Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 27, 2015
Guest: Dana Milbank, Angela Rye, Ted Strickland, Jason Johnson, Margie
Omero, Liz Plank, Jimmy Williams, Midwin Charles
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR: All right. Well, the owner has come out and
said emphatically he thinks they`re not lying. We shall see as it all
unfolds. Sage Rosenfels and Terrence Moore, great to have you, Gentlemen,
with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
That`s THE ED SHOW. I`m Ed Schultz. "POLITICS NATION" with Reverend Al
Sharpton starts right now. Good evening, Rev.
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed, and happy birthday to
SCHULTZ: Always good to pass off to a younger man.
SHARPTON: And thanks to you for tuning in on Ed Schultz day. We are going
to keep an eye on that big winter storm that`s dumping snow across New
England. Live pictures of Portland, Maine. It`s certainly intense up
there, but the brunt of the storm skipped other big cities like New York
Now some people are talking about how the forecasters got it wrong, or
whether the governors en masse had the right response. We`ll have all that
But we start with tonight`s lead. The Obama comeback as the economy comes
roaring back so does the president, his job approval rating is now back up
to 50 percent, just shy of his winning percentage from his re-election.
It comes just days after Obama reenergized Democrats with his progressive
agenda in the State Of The Union. The Obama economy is surging and GOP
leaders don`t know what to say about it. So they`ve come up with an
unbelievable talking point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president`s prescriptions
have actually made things worse whether it`s Obamacare, whether it`s all of
the other rules and regulations coming out of this administration.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Things are getting better,
but the point is, who is benefiting from this? It`s been top of the income
recovery. The so-called 1 percent that the president is always talking
about have done quite well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So now Republicans want us to believe they care about inequality
and they`re blaming the president for it? Really? It`s laughable almost
as funny as former Governor Rick Perry`s new claim about the president`s
"Bloomberg Politics" reporter, Dave Wiggle, tweeted, quote, "Perry says the
official unemployment rate is unreliable. "It`s been massaged. It`s been
doctored?" Doctored? So all these millions of jobs created in the Obama
economy are just imaginary? They don`t exist?
GOP leaders may be in denial about it, but the economy has come back and so
has the president. Joining me now are Democratic strategists, Angela Rye,
and Dana Milbank from "The Washington Post." Thank you both for being
DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Hi, Reverend.
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Thank You, Rev.
SHARPTON: So Dana, when did GOP leaders start caring about income
inequality? I mean, was it before they blocked the minimum wage hike or
after they opposed raising taxes on the rich? Which one was it?
MILBANK: Well, this is very heart-warming, Reverend, to see that Mitch
McConnell standing up for the little guy after all this time so really good
to see him on board here. I suspect it happened just as the economy
started picking up.
If you notice Mitch McConnell`s first line was to say, well, the economy is
getting better or started getting better last year because voters knew
Republicans were about to take over the Senate.
He realized that`s not flying so he`s going to move on to something else.
I expect this won`t fly any better than Mitt Romney`s 47 percent did.
SHARPTON: You know, Angela, Speaker John Boehner was asked today about the
Republicans starting this new Congress, with bills attacking immigrants and
abortion rights. Here`s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: Well, listen, we wanted to get off to a fast start this year, and
as a result, taking bills that have passed in the past, and put other bills
together, in spite of the fact that the committees in many cases have not
had their organizational meetings.
And so yes, there have been a couple of stumbles, all in our effort to show
the American people that we`re here to listen to their priorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A couple of stumbles. That might be an understatement
RYE: The understatement of 2015, I know it`s very early, but the reality
of this is these are not a couple stumbles, they`re epic fails. They try
to do pass an abortion bill on the anniversary of Roe V. Wade this is the
epitome of a tone-deaf leadership in Congress.
You don`t win over voters, Rev, by continuing to try to appeal to a base,
who is also tone deaf. You know, the Republicans have demonstrated time
and time again that they don`t understand what the priorities are.
They said that, you know, the election, if it was a reprimand on the
president or on a Democratically-led Senate, they haven`t even realized
that voters want them to work with the administration to move legislation
and policy forward that makes sense for this country, and obviously that`s
not what they`re doing.
SHARPTON: Dana, you covered the couple of stumbles very closely in
Washington. I mean, is that all this is, it`s a couple of stumbles?
MILBANK: Yes, this is the sort of stumble where you slip on a banana peel
and slide down the whole banquet table and then you crash head first into
the wedding cake. That`s the kind of stumble this has been.
So just this week, the House Republicans had to pull their own border
security bill because conservatives objected to it. Last week they had to
pull the abortion bill because women in their conference objected to it.
The Keystone thing has been bottled up in the Senate because Mitch
McConnell hasn`t followed through with his offer to have this open
amendment process. Everything else has been tied up as well, whether it`s
trade or how to respond to Homeland Security and immigration.
So, you know, they`ve created a lot of these problems for themselves. I
think what they`re finding now is that governing, running the Congress
actually looked a lot easier than it actually is in practice.
SHARPTON: Angela, today we learned more than 9.5 million people have
signed up for the health insurance under the Affordable Care Act for 2015.
Estimates say the law will cost 20 percent less than predicted.
And out in the states, Indiana`s GOP governor now says he`s going to expand
Medicaid until Obamacare, despite this, House Republicans will vote again
to repeal Obamacare next week. I mean, how many times can they try to
attack a law that`s helping millions of people?
RYE: And how many times do we have to ask them for a solution? What is
their solution? The president has said himself that it probably does need
some tweaks, we probably could work together to enhance the law, but
repealing it is a nonstarter.
So even if this repeal does pass the House and a more conflicted Senate, as
you know, Rev, going into `16, a lot of the Senate GOPs that are in blue
states are vulnerable. They cannot afford to vote on a repeal of
So even if it passes the Senate and the House, guess what happens when it
gets to the president`s desk? He told them in the State of the Union,
there`s no surprise, he is going to veto this.
So they might as well start working together and they should have used
their retreat time to do this, to come up with a plan to enhance the law,
not repeal the law.
SHARPTON: Dana, you know, today, the GOP even went back to an playbook,
the headlines say, quote, "Boehner`s preparing to sue Obama again over
immigration. I mean, really, another lawsuit? Why this strategy again,
MILBANK: Well, you know, it`s part of their Robinhood strategy of looking
out for the little guy and I think if they hire some more lawyers that will
eventually trickle down to everybody else.
You know, they had planned this strategy a long time ago then realized
maybe it`s not a great idea to do it right around the election time. It
doesn`t look so good.
So I think they just had to get right with the conservatives who demanded
this action. Obviously, they don`t expect anything to come with this.
SHARPTON: Angela, though, isn`t this really kind of a strategy that could
backfire, bringing up lawsuits again that they floated out there and it
didn`t go anywhere last time?
RYE: Well, Certainly, Rev, we saw with the health care lawsuit that no
lawyer even wanted to take this on. Lawyers are afraid of being sanctioned
for frivolous lawsuits. That`s exactly what you can run into with this
potential immigration action.
Instead of suing the president for what you would consider executive
overreach, which we know he did not, because several other presidents
before him brought forth executive actions to protect the country`s
Instead of doing that, they should also again try to legislate. That is
what they`re there to do. Many of them are not barred and are acting
accordingly. They don`t know how to go forth with an effective lawsuit.
SHARPTON: I have to go, but I have to raise this point, Dana. You just
wrote about the president and the economy in "The Washington Post," and you
wrote, quote, "If the economy continues on its current trajectory, as most
expect, he`ll leave office a popular president and leave the 2016
Democratic nominee with a relatively easy past to victory." That`s a
pretty bold prediction, Mr. Milbank.
MILBANK: Well, it`s not so surprising. He crossed 50 percent today. I
think he`s on his way up to 55 percent that puts him in a category not with
George W. Bush but with Ronald Reagan.
SHARPTON: I`ll leave it there on the Reagan not. Angela Rye, Dana
Milbank, thank you for your time tonight.
Coming up, developing news tonight, a man flying drone that landed on the
lawn of the White House was reportedly drinking. What President Obama is
saying about this new threat, and how will the Secret Service secure the
Plus "American Sniper" is breaking Box Office records and triggering a
national conversation on war.
And the Patriots` football investigation, why a bathroom break is being
looked at? Please stay with us.
SHARPTON: You`re looking at live pictures of Portland, Maine, getting
pounded with snow tonight, and the snowstorm on the east coast was a big
hit on our social media. Here`s what has people talking.
This is a look at Harlem, shot from a drone last night. One of the busiest
parts of the city, and not a soul is out in the streets.
And how`s this for dedication? Workers at the Brigham and women`s hospital
strapped on skis to get to work this morning, nice going?
This one was sent from South Portland, Maine. This is Deegan, clearly
enjoying the snow.
Coming up, the New York City area dodged the record-breaking storm, but
what about a political storm? We`ll talk about that.
But first please keep the pictures coming. Tag us on Facebook or tweet us
SHARPTON: You`re looking at live pictures of Portland, Maine, tonight
where residents are still fighting the blizzard of 2015. Winds in some New
England towns reached over 70 miles per hour. Some areas had more than 2-
1/2 feet of snow.
Utilities said more than 30,000 Massachusetts residents or customers had
lost power. The storm left New York City and New Jersey relatively
unscathed, but farther north, the snow isn`t expected to let up until later
MSNBC`s meteorologist, Dominica Davis, is here in the studio. Dominica,
first, what`s happening with the storm right now?
DOMINICA DAVIS, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, the storm is still going over
New England, eastern part of Massachusetts, Rhode Island all the way up
into Maine. We have very impressive snow totals so far, and we`re not done
so already feet of snow are coming down in Framingham, mass, 32 inches,
Boston mass, 26, which would put it at the top five of all-time snowstorms.
Connecticut has been hit hard. They are looking at 26 inches. This is
still going. We still have blizzard warnings from Providence that go up to
Maine. These will expire through Providence and Boston by about 10:00
Tomorrow morning is when we will see the blizzard warning expire for
Bangor. We still have several hours to go of snow bands coming through and
drifting and blowing snow, and possible whiteout conditions. We`ve been
seeing the worst conditions along Cape Cod.
We`re still seeing heavy bands that are coming in off of Cape Cod and
pushing in through Providence and New Bedford area, and the eastern part of
Massachusetts. That`s where some of the heaviest snow bands had been
earlier this evening.
This will all start to wind down overnight. It will turn to light snow
showers and then it really shuts off by the time we`re looking at the
morning commute tomorrow so that will certainly be good.
SHARPTON: So what happened with the forecast for areas near New York? Why
was it so off?
DAVIS: Well, you know, the storm track took a different track. It went a
bit to the east. We thought the storm was going to hug closer to the
coast. What happened is that it just passed 50 to 75 miles per hour just
east of that. What happened was the moisture couldn`t make it far west
So that`s why New York and parts of coastal New Jersey were spared. They
still got a decent amount of snow. In New York, we picked up 8 inches of
snow, but it wasn`t a blockbuster snow like we`re seeing through New
SHARPTON: All right, Dominica Davis, thank you for helping to make that
As I mentioned the storm avoided large parts of New York and New Jersey,
but many politicians say better safe than sorry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Would you rather be ahead of the
action or behind? Would you rather be prepared or unprepared? Would you
rather by safe or unsafe?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I would much rather by in a situation
where we say we got lucky than saying we didn`t get lucky and somebody
BLASIO: In situations like this, you can`t be a Monday morning quarterback
on something like the weather.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Some leaders are taking heat over over-preparing, but if they
hadn`t done enough, they would have gotten burned for that, too.
Now let`s bring in former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, he is currently
president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Thanks for
FORMER GOVERNOR TED STRICKLAND, CAP ACTION FUND: It`s going to be with
SHARPTON: Governor, you served during some big storms. What`s your take
on how this all played out.
STRICKLAND: We ought to be prepared, and we ought to put public safety
first and foremost. I think that`s what the governor and the mayor did in
New York. You know, Mother Nature is unpredictable, Reverend Al.
We have technology, we as leaders, governors and mayors, we try to listen
to the best information available to us, and then respond accordingly. So
I think that`s what the mayor and the governor did.
I`m very sympathetic to the fact that they`re getting criticized now for
doing what they felt was in the best interests of the citizens of their
city and their state.
SHARPTON: You know, Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey also
took a lot of precaution for the storm, but he had a slightly different
response when asked if it was overkill. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are going to be a lot of critics say that
perhaps there was too much done for this storm. What would your response
be to that?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, my response would be we were
listening to all of you. Listen, you all were on TV practically 24 hours
talking about this, based on what you were being told, and we were acting
based on what we were being told.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, what`s your reaction to the Christie response?
STRICKLAND: Well, I think, you know, Reverend Al, when I was the governor
of the state of Ohio, I dealt with tornadoes, floods, snowstorms. You try
to be prepared, and you try to do everything you can to make sure your
citizens are safe.
Sometimes you may overreact, but that`s certainly better than underreacting
and putting people`s lives at risk. So, you know, the meteorologists, the
weather forecasters did the best they could. The storm veered to the east
a little more than they expected it to, and so New York did not get dumped
with as much snow as they expected.
But it could have gone the other way. What if they had not prepared? And
what if the snowstorm had occurred, then they would be criticized for not
doing enough? It`s a difficult place to be in when you`re responsible for
the safety of people. I think they did the best they could with the
information they had.
SHARPTON: Well, it`s called governing and you have to make hard decisions.
STRICKLAND: You do.
SHARPTON: Let`s not forget they are being pounded up in New England. Our
hearts and prayers are with those citizens.
SHARPTON: Former Governor Ted Strickland, thank you for your time tonight.
STRICKLAND: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, developing news about that drone scare at the White
House, why it crashed? And what the Secret Service wants to do about it?
Also, should a soldier held captive by the Taliban be charged for deserting
And the movie that`s breaking Box Office records and sparking a national
debate about war, it`s all ahead in conversation nation.
SHARPTON: We have developing news tonight on the unmanned drone that
crashed on the white house grounds early Monday morning. The man operating
the drone told investigators he had been drinking before the incident. The
A.P. reports that the man works for a U.S. intelligence agency, which says
his work has nothing to do with drones.
"The Washington Post" reports, "The episode came just four days after
lawmakers examining White House security had been warned by a panel of
experts that the Secret Service`s inability to identify and disability
drones remained one of the leading vulnerabilities at the complex.
President Obama talked about drones earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I`ve actually
asked the FAA and a number of agencies to examine how are we managing this
new technology? Because the drone that landed on the White House you can
buy at Radio Shack, but we don`t have any regulatory structure at all for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now there`s talk of installing some kind of laser protection or
anti-drone system at the White House. Congressman Elijah Cummings said,
quote, "Just like our friends in Israel feel comfortable with the iron
dome, I want the people in the White House to feel comfortable, too.
I want the people who are trying to do us harm to know they cannot
penetrate that sky over the White House." With the Secret Service under
more scrutiny than ever, how will it balance these new threats with
preserving access to the people`s house? We`ll keep following this story.
Still ahead, what can nearly $9 hundred million buy you in politics? We`re
about to find out.
And why are some conservatives worried about Sarah Palin? Please stay with
SHARPTON: Now to developing 2016 news, and a right-wing spending spree on
a scale never before seen. Today we`re learning the political network
overseen by the conservative billionaire Koch Brothers will have a budget
of $889 million. "The New York Times" calls it, quote, "an unparalleled
effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election."
It`s a stunning amount of money. And today one potential recipient made
news, a political ally of the Kochs, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker,
officially launching a political committee. And yet despite the big money,
conservatives are still searching for a winning candidate. Walker was just
one of a host of GOP hopefuls in Iowa this weekend.
Notably no Jeb Bush and no Mitt Romney, but Sarah Palin was there still
grabbing headlines with a speech even some on the right say was incoherent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: It must change. Things must
change for this cover -- our government. Look at it. It isn`t too big to
fail. It`s too big to succeed. It`s too big to succeed, so we can afford
no retreads, or nothing will change. With the same people and same
policies that got us into the status quo? And other Latin words status
quo. And that stands for the middle-class, everyday Americans are getting
taken for a ride. That`s status quo. And GOP leaders, by the way, you
know, the man, can only ride you when your back is bent. So strengthen it.
Then the man can`t ride you and American won`t be taken for a ride, because
so much is at stake. And we can`t afford politics playing games like
nothing more is at stake than, oh, maybe the next standing of theirs in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Right. Joining me now are Jason Johnson and Margie Omero.
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good evening, rev.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Good to be with you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Jason, we`re going to get back to Sarah Palin in a moment. But
first, nearly $900 million from the Koch Brothers, I should mention we
contacted the Koch for comment, but have yet to hear from them. We have
not heard from them. But what does it buy you? And will it work in 2016?
JOHNSON: All right. It pretty much buys the election. And here`s why
this is important, Rev. If you look at the 2012 presidential election
year, all 33 Senate races spent less than 300 million, so they have right
now in 2015, they have committed to spending more money than was spent to
pretty much control Congress. If this is not the line in the sand, if this
is not the canary in the mine for republicans and democrats to get together
and say, we have to do something about campaign finance reform, if we`ve
got people who are willing to buy an election, not start their own party --
if they want to start their own party, would be fine, but people are
willing to buy and influence election, the two parties have to get to the
other and do something about campaign, finance reform. This is horrible
news of the future of this country.
SHARPTON: You know, Margie, continuing along that line, let`s put this in
context. Remember that then Senator Obama`s 2008 campaign raised $819
million when adjusted for inflation. The Koch Brothers political network
will spent $889 million alone, that has nothing to do with what the GOP and
other campaigns raise. I mean, how can democrats respond to this? What
needs to happen?
OMERO: I mean, first thing is I don`t know who the Koch Brothers are
fooling by putting out a number like 889. I mean, it sounds more like a
bid on the prices right. Why not just come out and say, we`re going to
spend a billion dollars? I mean, they`re not fooling anybody with that
number. I think it`s important to remember that --
SHARPTON: What a million dollars or two are among friends.
OMERO: Exactly. Exactly. I think the thing to remember is certainly buys
access. You have a lot of presidential candidates coming to visit them
this past weekend. It helps drive the agenda, where you have candidates
who really need to stand up for the Koch Brothers and others like them.
Here is what it doesn`t buy, it doesn`t buy that connection to real voters.
And the Koch brothers spent half that last time in the last presidential
election. They weren`t successful in getting their candidate in the White
House. It can`t replace having a candidate who actually can connect with
people. And actually it may in fact do the opposite when you have
candidates who are going to try to reach out to the average Koch Brother
rather than to the average voter.
SHARPTON: You know, that`s a good point, Jason, because democrats got out
and knocked on doors, and did a lot of grassroots organizing.
Also, I mentioned Governor Scott Walker, he formed a political committee.
Remember in 2011, a blogger presented to be David Koch and called Walker,
who infamously bought into it. They talked about meeting democratic
leaders amid protests over Walker`s anti-union proposal. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: My sense is hell. I`ll talk if they
want to yell at me for an hour, you know, I`m used to that, I can deal with
that, but I`m not negotiating.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bring a -- put a baseball ball, that`s what I`d do.
WALKER: I have one in my office. You would be happy with that. I got a
slugger with my name on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Beautiful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And of course that really wasn`t David Koch but he, Walker
bought into it, but is it just a coincidence he`s announcing this today,
and is it by chance a lot of that money will go to push Scott Walker, who
fought labor and unions in his home state?
JOHNSON: Oh, most definitely. Look, Scott Walker is going to tap dance
for whatever the money comes from. You got to look at -- if you look at
what`s happening in his state right now, he just said he was going to cut
$300 million from colleges in Wisconsin, but wants to give $220 million a
taxpayer money for the Milwaukee bucks who won`t make the playoffs? You
know, Scott Walker is beholding to whoever is going to give him the most
cash in his coffer for 2016. But I`ll tell you this, and I think this is
really important for 2016. Yes, it requires getting into people`s hearts
and minds to win an election. But we`re not just talking about the
presidency. The Koch brothers can essentially buy state legislatures.
They can buy Kansas, they can buy Iowa, they can buy Minnesota with this
level of money. So, it doesn`t necessarily matter if all of this money
goes into 2016 at the top of the ticket.
SHARPTON: But the problem is that it is legal, Jason.
SHARPTON: But I want to turn back to Sarah Palin, Margie before we run out
of time. The conservative "Washington Examiner" reports that her Iowa
speech alarmed some in the GOP, quote -- as 2016`s race begins, GOP faces
its Palin problem. And here`s what Nicolle Wallace, who worked on the
McCain/Palin campaign said about that Iowa speech when she was on Letterman
last night. Nicole Wallace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLLE WALLACE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She gave a speech this weekend in
Iowa where again, on full display with all the gaps in her knowledge. And
that`s what became obvious not just to the public, but to us. And that was
sort of chilling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, will Sarah Palin be a problem for the GOP in 2016 if she
continue to play a prominent public role, Margie?
OMERO: Absolutely. I mean, her speech, it was like taking a bag of
scrabble tiles and sort of shaking it up and just sort of pulling letters
out and hoping you get a word. I mean, that was what her speech looked
like. And the more coverage she gets for anything she does, saying she`s
thinks of running for president, giving a speech, not giving a speech,
giving a good speech. It just takes away space that could be devoted to,
you know, substantial well-respected candidates on the right, who are
looking to make inroads with their party, and also importantly reach out to
general election voters, and they`re not going to get as much time, because
we`re going to spend more time talking about Sarah Palin. In that respect,
she does real damage to the party.
SHARPTON: Well, she gets a lot of attention, no doubt about it. Jason
Johnson and Margie Omero, thank you both for your time tonight.
OMERO: Thank you.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, should an army sergeant held by the Taliban be
charged for desertion? "American Sniper" triggers a national debate on war
The Patriots football investigation. What Tom Brady is saying and why a
bathroom break is being looked into. "Conversation Nation" is next.
SHARPTON: Time now for "Conversation Nation." Joining me tonight,
Mic.com`s Liz Plank, democratic strategist Jimmy Williams and legal analyst
Midwin Charles. Thank you all for being here tonight.
LIZ PLANK, SENIOR EDITOR, MIC.COM: Thanks, Rev.
JIMMY WILLIAMS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Should an army sergeant held by the Taliban for five years be
charged for desertion? Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was held by the Taliban for
nearly five years after he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in
2009. And now NBC News has learned from senior defense officials with
direct knowledge that Bergdahl will likely be charged with desertion for
allegedly abandoning his post. Officials telling NBC News that Bergdahl
will likely be given consideration for the five years he spend in
captivity, but he could lose as much as $300,000 in back pay and be reduced
in rank. The Pentagon denies the report and says no decision has been made
on whether charges will be filed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: No decision has been made
with respect to the case of Sergeant Bergdahl. None. And there is no
timeline to make that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But Midwin, I mean, what do you think? Should he be charged?
MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: Well, the allegations against him are just so
strong. It`s not so much that he abandoned his post, which is your typical
AWOL, absent without leave, but he did so and put other United States
service men and women in harm`s way of potential danger. And that is a
huge problem. And if those allegations are true, I do think he should be
charged. I mean, can you just imagine families of those American service
men and women being told, listen, your son, your daughter is not coming
home because one of our own abandoned their post and was unable to protect
them. So, when you look at it from that perspective and that prism, I
said, yes, he should be charged despite the fact that he spend five years
SHARPTON: Liz, what do you think?
PLANK: Well, look, we could argue that all day, here always your trader,
and we`ve been talking a lot about it recently, but one thing we can all
agree on, is that this man has been through enough. I mean, he`s been held
captive by the Taliban, which is by every measure the worst form of
punishment for anything I can think off. And so for me, the focus should
be on reintegrating this person, rehabilitating this person and to the
military, and approaching it with compassion. We should approach all of
our military members with compassion, and help them be able to serve our
country once again. I don`t think bringing him into court and furthering
the punishment and making him struggle even more is going to bring about
anything. I mean, what`s the purpose?
WILLIAMS: Well, Bergdahl, first of all, he wouldn`t have been captured by
the Taliban if he had not left his post. I mean, you know, Midwin is
right, he deserted his job and left others in danger. Now, what we do not
know is why he did this. We don`t know, was he suffering from PTSD? We
have no idea. And that is the entire point of having a court of law, a
military court of law try him for the charge of desertion. All that will
come out, and then the jury will decide whether or not he`s guilty of in
fact desertion. But let the process play out if in fact if this is how
it`s going to happen. And if found guilty then he is, then if not, then he
goes free and he gets his back pay and he keeps his rank, so.
SHARPTON: Let`s move to "American Sniper." "American Sniper" dominated
the Box Office again for the second week in a row, the story of a Navy
SEAL`s sharpshooter Chris Kyle, is number one in the theaters with over
$200 million, its breaking records and breaking open a heated debate on
whether the film is too pro-war. Director Clint Eastwood addressed it by
saying, quote, "the biggest anti-war statement any film can make is to show
the fact of what war does to the family and the people who have to go back
into civilian life lie Chris Kyle did." Jimmy, what`s your take? Is it
WILLIAMS: Well, first and foremost, I have not seen the movie. I have
read a heck of a lot about it. Secondly I went to a military college. And
when you are trained as a member of the military, you have a job to do. He
did his job and he came home and he came home to a place that is not
exactly what I would call very good to our veterans. We have thousands of
veterans that are -- that come home with PTSD, as we said before. They
suffered from alcoholism. They suffer from drugs, and they get lost in the
shuffle. The Veterans Administration, the Veterans Hospitals are not as up
to snuff as they should be. So, these are people we glorify for doing
their jobs, but when they come home, we let them fall through the cracks.
So, I don`t know if this movie is pro-war or anti-war. What I do know is
when we got home, he found one hell of a place that was not as friendly as
he thought it was going to be, and he was floundering. And so I think that
is the bigger question here and if Eastwood is addressing that in this
movie, then I applaud him for that despite him being a republican who talks
to empty chairs.
SHARPTON: Liz, I see you nodding your head.
PLANK: Yes, I mean, I agree with Jimmy. I think we tend to talk a lot
about war and have movies about war, but what happens after the war, we
don`t talk enough of.
PLANK: And with anything, you know, film is art after all. Many people
have different representations and understand different things from it, but
I think the movie did a good job of, I mean, we saw the same thing with
"The Wolf of Wall Street." Some people said it glamorize the financial
industry and other people said, after seeing that I don`t want anything to
do with it. So I think this movie in the same way, will come off
differently to different people in the audience.
CHARLES: Well, also, to sort of echo Jim and Liz`s points, this is war.
And unfortunately war has a horrific consequence, which is killing people.
And it`s one of those things that people I think oftentimes are in denial
when we talk about war. And so if this movie -- and I will admit of course
I haven`t seen it, either, but I have done a lot of read being it. If this
movie sort of depicts what I understand to be true occurrences, and then
follows this United States soldier back home and deals with the sort of
ramifications that he has to deal with in light of the service that he`s
done for this country, then so be it. As she said, this is art. And
sometimes people have a hard time with the truth, the truth is this is war.
He was sent there to represent this country, and unfortunately he`s going
to have to do things that we do not like. But that`s what war is about.
SHARPTON: All right. Let me ask everyone to stay with me. When we come
back, the NFL investigation into those footballs. Why a 90-second bathroom
break is being looked at?
SHARPTON: We`re back with the panel, Liz, Jimmy and Midwin. Is a bathroom
break the key to the NFL`s deflate-gate investigation? Today the Patriots
met with the media in Arizona. Quarterback Tom Brady managed to avoid any
questions about those deflated footballs. And it came after FOX Sports
broke the story that the NFL is looking at videos showing a Patriots locker
room attendant, taking the footballs from the official`s locker room into
another room. And now NBC Sports providing new details about that video.
One unnamed league source says the video shows the attendant carried two
bags of balls containing both teams` footballs into the bathroom for
approximately 90 seconds. The bathroom which NBC sports reports looks like
this, consists of a toilet, a sink and a door that locks from the inside.
But could someone deflate 11 balls in 90 seconds? The NFL wasn`t
commenting directly about the news reports, and NBC News has not confirmed
these reports. But Jimmy, what do you think? Up to no good? Or just a
WILLIAMS: I hate to assume, but I can only assume that when one takes 12
footballs into a bathroom, that`s just unusual. I have never done that
before. And so, I mean -- I`m a little flabbergasted as to why one would
do that unless it was a really, really, really big room, or he really,
really, really had to go very badly at that exact moment. All I can say
you is, there`s a lot of fishiness going on here. And at some point,
they`re going to get to the end of this. What I will also say is this --
if someone went rogue on this issue, that`s going to stop come from the
top. That is not, you don`t just do a one-off rock solo on that kind of a
thing. You don`t carry a pen around just by accident or you just have it.
That sort of thing comes from the top.
SHARPTON: But Midwin, 11 balls in 90 seconds? Is that even possible?
CHARLES: You know, what? I don`t know, because I`ve never done it, but --
That`s a lot of balls, Rev. But you know, if this video is true, you have
to ask yourself -- what is this guy thinking? Who takes, you know, these
balls into the bathroom with them? What are you doing? What are you doing
with these balls? But as, you know, Jimmy said, if this is someone that
went rogue, this sounds like it may have come from the top.
SHARPTON: All right. Liz, let me get you before I run out of time.
PLANK: Well, look, even I think before the incriminating video came out,
to me there was something suspicious and very fishy. I mean, I have
trouble paying attention to Tom Brady`s words because of his beautiful
face, but even during that press conference, I felt like the entire body
language, the way he`s looking down a lot and even laughing at it and now
avoiding questions about it. To me there`s something fishy there.
SHARPTON: All right. Liz, Jimmy and Midwin, thank you for your time
When we come back, working together in the fight for social justice here
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the fight for justice at home and abroad.
Moments ago, a judge ordered Marissa Alexander to be released from prison
on house arrest. The mother of three served three years behind bars, and
potentially faced 60 more for firing a warning shot in the direction of her
estranged husband. No one was harmed, but today after a plea, she`s free.
Dozens of demonstrators cheered outside the court. Our justice system is
flawed, but it has come a long way. Over the weekend I was in the United
Kingdom to talk about this progress and the global fight for civil rights.
I spent three days meeting with members of parliament and engaging with
people on issues of injustice and inequality. On Saturday I spoke at a
rally about the continuing fight for global change. The night before I
addressed the historic Oxford Union.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: When we look at America today, yes, there is still unfairness,
inequality. Yes, there are still elements of racism and sexism and
homophobia, but that is all in transition because there are people that are
fighting every day in different ways to change that. The challenges today
on how do you deal with making more fair the criminal justice system? How
do you make law enforcement accountable to where they`re not above the law?
That does not make you antipolice. We are not antipolice because we
challenge a chokehold case in Staten Island, New York. We are in fact a
pro-police. We work with police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I continued that theme on Sunday at a church in London, talking
about how we need to work with police, how we need to find a positive
agenda forward together, because the work we do must come from a place of
compassion and faith.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I know what you should support. You should support those who
feed the hungry, those that clothe the naked, those that give jobs to the
unemployed, those that will stand for justice. You`ve got to decide who
that is, but what that is is our job to do mercy and love justly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Whether it is in the United States or Great Britain, all over
the world we cannot just condemn what is wrong. We must cooperate and work
toward what is right. We must do it by not becoming what we are fighting.
That is why Dr. King was right when he stressed nonviolence, the ethos of
love and peace. And yes, we`ll be misunderstood, and yes there would be
resistance, but yes there has and will be continuing progress, as long as
we understand that if we keep moving forward for everybody, it will
guarantee the kind of world that all of us want to live in for everybody.
Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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Show: POLITICS NATION