IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Politics Nation with Al Sharpton, Transcript, 6/26/2016

Guests: Liz Plank; Basil Smikle; Eleanor Holmes Norton; E.J. Dionne; Billy Murphy; Susan Del Percio

Show: POLITICS NATION Date: June 26, 2016 Guest: Liz Plank; Basil Smikle; Eleanor Holmes Norton; E.J. Dionne; Billy Murphy; Susan Del Percio



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s at stake, from guns to immigration, to the Supreme Court, new urgency in the 2016 race?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In November, Americans will have to make a decision about what we care about and who we are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will hear from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton fresh from her sit-in on the house floor.

Also, justice for Freddie Gray. We will talk to the family attorney about what`s next after the latest not guilty verdict.

All that, plus a double bogey for Donald Trump`s reboot.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The greatest factory in anywhere in the world. Number 11 which is a spectacular hole, birdie, birdie, birdie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton`s big move with Elizabeth Warren and a preview of the party with a purpose, essence fest.

From Rockefeller center in New York, this is politics nation with Al Sharpton.


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good morning. I`m Al Sharpton.

We start with something a little different, a look at what`s really at stake in this election with some echoes from the past. Fifty one years ago President Johnson went to the house chamber where he addressed the nation about the voting rights act.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time for waiting is gone. It`s all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.


SHARPTON: We shall overcome. This week in that same chamber, Democrats held a sit-in to protest a new civil rights issue, gun violence. And they sang that song.


SHARPTON: Congressman John Lewis helped lead the sit-in, an act of civil disobedience in Congress like we have never seen.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: The time for patient is long gone. Give us a vote. Let us vote.

REP. BILL KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS: America is sending out a 911 to the only first responders that they have. That`s us. That`s Congress. There`s no one else to answer that call.

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON D.C.: We want to keep our city safe, we`ll keep our own country safe. Pass the bill.


SHARPTON: The protest reminding the nation that politics is about more than Donald Trump`s latest tweet. It`s about life and death and stopping gun massacres. It`s about making sure immigrant families don`t get ripped apart just because Republicans refuse to fill an empty seat on the Supreme Court. It`s about the economy and the need for steady leadership after a crisis like the one we`re seeing in Europe.

Those are the kinds of real issues in this election, a point President Obama made this week in the middle of these dramatic events.


OBAMA: These are issues that are going to be debated by candidates across the country, both congressional candidates as well as the presidential candidates. And in November, Americans have to make a decision about what we care about and who we are.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton who participated in the house sit-in, and E.J. Dionne from the "Washington Post."

First, let me thank both of you for being here.

E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you.

NORTON: Of course, Rev. Al.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you were active in the civil rights movement of the `60s, now this civil disobedience in the house. Do you view gun violence as a civil rights issue in our time?

NORTON: I really do. And I think it shows the resonance of the civil rights movement that you can take issues and make them appear not retro, but of this moment, when you can link them to the kinds of battles we fought then. Look what we were asking for. We were asking for the vote then, all be it in another context and we were asking for a vote now. We want a vote on the bill that said, look, if you`re on a no-fly list, you can`t fly.


NORTON: That was the main bill we were after. So it seems entirely appropriate to us to invoke our past. And I can tell you Reverend Al, I did a little sitting in in my time, but we usually sat in seats. The house floor is very hard.

SHARPTON: I have been in sit-ins and on the house floor.

But E.J., you know Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both staked out separate positions on this. And really they staked out positions and attack each other. Watch this.


TRUMP: Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the second amendment essentially. She wants to take your guns away.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must do something about the gun violence --

Parents, teachers and schools should have the right to keep guns out of classrooms, just like Donald Trump does at many of his hotels by the way.


SHARPTON: Starkly different messages. How much E.J., will this help to shape the 2016 election and be part of it as one of the major issues?

DIONNE: Well, I think what Mrs. Clinton is doing fits in directly with what the house Democrats did and also what senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut did when he led that filibuster in the Senate. For 20 years, more than 20 years, since the 1994 election, Democrats have been very timid gone the gun issue. They thought they lost more votes than they gained because people who supported the NRA`s position seem to devote on the issue. And I think one horrible attack at another has people to - that moment you might call it the sick and tired of being sick and tired moment. And I think that`s true not only of people who long supported gun control, but a lot of other people in the country.

And so, I think what you`re seeing and what Clinton is saying, a set of convictions that she`s long had but also a belief that for a change, this issue actually works for those who support gun control and not for those who wrote the NRA line.

SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman, one of the things that`s done with movements is deal with public opinion. And when you look at two of the issues this week, gun control and immigration, it`s interesting to look at the polling on that.

On guns, 89 percent support background checks. On immigration, 78 percent support a path to citizenship or legal residency. Could this upcoming election determine whether we see movement on these issues?

NORTON: I really do think so, Reverend Al. What is really different about the gun control issue, you would have thought we would have had this outpouring after the Connecticut massacre of 24 children. You`re having it now because we`re able to link it to terrorism. And we have got to -- for the Democrats at least, there was a combustible mixture. There was terrorism and guns. Remember we want you not to be able to fly if you`re on that list. There was discrimination against the LGBT community.


NORTON: Two issues that meant a great deal to us. And they came together and coming together when we had no -- absolutely no alternatives and remember we can`t do a filibuster. The third thing that inspired us was the Senate filibuster. And we felt we could not go home for July 4th and say, well, look, there was nothing we could do about it. This was not a spontaneous idea but once it came out, the reaction to it was spontaneous on the part of Democrats.

SHARPTON: Now, Dionne, you know, one of the things that occur to me as we deal with these issues this week is that during the Republican primaries, they kind of dismissed Trump as entertaining. Let me show you some of what I mean.


REP. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I thought Donald Trump was very entertaining.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is very entertaining. He is fun to listen to.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: All of that has been incredibly entertaining.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The guy is a fantastic talent. I mean, he is very entertaining.


SHARPTON: So they dismissed him during the primary as entertaining and he won - he beat them all. Will we see a more demand from the general election for more substance and less entertainment from the general voting public, which is a whole different base of voters and a lot more people? Is the entertainment period over, E.J.?

DIONNE: Well, I don`t think he is as entertaining as he used to be because the audience is different as you suggest. Many of the things he said in the primaries appeal to the right end of the Republican Party, which is a pretty big part of the Republican Party. Once he moved into an electorate that includes independents and Democrats, number one, many of the things he was saying weren`t popular at all, were offensive in many cases. But he is also now running against Hillary Clinton who can attack him on many of these issues in a way that Republicans were afraid to. They were afraid of alienating people who agreed with Trump on immigration or any number of other issues.

Hillary Clinton isn`t worried about alienating voters who are never going to vote for her anyway. And if I could, I would just like to underscore something congresswoman Norton said which is when you have this linkage on the gun issue with terrorism, a lot of these members of Congress who vote the NRA line always said what we need to do, whatever it takes to fight terrorism. And then suddenly, they are faced with the contradiction that they are not actually willing to do everything that you can do to fight terrorism. And I think that`s why they are really stuck on that particular question.

SHARPTON: I`m out of time but congresswoman, what I`m really getting at, when you look at this week alone, from the gun issue, to the economy, to what happened in England with the vote, when you look at immigration and look at affirmative action, all in front of the Supreme Court, aren`t we beginning to see that this election is more than about personalities. It`s really about some real hard core issues and it`s a lot deeper than what Donald Trump is tweeting?

NORTON: Reverend Al, what you said is very important. Even if the candidates, were inclined to discussion issues and wanted to go at one another, these issues are out there. They have got to take them on as they come up. The Supreme Court issues that you just named, affirmative action and rest of them, they are going to be thrown out there by forces outside of the control of the candidates. Going to force Donald Trump to show that he is the emperor with no clothes on.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and E.J. Dionne, thanks for joining me this morning.

NORTON: My pleasure.

DIONNE: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, Trump 2.0, is it say reboot or rehash?

Plus, a preview of tomorrow`s big Clinton/Warren event. Are you looking at the Democratic ticket?



TRUMP: We have taken the lighthouse, which is a very, very, important building in Florida. I mean, in Scotland - just to the right of the light house you have a green. This is a par four and we have then number 11, which is a spectacular hole.


SHARPTON: Only Donald Trump would land in a country in the midst of a political and economic meltdown and plug his new golf course. Trump was supposed to be rebooting his campaign, making a pivot to a more serious candidate and instead, he talked about golf.

Back here at home, he is sinking in the polls versus Hillary Clinton. He is scrambling to make up for a huge cash deficit against her and the never Trump movement is still trying to slow him down. One group is even running ads urging delegates to reject Trump at the convention comparing Trump`s rhetoric to Ronald Reagan`s.



TRUMP: I don`t bring god into that picture.

REAGAN: Use of force is always and only a last resort.

TRUMP: I would bomb the (bleep) out of them.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Rick Tyler, former Ted Cruz campaign spokesman and now MSNBC political analyst and Republican strategist Susan Del Percio.

Thanks both of you for being here.


SHARPTON: So Trump is trying to reboot -- I mean, Rick, he becomes more professional in his campaign they are saying. He is rebooting. Is he even capable of doing it?

RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it remains to be seen. I think he gave a very good speech. Needs a little work on teleprompter and getting familiar with the text and making his own. But I thought the speech was pretty good and I think he avoided the temptation he often has of re-litigating the past and then the past grievances of people have against him, particularly Hillary Clinton going after him on economic issues and on foreign policy issues. I thought overall it was a good speech. It could have been two speeches. There`s a lot to go after. So we will see.

SHARPTON: But, Susan, he made a speech, read the teleprompter, then he goes off to Scotland, the day that we find out that they have voted against staying in the European Union, shakes the markets worldwide, shocks Europe, and he is selling sweets to his golf resort and talking about golfing. Doesn`t he lose whatever mileage, if any, he gained from the speech?

DEL PERCIO: Well, it was one speech and this is one event in Scotland --

SHARPTON: But a huge event as he would say.

DEL PERCIO: And I heard the suites were beautiful over there. But the question that we really have to look at is can he do something more than one time? Can he do it two or three or four times? Is this a candidate that is really developing?

SHARPTON: Talking about the speech?

DEL PERCIO: Talking about Donald Trump. Not just in his speeches but in his rallies. He`s a new candidate, and as Rick can attest to this, too. With any new candidate there`s a big learning curve. And with this new candidate there is also very thin skin involved. So we have to see can he be steady? Because he is not going to change --

SHARPTON: But, Rick, you have to deal with he`s had a busy week, more than one speech. Not only the Scotland trip. He fired his campaign manager. He came in with only $1.3 million on hand whereas Mrs. Clinton is over 40 million. I mean it`s been one after another after another this week. The speech really was like one of ten stories on Donald Trump, none good.

TYLER: Yes. No, you know, you`re right, Rev., it was kind of interesting, he had a very bad couple of weeks and, you know, all the press starts to give him credit for putting out press releases and it actually reacting to things.

And you know, going to Scotland was really -- I thought a bad idea. You know, you`re running for president. He is going to a place where there`s no -- virtually no voters for him. And then on the eve the Brexit vote, really historic day in the UK deciding to leave the European Union. The markets tank everywhere. On Friday we lost 111 points in the Dow. And he didn`t take the opportunity to really address that. He addressed it a little bit but he didn`t -- he talked more about his golf courses as you say and I think he missed an opportunity of being there in Scotland, part of the UK, Scotland by the way voted against Brexit --

SHARPTON: Yes. Scotland took the other way.

TYLER: Yes, it did. But the rest of them did. And Scotland --.

SHARPTON: But most people going to Europe during the presidential race to show their international bona fides, you know, and that I can handle issues on international level. I have never heard of you going so sell your personal property or to sell your resorts. I mean, Republican senator Jeff Flake said Trump can`t win unless he changes. Listen to this.


REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: What will increase his chances of winning is acting differently than he`s acted so far. No Republican or no candidate of either party is going to win the number of votes that is needed saying the things that he is said and acting way he has acted.


SHARPTON: Susan, it goes back to you saying can he do the speech more than one time? Can he really come back in? And this is a sitting Republican senator saying he can`t win unless he changes. And you`re saying, can you teach an old dog new tricks?

DEL PERCIO: It`s going to take a long time for the establishment, for the money that you mentioned. He is far behind on fund raising. His endorsements are mediocre at best. He has no real surrogates. He has to show over time that he is worth the investment.

SHARPTON: He doesn`t have that much time.

DEL PERCIO: He doesn`t have that much time. And the things - the trip with Scotland besides everything you`ve mentioned have also left a lot of Republican money folks saying why are you doing this? You`re not changing. We don`t know what to expect from you from the convention. That`s why there are delegates looking to see if they can create a different panel to knock him out of contention.

SHARPTON: Not only are there delegates looking to knock him out of contention. You have GOP senator Mark Kirk who is running for re-election, tough race in Illinois, he just became the first to television ad directly attacking Trump. I have never heard of this. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mark Kirk bucked his party to say Donald Trump is not fit to be commander in chief. Mark Kirk, courageous and independent.


SHARPTON: So let me frame this again for our viewers. This is a Republican senator sitting - a sitting Republican senator that is running for re-election that`s running ads against the presidential nominee of his party. I have never heard of this, Rick.

TYLER: It`s fairly unprecedented. I don`t know any analogy before we had TV that might have been something like that. But look. I think that, Rev, you know, that the UK getting out of the European Union sends a big signal to the United States. People are rising up against centralized power. And I thought that Trump did a pretty good job of connecting Hillary Clinton to the idea of centralized power and elite governing class.

And so look, he won the primary. We ran against him. We didn`t want him to win. So let me be clear about that. But he is in this race. He has a name it fundraising. He has to get a ground game together. He has got to hire more staff. Looks like they are doing that. And looks like they getting that together and maybe too late. But look. The people are angry with Washington. They are angry with the way things are going and angry they are not getting ahead and wages are static. So look. I just have a very hard time predicting with any confidence how this race is going to turn out.

SHARPTON: No, I don`t think that I can predict it either, Rick. But I think that one of the ways to show that you are crusading against the elite class is not by showing your golf course and the suites in Scotland. But that`s just my personal opinion.

Rick Tyler, Susan Del Percio, thank you both for being with me this morning.

TYLER: Great to see you, Rev.

DEL PERCIO: Good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahead, why tomorrow is a big moment for those who want a Clinton/Warren ticket.

Also, a high profile acquittal in the Freddie Gray case. The family`s lawyer on "Politics Nation" next.


SHARPTON: This week`s not guilty verdict in the Freddie Gray case was disappointing to his family but perhaps not surprising. Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted and of all charges. He was accused of giving Gray a so-called rough ride that allegedly led to his fatal injuries. Goodson chose to have a bench trial with his verdict decided by a judge instead of a jury. And experts say that tends to favor police defendants. Since 2005, 23 police officers have been found guilty of murder or manslaughter by juries. But none, zero, have been found guilty by a judge. Goodson was acquitted by the same judge who found another officer not guilty back in May. The next trial in the case is set for next month.

Joining me now is Billy Murphy, attorney for the Freddie Gray family. First of all, thanks for being with me this morning.


SHARPTON: Do you think the case -- the fact it was decided by a judge not a jury had any impact at all?

MURPHY: Well, this judge is known -- he has strong reputation for being a reasonable doubt judge. And that`s a correct point of view for a judge to take. We have all complained as black people that there were not enough judges who believed strongly in the concept of reasonable doubt. And this judge also has a long history of prosecuting police as a federal prosecutor for police misconduct of various kinds, including brutality.


MURPHY: And so it`s a confusing position for the public to be in and the reason they are not in it was because this trial was not televised. So it occurs --

SHARPTON: You made it clear, attorney Murphy, that the public has not been able to see it and that the judge has to deal with the evidence in front of him. So how does the family, you`re the family attorney, how does the family define justice in this case? What would be justice for them given the legal barriers that have to be dealt with and given what we`ve got to deal in terms of evidence? We are not dealing with a public jury now. We are dealing with a judge or a jury that would be looking at the law. No one knows it better than you.

MURPHY: Well, they respect judge Williams. On the other hand, that doesn`t mean that they agree with him. And they don`t know quite what to make of this. They don`t know whether it was the judge`s fault. They don`t know whether it was the prosecutor`s fault. And they don`t know whether it was a good defense. And the problem is that nobody knows. And so there`s a lot of finger pointing going on, which is not really healthy because people need to focus on what really happened instead of what they imagined happened. That`s virtually impossible.

SHARPTON: What does the family expect and you expect from the cases against the remaining officers?

MURPHY: Well, the family is a strong supporter of the prosecutor, Ms. Mosby. And they are reinforce that and reemphasized that in their remarks, through me, yesterday or rather a couple of days ago. And so, they are cautiously optimistic but there`s minor resignation in their view of about what may happen with the rest of these officers because it`s going to be the same judge. And the judge`s rulings have strong implications about what is going to happen in the remainder of the case. So they don`t quite know what to make of all of this but they are resigned to accept whatever happens because they don`t want to see any looting or burning. They don`t want to see any civil unrest that results in loss of life or property. And so, they are in a very unusual position but they are an unusual family because again, they define justice as what happens after a fair process where both sides put on all of the evidence and a fair minded judge rules.

SHARPTON: All right. We`re going to be watching. Thank you, Attorney Billy Murphy. Thank you for your time this morning.

MURPHY: Thank you, Reverend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the break, Marco Rubio, reversing course, running straight back to Washington and straight into our gotcha.



SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, I`m not running for re-election to the Senate.

I believe in (INAUDIBLE) so much, I`m not even running for re-election to the senate.

I want to explain why it is I`m not running for re-election to the Senate.


SHARPTON: Of course senator Marco Rubio totally flip flopped this week and declared he is going to run for re-election after all. So he wants to stay in even though during the campaign he couldn`t stop talking about how awful the Senate was.


RUBIO: I got to the U.S. Senate and it`s not a place where a lot happens.

We are not going to fix America with senators and congressmen.

I`m frustrated at my time in the Senate because nothing happens. We don`t do anything.


SHARPTON: If it was so bad, why does he want to stay? He will have to explain that but he may have a bigger problem in Florida. Donald J. Trump.

Here`s how Rubio talked about Trump during the primary.


RUBIO: I will go anywhere to speak to anyone before I let a con artist get a hold of the Republican Party.

We are not going to allow done add Trump to do to America what he did to those students at Trump University.

To think you`re going to make someone like that commander in chief --


SHARPTON: But then he totally flip flopped and Rubio turned around and endorsed Trump, even saying he would speak for him at the GOP convention. How is Rubio going to explain to Florida`s nearly five million Latino that`s he`s the most anti-immigrant candidate in recent American history?

Watch out, Rubio might have to flip flop again. Either way, nice try. But we gotcha.


SHARPTON: Let the veep stakes begin. Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton will hit the campaign trail together in Ohio tomorrow as they try to unite the Democrats following a long primary battle with Bernie Sanders. Clinton`s short list for VP is said to include Virginia senator Tim Kaine and Secretary Julian Castro as well as Senator Warren.

Meanwhile, Sanders lack of endorsement is still causing some problems for the Democrats. On Friday, he said he would vote for her but refused to endorse her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton in November?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, yes, I think the issue right here is I`m going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why have you not endorsed her?

SANDERS: I haven`t heard her say the things that need to be said.


SHARPTON: Joining us, senior correspondent and producer at Vox Liz Plank and Basil Smikle, the head of New York State`s Democratic Party and former senior aide to Hillary Clinton. Basil, this event tomorrow has a lot of folks getting hopes up about a Clinton/warren ticket.

Basil, this event tomorrow has a lot of folks getting their hopes up about a Clinton-Warren ticket. Any chance at all?

BASIL SMIKLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: There`s a good chance. What I would say is that it`s not disqualifying that there are two women on the ticket. Elizabeth Warren has been great in attacking Donald Trump. I think in terms of the - when you talked about Bernie Sanders and his supporters, in terms of being able to bringing Sanders supporters over to Hillary and sort of reengage them in this general election, I think she would be fantastic at that. The longer that Bernie Sanders stays out of this race so to speak before he makes an endorsement, before he talks to supporters, Elizabeth Warren is the one that can speak him. So I don`t think it is disqualifying.

SHARPTON: Elizabeth Warren went on the attack just one week after endorsing Hillary Clinton, Liz, and she never endorsed Bernie Sanders, which was interesting, but watch this attack.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We complain about Donald Trump, we can whimper about Donald Trump or we can fight back. Me, I`m fighting back. I`m fighting back. He is a thin-skinned racist bully. And every day it becomes clearer he will never be president of the United States.


SHARPTON: Liz, can we expect more like that in Ohio tomorrow from Senator Warren when she appeared with Secretary Clinton?

LIZ PLANK, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, VOX: Absolutely. And yes, she`s sort of this fantasy VP, I think for a lot of Democrats particularly who think that she can short the Bernie supporters who might be attempt go to Trump. But also she is energizing. You are talking about the entertainment factor and we get segment. I mean, she is entertaining. She goes after Trump. She is a great anti-Trump surrogate.

But also it really comes down to chemistry. Is there going to be chemistry between the two of them? Because so far Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have been campaigning separately against Trump. So it is going to be interesting to see if their frosty relationship that we have known in the past which has not always been great. Elizabeth Warren has been very critical of Hillary Clinton, if they can put those difference aside and really stand together.

SHARPTON: Aside from the frosty relationships in the past because we know frosty relationships can get very warm when self-interest is involved.

PLANK: Or Trump is involved.

SHARPTON: And Trump kind of helps.

Aside from that Basil, how do you view the fact that some would say that independence some of who are centrists and disaffected Republicans are a lot of voters for Mrs. Clinton to get and that Elizabeth Warren may be too far to the left for them? Is it more in Mrs. Clinton`s interest to go after centrists and independents and disaffected Republicans or to try to get the supporters of Bernie Sanders, some of which may not come to her anyway?

SMIKLE: You know, I think there`s value in both argument. Look. She is an incredibly talented politician. She is conversant on a wide variety of issues, wide variety of issues, having worked for her, I can say that with my bias noted. But that noted --

SHARPTON: Bias good or bad.

SMIKLE: Bias good in support of her.

SHARPTON: Go ahead.

SMIKLE: Someone like a Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia, I think that if there`s concern about Elizabeth Warren being too far to the left, I think Tim Kaine is someone who has executive credibility having been a former governor. He is probably considered more moderate.

But look, I think Hillary Clinton is not the -- not so far to the right as people sometimes like to label her. She is actually very progressive. So I don`t think that she is so starkly different from Elizabeth Warren in certain respects. But if you`re looking for someone who is moderate and comes from an important state from Virginia, Tim Kaine is your person.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s look at the recent polling shows Elizabeth Warren as the top pick among Clinton supporters, Liz. Elizabeth Warren, 35 percent, Corey Booker, 17 percent, Julian Castro 12 and Al Franken seven, Sherrod Brown six, Tim Kaine only five percent, who Basil is convinced brings balance but only five percent agrees with him. Would the base be considered in this choice?

PLANK: Yes. I mean, I think Kaine is a very safe choice but not an exciting choice. And at this point, you know, Hillary Clinton has to weigh, does she want to go with someone who can help her -- one of her weaknesses is this enthusiasm gap, especially with young voters. That I think someone like Elizabeth Warren or even Corey Booker could help her help resolve that issue. I mean, she needs millennials to come out for her and she needs them to vote for her too.

And so yes, Kaine is -- might be the obvious choice at the end of the day, but it`s definitely not the choice that many Democrats might be excited about when you compare him to people like Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker.

SHARPTON: Before I run out of time, I want to go back, Basil, to Bernie Sanders. He says he`ll vote for her but he`s not endorsing her. What do you make of that?

SMIKLE: That`s disappointing and a little troubling. Because this time in 2008, Hillary Clinton had already come out of the race and endorsed Barack Obama and said, I need you to work as hard for him as you did for me. And if you remember, the convention floor, she asked for a vote of acclimation to that we could all sort of be behind Barack in a very unified way.

Bernie Sanders hasn`t done that as yet. And that`s a little worry some because I don`t think his supporters have just turn on a dime. It`s a process for him and it is process for them also. And he needs to sort, in my mind, begins the process of bringing his supporters over to her side to unify the Democrats.

SHARPTON: Looks like -- sounds like a mixed signal to me.

Liz Plank and Basil Smikle, I thankful of both you for being on but not grateful you on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next, previewing a party with a purpose. Essence fest, and why this year could be unique.


SHARPTON: Essence fest comes back to New Orleans next weekend. And this year it has some extra residents. It is the last festival under Barack Obama. It`s first since the passing of Prince and the death of Muhammad Ali. It comes in an election year when voting rights are under assault and at a time when tens of thousands of lives are being lost to gun violence, crime and a broken criminal justice system.

Joining me now is Vanessa De Luca, editor in chief of "essence."

Thank you for being here, Vanessa.


SHARPTON: 22nd year and every year, it is a party with a purpose, top entertainment but also dealing with some of the vital issues of their time. I have been honored to speak at every one and will be speaking this year, but there are also be a focus on issues like guns and Flint, Michigan. I mean, tell us things we`re looking at this year. Because the daytime you have these wonderful workshops and speeches and primary sessions and group discussions and at night the best that you can get in music.

DE LUCA: That`s absolutely right. I mean, the daytime really is where we get an opportunity to talk about the issues happening in our community that are relevant, real and have honest conversation. So we will be focusing on, of course, gun control is a big and gun violence is a big issue --

SHARPTON: I see you have some of the mothers of victims coming to speak.

DE LUCA: We do. We have a panel featuring Sybrina Fulton, (INAUDIBLE), as well as Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis. And they will be talking about, you know, everything that`s happening around us. I mean, just think about what happened in Orlando not too long ago. Think about what`s happening to their own families. And we will be talking to them about what can we do and what can we do collectively to make a difference.

SHARPTON: And they are the ones that feel it. I mean, we saw the sit-in this week in Congress which is great. But now what happens and how do we turn moments into movements? But also it`s a lot of the entertainment world. I mean, it is amazing which one of the reasons I go every year since it started because you get the best in entertainment and you get the real relevant cutting edge issues. Prince did the tenth and the 20th year of the "Essence" festival. What are you going to do special to honor and remember Prince this year?

DE LUCA: Well, suddenly, all of the artists in the super dome at a certain point in time throughout the weekend will be paying special tribute to Prince. And you know, he was extraordinary. He really made the 20th anniversary of the festival something special.

SHARPTON: It was great. I was at both tenth and 20th and he was fantastic.


SHARPTON: And you have got a great lineup. I talked to Puffy Combs and he`s excited about Sunday night. Give us some performers that is going to be there this weekend.

DE LUCA: Sure. We got Kendrick Lamar on Sunday with Puff Daddy on Friday night. We got Maxwell, Tyre (pg), Faith Evans, Baby Face. Saturday night we got Mariah Carey closing us out. It will be the first time doing "Essence" festival in the 22-year history.

SHARPTON: The last festival under the first African-American president, President Obama and the significance of that. I know many including me will be addressing that. How does that look to you as editor of the major black women`s magazine in this country and around the world? And what does that put on this festival because we`re going to see for first time in American history an African-American president and family leave the White House. Never been here before.

DE LUCA: Never been here before. But we want to make sure our interest and things that matter are taken care of. So we are going to be looking at the black women`s vote and reminding people the importance of the black women`s vote. There will be a whole panel about that including Mya Harris who works on Hillary Clinton`s campaign and a number of other women in the political space will be a part of that conversation. Because we want to make sure the people remember black women drove the results and were leading in the results of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. And so, we have power to wield and we can`t sit back and hope that the two candidates before us, presumptive candidates before us are going to take care of those issues that are important to us. We have to make sure that we keep this top of mind and in front of our community to go out and vote in November.

SHARPTON: Well, we want to make sure when that family leaves the White House, our interests don`t leave with them.

Vanessa De Luca thanks. And you can go to for more information on the "Essence" fest next weekend.

Finally, a quick note. We got a great response to part one of our series following Alton Mills, a nonviolent drug offender who spent 22 years in prison. One viewer said congratulations to him and his family. A true testimony to faith and perseverance. So glad President Obama served during this time.

Keep watching "Politics Nation" for more of our series on Alton and his search for new life after prison.

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