Skip to main content

tv   MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall  MSNBC  January 16, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST

8:00 am
tamron hall. >> many say they will follow john lewis's lead and not attend trump's inauguration following his statement that trump is not a legitimate president due to russia's interference in the election. i'll be joined by a members of congress who says he is skipping the inauguration and we will bring you congressman lewis's comments live from miami at the event we've been talking about all morning long. and insurance for everybody, donald trump telling "the washington post" in a new interview he is close to unveiling his own health care proposal, not providing any specifics just yet, other than saying it will be simpler and less expensive and in his word, much better. though not specific, what he is saying does counter what many republicans say they will support. in and loretta lynch will join me to discuss her civil rights legacy, the call for more investigations into russia's
8:01 am
interference in our election and how donald trump's pick for attorney general could affect brutality cases, including the case of eric garner. good morning, i'm tamron hall. four days until donald trump is sworn into as president. 26 democratic members of congress say they'll join john lewis in boycotting the inauguration. congressman lewis told chuck todd he doesn't see the president-elect as a legitimate president because of the interference from russia in the election. here's what incoming white house press secretary sean spicer told me on the "today" show this morning. >> congressman lewis started this with your own chuck todd by
8:02 am
saying that the election was illegitima illegitimate. >> now they are saying john lewis started it and that is their justification for some of the comments coming from the leader of the free world. now we'll bring congressman lewis live to you in this hour. let's get to kristen welker. she joins us live from trump tower here in new york. a lot to cover. you heard the interview this morning from sean spicer. the follow-up question i had to him was that donald trump in the last 24 hours has gone after of all things again "saturday night live" and then accused the current head of the cia of possibly being the leaker this information in this russian
8:03 am
document. >> reporter: right. i think what you're seeing is president-elect trump, just as he was as a candidate, does not shy away from a battle. you're right. he's opening up all of those new battle lines, including with the outgoing cia director john brennan, both he and president obama have urged president-elect trump to close this gap with the intelligence community because they argue it's really critical to national security. but going back to that mounting feud with civil rights icon congressman john lewis, the backlash has been fierce really from both sides. you have, as you pointed out, sean spicer saying, look, lewis started this, vice president elect mike pence calling on congressman lewis to retract the statements, saying they're dangerous and damaging but a lot of democrats are backing up congressman lewis, more than 20 democrats saying they're going
8:04 am
to boycott the inauguration. take a listen to what congressman cummings had to say earlier this morning on "morning joe." >> kristen, it appears we don't have that sound. congressman elijah cummings basically calling on the president-elect perhaps to meet with congressman lewis. >> reporter: that's right. essentially making the argument that we've heard from a number of other democrats who say, look, mr. trump is the president-elect and so it is incumbent upon him to really extend the olive branch, to try to close this gap. and i think, tamron, if you put this into a broader context, it highlights some of the challenges that president-elect has had in terms of reaching out to the african-american community. of course it's striking because it comes on this day when we do commemorate martin luther king jr. and all of his service and sacrifice. the president-elect will be
8:05 am
meeting with his son, martin luther king iii. he's also tweeting today, let me read you this tweet. he said "celebrate martin luther king day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for, honor him for being the great man that he was." so really trying to shift the tone as he continues to have this back and forth with the civil rights icon, tamron. >> again, going back to this intelligence community versus donald trump at issue here, it's four days. you're going in with the president-elect swinging the same way we watched throughout the primary, throughout the general election. is his team saying any more about how they are going into this transfer of power and how the president elect is handling it all from that building behind you? >> reporter: well, it's such a great question, tamron, because behind the scenes you have transition officials insisting that the president-elect does have the utmost respect for the intelligence community, and yet of course publicly you continue to see this war of words.
8:06 am
so up get the sense that some of his top transition officials really want to smooth this over, that they understand that it could complicate his efforts at national security and working with the intelligence community. and you really have bipartisan calls for the president-elect to end this feud that he's having with the intelligence community, to stop blaming them for leaking information about them, which they have insisted, fbi director james comey has insisted did not happen. there is a strong pushback. i think you're seeing from within his own team is an effort to try to smooth this rift. >> joining me now, congressman mark tankano from plachlt, who will not attend the inauguration in their support for john lewis. thank you for your i'ur time. >> good morning, tamron.
8:07 am
>> what are your thoughts specifically on that? >> well, specifically i believe technically and legally donald trump was elected by our electoral college, as set forth by our constitution, in spite of the fact that hillary clinton won 3 million more votes than donald trump. but from a moral standing, a moral stature, a moral authority, donald trump has tainted his own election and his own transfer of power by his continued bad conduct. he's simply not behaving the way a president-elect should behave, attacking a civil rights icon on the weekend of martin luther king celebration is certainly not a way a president should be behaving. he should not be behaving as a twitter bully, saying patently
8:08 am
untrue things about john lewis. look, a president needs more than a technical win in the electoral college to lead this country. he needs a certain amount of moral stature, moral authority and moral authority is exactly what john lewis possesses in spades over donald trump. donald trump has a deficit in this area. he has attacked a gold star family, attacked a mexican american judge and now he's gone after someone who has put his life on the line on behalf of civil rights. donald trump shows no sense of understanding of that civil rights history. and it's exemplified by how he's behaved. >> and certainly not to diminish the moral standard here and all of the sacrifices made by congressman john lewis, an icon in every right, going back to the core of the issue here, the congressman took this stand not because he personally disliked
8:09 am
donald trump or decided to continue to run a laundry list of some of the offensive things that the president-elect has said out of his own mouth, he took this stance out of concern that a foreign power, a foreign entity, interfered in our nation's election and potentially impacted hillary clinton's campaign. >> well, he did cite that as a reas reason, as a central reason, however, i believe i'm standing with john lewis for, i believe, not greater reasons but -- look, i think john lewis is standing up at this moment citing possible russian influence, just pointing to the particularly unusual, abnormal circumstances under which donald trump is assuming office. we can't pretend that this is a normal transition, a normal way of a person campaigning for
8:10 am
office and the way that donald trump is conducting himself is just not what i think most americans expect of a president. >> i interviewed the incoming white house press secretary morning and asked him about this. his response was that congressman john lewis, quote, started it. i then said to him, this sounds like something a parent would say when you walk in a room and a lamp is turned over, what happened, kids? well, he or she started it. what does that do to your confidence or lack thereof, when you hear the piece who aeople w mouth piece for this president, well, "congressman john lewis started it." >> resorting to a very feeble defense to say they started it. donald trump is going to be the president of the united states with immense power, immense authority, with influence to
8:11 am
make judgments about security briefings from our intelligence officials. he is doing and saying things which i, frankly, think that ought to concern republicans and i believe that i know, i've had certain private conversations that republicans are also concerned. >> so you've had private conversations and i'm not asking you to name names, privately with republicans who have expressed concern about the president-elect? >> during the campaign, one member called him a disgrace, to my face. we are going to go through the motions and forms and if you excuse me, the use of kabuki theater, of the ceremonies -- >> congressman, i've got to interrupt you for great reason. congressman john lewis is now speaking at a breakfast honoring martin luther king. it's the first public comments since donald trump's twitter attacks. let's listen in. >> good morning. thank you so much for those kind words of introduction.
8:12 am
thank you, congresswoman wilson, for inviting a poor boy from georgia, who was born and reared in rural alabama, to come to the state of florida, to the beautiful city of miami. i'm delighted, very happy and very pleased to be here. i've prepared a speech, but i'm not going to use it. i've been deeply inspired by being here. senator rubio, thank you, thank you for being here. senator nelson, to all of the honorable elected officials, the mayors, members of the school boa board, to all of the young
8:13 am
people, the role models, the lawyers, the doctors, the teachers, thank you for finding a way to get in the way. thank you for standing up, thank you for speaking up, thank you for being role models for these beautiful, handsome young men. [ applause ] i feel more than lucky, i feel honored and blessed to serve in a house of representatives, to serve in a congress as your elected official. but to the in the presence of senator rubio and senator nelson and my good friend and sister congresswoman wilson, sometime on a wednesday i come without a
8:14 am
red tie on and she said, john, where's your red tie? i said i just didn't wear it today. she said, "i'm going to get you another red tie." so i have another red tie. thank you. i will have one from now on. thank you. thank you for all that you do. young men, i grew up very, very poor in rural alabama, 50 miles from montgomery, outside of a little town called troy. my father was a share cropper, a farmer. back in 1944 when i was 4 years old and i do remember when i was 4 -- how many of you remember when you were 4? what happened to the rest of us? my father has saved $300 and a man sold him 110 acres of land.
8:15 am
we still own this land today. [ applause ] on this farm we raised a lot of cotton and corn, lots of peanuts. i don't eat too many peanuts today. doesn't tell the people in georgia where we raise a lot of peanuts, i ate so many peanuts when i was growing you, i just don't want to see anymore peanuts. sometimes i would be out there working in the field, picking cotton, gathering peanuts, pulling corn. my mother would say, "boy, you're falling behind, you need to catch up." and i would say, "this is hard work, this is hard work." and she would say, "hard never work never killed anybody." and i said "it's about to kill me." when i was a little child when i was growing up, my mother made me what we call a book bag. we didn't have backpacks.
8:16 am
we'd get up early in the morning, put my papers and books in my book bags and hide out on the front porch and wait for the school bus to come up the hill. when i heard the school bus coming up, i would run out and get on the school bus and go off to school rather than to the field to work. i had a wonderful uncle, one of my mother's brothers, who told me to get an education. he inspired me. he went in the military and s d served and came back, finished college and became a high school principal. he taught me. i had a wonderful teacher who told me in school, "read, my child, read." and i tried to read everything. on the farm it was my
8:17 am
responsibility to care for the chickens. your congresswoman has heard me tell this story from time to time. i fell in love with raising chickens. i know some of you like chickens, right? we had eggs for breakfast, right? the eggs come from the chickens, right? but as a little boy, i fell in love with raising chickens. any of you know anything about raising chickens? one young person there. thank you, young brother. when they were set, i had to take the fresh eggs, mark them with a pencil and set them under the setting hen and wait three weeks for them to hatch. some say why would you mark them with a pencil?
8:18 am
well, from time to time another hen would get on the same nest and you had to tell the fresh eggs from those already under the setting hen. do you follow me? when the little chicks would hatch, sometimes i would cheat on these setting hens. when i look back, it was not it right thing to do, it was not the moral thing to do, it was not the loving thing to do, it was not the most violent thing to do but i was never able to save $9.18 and order the most inexpensive incubator. now young man, you're not old enough to remember the sears roebuck store, some people call it the wish book, i washi hish that this, i wish i had that.
8:19 am
but at an 8-year-old child, i wanted to be a minister. i wanted to preach the gospel. santa claus brought me a bible. from time to time with the help of my sisters and cousins, we would gather all of our chickens together in the chicken yard, as you're gathered here in this room. and the chickens would gather in the chicken yard but my brothers and sisters and cousins would go outside around the chicken yard and i would start speaking, preaching to the chickens. and when i look back on it, some of the chickens would bow their aheads, some chickens would shake their heads. they never said amen but they tended to listen to me better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the congress. senator rubio is an exception. your congresswoman wilson is an exception. and i tell you, those chicken
8:20 am
inspired me because they listen. listen to your teachers. listen to your mothers and fathers. and be the best you can be. when i finished high school in may of 1957, 17 years old, i wanted to go off to college. there was a little college ten miles from my home called troy state college, now known as troy university. submit an application, my high school transcript. i never heard a word from the college. but long before 1957, in 1955, heard that rosa park, heard of martin luther king jr. 1957 i met rosa parks. so because i didn't hear from this school, i wrote a letter to
8:21 am
dr. martin luther king jr. i didn't tell my mother, my father, any of my sisters or brothers, any of my teachers. i told dr. king i needed his help. he invited me to come to montgomery to meet with him. in the meantime, i had been accepted at a little college in nashville, tennessee, where i spent six years studying at american baptist college and fish university. so after being in nashville for about three weeks, as a matter of fact an uncle of mine before i went to nashville gave me a $100 bill, gave me a footlocker, one of these big upright trunks, put my books, my clothing, everything except those chickens in that footlocker and took a
8:22 am
greyhound bus to nashville, tennessee to study. i told one of my teachers that i'd been in contact with dr. martin luther king jr. this teacher knew dr. king. they studied together at moorehouse college in atlanta. he informed dr. king that i was there. martin luther king jr. got back in touch with me and suggested when i was home for spring break to come and see him. a saturday morning in march of 1958 i boarded a bus, traveled from troy to montgomery and a young lawyer, young african-american lawyer by the name of fred gray, who was a lawyer for rosa parks, for dr. king and the montgomery movement met me at the greyhound bus station and drove me to the first baptist church in downtown montgomery, pass by the reverend's house in abernathy
8:23 am
and ushered me into the church. i saw martin luther king jr. and dr. abernathy standing behind the desk. and dr. king said are you john lewis? are you the boy from troy? i said, dr. king, i'm dr. robert lewis. and he called me "the boy from troy." he told me, he said, john as you attempt to condition your efforts to enter troy state, your parents could lose their land, your home could be bombed or burned, something to happen to you. but if you want to go, we will support you. go back home and have a discussion with your mother and with your father. my mother was so afraid, my
8:24 am
father was so afraid that they could lose the land, home could be burned or bombed so i continued to study in nashville. and it was in nashville, tennessee that dr. king would come and speak, rosa parks would come and speak, thurgood marshall would come and speak at fish university and others. and i got to know these individuals. and one day on fish university campus, congressman wilson walking across the campus and dr. deboys was on the calmmpus. being there inspired me to stand up, to speak up and to speak out with a group of students from fish university, tennessee state, from vanderbilt and
8:25 am
peabody and skerritt and american baptist, we starrted studying the philosophy of peace and nonviolence and started sitting in in restaurants to desegregate those places. when i was growing up and you would go downtown to see a movies, all of the black children went upstairs to the balcony and all the white children went downstairs. i kept asking why? they say that's the way it is, don't get in the way, don't get in trouble. so in nashville, yes, i did get in trouble opinion i stood up, i spoke up, i got arrested. and i say to you now when they told news nashville if we
8:26 am
continue to sit in, you may get arrested. i didn't have much money but i wanted to look clean if i was going to go to jail. i wanted to look like some young men called -- i wanted to look fresh. i wanted to look sharp. so i went downtown to a used men's store and bought a suit. a used suit. a vest came with it. and if you have an opportunity to come to washington and visit my congressional office, in the office is a large photograph of me being arrested for the first time. and i did look fresh. i did look clean. i did look sharp. [ applause ] so just think a few short years ago in the nation's capitol, in
8:27 am
washington, d.c., black people and white people, people of color couldn't be seated together on the bus leaving the nation's capital. to travel through virginia, north carolina, south carolina, georgia, alabama, mississippi, we were on our way to new orleans to test a decision of the united states supreme court. well, on the way we were beaten and jailed. this is may 1961. my se on that trip was a young white gentleman. we arrived in a little town called rock hill, south carolina, and tried to enter a so-called white waiting room. a group from the klan attacked us and left us lying in a pool
8:28 am
of blood. many years later to be exact, in february '09, one of the men that had beaten us came to my capitol hill office, he was in his 70s with his son in his 40s and he said, mr. lieu. >> randy: -- mr. lewis, i was one of the people that beat you and your seatmate, was a member of the klan and i want to apologize. will you forgive me? and i said, sir, i accept your apolog apology, i forgive you. his son start crying, he start crying. they hugged me. i hugged them back. and i started crying. it is the power of the way of peace, the way of love, as
8:29 am
dr. martin luther king jr. said, hate is too heavy a burden to bear. and i said to you as young men, the future leaders of this state, the future leader of this nation, the future leader of the world, you must never, ever hate. the way of love is a better way. the way of peace is a better way. so i say to you as role models never give up, never give in. stand up. speak up. when you see something that is not right and not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something and not be quiet. [ applause ] yeah, we have come a distance. we made a lot of progress as a nation and as a people, but we're not there yet.
8:30 am
the scars and stains of racism are deeply embedded in american society. we must not be at peace with ourselves as a nation until we have the change that dr. king dreamed of. if it hadn't been for martin luther king jr., i don't know where i'd be. i could still be in usually alabama preaching to chickens. had it not been for martin luther king jr., i wouldn't be a member of the house of representatives since 1987. he freed us. he helped liberate us to make our nation a better place, to make our world a better place. when we were planning a march on washington in 1963, there was a man by the name of afila
8:31 am
randolph, a native of this state, born in jacksonville, florida, moved to new york city and became a champion of civil rights, human rights and labor rights and mr. randolph would say over and over again as we met, he would say brethren, maybe our foremothers and forefathers all came to this great land in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now. dr. king would put it another way. it doesn't matter whether we're black or white, whether we're latino, asian-american or native american we are one people, we are one family, we all live in the same house, the american house, and we must look out for each other. he said if not, we will perish as fools. so i say to you, as we pause and remember martin luther king jr., you must do your best.
8:32 am
stay in school. study. read. a wonderful teacher told me read, my child, read, my child. and i tried to read everything. when i was growing up, we were too poor to have a subscription to the local newspaper, but my grandfather had one and each day he would pass it on to us. you're more than lucky. you're blessed. we hadn't heard of the internet. facebook? what is that? we didn't have cellular telephone. we had a party line. had to wait till somebody else got off the line. so use the instrument, use the
8:33 am
tools, use your education! get to know other role models. thank your teachers. when i see law enforcement individuals, police officers, i say thank you for your service. when i see the tsa representatives, i say thank you for your services. they have on badges. it's hard to say to our teachers sometimes thank you when you see them on the street, see them in the store. they don't wear a uniform. say thank you to your teachers. say thank you to your parents. say thank you to people who are trying to help you. let me close by saying we all
8:34 am
must become participants in the democratic process. when you get hold enough to register to vote, go and register and vote. [ applause ] the vote is precious. it is almost sacred. it is the most powerful non-violent instrument or tool that we have in a democratic society, and we must use it. just think, a few short years ago, especially here in american south, people tried to make it harder and difficult for people to register to vote. in my native state of alabama and in places like georgia, sometimes people ask the count
8:35 am
the number of jelly beans in a jar. people in selma, alabama and other parts of the south stood in what i call an unmovable line. there were high school principals, college professors, lawyers and doctors were told they could not read or write well enough. the only time that someone could even attempt to register to vote in selma, alabama, were the first and third mondays of each month. we had to change that. and i spoke at the march on washington on august 28, 1963, i was 23 years old, had all of my hair and a few pounds lighter. i said one person, one vote. that day when the march was all over, president kennedy invited us down to the white house. he stood in the door of the oval
8:36 am
office greeting each one of us. he kept saying you did a good job, you did a good job, and when he got to dr. martin luther king jr., he said you did a good job and you had a dream. that was my last time seeing the president. he was assassinated on november 22nd, 1963. but 18 days after the march on washington, there was a terrible bombing of a church in birmingham where four little girls were killed on a sunday morning. that inspired us more than anything else to go to selma and intensify efforts. there were black lawyers and black doctors and black teachers that had been trying to register for many, many years. we would go down there, stand in line. the sheriff would push us, arrest us, take us to jail. we come back over and over again. we got the civil rights act passed in 1964.
8:37 am
president johnson signed it into law. dr. king met with him and said, mr. president, we need a voting exact signed. the president just said i just signed a civil rights act. we don't have the votes in congress to get a voter rights act passed, if you want it, make me do it. so we intensified our efforts in selma. on sunday, march 7, 1965, a group of us, about 600 of us, left the brown chapel ame church to walk 50 miles from selma to montgomery, to dramatize to the nation and to the world that people of color wanted to register to vote. there were young children, young men and young women your age walking with us, older people, 75, 80 and 90 who had been waiting to register to vote. we were walking in a peaceful, orderly, non-violent fashion.
8:38 am
i was wearing a backpack before it became fashionable to wear backpacks. in this backpack i had two books. i thought we were going to be arrested and go to jail so i wanted to have something to read while i was in jail. i had one apple and one orange. i wanted to have something to eat when i was in jail. since i thought i would be in jail with my friends and colleagues, i wanted to be able to brush my teeth so i had toothpaste and tooth brush. we get to the highest point on the bridge crossing the alabama river, a young man from the dr. king organization walking beside me said, john, can you swim? i said no, what about you, jose, jose william? he said a little, john. i said, well, that's too much water down there. we're not going to jump, we're
8:39 am
going forward. and we continued to walk and we saw hundreds, members of the state troopers. and behind the state trooper was the sheriff posse. we came within a hearing distance of the state troopers. a man spoke up and said i'm major john claude of the state troopers, this is unlawful march, i'll give you three minute to disperse to your homes and your church. jose said, major, give us a moment to kneel and pray. he said troopers advance, troopers advance. i said, major, may i have a word? he said there will be no word. the troopers came toward us beating us with whips, night
8:40 am
sticks, i was hit in the head by a state trooper with a night stick, the first one to be hit. knocked down, my knees went from under me. i thought i saw death. i thought i was going down that bridge. i thought it was my last non-violent protest. i made it back to the church. i don't know how i made it back. thousands of people trying to get in the church, more than 2,000 vooutside trying to get i and someone asked me to say something to the audience and i stood up and said something like i don't understand it, how president johnson can sent troops to vietnam and cannot send troops to selma, alabama to protect people whose only desire is to register to vote.
8:41 am
the next thing i know i was admitted to a little hospital called the good samaritan hospital, where a group of nuns took care of us. and if it hadn't been for those nuns, i don't know what would have happened to many of us. that was on a sunday evening. early that monday morning, martin luther king jr., someone i love and admired, was my hero, came to my bedside and said, john, don't worry, we're going to make it from selma to montgomery. he said i'm calling on religious leaders to come to selma, and on that tuesday, march 9th, more than a thousand ministers, rabbis, priests and nuns came to
8:42 am
selma and walked across the bridge. was still in the hospital. but a few days later, i was up and i went into federal court where dr. king and reverend abernathy and attorney general fred gray testified before federal jury, a young man franklin johnson had been appointed to the bench by president eisenhower. this jury did the right thing. his home had to be guarded around the clock, the fbi had to guard the home of his mother in downtown montgomery because they were threatened. he had the courage to stand up. so i say to you young man, you must have courage, you must be bold, and never, ever give up when you know that you're right.
8:43 am
be brave. you've been trained to get a great and good education. people expect you to get out there. you can become lawyers, doctors, scientists. maybe one day one of you will be a mayor, a city council person, a great teacher, a member of the house, a member of the senate, governor of the state, maybe president of the united states of america. dream, dreams and never, ever give up on your dreams! [ applause ] i close by saying thank you.
8:44 am
i wish you well. just go for it. just go for it! people all over this city, all over this state, all over this nation are pulling for you. stay away from violence. as i said earlier, never hate. the way of love is a better way. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> listening to congressman john lewis at a scholarship luncheon in miami. senator marco rubio there as well, as well as senator bill nelson. obviously an inspirational speech from this iconic figure in american history, civil rights icon on this martin luther king jr. day, providing a lesson of hope and inspiration to the young men in that audience, telling his story from being a child in alabama on to where he is now as a member of
8:45 am
congress. no reference to donald trump in the back and forth with the president elect that started a few days ago when our own chuck todd spoke with congressman lewis and at that time the congressman said he does not believe that donald trump is a legitimate present. donald trump took to twitter to attack the civil rights icon saying he was all talk and no action, some believe he was unaware of congressman's background. nevertheless, no reference at this dinner. coming up, though, attorney general loretta lynch's final exit interview. we'll get her thoughts on the future of civil rights in this country and the incoming administration. it's her final exit interview right after the break. 100% of our food is 100% clean. no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors.
8:46 am
panera. food as it should be.
8:47 am
i am totally blind. i lost my sight in afghanistan. if you're totally blind, you may also be struggling with non-24. calling 844-844-2424. or visit
8:48 am
there's no doubt that we
8:49 am
face real and difficult obstacles in our ongoing quest for a more just and united future, but if there's one lesson that we can draw, that we must draw from the life and legacy of dr. martin luther king jr., it is that adversity is not a cause for despair, it's a call to action. a call to action. >> that of course was attorney general loretta lynch giving her final speech as attorney general yesterday at the 16th street baptist church in birmingham, alabama. it was the site of a kkk bombing that took the lives of four young girls in 1963 and has been a rallying point for the civil rights movement ever since. the attorney general's tenure was an historic high point for the movement. she is the first african-american woman to hold the post and since she was sworn in on april 27th, 2015. she was committed the justice department to a range of civil rights challenges, including police brutality cases across the country and mass shootings that were unmistakably hate
8:50 am
crimes in charleston and orlando. when the trump administration takes office, she will likely relinquish her supposed to jeff interview in office the 83rd and current attorney general of the united states loretta lynch. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you for having me, tamron. >> i'm not sure if you had a chance to hear congressman lewis, spooking in miami, we were carrying his speech life. he referenced obviously where you were yesterday the church that changed the trajectory of his life and made him the civil rights icon he would ultimately become. looking at the legacy of the obama administration tied into your own history in this country, what do you see as that legacy? >> i think john lewis said it so well when he talked about the living history that he represents. john lewis represents the civil rights movement of that day, of the intervening years and of today. but he also represents the fact that the movement is just that. it's composed of people,
8:51 am
ordinary people, young people who come together who find a cause, and have put their shoulder to the wheel and they work for that cause. that's the lesson of his life. it's certainly the lesson of dr. king's life. i was honored to be at 16th street baptist church yesterday, which has just also been named part of the newest national monument, in the national park service but it's a living monument. it's an active church, it's a working church so it encompasses history but it also carries the message that the work is going on today and it has to go on into the future. >> let's talk about some of the work that continues, of course, it's your role as attorney general, i was planning to speak today with democratic congressman brad sherman of california, he's a member of the foreign affairs committee and sent a letter to you, asking for a special counsel to cil appoin investigate russia's
8:52 am
interference in the election. will you be able to do that? >> right now the matter is being handled by the career agents lawyers and the department of justice and the bureau. i have the utmost confidence in them. of course, as we all know, the intelligence community is also reviewing this matter and looking into it as well. so i'm confident that we do have the professionals who are looking at this. >> you mentioned the word confident, as you well know, there are many who don't have confidence in the intelligence agency, the fbi specifically and director comey. are you confident at this point that director comey and members of the agency have acted in a non-partisan manner throughout the investigation of hillary clinton's emails, and the possible investigation of russia's interference in this election? >> well i've worked with dedicated agents of the fbi for a number of years. i've also known director comey for a number of years and i think when you look at the body of their work and how they've comported themselves over the
8:53 am
years, that's why i do have confidence in both the agency and the leadership of it. >> 22 days before the election he said they had to look at emails found on anthony weiner's laptop. did you advise director comey to write that letter? >> this matter was discussed vigorously at the highest levels of the department, that does include me. my views were known to the director. beyond that we don't comment on the internal discussions and the director has spoken about that so i'll let his words stand. >> obviously it will go on to the next incarnation of your incredible career, but four days before this, while you may have confidence in the agency questioning the very core of it, have david korn from "mother jones" msnbc contributor says donald trump may have been compromised by russia. from this intelligence agent from the uk.
8:54 am
according to that individual, he turned over information and was unsure how the fbi was handling it. and when you look at how the fbi chose to handle the investigation of hillary clinton, the secretary of state, versus what we don't still know about a possible investigation into a foreign country interfering in our election, does that ring, does that represent the department of justice and the agency? does that represent what you believe is right to the american people? >> i think it represents the work that's done and how it's carried out. in most instances people never hear about the investigations that we do. obviously the clinton email was one that garnered a great deal of attention and public atension of course and attention from the press, so much more was heard about that and known about that than ordinarily would have been. and so i know when people contrast that with how we handle other matters where they don't hear that, they're going to be confused. they may not understand that in fact it's really the norm not to have that kind of comment.
8:55 am
>> but the norm seemed to go out the window when the fbi director took extraordinary measures just days before the election. you have members of the clinton team who still believe that there was a clear difference in how the agency chose to handle, from the press conference, to the letter, to us only now learning some of these details that have been floating around the intelligence agency regarding the man who will be our next president, potentially compromised. why not handle these investigations equally by delivering the american people the information on both or neither. >> well, i think when you have matters that are still ongoing, i think and i hope that everyone could understand the need for a confidentiality and to not discuss those matters, and with regard to the review of how the fbi handled their disclosures and discussions, we look forward to the review by the inspector general, so that's going to happen as well, and all that will be looked at. >> let's go back to the day in
8:56 am
june, the much reported meeting between you and bill clinton. you talked about it many times now, in reflection in this final exit interview. what would you have done differently that day? >> well as i said, i viewed it as a courtesy meeting, one of many that i had over the years in my time here in office, and other times, and certainly i wouldn't have viewed it in that light so i've said that before, and i would still hold to that. >> you've talked a lot also about police brutality and your concern regarding some key investigations. i know that during your tenure, you called for an investigation, a review of the death of eric garner, the new york man who was choked on video. we've not seen a conclusion of that investigation. the timing was not on your side, necessarily, but here this now potentially turns over to the next attorney general jeff sessions who expressed concern about police being judged unfairly and publicly wary of some of these investigations. what does that mean for your legacy, the message that you are
8:57 am
sending to the general public, who are concerned about police brutality investigations when this case was a man on tape being choked. >> i think when you talk about legacy, you've got to look at the entire body of work, and certainly in the area of policing, we have spent a great deal of time and attention working with communities across this country, working with police departments across this country to ensure constitutional effective and safe policing, and where we have found those violations, we've taken action. as you saw, in baltimore, we reached our consent decree just last week. in chicago we reached our agreement in principle to work towards a consent decree, so we've spent a great deal of time focusing on making sure that communities are empowered, that their voices are heard and that we look to the root causes of the breakdown of trust between law enforcement and the communities that we serve. and where, for example, is in chicago you see the deficiencies in training and in technique, we
8:58 am
work to try and provide those as well. when it comes to individual cases, we push those also, and you've seen that over the course, not just of my tenure but this administration. the garner case is one that will span this time period of course. every case isn't able to be wrapped up in the time that we would like, unfortunately, and it represents the ongoing work of the dedicated career people of the department, who are committed to seeing that case through as well. >> as you pointed out the department of justice has neither cleared or charged the officers involved in that, but this could all go to senator sessions, the next attorney general, if he is confirmed. do you have confidence that the work that you just noted will continue under this attorney general, if he is confirmed? >> yes, i think that one of the things we've been doing, we work on our transition which is going well and smoothly as the president has directed and as we all want. we've been making sure that the transition team is aware not just of the body of work that we do, but the benefits that it has provided to the american people,
8:59 am
to the institutions with whom we all work so closely. and i know i'm confident that those people in those institutions will also continue to make their voice heard about the importance of the work that we've been doing. we've been able to strike a positive balance and working relationship with law enforcement in this country. they often come to us for assistance, training, technical assistance, resources like body worn cameras, bullet proof vests but they also come to us and say we're concerned about our use of force policy. can you give us some examples? we're concerned about crowd control, making sure that we can, in fact, protect people's right to protest safely, and exercise their first amendment rights. can you let us talk to officers and departments who have gone through similari issues. that's a large part of our policing practice and we look forward to making sure the next team has the benefit of that, and knows how helpful it's been to law enforcement. i also think that that note strikes to, it raises the fact that it's important that we know
9:00 am
this is not just one administration, one person, one attorney general, one tent. these are matters that concern all of us and we all have to participate in this process. as john lewis talked about, not only marching but making your concerns heard in the halls of power. not just protesting. that's very important also. it's a part of why this country is great, but also coming to people in positions of power and saying this is what we need from you. so much of the work that we've been able to do has been because people have raised these issues and concerns to us, and we've sat down with them. i've traveled this country talking to people about policing issues, about the issues of vulnerable victims, about human trafficking, about national security, about their fears, and their concerns. and my hope and my confidence is that the people of this great country, and that's all the people, citizens, community leaders, law enforcement alike, will continue to make their voices heard,


1 Favorite

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on