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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: July 14, 2015
Guest: Bobby Scott; Charles Ogletree, G.K. Butterfield, Angela Rye, Joan
Walsh, Dorian Warren


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," a passionate
president Obama making the case to change our criminal justice system to
make it more fair and is gaining support from both sides.

Also tonight a historic deal on Iran`s nuclear program.

And surprise-surprise, Republicans come out attacking.

Plus, Governor Scott Walker and Jeb Bush hits the campaign trail today.
But look out, Donald Trump is also getting attention today, a brand-new
poll has him at number one.

Thanks to you for tuning in. We start with breaking news.

Just minutes ago President Obama finished what was perhaps the most
comprehensive call for criminal justice reform since he came to office. It
was a passionate speech, making the moral case for change and for everyone
getting equal justice under the law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to have the same
standards for those children as we have for our own children. So, if you
are a parent you know there are times boys and girls are going to act out
in school. And the question is are we letting principals and parents deal
with one set of kids and we call the police on another set of kids? That`s
not the right thing to do. We got to make sure out juvenile justice
system, remembers our kids are different. Don`t just tag them as future
criminals. Reach out to them as future citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The new push comes just a day after the president granted
clemency to 46 presidents serving time for nonviolent drug offenses.
Today`s speech was wide-ranging with specific calls for change in
communities, courtrooms, and prisons. And he said we need to think about
the issue in broader terms as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The marchers is on Washington knew. What the marchers in Selma
knew. What folks like Julian Barr knew. What the marchers in this room
still know, is that justice is not only the absence of oppression, it is
the presence of opportunity. Justice is giving every child a shot at a
great education no matter what zip code they`re born into. Justice is
giving everyone willing to work hard the chance with the good job with good
wages no matter what their name is, what their skin color is, where they
live.

Fifty years after the voting rights act, justice is protecting that right
for every American. Justice is living up to the common creed that says I
am my brother`s keeper and my sister`s keeper. Justice is making sure
every young person knows they are special and they are important and that
their lives matter not because they heard it in a hash tag, but because of
the love they feel every single day, not just love from their neighborhood
but love from police, love from politicians. Love from somebody who lives
on the other side of the country but says that young person is still
important to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a huge issue. Even conservatives now want to fix the
problem.

In the decades of the so-called war on drugs, the prison population has
exploded. You can see what happened starting in the 1980s and has had a
terrible human and financial cost for the country. Today we`re closer to
real reform than we`ve been in decades.

Joining me is Congressman Bobby Scott, Democrat from Virginia, who is
pushing a major criminal reform bill through Congress and Harvard law
professor Charles Ogletree.

Thank you both for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s good to be here, Reverend Al.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our pleasure.

SHARPTON: Congressman, what`s your reaction to the president`s call for
action today?

REP. BOBBY SCOTT (D), VIRGINIA: Well, I think he pointed out the
comprehensive nature of the problem. You have to start with education and
make sure that you deal with the achievement gap. We`re dealing with
elementary and secondary education act now and the Senate will have an
amendment to do something about the achievement gap.

We also have a discipline gap that`s been discovered and documented. Once
you have to do prevention and early intervention to make sure the children
get on the right track and keep on the right track, policing, sentencing
reform. You have to get the mandatory minimums applied to nonviolent, low
level that makes no sense. When they get to prison you have to
rehabilitate them, not just warehouse. Even on parole, you have to make
sure that you have appropriate supervision and not just send people back
and forth to prison. If you need a total criminal justice reform bill and
that`s exactly what the safe justice act is. It goes through the entire
system making sure that we have criminal justice reform, making sure we
have an evidence-based approach.

One of the things we do in the bill is get away from slogans and sound
bites and once you do that, all you have are a bunch of initiatives that
will reduce crime and save money. We`ve had many states that have reduced
their crime rate and their -- and save money in the process, and that`s
what we need to be doing.

SHARPTON: And save money. I remember you had broke that down for us. I
was in Washington last week at Mass Action Network`s policy conference. I
want to come back to the saving money and how conservative involved in the
Congress and the Senate.

But let me ask you, Dr. Ogletree, the president said that, quote, "justice
is not only the absence of oppression but the presence of opportunity."
What`s your take on that part of the speech?

CHARLES OGLETREE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: He`s just right. Let me
just say this. I very much support the congressman Bobby Scott from
Virginia, all the work that he`s done, and he has been there. I`ve seen
the proposals he`s talked about, and you know me -- me and you, Reverend
Sharpton, and the late mayor Ed Koch talked about the second chance.

SHARPTON: Yes, we actually went around touring on that together.

OGLETREE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: And Ed Koch and I never got along until then.

OGLETREE: Right, right. I think he arrested you a few times.

SHARPTON: A few.

OGLETREE: But you know what? You turned out to be a voice for right and
justice and I think that makes a big difference.

SHARPTON: Yes. He arrested me for nonviolent protest, but we challenged
state laws on exactly this under your direction, professor, that`s correct.

OGLETREE: That`s exactly right. I have to say this, too. One of the
things that we`ve been doing for (INAUDIBLE) for race and justice at
Harvard, we`ve been talking about how important it is to deal with mass
incarceration, to deal with the fact that too many people are in jail, and
we like this idea the president is thinking about people need to be treated
and helped and given a second chance like we talked about decades ago. And
I think that`s what is going to be very important.

I`m very happy that you are on that bandwagon. I`m glad the Congress is on
the bandwagon and I`m glad that you have a bipartisan attitude about
reducing the penalties for drugs. As you heard Ronald Reagan`s wife said,
you know, just leave drugs alone. That`s not the issue. That`s not the
solution. And I think we`re going in the right direction.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me get right back into that about the
Republicans and some on the right. You were at a hearing of criminal
justice reform, and a lot of Republicans talked about the need for change.
Let me play this to you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Worried that the criminal justice system
today is not the system that I think we should aspire to.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Billions of dollars incarcerating individuals
while doing little or nothing to address the underlying cause or to better
prepare them for their eventual release into civil society.

REP. JOHN DUNCAN, JR. (R), TENNESSEE: An innocent mistake is not supposed
to be criminal but a zealous prosecutor can make even the most innocent
mistake look criminal.

REP. JIM SENSENBRENNER (R), WISCONSIN: Mass incarceration tears families
apart and deprives children of their fathers and mothers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Congressman, are you surprised that so many on the right are now
joining this cause?

SCOTT: Well, not really. Like I said, if you can get away from the
slogans and sound bites you`re faced with initiatives that reduce crime and
save money. It`s easy to get a bipartisan coalition around things that
reduce crime and save money. And that`s what we`ve been trying to do. We
have significant support from the right and the left on this bill. Many
organizations that have traditionally been considered very conservative and
some very liberal all supporting the bill because it reduces crime and
saves money. We have 15 Republican cosponsors of the bill, 15 Democratic
cosponsors on the bill. And we`re adding them even Steven on the way up.
We`re getting support every day. Many members are looking at the bill so I
expect more support coming up.

But the idea from some are more interested in saving money. Others are
more interested in a fairer criminal justice system. But we can all agree
to mandatory minimums for low level non-violent offenses make no sense
because you lock up people, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these
sentences and then the people are worse off in the end than they were in
the beginning. We can do better and the safe justice act does exactly what
needs to be done.

SHARPTON: Professor Ogletree, you know for decades, we`ve heard presidents
talk about the need to get tough on crime. Going all the way back really
to President Nixon, listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there is one area the word war is appropriate, it is
in the fight against crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve convicted over 7,400 drug offenders and put them
as well as leaders of organized crime behind bars in record numbers. We
must do more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to get tough on the drug criminals.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When this bill is
law, three strikes, you`re out will be the law of the land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, the tone started to change a little under President George
W. Bush, but what we`re seeing for President Obama is transformative,
professor Ogletree.

OGLETREE: That`s exactly right. And you have this Republican group called
right on crime, they`re saying the same thing. It`s costing too much. The
jails are too full. We`re spending billions of dollars on incarceration as
opposed to training those men and women to go out in the community and be
very helpful.

I think that is going to make a big difference. I really appreciate what
congressman Scott is doing. But I really appreciate what the community is
doing. Every state around here saying we need to get rid of our whole view
about drugs and we need to punish people. I don`t use drugs but I don`t
want to punish people simply because they have addiction, but they need to
be treated and they need to be given the opportunity. I think that`s
what`s going to be very important going into the 21st century.

SHARPTON: Congressman, this Thursday the president is going to make
history. He will be the first sitting president to speak from a prison,
from a federal prison. The first time a sitting president goes to a
federal prison and addresses people. Is the president trying to shift the
public attitudes and opinions about these issues?

SCOTT: Well, I was surprised to hear he was the first to visit a prison.
There`s so much going on in prison that you can actually do some good. You
have people where you have them under lock and key for years, they should
get out a lot better than they went in. Many of the problems, drug
addictions, low-level education, no job training and after several years
they get out as untrained and uneducated as they went in. We can change
that and significantly reduce the cost of future incarceration. And what
everybody gets together is because you not only reduce crime, you also save
money.

SHARPTON: Well, you`re right. I remember growing up, they used to call
them correction facilities. Now they call them detention facilities. We
need to get back to correction. Some may not be able to be corrected but
many can be, and we should not give up on that.

Congressman Scott, Professor Ogletree, thank you both for your time
tonight.

OGLETREE: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a huge new achievement for President Obama. It`s
another key part of his legacy. We`ll tell you why Republicans probably
won`t be able to stop it.

Plus, Hillary Clinton`s outreach on Capitol Hill. What she said behind
closed doors with the congressional black caucus today.

Also, look out, America. Donald Trump is number one in a new GOP poll.
But don`t worry. he`s not letting it go to his head.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I speak as well as anybody. I
went to one of the greatest schools in the world. I can speak better than
anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, President Obama reached a historic deal on Iran`s nuc
program. And the GOP`s top foreign policy expert is weighing in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don`t under the president. He dealt from desperation and he
shouldn`t have been desperate. You know the Iranians are going to cheat.
They are going to cheat. They`re great negotiators and you know they`re
going to cheat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. Donald Trump. He`s leading the GOP in all sorts
of ways including a brand-new poll. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and
principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in the region.
Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify
the republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama talking about today`s historic nuclear agreement
with Iran. He unveiled the deal between Iran and six other world powers
including the U.S. this morning. The deal would dramatically Iran`s supply
of nuclear materials and allow for inspectors to check its nuclear sites.
And, in return, it eases the economic sanctions Iran has been dealing with
for years.

It`s a deal experts say could end the dangerous stalemate over Iran`s
nuclear program. But of course Republicans aren`t buying it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He`s going to hand a
dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving a way
for a nuclear Iran.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: This proposed deal is a dangerous mistake
that`s going to pave the path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve ensured they become
a nuclear nation. We`re going to ensure there will be a nuclear arms race
now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s the kind of saber rattling we`ve heard for years, and the
president wasn`t having it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is not the time for politics or posturing. Tough talk from
Washington does not solve problems. I am confident that this deal will
meet the national security interests of the United States and our allies.
So I will veto any legislation that prevents this deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This deal is a huge achievement for President Obama and unless
Republicans can drum up enough democratic votes for a veto, they can`t do
anything about it.

Joining me is Congressman Gregory Meeks, Democrat from New York. He serves
on the foreign affairs committee. Thank you for being here, congressman.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Good being with you, Rev.

SHARPTON: First let me ask you, what do you think about this deal?

MEEKS: Well, you said it right in that it`s historic. And I think that if
people are going to be serious, members of Congress are going to be serious
about what their responsibilities are right now, you heard the word from
the president. So then let`s check it out. And I think that`s what we
should be doing as members of Congress. We should be going to Vienna and
talking to the IAEA and the scientists and individuals who will be
inspecting, whether or not they can do the job, because the objective is to
prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And from what I`m hearing from
the president, if we prevent Iran from having the materials and the
inspections, et cetera, from them having a nuclear weapon, then we`ve
accomplished what we would have set out to accomplish 20 months ago when
these negotiations took place.

SHARPTON: You know, it`s one thing to look at this deal with a critical
eye, congressman Meeks, some Republicans are taking their criticism pretty
far. I mean, listen to Senator Lindsey Graham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: This is the most dangerous, irresponsible step I`ve ever seen in
the history of watching the Mideast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is he forgetting President Bush`s invasion of Iraq?

MEEKS: Well, you took the words out of my mouth. We had a hearing on Iran
today and one of the things that I reminded folks of was that many of the
same individuals did not want to do any kind of diplomacy, did not want
inspectors to go in. They said that the weapons of mass destruction was in
Iraq and they went straight to shock and awe until this day, from then to
today the American people have had to pay for that.

So for this president to make sure that we`re not going along because,
again, in Iraq we did it by ourselves. It was us just doing it
independently. Here what this president`s leadership did was kick five
other nations, the p-5 plus 1, five other nations together. So we have the
entire international community on our side. And I asked those individuals
who come out and I heard Senator Graham who basically made that statement
almost ten minutes after the agreement was done, so I don`t know how he had
time to read it, to evaluate it or do anything that was responsible in
regard to looking at the agreement.

So I asked them, though, we should have learned from what we did from the
past, what we did with Iraq and make sure we give diplomacy and opportunity
here and let`s verify whether or not the agreement this president has
struck will indeed prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, congressman, you said how under this
president`s leadership and he brought in five other major nations, how big
-- how huge of a deal is this for president Obama`s legacy?

MEEKS: This is huge. Preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon changes
things this the Middle East where you don`t have an arms race. It makes
Israel safer. It makes the European Union safer. It makes Americans
safer. So this is a game changer.

You know, people forget that back in 2006 and 2007 the Bush administration,
they initially tried to do diplomacy. They wanted to have a deal. But at
that time Iran turned them down. But the entire international community
wasn`t there and that`s what President Obama did. He was able to get these
other five nations, have them stay together. That`s what brought Iran to
the negotiating table and that`s what has put us into the position where we
are today to make sure that Iran does in the have opportunity to gain a
nuclear weapon.

That is huge. We`ve come a long way from where we were in 2007 and 2008 to
where we are today where there`s a strong possibility of a diplomatic
solution and that`s big.

SHARPTON: And it`s interesting you keep pointing out that it`s not just
the U.S. despite the critics on the right but five other nations are part
of this deal and have said this is the best way to deal with this.

Congressman Gregory Meeks, thank you for your time tonight.

MEEKS: Good being with you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Hillary Clinton on Capitol Hill today meeting with
the congressional black caucus. What happened behind closed doors today?

And nearly one year since his death Eric Garner`s family accepts a
settlement from New York City but says the fight for justice isn`t over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up and down the street they`re saying
congratulations. Don`t congratulate us. This is not a victory. The
victory will come when we get justice. Then we want to have a victory
party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: There`s a lot of talk about Ted Cruz`s new book "a time for
truth," based on its title it`s supposed to be nonfiction but some of his
own colleagues are questioning his facts. In the book Senator Cruz called
out senator rand Paul saying his comments on the floor during Cruz`s
infamous 21-hour-long speech were, quote, "deliberately designed to
undermine our efforts."

But Senator Paul remembers it differently telling "Politico" quote "it`s
curious because he sent me a really nice handwritten congratulatory note
thanking me for my help. I don`t understand.

Another person who doesn`t understand Ted Cruz`s version of reality is
Senator Mitch McConnell. Cruz wrote McConnell tried to keep donors from
giving him money. McConnell kept strongly denies that account. A top aide
telling politico, quote, "any suggestion that leader McConnell intervened
to freeze out potential supporters of Senator Cruz is pure fantasy."

The Cruz`s can`t pay in shot back defending the story. Quote "Senator Cruz
stands by everything he has written in his book. Perhaps Senator Cruz
should just stick the publishing more coloring books.

Until then, nice try, Senator, but they got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton made a full-court press on Capitol Hill today.
Clinton spending the day courting Congressional Democrats including a
closed door meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. CBC Chair GK
Butterfield previewed the meeting saying, quote, "The black caucus has a
myriad of issues it cares about." So, we`re going to use every minute that
we can to have a conversation with her about our agenda. Persistent
poverty is an example and we want to make sure she recognizes and embraces
the question of persistent poverty. That`s going to be the lead item that
we talk about. In the first major address on the economy yesterday she
highlighted some of the work that needs to be done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP

HILLARY CLINTON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are nearly 6 million
young people aged 16 to 24 in America today who are not in school or at
work. The numbers for young people of color are particularly staggering.
A quarter of young black men and nearly 15 percent of all Latino youth
cannot find a job. I firmly believe that the best anti-poverty program is
a job, but that`s hard to say if there aren`t enough jobs for people trying
to help lift themselves out of poverty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the
Congressional Black Caucus and political strategist Angela Rye. Thank you
both for being here.

REP. G.K. BUTTERFIELD, NEXT CHAIR, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Thank you.

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Congressman, Mr. Chairman, what can you tell us about what
Clinton talked about?

BUTTERFIELD: Well, Reverend Sharpton, we had a very constructive dialogue
today with Secretary Clinton. She scheduled 30 minutes but it ended up
being an hour meeting. We cover a range of topic starting with the whole
question of poverty. Forty five million people in this country live in
poverty and more than 10 million of those are African-Americans. One out
of four black families are living in poverty. One out of three black
children live in poverty so we had to begin this conversation today talking
about persistent poverty and we were very pleased with the response of
Secretary Clinton. She had been prepared for this question and she knew
that it was coming and we were very pleased with the response that she
gave.

SHARPTON: What did she say she intended to do? What was her proposal?

BUTTERFIELD: Well, this Congressional Black Caucus advocates a 10/20/30
program whereby we want to target federal resources in those communities
that have poverty rates in excess of 20 percent that has persisted for more
than 30 years and we want to redirect federal dollars into those
communities. It will not raise the deficit nor the debt, but we want to
prioritize federal dollars in persistent poverty communities and she gets
it and she told us that she was very supportive of the idea and looked
forward to working with us. This was not a political meeting today, I want
to stress. This was a policy meeting and we want to know where she stands
and we gave it to her for 60 continuous minutes.

SHARPTON: Angela, it wasn`t a political meeting but many members of the
CBC actually supported Mrs. Clinton in 2008 over then-Senator Obama. What
can she do this time around to win over the members who didn`t support her
then?

RYE: Well, I think there are a couple of things. One, Rev, it`s important
to note that the CBC was one of the meetings that Secretary Clinton held
today. There was also an overall democratic caucus meeting. There was
also a meeting with KPAC which is the Asian caucus, the Hispanic caucus and
the progressive caucus. Her doing this run, this early this speaks volumes
about her political acumen, whether it was a political meeting or policy
meeting. It says that she understands that this group is very, very
important. They`re not only her former democratic colleagues but they`re
also super delegates. And it`s very, very important for her to have these
conversations early so that her agenda begins to mirror theirs. So it`s
very, very important. I think the other piece is you`re talking about what
she can do differently. I think that the circumstances are certainly much
different. It`s very, very hard for a CBC member and it was at the time in
2008 to argue that they would not support the first black potentially
president. That would be standing on the wrong side of history.

SHARPTON: But many of them did.

RYE: And what I`m saying to you is, many of them did not as well. The
caucus was probably three-fourths for the President and one-fourth for
Secretary Clinton. Most of that had to do, Rev, with the fact that they
knew her longer. They had relationships with her. I know my former boss,
Congressman Cleaver, was a Clinton appointee. So, that`s where his
allegiance lied. You also have folks that represented the New York
delegation, it`s historic for New York delegation to support someone who is
coming out of their state. So, there are a number of reasons why. Of
course we don`t have time to get into all of them. But I think her
starting this early speaks volumes.

SHARPTON: Mr. Chairman, how does Hillary Clinton go forward and keep the
Obama coalition together for her own candidacy in 2016 in the general
election?

BUTTERFIELD: Well, Reverend Sharpton, every president needs to learn from
prior administrations, and I`m sure that Mrs. Clinton has been around for a
long time. She watched her husband`s administration and President Bush and
now President Obama. I think she will benefit from all of the missteps, if
you will, of prior administrations and I believe that she is sharpening her
tools and getting ready to run a very competitive race in anticipation of
being the president. The Congressional Black Caucus is not going to give
Mrs. Clinton or any other candidate a pass. We`re going to ask the tough
questions and insist that our president, our next president, address
frontally the war on poverty. President Johnson did it in 1964. He didn`t
mince words. He said what he meant and he executed his words, and that`s
what we expect of the next president of the United States.

SHARPTON: Angela, this week the RNC is working on minority outreach
announcing a four-week Ohio campaign that will focus on outreach to and
mobilization of black voters in advance of November 2016`s presidential
election. Part of an ongoing effort by the National Republican Party under
Chairman Reince Priebus to recruit black and urban voters. Haven`t we seen
this kind of outreach effort from the RNC before, Angela?

RYE: We certainly heard this talk before, Rev, and all I would say to that
is welcome to the party, RNC. You know, this is -- you`re really late, a
four-week trial period with minority voters at this point is simply
ridiculous. What do your policies say? What are your candidates saying?
How are you going to speak to and represent the cadre of Americans that you
have ignored and you overwhelmingly tend to say ignorant things about with,
you know, with great regularity? How are you going to speak to and relate
to them?

SHARPTON: Yes.

RYE: And when your record says, something completely different, they have
a lot of work to do.

SHARPTON: Mr. Chairman, Secretary Clinton said first two major policy
addresses really were on criminal justice and voting rights and we`ve heard
both of those speeches. You`ve talked about policy and holding everyone
accountable. What do you -- you are the chairman of the Congressional
Black Caucus, have tremendous influence not only in your home district but
around the country. What are you going to be listening for from Mrs.
Clinton as the campaign goes forward?

BUTTERFIELD: Reverend Sharpton, criminal justice reform is on the mind of
every American, and especially every African-American. We`re working
together today on a bipartisan deal that hopefully will be announced in a
few days whereby we`re going to make the first step forward in reforming
the criminal justice system. The fact that the President is going out to
visit a prison this week is not by accident. There is a reason he is going
to this prison because we`re building to announce a bipartisan deal on
criminal justice reform. Our system is broken and it has to be fixed. On
the question of voting rights, Mrs. Clinton clearly understands the voting
rights act. Her husband and she have been a part of the voting rights
movement for years. She understands section two, section five, and she
knows the damage that the Supreme Court did to the African-American and
Latino communities when it struck down section four which gives life to
section five and so on. We have a commitment from Mrs. Clinton that she
will be aggressive in the enforcement of the voting rights act.

SHARPTON: Congressman Butterfield, Mr. Chairman, and Angela Rye, thank you
both for your time tonight.

BUTTERFIELD: Thank you.

RYE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Donald Trump hits number one in a new poll. Good
news for Trump. Great news for Democrats and a giant headache for the GOP.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s official. Donald Trump is now the front-runner in the
republican field. That`s right. A new national poll puts Trump in first
place. This is not a joke. He`s leading Jeb Bush by three points and
beating Scott Walker by nine. Right now this race isn`t even close. And
today all three of those candidates hit the road. Scott Walker kicking off
his first day campaigning in the bottle. Jeb Bush putting in sometime in
Iowa and Trump, well, he was at a winery in Virginia, but a lot of focus
today was on the new guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT WALKER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Scott Walker, and I`m
running for president, and I`m asking for your vote.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Dressed in jeans, he`s aiming for that every day relatable
image. But what about his policies?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: Since I`ve been governor we took on the unions and we won.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We defunded Planned Parenthood and passed pro-life legislation. In my
state, you now need a photo I.D. to vote because we want it easy to vote
but hard to cheat. I just signed a budget a few days ago that said, not
only that now but if you want to get that welfare check, you have to show
you can pass a drug test on top of that.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s an extreme and extremely conservative record, and with this
guy running, will Scott Walker get any attention at all?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I speak as well as anybody. I went to one of the greatest schools
in the world. I can speak better than anybody, but we need energy. We
need -- we need something behind what we say. And we don`t have to worry
about tone. We have to worry about results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let me bring in Joan Walsh and Dorian Warren to discuss this.
Joan, how do you assess this, that Trump is number one?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I mean, look, it`s early. And we saw in 2012, I
mean, everybody had a chance at being the front-runner, so he`s not -- he`s
not going to stay there necessarily, but it`s got to be terrifying for the
Republican Party and it has to be terrifying for Scott Walker because this
should be his week. He`s stepping out. He`s rolling out his campaign.
Scott Walker, by the way, seems to think that the electorate is only white
men voting. He doesn`t understand the changes that have taken place in our
society because he pitches his whole appeal to men. He even has talked
about how the gender gap that favors Democrats with women is actually men
preferring republican and he is doubling down on that, Reverend Al. But it
could all be for naught because he`s going after that same white working
class guy vote that Donald Trump is much more popular with.

SHARPTON: Dorian, what is your view on Trump, number one, in a national
poll and how Scott Walker, new candidate, same poll says 21 percent of
Republicans don`t even know him.

DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Don`t know him yet, it`s true. Donald
Trump has the name recognition but Joan just said something to me about
Scott Walker a minute ago. She said, dog whistle politics. Scott Walker`s
dog whistling to a core conservative constituency.

WALSH: Drug testing.

WARREN: Anti-labor, anti-black, racially coded appeals. Donald Trump is a
dog barker. And so he is getting much more attention right now because
he`s saying basically the same thing that Scott walker is saying just very
explicitly.

SHARPTON: Now, how does this play out in terms of you start the debates in
the republican primaries less than a month, a little over three weeks from
now? Trump is going to be on that stage. How long does he last, and how
much of a distraction can he be as long as he`s up there in the top ten and
now at number one, Joan.

WALSH: Well, you`ve notice that very few of them have really stepped out.
I want to give credit to Lindsey Graham who has repudiated Donald Trump in
the strongest language yet. But Jeb Bush took a couple weeks and then, you
know, acted offended. He`s gone silent. Scott Walker refused to criticize
him last night.

SHARPTON: But I want to go to that, Dorian. Because I think Joan raises a
very interesting point. Lindsey Graham really went after him. Jeb finally
went after him. But look what happened when they ask Scott Walker about
Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush has said that he believes what Trump has said
about Mexicans is really meant to inflame and incite. Do you with that
agree?

WALKER: Well, I think Donald Trump and any of the others can speak for
themselves. What I`m going to do is lay out what I`m for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eventually though you could very be on that debate
stage with Trump. And if he said on that stage what he has said about
Mexicans, what would you say to him?

WALKER: I`ll say what I will say with Mexicans, I respectfully disagree
with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What tightrope is he on?

WARREN: He`s trying to stay in the dog whistle lane not the dog barking
lane. He has an advantage over Trump that I think we`re going to see in
the polls the next couple of weeks. He`s evangelical and he`s from a
neighboring state of Iowa and he`s popular in Iowa. So, it is just, what,
day two of the launch of his campaign. I think by the time they`re on that
debate stage, he will be very careful like Jeb Bush to not frontally attack
Trump because Trump has nothing to lose. They have something to lose in
this campaign.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, Walker is a good politician. And I have to admit
he`s overcome a recall --

WALSH: Three elections in four years.

SHARPTON: Three elections in four years. You can`t underestimate him and
last night his coming out announcement speech was generally reviewed very
favorably and he memorized it. A 40-minute speech.

WALSH: Right. Right. No, he has got some skills, Reverend Al. There`s
no doubt about that. I don`t know how well it translates to a national
audience. You know, he says he buys his clothes at Kohl`s but he is wholly
owned by the Koch Brothers. He`s also --

WARREN: Freudian slip.

WALSH: Yes. Right. Last night he came out and said the minimum wage is
lame, is a lame idea. So, you know, he is actually to the right of Mitt
Romney. We didn`t think we could ever see this, right? Most of these guys
to the right of Mr. 47 percent. Mitt Romney supports a hike in the minimum
wage. Mitt Romney says his biggest regret is his stance on immigration.

SHARPTON: Right. But he`s able to choreograph it and cover it being a
likeable Mr. Everyday guy with his dress. I mean, like you, Dorian, I
mean, he knows how --

WARREN: I dressed like Scott Walker today. The common man. This is a
Scott Walker day.

SHARPTON: But how does he -- if he won the nomination, right now the polls
don`t give him a shot, how does he translate that in a general election and
become competitive?

WARREN: That is the core challenge that he faces by going so hard right
now to winning a republican primary. He then has to pivot to the center
for the general election. The general election constituency is much, of
more moderate than he is. If he can keep that affable dog whistle politics
with hard-right policies and fool the American voters, he could win. But I
think in a general election he gets whooped.

SHARPTON: Maybe we`ll just send him some sneakers. But Joan, more
seriously, the issues are really going to catch up with all of them as the
debates go on. I know as you get down that debate schedule --

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: It gets more and more serious and the public starts getting
beyond your persona and your charisma or lack of it and starts listening to
the issues.

WALSH: Right. Somebody is going to emerge as the anti-Trump. I don`t
think it`s going to be Scott Walker for sure. Somebody will have a shot
but, you know, it`s going to be tough not to be pulled right by him.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh, Dorian Warren, thank you both for your time tonight.

WARREN: Thank you, reverend.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Eric Garner`s family fights for justice nearly one
year after his death.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ahead, Eric Garner and the fight for justice. His chokehold
death triggered a national conversation about policing. Now the family has
reached a monetary settlement, but the national dialogue and the family`s
fight are far from over.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight I want to talk about the family of Eric Garner
and their long fight for justice. The Garner family just reached a
settlement with New York City for $5.9 million in the chokehold death of
Eric nearly a year ago. But today at a press conference with my civil
rights group, the National Action Network, his widow said the settlement
can`t undo what happened that day Eric was stopped by police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ESAW GARNER, WIDOW OF ERIC GARNER: I lose sleep. I can`t sleep at night.
I`ve been married 28 years. Hoping, looking for the day all my kids leave
the house and me and my husband can do what we want to do without
babysitters, and now I have no one but my children, and I`m alone to deal
with this for the rest of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The pain is real. So is the tragedy. But Garner`s daughter
said their fight for justice is not over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERICA SNIPES, DAUGHTER OF ERIC GARNER: What does justice look like? When
we get indictments. When we get a fair trial. We`re going to keep on
fighting for justice. No amount of money is going to bring my father back,
so we`re going to keep on going and keep on going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They want to keep going. A grand jury decided not to indict
anyone in Garner`s debt but the Justice Department inquiry is still under
way. The New York Police Department has finished its internal
investigation but hasn`t said if any officer will be disciplined. The
public reaction to Garner`s death helped start a movement. I can`t
breathe. Black Lives Matter. And it was one of the incidents that helped
convince New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor for
police involved shootings. I have been on these cases from the beginning,
spoke at most of their funerals and rallies saying, "We just need justice."

To think on a videotape a man being choke held saying 11 times, I can`t
breathe, it needs to be an impartial and fair public jury to decide on
this. No amount of money should make us rest until we know what happened
and why. Someone saying I can`t breathe being held by a policeman
deserves, requires, and mandates answers not just a monetary settlement.
That covers some of the loss. It does not cover a pursuit for justice.

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


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

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