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PoliticsNation, Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 16, 2015
Guest: Erica Sagrans, Seema Iyer, Jason Johnson, Shira Center, Hakeem
Jeffries, Jonathan Capehart, Frank Thorp, Jim Cavanaugh, Brent Drake

SCHULTZ: Hey, this Dan Prize guy is a really good guy. We say on this
program, let`s get to work. Now you`ve got to get to work and make this
thing work.

I`ve got to make it work.

SCHULTZ: Congratulations and good luck to you, Dan. Good job. You`re a
real model for leadership in business. Way to go.

That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "POLITICS NATION" with Reverend Al
Sharpton starts right now.

Good evening, Rev.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
tuning in. We have breaking news in the fight over the confirmation of
Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

It`s been 159 days since she was first nominated. But Republicans have
refused to hold a vote in the full Senate. So Senate minority leader Harry
Reid just told Rachel Maddow that if Republicans don`t schedule a vote for
Lynch, he`ll force a vote himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, MSNBC`S "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": One thing that has
not been done, and is now approaching a historic delay, is the nomination
of Loretta Lynch to be the next attorney general of the United States.
What is going on there and is she ever going to get a vote?

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MINORITY LEADER: The first part of May, I don`t know
if it was first or second, she will have been in limbo, in purgatory, for
six months. This is a woman no one, no one can question her qualities, her
educational background, her experience. In fact, we had Republicans,
McCain, McConnell, Lindsey Graham, saying what a good woman she was.
Suddenly they`re not allowing her to have a vote.

And they`re basing it on such shallow evidence. I mean, we`re here trying
to have a woman confirmed as attorney general of the United States and
they`re off on some abortion issue of some place. It`s ridiculous. And I
want to say this to all of your viewers. We`ve put up with this far too
long. And we`re going to either have a vote on her very soon, that`s
created by Mitch McConnell, or I`ll create one.

I can still do that. I know -- I know parliamentary procedure around here.
And we`re going to put up with this for a little while longer, but not
much.

MADDOW: You have a way that you think you can force a vote, even if
McConnell won`t --

(CROSSTALK)

REID: Absolutely. I`m going to force a vote. If we don`t get something
done soon, I will force a vote.

MADDOW: What would be the trigger for that happening? Just more time
happening or more time passing? What would --

REID: Probably -- I had a conversation today with a number of Republicans
and told them that really, get her done, or I will make sure they have an
opportunity to vote against her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the Senate just announced there will be no more votes this
week. So Republicans don`t even plan to call Loretta Lynch for a floor
vote until next week, at the earliest.

It`s been 49 days since she was approved by a committee. That`s more than
twice as long as the last seven attorney generals combined.

Again, tonight`s breaking news, Senator Reid telling Rachel Maddow that he
may force a vote on Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

Joining me now are Congressmen Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat from New York,
Jonathan Capehart of "The Washington Post," and NBC News Capitol Hill
producer and reporter, Frank Thorp.

Thank you all for being here.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Thanks, Rev.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good evening, Rev.

SCHULTZ: Frank, how would Senator Reid try to force this vote?

FRANK THORP, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL PRODUCER AND REPORTER: Well, Senator
Reid is threatening to force a vote to put the Senate into what is called
an executive session, which would only require 51 votes to go into. And --
so if you got those 51 votes, he could effectively start the process of
procedural votes to actually get to a vote on Loretta Lynch.

The issue for Senator Reid is that that would actually require five
Republicans to also vote with him. And while there are five Republicans
that have said that they would vote for Loretta Lynch, they would vote for
her nomination to be attorney general. It`s unlikely that those five
Republicans would go against Republican leadership and vote to go into
executive session.

SHARPTON: So you are saying that those five would have to vote to go into
Republican -- against the Republican leadership to go into executive
session, which is different than their commitment to vote for her in an
open vote in terms of the full Senate. But you just spoke with Senator
McConnell`s office. What are they saying about this threat from Senator
Reid?

THORP: Well, they`re just effectively saying that while senator -- yes,
Senator Reid can force this vote to go into executive session, Senator Reid
cannot actually force a vote on Loretta Lynch`s nomination, unless he were
to get the 51 votes to go into executive session. What they said is
actually, quote, "That`s Senate 101," unquote. So I mean --

SHARPTON: Is that true?

THORP: It is true. I mean, it is. I mean, Senator Reid would have to be
able to get the votes to go into executive session before he can force this
vote on Loretta Lynch. And Republicans and Democrats also point to the
fact that they are getting very close on these negotiations to pass this
trafficking bill. They`ve been working on this for weeks. And they think
that they can get the -- they can get the negotiations finished, that they
can complete the trafficking bill early next week.

Senator McConnell said that on the floor just a few minutes ago. And he
also said that, as he`s been saying repeatedly, that once they finish that
trafficking bill, they would go ahead and go and -- into the vote on
Loretta Lynch`s nomination.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman Jeffries, today White House spokesman Josh
Earnest, he talked about the Lynch delay. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no reason why she
shouldn`t be confirmed today by the United States Senate. The worst crime
is their refusal to even allow her to come up for a vote. It`s shameful
and it should change today. Being nice has gotten us a 160-day delay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He seems to be done with being nice about this. Is Senator
Reid`s way the best way to go forward, Congressman?

JEFFRIES: Well, I think, absolutely, given that this has been a historic
delay. Loretta Lynch was a historic nomination. She`s exquisitely
qualified. She`s been confirmed by the Senate on two prior occasions
unanimously. She`s a Harvard-educated attorney, an incredibly accomplished
law enforcement professional. She`s the daughter of a school librarian and
a Baptist preacher. She`s the classic embodiment of the American dream and
should be installed to head the Justice Department to close out the
president`s time in office.

And so given that there`s absolutely no reason whatsoever that a reasonable
person could -- disagree with the proposition that she is qualified to be
our attorney general, and given that Mitch McConnell has offered reasons
that are irrational, the Senate should have the ability to walk and chew
gum at the same time. This is allegedly the world`s most deliberative
body, and yet because of the sex trafficking debate, they claim to be
unable to bring Loretta Lynch to the floor.

These excuses are illegitimate in the view of many people here in the
capitol and across the country and that`s why it`s time for Harry Reid to
act and I`m glad that he indicated he`s willing to do so.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, they`re saying there`s a sex trafficking bill, but
this really seems to many people, including me, that this is about fighting
any way they can, President Obama. In fact, your paper, "The Washington
Post," has a new editorial with the headline, "The Senate`s Shabby
Treatment of Loretta Lynch." It says, quote, "There`s no principled reason
to link Miss Lynch`s nomination to the passage of the trafficking bill.
The Republican majority has no one to blame but itself."

They`re right. What`s the point of linking this confirmation to an
unrelated bill, Jonathan?

CAPEHART: Right, well, it`s what we`ve been seeing for the last six years.
A war against the president. This is a proxy war against President Obama
and trying to take him down or limit his ability once again. What`s really
funny here is, the Republicans on Capitol Hill really hated the current
occupant -- really hate the current occupant of the attorney general`s
office, Eric Holder. And when he announced his resignation, you know, he
took away -- Holder took away a lot of their anger.

Now you`ve got Loretta Lynch, who all they have to do is confirm her and
their number one enemy would be gone, or I should say, number two, would be
gone. And instead, Eric Holder, the person who they would love to leave
the attorney general`s office is still there. And yet, as Congressman
Jeffries pointed out, Loretta Lynch is imminently qualified. And the key
thing Congressman Jeffries pointed out was that she has been twice
confirmed by the Senate.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

CAPEHART: Unanimously. There is no reason for her to not be -- to not be
confirmed, except to embarrass the president.

SHARPTON: But, Frank, you work Capitol Hill. What are you hearing? I
mean, what are you hearing from senators and their staffs? What is really
going on behind the scenes here?

THORP: Well, I think there`s no doubt that once Loretta Lynch`s nomination
does make it to the Senate floor, that she will pass. I mean, our whip
count has 51 -- the 51 votes that she needs with the five Republicans who
have publicly announced that they would support her nomination.

I think that Republicans also see this as a leverage point. I mean, not
only do they see this as opposing the Obama administration, but for this
anti-trafficking legislation specifically, they see this as a way to use
leverage to get what they want with the anti-trafficking bill. They
included that language that would tie -- that would prohibit any funds used
in the bill from being used on abortions.

They`ve tried to shift that around a little bit in the last -- in the past
weeks. But they see this as, OK, you know, Democrats, you want this, but
we want -- we want this. And that`s really kind of where we`re at. This
is more of almost, like, a leverage point than it is just a real jab at the
Obama administration.

SHARPTON: But, Congressman, we`re talking about the attorney general of
the United States. With terrorism and some terrorists waiting for
prosecution and/or trial, when you have all kinds of questions about voting
and policing, we`re talking about the attorney general here. This seems to
be crazed to a lot of people that you`re playing with something as
sensitive and as important as the attorney general of the United States.
What`s the real issue here?

JEFFRIES: Well, that`s exactly correct. And this is not the first time
that we`ve seen Republicans willing to play with the safety and security of
the American people. They did it in the context of threatening to shut
down the Department of Homeland Security, and now they`re holding up an
eminently qualified individual to head or to be the chief law enforcement
officer for the nation.

We need all hands on deck at a time when there are terrorists all across
the world who want to strike us in the United States. They only need to be
right once. We need to be correct 100 percent of the time. That`s why we
need a fully functional Department of Justice with Loretta Lynch at the
helm.

Now when you ask the question, what`s the reason, I mean, it`s a very good
question. Why have they chosen to obstruct the president`s agenda, as it
relates to Loretta Lynch, for instance, but not Ash Carter? They claimed
initially that the claim was that -- well, we have a problem with Loretta
Lynch`s supporting the president`s executive action on immigration. Well,
presumably they also had a problem with Ash Carter`s support with the
president`s negotiations with Iran to prevent them from getting a nuclear
weapon. Nonetheless --

SHARPTON: But they confirmed him.

JEFFRIES: They confirmed him almost immediately. And so the Republicans
are going to have to come up with a good reason, which they haven`t
produced so far, and will not be able to. Why is Loretta Lynch being
treated differently, even from other nominees of the president of the
United States?

SHARPTON: You know, Frank, do you see this being resolved quickly? Or do
we have to keep on dealing with this?

THORP: Well, it sounds like Senator McConnell alluded today, and
negotiators on both sides of the aisle seem to think that the differences
on the anti-trafficking bill can be resolved in the coming days. So
Senator McConnell said, he hoped to have this bill finished early next
week. If that`s the case, then they`ll have a vote on Loretta Lynch`s
nomination early next week.

SHARPTON: But we`re hearing other senators saying, well, maybe we want to
do the Iran nuclear deal first. It`s a lot of procrastination and delay
and the American people are the ones suffering.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Jonathan Capehart, and Frank Thorp, thank you
for your time tonight.

THORP: Thanks, Rev.

CAPEHART: Thank you, Rev.

JEFFRIES: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And make sure you watch Rachel Maddow`s full interview with
Senator Harry Reid tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on MSNBC.

Straight ahead, it landed on the Capitol lawn and sparked security scares.
But what exactly is a gyrocopter? And we have a gyrocopter expert here to
tell us.

And Hillary Clinton is praising Elizabeth Warren in "TIME" magazine today,
but the progressive left wants a challenger to Clinton.

And happy National High Five Day to everyone in POLITICS NATION. We`re
looking at the best high fives and the biggest high five fails. Please
stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up, the developing news on the gyrocopter that landed at
the U.S. capital. The pilot was in court today but the questions are only
growing. Did security agents miss multiple warnings?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now to the developing news. The pilot who landed on the U.S.
Capitol lawn in court today. Doug Hughes is now facing charges of
violating restricted airspace and operating an unregistered aircraft with
penalties of up to four years in prison. He was released. He`ll be back
in court next month.

Now growing questions about why he wasn`t stopped. Hughes made his plans
public in a local newspaper and was interviewed by the Secret Service.
Today, officials are asking some basic questions about what just happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEH JOHNSON, DHS SECRETARY: My first reaction was, what`s a gyrocopter? I
had to see an image of it. Oh, yes, that is a gyrocopter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a serious question. Gyrocopters are small, lightweight
aircrafts that can fly below radar detection. In this case, Doug Hughes
passed through three flight restricted zones, getting from Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C., without any problems. He flew past the
Washington Monument, to the lawn of the Capitol building. A simple left
turn would have taken him to the White House.

Just months ago, a drone landed on the White House grounds. Today, fears
over a different potential airborne threat.

Joining me now is Brent Drake, vice president of the group Popular Rotor
Craft Association and a gyrocopter instructor. And Jim Cavanaugh, MSNBC`s
law enforcement analyst.

Thank you both for being here.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Brent, you are the expert. What exactly is a gyrocopter?

BRENT DRAKE, GYROCOPTER EXPERT: Basically, it`s just a small aircraft.
The rotor wing on the top does not have any power on it. It`s just free
spinning. The propeller on the back is what pushes it forward. It will do
about anything a helicopter will do, except for hover. It has to have
forward speed to maintain flight.

SHARPTON: Now gyrocopters can fly up to 10,000 feet with cruising speed of
about 55 miles per hour, a range of about 70 to 80 miles. It`s thought
that this particular gyrocopter weighed around 250 pounds, with a cost of
around $10,000.

So can just about anyone who wants to badly enough figure out a way to get
airborne in one of these? Brent?

DRAKE: Yes, it`s not hard to do. They`re basically an aircraft that was
made and designed for the middle class working man.

SHARPTON: Jim, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson talked about the
difficulty of detecting a gyrocopter. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: This individual apparently literally flew in under the radar,
literally. We are a democracy. We don`t have fences around our air space.
So we`ve got to find the right balance between living in a free and open
society and security and the protection of federal buildings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A balance, Jim. How can security officials prevent this from
happening again?

JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, this guy, Rev,
announced his intentions to fly the gyrocopter and make a stunt of it in
some government restricted place. And the Secret Service interviewed him.
They deemed he wasn`t a threat. I think that was correct on their part.
And they`re very focused on that. But nobody was left with the ticket, as
we say on law enforcement, the ticket on this guy, meaning the case on this
guy, to make sure what -- you know, what he was up to.

He`s a postal employee, so it could have been the postal inspection service
or a great law enforcement agency, and they could have, you know, known
when his days off were, known if he was loading it on to a trailer, but he
could have been intercepted at Gettysburg. That would have been the A-game
for law enforcement to stop him at Gettysburg.

After that, there needs to be a much better plan because the danger of
these things is the position that they put the person in. It`s not that
they carry a heavy payload or anything but the position they could put a
person in can make that person very dangerous.

SHARPTON: Brent, do you need a license to operate one of these? I mean,
how long is the training to learn how to fly one of these and do you need a
license at the end of a training process?

DRAKE: Well, not for that particular machine. That machine there, the
training time would vary upon how quick the individual learns. But in
reality, machines that weighs 254 pounds or less, you do not need a license
to fly.

SHARPTON: But, Jim, this seems not only dangerous to the flyer, they could
be, if they were intentional in this regard, be doing something dangerous
to any argument, any scene that they`re trying to come down on. This is
frightening to a lot of us.

CAVANAUGH: Well, that`s right, Reverend. Look, it wasn`t going to take
out the capitol building. It would have bounced off it like a bug. It`s
not a lot of weight, like Brent said. But you know, a person on there,
bent on destruction, on a suicide mission with a machine gun or a vest full
of hand grenades or a rocket-propelled grenade launcher could kill people,
kill 10 people, 20 people before it got shut down.

So the penetration of restricted airspace by a person bent on destruction
is an important factor. Now the good news is, nobody was hurt, it`s kind
of a quack stunt. And law enforcement like Secretary Johnson said were
going to evaluate it, I`m sure the service, the capital police, the postal
inspectors, and the aviation officers around the district from all the
departments to plan a helos. We`re going to tighten this up for us. This
shouldn`t happen anymore. We can use this as a learning experience,
because nobody got hurt.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: But learning experience, Jim. Can this be stopped? Can we stop
this from happening again?

CAVANAUGH: Well, I think you`ve got to start with the rings of security.
You`ve got to know who`s leaving these airports within a certain range of
the capitol. Because these things have limited range, and a lot of small,
light aircraft do have limited range because of the fuel load. So they
can`t go out a thousand miles. And you know, you`re paying particular
attention to craft that`s not filing a flight plan. So, having the airport
operators in touch with you, better intelligence there, secondly, you know,
I mean, this could be shot there.

And I bet a T-shirt gun could shoot this thing down when he`s 30 feet over
the trees. So, yes, it could be dropped out of the sky. But you have to
be prepared to do it. And you have to be prepared to do it and you have to
be prepared to do it on short o notice.

SHARPTON: Brent Drake and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for your time.

DRAKE: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH : Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Hillary Clinton is suddenly full of praise for
Elizabeth Warren. I`ll talk about it with the head of the group trying to
convince Warren to run for president.

Also, this video of Chris Christie taking off his jacket has gone viral on
the Web. But today, he`s also taking off the gloves against his GOP
rivals.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It happens to everybody. Cell phones ringing at the wrong time.
Sometimes even on live TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Real transformative change
never begins in Washington. Whose duck back there?

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: It`s a duck.

OBAMA: There`s a duck quacking in there somewhere. Where do you guys get
these ring tones, by the way?

TOM BROKAW: Mitch McConnell will -- could that be me?

MADDOW: No, it`s not you. It`s something ambient.

BROKAW: No, I`m afraid it is, unfortunately. The alarm goes off and there
you are. Yes, I will remember to bring home the milk right away. Don`t
worry about it.

ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not seeking an exception
for law enforcement. Give me the phone. All right? This is -- come here,
let me see -- come here. I`ll be right back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, today we got another one. And it may be the most
surprising one yet. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today we learned that Hillary Clinton will head to New Hampshire
next week after a first campaign trip to Iowa. She spent a few days on the
campaign trail, but her message is clear. 2016 is going to be all about
economic fairness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The deck is still stacked in
favor of those already at the top.

We need to reshuffle the cards and begin to play a different hand, a hand
that includes everybody.

There`s something wrong when CEOs take three times more the typical worker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These are priorities that have been championed by Senator
Elizabeth Warren, who Clinton just profiled for "Time" magazine`s 100 most
influential people. Clinton writes, quote, "Elizabeth Warren`s journey
from janitor`s daughter to Harvard professor to public watchdog to U.S.
senator has been driven by an unflagging determination to level the playing
field for hard working American families like the one she grew up with in
Oklahoma." And she never hesitated to hold powerful people`s feet to the
fire. Powerful people? Like Hillary Clinton? Mrs. Clinton wants to send
a strong message to progressives that she`ll stand up for their values.
But is this enough for them to be convinced?

Joining me now is Erica Sagrans, campaign manager for the group, Ready for
Warren, which is working to convince Senator Warren to run in 2016. Thank
you for being here.

ERICA SAGRANS, READY FOR WARREN: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Erica, you`ve been pushing hard to get Senator Warren to jump
into the race, but are you happy to see Mrs. Clinton and other democrats
share her priorities, at least?

SAGRANS: I think what we`ve seen in the past few days is really
encouraging and it shows how influential Senator Warren has become and just
how much of an impact she`s already having on the 2016 race. Warren really
speaks to this moment we`re in, where people are really frustrated with the
way the system is rigged in favor of those at top and is not working as
well for working people and the middle class. And that`s why we really
want her to run.

SHARPTON: Not everyone is convinced that Clinton`s more populist rhetoric
is for real. Politico ran a story today that headlines, Hillary Clinton`s
Wall Street backers say, we get it, with one major democratic donor on
Washington saying, quote, "it`s just politics." What`s your reaction to
this?

SAGRANS: I think it`s encouraging to see this as a first step, I mean, we
want to see all candidates, including Hillary Clinton, really embrace more
of Warren`s language and her vision and values. But we need to see more
and, you know, this is really what Warren`s been doing her whole life, and
so that`s why we want to get her to run and we`re just seeing even more and
more momentum in people who are calling for her to run.

SHARPTON: But you see on the other side, a reluctance of some progressive
leaders, like New York Mayor De Blasio, and Senator Sanders, holding back
from endorsing Senator Clinton. What does Senator Clinton have to do to
convince a lot of progressives to go all with her, because Senator Warren
keeps saying, I`m not running.

SAGRANS: Well, I think she needs to talk more about where she stands on
the issues, which she plans to do, and really we want to see her join
Warren more in some of the things that she`s been standing strong on, you
know, from things like expanding Social Security on student debt, on taking
on Wall Street and the bankers really fearlessly, there`s a lot of
different issues where we want to hear where she stands and I think that`s
what Bill de Blasio and others have said, it`s only a few days into the
race, and so we really want to have that debate and hear what different
candidates stand, including Clinton and others.

SHARPTON: Now, you really focused on trying to get Senator Warren in the
race, but Senator Warren`s been asked many times if she`s going to run for
president and her answers have been the same. I want to play this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I am not running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Are you going to run for president?

WARREN: No. I`m not running and I`m not going to run. Like I said, I`m
not running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you choose to run, and you are the candidate, I will
find a way to give you a million bucks. Does that change your thinking at
all?

WARREN: I`m not running for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, do you really still think you can convince her to run?

SAGRANS: We do. She has always been a reluctant politician. She did not
set out to run for Senate, she was then convinced to run by supporters and
she, you know, she`s been really out there these past few days and weeks.
She`s not rushed to endorse anyone else, and so I think that she`s keeping
an open mind and we believe that we can convince her to run if we can show
her that there`s the support behind her.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s play this out, and I`ve told her and I`ll tell you
if she wants to announce she can do it right here on Politics Nation. But
let`s play this out. There`s no question Senator Warren is popular, but in
recent polls, she`s still way behind Hillary Clinton for the democratic
nomination. How could she build those numbers if she got in the race to
become victorious as the nominee?

SAGRANS: Well, I think the interesting thing is that she`s actually
polling at number two. Senator Warren is polling in second place in New
Hampshire, in Iowa, in other than early primary states. And so -- and she
hasn`t even said she`s running. So she`s actually the number two candidate
in the polls right now. I think if she were to run, she would have that
chance to introduce herself to voters that could find out more about her
and her story, and we`ve seen in some polls that when they do find out
about her and more about her life and her background, that they really like
her and they really come to support her. So I think there`s definitely an
opportunity.

SHARPTON: All right, Erica. You said number two, it`s a long way off, but
could she be a good candidate for vice president, be someone`s running
mate?

SAGRANS: I think that`s up to her, but we`re really focused on getting her
to jump in the race for president. We think that there`s the support and
that she`s really resonating with a lot of people, her message, her vision.
So, we want to see her run for that.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, Erica`s one who`s been in many insurgent
groups and you`ve stuck to your message, you stayed on point. Erica
Sagrans, thank you for your time tonight.

SAGRANS: Great. Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Chris Christie comes out swinging with some tough
words for Jeb Bush. Is he trying to climb back to center stage?

Also, lifestyles of the rich and shameless. House republicans vote to cut
taxes for the kids of billionaires. "Conversation Nation" is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight, host of
the Docket on Shift by MSNBC, Seema Iyer, Hiram College Political Science
Professor Jason Johnson, and "The Boston Globe`s" Shira Center. Thank you
all for being here tonight.

SEEMA IYER, MSNBC HOST "DOCKET" ON SHIFT: Thanks, Rev.

JASON JOHNSON, HIRAM COLLEGE POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Thank you, Rev.

SHIRA CENTER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Thank you.

SHARPTON: Chris Christie is clawing his way back into the 2016 spotlight,
by going after Jeb Bush, in an exclusive interview with NBC`s Matt Lauer,
he questions Jeb Bush`s 2016 momentum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS, "TODAY" SHOW: Jeb Bush, who has not declared yet,
but is out there raising millions and millions of dollars. He`s a moderate
republican. When you look at a potential run, is he your biggest rival?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, I don`t know. You would have
thought when he announced in December that he would be. But it seems to me
that that train has slowed down pretty significantly from what I`ve seen
out and around the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jason, wow. I mean, that train has slowed down. Is this going
to be his strategy, attack Jeb?

JOHNSON: That`s a big man, that`s a lot of shade. I`m serious, look,
Chris Christie, I don`t think that`s a good strategy. I don`t think
attacking Jeb at this point makes him look any better. It makes Jeb look
like a front-runner and at this point you want Jeb to sort of be out of the
picture. But I think, unfortunately, that`s what he`s going to do.
Because Chris Christie doesn`t have that much to run on. So attacking
people punching up, I think that`s the best way he believes right now.

SHARPTON: Well, Seema, you`ve never been accused of being aggressive and
attacking at all.

(LAUGHTER)

IYER: Not at all, but I have had cases when Chris Christie was a
prosecutor, was the U.S. attorney, so I know how balls out he can be. And
frankly, it`s just spin, right? Because Jeb Bush is his biggest threat and
just his train slowing down is only because maybe other republicans have
thrown their hat in the ring in the last few weeks, so we`re focused on
that. But Jeb Bush is just laying low for a bit.

SHARPTON: Shira, this is a family show, so I would appreciate you not
using Seema`s language.

CENTER: You got it, Rev.

SHARPTON: But what do you think? Is this a sound strategy?

CENTER: I don`t necessarily think that was probably the best thing for
Chris Christie to say. He will be in New Hampshire for three days this
week, he had a pretty overall good presidency, he earned some good
headlines this week. But that one really struck out to me is something
that wasn`t the smartest thing to say because it doesn`t him look like he`s
taking pot shots at another candidate in the race. And the leading
candidate in the race. Looks like he`s grasping at straws.

SHARPTON: Could he turn off voters, Shira?

CENTER: It`s possible he could turn off voters, but it`s still pretty and
I hate it when people like this say this but I`m going to say it. But it`s
pretty early for that. I don`t know if anyone`s going to go to the New
Hampshire primary or the Iowa caucuses and remember this specific comment
in ten months.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s go to this. Today, the republican-controlled
House voted to repeal the estate tax, giving a tax break to the children of
the richest people in the country. This isn`t a giveaway for the top one
percent, it`s for the top 0.2 percent. Came just a day after strikes
across the country of workers calling for a livable minimum wage. And with
a new poll showing 69 percent of Americans think the income gap is getting
bigger. Shira, a tax break for the rich when everyone`s talking about
inequality? What were they thinking?

CENTER: Well, they voted like this before in the House of Representatives,
it`s not the first time they`ve attempted to repeal the estate tax. And
you know, they`ve won elections time after time. I think the difference is
that income inequality is going to be a huge issue in 2016, in a way we
have not seen before. The American voters just seething with this right
now, the differences between the one percent and everyone else.

SHARPTON: Jason, is it a disconnect or is it playing to the politics that
brought them to the party?

JOHNSON: Look, the republicans are thinking about the children, all those
Paris Hilton kids out there suffering from affluenza, and they need this
money to be delivered to them enter generationally, because they don`t
care, and because they are not going to be held accountable, and so they
can do this sort of ridiculous law, because one people aren`t going to
remember by the time elections come around, and two, you have too many
Americans who are still believe that one day they`ll be part of the one
percent and they want to give billions to their childrens. So
unfortunately, the republicans won`t face any consequences for such a
ridiculous law or even an attempt at the law.

SHARPTON: But Seema, what about the fast food workers that marched all
over the country yesterday. What about their children, what about their
families?

IYER: Well, Rev, the Republicans don`t care about those children and those
families, Republicans care about their base. And Rev, you and my co-panels
would know better about this, but wasn`t some guy named Adelson just put in
like $100 million in the last election to defeat Obama? So that`s the
people the republicans care about. The 0.2 percent, the one percent, not
the fast food workers.

SHARPTON: But is that -- we heard a lot, Jason, about this autopsy they
were going to do in the party, to reach out and be kinder and gentler. And
then their vote and their policies reflect the exact opposite of that.

JOHNSON: Oh, yes, they were supposed to reach out to black folk, and that
hasn`t helped --

IYER: Maybe rich black folk.

JOHNSON: And supposed to, you know, reach out to the LBGT community, and
that didn`t really work in Indiana. So, I don`t think anyone has been
paying attention to this autopsy and they`re going to be in serious trouble
next year. And they might still be dead on arrival.

SHARPTON: All right, straight ahead, what does Senator Pat Roberts have in
common with girls across the country and their parents?

And we`re celebrating national high five day POLITICS NATION style.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel. Seema, Jason, and Shira. You
wouldn`t believe what interrupted a Senate committee hearing today. Take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re going to be very aggressive on that issue, as well
as on the geographic preference issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ah, come on!

("LET IT GO" RING TONE PLAYING)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just let it go, Mr. --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But, wait, was that Elsa from Disney`s movie "Frozen"? I mean,
who did that actually come from? Here`s another angle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`re going to be very aggressive on that issue, as well
as on the geographic preference issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ah, come on!

("LET IT GO" RING TONE PLAYING)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Just let it go, Mr. --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was from Senator Pat Roberts` phone. He said the "Let it go"
ring tone is for his grandkids. Shira, who knew the senator was a "Frozen"
fan?

CENTER: Who knew? But you know, I think a lot of adults around the
country have had to watch that movie repeatedly, with children, especially
girls, under the age of 12 over the past couple of years. I`m guessing Pat
Roberts is one of them. But I will say, he knows something about it. He
almost let his re-election go and then came back and won it.

IYER: Oh, go, Shira!

SHARPTON: I didn`t see that was coming. But Jason, I mean, a lot of
people had to watch it, but put it on your ringtone?

JOHNSON: You know, I don`t know, it was better than like Lil` Wayne or
something like --

(CROSSTALK)

-- More excessive than to get a "Let it go," he can it`s for his grandkids.

IYER: Jason, what`s your ring tone? I need to know. What`s your ring
tone?

JOHNSON: Mine is generic. Mine is generic. I just have the basic ring
tone that came with the phone.

IYER: Mine makes sense, it`s, "Call me, Maybe." Hey, I just met you, this
is crazy, here`s my number, call me maybe. At least it makes sense.

JOHNSON: That`s true.

SHARPTON: All right. All right. But let me try to wheel it back in,
Seema.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, the point is, he said that it rings that way when his grandkids
call. So I guess that`s a reasonable explanation.

IYER: Yes. For sure.

JOHNSON: Makes sense.

CENTER: Sure.

SHARPTON: All right. Finally, let me wish everyone a Happy National High
Five Day. For 13 years, we`ve celebrated on the third Thursday of April,
by giving high fives all day to friends, coworkers, and strangers. But
politicians are no stranger to the high five. It`s one of President
Obama`s favorite moves. And it`s how Senator Clinton always handled tough
diplomacy. Here`s Senator Warren, getting ready to go in on a high five on
the campaign trail. John McCain even got a high five in with the Arizona
diamondbacks, ask a mascot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Oh! That`s what I`m talking about.
Our first one.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My apologies. Just, I don`t know, just -- can I high
five you?

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Oh, my gosh, there she goes again. Can`t you control
your wife, Mr. President?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Mills, my tenth grade high school history teacher,
who said, I`d never amount to anything if I kept screwing around in class.
Mr. Mills, I`m about to high five the president of the United States. Is
that okay?

OBAMA: Let`s do it. Eat it, Mills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jason, how do you feel about politicians` high-fiving?

JOHNSON: You know, I kind of hope it would get retired for the fist bump
because I think I like that --

IYER: Good call! I am with you on that.

JOHNSON: But I see politicians again, they`re trying to connect, they`re
trying to look normal. But again, I hope in 20 years, we`re talking about
the fist bump rather than the high fiving.

SHARPTON: Twenty years, Seema?

IYER: I don`t think -- it should be sooner than that, definitely five.
But I think there`s also a respect level. It would be hard to high five
the president. Like I can`t imagine fist bumping you, Rev, I think that
would be kind of disrespectful. You know? I would just give you like a
Namaste or something like that.

SHARPTON: I`ll take both the Namaste and the fist bump.

IYER: You got it.

SHARPTON: Shira?

CENTER: Yes. I`m a Jason. I`m a fan of the emerging fist bump. It`s way
less pressure than the high five, right. Five fingers connecting on each
side, and if you miss a fist bump, you can recover so much more quickly and
fewer germs.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, Seema, Jason, and Shira, how about doing a
high five, everybody?

CENTER: High five.

SHARPTON: I`ll do the fist bump. Thank you for joining the conversation.
Be sure to catch Seema on "THE DOCKET" Tuesdays on 11:00 a.m. on Shift by
MSNBC.

We`ll be right back with just a few of the things that have happened in the
159 days that republicans have refused to vote on Loretta Lynch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Back to the breaking news we told you about earlier in the show.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid telling Rachel Maddow, he`ll force
republicans to hold a vote on Loretta Lynch`s confirmation if they don`t
act soon. Today marks the 159th day since Lynch was nominated for attorney
general. It`s absurd the vote hasn`t happened yet. Want to know how
absurd? Just check out all the crazy things that have happened during
those 159 days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, that`s Kim Kardashian, bearing her backside on the cover of
"Paper" magazine.

Three, two, one!

Yay!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You go through that process of breaking the balls in. I
don`t want to be one rubbing them. To me those balls are perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What`s it been like to see this turn into such a
national media event? Did you expect this to become the phenomenon that it
has?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In my heart, I know it is time for someone else to have
that opportunity. And no, no, no, no, no.

SHARPTON: This is what "SNL" can do. We are the direct opposites of
American politics, but we`re here tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A slow, but sometimes high-speed pursuit of two llamas
on the loose.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Batten down the hatches. Now time for the great debate,
all right? This one has everyone asking, what color is this dress?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Zayn Malik has officially left One Direction.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Duke beat Wisconsin, 68-63. What turned out to be a
great matchup in Indianapolis Monday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They`re going around to the back, so we`re not going to
-- you can see the media running behind me here, to chase the Scooby van.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, a lot can happen in 159 days. But what hasn`t happened, a
vote on Loretta Lynch. Would all of the things, the crisis, the pending
decisions that this nation is facing, that they need a focused Justice
Department to tend to. They are stalling, they are making excuses, they
are fabricating reasons not to confirm someone they had no questions about,
someone they`ve confirmed twice before, as U.S. attorney in local
districts. It is a shame and a sham, it needs to stop, now.

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



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

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