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PoliticsNation, Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: March 26, 2015
Guest: E.J. Dionne, Melanie Campbell, Kitty Higgins, Jim Tilmon, Areva
Martin, Kendall Coffey, Toure, Liz Plank, Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for tuning in.

We continue tonight with the breaking news. Why did the Germanwings co-
pilot take his plane down? The horrific news today confirmed by a French
prosecutors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRICE ROBIN, MARSEILLE PROSECUTOR (through translator): The copilot was
the one who was manipulating the flight monitoring system, who managed the
descent of the plane. So, again, all of these actions were completely
voluntary. We hear human breathing within the cabin, and we hear this
breathing up until the final point of impact. Which we assume means that
the copilot was living, alive in the cockpit. He pressed the button for a
reason that we cannot seem to understand. But we`d like to analyze it by
some kind of deliberate action and willingness to destroy this plane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The prosecutor also said recordings showed the pilot had left
the cabin likely for a bathroom break. When he knocked on the door to come
back in, the copilot wouldn`t let him, even when he started banging on the
door. Data uncovered today also suggests the plane`s autopilot was
manually reset to bring it down. It was set to travel to 96 feet, the
lowest setting the system could accepted.

The copilot was 27 years old a Andreas Lubitz who joined Germanwings in
2013. He had 630 hours of flight experience and a private pilot license
from the FAA. Today a German report tweeted, quote "schoolmates of the
copilot who crashed the plane tell German reporters he took a six-month
break from flight training in 2009 due to burnout syndrome." Investigators
say the co-pilot was not known for law enforcement, and no one onboard the
plane had links to terrorism.

Three of the victims were American, a mother and daughter from Virginia,
and a man who lived in Spain. And as family members of the victims arrived
at the crash site, they`re learning the heartbreaking details of their
loved ones` last moments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBIN (through translator): In the data we can listen to, you can only
hear cries right at the end, right before the point of impact. So we can
hear cries, but just at the last minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`ll be covering this story from all sides tonight. Let`s go
first to Claudio Lavanga, who`s at the crash site in France.

Claudio, the victims` families were there today. What`s the scene like?

CLAUDIO LAVANGA, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now it`s about 11:00 in
the evening, so it`s all quieted down. The recovery operation, of course,
has been suspended for the day. But it will recover at the crack of dawn
tomorrow morning.

But this evening though it`s quiet right now, there is nobody around, but
it was a emotional day. Of course, the families visiting here. So they
came here in the afternoon to see the crash site from a distance, from
about two miles away. And they set up a small memorial makeshift memorial
site over there, and they were looking at the mountain range in silence.
Of course, we saw many crying. The police were consoling them. But of
course it was twice as hard for them, because they learned only a few hours
before arriving here, that their relatives were killed deliberately by the
actions of this copilot.

SHARPTON: Have they been able to recover much debris from the site,
Claudio?

LAVANGA: Well, they are still looking for the second black box, which is
the one piece of debris that is of interest for the investigators. Of
course, that is the flight data recorder that will have all the
statistical, technical information about speed, altitude from takeoff to
the point of impact that will be need by investigators to figure out what
exactly happened, even though they have kind of reconstructed the events
from the other black box that was recovered.

On Tuesday, of course, the one that recorded the noises and voices inside
the cockpit. In terms of other debris, they are very, very small because
of the impact with the plane with the mountain, was very high speed. Of
course, the plane did not slow down. It matched the speed of about 500
miles per hour, it literally pulverized.

SHARPTON: Claudio Lavagna, thank you for your reporting tonight.

Now let`s bring in Jim Tilmon, a retired American airlines captain and
Kitty Higgins, former NTSB board member. Thank you both for being here.

JIM TILMON, RETIRED AMERICAN AIRLINES CAPTAIN: My pleasure, Reverend.

KITTY HIGGINS, FORMER NTSB BOARD MEMBER: Happy to be with you.

SHARPTON: SHARPTON: Kitty, what are investigators looking for in the co-
pilot`s background?

HIGGINS: Reverend Al, in any investigation, and particularly in this
investigation, they will look at the pilot`s medical records, they will
look at his personal history, how did he spend the last several hours
before he went on duty. What are his habits? Who does he associate with?
What have his friends and family say about him? What his co-workers say
about him? What information can they find in (INAUDIBLE) he may have
written, any emails he made have sent. It will be a very thorough
investigations particularly now there is a criminal investigation.

But I want to make sure everybody understands any time there is an
accident, all the pilot`s and co-pilot`s information is thoroughly
examined.

SHARPTON: Jim, we`ve learned the autopilot was set to 96 feet, the lowest
it would go. What does that say to you?

TILMON: It says this person was dead set on crashing the plane, making
absolutely certain from there wasn`t going to be any question about it.
Obviously, the airplane cannot fly down to 96 feet in the Alps. So he knew
very well what he was doing, and he was making certain there was not going
to be a miss here. He was going to hit that mountain.

SHARPTON: Kitty, what kind of psychological screening is there for pilots?

HIGGINS: Well, what I know is what American pilots go through.

SHARPTON: OK.

HIGGINS: And I`m told that there`s a test -- this is one pilot that I
spoke to, when you are first considered for a job at an airline, it`s a
very general kind of questionnaire. And that every year you have to have
your medical license renewed. And essentially, it is self-certification.
You answer set of question, you see a doctor, you`re asked if you have any
mental health issues, are you seeing a health provider? If you answer no,
that`s the end of the conversation.

And I think we all know about the stigma associated with mental health
issues in this country and probably elsewhere. So I think it`s not perhaps
a robust as it might be, but we also understand it`s a complicated area. I
will be interested to learn more about what Lufthansa and other air
carriers too. But it`s an area that we obviously, depending on what more
we learn about this particular individual. We need to spend some time
thinking seriously about.

SHARPTON: Jim, what is your knowledge of the psychological examination of
pilots?

TILMON: In my experience that there is an exam that`s given to every pilot
that`s hired. And it`s just a general psychological exam. One of the most
powerful items that we have in that regard is the visualization and the
fact that you are having such a close association with your fellow pilots,
because that`s ongoing. The psychology that is involved in that exam is
done and it`s over, you pass it, you`re good to go. But long after that,
when you`re out on the line, your fellow pilots is at least alert to
whether or not you seem to have any symptoms that are a little bit off the
mark. And if they are, he`s going to make a report to something and
they`ll look into ways to help you.

SHARPTON: Kitty, in the United States, two people are required to be in
the plane`s cockpit at all times in America. In Europe that`s not the
case. And indices, Katy Tur asked Lufthansa`s CEO about their policy this
morning. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATY TUR, MSNBC REPORTER: Are there regulations where a flight attendant
has to be in the cockpit if a pilot has a bathroom break or goes to get a
coffee?

CARSTEN SPOHR, CEO, LUFTHANSA: Well, there are regulations in some parts
of the world, including the one I assume you are coming from, the U.S., but
only a small number of airlines in Europe. As far as I know, no, but the
airline at all for sure none of the big airlines we work with.

TUR: Are you going to do that in the future?

SPOHR: I don`t see any need to change our procedures. This very foreign
things is a single occasion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Kitty, he says he sees no need to change, yet we are hearing
several airlines today say they will. Isn`t this a no-brainer?

HIGGINS: reverend Al, I don`t understand why they didn`t do it, but it
goes to the issue that we really don`t have one level of safety across the
world. We made these changes after 9/11 and instituted the policy of
putting a third person in the cockpit when another person in the cockpit,
when the pilot leaves to essentially create another barrier against any
kind of entry that shouldn`t happen. It is another level of safety, if you
will. That policy has worked for us so far.

We need to reexamine all of these issues in the light of this accident.
But I think, again, if I were running an airline, I would do it very
quickly. Because I think customers will now expect it, and there`s no
reason not to do it, as far as I can see.

SHARPTON: Jim, don`t you think people will now insist on this, no matter
where they are in the world?

TILMON: Well, I don`t know that we have the ability to just insist on an
airline changing their procedures. But I do believe that the public is
going to at least voice some concern over the fact that for some strange
reason these airlines in Europe or anyplace else, don`t do this. It`s such
a basic thing to do. It doesn`t cost them any money to do it. It`s just a
matter of sending the letter out to the flight attendants and to cockpit
crews that this is what we`re going to do now. It is a done deal.

SHARPTON: Now, Kitty, we`re told investigators are at the co-pilot`s
house, what exactly are they looking for?

HIGGINS: Well, I would assume they`re there collecting his personal
effects, medications that he might have been taking. They will look for
his computer, his laptop, his ipad, his cell phone. They will look for any
documents he may have, any correspondence. All of the things that might
tell us more about who this individual was and what was his motivation.

SHARPTON: Jim, this has happened before. How do you stop it? This has
happened before with pilots.

TILMON: Well, that`s a tough one. How do you stop it? Because the thing
is, is that we just don`t know as much as we would love to know, about the
mental state of another person. How do you test that? How do you know
that it`s really something awry? They still smile and say hello, they
still go through the checklist like always, they are on the surface just
fine, wonderful co-pilot, a joy to fly with, and then all of a sudden they
become a murder. I don`t know that we have the tools right now to make an
assessment that`s going to make a big difference there.

SHARPTON: Well, Kitty Higgins and Jim Tilmon, thank you both for your time
tonight.

HIGGINS: Thank you.

TILMON: My pleasure, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, breaking news on a U.S. army national guard soldier and
his cousin, charged with planning to help ISIS.

Plus the GOP playing games with the Loretta Lynch nomination, clergy women
today protesting outside the office of Republican leader Mitch McConnell
who`s holding it up. I`ll talk to one of those women.

Also new questions about that violent arrest of a man in Michigan. His
attorney claims police planted drugs in his car.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the video, the officer is seen throwing the punches,
William Melendez (ph), is seen pulling something from his pocket that looks
like a plastic baggy, with something inside it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And did DEA agents throw sex parties with prostitutes in
Colombia? Disturbing plans from a new government report. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight. A U.S. army National Guard soldier and
his cousin have been arrested for conspiring to support ISIS. The FBI
arrested 22-year-old National Guard specialist Hassan Edmunds at Chicago`s
midway airport. He was attempting to fly to Egypt. His cousin Jonas
Edmonds arrested as his home nearby.

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors said Jonas Edmonds was looking to
quote "coordinate an attack on a U.S. military facility located in northern
Illinois. And that his cousin would provide Jonas with his military
uniforms. Both men were in federal court today. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re watching breaking news. The Senate is in the middle of a
voting marathon that could go past midnight. They`ll vote nonstop on tons
of items until they get to the headliner, the Republican budge jet that
would repeat Obamacare and give tax breaks to the rich.

So far today Republicans killed a plan to keep jobs in America, a plan to
raise the minimum wage, and a plan to make college more affordable. And in
a day`s work, one vote they didn`t find time for -- the confirmation of
Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

Once again today, GOP senator Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to the
floor. It`s the same Mitch McConnell who couldn`t bear it when a
Republican nominee had to wait two whole months back in 2007.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: First they held up the nomination for
weeks before even scheduling a hearing. The judge felt victim to the
politicization of the confirmation process, and it shouldn`t have taken
nearly this long to process the nomination. I`m glad that tonight, almost
two months after he was nominated, the waiting will finally end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He is mad about two months? Lynch has already been waiting more
than four months and counting. Today a group of female clergy members held
a protest outside Senator McConnell`s office, joining hands in prayer and
calling for a vote, and then made it inside where they confronted his chief
of staff about how long it`s taken.

Joining me now is one of the women who took part in that prayer, Melanie
Campbell, and E.J. Dionne from "the Washington Post."

Thank you both for being here.

MELANIE CAMPBELL, PROTESTER: Thank you, Rev.

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Melanie, what inspired you to go to the senator`s office and
then to prayer there.

CAMPBELL: Well, first of all, Easter is right around the corner, but we
are hosting our black women`s roundtable, women in power summit. This was
our day on the capitol Hill.

We thought when we got to our somebody, we would be going to thank both
Republicans and Democrats for Loretta Lynch being confirmed as the first
African-American attorney general. We did not know that we would have to
be going there to ask for her to get a vote that she deserves.

SHARPTON: So the black women`s roundtable thought you would be by this
time going to congratulate. This will be the first African-American woman
attorney general.

CAMPBELL: Yes.

SHARPTON: Then when you met with the chief of staff for the majority
leader McConnell, how did the meeting go?

CAMPBELL: Well, we met for about 20 minutes. It was cordial, of course.
But really all we received were talking points, and a further confirmation
that the reason that we were given is that it was because of the sex
trafficking bill, and that they were waiting on that, and former leader
Reid was the problem.

SHARPTON: Let me go to you, E.J. We just heard Mitch McConnell from 2007.
It almost sounds like he could be speaking about Loretta Lynch.

DIONNE: Well, I hope somebody goes on the floor and reads those words
exactly. And it is really interesting if you take the Mukasey case,
because what the Democrat were upset about with Mukasey, and they didn`t
hold him up nearly as long as Lynch was held up, is because they didn`t
like hi answers on torture. He couldn`t call Waterboarding a form of
torture. So with Mukasey, you are dealing with a really substantive
difference over the nominee himself. And still a democratic Senate
confirmed him, and he wouldn`t have been confirmed if some Democrats hadn`t
voted for him.

In this case you have Republicans saying they have no substantive problem
with Loretta Lynch, she doesn`t have views of her own that they object to.
You know some of them hold against her president Obama`s decision on
immigration. What his attorney general is not going to contradict him on
that, or they are, you know, as the reverend said, or they are hold ago
debate over completely irrelevant bill against her. So it just doesn`t
make any sense. And I think they are hurting themselves. There`s no
reason to hold her hostage. There are plenty other ways to fight the
fights they want to fight.

SHARPTON: We are talking about hurting themselves.

Melanie, you`re a very respected civil rights leader.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: The vote could impact some senators up for reelection in 2016.
Here they are, Republicans from states President Obama won twice, most of
them have not announced whether they will vote for Lynch. Two indicated
they will not. How could this affect their campaigns, Melanie?

CAMPBELL: We won`t forget. We do believe she will be confirmed because it
is the fair thing to do. And the American public understands that. That`s
why the sentiment out there is that no one understands why she is being
held up.

And the other thing, Reverend, is that the fact that you`re saying it`s
about sex trafficking bill. Well, for women of color and African-Americans
more specifically, we are very much impacted by sex trafficking in this
country and globally as black women. And so, you`re going to use something
that the attorney general would deal with. And so that shouldn`t even be
something to be played with, either. That you are actually dealing with
something that critical that`s about our children, our girls being sex
trafficked in this country. That shouldn`t be a political football,
either.

SHARPTON: You, E.J., brought up about how this could hurt them. Let me go
back to what I said to Melanie Campbell. There are states that President
Obama won twice, that you have sitting senators there, was not committed,
some saying they would vote against her. The politics on this does not add
up for them in terms of being a positive for them. Isn`t this risky?

DIONNE: I do think it`s risky. I mean, a lot of those senators are going
to go to their voters in 2016, in essentially democratic states and say,
well, you may not like the Republicans, but I`m independent. I don`t
always vote the party line. If they could break with the party on this
nomination, then what are they going to break with the party on?

This should be an easy one. Going in here, so many Republicans said she`s
qualified. She is has a great record. And obviously African-American
voters in their states are going to are going to remember, but a lot of
other voters are going to say if you`re so independent, why couldn`t you
even vote for Lynch?

SHARPTON: You know, Melanie, GOP senator Lindsey Graham now says, as you
have earlier in this program, he thinks that Lynch will be confirmed. But
check out this headline. A top Democrat is worried the Senate will reject
Loretta Lynch. I mean, is that a possibility? Could this qualified woman
be rejected?

CAMPBELL: Well, the more this continues and gets delayed, we`ve been
around -- I know I`ve been around long enough to know things can go wrong,
we are saying they could have voted for her today. Surely what we want to
do is we`ll be in the district offices over the Easter break and be there
on April 13th. And they should may that the first order of business, to
take care of this.

SHARPTON: Now, the vote couldn`t be tighter, E.J., than it is now. The
only Democrat to say he`s undecided it Bob Menendez, who is on
investigation by the agency that Lynch would lead. Could some sort of
political retribution hold things up?

DIONNE: You know, I can imagine Senator Menendez will cast -- could cast a
negative vote. I mean, I think if they actually allow a vote on this, for
the reasons we just said, I think it`s highly unlikely that all the
Republicans are going to vote for reject her. And Lindsey Graham`s
statement I think is significant. And so, I think if they get the vote, I
think she makes it, you know. And Senator Menendez is under a lot of
pressure now. And I don`t know what he`s going to do.

SHARPTON: All right, from the Black Women`s Roundtable by way of
(INAUDIBLE) Melanie Campbell, and E.J. Dionne, thanks for your time
tonight.

CAMPBELL: Thank you, Rev. Thank you.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, new questions about the violent arrest of a man in
Michigan caught on tape. Did police plant drugs in his car? That`s what
his lawyer claims.

Plus, they got you. A GOP lawmakers gets a big surprise when she goes
looking for Obamacare horror stories online.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: You can always count on your friends to tell you the truth.
It`s a lesson one GOP congresswoman learned the hard way this week. Cathy
McMorris Rodgers has been railing against the Affordable Care Act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: Despite the promises five
years later, this legislation has not delivered what was promised. People
are different, but the stories are repeated all across the country.
ObamaCare has made lives worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And to prove just how many lives had been ruined by ObamaCare,
she turned to her Facebook friends for help, asking people to share their
horror stories. The posts came flooding in, just one small problem -- the
horror stories weren`t so horrible. Wesley said -- I finally have health
insurance after losing it in 2008. Thanks ObamaCare.

Ron wrote, "I have a preexisting condition. Thank you, Mr. President, for
allowing me to obtain my health care coverage." And Anita said, "My son
was allowed to remain on my policy after he turned 18. Such a relief."
These are just a few of the tens of millions of people who have benefited
from the Affordable Care Act in the last five years. It looked like
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers could use some new Facebook friends. Nice
try, but they gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time now for "The Justice Files." With me tonight is legal
analyst Areva Martin and former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey. Thank you
both for being here.

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Hey, thanks, Reverend.

AREVA MARTIN, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: We start with that violent traffic stop in Michigan, and new
accusations that police planted evidence. Police dash-cam video shows the
arrest. There is no audio, but police say Floyd Dent threatened them and
didn`t follow their instructions to show his hands. You can see an officer
dragged Dent out of the car, pinned him to the ground and put him in a
chokehold. He then punches Dent in the head 16 times. And another officer
tasers him three times. Police say they found a small bag of crack cocaine
under the passenger seat, but Dent claims the drug evidence was planted.
Here`s part of a report from NBC`s Detroit affiliate WDIB.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In the video, the officer seen throwing the punches
William Melendez is seen pulling something from his pocket that looks like
a plastic baggy with something inside it. Melendez testified in court,
police found a baggy of crack cocaine under the passenger seat of Dent`s
car. Officer Melendez was known by citizens in Detroit as Robo Cop. He
was fired by the Detroit Police Department for falsifying police reports.
He was charged for planting evidence in 2003 in a federal court case, a
jury found him not guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Police are not commenting on the latest video. After reviewing
the tape, a judges dropped the charges of assault and resisting arrest, but
then he`s due in court next week on the drug charges. Officer Melendez has
been put on desk duty and the police chief says the incident is under
investigation. Kendall, how are prosecutors and police looking at this
case right now?

COFFEY: Well, I think they`re -- to some extent looking at the drug
possession case. But I think they actually are also looking at the
potential cases against the officers. Because it appears that the officers
themselves based on some of what we have seen including the video may have
put false statements in their police report, and, of course, there is
plenty of evidence here of excessive force, so while certainly appropriate
for Mr. Dent to have a lawyer, considering civil lawsuits, damages, matters
that he`s entitled to consider, but if I were either of those officers, I
would sure get myself a lawyer.

SHARPTON: Areva, the officers are being questioned about false statements,
the officer that`s at the center of this fired from Detroit being accused
of that, a lot of protests, Reverend Charles Williams and others. I mean,
how do you read there?

MARTIN: Well, when I first saw this, Reverend, I had a flashback to Rodney
King. I saw all these officers attacking this unarmed African-American
man. At one point I think I counted six officers on the scene, and many
throwing punches and using an incredible amount of force for what appeared
to be just a routine traffic stop.

SHARPTON: And this man Dent had no criminal record I`m told.

MARTIN: No criminal record, no weapon on him at the time of the stop, and
then I always have heard that his lawyer claims that although we haven`t
seen it on the tape yet, but that there`s some tape that will show officers
planting drugs in the car that will corroborate the statement that has been
made by the man that`s been beaten by the police, so given the history of
this officer, given the charges that have been made, you know, these are
some pretty serious allegations that I think the courts as well as the
district attorney in this county is going to take very seriously.

SHARPTON: And Charles, of the whole issue here, Kendall, is that when you
see the condition of the man handcuffed and the beating and chokehold, and
taser, given for a traffic stop, it just doesn`t -- it doesn`t balance out.
It doesn`t add up.

COFFEY: Oh, it`s shocking. Again, for driving with a suspended license.
But you know, Reverend, the only reason that this is coming to light is
because it was captured on video. Doesn`t it make us all wonder how many
times does something like this happen and no one is going to believe the
person who may have been arrested and beaten because there was no evidence
of it. This time it was captured on a police video camera, and tells you
why reformed minded police departments are increasingly advocating video
cameras, sometimes body cameras. Because the honest cops want it done
right.

SHARPTON: Now to the UVA student whose arrest is making national
headlines. Martese Johnson is the 20-year-old who was arrested by State
Alcohol regulators last week, resulting in a head injury requiring ten
stitches. Today he made his first court appearance on charges of public
intoxication and obstruction of justice. He didn`t enter a plea, because
prosecutors asked for more time to continue their investigation. Now, this
photo showing Martese with his feet chained together after his arrest, is
getting a lot of attention.

Areva, chaining his feet during an arrest, is that standard in this type of
situation?

MARTIN: Not at all, Reverend Al, I think the chained on his feet also go
to the issue that we`ve been watching throughout this entire ordeal, which
is the level of force that was used against this young man, who was simply
trying to enter this established and we now know that in Virginia, you
know, he didn`t have to be 21 to even get into this club, and yet all of
this happened because of the alleged wrong identification or he gave the
wrong zip code that didn`t match that which was on his license, and somehow
that ends up on the ground facedown, face bloodied and now in chains. So,
I think these, you know, these police have a lot of explaining to do, and
hopefully the prosecuting attorney is going to take into consideration, you
know, at some issue of accountability. And clearly the need to train on
de-escalating these situations where you don`t have individuals with guns,
you don`t have individuals committing crimes. The level of force is just
shocking.

SHARPTON: Kendall, do you think these charges will be dropped against in
young man Martese?

COFFEY: In a New York minute, Reverend. I don`t think these charges are
going anywhere, and I think this is going to be more about these two
officers, because they`re in a department, alcoholic beverage agents where
there are going to be a lot of questions and there already are serious
questions about training. We have to be able to defuse situations without
using the most extreme force possible, much less lethal force. That
clearly didn`t happen here. It`s a recurring issue, you brought it out
many times in the show and I think people are starting to listen.

SHARPTON: Areva Martin and Kendall Coffey, thank you both for your time
tonight.

MARTIN: Thanks, Reverend.

COFFEY: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, another overseas prostitution scandal rocks a
government agency. Why the D.E.A. is under scrutiny tonight. And could it
be true? Are republicans actually with democrats on Capitol Hill working
together? "Conversation Nation" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight HuffPost
Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, MSNBC`s Toure, and Mic.com`s Liz
Plank. Thank you all for being here this evening.

TOURE: Thanks, Rev.

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

SHARPTON: We start with developing news tonight. A new Justice Department
report says DEA agents had sex parties with prostitutes in Colombia over a
period of several years. The report says is the sex parties were funded by
local drug car tells, and that the agents` laptops, Blackberry devices, and
other government-issued equipment were present at the parties. The agents
involved reportedly only received suspensions of two to ten days. The news
comes three years after a similar scandal rocked the Secret Service, when
agents partied with prostitutes at a hotel in Colombia two days before
President Obama was due to arrive there. Toure, what is wrong with these
agencies that are supposed to be protecting us?

TOURE, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": I think part of the problem is that the
car tells you see have more money than even the local government. So, this
is how they`re able to constantly corrupt the local police force and this
is just them corrupting our police force supposed to be taking care of us.

SHARPTON: But you have to be corruptible to be corrupted.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes. That`s a good point.

TOURE: I mean, look, almost any man is temptable.

LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: Oh, come on.

TOURE: But I mean, this is how they do it. That they get to you through
sin, they get to you through fear, they get to you any way they want, and
that`s how they maintain control.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I`m not buying that.

PLANK: So we shouldn`t be holding these agents responsible for what they
did on the job?

TOURE: They absolutely should be held responsible. But I mean, the point
of the story is how the D.E.A. is being corrupted by the cartels. The
cartels have so much money, they`ll going to find a way, they`ll find out
where your mother lives --

SHARPTON: Caroline, Toure says, the story is, the cartel and the money and
the ability to corrupt, you don`t seem to buy it.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I`m not buying it. I didn`t buy this, you know, poor
D.E.A., poor corruptible D.E.A. What I think this says though is I think
this shows how the D.E.A. takes the war on drugs so seriously, that they`re
partying with the cartels. That they`re receiving a two day suspension. I
think I got more than that when I swore in -- I mean, it`s -- the
consequences, their actions is just --

SHARPTON: But Liz, where is the accountability? The D.E.A., the Secret
Service? Where is the accountability?

PLANK: Everywhere, I mean, to your point, if anyone did anything that was
similar to this on the job, they would be fired. And the fact that these
are the people who are supposed to protect us, we want to have trust in
those agencies.

SHARPTON: They have laptops, Blackberries.

PLANK: Exactly. And they were being held by the cartels as well, that`s
the crazy thing.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes. But Toure says sin is too tempting.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: I`m supposed to be the menace --

TOURE: You know, I supposed to be the menace problem, so.

SHARPTON: Next up, pigs aren`t flying and hell hasn`t frozen over. But
the House of Representatives did just pass a bipartisan big bill. By
overwhelming bipartisan margins. The House passed a bill to fix the floor
in the Medicare funding and extend health care for low income children,
Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner were all smiles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: What a way to celebrate a
birthday than with a wish coming true that we could work together to get
the job done for the American people.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I have a pretty sunny
personality. I was born with a glass half full, you know, thank God I`m an
optimist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s an optimist? And President Obama could hardly believe it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Today the House of Representatives
passed a bill.

No. No. You think I`m joking. I`m not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Caroline, is this a sign of happy bipartisan times to come? Or
is this the exception to the rule?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: All right. Well, first of all, thank goodness at
least it shows that Congress can work, so congratulations, guys. Well
done. And piece of legislation to get through. However, let`s not forget
what was actually holding this up in the first place, which was anti-
abortion rhetoric that he insisted on attaching that was still something
that a lot of Boehner`s core base were unhappy that he relented on in the
first place with this. So, it was so obviously comes off the back of the
failed sex trafficking bill and that`s also held up by anti-abortion
language. So I think cautious optimism. It shows that they can get things
done when they have to not appease their --

SHARPTON: Toure, hope or cautious optimism?

TOURE: I`m really neither, I mean, agree with most of what you said, but
you saw 33 members of Boehner`s caucus not agreeing with this. So what
Boehner has to do is get some democrats on his team to get anything passed.
That doesn`t lead me to think that we`re going to get much more done.

SHARPTON: Liz?

PLANK: Well, I mean, they could have almost passed the bill actually just
with the republicans in the house, so that gives me hope that they are able
to agree on things. And to your point, I think it`s important to talk
about the anti-abortion rhetoric that was included in the bill. You know,
it`s a priority of the Republican Party to include this kind of language in
things that have nothing to do with abortion. So, you know what? That`s
what compromise is, that`s how you achieve bipartisanship. I`m glad that
the democrats and the republicans were able to reach that compromise, but
still their true colors --

SHARPTON: Could we see other areas, Caroline? Criminal justice? We`re
hearing some republicans starting to talk about criminal justice. Can we
see something in that area that may get enough of them together?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: I really, I wish I could be the optimistic John
Boehner says he is, but I`m just not. I mean, you know, we have seen it
with immigration, with DHS, I mean, I just don`t think a lot of the key
areas, they don`t see it as a way of swaying voters. I mean, you know,
quite frankly they don`t see compromise as something that`s going to win
them elections or win them points --

SHARPTON: Everyone stay with me.

Sorry to catch up. But when we come back, it`s the new D.C. comics. Has
Washington found its funny bone? We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Caroline, Toure and Liz. Finally
tonight, politicians are clamoring to show how funny they are. Check out
this bipartisan promo for a Correspondents` Association Dinner, featuring
the House leaders reading mean tweets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nancy Pelosi looks like a tub of orange sherbet right
now on C Span.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Speaker Boehner looks like an angry oompa-loompa. I
assume he bribes his constituents with promises of chocolate and
gobstoppers, whatever the hell that means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And when I say Mitt Romney, do you think funny? Maybe not
usually, but it was pretty good on "The Tonight Show" last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Jimmy`s probably going to ask me why I decided not to
run for president. What should I say?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just tell him you enjoy the freedom, you get to sit back
and relax, golf all the time, go on vacation whenever you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Aka be president.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ha ha ha. Good one, me.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, you know me, I love to love. Ha, ha ha ha.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Toure, has Mitt found a new career path now that he`s not
running for president again?

TOURE: Cracking you up, man. Wow.

SHARPTON: Yes. Breaking my side.

TOURE: No, not really. And I thought the guy really wanted to change
America. You can change America outside of politics. I expected his post-
political life to be more a little more substantive but after you doing
stuff like that. You can do stuff like that but after you fight Evander
Holyfield, you can`t be taken seriously. I don`t know what this guy is
doing.

SHARPTON: Liz?

PLANK: I like to see politicians not taking themselves too seriously.

SHARPTON: Right.

PLANK: And I think Obama has really been good at that, right? The self-
deprecating, thanks Obama. You know, the best video he did recently was a
perfect example of that. He has been heavily criticized, you know, from
people saying he`s a Muslim to wanting his birth certificate. And I think
his way of handling it was really good. And other politicians are doing
the same thing.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes.

SHARPTON: Caroline?

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Well, you know, we shouldn`t be that surprised that
Mitt Romney is funny, because his policies are usually pretty laughable.

PLANK: Oh, zinger.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Thank you. Thank you. I`m here all night. I mean,
seriously, I mean, to Liz`s point, it`s nice when we see our politicians be
a little bit human particularly --

SHARPTON: And not take yourself too seriously.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Exactly. Yes.

SHARPTON: Caroline, Toure, Liz. Thank you all for your time tonight. Be
sure to catch Toure on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3 p.m. right here on MSNBC.

We`ll be right back with a big report on that racist frat video. Stay with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight. Moving forward from the racist chant seen
nationwide. Tomorrow, the University of Oklahoma officials will announce
findings from their investigation and we could hear their reaction to Levi
Pettit, one of the former SAE frat members who led the chant, and who has
now apologized.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVI PETTIT, FORMER SAE MEMBER CAUGHT ON TAPE: Let me start by saying I`m
sorry, deeply sorry. I`m so sorry for all the pain that I`ve caused. I
want you all to know that directly from me. Although I don`t deserve it, I
want to ask for your forgiveness. There are no excuses for my behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He apologized for his role in the chant, and he went further,
saying he should have stopped others from chanting, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETTIT: I`m also upset and embarrassed that I failed to stand up as a
leader and stop this chant. I now have a clear understanding of what lives
behind the words. From this point forward, I will be the leader that I
should have been on that bus and stand up against racism in any form.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The young man owned up to its fault and it`s a good start, but
it`s only a start. This video exposed a deeper issue about race in
America, and sparked questions about fraternities on campus and how
colleges govern them. Again tomorrow the University of Oklahoma will
announce the results of its investigation, but let`s see what they will do.
Individual racism is insulting, but institutional racism is insidious. We
need real institutional change, and we will see if that begins with the
report tomorrow.

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


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