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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 24, 2015
Guest: Jay Rolling, Steven Wallace, Deborah Hersman

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you for tuning in.

We start with breaking news. Night falls on recovery teams in France after
a passenger plane crashes in the Alps. The search for answers suspended
until morning. French officials telling "NBC News" one of the plane`s
black boxes has been found. One hundred fifty people are feared dead,
including two babies and a group of German high school students. The
Germanwings flight departing from Spain this morning around 10:00 a.m.
local time, bound for Germany, reaching cruising altitude, 30 minutes
later, before starting a rapid but controlled descent, and then dropping
off radar crashing about 430 miles southeast of Paris.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEIKE BIRLENBACH, VICE PRESIDENT, LUFTHANSA EUROPE: For the time being, we
say it`s an accident. There`s nothing more that we can say right now.
Everything else would be speculation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The question tonight -- why did the plane suddenly descend? Why
didn`t the pilot send out a distress signal? Was there a problem with the
plane? Again, officials saying they may not be able to recover any bodies
until sunrise. We`ve got this story covered from all angles. We`ll go
overseas and also talk to aviation experts here at home. But we start with
NBC`s Tom Costello. Tom, what are investigators looking at right now?

TOM COSTELLO, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s really a confusing and a
perplexing problem here, because on the one hand you`ve got a flight, a
plane that appeared to make a coordinated and an ordered descent from
38,000 feet down to we believe 6,000 feet before slamming into the
mountain. Thirty-eight thousand feet at 10:27 a.m. only stayed at that
altitude for a few minutes, then began a descent and then hit the mountain.
We believe in somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:40 to 10:42 a.m.
Depending on which piece of data you`re looking at. But it was a very
rapid descent, 8 minutes or so.

The question is, why over that course of that time did the crew never talk
to air traffic controllers, never radioed the mayday. Never said we`ve got
a problem. And in fact, why did they order that descent to begin with when
they`re cruising at 38,000 feet. Was there something going on at that
attitude that was of great concern to the crew? Was there some sort of
event, a fire maybe? Or smoke or was a rapid decompression event that
caused the crew to realize they needed to decent rapidly. We simply don`t
know because they never communicated. And then slamming into that mountain
after only about eight minutes or so.

If the crew was trying to get away or trying to get lower because of the
decompression, the standard protocol is to get down to 10,000 feet where
you`ve plenty of oxygen, then talk to controllers, decide which airplane --
- airport rather you`re going to divert to, but that didn`t happen. The
plane kept descending all the way down to 6,000 feet.

SHARPTON: So that -- so that what would happened one in a main working
theories right now?

COSTELLO: Well, I think those are the two that I`ve laid out for you. The
possibility that there was some sort of a catastrophic event and the crew
somehow became incapacitated and wasn`t able to communicate. So we`ve now
-- the French authorities now have the cockpit voice recorder, they`re now
looking for the flight data recorders. And once they get those two black
boxes, they will use the information from those to try to paint a picture
of what happened, what was happening with the plane, what was happening
inside the cockpit, what conversations were going on between the pilots
that might give them a suggestion of what was truly happening.

In the meantime, the priority for the search-and-rescue people on that
mountain, and you could see it`s very rugged and very remote, is to recover
the remains of everybody on board. You can imagine if it was your child or
wife or husband who was on that mountain you would not want them spending
the night up there, even though you know that they are deceased.

SHARPTON: Yes. Tom Costello, thank you for your reporting tonight.

COSTELLO: OK.

SHARPTON: Now let`s go to NBC`s Katy Tur live from Dusseldorf, Germany.
Katy, you visited the school today that the German students on board this
flight attended. How are the people there holding up, first of all?

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, not well, as you would imagine.
There`s a lot of questions right now about what happened to this plane. In
the meanwhile, the people that knew those on board and that loved those on
board are struggling to come to terms with just this unimaginable loss. I
visited that school, it`s about 40 minutes -- 45 minutes just to the north
of Dusseldorf, and it`s where 16 students and two teachers who are on board
that plane, that`s where they went to school. And the kids there are just
struggling to come to terms with it. They were lighting a number of
candles, candles in memory of their lost friends, hoping that by some
miracle, somebody might still be alive.

They were also laying down flowers. I spoke to a number of them, and they
just said that the school feels at this point just completely empty. I
also spoke to one girl whose cousin was on that flight. And here`s what
she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT: I still think she will come to school
tomorrow, but all the others say she won`t be there, and I can`t really
believe that she will never come, and I can`t really say goodbye to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE STUDENT: Many of us didn`t believe at first, because at
the beginning at the news, there was -- everybody said no survivors, and
nobody could believe it, really.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: Now, this was an entire Spanish class that was on an exchange program
in Barcelona. They were there just for the week, meeting their sister
school and the people that they had been corresponding with for the past
year. We`re told that most of the victims, most of these kids, were
actually girls. And right now it`s just an unimaginably sad scene up
there. The school has about 1,000 students, so to lose 16 is still a
pretty big loss for them. Everybody said that even you don`t know them
personally, you knew who they were just walking down the halls.

So certainly, a really sad moment here in Germany. As also most of the
passengers on board were from this country. They`re still waiting to
identify most of them or many of them. We`re also waiting to hear about
some of the other nationalities on board. But so far this school certainly
seems to be taking the biggest hit, Al.

SHARPTON: Well NBC`s Katy Tur, thank you for your reporting this evening.

Now let`s bring in Captain Jay Rolling, a retired American airlines captain
and former U.S. Navy pilot, and Steven Wallace, former director of the FAA
Office of Accident Investigation. Thank you both for being here.

STEVEN WALLACE, FMR. FAA OFFICIAL: Thank you, Al.

JAY ROLLING, RETIRED AIRPLANE PILOT: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Jay, let me start with the lack of a distress call. How unusual
is that?

ROLLING: It`s very unusual. It suggests that the crew may have been
incapacitated in some way. You know, the mantra, the aviate, then
navigate, then communicate. That`s the lowest priority in an emergency,
but ten minutes is a long time for things to be going wrong and no mention
of it on the radio whatsoever. And now we`re told that the transponder
emergency code that was sent apparently was placed in by air traffic
controllers and not by the flight crew.

SHARPTON: Steven, no distress call. Is it possible there was a problem
with oxygen in the cockpit, possibly living the pilots unconscious?

WALLACE: Well, certain Tom Costello went through several possible
scenarios, and you know, as Captain Rolling testimony, this pilots are mic
up, they just have to push a button on the yolk that`s right in their hand
there to do a distress calls so that`s quite an easy or to put a stress
signal on the transponder.

So certainly, day one of any accident investigation, every possible theory
is on the table. I would say here we have a highly competent investigation
authority in France called the BEA and this airplane has a state of the art
recorders, voice and data recorders, so I`m confident that they will get to
the bottom of this. Some of the circumstances could suggest some sudden
catastrophic event, whether that was a fire or explosion or decompression
or something along those lines.

SHARPTON: And what would, Jay, what type of data could be in the black
boxes?

ROLLING: This time I think the voice recorder might be very helpful,
because if they were speaking, then we will learn a lot of what was going
in their minds. But if there was no speaking whatsoever, it suggests that
they may have been unconscious. With regards to the data reporter, of the
data recorder we have a lot of information already just from the flight
aware and flight tracking web sites that give a lot of data, actually in
real time.

So we know that that aircraft flew straight ahead, that it descended at a
controlled rate, even though it was rather high, not excessively so, it was
a controlled descent. And the speed was maintained, so it was not a stall.
But the fact that it went straight ahead is very unusual with no calls.

SHARPTON: Steve, the descent was rapid but controlled. What do you make
of this controlled descent?

WALLACE: Well, you know, you look at the airbus -- the air France 447
accident when that airplane probably came down in an about 10,000 feet per
minute, this airplane was it about 3,000 feet per minute which is not out
of control. It`s rapid, but it`s not out of control. So you know, that
might tend to suggest that the airplane was not stalled or was not
catastrophically upset because it came down at a reasonable descent rate.

SHARPTON: You know, Jay, the debris looks to fragmented into small pieces
in, spread over a wide area. What does that tell you?

ROLLING: Well, originally they said that it was over a five-mile area.
And then by the time we were at the end of that program earlier this
morning, they narrowed it down to five acres. So I`m not sure exactly how
large the field, but when I look at these small pieces, it suggests that it
was concentrated, and that implies to me that it was high speed, which we
already know from flight aware, and that it went basically into a mountain.

SHARPTON: Let me go back to something you referred to before, Steve. How
unusual is it that this happen mid flight, not during takeoff or landing?

WALLACE: Well, it`s quite unusual. I mean, we have had planes lost from
cruise flight the 737 in Greece, Helios, which was an undetected
decompression where the crew became incapacitated. And we`ve occasionally
had, you know, catastrophic events like explosion like TWA 800. But
certainly the vast majority of accidents are in the takeoff and landing
phases of flight. With modern jets being highly reliable and extremely
powerful, the takeoff actually becomes less risky than the landing, but the
cruise segment is typically very, very safe. So this is quite unusual, Al.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Jay, how long could this investigation take. I
mean, could it be months before we know what happened?

ROLLING: It could be, but I -- this one I think will be resolved fairly
quickly, because they have found the data box, and there`s no reason why
they shouldn`t find the voice recorder. Once we have particularly the
voice recorder, we know the flight profile, then the only other question
remaining is what system may have failed or what would have incapacitated
those pilots. There`s a number of theories floating around, but until we
get our hands on the facts, we won`t really know.

SHARPTON: Captain Rolling, stay with me. Steve Wallace, thanks for your
time tonight.

WALLACE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, what we know about this plane that went down in the
Alps? What are the potential signs of a mechanical problem?

Also President Obama making big news today about the war in Afghanistan.
How fast will our troops come home?

And new video of that alleged drunk driving by Secret Service agents.
Tough questions tonight about whether the agency that protects the
president is up to the job. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our thoughts and our prayers
are with our friends in Europe, especially the people of Germany and Spain,
following a terrible airplane crash in France. As there`s a steadfast
friend and ally, America stands with them at this moment of sorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama today on that deadly plane crash in France. He
pledged U.S. assistance, and said we`re working to find out if any
Americans may have been on board. How will investigators figure out what
went wrong? Much more ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with more of our breaking news coverage of that
deadly plane crash in the French Alps. The biggest piece of debris is
reportedly the size of a small car. Here`s what we know so far about the
plane.

It was run by the low-cost airline Germanwings, and was as airbus 320
model. The planes nearly 25-years-old making it first -- it`s flight was
in 1990. Germanwings parent company Lufthansa took it into service a year
later. The plane`s logged more than 58,000 flight hours and 46,000
flights. And it went through a routine check just yesterday.

Joining me is Jay Rolling, a retired American airlines captain and former
U.S. Navy pilot. On Skype, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the
National Safety Council, she`s the former chair of the National
Transportation Safety Board, and Bob Hager, who`s covered aviation for NBC
news for 25 years. Thank you all for being here.

ROLLING: You`re welcome.

BOB HAGER, NBC AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: But Bob, let me go to you first. You reported on a lot of
airline disasters. What similarities are there to other crashes in this?

HAGER: Well, Al, immediately I think of flights where there`s been some
problem at full altitude, like this one. Because that is so unusual, as
you`ve said, but the figure air France just a few years ago over the
Atlantic, when it was a failure of the navigation equipment. TWA 800 over
Long Island that was at 10,000 feet, so it`s pretty well up there when the
center fuel tank exploded. There was a decompression of the private jet
that was carrying the golfer Payne Stewart a number years ago, where
everybody passed out from the decompression and the plane flew on over half
the United States before it crushed in to Dakota`s. Aloha airlines years
ago over a Hawaii, that was at flight the top of the plane field off.

But in this case there`s no evidence of anything like that, but we`re
pretty early into it. I mean, I think what really is important here is
getting those recorders. They`ve got one of them and they`re probably find
the other one, and then we should have some answers pretty quickly, is my
guess.

SHARPTON: Bob, the plane was almost 25 years old. Is that normal?

HAGER: Yes, that`s not bad for the life of a plane. I mean, maintenance
is what counts. In 25 years old and especially with a workhorse brand like
the A320, that`s not old at all. So that would not be a factor, in my
opinion.

SHARPTON: Deborah, the airbus A320 is a workhorse plane with a good safety
record, although there was a fatal crash just in December. Is this a
reliable aircraft?

DEBORAH HERSMAN, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL PRESIDENT & CEO: No, I think the
statistics really buried out. You`re looking at about 6,000 of these
airplanes flying all around the world. Transporting passengers, really in
every corner of the globe. And so this aircraft has a long history. And
we really don`t know what happened in this event yet, whether it was a
factor with respect to the aircraft design or anything to do with the
component parts of this aircraft. So we`re going to have to wait and see
what the recorders tell us, but I think it is clear that this aircraft is
been around for a long time and it`s performed very well.

SHARPTON: Deborah, it`s a remote area, only helicopters can get to the
crashed site. How difficult does that make the investigation?

HERSMAN: You know, I would say, folks really underestimate how difficult
the environment can be for investigators, and very often -- and we`ve
looked it crashes that have occurred in the last year at a war zone. We
looked at crashes that occur out in the middle of the ocean. Many of these
recoveries are challenging, but when you look at an event like this, it`s
about recovering the bodies for those families, and it`s also about all the
of the people that they are going to have to get up on those mountains and
get down successfully. You`re investigating one crash, you don`t want to
have another one, you`ve got to protect the folks who are going up there.
And that has to be a first priority.

SHARPTON: Jay, this plane had gone through a routine check just yesterday.
What does that entail?

ROLLING: Well, it depends on which check they did, but assuming this was
something of an intermediate check, maintenance goes through the records of
the aircraft. They check for certain components that come upon certain
service-life issues where they have to double check the limitations are
being met by various avionics, the ELTs, all of these things have to be
checked periodically anywhere everywhere from a month to every 90 days or
so. So there`s various checks that are done throughout the year.

SHARPTON: Jay, is this a difficult plane to fly?

ROLLING: The airbus is reported to be an excellent aircraft in all
respects. There are some people out there who have an issue about the fly
by wire that this aircraft is designed. Fly by wire is a little different
from the design of most airliners, because older airliners and Boeing in
particular, have relied upon hydraulics to move the flight controls. But
with these airbus aircraft, they tend to be fly by wire, so they don`t use
hydraulics to move the controls. Instead, they use electrical servos that
are controlled by computers. So when a pilot puts in an input to move the
controls he wants to turn left, right or climb, he`s not directly moving
that surface. He`s basically giving a command that the computer mediates,
and then moves the surfaces for him. That becomes an issue in some
people`s minds.

SHARPTON: Well, this is a huge, huge tragedy and we`re certainly going to
stay with this story. Jay Rolling, Deborah Hersman, Bob Hager, thank you
all for your time tonight.

HAGER: Thank you.

HERSMAN: Thank you.

ROLLING: Thank you, Revered.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with President Obama`s big announcement
today about our troops in Afghanistan. When are they coming home?

Also the new video of that alleged Secret Service drunk driving incident.
Is it time to revamp the entire agency? That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news on the war on Afghanistan. Today President Obama
met with the country`s president and the two leaders agreed to postpone
this year`s drawdown of U.S. troops. The decision will leave just under
10,000 American troops in the country until the end of 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But it is my judgment, it`s the judgment of General Campbell and
others who are on the ground that providing this additional time frame
during this fighting season for us to be able to help the Afghan Security
Forces succeed is well worth it. And in that sense, once again we are
asking our men and women in uniform to fight on behalf of our freedom and
on behalf of a more orderly world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But President Obama today also confirming that the overall goal
is the same. To withdraw over a thousand U.S. troops stationed at the
embassy by the end of 2016. The Afghanistan war has been the longest war
in U.S. history.

Coming up, Angelina Jolie goes public about a very private matter. Why the
academy award winner chose to have a life-altering surgery.

And Ted Cruz says, he wants to repeal Obamacare. So why is he signing up
for it now? You won`t believe this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Get out your popcorn folks, the GOP race of 2016 is officially
under way. And it`s going to get nasty. Senator Ted Cruz is the first in
the ring and conservative talk radio is rolling out the red carpet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Watching this speech today, and it is
flat-out amazing. Ted Cruz might really be the smartest man there. Ted
Cruz might be the smartest man in Congress.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He represents more traditionalist
point of view, and I think overall more of a Reaganesque view of the
Republican Party.

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This guy is impressive.

The groundswell for somebody like Ted Cruz is going to be enormous.

Ted Cruz for president. Don`t give Jeb Bush a single cent! Ted Cruz will
be our next president. Give up the bushes for lent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s quite a jingle. But many republicans on Capitol Hill are
singing a different tune. Politico says his fellow Texas senator won`t
even back him in the presidential primary. Just listen to republican
Congressman Peter King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: You show no qualifications, no legislation
being passed, he doesn`t provide leadership and he has no real experience.
So to me he`s just a guy with a big mouth and no results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So as the GOP train starts rolling toward a primary, is it
already flying off the tracks?

Joining me now are Michelle Cottle from the National Journal and
Salon.com`s Joan Walsh. Thank you both for being here.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Thanks, Rev.

MICHELLE COTTLE, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michelle, there`s a real divide in the Republican Party, what
does it mean that the first candidate in the race is also the most
controversial.

COTTLE: Well, he`s a candidate who wants to get out there, and grab
attention, and he wants to put down his marker that he is going to be the
candidate appealing to religious conservatives as well as the Tea Party
right the in party. You know, we`ve got candidates like Jeb Bush, who are
establishment favorite. And they`ll have no problem raising big money, but
Ted Cruz does have a problem. He`s not beloved by the big-money people.
He`s going to have to work hard to kind of make up some ground. So, he
needs to get an early start and kind of get the attention before anybody
else is out there.

SHARPTON: Joan, all of these radio people -- Rush Limbaugh the head of the
party and everybody else, how do you explain that? And what effect and
impact will they have on the primary voters in the Republican Party?

WALSH: Well, I think they`re helpful with the primary voters for sure, but
I think a lot of mainstream republicans have complained for a while,
usually quietly because they are afraid of Rush Limbaugh, but they are
afraid of this media entertainment complex that runs the Republican Party
right now. These people don`t have to get elected. They don`t have to do
anything except bring in money, which they apparently do. And so, they`re
not that concerned about actually getting someone to the White House, which
the averages republican is quite concerned. So, the question is really, I
see one path for Ted Cruz, which is a very narrow one, and that somehow
discouraging a lot of the other conservative, really conservative people to
keep out of the race. But the thing is, Reverend Al, this whole field is
conservative.

SHARPTON: Right.

WALSH: I mean, Jeb Bush is only moderate because of the occasional
rhetorical flourish, not because of the policy. So, it`s going to be very
hard for him to really carve out space for himself apart from Scott Walker,
apart from Rand Paul, unless he just decides to be the nasty candidate, and
I think there`s a good chance he`ll be that.

SHARPTON: You know, Michelle, Ted Cruz has promised to repeal ObamaCare,
but today he admitted he`s signing up for the insurance under the
Affordable Care Act. Cruz is doing it because his wife left a job and he`s
no longer covered by her insurance. So, do you think his exposure to
quality affordable healthcare will help him see the light, Michelle?

COTTLE: You know what, Rev. I think you`re looking at this all wrong.
This is Ted Cruz`s chance to say that he loves America so much that his
wife is willing to leave her job and make them get on ObamaCare. That`s
how much he`s willing to sacrifice for this country.

SHARPTON: But what will mean it`s good for America, and it is.

COTTLE: Well, yes, and I think that`s probably going to be something he`s
not all that eager to talk about, but the man, you know, he`s not going to
play politics with his children and the family can`t go without healthcare.

SHARPTON: Nor should he, and that`s why we`re not going to let them play
politics with other folks` children.

You know, Joan, this morning on the Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Cruz about
his reputation for not compromising. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, THE TODAY SHOW: Will you bring that brand of no compromise to
the White House if you`re elected?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Matt, let me disagree with the premise. I`ve
never said I won`t compromise.

LAUER: Shortly after elected you also said, quote, "I don`t think what
Washington needs is more compromise."

CRUZ: Because what Washington does often is that it compromises going
backwards.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joan, you know, that attitude may help you with the GOP base,
but won`t it hurt him in a general election if he were to make it?

WALSH: Well, good for Matt Lauer. Because he was trying to pretend that
he never said things like that --

SHARPTON: Right?

WALSH: And he had to admit it, but yes, I think he`s going to be a great
gift to Hillary Clinton or any democrat who gets the nomination. He is too
divisive for the country. He`s not Reganesque in particular because Reagan
when ran for president, was a much more genial optimistic man. Ted Cruz is
apocalyptic. So, he can`t win. He can only for the divide the part and
divide the country. I don`t think he`ll get the nomination. But I think
lots of republicans have to be scared with the role he`s going to play.

SHARPTON: Michelle, Senator Rand Paul took some shots at Cruz after the
announcement. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I spent the last couple years trying to go
places republicans haven`t gone. And maybe not just throwing out red meat,
but actually throwing out something intellectually enticing to people who
haven`t been listening to our message before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Cruz is just throwing out red meat? I mean, how nasty is
this going to get?

COTTLE: It`s going to get pretty ugly. I mean, Cruz stepped on Rand
Paul`s announcement, which is expected to come soon. Cruz is a much more
flamboyant candidate. I mean, Joan is absolutely correct. There are a lot
of conservatives in this race. And with Cruz, the difference is style.
He`s the most in your face aggressive, you know, bomb-throwing member who`s
going to get into this race. And I think that, you know, Rand Paul is much
lower key. And I think these two are going to clash, but you`ll going to
see a lot of kind of people lining up. But the debates are going to be
spectacular fun. You`re not going to actually miss any of those.

SHARPTON: How do you deal with the fact that with all of this, he`s only
four percent in the polls as people`s first choice?

WALSH: Because I think there really is hunger in the Republican Party this
time around for an actual president, and I think they`re looking at people
that they consider more electable like Jeb Bush, like Scott Walker, Jeb is
going to drive away a lot of the conservatives, but I think they have a lot
of choices who aren`t as divisive as Ted Cruz. So we`ll see.

SHARPTON: Michelle, do the far right conservatives knock each other out
and clear the path for a more moderate republican, or at least one
perceived to be one, or at least who has more of a style that is
presidential?

COTTLE: Look, I think pretty much all the republicans you talk to agree
that somebody is going to have to cobble together a coalition, and a
sizable coalition. Not a coalition on the fringe. They`re going to have
to get a broad spectrum of voters. And I think that the more conservatives
you have in this race appealing to the far right, obviously they`ll split
the vote and leave it to people who have kind of a more mainstream appeal.

SHARPTON: All right. Michelle Cottle and Joan Walsh, thank you both for
your time tonight.

COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Angelina Jolie speaks out about a very personal
battle. Why did she choose to have life-changing surgery?

And Jeb says he`s not running in the shadow of his brother, but now he`s
leaning on George W. for some serious help. We`ll tell you why in
"Conversation Nation," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, legal
analyst Midwin Charles, MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams, and political
strategist Angela Rye. Thank you all for being here tonight.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thanks, Rev.

JIMMY WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: We start tonight with a very personal revelation from one of the
Hollywood`s biggest stars. Angelina Jolie writes in "The New York Times"
that in order to avoid cancer, she has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes
removed, forcing her body into early menopause. Jolie, a carrier of the
so-called breast cancer gene already had a double mastectomy two years ago.
She decided to have her latest round of surgery earlier this month after
blood tests showed signs of what could have been early stage cancer. She
writes, "It`s not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain
prone to cancer. I feel feminine and grounded in the choices I am making
for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say -- mom
died of ovarian cancer."

Midwin, what do you think of her going public in this way?

CHARLES: Well, actually I think it`s an amazing and wonderful thing for
her to do. When I read the article, I was actually quite surprised at the
level of detail and the extent in which she describes what she went through
and why she made this sort of, what many would say are drastic decisions.
I think she has really saved the lives of hundreds of women, just by being
so candid, about what she`s gone through and perhaps this would help other
women to be bold in making the same choice or at least figuring out what
their options are when they get those dreaded decisions from their doctors,
those dreaded news that perhaps they may have in gene as well.

SHARPTON: You know, Angela, it`s a courageous think to go public. She
went not only public but in great detail and really bared a lot of her own
privacy.

RYE: Yes, I think, you know, to that point, I think it is amazing that
someone who can afford care -- right? She`s talked about all of the
different options he have and the fact that hope is not lost. So, I`m
hoping that with this piece, that people will continue to use their health
care plans, of course in the phase, you call it ObamaCare, to see what
other options are available to save lives. Preventative healthcare is one
of the most important things that we have available and accessible to us in
this country, so I think it`s amazing for her personally to do this, but
most importantly I hope that people will related enough to go get
themselves get checked out and pursue the options that they have and not
feel like our hope is lost.

SHARPTON: Jimmy, isn`t that part of what she probably has as a mission to
really kind of nudge the public to take care of themselves and to follow
her example, not necessarily doing what she did? Because she said very
clearly, this will not be something that everyone should do, but do
something, deal with your health?

WILLIAMS: Well, that`s exactly right. And listen, I mean, I went through
something very similar, preventative care, they found something, they went
in and they took it out. And I survived and I`m very lucky. Think about
the world five years ago, pre-ObamaCare. Angela just sort of alluded to
it. And that is, your health insurance company at that point in time would
have been able to throw you off of their ranks had it not been for about --
I`m not politicizing what Angelina Jolie Pitt is done. What I`m simply
saying is, A kudos and mazel tov to her doing it. B, everybody in America
can now go get this because they can get help insurance and C, prior to
that they could not do that. Ted Cruz announced yesterday that he was
running for president, and he will sign into law a repeal of every word of
ObamaCare. Angelina Jolie is a prime example of why we should never in a
billion years elect Ted Cruz or anyone else that hates ObamaCare to be
president of the United States. Sorry to say it, but I mean it.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me move on to another issue. Today another
republican is coming out against Loretta Lynch for attorney general. After
meeting with Lynch, Senator Shelley Moore Capito said her views on the
President`s executive actions are troubling to me, and said she wasn`t sure
Lynch could, quote, "Exercise the independence needed to stand up for the
proper separation of powers." Now, despite an exemplary record as the
U.S. attorney, republicans are still holding this nomination hostage.
She`s waited 136 days, longer than any other recent nominee and she`ll
continue to wait until, quote, "At least mid-April." I`m quoting from
Bloomberg.

Angela, what is the GOP`s end game here?

RYE: Just to stifle progress at all costs even if it means being on the
other side of history, Rev. I cannot believe that Senator Capito would say
that she doesn`t think that Loretta Lynch has the independence, the ability
to formulate basically her own thoughts. This is ridiculous. And she has
to track record that says, the exact opposite. Of course she`s going to
serve at the discretion of the president, just as anyone else in the
cabinet serves. Just like they did under George W. Bush. That`s
ridiculous. And the more important point is, what do you want from your
Attorney General relative to voting rights? Relative to criminal justice
reform. And maybe that`s just it. Maybe they don`t want to confirm
someone else who would be an extension of this great track record of Eric
Holder. Yes, she`s independent, yes, sir she Loretta Lynch, but we want
someone in that space that is going to protect the people and serve as the
people`s lawyer. And that is what they`re demonstrating they do not want.

SHARPTON: But talking about the people`s lawyer, Midwin, you`re a lawyer.
Is there any legal reason, anything in her legal background that a
legitimately questions her qualifications to be attorney general?

CHARLES: None that I can think of. I`ve had the pleasure of watching
Loretta Lynch actually do in argument a few years ago when she was partner
at a law firm and she is exemplary. The amount of work that she`s done
with respect to civil rights, law enforcement prosecuting terrorists, is
incredible. I cannot understand why it is that anyone would have an issue
with respect to her qualifications. And for this one politician to cherry-
picked this one issue and say that that only reason is the reason why she
would do everything in her power to block Loretta Lynch`s nomination is
disturbing to me. We`ve already seen the level of work that the Department
of Justice does. We looked at the Ferguson report that just came out. As
well as a lot of other investigations that they`ve done. The people of
America need a top law enforcement officer.

SHARPTON: But also as you said, terrorism and other areas, and I think,
Jimmy, that if you don`t have any blemish on your record, and if you`ve
shown to be a quality prosecutor, they`re making a mockery out of the whole
process by doing this, Jimmy.

WILLIAMS: Right.

SHARPTON: Of course, whoever a president appoints tends to view certain
things in terms of the interpretation of law that is closer to that
president, but certainly they sometime end up investigating that president.
This is absurd.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think you have two things here. First, vote. They just
need to schedule the vote. And secondly, if they don`t like her, then vote
no. And this is what I think they`re actually the most terrified of
Reverend Al, I think that the republican leadership under Senator
McConnell, the majority leader is actually terrified that he won`t have
enough votes to actually get her confirmed. And if that happens on his
watch, think about the racial and political ramifications of Loretta Lynch
going down as the President`s nomination to be the attorney general of the
United States. First African-American woman and what is the first thing
the republican caucus does? Newly installed after the elections last year?
They vote down a black woman to be A.G. That`s in and of itself a death
knell for anything that the Republican Party will ever try to do to get the
African-American vote --

SHARPTON: Yes.

WILLIAMS: -- that will simply won`t happen.

SHARPTON: If that`s true, that`s the only thing worse than putting her on
hold for it seems like we`re talking about after Easter? This is absurd.

WILLIAMS: That`s correct.

SHARPTON: Everyone stay with me. When we come back, Jeb said he`s his own
man. So, why is he leaning on his father and brother for some serious help
this week?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Midwin, Jimmy and Angela. Let`s move
on to some 2016 politics. GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has tried to
put some daylight between himself and his famous family. But he`s now
leaning on them to raise some serious cash for his probable campaign.
Tomorrow his brother George will make a rare political appearance as a
$100,000 per couple fund-raiser for Jeb in Dallas. And Thursday, Jeb`s
parents, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush will be by their son`s side for
a Houston fund-raiser. Jimmy, he says he wants to be his own man. But can
Jeb get away from his father and brother?

WILLIAMS: No. And honestly listen, I`m not so sure that he should. This
idea, I mean, listen, I don`t want Jeb Bush to become president of the
United States. Let`s just be honest about that. I want Hillary Clinton to
be the president of the United States. But I think if Bush is going to run
away from who we know his father who was president and his brother who was
president, and their legacies, then that`s just A, you`re dissing your own
family, but most importantly, what kind of signal does that sent to the
American people? I don`t think, listen, the American public will judge him
on his own.

SHARPTON: Right.

WILLIAMS: Do I think that there`s lasting effects of George W. Bush? Most
certainly there are. Do I think that there are George H.W. Bush? No in
fact, I think most of the country looks at President Bush number 41 as a
wonderful man. But if he wants to be president, all he has to do is lay
out his vision for where he wants to country to go. If it`s in line with
George W. and George H.W., so be it. If it`s not, then also so be it. But
running away from his family is not a smart thing. Second, let me just say
this more quickly, fund-raising with them? That`s probably very smart.
He`ll raised the hell of a lot more, you have Dick Cheney raising money for
him. Because he is loved on the far right.

SHARPTON: Angela quickly, I`m out of time. Is this good or bad for Jeb
Bush?

RYE: I don`t have Jimmy`s passion. But it`s good for him in terms of his
package and his campaign coffers, it`s bad in terms of creating distance.
He almost have almost an identical national security team, as his dad and
his brother. So there`s not too much distinction there.

SHARPTON: Midwin, I`m out of time. I`ll make up for it later.

CHARLES: It`s Jimmy`s fault.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Jimmy had to -- Midwin, Jimmy and Angela, thank you for your
time tonight.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Reverend.

CHARLES: Thank you, Rev.

RYE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: When we come back, new video of that alleged drunk driving
episode from the Secret Service. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We end tonight with breaking news on that Secret Service and new
questions about whether the agency is up to the job. Today lawmakers
released this video, showing the Secret Service agents driving through a
temporary barrier after a night of drinking. Earlier this month, this
happened. The barrier was set up during an investigation into a suspicious
package left at the White House. The Secret Service director didn`t learn
about the incident for five days. In a hearing today, lawmakers were
furious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: When a chain of command is broken,
there is no command. It`s like a body without a head. And when there is
no command, there is vulnerability. Again, that vulnerability goes to the
safety of the president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Secret Service has to figure this out. The American people
demand it. We must see the President and his family protected, no matter
who the president is, but under this president, there`s been too many
snafus, too the mistakes, and many Americans want to know why, and to
reshape and revamp the Secret Service so it doesn`t happen again if it does
not occur, many Americans will want to know why not.

Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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