PoliticsNation, Monday, March 16th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 16, 2015
Guest: Greg Meeks, Dana Milbank, Kendall Coffey, Faith Jenkins, Krystal
Ball, Josh Zepps, Jamilah Lemieux
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in. We`ve got a busy show tonight including developments out of
Ferguson where the suspected police shooter was in court today. And the
big break in the Robert Durst case. Arrested on first-degree murder
charges. Will audio from a TV documentary where he says he, quote, "killed
them all," will it be admissible in court? That`s all ahead.
But we start with tonight`s "lead." Republicans holding Loretta Lynch`s
attorney general confirmation up so they can push abortion restrictions.
Lynch has already waited longer for a floor vote than any nominee in modern
history. It was supposed to be this week. Now Mitch McConnell says keep
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER/KENTUCKY: I`d hoped to turn to
her next week, but if we can`t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put
If they want to have time to turn to the attorney general next week, we
need to finish up this human trafficking bill.
First thing we need to do is finish this important human trafficking bill
and then turn to the nomination of the attorney general.
It`s not a threat. We need to finish this human trafficking bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s not a threat? This is the definition of a threat. The
human trafficking bill that McConnell is talking about would prohibit money
to a restitution fund from being spent on abortions. It`s part of the
GOP`s antiabortion agenda, and McConnell is vowing to block Lynch`s
confirmation unless Democrats get on board with it. The result, Loretta
Lynch who`s already waited a record 128 days for a vote, is left to twist
in the wind. And Senator McConnell says it could be weeks or longer before
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: We need to finish that so we have time to turn to the attorney
general because the next week we`ll be doing the budget and two weeks --
and the next two weeks after that, Congress is not in session.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Republicans made big promises after the election. They were
done with obstruction politics. They were turning a new leaf. But right
now, 50 Senate Republicans have declined to give Lynch any public support,
and the leading Senate Republican is still standing in the way. They have
nothing bad to say about her. So what is the issue? Why are we waiting?
Enough with the games. It`s time to hold the vote.
Joining me now is Congressman Greg Meeks, Democrat from New York, and Dana
Milbank from the "Washington Post." Thank you, both, for being here.
REP. GREG MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Good evening, Rev.
DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST WRITER: Good evening. Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Congressman Meeks, Republicans are holding Loretta Lynch`s
confirmation`s hostage really, hostage to push abortion restrictions.
What`s your take on this?
MEEKS: Well, this take is that this is a McConnell and the Republicans,
they are playing the same games that McConnell started from the very first
time, well from the very first day that the president was elected trying to
block the president`s appointment. Here we have a serious position, the
attorney general of the United States of America, and McConnell is holding
up the president`s nomination of a woman who is absolutely qualified who no
one can talk about.
McConnell just as they did with DHS, just as they did with the budget
before, just as -- he, again, is playing the same political game at the
state, or to the detriment of the American people and putting in someone
who has proven herself to be a great prosecutor and would be a great
SHARPTON: And, Dana, didn`t the new Republican Congress come in promising
an end to obstruction like this?
MILBANK: Right. And now, Reverend, McConnell is claiming that he can`t
walk and chew gum at the same time like all of the legislation is on some
sort of a lazy Susan. If you got human trafficking in front of you, well,
sorry, we can`t reach all the way over to the Loretta Lynch nomination.
And that`s of course a canard. I just left the Senate chamber and they
were voting on assistant transportation secretary so the whole notion that
this can`t be done is rather silly, and, of course, it is a threat saying
to the Democrats.
SHARPTON: No. Wait a minute. You just left and they were voting on an
MILBANK: The assistant transportation secretary.
SHARPTON: Transportation Secretary, but they can`t vote on the attorney
general of the United States?
MILBANK: Exactly. They could have this done in a minute if they wanted to
bring it up. There aren`t a lot of Republicans announcing support for
Lynch, but there are enough so there`s no doubt that her nomination will be
confirmed. And the silliest irony of all of this, is the longer they wait
to confirm Lynch, they`re keeping Eric Holder in the job who Republicans
hate more than anybody.
SHARPTON: Well, that`s shows many people that maybe this is just politics
and taking partisan gains. But Congressman Meeks, the Miss Lynch would be
nominated if none of the Republicans flip because there`s a real tight
vote. Despite the fact, as you said, they haven`t come up with anything
negative on her in any of their questions during the hearing. And we
talked about the delay between Lynch`s nomination and her floor vote.
She`s now also facing a record delay between getting committee approval and
a floor vote. It`s been 18 days, Congressman Meeks, 18 days since the
Judiciary Committee voted to confirm Loretta Lynch, more than twice as long
as anyone else and that could be about to get much longer. I mean, will
this tragedy of delayed backfire on Republicans politically, Congressman,
in your view?
MEEKS: Well, I think that the American people should stand up and will
backfire as we move forward. You know, look at the hypocrisy of the
Republican in McConnell. McConnell asked the president to -- and said to
slow down on the appointment back in November. He put Loretta up in
November, and in December he said, why don`t wait until the Republicans
take over and then he will handle her in regular order? And here we are,
they playing politics, stretching this out, as you said, not only -- but
she`s got through the committee finally and now from the committee to
getting a full hearing on the floor. The longest period of time. And the
only explanation, and the American people has to see it as that, the only
explanation is it`s politics. It`s not substantive. Because if you want
to talk about substantively, it is most important that we put her in place
and do it sooner rather than later. But it`s pure politics against the
agenda for the people.
SHARPTON: Dana, talking about pure politics, McConnell also said many
Republicans aren`t supporting Lynch because of President Obama`s actions on
immigration. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: I think the attorney general nominee is suffering from the
president`s actions. There`s no question about it. The -- the actions he
took unilaterally on immigration after the election enraged a number of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So now they won`t vote to confirm an attorney general with all
of these issues out here because of they don`t agree with the president
partisan on -- a partisan view on immigration, and he`s holding up the
nomination because he wants abortion in the trafficking bill, Dana. Sounds
like politics to a lot of us.
MILBANK: Yes, maybe just a little bit. I mean, of course, if the standard
is they`re waiting for a nominee who`s not going to agree with any of the
president`s position, they`re going to be waiting until President Obama
nominates Ted Cruz to be his attorney general. And that`s not going to
Now, the Democrats have themselves to blame in part here because they
didn`t want Eric Holder announced earlier in the fall that he was stepping
down. Democrats didn`t want the White House to bring forth a nomination
which caused this delay in the first place. So now they`re paying the
price for that as Republicans stretch this out as long as they can and get
as much leverage as they can for what they know they inevitably have to do.
SHARPTON: But Congressman, do you understand, this is what Americans are
sick of. This kind of back and forth posturing, pivoting, and not taking
seriously what this country needs. I mean, can you imagine playing games
given all the critical criminal justice issues that we`re facing? As well
as terrorism? They`re playing with the attorney general confirmation and
they claim they don`t like to the present one that`s been there and it has
done a great job?
MEEKS: This is why and this shows they`re not ready to govern. Let me
just show you the difference when Democrats were in control. Democrats
understood when Bush was the president we didn`t agree with Ashcroft and
his appointment there. But it was the president`s appointment and he had
the right to name his attorney general. We didn`t agree with Ashcroft and
what his position were. But Democrats went along with it so that we could
move forward. Here we have now this president, I mean, this president
who`s putting forth his nominee, and a person who has no question with
reference, her qualifications but opposed to moving the country forward,
Reverend, as you just indicated with all the issues we have, they`d rather
put politics first and delay her being nominated, of her being named and
voted on as the next attorney general.
It is just them putting politics before substance. They`ve done it time
and again as I`ve said. DHS, the budget, we can look at what the debt
ceiling comes, they play politics, they don`t play country first.
SHARPTON: And the people, the American people are the once who suffer.
Congressman Greg Meeks and Dana Milbank, thank you both for your time
MEEKS: Thanks, Rev.
MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, the developing investigation into the alleged
Ferguson police shooter. What happened? Did he act alone? We`ll go to
Plus, "killed them all." That`s what Robert Durst said on a TV show. Now
he`s arrested and charged with murder, 15 years after the killing. Can
that admission be used at trial?
And more on this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: Five arrests have been made in this teen brawl, but should teens
be tried as adults? Please stay with us.
SHARPTON: A dramatic seventh day in the Boston bombing trial. The
testimony today focusing on the end of the manhunt. A violent shootout
with the brothers in Watertown, Massachusetts, and the end of a tense
standoff with the bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Three hero officers talk about the riveting end finding Dzhokhar inside a
boat in a backyard. Before today`s testimony, jurors were taken to view
that boat from an undisclosed location. Today`s testimony reminding the
world once again what it meant to be Boston strong. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Developing tonight. The man charged with shooting two police
officers in Ferguson, Missouri, appearing in court today. 20-year-old
Jeffrey Williams went before a judge to hear the charges against him.
Williams faces two counts of assault and armed criminal action, and one
count of shooting a firearm from a motor vehicle. He could face life in
prison. Authorities say Williams has admitted firing the shot, but it`s
unclear if he was targeting the officers. The other big question was the
suspect connected to the protest. "NBC News" Ron Allen asked prosecutor
Bob McCulloch that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So was he involved with the protests?
BOB MCCULLOCH, ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Yes, he is a demonstrator. He
was out there earlier that evening as part of the demonstration. He`s been
out there on other occasions part of the demonstrations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But protest leaders have strongly condemned the shooting and say
they don`t know Jeffrey Williams. Brittany Ferrell with the group
millennial activists united told the associated press no one in the group
knew Williams. John Gaskin, a St. Louis NAACP Leader said, "I don`t know
him. I`ve never seen him." A man in custody, but still many questions.
We go now to NBC`s Ron Allen for the latest from Ferguson.
ALLEN: Good evening, Reverend Al.
As you know the suspect Jeffrey Williams has made his first appearance in
court. And he faces some very serious charges that could land him in jail
for the rest of his life if convicted. The bigger question here, though,
is whether he was, in fact, targeting the police officers or involved in
some dispute as he apparently told the prosecutors, and whether he was
among the protesters or not. The organizers of the movement here say that
he was not known to them, and that he had nothing to do with it.
This is an important distinction because of the tension here. As you
recall, after this happened, the police called it an ambush and implied the
protesters were attacking them and the protesters pushed back hard saying,
no, that wasn`t what they were doing at all. So going forward, that will
have to be sorted out.
As a legal matter, the prosecutors say it really doesn`t make much
difference because the officers were hit by gunfire. So the suspect, the
defendant, can be charged with assault of whether he was intending to shoot
at them or not.
In recent days since this incident happened, things have been relatively
calm. There have been some small outbreaks of demonstrations, but nothing
on the scale of what we`ve seen here. Things were getting better. Things
were at least not getting worse, I should perhaps say. And the hope now is
that this community can continue to move forward, can continue to make the
changes that the justice department has called for. The mayor has said
he`s trying to cooperate even though the city has not yet formally signed
off on a consent decree which will legally bind them to make these changes,
something a lot of people here want to see.
But again, these are still early days since the police shooting and
Ferguson is moving forward, again, at least it`s not moving backwards.
Back to you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Thanks, Ron.
Joining me now is Jim Cavanaugh, our retired ATF agent and MSNBC law
enforcement analyst. Thank you for here, Jim.
JIM CAVANAUGH, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Jim, the suspect has been charged. They have a gun, they
believe he used, but authorities say this is very much still an active
investigation. What are they looking for?
CAVANAUGH: Well, first, Rev, they`re looking for co-conspirators, you
know, he might have been in a car and there could have been other occupants
to the car. And those people aren`t necessarily criminally culpable if
they didn`t pull the trigger or conspire with them. But they need to come
forward and talk to the detective, you know. Maybe they want to get an
attorney and come forward. But they`re could be witnesses but not
necessarily criminally culpable. They could be. So could be co-
conspirators. And certainly, the police are looking for any other physical
evidence besides the gun, the casings, anything else they found with the
SHARPTON: Now, the shooter was more than 100 yards from the police and
there were protesters in between them. What does that tell you, Jim?
CAVANAUGH: Well, I agree that he`s -- I don`t think this guy`s a
protester. He`s an infiltrator really. He came down there, he might have
walked down the street, close to, and kind a infiltrated which is a better
term than, you know, the chief of the state that we used. I think what he
said, it embedded because that seems to co notate that he was invited there
. He kind a went back there down there, and then left, and then he came
back with a gun and shot the officers.
But he`s trying to spin a yarn, I think, to say he didn`t intend to shoot
the officers, he was shooting in the air. But he was up on an elevated
hill. He`s got a line of police officers who are back lit in front of
police headquarters and there he shoots them.
So I think he pretty much intended to do it. I don`t think he`s a
protester. I don`t think they knew him. But I think that he`s by himself
here. I believe protesters, that they didn`t know him, he wasn`t part of
them. I believe the police that they were shot at by this guy. And the
only person I don`t believe leer is Mr. Williams. I think he`s the guy
that`s not telling it straight and his actions are pretty clear. He shot
at the police from an elevated position. And he`s --
SHARPTON: So you`re saying you believe he`s alone.
So you don`t think anyone else will be charged? And how will they
CAVANAUGH: Right. Well, the only exception of who might have been in the
car with him if he had other people in the car with him, I think they need
to be questioned, and criminal culpability decided there. But as far as a
larger conspiracy, you know, who knows. We don`t know. But he seems to
admitted his responsibility to the detectives. And the detectives in St.
Louis County did a great job on this. And the protesters helped, witnesses
of the protesters, you know, ATF helped with ballistics. The prosecutors
SHARPTON: Now the community helped including the protesters, no doubt.
CAVANAUGH: Protesters -- absolutely, the protesters were witnesses. I
don`t think the protesters and the police -- they kind a talk fast each
other, Reverend Al in the first few sentences but if you listen closely to
what they`re both saying, really they`re both doing the right things. The
chief is saying the first amendment right to protest, the protesters are
saying we`re not, you know, egging on violence against the police. So I
think they need to come to a better understanding as you well know in these
things, they can get critical.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. And that`s a good sign, and we`re going to keep
following this clearly, we`re going to follow this story. Jim Cavanaugh,
thank you for your time this evening.
CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, earth to Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. The affordable care
act is working. A reality check is ahead.
Plus, caught on tape. Saying "killed them all." will evidence from a TV
show be admitted in the murder trial of Robert Durst? Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Are Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz living in outer space? The 2016
contender flocked to New Hampshire this weekend eager to get ahead of the
first primary state. They`re trying to sound futuristic, but they`re
repeating the same old tired GOP talking points on the affordable care act.
Jeb Bush called the law "flawed to the core." and vowed to "repeal and
replace it." And Ted Cruz said the ACA is a "train wreck." Nashua we have
a problem, because back here on planet reality, the Affordable Care Act is
We learned today 16.4 million people have gained coverage under the law.
That`s huge. And the uninsured rate has plummeted 35 percent. The biggest
drop since Medicare and Medicaid were implemented 40 years ago.
Do Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush think we`d ignore their out-of-this-world
rhetoric? Nice try, but from all of us earthlings, we got you.
SHARPTON: Developing tonight. The heir who uttered the words "killed them
all" in a new documentary will now head to California to face a capital
murder charge. Robert Durst sat shackled in court today charged with the
murder of his friend, Susan Berman from nearly 15 years ago. Durst just
opened up about that case and others for the first time in the HBO series
"The Jinx." It looked at the disappearance of his wife in 1982. The
execution-style murder of Susan Berman in her Beverly Hills house in 2000.
And the murder and dismemberment of his neighbor, Morris Black, in Texas,
in 2001. Durst was never charged in his wife`s disappearance and was
acquitted of killing Morris Black. But now the Susan Berman case is taking
center stage. Police just arrested Durst for killing Berman Saturday at a
New Orleans hotel. A day later on "The Jinx" we heard his shocking words
when we walked into a bathroom with a microphone on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DURST, REAL ESTATE HEIR: What the hell did I do? Killed them all,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Here`s what filmmakers showed him moments before, on top, a
letter someone mailed police before Berman`s body was found saying there
was a cadaver in the house. Below, a letter Durst sent Susan Berman the
year before she died. The handwriting is similar, and Beverly is spelled
wrong, the same way on each envelope. Durst`s lawyer who defended him when
he was acquitted in his neighbor`s murder said they look forward to a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK DEGUERIN, ROBERT DURST`S ATTORNEY: Let me just say that we came here
to waive jurisdiction and go back to California and to get it on. Bob
Durst didn`t kill Susan Berman. He`s ready to end all the rumor and
speculation and have a trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It looks line that trial will come, but based on Durst`s
history, the end to the speculation may not.
Joining me now are former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, and former
prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith," Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, Rev.
FAITH JENKINS, HOST, "JUDGE FAITH": Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Faith, this case has so many twists. What stands out to you the
most as prosecutors get ready for a trial?
JENKINS: Well, the first thing that stands out to me, this is a man who
has dodged a life sentence for murder for decades.
JENKINS: He has been the prime suspect in three different murders. One he
admitted to and went to trial, and was acquitted, said it was self-defense
although he admitted and he conceded that he cut up the body afterwards.
JENKINS: So then why would you then sit down and agree to be part of an
HBO documentary and commit to hours of interview and essentially you`re
going on the record now? And so that`s why all of this has come about. He
basically went, he was on the record, he was on a live mic, he went to the
bathroom and said that he killed them all. Now, whether he was just
rambling, was he rambling or was that a confession? But it was enough for
prosecutors to go back and take a look at this case again.
SHARPTON: Yes. I don`t get why he even did the documentary. Now, let me
play again the full tape of what he said at that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURST: Here it is. You`re caught. You`re right, of course. But, you
can`t imagine. I`m having difficulty with the question. What the hell did
you do? Killed them all, of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Kendall, how do you react to hearing that?
COFFEY: Well, it`s so striking. He`s gone from being one of the luckiest
murder suspects in America, to now being one of the most foolhardy
defendants. Because that kind of statement, you match it up, of course,
with the two envelopes. We`ve seen it. It is uncanny how close the
handwriting is and even the misspelling of Beverly. And all of a sudden,
prosecutors who had a cold case, an un-prosecutable case, suddenly have
something. So he`s going to trial. He`ll have a great legal team as
before. As Faith mentioned, he amazingly managed to get an acquittal for
the murder and disposal of remains in a gruesome fashion --
SHARPTON: But Kendall, I understand the two envelopes, but can they use
the tape? Is that admissible in court?
COFFEY: It absolutely is admissible. They`ll have to authenticate it,
they`ll have to prove that it`s his voice. And there will be plenty of
defense objections and there will probably be an explanation to somehow put
a lot of spin on what he said, but "Killed them all," of course, a jury is
going to get to hear that. Because remember, prosecutors who set him up
for that comment. There`s not a constitutional Fourth Amendment here --
JENKINS: The argument that I think the defense will make is that there was
a reasonable expectation of privacy when he went to the bathroom, although
he was mic up, he expected that to be a private moment. I think that`s the
best argument that they have, but I think they lose on that because he was
mic up, he was on a live mic. This was not a state actor interviewing him.
This was a private documentary going on. That`s why they were interviewing
him so I think it will probably come in.
SHARPTON: Kendall, you know, the filmmaker asked Durst pointblank if he
played a role in the death of his friend, Miss Berman. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DURST: I felt terrible for Susan. I was astonished that they were putting
all this together that I did it or I caused it to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Did you have anything to do with Susan Berman`s death?
DURST: I had nothing to do with Susan Berman`s death.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Does it make sense to you that there were people that
suspected you of having --
DURST: Oh, sure, I mean, maybe because she was my spokesman. All of a
sudden she`s dead right after Janine Pirro`s doing the investigation of me.
I shut her up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: You know, the filmmaker asked Durst this pointblank, Kendall.
How do you think attorneys on both sides will use this interview?
COFFEY: Well, the prosecution is going to say that it`s a false cover.
That`s why he spoke to the station because somehow he thought he could
clear this up and make everybody think he`s a good guy. The defense is
going to try to get some mileage out of it and say, well, he may have
mumbled something in the men`s room but look at what he was saying
pointblank on camera. It`s amazing how people would never say one word to
police officers can`t help themselves but talk to the press, and sometimes
they can`t help but get in front of a jury for a first-degree murder
JENKINS: And there`s one thing about this case, you know, a lot of murder
cases the prosecutors, they don`t have to prove motive, but when you have
it, it`s very powerful. And in this case, who other than this defendant
had the most to gain with this woman being killed? She was set up to talk
to the government just a few days before she was killed, she was set up to
talk to the government about Durst and his connection with his first wife
and her disappearance.
SHARPTON: Now, Kendall, Durst has a history of strange behavior. After
his wife disappeared, he posed as a mute woman living in Texas. He was
acquitted of murdering his neighbor but admitted to dismembering his body.
And when he was on the run after the murder, he was only caught because he
shoplifted a sandwich despite having $500 in cash on him. I mean, how will
his behavior and the previous charges impact this case?
COFFEY: Well, I think the defense is going to work with that. They`re
going to say he`s a strange and mentally complex guy, but not a murderous
guy. And that kind of theme worked when he got acquitted before for a
gruesome crime. So expect to see some of that same strategy again in the
SHARPTON: What do you think, Faith, that they can get by again? Is that
the only option they have is to try using his, quote, "eccentric" type of
behavior to his advantage?
JENKINS: That`s going to be one of the arguments they certainly make.
They`re not going to able to use all of the prior investigations and the
prior disappearance of his wife, or the prior trial that he was acquitted
of because I think it`s going to be -- a judge will rule that`s too
prejudicial. So, you`re looking at the facts of this case. But in this
cold cases, very good office, the L.A. prosecutors office. They go after
SHARPTON: But he`s got a good high-powered lawyer who got him off before.
We`re going to be watching. Kendall Coffey, Faith Jenkins, Judge Faith
Jenkins. Thank you for your time tonight.
Straight ahead --
COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: -- arrests made in the ugly Brooklyn brawl. Why didn`t anyone
Plus, Jeb Bush used private e-mail while in public office. Just like
Hillary Clinton. Will the GOP investigate him?
And Michelle Obama gets down to "Uptown Funk" with Ellen. It`s all ahead
in "Conversation Nation."
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, MSNBC`s
Krystal Ball. "HuffPost Live" host Josh Zepps. And senior digital editor
of "Ebony," Jamilah Lemieux. Is there a double standard for Hillary
Clinton? Speaker or the House John Boehner`s reportedly planning to
announce a new house investigation into Clinton`s use of private e-mail.
What about Jeb Bush? The "Washington Post" reports Bush used his private
e-mail account as Florida governor to discuss security and military issues,
such as troop deployments to the Middle East and the protection of nuclear
Jamilah, shouldn`t they investigate Jeb, too? I mean, is this a double
JAMILAH LEMIEUX, SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR, "EBONY": Absolutely. And I think
this is sort of silly nonstory that both the left and the right have relied
upon especially going into an election season. I think we will end up
hearing a lot about Jeb Bush`s e-mails. And we wouldn`t if we weren`t
hearing about Hillary Clinton`s.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Yes, I mean, I think there`s
definitely a double standard here. It`s interesting, Jeb definitely
handled his e-mail use way better than Hillary Clinton handled it from a pr
perspective. But substantively they did the same exact thing in terms of
they and their teams decided which e-mails they would release, which e-
mails they wouldn`t release. So, substantively, it`s very similar. You
know, I disagree with Jamilah a little bit because I do think that it`s
important the idea of freedom of information and what public officials
have to put on the record and what the public has access to. I do think
that`s a substantive issue. But there is a double standard being applied
here in the media and at the political level, of course.
JOSH ZEPPS, HUFFPOST LIVE: I mean, I think the problem is that Jeb took
the bait with Hillary and that he spoke out about it. He just shouldn`t
have said anything about it. I don`t think it`s equivalent. I really
don`t think that, you know, there are accusations that something could have
been leaked, for example, in his communications with the National Guard
right after 9/11, that he was using his private e-mail, for things that
should have been secure in the year 2000. Look, back then YouTube didn`t
exist, Facebook didn`t exist, iPhones didn`t exist. This is a different
category of offense in my opinion from the secretary of state which is also
a much more important position, dealing diplomatically with people on a
server that`s located at her own house.
SHARPTON: But Jamilah, we are talking about nuclear, we`re talking about
deployment of troops. I mean, there are some very sensitive things there.
LEMIEUX: Absolutely. I think they`re both guilty of doing something that
was inappropriate. What voters have to think about is this something
that`s going to make a decision over who we think should be president or
not? Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton? And for me, as a voter it certainly has
no sway on who I trust.
ZEPPS: For me -- isn`t this just about the paranoia of the Clintons? This
is such an own goal --
SHARPTON: But I think the question I`m raising is transparency. I`m not
dealing with the politics of it. But if you`re going to have -- when I say
double standard, if you`re going to have a standard of transparency and
private e-mail use for Hillary Clinton, it should be for Jeb Bush and
everyone else in the discussion.
ZEPPS: Yes, that`s exactly why I think it`s a mistake for him to have made
it an issue in the first place. Yes, it was a mistake for him to have made
an issue in the first place. Because he`s done basically the same thing
that she did. But he wasn`t Secretary of State and he wasn`t doing it in
BALL: Well, and here`s the problem though with that argument, the reasons
republicans can`t make that argument, is if they say, you know, secretary
of state is a much more powerful and much more important position, they`re
essentially ceding the fact Hillary Clinton has better qualifications and
more significant position that she`s coming from. So, that`s not really an
argument that republicans can make.
SHARPTON: You really weren`t doing much sensitive things as governor. But
let`s move on. Now to that savage teen beating caught on tape. This was
the scene last week, a model girl smashing and hitting another girl at
McDonald`s in Brooklyn. You can see the victim in the blue sweatshirt.
Police arrested five girls between the ages of 15 and 17 and the search
continues for a sixth. Two of the girls appeared in court and were charged
with robbery and gang assault charges. The ringleader of the attack and
the girls over age 16 have been charged as adults. Jamilah, it`s great
that police are arresting the girls who participated in the attack, but
what about the other people who just stood around there watching?
LEMIEUX: I think that`s perhaps the most horrifying thing about that video
that no one was willing to step in and help this young lady out. She was
obviously outnumbered. It doesn`t matter whether she could fight or not.
There`s no one who can take on a group that large by themselves and there
wasn`t anyone who was willing to just pull girls off of her yet alone
stepping in and fighting on her behalf. You know, I think it`s incredibly
sad. I wonder what comes next for these girls because it`s -- great, we`re
going to see the ones arrested who should be arrested. They are going to
be punished. Are they going to be rehabilitated? What sort of services
are going to be provided to all these girls involved so they can get
SHARPTON: What is available? Josh?
ZEPPS: Well, I mean, this is, you know, scientists and sociologists are
pretty familiar with this effect, the bystander effect, where ironically
enough, both counterintuitively enough if you have fewer people who are
watching, they`re actually more likely to get involved than if you have
more people watching because the sense of there being a lot of you not
doing anything sort of gives you individually a pass. And this is just the
worst kind of example of that sort of thing. I was horrified by the fact
that people didn`t intervene. And I would have thought that nowadays we
would be able to all get together and just pile on. It baffles me.
BALL: And Rev, I mean, not only were they not helping but they were
cheering on the violence.
BALL: And you know, you might make the argument at the beginning when you
have these five girls going at each other, it would be hard, no individual
person wants to jump in the middle of that melee. But towards the end,
things had slowed down. It would have been easy for someone, once the poor
victim was on the floor getting her head kicked, someone could easily have
pulled off the ringleader and other girls. So it`s sickening to watch and
I hope that people who do see this video and hear about this incident and
are around another violent incident like this will think about their own
responsibility to break up --
SHARPTON: I hope so. I`m glad to see the community rallying and
SHARPTON: Everyone, please stay with me. Let`s switch gears because when
we come back, it`s time to dance. The first lady and Ellen dance-off. Why
this media strategy is working? That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Krystal, Josh, and Jamilah Lemieux.
Twitter said I said it wrong. Now, tweet that.
First Lady Michelle Obama is getting everyone pumped up for the first
anniversary of a "Let`s Move" initiative. With the give me five challenge.
Beyonce accepted the challenge and so did Vice President Biden. Today, the
first lady appeared on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" to keep spreading the
word. And, of course, dance.
SHARPTON: What a dance-off. The first lady and Ellen had a blast. And
over the last five years, we`ve seen the First Lady team up with all kinds
of celebrities and athletes to encourage kids to move more and live
healthier lives. Jamilah Lemieux --
LEMIEUX: You just had it.
SHARPTON: He`s faced a lot of criticism over -- from the right, let`s be
honest, from the right over the years. What do you make of the First
Lady`s media strategy to sell her campaign?
LEMIEUX: You know, the criticism that`s been leveled against Michelle
Obama has been so ridiculous from wanting to paint her as a very mean angry
black lady to suggesting that somehow she`s being abusive or unfair by
asking that if we feed our children, get healthy food and encourage them to
exercise and take good care of themselves. But she`s done such a great job
just rising above it and dancing on into this, you know, into the end of
the Obama presidency. I think it`s fantastic.
SHARPTON: Krystal, the media strategy, what do you think?
BALL: I think it`s fantastic. She makes being fit and working out and
eating healthy look so fun and so cool that who wouldn`t want to get
involved? I mean, I was like dancing in my chair. I love that song,
anyway. But it`s brilliant. She makes it cool. And not only has she
teamed up with athletes and celebrities, she`s also had a big impact on big
business, places like Walmart and McDonald`s have made better choices that
makes it easier for people to feed their kids healthy food on a budget and
that I think has been really impactful and important as well.
ZEPPS: Yes, this settles it for me. She`s the coolest First Lady --
BALL: She`s so cool.
ZEPPS: -- I`ve ever known. And it`s also great as a foreigner to see the
office of the First Lady and what that is. It`s very rare. It`s a
wonderful thing. It`s one of the great things about America. The fact
that the First Lady occupies this special place in the national
consciousness where she can bring attention to --
BALL: It will be fun to see what the first dude does.
ZEPPS: Yes. Exactly, it will. I love it. I love it.
SHARPTON: Well, you know, I thought it was a great compliment you gave
Josh, she`s the coolest First Lady you`ve ever seen. But since you`re so
young and haven`t seen that many. Next time, we`ll do a dance-off here,
but we`re out of time. Krystal, Josh and Jamilah, thanks for joining
"Conversation Nation." We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We shall overcome. It was the anthem for the civil rights
movement sung at almost every demonstration. A rallying cry for equal
rights including the right to vote. It was a chant heard in Selma, as
Alabama troopers attacked voting rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus
Bridge. And 50 years ago Sunday, eight days after Selma, that rallying cry
made it to the White House. President Lyndon Johnson announcing to
Congress he would introduce the voting rights act. In his now famous
speech, he embraced the calls of civil rights and the language of the
movement telling the nation, "We Shall Overcome."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDON JOHNSON, 36TH PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Their cause must be our
cause, too. Because it`s not just Negroes, but really it`s all of us who
must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It was a historic turning point. Martin Luther King recognized
it immediately. He was moved to tears as he watched the speech from a home
in Selma. And five months later Dr. King was at President Johnson`s side
as he signed the voting rights act into law. Fifty years later, we`ve come
so far, but our work is not yet done. Last year, alone, 21 states rolled
back the very same voting rights we fought for in 1965. There`s all kinds
of moves and all kinds of strategies that would in many ways impede people
being able to vote without a long process that would discourage and in some
ways debunk them. But just like our fathers and mothers fought 50 years
ago, we shall fight now and just like they sang when others mock them, we
must say, we shall overcome.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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