PoliticsNation, Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 8, 2015
Guest: Marlin Kimpson, Marq Claxton, Eric Guster, Faith Jenkins, Eric
Levenson, Seema Iyer, Abby Huntsman, Jimmy Williams, Caroline Modarressy-
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thank you and it`s started all great. And
thanks to you for tuning in.
We start with breaking news, potential new video in the deadly of South
Carolina police shooting. Authorities say dash cam video of the traffic
stop before the shooting exists and could be released tomorrow. Officials
also saying today, Officer Michael Slager has been fired after being
charged with murder, the murder of Walter Scott. The incident caught on
cell phone video showing Mr. Scott running away when the officer fired
eight shots. That video triggering protests today. We have to warn that
this video is graphic.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
SHARPTON: The officer told dispatchers, Walter Scott grabbed his taser.
As the video continues, the officer returns to the spot where the men were
standing and picks something up. The officer then returns and drops an
object near Scott`s body. It`s not clear whether it`s the taser. I
commend the city of North Charleston for acting swiftly to deliver justice
in this case. The video came out and they acted on it. But today, Walter
Scott`s father was asked what would have happened without the video?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER SCOTT, SR., FATHER OF WALTER SCOTT: It would have never come to
light. They would have swept it under the rug like many others. And I
thank God that it did that this young man, whoever it was, had the video.
When I saw it, I fell to my feet and it just -- my heart was broken. And I
said, oh, no, it can`t be. And when I saw it, I just couldn`t take it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This morning, the mayor and police chief of North Charleston
visited the Scott family. The mayor says the police force has placed an
order for body cameras.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KEITH SUMMEY, NORTH CHARLESTON: Thanks to Senator Marlin Kimpson and
also one of the members of the state legislature, we received a grant to
purchase 101 body cameras.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As I said, the city should be commended for its swift action and
there are a lot of leaders stepping up in the face of this tragedy. But we
cannot rely on citizens with cameras to make sure justice is served. We
still have a long way to go to ensure every American is treated equally in
the eyes of law enforcement.
Joining me now is South Carolina State Senator Marlin Kimpson who you just
heard the Mayor mentioned and who`s behind a bill for mandatory police body
cameras in South Carolina. MSNBC National Correspondent Joy Reid who spoke
with the members of Walter Scott`s family today. And Marq Claxton, former
New York police officers and director of Black Law Enforcement Alliance.
Thank you all for being here.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Rev.
MARQ CLAXTON, FRM. NYPD OFFICER: Thank you.
STATE SEN. MARLIN KIMPSON (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: Senator Kimpson, I think the city has done a good job
responding. What`s your reaction and the community`s reaction?
KIMPSON: Well, so far, the city has done a good job in responding but this
criminal all to be swiftly brought to justice. And the family deserves a
speedy trial where he is prosecuted and sentenced for murder.
As you mentioned earlier, we back in last year, last May, recognized that
there was a growing need for the continue interaction with law enforcement
and community members. And that is why we offered the proviso which
resulted in funding 115 body cameras. And so our work is not --
SHARPTON: That this was last May, this was last May, Senator, way before
you had any inkling of this incident?
KIMPSON: That`s right. But if you look at last May, the climate was one
of distrust of law enforcement in this community. Now, the city correctly
recognized that and that`s why they were so supportive of this anti-crime
initiative. The anti-crime initiative funded the body cameras, which are
currently being shipped to North Charleston and a more importantly, a
number of community-based programs that will restore the trust and foster
better relationship with the community members and law enforcement here on
the ground in North Charleston.
SHARPTON: Now, Senator Kimpson, late last year, you sponsored a bill
requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.
SHARPTON: The senate bill has not been voted on after three subcommittee
meetings. Do you have confidence that the bill will gain momentum now?
KIMPSON: .I do. And in fact, Reverend Al, this morning I got a very
significant co-sponsor, Senator Larry Grooms of Berkeley County, who`s the
chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. I got a co-sponsor
authorization from the minority leader in the Senate, Senator Nikki
Setzler. And I have called -- we have also the letter released this
morning. A joint bipartisan letter calling on the chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, Senator Martin to pull this bill out of the
subcommittee, get it to the full committee so that this bill can be debated
on the Senate floor beginning next Thursday.
SHARPTON: Joy Reid, you are there on the scene. You`ve talked with the
two members of the family, I believe. And what are the people in the
community saying, particularly the part in the tape where the officer puts
something on the ground? What are people saying about that?
REID: Yes. Well, Rev, you know, I watched the press conference that you
showed a small clip of after interviewing the brother, the older and
younger brother of Mr. Scott and being in the family home, we watched it
from there. And I think you can barely describe the mood as disbelief.
You showed one of the positive portion of that press conference, where
Senator Kimpson was rightly praised for this body camera initiative.
But the other thing that happened in that press conference it became very
quickly chaotic because there were a couple of very important questions
that neither the Mayor nor the police chief seems willing to answer. One
of the questions, was do the police does the department know what the
object was that the officer appeared to pick up as you described earlier,
Rev, and then what it was that was dropped near the body of Walter Scott?
The police chief rather than answering that question launched into a kind a
non-sequitur about the fact that the police chief wasn`t required to turn
the investigation over to the state police agency but that they had. At
that point, the rumor erupted in protest. And people were demanding --
they were dozens and dozens of people, community members that were in the
press conference that wanted an answer to that question. At that point,
SHARPTON: But we need to know what that was. Clearly, you can`t just walk
past that. That`s very important.
REID: Exactly. And the police chief seemed not either willing or able to
answer very basic things about the investigation at one presume they did.
I think one of the other aspects when I came outside here, where I was here
at the courthouse and just talking to some of the people who were inside
protesting inside of that press conference. They want to know what are the
procedures when you have a suspect who`s clearly injured, someone who`s
been shot multiple times. Isn`t standard procedure for an officer to then
ask that person or demand that person put their hands behind their backs,
something that this man clearly couldn`t do.
They also wanted to know whether standard procedures were followed in terms
of rendering aid. There`s a discrepancy as to whether the second officer
actually attempted to render aid or perform CPR. And that`s not clear in
the video, there`s not enough video to the end to know whether that
happened. That wasn`t answered in the press conference and, again, at a
certain point, the police chief just stopped talking. And the Mayor took
over and they just kept throwing it to the state agencies. There are a lot
of un-answered questions even though people are relieved that at least they
have been charges.
SHARPTON: Now, Marq Claxton, it`s good that we see charges but we do need
to know what is the procedures and policies going forward and we do need a
law, as Senator Kimpson is raising. How do you, as an experienced police
officer, how do you think that it has been handled from a police point of
CLAXTON: Overall, it`s been handled quite well. But as the investigation
continues and there will be a continued investigation into all of the
circumstances and the facts involved in this case, it becomes more
apparent. It`s kind of a double-edged sword. One, we`ve always want to
have the separation and independent agency investigating these types of
incidents which, in this case, the State Law Enforcement Division is
investigating this incident separated from North Charleston Police
But the downfall of that is that you tend to lose information and access to
information and clear communication of information because you have one
agency trying to avoid compromising integrity of the investigation for the
other agency. But I think overall the investigation has been one quick and
responsive and acted accordingly and it`s been a well-coordinated effort
between, you know, city government and the solicitor office to prosecutors
office. And there has been some communication, there has been some very
public open expressions by the police agencies, by the Mayor and there`s
been contact with the family.
So this is an opportunity to use this North Charleston incident as really a
gauge of how to examine and how to proceed with these types of cases in
other areas and in other departments. There are things that we`re going to
take away and learn from that in positive and there are things that need to
be improve to correct it and that`s all part of that greater reform
movement in criminal justice.
SHARPTON: Joy, you spoke to Walter Scott`s brother Anthony who told you
about the police confiscating his camera when he took photos of the scene.
Listen to this.
ANTHONY WALTER, BROTHER OF WALTER SCOTT: I went down there and tried to
get some photos and they took my camera.
REID: Who took your camera?
WALTER: The north Charleston Police Department.
REID: Have you gotten your camera back?
WALTER: I have.
REID: Are there still photos on it?
WALTER: Yes, there is. And initial stuff and the tape.
REID: When they took your phone, why did the officers say? Why did they
say they were taking your phone?
WALTER: Because I took the pictures.
REID: Did they think you didn`t have a write to take pictures?
WALTER: That`s what they told me.
SHARPTON: That`s a striking claim, Joy. I mean, what`s your take on that?
REID: Yes, absolutely. So Anthony Scott and Rodney Scott arrived
separately to the crime scene on the day that their -- the middle child,
their brother was shot. Both of those two gentlemen described not being
treated with compassion by the North Charleston Police. They described
essentially being told to get back behind the tape, they were not given
information. When Anthony Scott, who you just heard speaking identified
himself as the brother and began taking pictures from behind the police
tape, he says that his phone was taken from him. He was only able to
retrieve it later.
And the family has been very clear, Rev, that yes, you can praise the
department for ultimately cashiering this police officer when the video
came out. But for four days before the video came out, everyone already
knew that this man had been shot in the back, that he had been shot at
least five up to eight times and yet the Police Department very pro-
actively came out and essentially exonerated the officer in advance of an
investigation. They described the narrative that made Walter Scott be the
aggressor, they claimed that he was attempting to take the officer`s taser
and they described essentially the officer`s story as the official story
for four days.
And what both of the Scott brothers told me, Rev, is that were it not for
the videotape, they were not confident that this investigation would have
resulted in an arrest. They are thankful to the person who bravely took
that video because they are not confident that there would have been what
they believe is justice without it.
SHARPTON: Well, there was an investigation and I was called on this
Saturday night and it was a total different story until the video came out.
What the brothers are saying is absolutely correspondents with my
experience with this but -- Joy, you talked to Walter Scott`s brother,
Rodney, who kind a grew emotional talking about the things that Walter
wanted to do with his children. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODNEY WALTER, BROTHER OF WALTER SCOTT: All the things that my brother had
planned to do and wanted to do with his kids because he is definitely a
family man. I mean, we talk about him buying this big van, you know, and
taking his kids to Disney World. And now he won`t be able to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joy, as you can see the pain this family`s going through.
REID: You know, absolutely, Rev. You know as a pastor, you know, you have
enough people to know that you have a family home that`s teaming with
relatives with aunts and uncles and children and the house is full and in
talking with both the brother and mom -- remember, this was the middle
child. Walter was the big brother to Rodney and the little brother to
Anthony. And both of them had their own especially unique bond with him.
Rodney talked about them having a really close bond. That they bathed in
the tub together as kids. That one wash the dishes the other dry the
They were especially close and he said that he was extremely emotional at
that scene. They are really broken hearted. So while there is some relief
for this family, Rev, what you really felt in that home was a great deal of
pain. The mom is a very religious woman. She`s a Christian woman. She
was really falling back on her faith but you really did feel from each of
those family members, they`re devastated. And they don`t believe that they
have achieved victory with this arrest. They want to see a conviction.
And as we all know, that is very difficult to achieve when you`re talking
about a law enforcement officer.
KIMPSON: Revered Al, if I might -- if I might add, that our job as a
legislator and my job in Senate district 42 are to ensure that justice is
served. Immediately after the shooting, I called the chief of Slager and
implored him to render a rapid conclusion to this investigation. That does
not mean that the citizens don`t have a right to ask questions about the
investigation. They have that right. They deserve answers. And we will
be working on next Tuesday to ensure that the current law which allows
officers to secure the crime scene and allow citizens to participate.
General -- Senator Gerald Malloy has assured that he is going to offer a
bill to encourage citizen participation so that the citizens, in large part
who will response, well, the gentlemen who is responsible for videotaping
this incident can be encouraged to tape and preserve evidence to assist
with the investigation.
So from that perspective, Mr. Scott`s legacy will live through our body
camera legislation and some of the other efforts that my colleagues intend
to introduce but that does not exculpate this police department. We got
some real tough questions to ask and we deserve answers to those questions.
But the investigation is ongoing and I praise the family for exhibiting
great courage and instead of pointing fingers at the initial outset, they
wanted it the facts to unravel and investigation to continue.
Well, I think that they have shown -- the family shown real dignity and,
again, the investigation go forward. Marq, I`m out of time. But quickly,
do you think that is t is likely/unlikely that we can get a conviction and
an arrest and charge does not mean there`s a conviction. Will there be a
conviction in your guesstimate?
CLAXTON: That`s so important. I`m afraid to even guesstimate at this
point. There`s been cases where the videos have been clear and convincing
and we still don`t get the verdict that appears to be justice. So I`m
afraid to guesstimate but I will tell you this, that so many eyes are on
this given the national climate and it`s important for us to pay attention
to every aspect of what is going on in North Charleston.
SHARPTON: All right. We`ll have to leave it there. Senator Marlin
Kimpson, Joy Reid and Marq Claxton, thank you for your time tonight.
CLAXTON: Thank you, Rev.
REID: Thank you, Rev.
KIMPSON: Thank you, Revered All.
SHARPTON: And Joy Reid`s full interview with Walter Scott`s brothers will
air exclusively tonight in full on "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" at 8:00 p.m.
Eastern here on MSNBC.
We`ll be right back with the legal side of this case.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, the legal questions surrounding the deadly
shooting of an unarmed man. What`s the standard that is needed to meet a
conviction? That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re staying on top of breaking news. A South Carolina police
officer charged with murder and fired from the force. Officer Michael
Slager`s original lawyer quitting after the video surfaced, showing the
officer firing at 50-year-old Walter Scott ran away. Their lawyer telling
"The Daily Beast," quote, "All I can say is that the same day of the
discovery of the video that was disclosed publicly, I withdrew as counsel
immediately." Officer Slager now has a new lawyer and for now he was stay
in jail, a judge denied his bond late last night. In addition to the
criminal case, Walter Scott`s family plans to file a civil lawsuit.
Joining me now --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be filing a civil lawsuit in this matter. And
we will continue to work and make sure that justice is served. And, if
possible, prevent this from happening to somebody else because things like
this do not have to happen and they shouldn`t happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now to talk about how this case could play out in the
legal system, a Criminal Defense Attorney Eric Guster and former prosecutor
and host of "Judge Faith," Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for being here.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR AND HOST OF JUDGE FAITH: Thanks, Rev.
ERIC GUSTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Faith, the video changed this case.
SHARPTON: And they have made the more video that we haven`t seen. How
will it be used going forward?
JENKINS: As a prosecutor and as a former prosecutor here in New York, I
can tell you, you don`t get better evidence of a crime than this video.
Because you see -- what you see here on this tape, I submit that there are
three crimes you are witnessing. You`re witnessing what appears to be a
cold-blooded execution of a man, this was not a justify shooting, you`re
witnessing -- what I believe is abstraction of justice and tampering with
So when you have something like this on tape, that`s why you see, the law
enforcement they received this tape on Monday, less than 24 hours later,
this police officer was charged with murder because the tape speaks for
SHARPTON: Now, the video, Eric, shows the officer dropped something near
Eric`s body but it`s not clear what this object is.
GUSTER: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: And the video is very graphic and compelling but we`ve had video
before. How do you try to verify what this object is and how will this
play a part in the ongoing legal process?
GUSTER: That`s going to play a tremendous part because this officer
appears to obviously be dealing with evidence and tampering with evidence.
Because when a man is shot in the back eight times and an officer moves
something by his body, it`s clear that he`s trying to create a narrative
that he wrote in the police report, which is totally different than what
happened out there. And luckily for the family that they saw this video,
this video became public and thank God that we saw this because otherwise
he would have been dead and nothing happened.
SHARPTON: Eight shots. Four hit him. Here`s where the Supreme Court
stands on when it`s OK for a police to use lethal force, Faith. It comes
from the case of Tennessee versus Garner. Quote, "the officer has probable
cause to believe that the suspect pose as significant threat of death or
serious physical injury to the officer or others." From what we know so
far, do you see that in this case and how that could be any way shaped or
form argued in this case?
JENKINS: I absolutely don`t see it. First of all, keep in mind the
context of -- this man was stopped for a broken taillight.
JENKINS: OK. That`s the reason he was stopped.
GUSTER: Right. The classic police narrative.
JENKINS: And even if -- even if because I think that when he comes up with
the defense, because we obviously know now that he lied in his police
report, so the new defense that he is going to come up with, the tape
doesn`t show everything, right? Something happened prior to when this
person started recording. So there`s more to this story. But the fact is,
when you`re talking about and analyzing when excessive force or to use a
force when it`s used by a police officer, it`s in the moment that he has to
use that force and in this moment, on this tape, you have a man running
away. He`s not even sprinting, he doesn`t look like -- best shape of life.
GUSTER: He`s jogging.
JENKINS: Clearly, other means could have been used to detain Mr. Scott
other than shooting him in the back four times.
SHARPTON: Slager`s personnel file, Eric, reveals a 2013 complaint against
him for using his taser and slamming a man into the ground. He was
exonerated in that case. Will that accusation become a factor now?
GUSTER: It will become a factor because you can, in trial, you can bring
out prior bad acts of someone, on the civil side as well as criminal side
when you`re dealing with this type of case. And those prior bad acts,
although he was exonerated, you can bring in witnesses, you can garner
testimony to show his propensity for this type of violence because this
tape shows everything, just like Faith just said, this tape is clear,
convincing and there is no other option except for a conviction in this
SHARPTON: You know, Faith, the officer is charged with murder but that`s
just the first step here. Analysts from an analysis -- from analyst to the
state newspaper in South Carolina found, quote, "police in South Carolina
have fired their weapons at 209 suspects in the past five years but none
had been convicted. There are, of course, different standards in police
shootings than for civilian shootings. How could that factor into this
JERKINS: What bothers me and I think, what should be the concern for
everyone here, is when you look at this police officer`s report, it looks
like every other police officer`s report, let`s when you`re talking about
justifying a shooting except now we have videotape that contradicts that.
There`s almost a script.
JERKINS: Police officers know what to say, right. I have to -- I know
that this shooting needs to be justified so what am I going to say? He was
going after my weapon. I was in fear for my life. He was reaching for my
gun. It`s the standard things over and over again, Rev. And unless we
have a tape -- why is it that the standard is, unless there is a tape to
disapprove that, unless there is a tape to say that is a lie, these
officers get away with it.
SHARPTON: Which is why they needs to be national and for standards that we
cannot depend on state by state, incidents by incidents, tape by tape. We
need to move forward.
Eric Guster and Faith Jenkins, thank you both for your time this evening.
And we`re following breaking news out of Boston. The Boston bomber might
face the death penalty after being found guilty on all counts. We`re live
in Boston, next.
SHARPTON: Breaking news out of Boston tonight, the Boston marathon bomber
could face the death penalty after a jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on
all 30 counts today. Tsarnaev faced 30 different charges in connection
with the coordinated attack that killed three people at the 2013 Boston
marathon and an officer at M.I.T. after the verdict. Survivors and
families of victims spoke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t want to say a happy day but I feel grateful
for the outcome.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t think it`s a closure. It`s just that we are
glad that the person who did it was found guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: One more step to the end to finally being able to put
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Relief. Everybody has been on edge. But I think we`re
all expecting it to end up that way.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He should be held accountable for his actions and I`m
very thankful for each of the jury members that are making him do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The jury must decide whether to sentence him to death or life in
prison. Joining me now is Eric Levenson, news writer for Boston.com and
Seema Iyer, legal analyst and host of "THE DOCKET" on Shift MSNBC. Thank
you both for being here.
SEEMA IYER, LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.
ERIC LEVENSON, BOSTON.COM NEWS WRITER: Thanks.
SHARPTON: Eric, you`ve been in the courtroom multiple times throughout
this trial, what is your reaction and what`s the reaction in Boston to the
LEVENSON: Well, it hasn`t been a huge surprise. The defense essentially
admitted that they did it and in the opening statements confirmed that, in
closing statements they only called four witnesses. So, the guilty on all
30 counts is pretty straight forward. I think a lot of people expected
that. The reaction has been mostly a bit of closure. But, you know, it
has a huge effect on people. So, victims` statements, there was a teary
statement that you just played. I think there`s a lot of -- there`s a bit
of closure but there`s still more to go.
SHARPTON: You know, Seema, after the verdict, some of the bombing
survivors spoke to the press about watching Dzhokhar during the trial
SHARPTON: Here`s what one said. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We were just talking about it inside and whether or
not he showed any remorse, you know, how we would feel about it and
personally I wouldn`t have bought it. I would have been more frustrated if
he had shown it because throughout this whole thing he`s been, to use my
word, arrogant, walking in and out of the courtroom and completely
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Looking at the death penalty here, Seema, how important is the
perception of him in the courtroom?
IYER: Very, and I think Judy Clark is going to use exactly what that juror
said to her managed to show that Dzhokhar was under this spell of the older
brother, that he was being brainwashed. His arrogance is misinterpreted,
Rev, for youth. He`s young, he doesn`t know how to handle the situation
and she`s also going to bring out that this kid has never been in trouble
with the law before.
SHARPTON: You know, Eric, Massachusetts is notoriously against the death
penalty and in a new poll, a Boston voters taken before the verdict, 62
percent said Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison without the
possibility of parole while 27 percent said he should receive the death
penalty. This is not a cut and dry case for the prosecution or the
LEVENSON: Right. Well, this is a federal trial in Massachusetts. So that
means there is a possibility of the death penalty and the jurors are all
death qualified which is the term so they are asked them beforehand, are
you open to the idea of the death penalty and all the people in the jury
said, yes. So, even though the broader Boston community may be against the
death penalty, these 18 jurors are open to the idea. Twelve jurors and six
alternates. They`re at least open for the idea. So, it will be up to
them. It`s hard to predict.
SHARPTON: Seema, you know that the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts
released a statement to spare Dzhokhar`s life. They write the defendant,
quote, "has been neutralized and will never again have the ability to cause
harm because of this. We believe that society can do better than the death
penalty." What do you think? Will the death penalty come --
IYER: I don`t think that`s terribly significant. I think that`s their
religious belief and it plays into, frankly, the poll that you just quoted.
But I think what`s most important is Judy Clarke is going to put on a
masterful defense. This is where --
SHARPTON: Judy Clarke being his lawyer?
IYER: The defense attorney. And Rev, let me remind you, Kosinski, Gerald
Lee Loughner, Zacarias Moussaoui, Susan Smith who killed her two boys, all
of them she got life instead of the death penalty.
SHARPTON: All right. We`ll leave it there. Eric Levenson and Seema Iyer.
Thank you both for your time tonight. And catch Seema on "THE DOCKET"
Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. on Shift by MSNBC.
Coming up, Rand Paul`s first day as a candidate probably won`t be one to
remember his testy exchange when asked about his changing views. And what
might former Bill Clinton`s role look like in a Hillary Clinton campaign?
He`s talking about it.
"Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, MSNBC`s
Abby Huntsman, executive editor of BlueNationReview.com Jimmy Williams and
HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Thank you all for being
ABBY HUNTSMAN, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks, Rev.
CAROLINE MODARRESSY-TEHRANI, HUFFPOST LIVE HOST: Thanks, Rev.
JIMMY WILLIAMS, BLUENATIONREVIEW.COM: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Is Rand Paul ready for primetime? I mean, Paul is formally in
the 2016 race and today he`s in the primary state of New Hampshire. But in
his first big network interview since declaring his candidacy, he got a
little testy when questioned about foreign policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Before we go through a litany of things you
say I`ve changed on, why don`t you ask me a question, have I changed my
opinion on --
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Have you changed your opinion?
Okay. Is Iran still not a threat?
PAUL: No, no, no, no, no. Listen, you`ve editorialized -- let me answer
you a question.
PAUL: You asked a question and you say, have your views changed instead of
editorializing and saying my views have changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Abby, you know better than most what it takes to run for the
presidency. Is Rand Paul ready for the spotlight?
HUNTSMAN: You know, that was a top interview to watch. I think Savannah
Guthrie, I give her credit, she handled the interview very well and she
asked the question that many people are wondering why he has evolved on
some of the more important issues that we`re faced today, it was a problem
when he started trying to tell her how to do her job. I don`t think
Savannah would ever try to do that with Rand Paul. Is he ready for
primetime? Look, I think he`s been in the spotlight for a while now not
only as senator but with his dad running for president a number of times,
he`s been around this. He knows what it takes. The question is, will his
strategy works? He`s a guy that in nature, Rev, I think he`s passive
aggressive, whether that is in interviews, with politicians. You`ll
remember he called Chris Christie I think the king of bacon. People say,
you know, he`s known to troll on twitter. So, this is sort of the guy that
he is. How that`s going to play on the presidential stage, that is to be
known. I`m not sure.
SHARPTON: But Jimmy, he`s also playing to a base that he`s trying to
appeal to say I stand up to the Washington establishment and the media.
Does it play to his base when he gets a little confrontational with the
WILLIAMS: No. And it`s impossible that it plays to a base and the reason
it does is because the etiquette is not dead, for gosh sakes. I mean, the
idea -- and by the way, he only does this to women. He did this to a mom,
our colleague Savannah Guthrie. He did this to one of our colleagues over
at CNBC. He`s done this over and over again but almost always exclusively
to women reporters.
HUNTSMAN: Although, I will jump in there. Because he has been aggressive
to a number of reporters even to our own Ari Melber sat down for him for an
interview. And there was a similar tone there, it wasn`t as bad as it was
with Kelly Evander (ph), Savannah Guthrie but he just has that tone about
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Yes, I mean, I think that we have man-splaining and we
have Rand-splaining and Rand-splaining is a very specific type and it`s
directed towards women as Jimmy said. And I think, you know, the question
about whether or not he`s ready for primetime, you know, Abby is right.
He`s been around politics for such a long time. He`s entrenched. He
should really know better. You know, this really doesn`t bode very well
for his future. This is like day one, week one. I mean, you know, you`ve
got to be out of rainy in, and at least conduct a civil interview without
actually flying off the handle.
SHARPTON: All right. Let me move on. Can anyone -- I want any of you to
tell me -- can anyone see Bill Clinton playing a backstage role in
Well, that`s exactly what he is saying he`s going to do if and when his
wife Hillary announces her candidacy for the presidency. Clinton tells
town and country magazine, quote, "My role should primarily be as a
backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election"
and when asked if he would have a role in his wife`s administration if she
wins, he replied, "I would have to address what she wants me to do."
Jimmy, what do you think?
WILLIAMS: I think that Bill Clinton, a gentleman from Arkansas, never
treated a reporter poorly as Senator Rand Paul has done and I think that he
would do exactly what he said. Hillary Clinton, if she runs and she wins,
will be the president of the United States. And so he will be her husband.
He will be her adviser. He will also be the first husband or -- I don`t
even know what you would call him. But he`ll play a role in the White
House. By the way, as did she, as does Michelle Obama, et cetera, et
cetera. So I have zero problem with him wanting to be in the backstage.
Do I believe it? No, of course not. But I do think that -- I think he
will treat people with respect.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: My question is, though, nothing he does is going to
be, even if he does it backstage, it`s going to become front page news.
Like he can`t avoid it. Right? Like nothing he does. Even if he tries to
-- behind the scene, it`s going to be a front page story because they are
really like royal family.
SHARPTON: Well, Abby, but there`s one Clinton caveat. He says, until we
get much closer. He didn`t say who he was going to define -- when that
time period happens. Who decides when it`s much closer?
HUNTSMAN: Well, he`ll probably decide that as he decides mostly. He`s a
tough one to control. You`ll remember back in 2008, there were some gaffes
made. I mean, Bill Clinton is a blessing and a curse. He`s the most
popular politician in the world. But he`s someone who is tough to control.
And Hillary Clinton and his campaign this time want it to be very tight.
They want us to be very controlled. But as everyone is saying, even if
he`s behind the scene, Rev, he`s going to be right in the speeches, he`s
going to be telling the consultants what to be doing, he`s going to be very
SHARPTON: Well, the blessing maybe that he is so out there and that has a
lot of charisma. But we`ll see if one harms the other if, in fact, she
runs. Abby, Jimmy and Caroline, thank you for your time tonight. We`ll be
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: The seeds of "My Brother`s Keeper" are taking root and growing.
It`s been just over a year since President Obama announced this initiative
aimed at helping young men of color stay on track through community
involvement and mentoring programs. One year later, young men across the
country are already feeling the impact.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see the youth of our community just grow more in a
positive way instead of just going out into negative way, and going out
into gangs --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see a boy like me with a baseball cap, you know, you
probably would think I`m a gang banger or something like that but that`s
not always the case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`ll be talking much more about the program at my National
Action Convention this week in New York. I recently spoke with Broderick
Johnson, cabinet secretary and chair of "My Brother`s Keeper" Task Force.
I started by asking him about the success of the program`s first year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRODERICK JOHNSON, CHAIR, "MY BROTHER`S KEEPER" TASK FORCE. The mark of
how successful we have been in the first year of "My Brother`s Keeper" is
by the fact that over 200 communities across this country have agreed to
accept the President`s call to action which is a My Brother`s Keeper
community challenge. Cities, tribal nations across the countries have
said, we are willing to invest in these young people especially boys and
young men of color in the way that the President has called upon us to do
so. And that has resulted, Reverend, in gatherings of people who have been
trying to get together on these issues for some time but couldn`t quite do
it and, as a response of the President`s call to action, they haven`t been
able to get together to plan. But most importantly, to start taking very
concrete, collective action to make a difference.
SHARPTON: What has been the biggest success of the program to you so far?
JOHNSON: I think the biggest success of the program has been that we`ve
been able to bring folks together again under the great leadership and call
to action of this president. Across the country in large cities where you
would expect people would come together in cities that would run by
democrats and also in cities, mid-size cities, smaller cities, cities of
republican mayors and republican legislators have gathered as well with
businesses and others to say, we`re in NBK (ph) community, and we are
willing to accept the challenge and the responsibility that the President
has laid out to address these issues that especially affect boys of young
men of color comprehensively, young men of color especially. Boys of color
really, really feel a sense of hope and a real tangible sense that their
country, because of the call of the President of the United States, is
investing in them.
SHARPTON: What does the President hope to accomplish in year two of the
JOHNSON: I think in year two it`s to continue with the progress that we`ve
made so far. You know, that work hasn`t just been going on locally in
communities but it`s also been going on in the federal government. But
also in making sure that what is happening at the community level gets the
support again from businesses, from faith leaders, from community
activists, from local officials and from boys and young men themselves to
make a difference in their communities and if that work will be sustained
and that`s what the President expects going forward through the rest of his
presidency, Reverend, but also beyond that.
SHARPTON: Roger Johnson, thank you for your time tonight and we`re looking
forward to seeing you at the convention.
JOHNSON: I look forward to seeing as well. Thank you very much.
SHARPTON: And breaking news, NBC`s Lester Holt just interviewed the man
who shot the video that led to the arrest of a South Carolina police
officer. Faidin Santana says, the officer already had control of this
situation before he started recording.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: What did you think when you saw him stand and
FAIDIN SANTANA, SHOT CELL PHONE VIDEO IN S.C.: Well, at that moment I
didn`t know if it was real gun, bullets that was used. You know, sometimes
they used on some types of bullets that are not real. And just, you know,
when I saw him basically dying, that`s when I saw, you know, that it was a
real gun. I believe that even though it`s not safe and it`s a complicated
situation, this is something that every citizen have to do when they see
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He added that he feels what he did is something every citizen
should do when they see something wrong. Shortly after investigators saw
the video, they arrested Officer Michael Slager. It is important that we
understand this young man did the right thing as far as this video shows.
It is also important that we understand we need policy around the country
about cameras but also national policy we cannot just go state by state and
incident by incident. We need action and we need policy for the good of
police and citizens.
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Today, my National Action Network convention got under way here
in New York City. A big focus, the news of the police shooting in South
Carolina, an officer firing at a man running away. It was tragic and
senseless. But at the convention, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio among
others spoke of the strong response of the shooting by the North Charleston
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY: There is something powerful in the
fact that the officials in South Carolina acted speedily, acted speedily to
address a tragedy, acted forthrightly. They didn`t pull any punches. They
said something was fundamentally wrong and they applied justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And today I, too, commended the mayor and also spoke of the need
for new national policy on policing. National policy and national law. We
cannot depend on people to just have a camera, thank God there was one here
and we will see where the investigation goes. We can`t depend on a police
chief and a mayor per city per incident. We must have new policy,
transparency. Cameras protects police and citizens when we see exactly
what happens. And exactly what did not happen. And we do not need to
continue seeing incidents without having action that protects all involved.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Be sure to tune in to Joy Reid`s
exclusive interview with Walter Scott`s family tonight on "ALL IN WITH
CHRIS HAYES" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2015 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
MORE FROM POLITICSNATION
Add PoliticsNation headlines to your news reader: