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PoliticsNation, Monday, June 10th, 2013

Read the transcript from the Monday show

June 10, 2013

Guests: Benjamin Crump; Faith Jenkins; Kendall Coffey, John Walsh, Michelle Cottle, Dana Milbank, Joe Madison

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight lead, the trial begins. One year, three months and 15 days
after killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is on trial for second-
degree murder. Mr. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and claims he shot
Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

Today, marks a dramatic new phase in a case that drew national
attention, one that is a long way away from that cold rainy night in
Florida when Trayvon Martin was killed.

Late this afternoon, lawyers for both sides began questioning
potential jurors. These potential jurors are not being shown on TV in
order to protect their identity. Most of the questions focused on what
they knew about the case from the media.


BERNIE DE LA RIONCA, PROSECUTOR: Have you read anything about this in
the newspaper? How about the internet? Do you ever surf the internet? In
terms of when you heard it or saw it on TV, was it a local broadcast or was
it a national broadcast do you recall?

tell me one were to other things you have heard about this. If you`re not
watching channel 9, are there any national channels that you watch? I
think you said you watch CSI type shows on occasion.


O`MARA: OK. Any idea how close you consider those to reality?


SHARPTON: Mr. Zimmerman`s wife and brother were both in the courtroom
today. During a break in the action, his brother talked about his hopes
for the jury.


problems in this situation was that there was a big vacuum surrounding who
George Zimmerman was. And so, this mythological monster evolved that
people had nothing to contrast with. I think it`s important that jurors
get to know that George is a real person.


SHARPTON: Earlier, Trayvon Martin`s parents also gathered in court
and gave a statement to the media.


TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: We are relieved that the start
of the trial is here with the jury selection as we seek justice for our
son, Trayvon. And we also seek a fair and impartial trial. We ask that
the community continue to stay peaceful as we place our faith in the
justice system. And we ask that the community do the same. We ask that
our families and friends continue to pray for us, continue to keep us safe
in God`s arms. We ask that you continue to pray for Trayvon and our
family. Thank you.


SHARPTON: A fair and impartial trial. That`s all anyone has ever
wanted in this case. Today marks a new turn in a long road toward justice.

Joining me now is former prosecutor Faith Jenkins, former U.S.
attorney Kendall Coffey, now MSNBC legal analyst, and Dr. Marshall
Hennington, a nationally recognized trial and jury consultant.

Thank you all for being here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Faith, let me start with you. How important is jury
selection? And can a trial be won or lost here before attorneys even make
their opening statements?

JENKINS: In this case, I think both sides realize jury selection is
all important. This is not an easy case for the state. There is not a lot
of direct evidence. You don`t have a bunch of eyewitnesses lined up to
take the witness stand. They know they`re facing very challenging
circumstances here. So they have to vet these jurors.

It`s OK that jurors already know something about the case. But based
on what they know, had they already come to a conclusion. That`s why
you`re hearing them repeatedly ask questions about what they have heard and
have they developed an opinion based on what they have heard so far.

SHARPTON: Now, Dr. Coffey, let me ask you your view of the same
question. Is this case a case where the jury selection becomes the
deciding factor even before the opening statements?

KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It could very easily be,
because of attitudes that are going to be so determinative. One of them is
going to be attitude about guns. People who think that it`s OK for private
citizens to go around with guns and to use them if they feel they have to,
people that are basically gun owners are going to be much better jurors for
the defense. People, on the other hand, who just aren`t comfortable with
the idea of guns and violence and think that something`s got to be done
about it, those are going to be the best jurors for the prosecution.

SHARPTON: Now Dr. Hennington, you deal with jury analysis. I notice
that Don West, who is one of the lawyers for Mr. Zimmerman was asking
potential juror b-29 about how Trayvon`s death affected her as a mother.
Listen this.


DON WEST, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S LAWYER: Did it affect you in any
particular way because you`re a mother yourself? You have children around
the same age of Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As any mother, it would affect to lose your
child, whether in a car accident or gang violence, of course.


SHARPTON: Now before you answer, I just want viewers to understand
the reason we`re showing Zimmerman is we do not -- they do not put cameras
on the potential jurors to protect their privacy and to protect them. So
they shoot the defendant or the lawyers in the courtroom.

But go ahead, Dr. Hennington. What does this kind of questioning of a
potential juror mean?

MARSHALL HENNINGTON, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, basically, they want to
tap into how jurors as a whole on that panel feel about young men that had
been victimized and also did they -- have they formed any opinions with
respect to Mr. Zimmerman`s guilt.

The fact of the matter is that a young man lost his life. It was
mentioned by Mr. Coffey earlier that this trial is about guns and should
there be a ban placed on guns, a more stricter bans or not. But this trial
is about race. And jury selection is the most important aspect of this
particular trial. It`s absolutely crucial to get the right jurors on this
trial that can be fair and impartial. That`s going to be extremely
difficult. Both sides have an uphill battle. You know, the prosecutors
have to prove their case to these jurors that it was Mr. Zimmerman that it
was the aggressor, it was Mr. Zimmerman who did not pay attention to the
911 calls that came in when that woman that was on the other side of 911
calls the operator mentioned specifically to him to not follow Mr. Martin,
to stay exactly where you are until help arrives. He didn`t follow the
orders according to the 911 tape. So that`s going to be an uphill battle
for the defense to really be able to defend Mr. Zimmerman`s actions.

SHARPTON: Now Faith, he mentioned race. When you look at the
demographics at Seminole county where the trial is where Sanford, Florida
is, it`s 66 percent white, 18 percent Latino, 12 percent African-American.
And it skews toward a conservative kind of area politically in last year`s
election, 53 percent of the county voted for Mitt Romney, 46 percent of
that county voted for President Obama. It doesn`t say how the jury will
be, but that`s the county demographics. What can you learn from this, and
what did you learn today, if anything, from the beginning of the jury

JENKINS: It would be foolish to say that the racial makeup of this
jury is completely irrelevant. Even if the attorneys don`t address it that
way that. They know that is that is going to be part of this. And only 11
percent of that county is African-American. So, what you can get from that
is you`re not going have a racial imbalance in favor of an African-American
jury here.

But at the same time, the lawyers know they cannot strike jurors based
on race, no matter what their race is. The Supreme Court already decided
that in bass versus Kentucky in 1986. You can`t do that. But it`s
obviously going to be a part of this case, because I think we`re going to
hear down the line in opening statements moving forward that there was an
element of profiling here.

So, when you`re talking about what kinds of jurors each side wants,
the state wants jurors who are going to be perhaps sympathetic to that and
understand what it means, perhaps, they had experienced it. And obviously
the defense is going to want to stay completely away from that as much as
they can.

SHARPTON: Now, when you hear all of this attorney Coffey, you`re a
former prosecutor. You prosecuted cases. You`ve got to deal with the
social elements here of whether there was profiling and frankly, whether
the police operated wrongly. Because when some of us that got involved, we
were more concerned with the police not proceeding to court and making the
decision than we were about what attitudes the person might have had that
did the shooting, because we did not know.

How do you navigate through all of that and still stay close to what
you need to convince a jury of the crime that has been charged of murder 2?

COFFEY: I don`t think the prosecution is going to try to do anything
but focus on their best evidence. They certainly want to portray Zimmerman
as a want to be cop if they can. They want to present him as a would-be
vigilante, someone who is profiling. They don`t have to mention race. But
the idea is that Zimmerman saw a particular kind of a young man and thought
he needed to pursue him and do something about it, even though the 911
dispatcher told him to stay away.

On the other hand, there is still reasonable doubt that`s got to be
overcome. So you`re going to see the prosecution along with presenting
that narrative focus on a couple critical points of evidence. One of them
hasn`t been ruled upon, Reverend, and that`s a question of whether the
expert testimony on voice recognition about that 911 tape is going to be
allowed. That is one of the big decisions that is yet to be made that
could shape the course this trial.

SHARPTON: Now, the another part of this whole jury selection, Dr.
Hennington, is when you look at how some of the jurors have known or may
have known or may have heard about this case, for example, when you hear
the questioning with juror b-30 talking about what his girlfriend told him
about the case. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My girlfriend had her opinion about it. And she
thinks that -- she told me that she thought that Mr. Zimmerman should have
stayed in his car, and that could have alleviated the whole thing.


SHARPTON: You know, how per meant the is getting second-hand opinions
going to be in jury selection? And how do you deal with this as you go
through this process of jury selection?

HENNINGTON: Well, that`s a great question, you know, Reverend
Sharpton. The fact of the matter is everyone has heard about this case,
OK. Everyone has formed a particular opinion about this case. And for any
individuals to say that his girlfriend told him some information about the
case but yet of course I haven`t formed an opinion is absolutely absurd.
The fact of the matter is everyone has a particular bias, either in support
of Mr. Zimmerman or against Mr. Zimmerman.

But the fact is what the attorney is going to have to do is really dig
deep to find out if there are biases that will impact their side of the
case. Neither side has a slam-dunk case. You know, both sides have
problems with their case. This case has gotten international exposure, all
right. And unless you`re living under a rock, you`ve heard something about
this case. You have formed some particular opinions about this case. And
you have certain biases with respect to this case as well.

So, that`s their challenge of each side. The jury questionnaire is
going to be extremely important for them to get the most key, pertinent
information from these jurors that they would not be able to ask in open
court setting. And a lot of times you can use that questionnaire to really
gather some compelling information so that you can build your case based on
some of the themes that come out during the questionnaire that they review.

SHARPTON: You know, Faith, Attorney Coffey raised a point I want to
close this segment with. He said there is still no decision on whether or
not they`re going to allow the voice experts and the tape of the screaming
that three experts say was Trayvon Martin screaming for help. How
important do you feel that would be to this case?

JENKINS: It`s very important because it goes to the emotional aspect
of the case, which is what the state wants. And that`s why they`re looking
for parents and mothers to be on this jury. Because at the end of the day
you have a 17-year-old with no gun walking home with snacks who was killed
because someone thought he looked suspicious.

SHARPTON: Faith Jenkins, Kendall Coffey and Dr. Marshall Hennington,
thank you all for your time tonight.

COFFEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And in full disclosure, in civil court, George Zimmerman
has sued NBC Universal for defamation, and the company has strongly denied
his allegations.

Ahead, more on that emotional speech from Trayvon Martin`s family
today. We`ll find out what the family is thinking after day one. The
lawyer for the Martin family joins us next.

And 50 years after the equal pay act, the GOP wants to turn back the
clock. But president Obama won`t let it happen.

And the debate over security should be had, but some on the right are
using it for ugly attacks on the president.

And keep those e-mails rolling in. I`m responding tonight. Stay with


SHARPTON: It took more than 15 months for the trial of George
Zimmerman to begin. More from Sanford, Florida. That`s next.


SHARPTON: It`s been a long road to reach this day, the opening of
George Zimmerman`s second-degree murder trial. The controversy began
immediately after Trayvon Martin`s death when police decided not to charge
Mr. Zimmerman in the case.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement
of self-defense. Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we
don`t have the grounds to arrest him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This young man would have shot this man, would he
have been arrested? He definitely would have been arrested.

I don`t understand. As a mother, my heart is broken.


SHARPTON: As the controversy grew and the coverage went national, the
president of the United States weighed in.


can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think
about this boy, I think about my own kids. My main message is to the
parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he would look like

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trayvon Martin`s mother and father.


SHARPTON: A rally in Miami drew thousands of protesters. I was there
joining those calling for an arrest. Calling on authorities to let the
criminal justice system do its work. Eventually prosecutors decided to
move ahead with criminal charges.


father are not asking for an eye for an eye. They`re just asking for an
arrest. Wouldn`t you want that if that was your child?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would also like to see justice be served. I
don`t think this was right. If it was my child, I would definitely be
outraged. And every parent should be concerned. Justice has to be served.
Something needs to be done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came here today because I believed in justice.
And justice to me is something ought to be settled in a courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today we filed an information charging George
Zimmerman with murder in the second degree. A habeas has been issued for
his arrest.


SHARPTON: Joining me is Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s
family. Thank you for being here.

CRUMP: Thank you for having me, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: You know, it has been a long road to get to this day. It
certainly hasn`t been easy. First of all, how is the family feeling about
this whole process? They have had to go through a roller coaster for the
last more than a year. How are they feeling about the whole process today?

CRUMP: Well, Trayvon`s parents Tracey and Sybrina are thankful that
the killer of their son will face a jury of his peers. Today we start the
process of seeking a fair and impartial jury. And they believe in their
heart, Reverend Sharpton, that justice will prevail and that their will do
their civic duty of following the judge`s instructions and the law.

SHARPTON: So they`re confident they will have a fair trial? That`s
their belief?

CRUMP: Yes, sir. And they are very much aware, and they said in
their statement previously this is the murder trial of George Zimmerman.
George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. So there is no doubt it`s
a homicide. And we believe that the evidence will show that the homicide
of their unarmed teenager was not justified. And they just have faith in
their prayer that the jury follow the evidence and the law and nothing
else. Because all they have ever wanted was to have a verdict based on the
evidence and hold the person accountable based on the evidence, Reverend

SHARPTON: What happens if George Zimmerman takes the stand? I know
his lawyer was questioned about that. He said he hadn`t decided. Do you
think it`s important one way or another and that it will have a bearing one
way or another if Zimmerman testifies?

CRUMP: Well, Reverend Sharpton, we believe if he has such a good
self-defense argument, he should take the stand and tell the jury and
America why. And if he doesn`t, that`s going to be very telling, because
they over and over again have said that this was self-defense. And he gave
so many inconsistent statements. If he doesn`t take the stand and explain
those inconsistent statements, then that`s going to be very telling. But I
do tell you this, Reverend Sharpton. The prosecutor wants him to take that
stand. So they`ll give opportunity to cross-examine him on the many
factual impossibilities in his statements that he made about what happened.
And once a jury believes that he is not telling the truth, then they have
to answer the question was this person not telling us the truth about what
happened when he shot an unarmed teenager. So it`s very, very important to
challenge him to take the stand and tell what`s happened.

SHARPTON: Today, jury selection started. We`re told it may take a
couple of weeks. How do you feel about the jury selection process and a
couple of weeks. What is your feeling about it, attorney Crump?

CRUMP: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I do think that it`s going to take a
significant amount of time. And the family is patient. They want to get a
fair and impartial jury. They`re doing it where they`re trying to find out
what pretrial publicity the jurors know about the case, have they formed
any opinions or biases. And then once they determine that, then they`re
going to impanel 21 people at a time and ask them different issues about
why they should or shouldn`t serve on the jury as they do a trial. And at
that point they keep going through it every so many 21 days until they get
six members that can hear the case and then four alternates. And we`re
probably spend the next month having that jury vet all of the evidence.

SHARPTON: So it`s six members of the jury in Florida for a case of
this nature that`s a noncapital punishment case.

Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump, I can only say when we first
started talking about this, you wanted a day in court. The family want a
day in court. That`s all they said -- that`s all we protested for. Those
days have now come about, and we`ll be watching.

Thanks for your time this evening.

CRUMP: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton and your audience.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Glenn Beck is sorry for being a divider. Yes, he
really wasn`t. We`ll show you why.

And on the 50th anniversary of the equal pay act, President Obama
responds to those that want to take us backwards.

And send me your e-mail questions. Friend or foe, I want to know.


SHARPTON: On this day in 1963, president John F. Kennedy took a big
step for women`s equality. We have made progress, but 50 years later,
there is still work to do. President Obama talked about that work today.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Fifty years ago today, President Kennedy signed the equal
pay act into law in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on
gender. The law was an important step, but today at the White House,
President Obama reminded the country how much work still needs to be done.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Just last week, a report
confirmed what we already know, that women are increasingly the
breadwinners for American families. That`s not something to panic about or
be afraid about. That`s a sign of the progress and the strides that we`ve
made. But what it does mean is that when more women are bringing home the
bacon, they shouldn`t just be getting a little bit of bacon.



SHARPTON: This is what the Obama presidency is all about, fairness.
A president who signed a fair pay act into law first and who referenced
Seneca Falls at the inauguration. But this is what we hear from the right.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I want to turn a study and then the Pugh Research
showing that women have become the breadwinners in this country, and a lot
of other concerning and troubling statistics. When we`re watching society
dissolve around us, Juan, what do you think?

wrong in American society.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Some women believe they can have it all. And
that`s the crux of the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bottom-line, it could undermine our social order.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: How did America get so mediocre?

GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: You know, I think parents became -
- both parents started working. And the mom is in the workplace.


SHARPTON: Is it any wonder the president says that there is work that
still needs to be done? Joining me now, John Walsh and Michelle Cottle.
Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: Joan, let me start with you. Is the GOP stuck in 50 years
ago? I mean, did you hear that kind of stuff that they were saying? It`s
unbelievable. This is 2013.

WALSH: I know. And the world is unraveling around us, mainly because
of people like me and Michelle. It`s good to know. No, I men, remember.

SHARPTON: You should be home in the kitchen with an apron.

WALSH: We do that too sometimes, so, you know.


WALSH: But you know, remember, we talked about this last year when
Rush Limbaugh and other Republicans started saying that those bad
Democrats, those mean Democrats, they created the GOP war on women. There
is no war on women. And then you have people like Erick Erickson and Lou
Dobbs and sadly Juan Williams joining in blaming women for this change
that 40 percent of all women are breadwinners, not looking at the factors
in the economy driving that or the desire of women to work, which is
perfectly great and perfectly wonderful for their families.

So you know, you have a president on the one hand who is trying to
help those women in the workplace, and then you have got these men on the
other hand who are in full flight panic at these trends, not wanting to
help, but wanting to just turn their backs on them.

SHARPTON: But, you know, Michelle, I guess the reason I`m a little
slightly surprised is that even on the right you have Michele Bachmann, you
have Sarah Palin. I mean you have women that have come out, yet you still
have this kind of sexism misogynist attitude. I mean listen to Rush
Limbaugh today mocking the president`s equal pay act news conference.
Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Guess what he is out doing
today. He is back on the war on women. He is revving that back up. It`s
some 50th anniversary some equal pay act, some such thing. And he is out
there talking about women bringing home the bacon, but they don`t get the


SHARPTON: I mean, some 50th anniversary thing, some about women
getting bacon. I mean it`s crazy.

MICHELLE COTTLE, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. Don`t worry yourself about
the details, you know, Rush, we`re going to be just fine. I think the only
people who could possibly be more entertained about this than say Rush
Limbaugh are Democrats, because every time a republican gets out there and
does this, when you have them making these comments, you can be sure that
the Democratic Party is recording these, and you are going to see them
again and again.

I mean, Emily`s list has been very savvy and aggressive about
collecting these and sending out reminders as to kind of what these
candidates are saying, and that this is not just kind of a tiny fringe
element of the party that, you know, will come up with these freaky little
gaffes, but that you know, increasingly, you can find this widespread among

SHARPTON: Now you know, Joan, the president talked today about making
the economy better for everybody. And when we look at the fact that the
economy is also getting better, just look at the U.S. auto industry, car
sales poised to reach the highest level in six years, and the industry is
expected to add 35,000 jobs this year alone. The president talked about
today making it better for everyone, male and female. Listen to this.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: What`s going to do the most
good for the most people in this country? Not what is best for a political
party? Not what is best for a special interest? I don`t have another
election. It`s not what is best for me. What is best for our middle
class? And everybody who is working hard to get there, that`s what the
American deserve.


SHARPTON: Your response to the bringing of the economy to everyone,
regardless of who they are, and that that is really the mandate for this
president and for this country right now.

WALSH: Absolutely. I mean, he has to be happy that the economy is
coming back. I think that`s partly what is causing all this attention to
scandal, that they know that they can`t hit him on jobs as much so, they
turn to scandal. On the other hand, he knows and we know, Reverend Al,
that the people that we care about, a lot of them are being left out of
this recovery, and that we`ve seen to some extent it was true under the
Clinton administration too, but it`s even more true now that we have
jobless recoveries and we also have recoveries where wage gains aren`t
shared by the middle and the working class. And so he is concerned about
that. He`s got an agenda to start to do something about it. But he is
being pushed back. This is not something they want to take up in any form.


SHARPTON: But you know, Michelle, the GOP is trying to cut the safety
net from those who are struggling. Let me give you an example. The new
farm bill making its way through the house will cut food stamps by $20
billion. But it would increase crop subsidies by $9 billion. I mean how
do you justify you`re going to cut $20 billion from food stamp programs who
a large segment go to children, but you`re going to give farm subsidies a
$9 billion increase.

COTTLE: No. You justify that because poor children don`t vote. Now
that doesn`t make it right. But, you know, the Republicans have a fairly
consistent position about the social safety net, which is that they are
very concerned about government trying to do too much. But that makes it
even more through the looking glass when you have them backing policies,
you know, like the farm bill where you are winding up with, you know, what
is, you know, supporting big agriculture on some level.

SHARPTON: Joan, do you, as we move toward the economy edging its way
back as the president still fights for gender equality and equality for
race as well as other segments of society, gays and lesbians, we still see
the politics of distraction. You mentioned the scandals. So, elaborate on
that. You feel that all the scandals have tried to struck or at least
deflect attention from the needs for this progress to continue?

WALSH: I do think that. You know, I think that the Republican Party
has consigned itself to being a minority party for quite a long time,
Reverend Al, but they know how to use that minority status to block. And
they consider that a job well done when they can block this president, who
is elected to solve these problems, they can go back and tell their Tea
Party faithful that they did the job they were sent to Washington to do.
Not for American families, but for those extreme right-wingers who don`t
want to see government work.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh and Michelle Cottle, thank you both for your
time this evening.

COTTLE: Thank you.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the debate over security and transparency is one
thing, but some on the right are going overboard. And we have an update on
Nelson Mandela`s hospitalization. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Former South African President Nelson Mandela is in serious
but stable condition with a lung infection. The 94-year-old Mandela has
been hospitalized in intensive care for three days. Today his former wife
Winnie Mandela was seen leaving the hospital after visiting. Mandela was
last seen in public in April. One of his long-time friends said it was,
quote, "time to let him go."

But we will never let him go. It was his strength and his fight for
democracy that helped end the oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa.
It was his strength we saw when he walked out of prison after 27 years and
into the arms of a joyous nation. And it was his strength that allowed him
to get elected South Africa`s first black president. As an election
observer, I witnessed history, and I will never forget it. We are all
praying for Nelson Mandela.


SHARPTON: The debate over surveillance, privacy, and security is
raging across the country because of this guy. He is Edward Snowden, and
he is responsible for one of the biggest National Security leaks in
American history. The former CIA employee fueled the debate over
collecting phone records and internet surveillance. But some Republicans
are using it to attack the president.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: The optics are terrible in this case
when you consider the latest scandals. You have to ask yourself this
question is, can you trust this administration with your phone records?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Get a warrant. Go after a terrorist or
a murder or a rapist. But don`t troll through a billion phone records
every day. That is unconstitutional. It invades our privacy.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Now we learned that the government has been
collecting millions of U.S. telephone records. While the details are
unclear, this fits into a troubling pattern of disregarding the bill of


SHARPTON: This isn`t optics or trust or disregarding the bill of
rights. These are laws put into effect under President Bush. There are
plenty of Democrats who are upset about this too. I do not agree with the
patriot act. But you can`t blame President Obama for it. This is the
nonsense we`re hearing on the airwaves.


LIMBAUGH: The evidence of the totalitarian nature, or the
authoritarian nature of this administration is on display, undeniably every
day. What everybody knows and nobody wants to really come to grips with is
that we are in the midst of a coup taking place. This is clearly an
administration who wants to identify its enemies.

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: If we don`t stop this right now, we
will be remembered as the most evil nation in the history of the world. We
will dwarf what Germany did. There wouldn`t be a Jew alive on the planet
today if Hitler had this technology. Not a Jew alive on the planet. Not


SHARPTON: America becoming worse than Nazi Germany? We should have a
debate on this. These are hard issues with no easy answers. But we can`t
have knee-jerk reactions. Let`s have a real debate, a real conversation on
how to move forward.

Joining me now are Dana Milbank and Joe Madison. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Dana, Rush Limbaugh says this is an Obama coup. But
haven`t many in both parties supported the patriot for more than ten years?

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, not just the patriot act,
but this particular program was grown out of a Bush administration program
and was done on a bipartisan basis to replace that after the Supreme Court
basically invalidated it. So, you know, look. I think as you pointed out,
there is plenty of blame to go around here. I think our government is
doing something here that it didn`t tell the people about. That`s this
administration, the previous administration.


MILBANK: Both parties in Congress. And the courts have not been
telling. We deserve to know and we deserve to have this debate. But for
the Republicans to come out now and say wait a second, we didn`t know
anything about this. Well, if they didn`t, they weren`t doing their jobs,
because all 535 members of Congress were invited to be briefed on this
program and to get all the details. They weren`t doing their jobs. They
should have been asking these questions.

SHARPTON: And now, Joe, the talk is comparing this to Nazi Germany.
I mean, where was this talk pre-Obama? I agree, now we need to look at
this. And I was yelling about it, and you were when Bush was in when this

MADISON: And you`re absolutely right. And what one should do, and
especially those of us in the media is we ought to go back and get Rush
Limbaugh, get Glenn Beck, who was very active with the other network and
play their tapes and how they defended the Bush administration when the two
of us and others were saying this was an overreach on the part of the
government. The tapes are out there. Their words are out there, and you
can witness for yourself their hypocrisy.

SHARPTON: Now Dana, you know there is a lot of interest about Edward
Snowden, the man who released this, a man who calls himself a
whistleblower. Some see him as a hero. We know he is 29 years old, high
school drop-out. He got his GED, former CIA technology assistant. He left
the CIA in 2009, worked as a private NSA contractor. Told bosses he had to
be treated for epilepsy. Fled to Hong Kong. We also know he donated $500
to Ron Paul in his 2012 campaign. So this is the one who released the
information. Some are saying hero. Some are saying that he is someone
that is a criminal.

MILBANK: Well, he is both, Reverend. I mean, he obviously broke the
law in releasing this information, and he should face the legal
consequences for doing it. On the other hand, he also gave us information
that we as Americans should have had in the first place. It`s a shame that
it has to be this 29-year-old guy working for a subcontractor to the
government who gets us this information as opposed to our elected leaders
in the Congress, in the administration, in the previous administration.

I think had they been more forthcoming earlier on when you were asking
for this debate to occur, we could have had a civilized debate about this
without releasing all the secret sources and methods. Now national
Security may be compromised by this leak, but it`s only because our leaders
didn`t have an honest debate in the first place.

SHARPTON: Now Joe Snowden spoke to The Guardian about the access he
had and why he was leaking the information now. Listen to this.


EDWARD SNOWDEN, LEAKED NSA DOCUMENTS: Any analyst at any time can
target anyone, any selector anywhere. I sitting at my desk certainly had
the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal
judge to even the president if I had a personal e-mail. I`m no different
from anybody else. I don`t have special skills. I`m just another guy who
sit there`s day to day in the office, watches what is happening and goes
this is something that`s not our place to decide. The public needs to
decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong.


SHARPTON: Now if he is telling the truth, this is a low level guy,
yet he is saying he could wiretap or hack anyone. And many liberals don`t
like it. I`ve been against the patriot act. But it`s handled in a
different way. And I think that is what is disturbing. Senator Mark Udall
was on over the weekend. Listen to this.


SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: I think we ought to reopen the patriot
act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security
Administration is collecting.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The president has said this has been fully debated
and authorized by the Congress.

UDALL: It has been, George, but in a limited way, if I might make
that point. And that`s why I want to reopen the patriot act. I think now
that this information is more available, I`ve certainly had a lot of
Coloradans say to me they`re uncomfortable with this. They want to know
more. That`s my point. Let`s have a debate here. Let`s look at what is
really happening.


SHARPTON: Is it time, Joe, to have a debate about the law that allows
this surveillance?

MADISON: It`s past time. You know, this was something that we should
have debated. But, you know, that debate wasn`t going to take place,
particularly after 9/11. Primarily because of fear, primarily because Bin
Laden was still out there, threats were still being made. The reality that
I`m concerned about at least is that this analyst who says I`m not special,
but you have obviously access to something that most Americans don`t have
access to, the other thing is that I question when did this epiphany

Well, you know, he was there for several years, and then now he has
this epiphany that he is going to, you know, make this available. And then
I think, and I made this point earlier, he may have done the wrong thing
for right reason. And quite honestly, if that`s -- if he did it for the
right reason, then he should come back to the United States, as anyone who
has participated in civil disobedience and just, you know, and go on trial.


MADISON: And tell people. And that is part of the debate. But this
is not about so much about President Obama. It`s really even after Obama,
because that`s what I think you`re concerned about, I`m concerned about.
It`s whoever is president. You don`t -- we have a right, a constitutional
right to expect privacy and not for government to be overboard. But I do
not agree with Glenn Beck, for them to sit there and go after President
Obama as if this --

SHARPTON: That`s way out of line.

MADISON: Over the line and stupid.

SHARPTON: But Dana, let me ask you quickly, will Washington have this
debate, or will it just be more of some partisan whipping up on the
president on this and it will end there with the Republicans just attacking
President Obama?

MILBANK: I hope that we will have this debate, Reverend. You have
some Republicans like Jim Sensenbrenner in the House who is somewhat
responsible saying he wrote the act. He doesn`t want to see this sort of
thing going on. So there is a bit of hope that we can have this long
delayed public debate.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, we`re going have to leave there it. Joe
Madison and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, reverend.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: I`ve been getting some great e-mail questions from the
POLITICS NATION family. Remember, friend or foe, I want to know.

Steven asked, "How do you feel the Supreme Court will rule on section
five of the voting rights act?"

Well, we can know as early as Thursday. We`ll know again decisions
this Thursday and every Monday in this month, and we have to know this
month I hope they will do the right thing and maintain it as constitutional

JK says, "Hi, Rev. My question is simple. With the stock market
booming and the job market recovering modestly, where is the trickle down
the Republicans are always talking about?"

Well, we`ve been getting it down. We haven`t been getting as much of
the trickle as we need. Unemployment is at 7.6 percent. Generally, it`s
at 13.5 percent among African-Americans. If the Republicans would stop the
sequester and stop fighting the public sector and agencies, we`d be a lot
better off.

Tom writes, "I am 76 now, and my trail will soon go cold. But before
I exit, I`d like to ask your opinion and maybe assistance. It seems to me
that all of us in the Democratic Party should permanently remove the word
hate from our vocabulary. In my own life, I`ve focused on the things I
love, my cat, my dogs, my wife, our friends, our town. Could you help me
spread the word?"

I want to spread the word. You`re right. We have no room for hate,
even when we fight, we should fight out of love. And I also want to give
you a suggestion, my dear friend. Tom, don`t list your cats and your dogs
ahead of your friend and your wife. It`s not too advisable.

Thanks to all of you for great questions. Keep them coming.
Remember, friend or foe, I want to know. E-mail me.

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


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