PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Transcript 12/11/2016
Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: December 11, 2016
Guest: Eric Schneiderman, Tara Dowdell, Dana Milbank, Marc Morial, Paul
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extreme measures. Donald Trump`s new cabinet picks
alarming Democrats who like clean water and fair pay. We`ll talk to a man
who`s faced off against Trump world in court, New York Attorney General
Also, Ben Carson once called poverty a choice. But now he may oversee
America`s housing. We`ll talk to Urban League President Marc Morial.
And, what`s next in the Walter Scott shooting? Will a Trump justice
department pursue the federal case? And, part three of our series on a man
set free by President Obama after two decades in prison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I believe that anybody that gets a second chance at
life, they need to come out and move forward. And I`m looking forward to a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Rockefeller Center in New York, this is POLITICS
NATION with Al Sharpton.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton. Donald Trump`s
cabinet is filling up with the big job still open. Trump says he expects
to name his secretary of state next week, so far he`s leaned on military
generals, millionaires and billionaires.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: One newspaper
criticized me. Why can`t they have people of modest means? Because I want
people that made a fortune, because now they`re negotiating with you. OK.
It`s no different than a great baseball player or a great golfer. We want
the people that are – they`re so proud to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The picks are now a political flashpoint. Especially two recent
ones. Here`s pick for labor secretary, a fast food CEO who is against
raising the minimum wage. And his nominee to run the EPA is a climate
change denier who`s suing the agency. The move showed little sign of
compromise and the vice president-elect says Trump has a mandate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We truly do
believe that our president-elect has secured a mandate for leadership.
Thirty of fifty states, more counties won since Ronald Reagan was the
Republican candidate for re-election as president in 1984. It was a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He calls it a mandate, a historic win, despite losing the
popular vote by a historic margin. Now at 2.6 million votes. Democrats
are fighting back in the senate, they`re looking to block some nominations.
But the first line of defense could be state Democratic attorney generals
who say they`re ready to take on the Trump administration`s overreach.
Joining me now is Democratic attorney general who`s been out front,
promising to hold Trump`s feet to the fire, Eric Schneiderman of New York.
He recently reached a $25 million settlement with Trump`s lawyer over Trump
University. Thank you for being here, attorney general.
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW YORK: Glad to be here, Rev.
SHARPTON: You`ve been a vocal critic about the number of – about a number
of Trump`s cabinet picks. First of all, why were you moved to speak out?
SCHNEIDERMAN: Well, in particular, I`ve been involved very heavily in
protecting the environment, protecting the air and water for New Yorkers
and when the federal government does the right thing, as it did when it
issued the clean power plant on part of coalition of states, they`re
Trump`s pick to head the EPA Scott Pruitt is the attorney general of
Oklahoma. He`s a part of a coalition suing to eliminate the clean power
plant. He is a –
SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Now you are part of a coalition of state attorney
generals supporting it. Pruitt was a state attorney general in Oklahoma
suing against this? This is who Trump is now putting over the EPA who`s
SCHNEIDERMAN: He`s suing to stop the EPA from implementing the clean power
plant. He is clearly indicated that he does not respect climate science.
He doesn`t believe in global warming is necessarily caused by burning of
fossil fuel, which is overwhelming scientific consensus on.
It`s like saying I`d like to be the pope, but I`m an atheist. You just
can`t have someone who doesn`t believe in science at the EPA.
SHARPTON: Why would you put someone over that unless you want to roll back
some of the things that you and other state attorney generals are clearly
supporting and for that matter, many people in the American political
culture and community?
SCHNEIDERMAN: Correct. And I think the important thing here is when
they`re speaking earlier about a mandate, not only did Trump lose the
election by historic margin in the popular vote, but every poll shows that
the American people want action on climate change. They`re concerned about
the future of our planet.
They are seeing its effects already in coastal communities and a lot of
parts of the country. So there is a mandate to move forward and do
something about climate change and to protect our air and our water.
There`s not a mandate to dismantle the EPA and put in charge someone who
said in testimony to congress, General Pruitt said earlier this year, the
Environmental Protection Agency is not supposed to be our first line of
defense of the environment and federally.
That couldn`t be more incorrect. He doesn`t understand the agency, he
doesn`t respect the science.
It`s hard to imagine a worse pick to watch out for over our precious
resources, our clean air and our clean water and to deal with the very
compelling problem of climate change. We have to take action immediately
if we`re going to save the planet.
SHARPTON: You`ve also have come out about Puzder, the Labor Secretary
nominee of Mr. Trump.
SCHNEIDERMAN: Yes. The labor secretary nominee strikes me as even, if
anything, more bizarre. My office is labor bureau has investigated wage
and hour theft, particularly in fast food restaurant chains, and recovered,
I think $27 million for thousands and thousands of workers.
The U.S. labor department also investigates violations of the wage and hour
rules. And Mr. Puzder`s fast food restaurants, owns the parent company
that owns Carl`s Jr. and Hardee`s, when the U.S. Department of Labor
examined his restaurants, they found that more than half of them were
violating the federal wage and hour rules.
SCHNEIDERMAN: So this is something where you`re taking someone who is
known to be a law breaker, and putting them in charge of the agency in
charge of enforcing the law. This is, like, making an arsonist the head of
the fire department. It`s totally unacceptable.
SHARPTON: Wow. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, thank you so much for
your time this morning.
SCHNEIDERMAN: Thank you, Rev. Glad to be here.
SHARPTON: Let`s bring in our panel, Tara Dowdell, Democratic strategist
and former contestant on “The Apprentice” and Washington Post political
columnist, Dana Milbank, his new article is called “How Schumer and the
Democrats are preparing to fight.” Thank you, both, for being here.
DANA MILBANK, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, Reverend.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Tara, first, where will the major pushback from Democrats come
from? Congress, the states, where do you see it coming from?
DOWDELL: I think you`re going to see a lot of pushback actually coming
from the local level, mayors in particular because, remember, the Democrats
had been ravaged. Ravaged throughout this country at the state level, most
of the governorships are controlled by Republicans. Most of the state
representatives, the legislative houses are controlled by Republicans. But
where Democrats still have a power base is at the local level.
And so I think you`re going to see a lot of pushback and you`re starting to
see it already around different mayors saying that they`re not going to let
the federal government dictate to them things that are antithetical to
SHARPTON: Now, Dana, you wrote that you see Bernie Sanders as one helping
to lead the Democrats in this age of Trump. Explain what you mean,
elaborate on that.
MILBANK: Yes. I sat down this week, Reverend, with Chuck Schumer who is
really, I think, the most important and highest ranking Democrat in the
land after president-elect Trump is sworn in. And he was saying that his
emphasis is going to be squarely on the economic issues and he`s basically
saying he`s going to – he has ties to Wall Street and all that, but he`s
saying basically he`s going to be taking his cues from Elizabeth Warren,
from Bernie Sanders, from the populous wing of the Democratic Party. I
think that`s smart because that`s where the energy is. And the Democrats
need to reclaim this.
Now, the downside of this, the flipside of this is I don`t think you can
count on Democrats in the senate to put a lot of their emphasis, a lot of
their chips on environmental issues, on energy issues, on social civil
rights, justice issues like that because they`re going to be focused like a
laser on issues of the economy. That`s smart politics, you have to do a
certain amount of triage. They can`t fight all of these battles.
SHARPTON: Now, Tara, Chris Murphy, Democratic senator, he said he expects
some Republicans to join Democrats in opposing Trump`s labor secretary.
The fact he used some salty language, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: I`m not giving away the fact that
there won`t be Republicans that eventually will oppose him, because you`re
talking about the department that`s in charge of enforcing labor laws in
And, you know, Donald Trump has kind of given a big middle finger to that
entire department by nominating somebody who was found to have 50 percent
of his restaurants in noncompliance with labor laws. It would be really
curious to have every Republican on the committee support somebody like
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Is this a possibility? I mean, could we see Republicans joining
and stopping some of Trump`s appointees or nominees, particularly if
there`s a groundswell of people coming out when you have a guy that, I
mean, actually violates according to the attorney general of New York just
said violating labor laws?
DOWDELL: Exactly. So Andrew Puzder`s appointment is a slap in the face to
workers in this country. And Democrats need to be a lot more forceful like
the attorney general in pointing that out. It is literally a slap in the
face. He is against anything that stands for helping workers to move up
the economic ladder. He is someone who opposes minimum wage, increases in
any kind of meaningful way, openly and aggressively. He is some who wants
to replace and has talked about replacing workers with machines, and that`s
where Democrats need to educate the public.
There`s so much talk about trade, but where we`ve seen communities hollowed
out, particularly at the lower spectrum of the economic ladder is with
SHARPTON: The automation is –
DOWDELL: And Democrats need to let people know that. And they need to
pushback hard. And I think if they do, and they educate and they stand up,
that you`ll see some Republicans particularly in states like Pennsylvania,
that`s where you`ll see more Republicans pushing back and states where
there are more of a blue collar workforce.
SHARPTON: You know, Dana, I`ve got to go, but stay with me, but, you know,
whatever happened to draining the swamp? I mean, he`s – it is amazing.
Another Goldman Sachs guy pointed this week. Tara, Dana, stay with me.
More to come.
Coming up, Dr. Ben Carson once called the fair housing act social
engineering. Now Trump wants him for housing secretary. Marc Morial from
the National Urban League joins me after the break.
Also, mistrial in the Walter Scott case. Could the next potential attorney
general have a say in whether justice is or is not served?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to do things that haven`t been done including fixing and
making our inner cities better for the african-american citizens that are
so great and for the Latinos, Hispanics and I look forward to doing that,
it`s called “Make America Great Again.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We`re back with a deeper dive into Trump`s cabinet picks,
including a look at the man who will lead the effort to make inner cities,
quote, better. Trump tapped Dr. Ben Carson to be secretary for the
Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson has no government
experience. None in housing, none in running an agency with a $47 billion
As I mentioned, other picks, also have Democrats ready to fight. Like the
nominee for labor secretary, who opposes expanding overtime pay. And
wouldn`t mind robots replacing American workers. Or the EPA pick who said
the debate over climate change is, quote, far from settled. When I get
this mixed up in my head, I have to go to the one that has the answers.
Joining me now, the answer man, Marc Morial, the president of the National
Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans. Marc, help me out, help me
Let`s start with Dr. Carson. You and I know him, very respected figure,
but for HUD –
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Dr. Carson is a great
neurosurgeon. He`s worked on friends, family members of mine. He has been
well known and outstanding in that work. I thought he would be at HHS. I
thought he might be at surgeon general.
SHARPTON: That would have been my guess.
MORIAL: And so I`m shocked with the appointment of Dr. Carson. Clearly,
he is not Henry Cisneros, he`s not Andrew Cuomo, he`s not Jack Kemp, great
HUD secretaries with whom I`ve worked over the years. He`s not Julian
Castro, the current secretary who was mayor of San Antonio.
I think he`s going to face a tough confirmation fight, primarily because of
his own statements. He has got to find a way to walk back some of the
things he said, like his sort of assertion that he wasn`t qualified or his
criticism of the fair housing act.
What I do believe though, Reverend, is that we should have a conversation
with him to find out what his vision, what his thought process –
SHARPTON: Well, he has been accessible. But let`s talk about some of
these other nominees because Dr. Carson has not – or any of that in terms
of having this debate. We adamantly disagreed with some of his –
MORIAL: And so, look, the nomination of Jefferson Sessions is front and
center for the civil rights, for the human rights community, because of
this record. This is one we have to oppose. This is one we`ve got to be -
- we have to be vigorous in opposing because he becomes as – if he`s
confirmed, he becomes the chief civil rights enforcer, so there`s a
question, is he going to use the job of attorney general to undo, undercut,
not enforce civil rights laws? Those are questions that he should be asked
in his confirmation.
SHARPTON: Voting rights, police reform, you and I worked with others in
the civil rights community with the president around the criminal justice
reform. I mean, all of this now goes in his –
MORIAL: Will he support the continuation of the 20 police reform consent
decrees? The continuation of the current police pattern and practice
investigations that are underway? So that`s front and center.
The labor secretary, that position in the cabinet, Reverend, historically
has been the working man and the working woman`s seat at the table. It has
very important responsibilities over job training, and enforcement of wage
and hour laws, a number of workplace safety issues, that`s been what the
labor department is about.
SHARPTON: Let me push you there, though, Marc. The nominee has been put
forward, he actually talked about – let me show you what he said about
robots replacing workers. He said, quote, they`re always
Polite. He`s talking about robots here. They always upsell. They never
take a vacation. They never show up late, they never a slip and fall or an
age, sex or race discrimination case. This is who`s been nominated for
MORIAL: And that`s an insulting statement for any working man and woman.
And so what`s surprising about this nomination is that the people who form
the backbone of the Trump coalition, if you consider the analysis of
working men and women, can`t look at a nominee like that, can`t look at a
statement like that, and find comfort that the focus is going to be not
only on jobs, but jobs that pay well, a strong enforcement of wage laws, a
commitment to increase the pay of the working men and women, who are
suffering out there. Not just those, but the large numbers in our
community who have not seen their wages increase, who are still suffering
under too high unemployment.
SHARPTON: You know, we`ve got to keep it moving though for the good of the
country. Marc Morial, thank you for joining me this morning.
And Marc Morial will join the National Action Network for the “We Shall not
be Moved” marches on January 14th in Washington, D.C. during the Martin
Luther King Jr. weekend.
We`ll be calling for the president-elect Trump and the congress to protect
voting and civil rights access to quality healthcare as well as police
reform and economic development and equity. That`s January 14th, Saturday,
Straight ahead, Donald Trump says next week he`ll clear all conflicts of
interest. But he`s got a lot of work to do to avoid landing in our gotcha.
SHARPTON: This week, Donald Trump says he`s going to hold a big press
conference about he`s going to clear up his conflict of interest – a lot
to clear up. Past week we learned Trump paid $3 million from campaign to
his own business –
And later this month, the RNC will be spending some money to rent out space
in a Trump hotel for their annual holiday party. The right wing Heritage
Foundation just held an event at that hotel too, with vice president-elect
Mike Pence as the keynote speaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: Pay a bit of gratitude to the heritage foundation and to express
the appreciation on behalf of the president-elect. For your generosity to
this effort that is even as we speak continuing to play an extraordinarily
important role in the formation of this new government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, you might think that this is getting a little messy and
that Trump might want to distance himself from it all. Note. The New York
Times reports, he`s actually going to keep a stake in his company. We`ll
see what the president-elect says this week. But if he thought we`re going
to overlook all this, well, there`s only one thing to say. Nice try. But
SHARPTON: Welcome back. Now to a big legal case. A South Carolina officer
who shot and killed an unarmed black man is free for now. Michael Slager
faced murder and manslaughter charges for killing 50-year-old Walter Scott.
But this week the jury deadlocked, forcing a mistrial.
The major piece of evidence, of course, was cell phone video, caught by a
witness, showing the officer shooting Scott from behind. Here`s what the
jury foreman said on the “Today” show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORSEY MONTGOMERY, JURY FOREMAN: We had one individual who was just
deadlocked that he wasn`t changing, but yet we had five individuals who
were undecided. And so because of that, we went and when the judge asked
me, I believe that we could have deliberated just a little bit more to see
if we could sway that particular juror and get those who were undecided to
make a decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The final breakdown was 10-2 in favor of voluntary manslaughter.
Slager claims he feared for his life. He now faces a possible retrial at
the state level.
But the other big question, how will the next potential attorney general,
Senator Jeff Sessions, pursue federal charges? Time will tell. And it
will also reveal just what the justice department may look like in the
Joining me now, former prosecutor and Georgetown law professor Paul Butler.
Paul, looking ahead, what happens now with the retrial and when might this
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I would expect this summer, the same
thing, the trial took 55 days, actually took – this trial took two weeks,
55 witnesses, so the state will try once again. We have to ask will this
case come out differently this time?
Again, I never – as years of being a federal prosecutor, never had
evidence this compelling, Reverend. We have a man on video shooting the
victim here eight times, caught on video, in the back. And the defense –
the self-defense, give me a break.
SHARPTON: Well, let me play to you the opening that the prosecutor said in
the opening statement about Walter Scott. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Walter Scott had stayed in that car, he wouldn`t
have been shot. If Walter Scott had not resisted arrest, he wouldn`t have
been shot. He paid the extreme consequence for his conduct. He lost his
life for his foolishness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, again, this is the prosecutor. What kind of impact
could something like that have made on this jury?
BUTLER: Reverend, let`s be very clear. Getting out of the car when the
police stop you does not give them the right to shoot you in the back eight
times. Even running from the police does not give them the right to use
deadly force. The man was not facing them and they shot him in the back.
SHARPTON: What happened to calling for backup, cutting him off? I mean,
but let me ask you something, Senator Sessions, you were a former
prosecutor, he – there is a federal indictment that he could either slow
walk into oblivion or stop altogether. What do you see here?
BUTLER: Reverend, when I was –
SHARPTON: That is really a troubling situation.
BUTLER: Oh, that`s huge. When I was a federal prosecutor, the attorney
general was my boss. I had to do what she, what Janet Reno, or he, Alberto
Gonzales told me to do. He`s one of the most powerful actors in the
criminal justice system. So if he says that the department should dismiss
the federal charges against officer Slager, those charges are gone. And –
SHARPTON: Sessions can dismiss the present indictment that came down?
BUTLER: Absolutely. It`s totally his decision. And when we look at his
record, this is a man who not only has been hostile to civil rights, he`s
actually brought cases against civil rights workers.
SHARPTON: Well, I showed that. Well, and that`s why there`s got to be a
lot of pressure put on the democrats in the senate during these
confirmation hearings. He needs to have to answer this.
Now, let`s turn to another major case in South Carolina. The Dylann Roof
trial got underway this past week. He`s accused of killing nine black
worshipers at the historic Emanuel AME Church.
Here is security video of Roof going in and out of that church last year.
And a sketch of Roof in court this week as jurors watch a video of his
confession. It included a chilling admission, quote, “I went to that
church in Charleston and I did it.” Roof also tells investigators, quote,
“What I did is still minuscule to what they`re doing to white people.”
Paul, Roof`s attorneys asked for a mistrial and delay and they were
rejected. But is there any delaying the inevitable here? I mean, any
reason why a jury wouldn`t find him guilty?
BUTLER: We would certainly expect not, but then I didn`t expect that in
the Michael Slager trial either. So you never know what a jury is going to
do, which is why he`s pleading not guilty. What his attorneys have said,
is if the government takes death off the table, that is – they agree to a
sentence of life imprisonment, that he`ll plead guilty.
So it`s all about a strategy. And again, the only reason the government
might go for that, is at the end of the day, you just can`t predict what a
jury is going to do.
SHARPTON: Now, I mentioned Roof`s comment about attacks on, quote, “white
people.” Does that help establish a hate crime motive?
BUTLER: It could. But really there`s so many aggravating circumstances in
this case, the fact that he killed nine people, again, I don`t think
there`s going to be any doubt that his motives were just pure racism.
The question is, will the jury find any reason to be mitigating, a number
of the victims` families have come out against the death penalty based on
their moral principles. They think that he should be under the jail, but
that he should not be put to death.
SHARPTON: Now, Roof is still planning to represent himself in the
sentencing phase. If it comes to that, what do you make of that?
BUTLER: You know, they say that the man who represents himself has a fool
for a lawyer and that goes double or three times in the case of this
defendant. Again, his only hope is that the jury will exercise some mercy
and not sentence him to death.
If this man gets up in front of this jury with all they know about him, I
don`t think his chances of avoiding the death penalty are very good.
SHARPTON: Paul Butler, thank you so much for being with us this morning.
BUTLER: Always a pleasure.
SHARPTON: Ahead, will he or won`t he? Joe Biden teases a democratic party
looking for its leader. That and more with the “PoliticsNation” panel.
SHARPTON: We`re back with some of the big political stories of the week,
starting with Vice President Joe Biden. He spent days teasing the press,
hinting he might run for president in 2020. But then later said he has,
quote, “no intention of running.” Here`s some of how it played out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to run again?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I am. I`m going to
run in 2020.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For what?
BIDEN: For president. You know, so what the hell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to be clear, are you kidding about running for
president in 2020?
BIDEN: I`m just – I`m not committing not to run. I`m not committing to
anything. I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 2020 stuff, beyond the vision that you joked, as
you walked in, we got to ask.
BIDEN: I have no intention of running.
SHARPTON: Back with me, Tara Dowdell and Dana Milbank.
Dana, what`s the bottom line here? Is Biden interested in 2020?
MILBANK: I think Biden would be interested in 2020, and 2040 and 2060 and
2080. But you do have to consider that what age he`ll be and where things
will be then.
There`s nothing wrong with leaving the option open. It makes him more
relevant in the debate going forward. It`s hard to picture – although a
lot of people out there think that if Joe Biden had been the nominee this
time that he would be the president-elect at this moment.
SHARPTON: Yes. But a lot of people do think that. But, Tara, I mean, two
problems with this. One, we don`t know. But second, is he the most
exciting democrat out there and is that the problem that there is no bench
that the democrats really need Joe Biden or someone like that? There`s no
DOWDELL: That is a big problem. Because the Democratic Party has
essentially been hollowed out from not recovered from 2014 and 2012 or
sorry 20 – excuse me, and so the party has been hollowed out. And so
there needs to be an effort, underweighting this party to bring in new
blood. I know some democrats cringe when people say that. But we need some
fresh faces, we need new energy, we need new ideas, we have some solid
SHARPTON: But going the right way. Because the last time we saw some new
blood, they were – they were blood brothers or sisters of the wrong side
of a lot of the issues.
DOWDELL: Well, no. I 100 percent agree with you. But I do think we need
some new messengers out there too. It can`t just be the same people
carrying the message. Because the bottom line is, when you lose, you have
to be introspective. No matter what outside forces may have occurred, you
have to have an introspection and you have to figure out what went wrong on
your side. You can`t control what other people do, but you can control
what you do on your side.
SHARPTON: But that`s why I said it`s got to be the right direction, Dana,
because what you don`t need is younger imitations of the same old sorry
strategies that fail and policies that really didn`t work. And I think
there`s difference between new leadership and clones, young clones or the
But what is the feeling, I saw this week, Hillary Clinton return to Capitol
Hill at an event honoring Harry Reid. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not exactly the speech
at the capitol I hoped to be giving after the election. But after a few
weeks of taking selfies in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: What was the feeling, Dana, among democrats about Hillary
Clinton now? Is it fatigue? Is it fondness? Is it failure? I mean, what
is the – what`s the attitude about?
MILBANK: Well, you got to give her this, Reverend, she gives great
speeches in defeat and she did it again. She`s very good at that sort of
Look, there`s a debate underway now. You had David Brock this last week.
He was an ally of Hillary Clinton saying that democrats really need to have
this investigation of the party and an overhaul of the whole thing.
I think far more people are pushing back and saying there`s not really
anything wrong with the party. There`s not really anything wrong with the
message that Hillary Clinton was an imperfect messenger, talking about
staying the course, building on success at a time when people did not feel
that success and people wanted change.
Now, that`s not – it`s not necessarily her fault that she was perhaps not
the best person for the moment, but you are quite correct that the
democrats need –
SHARPTON: But she did get 2.6 million more votes and still counting.
MILBANK: Right. Exactly. That`s why I think people shouldn`t overreact
and say that there is something fundamentally wrong with the Democratic
Party. They gained seats in the house, in the senate. There may be
something wrong with the Electoral College. We`ll have to talk to Mr.
Madison about that and see what can be done.
SHARPTON: Well, yes. All right. My skills of bringing back Mr.
Madison`s spirit is a little lost this Sunday. We`ll see.
But let me ask you something. Chris Christie broke a record this week. He
has a 77 percent disapproval rating in his state. This is the highest
disapproval rating of any governor in 20 years by the Quinnipiac poll. I
mean, is his political career over or can he make a comeback, Dana – Tara?
MILBANK: When your approval rating is that, that actually means that
certain family members also disapprove of you. So, you know, poor Chris
Christie. I feel funny saying it, but he was so loyal to Donald Trump, and
Donald Trump appreciated that by ditching him and dumping him from the
SHARPTON: I mean, Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, both loyal, both out.
MILBANK: It`s clear loyalty is a one way street with the president-elect.
DOWDELL: When you play with the snake, don`t get surprised when it bites
SHARPTON: You must have knew my mother. Let me ask you something, Tara,
the reports that Donald Trump will get credit as executive producer of
“Celebrity Apprentice,” you were on it, he`s still going to get the credit
and I assume the check.
DOWDELL: We know he`s going to get that check.
SHARPTON: What`s your take on this?
DOWDELL: I think it`s disgraceful. I think the fact that he is going to
have another job while serving as president of the United States of America
SHARPTON: But he doesn`t need want the money for president, but he wants
DOWDELL: Because he doesn`t want the money for president because he`s
going to use the presidency to enrich himself, which is what he`s already
demonstrating, their handwriting is on the wall, he`s already in the
process of doing that with his family members, his failures even to divest
himself yet. And so I think Donald Trump, this is part of Donald Trump`s
long con, and the con game continues. The grit continues.
SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to leave it there. Tara Dowdell
and Dana Milbank, thank you both.
And a programming note. 2016 is coming to a close, which can only mean one
thing. The sixth annual Revvies Awards are coming soon.
I`ll discuss the best and the worst 2016 had to offer. There`s even a
heated debate between me, myself and I. You`re not going to want to miss
Still ahead, the POLITICS NATION special series on Alton Mills whose life
sentence was commuted by President Obama. Today, how he`s putting his life
SHARPTON: This week in bending toward justice, we turn back to Alton
Mills, he`s the non-violent drug offender who was given life in prison
until his sentence was commuted last year by President Obama. All year
we`ve been following his fight to rejoin society after more than two
decades in prison. It has been hard. There have been ups and downs.
Here`s part three of our series.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to take a minute? Let`s go get this done.
You`re done with this federal stuff. You`re done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been 23 years coming, a day we didn`t know would
happen. Alton`s last day in court.
ALTON MILLS, NON-VIOLENT DRUG OFFENDER: I feel wonderful. Knowing I don`t
have to come to this building ever again. I can go on with my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart feels so full today because this is the
culmination of an injustice being rectified.
MILLS: I`d probably still be in prison if it wasn`t for them two.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took us three years to get him out of prison.
MILLS: I love them for what they did for me (INAUDIBLE) because she`s
truly an angel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I trust it really will be his last court appearance
ever. It`s going to be very difficult, but I`m confident he`s going to do
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question now is, what awaits him.
MILLS: The hard part is getting a career with a job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to tell him to be patient, something will come
up. He came home one day and told me, mom, I got this job.
MILLS: Long journey home, and a long journey to work. If I was driving,
15 minute car ride.
Fighting to get my driver`s license back from being suspended for over 20
some years for some parking tickets.
MILLS: This is Alton Mills. I`m going down to my work pass. All right.
Thank you. Have a great day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is really expensive to be incarcerated. Not only
are you trying to just find a job, but once you find a job, you`re trying
to save wages and pay for your own incarceration.
MILLS: Off we go.
I`m a bus server apprentice. We detail the bus.
It takes about three hours to clean a bus.
On the outside, we wash all the windows. On the inside, we scrub and
screen and mop the floors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our second chance program allows ex-offenders or
people with various employment to gain job skills training for up to one
year cleaning our buses and trains.
MILLS: My name is on it. It`s not who you are, where you come from, it`s
where you want to go. My future right now is the CTA. My goal is to be a
certified diesel mechanic for the CTA.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Withdrawn, not trusting, that was Alton when he came
in. Now he`s kind of coming into his own. Alton has this great
opportunity to succeed.
MILLS: It`s over with. Time to go home and get ready for tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of my concerns for Alton, which are concerns for
every person that I`ve represented, is that society will not be kind to
them because they have been branded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do believe that his biggest challenge are on the more
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people don`t make it. A struggle would be going
back to the type of life that they`ve lived before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We cannot afford to keep locking people up for
decades, and then releasing them with nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It should not take America 30 years to rehabilitate a
person who sold 60 grams of crack. We`re better than that. And they`re
better than that.
SHARPTON: Alton Mills is not unique. There are tens of thousands of
people just like him behind bars today. And when they get out, they need
our help. So they can move on with their lives.
In the coming weeks, we`ll bring you part four of our series, which
includes some major changes for Alton`s family life. It`ll bring a smile
to your face when you see it.
But don`t forget, as she said, it doesn`t take 30 years to correct someone
for selling some grams of crack nonviolently. Yes, the times should be
given when you do the crime. But the time should equal to the crime. And
we must not throw away people`s lives when they make mistakes that they can
pay for and correct and then re-enter life. We owe it to our country to
give them that chance.
That does it for me. Thanks for watching. And to keep the conversation
going, like us on facebook.com/politicsnation. Or follow us on Twitter
I`ll see you back here next Sunday.
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