PoliticsNation, Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

Guest: Brian Wice, Jim McDermott, Krystal Ball, Ed Rendell, Jim Cavanaugh,
David Soucie

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight from Tallahassee, Florida, the state`s
capitol, where earlier today my civil rights organization, National Action
Network, and other groups came together to rally against the stand your
ground law. Thousands came out today, and we`ll talk about it later in the

But we start tonight with breaking news. Bridget Kelly breaking her
silence. On the eve of a pivotal court hearing, NBC has obtained exclusive
new video of Kelly, the former Christie aide who sent the e-mail "time for
some traffic problems in fort lee." NBC`s Michael Isikoff caught up with
Bridget Kelly and her lawyer.


Hi. Mike Isikoff with NBC News.

I just want to ask a few questions. How you holding up?


ISIKOFF: Can you tell us how difficult an experience this has been for

KELLY: I`m not going to comment.

ISIKOFF: Would you say that there is more to the story that people haven`t


SHARPTON: Also today we learned the federal investigation into the bridge
scandal is expanding to include one of Governor Christie`s closest
political allies. Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the records of David
Samson, the chairman of the port authority, the agency in charge of the
George Washington bridge.

Investigators are reportedly looking for potential conflict of interests
involving Samson`s role at the agency and his prominent law firm. All of
this comes as we await Bridget Kelly at her court hearing tomorrow.

Joining me now is NBC News national investigative correspondent Michael
Isikoff and criminal defense attorney Brian Wice, who has experience with
political corruption cases. Thank you both for being here tonight.

ISIKOFF: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Michael, let me start with you. You spoke to Bridget Kelly`s
attorney. Tell me about that.

ISIKOFF: Well, first of all, as you can see from that video, Bridget Kelly
herself still looks quite anguished over this, almost traumatized, is in no
mood to talk herself. But what is interesting is that tomorrow at this
court hearing on whether her fifth amendment claims can cover her documents
and e-mails and text messages, she`s going to be there. So she doesn`t
have to be there. But by showing up in court, she and I think her lawyer,
Michael Critchley are making a statement that she`s very much a player in
this, that she is going to assert her rights, and that she may well have
something to say if and when that time comes that she has to say it.

So I think that it`s raised quite a few eyebrows that she is going to be in
court tomorrow. Stepien, Bill Stepien, who his claims are also being heard
in this courtroom, he is not going to be there. She is.

SHARPTON: Now talking about raising eyebrows, Michael, you asked Bridget
Kelly`s lawyer what would happen if she was promised immunity. I want to
play that.


ISIKOFF: If she got immunity, would she be willing to tell her story?

hypothetical. And let`s see how the events abide.


SHARPTON: That was not a no, Michael. How do you read that?

ISIKOFF: No, it was definitely not a no. Look, in the court papers that
her lawyer, Michael Critchley filed in this, he talks about how the U.S.
attorney`s office has contacted him and is seeking to talk to Bridget
Kelly. He said no. She`s going to assert her Fifth Amendment rights.

But look, it`s very clear this is the game as it`s played in the criminal
defense world. That`s the opening gambit. What her lawyer really wants is
a grant of immunity. And then if he gets that, then she will talk. It`s
the same game that David Wildstein and his lawyer are playing, seeking
immunity from that U.S. attorney investigation. And what has to happen
here is almost a dance in which she or her lawyer has to sort of suggest to
the U.S. attorney that if she gets that immunity, she`ll be able to open up
and identify others who may have been involved in ordering those lane
closures. She`s not going to get it unless the U.S. attorney becomes
convinced that she`s got solid information along those lines. But that is
what her lawyer`s positioning her for.

SHARPTON: Now Brian, you`re a noted defense attorney. Are they holding
out for immunity as Michael seems to think? And what statement is being
made by her coming to the hearing tomorrow that she doesn`t have to be at
and colleague or former colleague is not coming to the hearing and he faces
the same issues?

BRAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Al, I`m not sure you can read
anything into that, necessarily. But I think Mike makes a great point.
You don`t need to be the solicitor general of the United States to
recognize that Bridget Kelly`s position is simple. If I talk, I walk. And
at this point, I think everybody believes and people who have watched your
show and watched ms over the course of the last couple of months have come
to believe she is probably the most likely domino to fall. And she can
tell them, look, if you give me immunity, I will tell you the truth. I can
give you the keys to the Bridgegate kingdom.

SHARPTON: Now, Michael, you also asked Bridget Kelly`s attorney about the
court hearing tomorrow. I want to play that.


ISIKOFF: Is there something she wants to say by showing up in court

CRITCHLEY: Well, she wants everyone to know that she feels that she has
rights that have to be asserted. And tomorrow is going to be the preceding
where hopefully is the last step and arguing in terms of what documents
have to be turned over, turned over.


SHARPTON: What do you make of the statement, Michael, when her lawyer says
to you, Bridget Kelly feels she has rights that have to be asserted? How
do you read that?

SHARPTON: Well, it`s actually an interesting legal argument. The subpoena
called for her to turn over e-mails, text messages that she has regarding
the lane closures. And what her lawyer is saying is what is regarding the
lane closures mean? If she has to identify certain e-mails and text
messages that don`t specifically refer to lane closures, such as time for
traffic problems in fort lee, but she would be saying they are regarding
the lane closures then she is waiving her first amendment rights.

She is testifying in effect that these e-mails and these exchanges relate
to the lane closures. It`s a form of forcing her to testify. And it`s a
very interesting legal argument as to whether or not the subpoena can be
enforced in this, and whether it may have to be recast and made more
specific, or this goes up in appeals.

But while this legal argument is playing out, what it means is we don`t
hear Bridget Kelly`s story, and we don`t -- the legislative committee
doesn`t get those e-mails, doesn`t get those text messages, and the
investigation is in some respects stalled.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Brian. We`ve learned that
investigators, or at least an investigator for the U.S. attorney`s office
attempted to contact Ms. Kelly, and also attempted to contact her parents,
Ms. Kelly`s ex-husband, and other in-laws. I mean, what would they be
hoping to accomplish by doing that?

WICE: I think ultimately, Al, they want Bridget Kelly to believe that
there is no way out except to cooperate. Now while Michael says that her
legal argument is interesting, it is, but it may not necessarily be
meritorious. Because we have heard on this show, our good buddy Paul
butler, professor at Georgetown has told us there is no right that keeps
you from not having to produce documents that are not covered by the fifth
amendment privilege.

So make no mistake. When she walks into mercer county court tomorrow, she
is a two touchdown underdog. There is not going to be a legal privilege
that extends to those e-mails, which is why, and texts and everything else,
which is why, Al, a subpoena is ultimately the greatest weapon that any
prosecutor has in their arsenal.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to you, Michael. Bill Stepien`s attorney,
he revealed in a court filing that federal prosecutors went to his home,
Stepien`s home. He wasn`t there. So investigators, quote, "questioned his
landlord about his conduct and character. Was he married? Was he rowdy as
a tenant? Did he pay his rent on time?" I mean, why would they be asking
these type of questions?

ISIKOFF: Look, when you get investigated by the feds, it`s a full-blown
deal. And they try to get every scrap of information they can about you.
They talk to everybody. They look at everything in your background,
everything that they can find out. So it`s not that surprising. I mean,
this is a pretty -- you put those two court filings together, one by
Stepien`s lawyer, the other by Bridget Kelly`s lawyer. And what you see is
a pretty aggressive investigation by Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney in
Newark. He is not taking this lightly.

So I think you can infer from this that this is going to be going on for a
while, and there is going to be a lot of people who are going to be
questioned, a lot of people who ultimately may be brought before the grand

SHARPTON: Michael Isikoff and Brian Wice, thank you both for your time

One quick note. The "Bergen Record" just reported that federal prosecutors
in Manhattan have withdrawn subpoena seeking records about David Samson.
Repeat, prosecutors have withdrawn that subpoena. Lots of developments
here. We`ll see what happens in court tomorrow.

Coming up, believe it or not, they are still vowing to repeal Obama care,
even as more good news rolls in.

And surprise, surprise. Dick Cheney wants more war, and he is attacking
the president during an international crisis.

Plus, Governor Bobby Jindal talking about whether the president is smart.
I know one thing. That`s not a smart strategy for him.

And we`re in Florida, where the shoot first, ask questions later stand your
ground law started. Why the march to repeal it today is personal. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: Senator Ted Cruz says he think there`s is still a chance
somehow, some way that he`ll repeal Obamacare. Is he delusional or just
playing to his base? That`s next.


SHARPTON: America, this is what denial looks like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you honestly think there is a chance that
you can get Obamacare repealed? Every word as you say?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Every word --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: With Obama in the White House?

CRUZ: You know, what`s funny, John, is the media treats that as a bizarre

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Well it is, isn`t it? It is the most
unpopular law in the country.


SHARPTON: Yes, this is a bizarre proposition. Saying he could repeal the
president`s signature legislation while he is still in office? Haven`t I
heard that before? But reality just doesn`t stop these Republicans. And
on the other side of Capitol Hill, Speaker Boehner is getting in the
spirit, gearing up for the house to hold its 51st vote to attack the health
care law this week. What is Speaker Boehner thinking? Why would he waste
time trying to repeal a law that is working? Today we learned the rate of
uninsured Americans has dropped more than 1 percent in the last three
months. Meaning three to four million people have coverage.

Now, we can`t be sure how much of that is due to the health care law. But
we`re moving in the right direction. And it`s past time for Senator Cruz
and Speaker Boehner to accept that reality.

Joining me now are Congressman Jim McDermott and Joan Walsh. Thank you
both for being here tonight.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: It`s good to be here.


SHARPTON: Congressman, you can`t make it up. Repealing Obama care while
the president is in office, I mean, what`s going on here?

MCDERMOTT: Well, he is talking to his base, Al. There is just no
question. Either that or he is truly, as you say, delusional. It makes no
sense at all. You got to remember, this guy thought that it was a good
idea to shut the government down. You saw how that turned out. Well, this
is the same way. If he were to repeal the Obama law, all the people that
would lose the benefits they already have would be angrier than hell. It
would be wild if you took away health care from all the people under 26 and
all the people with preexisting conditions, and all these things that
people have gained. So there is no way this is going to be repealed. But
he wants his people to believe that he is out there fighting for something
that he`s created in his own mind. It is not what the American people

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, Ted Cruz wasn`t the only one attacking the
health care law. You had the big conservative conference over the weekend.

WALSH: Oh, yes.

SHARPTON: Look at this.


CRUZ: We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The president also is transformed
our health care system into a plus-sized bureaucracy.

Obamacare, which is a total catastrophe.

way the president tells it -- OK, don`t take Obamacare. But just work with
me, OK?

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I do not like this, Uncle Sam, I
do not like his health care scam. I do not like --


SHARPTON: Now, Joan, I get it, this plays well to the base.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: But how long can they ignore how much good this law is doing for
a lot of American people?

WALSH: Forever, forever, Reverend Al. They`re going to ignore it as long
as they`re in office there are no consequences for them to do so. You
know, Ted Cruz is now obsessed with repealing every word. He shut down the
government as Congressman McDermott says to do that. It didn`t succeed.
It brought the Republican party to historic lows in the polls. But he is
still telling the base that it can be done. It`s ridiculous.

I mean, another thing that happened last week, "the Wall Street Journal,"
of all places, reported that the small rise in personal income and in
consumer spending, the economy is growing, right? It`s attributable to
people having more money in their pockets because of the affordable care
act. So it`s helping the economy. It`s bringing down the rate of
uninsured people. It`s doing all these positive things, and that`s why
they`re desperate to stop it. But they can`t.

SHARPTON: Congressman, if you look at the politics of it, the American
people don`t want to repeal the law. I mean, the most recent NBC poll
found 54 percent of Americans want to fix the health care law. 17 percent
want to keep it as is. And 28 percent want to repeal it. So 70 percent of
Americans want to fix the law or keep it as it is. I mean, what does that
say to you?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it says to me that the next candidate for president is
not going to be Ted Cruz on the Republican side. And certainly, the winner
isn`t. It`s going to be somebody who uses Obama care as a launching pad.
By the time we get to 2016, it is going to be in place and functioning very
efficiently. Right now we`re going through some bumps. But it`s all going
to be ironed out the next three years, in spite of these guys` efforts to
destroy it.

I think they have politically totally misread the American people. They
have totally misread the situation. Americans are worried about health
care and what happens if they get sick. Because it has been the number one
cause of bankruptcy for people`s disaster. So people want to have some
protection from that. It`s like living in some places in this country
without flood insurance. Every American lives without health insurance
knows they can be wiped out at any moment. They don`t want that.

SHARPTON: You know, Joan, when you look at tough races like in Louisiana,
Senator Mary Landrieu, who is a democrat.

WALSH: Right.

She is in a tough reelection fight. And she started a petition on her Web
site calling on governor Jindal to accept the Medicaid expansion, saying
close the Jindal gap. Now because the governor has refused the Medicaid
expansion, more than 240,000 Louisiana residents are left without
insurance. Are we seeing a shift of Democrats going on the offensive here,

WALSH: Yes, I think we are. And I would like to see it from more
Democrats. I hope Wendy Davis makes this a big issue in Texas, which has a
tragically high un-insurance rate, and Rick Perry doesn`t care about it and
turned down that money. I think it can work in red states. It can work in
purple states. People know that Medicaid expansion is a good idea, rev.

And that they`re also leaving money on the table. Some states are taking
it. Some Republican governors are taking it, and others are using ideology
against their own people. And they`re hurting their economy. The Medicaid
expansion is, again, hugely stimulative for the rest of the community.
It`s money spent in communities as well as money spent to keep people
healthier or get them healthy. But those things are synergistic. And
smart governor are saying yes. I think there is going to be a lot more
pressure on red state governors to take this money.

SHARPTON: Congressman Jim McDermott and Joan Walsh, thank you both for
your time. I`m going to have to leave there it tonight.

MCDERMOTT: All right. We`ll be back.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, still ahead, he is back! Dick Cheney thinks he`s
got a big problem all figured out. You`ll want to hear this one.

But first, Governor Jindal once told Republicans they should not be the
stupid party. But has he failed to take his own advice? That`s tonight`s
got you.


SHARPTON: Just over a year ago, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal actually
had a pretty bright idea. He said the GOP should stop being the stupid


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: We`ve got to stop being the stupid
party. And I`m serious. It`s time for a new Republican party that talks
like adults.


SHARPTON: Don`t be stupid. Talk like an adult. That would actually have
been a big step forward for the GOP. Too bad Republicans didn`t follow his
advice. Including Republican named Bobby Jindal. Here is what Governor
Jindal said about President Obama late last week.


JINDAL: We have long thought and said this president is a smart man. It
may be time to revisit that assumption.


SHARPTON: Time to revisit the idea that president Obama is smart? That`s
Jindal`s version of don`t be stupid? Suggest the president is stupid? But
it wasn`t a gaffe. He doubled down on it today.

In a national review column, Jindal writes, quote, "this president is often
praised for his intelligence. The events in Crimea should spur us to
revisit that notion."

Folks, it doesn`t take a rocket scientist to see that insulting the
president`s intelligence is a pretty lame-brained idea. Did Governor
Jindal think we would give him a pass on this one? Nice try, but we got


SHARPTON: President Obama spent the weekend rallying world leaders to push
back against Russia`s invasion of Ukraine. He spoke to China`s president
last night. And on Wednesday, he`ll meet with Ukraine`s new prime
minister, all part of an effort to diffuse a major international crisis.
But for some Republicans here at home, this crisis is only about one thing,
a new excuse to attack President Obama.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: As the President`s pass is
smothering the American dream here at home and projecting weakness abroad.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A president who doesn`t understand that a weak America
leads to instability.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama.

REP. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: A critical reason for Putin`s aggression has
been President Obama`s weakness. Number one, don`t demonstrate weakness
for five years.


SHARPTON: So Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine because President Obama is
weak? That`s their theory? Maybe all these GOP experts on foreign policy
should listen to a member of their own party who actually knows what he is
talking about. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: In the middle of a major international crisis that some
of the domestic criticism of the president ought to be toned down while he
is trying to handle this crisis, my own view is after all, Putin invaded
Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W.
Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force.


SHARPTON: Secretary Gates is right. The GOP`s attacks on this are all
about politics. And now they`re exposing their own hypocrisy.

Joining me now are Krystal Ball and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed
Rendell. Thank you both for being here tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thanks for having us, Rev.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, no one did attack President Bush like this
when Russia invaded Georgia. But now it`s fair game to attack President

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, it isn`t fair game, and it
comes with a lot of gall for Dick Cheney to be leading the criticism of
President Obama when Dick Cheney was vice president to President Bush and
they did their response to the invasion of Georgia was much weaker. They
didn`t do anything compared to the steps President Obama has taken. It`s
really ludicrous. It`s gotten so bad, Rev, that if President Obama
discovered a cure for cancer, the Republicans would bash him for doing
nothing about heart disease.

SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, talking about Dick Cheney, I mean, he knows a
thing or two about invading foreign countries.

BALL: Indeed.

SHARPTON: But he is offering his wisdom on the crisis. Listen to this.


FMR. VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY (R), UNITED STATES: I worry when one would
begin to address a crisis by first thing we do is take options off the
table. I don`t think the administration should do that and --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Have they done that?

CHENEY: In a sense by say nothing military. He seems to operate that way
most of the time there are military options that don`t involve putting
troops on the ground in Crimea.


SHARPTON: So former Vice President Cheney thinks that we ought to consider
military options in Russia?

BALL: Yes. Well, and there is so much here. I mean, first of all, why
are we listening to anything that this man says at this point on foreign
policy, other than to find out what we shouldn`t do. Second of all, he and
Condoleezza Rice in an op-ed both sort of echoed this point that we`re not
strong enough, and we`re not exerting our influence enough in the world.
And Condoleezza Rice actually makes the point that Americans seem
exhausted. Well, why are we exhausted?

We`re exhausted because Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush
got us engaged in wars that were completely unnecessary, unbelievably
costly. And so, yes, if anyone has taken options off the table for
America, it`s Dick Cheney and George W. Bush because we are fatigued. We
are fatigued of military engagements overseas, and that is not President
Obama`s fault that is their fault.

SHARPTON: Now, governor, you know, Rand Paul, he floated his own idea on
how to solve the crisis in Ukraine. Listen to this.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I would do something differently than the
President, because that would immediately get every obstacle out of the way
for our export of oil and gas. And I would begin drilling in every
possible and conceivable place within our territories.


SHARPTON: So we should teach Putin a lesson by drilling in every possible
conceivable place? Is that his idea, Krystal?

BALL: It`s pretty remarkable that that`s where they have to go. It`s
either military options or drill, baby, drill. That`s basically the
Republican response to everything. And when the criticism of President
Obama started on this, they were essentially saying he needs to be
stronger. But nobody could figure out anywhere they would actually do
something different from the president. So this is their new line now,
that he needs to drill, and that`s going to solve the crisis in Ukraine.

SHARPTON: Governor, what do you think of this new line of attack?

RENDELL: Well, it`s really ludicrous, Rev. For a simple reason. And of
course, I`m in a state and a governor who allowed fracking to go on with
proper oversight, and it`s been good for the Pennsylvania economy and it`s
producing natural gas. But we don`t have a port on the east coast capable
of exporting LNG. First thing you`ve got to do is build an LNG liquefied
natural gas port on the east coast that would take to permanent build it
probably three years. So the earliest we could begin sending liquefied
natural gas over to Europe is in three or four years. And that`s going to
-- Putin hopefully will be long gone by three or four years. It`s a
ludicrous suggestion to say that that`s going to solve the current problem.

SHARPTON: You know, Krystal, we heard the GOP`s favorite attack line over
the weekend at CPAC at their conservative conference, that the president --
President Obama is a lawless tyrant. Listen.


BACHMANN: The President`s absolute and utter disregard for the
constitution, well, there is simply no reason to trust him to enforce the
law on the books.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Shine the boot that would stomp
on our neck, working the statist agenda of obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Our leaders pick and choose the laws that they want to

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The beliefs, needs, and wants of others are forced on us
by government.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: As we live under the imperial president, his highness
Barack Hussein Obama, mmm, mmm, mmm.

CRUZ: We need to stop the lawlessness. This president of the United
States is the first president we`ve ever had who thinks he can choose which
laws to enforce and which laws to ignore.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The President of the United States is treating our
constitution worse than a Place Matt at Denny`s.


SHARPTON: Krystal, how can President Obama be weak and be a tyrant at the
same time?

BALL: It`s a little confusing. And I think it only makes sense in the
minds of the right and the Republican leadership, if it even makes sense
there. They will find any way to attack this president. And this is not
the first time that they`ve been simultaneously arguing that he is an
imperial tyrant on the one hand, and that he is weak-willed and can`t get
anything done, is ineffectual on the other. It makes no sense, but it
doesn`t matter because their vision and their judgment is clouded by their

SHARPTON: Doesn`t this kind of contradictory messages, Governor, only
confuse independent voters that may be leaning their way?

RENDELL: Sure. I think there is a real risk in demonizing the President
so often. And that`s to turn the independent voters off. I mean,
President Obama has used executive orders far less than President Bush or
President Reagan. The GOP attacked him for being on vacation this past
weekend. Well, when Russia invaded Georgia, President Bush was on vacation
and didn`t come back. Conducted affairs from the vacation spot. Again,
they literally take anything President Obama does and try to turn into it a
negative. And it`s eventually going to backfire. And I believe it`s
beginning to backfire now. But you can`t keep doing this. You sound
stupid. You sound ill-informed, and you sound highly partisan. And the
American people are looking for something better than that.

BALL: Yep.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell and Krystal Ball, thank you both for your time

BALL: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: And catch Krystal on "THE CYCLE" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern,
right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, putting an end to stand your ground. If grieving parents can
find the courage to speak out, then politicians can find the courage to

But first, it`s an unprecedented mystery. How did a plane carrying more
than 200 people vanish into thin air? That`s next.


SHARPTON: It`s being called a, quote, "unprecedented aviation mystery."
How did a jetliner carrying 239 people vanish, seemingly without a trace?
Today investigators widened the search area for the missing plane, with 34
aircrafts and 48 ships from nearly a dozen countries involved. So far
leads like an oil slick and other debris have been nothing more than false
alarms. The jetliner was about an hour from takeoff when something went


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Flight 370 was flying at 35,000 feet and roughly 500
miles per hour when the Malaysian military says it seemed to turn back
before then disappearing from radar. If it suddenly broke up in flight,
the debris could be spread over massive area. But what could have
happened? The possibilities include a calamitous mechanical malfunction, a
structural failure, even a bomb.


SHARPTON: That final possibility, foul play, is on the mind of
investigators. They`re not ruling out the possibility the plane may have
been hijacked. Authorities say two passengers on board the plane were
traveling with stolen passports. They`d each booked one-way flights to
Europe through Beijing. But was it a terror attack or just a terrible
accident? And where is the plane that holds the answer?

Joining me now is Jim Cavanaugh, a former ATF special agent who led the
investigations into the Atlanta Olympic bombing, and David Soucie, a former
aviation safety inspector and author of "Why Planes Crash." Thank you both
for coming on the show.



SHARPTON: Jim, if you were running this investigation, what are your

CAVANAUGH: Well, certainly a lot of questions about all the passengers and
the flight crew, I`d want to examine all of them completely. What we call
a psychological autopsy, you know, what were they doing in the days and
months previous to the flight. You know, could there be some suicide
afoot, a person that wanted to kill themselves, whether they were a
passenger or the crew. All that would have to be worked up. And of
course, the people you pointed out, Reverend Al, the passports, you get on
with a stolen passport you have a criminal purpose. It might be drug
smuggling or currency smuggling. It could be immigration violations. It
could be terror. So I`d want to know everything about them. The people
traveling on the stolen passports. And I`d --

SHARPTON: Do you think?

CAVANAUGH: I`m sorry, go ahead.

SHARPTON: Do you think it`s terror?

CAVANAUGH: I think it`s too early to tell. I don`t think it can be ruled
out. I think there are some very interesting facts here. You know, one
thing I would be asking, probably the biggest question I would have to the
pilots and like your other guest is from the radar signature when the plane
made the turn, was that turn made by a human hand? Could they tell us from
the altitude, the speed, the arc of the turn, was that turn made by a human
hand? Because if it was made by a human hand, then that would tell us that
somebody knew there was trouble on board. It doesn`t mean the pilot made
the turn, it means somebody knew there was trouble on board. And you have
to take the next logical step.

SHARPTON: David, no debris was found yet. What does that tell you?

SOUCIE: Well, it tells me a couple of things. First of all, as Jim had
mentioned, the turnaround, if it`s a controlled turn would indicate that
someone of human hand did that. What is perplexing about that, however is
Malaysia airlines` operating procedure that is if there is trouble on the
aircraft, before they execute the turn to come back, they need to contact
Malaysian Airlines and let them know that that`s what their intent. That
didn`t happen. So it does indicate that there was some kind of foul play
or a communication failure of some kind.

But as far as the debris pattern goes, I find it unlikely that there was an
in-flight breakup simply because with the search efforts under way, if
there were an in-flight breakup, the spread of debris would be miles long.
And in my experience, any in flight breakup, the investigations have I done
have been very obvious as to where the aircraft is. So, if there was some
foul play, if something happened on board the aircraft, I believe that that
aircraft was intact when it impacted the water.

SHARPTON: Now, that brings us back to what you raise, Jim. You mention
there is a lot of attention on the two passengers who boarded with stolen
passports. NBC News has also learned that their tickets were purchased by
an Iranian middle man, and that they were paid for in cash. What do you
make of this?

CAVANAUGH: Right. Well, these are criminals on stolen passports. They
don`t want their identities known. They`re paying for them in cash. And
just like you let in here, Reverend Al, this is why you have pilots who are
brilliant at helping you solve these mysteries. And then you have
investigators who put their talents to work. You have an in-flight turn,
like David said, made by a human hand. How could that possibly happen?
David told you. Maybe the communication was broke.

But it could also be -- I find it very interesting that the plane reached
cruising altitude. Because what happens when a plane reaches cruising
altitude is it`s not under probably great stress. That`s a question for
David, mechanically, hydraulically with the computers. But what happens in
the passenger cabin? The seat belt light goes off. We hear the ding.
You`re free to move about the cabin. And if there were passengers bent on,
you know, storming the cabin, two or four or more, you know, that may be
the signal for them, the pre-agreed signal to get up and do something.

And when we talk about how could you turn with no radio, if there is a
knife at the pilot`s throat and he is ordered to turn, he is not going to
be able to radio. And then there could be a fight for the cockpit and the
plane could go down just like flight 93 in Pennsylvania. We don`t know
what happened. But I`m saying, whatever happens, you have to start with a
foundation of facts, like the plane made a turn. And then you have to be
able to have things that could possibly agree with the fact. The fact
won`t change. It`s a stubborn thing, as Churchill said.

SHARPTON: Right. David, do you have any time frame, any idea when we
might get some answers?

SOUCIE: We really don`t, unfortunately right now. Of course, the first
thing is to find the aircraft. I`m certain that we will. I think that as
-- from 35,000 feet to impact is a long distance at those kind of speeds.
And we`re only at 50 or 60 nautical miles in the search right now. And it
could easily be way beyond that. So it may take some time. There are
experts looking. We`re just going to have to wait until we get some facts.

SHARPTON: Jim Cavanaugh and David Soucie, thank you both for your time
this evening.

SOUCIE: Thanks, Reverend Al.

CAVANAUGH: Certainly. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, still ahead, a new GOP outrage. They`re going
after great American literature. What is their problem with Dr. Seuss?

Plus, the fight to end stand your ground. Today we took a major step
forward. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Sarah Palin stole the show again at CPAC. She did a little
reading, some "Green Eggs and Ham." It was a page straight out of Ted
Cruz`s playbook.


PALIN: I do not like this, Uncle Sam. I do not like his health care scam.
I do not like --


I do not like this kind of hope, and we won`t take it, nope, nope, nope.



SHARPTON: I have to say that was pretty good, Governor Palin. But just
like Senator Cruz, I don`t think she gets the meaning of the classic book.
Cue the music, control room. Now we know he doesn`t like "Green Eggs and
Ham," but let`s continue. You do not like them, so you say. Try them, try
them, and you may. Try them and you may, I say. So if you just try it,
you might like it. Say, I like green eggs and ham, I do. I like them, Sam
I am. So in the end, he likes green eggs and ham. It`s bad enough they`re
going after health care. But to mangle a great piece of literature again,
this is one eggs-elent adventure.



SHARPTON: When a young man goes to a convenience store for his little
brother and heads home to his daddy with nothing but skittles and an iced
tea, and you see that as a threat, you standing on shaky ground. When a
young man with three of his friends is sitting in a car playing music, and
you talk to him like he is a little boy and ridicule and mock him, and you
kill him and act like you saw something that wasn`t there, you standing on
shaky ground. When a man in a movie theater can text his baby-sitter, and
you turn around and kill him, saying he threw popcorn on you, you`re
standing on shaky ground. I come to tell the governor and the Senate and
the state legislature that you`re standing on shaky ground.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the fight against stand your ground. Hundreds
joined my civil rights group and other organizations today here at the
state capitol in Florida to call to an end to this unjust law. The
protesters included the parents of two stand your ground victims, Trayvon
Martin and Jordan Davis.


LUCIA MCBATH, JORDAN DAVIS` MOTHER: I am not here to accuse Michael Dunn
of hiding behind the stand your ground law. I am here to accuse that law
of giving him something to stand behind.

started from. I come too far to give up now.

(audience): Yes.

FULTON: Florida has a problem.

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: We`re going to stand with you all.
We`re going to continue to fight. And eight months, if stand your ground
ain`t changed, we got to make change in that office.


SHARPTON: Florida is where this law began, and it`s where we`ll start to
end it. New bills in the state legislature would call for new neighborhood
watch guidelines, and make it more difficult for aggressors to use the
stand your ground defense. But right now repeal is off the table. The law
still stands. It`s time these politicians start listening to the will of
the people and to all the victims of this unjust law. As I sat on that
stage today, seeing leading personalities from Tom Joyner and on, and
leading ministers from Bishop Curry to Matt Brian (ph) leading lawyers,
everybody, what really touched me was looking out at all of the young
children that marched, thinking which of those children stand in the danger
of some day growing into teenagers and someone think they`re a threat, and
they don`t even get what you get in court, where you`re innocent until
proven guilty.

They can be taken out of this world because someone said they were
threatened. And there is a law that says you have no obligation, none, to
retreat. And you can use deadly force, even if it`s not an actual threat.
That`s frightening, and that`s not what America should stand for.

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



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