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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

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Date: June 9, 2015
Guest: Clarence Page; Dana Milbank; Jan Schakowsky, Jim Cavanaugh, Marc
Claxton, April Ryan, Brian Wice, Paul Butler

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," the moral case
for Obamacare. President Obama passionately defending his signature law
slamming Republicans for putting people over politics.

Also, Dennis Hastert in court. The former house speaker facing abuse
allegations and pleading not guilty to federal charges.

And big questions about those bomb threats in Washington. With security
scares at the White House and on Capitol Hill. How do you spot a hoax from
the real thing?

Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m live tonight from Montgomery, Alabama.

We start tonight with healthcare, which is not an issue like most other
issues in Washington. It`s not like taxes or regulations. It`s people`s
health. It`s life or death. It`s not a political issue. It`s a moral
issue. It goes back to the Good Samaritan in the bible.

Will you help your fellow human beings when they need it most? And that`s
what President Obama was talking about today as we wait for a major Supreme
Court ruling on the law`s future, the president talked about the human side
of this issue.


we simply turn away from the sick or turn our backs on the tired, the poor,
the huddled masses. It is a place sustained by the idea I am my brother`s
keeper, I am my sister`s keeper, that we have an obligation to put
ourselves in our neighbor`s shoes and see each other`s common humanity.
And so after a century of talk, after decades of trying, after a year of
sustained debate, we finally made health care reform a reality here in


SHARPTON: Before the affordable care act, millions of people were one
illness away from losing everything. It wasn`t bad politically. It was
bad, it was reprehensible morally. And President Obama talked about how
important it was to him personally to fix that system.


OBAMA: I was reminded of the fear that Michelle and I felt when Sasha was
a few months old and we had to race to the hospital and the emergency room
learning that she had meningitis, that we caught only because we had a
wonderful pediatrician and regular care. Never felt so scared or helpless
in my life. We were fortunate enough to have good health insurance. And I
remember looking around at that emergency room and thinking what about the
parents who aren`t that lucky?


SHARPTON: But thanks to the president, a lot more people are that lucky
today. More than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage
because of the health care law, but Republicans still want to take it all
away. Their lawsuit jeopardizes coverage for residents of 34 states; more
than six million people can lose their insurance and their peace of mind as
well. Simply because Republicans won`t admit this law does the right
thing. But as we keep fighting to protect it, we`ve also got to remember
this law is about more than numbers. It`s about real people.


OBAMA: There are also outcomes that are harder to calculate in the tally
of pain and tragedy and bankruptcies that have been averted, but also in
the security of a parent who can afford to take her kid to the doctor or
the dignity of a grandfather who can get the preventive care that he needs.
Five years in, what we are talking about is no longer just a law, it`s no
longer just a theory. This isn`t even just about the affordable care act
or Obamacare. This isn`t about myths or rumors that folks try to sustain.
There`s a reality that people on the ground day to day are experiencing.
Their lives are better.


SHARPTON: Lives are better because of this law. And those who oppose it
have a moral obligation to explain how they justify taking health care away
from millions of people.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Clarence Page. Thank you both for
being here.



SHARPTON: Clarence, is it smart for the president to frame health care as
a moral issue?

PAGE: I think it`s smart. It`s also a subtle shift in tactics. You know,
he -- or shift in argument. In the past he`s put more of the emphasis on
cost and cost savings and general coverage. Now he`s talking about the
very fact that this is part of the social contract. He`s almost saying it
would be un-American to oppose the idea of health care for everybody. He`s
going back to making a hundred-year argument going back to 1912 at least
when Teddy Roosevelt promised the need for health coverage across the
country and the progressive movement at that time was pushing for it. Of
course, Harry Truman, LBJ, you can go right up to the present day and look
at various administrations trying to get what President Obama has been able
to achieve with the affordable care act. And so, this is the kind of a
historical argument that he`s making saying this gets right to the very
core of our being as a people in this country.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, from the beginning, I saw it more and more as a
moral issue basically because the people I would encounter wherever I would
travel that would come up to me and say how it clearly was the thing that
helped in some cases save their lives. I`ve had people come on this show
and say that. But I`ve had countless people stop me on the road, in
airports, in churches, in rallies telling me stories and about their kids
who now can be ensured. So I always thought of on a moral level and dealt
with the human factor that the president raised today. But as he was
speaking, you were there, was he also speaking to the conservative justices
on the Supreme Court?

MILBANK: I think he was, Reverend. I think that is really where the
argument is now. So, sometime in the next 21 days we`re going to have this
decision. And let`s face it, if it`s a hostile decision, this could be the
end of Obamacare.

Now, as you said, if six or seven million people would stand to lose the
insurance that they`ve gained, but it goes beyond that. It disrupts the
entire market and basically throws all of Obamacare into peril.

So I think the president is right to make this not just an economic issue
but a moral one, but even if you disagreed back in 2010 about was this the
best way to get healthcare to the greatest number of people, in a way it
doesn`t matter now because if it all gets taken away, it`s replaced by

The situation is far worse and far more desperate than it was in the first
case. And you are going to have all kinds of people with uncertainty and
chaos and once again not knowing whether they`re going to be able to get
medical care in America.

SHARPTON: And Clarence, this is a real threat even though it`s based on
just some language and not putting in federal where you put in state, but
what frightens a lot of people and frightens me is the fact that the court
even agreed to hear it raises the heightened possibility they may actually
do this.

And when you think again of the people it affects, forget the partisan
politics, forget whether you agreed with it in 2010, the people that have
been saved and benefited by it. The president talked about that today.
Let me share you an example that he used of a personal story someone gave


OBAMA: In reality, there are parents in Texas whose autistic son couldn`t
speak. Even with health insurance, they struggled to pay for his
treatment. But health reform meant they could buy an affordable secondary
plan this covered therapy for their son. And today that little boy can
tell his parents that he loves them. That`s the reality.


SHARPTON: Clarence, are we going to get to a point where everyone knows
someone that has a story about how this law helped them?

PAGE: That`s what the hope has been for the advocates of Obamacare from
the very beginning, but a lot of people were disappointed that President
Obama didn`t make this argument sooner, even during the debate back in 2009
when the legislation was being shaped because we`re not just talking about
numbers here or talking about what`s constitutional. We`re talking about
families. We`re talking about human beings and the need out there for
people to have health care and the basic notion of whether or not the
people ought to have a right to basic health care coverage in this country.
We have the worst coverage, if you will, of the industrialized world.

And President Obama is emphasizing that there are 16 million people who
have coverage that didn`t have it before. Other people have better
coverage whether they realize it or not. These are important arguments to

And also, he suddenly making a reference here and the fact that Republicans
don`t have an alternative and the Republicans are quietly hoping to lose
this battle rather than be confronted with the need to come up with some
kind of a substitute.

SHARPTON: You know, Dana, some Republicans are sounding pretty callous
about the health care debate. Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp is an
example. He says only about 1.9 percent of his constituents are receiving
Obama care subsidies and, quote, "I can vote with 98.1 percent. I usually
win the elections that way." So he doesn`t need the vote from people
getting healthcare subsidies so they don`t matter. I mean, doesn`t that
just sound heartless?

MILBANK: Yes. Talk about moral calculations there, Reverend. And
certainly that can`t possibly be true, that statistic anyway. You know,
it`s really extraordinary that the energy still exists to have this
repealed because if you look at the American public generally, we`ve
reached a point for the first time really since this thing was debated
where a plurality of the public now has a favorable view of the law. And I
think more importantly, you see that fewer and fewer American are only five
percent of Americans now think that health care is the major problem facing
this country. It was more than 25 percent of Americans said so before this
law was put in place.

So in a way, that`s saying this law has been accepted by the country. It
is now, as the president said, part of the -- today part of the fabric of
America, and it really seems extraordinary, in fact, basically impossible
to believe that the Supreme Court would now tear that fabric with nothing
to replace it.

SHARPTON: And you know, Clarence, this is the president`s signature piece
of legislation, but the irony of this is look who it is helping when you
talk about it from a political standpoint because those that would lose
their insurance if the court rules against the federal subsidies, 61
percent of the people who would become uninsured are white, 61 percent live
in the south where I am today in Alabama and 81 percent work full time or
part time. Doesn`t this sound like the people who the Republicans like to
think of as their base?

PAGE: Well, yes, you know, I`ve said it many times in the past that
somehow the issue of poverty got colorized about 50 years ago in the mid-
1960s during the war on poverty which started out in Appalachia with
President Johnson there with poor white folks. And by the time the riots
and all got going in the later `60s, it suddenly became a black issue.

But the fact is then and now, most poor Americans are white. The largest
group of poor people. And yet there`s been an impression given out there
that, hey, this isn`t for you. This is you paying money to help somebody
else. And that kind of an idea floating out there has shaped our policies
or shall I say misshapen our politics and we can see it play now in the
Obamacare debate.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Clarence Page and, just for clarity, Dana
Milbank would be the one in the big bold bowtie. Thank you both for your

MILBANK: Thank you for that clarification.

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight on the police response to that pool party
in Texas. Reports saying the officer involved has resigned.

Also bomb threats in Washington. The White House briefing room and a
hearing at the capitol evacuated. Where is the investigation?

Plus, former speaker of the house Dennis Hastert makes first court
appearance pleading not guilty. What happens next?

And something to make you smile. You`ll meet the 6-year-old getting
respect and stealing the show.


SHARPTON: So what happens if conservatives get their way and the Supreme
Court strikes down subsidies? Do Republicans have a backup plan? Here`s
Senator Mitch McConnell.


we think makes sense for the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you share some of that with us?



MCCONNELL: We`ll let you know pending on the outcome of the decision.


SHARPTON: We`ll let you know? We`ll let you know is his master plan?
We`ll let you know won`t help the millions of people who can lose their
insurance. We`ll let you know won`t help that 55 percent of Americans who
want subsidies to remain in place. We`ll let you know isn`t good enough.
It`s cynical. And President Obama`s calling Republicans out on it.


OBAMA: There`s something -- I have to say -- just deeply cynical about the
ceaseless, endless partisan attempts to roll back progress. I mean, I
understood folks being skeptical or worried before the law passed and there
wasn`t a reality there to examine. But once you see millions of people
having health care, once you see that all the bad things that were
predicted didn`t happen, you`d think that it would be time to move on.
Let`s figure out how to make it better.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of
Illinois. Thank you for being here tonight, congresswoman.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Reverend Al. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Senator McConnell says we`ll let you know on healthcare. What
kind of plan is that?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, they`ve been saying that they would let us know how to
repeal and replace Obamacare for years now. They`ve never come up with a
plan, they don`t have a plan. And 6.4 million people right off the bat are
going to lose their health insurance. And do you remember, Reverend Al,
those summer town hall meetings in 2010 when people are screaming about
Obamacare? I think the reverse is going to happen if the Supreme Court
rules to end those subsidies. They`re going to have to face the music when
they go home.

All those people who finally, after years of not being able to get health
care because of a pre-existing condition or not being able to afford it.
They`re going to be screaming and yelling at the Republicans. So you know,
be careful what you wish for, I say to the Republicans. Because if they
get it, they`re going to be very sorry.

SHARPTON: And let me tell you what`s interesting about what you just said.
Senator John Barrasso, he accused the Obama administration of not having a
backup plan or plan b if the Supreme Court rules against them.

SCHAKOWSKY: That`s funny.

SHARPTON: Listen to this.


SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: You would assume that the White House
would have a plan. Well, does the White House have a plan for these six
million Americans who are worried about how they`ll pay for their expensive
new Obamacare plans with all of its mandates? Not according to the
president. In Germany yesterday, the president refused repeatedly refused
to talk about a plan b. President Obama owes America a serious answer.


SHARPTON: Now, let me get this right. They go with the lawsuit on the
right. They`re pushing for the lawsuit. And if they are successful, they
want the president to have the backup plan? They don`t have one?

SCHAKOWSKY: They don`t have one. And the 58 times that they voted to
repeal Obamacare, the affordable care act, they didn`t have a backup plan
then. So they have been fighting for five years now to be able to get rid
of Obamacare and never have had a backup plan. Of course it`s their

This is a lawsuit that they have supported, that they brought to the
Supreme Court. And I`ll tell you, there are plenty of Republicans right
now who are very worried. And if the court makes a decision in favor of
ending these subsidies for states that don`t have their own plans, this is
going to be the most political decision since Bush V. Gore because all the
evidence says that these subsidies should remain in place.

All of the legislative and intent is clear, even the congressional budget
office has estimated the cost of the plan based on all the states being
able to provide the subsidies. And even the Republicans, when they plan
their own budgets, have planned for the states all paying for those

So there is absolutely not a single shred of evidence or legal ground to
stand on to remove the subsidies. There are four words that they`re
building their whole case on, but the whole rest of the bill and the whole
legislative history says those subsidies should stick. And the Republicans
better hope they do.

SHARPTON: Now, the hill reports today, going to an earlier point you
raised, Congresswoman, they report today that the Republicans feared they
will win the Obamacare court battle. Quote, "writing Speaker Boehner and
Senator McConnell are, quote, under pressure from colleagues up for re-
election in swing states and districts to extend the subsidies at least
temporarily if the court strikes them down. But doing so would risk a
backlash from the conservative base." Now, is the potential disaster the
GOP`s own makings, Congresswoman?

SCHAKOWSKY: There is no question. They have said for years that it`s been
their intent to get rid of that evil Obamacare even as now 17 million
people now have healthcare that didn`t have it before. And so they are
right to be worried. I think there will be a real backlash in their own
district. Those that are up for re-election are in a terrible quandary and
the Republican party in general has really got its hands tied now.

SHARPTON: You know, I want to go back to Senator John Thune`s strange,
very strange tweet about Obamacare yesterday. He wrote -- and I`m quoting.
This is exactly what he wrote. "Six million people risk losing their
healthcare subsidies, yet the president continues to deny that Obamacare is
bad for the American people."

Tea party congressman Justin Hamish wrote -- was one of the many people
confused by that tweet. He responded, Senator, I support repealing
Obamacare, but subsidies exist only because of Obamacare. Your criticism
makes no sense.

This is a tea party congressman writing him. I mean, Republicans aren`t
even making sense when they create the law. How will they come up with a
solution if the court does what they`ve asked to do and that`s cut the

SCHAKOWSKY: The problem they have is that there`s no real substitute
that`s going to do all the things that the affordable care act has done.
They know that. That`s why they`ve never come up with a solution other
than another vote and another vote to repeal Obamacare.

The kind of thing that Senator Thune said -- and it`s just ridiculous. It
makes absolutely no sense. Entirely, it`s completely contradictory. And
that`s what they`ve been doing. They`ve been talking themselves around in
circles, have no plan, and I`m just hoping very much that the Supreme Court
sees through this as a political move and that they should uphold the
subsidies for everyone. Too much is at stake.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thank you for your time tonight.

SCHAKOWSKY: My pleasure. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, breaking news from McKinney, Texas, reports tonight that
the officer who pulled a gun on teenagers at that pool party has resigned.

Also, bomb threats in Washington, is there a better way to respond to a
security scare like this at the White House?

Also, Dennis Hastert in court, what experts are saying about the case
against him?


SHARPTON: Breaking news on that pool party where a police officer drew a
gun, all caught on video. Any minute now we`re expecting a press
conference from the police chief in McKinney, Texas. We`ll bring it to you
live. It comes from NBC Dallas affiliate KXAS. It reports tonight that
the officer in that video has resigned. Stay right here.


SHARPTON: Live pictures from McKinney, Texas, where the police chief is
about to hold a news conference. NBC News is reporting that the officer
who pulled a gun on teenagers at that pool party is resigning. Corporal
Eric Casebolt was placed on administrative leave after video showed him
throwing a teenager to the ground and then pulling a gun. The police
launched an internal investigation. That 15-year-old girl described what


twisted my arm on the back of my back, and he shoved me in the grass. He
started pulling the back of my braids. And I was telling him that he can
get off me because my back was hurting really bad. Him getting fired isn`t


SHARPTON: We don`t know what happened prior to the video being recorded,
though police say they were responding to reports of a disturbance among
juveniles. The young man who shot some of the video talked about the
police behavior.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cops are only sitting minorities on ground and
nobody who was white was detained or had anything to do with the situation
at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you were right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was right in the middle of a group of black people
and they had put them all on the ground except for me.


SHARPTON: Last night hundreds marched through town to the swimming pool.
Many calling for the officer to be fired. But the breaking news tonight
reports that Corporal Casebolt has resigned. A live news conference any
minute now.

Let`s bring in Jim Cavanaugh, retired ATF special agent in charge. Jim,
what`s your reaction to this news?

JIM CAVANAUGH, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think it`s a positive
development, Reverend Al, for the city of McKinney, really. I mean, the
police chief, the commanders are not going to have to deal with the
disciplinary issues from Corporal Casebolt there. They can move forward.
They can have a chance to be leaders here to change this dynamic and to
help change policing. So you know, there will be lawsuits, I`m sure,
against the department and they`ll deal with that. But focus on the
training, the sergeant matters. In this case Casebolt was one of the
ranking or the ranking officer there and was the one acting

So, you know, let`s focus on the sergeant at the scenes of all these
things. When we go back to Rodney King, sergeants standing there while he
was beaten, or we go to Staten Island where a man`s choked to death and
there are sergeants on the scene or San Bernardino County where sergeants
are involved even kicking a handcuffed man. Sergeants are key. They are
the people that have to control this stuff, control the officers, assess
the situation. Maybe we can get some leadership out of McKinney PD here.
They can step up. You know, they`ve got good people there. Those other
officers seemed to act appropriately. They weren`t doing anything
irrational. So it`s a chance for progress. And I think you know that,
Reverend Al. You`re sitting a few blocks from where the freedom riders are
beaten in `61 by the KKK when the Montgomery police would not intervene.
So we need to see some progress in some places we haven`t seen.

SHARPTON: That is exactly right. One of the things that is interesting
you point out the sergeants that were on those scenes and some of them were
involved with the protest afterward raising the attention on them. And it
is real disturbing when you look at Casebolt who is not only the sergeant
on the scene but the one that was actually doing the egregious things
himself and he also, part of his duties he was involved in the training of
other officers, Jim.

CAVANAUGH: Well, that`s right, Reverend Al. And you know what happens is
in the police service we focus so much of our training on the kinetic
activities, the shooting, the taking down suspects who want to fight, the
breaking in a door on a warrant. We focus a lot on that. It has to be
trained, but we also need to put a real heavy emphasis on restraint,
negotiation, assessment of the issue. Look, if an appropriate sergeant was
in McKinney, he could have taken a step back, got on the bridge and said,
you know what? This is a pool party and it was a hair pulling fight. And
even that is over. And you know, we could have dispatched any five high
school teachers in America that could have handled that pool party better
than it was handled by McKinney PD that day.

But I think McKinney PD is a good department. I mean, I used to live in
the neighboring town. And I had a lot of times to pass through there. So
I don`t think they`re an unprofessional group. I think the chief has stood
up here. I think they`re good officers, but now they`ve got to take the
lead. Show the country, show policing, how you`re going to make the
changes, you know, lead on changing the sergeants, accept responsibility
for what happened here. That`s what we got to do across the country. You
know, we can make America better for all of us. Because as you always say,
Reverend Al, I hear you say it so many times, I hope America hears you
because people turn a deaf ear. You want good police. You want good

I`ve seen you say it on the show many times. And from the pulpit, from the
altar, we want good police. We support good police. But we don`t want
police shooting someone in the back eight times when they`re running away,
beating them for minor infraction, beating them with batons, you know,
doing all these thing, I love the police. I spent my life in law
enforcement. It tears me up to see this kind of stuff happen because I
think it hurts the officer, it hurts policing, it hurts all of us. So,
we`ve got to make some fundamental changes. We`re in that time right now.
And we made some after the `60s, you know, when you recall all that. But
we didn`t sustain some of those changes and we`ve got to inculcate into
police the history of civil rights and why people think the way they do. I
was talking this afternoon with --

SHARPTON: And I think you`re right. I think that sensitivity needs to be
there. It must be built into the training, and you`re right, we are not
anti-police. In fact, we`re pro-police. The best thing that happened to
good police is to get rid of the bad apples. I can`t tell you how many
policemen tell me we can`t stand to be smeared with the few that`s against
doing the right thing and that break the law or break police procedures.
Let me take a quick break. I want you to stay with me, Jim. We`re waiting
on that press conference live. There`s other news that we`re going to
cover, but we`re going to continue to monitor and go live when that press
conference starts in McKinney, Texas. Let`s take a break.


SHARPTON: The press conference in McKinney, Texas, has started. This is
Police Chief Greg Conley speaking live.

GREG CONLEY, MCKINNEY POLICE CHIEF: As we do our jobs. I support the fine
men and women of the McKinney Police Department who day in and day out do
an outstanding job on behalf of all of our citizens. I`ve had a number of
meetings with local community leaders, and we agree on this. McKinney is a
wonderful city. It is a great place in which to live, work and visit. We
are committed to keeping it that way. We will continue to work together in
the days ahead to strengthen relationships with all who call this great
city home. I am encouraged by the support of our local community. Our
residents met with me and said, Chief, we will hold you accountable, but we
can take care of our own house. To all the citizens of McKinney, I say to
you, thank you for your support and I look forward to working together with
you to keep this city one of the best communities in America to call home.
At this time, I`d like to introduce our mayor, Mayor Brian Loughmiller. He
has a statement.

past few days, my primary goal and responsibility has been to monitor and
to reassure our residents and our community that we`re going about this
investigation in a proper way, in a quick way and that most of all to make
sure that we have a peaceful response to the actions that took place. You
know, over the past several days, I`ve been meeting with residents as well
and representatives from our community to reassure them that we`re
following that investigative process, and that it would be an open and fair
process that is legally required. I received many e-mails and many phone
call. Now, I think it`s important to point out that while Friday`s
incident demanded and received our fullest attention it is not indicative
of McKinney as a whole. We have good law abiding citizens throughout our
community including our Craig Ranch neighborhood. We have good public
servants in our police department and fire department.

The actions of any one individual do not define our community as a whole.
I appreciate the efforts of Chief Conley during the investigative process
and the willingness of our community to peacefully express their views
regarding this incident while we work through this. We`ll continue to
evaluate these events and continue to reach out to community members to our
city to help move our community forward in a positive manner. As I said in
the past and I said initially when this all happened, our expectation as a
city council and our city management is that all city employees act
professionally with an attitude of service to our community. I believe our
employees strive for this and will continue to do so. I also want to thank
our religious leaders that I met with last evening and their willingness
to work with us as we work through this process and their willingness to
continue to work with us and all our residents from all over the community
so that we can move forward together in a positive manner. Thank you all
very much.

CONLEY: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. At this time we will take just a few

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police Chief, did this mean that his resignation, will
he be able to keep his pension, his benefits?

CONLEY: I believe that that`s correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he forced to resign or he resigned on his own

CONLEY: He resigned on his own will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The internal affairs investigation is now essentially

CONLEY: Yes. He`s no longer an employee of the department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does that affect the one person that was arrested

CONELY: That case has been dropped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That case has been dropped?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do you expect the charges to be filed on Mr.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Marc Claxton, former New York police officer
and director of Black Law Enforcement Alliance on the phone. Mark, what is
your reaction to this news?

MARC CLAXTON, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: Significant in some ways but really
indicative of a larger problem throughout the nation and that is, you know,
really the level of professional standards in law enforcement is rapidly
deteriorating and even the expectations of professional standards on the
part of the civilian population has been lowered to the point where we`ve
become accustomed or more accepting of conduct that is really beneath the
profession of law enforcement. So, there needs to be more significant
outreach, more significant change, and movements towards affirming and
raising those professional standards for the nation.

SHARPTON: And I think that those standards have to be raised but the laws
have to be enforced to protect citizens and police and the training must be
dealt with with Jim Cavanaugh and I was talking about. And people can try
and act as though there`s something incendiary about that. I think it`s
incendiary when you don`t do the right thing. And I think that here what
we saw in McKinney is another example of why we need cameras on police,
cameras on the scene. If those young people had not put that on video
camera, I don`t know if anyone would have believed how callous the behavior
seems to be that now has led to the resignation of this policeman. Mark
Claxton, thank you for your time tonight. We`ll be right back.

CLAXTON: Thank you.


SHARPTON: Two bomb scares in Washington today. Bomb threats cleared rooms
at the White House and the capitol building today. Reporters were
evacuated from the White House but many are wondering why the President was
not evacuated. Two bomb threats within hours of each other. How serious
was the threat? And how unusual is this?

Joining me now from the White House briefing room is April Ryan, Washington
bureau chief for the American Urban Radio Networks. Thank you for being
here, April.

Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: April, you were in that briefing. What were you hearing? And
how unusual was that evacuation?

RYAN: Well, Reverend Al, I`ve been here for 18 years, and I`ve seen
evacuations. I`ve seen it where some of us have been able to leave and
then some of us, if we chose to stay and finish writing our stories, we
were able to do that. Sometimes we were told to shelter in place in our
respective booths or down in the basement of the briefing room area. But
this time, this was very unique and different because the secret service
came to the briefing room door during an active White House briefing, they
came once to the door and then saw that we were here. I mean for Secret
Service to come to the door while there is briefing, is really, you know,
something has to be major. And they walked away to say, oh, there`s a
briefing going on, then they came back as Josh was talking and giving an
answer to a question and you know, Josh was going to continue.

You might be able to see my hand. I was like, you know, secret service is
here because I knew there was some kind of issue. So, we were told to
leave. We all left. And they made it a point to go throughout the whole
briefing room. I understand the cameras, while we were evacuated to the
building next door, I understand the cameras caught some of the activity
here. But what you didn`t see is what the secret service was doing within
our booths, our offices, you know, and going through everything just to
make sure that the threat was benign.

SHARPTON: Why wasn`t the President moved?

RYAN: That`s something that we want to find out. Reverend Al, you`ve been
here many times, and this briefing room -- and I mean, I can actually say
my booth I believe is 150 feet away from the Oval Office. So -- and my
booth is a couple of feet away from where I`m standing right now. So that
gives you a clear proximity of how close the Oval Office is. And then on
the other side of the briefing room, you have the residence. So, we don`t
know why the President wasn`t moved, but it was definitely a serious
situation for them to move us, for them to go throughout the briefing room,
to go throughout our office space. We`re still trying to find that out.

SHARPTON: Well, we will certainly be following up on this.

RYAN: Yes.

SHARPTON: April Ryan, thank you for your time tonight.

RYAN: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with Dennis Hastert in court today.


SHARPTON: A crush of reporters today as former House Speaker Dennis
Hastert arrived in federal court. Will the case against him hold up?
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Now, to the criminal case against Dennis Hastert, the former
House Speaker accused in a multimillion dollar hush money scandal. Hastert
pleading not guilty to two counts, making illegal bank withdrawals and
lying to the FBI. The Feds say Hastert used the money as payoff to conceal
misconduct of a sexual nature involving a male student when Hastert was a
high school wrestling coach three decades ago. Hastert has not been
charged with anything regarding the alleged misconduct.

Joining me now is criminal defense Attorney Brian Wice and former federal
prosecutor Paul Butler. Thank you both for being here.


SHARPTON: Brian, Hastert pleaded not guilty. Your reaction.

BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not surprised at all, Al. First of
all, he hires the heavy-hitter like Thomas Green, a made guy, like we say,
in the mob. And I don`t think he hired him to roll over. But I also think
that Thomas Green recognizes that his client is a sympathetic figure. I
don`t know a lot about criminal law, but I don`t think Congress intended
the money laundering statute to apply to someone who is a victim of
extortion and blackmail. Look, anybody again who has ever watched "law &
order" repeat knows that this is a statute that`s designed to reach money
launderers, dope dealer, terrorists, tax cheats, but I don`t think it was
meant to reach somebody in a position that Dennis Hastert found himself
today in the Everett Dirksen Federal Building today, Al.

SHARPTON: Paul, what is your take?

BUTLER: This is a slam dunk for the prosecution. We don`t know what
Speaker Hastert did but it was worth $3.5 million of his money so that we
wouldn`t find out. Look, what this case was about was not really the cover
up -- even though that`s what he`s being charged with. It`s about what the
indictment calls his prior misconduct. That`s what he`s going to go down
for. You bet that fancy lawyer is now working out a plea agreement.

SHARPTON: Yes. Paul, are the Feds involved in it evoking banking laws,
let`s put it that way, are they invoking banking laws because of the
statute of limitations on the allege sexual misconduct that you have
alluded to have run out?

BUTLER: Exactly right, Reverend. So, it`s like when they went after Al
Capone for tax evasion. That`s wasn`t really what they were concerned
about. But as a prosecutor you charge a case you think you can prove, you
don`t always charge the case that you actually want to bring.

SHARPTON: Brian, the Feds say Hastert`s payments were meant to compensate
and conceal misconduct against individual "A." So why isn`t individual "A"
facing blackmail charges?

WICE: You know, that`s one of life`s unanswered questions, Reverend. This
is a situation where if Denny Hastert wanted to ensure that individual "A"
received restitution or reparation, all he had to go was go online on legal
zoom and have Bob Shapiro knock him out a legal release. I mean, to the
extent that they are going after him. And again for a comment that he made
to an FBI agent about how he didn`t trust the safety of the American
banking system. Guys, with all due respect sometimes when I`m going
through the drive-thru, I have that same self-doubt about the banking
system. And to ring this guy up on a manufactured case like this to me is
a shame of monumental proportions, guys.

SHARPTON: Paul, you`re shaking your head. Could Hastert`s team argue that
he was compelled to break banking rules and lie because he was being

BUTLER: That strains incredulity, Reverend. Jurors are supposed to use
their common sense. Is there anyone in America who believes that he took a
million and a half dollars out of the bank and put it under his mattress
because he didn`t trust the banking system? This from the former speaker of
the house, a man who was two heartbeats away in line of succession from the
presidency. That`s balderdash. And if he tells that to a jury, he`s going

SHARPTON: Brian, can we possibly see a plea here?

WICE: At some point it`s certainly well within the realm of possibility,
Reverend Al. I mean, right now they`re kind of in the meet and greet
stage. You know, Paul is somebody who indicted his share of political
figures, understands that you`re not going to roll over at the initial
appearance. But let me just say this as a personal note, guys. I got to
meet Denny Hastert during a time-delayed sentencing hearing. He walked
into the jury room in Travis County, he had on hush puppies and a blazer
from the big and tall man shop. And he was a genuinely nice guy. And it`s
easy to ring somebody up if you don`t like their politics. But at the end
of the day, I think that Denny Hastert sees the inside of a federal prison
when Paul Butler and I get a daytime Emmy for legal analysis, guys.

SHARPTON: Paul, your response quickly.

BUTLER: Reverend, you know lots of people in prison are actually nice
guys, but when you make a mistake, you do the time. If it`s good enough
for the two-and-a-half other people who were in prison, should have other
million people in prison, it`s good enough for the former speaker of the

SHARPTON: All right. Brian Wice and Paul Butler, thank you for your time

BUTLER: Always a pleasure.

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


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