PoliticsNation, Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 21, 2015
Guest: Eugene O`Donnell, Billy Murphy, Barbara Boxer, Faith Jenkins, Ken
Padowitz, Angela Rye, Jason Johnson, Liz Plank
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR, THE ED SHOW: That`s "the Ed Show." I`m Ed
Schultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton starts right now.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you for tuning in.
We start with breaking news, protesters are under way outside the western
district police station in Baltimore. Hundreds have gathered in what so
far appears to be peaceful demonstrations over the death of 25-year-old
Freddie Gray. Those protests starting just about an hour ago.
It all comes on the same day the justice department announced it`s looking
into Gray`s death for possible civil rights violations. The 25-year-old
suffered a severe spinal cord injury allegedly in police custody. Cell
phone video captures the moments after Freddie Gray was taken into custody
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDDIE GRAY, SUSPECT: Get off me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His leg is broken and you all are dragging him like
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The police report says Gray was arrested without forces or
incident. It also says he suffered, quote, "a medical emergency and was
immediately transported to the hospital."
Today Baltimore police released the names of the six officers who have been
suspended with pay. City officials said the police investigation will be
completed by next Friday and handed over to the state`s attorney`s office.
An independent review board will also be appointed.
Again, the breaking news tonight, the justice department is reviewing the
case for possible civil rights violations and protests under way outside
the police station in Baltimore.
Joining me now is the attorney for Freddie Gray`s family, William H.
"Billy" Murphy and Eugene O`Donnell, professor of law and police study at
John Jay College of criminal justice.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, reverend, for inviting us.
SHARPTON: Attorney Murphy, let me ask you, first, what is family`s
reaction to the justice department looking into this case for possible
civil rights violations?
WILLIAM H. "BILLY" MURPHY, GRAY`S FAMILY ATTORNEY: They are delighted.
They know that the more eyes on this situation the better. And under
Barack Obama and Eric Holder, I have informed them that they have a
trustworthy ally in getting at the truth.
SHARPTON: Now, what questions do you still have for police, and is the
family confident in the police investigation?
MURPHY: You know, your show is not long enough for me to list all the
questions. And the first one that I would ask is since when has running
wild black been a crime. And I know that the police have always thought it
should be, but felony running does not exist. And the only thing wrong
that that kid did is he didn`t run fast enough. And if you are ever
looking for -- if you are ever looking for a reason why black kids in the
inner city should run from the police, this is the case.
SHARPTON: So you`re saying that because all that we know so far is that
the police say they made eye contact and he ran. There was no crime. He
was not being apprehended for a crime.
MURPHY: And there`s no other reason for the arrest. They didn`t expect to
see him, and they reacted the way that they have been trained to react, and
that is when somebody is running, follow them, and that`s just wrong.
SHARPTON: Now, attorney Murphy, your office has been interviewing
witnesses as well. What can you share with us that you`re hearing from
MURPHY: Well, I don`t really want to talk about what the witnesses have
said to us, Reverend Sharpton, because we`re in the unique position of
considering litigation. And it has been my experience that people can say
things inadvertently or unnecessarily that can harm the case going down the
SHARPTON: I understand.
MURPHY: But what we do know for sure, because you said allegedly in police
custody, the police have admitted that whatever happened to my client
happened while he was in custody. SHARPTON: They have admitted to that?
MURPHY: Yes, they have.
SHARPTON: All right. Just one second. Stay with me, attorney Murphy. I
want to go live to NBC News correspondent Tom Costello on the ground in
Baltimore where the protests are underway.
Tom, what are you seeing?
TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a very peaceful
protest that began about an hour and a half ago or so and it started
further up the block, essentially right at the intersection or very close
to it where Freddie Gray was arrested and where his injury may have occur.
The people in this community really kind of took to the streets and they
began walking peacefully, about two to three blocks this way, towards the
camera. And what you see off to the left here is the district police
station. This is not police headquarters. This is the district police
Everybody here is very peaceful. They are demanding change. They are
demanding answers into how Mr. Gray was injured and why he was under arrest
to begin with. But as you can see nobody here is tense. The police are
relaxed. The people in the crowd are relaxed.
And really, I see a lot of families here. You know, I walked with several
families down the street, and I asked them why are you walking. Why are
you here? These are people that live in this neighborhood. This is not an
easy neighborhood. They all will tell you that. But they say we are here
because we don`t want this to happen to our child or we`re here because
this did happen to my child, and I can`t see this happen again.
There`s a real distrust in this community between the police department and
specifically communities of color, and especially in low-income
communities, and people have had enough candidly. They will tell you that
they simply don`t trust the police. And this incident involving Mr. Gray
they feel really underscores this distrust and this lack of trust, if you
will, this lack of any sense of wanting to work together because they feel
like they can`t rely on the police when they need to.
The crowd is now moving a little bit further down the street, Reverend.
And as you can see everybody is peaceful and they are saying black lives
matter. No justice, no peace. We want answers.
Now back to you.
SHARPTON: Now, I know Baltimore well and have allies there. And a lot of
faith leaders involved in the protests, a lot of people that I work with,
and they are peaceful but there is a history, Tom, as you`re saying of
police community, exchanges where the community feel the police have not
been fair in many cases.
COSTELLO: Yes, I think that`s absolutely true. And actually earlier
today, I was sitting down with one of your guests right there with attorney
Billy Murphy talking about this very phenomenon.
But absolutely, there`s a sense that this has been growing for decades. It
really got even worse in the early 2000s when this heavy-handed police
approach came into the practice here in Baltimore, and right now it is
fractured. There`s not much of a sense of trust.
And that`s not me saying that. That is the mayor saying it. It`s the
police commissioner saying it. There`s a widespread recognition in this
community that the relationship with the police department is fractured and
maybe completely broken. And this incident with Mr. Gray only now
underscores that and is going to make they say even requires a bigger
challenge to rebuild this relationship.
SHARPTON: Attorney Murphy, thank you Tom. Let me go back to you a minute,
attorney Murphy. I`ve known you through many issues down through the
years. There is a long history of the police community in Baltimore where
a lot of allegations have been made down through the year, many of which
MURPHY: Well, you know, can I call you Al on the air?
MURPHY: Al, you know that this has hostility towards the police began
during slavery and intensified after the passage of the fugitive slave act,
and they have always been the enforcers of the existing cultural norms, the
norms that were defined by people classified as white, and this got worse
during the aftermath of the civil war during segregation and the police
would stand idly by and watch lynching and even release prisoners to
lynchers so that justice could be done in that way in their opinion.
And so, this intensified and it got worse after World War II because all
these GIs who risked their lived got called nigger again when they went
back to Mississippi or Louisiana or wherever they were from. And that
created the dawn of the civil rights movement that resulted in the passage.
Civil rights act in 1964 and 1965, but it`s a history that`s never been
taught adequately to white people. And even some of black people today
have not been taught that history.
And so this is not a new phenomenon. The police have always enforced the
social norms as defined by white people. And so that`s why you don`t hear
protests about police brutality in white communities. It`s virtually
nonexistent. And you hear about it all the time in black communities
because it has been a constant factor of black life from the beginning of
our being imported into this country.
And, look, all of us, have had to train our male children to keep their
hands on the wheel when the police officer comes, ask permission to move
your hands so you can get your registration out of the glove box and so you
can reach in your wallet for your license.
MURPHY: Because at night it is typical that the police draw their guns if
you`re black and you`re only a second away --
SHARPTON: This is something not back in the day. This is now.
But let me go to you, Eugene, I haven`t brought you into the discussion.
You`ve studied this case. What are your questions now as a professor and
one looking into the allegations in the black community? What are the
questions you have to raise?
EUGENE O`DONNELL, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Mr.
Murphy is raising profound questions and long distance questions that
deserve answers, but I would say to people the common ground question is
here is how does somebody die under these circumstances and more than a
week goes by, think of yourself as a family member getting the call, no
matter who you are, no matter the walk of life, somebody is dead and nobody
can give you a straight answer as to how that happened. And the more you
know the less clear it is and the more unsettling it is.
Police have to get out in front of this, have to be transparent, have to at
least in this case, a legacy issues are profound and take a lot longer, but
how do you have a situation where somebody in the morgue and you -- you
were looking for an accounting for a life being lost and you can`t seem to
SHARPTON: But for those watching that saying that was back then, we`re
talking about right now.
SHARPTON: And we`re talking about this case where this young man not being
sought, not being looked for, not being accused of a crime, and he`s dead,
and you can`t explain the time gap. You can`t explain how he could have
suffered that injury in police custody. And the mass saying there`s been a
legacy of police abuse. So you really have some very open, very serious
questions that this case brings to the surface.
O`DONNELL: Absolutely, and you`re breeding distrust. Every day that goes
by that you can`t answer the questions you`re breeding distrust. The
larger issue, we`ve talked about this, this is obviously a significant
issue, with a larger issue is the police are just overly involved. And we
seen now in New York and the great county according to the city council in
New York, they are starting to dramatically rein police conduct in so that
a lot of things that have been criminalized will be handled as civil
Police have way too much to do, too many legitimate things to be chasing
somebody around for apparently a reason that we still don`t know what good
reason there was for them to be involved in this encounter.
SHARPTON: And, again, we`re not saying all cops or most cops, but clearly
there must be accountability and transparency, and I think that that is
what this family is demanding and attorney Murphy.
Let me ask you, attorney Murphy, in terms of the family and the local
police and the mayor, does the family -- I know you said they have
confidence under the Obama administration and under attorney general
Holder. Do they have confidence in the mayor and the police chief there in
MURPHY: Well, let`s take them one step at a time. No. No reasonable
person in today`s environment would have confidence that the police can
police themselves. We`ve never seen it before. And given the history of
police cover-ups and the lies that they have told to cover their brutality
and the willingness of the criminal justice system, judges, elected
officials and what not who are mostly white to believe the cover-up and to
give them a free pass to commit perjury doesn`t inspire confidence in any
reasonable person who understands the deal.
And this is a unique situation in which we find ourselves, Al, because,
look, until video cameras in cell phones, they were getting away with
cover-up, after cover-up, after cover-up. All they would have to do is
tell a lie. The establishment would believe it, end of story.
MURPHY: And now for the first time the public is -- go ahead.
SHARPTON: I think that`s what we`re seeing all over the country. I`m out
of time, but I think you`re absolutely right, and not only in Baltimore, in
North Charleston and other places, videos have brought this to the fore,
and we`re certainly going to stay on this story.
Attorney Billy Murphy, Eugene O`Donnell. Thank you both for your time.
We are watching the protests, and we are watching cases all over the
country, and I don`t care if the cops are black or white, including the
black cop in North Charleston, that I say that needs to be looked into on
terms of his report. Police need to be transparent. Those that are bad,
most police are not, but those that are, black or white, we need to hold
them accountable. That is not anti-police. That`s pro good policing.
Coming up, President Obama`s exclusive interview with Chris Matthews. Why
he says Senator Elizabeth Warren is wrong about a key issue on his agenda.
Also, the reserve deputy who shot a man in Oklahoma is now heading to the
Bahamas. The victim`s family is speaking out.
Plus, developing news about a potential deal for a vote on the Loretta
Lynch nomination. You`re watching live pictures of the protest in
Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray.
We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Now to developing news in Washington. Loretta Lynch will get a
vote. After 164 days, a near record delay, and frankly a Republican
embarrassment, the nominee for attorney general will get a vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: As soon as we finish the
trafficking bill as I`ve indicated for some time now we`ll move to the
president`s nominee for attorney general. Hopefully in the next day or so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They tied lynch`s confirmation vote to a human trafficking bill
that had absolutely nothing to do with her. For nearly six weeks they
debated on the abortion funding in the bill. Today both sides came to a
deal, clearing the way for a vote. Five Republicans said they will vote
yes on Lynch which will clinch her nomination. But today Senator Chuck
Schumer had a warning for his Republican colleagues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: But we`re not just there yet. You never
know with this Republican caucus. You never know what`s happened. It`s
time for Republicans to do what they should have done months ago, drop the
delays, drop the excuses, vote to confirm Loretta Lynch this week. My
Republican colleagues, I ask you to put this embarrassing episode for your
party behind you without wasting any more of the American people`s time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from
California. Thank you for being here.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Sure.
SHARPTON: Are you confident this vote will happen by the end of the week?
Senator McConnell suggested that. Are you confident that that will happen?
BOXER: I expect it will happen, Reverend. But if I have a minute I want
to explain something to you.
You are totally right. We`ve seen this delayed 164 days, and it wasn`t
just tying it to the trafficking bill which was ridiculous. What did she
have to do with it? She`s a tough prosecutor. We need her in there to
fight, to make sure that women aren`t enslaved.
But here`s the point. First they said, we`ll take her up after the new
Congress is in session. Then they didn`t do that. Then they said we`ll
take her up after the keystone vote and they didn`t do that. Then they
were upset over Obama`s immigration executive action so they held her up
for nothing. And then it was the trafficking bill.
But here`s what I expect. I expect we will have some more votes on this
trafficking bill, maybe half a dozen, a few more, a few less, and then
instead -- this is what I think is going to happen. Instead of immediately
turning to her, I think they are going to have a filibuster of her. Now,
before people get upset, because we changed the rules it takes a majority
of those present and voting to end a filibuster on a nominee, OK?
BOXER: So she will be OK. But, Reverend, if I`m right on this
expectation, she will be officially the first attorney general ever to be
filibustered. It`s ridiculous. And then once we win that I assume they
will move to the final vote on her because the filibuster vote is to end
So we`ll win it. But, again, if they carry this out, and I`m asking them
right now from me to you, Senator McConnell, don`t filibuster this
nomination. It will go down in the record as the only person who was
nominated for the A.G., attorney general, ever to have a filibuster. It`s
technical. We`ll defeat it, but it`s one more hurdle that we don`t need to
SHARPTON: So, Senator, your fear, I want to repeat it and be clear.
SHARPTON: Is that even moving toward a vote that they may possibly
filibuster, even though you feel that you can defeat the filibuster, this
will be another tactic they may use. And this would be the first time an
attorney general was confirmed after a filibuster?
BOXER: If, in fact -- no, it would be the first time an attorney general
was ever filibustered. But, remember, I don`t want people to be alarmed,
because we changed the rules they cannot stop her except if they don`t get
a majority -- if we don`t get a majority involvement she will be OK.
The point is it`s just an added indignity to the entire situation around a
woman who is perfect for this position. She`s what we call in Washington a
consensus candidate. She`s been confirmed twice before. No problems.
She`s been a superstar, and everyone agrees with that. But they play
politics with her nomination. And even though this filibuster which I fear
they will do is a technical thing, it just goes down in the record books.
She will be the first attorney general nominee ever to be filibustered
unless they decide not to go ahead with that idea, and I hope they will.
SHARPTON: You know you wrote about this confirmation of attorney general
nominee Lynch in March saying, and I`m quoting you. "Time and again this
Republican majority has tried to inject unrelated, extreme, political
charged matters into key pieces of legislation that would otherwise pass
with bipartisan support." Now you`re fearing that they will go through
with a filibuster. You used the term one more indignity.
SHARPTON: Why in your opinion, Senator Boxer, are they submitting this
woman to these indignities? What do you feel is at the base reason that
they are dealing from this kind of perspective and procedure?
BOXER: All I can say is this is wrong to do to anyone, especially a
consensus candidate like this, a woman who will make history. We should be
so excited as the first African-American woman in this preposition, and she
should be treated with joy because everyone says she is so highly
qualified. She`s passed the Senate unanimously twice to be U.S. attorney.
You would have to ask that question to my colleagues on the other side.
I`m sure they will give you some reasons. One of the reasons they said was
they didn`t like the fact that President Obama took executive action on
immigration, and she said she supported that. Well, of course, she`s going
to support it. She`s his pick for attorney general.
BOXER: So that is no reason. I just think that anything that president
does they make it very, very hard for him, and this particular one is
ridiculous. And if I could just say, a poll just came out today by a major
network, not yours, that said that 24 percent of women support what the
Republicans are doing in Congress.
You would think they would go out of their way to treat this spectacular
woman, a graduate of Harvard, a stellar career, support from the police,
support from the community, would you think they would treat her
graciously, and it just goes on and on. But I will say, we`re getting to
the end, she will be attorney general, but it just has been so hard, and I
so thank her for hanging in there with us.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. And I so thank you and your colleagues for hanging
in there and pushing for the American people.
BOXER: Of course.
SHARPTON: Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you for your time tonight as well.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, the reserve deputy who shot a man in Oklahoma
pleads not guilty to manslaughter. But why is he now going to the Bahamas?
Our lawyers respond.
Plus, President Obama plays "Hardball" with Chris Matthews and Republicans
what. He`s saying about the middle class fight.
You`re looking at live protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie
Gray. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: President Obama sat down today with "Hardball`s" Chris Matthews
and they got right to the politics of a controversial trade deal that`s
supported by the president but opposed by some Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: Mr. President, obviously the hot
question, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is out there saying things like
this about the trade agreement we`re going to talk about today. It`s going
to help the rich get richer and leave everyone else behind. She also says
it challenges U.S. sovereignty. They are throwing the kitchen sink at this
trade agreement which will involve 11 nations and ourselves on the Pacific
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Why are they saying these things?
OBAMA: Well, I guess they don`t want it to happen, and I love Elizabeth.
We`re allies on a whole host of issues, but she`s wrong on this. Now, I
would not be doing this trade deal if I did not think it was good for the
OBAMA: And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad
this trade deal, when you dig into the facts they are wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`ll play more of the interview later in the show, including
President Obama`s defense of his economic record, a hot topic going into
And be sure to catch the full interview with the president tonight on
"Hardball" with Chris Matthews starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern time.
SHARPTON: You`re looking at new pictures of the protests happening in
Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. Our local NBC
affiliate reports Gray`s family is currently leading the march back to the
spot where Gray was arrested. The demonstrations appeared to be largely
peaceful so far and started about an hour and a half ago. Gray died after
suffering a severe spinal cord injury allegedly while in police custody.
The Justice Department announced today it was reviewing the case to
determine if civil rights were violated. We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: We`re back with the "Justice Files." With me tonight former
prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith," Faith Jenkins and criminal defense
Attorney Ken Padowitz. Thank you both for being here.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thanks, Rev.
KEN PADOWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We begin in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where today Reserve Deputy Robert
Bates pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter for the shooting
death of Eric Harris. Bates says he accidentally shot Harris because he
mistook his handgun for his taser. The next hearing in that case is in
July, but before that Bates is leaving town.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Brewster, he`s leaving the state. He`s going
to the Bahamas.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. Long planned vacation with the family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And Bates` decision to go to the Bahamas on vacation is not
sitting well with the victim`s family. They issued a statement saying,
quote, "Whether intended or not Mr. Bates` vacationing in the Bahamas at
this time sends a message of apathy with respect to the shooting and Eric`s
life. At a time when we are still mourning the death of a loved one that
he shot down in the street, Mr. Bates will be relaxing and enjoying his
wealth and privilege."
Faith, going to the Bahamas when you`re charged with manslaughter. What`s
JENKINS: Well, first, I want to back up for a second in the fact that Mr.
Bates is a multi-millionaire and this judge only set his bond at $25,000,
and now he gets to go on a Caribbean vacation. No, this is not someone
accused of stealing candy from a candy store. He has taken a life. This
is not the time that he should be rewarded and allowed to go on vacation.
I`m very concerned about the judge`s decision here, and I wonder if this
were a member of the Judge`s family, if one of his family members died,
would he concede and let someone who killed him go on a vacation, or should
that person be in the confines of his bail and be confined to the state of
Oklahoma at this time?
SHARPTON: Twenty five thousand dollars bail, allowed to go on vacation.
Ken, is this unusual for the judge to allow this?
PADOWITZ: Yes, I don`t think there`s any problem with the judge here. My
concern is the problem with the defense attorney. This is a defense
attorney that lets his client go on the "Today" show and answer questions
while he`s facing criminal charges. This is a defense attorney that allows
the optics of his client who needs to have a jury pool from the state of
Oklahoma, at least having some open mind about his case, allows his client
to go to the Bahamas on vacation. That`s not a good lawyer. Forget the
problems with the judge. I think this lawyer needs to maybe get shipped
out and a new lawyer plates in his place because this man, in my opinion,
actually has a good defense. His defense is accident. He`s presumed
innocent. He has the right to go on vacation, but, boy oh, boy, that`s a
bad decision, and I would not ever be recommending to my client to go on
SHARPTON: But Ken, wait a minute. Ken, Bates pleaded not guilty, but he`s
admitted he fired the gun. So what will his defense be?
PADOWITZ: Well, his defense is going to be accident. I mean, the crime
that he`s charged with is manslaughter by culpable negligence in the
second-degree and culpable negligence in Oklahoma is a lack of ordinary
care. I don`t think that the state is going to be able to meet their
burden here. I think that the 73-year-old man should never have been on
the job. He should be liable for millions of dollars but it`s not a crime
if it`s an accident, and I think he has an excellent defense.
SHARPTON: All right. Faith, let me go to you, Faith.
PADOWITZ: -- by going to Bahamas. Not a good idea.
JENKINS: It is a crime if you`re reckless, Ken, so we have to disagree
there, and I think any time you have Mr. Bates stand up and he demonstrated
how his taser was on his front side and his gun was on his back side and he
made that kind of mistake, that is a very reckless mistake. Why was it
made? You know, even if he`s certified to use a taser, even if he`s
certified to use a gun, the fact is that this is not someone who is day in
and day out with this task force doing sting operations. He never should
have been at an undercover gun buy and bust. He doesn`t have that kind of
experience, he did not know how to react in a stressful situation. He was
reckless and that`s why this man is dead.
SHARPTON: All right. Now, back to tonight`s breaking news. Protests
under way in Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray allegedly
in police custody. Gray`s parents have joined the protest and are leading
marches back to the spot where he was arrested. The key legal questions in
this case, how did gray`s injury occur, and was there any delay in seeking
Faith, what questions do you have?
JENKINS: Well, I have way more questions than I do answers right now
because according to the family this was a relatively healthy 25-year-old.
He was arrested, and the next thing we know days later he suffers this
serious spine injury. Days later he`s dead and another example, Rev, of
why the Justice Department has to step in. This police force cannot
investigate themselves because we already know right now someone`s not
being forthcoming. There are still too many unanswered questions days
after this young man died in police custody.
SHARPTON: Ken, what questions do you have?
PADOWITZ: I mean, somebody who is healthy and is now in police custody and
the next thing they end up dead with a broken spine. I have a lot of
questions. How did his spine get broken? How much force was placed on
back of his neck by the knees of any officer? Which officer is not
admitting to how much pressure was used in controlling the suspect outside
the van or in the van, and we can go on and on and on, but there`s got to
be some answers and these answers have to come from the police officers
that so far have not indicated what type of force was used to create
injuries that would cause death.
SHARPTON: It appears that the officers that have been suspended, that
we`re going to hear the report next Friday because there`s a law there in
Baltimore that the police get ten days to come back and make their
statements. So, Faith, once they come back, the Justice Department will
also make a final determination on whether they are pursuing a civil rights
investigation. At this point they are looking into, it so there`s several
stages here that we have to look to, but clearly there`s a lot of questions
that need answering around the country and in that community, Faith.
JENKINS: Right, and it`s really about -- we`re seeing this recurring issue
about the use of force and the unjustifiable use of force. For some of
these individual officers there`s clearly a culture of retaliation once
someone has been detained, once they have been arrested, if they run, we
are going to punish you. We`re going to beat you. And that`s one of the
issues that has to be addressed with some of these individual officers.
Once someone is detained, there is no reason that force should be continued
to be used against them.
SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins and Ken Padowitz, thank you both for your time
JENKINS: Thank you.
PADOWITZ: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, more of President Obama`s exclusive interview with
Chris Matthews. How he`s defending his progressive economic agenda. Also,
why Hillary Clinton`s advisers are saying she`s the original Elizabeth
And Jon Stewart sets a date for his final show. It`s all ahead in
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight
political strategist Angela Rye, Political Science Professor Jason Johnson
and Mic.com`s Liz Plank. Thank you all for being here.
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thanks, Reverend.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, HIRAM COLLEGE: Pleasure to be
SHARPTON: We start with President Obama and his highest approval rating in
two years, 48 percent of Americans approve, and the numbers are rising as
Americans are more optimistic on the economy. Fifty two percent say the
economy is either very good or somewhat good. From the start President
Obama has pushed the middle class. He talked about it with "HARDBALL`S"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Chris, think about it. I`ve spent
the last six and a half years yanking this economy out of the worst
recession since the great depression. Every single thing I`ve done, from
the Affordable Care Act to pushing to raise the minimum wage, to making
sure that young people are able to go to college and get good job training
to what we`re pushing now in terms of sick paid leave, everything I do has
been focused on how do we make sure the middle class is getting a fair
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The full interview with the president is in a few minutes on
"HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. So, Angela,
there`s a lot of republican haters, but we`ve come a long way.
RYE: We`ve come an extremely long way, and, Rev, it`s probably time for
some GOP congratulators. If they look at the facts, the fact say that of
course there`s been well over 60 months of private sector job growth, that
is all due to this administration and the plans they put in place,
everything from public-private partnerships to ensuring that people all
over this country, regardless of economic status, have opportunity. He`s
also put forth proposals that they haven`t even taken a second look at,
including ensuring that people that go to community colleges are really
getting trained for jobs. That`s something that they need to look at if
they want to sustain this type of job growth and this type of economic
strength long term.
SHARPTON: Well, Jason, when the President took office we had an
administration that then, when he took office, had just lost 800,000 jobs.
This president has added jobs every month since he`s been in office.
RYE: That`s right.
SHARPTON: But I won`t hold my breath waiting on all of the right wing to
JOHNSON: No, of course not, and, look, not only is he having some of the
best approval ratings over the last two years. He`s got better approval
ratings in George Bush, he has about the same approval ratings that Ronald
Reagan has the same time, it has to do with the economy. So, I have no
idea why he`s pushing this current trade bill which might ruin everything
he`s accomplished. I think the President needs too to keep going in the
same direction and be careful about possibly selling out the American
SHARPTON: I`m going to get there, Liz. Jason stepped on my congratulatory
block and went into the trade bill.
RYE: With no facts.
SHARPTON: And that`s why we`ve got to watch these academicians.
But Liz, your answer to whether or not the President should be given
congratulations on economic issues.
LIZ PLANK, MIC.COM: I mean, absolutely. I think these numbers one of the
most striking things about is, it doesn`t just show that people are happy
right now, it shows that they really trust the President, I mean, not just
as a global leader. I mean, even in the last year what he`s done for
Ukraine, what he`s done with the Iran deal, what he`s done with our
relationships with Cuba which no other president has been able to do in a
recent past, but also what he`s done domestically. People aren`t just
happy about the state of things now. They are very confident that a year
from now things will be the same or better and we`ve not seen those numbers
since 2007 which was a very hard time, as you mentioned, so I -- I think
everyone all around is very confident that things will continue in this
SHARPTON: Let me ask this. Is Hillary Clinton a progressive warrior?
Now, Clinton`s campaign rolled out and has focused on every day Americans
and the middle class, but some on the left aren`t sold and are calling for
Elizabeth Warren to run. The "New York Times" reports Clinton`s campaign
says she`s no newcomer to popularism, that in fact she in a meeting with
economists this year, she said the economy required, quote, "A toppling of
the wealthiest one percent." Clinton`s campaign went on to call her,
quote, "The original Elizabeth Warren, a populist fighter for decades."
Jason, the original Elizabeth Warren, what do you think?
JOHNSON: When you still have to humanize yourself after 20 years in public
life, when you have to compare yourself to a relatively least recent
political star in order to convince people that you care about regular
worker issues, you`re in trouble. So, I don`t doubt that Hillary Clinton
cares about the middle class, that goes all the way back to her time with
Bill Clinton but the fact that she still having to make this argument means
she`s going to have a lot of trouble motivating and galvanizing the Left
SHARPTON: Angela, she`s better than the republicans if you compare those
records. Is that enough though to galvanize the turnout that she will
RYE: Absolutely think it`s enough, and I just don`t just think that she`s
better than the republicans, Rev. I have to substantially disagree with
Jason`s characteristics or characterizing rather of Hillary Clinton. I
first have to say that Elizabeth Warren is Hillary Clinton, Jr. This is
someone who has taken her original model. We`re talking about a woman who
spent the beginning of her career with Marian Wright Edelman at the
Children`s Defense Fund. We`re talking about someone who made sure that
black and brown people were registered to vote in Texas before the Purple
State. We`re talking about someone who`s fit her career. Bill Clinton
didn`t birth Hillary Clinton, right? Like this is someone who understands
these issues and lived these issues so I resent it and I think it`s --
SHARPTON: But Liz, we also talk about someone that had some real bumps on
the road with those same black communities in 2008.
SHARPTON: And had supported some trade agreements and other things that
were disagreeable to the Left, and we cannot be naive that they are not
pockets in those places in the base that she`s going to have to deal with.
PLANK: Absolutely. Look, so far in her campaign she`s done a very good
job of handling those issues and she`s aware of all of these things. She`s
hired very good campaign managers to ensure that she responds to all those
lingering questions about her campaign in 2008 but at the same time, you
know, Hillary is a total O.P. like she wasn`t an original populist, like
people back in the Clinton years actually criticized her for being such,
you know, so to the Left, such a progressive, so it`s sort of interesting
that, A, we`re comparing her to Elizabeth Warren which I absolutely agree
with Angela, I think is a little bit weird. Maybe because they are both
women, I don`t know, but, look, if you look at the policy --
SHARPTON: Well, her campaign is the one that said it.
PLANK: Yes. That`s true.
SHARPTON: I`ve got to take a break here. One thing we`ve learned is I
don`t expect President Obama or Mrs. Clinton to be at Jason`s birthday
Everyone stay with me. When we come back, Jon Stewart announces when his
last show will be. Get out the tissues, next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our panel, Angela, Jason and Liz. Now to Jon
Stewart`s big announcement. Last night he announced his last night as
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: My last "Daily Show" program will be
August the 6th. I will be wearing a suit. I will more than likely be
showered. I`m sorry, I`ll be wearing overalls and I won`t shower. So I
hope that you -- that you will join us for that program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Angela, what do you want to see Jon Stewart do before he leaves
"The Daily Show?"
RYE: I think continue to use the platform of comedy to address some of the
most serious issues of our time. He`s been able to deal with race
relations in this country and really take people head on, holding them
accountable in ways that other folks haven`t been able to.
SHARPTON: John, Jason?
RYE: The other one.
JOHNSON: Look, I just want to see Jon Stewart continue to lead the way
that he always has. I don`t need to see a reunion tour, I don`t need to
see old guests, I just wanted to be Jon Stewart until the day he finally
SHARPTON: Jason likes somebody tonight.
PLANK: Good. We can agree. Look, I have trouble watching that clip
without feeling like I`m going to cry. I`m going to miss him terribly. My
favorite Jon Stewart is feminist Jon Stewart so I hope he takes on
manterrupting and it will be really easy because Rand Paul, he can just
look at Rand Paul`s last three media appearances and he`ll have time to
SHARPTON: All right. Angela, Jason and Liz, thank you for your time
RYE: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
PLANK: Thanks, Rev.
JOHNSON: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up next, President Obama goes one-on-one with Chris
Matthews. He`s talking Elizabeth Warren`s approval ratings and his growing
legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act is all on table.
President Obama`s exclusive interview with Chris Matthews is moments away.
Thanks for watching. I`m al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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