PoliticsNation With Al Sharpton, Transcript 1/15/2017

Guests:
Guest: Malcolm Nance, Molly O`Toole, Joe Madison, Bill Press, Martin Luther King III, Catherine Pugh, Kristen Clarke
Transcript:

Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: January 15, 2017
Guest: Malcolm Nance, Molly O`Toole, Joe Madison, Bill Press, Martin
Luther King III, Catherine Pugh, Kristen Clarke

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: We may switch presidents, but we`re just going to
switch legs and keep on marching. We won`t back down! We won`t be
trumped!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hello, I`m Al Sharpton. Welcome to “PoliticsNation.” On
Saturday of MLK weekend, just days before the inauguration, thousands of
people joined me in the nation`s capital to protect the dream of Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. The icy rain did not deter us as we reminded Donald Trump
and other leaders that we will not be silenced.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn`t come to protest Trump! We came to let them
know that issues of voting rights, issues of health care inequality and
income inequality, issues of police brutality will be front and center!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: On the same day, a war of words escalated between the president-
elect and a civil rights icon. Donald Trump fired back at democratic
Congressman John Lewis after Lewis said he did not see Trump as a
legitimate president.

Joining me now is Martin Luther King III, a human rights and civil rights
leader and activist in his own right, and the eldest son of the reverend
Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. Thank you for joining me,
Martin.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, ELDEST SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, as we are now entering in the middle of the
weekend at national holiday tomorrow, to your father`s, thousands marched
with us yesterday in Washington around the principles of your father`s
dream.

How do you feel about what you`re seeing with the incoming administration
and the issues that your father turned into law? Voting rights. And he
advocated health care. He talked in his last book, “Where Do We Go from
Here” about criminal justice reform.

As the eldest child of Dr. King, how do you feel that his dream will fair
given the early signals of this incoming administration that will be
inaugurated this week?

KING: Well, my hope, Rev, is that my caution, certainly, realistically,
I`m very cautious about what appears to be things put in place that will
begin to roll back some of the progress that I believe we`ve made.

But you know, I remember the president-elect saying that I`m going to do
something to dramatically, positively change communities, particularly in
urban areas, and I think we`ve got to hold his feet to the fire to all
those issues as well as all the issues that you addressed, you and many
others addressed yesterday as it relates to criminal justice, as it relates
to voting oppression.

In fact, I just released an op-ed in the “Washington Post” that talks about
providing an I.D. so that everyone can have an I.D., primarily, the social
security card, a picture would be put on that card, and a president can
certainly by executive order make this happen so that people will not need
a special I.D. They`ll have one to vote.

So, I`m very cautious and very concerned about what I have initially seen,
but I also believe we`ve got to organize like we have never organized
before. We talk about it, but realistically, we`ve got to organize at the
grassroots level. We`ve got to look toward two years from now to at least
provide some balance in congress.

SHARPTON: Now, you`re coming to Washington in the morning, joining me and
others at our annual breakfast, Senator Cory Booker and others. What do
you hope to hear from the president-elect tomorrow on the holiday that has
been set aside, is now a national holiday for your father?

What would you like to see Donald Trump tweet on Martin Luther King Day
four days before his inauguration?

KING: Well, first and foremost, that I will, obviously, be the president
of all the people, as opposed to one segment. When you look at some of the
appointments, there`s great concern because does it really represent all
the people, and somehow figuring out how to bring the nation together.

We cannot move forward or will not move forward if we are divided. We must
become the United States of America that represents every community, that
represents every individual. And we will ultimately become a stronger
nation, but right now we are a divided nation.

So I need to hear something about how he`s going to bring people together
in the spirit, hopefully, of Martin Luther King Jr., and if that`s not
heard, then we`ve got to constantly challenge him.

My dad challenged every president from President Eisenhower and Vice
President Nixon to President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson to President
Johnson and Vice President Humphrey. It`s challenging the administrations
to do the right thing.

SHARPTON: Now, you wrote an op-ed piece this morning about voting. One of
the concerns that many of us have had is the nomination of Senator Jeff
Sessions to being attorney general.

Your mother wrote a letter in 1986 opposing Sessions becoming a federal
judge. How do you feel as the son of Coretta Scott King that now he`s been
nominated to lead the justice department?

KING: First of all, I think that the question is whether or not he`s
changed in 30 years. It does not appear that there have been changes, but
I think that, again, we have to find ways to ensure, if he is confirmed.
And the unfortunate part is there`s not enough balance in the legislative
chambers, and particularly the senate that has to do that confirmation for
there to be enough pushback.

We just have to hope and pray that this man is changed in terms of how he
views the world community.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve heard Donald Trump has attacked civil rights icon
John Lewis, who you and I know well, who worked with your father, who was
with the so-called Big Six of the civil rights movement. How do you
respond to Donald Trump saying John Lewis is all talk, talk, talk?

KING: Well, I think first of all, that is clearly not true. John Lewis is
an icon in our society. John Lewis we all know was beaten terribly, almost
to an inch of his life, opened doors that will never be closed, although
there are forces that are attempting to close those doors.

We`re going to continue to move forward and fight. I just think that,
unfortunately, the president-elect has chosen to address every issue. Some
issues you just – you certainly you have to defend yourself, but you
certainly don`t have to denigrate others.

One of the things that`s offensive is saying in the fifth district there`s
nothing going on. This is a very vast district. The congressman happens
to represent me. And while there are always more things that we can do in
every community, this is a very diverse district with all kinds of
wonderful things.

Yes, there may be some areas of high crime, but that`s all over America.
America has to make America become a better place for all Americans, and
that`s all of us participating.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re looking forward to seeing you in Washington in the
morning at the breakfast, and your, of course, continued diligence, you and
your brother and sister, keeping the focus not on partisan stuff, but on
the real policies your father and mother gave their lives for.

Thank you, Martin Luther King III on this Martin Luther King weekend.

KING: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Up next, what will happen to Loretta Lynch`s legacy if Senator
Jeff Sessions becomes the next attorney general? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JEFF SESSIONS, SENATOR, UNITED STATES: It`s a difficult thing for a city
to be sued by the department of justice and to be told that your police
department is systematically failing to serve the people of the state or
the city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

So that`s an auguste responsibility of the attorney general and the
department of justice. So they often feel forced to agree to a consent
decree just to remove that stigma.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator Jeff Sessions, the person who`s likely to become our
next attorney general, is striking a very different tone from our current
attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who on Thursday announced a consent decree
with the city of Baltimore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORETTA LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: The Baltimore Police
Department had engaged in a pattern of practice of conduct that violated
the constitution and federal law, and this conduct had eroded trust and to
deprive the people of Baltimore of the rights and the protections
guaranteed to every American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, and with me
here in Washington is Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of
the Lawyers` Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Let me go to you first, madam mayor. Senator Sessions says people, cities
sign these decrees because they don`t want to be sued by the justice
department, as if he is, in some ways, questioning whether the things that
are in these decrees are necessary and warranted.

You`re the mayor of Baltimore. You just won an election, so you clearly
were not over the police department when a lot of things were found in this
report, but you have served as an elected official there.

How do you respond to Sessions implying that these things are more
reputation-savers than really dealing with a real problem?

CATHERINE PUGH, MAYOR, BALTIMORE: Well, let me just say that we are under
the consent decree. There are people in our city along with the police
department and advocates who believe that this is absolutely the right
thing to do. And I can tell you, having gone through this process with the
department of justice, that we also believe that it is the right thing to
do.

This is not just an agreement for the police department, this is an
agreement that gets the police department working with the community and
the community understanding its role as it continues to work with the
police department.

I`m not as concerned about what Mr. Sessions expressed, except for the fact
that he did say that, you know, these things would be enforced.

So I think that what we want to do as we continue to move forward is look
at the various points that have been made. We`re looking forward to the
appointment of a monitor so that we can continue to do some of the things
that we`ve been doing.

And I think oftentimes when you go through these negotiations, and this was
the important factor for us, is that we recognize many of the things we are
already doing.

I think everybody understood what happened, why this consent decree came
about after the Freddie Gray situation. There was tension on both sides.

And so we want to make sure that happens is that we build a relationship
with the police department and the community that results in better
policing and better cooperation with the community.

SHARPTON: You know, Ms. Clarke, when the civil rights community raised a
lot of concerns around the nomination of Mr. Sessions, Senator Sessions,
one of the things was that he`s on record of saying things intrusive, like
voting rights, that he doesn`t believe the federal government should
interfere with local policing, almost like states` rights kind of rhetoric.

And for him to clearly deal with this consent decree, you and others that
are the legal brains in the civil rights community that I and others
operate with have raised real concerns about what signals that sends and
what`s going to happen under him as attorney general.

KRISTEN CLARKE, PRESIDENT, LAWYERS` COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW:
You know, when we look back at the last eight years of this justice
department, some of the most important work that will define its legacy is
the work that was done to address the problem of policing reform. Almost
two dozen investigations across the country over the last eight years into
– not just Baltimore, but Chicago and Baltimore and New Orleans.

And there are now that 20 consent decrees in place like the one in
Baltimore that are helping put broken police departments on a path to
reform. And this is long work. Baltimore is just embarking down this
road.

The ace is on the paper, but the hard work lies ahead to make sure that we
bring about a culture change throughout the police department that results
in better policing practices that respect people`s constitutional rights.

I`m deeply concerned about Jeff Sessions, who has clearly expressed
opposition to the use of consent decrees and has advanced a lot of this
states` rights rhetoric, as you know.

It does not appear, nor is there any reason to believe that he will put
policing reform front and center in the way that this justice department
has, and that will mean that we cast aside eight years of hard work, blood,
sweat and tears that have gone into bringing cities and mayors and
communities to the table to address what truly is a national crisis.

SHARPTON: Ms. mayor, Mayor Pugh, it is not only the blood, sweat and tears
that many of us went through to get a lot of this to the table, but it`s
also, you running a city, it is also for the good of the citizens of the
city to put the police in the community on some kind of course that they
can work together, work through a lot of these issues that have been laying
there that have not been used.

I mean, you`re the chief executive of Baltimore. And many that I know that
work there. I`m preaching for reverend – that you work with – many have
said we need to bring the city together on both sides, so the police and
the community are respected.

PUGH: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think, you know, as one who has
served as a state senator, who also chaired criminal justice reform in the
state of Maryland, we recognize many of the problems that the city was
facing.

So for me to come in as the mayor already recognizing some of the problems
that we were facing and also having put some of those reforms in place, I
recognize what the advocates were talking about. I also recognize what the
police department`s concerns were and what the community in general was
concerned about.

And so, we`re going to put all that together. We believe in this consent
decree. We`ve worked very hard. We`ve heard from our advocates. We
worked with the police department, we work with the FOP.

We will implement this consent decree because we know that it is in the
best interests of our city that the police department and the community are
working together so that we can resolve many of the issues that we face in
our community.

I mean, this particular consent decree not only looks at the police
department, but it also looks at how we engage our community. How do we
make sure that we have a civilian review board that is really strong? How
do you make sure that technology is in place so that our police department
can do their jobs? But at the same time, how do we provide the oversight
and the training that is needed for our police department? And all of
those things we in Baltimore believe in and will continue to move forward
with this consent decree.

We`re looking forward to getting our monitor appointed and we`re looking
forward to all of the reforms that will take place under this consent
decree.

SHARPTON: Ms. Clarke, let me clearly – quickly ask you. We saw Chicago
and Baltimore this week, and basically, Attorney General Loretta Lynch`s
last week get done. You say there`s been over 20. Is this an important
thing for Americans to hope that Senator Sessions, if he`s confirmed, does
not turn back the clock on trying to bring policing communities together
with situations like the consent decrees?

CLARKE: Absolutely, this work goes to the heart of our democracy. I
applause the leadership of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Vanita Gupta,
who leads the civil rights division. They`re keeping their foot on the gas
in the last days of this administration and really setting a high benchmark
that needs to be met by this next justice department.

This is work that is truly helping to move our nation forward. When we
think about the last several years in our country, some of the most bitter
moments of racial tension and anxiety on the ground has been the result of
these police shootings that are now exposed on cameras.

We`re watching this live. And they are putting the nation on a path to
reform and helping put in place models that can be used by other police
departments around the country, important work that needs to be continued
by whoever is confirmed as our next attorney general.

SHARPTON: And it`s beyond party. It`s about what`s good for the nation.

CLARKE: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And fair for law enforcement. Thank you, Mayor Catherine Pugh
and Kristen Clarke. Thank you both.

Coming up, senate leaders finally announce they will look into ties between
Russia and Donald Trump. Stay with “PoliticsNation” for the latest on
that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Mr. President-elect –

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Go ahead, go ahead.

ACOSTA: Mr. President-elect, since you are attacking our news
organization, can you give us a chance?

TRUMP: Not you. Your organization`s terrible.

ACOSTA: You`re attacking our news organization. Can you give us a chance
to ask a question, sir?

TRUMP: Go ahead. She`s asking a question. Don`t be rude.

ACOSTA: Mr. President-elect, can you give us a question? You`re attacking
us.

TRUMP: Don`t be rude.

ACOSTA: Can you give us a question?

TRUMP: Don`t be rude. No, I`m not going to give you a question.

ACOSTA: Can you –

TRUMP: You are fake news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This week, Donald Trump didn`t want to answer a question at his
news conference, so he did what he does best, accuse the media of fake
news.

Seems to me, fake news is something Trump knows a lot about, having spread
nonsense about 9/11 and about Senator Ted Cruz`s father, and of course,
about President Obama`s birth certificate.

TRUMP: His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald`s being, you
know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? Prior
to he`s being shot and nobody even brings it up. They don`t even talk
about that.

The grandmother in Kenya is on record as saying he was born in Kenya. The
hospital has not only no birth certificate, or if they have it, they should
produce it, or maybe there`s something on it, who knows, but they have no
records that he was there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

I watched when the world trade center came tumbling down. And I watched in
Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were
cheering as that building was coming down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Mr. President-elect, when you start throwing around the
words fake news, remember that you were doing it before it even had a name.
We see you trying to flip the script, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Putin likes Donald
Trump, guess what, folks, that`s called an asset, not a liability. Now, I
don`t know that I`m going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do.
But there`s a good chance I won`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: On Friday, the senate intelligence committee
announced it would launch a bipartisan investigation into Russia`s alleged
interference in the election, including the possible ties between Donald
Trump`s campaign and the Russian government.

On Thursday, the “Washington Post” reported Trump`s incoming national
security adviser, Michael Flynn, spoke on the phone with Russia`s
ambassador the same day President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and
imposed new sanctions on Russia.

Joining me now, Michael Nance, author of “The Plot to Hack America,” and
Molly O`Toole, senior reporter for “Foreign Policy” magazine.

Molly, let me go to you first. I mean, this is a very serious notion that
the Russian government may have interfered with – clearly, it seems that
there`s evidence that they clearly intended to influence the elections in
the United States.

And it is now being investigated and alleged that there may have been some
ties with some people around president-elect Trump. I mean, it doesn`t get
any more serious than this.

MOLLY O`TOOLE, SENIOR REPORTER, FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Certainly not.
Implications are pretty grave. Already there had been – we had seen the
report from the intelligence community, from pretty much the chiefs of the
intelligence agencies across the board saying that they were extremely
confident that high-level Russian actors are directed hacking to undermine
the U.S. elections.

Of course, lately we`ve seen these allegations with this unsubstantiated
intelligence dossier that emerged that the Russian government may have
compromised president-elect Trump in some way.

Now, senators on the hill, most, and other members of congress, mostly
democrats, have been calling for a bipartisan investigation, but so far,
until this week, that had been resisted. Now we see the intelligence
committee launching their investigation into those ties, and this is all
happening days before Donald Trump takes office.

SHARPTON: And, Malcolm Nance, help me with this. Now, we want to separate
from what is pretty much established from what is alleged. Because it`s
pretty much established that intelligence persons in the intelligence of
the United States government has said, yes, they definitely tried to impact
the election.

MALCOLM NANCE, AUTHOR: Right.

SHARPTON: It has not been established the allegations that there was
something that they had some dossier or whatever on president-elect Trump,
but it`s been reported that there are sources that have said that. Am I
right? I`m trying to be as fair with deciphering it.

NANCE: You`re absolutely right. So, let`s talk about what we do know. We
absolutely, positively, 100 percent assuredly know, not just from the
intelligence agencies, but from the cybersecurity companies which were
brought into the DNC, know that Russian intelligence, the GRU Russian
military intelligence, and the FSB, Russia`s international intelligence
agency, formerly known as the KGB, hacked the DNC, stole materials.

U.S. intelligence has indicated that they have turned those materials over
to WikiLeaks in a precision intelligence operation intended to impact this
election. And according to the CIA, which by the way, their report came
out on the same day that my book came to print, September 23rd, said that
that was done to elect Donald Trump president and to damage Hillary
Clinton`s chances and –

SHARPTON: We know that.

NANCE: So we know these things.

SHARPTON: All right. So –

NANCE: It`s the strings that would tie the Trump campaign.

SHARPTON: Right.

NANCE: And there are some indications of that. Roger Stone said that he
was at communications with WikiLeaks, some of them knew about hacked leaks
well in advance, Rudy Giuliani. And then we have this bizarre mind-set of
the Trump campaign. They are slavishly adore Russia over anything that the
U.S. intelligence community can say. It`s bizarre.

SHARPTON: That`s what I need to help with, Molly, because America has had
these real problems with Russia, as long as I can remember. I lived
through the cold war. And I think a lot of people, people in the
intelligence community, people in the military have fought the whole
question of Russia at sometimes at very dangerous levels.

Now all of a sudden, not only do we have the evidence, as Malcolm Nance has
laid out, there was a serious input to input to affect the election, but
we`re hearing the incoming president-elect and his folk, conservatives,
praising the Russians.

O`TOOLE: Right.

SHARPTON: And acting like all of this background has not happened. How do
we reconcile?

O`TOOLE: Well, that`s part of the logic here. We have the clear evidence

SHARPTON: I`m putting aside whether they had something to compromise him
or not.

O`TOOLE: Right.

SHARPTON: I`m just talking about this as a fact that we know.

O`TOOLE: Of course. So that`s the logic, that we have the evidence that
the Russians attempted to undermine the election. Now, what Donald Trump
has insisted, he`s begrudgingly accepted only recently that, yes, he
accepts the intelligence community`s conclusions that Russia interfered in
the election. What he resists is that they interfered on his behalf.

But then you have a whole strong of fairly consistent statements and I
think we can safely say that Donald Trump has been relatively inconsistent
on almost everything else when it comes to foreign policy issues.

Consistent statements of friendliness toward Russia, of indicating that
they may keep the sanctions in place, for example, for a few months, but
that sanctions don`t make sense, if Russia`s a friend, someone that you get
along with. What`s fascinating with this is it also puts him out of touch
with a lot of the Republican Party.

It puts republicans on the hill in a very difficult position because the
Republican Party sort of emerged at the strong on defense party in the
heart of the cold war, and the cold war obviously – this sort of polar
competition with Russia.

SHARPTON: But, we`re not talking about whether or not can we get along
here, Malcolm.

O`TOOLE: Right.

SHARPTON: We`re talking about interests, we`re talking about policies,
we`re talking about everything from Crimea to Ukraine to how we deal with
the whole balance of the global political landscape. And he`s acting like
it`s just, well, if we can get along, it`s a good thing. But what about
the entrenched policies, the positions, and the global power landscape?

NANCE: Let`s look at this from an intelligence perspective, because a lot
of the discussion that`s happened has taken place from the media
perspective.

The intelligence community doesn`t have the standards of the media, right?
We don`t need two or three things. We use secret information taken from
multiple sources to come to conclusions.

They`re not reading that dossier, OK? They will have someone`s phone call.
They will have imagery. They will have intelligence of people who have
been surveilled to make their conclusions, or they`ll have the actual
electronic transfers of monies as it goes around.

But what we`re talking about here is that the Trump campaign appears to
have decided that the policy of the United States will be to overturn the
international order that is established since World War II, and that we are
ready to throw away 70-plus years of defense policy that`s kept Europe and
the United States relatively war-free, for the most part to a dictator who
has mass murdered people in Syria, mass murdered people in his own country,
killed journalists, kills off all the opposition that comes up to him, and
Donald Trump appears to be fascinated that he has a lot of money.

Money is the first thing that we use in our tragedy for foreign agents.
Trump, to be quite honest, talks like an asset of Russia. Trump used that
word. An asset is a person who has been brought in under the influence of
a foreign intelligence agency who may not know that he works for them.

But I think Trump after July 27th, when he said, Russia, if you`re
listening, please release Hillary Clinton`s e-mails, he knew Russia was
working in their interests to get him elected.

SHARPTON: And the question is, if you`re going to throw those 70 years,
Molly, got to go, but the question is why? And will republicans that have
fought all their lives around this, will they let him? Stay tuned. Thank
you, Malcolm Nance and Molly O`Toole.

O`TOOLE: Thank you.

NANCE: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Up next, Donald Trump meets the press and it`s a mess. That
story when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tried to ask a question at the press conference to
president-elect Trump. He refused to take questions, saying you`re from
fake news. What did Sean Spicer say to you after that?

JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, he came up to me
and said that what I did was crossing the line and wasn`t appropriate. We
should repeat that, during that news conference when I was trying to ask
that question. Spicer threatened to throw me out of the press conference
if I kept persisting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The incoming White House press secretary this week threatened to
prevent a member of the press from doing his job, all because CNN reported
on the existence of a dossier that makes unsubstantiated claims about
Trump`s ties to Russia. Trump is dismissing it and CNN as fake news.

Joining me now, Joe Madison of Sirius XM Radio and Bill Press, host of “The
Bill Press Show.”

Fake news, throw you out of the press conference, or at least silence you,
is unprecedented. Joe.

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And I think it will be interesting to
see what happens in that small confine at the White House, when you have
all the media that`s been assigned to cover the White House, and you start
getting the same kind of questions, the same kind of approach. He`ll be
throwing a whole lot of people out.

SHARPTON: That`s my point, Bill. When I say it`s unprecedented. Have we
seen a president or an administration decide what`s going to be fake news
and what they dismiss in terms of answering? Because there has been fake
news before. All of us have gone through that.

The question is now do you have the authority in the hands of someone that
other media is going to cooperate with, that he`s going to selectively
decide to punish you if you decide to come with something? True or false?
I mean, who had more fake news than President Obama?

BILL PRESS, RADIO HOST: Right. Well, first of all, let me say, I am a
member of that small, little group that covers – I`m a member of the White
House correspondents association. I go to the White House every day. I
cover those briefings. And I have to say, early on, to be fair, in the
Obama administration, the Obama White House said that Fox News was not a
true news organization.

And at one time, they were going to block them, and the press corps rose up
and said, oh, no, no, no you don`t. There was solidarity there. Having
said that, I`ve got to tell you, looking ahead, it`s like these storms
coming in over the pacific that`s we feel in the press corps.

Because you look at a campaign, which was a war on the media – that was at
the heart of Donald Trump`s campaign, where if he banned certain outlets
from coming to news conferences, every day he attacked the dishonest press,
he pointed the finger, he called out reporter by name and attacked him.
And then you get this first news conference, which was more of the same. I
think the storm is coming in, and it`s going to be a rough ride –

SHARPTON: I think it`s already in.

PRESS: Well, right. To the White House, I mean.

SHARPTON: The point that I raise, and I think Bill is right when he says
would there be people in the White House –

MADISON: Press corps.

SHARPTON: Correspondents, press corps, came together and said no, you
can`t, just do that to Fox, to the Obama administration. Are they going to
do this to Donald Trump and win? I mean, he`s been doing this the whole
campaign. So, where is the solidarity around what Trump`s doing that was
demonstrated?

MADISON: As bill was talking, I was just getting ready to ask him the same
question. And, wait a minute, Bill, in the form of a challenge. I`m
sitting here telling you, if you did it for Fox, and there are a lot of
people listening to this show that will say, they may have been legitimate
in terms of Fox.

But let`s not hesitate. This is where the press corps, the media should
all stand together. And I hope that you have the same response that you
had when it came time to defend Fox.

PRESS: Well, first of all, I do not speak for the White House
correspondents association. I`m not a member –

SHARPTON: But you can organize, Bill.

PRESS: No. I know. And we had a meeting just two nights ago where
everybody said, that`s exactly what we`re going to do.

SHARPTON: OK.

PRESS: The solidarity – now, you can`t challenge him until he gets there,
but let me tell you, we are united. We are going to do our job.

(EVERYONE TALKING AT ONCE)

MADISON: Tell the truth and ask tough questions.

PRESS: But you can tweet.

MADISON: Damn straight. I do.

SHARPTON: And I`ll tweet for you, report whatever it is. But let me go to
another issue. John Lewis. This is Martin Luther King Weekend. And, Joe,
you spoke in the march that we put together yesterday.

MADISON: Magnificent march.

SHARPTON: People from fake news act like you didn`t have a big crowd.

MADISON: Oh, you had a big crowd and they stood there in that rain and
snow, yes.

SHARPTON: But John Lewis being attacked as “talk, talk, talk” by
president-elect Trump because he said he didn`t consider him a legitimate
president. I mean –

PRESS: – disagreeing on the policies. You can disagree, but it`s a
personal belittling attack which is beneath the dignity of the presidency.

And I think Joe is right. What we have to do is call him out on every one
of these things and then maybe somebody will take the sweet machine away
from him.

SHARPTON: Do you think that anyone around him can really get to him and
convince him that at some point you`ve got to try to do what is good for
the country and stop dealing with just such thin-skinned reactions to
people that are beyond you taking these kind of gratuitous shots like at
John Lewis?

MADISON: In one word, no. Here`s the problem, and here`s what he`s going
to learn. I do not work for Donald Trump. Come the 20th, Donald Trump
works for us. We`re the boss.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: We`re the ones who can fire him. We`re the ones who can fire
members of congress. And I`m going to tell you, you put the republican
members of congress who are up for re-election, and quite candidly, the
democrats, because every democratic congressperson ought to be writing,
tweeting, and you put them on notice. We are the boss of this government,
not the Trump.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. I`m waiting to see how he
can respond on MLK day tomorrow to say something that really is –

MADISON: Oh, he`s a hustler. He`ll say something that –

PRESS: Don`t hold your breath.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m not – I wouldn`t hold my breath and I wouldn`t waste
time –

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: – hoping that we sink to his level, let`s put it that way. I
would not even waste time trying to. They go low, we go high. Thank you
for being with us, Joe Madison and Bill Press.

Up next, my closing thoughts on the historic presidency of Barack Obama.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Can you imagine how you would feel standing on the steps of the
capitol having to hand over the power and watch him put his hand on that
bible and become your successor after saying you weren`t even a U.S.
citizen?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, the thing was, I
don`t take any of this personally because he is not somebody who`s fit to
be president in any circumstances. I would feel deeply frustrated, not
because of anything he said about me, but because I would fear for the
future of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, the future of our country will be the thing that we must
be concerned about when the inauguration happens this Friday. Barack
Obama, president for eight years, turned around the economy, took it when
it was on the brink and turned around an economy that was bleeding 800,000
jobs a month.

He started a path in terms of criminal justice reform and police reform.
He did what presidents before him failed to do, he passed a health care law
that was able to benefit over 20 million Americans. He also dealt with
concrete steps around climate change.

I`m so proud of President Barack Obama, not just because he was and is my
color, but because he was America`s kind. He helped this country like no
president I`ve seen in my lifetime. We should thank god we lived in the
age of Obama. That does it for me. Thanks for watching.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END