JENKINS: That Odin was dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She talked about seeing Hernandez as well moments after the
murder, saying he comforted her by saying the pain would get better with
time. Faith, this was dramatic testimony. What`s your take?

JENKINS: The prosecutors -- Odin Lloyd is dead, but he was a person who
was loved by people, his girlfriend, his mother, his family. The
prosecutors want to show that through these witnesses. This is not just
someone we`re going to put up on a screen, a corpse they found on the
ground, this was a human being who was loved by a lot of people. In
addition her testimony is crucial. Because she`s talking about the
relationship between Odin Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez, a big part of the
defense`s strategy here is to say the prosecutors can`t show a motive.
Odin Lloyd was Aaron Hernandez`s friend. Why would he kill his friend?
And then you have this witness Odin Lloyd`s girlfriend who say they were
cordial, they weren`t that close, and remember, her sister is Aaron
Hernandez` fiancee. So, you have those two women on opposite ends of the
courtroom in this case. Very interesting dynamic.

SHARPTON: Yes. Very interesting, very painful. Faith Jenkins, thank you
for your time tonight.

JENKINS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, reality star Bruce Jenner begins his personal
journey.

And also Mike Huckabee`s comments on Beyonce, it could be backfiring, and
everyone is going crazy for left shark, could his moves be America`s next
hot dance craze? "Conversation Nation" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
Mic.com`s Liz Plank, legal analyst Eric Guster, and HuffPost Live, the host
of HuffPost Live Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Thank you for being here
this evening.

LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: Thanks, Rev.

ERIC GUSTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks for having us.

CAROLINE MODARRESSY-TEHRANI, HUFFPOST LIVE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: I want to start with a surprising celebrity story. Olympic gold
medalist Bruce Jenner is probably best known now as a reality TV star, as
Kris, Kardashian`s soon to be ex-husband, in "Keeping up with the
Kardashians." You thought you knew everything about it, but today we are
learning the 65-year-old is transitioning to become a woman. His mom
confirming it to radar online, saying, "I have never been more proud of
Bruce for who he is. I am more proud of him now than when he stood on that
podium and put the gold medal around his neck. I support him
wholeheartedly." Jenner is expected to tell his story in an upcoming TV
interview.

Liz, how much of an impact can this have on the transgender community?

PLANK: I think it has an incredible impact. And for two reasons. First
of all, Bruce is taking control of the narrative. He`s taking control of
his own story and telling it, you know, in his own words. And I think
that`s incredibly powerful. At this point, he hasn`t done that. His mom
has spoken for him. So, I`m excited to see the interview and we`re going
to be able to know, you know, how he identifies if she identifies as
transgender, or if it`s a cross-dresser situation, or just identifies as
someone who is gender fluid. So it will be really interesting to see Bruce
really choosing his own language to identify himself. And also for us as
the media to have a moment of introspection and look at the way that we`ve
talked about the story in the gender police and that`s been happening. I
mean, the tabloids have been atrocious.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Absolutely.

PLANK: It`s been really hard to watch. So, hopefully this is the moment
where we can --

SHARPTON: Caroline?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: You`re absolutely right. I think that the way that
we`ve been talking about this issue has been quite frankly appalling in
some cases, the way that we have been presuming on Bruce Jenner`s behalf as
this rightly says. I mean, we have not heard from Bruce Jenner yet, and
transitioning isn`t a start/stop process. I think that the education that
needs to happen around people that are going through a transition is marked
and underlined by the way that we`ve been treating Bruce Jenner throughout
this process.

SHARPTON: But Eric, here was one of the most famous athletes in the world.
Seventy Six Olympics won. I mean, for him to take a stand, this is huge.

GUSTER: It is. And the problem for the people who don`t understand it,
he`s 65 years old, three wives later and a house full of kids later, he`s
doing a transition, which is very hard for some people to grasp their minds
around. Because he waited so long to go and do this. Even to identify
himself as wanting to not be a man, so it`s very hard for some people to
grasp.

PLANK: Well, and when we look at the media coverage, it`s clear why. I
mean, look at the way that he`s been treated.

SHARPTON: Yes. Let me move to something quickly. Could Mike Huckabee`s
Beyonce obsession be backfiring? Last month the former FOX News host was
very vocal in his criticism of Beyonce, calling her music mental poison in
his book. Now in a new poll of likely Iowa republican caucus-goers, it
shows 61 percent thinks he went too far, when he questioned the President
and the First Lady to letting their daughters listen to Beyonce. Caroline,
is the culture war more complicated than he thought?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I think that Mike Huckabee is perhaps more simplistic
than we all thought, I`m not saying something. I mean, absolutely. And I
think it says a lot when as a republican and you`re appealing to an Iowa
base, that they are siding with Beyonce over you. I mean, talk about --

SHARPTON: Well, Eric, Iowa voters and republican voters are certainly an
example, are very example, yet they are siding with Beyonce on this.

GUSTER: Yes, music transcends any political party. And when Huckabee went
after Beyonce, a pop icon, he messed up. And this is the same guy who sang
a Ted Nugent song, make a blank purse, so he is not the type of person that
people want to follow. He has almost sunk himself as far as he`s political
hopes, I believe.

SHARPTON: What is the instruction here for other politicians? Is there a
lesson? Is this a teaching moment? I mean, this is Iowa.

PLANK: Well, I mean, the lesson is don`t go after Beyonce. I think it`s
clear. I mean, Beyonce is like an apple pie, we can all agree she`s
amazing, so it`s interesting to see to the Republican Party disagree on
that, or all agree that she is amazing, but she also, I mean, she`s more
than a music icon. She`s a female music icon, she`s a feminist icon. So,
in a way she sort of serves as a proxy for women. So, for Huckabee to go
after her I think will not just turn off the base, but turn out the female
base.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes.

GUSTER: And not just music.

SHARPTON: But Caroline, I think also in this was not only Beyonce and the
music, he went after the President and the First Lady`s parenting on this.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I mean, it`s just tacky, and it`s quite frankly. I
mean, if you can`t attack the President for his policies, let`s not attack
him for the budget which was proposed this week, instead let`s do this low
blow and go after his parenting? I mean, it`s not for the desperation that
quite frankly one would hope going into 2016, you would want to avoid that.

SHARPTON: Eric?

GUSTER: And when he attack the parenting, based upon them listen to this
music. So many of his republican base have children who are listening to
it.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Exactly right.

GUSTER: So, if you say that --

SHARPTON: and they`re listening to it.

GUSTER: Yes. And they`re listening to it. If you take the iPod into the
gym, they`re listening to Beyonce. So, you`re telling them that they`re
bad parents as well, which will really --

SHARPTON: Calling it poison. And people everywhere listening to it, what
are you saying about them, Liz, when you say the music is poison?

PLANK: Exactly. You`re insulting everyone because everyone loves Beyonce.
This comes back to my point about Beyonce.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Don`t touch Beyonce.

PLANK: Yes. And it`s just interesting to see the Republican Party make an
issue of Beyonce, I mean, whether it`s FOX News talking about Beyonce
voters as, you know, a synonym for young female voters. Or, how can we
just reigning on Beyonce, I mean, can we just talk about policies?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Well, it shows how out of touch they are, right?

SHARPTON: But I think there`s a silver lining to this. Because I`ve seen
republicans use the culture wars very successfully against democrats in the
past. Maybe that day is over. Maybe it doesn`t work anymore. I think
this is a good thing.

Liz, Eric, Caroline, thank you for joining the conversation.

PLANK: Thanks, Rev.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: When we come back, two women who helped change American views on
race in the news today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Rosa Parks and Harper Lee, two women who helped reshape
America`s views on race. More than 50 years ago, and who are still having
an impact today. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We close tonight with news about two women who helped changed
America`s views on race in very different ways. Civil rights icon Rosa
parks, and award-winning author Harper Lee. Tomorrow the library of
Congress will open a special Rosa Parks collection, revealing a new side of
the woman who famously refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus in
1955. In one note, she talks about that decision, saying, quote, "I had
been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that I couldn`t take
it anymore.

Also today, exciting news about Harper Lee, who wrote "To Kill a
Mockingbird," the story of a southern lawyer who defends a black men
against a false charge of rape. It became an award-winning film.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Never really understand a person until you consider
things from his point of view.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: To decline inside his skin, walk around in it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The literary world was stunned today to learn Harper Lee will
publish a new novel, her first in 50 years, continuing many of the
characters and themes of mockingbird. Rosa Parks and Harper Lee, two women
who were small in stature, but who made a big impact on how Americans
thought about race. I think about Viola Louisa, who lost her life fighting
to give all Americans the right to vote in Alabama, as we look at the movie
"Selma" and prepare to go to Selma for the 50th anniversary. I think about
how as a teenager, I was a youth coordinator for Shirley Chisholm`s
campaign for president, another woman small in stature, but moved America
forward. These women that faced racism and sexism, but faced it with
dignity and integrity and helped change the nation for the better and make
us all better in the process.

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.
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