PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: June 3, 2015
Guest: Jonathan Capehart, Barbara Arnwine, Shane Cohn, Paul Butler; Faith
Jenkins; Malcolm Nance; Laith Alkhouri
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you for tuning in.
Tonight on "Politics Nation," breaking news from the Tamir Rice
investigation in Cleveland. The case handed over to a prosecutor. What
happens next? And will there be charges?
Also, chilling new details emerge on the terror suspects in Boston.
Tonight, an alleged beheading plot, and a plan to kill police officers.
Plus, how the feds tracked them down.
And the fight for voting rights across the country, why it could be a
central part of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
We begin with breaking news. Will there be charges for the Cleveland
police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice? The local
sheriff announced today his offense has finished its investigation into
Tamir`s death. In a statement he said he conducted a, quote, "extensive,
thorough, and unbiased investigation. It is now up to the prosecutor to
determine how next to proceed.
Prosecutor Tim McGinty has said he`ll present the evidence to a grand jury,
who will consider charges. Tamir Rice was shot and killed 193 days ago
while holding an airsoft gun, which shoots plastic pellets. Surveillance
video shows police officer Timothy Loehman shot Tamir less than two seconds
after arriving on the scene. Two seconds.
Earlier this month, his mother said she`s tired of waiting for answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMARA RICE, MOTHER OF TAMIR RICE: Less than a second, my son is gone, and
I want to know how long I got to wait for justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today she may be a little closer.
Now let me bring in Walter Madison, attorney for the rice family. Thank
you for being here, Attorney Madison.
WALTER MADISON, ATTORNEY FOR THE RICE FAMILY: Thank you for having me,
SHARPTON: First of all, what is the family`s reaction to today`s news?
MADISON: It`s bittersweet, Reverend. You know, it`s symbolic of one phase
going to the other. The investigative phase, which is a bit more
transparent into the secretive phase of the prosecution and this grand jury
process. So they cannot enter this second phase without acknowledging all
of the families which they share the pain and position. And it can`t help
but walk away from that with a negative forecast.
SHARPTON: Now, has the family been in touch with the sheriff or the
prosecutor about the investigation?
MADISON: The sheriff office -- the sheriff himself, Sheriff Pinckney
called today and provided a courtesy notice. And I did communicate that
with the family. And I shared with him that they could expect an
announcement of the conclusion of the investigation.
SHARPTON: Now, there were - there will be a grand jury, we`re told here.
He has said he will do that with all police matters. But by law, he does
not have to, because he could go on and charge. It could have been a
recommendation, and there are some that speculate, as you know, I was in
Cleveland Friday. In fact, saw you at the church service. And there are
those that speculate there may be a long time, he took a long time on the
last case. There are even some suggesting they don`t want anything
announced before the play-off games in Cleveland next week.
MADISON: Correct. And that`s what the shroud of secrecy creates a petri
dish for the speculation and the rumor. I don`t know. I don`t know if
they`re going to behave in all manners that are politically expedient, or
they`ll pussyfoot around with the investigation for other reasons. I don`t
But what I do know is that the focus and the attention ought to be on these
components, the inputs. One can`t get anything out of a grand jury if it`s
not properly put in. And if you have garbage in, more than likely you`ll
have garbage out. And that`s what is so fresh in this family`s mind, and
is so troubling. They`re just so heartbroken, but at the same time joyful
because we know in this last decision with Mr. Brelo, well, the sentiment
is more could have been presented to the grand jury by way of charge or
indictment so that we didn`t have to live with this bad outcome we got,
which I`m speaking of the acquittal.
SHARPTON: Now, I must say, and I say it -- I`ve said on the show before,
the dignity, the family and you and the other attorneys have shown firm
that you want justice, but firm that you want no violence and no
disruption. You want Tamir Rice to represent more than that. And again, I
see even on today the same kind of resolve.
MADISON: Absolutely. You know, it`s interesting how people view the
commencement of violence. We share this thought that we didn`t start this
violence, you know. And we also shared a thought that this family didn`t
get in line to become victims. And it`s just sad and somewhat offensive in
many instances to say, or to -- for someone to infer that we want anything
other than peace.
Tamir Rice wanted to grow up, pursue happiness, become a man, have
children. That`s what he wanted. And that`s peaceful. So, yes, that`s
what we represent. But at the same time, we will recognize violence for
what it is. And that`s exactly what was perpetrated on this young boy.
SHARPTON: Walter Madison, attorney for the Tamir Rice family, thank you so
much for your time tonight.
MADISON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Joining me now, former prosecutor and host of "Judge Faith,"
Faith Jenkins and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler. Thank you both
for being here.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Sure, thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Faith, the case now with the prosecutor, he says he`ll present
it to a grand jury. How soon could we get a decision on charges?
JENKINS: Well, it really depends on what prosecutor McGinty wants to do
now in the case. He is going to review the report he received from the
sheriff`s office. That`s a factual report. The sheriff`s office say they
did a detailed investigation. They presented the prosecutor with the
facts. They make no conclusions about the case. They didn`t recommend
where the charges or no charges should be brought against these officers.
They merely presented the prosecutor with a case. So is he going to want
more investigation? Is he going to want to do his own investigation, or is
he going to want to go straight to the grand jury.
You can understand why, though, the family feels this frustration, given
the lengthy time of this investigation when you have such explicit
surveillance footage, and the officer who pulled the trigger has such a
troubling background with the prior police department that he was involved
SHARPTON: Paul, what kind of charges are likely in your opinion?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, this is not a
complicated case in terms of an investigation. So the real question is
going to be whether this prosecutor has the courage to go where the
evidence leads, or like Marilyn Mosby dead in Baltimore, or like Staten
Island and Ferguson and use the grand jury to provide political cover not
to bring charges. Because when you look at that video, as a prosecutor, I
see crimes by those officers. Even a rookie cop knows when you get a radio
run for a suspect with a gun, you don`t roll up on him, guns blazing and
shoot as soon as you see him. You communicate. You protect yourself. And
so, when the officers fail to do that, that`s negligent homicide at
SHARPTON: That`s why the length of time is quite puzzling, as you referred
to the length of time, Judge Faith. The prosecutor handling the Tamir Rice
case, I might add, also led the Michael Brelo prosecution.
SHARPTON: Brelo was a police officer acquitted of manslaughter last month
for shooting two unarmed African-Americans. But that case took a long
time. The shooting was in November of 2012. The investigation was turned
over to the prosecutor in February of 2013. And the charges weren`t
brought until May of 2014, over a year later.
SHARPTON: Compare that to Tamir Rice.
JENKINS: Well, there is no video.
SHARPTON: It took six months for prosecutor to get the investigation. And
no word when he`ll find fought there are charges. This is the same
prosecutor. Is the family right to have confidence in him or not?
JENKINS: I would -- and there is no video in that case. In this case --
SHARPTON: In the Brelo case there was no video.
JENKINS: Right. In the Brelo case. This case, it`s on video. And the
act itself, when the officers pulled up, and by the time Tamir Rice is down
on the ground, you`re talking about a few seconds. So you`re analyzing
literally seconds of behavior and conduct with a police officer who has a
very troubling personnel record from his prior police department, from his
So you`re analyzing the judgment call a police officer made. And we
already know this officer`s judgment had been called into question by prior
police department. So in my opinion, it`s sort of a no-brainer here when
you look at the video. And the facts that were initially released by the
way about what happened in the case, about how they call it out to Tamir
Rice. They didn`t know his name at the time, but they called out to him.
They said three times put the gun down. And then we get the video and we
know that`s not possible that that happened because he was shot within two
seconds of the officers pulling up.
SHARPTON: You know, we`ve seen cases, major cases of people killed by
police going to grand juries. In the Michael Brown case and the Eric
Garner case, the grand juries did not bring charges. And here we are
waiting to the see, Paul, what happens here. But in the case of Freddie
Gray, a Baltimore grand jury did indict the six officers even after the
prosecutor had already charged. They did bring charges. Does the Rice
family have reason to trust the grand jury process, Paul?
BUTLER: The grand jury, yes, reverend. The prosecutor? That remains to
be seen. Look, I`ve been before grand juries hundreds of times. The
prosecutor is the legal adviser. The defense attorney isn`t in the room.
The grand jury basically does what the prosecutor wants it to do. So if
there is not an indictment in this case, don`t blame the grand jury. Blame
Timothy McGinty, the prosecutor in Cleveland.
SHARPTON: Well, you know, a judge in New York (INAUDIBLE) used to say you
could indict a ham sandwich if you wanted to. But the reverse is true.
You could not indict him if you don`t want to. But the fact that it took
four minutes, Judge Faith, four minutes to get medical attention after they
shot him, will that factor in?
JENKINS: Absolutely. And the decision overall absolutely. That`s a
factor. A fundamental principle of policing is once the threat has been
removed, right, Tamir Rice has been shot, he is down on to the ground, they
have a duty. These officers have an ethical obligation to render first
aid. And that was not done here. It`s very troubling that four minutes
went by. This officer never rendered first aid. And then other officers
came in and did that after the fact. That is a factor that the prosecutor
should consider when bringing charges in this case.
The totality of the circumstances of the way Tamir Rice was treated when
these officers pulled up. He wasn`t given a chance. He wasn`t given a
warning. They didn`t investigate. They didn`t follow basic police
procedure, which is try to communicate with the person involved. He was
shot and killed almost immediately, and then aid was not rendered.
SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins and Paul Butler, thank you both for your time
BUTLER: It`s great to be here.
JENKINS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Straight ahead, breaking news tonight on that terror
investigation in Boston. An alleged beheading plot, and a plan to kill
Also tonight, Hillary Clinton and the fight for voting rights. She`s about
to give a big speech on an issue she has been passionate about for years.
Plus, the fight for a living wage. Los Angeles takes a major step forward.
And now the minimum wage fight goes to St. Louis. We`re live in St. Louis.
And it sounds like a joke setup. Rick Santorum, science, and the Pope. It
will make sense in our gotcha tonight. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news the season. Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln
Chafee has officially entered the democratic race for president. Making
his announcement at George Mason University.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINCOLN CHAFEE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As prescribed by our
constitution, which George mason helped write, we will be electing a new
president in 2016. I enjoy challenges, and certainly we have many facing
America. Today I`m formally entering the race for the Democratic
nomination for president. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Chafee joins Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O`Malley
in the democratic primary. We`re looking forward to a healthy debate.
SHARPTON: We`re following breaking news on the terror threat here at home.
Chilling details emerging about the alleged terror plot in Boston,
disrupted when officers shot and killed the suspect yesterday. According
to the FBI criminal complaint, the suspect conspired with two others,
planning on beheading a victim before switching gears with a new plan to go
after the boys in blue. An apparent reference to police officers. Those
details revealed as a man is arrested in connection to the plot. He
appeared in court today.
Counterterrorism teams today also searched a home in Rhode Island. The FBI
documents shared light on the surveillance plate including phone
recordings. Today, the Boston police commissioner talked about the threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM EVANS, COMMISSIONER, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our officers
went out there to only question the individual because the level of our
concern rose to the level that we needed to question him. We thought the
threat was severe enough that we had to approach him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Officials say the suspect was radicalized by ISIS through social
media. It`s a pattern we`ve seen from the hatchet attack in New York City
last year to the attack in garland, Texas last month. And now the apparent
beheading plot in Boston.
Joining me now is Malcolm Nance, who spent over three decades in U.S.
counterterrorism agencies and Laith Alkhouri, a counterterrorism expert.
Thank you both for being here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Reverend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be here, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Malcolm, we`re hearing about an alleged beheading plot. What do
you make of that?
MALCOLM NANCE, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: This is an interesting plot,
Reverend, because it is almost identical and almost two years to the day of
a plot which occurred in England in an area called Woolrich (ph) in London
where two radicalized British citizens beheaded a British army soldier
named Lee Rigby in the middle of the streets with a machete and a butcher
knife, and then bragged about it on horrible media in front of people with
telephones, and then stood there until armed police came and shot them to
death. It`s quite possible this is the exact type of attack they wanted to
SHARPTON: Leif, what do you make of these beheadings and the sequence that
connects back to the beheading in the UK, or do you make the same
LAITH ALKHOURI, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: As Mr. Nance just said, two years
ago, we`ve seen it in England. But also last September 2014, we saw a
similar plot where the Australian federal police arrested 15 individuals by
raiding 12 locations in Australia, arresting a whole bunch of individuals
who were accused, again, of trying to carry out public beheadings in the
streets of Australia.
SHARPTON: Officials say the suspect was radicalized by is-inspired social
media. How vast is in America, Laith?
ALKHOURI: It is actually becoming a true problem. We are very much
sometimes detached from what is going on in realities in the Middle East,
North Africa. But ISIS utilization of social media, sophisticated
utilization whether it`s centralized media or supporters has brought its
propaganda permanently to our homes and our schools and our colleges and
So we have to be absolutely concerned about this kind of cancer infesting
this society. And obviously we`re seeing the signs of it right now.
SHARPTON: Malcolm, how aggressive has the tracking become in the United
NANCE: Well, tracking became very aggressive after 9/11. But just look
agent this particular instance here, you know. This isn`t so much an
example of the patriot act, you know, allowing us to go down and target
these individuals. Once you communicate with someone who is in a terrorist
group overseas, you become a national security target. And that
information can lead to a secret indictment or a secret ruling that allows
the FBI and other supporting intelligence agencies to bring in enormous
amount of resources down on you. 24/7 surveillance, cell phone
surveillance, and all of that can determine whether they are going to
disrupt your plot by interviewing you, or actually arresting you with armed
intervention. In this case, it was a disruption by intervention, by
interview. But the man apparently pulled out a weapon and forced them to
take armed action against him.
SHARPTON: You know, Laith, the FBI documents refer to the evidence
obtained through surveillance, including records obtained from amazon.com,
text messages, phone conversations that were recorded. What is your take
on that? And how does it relate to the big debate over surveillance that
is going on in Washington presently?
ALKHOURI: Look, there is no smoke without fire. And in this case, you
know, they conducted surveillance that was targeted surveillance. Meaning
they zoomed in on a specific group of individuals. They zoom in on a
specific individual. And they track that surveillance for many weeks
before they could approach that individual. So they took very much
proactive measures in order to prevent what they believed was an imminent
And so, in the grand scheme of things, you know, some of the opponents of
the surveillance program might have to take a step back and look at this
case as a successful case of conducting targeted surveillance.
SHARPTON: Malcolm, what about the knife that the suspect was allegedly
wielding? It was referred to as a military knife. What can you tell us
NANCE: Well, it was a military knife. It was an Ontario knife, copy of a
k-bar, combat fighting knife what the marines use. You know, there is a
lot of speculation that they took this knife because it was very similar to
the type of bayonet that Isis uses and all of that. They could have used a
kitchen knife. It doesn`t matter. But what is really important here is
the intent and the heart of the people who wanted to carry out this attack.
And due to their radicalization, they are following the playbook, which has
been -- this has been going on since 1988 when Al-Qaeda inspired these
types of attacks throughout the world. But now it`s just extremely popular
through the advent of modern social media.
And so, you know, you can expect these types of attacks. They could happen
with a hammer. But in the United States, it`s quite surprising that they
didn`t go to a firearm. And this is something we need to consider, you
know, when considering our laws.
SHARPTON: How do we contain it, Laith, or can we contain it?
ALKHOURI: We actually can`t contain. If we are going to contain ISIS
propaganda, we have to contain social media itself as long as you have very
tech savvy, very prolific, very educated actually adherence through ISIS
ideology around the world spreading its propaganda and making sure it never
disappears online, then we`re going have radical individuals who are going
to be self-radicalizing through this propaganda. So it`s a big, big
What we can do is have certain communities offer a counter narrative, de-
radicalization program that would offer a much different ideology than
ISIS, something that is a lot more peaceful, something that is a lot more
attractive. You know, ISIS is giving people a sense of belonging, a sense
of purpose. Come here, you don`t have to fight. But you can be part of
our community. But a lot of those individuals are completely
disenfranchised. And if they don`t have jobs, they don`t have a purpose,
they might very well be in that trap. So we might as well focus on those
SHARPTON: Malcolm Nance and Laith Alkhouri, thank you.
Still ahead, how Democrats are making votes rights a central issue in 2016.
A big speech tomorrow from Hillary Clinton.
But first, holy smoke, it`s Rick Santorum versus the Pope in tonight`s
SHARPTON: It is like a chemical reaction and the GOP. Any talk of climate
change instantly triggers this response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If climate change is a problem, and do you believe it
is or not?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I`m not a scientist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know the science behind climate change.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, listen, I`m not going to --
I`m not qualified to debate the science over climate change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your take on global warming, climate change?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not a scientist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I`m not a scientist. It`s Republicans` first extinct talking
point. But presidential candidate Rick Santorum is taking his hypothesis
to the next level and dragging Pope Francis along with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The church has gotten
it wrong a few times on Science, and I think that we probably are better
off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we do, what
we`re really good at, which is theology and morality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Leave the science to the scientists. Senator Santorum,
actually, 97 percent of climate scientists agree global warming was likely
caused by human activities. And by the way, senator, Pope Francis kind of
is a scientist. He got a masters` degree in chemistry before becoming a
priest. You have a bachelor`s degree in political science. Those aren`t
the same thing. Pope Francis is welcome to stop by the POLITICS NATION
science lab any time he likes. But until then, here`s my scientific theory
for Senator Santorum. We got you.
SHARPTON: New signs tonight that voting rights will take center stage in
the 2016 election. This week, Hillary Clinton`s top campaign lawyer filed
a new legal challenge to a slew of restrictive voting laws signed by
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This suit comes just a month after the
same lawyer filed a similar case against voting laws in Ohio. And although
Clinton`s campaign isn`t directly tied to those lawsuits, she will make a
big push for voting rights in a Texas speech tomorrow. It`s an issue she
stood behind for years, and something she spoke passionately about in 2013.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve seen a sweeping effort
across our country to obstruct new obstacles to voting. Now, not every
obstacle is related to race. But anyone who says that racial
discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be
paying attention. Discrepancies and resources across precincts and polling
stations still disproportionately impact African-Americans, Latino, and
young voters. Unless the hole opened up by the Supreme Court`s ruling is
fixed, citizens will be disenfranchised, victimized by the law instead of
served by it. And that progress, that historical progress toward a more
perfect union will go backwards instead of forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is good politics. But it`s also good policy. And in 2016,
ensuring every American`s right to vote should be a concern for all the
Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart from "The Washington Post." And
Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the lawyers committee
for civil rights under the law. Thank you both for being here tonight.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thanks, Rev.
BARBARA ARNWINE, PRES. AND EXEC. LAWYERS COMMITTEE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Jonathan, voting rights was a huge political battleground in
2012. Will it be a fight again in 2016?
CAPEHART: Well, certainly, one, because a lot of people are mindful of the
restrictions on the access to voting in plenty of states. But also
because, you know, the people, Secretary Clinton listed there, people of
color and young people who are being denied the franchise and restricted
from voting, they are two of the pillars of really the democratic
coalition, which is why you have republican governors and republican
legislatures trying to limit their ability to vote. You know, politically,
it`s a brilliant thing that Hillary Clinton is doing. But also, from you
know, patriotically, it is the right thing to do. I mean, it`s one person,
one vote in this country. Everyone should have the right to vote.
Everyone, it should be a bipartisan issue. But clearly it isn`t.
SHARPTON: Well, it is a nonpartisan issue. Barbara, you and I and many in
the civil rights community helped to really make this an issue, not the
ARNWEIN: That`s correct.
SHARPTON: 2012 and going forward. And I note that late last month, Mrs.
Clinton talked about restoring voting rights to felons. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Community because of where they live, because maybe they did make
a mistake, and they don`t get their voting rights back, which I totally
disagree with. I think if you`ve done your time, so to speak, and you`ve
made your commitment to go forward, you should be able to vote, and you
should be able to be judged on the same basis. You ought to get a second
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, this ties in with a call for criminal justice reform as
well. How will democratic voters react to these calls?
ARNWINE: I think that people, period, democrats and republicans and
independents all will welcome this. Because as you said, every politician
should have this as a centerpiece of their platform. That is making sure
that every American is able to vote, American citizen is able to vote
unfettered, that it`s without any restrictions. We are a nation that has
been flooded with these voter suppression laws over the last, you know,
five years, and we have seen voter ID laws that knock people out from
voting, that makes it hard to vote. We`ve seen people now cutting early
voting. Think about it. A third of the states in the United States have
no early voting whatsoever.
ARNWINE: And then we have the --
SHARPTON: States that formally had them.
ARNWINE: And we`ve also seen states, you know, getting rid of it and
cutting it back significantly and getting rid of what we call souls to the
polls Sundays because they don`t want blacks and Latinos voting on Sundays.
We`ve seen all these restrictions that are just designed to knock voters
out. Citizenship laws to go after people who are new citizens, just a lot
SHARPTON: And these are happening in largely swing states as well.
ARNWINE: Oh, no doubt about it.
SHARPTON: And Jonathan, as I said to Barbara, many of us were involved on
the ground helping to make this issue. But to be fair, in 2005, Senator
Hillary Clinton introduced the count every vote act. It would have made
election day a public holiday, set up early voting and same-day voter
registration nationwide, require states take steps to reduce wait time for
voting, and allow ex-felons to vote. A decade later, is this still a model
for voting reform, Jonathan?
CAPEHART: Yes. I`m listening to you rattle off the provisions in that
legislation, and those are all things that they make sense. It`s common
sense. And it would, you know, provide American citizens with the
unfettered access to the ballot box so that they can exercise their
franchise and be a part of the American family, of being a part of the
process of electing people to the building behind me and to the White House
who make the laws that affect their lives. It`s a very common sense thing.
I wonder if maybe not this Congress, probably not by, you know, the end of
this administration, but maybe in the next administration, Congress can
take this up. It`s, again, it`s a nonpartisan issue. It is the right
thing to do to allow every American who is eligible to vote get -- allow
them to have the right to exercise that vote.
SHARPTON: And it is not only nonpartisan, you would think that everyone,
Barbara Arnwine would be wanting to see people vote. When we saw the lines
that we saw it in 2012, and even --
CAPEHART: In `14.
SHARPTON: -- some place in `14.
SHARPTON: The voters though most likely to be disenfranchised going back
to your point that most likely to be disenfranchised by voter ID laws and
restrictive voting were instrumental in getting President Obama re-elected
in 2012. Nine three percent of black voters, 71 percent of Latino voters,
60 percent of young voters aged 18 to 29 voted for the president. These
are the people who anti-voting laws are trying to block now. How important
will their votes be in 2016?
ARNWINE: They`ll be divisive. Think about this. Twenty million people
early voted in 2014, even with a low turnout. That shows you the
criticality of early voting. And I`m so glad that in tomorrow`s statement
and comments that candidate Hillary Clinton will be pushing for early
voting. All throughout to be mandatory, uniform throughout the entire
United States. But also, it`s very, very important for people to
understand that every single vote has to count. And that you have to look
at your state legislature. And if they`re engaging in trying to put these
voter suppression laws into place, you got to fight it. And we are here to
help you fight it, the election protection coalition, you know, does that
work. The lawyers committee, LDF. You know, so many of us are on the
front line of this battle.
SHARPTON: Well, thank God. And we`ve got to do that to protect the
American voters. We`ll be watching and covering that speech by Mrs.
Clinton tomorrow. Jonathan Capehart and Barbara Arnwine, thank you both
for your time this evening.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.
ARNWINE: Thank you very, very much.
SHARPTON: And now to a historic vote in Alabama, where today the Senate
passed a resolution renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Its new name, The
Journey to Freedom Bridge. Originally named after a former member of the
KKK, the bridge became a civil rights landmark, the site of bloody Sunday
in 1965 where protesters marched across peacefully and were met by violent
police force. Earlier this year, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of
the marchers in Selma. I joined President Obama, other civil rights
leaders, and thousands to remember those fighting for civil rights. The
resolution now heads for a vote in the Alabama house before it can be
signed by the governor.
Coming up, a historic day in the fight to raise the minimum wage in Los
Angeles, and now the fight is going to St. Louis.
And later, Jimmy Fallon weighs the pros and the cons of a Donald Trump
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Let`s declare that in the
wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full-time should have to live
in poverty and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. So join the
rest of the country. Say, yes. Give America a raise. Give them a raise.
And everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage,
I say this. If you truly believe you can work full-time and support a
family on less than $15,000 a year, try it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A theme of the Obama presidency. Give America a raise. And
that`s what is happening in Los Angeles. The city is closer to passing a
historic minimum wage hike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thirteen yes, one no. The measure passes.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Cheers erupted when the vote was announced. And it faces one
more round of approval next week. Under the plan, by 2020, minimum wage
workers in L.A. will make $15 an hour. It`s a demand we`ve heard across
the country. Workers fighting for a fair wage, a wage they can live on and
support a family on. No one should work fulltime and live below the
poverty line. Los Angeles would join Seattle, San Francisco, and SeaTac,
Washington with the $15 an hour minimum wage. And now St. Louis could be
next. The mayor wants to raise the minimum wage in St. Louis to $15 an
hour. Right now, a draft bill is being worked on. Workers in Missouri are
making just $7.65 cents an hour. So this new plan would almost double
Joining me now is St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, a democrat who is
sponsoring the bill. Thank you for being here, Shane.
SHANE COHN, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: Thanks for having me, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Shane, why is this issue so important to you?
COHN: Well, I think just as you mentioned, an American working full-time
should not have to live below the poverty line. And in the state of
Missouri, our minimum wage is currently at $7.65 cents an hour. That for
someone working fulltime is less than $16,000 a year. A single individual
living in the state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis cannot support
themselves on $7.65 cents an hour. And, you know, to that extent, you
know, those are poverty wages. We`re essentially working people into
poverty and allowing them to basically work for slave wages. And it`s
unacceptable. It`s completely intolerable. I`ve been very displeased with
the lack of action on both our federal government and state government
around these issues that are impacting Americans across the board.
SHARPTON: Well, Shane, you`re up against the clock even there because the
St. Louis Dispatch reports, quote, "The board may have a deadline looming.
The Missouri legislature passed a bill to bar cities from raising the
minimum wage higher than the state level. It would take effect by August
28th. So if the governor signs this, you would have to pass it by August
28th." What are you doing to move this along, Shane?
COHN: So, well, the bill is being introduced this Friday, and then it will
be assigned to a committee. The committees, you know, I would hope that
the chairwoman of the committee would actually allow the opportunity for
the public to provide their input on the legislation. And we`ll probably
have multiple public hearings in regards to the matter. But, you know, I
think that we do have plenty of time before we go down for legislative
recess in July to allow for the, you know, public comments to happen and
pass out a bill that reflects the values of the citizens of the city of St.
SHARPTON: I want to go back to something the president mentioned, Shane.
The poverty line for family of four is roughly $22,000 a year. But someone
making the federal minimum wage only brings in about $15,000 a year. The
issue is always a political debate. But when you see this, how can anyone
go against it?
COHN: That`s a great question. You know, I think the discussion and the
conversations that I`m having right now, the folks who are opposed to it
are really concerned about how this drives, you know, business decisions
and also what it would do for the economy. My response has been we live in
a consumer-driven economy. And when consumers have more money to spend,
that only benefits businesses in that economy. And helps it to grow. The
other contention that folks have is that, you know, by giving or raising
the minimum wage, giving Americans a raise, it improves the likelihood and
chances of inflation growing. You know, there has been three raises to the
federal minimum wage in the last 30 years. And if you look at inflation,
there has not been any type of exponential jump in relation to those
changes in the minimum wage over the last 30 years.
COHN: And in fact, inflation occurs even when there isn`t a jump in the
minimum wage. So at this point in time, you know, we`ve had inaction for
30 years, basically, and it`s time to give Americans a raise.
SHARPTON: It is definitely time to give Americans a raise. I cannot
understand how we can claim to love America and not sure that Americans can
take care of their families.
COHN: I agree.
SHARPTON: You can`t love America and not love the Americans living here.
SHARPTON: Alderman Shane Cohen, thank you for your time tonight.
COHN: Thank you for having me.
SHARPTON: And now let`s correct the record. Last week we told you about a
Texas bill that requires anyone who bought coverage through the ObamaCare
exchange to have the label QHP on their insurance card. We also said that
the letter S would be put on cards for anyone who received a subsidy. But
it turned out the bill was amended to eliminate that special designation
for subsidized health plans before it passed the Texas Senate. The bill
does still include the other label. We regret the error.
SHARPTON: It`s a crowded GOP field for 2016, and it could be getting even
bigger. Donald Trump promises a big announcement in 13 days. On June 16.
And Jimmy Fallon decided to weigh out the pros and cons of a Trump run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: Let`s take a look at the pros and the cons of
Donald Trump running for president. Here we go. Pro, his campaign will do
well in the flyover states. Con. His hair will do well in the comb-over
states. It`s very important. Very important to the race.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Eighty nine, ninety five.
FALLON: That`s right. Pro, he has received thousands of letters and phone
calls urging him to enter the race. Con, they were all from Hillary
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She is fan.
FALLON: Yes. Yes, they know each other.
Pro, seeing Trump move into the White House. Con, seeing him try to flip
it for value. That`s what he does. He is very good at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A Trump 2016 run is definitely all pros for late night comedy.
SHARPTON: In just a few weeks, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling that
could affect millions of Americans. The court will decide whether to
uphold the part of ObamaCare that lets people in some states get subsidies
for insurance. Conservatives are trying to gut that part of the law. Most
legal experts say there is case -- the case they have has no merit. But
there is a real worry about the worst case scenario. New numbers show 10.2
million people bought insurance plans during the last enrollment period.
And nearly nine in ten adults now have health insurance. That`s huge. We
need to think about people who could lose their coverage if republicans
succeed in tearing down this law. People like a woman I spoke to just last
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHE KOJA, COVERED UNDER AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: There were so many of us
in, you know, the same boat as I am, and there were people who had far more
difficulty situations to deal with every day because of preexisting
conditions, or because of children. But it was heartening to see so many
people were willing to stand up and say, as you pointed out, this is not a
partisan issue. We are citizens. Please give us health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It is not a partisan issue. It`s about our caring for those
that need that care. And I would hope, despite our differences in politics
and ideology, I would hope that we all keep in mind that millions of people
that will be affected by these decisions.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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