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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  December 5, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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secretary clinton were consistent with that. so we are optimistic. >> i appreciate your time tonight. thanks so much. there are others who were thinking about running for president on the democratic ticket who absolutely have no problem whatsoever saying they're against keystone. why can't hillary clinton? that's "the ed show." "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening, rev. >> good evening, ed, and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, the grand jurors were playing on their cell phones. that's the startling new allegations in the eric garner chokehold case. it comes from the man who shot this cell phone video. ramsey otto testified before the grand jury, he tells the new york daily news they were barely listening. >> nobody in grand jury was even paying attention to what i had to say. people were on their phones. people were talking. i feel like they didn't give him a fair grand jury either.
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they put the video on. people was on their phones. people were having conversations. >> really? >> it was a regular day to them. like it was no big-time case to them. >> it's a startling claim. playing on their cell phones! otto also claims the prosecutor asked more questions about erirk garner's conduct than the officers. he said grand jurors already had their minds made up and that after just ten minutes, prosecutors stopped his testimony and sent him home. we called the da's office about these allegations and they declined to comment. all of this raising troubling new questions about how this grand jury operated and whether broader changes are needed nationwide. today in cities across the country, yet more demonstrations over the eric garner case. but it's not the only one.
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in phoenix, protesters hit the streets after police shot and killed an unarmed black man earlier this week. in ohio today, the family of 12-year-old tamir rice followed a wrongful death against two officers. and in brooklyn we learned today a grand jury will convene in the case of the unarmed man shot fatally by an officer in a stairwell. but is that the right venue? will this family get justice? the grand jury system for police shootings need to change, and that change is gonna come. joining me now, former prosecutor faith jenkins, criminal defense attorney seema iyer, and retired atf agent jim cavanaugh. thank you all for being here. >> thanks, rev. >> thank you. >> thanks reverend. this witness says he was only questioned for ten minutes.
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he said the jurors were talking, playing on their cell phones. what's your reaction to that? >> listen, if this is true, what he's saying, it's very problematic in that the responsibility falls on one person's shoulders and that is the prosecutor. because the grand jury is his show. that's the tool that prosecutors use to get indictments and they run the show when it comes to grand jury. so if there's a problem with jurors not paying attention to evidence, if there's a problem, and a prosecutor doesn't think jurors are taking a witness seriously, and not listening, that's their job to come in. because there's no judge. this is not a trial. >> but seema, if the jurors are not listening, i agree that's important, but how do you only question the one who shot the video for only ten minutes? >> i agree. and judge faith, former prosecutor, we've had plenty of cases up against each other. i was a former prosecutor. if this is your star witness,
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you have your star witness up there for days. if you want an indictment, you know how to get one. it's not that difficult. but everyone seems to keep forgetting that staten island -- and we're all new yorkers. staten island is almost 70% white. the population of blacks is less than 10%. the population of latinos is in single digits as well. so i think when someone like mr. orta comes in, they just don't care. >> i don't even know if it's as simple as that. i think prosecutors do what they want with grand juries. >> but you know it's racist. >> it's so racist. >> seema, i'm not going to -- listen, here's the thing. when you go into a grand jury, there are two things you need to get an indictment. you need the evidence, and you need the desire of the prosecutors to get an indictment. in this case, with this video, you have the evidence. that is clear.
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what i think you didn't have was the desire to get an indictment -- >> by the prosecutor. >> by the prosecutor. i don't want to indict everyone in staten island. everyone in staten island is not a racist. >> it's pretty racist, rev. >> seema, stop. >> i think we let people off the hook, this prosecutor, if he only asks ten minutes of questions this is prosecutorial product, possibly, and it shows where many of us feel the grand jury system the way it is on the state level, must be changed. >> must be changed in order to appoint a special prosecutor any time a police officer is being investigated. that's important. in this case, rev, there are at least six additional charges that should have been presented, including, there's two counts of gang assault. i looked up gang assault in the second-degree and gang assault in the first-degree. assault in the first-degree
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should have been presented, assault in the second-degree should have been presented. the misdemeanor reckless endangerment. strangulation in the first degree, stranegalation in the second degree. >> we don't know the charges that were presented to the grand jury. >> yes, it came out this morning. >> we know he asked them to consider manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. but you question why he didn't bring up strangulation assault, reckless endanger and gang assault. >> i question big time. >> let me go to this and then i must go to jim. i want to ask you something about the training issue. but orta is also a young man that videotaped the tape that's gone all over the world. orta said the prosecutor said more questions about eric garner's conduct than about the officer's. listen to this. >> they put the video on, and
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they was asking me piece by piece, where i was, where i was standing at, if i was the one that shot the video. but he wasn't asking no questions about no police officer. he was asking everything towards eric, what was eric doing, why was eric there? it was nothing to do with the cop choking him. it was why was eric standing there. >> what was your read on that? >> well, i think -- >> go ahead, jim. >> i was going to say -- excuse me, faith. even an investigator, you would talk to that witness for a very long time. certainly if you're a prosecutor and you brought that witness to a grand jury, you'd interview that witness ad nauseum, a minute by minute breakdown of everything they saw. also you'd be gentle with the witness. the grand jury is not targeting this person. this person is a witness who made a video. so the whole system is turned
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upside down. i've testified before many grand juries and the whole way this is being conducted is very, very unusual. grand juries are a check on overzealous prosecutors, prosecutors who want to charge people who shouldn't be charged. that's what they sort of exist for. but prosecutors first have to believe like faith and seema both said, in probably cause and prosecution themselves to press the case with the grand jury. the prosecutor presses the case. this is what happened. this is what we believe happened. here's the witness that backs that up. you know, if a ham sandwich has a bunch of defense witnesses appear on their behalf. you know you're not going to indict the ham sandwich. >> there's a lot of focus on training. the "wall street journal" reports police departments around the country are racing to development new training rules on the use of force. police officials in new york, los angeles, and other major cities are moving to develop new training rules, as well as
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beginning to adopt equipment such as body cameras. how big a difference can this make, the change in training? >> it can. it makes a difference by the big cities who often lead the way in change. but they need change in command attitude. change in the sergeant's actions on the street. they need to embrace the thought of negotiating with people more on minor offenses, embrace the technology. take the man's picture, get his fingerprint. why does he have to be dragged to the precinct. the criminal justice system is skewed against minorities. let's fix it. the officers need to be free to be on the street to deal with violent crime, not guys like their gardner. i'll say this. if there's six officers around an unarmed man who has not committed a violent crime, and he does not attack the officers. he never attacks or swings his fists at the officers. once the officer is behind him, he puts his hands up like, okay,
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okay. is it okay, with six officers present, to choke him? that's the question that's before the prosecutor. and i say, it's excessive, if there's six officers there. they should be able to handle him without choking him. and that is the essence of what's happened. and you know, america sees it. >> that's right. >> this is what the civil rights division has to see. >> can i just add one thing about the training? because i know the mayor and the police commissioner have come out and talked about all the officers going through this training again. in this situation, it does not take a lot of training to know, you can diffuse a situation like eric garner being annoyed and upset and not wanting to be taken into custody. it doesn't take a significant amount of training to de-escalate a situation like that. >> but i think it's even beyond that. he was trained not to use a
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chokehold. >> that's what i was going to say. >> the issue of training is an appropriate issue, but let's not deal with the fact, let's not ignore the fact that part of his training now is that he was not to use a chokehold, and he did. >> that was my second point. >> i spoke to a former police officer who is now a lawyer, who was a police officer during the time the chokehold was allowed, and he said that even when it was allowed, nobody used it. so 30 years ago, when it was allowed, nobody used it. >> and it's not part of their training now. >> that was my second point. they're trained not to use the chokehold. and it was done anyway. and by the way, in front of all the other police officers, in front of his supervisor. you know what that tells me? they use that kind of force and brutality because he thought he could. >> exactly. >> it also tells me that, jim, even with new training -- and i agree there does need to be new training -- they also have to show that there will be penalties, or there will be some kind of retribution if they
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don't follow the training. because obviously in this case, it appears that this officer and the other officers did not go by the training. so to have new training, if people don't feel it's going to be enforced, it won't help. >> that's exactly right. the commissioner has the authority. he could fire the officer. if he didn't follow the policy, he could be terminated. what's so upsetting, reverend al, when you look at the case in cleveland a couple years ago, with 62 radio cars chasing this couple and they get shot 137 times. how does anybody not get prosecuted for that? we need to rethink what we're doing here. you got unarmed people shot 137 times, and there's no prosecution, or one person -- i think one officer was charged in that. but there was 137 shots. so we have to rethink how we administer our justice.
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it has to be fair. our police are brave, do a great job, but there are bad cases. there are excessive use of force. there's too much force and that's got to be reined in. >> i agree with that. washington journal also reports it's hard to find records about police shootings. quote, there are no authoritative tally of police shootings or findings of excessive force. federal statistics on justifiable homicide by police, or sanctioned killings, are incomplete. states aren't required to report such information to the fbi. and some, including new york, report none at all. there aren't even records? >> right. and that's one of the things that after we've had a series of these shootings now, and cases now with eric garner, where you know something has to change. because if police officers, not all of them, and we always say that, because we're talking about a few here, if they
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believe -- and it's not a belief anymore. it happens. how difficult is it to hold a police officer accountable for the death of an unarmed civilian? >> it's not happening. >> and if a case like this happens, with it being on video, what is the message that you send? what evidence do you need at this point to prove excessive force? and what goodwill body cameras do if a case like this is on video and you can't even meet the threshold level of probable cause to move forward with a trial? what message are we sending? >> faith jenkins, jim cavanaugh and seema iyer, thank you for you te your time tonight. have a good weekend perform. >> thanks, rev. will charges be filed in the death of eric gardner? we're looking at a case with striking similarities to find out out a federal investigation
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there has within national attention, even international attention to the garner case this week. now the powerful words from stevie wonder at his concert in seattle. >> can you believe that within one month two grand juries, secret grand juries, declined to indict two policemen for the killing of two black men? i just don't understand that.
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let me say this also. i don't understand why our legal system would choose secrecy when there's so much mistrust. i don't understand that. [ applause ] i don't understand why there could not have been a public trial where we would be able to hear all sides to the story. [ applause ] i just don't understand that i'll tell you what i do understand, i heard eric garner say with my own ears, "i can't breathe." >> stevie, i did too. please keep this conversation going on our facebook page or tweet us, @politicsnation. i make a lot of purchases for my business.
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will the officer who used a chokehold on eric garner face federal charges? it could play out like a similar case from 20 years ago. anthony baez died after a police chokehold in 1994. here's part of a "today" show profile on that story from 1995. that ran on the "today" show. >> as tony and his brothers tossed the ball, two police cars pulled up with four officers inside. when the ball hit one of the cars, the baez brothers say they apologized, moved up the street
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and continued to play. >> they waved it off as to say, they accept our apology. >> the trouble began when the ball bounced off a police car again. at that point, the officer got out and confronted him. >> he went over to my you thing brother and said you're under arrest. anthony was telling him, he knows his rights. he said, i know what you're doing is wrong. and the officer, he grabbed tony -- >> henry, demonstrate for me what you saw the officer do to your brother. what i saw him do on the opposite side, i was on the sidewalk. i saw the officer come around and bring him back like this, taking him down. >> tony eventually was taken to the hospital. the city's medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, saying tony died from asphyxia due to compression of his neck and chest and acute asthma. >> the similarities between the anthony baez case and the eric garner case are almost
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overwhelming. both men were put in police chokeholds. both died from compression to the neck and chest and suffered from asthma. and both deaths were ruled homicides. in the baez case, the officer was indicted and went to trial, but here's how that first trial ended up in 1996. >> in a tense courtroom, officer francis showed no emotion as the judge reluctantly cleared the veteran new york city policeman of homicide. >> i do not find that the defendant is innocent. i do find, based on the quality of the evidence presented that the people have failed to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. the defendant is found not guilty. >> there was big protests. charges that officers lied under
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oath. and federal prosecutors filed similar rights charges. more than three years after the assault, the officer was convicted and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. so will we see similar charges in garner's case? and how could a federal case be made? joining me now is zachary carter. corporation counsel of the city of new york and former u.s. attorney. thank you for being here. zachary, your office investigated if there was a pattern of misconduct in the nypd after the baez and la weema cases and you prosecuted the police officers in the la weema case, a case i was involved in too as you can see. it's your old office that would bring charges in the eric garner case. what would they be looking at now? >> they'll be evaluating the record of the evidence that was gathered by the state authorities.
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they'll be reviewing that and determining what additional investigation has to be done in order to support federal charges and when they're prepared to do so, they'll submit a case to the grand jury. >> now, in the case of abner la weema and baez, it was excessive force that was established, is that correct? >> correct. >> now, do you need race involved to establish excessive force? because i think that's a misconception a lot of people have. >> that is a misconception. race is not necessarily an issue when it comes to police officers acting on what's called under color of official right. that is, that they are acting in their police capacity. >> now, when the baez case when to federal court, prosecutors weren't trying to prove murder either. instead they told jurors, quote, the charge is that francis
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livoti deprived anthony baez of a federal constitutional right. the right to be secure in your persons, the right to have -- >> what makes it more difficult, you have to prove that the police officer acted with the intent to use excessive force, not just to use any force, because a police officer under certain circumstances is authorized to use necessary force, but that he intentionally used more force than was necessary to accomplish his purpose. because in using more force than necessary, in doing that, you are depriving someone of their right to be free from the use of unnecessary force. >> now, one issue that came up in the baez case was the officer's previous record. he'd had nine prior complaints of excessive force.
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his commanding officer recommending transferring because of that. and he was convicted of slapping and choking a teenager in 1993. the officer in 2012 was accused of making false arrest and incarceration. that suit is still open. in 2012, he was accused of an illegal strip search. the nypd settled that case. could those complaints factor into a federal investigation? >> well, the complaints you describe in the baez case felt similar in kind and character to the offense for which he was charged. and so a court, in determining whether or not that information is more relevant than prejudicial will be more likely, in that situation, to permit past conduct of the admitted. but if the past misconduct of an officer is dissimilar from the offenses that are charged, it becomes less likely that they'll be admitted. >> now, i mentioned the
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brutality case that i was involved in. one of the officers is still in prison. we're talking 15, 16 years later. he's still in prison. and one served four years. do you see any similarities between these two cases? >> no, no. the la weema case was about officers literally subjecting a prisoner to torture. this was not a spur of the moment thing. this was something that, in which there was a level of malice and forethought that separates that from -- >> but you don't have to prove murder, and you don't have to prove race to reach the federal bar. >> no, you do not. >> zachary carter, thank you for your time, have a nice weekend. >> you too. tonight, new peaceful protests in cities across the country, marching for justice and police reform. more on that ahead. i've been called a control freak...
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breaking news on that george washington bridge scandal. it's been a topsy-turvy day for governor chris christie. this morning news of an interim report from new jersey lawmakers. it shows no conclusive evidence the governor was in involved in the lane-closing plan. let's be clear. this was the committee going hard after the governor. this is an unofficial and interim report, but if that panel's final report shows the same thing, this is big for the
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governor, big for governor christie who maintained the whole time he didn't know about the lane closures beforehand. but, important questions remain, and right before we went on the air, more breaking news. and it's big. wnbc's brian thompson reporting that indictments in the federal probe could come as soon as january. multiple sources familiar with the investigation into last year's traffic jams near the george washington bridge say at least half a dozen potential federal indictments in connection with the scandal may be handed down as early as january. the source is telling wnbc's brian thompson, potential targets of indictment could include former staffers to the governor and port authority
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officials. joining me now on the phone is wnbc reporter brian thompson, who is in ft. lee, new jersey, and broke this story. brian, tell us about what happened. you reported at least a half dozen top aides. tell us more about what you found. >> reporter: this is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle over the past several weeks, from one contact, to another contact and putting the whole mosaic together to get to this point where we felt confidence in saying, yes. as far as the situation right now, always subject to change, you know the qualifiers, but as of right now, it appears the u.s. attorney is planning on making his final decision with the grand jury, of course, in january. whether he wants to speed it up, whether he wants to delay it, that is totally his decision,
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and the grand jury's decision. certainly, he is conducting this investigation as though it is something that he wants to result in indictments, or maybe that's going a little too strong to say he wants to. but there's certainly the possibility of indictments and we're being told there are somewhere, six, seven, maybe as many as eight people who could be in jeopardy here in so far as this goes. >> now, this does not include the governor? we're not talking about a possible indictment of governor christie, but it could include some aides and some port authority people, is that right? >> it could -- >> maybe former aides. >> former aides is correct. it could include some people who have already resigned under the port authority under a cloud and it also could include some people, for the most part, afept
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poi -- appointees of the governor, but not exclusively, are working at the port authority to this day. >> is the investigation still going on? is it ongoing as far as you know? >> well, to put it in these terms, an investigation is always ongoing until they come down with the final indictment. we have gotten conflicting information on who is talking. the vernacular term might be "singing" to the u.s. attorney. but we feel confident in saying that certainly at least one person, probably more, based on our information, is trying to work out, or has been trying to work out deals. we don't know the status of that musical stanza, if you will. but we do know that just a couple of weeks ago, several people were being interviewed. that's why it makes it so unlikely in the minds of some anyway, that we would have a
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finality to this case this month, the month of december, not to mention the holiday coming up. but making january, along with some other information we developed, seem more and more likely. >> now, there's going to be a lot of interest in your story, brian. you say multiple sources. can you tell us how high up? i mean, give us some kind of where this kind of information may be coming from. >> reporter: pretty high up in my book. but al, you know that game. >> i've got to try, brian, i've got to try. >> reporter: i was admiring you actually for that. it's a pretty good effort. but let's just say they're all extremely good sources, and i feel confident in the information that they're telling me. otherwise, i never would have stuck my neck out like this. >> and again, i can't get you to
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say, do you know any potential names, anyone that worked in the governor's office? >> let's put it this way, al. i know the names of several people and they are the names that have been out there. i think for legal purposes, it's just not my place to name names. >> so you're not going to name names, but they are names that have been out there? >> they are names that have been out there. some are familiar to folks, and some are not quite so familiar. quite frankly, not familiar at all even to people who give some following to this story. they're fairly obscure in the pecking order, but they have been in the public record. every one of these names that i'm aware of, has been in the public record. >> we put up a graph of a lot of the names around this. we're not saying that we know these are the names. but these are names and faces of people that have popped up all
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the way through this. brian, stand by. because i want to bring in new jersey democratic assembleman john wisniewsky who has been leading the investigation in the state house. what's your response to the news about possible indictments? >> well, certainly it's one of the events that anyone who's been following this investigation, or mr. fishman's investigation has always said, when the u.s. attorney returns indictments, and so this may be an episode that changes the dynamic here. the question that we all have to ask ourselves, we've heard stories before about impending actions and those haven't panned out. so all we can do is wait and see what ultimately comes of this. >> now, your assemblyman, did not find any direct link to the governor?
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>> i want to be clear. what our investigation determined is that we don't have enough information to determine whether the governor knew or did not know. we don't have enough information to determine whether the governor was or was not involved. and so your opening statement about this report, in some ways, clears the governor is premature. what we've said is because we haven't been able to interview a number of key players, we can't make that decision. >> why have you been unable? because they're under subpoena to the u.s. attorney or something else? >> our concern has always been that if we bring them in front of our committee, it might have some effect on the work that the u.s. attorney's office is doing. and we did not want to be in that posture of having any negative impact on their work. we'll let the u.s. attorney do their law enforcement investigation. to the extent we can conduct our work simultaneously, we did that. but for a couple of key witnesses, they have made the request of our committee, which
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we're honored, that we not intrude to their territory until they've completed their work. so obviously, if the story that brian's talking about, turns out to happen in january, that probably would signal, at least a point in time when the committee could one again start looking at asking some of these individuals questions. >> but at this point you have found nothing that could directly link the governor. let me ask you this. in light of the indictments possible in january, have you come up with any illegal or criminal activities by any of the former aides or any of the port authority employees? >> well, you know, our focus has been about how this could happen, not about whether laws were broken. that's the province of the u.s. attorney's office and potentially the attorney general. so we've really tried to focus on how we can structurally fix the port authority. how they could abuse it. how this abuse of power could happen. obviously we know that bridgit
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kelly sought to have an e-mail erased. that raises some questions. but that's a question for law enforcement to deal with, not for the legislature. >> all right, assemblyman john wisniewsky and wnbc's brian, thanks for your time tonight. >> faith, what is your reaction to this report? >> well, according to brian's report, possible charges could relate to an apparent conspiracy to cover up. what that generally involves is an attempt to conceal evidence or wrongdoing. so if this does pan out and there are actual indictments issued in january, you could be looking at obstruction of justice charges or perjury charges. >> on a federal level? >> right. >> and that's pretty serious. >> the difference between state and federal, when someone gets arrested or even investigated by
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the feds, you start singing. in state conspiracy cases, it's very different. often people will go to trial. in these cases, it sounds like the multiple sources that brian's referring to, that are not well known are probably the port authority officials and the ones that may be well known may be the aides. but it is fair to assume -- >> or former aides. >> former aides, sorry. >> but let's not speculate. >> everybody snitches with the feds, you have to, or you take a plea and go to jail. nobody can go to jail with this type of evidence. >> so you think the purpose of indicting them is to get them to talk? >> or, they have gone through the process to get their plea. before they're formally indicted, they are brought in, there's proffer sessions where they offer information and they work a deal. or they can charge you afterwards, pursuant to a deal. also, the key with christie --
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>> well, they accused some people of talking, they fabricate some talking. so it doesn't happen all the time. >> sometimes, rev. >> if the federal government moves forward with indictments that means they have pretty significant evidence against the individuals involved, if this pans out. and you have to be careful about speculating further than that as to what that evidence is. but if they move forward with indictments, that means that they feel very confident about their cases -- >> or that they've made a deal, you go through the indictment -- >> right, and go through the process. >> very interesting. faith and seema, thank you for your time tonight. we'll be staying on this story. we'll be right back. alright, so this tylenol arthritis lasts 8 hours, but aleve can last 12 hours...
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we're back with "conversation nation." joining me tonight, democratic strategist tara daddel, huffpost live host josh zepps and's liz plank. thank you for being here tonight. we got our brand new conversation -- >> like it. >> looks fancy. >> it's a cover-up. our big topic tonight, the breaking news from the bridgegate scandal. wnbc reporting former aides of governor chris christie could face indictments as soon as next month. the governor himself is not a target, but could this breaking news affect his presidential ambitions? terry, you worked for the previous governor of new jersey,
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so you know the area as well as you know politics. could this hurt government christie, even though he's not directly a target? >> i think with the new information it could hurt him. because with the indictments that are coming down, as was mentioned in your earlier segment, people could say that he knew. they could try to cut a deal and reveal information to save themselves. >> the committee saying today they have no evidence that he did know. >> that's because there's no pressure from the state committee. because the attorney general's office in new jersey, the attorney general, which is the head prosecutor for the state of new jersey, is appointed by the governor. so there's not a lot of teeth in what the state committee was doing. but what the federal government was doing. they're going to be indicting people. now things are getting real. and the other dynamic, i think, for governor christie in this situation is the headline risk. so the more this story comes out as a constant reminder and these
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investigations, these indictments, these charges, they take a long time to develop. so if things start to unfold around the hype of the presidential election, that could have an impact because his opponents will use that against him. >> josh, big picture, it brings the story back. he's done a lot of work to put the story behind him. it brings the story back into the picture, i should say. will it hurt him? >> well, remember, it's a long way off from november 2016. he still has time. i think the evidence is circumstantial, but it's overwhelming. it's implausible to imagine the three under him, david wildstein who he hand picked to be his guy, these people who were so close to him did this without his knowledge. he had no idea, not a clue. he didn't see a thing, he knew nothing about it. it doesn't pass the bs test. >> we say smell.
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>> i can spell out the actual word. but i don't think we'll find any more evidence that links him to it because he's too shrewd. so the question is, how long will it be drawn out? how dirty will it get? >> maybe he didn't do it, liz. maybe he really didn't know. or maybe one of these witnesses turn. we don't know. >> but what do we know about chris christie? when is he is the news? when there's news about bridgegate, which is bad. when he's yelling at a heckler, which is bad. and on every other big issue, he hasn't said anything. he's not pronounced his opinions on this. so from what we do know about chris christie, it looks bad. >> whoa whoa whoa whoa -- >> it already did look bad. >> on the other hand, yes, he does get a lot of bad publicity. look at the polls. the latest polling averages christie against the gop field for 2016. jeb bush leads with 14.3%. paul ryan, 11.2, then chris
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christie and rand paul ti, tied 10.8%. he's right in the top three category. >> i would argue that's because he hasn't been attacked yet. >> all that bridgegate stuff for months -- >> he can't truly been attacked in the context of the 2016 presidential election. when people are paying attention, when people are focused. and there is no way people want this bad, this is the plum, these guys have been fighting for this their whole life. so the notion that they're not going to dig up more dirt on him and leak things through opposition research, when this stuff gets tight, that's going to happen. and this investigation, these indictments are just giving them such low-think hanging fruit. >> and i think it always matters who is doing the attacking. it's one thing from the left wing, and it's another thing with the republicans do it. remember, the very best interpretation for him, the best
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argument, he can make, i'm such an incompetent leader, i had no idea this was going on. that's the best case scenario. worst case scenario, he's corrupt. >> he's a liar. >> so he could be damaged -- >> it's too early to say. it could blow over, i'm agnostic on this one. >> his ratings have been up and down in national polling. 33% viewed him positively. then january of this year, after the bridgegate news, his positive rating dropped to 22% and his negative climbed to 29. liz, but in november, his positive rating went back up to 29, negative held steady at 29. so he's on the rise, at least until brian came with the story. >> and this is before there were any indictments. so i would love to see what his approval ratings will be over
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the weekend or even monday when all of this is coming out in the news cycle again. i think these numbers are going to be very different. >> i've got to leave it there. i want to thank this great panel. you're the first ones to naugerate my "hide the socks" table. we'll be right back. introducing... a pm pain reliever that dares to work all the way until... the am. new aleve pm the only one to combine a safe sleep aid plus the 12 hour strength of aleve.
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protests are going on around the country. new york, massachusetts, washington. people peacefully coming out, standing up, saying that we want to see change in the criminal justice system. this eric garner grand jury decision, right after the michael brown decision, has put a lot of people into the streets, in a peaceful way, concerned about the country. and they continue to plan all through the weekend. a national march next saturday. people saying, we can and we
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must do better. that passion, and that concern and that rising to the occasion is something that has always led america toward positive change. let's not forget, there wouldn't have been new laws for women without a women's movement. there wouldn't have been new laws for civil rights, without a civil rights movement. change comes when people stand up and stand up like we're seeing tonight, and we've seen over the last several days, across racial lines, across age and generational differences, across economic lines, and say, we have seen enough, we want to see change. but the real challenge is to turn passion of the rallies into lasting change. and one year ago today, we lost a man who knew better than anybody how to make it happen.
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nelson mandela was a freedom fighter and a man of peace, who helped free south africa from apartheid. and inspired billions of people all across the world. but it didn't happen overnight. mandela spent nearly a third of his life, 27 years, as a prisoner of apartheid. but he never gave up. and when he finally was released from prison, he knew it was the beginning of the fight, not the end. >> -- has reached a decisive moment. we call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. to relax our efforts now would
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be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. >> mandela never relaxed in his fight, and neither can we. he talked about a long journey, a long road to freedom. it's not a short expeditious trip. it's a long road, but the end is where we all need to get. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. choosing sides. let's play "hardball." ♪ ♪ >> good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. the news tonight is the unifying power of that videotape. the word keeps coming from conservatives and progressives, from white and black, that something deadly wrong took place on


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