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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

September 24, 2014

Guest: Bill Richardson, Laith Alkhouri, Ed Rendell, Jonathan Capehart, Jim
Cavanaugh, Evy Poumpouras

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight in Washington, D.C.

We start with breaking news. A new round of airstrikes against ISIS have
just been completed in Syria. The Pentagon says U.S. and Arab allies
including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates conducted the attacks.
These latest strikes are on top of the five strikes this morning.

NBC News confirms that new targets include oil refineries at 12 separate
locations. All inside Syria. The revenue from oil sales has been a major
source of income for ISIS. As much as $2 million per day according to

Joining me now on the phone is MSNBC military analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs.

Colonel, airstrikes have targeted ISIS, financial and communication
targets, and now these 12 oil refineries. What is the strategy as you see

COL. JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST (via phone): The best thing to
hit. One of the ways to choke them off is to choke off their money. We`ve
been trying to get Turkey to stop the shipment of ISIS oil that provides
money to stop the banking lines that provide the money from the oil. And
so far we haven`t been very effective in convincing Turkey, our NATO ally
to get on board.

This is the next best thing. Knock off the mobile oil refineries, knock
off their communications and financing networks and keep doing it. They`ll
have to keep doing it. But I think that they`re on the secondary and third
target lists as well.

SHARPTON: All right, Colonel Jack Jacobs, thank you for your time tonight.
And please keep us posted.

JACOBS: You bet, Rev.

SHARPTON: Turning now from the military campaign to the diplomatic push at
President Obama is making at the United Nations. Late this afternoon, the
President led a meeting of the U.N. Security Council which unanimously
passed his resolution to stop the foreign fighters to groups like ISIS.
But it was the President`s speech earlier in the day, in front of the U.N.
general assembly, that commanded the world`s attention.


ISIL must be degraded and ultimately destroyed. This group has terrorized
all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. No god condones this terror.
No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning, no
negotiation with this brand of evil. The only language understood by
killers like this is the language of force. So United States of America
will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.


SHARPTON: And today a gruesome reminder of that network of death. An
Algerian group linked to ISIS beheaded a French tourist. But today
President Obama said the world`s resolve will not be shaken.


OBAMA: Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they
can. Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are
increasingly alone. For we will not succumb to threats and we will
demonstrate the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.


SHARPTON: The question now, how broad will the coalition be? And will the
world join the U.S. in attacking the root causes of terror.

Joining me now are the former ambassador to the U.N., Bill Richardson, and
E.J. Dionne from the "Washington Post." Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Governor Richardson, your reaction to the new strikes tonight.

RICHARDSON: Well, I think the President had a very good day. The fact
that we`ve got Saudi Arabia, four key Arab countries participating
diplomatically, militarily, doing some of the hard stuff like the military
strikes is a big diplomatic coup.

Secondly, going after that secondary terrorist group and possibly having
killed their leader.

Third, the fact that the President with a very strong binding resolution,
got through the Security Council in spite of having at the same time
earlier in the day, been really tough on Russia. Avoiding a Russian veto
on a resolution that dealt with terrorism.

So I think the President had a very good day. But his main message was
classic Obama. We`ve got to attack the root causes. We have to look at
jobs. And we have to look at young people and give them hope.

SHARPTON: Governor Richardson, what about the President`s speech today,
calling ISIS a network of death. What do you make of that?

RICHARDSON: Well, I think this is a case where nobody seems to like ISIS.
They`ve got enemies around the region. They`re funded by some very wealthy
Arab individuals. But they are a network of death.

Look what they did to that French man today. They spewed terrorism, they
spew hatred, and he`s basically trying to isolate them militarily,
politically and diplomatically. And I believe this campaign is succeeding
so far.

SHARPTON: E.J., the President talked about winning the hearts and minds of
young people in the Arab world. Listen to this.


OBAMA: In this effort we do not act alone. Nor do we intend to send U.S.
troops to occupy foreign lands. We will train and equip forces fighting
against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their
financing and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region. And
already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition. Today, I ask
the world to join in this effort.

No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds.
But America will be a respectful and constructive partner. That means
contesting the space the terrorists occupy including the Internet and
social media. Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad
to fight their wars and turn students, young people full of potential into
suicide bombers? We must offer an alternative vision.


SHARPTON: Well, would this be the key to winning strategy long term
against terrorist groups like is? Winning the hearts and minds of young
Arab, young people in the Arab world?

DIONNE: In the long run, that`s certainly true. And I think the -- this
strategy is about military force and hearts and minds. I think it was a
really interesting balance in what the President said. Because he
emphasized, we are not there to occupy foreign lands. And Tom Freedman I
think made an important point in his column today which is adherent in this
whole strategy is that none of this will work unless Arab countries, unless
Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, decide they want to fight back against this
sort of extremism. And unless they want to begin to build new societies

We could send troops. They could occupy for some period of time. But that
doesn`t as we have learned, transform a society. Only the people there can
transform a society. So we can provide fire power to push back ISIS. But
ultimately, the work will have to be done there, both socially and

SHARPTON: But you wrote about the role that lawmakers need to play. You
said that Congress should come back after the midterms and debate the
broader war strategy. Let me quote you. You say "a post election debate
would make it easier for Republicans to support the President`s policy to
say why and for Democrats who oppose it to ask the difficult questions that
they have to, that his approach invites. We need a responsible Congress to
begin the search for sustainable foreign policy. And unconstrained debate
is the place to start."

DIONNE: Well, my theory is, let`s accept that politicians are who they say
they are. They have imperatives for this fall. Clearly, they wanted to
kick this down the road. And the model I had in mind was the debate we had
before the Gulf War under the first President Bush. It is one of the best
debates I have ever seen in all the years I have been in Washington.
People were serious, they weren`t partisan. There were divisions in both
parties on that war but it was substantive.

And so, I say, all right, if they want to kick it down the road until after
the election, that`s OK. But they can`t can I go it down the road forever.
And I think they should come back and have a real debate on how we want to
move forward. I think the President at this point would actually win a
substantial majority of support.

But whether that`s true or not, we need to know that. And this whole
campaign needs both the constitutional and political ramification from the

SHARPTON: Governor, you have huge experience in all aspects of foreign
affairs. Strikes today at the oil refineries, hitting them where the money
is. Is that a sound strategy or a good strategy in your judgment?

RICHARDSON: It is a good strategy. Hitting them where they generate
funds, where they generate electricity, where they generate anything that
involves resources that arm them militarily. Yes, I think our American
military, our air force, this is why we`re leading with these airstrikes.

Now, what we need, I believe, Reverend, is to get those other Sunni
countries a little more involved in the airstrikes. They`re kind of
sitting on the sidelines. And then eventually get our European allies, the
Brits, the French, to participate in these airstrikes too.

But I think the President was wise symbolically to move forward with these
airstrikes with the Arab countries first and then we proceed with our
European allies. But I think my last brief point is that it is a very good
day for the United Nations. I mean, it shows why it is important.

What Ban-Ki Moon did with the climate change issue, the Ebola issue, the
President rallying over 120 countries, world stage, rallying against
terrorism, it shows the value of international institutions like the U.N.
that is always taking hits for not being efficient. But today, the U.N.
and the United States and President Obama had a very good day.

SHARPTON: All right. Ambassador Bill Richardson, E.J. Dionne, thank you
both for your time tonight.

DIONNE: Thank you, Reverend.

RICHARDSON: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, more on one of Washington`s most carefully guarded
secrets. A terror group in the final stage of planning an attack on the
United States. More on the plan to use planes and how we`re protecting the

Plus, breaking news tonight from Ohio. The justice department is now
investigating a Walmart shooting after the officer who shot the gun is
cleared by a grand jury today.

And a latte nothing. Republicans brew up another ridiculous scandal and it
shows they have absolutely no grand ideas, or should I say, grand eye? The
nation sounds off ahead..


SHARPTON: One of the biggest talkers in our social media community is on
coffee gate. Some are calling it the latte salute. The Instagram video of
President Obama saluting marines while holing a coffee cup.

Patricia says, he is the commander-in-chief which means he is the boss.
Get over it.

Jean posted. A cup of coffee? Are you sure? Bush had a dog.

Oh, yes, he did. What did you think of the President`s salute? We`re
going to talk about it later on in the show. But let us know what you
think on our facebook page or tweet us @politicsnation.



OBAMA: I have made it clear that we will not base our entire foreign
policy on reacting to terrorism. Instead, we waged a focused campaign
against al-Qaeda and its associated forces, taking out their leaders,
denying them the safe havens they rely on.


SHARPTON: President Obama at the U.N. this morning on the campaign against
al-Qaeda and its forces. And today, we learned more about that radical al-
Qaeda spin-off group known as Khorasan which has been actively plotting an
attack on the U.S. homeland, according to Pentagon sources.

Reports say this summer, they planned an attack to take down a U.S. or
Europe bound plane with the help from one of the thousands of westerners
with passports fighting in the region. Now homeland security is warning
law enforcement to be on alert for a so-called Lone Wolf. Most Americans
hadn`t heard of this group until this week. But attorney general Eric
Holder said the U.S. has been watching them for months.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The enhanced security measures that we
took on the aviation sector some months ago which based on a concern we had
about what the Khorasan group was planning to do. We hit them last night
out of a concern that they were getting close to an execution phase of some
of the plans that we have seen them fomenting over the last two years.


SHARPTON: Getting close to an execution phase. The plan was allegedly
hatched by the leader, a 33-year-old with close ties to Osama bin Laden.
But today, potentially big news. Reports say that he was killed by one of
the U.S. strikes in Syria. An anonymous U.S. official telling Reuters this
morning, we believe he is dead.

The Pentagon and the White House could not confirm this report. But
tonight, terror fears here at home. Can we stop any planned attacks and
what are we doing now?

Joining me now is Laith Alkhouri, a counter terrorism expert. Thank you
for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Laith, official said they wanted to develop bombs that could be
brought undetected on to planes and detonate them in mid flight. How
credible a threat are they?

ALKHOURI: Well, they can`t ascertain the credibility of the threats but we
know that the capability is there. We have seen it a few years ago when
the Nigerian national (INAUDIBLE) attempted to detonate a device,
unsuccessfully, thankfully, over an airliner that was about to land in
Detroit. So we know that the capability is there for a number of al-Qaeda
factions to be able to smuggle some sort of bomb. And you know, not only
on airplanes, but also --

SHARPTON: But Laith, he did get on the flight. I mean, he couldn`t for
whatever reason execute the bomb, but did he make it on the flight. That`s
look a little scary here.

ALKHOURI: That is very scary. And as a matter of fact, Al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula which took credit for that operation said that the
operation was actually successful specifically because it urged the United
States and other countries to change the security measures at the airports.

So it cost them, you know, billions of dollars to install these new
scanning machines. So, if anything, it was successful in that sense. But,
you know, ever since that incident or failed attack, we can anticipate that
the U.S. has risen the level of caution, you know, in regards to having
people on transportation. So we have to be vigilant. We know that there
are guys out there who are manufacturing these bombs. We just can`t get
their locations just yet.

SHARPTON: Well, as we`re being vigilant, let me also raised this. NBC
News has learned that the group is actively trying to get western recruits
with western passport to attack the west. Now, Laith, is there any
evidence that they`re having success?

ALKHOURI: Well, we`ve seen them succeed in attracting western nationals to
travel to a number of Jihadi zones whether in Afghanistan, Pakistan region,
in Yemen and of course for the past three years, in Syria.

The U.S. national (INAUDIBLE) executed in late May of this year, one of the
biggest suicide bombings in Syria`s history using 17 tons of explosives.
So they have attracted foreign nationals.

Now, there is a concern about these nationals attempting to go back to the
United States unnoticed. Have they succeeded? We don`t think so. But
again, we have to keep an eye on these individuals before they leave. We
have to keep an eye on them, you know, even if we don`t catch them when
they get overseas. You know, we need to use our intelligence apparatus to
be able to keep an eye on them.

SHARPTON: Now, Laith, we`re just learning about this group, but most of us
for the first time, but the striking thing is that apparently it is a very
small group. The exact number of fighters is unknown but estimates range
from a few dozen to upwards of 50 fighters, according to intelligence
officials. How is such a small group able to orchestrate such massive
threats to the United States, Laith?

ALKHOURI: Well, those guys are seasoned fighters. They are seasoned
jihadists. They traveled in a number of countries. They fundraised. And
they have recruited (ph) fighters. So they are really essential for
terrorist groups in the ideological financial and training sense.

And, you know, we know (INAUDIBLE), the Kuwaiti national, the most wanted
who is believed to have been killed in airstrikes. Somebody like him who
has traveled to Iran, Iraq, Syria and other nations, kind of fundraising
for these groups, recruiting individuals, is an absolutely essential tool
for terrorist groups.

So you know, one, the likes of al-Fadhli, his caliber, you know, is worth,
as I said, a hundred ISIS fighters because he is able to recruit from
behind the scenes. He is able to send individuals overseas. So the danger
does not emanate from the group actually having, you know, high capability
of attacking the homeland with rockets. But because they are opportunistic
and they are violent. When you put that together you have an absolutely
deadly recipe.

SHARPTON: All right, I`m going to have to leave it there. Laith Alkhouri,
thank you for your time this evening.

ALKHOURI: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the deadly police shooting of a man carrying a
pellet gun at a Walmart. The video has been released. The grand jury has
refused to indict. But now the justice department is on the case. What
will they be looking at?

Also, while President Obama is addressing the world on his fight to
terrorism, many right wingers are up in arms about a cup of coffee. That`s


SHARPTON: Right wing pundits and politicians have convinced themselves
that Obamacare is a failure. But back here on planet reality, the truth is
just the opposite. Check out the big announcement yesterday from health
secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell.


SYLVIA MATTHEW BURWELL, HEALTH SECRETARY: We`re able to announce that in
2015, there has been a 25 percent increase in the total number of issuers
selling insurance in the marketplace.


SHARPTON: Twenty five percent increase. Private insurance company want to
be part of the exchanges. I guess all those Republicans were wrong when
they claim the law would be a government takeover of health care.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The government takeover of America`s
health care --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ill conceived and very unpopular government takeover of
health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government takeover of today.

of health care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Obamacare Monday atrocity. It is a government


SHARPTON: Republicans never let the facts get in the way of a good talking

And there`s more good news tonight. The administration recently announced
that 7.3 million Americans have paid their premiums, and are now enrolled
in insurance plans. That`s 90 percent of everyone who enrolled, surpassing
all expectations. And it is a district rebuttal to Republican who for
months ginned this up into a nasty, nasty talking point.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know the enrollees? Do you have an idea how
many of those applicants became enrollees? Because that`s really the
number that the matters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they`re cooking the books. People want to know
the answers to that.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The number are a bit of funny math.


SHARPTON: Funny math? The Republicans were wrong yet again. So now we
lay to rest two more bogus GOP talking points on the affordable care act.
And we say goodbye once again to all those dearly departed myths like death
panels and job killer.

Did Republicans think we wouldn`t notice how their talking points are way
past their expiration dates? Nice try, but we Got You.


SHARPTON: Everyone knows President Obama is dealing with some serious
military issues. But here`s what Republicans are brewing up. President
Obama yesterday stepping off Marine One, when he saluted the Marines, he
had a cup of coffee in his hand. And Republicans are treating it like a
grande scandal. The former Congressman Allen West tweeted, "If there was
ever any doubt as to the level of regard Obama holds for our military, this
latte salute seals the deal." Sarah Palin posted, "Our apologies to U.S.
armed forces." Wait a second. Stop the espresso. She is apologizing
because the President had something in his hand? The campaign armed for
House Republicans even tried to fundraise off the salute. Tweeting, 41
days until latte salute election. Drink your coffee until then in our we
the people mug. And the gang over at Fox was boiling mad.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you see the latte salute? The President
gets off Marine One today. Hang on. Obviously you`ve seen it. I mean,
how would -- would President Bush ever do that?

surprised? I mean, we have a Chai swilling, golf plan, basketball trash
talking leading from behind, I got no strategy Osama bin Laden is dead, GM
is alive, community organizing commander in chief. How disrespectful was

HANNITY: I was shocked.


SHARPTON: What`s their point? That things are going to the dogs? Since
the President had something in his hand when he saluted? Is this really
what they`re spending time on? And for the record, President Bush would
hold his dog when he saluted. Where was all the barking then? Here`s what
this is all about. Many Republicans agree with the President`s plan to go
after ISIS so they`re desperate to find something to criticize. But these
latest attacks, they`re just a latte air about nothing.

Joining me now, a former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Jonathan
Capehart of "The Washington Post." Thank you for being here.


SHARPTON: Governor, it seem funny but what does this hysteria today reveal
about the Republicans and this president?

FMR. GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think they have almost a
pathological hatred for the president. And even at a time when we should
all be coming together behind the President because of the ISIS situation,
they can`t resist. They look petty and ridiculous. In fact, I`m actually
happy this is happening because any independent voter who listens to this
stuff says enough. The President, and you know I`ve been a critic of the
President in times myself, Reverend.


RENDELL: The President did a brilliant job in putting this coalition
together. And not just a coalition in name only. Five Arab countries
participating in the bombing raids. He did an absolutely brilliant job.
He`s led not from behind but from ahead. He did something that nobody
thought was doable. And apparently, the strikes were significantly
successful. He deserves an enormous amount of credit. But what he really
deserves is the country, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals,
progressives, everybody getting behind the commander in chief at this very
delegate times.

SHARPTON: Which is why I think that they are desperate in trying to
distract us. And when you hear Karl Rove attacking him, saying Bin Laden
did -- like that`s not true. I mean, it is amazing. But Jonathan, you
know, I mentioned House Republicans are trying to fundraise off the salute.
The Senate campaign`s arm is going even further. They`ve created a
website, simple It says, "our commander in chief should take
the time to properly salute our nation`s heroes in uniform. They do it for
him. Unfortunately, his disregard is part of a larger pattern. If you
want to send a message to this White House that you`ve had enough, fill out
this form and get your free bumper sticker."

Now, Jonathan, you wrote this as a nontroversy. Don`t the pictures of
President Bush completely undermine that the Republicans attack?

CAPEHART: Oh, absolutely. I`m glad you show it the one that I used in the
piece I wrote today and another one. Here`s the thing that I find most
humorous about this. We`re talking about Republican who also revere this
country, also revere the constitution, oh, so revere rules and regulations
and protocols and customs. And yet they don`t seem to recognize or even
know that because the President is civilian, he is not supposed to salute
the military. The military can salute him. He shouldn`t salute back. And
they also neglect to point out that the reason why the President now
salutes the military is because when President Ronald Reagan, the revered
Ronald Reagan, when he came into office in 1981, he started saluting

And he was told, you know, you shouldn`t do that. That`s not what you`re
supposed to do. You don`t need to do that. When he went to the commandant
of the Marine Corps, if memory serves, the commandant of the Marine Corp
said, you`re the GD president. You can do whatever the GD you want. And
so President Reagan decided, well, I`m going to salute the Marines. I`m
going to salute the troops. And ever since then, presidents do that as a
matter of custom. Now President Bush had Barney in his hands. President
Obama had a latte in his hands. This is nontroversy, this is not a big
deal and it just fits a pattern of the Republicans finding --

SHARPTON: But that`s what I want to talk about. Because I think that`s
what most serious. The pattern. Governor, you talk about pathological.
You know, Media Matters has found plenty of other times talkers on the
right bash the President over something silly. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Plain old ketchup didn`t quite cut it for the President.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What kind of man orders a cheese
burger without ketchup but Dijon mustard?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: President Obama`s jobs bill hot off the presses. At
Kinkos, hundreds of billions in tax hikes and new spending bound together
with a chintsy clip. Look at this thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Has anyone ever heard President Obama owns a gun, has a
gun, has shot a gun, likes to shoot, let alone shoots all the time?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No. Where`s the picture. I mean, they release a
photograph of President Obama doing everything exempt for flossing.


SHARPTON: I mean, it is pathological it appears, Governor.

RENDELL: There`s no question about it. I want to know, can we have an
investigation? Was it latte or was it just straight coffee? I mean, that
could be a crucial factor to be determined.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m sure Darrell Issa might call a committee hearing on
that now that you said. But we`re talking about how they attack the
president for anything today. We`ve learn of one Republican congressman
criticizing the President for air strikes against ISIS. Listen to this.


REP. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: It has the appearance, unfortunately of
a political move and it probably timed just right. But the problem is we
need the President and Congress to establish strategies and policies that
are going to be successful, not just do things on a political grounds.


SHARPTON: A political move, Jonathan? I mean, what`s your reaction to

CAPEHART: Give me a break. This is from a member of Congress who is not
here in Washington but who is on what, a five-week recess? They`re not
coming back until after the mid-term elections. If that congressman were
so concerned about what the President was planning on doing, whether the
strategy is going to be successful, he would have followed up that comment
with, I want the president to call us. Congress, back into session so that
we can have a debate. The American people through their representatives
about what should be done. But he didn`t say that.

SHARPTON: Pardon me, Governor. But didn`t we have two Americans and one
British person beheaded? I mean, are we acting as if something didn`t
happen that focused the President and the whole world`s attention that they
had to go and do something?

RENDELL: Yes. And what really is sad about this, and seriously sad, is
the Republicans were attacking President Obama for not striking at Syria
earlier. Well, the President didn`t tell anybody and he took abuse because
he was building, I think, an unprecedented coalition of Arab nations
willing to drop bombs on Arab terrorists. And he did it exactly right. So
the Republicans who were yelling at him for not doing it more quickly.
Then he finally does it and most Republicans actually voted to support him.
But then you have this God knows what to call him. But this congressman
saying it is political. Well, it is what John McCain and Lindsey Graham
were begging him to do for the last ten days.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there. Governor Ed
Rendell and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for your time tonight.

RENDELL: Thanks, Rev. My Pleasure.

SHARPTON: Coming up, developing news tonight in that Wal-Mart shooting in
Ohio. The Department of Justice is getting involved. Tonight the
surveillance video they wouldn`t release. And new questions for the grand


SHARPTON: We`re back with tonight`s Justice Files. Joining me now are
MSNBC`s legal analyst Faith Jenkins and retired ATF agent Jim Cavanaugh.
Let`s get right to our top story. The Justice Department announced today
it will investigate the deadly police shooting of a man who was carrying a
pellet gun at a Wal-Mart in Ohio. This move comes just hours after a grand
jury refused to indict the officer who shot John Crawford.


MARK PIEPMEIER, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: They decided that the police officers
and the police officer in particular that fired the shots was justified in
doing what he did.


SHARPTON: Today the prosecutor finally released surveillance video from
inside the Wal-Mart. It shows Crawford walking over to an aisle and
picking up a pellet gun from a shelf. He then continues to walk through
the store, carrying the gun. Talking on the phone. The next part of the
video shows the shooting. I have to warn you, it is disturbing. Crawford
is standing in an aisle, apparently at a store display. You can see him
swinging the pellet gun by his side. He turns immediately, falls as he is
shot twice by a police officer. There`s no sound on the tape but police
say they told him to drop his weapon at least twice.

Faith, in light of this surveillance footage, what do you think about
today`s grand jury decision and the Justice Department investigation?

FAITH JENKINS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is another case where an
innocent unarmed person has been killed. And another case where the police
have not upheld their duty to protect and serve. But I will tell you, I am
not that surprised by the grand jury`s decision, Rev. Because it is really
hard to prosecute police officers for the use of force in cases like this.
The system is designed to protect them. And people out in the community,
they understands that officers make split second life or death decisions in
a split second. And so, they give them the benefit of the doubt. And here
when you have testimony, they came in, that from a caller, a 911 caller
that John Crawford wasn`t just walking around. That he was menacing people
with a gun and so the officers responded with that in mind. We can that
information was erroneous. We know that information wasn`t true. But
still, that`s what the officers, that`s how they began.

SHARPTON: You`re dealing in an open carry state. You are allowed to walk
around carrying a gun.

JENKINS: That`s exactly right, Rev. So even if he was carrying the gun,
what he was doing was legal, in addition, the store in which he was in
sells that bb gun. So he was walking around with a bb gun in a store that
sells them. However, the caller, 911 caller apparently told the police
that he was menacing people. That is illegal. That is against the law.
That he was pointing the gun at children.

SHARPTON: Let me bring in Jim Cavanaugh. The caller says, here`s what one
shopper at Wal-Mart described what he saw to reporters. Watch this.


RONALD RICHIE, SHOPPER WHO CALLED 911: Call the police. Waving at people,
waving at little children, waiting the gun at people and everything. Once
the police got there, they told him, they came on the corner, they said put
it down. They said it two times. And then the gentleman decided to swing
the rifle to the officer pointing it at them. That`s when the officer shot
him twice.


SHARPTON: Now, waving the gun, pointing it at people, but now it turns
out, he is recanting what he said. This guy we just play. A month later
he says, Crawford didn`t turn the weapon on anybody. Quote, "At no point
did he shoulder the rifle and point it at anyone." Could the change in the
man`s story affect the Justice Department`s investigation? Because clearly
on the video he is not pointing a gun at officers or anyone else, Jim.

video, the critical part of the video is eight seconds, from 50 seconds to
about 58 seconds. And it totally dispels that witness`s statement that the
gun was pointed toward the officer. If you watch the video very closely
between 50 and 58 seconds, you`ll notice that Mr. Crawford has the gun
pointed at the floor at 50 seconds. Fifty one seconds, he is reacting to
the officer. Probably shot in the arm or at least reacting to his order to
put it down. Within just a couple seconds, 53 seconds, he is down on the
ground and so is the gun.

The gun never even crosses the plain of Mr. Crawford`s body to his left
side. It goes right to the floor. So, there was no pointing of the gun at
the officer. Which, you know, justified use of deadly force requires an
imminent threat of death. It is not just holding a rifle. Police arrest
people holding rifles and pistols all the times. I`ve done it many times.
You don`t just shoot a person for holding a firearm. Now, I would give the
police the benefit of the doubt here and I know Faith understands what I`m
saying. That they may not know it is a bb gun. So, if the gun pointed at
the officers, then you know, they would be justified to use deadly force
even if it wasn`t really a rifle.

SHARPTON: But it clearly Faith was not pointed at them, the video says,
and the guy that was saying -- has recanted and said that.

JENKINS: Right. And that`s why it is such a significant problem. Because
when you`re talking about that imminent use of force, it has to be that, it
has to be imminent. But again, you know, and I think that this caller who
made the 911 call, the police really have look at him closely. Because
when you call and you tell the police that someone has a gun. They didn`t
know presumably that it was a bb gun. And that they are pointing it,
waving it at children and other people. Then perhaps the officers, the
grand jurors I`m sure may gave him the benefit of the doubt. And then OK,
these officers think they`re responding to a deadly situation.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. We`ll see how the federal
government and the Justice Department goes through these facts. Faith
Jenkins and Jim Cavanaugh, we`ll be watching this. Thank you for your time

JENKINS: Thanks, Rev.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Straight ahead, breaking news on the apparent terror plot
targeting the U.S. Homeland. Reports that the plan involved taking down a
Europe or U.S. bound flight. I`ll talk to a security expert coming up.


SHARPTON: Following breaking news now on an apparent terror plot targeting
the U.S. Homeland. Pentagon sources saying, the radical al-Qaeda`s group
known as Khorasan was actively planning to take down a U.S. or Europe-bound
plane. Possibly even looking to enlist a sympathizing westerner with the
U.S. passport.

Joining me now is Evy Poumpouras, a security analyst and former secret
service agent. Thanks for being here.

EVY POUMPOURAS, SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: What are security officials doing right now?

POUMPOURAS: So, they`re being very diligent as far as assessing things.
You will see a lot more people on the ground. A lot of canine on the
ground. And also assessing intelligence, chatter, what`s going on. And
they`re putting it out there to everybody. We`re seeing actually here in
New York City alone, increased security in our train systems. Because
we`re worried about what? The lone wolf. Suicide bombers, any type of
attack like that. In which somebody by themselves will act to retaliate
for what`s going on right now.

SHARPTON: Now, Evy, we`ve learned that Khorasan has been testing
explosives in several different forms including clothing dipped in liquid
explosives, toothpaste tubes filled with liquid explosives, explosives
hidden in cell phones and laptops. Evy, can these explosives be detected?

POUMPOURAS: So, this is what they`re trying to figure out right now.
Usually we`re looking for what? Something big. Something obvious. But
not everyone is getting very smart. You look at even -- take something
very simple as the iPhone and the iPad. That`s something in the secret
service that we were actually looking at years ago. One of the thing we`re
always concerned about is the people we protect. When an individual takes
out an iPhone or an iPad to try to take a picture of that individual, they
could load that with some type of an explosive device. And now, so here we
see something like that being transferred to what we`re talking about.
Perhaps, the plane, perhaps going into a small confined space. Because
even something as small as that. A blast per se on an airplane could do
enough damage just to bring that airplane down. You don`t need to take out
the whole plane to do what you want to do.

SHARPTON: Now in fact, in July, the United States increased security on
flights coming from overseas because they knew about some of those
explosive devices. On July 6, the TSA announced that on certain overseas
flights, to the U.S., it would not permit powerless devices and that
airport security could ask passengers to power on devices during security
screening. Have we ever seen anything like this?

POUMPOURAS: No, we haven`t. And it`s interesting. Those are similar
security checks that we would do on my job. And it is interesting that
we`re taking such extreme measures now for the average individual that
almost the same measures that we`re taking to protect the president of the
United States. So you want to turn on these devices to see one, are they
active? Are they working? Because if you lace them with something, you
put a substance in there, that can make the device inert. Or once you
activate it, it would detonate. Cameras. You might even see them looking
at cameras. Any type of technological device. Laptops.

SHARPTON: Evy Poumpouras, thank you for your time this evening. And
certainly, we`re got go continue watching as the world deals with this
threat to the United States homeland and other parts of the world.

Well, thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right


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