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tv   Politics Nation With Al Sharpton  MSNBC  July 22, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT

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our ba ck like american express. so where ever you go. we're right there with you. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. don't live life without it. good morning. welcome to "politics nation." coming to you today from jacksonville, florida. right now, i hope you have all somewhat recovered from this turbulent, disgraceful week of russian roulette. it started with an abysmal performance of president trump in helsinki. a disgusting back-stabbing of america's military and intelligence communities,
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continued with his contradictory back and forth comments on russian election interference and ended with an outrageous invitation to the russian dictator to visit the white house. if by now you're still not sure why the russian interference in our elections is so important, i'll explain in a second. but first, i had a very interesting meeting this week with michael cohen, the former personal lawyer for donald trump. here's what i can tell you about that meeting. i've known michael cohen for about 20 years. he was always the one that would arrange meetings with donald trump and myself and others in the civil rights community. usually because we had strongly opposed him. i've even led marches on him on different issues that we disagree. and sometimes when trump would
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act supportive, he's come to two of our national action network conventions, all that moen moic cohen was in the center of arranging. i've always found michael cohen, even if we disagreed on politics, to be straightforward and very, very direct. so when he reached out and said, let's talk, i sat down not knowing what to expect. i found a man that was very, very clear to me that he had resolved that he was going to do what is right for his family and for the country. he even told me how his father was a holocaust survivor and he did not want to disgrace what many in his family stood for. what that will mean, we will see. what it means to him, he must stand up for. joining me now is msnbc legal analyst, danny cevallos.
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danny, a lot has happened in the last 24 hours. bring our viewers up to date after this tumultuous week. tell us what's happened in the last 24 hours, our viewers need to be updated on. >> at least with michael cohen, what has happened is a tape has surfaced and that tape is one of the tapes that we've been hearing about for some time, allegedly that michael cohen made it a practice to record his conversations with president trump. and that there were many tapes around. but at least what we can confirm now is that there is at least one tape and that tape had been ruled, strangely enough, as privileged by the special master reviewing all of the millions of documents and data that was seized by the government. yet, even though that was ruled to be a privileged tape, it somehow was released. and by process of elimination, since the government never had it, it can either be the cohen side or the trump side.
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but either way, the president's attorney, rudy giuliani, has said that this is not a tape that damages us, this is a tape that exonerates us. and the substance of the tape -- >> but the tape, danny, says that the president, who was not president at the time, was discussing some payoff to a lady that had accused him of having an affair. so it may not be legally relevant in terms of charges, but it certainly, clearly makes the president a liar when he said that he never knew or had any kind of affair with this woman. if, in fact, he's on tape discussing some kind of payoff or some kind of confirmation that he wants this to be quieted. >> actually, rev, i will double down on what you just said. there is potential legal significance -- >> okay. >> -- because any in-kind
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benefit is arguably a violation of federal election campaign laws. and there is precedent for this. john edwards was charged with similar violations, but he was ultimately not convicted. so, it seems that convictions in this area are rare, although politicians can be charged. so if there was an in-kind benefit that was not reported to the campaign, then there is a potential crime. but you're absolutely right that additionally, it appears to establish that at least the president or the trump campaign was not forthcoming or possibly even lying about whether or not there was a sexual relationship or pemarital infidelities. but it seems to me at least that rudy giuliani has taken the strategic position that we don't care anymore who knows a about the president's infidelities, because we're taking the gamble that his base just doesn't care. and as long as we avoid legal liability, that's what matters.
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>> all right. well, it keeps going and it keeps going. for the record, michael cohen and i did not discuss the tapes. in fact, they came out about an hour or so after our breakfast. but thank you, nbc's danny cevall cevallos. now, back to the very interesting week, to say the least. we have with our russian counterpart, foes, enemies. joining me now, peter emerson, who worked for three democratic administrations and jen kearns, a former spokeswoman for the california republican party. jen, let me go to you first. the president goes, stands shoulder the shoulder with vladimir putin. says that he has no reason to believe that russia interfered with the united states elections in 2016.
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really casting real aspersions and real questions of the findings of the intelligence community in the united states and of his own justice department, who were just indicted that friday before. 12 russians for interference. and then gives a lot of praise to mr. putin. standing next to him. then comes back to the united states and says, oh, i missa-sa one word. i know you are a republican. i know you've been a spokeswoman for the party, but isn't this a much bit for even republicans to have to stand behind and support? >> i think that's why you saw several republicans come out and voice their displeasure over this past week. it's hard to believe it's only been five days since the helsinki summit. it seems like it's been about five years, right, reverend? but look, i look more at what
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president trump's actions have been here. and no one, no president prior has been tougher on russia than this president. let's remember, it was president barack obama who told a russian official that he would have more flexibility after the elections. not president trump. >> yeah, but it was also president trump -- president barack obama that said to the president of russia, the same president putin, you better stop it. so when we saw president obama in the room with putin, it was a huge difference than we saw with trump, all but deferring and bowing to putin in helsinki. i'm sure you didn't need to bring up the analogy of obama/putin with trump/putin. >> two things here, reverend. one is, we don't know what took place. and i do believe a transcript will come out in the coming days about what took place between the two leaders and their translators. we also don't know and will be
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finding out soon what the two staff of the two countries were discussing. let's not forget, this was a podium-to-podium diplomacy summit in order to move the ball forward on some other key issues like denuclearization and other things that are facing the u.s. and other nations. and we know that the staffs were left behind to hash out some details. and i know that those conversations were very harsh. let's also look at the sanctions that have been placed on russia by president trump. just this past april, president trump placed very stringent sanctions on 17 of vladimir putin's inner circle. these were strict sanctions that prohibit them from ever traveling to the united states again, from ever opening a bank account in the west again, and from ever being able to do business in the west begun. and those are 17 of vladimir putin's inner circle. and you know in a country like this, those people are propped up by oligarchs and the wealthy. this hit vladimir putin personally. >> and propped up by putin,
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peter. in fact, the same putin that this president was very, very deferential to. the point, though, i think jen makes, peter, is that we don't know what happened in those two hours. so we don't know if those sanctions were negotiated. if there was an agreement to compromise them. and now we have president trump civil right putin to the white house for part two of this kind of conversation and whatever is the follow up to whatever they discussed in private. so we really don't know where it's gone. but from the optics, it looks like putin is way ahead on the scorecard of who's winning in this. >> putin is a judo master. he's the puppet master against donald trump's bluster and big max. all these people defending donald trump talk about these sanctions. throwing a few diplomats out of the country, closing bank accounts or not allowing them to
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be opened to a few oligarchs means absolutely nothing. the national security issue is the fact that donald trump continues to say yes or da in russian to russian interference in the 2016 elections. i spoke the last week talking to experts on voting machines, voting processes. this white house and this congress have done absolutely nothing. you can be assured that russia will be voting the in the 2018 elections and consequently, whatever happened in helsinki, which we will never know, because oftentimes interpreters are asked to leave the room or documents are exchanged. so there isn't going to be a transcript that's entirely accurate. wlas clear and truthful is that right now, the national security of this democracy is at risk, because trump has refused to say nyet strongly enough, powerfully
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enough to russian sbeeminterfer in our elections. >> let me go back to you, jen. you talked about staff meetings to staff meetings of the different staffs of the russian president and the u.s. president. but we saw even a senior official of the trump administration was caught off guard when our andrea mitchell informed him in aspen that the president had invited putin to the white house. so how are we supposed to depend or have any kind of trust in what the staff discussed when the staff doesn't even know the president of the united states had invited the president of russia to the white house. >> well, it is possible that not every staff member in the white house who was not working on that project directly did not know, especially if he was out of town or on vacation. but, look, what peter ought to know is what rod rosenstein himself said last friday, with the indictments of the 12 new russians, was that not a single vote total was affected in this.
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and not a single outcome of the election in the united states of america was affected by the attempted. russian meddling in our elections. so i think it's important here to listen to one of the guys that's been vilified by the right, including myself, when he says that the russians were not successful in meddling. so you can't say that russia voted in the election. because even rod rosenstein, one of president trump's fiercest opponents here, admits that that clearly did not happen. >> i thought rod rosenstein was the top official under sessions in the justice department. i didn't know he was an opponent of the president. we got breaking news from you this morning. we didn't know that. >> i don't think it's breaking news, but -- >> the other thing i think is that they said that this was an ongoing investigation, so we don't know if americans are not also going to be prosecuted or indicted and where this is going to lead.
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this is the opening salvo. just wanted to add that piece. thank you both for being with me this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> peter emerson and jen carnke. coming up, whether brett kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court spell doom for civil rights? naacp president derek johnson will tackle that question when we come back. this is "politics nation" on msnbc. alright guys let's go! let's do this. (♪) okay you gotta be kidding me. hold on, don't worry, there's another way. directions to the greek theater. (beep) ♪can i get a connection? ♪can i get can i get a connection?♪ ♪ohhh can i get a connection? ♪trying find the old me
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formulating our strategy to protect the basic civil rights that could be endangered if cavanaulv kavanaugh takes the bench. earlier, i talked to one of the leaders of this plan of action, derek johnson, president and ceo of the naacp. thank you, first of all, for being with us, derek. >> good morning and thank you for having me. >> tell us why we have had conference calls with chapter leaders of all of our different groups and different legal entities in the civil rights community. why is this such a real issue of concern to the civil rights community and to americans in general, in your judgment? >> a supreme court nomination is a lifetime appointment. we all understand the significance of such an appointment. the last thing that this country can tolerate is an activist supreme court bench.
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individuals who seek to legislate from the bench, as opposed to interpret the constitution, to make this democracy more inclusive. more importantly, rev, we all understand that civil rights and social justice is not a competition. the interests you advocate for is very much the same interests of the urban league, of the legal defense fund, and of course, the naacp. . we are in lock step and in unison to this particular nominee. >> now, the -- the media -- i'm looking for the right way to frame this. but i'll put it this way, the media and many in the public say the democrats don't have the votes to stop this nomination. yet many say, including you and i, that the fight is not about just head counting, but it's about what is right for the country. do you think, though, as we fight, that some of those that are in the senate can be changed to really hear the will of the
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american people on this? >> i take the position that when we fight, we win. the outcome is not always the goal. the outcome for us is to make sure our community, our voices are heard. and send a clear and strong message that this particular nominee is not in the best interests, not only for civil rights, but for this nation. and for any member of the senate who depend on an african-american vote for election or re-election, this is a nonnegotiable reality. >> now, kavanaugh has a record. he supported voter i.d. laws as a judge. wrote decisions on that. and other things that there is a record of how he rules and interprets law. so when we talk about all of these issues, we're not just talking about, he's a trump nominee. we're talking about his record. do you think the senate has the responsibility to go through his record as a judge, to determine
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whether his interpretation of the law is something that would make him fit to serve on the supreme court? because wave se've saw this wee where a majority leader in the senate, mcconnell said, we don't want you taking a lot of time. if you do, i'm going to force the vote anyway right before the midterm elections. >> in terms of the naacp, we opposekavanaugh's confirmation when he was up for the d.c. circuit court. his record is not unfamiliar to us. he's only built on that record since appointed to the fifth circuit court of appeals. i think majority leader mcconnell's statements is contradictory to his statements just two years ago. it exposes that he is not operating with a clear hand hear. he set a rule that the people should decide. we're saying, no one should be
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confirmed until after this election. and a new senate is seated. that's the rule that mcconnell set. with regard to the gorsuch nomination, we want to hold him true to his word, unless he's not seeking to get the most qualified nominee in the seat and just seeking political exneed exnee expediency. that's the most dangerous thing we could do in terms of a supreme court nomination. >> you just concluded the, i believe, 109th anniversary of the naacp with your national convention in san antonio, texas. what are the big things that were determined by the delegates that came from all over the country and other parts of the world to the naacp convention this week in texas? >> we convened in san antonio under the theme, defeat hate, vote. we understand elections have consequences. this midterm election is perhaps one of the most important
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elections, because it's going to bank account future nominees to the federal bench, incoming the supreme court. it's going to bank account redistricts, it's going to impact the census. it's going to impact public policy for the next 15 years. so we spend most of our time looking at how we're going to turn out the vote in a very strategic, targeted way, using metrics we had not used before to ensure that we have clear accountability of all of those individuals who are placed in office. >> now, we all know and it's very well established the naacp report card. it was released during the convention. gives some of the highlights, derek, of the 2018 report card of the naacp? >> one of the things we're doing differently this year in terms of our industry reports, looking at how we can encourage more dollar disciplines from our members and african-americans at large. we were approved by the security of the exchange commission to establish what's called an
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electronic funds trading entity. our brand will be traded on the new york stock market. and we will be measuring company's diversity. we license that's operation out to a third party fund manager, to ensure that the quality of one's corporate citizenship reflects the diversity of their customer base. >> i think one of the things wave already seen in your leadership and many of us are aware of your leadership over the mississippi naacp, even before becoming the national leader. you work with other groups and believe in coalition, but you believe in staying on the ground, grassroots. is that what we can see as we go into these midterm elections in 2020? and with the concerns of criminal justice and policing and economic rights around the country, particularly for people of color? >> you know, martin luther king
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had a powerful voice, but it was the hamers of the world that changed the way america included individuals. that's how i am trained. that's what's going to allow us toll succeed. -- to succeed. we need feet on the ground to ensure that individuals who are put in office represent our interests and if they don't, there are repercussions to pay. >> you come out of the naacp with hamer, but all of us are sick and tired of become sick and tired. >> that's right. social justice is not a competition. and if we don't all carry our weight to do what we need to do, we all lose, but if we do what we need to do and do it together, we succeed. >> derek johnson, thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you. up next, if you were born in
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and now for this week's gotcha. on wednesday, "the washington post" lent its opinions page to former trump national security spokesman, michael anton, whose argument was for an end to one of america's most compassionate and definitive immigration practices, the birthright. that if you're born here, you're an american citizen. anton strategically misinterprets the 14th amendment and writes, quote, america is not a country of immigrants, but a country of settlers, who can exclude immigrants at any time. that's a quote. as our history goes, settler has been a loaded term, at best.
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racialized from the start, excluding black slaves, chinese laborers, and ask, native populations who were resettled because of those settlers anton describes. but he makes a point to blame china and mexico for abusing birthright citizenship and neglects to mention multiple reports, including nbc's own report about russian quote birth tourists, who flock to miami and stay in trump condos just to give birth to american citizens. those nbc news found no clear indication that trump and his organization directly profit from the practice, it isn't surprising is anton doesn't
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mention them. so anton, understand that "immigrant" and "settler" are sentiments, and the 14th amendment clearly reads, quote, all persons born or naturalized in the united states and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the united states." it's written that way as a rejection of the previous law of land, that even a free black man was not a recognized citizen. just another instance in which the fight for black civil rights has enhanced the liberty of all of us, given that you're of lebanese dissent, i'm guessing mr. anton, from a family of immigrants. allow me to say, you're welcome, michael anton, and i gotcha.
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welcome back. did president trump betray the united states by entertaining a request by vladimir putin that would allow russians to interrogate former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul? that's a question posed earlier to congressman eric swalwell, democrat of california, who sits on the select committee on intelligence. congressman, thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you, reverend. pleasure to be on. >> let me begin by asking, you have said that even the suggestion that the president of the united states, donald trump,
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would permit the questioning by the soviet union of mr. mcfaul and any u.s. diplomat or u.s. personnel is a betrayal to the country. how do you explain? that's a very strong statement. many of us may agree. but you as a sitting member of congress, how do you explain the statement and what can you do about it in the congress? >> i think with this president, reverend, you have to draw very sharp, very bright red lines and make sure he understands that if he were to negotiate away the release of a u.s. ambassador to a country that does not have a rule of law, that that would be a betrayal of an american. we know what would happen if that ambassador was turned over to russia. his life would be at stake and it would also send a message to any person who serves our country that this president could trade you to a dictator if
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the dictator doesn't like what you're saying and wants to hear from you. i think you have to be firm with this president. and people in congress need to stand ready to make sure this president is held accountable if he were to take any actions like that. i wanted to throw that out there so he knew what the risks would be and i and others would speak very loudly for his removal from office if he were to do that. >> now, michael mcfaul was an ambassador to the united states. is there any precedent you can think of and relate to us in history that the united states, directed by the president of the united states, actually turned an u.s. ambassador, former u.s. ambassador over to a dictator for questioning on anything? >> no, reverend, it would be completely unprecedented. and in country, we do have a rule of law. and we have an extradition process where countries where we
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have treaties, if those countries have a rule of law and they can prove through their standards of evidence that someone has committed a crime, of course we want to cooperate them as much as we would want them to cooperate with us. but that is not the case here. i think it's most offensive that the president did not rule of this out of -- that he did not rule this out immediately when putin brought it up, but rather let it fester for days. i think that shows you the values of this president. that it's truly about him and what we can get out of this rather than what him doing this means for the united states and our values. >> now, you're a member of the house intel committee. you also took serious issue with the president inviting the president of russia, vladimir putin, to the united states, to come to washington. and you said that you would unilaterally oppose the invitation. why do you think the president
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would invite vladimir putin? and do you think both this and the suggestion that there was the possibility that mcfaul, the former u.s. ambassador, could even be questioned by the soviets, do you think this was part of the two-hour meeting that putin and trump had that no one knows though occurred, including senior members of his own administration? he being trump. >> i do, reverend. i do think that's the case. i think the reason the president invited vladimir putin that vladimir putin likes the president and the president knows that vladimir putin helped him get elected. he ordered an attack against the united states. where i come from, when someone breaks into your home, you upgrade your security system, you don't invite the burglar over for dinner. but what we can do here in america is we make sure they're not alone as they want to be and our voices from outside will make their way into that room
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and they'll hear from us. >> let's be clear. the president has now said, later in the week. he didn't say it in helsinki standing next to putin, that he does believe that there was russian involvement in the election, that he sides with the intelligence community of the united states, after he refused to do so in helsinki, standing next to putin. so you say you believe in what the intelligence community found, but then you invite the culprit to the united states, to your house for dinner. it mean, it seems like contradictory activity, to put it lightly. >> if he really believes to, with reverend, why couldn't he have shown the courage to look putin in the eye and tell him that? it's so easy to fly back to the united states and say that because you're feeling the heat and worried your poll numbers are in a free fall. but he was on the stage with putin. he had an opportunity to
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confront him. and i'll give the president credit. he talked tough as a candidate. and i think a lot of americans thought, okay, we're going to get a strong president who's going to stand up for america. that may have been some of the appeal that he had. he had a chance to do that with slp sl vladimir putin and he didn't. and i think we can conclude he went in the future and that's why it's on congress to stand up for the american people if our president is going to be so helpless. >> and let's be clear, this is not partisan, because republican ronald reagan, who president trump quotes often said to gorbachev, take the wall down. the berlin wall. it's not that we're asking for something that even republicans that are in many ways reagan is held in high esteem by conservatives, he stood up and said what he had to say when he was dealing with the russian dictator of that time. >> he did. >> this is unprecedented. >> and i believe, the i'm
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correct, that that was not in his remarks and he was advised not to say that, and president reagan said it anyway, showing the courage he was able to muster on behalf of the united states in that moment and we did not see that type of courage from a president who oftentimes likes to compare himself to ronald reagan, but when it comes to walking the walking, has not been able to take those steps. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you so much. >> my pleasure, reverend. up next, four years after the brutal death of eric gardner, his family is still fighting for justice. i'll explain, when we come back. (vo) what if this didn't have to happen? i didn't see it. (vo) what if we could go back? what if our car... could stop itself? in iihs front-end crash prevention testing,
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this week saw the four-year anniversary of the death of eric gardner, killed when a new york city police officer held him in an illegally choke hold that was caught on tape. the incident sparked outrage and triggered national movements, defining protests against police brutality. but only now, four years later, has the new york city police department finally decided to take disciplinary action against the officers involved.
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the decision follows a press conference this week, where i joined eric gardner's mother, gwen carl, to demand justice for her son's brutal killing. and to urge the nypd to move forward after they had announced they would do so. now, joining me is eugene o'donnell, a professor at john j. college of criminal justice, and brittney packny, a member of former president barack obama's 21st century police task force and also an activist i admire. let me start with you, eugene. four years later, we waited to see if the justice department would move. they wouldn't. the families said months ago, if not years, the police should go forward. they've said now they will. now they've expedited and said they would start immediately. but this is representative of the justice department and
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police accountability nationwide, when this attorney general, jeff sessions, came in, he immediately stopped the review of police in many cities. he dealt with baltimore's consent degree, stopping it, stopping it, that was being proposed for chicago. so many of the wheels that were turning toward a father efairer accountability in this country after so many police killings of unarmed black men and unarmed people seem to screech to a halt with this new administration. >> well swer, certainly in the of garner, this is an arrest that should never have been made. this may be a rerun of that event. that is having the police swoop down on minor infractions and that's the case with community policing, getting the cops to
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actually use soft skill in these issues, not to use hard skills. but also with gardner, trying to fix those kinds of issues should be done by officers known in the community talking to people and not using hard skills but soft skills at the heart of real community-based policing. >> brittany in the middle of our marching and organizing round about two weeks in, i got a call to come to ferguson and among other things that i saw is activism on the ground that you were part of organizing force, leadership and all the way to
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you being on the president obama's 21st century commission you co-founding campaign zero and you've been involved clemen's case in mobile and i think one of the things that sticks out in my mind is a meeting with president obama with you and young activists and me and others and those older than mark and i, john lewis and others and i saw generations of black activists still fighting this issue of police accountability. how do you see it now as someone that whose really been on the ground and stayed there organizing all over the country? >> well, i see this as a continued necessary fight. there are thousands of people at the local level, the state level, the federal level who are fighting back this issue of police violence and for the issue of police accountability every single day because at the end of the day what we're talking about is people sworn to
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serve and protect our communities with whom a lot of us don't feel safe and that's sustain on democracy and something that should concern us all. in 2017 there were only 14 days the police in the united states of america did not kill someone. that equated to over 1100 people killed by police that year. in the u.k. last year, there were five people killed by police, four of them were involve in terrorist incidents. we know that it is perfectly possible for us to live in a world where police don't kill people and we believe that can happen in this country and we believe our people, people like eric garner and sandra bland can live fully and freely in this country we helped build. >> eugene, the real question is that those of us that engage in these questions and movements, whatever tactics we may use are not anti police. we are pro what is right and good police are smeared because
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of the actions of bad police and the lack of accountability on bad policing and i think that a lot of people on the right try to miscast this as anti police rather than really say we want policing to work for everybody. >> there is no question about it. we have to -- there have to be reforms and intelligent reforms and the city like chicago and many other cities there is a long history of distryust but w have to make sure reform isn't political. how do you sign tan usely fix policing but have police attend issues concerning in the community and that continues to be the rub. i'm real concerned as the conversation continues to grow we're going in two different directions. the police are going in one direction on the ground and the community is asking for other priorities and trying to reconcile that.
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it shouldn't be a partisan issue at all. this is a non-partisan issue to treat people with respect and decency but also protect their community. that's not a partisan issue. >> brittany, as things have developed over the last four years since michael brown and eric garner, one of the things we hear is how different concerns have learned how to come together and work together and into generational different tactics but same issues, one of the things that i think you have come to symbolize at least to me is being mature enough to understand we don't have to do it the same way but we all have to do something. >> absolutely. what i look what happened to clemens in that waffle house in alabama and anthony in another waffle house a few weeks later, these were unnecessary incidents of unnecessary brute force.
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anthony wall is a young black man. we have to ensure that the conversation we're having about freedom and about justice includes all people and not just some people otherwise we're replicating the oppression we're experiencing and so we have to make sure that people who were involved in the women's march and people involved in lgbtq rights have to make sure people are safe and also involved in making sure that native lands and native people are protected and making sure disabled people have the rights they deserve and so we have to make sure we're doing this work together. we are indeed stronger together and when we get that right and recognize that we can work together to deal with the oppression that impacts all of us will make the progress we deserve. >> i'm going to use that as my sermon this morning in jacksonville. thank you eugene o'donald, thank you brittany. up next, my final thought. stay with us.
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as i head to services there this morning in jacksonville to give a sermon, my mind and heart and prayers go to branson, missouri where 17 people were killed in a duck boat that capsized in the waters there. my mind particularly focuses on
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tia coalman that lost her husband and three of her children and somehow survived, who is now trying to pick up the pieces in her life and go forward. how does she make it? she says when her home was full of the noise of little steps that will no longer be there and a husband whose gone. and she watched them die while she struggled to live. pray for the families of all 17. pray for tia. pray for those that faced tragedies and thank god that you're in a position to pray for others, everyone as you face your challenges and i face mine on a daily basis. that does it for me, thanks for watching and to keep the conversation going, like us at nation and follow us on twitter @politics nation. i'll see you back here


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