tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC November 5, 2017 5:00am-6:00am PST
eir love to you. with some friendly advice, a genuine smile and a warm welcome they make your town... well, your town. that's why american express is proud to be the founding partner of small business saturday. a day where you get to return that love, because shopping small makes a big difference. so, on november 25th get up, get out, and shop small. good morning and welcome to "politicsnation". the trump white house has continued to confound black americans and most historians when chief of staff john kelly explained this week that the american civil war was caused by
quota lack of ability to compromise. i have a lot to say on why some things should be above compromise. and a prosecutor's penance. why a former district attorney apologized to the 55-year-old man that he locked up at age 15. the emotional story from the former prisoner himself later in the show. but first in two days voters in virginia will make their picks for the state's next governor choosing between current democratic lieutenant governor ralph northham and republican power broker ed gillispie pioneered the redistricting that put several swing states firmly in gop control. likely omen for virginia should
he win on tuesday. with me now staff writer for the hill. melanie, what is happening? can you tell us the predictions forecast there in virginia? >> well right now it's neck and neck. these candidates are in a dead heat. it's really going to come down to voter turn out. a ton of money has been poured into this race. it's gotten a lot of national attention. we've stein president weigh in on twitter. that's because the stakes right now are very huge for both these political parties and the outcome of this race will ultimately be a major cast for the future of the democratic party and the republican party. i mean, look, this is coming just a week after the revelations by donna brazil about the dnc agreement with hillary clinton. so they are in desperate need of a win right now. they have been in rebuilding mode for over a year and haven't been able to deliver a referendum on trump in they sorts of elections. they definitely need to pull out
a win here. on the other side we republicans that want to show the president will not be a liability for them. so the stakes are really huge. it's also coming in the wake of the first mueller indictments and we're going to be watching to see how those impact things like voter turn out and ultimately who wins this race. >> you said a referendum on trump. part of what the president has weighed in on twitter and part of the issue in this election have been the confederate statues, at least as the nation has seen it. and he even tweeted that if gillispie win, he, the president tweeted, gillispie will preserve our heritage/statue. how big of an issue in the state is the statue issue and the position of gillispie as opposed to north as ham on this issue.
>> this is virginia. this is the home chancellorsville where we saw this debate take center saeg. once again we saw it creep into this campaign as well with both sides, you know, sort of staking out their position. like you said the president himself weighed in and warned, i think, his base that this is what's going to happen if northham wins. he'll take down the statues. i think what you're seeing here is the sort of trumpification of gillispie. he's wading into these hot button cultural issues that the president himself has played to his base and played up for his own base. so i do think this could have an impact on how voters end up voting. >> we're going to see which way it goes. certainly a lot of us watching this on tuesday. people should get out and vote in virginia no matter what your view, get out and vote. thank you, melanie.
let me turn now to president trump who this week continued his attack on the department of justice, repeatedly calling on them and the fbi to investigate the democratic party and hillary clinton. in particular, hillary clinton. and in doing that did he breach the boundaries of the executive branch and politicize the criminal justice system? here to debate, kirsten hadlin and miss maxwell. president trump, some of his surrogates, staff, republicans and white house people have started this drum beat of it's about investigating hillary. this is a witch-hunt against us. has he breached the executive
powers by trying to influence and in some way seem to direct with the doj, department of justice? >> yes. and i think there's precedent for this in watergate it was done on the phone. in 2017 he's tweeting insistence. it breaches historic norms in the separation between the department of justice and the executive branch and the president. the president isn't supposed to interfere in investigations and so calling for the investigations into your political opponents is a very serious thing that the president is doing and completely inappropriate. >> well, do you feel that the president has gone over the line, or is he just expressing an opinion? and with the new revelations that we're hearing that are coming out in donna brazil's former chair of the dnc do you
feel that adds to grounds for an investigation or is that just speculation on donna brazil's part to sell books. >> well i'm sure she does want to sell books. that's fine. politicians on both sides of the aisle do this, and, you know, kind of leverage whatever is happening political to help them sell whatever they are doing. americans know and one that. insofar as donald trump's statements about the department of justice you've seen him do this throughout the campaign. he's been very direct on twitter. >> we're talking now about executive powers. he didn't have executive powers then. >> absolutely not. he is using and has used twitter as a way to do this and in a way there's not necessarily action taken but he's just expressing and signalling to his base to show i'm not going to put up with this. i don't think it's right. >> can't he express himself to his base as president. when you appoint the attorney general and then there's supposed to be this wall between the justice department and the
executive branch, i mean can you have it both ways? >> that would be the ideal. but we are not living in a situation with president donald trump right now in a way that's the political ideal at all. this is the reality we have with this president. a lot of republicans, establishment republicans don't agree with how he's handling it at all. >> i think that's what it takes is people like me, is that i agree. that's where we are with this president. but we're not talking about where we are politically. we're talking about legally. does he have the legal and constitutional right to seem to public publicly be reprimanding the justice department to act on his will. >> i think if the democrats did this as a president, republicans would be calling for impeachment. we're in a particular moment where we're normalizing behavior in donald trump that's abnormal. it's very dangerous. when you breach these political norms it makes it much, much
more likely that authoritarianism can creep in. and dictatorships sneaking in. it's something that is gradual. it's not overnight. so i think we need to make sure that these norms are in place and stay in place under this president regardless of whether or not he's abnormal. >> i would be negligent if i didn't ask you your reaction on donna brazil's book. i know don't skra and love donna and a lot of people are taking shots at her. how do you respond? did she, in effect, said that she had considered replacing as an interim chair of the party, replacing the candidacy of mrs. clinton when she allegedly fainted and some people still denying she did faint when she attended the 9/11 ceremony. and that there was some kind of nefarious deal with the dnc and the clinton campaign that
basically led to an improper influence by the clinton for the nomination. these are very serious charges. >> well i read the excerpts that have been released publicly. i'm just saying i don't have the full context for the excerpts that were read. while i love donna, she's a hero of mine, i disagree with her assessment that the clinton campaign rigged, i think that's much -- much overstating exactly what the agreement was. there was a 2015 agreement and a 2016 joint fundraising agreement and i think that she's conflating the two and she's misinterpreting what the agreement actually was. bernie sanders had a similar agreement. but he acted -- >> bernie sanders had a similar -- >> he had a joint fundraising agreement. >> how much are you gouys going to try to get the mueller
investigation to story two or story b. >> i think that the side of the republican party that just wants to distract from their inability to get ledge jays passed will focus on this inappropriately because there wasn't anything illegally wrong. for the president to ask the fbi to investigate this, there's no there there. there's no legal boundary crossed. >> that's the down side of authoritarianism. nothing wrong just gate. ignore my investigation. don't worry about legislation. taxes, infrastructure, who cares, go after hillary. thank you both. coming up, my special guest, very special guest, chris matthews tell us what you didn't know about robert f. kennedy as he ran for president nearly 50 years ago. why that's important because it's what we need to have on today. today's politicians can still learn from that historical candidacy. no one knows it better, wrote it
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candidate donald trump said if elected he would run this country like a business. one that made him a multibillionaire. bobby kennedy ran for president nearly 50 years earlier, he was inspiring this country in a different way. appealing to working class whites and blacks. unfortunately his dream was never fulfilled. joining me now is my colleague, friend and host of "hardball," chris matthews. he's out with a new book called "bobby kennedy, a raging
spirit." chris, first of all, thank you for being on with us this morning. >> thank you. i think this is the perfect conversation you and on this one. i can think of a better guy to talk about with. what i've been able to dig up and what you've been thinking about all these years. >> you know, i thought about when i saw that you have come out with the book and then you kind enough to give me a copy, i was just joining the movement, 13 years old and bobby kennedy was standing in indianapolis, indiana. i was home in brooklyn with my single mother. and i remember him coming out, speaking to a crowd of all blacks, something that was very risky because 100 cities was burning that night, dr. king was killed that day. here's bobby kennedy on the night martin luther king was assassinated. >> what we need in the united states is not division, what we need in the united states is not
hatred, what we need in the united states is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom and compassion towards one another. >> you really went in into the real passion and fire of bobby kennedy, and the rare credibility he had to probably be the only leading white politician that could go in a black crowd that night when nation was burning and not only calm the crowd but define bringing us together. >> you said it well. the police wouldn't go in with him. it was a tough neighborhood. i found out something, our nbc background that you and i share, was able to get the tapes of that. the first thing he said before he spoke to the crowd that night was did they know yet? the guy next to him said they don't. so he had to tell these people who were thrilled to see him that the hero of all time for a lot of those people was killed and had just been killed because
it was the day before. i mean the time before we had e-mail and social media and tweeting and all that stuff. people got the word-of-mouth by word-of-mouth. somebody would tell you before the news came on at night. so he had to tell them. what you were getting at, moral authority that he could actually talk about victimhood. he had spent a good part of his later years just talking about people in trouble, african-americans, poor whites, appalachians, native americans. what we used to call chicanos. people you know, john lewis the congressman who was one of the young leaders, of course everything with the freedom riders. when bobby went down there he was learning. the great thing about im, i think john lewis would say he could grow. he was a white guy born to privilege but yet he kept exposing himself to horrors people lived with happen his administrative assistant had his head bashed in trying to help
out the freedom riders in '61 and then bring in federal troops for ole miss. he didn't want to bring in federal troops. the hatred in the deep south was so severe. he had to knock george wallace out of the way. all the time learning about this racial hatred in this country. and then that famous meeting in new york where they hit him for three hours. >> a volatile meeting from what i heard. people don't know. he best of built the restoration program in bed-stuy. not only did he grow, he wanted to grow. i don't know anyone who knows american politics better than you. he came from a wealthy family. what was the difference in quality between a robert kennedy and the wealthy politicians like donald trump we see today. he was part of the 1%, but he
had a desire to learn and grow and be about an america that protected the least of these and that does not seem to be the prototype of wealthy politicians today. >> no. i spent years trying to answer that question and what i've come up with is this. he would often talk about how irish were prejudiced when they came to this country, how berp beaten up by the british, stafford to death in the famine. then came over here and faced the yankees who treated them like dirt. but it was deeper than that. my mom talked like that all the time too. i think it was something about birth order. in that family he was a nobody. he was the runt in the family. his father called him a runt. he was 5'8". his brothers were big and strapping and handsome. avenues little guy. the old man didn't have any time for him. every time bobby would show a little bit of generosity or caring for his fellow man the father would say i don't know
where he got that. he would trample him. to please his father he became a tough guy, he became a jock and became his brother's enforcer. only when his father had his stroke and his brother was killed he became the guy he was as a kid. he was a sensitive good guy. he got ralph bunch to give a speech at uva when there were still jim crow laws. he insisted the first african-american to win the nobel peace prize speak there before this white crowd. bunch said i'm not speaking to a segregated crowd. bobby fought for him. deother things when that priest, father finney in the late '40s no salvation outside of the catholic church everybody is going to hell. bobby wrote a letter in the paper fought the cardinal. his mother thought he would get excommunicated. the father got excommunicated.
we don't know people who changed completely. >> i think he had the impact and people need to really get that impact reading your book. it's a fantastic book. >> can i just say one thing. he's the untrump. he is the untrump. he said we have to try our best to get along across racial lines. we have to do what we can. nobody will solve this thing overnight. he said we have to try. trump tries the opposite. he tramples -- he loves to divide us. he gets his 40% he hopes out of division. empathy. i think bobby, the night dr. king was killed showed, what you were talking about before and said it so well, empathy. he got it. he knew what this horror meant to people in front of him. trump can't do that. it matters you have a president that can feel the people's hurt when they have it. >> and the people feel it. you know the picture you put on the back of the book where the kids are saluting.
i was in elementary school -- i mean junior high school going to high school that year and they took us to st. patrick's to wait to walk by because robert kennedy was out, the senator to walk by his casket. it vote natured with me that picture because i remember standing outside at 13 years old waiting to walk by casket and my mother said i don't care what the teacher says you stand there all day, that guy was on our side. >> i can see it there. >> i remember he was on our side. thank you, chris matthews. thank you for the book very much. once again called "bobby kennedy, a raging spirit." still ahead some people don't simply don't know much about history. well, my outrage over white house chief of staff john kelly's racist history lesson to our country. be right back. what powers the digital world. communication.
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in september it was announced that the national park service was awarding nearly $100,000 to the university of california at berkeley to fund a research project on the black panther party for self-defense. the 1960s black militant group that remains synonymous with revolution against hostile authority. when conservatives comfortable ignorant of the panthers history learned of the project they fumed at a group that had espoused on self-defense against police should be honored with tax funded anything. chief among the distractors was the fraternal order of police which sent a scathing letter to history expert donald trump citing their self-research, killers of law enforcement agents by some black panthers as
a reason to pull the plug. missing was any mention of black panthers killed by law enforcement agents. the most striking example being fred hampton, gunned down as he slept by chicago police with fbi backing. but historical admissions aside the strategy worked. the park service caved and the project was killed last month. i was not surprised by the outcome. but i thought of the story again this week when i heard that white house chief of staff general john kelly had said this on fox news. >> robert e. lee was an honorable man. he was a man that gave up, gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. lack of ability to compromise led to the civil war.
and many men of good faith on both side made their stand where conscience made them stand. >> men and women of good faith on both sides where their conscience had made them make their stand? we've heard this kind of lenient racial logic before. it's the assumption violence against authority is only acceptable when committed by white mostly men. in this case long dead ones of good faith. driven by their conscious to kill american soldiers and die in defense of a slave society. while poor black men and women reacting to unchecked police violence, a legacy of that slave society, undeserving, a study
more or less somehow to honor. they are real traitors. the administration general kelly serves is a reliable modern example of this logic, given this public sympathy for mostly white opioid addicts as it pushes for a renewed drug war on black and brown communities, the activists of which are under increasing federal scrutiny despite u.s. troops recently ranking white supremist violence as the greatest threat. yet the new york native in the oval office insists on defending confederate monuments while criticizing the black citizens whose tax dollars maintain them. you fail to see the compromise for black and brown people and
that is because there's none. that's the real result of the heart of general kelly's comments, the idea that black freedom would be subject to the dictates of compromising sides, like some kind of inanimate resource. that was the thinking of general lee who saw black people as bought property, and was willing to kill the law enforcement officers of the day to make that point. but i guess like general kelly said, it was different back then. but if compromise is truly such an american quality, why can't we honor confederates in gray but not panthers in black. our rs seems a little... strange? na. ever since we switched to fedex ground business has been great.
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what is the definition of compromise as it relates to slavery and the civil war. >> look, i'm not going to get in and relitigate the civil war. >> does this administration believe, does the president believe slavery was wrong? >> i think it's disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside of this building would support slavery. >> that unfortunate woman in red was white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders doing her best to dance around white house chief of staff general john kelly's remarks in which he described the american civil war as caused by quote lack of ability to compromise, end quote. kelly's comments on the heels of a public spat with an african-american congresswoman fr freddica wilson over the death of an african-american
serviceman last month. just the latest from this administration to raise serious questions about his sensitivity or lack thereof to the concerns of black voters. joining me now is texas congresswoman sheila jackson-lee, a member of the congressional black caucus. thank you for being with us congresswoman. >> it's a pleasure. thank you. good morning. >> now, i raise the whole question of the civil war and chief of staff, former general kelly and i talked about how they demonized the black panthers who never declared war against this country, who operated in self-deaf. i may have been in a different persuasion or movement but they don't even want them to study them. but they act like men of good faith with the confederates who declared war on this country, killed to protect their interest in slavery. this was not self-defense, it
was offense to protect white supremacy. and then for him to make this statement on the heels of what he did to your colleague, congresswoman freddica wilson, these were honorable people of good faith who just couldn't compromise, it's so offensive and insulting that many in the congressional black caucus and you as one of the leaders in our country have to look at this and say is this racist or are they just tone deaf or a combination of both? >> well, you have really captured the disgust that so many of us feel. this is not a post-racial society and administration. this is a pro racial administration. every racial indignity that this president and his administration can offer to the african-american community starting with his campaign of
what the h do you have to lose and the answer, obviously is our lives. and frankly, we're tired of it. and enough is enough. now as a member of the united states congress let me say that protocol calls for me to indicate the president is overseas, i wish him safe travels and a safe return. but it does not dismiss the fact that we're appalled at the constant refrain of insult coming from this administration. first of all from an attorney general that barely was confirmed, who began to dismantle the texturial and operational aspect of criminal justice reform. we couldn't get legislation passed, we were poised to do so but dismantling the sentencing, weakening the civil rights division, opposing redistricting and voting rights, lawsuits that the previous administration
stood by in. then, of course, this outrageous interpretation by an individual that i had respect for, this four star general i worked with as he was a southern command in homeland security and this appalling statement -- let me be very clear to your viewers -- when a staff person says something and there is no rebuttal, that is the policy of that administration. that is the standard of that administration. that's outrageous. >> this is not just the staff person, it's the chief of staff. >> absolutely. >> one of the reasons i raise the contrast they don't even want to study why people like the panthers when i was a kid would say we must defend ourselves because there's unchecked violence against us. a study. not a statue. not saying in the public park. but a study. but they want to keep statues up in virginia, the president tweeted voting on tuesday and in
other places that people outright declared war to preserve only your ancestors and mine. statues. not studies. not try to find out what they were thinking like we were saying about some of the groups like the panthers, but statues praising them, erecting them. making them those instruments of honor. >> using as an excuse that we have to recognize history and those who played a role in history. you're absolutely right. and we had many activist groups as you well know the black power movement, the black panthers. obviously the black panthers as fares i know. >> king was arrested. everyone. even today >> you're so clear. black panthers walk amongst this community, declared no definitive war against those who in essence were minding their business. they were out to do good for the community. and they actually had a war on them. but with respect to the idea of
robert e. lee being a good man and others, they were in complete belief and support of the slave system of this nation. >> right. >> and the civil war was not a question of compromise, it was a question of who would tear apart this nation to maintain the economic structure which is what they use that terminology, the economic core of the south which was built on the backs of slave men and women. how horrific for this administration to stand on that and then you may not know but i served as counsel to the select committee on assassination which re-opened the investigations of the assassination of john f. kennedy and dr. king. i saw up close and personal at that time we were dealing with classified items and we could not discuss it publicly but the documents that are coming out i've seen them. it was a horrific attack on dr.
king. >> absolutely. >> it was outrageous. >> people think they only went after so-called radical groups. they went across the board. let me ask you this, the battle today, national action network had its legislative and policy conference this weekend. everyone from nancy pelosi, the minority leader to senator elizabeth warren, to senator bernie sanders, congresswoman freddica wilson and you were there laying out the fights now about voting rights and fights now about the affordable care act and, of course, the fight around tax reform. in fact tax reform was announced by the gop, their plan that day. what are the battles today, congresswoman, that we're facing? why are you and others so aggressively saying that american voters have to really get in tune with the voting and
civil rights battles right now? >> first of all, it was a testament to national action network substance and work that came out. i was so glad to be there. the challenge is as 2018 approaches the battle is both the lord and it is ours. and we must have a definitive map and plan for a electoral victory, democrats have offered to this nation a better deal. opposed to a tax plan of which no democratic involvement, no working families, no college students had any involvement in and so one, is to in essence, stop this tax plan or to reform the tax system that it impacts working families. voting rights. it is to ensure that unlike the presidential election of 2016, that we have a sacred and protected voting system that russians are not allowed as they were to collaborate with
president trump for his victory that we do not have that kind of intrusion to stop progressive candidates and others from getting their votes and winning. >> we're going to have to hold it there. but i think that it's very important and. >> and fight, stand together united against racial oppression and discrimination and racism. we must bring out all the good americans and they are there that make this country great and unified together. thank you. >> i needed to you make that appeal. thank you congresswoman. sorry we ran out of time. always glad to have you with us. next, up next a heartbreaking story about a man who spent 40 years in prison for a crime he claims he never committed. be right back.
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you never saw a sunrise. you never felt a hug. i want you to know that i am responsible for that because i told the jury what they should do and they did it. that was the confession kevin brinkley heard from a former philadelphia district attorney last month. 40 years after his prosecution, brink lir sentenced is a 9 years old to life in prison for a 1977 murder. while the prosecutor now convinced that brinkley's conviction was a mistake began petitioning the pennsylvania state parole board for his release this year. the 55-year-old was ultimately freed by a 2016 supreme court ruling that found automatic life without parole sentences for juveniles to be
unconstitutional. but just because brinkley is free does not mean he is exonerated and is working to clear his name ainu century is only beginning. joining me now are former pennsylvania prisoner kevin brinkley and his uncle. kevin, thank you for coming on. >> thank you. >> let me ask you, you know, you've said from the beginning you did not do this crime. this prosecutor convinced a jury that you did. you've done 40 years in jail. and now the prosecutor has said that he's come to believe that you were not guilty and said so publicly and confessed it to you and asked for your forgiveness. how did you feel when you heard the man that put you away for a crime you say you didn't commit and said you didn't commit then, finally turn around and say yes,
he didn't commit it and i'm sorry? how did you feel when you heard that? >> i felt kind of angry. but the fact that he came forwa after all this time, i mean, he could have took it to his deathbed. i got to expect it. hopefully i can move on with my life. >> as you move on, you mean, you come outed, the whole world has changed in 40 years. you're trying to adjust to technology. you're trying to adjust to other things. and you're still trying to clear your name. this has not in any way changed the conviction. is that right? >> that's right. that's right. >> let me ask you, what are your plans, other than clearing your name, in terms of the rest of your life?
are you in touch with those that are continuing to try and redress the criminal justice system that victimized you? let me ask your uncle greg who i know has had strong views about it. his story is a story that is representative of other stories. what can be done that would make sure that people are not doing 40 years in jail for crimes they didn't commit as juveniles at that? >> well, i think -- thanks for having us on, rev. i think what needs to happen clearly because what you see going on across this country when it comes to wrongfully convicted persons, mainly minority persons, is that you have to have a commission or something that allows for like at least every two years or every three years to review these cases, particularly when you have strong evidence that
they have tried and convicted the wrong persons. in our case, which is unique, they didn't have to find out who did it. there was a confession that they didn't want to believe. >> yeah. i think that that -- i don't want to get into the particulars of the case because i want to deal with the broad issues. i think that is what is key and i think that what is key is that there needs to be some kind of review. it needs to be built in how we remedy this and that's what we should fight for for all the cases. and we can deal with the speskts of all cases. i think kevin brinkley brings us back again to why that is needed. thank you, kevin. thank you, greg brinkley. now a quick update on a story we brought you last week. we learned today that atlanta's emory university hospital is moving forward with the process of approving georgia toddlers a.j.burg he is a kidney
transplant from the boy's father. this just weeks after telling the family that the legal issues stemming from the father's recent arrest would require a potentially three-month delay. little a.j. had a successful surgery friday to remove an abdominal infection and tomorrow a meeting is expected with emory health care to hopefully secure final approval for the transplant. we'll be back.
as i stated in talking to congresswoman jackson lee, had a legislative and policy conference this week in washington. i grew up learning that there was stages in civil rights, demonstration which we do and litigation and legislation and reconciliation. there are others that feel that we shouldn't try the system at all. it's not ever going to work. but then there are those of us that say we are under the system and we have to live by the laws and prerogatives laid out. we've got to struggle. we've got to fight, and we've got to make laws fair and just. that's why people need to vote this tuesday all over this country for lawmakers and those that will govern. that's why we need to participate and we need to have
goals. not just show our anchor, have aur anger fuel real change. stay with us. hello this is joey, walmart online grocery. this job that they created to do online grocery and to have that one-on-one experience with the customers, he's meant for it. i'm joey gabe, personal shopper for walmart and i love to see a smile on my customer's face.
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to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next sunday. now to my colleague keers simmons in london. keir. >> reverend, an honor to be picking up the banner from you, my friend. it's 9:00 in the eastern u.s. 2 in the afternoon here in britain and is 11:00 a.m. in japan where president trump is right now. the president on the first leg of his asia trip in remarks about who he's going to help in north korea. then dnc chair donna brazil thought about replacing hillary clinton as the party's candidate after