PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 3, 2015
Guest: Brad Sherman, John Yarmuth, Michelle Cottle, Lauren Victoria Burke,
Patricia Bynes, Kendall Coffey, Alyona Minkovski, John Fugelsang, Midwin
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in. I`m live tonight from Miami.
We start with breaking news. President Obama setting the record straight
after a controversial speech on Iran from the Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu came to the United States House of Representatives to
criticize the president`s strategy for stopping Iran from getting nuclear
weapons. It was a speech long on rhetoric, but short on specifics, as the
president said afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did have a chance to take
a look at the transcript. And as far as I can tell there was nothing new.
The prime minister didn`t offer any viable alternatives. When we shaped
that interim deal, Prime Minister Netanyahu made the almost precise same
speech about how that dangerous that deal was going to be. And yet over a
year later, even Israeli intelligence officers and in some cases members of
the Israeli government have to acknowledge that in fact it has kept Iran
from further pursuing its nuclear programs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The White House just released this photo; making clear the
president was not watching the speech. He`s leading a teleconference in
the situation room with foreign leaders talking about Ukraine. Everyone
agrees Iran is a threat and everyone agrees it should not get a nuclear
weapon, but the president and the prime minister disagree on how to stop
And today Netanyahu chose to go on the world stage to criticize the
president`s potential deal to stop Iran`s nukes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: That`s why this deal is so bad.
It doesn`t block Iran`s path to the bomb. It paves Iran`s path to the
Well, this is a bad deal. It`s a very bad deal. We`re better off without
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And to explain why he thought it was a bad deal? The prime
minister appealed to a basic human emotion -- fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic
missiles, and nuclear bombs.
Many, many nuclear bombs.
Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far reach
corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States. The
foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough
enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons.
We`ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear
bombs, and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today, the threats from Iran are real, but so are the
consequences of poor judgment? We have to let facts, not fear, guide our
Joining me now are Congressman Brad Sherman, who serves on the House
Foreign Affairs Committee, and who attended the speech and Congressman John
Yarmuth, who was one of the 56 Democrats who chose not to go. Thank you
both for being here.
REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D), KENTUCKY: Sure. Good to be with you
REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Congressman Sherman, did the prime minister offer any real
specific alternative to the president`s strategy on Iran?
SHERMAN: Well, I was proud that Nancy Pelosi appointed me to the committee
to escort the prime minister into the room.
The speech did a very good job of laying out why Iran shouldn`t have a
nuclear weapon. The prime minister brought up some facts that -- and some
quotations from the Hezbollah leader, et cetera, that I was unfamiliar
with, but as to a specific program to put more pressure on Iran, how to
reduce Chinese and Indian purchases of Iranian oil, how to get Germany to
stop providing a spare parts to Iranian machinery.
The speech didn`t focus on the -- didn`t give us an economic road map to
use sanctions to put more pressure on Iran. And without more pressure, I
don`t know whether there`s a way to get the Iranians to accept any better
deal than is likely to be negotiated this month.
SHARPTON: Congressman Yarmuth, you had some very harsh statements after
the speech. Do you stand by them?
YARMUTH: I do. I think what Prime Minister Netanyahu did was to pull
directly from the Dick Cheney playbook, try to scare everyone as much as
possible into pressuring the administration to abandon these talks. Right
now we have one of the greatest opportunities we have ever had to put a
halt to the Iranian nuclear project, something we all feel very, very much
committed to and this speech was an effort to undermine that effort.
Again as you`ve said and as Brad basically admitted and many others, there
was no alternative offered by Prime Minister Netanyahu. It`s just scare
people to death and then say this is not good for us.
The problem that this speech -- the entire context was is that we knew what
he was going to say. He has always been very, very adamantly against these
negotiations. He warned about the joint plan of action which we`ve been
under for a year now, which is actually frozen the Iranian nuclear program
and degraded it to a certain extent, made the Israel and the region much
more secure than it was before. He was wrong about that. I think he`s
But again he has to have an alternative. And there is no alternative to
the talks that the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and the
United Kingdom are very, very intimately involved in now.
Let`s see how those talks wind up. Let`s see what kind of deal can be
negotiated. If that`s not considered adequate, then we have other steps to
take. Right now, we have a great opportunity and we shouldn`t let the
prime minister undermine that.
SHARPTON: Congress Sherman, isn`t that really what the president`s point
was today, that we need specifics, what is the alternative? I mean, you
know better than anyone, the controversy around his coming. Didn`t he owe
it to the members of Congress and the world watching some specific
alternatives that he was proposing which brought us to this point of him
SHERMAN: He did offer a few alternatives, but not really a complete plan.
I`d also want to set the record straight under the interim agreement that
is governing Iran now, they have 9,000 centrifuges spinning as we speak, at
Natanz, another 600 at Fordow. They are building a larger and larger
stockpile of low and rich uranium. It will be oxidized low and rich
uranium. They are closing to an 8th or a 9th bomb, they`re not making
progress for the first bomb. So there are aspects of the interim deal that
are helpful, but it is by no means stopped the rolled back the Iranian
SHARPTON: But Congressman Yarmuth, the deal over Iran nukes isn`t done
yet, but here`s what it might look like. Limit Iran`s nuclear fuel
protection for ten years. Remove some of its nuclear equipment, have
regular inspections, and in turn we would ease economic sanctions on Iran.
If this falls through, Iran has no reason to stop developing nukes that
Congressman Sherman referred to. Shouldn`t we give diplomacy a chance,
YARMUTH: Well of course. And you know, one of the unfortunate things was
Prime Minister Netanyahu mischaracterized some of the aspects of the deal
that we`ve been briefed about, because he said, for instance if it`s a ten-
year deal, then there will be no restrictions on Iran after the ten years
That`s not true. All of the inspection regimens that are under way -- that
enforce now would continue basically, on an unlimited basis. They`re still
subject to the nuclear nonproliferation agreement, so there are significant
restrictions that would succeed the ten years or 15 years, whatever it is.
We have -- again, we have an opportunity for the first time to actually
bring Iran into the world of civilize nations, to get them to agree to halt
their nuclear program in exchange for inclusion into the world economy.
That would be good thing for all of us. I think it would introduce a new
era in Iran. And you know, 70 to 75 percent of the Iranian people are very
western oriented. They support western society and culture. We have a
real opportunity here. We shouldn`t undermine it, again with empty
And when Prime Minister Netanyahu makes statements like saving, this is
paving the way to a bomb, that nuclear war is inevitable, if we go through
with this. Again, all he`s doing is fear mongering to an extent that`s
kind of unprecedented.
SHERMAN: If I can focus on that --
SHARPTON: Congressman Sherman, do you want to respond to that?
SHERMAN: First, you know, I`m the former chair of the nonproliferation
subcommittee. I get as many classified briefings as many members on the
foreign affairs committee. The fact is after ten years, there will be no
more inspections that are called for but the nonproliferation treaty plus
the additional protocol. That`s a good regimen for looking at declared
sites, but with there wouldn`t be the necessary intrusive inspections to
find the undeclared sites. So after ten years, sneaking around the
agreement would be pretty easy for Iran.
That being said, there aren`t a lot of good alternatives. George W. Bush
was president for eight years. You think this is genuine male pattern
baldness. It isn`t. It`s me knocking my head against every wall in here
with George W. Bush beating me again and again and preventing us for
passing new sanctions and he refused to enforce the existing sanctions.
Not because he was a left wing liberal, George W. Bush was not, not that
but he loved oil companies so much. Every sanction under discussion during
the first decade of this century was accessioned in the oil companies. He
prevented us from having any and he put us in a position where Iran was
very close -- was relatively close to a bomb when this administration took
over. It is very hard to find a good policy when you go to sleep for the
first eight years of this decade.
YARMUTH: Well the difference is, and I think Brad would agree, the
difference is we now have five other major superpowers including Russian,
China that are helping us impose those sanctions. If there were just
United States sanctions, they wouldn`t be nearly as effective as they are
if China and Russia are cooperating.
SHERMAN: We needed to be where we are now much earlier.
SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have --
I want to have to leave it there. Thank you both, Congressman Brad
Sherman, Congressman John Yarmuth, thank you both for your time tonight.
SHERMAN: Thanks, Al.
SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news from Ferguson. A harsh new justice
department report on police racial profiling and bias. What happens next?
Also, Speaker Boehner is bailed out by Democrats again. A key vote today
reveals a lot about the GOP`s inability to act like grownups.
Also, what`s the real story behind Hillary Clinton`s emails? And why is
Warren Buffett telling Elizabeth Warren to chill out? It`s all ahead in
SHARPTON: Developing news today, former CIA director David Petraeus has
agreed to plead guilty to mishandling classified materials. According to
court documents, Petraeus revealed classified information to his biographer
and former mistress Paula Broadwell. He then later lied about it to the
Petraeus will get two years probation and pay a $40,000 fine. It`s quite -
- it is a quiet end to a very public fall from grace for the former four-
star general, a military star who oversaw the wards in both Iraq and
Afghanistan. He was even once hailed as a possible presidential candidate.
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight on Capitol Hill, a major defeat for
Republicans, caving on homeland security funding. Speaker John Boehner
today, turning to Democrats to pass a bill that fully funds the agency.
For the speaker, it`s a total surrender and admission that House
Republicans couldn`t win a fight to roll back the president`s immigration
action. It`s a fight he spent weeks claiming he had already won.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We won
this fight in the House.
The House did its work. We won this fight.
I`ll say it one more time, the House fought this fight, we won this fight.
We won the fight of fund to the Department of Homeland Security and to stop
the president`s unconstitutional actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Actually, they didn`t win the fight. Today`s bill doesn`t lay a
finger on the president`s immigration policies. And today in a closed-door
meeting with House Republicans, Speaker Boehner knew just who to blame
telling them, quote, "our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a
way to win this fight."
But over in the Senate, a different view. Republican Rand Paul says the
fight was a loser from the start.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: When we get to the DHS, is there a winnable
legislative battle? I`m not sure exactly if there is a winnable battle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: For Speaker Boehner, it`s the latest ginned-up crisis, bringing
the country to the brink of yet another shutdown, once again ending with an
embarrassing defeat after too much wasted time. The bill now heads to the
Joining me now are Michelle Cottle and Lauren Victoria Burke. Thank you
for both being here.
MICHELLE COTTLE, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Thanks for having me.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, MANAGER EDITOR, POLITICS365: Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Michelle, was this always a question of when Speaker Boehner
would cave, not if he would cave?
COTTLE: I think it became pretty clear last week when they couldn`t even
get a three week continuing resolution pass that he had gone into this
without a plan. I don`t know what that they were thinking, they were going
to do, but, you know, in the past they`ve been able to blame this on Senate
Democrats. And now that they hold both Houses, there`s no run really to
point a finger at, you know, the Republican Party owns this. And it was a
humiliating defeat for the leadership in the House.
SHARPTON: Lauren, are Republicans now waking up to the real limits of
their power despite controlling both houses of Congress?
BURKE: You know, who knows? They keep going through this process again
and again with a seem to want to prove a point to everybody that they can
hold something up or do something to stop a president on a specific policy,
in this case immigration and it won`t happen to them. I`m not sure what
the speaker is afraid of. He was voted in as speaker on January 6th by 221
votes, but he`s keeps seeming to want to go through this process of, I
guess agreeing with his right flank. I`m not sure why. He does have the
votes to have a legacy and put some things on the map for his career. He
chooses not to do that, and they just keep losing over and over again.
And as you saw, Mitch McConnell knew what`s going to happen, which is why
he put that clean bill on the floor and sends it over to the House. And if
Mitch McConnell can figure it out three weeks ago, I`m not sure why John
SHARPTON: Well, you know, Michelle, 167 House Republicans voted against
this bill, and you could hear how hungry they were to keep fighting.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of United States violated the
constitution separation of powers --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is unconstitutional. We all know it. This is the
wrong way to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unconstitutional unilateral decisions from the
president to ignore our constitution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we vote for that, we`re voting against our
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe America deserves better. If we`re not going
to fight now, when are we going to fight?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, Michelle, they seemed to not like executive action when
Democratic presidents do it. Clearly they just don`t get it, but has
Speaker Boehner finally learned his lesson on fighting these doomed
battles, do you think, Michelle?
COTTLE: Look, he`s very committed to trying to throw the conservative
chunk of his conference a bone, but at this point. You know, Mitch
McConnell warned all of the House members at the retreat several weeks ago
that there are limitations to what can get through the Senate. And all
that happened was that a conservative black took it as a challenge and
we`re like we`re going to ram this through regardless. There seems to be a
fundamental of lack of understanding of how the government actually works.
SHARPTON: I mean, it does seem to be a lack of understanding, Lauren. I
mean, you just heard some of those far, far right Congressmen. And they
just don`t get it. Is this the problem that Boehner is having to deal with
it or I mean, they just seem to be oblivious to the reality of what their
limits of power.
BURKE: That`s exactly right, Rev. I`m not sure why he keeps doing that,
what we just saw to quote your hero James Brown`s (ph) a lot of talking
loud and saying nothing. They huffed and puffed, they held things up for a
while. But in the end, Nancy Pelosi boxed them in. She basically, created
a situation where she would only pass what she had to votes to help them
with, and she played them, and she played them like a fiddle, she played
them well and she won. There`s no other way to say this. That`s why you
see the speaker doing this on the day that Benjamin Netanyahu is here so
this can be sort of buried in the news cycle, it`s pretty obvious what he
just did but it`s a big lost for them, plain and simple.
SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, time and again the House Democrats have
rescued Speaker Boehner from embarrassing failures, where most Republicans
wouldn`t go along with them.
In 2013, 172 Democrats helped him avoid the disastrous fiscal cliff, and
179 Democrats helped pass a Hurricane Sandy Aid Bill.
In 2014, 193 Democrats helped in the debt ceiling fight. And today 182
Democrats voted for homeland security funding.
I mean, is this the new normal that Democrats step up as adults in the room
when Republicans refuse to govern? Is this what we`re looking at in the
COTTLE: I mean, I do think that the speaker has a problem in that a chunk
of his conference clearly has no interest in helping out leadership achieve
anything. I mean, they`ve made their displeasure with this leadership very
clear and they think that everybody is selling out. So I`m not sure kind
of how this situation gets better.
I mean, Boehner is very adept at kind of going in there and trying to kind
of show them how things don`t work, in the hopes they can get something
done. But I do not see this getting better any time soon.
SHARPTON: What does this mean, Lauren, for the Democrats going forward?
What opportunities are there in this?
BURKE: Well, you know, the Democrats of course control neither House, but
at the end of the day really they really have to just sit there and wait
for the Republicans to implode which seems to happen on every one of these
episodes. It`s really incredible to watch. Because you`re only really
talking about 24 to 30 Republicans at the end of the day, but frankly,
Nancy Pelosi plays a better political game than the speaker. I mean, what
we just saw was a pro Nancy Pelosi beating the speaker at this, and beating
So I don`t know, you know, they, of course, don`t control the House, but
when you have somebody who is savvy and knows how to wheel and deal like
former Speaker Pelosi, she can basically just wait for them to make a bad
move, and then make a -- win off of that move.
SHARPTON: All right. Michelle Cottle and Lauren Victoria Burke, thank you
both for your time tonight. And Lauren it`s always refreshing to hear
someone quote James Brown.
BURKE: I hear you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Breaking news out of Ferguson tonight. The Department of
Justice finds Ferguson police had a pattern of racial bias, and uncovered a
racist email about President Obama.
Also Hillary Clinton will speak tonight. Did she break laws using her
personal email at the State Department?
Why is billionaire Warren Buffett says Elizabeth Warren should be, quote,
"less angry"? Please stay with us.
SHARPTON: Tonight, some stunning details from a Justice Department report
on the Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, a pattern of racial
profiling and even officers sending racist e-mails about President Obama.
How can it be fixed? That`s next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight. The Justice Department has released a
blistering report on the Ferguson Police Department, citing a pattern of
racial bias and excessive force. Just weeks after Michael Brown`s death,
Attorney General Eric Holder opened a broader investigation into practices
by Ferguson police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I had the chance to speak with a
number of local residents. I heard from them directly about the deep
mistrust that has taken hold between law enforcement officials and members
of that community. We have determined that there`s cause to the Justice
Department to open an investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That investigation has found repeated, deep-seated evidence of
racial bias by the police. The numbers the Justice Department uncovered
are stunning. African-Americans make up 67 percent of the Ferguson
population. Keep that number in mind. Sixty seven percent but blacks make
up 85 percent of vehicle stops, 93 percent of arrests. Eighty eight
percent of documented use of force incidents. And 95 percent of people who
were jailed for more than two days. Look at these numbers. Investigators
even found blacks were bitten by police dogs disproportionately. This bias
also shows itself in other ways. Investigators found Ferguson has a
pattern of putting revenue over public safety, by collecting thousands of
dollars in fines on those living in or near poverty, and frequently jailing
people on minor offenses.
And maybe most disturbing of all is the overt racism investigators found in
e-mails by Ferguson officials on city e-mail accounts, including racist
jokes that reference President Barack Obama. Justice Department
representatives met with Ferguson city officials today. They received a
copy of the report and will respond tomorrow. The question now becomes how
do we fix this? What comes next?
Joining me now is Patricia Bynes, a democratic committee woman for Ferguson
Township and former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey. Thank you both for your
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks for having us, Reverend.
COMMITTEEWOMAN PATRICIA BYNES (D), FERGUSON TOWNSHIP: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Committeewoman Bynes, you know your community, you`ve been
dealing with this, I know myself a long time. What about these findings
are a surprise to you?
BYNES: Well, first I`m glad that it`s validated what the community has
been saying ever since August. It makes me angry, though of the depth at
which these injustices are taking place. And it`s disturbing to actually
read the details, but I`m glad that we have the documentation so that no
one can say that the community has been exaggerating or blowing anything
out of the proportion. Now we have to take steps.
SHARPTON: Now Kendall, you know, since August, at the invitation of the
Brown family, I`ve been going in and out of Ferguson and I`ve heard this
over and over again. But now we have numbers. What will the numbers that
are established by the Justice Department, what will they mean? And where
can this go now? You`re a former U.S. attorney.
COFFEY: What those numbers mean is that the police department simply
cannot defend the contentions by the Justice Department that there is a
pattern and practice of disparate treatment. So what`s going to come next
is an opportunity for the police Department and the city to agree to
comprehensive reform, to change not just a single event, but to change an
entire culture. And to be very clear, if they don`t agree with what the
Justice Department demands, there is going to be a civil lawsuit before a
federal judge that this police department, given the evidence you`ve talked
about, Reverend. A lawsuit that this police department cannot win and
can`t even defend. So, the reforms are going to be comprehensive, they are
not going to be go appoint a blue ribbon committee and come back with a
report someday, there will going to be 60 to 70 pages of detailed
requirements, everything from training and supervision to compliance and
community outreach. And all of that will be enforceable by the order of a
federal court judge.
SHARPTON: Committeewoman, I mentioned some of the statistics, Ferguson is
67 percent black, but last year in Ferguson blacks made up 86 percent of
traffic stops. Ninety two percent of searching, and 93 percent of arrests,
even though contraband was less likely to be found on black drivers, 22
percent versus 34 percent of white drivers. I mean, this is not even good
BYNES: This isn`t about crime fighting at all. This is about
institutional racism, this is about, see, law enforcement and municipal
courts go hand and hand in deriving revenue. This is about oppressing
people and abusing a community. There`s nothing about public safety that`s
taking place. This is an endangerment to the public, this current Ferguson
police department. And this is what people have been out in the streets
talking about since day one.
SHARPTON: Now, Committeewoman, as you know, I`ve been there and we hear
the anger. What will this mean? What will this say to the people in the
BYNES: Um, well, a lot of this -- we have the validation now. Hearing
what the city officials have to say, that is going to play a large part in
the response that the community has. How many people are going to want to
take responsibility for this? How much have they seen and looked the other
way? So the community response is really going to be waiting on what city
officials in Ferguson have to say for themselves about this.
SHARPTON: Now, Kendall, one of the disturbing things that I saw in this
report, is that they found a pattern of a focus on revenue over people.
According to the nonprofit better together, 25 percent of Ferguson`s budget
came from court fees. I mean, what does this say? And how do we deal with
that, as you talk about changing the culture?
COFFEY: Well, it`s one of the things that`s going to be targeted in a
program of Justice Department imposed reform. Of course you can`t exploit
people by taking advantage of traffic stops and citations, all of which are
disproportionately impacting upon African-Americans and basically feed your
city`s budget with that. There are many, many other issues that are going
to be part of this extensive comprehensive set of reforms that the
department, justices going to insist on, but that certainly going to be an
important feature as well.
SHARPTON: Now, we saw Committeewoman, they looked at Ferguson, but there
are a lot of other communities, surrounding communities that are just as
glaring in a lot of these kinds of disproportionate targeting of blacks,
BYNES: Absolutely. That is an unfortunate reality here in the St. Louis
region. That this is not just Ferguson, if they were to look at some other
municipalities in the St. Louis region, they would probably find similar or
even worse offenses than Ferguson. So this is really just the tip of the
iceberg here that many people, when you live in this region, you have to
travel throughout all these different municipalities, so this is very real,
and Ferguson is just one of the mini ones that really need to be looked
into, and this issue needs to be dealt with.
SHARPTON: Now, Kendall, I mentioned the e-mail about President Obama,
investigators also found an e-mail that referred to a refund a black woman
received for an abortion as a credit from crime stoppers. I mean, Kendall
do you expect any firings or resignations over e-mails like this?
COFFEY: Absolutely. I think there are going to be firings, I think
there`s going to be change, and frankly I think the senior management of
that police department has a lot of explaining to do. And I don`t know
that they`ll be able to come up with answers.
SHARPTON: Well, I think the report will be out, we`ll see what the city
officials say tomorrow. Many people in that community that have been
raising their voice asking for a fair investigation and saying what the
conditions were, the numbers speak for themselves. Many that came in like
me were castigated. The numbers speak for themselves. Now let`s deal with
how do we go from here and make it different. Patricia Bynes, the
committeewoman, Kendall Coffey, thank you for your time tonight.
COFFEY: Thank you, Reverend.
BYNES: Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: Coming up. What`s really at stake when the Supreme Court looks
again at ObamaCare tomorrow? Also the GOP attack machine is revving up
over the story about Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.
Warren Buffett`s advice to Elizabeth Warren, "Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
HuffPost Live`s host Alyona Minkovski, political comedian and Sirius XM
radio host John Fugelsang, and legal analyst Midwin Charles. Thank you for
being here tonight.
MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
ALYONA MINKOVSKI, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: We start with Hillary Clinton`s e-mails, the "New York Times"
reporting Mrs. Clinton did not have a government e-mail address when she
served as secretary of state, and that her staff didn`t preserve her e-
mails as the law now requires. But today, Clinton camp fires back in a
statement saying, "Both the letter and the spirit of the rules permitted
State Department officials to use nongovernment e-mail. The rules
requiring workers to use government e-mails didn`t go into effect until
after Clinton left the State Department. And a spokesperson for General
Colin Powell tells NBC News, he also used private e-mail at the State
Alyona, there is a lot of talk about this today, but is this a real
MINKOVSKI: I think that there are definitely some questions that you need
to ask. Hillary Clinton may not have been the first secretary of state to
be using private e-mail, but she was the first one to exclusively use
private e-mail which I think raises a few question. But to me, one of the
biggest concerns is whether or not her private e-mail then was encrypted.
I mean, if you`re dealing with matters here that are perhaps classified or
just sensitive material, then your private e-mail, is that really the best
bet and something that you should be using and depending upon. And there`s
a question, too of transparency and whether or not any of this will going
to go down in the public record. So, I think that maybe not a huge
controversy, but a lot of questions regarding Hillary and some of her
JOHN FUGELSANG, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: I think people who despise Hillary
Clinton will be outraged by this. And people who love her unreservedly
will find no controversy whatsoever.
SHARPTON: Where are you, John, on the actual report? I mean, is it
improper or is it a matter of judgment and something that you can do either
way but not necessarily not required to do.
FUGELSANG: Of course, well, I do think it`s worth pointing out that
Secretary Kerry is the first secretary in history to use exclusively
governmental e-mails in the State Department. Hillary Clinton shares using
private e-mails in common with every other secretary of state we`ve ever
had. I do think that on a personal level, I would rather see Hillary
Clinton get angry about the stuff Elizabeth Warren is accused to being
angry about. I think that this rather has a rather short life and they`ll
find the news scandal of the week to throw there next week.
SHARPTON: But Midwin, these e-mails are not secure.
CHARLES: Right. And so to me what makes this the most interesting thing,
controversy or not, is she was the secretary of state. I mean, this is a
woman who was responsible for matters of National Security. So the idea,
this notion that her e-mails were, you know, not --
FUGELSANG: Easily hackable.
CHARLES: Easily hackable. I mean, anyone who has a job, right, and you do
your work during that job, you have to use company e-mails for a reason.
One not only because of more of a secure network, but also to preserve the
record. And so, one of the biggest concerns here that I see is that this
is a secretary of state who`s responsible for very, very serious issues of
world fairs and there are emails that perhaps are not preserved for the
record. Should there be any upcoming more ensuing litigation or just for
anything that they need to sort of get information for.
SHARPTON: Well, Alyona, on that, you can already hear a lot of the right
wingers today saying we don`t know what may have been communicated by e-
mails around things like Benghazi.
MINKOVSKI: I mean --
CHARLES: They just won`t let that go.
MINKOVSKI: Yes. Right wingers love the Benghazi thing.
CHARLES: Don`t let it go.
MINKOVSKI: I personally think that there`s a non-scandal there. To me
what`s more interesting is that, you know, Hillary Clinton was part of an
administration that has been very aggressive in pursuing people that do
leak information from within the government. Whistleblowers, journalist,
they`re working with whistleblowers. So when you see people like the
former Secretary of State or people like the former head of the CIA,
General David Petraeus who are being very lacks on their security with the
kind of material they`re dealing with, I think it clearly show the double
standard and a bit of hypocrisy there.
SHARPTON: When they did release some items, John, they`re saying we don`t
know if we have them all. You do not feel this story will have legs, from
which you said before, or will this if in fact -- if she does in fact run
for president, will this in fact be something we hear brought up throughout
a fall campaign next year?
FUGELSANG: Right now Frank Luntz is conducting focus groups to get the
talking points candidates they will need to use against Mrs. Clinton on
this issue next year by candidates who are very outraged about this, and
considerably less vocal about their outrage over David Petraeus sharing
state secrets with his girlfriend.
SHARPTON: Midwin, do you think this will resonate with independent voters?
CHARLES: It might, only from the perspective that I think that most
persons, at least in my opinions, see this as sloppy.
FUGELSANG: It is.
CHARLES: You were the Secretary of State, man. I mean, that job is so
important on so many levels, so the idea that you would be conducting,
transacting business on that high level on personal e-mail, it just --
there`s just so many things that can go wrong with that. And so, it may be
an issue, I`m not sure, but it`s still -- it just reeks of sloppiness.
FUGELSANG: Very sloppy.
CHARLES: It`s very sloppy.
FUGELSANG: But it will be spun as a sin of sloppiness rather than a sin of
SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to leave it there for a second.
Coming up, don`t go anywhere. Coming up, is Warren Buffett going after
Senator Elizabeth Warren?
And my letter to Justice Roberts on the eve of a Supreme Court hearing that
could mean life or death for millions.
SHARPTON: I`m back with my panel. Alyona, John and Midwin. John
Fugelsang, John, I try to mess up a name once a week to keep "Saturday
Night Live" with material, you know.
FUGELSANG: Sometimes, God gives the most ethnic names for the whitest
guys, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: I`ve got to keep SNL going. But anyway, now it`s back to the
issues. Now, it`s Warren versus Warren, ding, ding, ding. Today investor
superstar Warren Buffett went after progressive superstar Senator Elizabeth
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, CNBC: What do you make of Elizabeth Warren and
specially her views of Wall Street?
WARREN BUFFETT, INVESTOR SUPERSTAR: Well, I think that she would do better
if she was less angry and demonize less. I mean, I believe in hate the sin
and love the sinner. There`s plenty of other candidates that their styles
are not 100 percent my style.
But I do think it`s a mistake to get angry with your -- with people that
disagree with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Alyona, I called it passion, he calls it angry. Your reaction
to Buffet`s comments?
MINKOVSKI: Warren Buffett`s comments make me angry. And I think if
there`s a little bit of sexism involved here because if a woman what
happens to say very strong things about Wall Street and holding it
accountable, then suddenly it`s just seen as angry, not to mention why are
we so pathetic when it comes to talking about Wall Street and talking about
white collar crime and a group that they have on our political system.
This is why because people want us to handle them with kiddy gloves, do you
remember when President Obama called them fat cat bankers and Wall Street
got upset and the feelings got hurt and the President was never able ever
again to even, to tread anywhere near that line.
FUGELSANG: They couldn`t enjoy foreclosing on families for a whole week
after that. It was so upsetting.
CHARLES: Well, Alyona is a lot nicer than I. I mean, she thinks that this
is, she`s a little bit angry. I am a whole lot angry. And here`s why, I
think there`s a double standard here at play. Whenever a woman expresses a
view that is not wonderful, and warm and soft and about puppies and
kittens, all of a sudden she`s angry. If a man criticizes Wall Street, and
many men do, they`re not seen as angry. They`re seen as expressing their
opinions and getting their points across. But when Elizabeth Warren says
something that is seen to be forceful and sort of against what the bankers
stand for, all of a sudden she`s seen as angry. I think it`s hypocritical
and I do think it`s sexist.
SHARPTON: All right, John?
FUGELSANG: Well, I have just to second both what these ladies have said,
but I think, let me begin by saying Warren Buffet is a better man than me,
he`s done more for charity than I can ever do in my life. He`s a
profoundly good person, and wow, was this a stupid and wrong thing to say?
He should be angry on behalf of people who aren`t billionaires who got
SHARPTON: Alyona, John and Midwin, I want to thank you. Let me say this,
I do feel is a double standard. And I also say there`s not wrong with
being angry about things that are wrong, but I don`t think she`s shown
anger. I think it was passion. Thank you for joining the conversation
tonight. All three of you.
CHARLES: You`re welcome.
MINKOVSKI: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Up next, my open letter to the Supreme Court on the eve of the
SHARPTON: Tomorrow morning the Supreme Court hears another challenge to
the Affordable Care Act. The case involves a challenge to the tax breaks
and subsidies that helped low-income Americans, a decision could leave many
of them vulnerable. Justice Roberts, please listen to the American people.
Seventy one percent want the Supreme Court to save the subsidies. Why?
Because this is about people. The "Huffington Post" interviewed Americans
whose lives hang in the balance. Like Karen Hines, a three-time breast
cancer survivor. And Joe Lucas, a painter who had an aneurysm. And David
Price, who beat skin cancer, but barely makes enough to survive. And I`ve
heard the personal stories right here on the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If it wasn`t for the Affordable Care Act, I would not
have had the insurance that provided for my transplant.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It saved my life. It allowed me to breathe and relax
and enjoy being healthy and 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So this is about people, real Americans. Justice Roberts,
please think about this. Real people, real lives hang in the balance from
you and your colleagues` decisions.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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