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PoliticsNation, Friday, April 24th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: April 24, 2015
Guest: Midwin Charles, Leonard Hamm, Sherrilyn Ifill, April Ryan, Jimmy
Williams, Victoria Defrancesco Soto

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That`s "the Ed Show". I`m
Michael Eric Dyson in for Ed Schultz. "Politics Nation" with the Reverend
doctor professor Al Sharpton starts right now.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thank you, Dr. Professor Reverend
Dyson. And thanks to you for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the final day in office for one of the most consequential
attorney general in American history. Eric Holder today saying goodbye to
the justice department.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

SHARPTON: It`s been a long time coming. Holder is the fourth longest
serving attorney general ever and Loretta Lynch`s historic confirmation
delay made for an inside joke in the justice department with some employees
reading free Eric Holder wrist bands.

Today we learned one of those employees was Eric Holder himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have these bands that I`ve
been wearing for the last whatever number of whatever. I think can I
officially take this off now.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLDER: I think we can officially say now that Eric Holder is free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Eric Holder`s legacy includes ending the federal government`s
defense of the anti-gay marriage act, drug sentencing reform, 20 civil
rights investigations into police departments. The use of civilian courts
to convict terrorists and aggressive challenges to anti-voting laws around
the country. Today led attorney general spoke about the fight for voting
rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLDER: The thing that I think in some ways animates me, angers me is this
whole notion about protecting the right to vote. The notion that we would
somehow go back and put in place things that make it difficult, more
difficult for our fellow citizens to vote, that -- that of all things
simply cannot be allowed to happen, the right to vote must be protected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Through the years Holder has been a lightning rod for right wing
attacks.

In 2012 house Republicans even voted to hold him in contempt. More than
100 Democrats walked out in protest but the vote didn`t slow holder down.
Last year he visited Ferguson, Missouri. He played a big role into my
brother`s keeper initiative, and he was in Selma this year with the
president. After six years Eric Holder is leaving the justice department
but he leaves behind a legacy that will be felt for years to come.

Joining me now is Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director council of the
NAACP legal defense fund and education fund and Ari Melber, MSNBC`s chief
legal correspondent and co-host of "the Cycle" on MSNBC. Thank you both
for being here.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Good evening.

SHERRILYN IFILL, PRESIDENT/ DIRECTOR COUNCIL NAACP: Thank you, Reverend
Al.

SHARPTON: Sherilyn, how significant was Eric Holder`s tenure as attorney
general?

IFILL: Well I think you said it at the top of the show. I mean, it`s
monumental and it will be regarded historically as monumental. This is a
person who came into the office with a Supreme sense of confidence.
Remember, he had served as deputy attorney general in the past. He had
been at a law firm at Covington and Burling. He had been a judge at the
superior court in Washington, D.C.

So this was someone who was eminently qualified for the job as attorney
general, and he came into it with I think a confidence that allowed him to
take the reins of this job in a way that few attorney generals have been
able to do.

One of the things that I sympathy most remarkable and from my perspective
most important about his tenure is that very often people forget about the
critical role that the attorney general plays as the chief law enforcement
officer in relation to civil rights. And with attorney general Holder, you
could never forget that.

He moved the civil rights portfolio front and center to his work as
attorney general. And he used that authority to speak precisely into the
moment that we`re in, a moment in which we have threats to voting rights of
racial minorities because of the Supreme Court Shelby decision, threats to
the African-American community and families because of mass incarceration.
The wave of police violence that we each seen.

Everything that he`s done, he`s been able to speak directly into the civil
rights moment that we`ve been in, and he`s done so powerfully and
authoritatively in a way that I think we haven`t seen maybe since Robert
Kennedy was attorney general.

SHARPTON: Ari, you interviewed the attorney general last year and asked
about his legacy on drug sentencing reform. That`s a major part. Listen
to what he said to you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLDER: You know, we erred I think a little in the war on drugs in going
too far with regard to some of the sentences that Congress -- that Congress
mandated. And I think we have a moment in time now where Congress as well
as those of us in the executive branch think that it`s time to -- to pull
back just a bit, and so I think -- I hope that that will be a part of my
legacy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What will his legacy be when it comes to sentencing reform, Ari?

MELBER: I think that`s a significant part of the legacy, Rev. You play
that sound there. We were at a dedicated federal veterans court in
Virginia which was another initiative that may not get a lot of attention
that he was pushing because veterans often turn to alcohol or substance
abuse when they come home. And in our war on drugs system they, like so
many other young people who commit maybe one nonviolent drug offense or
make a mistake are typically then thrown right into an incarceration model
that he was critical of. And we also know about the racial disparities and
the class disparities and the way that that model grinds through a cycle of
incarceration, so that was but one example of where he was changing it.

What I`ll say to build on what Sherrilyn was saying is look, the chief law
enforcement officer always starts with the reactive job, reacting to the
crimes that are out there and enforcing the laws and he`s done that.

What I think is different and why we agree he`s similar, in some respects,
to attorney general Robert Kennedy, is that he saw a proactive policy part.
So yes, they continue to enforce all the laws against crime and violence
and also the drug laws, of course. This was not open season. And yet,
proactively looking forward what he did was say, let`s have a smart on
crime reform that deals with racial disparities, that lessens mandatory
minimums in some cases where they don`t feel that the maximum penalty is
good for society. And he spoke about that eloquently today, Rev., saying
we`re still a country who locks up too many people for too long for no good
law enforcement reason. I do I think that is a key part of the legacy.

SHARPTON: You know, Sherrilyn, Holder was, of course, the first attorney
general to talk in personal terms about being racially profiled. He said
the news of Trayvon Martin`s death brought back his own memories, listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLDER: They brought me back to a number of experiences that I had as a
young man when I was pulled over twice and my car searched on the New
Jersey turnpike when I`m sure I wasn`t speeding or when I was stopped by a
police officer while simply running to catch a movie at night in Georgetown
in Washington, D.C. I was at the time of that last incident a federal
prosecutor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sherrilyn, I don`t think aside from the fact that he was the
first African-American, I think his sensitivity and passion, because we`ve
seen African-Americans in big positions not as attorney general, but they
kind of leave their connection at the door, he didn`t mind going there, and
I think that`s what made him so special to a lot of Americans, African-
Americans, Latinos, the gays, outsiders felt like he really never lost his
connection.

IFILL: You know, attorney general Holder, Reverend Al is like me, a proud
native of Queens, New York, and one of the qualities --

SHARPTON: That`s the suburbs, Ari. We, the poor folks, lived in
Brownsville, but go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

IFILL: One of the qualities about us Queens people is that we are very
direct. And one of the things that you saw about attorney general Holder
and you see about attorney general Holder which is I think a part of his
legacy also, is that he recognized a bully pulpit role as attorney general.
He recognize that had what he said mattered and that he had the ability not
only to use his power as a law enforcement official, but also to use his
power as a leader and as an African-American man to speak powerfully to --
to the issue of race, and you talked about and showed the clip of him
describe three-game personal experiences.

You know, Reverend Al, that`s what diversity is supposed to do. When we`ve
talked over the years about wanting to make sure that African-Americans and
Latinos and Asian-Americans and native Americans achieve certain positions,
high positions, whether they are in business, in law in, medicine in
politics, it is because we expect them and want them to bring their unique
experiences and perspectives to that work?

And attorney general Holder was unafraid to do that, even though clearly
ruffled the feathers of many people on right and many Republicans. He was
unafraid to speak his true experience, to speak truth to power and to speak
powerfully about the enduring role of race and racism in the lives of
Americans.

He never overdid it. He`s still a prosecutor. He`s still a law and order
guy.

SHARPTON: Yes.

IFILL: But he -- he was very clear about the need to speak truthfully
about the role of race. That`s why at the very beginning of his tomorrow
you remember he called this a nation of cowards on race.

SHARPTON: Yes. He got into --

IFILL: Because that was him throwing down the gauntlet and saying he was
not going to be a coward. He was going to speak about race.

SHARPTON: And he never did.

Ari, it hasn`t been all good because we heard attacks on Holder from
Republicans in Congress that got very personal, so it wasn`t an easy path
for him. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: If an American citizen had not complied
with one of the justice department subpoenas, they would be in jail, not
sitting here in front testifying.

REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: You either lied or you were grossly
incompetent in your actions.

REP. TIM WALBERG (R), MICHIGAN: Further, Mr. Attorney general, you`re well
known in this town for not reading memos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he`s smart, Holder?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not been impressed with his intelligence, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, what is behind these attacks, Ari, to a senator to say
that he`s not been impressed with the intelligence of a sitting attorney
general is unheard of?

MELBER: Well, you`re speaking really to the political fight. He became a
big part of the house Republican ways of pursuing this administration and
showing they were politically anti-Obama. I think they proved that point
and then some by making Eric Holder their focus. And it raises I think a
historical question here that people will battle about for years, Rev.,
which is this is the first time in American history that an attorney
general has ever been held in contempt by a Congress. And ultimately
historians will have to look at that and decide does that say more about
this particular Congress and its antipathy and at times obsession with Eric
Holder or ultimately did it say something wrong about his tenure?

Well, I will say this, Rev., the shortcomings I think that were important
in this justice department under Eric Holder were not the things that those
Republicans were focused on. They were things relating to larger questions
about transparency and the war on terror and the drone program which we
know is an ongoing debate. They were questions about whether money was
enough of punishment for wall street. He talked today about record-
breaking punishments on the mortgage side of Wall Street, and yet, as we
know, many people were never held criminally liable. If you talk to DOJ
prosecutors, they say that`s the problem with the law the Congress drafted.
They want to hold people accountable. But it`s those kinds of issues that
I think are the bigger substantive questions about the administration, not
some of what the house Republicans seized on because they made him a
political story which ultimately wasn`t about the law enforcement it was
about house Republican politics.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. We certainly look
forward to the incoming attorney general Loretta Lynch.

But I must say as one that`s been involved in civil rights all my life and
Sherrilyn, you and I have been across the table from attorney general
holder and this president on many occasions, I don`t think I`ve met anyone
in government that I`ve had more respect for and more regard for, as a
professional. He could be friendly but never go against the law, but he
also wouldn`t let those that broke the law go against you. I`m very proud
that this nation had Eric Holder serving. It made it a better nation.

Sherrilyn Ifill and Ari Melber, thank you both for your time tonight.

MELBER: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to watch Ari on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
eastern right here on MSNBC.

Straight ahead, breaking news in Baltimore on the investigation into
Freddie Gray`s death. Police are releasing new footage, and the mayor is
speaking out today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that this is absolutely unacceptable, and I
want answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Also new tonight, it`s been a war of words over trade this week,
but president Obama just hit back at Elizabeth Warren, and he used the word
dishonest.

Plus, news today from the Benghazi committee that shows the right isn`t
serious about facts.

And the celebrities are coming to Washington. What jokes are President
Obama working on tonight? Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news in Baltimore. The investigation of Freddie Gray`s
death. Today police admitting some of what officers did wrong on the day
Gray was arrested and police are releasing new footage. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, BALTIMORE: I still want to know why the
policies and procedures for transport were not followed. I still want to
know why none of the officers called for immediate medical assistance
despite Mr. Gray`s apparent pleas. I know that this is absolutely
unacceptable, and I want answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was the mayor of Baltimore talking about the death of
Freddie Gray. He died Sunday after suffering a severe spinal cord injury,
alleging -- allegedly while in police custody. The city police
commissioner spoke just moments ago admitting the department`s own policies
were not followed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY BATTS, BALTIMORE CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: We know he was not
buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been. No excuses for
that, period. We know our police employees failed to get him medical
attention in a timely manner, multiple times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And there are growing questions tonight about how long it took
to get gray medical help. Here`s the time line. At 9:26 police first
called for paramedics saying they had, quote, "unconscious male." At 9:33
the paramedics arrive, but they didn`t leave for the hospital for a full 21
minutes, not until 9:54. It took them six minutes to get to the shock
trauma center and about an hour and 20 minutes after gray`s arrest.

There`s so many questions about this case, like when and how did Freddie
Gray get hurt? And why didn`t police help him more quickly.

Joining me now are former Baltimore city police commissioner Leonard Hamm
and legal analyst Midwin Charles. Thank you both for being here.

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me.

LEONARD HAMM, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Thanks for having
me, Reverend.

SHARPTON: So Leonard, you just heard the mayor and the commissioner.
What`s your response?

HAMM: My response is first of all, I`m glad to hear them come forward.
Glad to hear them lay it on the line. I`m glad to hear them to admit that
we, and I consider myself still a police officer, that we messed up and we
did wrong and we have to find somebody who is accountable for this, and we
have to get to some answers. So I`m very placed that they came out with
these statements?

SHARPTON: Midwin, so the police are now admitting that their officers did
something wrong. How important is that legally?

CHARLES: Well, what`s interesting about that is it sort of sets the stage.
Should the family of Freddie Gray want to go ahead and sue civilly. That
information I think is going to be very helpful. But one of the things
that I find most striking about hearing the mayor talk about what happened,
is this is what accountability looks like. Accountability is when people
who are in charge step up, one, acknowledge something terribly went wrong
and, b, ask those important questions, the small minutia questions, not
just what happened, but breaking it down from the moment he was arrested to
the moment he arrived at the hospital. I think they are doing a wonderful
job doing that because this is how you gain the trust of the people that
you serve.

SHARPTON: Leonard, you know, I want to read you part of the Baltimore City
police department`s policy on custody. It says officers must, quote,
"ensure the safety of the detainee and ensure medical treatment for a
detainee is obtained when necessary or requested." Investigators say he
asked for help. How concerning is it that that policy was ignored,
Leonard?

HAMM: It`s very concerning to me, rev. First of all, back in my past I
was an instructor in the Baltimore police academy and in fact, I was a
director of that Baltimore police academy. Those are primary basic things
that we drilled into the heads of our officers. And I don`t believe that`s
policies have changed. And basically an arresting officer is responsible
for the safety and well-being of that suspect who is in custody from the
time you put the handcuffs on that suspect to the time he`s in lockup.
That`s the arresting officer`s responsibility to see that nothing happens
to that officer -- to that suspect.

SHARPTON: Midwin, the police commissioner explained today he wants to be
transparent, but he doesn`t want to hurt any possible prosecution. Listen
to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BATTS: What you see us tap dancing on and balancing here is that if
someone harmed Freddie Gray, we`re going to have to prosecute them. And so
giving too much information out to you on the front here now may jeopardize
that prosecution. So we`re trying to be as open and transparent as
possible, but if somebody harmed him they have to be held accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So now the commissioner is openly talking about a prosecution if
someone is found at fault.

CHARLES: Right, which is interesting, because as a police commissioner we
haven`t seen that from other cases that have occurred where they are
actually even suggesting this before others do and I think that what it
does is lets us know that this is being handled different. I think that
there are -- there have been so many of these deaths throughout the country
that I think that those who are in charge, mayors, police commissioner s,
elected officials are starting to understand the framework within reach,
people want them to respond. They expect them to let us know. Well, what
is it that you intend to do about with this. And is this process going to
go from what happened to justice. And the fact that he mentioned
prosecution I think is very interesting, at least from the job he has.

SHARPTON: Leonard, reporters asked the mayor today about people being hurt
while in the back of police vans. Listen to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: The reason why we have the policy around seat belts in the
police vans is because of an incident that happened previously. We have
known about this issue. That`s why we`ve not only put additional policies
in place but also put procedures in place to make sure that those policies
were followed. Clearly they were not in this case, and -- and to -- and
with very tragic consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now the incident she`s talking about is one that happened while
you were commissioner back in 2005 when police arrested Dondi Johnson.
They put him in the back of a van handcuffed. He did not have a seat belt
on. He suffered a spinal injury and later died. The family won a multi-
million dollar judgment that was eventually reduced to $219,000.

Is there a possibility that this practice called rough rides is more common
than we know, Leonard?

HAMM: It`s a possibility that it is, Rev. When you have one incident like
that, what we normally do as police officers is we look at it, we evaluate
it and we try to find out what happened and why it happened, and we put in
procedures that see that it doesn`t happen again a second time. Apparently
those procedures were ignored. Apparently those procedures weren`t done,
and now here we`re face with the same thing again with Freddie Gray.

SHARPTON: Now, we have Midwin, several witness accounts from the moment
that gray was arrested. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard this boy hollering and screaming. Get off of
me. Get off of me. You`re hurting my neck. Get your knee out of my back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had him folded up like he was a crab or a piece of
origami, you know what I mean? He was all bent up. The officer had his
knee in his neck, and he was just screaming, I mean, like screaming for
life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You know, obviously we have to be cautious with eyewitness
account, but how will these descriptions be used in an investigate, Midwin?

CHARLES: I think what these sort of yells and screams that Freddie Gray
exhibited, and we saw it on the videotape as well, so it`s not just what
the eyewitnesses saw, but we saw it, too. You can hear him screaming for
pain. I think that that`s evidence to be used to say that these police
officers had notice of the fact that this person is in pain and they didn`t
seem to budge. And their job as your other guest said is to ensure the
safety of a suspect from the moment that person is arrested to the moment
that they arrive at a hospital or at a holding cell or what have you.

So the fact that you hear this person screaming and saying this hurts or
whatever, like we saw with Eric Garner, and the fact that, you know, the
police officers do nothing, don`t stop what`s happening, or at least even
acknowledge that the person is in pain is incredibly circumspect.

SHARPTON: You know, I think it`s an interesting, Leonard and Midwin, I`m
out of time, that the mayor did come forward today and the police
commissioner just as the mayor and police chief did in North Charleston
because people like me, I get all kind of tweets. When are you going into
Baltimore? We don`t just go in to go in? We go in when there`s no
response, but when there is response the local citizens and leadership
handled that, and that`s all you want is to see it handled fairly and
justice come about.

HAMM: Right.

SHARPTON: You go in when you don`t see it handled right.

CHARLES: Right. As in Ferguson.

SHARPTON: That`s not activism.

CHARLES: Which was the problem with Ferguson.

SHARPTON: Which was the problem with Ferguson and Sanford and other
places.

CHARLES: And New York.

SHARPTON: Leonard Hamm, Midwin Charles, thank you for your time tonight.

CHARLES: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Mitt Romney makes a startling accusation against
Hillary Clinton. Did this new attack cross the line? That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Breaking news. WNBC
reporting that one of the most explosive allegations surrounding Governor
Chris Christie may not lead to charges. Investigators say they found
little evidence to support a claim made by Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of
Hoboken, that Christie`s lieutenant governor threatened to withhold super
storm Sandy funding unless the mayor supported a development project. No
comment yet from either Mayor Dawn Zimmer or Governor Christie. This
reporting does not appear to impact the Bridgegate charges which are still
expected to be handed down to former members of Christie`s team soon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Time for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan. She
also is the author of "The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View
of Three Presidents and Race in America." Very good book, by the way.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Also with us executive editor of Blue Nation Review Jimmy
Williams and MSNBC contributor Victoria Defrancesco Soto. Thank you all
for being here.

JIMMY WILLIAMS, BLUE NATION REVIEW EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Thank you.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We start with an escalating feud within the Democratic
Party that`s causing some tension between President Obama and Senator
Elizabeth Warren over the fast track trade deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I love Elizabeth. We`re
allies on a whole host of issues but she`s wrong on this.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: My view is when the process
is rigged then the outcome is likely to be rigged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President says the deal will help middle class workers,
but in a fund-raising letter this week Warren called the deal a top secret,
that the government doesn`t want you to read, and today the President is
hitting back on a conference call with a group of reporters. The President
said the attacks are, quote, "dishonest," and that is a quote. A little
concerning, he said, when I see some of my friends resorting to these
tactics. Jimmy, this is getting a little heated. Do you think that both
sides need to step back and cool down?

WILLIAMS: Well, first and foremost, you`re right. April`s book is
fabulous.

RYAN: Oh, thank you.

WILLIAMS: Secondly and most importantly. Absolutely.

SHARPTON: I`m going to test you on the book, Jimmy, but go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: I`ll take that test. Secondly and most importantly back
when I worked in the Senate and we did the Africa bill, the CBI, Caribbean
Basin Bill, China PNTR, democrats by and large were for those bills, for
the most part and by the way, many of those were passed under Bill Clinton,
and there was none of this sniping back and forth. My has the pendulum
swung to the other side here and then we have a very different environment.
The reason we do is because of NAFTA. NAFTA was that -- remember Ross
Perot said that giant sucking sound, and it did. It decimated to a large
degree the middle class.

SHARPTON: Yes.

WILLIAMS: And that`s the problem here because now we`re watching
unemployment drop, wages stagnate, and we`re finding out the middle class
is shrinking. Why did that happen and to a large degree it was NAFTA?
That is not lost on those members.

SHARPTON: Do you think that a lot of the apprehension among some
democrats on this trade bill is because NAFTA didn`t work and because they
feel that any trade bill could lead to the same thing even though the
President has gone out of his way to say this is not NAFTA.

RYAN: Yes.

SHARPTON: And he was just getting out of law school when NAFTA
happened?

RYAN: I know, the North American Trade Agreement, that`s what NAFTA
stands for, but we have to remember that many people in the Democratic
Party, like you said, Reverend Al, are saying that it didn`t work and it`s
kind of disenfranchised a lot of the middle class in this country. But
there are two things in this fight with Elizabeth Warren and President
Obama, one, because she`s saying this is secret. That I believe that if
and when this does pass, the trade promotion authority passes, the
President will give more information about it. He will be more transparent
because if there are any questions about transparency they will try to come
out and give a little bit more because they don`t want that. That`s a
legacy piece as well.

And then two, you have to remember trade is a really important issue
in this country. The middle class are really supposed to under NAFTA grow
with trade, but we are a country that farms out a lot of our -- our
products now to other countries, and our product is really what it is that
we`re trying to talk about, and we`re talking about products that are made
and manufacturing in places like New York, Texas and California, those are
big manufacturing places, and manufacturing works hand in hand with trade
so we have to think about those things when we talk about trade in this
country with other countries.

SHARPTON: Victoria?

SOTO: I think it`s healthy to see this debate in the Democratic
Party. You know, given the nature of our presidential contest, our
nominating contest where president, you know, excuse me, Freudian slip,
candidate Clinton is the only one who has announced, I know, Freudian slip
there, but we want to see debate within this party. My real question is
where is Hillary Clinton going to come down on this, so we see the Warren
camp, we see the Obama camp, and we also know that a lot of free trade
happened under Bill Clinton

RYAN: Exactly.

SOTO: Where are we going to see Hillary Clinton here?

SHARPTON: Isn`t that the problem though, Jimmy, is that if she comes
down close to where Elizabeth Warren is, then doesn`t she have to deal with
NAFTA and GATT and things that happened under her husband`s administration?

WILLIAMS: No, because those are her husband`s legacies, it`s not
hers, but I will say this. If she does in fact come down for TPA and TPP,
what`s Elizabeth Warren going to do, run against her? No, she already said
she`s not and most importantly what are democrats going to do, not vote for
her? No. They will still vote for her. That`s the problem. That was her
husband`s legacy. This is the current president`s legacy. The bottom-line
is free trade works both ways as April just succinctly said and the bottom-
line is if you don`t do something in these measures to protect the middle
class, then they won`t work.

SHARPTON: But the problem is, quickly, April, is that we don`t know
what the deal is.

WILLIAMS: Well, we do. Well, we do.

SHARPTON: The President has said that he has not finished giving and
outline of the deal and Warren is saying it can`t be secret.

RYAN: Well, Warren is saying it can`t be secret because, one, she is
the person who purports to be the person for the people. She wants open
disclosure, and there may be some pieces on the table, but there are other
pieces that are not, and a lot of times with this administration, you know,
not just republicans are left in the dark, according to republicans. Now
democrats are feeling left in the dark, so they are going to have to bring
Elizabeth Warren and others into the fold to let them know a little bit
more of what`s going on to kind of damp down this transparency controversy
and squabble.

SHARPTON: All right. It`s going to be interesting, and we`re going
to be watching that. April, Jimmy and Victoria, thank you for your time
tonight. Have a great weekend.

WILLIAMS: You, too.

RYAN: Thank you, you too.

SOTO: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama and Bill Nye, the science guy,
talking about climate change and the republicans. An intersection of
politics and Hollywood. We preview the White House correspondents` dinner.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Obama celebrated Earth Day this week the best way
he can, by meeting with Bill Nye, the science guy to talk science and
climate change in the Florida everglades. The video was just released
today, and the President had some strong words for the GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: When I see members of Congress being part of the climate
denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts and not
rebutting them with other facts but rebutting them with anecdote or just
being dismissive.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not a scientist and, therefore -- I`m not a
scientist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`m not a scientist either, even though sometimes I play
one on TV, but he`s talking to this crew.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: If climate change is a problem and do you believe
it is or not? Do you believe --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not a scientist.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don`t know the science behind climate change.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: Well, listen, I`m not -- I`m not
qualified to debate the science over climate change.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What is your take on global warming climate
change?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not a scientist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They have those denials down to a science, but the
President has a thing or two he thinks they need to learn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m not a scientist either but I know about a scientist, I
have the capacity to understand it`s not -- I have the capacity that look
at facts and based my conclusions on evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s right. And, you know, part of shifting our
political culture, I think is, we have to model for our kids that facts
matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Facts do matter like this fact. The water is rising.
According to the EPA the sea level has risen by more than eight inches in
some places along the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast since 1960 and this fact.
America is much hotter than it was before. The 2000s were the hottest
decade on record for the United States. And 2012 was the hottest year
ever, so nice try, climate denier club, for there`s one no denying this
fact. They got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The White House Correspondents` Dinner, a chance for
presidents to show their lighter side and take a few shots at their
critics. Who will be hit tomorrow night? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tomorrow night is the annual White House Correspondents`
Dinner. It`s become the place to be seen and be seen. Hollywood A-Listers
like George Clooney and Kim Kardashian have showed up in the past, and it`s
a night for the President to crack jokes. Last year he brought the house
down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever. Gridlock has
gotten so bad in this town, you have to wonder, what did we do to piss off
Chris Christie so bad? And I`m feeling sorry, believe it or not, for the
speaker of the house as well. His days -- the House Republicans actually
give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange
really is the new black.

(APPLAUSE)

The Koch Brothers bought a table here tonight, but as usual they used
the shadowy right wing organization as a front. Hello, FOX News. Let`s
face it, FOX, you`ll miss me when I`m gone. It will be harder to convince
the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s always fun to watch. This year`s host "Saturday
Night Live`s" Cecily Strong, the comedians in the past haven`t
disappointed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. President, have a seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The president has got, you know, his main girl
Condoleezza Rice, Condi, how are you? I love that name, Condoleezza, it`s
two people, you know the name is broken down, Condi, that`s the person you
see on television with the, you know, the nice hair and very professional,
and then there`s leezza.

(LAUGHTER)

The one with her hair wrapped up on the phone with her girlfriend
watching B.E.T.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What happened to you? When you were sworn in you
looked like the guys from the Old Spice commercials and now you look like
Louis Gosset Sr.

(LAUGHTER)

I never said this to anyone before but maybe you should start smoking
again.

JIMMY KIMMEL, STAND-UP COMEDIAN: It`s an honor to be here. You know,
you told me as a kid that I would be sitting on the same days with
President Barack Obama. Did I said the President`s name is Barack Obama?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now are my colleagues Ronan Farrow and Krystal
Ball who is hosting a special red carpet show on "Shift MSNBC." Thank you
both for showing up.

RONAN FARROW, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Especially with all those parties in town.

(LAUGHTER)

FARROW: There`s a lot to go to. Krystal will look much better on the
red carpet.

SHARPTON: Well, Krystal, why has this become such a hot event in
Washington, Krystal?

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Well, it`s this crazy mix
of D.C. and politicians and journalists and celebrities and so I think
because it`s such an interesting mix of folks you`ve got that dynamic, and
then you have this act that you see the President, whoever the President is
at the time, in this very loose way being able to take shots at people and
in a sharper and more pointed way than he normally would be able to. It
makes it a fun event. It makes it fun to be in the room and see a few
people squirm, and then it makes it fun to watch it on TV, too.

SHARPTON: We`re talking about the President taking shots. You know,
a lot of zingers over the years at these dinners come from the President.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Donald Trump is here tonight. Obviously we all know about
your credentials and breadth of experience. You didn`t blame little John
or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Bucyk. And these are the kinds of decisions
that would keep me up at night.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Four years ago I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary
Clinton. Four years later she won`t stop drunk texting me from Cartagena.
Some folks still don`t think I spend enough time with Congress. Why don`t
you get a drink with Mitch McConnell, they ask. Really? Why don`t you get
a drink with Mitch McConnell?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s a tough act to follow, Ronan.

FARROW: It is indeed, and, you know, the thing you hear from so many
of the comedians that have spoken at the Correspondents` Dinner during his
tenure is he is exactly that, a really act to follow, Rev. He`s got
incredible comic timing, a really dry sarcastic way, a willingness to push
material that`s little more on the edge, Hillary drunk testing from
Cartagena being the good example of that that you played just there. The
thing is of course, this is all amidst the backdrop of a very tense
relationship between the press and the President even under the best of
circumstances and the best of administrations. I think you`d be hard
pressed if you poll that room to find people who would say that President
Obama is a high point in that relationship. So, it`s a very rough crowd
for everybody involved. It`s a tense night in a lot of ways.

SHARPTON: Well, Ronan, you spoke with Cecily Strong about hosting the
dinner. How is she feeling about that tomorrow night when you talked
about? Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARROW: Give me your thoughts on Ted Cruz, very funny president or
unfunny president?

CECILY STRONG, ACTRESS: Unfunny.

FARROW: Rand Paul?

STRONG: That would be funny, yes, maybe that`s a funny president.
He`s got that goofy little silly dad that`s so endearing.

FARROW: Marco Rubio. Funny president?

STRONG: Oh, no, not yet, but he could be surprise me.

FARROW: Okay. Hillary Clinton, would she make a funny president?

STRONG: Dying to make her a funny president but I don`t know if she -
-

FARROW: Does she have it in her?

STRONG: She wants too. She`s going to try.

FARROW: She will rock the mom jokes.

STRONG: Yes. She has to keep trying and one of these days one of
them is going to land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s obvious, Ronan, she knows her politics.

FARROW: She does know her politics. She`s savvy, she`s really smart.
She has got a great team of writers, she`s working with Seth Myers, lead
writers and Seth did a routine at that event that went down very well with
that room, he played the room well. It`s an unusual room to play, because
let`s face it, Washington isn`t always the funniest and they don`t always
want to poke fun at themselves. I think that her approach isn`t going to
be scorched earth. I think she`s going to sort of ease them into it and,
you know, her brand is not an unfriendly one, and yet I do think that, you
know, she has clear political views and she`s going to stick it to certain
people in that room. It will be interesting to see exactly how. One thing
she told me, Rev, though is the top priority for her, asking political
favors. She wants an ambassadorial appointment, I said Belgium maybe --

SHARPTON: Quickly, Krystal, what are you looking forward to tomorrow
night most as all?

BALL: Oh, I`m looking forward to hearing what the President has to
say. You know, he only has a couple more of these, and he always delivers
great jokes, and I think there`s a lot of material out there right now with
the 2016 candidates so it should be fun.

SHARPTON: All right. Ronan and Krystal, thank you for your time and
have fun there.

FARROW: Always a pleasure, Reverend.

BALL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And watch Krystal and Janet Mock live from the red carpet
starting tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. on "Shift" via MSNBC. And Alex Witt has the
live coverage at 9:00 Eastern.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Have a great weekend.
"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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