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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

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


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.





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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.