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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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Date: April 15, 2015
Guest: Jonathan Capehart, Lisa Stone, Sheila Jackson Lee

thanks to you for tuning in. We start tonight with developing news.
Nationwide protests for higher wages and economic fairness. It was shaping
up to be the central front in the fight for 2016. Organizers say, it`s the
largest ever fast food wage protest. They made plans for rallies in over
200 cities, demanding a raise to $15 an hour.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I live paycheck to paycheck. By the time I get
done paying bills at the end of the month, I don`t even have money to put
food in the house or money to get back and forth to work. Fifteen dollars
an hour would help me out a big deal.


SHARPTON: This fight playing out as the 2016 campaigns get underway.
Hillary Clinton in Iowa today meeting with a group of small business
owners, and hitting that same theme.


is still stacked in favor of those at the top. And we need to reshuffle
the cards, and begin to play a different hand, a hand that includes


SHARPTON: It looks to be a key fight in this election. President
Obama called it the defining challenge of our time. It`s a big issue for
some progressives, like Elizabeth Warren, who have been noncommittal about
Clinton`s campaign. And now we`re also starting to see the economic vision
from republicans eyeing the White House, like Chris Christie, in New
Hampshire calling for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And
Marco Rubio, attacking government spending and demanding that corporations
pay less taxes.


significant driver of what has made America less competitive. Our
regulatory systems in this country which serve as a significant impediment.
We have a tax code, for example, that has the highest combined corporate
tax rate on the planet. We have a very serious debt problem in America.


SHARPTON: Two very different arguments. Two very different visions
for 2016. Joining me now is MSNBC`s Alex Seitz-Wald who is reporting live
tonight from Des Moines. And Jonathan Capehart of "The Washington Post."
Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Alex, day two of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. Is the campaign
making a concerted effort to hit these progressive themes?

SEITZ-WALD: Absolutely, Rev. Hillary Clinton definitely striking a
populist tone in her announcement video, in her first day in Iowa. And
again, today she is talking about the deck being stacked in favor of the
wealthiest Americans. She also talked about CEO pay saying it was unfair
that CEOs make 300 times the average worker. Yesterday up in the northeast
part of the state she talked about getting money out of politics. And even
said she would be open to a constitutional amendment to take care of that
problem. So she is definitely anticipating a challenge from the Left, from
progressives. And of course, this is the state where Barack Obama derailed
the presidential campaign by firing up progressives last time.

One thing we haven`t heard yet from Hillary Clinton though are many
specifics on policy. She has talked a little bit about paid sick leave for
families, but so far she says she wants to talk to people in places like
Iowa, possibly New Hampshire, South Carolina as well before she rolls out
policy. So we`ll have to stay tuned on that. But she definitely is
striking the tone, the rhetoric, kind of putting that message out there,
wanting to shore up support on the left.

SHARPTON: But Jonathan, when do we need to hear specifics? How long
can she go without giving specifics?

CAPEHART: I think she can probably go for a little while longer,
maybe a month or so from what I`ve read and heard, probably from Alex in
his reporting all day that she is about to -- she`ll be giving a meteor
speech sometime in May. And that`s only in a couple of weeks from now. So
she`s got time. Remember, she is on this listening tour. And what she is
doing, as we saw as I watched on MSNBC`s Shift yesterday, she sat there and
took questions from the people there at the community college. She asked
questions. She asked probing questions, very detailed questions about
specific things that people were doing, dealing with, in asking for their
advice on things. So she is going to need time to get around Iowa, talk to
people, listen to people, that will then help inform whatever policy
specifics she`ll give next month. And the specifics that we`re looking

SHARPTON: You know, Alex, former democratic Senator Jim Webb is
considering a challenge to Clinton. And today he took a jab at her on the
issue of income inequality. Listen.


FMR. SEN. JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA: What particularly struck me was she
was talking -- I listened on the radio on this -- about hedge fund managers
making millions and millions of dollars and actually paying a lower tax
rate than nurses and truck drivers. And I had to have a chuckle there,
because I`ve used that example three different times on the Senate floor.
I`m glad she is over on this side of the issue now.


SHARPTON: I mean, how serious a problem, Alex, is this for Mrs.
Clinton, that some democrats and progressives want to see more from her on
economic issues?

SEITZ-WALD: I think it`s definitely a problem for her, right. These
are not issues she is associated with. She is traditionally largely
through her husband associated with the kind of centrist wing of the party,
the pro-business, the pro-Wall Street wing of the party. So, she needs to
overcome those challenges. But at the same time, you know, I think a lot
of progressives will forgive her from borrowing from Elizabeth Warren or
borrowing from progressive members of her own party. Because that`s what
they want to see, that`s what they wanted to adopt. And because of her
strength, she realize that she is a shoo-in for the nomination right now.
So, I think, you know, if she borrows some rhetoric here and there, as long
as she adopts the policy positions and if she wins the nominations, if she
sticks to those policy positions, of course very importantly, I think
they`ll probably forgive her on that front.

SHARPTON: You know, Jonathan, almost all the republicans eyeing for
the White House are opposed to raising the federal minimum wage. Everyone
from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz and beyond. Can that sell in a general election?

CAPEHART: No. If you just that on public opinion polls, where a
majority of the American people want the minimum wage raised. You bumped
in with shots of protests by fast food workers around the country. These
are folks who would probably be more in tune to the economic message that
will come most likely from the democratic nominee. And so it would set up
an incredible contrast between the democratic nominee and the republican
nominee when you have the democrats saying raise the minimum wage. Let`s
do something about income inequality. Let`s close the gaps. And then you
have the republican nominee who says no to all of that.

SHARPTON: Alex, the controversy surrounding Mrs. Clinton`s e-mails
are back in the headlines. And I understand it`s an issue in Iowa. "The
New York Times" reports that Congressional investigators asked her about it
two years ago. Is this going to keep cropping up over and over? Should
the Clinton campaign be worried about it?

SEITZ-WALD: Well, it`s definitely going to keep cropping up,
Reverend, no matter what they do about it, it`s sort of outside their
control. The support came out this morning. You know, Hillary Clinton
appeared several times today. Reporters asked her several times. She did
not address it personally. Her campaign is saying that this was a routine
letter from the house. It was sent to all cabinet officials. So they
didn`t really think much of it. And they note that the response from the
State Department came several months after she left. So they say they did
nothing wrong. And they say essentially there is nothing new here.

But in recent days republicans have telegraphed that this e-mail issue
is going to be at the center of their pushback on Hillary Clinton`s
campaign. It`s going to keep coming up again and again and again. Just
yesterday at her event, the Republican Party of Iowa, the state party was
handing out bright orange sheets of paper poking her on this issue. They
were wearing t-shirts that said nerd squad. They wanted to highlight her
issue. There was a protester at her event on it. So, it gets at an issue
that republicans want to advance that she is untrustworthy, that she is
connected to the scandals from the `90s. And it`s all part of this package
that we don`t want to have again. I think at this point it`s mostly a
republican issue. It hasn`t filtered down to democrats here in Iowa. But
republicans are certainly going to try to make that happen.

SHARPTON: Alex Seitz-Wald and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for
your time tonight.

SEITZ-WALD: Thanks, Rev.


SHARPTON: This economic fight at the top of President Obama`s agenda
today. One day after equal payday, the President traveling to North
Carolina, where he said pay equity is about all Americans being treated


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The whole point of equal pay
is people doing the same job and getting paid less. I guarantee you the
majority of republican voters, they support equal pay for equal work. But
when it gets to Congress, somehow it becomes a political issue.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Lisa Stone, chief community officer of
SheKnows Media. She was with the president in Charlotte today, moderating
the discussion. Lisa, thank you for being here.

LISA STONE, SHEKNOWS MEDIA: Thank you for having me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: How critical are these economic issues for women in your
web community and among women voters at large?

STONE: You know, I have the opportunity to speak with millions of
women across America every month. And I can tell you that while we don`t
all vote alike, there are two areas that are emerging that certainly bring
us together across political parties. One is that we are working very hard
to get ahead and do as well as we can to take care of our loved ones. And
the other thing women are focusing on is that we want better support from
our government and from our employers.

SHARPTON: You know, Lisa, a recent Pew Poll found 77 percent of women
believe this country needs to make changes to give men and women equality
in the workplace. And 63 percent of men agreed. Seventy seven percent of
women. It`s overwhelming. What kind of changes do they really want to

STONE: You know, we surveyed American women over the past couple of
days leading up to the Obama town hall. And we did in fact find that the
majority are very much in support of the paycheck fairness act, and very
concerned it has not passed four times in a row. I think that the other
key factor we heard was that they feel like their entire family is not
being supported by the current system. From the time they have an unpaid
maternity leave to the point where they then have to figure out a way to
pay for child care and God forbid they have an overnight shift or work a
second job, that makes affordable child care even more difficult. When you
layer on to that the fact that women are on average making 78 cents on the
dollar or much less if you`re a woman of color, and you end up with a level
of frustration there is a sense that the system is not being fair to
American families. Because when we bring home the bacon, we`re filling gas
tanks and refrigerators for our men, as well as for our children.

SHARPTON: Now, you know another real woman`s issue is raising the
minimum wage. Because 56 percent of minimum wage workers are women. Their
average age is 35 years old. And 28 percent of them have children. What
would an increase in the minimum wage mean to women and their families?

STONE: Well, you know, I think an increase in the minimum wage for
American women in our families would have a massive effect, particularly
given that today 40 percent of American children live in families where
women are either the primary breadwinner or the sole breadwinner. And we
know what that means. That means that if she gets sick or if one of the
children has an issue, then it`s very quick that the wheels come off the
bus. Fundamentally, I think we have to think about how we take care of the
next generation of workers and students in the American economy. If we are
building an internationally competitive workforce, then doesn`t it make
sense to invest in the first five years of a child`s life, since we know
increasingly that his or her mother is going to be working outside the

SHARPTON: Lisa Stone, thank you for your time tonight.

STONE: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, what was he thinking? We`ll tell you about
protest behind that skier on Capitol Hill.

Also, the stunning verdict in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial. Why
jurors took seven days to find him guilty. And what happens next.

Also, a dramatic new push to get a vote for Loretta Lynch.

And Chris Christie`s surprising new interview with Matt Lauer. You`ll
want to hear what he says about Hillary Clinton.


SHARPTON: Why would anyone fly a gyrocopter into restricted airspace
over Capitol Hill? It`s the story everyone is talking about. We`ll tell
you why the pilot did it, ahead.

But first, the new twist in the Loretta Lynch fight.


SHARPTON: Today was a pretty normal day in the U.S. Senate. There
were a few hearings, a vote to go to a budget conference, and a photo op
with the Iraqi prime minister. Plenty to do, but not super busy. And
there was plenty of time to confirm Loretta Lynch as our new attorney
general. But once again, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to
schedule it. We`ve talked about how it`s been more than 150 days since
President Obama nominated Miss Lynch. But think about this. The Senate
Judiciary Committee voted to confirm her 48 days ago. For 48 days she has
just been waiting on a floor vote. That`s double the time the last seven
attorney generals had to wait combined. It`s unconscionable.

That`s why today my civil rights organization, the National Action
Network spearheaded by Janaye Ingram, the executive director, and other
groups and persons are fasting, fasting to push for Miss Lynch`s
confirmation. The whole country should be watching this issue. Senator
McConnell`s wrong. And everyone should know it.

Joining me now are Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, democrat of
Texas, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, and Ari Melber, MSNBC`s
new chief legal correspondent and co-host of "THE CYCLE" on MSNBC. Thank
you both for being here.


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you`ve been very involved in this issues.
You went to Senator McConnell`s office to try to figure out why he won`t
schedule a vote. What happened?

LEE: We did, Reverend Sharpton. We did that before the Easter
recess, and really the week of Good Friday. As you know, that is a weak
and a day of sacrifice and reflection. And so we went to ask the simple
question, why an American, we didn`t say an African-American or a woman,
why a qualified American in this day and time could not have a simple
constitutional vote on the floor of the United States Senate. Well
qualified, confirmed by the House Judiciary Committee, engaged in an
intensive debate and question and answer by all of the members. In fact, I
was there as each member prior to a vote expressed their support and
opposition. And I will tell you, the opposition was particularly harsh.
But she withstood all of that and she got a vote. And she has now been
held up, hostage longer than seven members who were nominated for the
United States attorney general in this history of the United States of
America combined. And that`s the question we asked, and that`s the
question we raised with the Majority Leader McConnell.

SHARPTON: Ari, what impact does the delay have on the Justice
Department which Ms. Lynch is supposed to lead?

MELBER: Well, it obviously holds her back from being able to exercise
any authority. So even though preparations are being made in that
department, the chief spokesman there for Eric Holder recently departed to
join the Clinton campaign. There was an expectation that the incoming
attorney general if confirmed would bring in that person, their own
choosing. They would make decisions about enforcement priorities. Eric
Holder has done a lot in the so-called smart on crime initiative to change
certain enforcement priorities with regard to nonviolent drug offenses.
Those kind of things take time. They take consultation. None of that can
start as long as this person is being held up. And as you mentioned on the
program before, there are now on record a public 51 votes for her


MELBER: So this is not a situation where the Senate is leaning
against someone, which is their constitutional right, and they can hold the
vote. This is a situation where apparently you have someone who is
supported but is facing months and months of obstruction which just
kneecaps the Justice Department, puts it a little bit of a freeze on
certain issues, although obviously traditional law enforcement activities
continue under Attorney General Holder.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, President Obama hosted a gospel concert last
night at the White House and sat next to Loretta Lynch. I wanted to play


OBAMA: This is a coincidence. My soon to be attorney general just
happens to be sitting here.


SHARPTON: So there is no question that the President is sticking by
his nominee, Congresswoman.

LEE: There is no reason, Reverend Sharpton, that he should not. He
made an excellent choice. And Ari, congratulations to you. Let me add to
the litany of things that this very qualified future attorney general
should be handling. In addition to the legislative issues that we deal
with Congress from smart sentencing, there is a voting rights act that
needs to be authorized. The Department of Justice is in many courts across
the nation started under Eric Holder, protesting and petitioning for the
voting rights act to be affirmed for redistricting to be done fairly under
section five of the voting rights act. In addition, there is quite a bit
of need for oversight. As many of you have heard, we`ve had some issues
with law enforcement, such as DEA, Secret Service, and we`ve just had these
kind of hearings going on in the United States Congress. A strong leader
at the helm is need. And she is a strong leader.

And so what the Senate is doing, and what I`ve said, in really denying
Loretta Lynch a sense of due process. Because what they`re doing is
suggesting that women and the women members of the United States Senate who
believe that they`re jeopardizing a woman`s right to choice in this
addition to the human trafficking bill, which I`m very supportive of,
they`re asking women who just got the vote less than 100 years ago to make
a choice between a dynamic leader of the Department of Justice and their
push that they have done over the centuries for the right to choose. It is
an unfair, it is a destructive approach. And I would ask the majority
leader to put General Lynch, if I might say, on the Senate calendar
tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to be able to stop this hostage-
taking. And frankly, the image to the world that an African-American
cannot get confirmed and a woman on the floor of the United States Senate.

SHARPTON: Now, Ari, republicans have come up with all kinds of
excuses about the delay. But the truth is it`s all about going after the
President. The National Review`s Rich Lowry wrote in Politico, quote,
"When should they confirm her? Never. The Senate shouldn`t confirm any
attorney general nominee from whatever party or whatever race, ethnicity,
or gender identification who believes that the President can rewrite the
nation`s laws at will." Is this what -- that we`re really dealing with?
Is this it?

MELBER: Well, you`re pointing to Rich Lowry who is considered sort of
a card carrying establishment-respected conservative voice. And that is if
you take it at face value, a fairly extreme statement, that you wouldn`t
enforce a top law enforcement official ever. I don`t know how you would go
about governing the country. As for the immigration issue, what is
interesting about it, Rev, is that people of good will can disagree about
the constitutionality of the executive actions regarding immigration.
Right now, though, they`re on hold as a judge reviews them. And they go up
on appeal. So, it doesn`t even connect to that, which was of course the
original claim that somehow this would be used as a bargaining chip. Those
are poss. The process will play out. The President has said if he is
rejected, of course, he`ll abide by those laws. So, there isn`t actually,
if we`re going to be serious, there isn`t a substantive mechanism whereby
messing around with this attorney general nomination does anything in
actuality to effect what they had claimed they cared about, which was the
immigration order.

SHARPTON: Well, this is a very important story. We`re going stay on
it. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and good luck on the fast to you and
Janaye Ingram and the lady leaders that are leading this. And Ari Melber,
congratulations again.

MELBER: Thanks, Rev.

LEE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And thank you both for your time tonight.

LEE: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Be sure to watch, Ari, by the way, not only in his new
role, but on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, former NFL Star Aaron Hernandez found guilty of murder.
What the jurors are saying tonight.

Plus, 68 years ago, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in
baseball and became an American hero. We celebrate the player and the
civil rights icon ahead.


SHARPTON: Straight ahead, a former NFL star found guilty of murder.
We go inside the jury room, ahead.

Plus, Chris Christie just spoke to NBC`s Matt Lauer. Hear what he
says about Hillary Clinton.

And a chopper defies a no-fly zone, sparking a security scare on
Capitol Hill. Who was behind it, and why did it happen? Stay with us.



SHARPTON: Straight ahead, a former NFL star found guilty of murder.
We go inside the jury room, ahead.

Plus, Chris Christie just spoke to NBC`s Matt Lauer. Hear what he
says about Hillary Clinton.

And a chopper defies a no-fly zone, sparking a security scare on
Capitol Hill. Who was behind it, and why did it happen? Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Now to the high drama in Massachusetts court. And a fallen
NFL star guilty of murder. Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez will
spend the rest of his life in prison. The verdict, guilty.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is the defendant not guilty, guilty of murder in
the first degree, or guilty of murder in the second degree?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Guilty of murder in the first degree.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Madam Foreperson, by which theory or theories,
deliberate premeditation and/or extreme atrocity or cruelty?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Extreme atrocity or cruelty.


SHARPTON: Hernandez`s mother and fiancee broke down and hugged each
other as the verdict was read. And at the same time, just feets away, the
mother of the victim, semi pro-athlete Odin Lloyd cried too. Right after
the verdict came out, Lloyd`s family spoke to make sure everyone knew how
special he was.


URSULA WARD, ODIN LLOYD`S MOTHER: The day I laid my son Odin to rest,
I felt my heart stop beating for a moment. I felt like I wanted to go into
the hole with my son.

OLIVIA THIBOU, ODIN LLOYD`S SISTER: When my nephew was gone last year
March, the first thing I did is picked up my phone to call my brother and
tell him he had a nephew. And even now when my son was born, after hours
of labor I reached my phone to text him to let him know he had another


SHARPTON: It took the jury seven days to decide Hernandez was guilty
on every charge, including murder, gun, and ammunition charges. But on the
murder charge alone, the judge sentenced him to life in prison without the
chance of parole. He walks in to prison where he`ll spend the rest of his
life behind bars.

Joining me now, criminal defense Attorney Eric Guster and former
prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith," Faith Jenkins. Thank you both for
being here.



SHARPTON: I want to hear from both of you on the verdict, starting
with you, Faith.

JENKINS: I -- I think the jury got it right. But I was still
surprised by the first degree murder conviction. Having prosecuted
circumstantial evidence cases in New York, this was not an easy case for
the prosecutors. You have no eyewitness who is willing to testify. There
were two other people there. And you have no murder weapon. So you`re
going in with an uphill battle. And then you`re concerned about the
celebrity aspect of the case. Is there going to cloud their judgment? And
then there is this disparity of information, Rev. There is what we know
about Aaron Hernandez, and then there is what the jury got to know.

So much information was kept from them. For example, the real motive
in the case that the prosecutors wanted to argue that Odin Lloyd knew about
a double homicide that Aaron Hernandez committed. The jury never got to
hear about that motive. So the question in their minds, and I`m sure this
is what kept prosecutors up at night, how are we going to prove to this
jury why he did this? Because that`s going to be a key element for him.
Here he is. He is this rich, famous athlete. He`s got the world at his
footsteps. And why would he kill his friend? I`m sure that was a key
issue for them.


GUSTER: Yes. And this being a circumstantial case, just like Faith
said, it was a very tough case for the prosecution. I`ve defended people
with circumstantial cases. And we as defense lawyer just hope that we can
reach one or two jurors as holdouts, which I thought it was going to be a
hung jury. I did not think they would get a conviction. But the key piece
of evidence in this case were the shell casing with the gum on it, which
put him at the scene, which caused the defense attorneys to have to say
that he was there. And then the video of his -- at his house with him
having a gun on him. So you have him at the scene of a crime with a shell
casing with his gum on it as well as a pistol on his person on video.

SHARPTON: But deliberations lasted seven days. Many people started
to wonder if he could be found not guilty, because they took so long. What
happened inside that jury room, Faith?

JENKINS: Well, listening to the jurors talk about this today, they
started from the beginning. And they just started going back through the
evidence. They say they did what they were instructed to do, what we want
jurors to do. They didn`t form an opinion until the end of the trial when
they heard all the evidence. And that is so important, especially as a
prosecutor when you have these cases. It`s not one piece of evidence.
It`s not one witness. You know that you have to take everything, every
piece of evidence, put it all together in a circumstantial case. Look at
those jurors and argue to them, based on all of the evidence, there is only
one conclusion you can form here, and that`s that Aaron Hernandez committed
this crime.

SHARPTON: But seven days, Eric?

GUSTER: Seven days. But the trial lasted for months.


GUSTER: So I did not necessarily expect it to be a very short
deliberations. But when you have a mountain of evidence, they put hundreds
of exhibits in, dozens of witnesses. And the jurors had to go through each
one of those and discuss those things. So like I said, I was shocked that
it was a guilty verdict, especially when the time started ticking day one,
two, through seven.


GUSTER: I thought it was going to be at least hung, not necessarily a
not guilty. But the prosecutors did a very good job piecing it together.

SHARPTON: Now, you mentioned, I want to put this to Faith first. The
major piece of evidence was the surveillance video of Hernandez holding
something, looked to be the gun. But they never found the murder weapon.
Are you surprised they got a conviction without the murder weapon?

JENKINS: No. Because they obviously discounted a lot of -- look at
Shayanna Jenkins, his girlfriend`s testimony. He told her to remove a box
from the home. Then she takes this box. She dumps it in a dumpster. And
we talked about this before. I think she has no creditability. Because
then she takes the witness stand and argues and testifies in front of the
jury, I have no memory whatsoever where I took this box. This is a heavy
box. She looks like she can barely carry it. And then she has no memory
of it. The jurors were able to see through that. They know.

SHARPTON: The jury talked about the decision to keep Hernandez off
the stand. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Would it have made a difference to you had he taken
the witness stand?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Depends on what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Were you hoping he might?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don`t think we ever expected him to, to be


SHARPTON: Eric, would you have put him on the stand, especially
knowing the defense attorney admitted he was at the crime scene?

GUSTER: That`s a tough question. That`s one of the toughest decision
as a defense lawyer to make. Well, it`s actually the defendant`s choice to
take the stand or not. But as a team to decide whether a person takes the
stand, it`s very tough. Because under cross-examination, people will break
down. And he will admit things. And other things will go into evidence,
prior acts and evidence. They will come into evidence and really sink him
a lot quicker than what happened here.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s quite a story. Eric Guster, Faith Jenkins,
thank you both for your time tonight.

JENKINS: Sure. Thank you.

GUSTER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, it sent security scrambling. A chopper landing in
front of the U.S. capitol. What was the pilot thinking, and why wasn`t he

Also, new comments from Chris Christie talking to NBC`s Matt Lauer.
Speaking out about Hillary Clinton. "Conversation Nation" is next.


SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,`s Liz Plank, MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams, and HuffPost Live
host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. Thank you all for being here tonight.


LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: We go back to the strangest story of the day. A small
helicopter landing on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. You can see it
flying down the national mall in this cell phone video obtained by NBC
News. It sparked a lockdown in the area. But this landing was no
accident. The pilot was Doug Hughes, a postal worker from Florida, in his
60s, who was flying to protest for campaign finance reform. And he told
the Tampa Bay Times about his plan before he took off.


DOUG HUGHES, GYROCOPTER PILOT: I`m going to violate the no-fly zone
nonviolently. I intend for nobody to get hurt. And I`m going to land on
the capitol mall in front of the capitol building. I`m going to have 535
letters strapped to the landing gear in boxes. And those letters are going
to be addressed to every member of Congress.


SHARPTON: According to the newspaper, at the root of Hughes` disdain
is the Supreme Court`s 2010 decision in Citizens United. Hughes was
arrested by capitol police and the FAA is investigating the incident.
Jimmy, pushing for campaign finance reform is a goal we all share, but this
show sure is the wrong way to go about it.

WILLIAMS: Well, it`s not very smart. Listen, you may remember
several years ago when Dylan Ratigan was on our network, and we were trying
to get money out of politics. And we went full bore into it, and we ran up
against while the people in the building behind us. But at no time were we
ever considering flying a gyrocopter or anything of the sort near the
capitol dome. Because that`s how you get killed. And this man, for all of
his intentions, and they are good, they`re foolish. They`re foolhardy.
And I`m not saying he set back campaign finance reform, because he hasn`t.
But if anything what he has done, he didn`t make a fool out of the
Congress. He just landed himself in jail. And he may go for a long time.
Because this is against federal law after 9/11.

SHARPTON: He flew, Liz, all the way from Pennsylvania today to do

PLANK: Yes. I mean, it makes the Secret Service look bad. It makes
the capitol police look bad.


PLANK: And the fact that he was able to make a statement about this
and then go about doing it and no one knew is a little odd. And I mean, I
have to agree with Jimmy, look, campaign reform, a finance reform is a very
important issue. But no one is talking about campaign reform today.
Everyone is talking what the heck a gyrocopter is. And so yes, I think
that the message was certainly lost with the means.

SHARPTON: Caroline, I mean, I agree with the message, and I`ve
engaged in civil disobedience. But this is way on the other side of that.
And the other point here is, I mean, couldn`t he have dealt with this in a
way that would have been more appealing to trying to turn things around
rather than the story be how he did it and how bizarre it looked and how he
made the security look. I mean somebody could have gotten hurt. What
happened to security? He told the Tampa Times what he was going to do.
How come no one knew about this?

Times. He also e-mailed in so Barack Obama don`t --

PLANK: Right.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: The Secret Service -- I have absolutely no idea.
It`s almost a bit more of an embarrassment on them really. Look, you know,
he has a great message. I really applaud his message. What he said to the
Tampa Times was I think admirable. I mean, we all want campaign finance
reform. It`s something that Hillary Clinton even addressed. So, I`d be
interested to see what she thinks of his stamp. But you know, absolutely,
I mean, it`s just not quite the right way of going about it. But I applaud
his message. And, you know, at least what we`re all talking about it.
Hopefully after today though, we`ll be talking about the actual issue as
opposed to the means he wanted to do deliver the issue.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it. Matt Lauer just wrapped up an exclusive
interview with Governor Chris Christie.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS "THE TODAY SHOW": She is a forgone conclusion it
seems on the democratic side.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: She is a forgone conclusion in
2007, Matt. And so was Rudy Giuliani a forgone conclusion in 2007. You
know, we`ve had lots of forgone conclusions in American politics.

LAUER: So who do you see on the horizon the democratic side that
could jump up and derail Mrs. Clinton`s run?

CHRISTIE: I don`t know. Barack Obama was down by 30 points at this
time in 2007 to Hillary Clinton. So I don`t know. Again, it`s about
performance, Matt. The President of the United States, agree with him or
disagree with him, has twice performed pretty well as a candidate. And he
performed very well against Secretary Clinton before she was Secretary
Clinton. Right? So I don`t know what is going to happen on the democratic
side. Mrs. Clinton is going to have to perform. She is going to have to
earn the nomination. Nobody is handed these things. This is the
nomination for president of the United States. You got to earn it. You
got to earn it, you got to perform. The people are tough on us, as well
they should be, if you`re going to be president.


SHARPTON: You can watch the full interview tomorrow morning on "The
Today Show." So Caroline, your reaction to Christie on Hillary.

MODARRESSY-TEHRANI: Well, I mean, you know, what is he saying,
really? Sort of the empty, isn`t he? That, you know, she`ll have to earn
the nomination. I mean, at least she has got some proven track record time
in office in a way that really he should be aspiring to. I mean, you know,
the last few headlines we`ve seen of Chris Christie have all been scandal-
related. We`ve had Bridgegate, of course. We had the brouhaha over the
New Jersey pensions. So when he is talking about Hillary Clinton having to
earn the nomination, well, let`s just put it this way. She is laying out
her agenda when it comes to equal pay for women, which is a big checkmark
in my opinion. I think it`s a fantastic move forward. She is talking
about campaign finance reform. She is talking about ObamaCare. She is
talking about issues that are really mattering to voters. When he is
talking about earning the nomination, I think he is absolutely right. But
he should hold the mirror up to himself. He is going to have to earn it,
and he has a darn long way to go.

SHARPTON: Putting aside our views on Christie, earning the
nomination. Is there some validity to that, Jimmy? There are
progressives. There are people in the party that are seemingly a little
uncomfortable or unsure.

WILLIAMS: Yes, she does have to earn it. But here is a word of some
-- some words of wisdom to my fellow progressives. I don`t know what part
of Hillary Clinton that is not progressive. She is pro-choice. She is pro
marriage equality. She is pro civil rights. She is pro voting rights.
She is pro-environment. She is tough on Wall Street, despite the fact that
she was the two-term senator from the state of the New York. I`m not sure
exactly how much more left -- by the way, the left is the mainstream of the
country at this point in time, because every one of those issues a
supermajority of Americans agree that those should be the policies of this

SHARPTON: So Liz, is it about her being more aggressive? Is it about
style? What is the source of the discomfort?

PLANK: I think the source of the discomfort is that she is the only
person who is running right now. And so some people might feel
uncomfortable with that. And I think there should be a contender. And I
think ultimately she will earn that nomination. But I think for democrats,
it`s about thinking and remembering that in order to protect President
Obama`s legacy, we`re going to need someone like Hillary. We`re going to
need someone to protect health care reform. I mean, every single person
who was running for the republican nomination has promised to repeal
ObamaCare and that`s a very dangerous proposition and we`re going to need
someone to strongly defend that.

SHARPTON: Jimmy, can Christie resurrect his political ambition in
terms of running for president?

WILLIAMS: To put it in political terms, he is no Lazarus risen from
the dead. He may have been elected twice as a governor of a blue state
you. But you look at his poll numbers, look at the fact that they`ve
downgraded his state from a credit ratings perspective. And set aside the
bridge scandal. Set aside the state pension problems, set aside all that,
that man right there is the bully in chief. And I can promise you he will
not under any circumstances do well in the genteel state of South Carolina
where I was born.

Liz, Jimmy and Caroline, thank you for joining the conversation.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

PLANK: Thanks so much, Rev.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, he faced racial slurs and death threats.
How Jackie Robinson changed America forever, starting 68 years ago today.
Please stay with us.


SHARPTON: Coming up, the moment that changed America`s pastime and
America itself forever. The anniversary of Jackie Robinson`s first major
league game. What it meant then and what it means for the fight today.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, 68-years-ago today, civil rights history
was made on a baseball field. Jackie Robinson forever shattered major
league baseball`s color barrier at 28-years-old, and he did it in the face
of death threats, racial slurs. He was spit on, cursed at. In a 1972
interview, he described what it was like to play in one city.


BASEBALL: Went to Philadelphia in the early years. You couldn`t stay in
the same hotel. You had to find your own accommodations. And then there
was Ben Chapman, and some of the other Phillis who were really the worst
kinds of guys that we ran into, the kind of taunts that they yelled out
were vicious and uncalled for.


SHARPTON: America has come a long way since then. Today marks the
seventh consecutive year. Players and coaches wear number 42, Robinson`s
number, which was universally retired in 1997. I was at Yankee Stadium
last year when the team honored Nelson Mandela with a plaque in celebration
of Jackie Robinson`s Day. When Robinson passed away in October of 1972,
one of my mentors, Reverend Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy.


was immunized by God by catching the diseases that he`s fought. The lord`s
arms and protection enabled him to go through dangers seen and unseen, and
he had the capacity to wear glory with grace.


SHARPTON: And that grace lives on with his family. Two years ago,
Jackie`s children joined me to remember their iconic dad.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It was important to him as to us that he be just
dad. And he worked really hard to be available to us and to have privacy
at our home. You know, he wasn`t a social man. So when he wasn`t
traveling, he was home. He brought us into the civil rights movement by us
going on marches together as a family.

DAVID ROBINSON, JACKIE ROBINSON`S SON: The other part of his life was
completely dedicated to challenging social injustice and inequality and
brutality as it was in the south with the bombings of churches.


SHARPTON: He was much more than a celebrity. He changed American
culture. He opened doors. He broke down barriers. I was always
admonished by my mentors, Reverend Wyatt T. Walker, Reverend Jackson and
others that it`s not only that you fight, but how you fight. He fought
with dignity and grace. One will never know how much he took to get where
we and all of us have gotten because of him. Because he took it, we all
know what we as a nation have received.

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


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