Politics Nation, Transcript 7/23/2017

Guests:
Karen Bass, David Dunn, Todd Cox, Michael Barajas, Marc Morial
Transcript:

Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: July 23, 2017
Guest: Karen Bass, David Dunn, Todd Cox, Michael Barajas, Marc Morial

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning and welcome to POLITICS NATION.

In recent weeks, we`ve seen more recorded cases of police misconduct. Why
are conservatives insisting the real problem is police morale? That`s
later in the show.

But also a federal lawsuit claiming President Trump`s voter fraud
commission was formed explicitly to make voting harder for people of color.
We`ll look into that.

But we start with health care. Congresswoman Karen Bass is a democrat of
California. She has a degree in health sciences and used to work as a
physician assistant.

Thank you for being with me this morning, congresswoman.

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks for having me on.

SHARPTON: The senate is still trying all kinds of last minute efforts to
really get some kind of vote on a health care bill. We`re seeing from
published reports. Tell us what this health care bill that they have
proposed in this last display, what it means to the average person in this
country watching this.

BASS: Well, I think it means an awful lot. I think it means life or death
to look at it seriously. It`s not just the fact that over 30 million
people will lose their health care, even people who have employer-based
health care will lose benefits.

So preexisting conditions, for example, or health care caps, when I worked
in the emergency room in Los Angeles, I had patients come in because their
insurance company had cut them off after their chemotherapy was too
expensive, or they couldn`t get health care because they lost their job,
had a new job, but then had a preexisting condition.

And so if the republican plan were to pass in the senate and pass in the
house, you are talking about millions of people losing benefits, not just
the 30 million that would lose insurance, but even people with employer-
based insurance would lose their benefits.

SHARPTON: Because I think a lot of people we get back and forth on the
partisan debate here and the bickering on capitol hill, but the fact is
we`re talking about – and these are not your figures, congresswoman, I
want the viewers to understand, the congressional budget office which is
nonpartisan and respected by mostly all sides has said over 30 million
people will lose insurance.

So we`re talking about people who are right now that are dealing with
infirmities, serious infirmities that all of a sudden would be priced out
of being able to continue to deal with those needs. This is real stuff.
We`re talking about people even with employer-based insurance losing that.

BASS: Right.

SHARPTON: I don`t think the gravity of this has hit a lot of American
people.

BASS: Right. I absolutely agree with you. I think that people just think
that poor people will be impacted and not realize that everyone is going to
be impacted. I think one thing that people didn`t realize with the
Affordable Care Act is that all of us benefited by the protections that
were established.

And so essentially what the senate bill will do will remove those
protections, they`re called essential health benefits. So what that means
is that your emergency room visit you now have to pay for. You can`t go to
get basic maternity care, pediatric care, office visits. A lot of things
that we took for granted under the Affordable Care Act or didn`t even
realize there were benefits.

So a lot of tests, preventive tests like colonoscopies, mammograms, things
that we might have gotten used to not paying for over the last few years
will now begin to cost. And that doesn`t even factor in prescription
drugs.

So we already pay too much for prescription drugs right now. So you can
only imagine what would happen if the Affordable Care Act was actually
repealed. They don`t have a replacement. That`s the bottom line. That`s
why they can`t come to agreement.

SHARPTON: Another factor that I think we`ve not talked a lot about is in
many communities – I spoke yesterday afternoon in a smaller-sized city in
Virginia – many of our cities the hospitals, the public hospitals, are
also the major employers in those cities.

BASS: Right.

SHARPTON: And a lot of those jobs would be gone if this senate bill did
somehow become law in these last ditch efforts this week.

BASS: Well, I think that`s another perfect example of things that we
didn`t talk about a lot of the Affordable Care Act. It was a jobs bill.
If you look at one of the largest areas of growth in jobs over the last few
years, it has absolutely been in the health care sector.

And so when they are talking about repealing, they are also talking about
impacting jobs. Clinics were opened up in areas around the country. Those
clinics could potentially close if they actually followed through with the
repeal.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you about the voter fraud commission. The
president started the, quote, voter fraud commission. You and others in
congress and you and I have worked a lot on the whole question of voting
rights and the question of suppression of voters. How do you view this
voter fraud commission of the president and how do you view how states are
changing a lot of the voting laws?

BASS: Well, I actually think it should be renamed. It`s actually the
voter suppression commission. We know that that is what the agenda is.

You know, Trump is still obsessed over the fact that he lost the popular
vote and so I guess he`s looking for those three million illegal votes.
But we really do know that this is about the mass purging of voters around
the country.

And one thing that I`m proud of is that so many states are standing up and
refusing to cooperate. California is certainly one of many.

And, you know, what`s one of the things that we tell countries around the
world that they need to, you know, spread democracy, we would be absolutely
denouncing countries for doing something like this.

You know I work a lot in Africa and there are African presidents that are
trying to change the constitution, trying to change the voting
participation.

We would be up in arms if this happened elsewhere. So I really think it`s
something that we have to be very careful of because it is another assault
on our democracy.

We`ve already had an assault on our democracy from the Russians, now we
have an assault on our democracy from the president.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Congresswoman Karen Bass.

BASS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now to developments in the Russia investigation. Joining me is
Yamiche Alcindor of “The New York Times.”

Yamiche, we`ve seen a lot of developments over the last 48 hours around the
Russian investigation. We are now being told that the attorney general had
meetings that was picked up according to sources by Russian – and reports
back to Russia that he had meetings during the election, about the
election.

We know that Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, the son-in-law and adviser to
the president and former campaign manager will be interviewed this week in
private sessions.

This Russian question is not going away and Lavrov and others are taking an
almost mocking kind of attitude. Where are we with this Russian
investigation? And are we beginning to see a pattern that clearly puts
this White House in any kind of peril?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I don`t know if peril is the right
word. But I would say that I think this White House is very anxious
because they realize that this investigation is frankly heating up and that
this investigation is inching closer and closer to people who are very
close to the president.

So of course we now have congress, the house just decided that they are
ready to vote on a bill that would make it harder – would make it almost
impossible for Donald Trump to lift sanctions without first going through
congress.

So the bill basically says that the president has to ask congress if he can
lift – if they can lift – if they can lift the sanctions that he wants to
do so that congress essentially would have to review his decisions as it
pertains to sanctions with Russia.

And I think that that tells you that even while republicans are still
publicly supporting the president that there are enough republicans out
there that are questioning whether or not this White House has too many
ties to Russia and whether or not this investigation will ultimately say
that some people who were close to the president colluded with a foreign
power to somehow impact the 2016 election.

So I think the Russia investigation is essentially getting into a phase
where the president is feeling more and more anxious and that`s why you see
him tweeting about pardons.

SHARPTON: I wanted to ask you about that. The president as late as
yesterday is tweeting about pardons and talking about nothing has happened
but leaks against us and why are you questioning the president`s
unquestionable power to pardon.

I mean, why are we talking about pardons? Why is he talking about pardons,
unless you`re suggesting, many are saying, that there`s something in your
mind that you think you might have to pardon those around you or even you,
yourself. It`s a strange kind of way of dealing with things.

ALCINDOR: Well, there`s two – I guess two theories, of course. One is
that in “The New York Times” and in the “Washington Post” where there`s
been lots of reporting out there that his team, his legal team, has been
looking into how to pardon both his family and possibly the president
himself, meaning that Donald Trump might actually want to pardon himself.

So there`s the idea that he`s reacting to that. Of course, there`s also
the idea that because the reporting was about the fact that his lawyers are
looking into this, he`s reacting to the fact that his lawyers are looking
into this and that he`s having some new information being given to him
about pardons.

And he said, of course, that no one should be talking about pardons because
no crime had been committed, but the fact that we have a president publicly
talking about pardons on Twitter tells you that he obviously – it`s
obviously on his mind, he`s obviously weighing his option and he obviously
is reviewing what he can do.

So I think it`s in some ways it does not bode well for this White House
that`s supposed to be talking about White House.

SHARPTON: It`s on his mind. It certainly on his mind and we`re going to
see what he does with these sanctions. It can only get deeper or get
better for him. I will be staying tuned as I`m sure you will. Thank you,
Yamiche Alcindor.

ALCINDOR: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Now a reminder. Next month, August 28th, the ministers march
for justice in Washington, D.C. marking the 54th anniversary of Dr. Martin
Luther King`s “I Have a Dream” speech and taking the Trump administration
to task for endangering that dream. Go to nationalactionnetwork.net to
sign up.

Coming up, civil rights organizations are suing the Trump administration
over his voter fraud commission claiming it was formed to make voting
harder for people of color. That`s next. This is POLITICS NATION on
MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEING VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This issue is very important
to me because throughout the campaign and even after it people would come
up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and
irregularities which they saw.

In some cases having to do with very large numbers of people in certain
states.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was President Trump Wednesday at the first meeting of the
White House Voter Integrity Commission, which along with the resistance it
has encountered from most states in its request for sensitive voter
information is already facing multiple lawsuits, from privacy advocates and
civil rights organizations, including the NAACP`s legal defense fund, which
filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday claiming that the commission was formed
explicitly to make voting harder for people of color.

Judging from what we`ve just heard, apparently none of the, quote, people
talking to the president told him what the real threats are. Voter
suppression at home and electronic hacking aboard.

Joining me now is David Dunn, a member of the president`s advisory
commission on election integrity and a former Arkansas state
representative. And Todd Cox, policy director for the NAACP legal defense
fund.

Let me go to you first. Why do you think you were selected to be on this
commission? Many are saying that as Congresswoman Bass just said on this
show, that this is the president still trying to somehow justify how he
lost the popular vote and that he is just saying – fantasizing if not
fabricating three million, four million fraudulent voters happened, and
others are saying it is just to get more data and ways to minimize minority
voters.

Why do you think you were selected and what expertise in this area do you
bring to the commission?

DAVIN DUNN, FORMER ARKANSAS REPRESENTATIVE: Well, thank you for having me,
first of all. I believe that I was selected at the recommendation of our
secretary of state to Representative Kobach because Secretary Martin felt
like that I`ll be honest and I would be a good voice for the common man out
there and I would be fair and that I would not come to the commission with
any preconceived notions and I believe that that`s mainly why they decided
to put me on this commission.

SHARPTON: Do you yourself feel or have any evidence that there was massive
voter fraud, that millions of immigrants or millions of people voted in
last year`s election fraudulently? You yourself as one that`s been put on
the commission for the reasons you`ve stated?

DUNN: No. No, sir. I have not seen any factual information that would
support that. Obviously the commission is in its infancy and so we`ve only
had one organizational call and one commission meeting, so I think some of
the factual information is being presented as we go to the next meeting I
think in September, and all of that will be considered and taken a look at
and we`ll consider whatever facts that they present to us.

SHARPTON: So we are in a situation, Mr. Cox, of we have what I would say a
grand jury seated and now we`re looking for a crime. Is that why many of
us in the civil rights community are saying that this may be more about
voter suppression than voter fraud since there`s no one that has even come
forward with any kind of evidence of this mass voter fraud?

TODD COX, POLICY DIRECTOR, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: Yes, Reverend Al.
Thank you very much for having me.

That is exactly right. As our complaint alleges this commission was
designed for one purpose, to manufacture evidence of vote fraud in order to
suppress the votes of African-American and Latino voters.

As many studies have pointed out, you`re more likely to get struck by
lightning than to experience the kind of in-person voter fraud that this
commission was purportedly designed to address.

And so it could be assembled for no other purpose than to create an excuse
to put in place restrictions that will disproportionately impact minority
voters.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to you, Mr. Dunn. Let me ask you when you
hear that and you say you`re a fair man and I`m taking you at your word, of
course, and you know the concerns, isn`t it striking to you that some of
the people around the country in different states, secretary of states and
others are resisting giving up the data that has been requested by the
commission, wanting people`s social security numbers, wanting to know what
party they vote for, a lot of personal information, and some of these same
commission people and advocates for this commission that wants personal
data on people that are voting, but they don`t want background checks on
people to buy guns.

I mean, doesn`t it look a little suspect to you why they`re going into
personal data when they don`t even want personal data on other things like
people having the instruments that could actually harm or kill people?

DUNN: Well, I certainly think that`s a valid point, but I think the
original letter was possibly sent in haste, maybe not fully considered,
about how sensitive it would be and the reaction that it would get from the
states.

I mean, even Secretary Kobach did not conform to his own request. I think
it was an attempt to start the conversation. The letter was very, very
explicit that if it was not public information then do not submit it to the
commission. I think the commission has heard loud and clear that that type
of request is not going to be well-received in the states and perhaps now
we go a different way.

I do wish that we would give the commission a chance and that we would not
call it suppression, that we would not call it voter fraud. It is an
integrity on our election process. I think that the population out there
is wanting this kind of information to be put together and to be presented.

I could tell you that my involvement in this has had no conversation about
suppression of the vote and I will not be a part of anything that will lend
itself to that activity.

I think people have access to the polls. I think voting is one of our
greatest freedoms and the foundation of our democracy and, you know, I hope
that some good comes out of this and not just something bad.

SHARPTON: But, Mr. Cox, when we hear that, again, he has said and I think
he`s been very straightforward on this, there`s been no concrete
allegations of the fraud, yet there has been evidence of suppression and
evidence of how some of these voting laws have hurt the minority vote in a
disproportionate way.

And look at the same people that seem so concerned about allegations of
voter fraud that they have not been able to even bring us those that have
made these allegations. No one has come forth and said this, but they keep
hearing something that is in their head, I guess, because no one is saying
it, but they can`t hear all of the concerns about Russians hacking our
elections.

So you`re imagining or saying that there may be voter fraud, but let`s not
worry about Russian interference and let`s not worry about voter
suppression. Is that the basis of your concern and many of our concerns in
the civil rights community and your lawsuit?

DUNN: That`s correct. Our concern is that this is a pretext for voter
suppression. It`s designed to create an excuse to put in place the kinds
of restrictions, quite frankly, nationwide that we had to battle in Texas.

Photo I.D.s that were disproportionately impacting people of color.
Alabama`s photo I.D. restriction that disproportionately affected people of
color. North Carolina under the pretext of trying to fight voter
suppression implementing all kinds of voter restrictions.

So we`ve seen this before. It happened before. And we may wish that these
things never occurred but they did. We are seeing again this happening at
our – it was in the halls of our own federal government.

The attempt to implement restrictions and create an excuse to create
restrictions nationwide that will restrict minority votes.

Let me just say, Kris Kobach who is the vice chair of this commission, has
a history of spreading this false claim of massive voter fraud and has
really started selling this so-called check that he`s doing on voter rolls
in other states in order to further this false information.

And we are concerned that he will take this nationwide and in so doing
chill minority votes.

SHARPTON: Well, his record is very clear. Let`s keep monitoring this.
Thank you, David Dunn and Todd Cox.

COX: Thank you.

DUNN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And a quick note, social media, I want to say, has been showing
much love to filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry this week.

Cherry is currently fundraising for his animated short “Hair Love” a
comedic look at a black father`s challenge to do his daughter`s hair for
the first time.

As a father of two daughters, I can definitely relate, even though I took
mine straight to the salon with James Brown`s request, but I encourage you
to visit kickstarter.com to help brother Cherry realize his vision for
little black girls.

Up next, the politics of black hair made for a very different week for
former NFL star Michael Vick. More on that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now for this week`s Gotcha. We`re a little over a week away
from the NFL`s first pre-season game and as of now quarterback Colin
Kaepernick is still without a team or even a reported interest from one.

In the year since he riled NFL owners and fans by refusing to stand for the
national anthem, Kaepernick has watched quarterbacks with comparable, if
not worse ratings and records get picked up if only to round out pre-season
rosters.

But insiders contend that NFL owners still view Kaepernick as a distraction
to the league`s image, despite consistently employing players arrested for
domestic violence, drunk driving, and animal abuse. Which brings us to
former NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who served nearly two years in prison
mid-career for his involvement in dog fighting, but said this on Fox Sports
earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL VICK, FORMER AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER: First thing we`ve got to
get Colin to do is cut his hair. I`m not up here to try to be politically
correct, but, you know, even if he puts cornrows in that, I don`t think he
should represent himself, you know, in that way in terms of, you know, just
the hairstyle. Just go clean cut. You know, why not? You`re already
dealing with a lot, a lot of controversy surrounding this issue –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a fascinating thing to hear you say, Mike.

VICK: He needs to do is just try to be presentable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Critics were polarized by Vick`s comments with many pointing out
the unlikelihood that by going, quote, clean cut owners and fans would
forget Kaepernick`s previous stand or lack thereof.

Vick has apologized since and because he himself has been through the dual
courts of public opinion and criminal justice, I`m going to pivot to the
owners and the fans he was inadvertently speaking for.

Because regardless of how you feel about Kaepernick`s politics or gameplay,
the NFL has turned a selectively blind eye to athletes with checkered
pasts, regardless of their hair`s length.

And if shedding his hair and with it his outspokenness is the gesture that
gets Kaepernick back into your good graces, ask yourself what`s less
presentable, an afro or an assault charge? In the meantime, try to decode
this game day strategy, I call it Gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BETSY HODGES, MINNEAPOLIS: From the many conversations I`ve had with
people around our city, especially this week, I note that some in
Minneapolis have lost confidence in police leadership. This wasn`t about
any one particular incident, this is about an overall assessment about the
state of the MPD and the direction we need to go. The events of the last
week did reinforce for me that we needed change. It`s the right time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION.

Earlier this week, we learned that an Australian immigrant and bride-to-be
Justine Damond was shot and killed after reporting a disturbance outside of
her home in Minneapolis.

The officer, the policeman, alleged to have fired the fatal shot, Mohamed
Noor is a Somali-American immigrant who joined the police force in 2015.
Neither he nor his partner had their body cameras recording at the time of
the shooting.

As of today, the Minneapolis police union has not issued a statement in
defense of Noor, saying it will await a state investigation. This despite
having done so in recent instances where police conduct was called into
question.

All week long, conservatives have emphasized Noor`s race and ethnicity over
his police affiliation, a focus absent from past incidents where the
officer was white, the victim was of color, and state mandated body cameras
were turned off.

Then on Friday, we learned that the city`s police chief was resigning at
the request of Mayor Betsy Hodges, a move that left some wondering why this
particular shooting merited such a response.

I want to be clear, Justine Damond`s death is an absolute tragedy, but to
those for whom blue lives always Trump black ones. I hope this tragedy
might teach you two things, empathy and consistency under the law.

We immediately denounced this and we wanted to see justice here, but we
would hope there would be consistency also on the other side.

Joining me now is Michael Barajas, civil rights reporter for “The Texas
Observer.” And MSNBC legal analyst, Paul Butler, a former federal
prosecutor and author of “Choke Hold: Policing Black Men.”

Let me go to you, Paul, first of all. You know I`ve been on the forefront
of a lot of police cases down through the last several years and I
certainly think that it doesn`t matter the color of the victim or the
policeman, what matters is that we have fair and impartial inquiry into
every shooting, particularly when you`re dealing with an unarmed person and
when you`re dealing with now body cameras off.

This particular shooting, though, the response was remarkably different
than we`ve seen in other shootings. What does this even say about how we
deal with different strokes for different folks, even from the police union
not coming to this policeman`s defense even though I think this policeman
must face the full weight of the investigation and wherever it goes?

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Reverend, Ms. Damond was the 554th
person to be shot and killed by U.S. police this year.

They`re on track to kill 1,000 people in 2017 and the majority of those
folks will be people of color. African-American men, Latino men, black
women. I want to lift up African-American women who are frequently the
victims of police violence and sexual abuse and their cases don`t get this
kind of attention.

So our hearts go out to this victim. It was so moving to see her family
meeting with the family of Philando Castile because they understand that
when we equip police with all these powers and no training, that doesn`t
just affect one segment of the community, that impacts everybody.

This guy had two – three civilian complaints, Reverend, in two years on
the force, three civilian complaints and being sued in a civil court by a
woman who he showed up to – she need a mental health services. She
alleges he didn`t get the proper services. So this guy should not have
been walking around on the streets with a gun and a license to kill.

SHARPTON: And I think that`s the point that he has a record where he`s
already been sued. Seriously, there`s a question of whether he should have
been on the force, and she called reporting some crime she felt and she was
killed, and it happens so often, usually and disproportionately to people
of color.

But clearly as you now have taken the beat of civil rights in Texas, it had
to be something of great symbolic importance when you see the family of
Philando Castile, black family, who just faced an injustice as many of us
felt in their case stand with this groom to be, a white gentleman, and say,
wait a minute, enough is enough. This issue is, yes, racial, but is even
beyond race, it`s about police accountability and about how we deal with
policing in this country.

MICHAEL BARAJAS, CIVIL RIGHTS REPORTER, THE TEXAS OBSERVER: Yes, I think
you`ve seen families like that of Philando Castile and others really put
this case in context a little bit, you know, that is to say that this is
another extreme example of what appears to be, you know, excessive use of
force.

Like you said, it`s predominantly communities of color that are subject to
it we know. But, yes, I think you`ve seen a lot of unity around this case
because for people that have followed the cases of Philando castile,
there`s a case happening in Dallas right now that`s similar, the case of
Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old kid that was shot as his brother was driving
away from a party, an officer shot him through a car window.

I think people that follow these cases closely have really wrapped around
and tried to support, you know, the family in this instance because they
see it as one in a series of cases really.

SHARPTON: Absolutely. And I think that the fact that everyone is uniting
and seeing it as one of a series of cases would also say why, Paul, many of
us have said it`s very different to see the reaction of the police unions
on the other side who are not acting like they have acted in other cases,
but notwithstanding that we are not going to behave any differently even
though they clearly seem to behave differently.

We also have to look at the laws in terms of the use of body cameras. Many
of us were involved with the President Obama coming to that recommendation
and many around the country are now using it, but I`ve always said there
must be strict laws on how do you use it. Why are the body cameras ever
turned off, Paul?

BUTLER: Well, there`s no good reason it`s just police policy. It`s
related, Reverend, to your earlier point about these police unions which
are almost always on the wrong side of these issues.

As you say, we like to think, well, maybe they`re just about protecting
cops. But in certain situations, it looks like they`re about protecting
white cops rather than African-American cops.

So the point is that police need better training about how to use force,
including deadly force, and there`s no point in having the cameras if the
police can turn them off.

Police not being accountable is the reason why we want body cams in the
first place so they ought to be on all the time.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Michael Barajas and Paul Butler.

BARAJAS: Thank you.

BUTLER: Great to be here.

SHARPTON: Now a developing story. In Texas, at least eight people have
been found dead in the back of an 18-wheeler in San Antonio. Thirty others
were taken to area hospitals. Many in critical condition. Police say all
the victims appear to be undocumented immigrants.

Stay with MSNBC for more updates.

Up next, what is the state of black America in 2017? We`ll ask Marc
Morial, president of the National Urban League. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Earlier this year, the National Urban League released the 41st
edition of its annual State of Black America Report and to crib the
report`s own language if full equality in 2017 was a pie then black and
Hispanic-Americans would only get about three slices and even that is newly
threatened in the Trump era.

It`s against this backdrop that the National Urban League will host its
2017 conference in St. Louis this week.

Joining me now is Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and
former mayor of New Orleans.

Marc, looking forward to joining you at the conference and it is where we
were just three years ago dealing there with the police killing of Michael
Brown right outside of St. Louis in Ferguson. So policing and the economy
and jobs and health care, a lot of which the Urban League report covers, is
certainly going to be front and center in St. Louis this week at the Urban
League Convention.

MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Reverend, first of all,
thank you for having me and I want to thank you for joining us this week in
St. Louis. Yes, we`ll be in St. Louis, we will be walking about how to
save our cities and protect our progress and a highlight of St. Louis will
be the dedication of the St. Louis Urban League`s brand new community
empowerment center, which is located in Ferguson on the site of the old
burned out QuickTrip score.

At that site and in that facility, we will launch our “Save Our Sons”
program. So what we`ll be looking at is how we have taken anger to action.
There are continuing concerns in Ferguson and St. Louis, but we want to
highlight the very important work that the St. Louis Urban League is doing
as one of our strongest affiliates in the country while we meet in St.
Louis.

We`ll also continue our conversation about the State of Black America. We
will look at the progress we made and the unfinished business from the
Obama administration and the headwinds we face on health care and voting
and a whole range of issues with the new administration and the new
congress.

We`ll talk about our infrastructure plan, the Main Street Marshall Plan,
which is the only comprehensive infrastructure plan released by any
organization to date.

And it calls for an investment in roads, in bridges, in community
facilities, in schools, in neighborhood health centers. Those things that
would help us strengthen not only black America, not only the urban
community, but America at large.

We`ve got a strong conference planned. And one thing I`m looking forward
to, we`re going to honor Dick Hatcher, the mayor of Gary.

This is the 50th anniversary of the era of African-American mayors in the
country. It was in `67 that Carl Stokes, the late Carl Stokes and Dick
Hatcher, who remains with us, were elected on that day and ushered in an
era where African-American men have served with distinction in big cities
and small communities all across the nation.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Mark, the Urban League has always been non-
partisan and certainly has had the embrace and/or respect of all
administrations.

I remember when you first came in as president of the Urban League over a
decade ago, even President George Bush, who many of us were protesting,
came and spoke at the Urban League.

It was – I remember he came down on the rope line and he and I kind of got
into a back and forward. We noticed that President Trump has not scheduled
himself to be there. I know you have done a few sites with Ivanka Trump.
You and I and other leaders of civil rights organizations have met with
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, challenging him, and you very firmly in
those meetings around issues of our concern.

Do you have any indication, I mean you know my position when I talk to the
president by phone, but have you gotten any indication that this
administration will meet in any kind of common ground, not in a meeting,
but will deal in any common ground with some of the things that concern our
community since you at least have headed an organization that historically
that they would respect more than they would maybe those of us that seem
more aggressive in advocacy.

MORIAL: We have to be firm and resolute in what we stand for. And
notwithstanding politics, we are opposed to voter suppression and this sham
voter commission.

We strongly support the maintenance of the Affordable Care Act until and
unless something better comes along, and we vigorously oppose budget cuts
that would strip away support for education, workforce and housing.

So notwithstanding the administration that`s in office, our views, our
positions, what we`ll work for, what we`ll fight for are certainly very
firm.

As we look forward, we will both oppose the president`s policies and
continue to be open to areas where we might find common ground like jobs
and infrastructure.

But this convention in St. Louis is not about the beltway, this convention
in St. Louis is going to be about the work that the Urban League is doing,
the discussions we need to have around the future of black America, how
we`ve worked in Ferguson to try to help the community turn the corner in a
positive way with the new facility that we`re doing.

We`re going to focus on helping people connect to jobs and children going
back to school.

SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. But I`ll be joining you there, certainly great
work.

MORIAL: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And as you continue as a strong advocate, if they`re not
reaching out to you, I don`t know what I can say.

Thank you, Marc Morial. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: That does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you back
here next Sunday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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