PoliticsNation, Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: February 25, 2015
Guest: Brian Higgins, Michael Sheehan, Emanuel Cleaver, Flint Taylor,
Stephanie Miller, Jimmy Williams, Tara Dowdell
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
Breaking news tonight, the feds arrest three men accused of plotting to
join ISIS. And who allegedly also talked about killing U.S. soldiers,
bombing at an amusement park and shooting the president of the United
States, President Obama.
The suspects are residents of Brooklyn, New York. Two of them are from
Uzbekistan and one from Kazakhstan. The two younger suspects are accused
of trying to go to Syria to fight for ISIS while the third suspect
allegedly gave their money and helped with planning. One of the men bought
a plane ticket at this travel agency in Brooklyn. And was arrested early
this morning at JFK Airport where he is expected to bought that flight.
People say the man had a backup plan if they couldn`t join ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BRATTON, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: The idea that it was made
quite plan based on their own statements that if they were not able to go,
they would seek to acquire weapons here, handguns, machine gun and seek to
attack very specifically police officers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The FBI questioned one of the men back in August. They say he
told agents, quote, "if ISIS ordered him to kill President Obama, he would
do so." And, quote, "he would also plant a bomb on Coney Island if he were
ordered by ISIL." Now, Coney Island is the amusement park in Brooklyn
visited by millions of people every year. The men face 15 years in prison.
But are there more of these plots? How do we track them and what`s behind
them? FBI Director James Comey talked about those issues today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: ISIL in particular is putting out a siren song
through their slick propaganda, through social media that goes like this.
Troubled soul, come to the caliphate. All right. You will leave a life of
glory, this are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning
here fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can`t come, kill
somebody where you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now are Congressman Brian Higgins, Democrat of New
York. He serves on the House Homeland Security Committee and Michael
Sheehan, former head of operations at the Pentagon. Thank you both for
REP. BRIAN HIGGINS (D), NEW YORK: Good to be here.
MICHAEL SHEEHAN, PENTAGON FORMER HEAD OF OPERATIONS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Congressman, how concern are you about the people in the U.S.
and people in the U.S. going to fight for ISIS?
HIGGINS: Well, we`re very concerned. Obviously the ISIS propaganda
machine is working. It`s drawing people to Syria, to Iraq. But they`re
being told explicitly if they can`t make that trip, to undertake home-grown
terrorism. This is a real problem. And I think the good thing is, our
counterterrorism officials, you know, they`re working diligently and in
counterterrorism, you never get credit for what didn`t happen. But that`s
the whole objective of counterterrorism so I think --
SHARPTON: But Congressman, we just heard the FBI director say, and you
repeat, they are told if they can`t get to the states or can`t get someone
else to kill people where you are?
HIGGINS: That`s what you`re hearing and that`s a major problem. I think
the good thing is, in this case and in others, local law enforcement
agencies working with federal law enforcement agencies they are able to
thwart terrorist activity before it`s actually executed. But we have to
remain vigilant. Terrorism is the strategy of the weak. They seek to
instill fear and provoke and overreaction.
SHARPTON: Michael, how do we evaluate if these men pose a serious threat?
SHEEHAN: Well, it`s hard to say whether they really were threat here
domestically but clearly they were intent to go overseas, at least one of
them that we know of, to go overseas and join ISIS which we know it is
brutal, heinous organization, that is murdered this in lately this American
young girl, this aid worker. It`s a horrible organization. And what would
they could have done back here, it`s hard to say. We might want to laugh
about what they would try to do to the president, obviously, be hard to get
the President Obama but as you know, Revered Al, they do something down at
Coney Island on a Sunday afternoon in Summer, it wouldn`t take much with
handgun or something else to wreak havoc down there. So we have to take
these things very seriously.
SHARPTON: Now, some of the details, Congressman, in the criminal complaint
are just downright scary. It states that in a recorded conversation, one
of the defendants said he could, quote, "always open fire on American
soldiers and kill as many of them as possible." And, quote, "I will just
go and buy a machine gun, AK-47, go out and shoot all police." I mean, how
serious of a threat was this?
HIGGINS: It`s a very, very serious threat and that`s -- you know, it`s
good that our law enforcement agencies are monitoring the activities of
these individuals and tracking their activity as well to ensure that
whatever plot they are contemplating is not actually executed.
At a time when we`re dealing right here in Congress with the homeland
security budget that`s being held hostage for external issues, this is
inexcusable. The fact of the matter is the Department of Homeland Security
was created in the aftermath of 9/11 to prepare the nation for these kinds
of things and to be agile so that we can address the evolution of terrorist
Now we`re seeing that not only is there terrorist activity in other
countries, but the leaders of those groups, ISIS in particular, are
encouraging their followers to execute terrorist activity home-grown
So getting that funding to law enforcement agencies that they keep
continues to monitor the activities of these individuals is very, very
important to the nation security. So it is incomprehensible that you have
any question three days out from the expiration of a budget that you`re not
going to have a Department of Homeland Security funded.
SHARPTON: Now, Michael, other details exist these were not criminal
masterminds. Because the criminal complaint says that 19-year-old
defendant told a criminal in former, quote, "he had wanted to travel to
Syria to wage jihad but that his mother had feared that he would do so and
took his passport. So his mother suspected. I mean, what does that say to
you, that they weren`t hiding this plan very well?
SHEEHAN: Yes, clearly, Reverend Al, these weren`t clever master minds but
that`s not necessarily that important. I wrote a book about Al Qaeda and
terrorisms. So I`ve been following these people for 15 years. One of my
chapters was called killers and bunglers. They can be both at the same
time and they are often all right, I`ve studied a history of their attacks
where they can be vicious killers and be successful in killing dozens of
persons and be basically idiots at the same time.
So even though some of these people don`t look like people that you might
suspect that have all types of capabilities as a terrorist, they can still
be very, very dangerous because it doesn`t take much to pick up a gun and
go into a crowd and start blasting people if you`re committed to do so. So
we have to attack each one of these people very, very seriously.
SHARPTON: You know, a top spokesman for ISIS has repeatedly called for
attacks on westerners, Congressman. In September, he said in a video that
ISIS supporters should target Americans or Europeans. And in January he
said, quote, "Target the crusaders in their own lands." Who are they
trying to reach with these kinds of messages, Congressman?
HIGGINS: They`re trying to reach the people that they`ve radicalized
through their propaganda machines and you know, in today`s information
technology there`s reaching frequency, reaching people who five years ago
could not be reached. These are people that are disaffected, these are
people as the FBI director said, have no real life, you know, worth living
here and they are promised an afterlife if they join in the Islamic jihad.
So this is a major component, a relatively new component that the federal
law enforcement agencies and local law enforcement agencies have to work
with to get. A lot of the tips, you mentioned, family members pulling
passports, a lot of the tips that are most valuable in thwarting these
terrorist activities come from the communities within which these people
live. They come from family members that understand that their family
members are disaffected and becoming radicalized and they tip off law
enforcement agencies. So I think, you know, this network of law
enforcement, of community engagement is very, very important toward the
goal of stopping home-grown terrorism.
SHARPTON: Michael, how do they reach out with Twitter and social media to
people that are with them or sympathetic to them?
SHEEHAN: Well, these terrorist organizations have often used different
types of communication. There are people, Al-Qaeda used the magazine
"Inspire" and for years they have called for home-grown to take attack.
What ISIS has done is taken it to another level by taking advantage of
Twitter and facebook, which Al-Qaeda never did.
So they have some very sophisticated folks over there that are right on the
cutting edge of anything that any of our teenagers that we know can do.
And so they have used those social media to reach out to more and more
people around the world, looking for the disaffected, or pushing their
agenda, their narrative to come join their crusade to create the caliphate,
to join their effort, to join and if you die, you`ll be God. It`s a very
powerful narrative for those that are wandering aimlessly and they`re now
using sophisticated methods of communication of social media in a very
SHARPTON: Congressman Brian Higgins and Michael Sheehan, thank you both
for your time tonight.
SHEEHAN: Thank you.
HIGGINS: Thanks very much for having me.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama calls out the GOP for playing
politics with the national security at a special MSNBC Town Hall. You`ll
want to hear what he says about the GOP and immigration.
Also, do Chicago police have a secret warehouse where they take suspects
for off the books interrogations? We`ll talk to this man`s lawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
We were never booked. We were never processed. That`s essentially what
this place, home square, is. It`s a domestic black site.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Also, Hillary Clinton`s new plan for a historic presidential run
And new call to kick ISIS off Twitter. "Conversation Nation" is ahead.
SHARPTON: It`s an exciting night. My colleague, Jose Diaz-Balart,
moderated an immigration town hall with President Obama today. It airs
tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on MSNBC.
Straight ahead, a sneak peak with President Obama`s message to Republicans
holding hand homeland security funding hostage over his immigration action.
SHARPTON: Tonight, President Obama is calling out Republicans for holding
homeland security funding hostage to their tax on his actions on
immigration. It came during a special MSNBC Town Hall event on immigration
with the president hosted by my colleague Jose Diaz-Balart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Instead of trying to hold
hostage funding for the Department of Homeland Security which is so
important for our national security, fund that and let`s get on with
actually passing conference of immigration reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`re now just two days away from a homeland security shutdown.
And today, Senate Republicans showed they know it`s a political loser for
the GOP holding an initial vote on a homeland security funding bill that
doesn`t assault the president`s executive actions. Now all is needed is
leadership from the House Republicans. So what kind of bold action will we
see from Speaker Boehner?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`m waiting for the Senate
to act. Until the Senate does something, we`re in a wait and see mode.
I`m waiting for the Senate to pass a bill. We`re waiting for the Senate to
act. I`m waiting for the Senate to pass a bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is Congress going to avoid a shutdown of DHS?
BOEHNER: I`m waiting for the Senate to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He`s waiting. Instead of standing up to the far right driving
the shutdown frenzy, one right-wing congressman told reporters, quote, "the
base would be extremely angry if House Republicans voted for funding
without attacking immigration." He wasn`t alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: But we also took an oath to uphold the
Constitution, we know in our hearts this is unconstitutional. How can you
fund something you know is unconstitutional?
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: There`s no way on God`s green earth that I`m
going to support any effort to fund illegal conduct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Will conservatives really shut down the agency charged with
protecting the homeland so they can mount a political attack on immigrants?
Joining me now is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat of Missouri and
MSNBC Contributor Maria Teresa Kumar. Thank you both for being here.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be here, Revered.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Revered.
SHARPTON: Congressman Clever, what are you hearing from House Republicans,
how far they`re willing to push this?
CLEAVER: Well, as usual, there is a great divide in the Republican
conference. I was speaking earlier today with a Republican who said to me
that he would like to vote on a clean bill but he said that there was one
section of the party -- and I think we know the section -- that is under no
circumstance willing to vote on a clean bill. They believe that they have
to be faithful and true to their constituency, which says, that at all
costs, fight the president. And at all costs, make sure that you don`t
seed any ground on the issue of emigration.
So we got 48 hours to go and it looks like, unless the speaker brings a
clean bill to the floor, we`re going to end up with a shutdown and that`s
2,266 jobs in Missouri that will go away at least until something is done.
SHARPTON: That`s in Missouri alone.
CLEAVER: Just in Missouri.
SHARPTON: Maria, you met with the president today at the White House, what
did you hear from him?
KUMAR: He made it very clear that this whole idea of defunding or
basically stopping DHS was a political football and putting people`s lives
in danger. And he also went with -- he also was very clear that this is
only a temporary stay that, in reality, the judge that decided to rule
against putting a halt on his executive action is very much an activist
judge. And his hope is that not only they`re going to be able to move
forward, but he also basically dealing with either things that we can do
right now, that he`s going to continue doing with his executive action.
While it doesn`t provide relief for the duck and job extension for
families, it does provide the authority for DHS to prioritize the
individuals that they do apprehend. Meaning that we have to take that with
his executive action, he changes the immigration policy going after felons
and true criminals and not tearing up families.
SHARPTON: Congressman, House Republicans stuck to their ugly rhetoric on
the president`s immigration actions. It came at a House hearing today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: President Obama announced one of the
biggest constitutional power grabs ever by a president.
It`s a clear violation of his constitutional responsibility to faithfully
execute the laws.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: As a good monarch would do, the president
spoke the law into existence.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: One of the largest extra
constitutional acts ever by a chief executive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, Congressman, we are facing three arrests in New York
today, we`re facing all kinds of threats and we`re hearing this kind of
partisan anti-president, anti-immigration kind of rhetoric while we are two
days away from a shutdown on homeland security. I mean, at what point do
this hurt them in their own party standing with their own constituents when
security is at stake here, Congressman?
CLEAVER: I think there`s a small group of people who would like to have
the department of homeland security shut down. But I think the majority of
the mayor, because I understand what happened today with the arrest, they
understand what ISIS is doing, they understand that people are recruiting
people out of Europe and the United States to come into the Middle East and
work with ISIS. But one of the things that I want to say to the people who
are listening to the show, I`m looking at the show, Reverend, all those
people with the blue uniforms on the airports --
CLEAVER: By Friday, those people will not be able to work. And keep in
mind, those are not federal employees. These are private people working
for a company that has a contract with the United States Federal
Government. And so we`re expecting these private employers -- employees to
go to work without getting paid and those jobs are dangerous jobs because
KUMAR: That`s correct.
SHARPTON: As in the airport, Maria, an airport today with someone was
arrested suspected of terrorism. What I`m trying to say here is while
they`re arguing about the president`s immigration action, it`s at a time of
heightened concern and we`re talking about home land security and though
KUMAR: That`s exactly right, Reverend. What`s happening right now is that
Congress is hijacking at the American people`s safety by making sure that
they are strapping homeland security and not funding them fully because at
the end of the day, what they don`t seem to like is the idea that the
president has extended a reprieve. And this is a temporary reprieve. This
is not a law but a reprieve on millions of immigrant families and saying
until Congress does their job, which is to pass the legislation, until
then, we`re going to give millions of people a reprieve so they can
breathe, they can breathe come out of the shadows and actually be able to
do their -- lead their daily lives.
KUMAR: And what they`re doing is instead is that they are deciding that
they`re going to hijack the American people`s safety over petty politics
and that`s not acceptable.
SHARPTON: And Congressman, it is just a reprieve but we`re talking about
homeland security. We`re talking about funding homeland security, people
who work at airports, people that work in vital places. I get that they
don`t like the president. I got that. But I mean, do we love America?
CLEAVER: Well, I think a lot of this as I think Americas are beginning to
see, is irrational.
CLEAVER: And I think some of it is based exclusively on the president.
Under normal circumstances, nobody would do something this dumb. This is
not the parks and recreations department we`re playing around with. This
is the homeland security department at a time when terror is on the minds
of people in every spot on this globe. And we are over here playing around
with ideology and jeopardizing the American security.
SHARPTON: Maria, do you see in any way that Mr. Boehner, the speaker, may
back down? I mean, he`s backed down before we went to the physical cliff,
he back down. Is there any hope that maybe he would see the impact of this
and back down and take a clean bill to the floor?
KUMAR: Boehner is an old-school politician. He sees the writing on the
wall. He understands what basically what is at stake. His difficulty is
he has such a split party and its reconciling those differences but at the
end of the day, Speaker Boehner, the American people urge him to do the
right thing and that is, think of America first and partisan second.
SHARPTON: Congressman Cleaver, Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both for your
CLEAVER: Thank you, Revered.
KUMAR: Thank you, Revered.
SHARPTON: And catch MSNBC special town hall with President Obama hosted by
Jose Diaz-Balart, tonight at 8:00 eastern.
Coming up, is getting all the headlines today. Does Hillary Clinton have a
new strategy for 2016?
And a striking report, alleging a secret interrogation facility used for
police brutality in Chicago. Please stay with us.
SHARPTON: New accusations tonight about Chicago police holding suspects at
a secret warehouse off the books. But is it true? We`ll talk to the
lawyer for a man who says he experienced it firsthand.
Also, buzz about how Hillary Clinton could be planning a historic campaign
And a positive move from former President Bush that shows just how far his
party has fallen on voting rights. That`s all ahead, stay with us.
SHARPTON: We`re back with a startling report by The Guardian Newspaper
detailing what some are calling a black site in Chicago. A secret
interrogation facility used by the police. The site is known Chicago
Police Department facility, a warehouse called Homan Square, used for
sensitive police work. "The Guardian" report is raising questions about
possible constitutional rights violations by the police. Some of the
alleged practices that took place there include keeping arrestees from
being officially booked, beating by police, shackling for long periods,
holding people without legal counsel for 12 to 24 hours. At least one man
was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead. One victim is speaking
out. Brian Jacob Church was taken to Homan Square after protesting a NATO
Summit in 2012. Here`s what he told "The Guardian."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When they first arrested us, they took us to this
building. We were never booked. We were never processed. I was in -- I
was in Homan Square for about 17 hours and handcuffed to the bench for four
hours actually finally allowed to see an attorney. That`s essentially what
this place, Homan Square is. It`s a domestic black site.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: NBC News can`t confirm "The Guardian" report. We contacted the
Chicago Police Department and they strongly refuted telling us in part,
quote, "The allegation that physical violence is a part of interviews with
suspects is unequivocally false, it is offensive and it is not supported by
any facts whatsoever."
Joining me now is noted Chicago civil rights Attorney Flint Taylor whose
firm represents Brian Jacob Church. Thank you for being here tonight.
FLINT TAYLOR, CHICAGO CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: It`s a pleasure to be with
you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Now, first of all, do you believe this "Guardian" report is
TAYLOR: It seems to me that the reporter did a very thorough job in
talking to various lawyers here in Chicago, to talking to other people that
had knowledge of the place and talking to our client Brian Church. Brian
Church, of course, was the person you just had on the air through the
videotape. And it`s anecdotal in a sense that we`re putting together and
he`s starting to put together all of these pieces that have been sitting
out there over the years. And Reverend, as someone who has been working
the civil rights cases for 45 years and have spent many, many days looking
for clients back in the old days when they would ship them to one place and
then ship them to another and keep them from their family and their lawyers
and then we ultimately learned that some of them were tortured by Jon
Burge, the notorious torture here in Chicago.
SHARPTON: You are certainly at the forefront of the Burge case and a lot
of things that I`m aware of but what can you tell us about Homan Square
where these alleged abuses are said to have occurred?
TAYLOR: Well, it seems to me that what they have done is to centralize
what they used to do more ad hoc in terms of taking people places, to other
police stations other than where they tell the family they were taken them
to do their interrogations without lawyers and without family present. Now
they deny that there was any physical abuse in any of this cases. While we
have to look at all of them. What has come out already is one person
claims that he was beaten. Another person ended up dead. Our client ended
SHARPTON: One lawyer interviewed by "The Guardian" told them that it`s
sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station
visits, this place, if you can`t find a client in the system, odds are they
are there. Have you experienced this in your own experience as an
TAYLOR: I hadn`t experienced that myself but as I said my law partners did
and the people that go there regularly, and that`s this organization called
first defense legal aid here in Chicago --
TAYLOR: They supply volunteer attorneys to go and look for and to
represent people who are witnesses and suspects and defendants in cases and
they are the ones who we are finding out that this was happening and they
are the ones who are saying it was an open secret and they are the ones who
aren`t being listened to locally when they tried to talk about it.
SHARPTON: All right. So you`ve heard the denial that I`ve read from the
police. How do you respond to that, Flint Taylor, as a well-respected
civil rights attorney?
TAYLOR: Well, the first thing I would say is, you have to take what the
Chicago Police Department says and has said in the past very, very
suspiciously. They denied for many years that Jon Burge was torturing
people, they always denied that people were wrongfully shot here. They are
always in a denial mode and this is Chicago and Chicago is a place where
violence by the police has always run rampant, that were unconstitutional
actions, particularly when it comes to the criminal justice system and when
it comes to poor and minority suspects and defendants, that is a regular
run of the mill thing that has happened and I believe it`s still happening
to some degree here and I don`t take their denials at face value and I
think there has to be much more investigation as to what has been happening
and is happening at this site.
SHARPTON: All right. Well, we will certainly stay on top of this and
we`re going to be watching this. Flint Taylor, thank you so much for your
TAYLOR: My pleasure.
SHARPTON: And a full statement from the Chicago Police Department is on
our website, MSNBC.com/POLITICSNATION.
Coming up, Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul and Marc Anthony all in POLITICS
NATION. That`s next.
SHARPTON: It`s time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, radio
host Stephanie Miller, democratic strategist Jimmy Williams and Tara
Dowdell. Thank you all for being here tonight.
JIMMY WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
STEPHANIE MILLER, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: We start with Hillary Clinton. After her big speech in the
Silicon Valley, headlines are popping up across the country and many say
Clinton is ready to run with an overt call to women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: When women`s participation is
limited, our country`s prosperity is limited, too. There is a special spot
in hell for women who don`t help other women. So --
-- what you do does not have to be big and dramatic. You don`t have to run
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Although, if you do, more power to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Stephanie, it may seem obvious, but a lot of people are talking
about the strong pitch Hilary made directly to women last night. Smart
MILLER: Yes. I mean, I think absolutely. I think -- you know, and by the
way, I will be one of the women helping other women like Hilary Clinton get
elected. I think we are ready and I think once again the republicans are
helping in their own special way. There was a republican legislator that
actually he`s an anti-choice guy that actually asked a doctor at a hearing
why women can`t swallow a camera to have a gynecological exam. So, their
understanding of ladies and their lady bits I think is also going to help
SHARPTON: Wow! You know, Tara, I couldn`t help but when she used the
Madeleine Albright statement or quote, there`s a special place in hell, I
mean, she seems more aggressively going after women this time.
DOWDELL: And I think that is a smart strategy and she`s absolutely right.
There is a special place in hell. I totally with that as a woman business
owner. But I will say this, I think it is a smart strategy, people want to
see Hillary Clinton be more progressive. Particularly, progressives. And
so I think anything that she does to emphasize her progressive bona fides
as well as not just talk about it but back it up with policy proposals, I
think that is going to help her. I think what she does need to do, though,
is draw a better parallel which I think the Democratic Party has not done
as well, draw a stronger parallel between economic issues and women`s
issues. Tying them together in a better way because they are connected.
So, I think that`s another piece of the puzzle that has to come with her
SHARPTON: Galvanizing the base and allies might be strong, Jimmy because
you know once she announces, if in fact she does, the republicans are going
to come after her big-time.
WILLIAMS: And that`s the inherent problem, is it, the flaw. The problem
with that, that vessel which is, if they in fact go after her, it`s going
to be very hard for them to thread the needle of not seeming anti-women, of
not attacking a woman, of not going after at the dinner table or at the
business lunch Hillary Clinton and then a woman at that table, a business
woman or mother or their spouse saying, whoa, what`s up with you with all
this anti-woman? Where is this hate coming from? And that`s a vein that
they have to be very careful of. They will trip over this, they`ll trip
over and over again, I promise you they will.
SHARPTON: Does she have to be careful, Stephanie though, in terms of her
own allies, that you have some progressives that are questioning her? I
talked to Senator Elizabeth Warren on this show about that last night. And
you have some in the minority communities, particularly blacks, that still
have some memories of 2008. Doesn`t she also have to deal with her allies
MILLER: Well, I agree, Reverend. Those are good points that you raised.
But, you know, I think that we know that she just met with Elizabeth
Warren, we know that Elizabeth Warren was one of the Senate women that sign
the letter urging her to run and --
SHARPTON: She wasn`t that enthusiastic last night on POLITICS NATION.
MILLER: Well, and you always have the breaking news, Rev. But I think
Hillary is smart enough to know that she needs that constituency, she
certainly needs all the minority community. But I was going to say there
was a study just done about how much more women in the Senate are getting
done than their male colleagues, and in terms of bipartisanship and all of
that, and I think the country is beyond ready for that right now.
DOWDELL: Well, I think one area where she can unite her allies, again,
when I get back to these economic issues, when you look at black women in
particular, particularly black woman business owners, small business
owners, we have difficulty accessing capital through banks, through
financing, things like that, that`s becoming a really big issue.
DOWDELL: And all women have it. But it is particularly a queue for black
woman business owners. And that`s an area where she can take up the mantel
and that will help with these unemployment numbers in our community. So
areas like that, finding ways to bridge the gaps between all women is where
she needs to be focusing because there are particular issues that I think
will be popular with everyone but she needs to drill down and say it, you
know, call it out. These are issues that affect black women.
SHARPTON: We got to do it from straight policies. Jimmy, next up, could
family members be a political liability? Former republican Congressman Ron
Paul, the father of potential presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul is
raising eyebrows for this recent interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I was always annoyed with it in Congress because we had
an anti-war unofficial group, the few libertarian republicans and generally
the black caucus and others did not -- they are really against war because
they want all of that money to go to food stamps for people here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, Ron Paul is not running for his office but his comments are
offensive and could potentially damage his son`s ambitions. Jimmy, we know
family members can be a political liability.
SHARPTON: But should they be?
WILLIAMS: We seem to have another Uncle Cray Cray coming out of the GOP a
boughs of hell these days. And this one`s name is Ron Paul. Ron Paul will
have at some point. By the way, every republican running for president is
going to have to answer this question. Set aside the dinosaurs, set aside
evolution, set aside all of that. Ron Paul has a massive following,
especially among libertarians. And by the way, Rand Paul, his son, has a
big following amongst millennials. He`s going to have to have an answer
for this particular thing. And by the way, I would like to see democrats
take on Ron Paul for saying this because not only is it offensive, this
isn`t even dog whistling. This is kicking the dog.
WILLIAMS: It is beyond offensive. In fact, what he said is immoral, it`s
SHARPTON: Tara, does Senator Rand Paul have to answer for his father`s
DOWDELL: Well, I`ve never been of the school of thought that we should
hold against any candidate, things that people say that they don`t say
themselves. But I will say this, the real issue for Rand Paul is Rand
Paul. Ran Paul has some very dubious and highly suspect ties to some white
nationalists` organizations that sort of now are calling themselves
libertarian groups. But they were white nationalists` organizations. He`s
also said things himself on the record that was racial.
SHARPTON: All right. But Stephanie, I want to dig in quickly, do we hold
candidates responsible for family members?
MILLER: Well, in this case, I mean, he has echoed a lot of this stuff. He
had a guy named Southern Avenger that was on his campaign stuff. He said
to Rachel on your own network that he`s not so sure about the `64 civil
rights act. So, he has his own problems and he also has his dad`s genetic
trait where you`ll be listing and going, oh, that makes sense. That`s
good. Wait. What? That was crazy.
SHARPTON: All right.
MILLER: So, I mean, he`s been part of his dad`s campaigns. He will have
to answer for it.
SHARPTON: Everybody stay with me. When we come back, how to deal with
ISIS on twitter? And Marc Anthony`s surprising comments about his looks.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Stephanie, Jimmy and Tara. Should
ISIS be banned from twitter? The FBI director spoke today about how ISIS
is recruiting members through social media. Now on republican congressmen
say ISIS shouldn`t be banned from social media. Tara, should twitter ban
anyone supporting ISIS?
DOWDELL: Well, this is a very interesting question. Because law
enforcement have been using social media rather effectively to stop all
kinds of criminals including terrorists. And some terrorists have given
away their locations by using social media. So this is a tricky one. And
at the same time, the other dynamic is, I have friends who work in
humanitarian missions across the world. A lot of times they follow these
groups to find out where and where not to go when they are doing
humanitarian missions. So I think this is a tricky one. We have to be
careful. I don`t think we should jump to any conclusions too quickly on
WILLIAMS: I have to agree. The first amendment, I mean, it doesn`t apply,
obviously, to terrorists and to ISIS. But at the end of the day, I mean,
our intelligence community should have the ability to go after them. If
you ban them from it, guess what, they couldn`t just find out it other way,
they always do, they`re like good, really bad lawyers, right? They go and
find another loophole. They`ll find another way to recruit and that`s what
they`ll do. So, keep it open and then we just follow them.
SHARPTON: Stephanie, should we ban ISIS or people relating to ISIS from
MILLER: It is a tough question. It`s a little close to -- you know,
yelling fire in a crowded theater but I do agree that, you know, I think
the President`s strategy of trying to win hearts and minds and not giving
them religious legitimacy by, you know, using certain words, because as
your other guests say, they are going to find other ways. I call it anti-
social media because I hate technology. So I`m against -- we have to shut
the whole thing down.
SHARPTON: All right. Finally, can parents be too honest with their kids?
Singer Marc Anthony says, his father offered him some tough love as a child
that always stuck with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC ANTHONY, SINGER: My dad told me early on, he said, son, we`re both
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He did not.
ANTHONY: I swear. He says it to this day. And he said, you work on your
It builds character.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Didn`t that hurt your feelings?
ANTHONY: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No?
ANTHONY: No. Because I was born looking at his face and he was right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Stephanie, too honest?
MILLER: I feel his pain because my 92-year-old republican mom once said on
national television that I was ugly as a child and that I`ve had a lot of
SHARPTON: On national television?
MILLER: Yes. And I don`t know if you know, but my dad ran with Barry
Goldwater in `64 and I think she thinks he wouldn`t have lost in a
landslide if I been just a wee bit more attractive. So I feel his pain on
DOWDELL: I`m a big believer in leveling with your kids. I don`t know if I
would do that kind of leveling with my kids but I remember definitely being
told myself about being way to skinny, having a big head. So, there`s
something to be said -- I work really hard now as a result.
WILLIAMS: Just love your child and honestly it will all work out in the
end. It`s just that simple.
SHARPTON: Well, I`ve ran for office and I was always honest with my two
daughters that the best television is POLITICS NATION.
WILLIAMS: That`s true.
SHARPTON: Stephanie, Jimmy and Tara, thanks for joining the conversation.
We`ll be right back.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MILLER: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Today we learned that former President George W. Bush will join
President Obama and thousands more in Selma next month to mark 50 years
since bloody Sunday. It was a turning point in the civil rights movement.
Police attacking protesters with their tear gas and Billy clubs. As they
crossed the Edmond Bridge, the outrage over these images helped build
support for the voting rights act of 1965. That act was signed by
President Johnson. But since then, it`s been repeatedly renewed by GOP
presidents, President Nixon in 1970, Ford in 1975, Reagan in 1982 and
President Bush in 2006 after passing in the Senate 98 to zero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: It`s been four decades since
the voting rights act was first passed, we`ve made progress. Toward
equality, you have to work for a more perfect union is never ending. I am
proud to sign the voting rights act reauthorization and amendments act of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Voting should not be a partisan issue and right now in Congress
it`s time for lawmakers to put politics aside and restore the voting rights
act which was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. I will also be watching
as I join others that day in Selma next month to see if republican leaders
will come and make that commitment as President Bush comes. I was there
when President Bush resigned, renewed the act in 2006. We were against his
war but stood with him as he signed that act. I hope republicans do the
same this year.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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