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updated 3/19/2014 10:14:35 AM ET 2014-03-19T14:14:35

POLITICS NATION
March 18, 2014

Guest: John Wisniewski, Goldie Taylor, Bill Press, Gregory Feith, Jim
Cavanaugh

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, the shame old, shame old GOP. Exactly one year ago today,
the Republican national committee released its autopsy on the 2012 debacle.
RNC chair Reince Priebus said he was tired of a party considered quote,
"scary and narrow minded, out of touch and full of stuffy old men."

But a year later, the party`s not getting better. It`s getting worse.
Last year`s report talked about building a lasting relationship with the
African-American community. Here`s our Congressman Paul Ryan is working on
that relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We have got this tail
spin of culture in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and
just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the
value and the culture of work and so there`s a real culture problem here
that has to be dealt with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Blaming poverty on the culture of inner cities. It`s not
exactly a recipe for minority outreach. The report also said Republicans
should be embracing and championing comprehensive immigration reform. So,
here`s what Congressman Steve King is saying about undocumented young
people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: For everyone who`s a valedictorian, there`s
another hundred out there, they weigh 130 pounds and have got calves the
size of cantaloupes because they all in 75 pounds of marijuana across the
desert.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: With talk like that, there is no surprise the GOP has done
nothing on immigration. And when it comes to gay Americans, the report
said Republicans had to show we care about them, too. Nothing says we care
like the GOP bill that would have let businesses discriminate against gays
in Arizona.

The RNC report also said the party negative image among women was a big
issue. Their solution to the war on women? Bring out Uncle Sugar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: The Democrats want to insult
the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without
Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for
birth control because they can`t control their reproductive system without
the help of the government, then so be it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For the last year, we`ve seen many Republican leaders double
down on the worst kind of extremist rhetoric. May fly off the base, but
it`s not a formula for change and not a road to winning a national election
anytime soon.

Joining me are Karen Finney and Cynthia Tucker. Thank you both for being
here.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: Hey, Rev.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Good to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Karen, did Republicans actually want to change and become more
inclusive or were they just paying lip service to the idea?

FINNEY: Well, I think it`s pretty obvious what`s between what`s happened
in the past year that it was all about lip service. And even this morning,
if you look at what chairman Priebus was talking about at the (INAUDIBLE)
breakfast, I mean, he basically was talking about technical tools, and you
know, technology and things like that. He wasn`t able to say in any way,
shape or form, and here`s our agenda to outreach to African-Americans, to
gay people, to women. He had nothing. It was all the same policy
prescriptions, but they were again trying to dress it up with the idea
they`ve now got a ground game, a year round ground game. That`s not going
to cut it because they`re not growing the base of voters.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Cynthia, the RNC autopsy also said the party
needed to change its tone on economics. Quote, "the Republican party must
be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life.
Low income Americans are hard working people who want to become hard
working middle income Americans.

Now, here`s what they said since then about those trying to climb the
ladder. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We need to make sure our government programs
encourage work, not dependence.

REP. JACK KINGSTON (R), GEORGIA: Why don`t you have against pay dime, pay
nickel, instill in them there is no such thing as a free lunch.

RYAN: The left is making a big mistake here. What they`re offering people
is a full stomach and empty soul. The American people want more than that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Slamming free lunch programs. Talking about empty souls.
That`s championing those that want to go into the middle class, Cynthia?

TUCKER: You know, Reverend Al, this is the worst assault that I have heard
on the working poor since Reagan was in office. You remember Ronald Reagan
infamously claimed that if people are poor, it`s their own fault and if
government is doing anything to help them, it just makes it worse. Paul
Ryan and other Republican leaders have simply trotted out all of that old
rhetoric, dressed it up a bit and rehashed it all over again.

They have cut food stamps. They, many Republicans in state capitals around
the country, want to drug test people before they can get food stamps.
They have no problem with crony capitalism. They had no problem with farm
subsidies. Yet, they look at a program that keeps people from going hungry
and all they see is corruption.

They don`t want to raise the minimum wage. When they talk about programs
to help poor people, they talk about marriage. Well, they ought to get
married. If people get married, they wouldn`t be poor. I don`t see how
that helps. If you have a woman making minimum wage and she marries a man
who makes minimum wage and they have a couple of children, guess what?
They`re still going to be poor.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, let me raise this one to you, Karen. Mr.
Priebus, the chairman, he also weighed in on Paul Ryan`s inner city
comments. It comes to mind when Cynthia brought that up. Here`s what
Priebus said about Ryan`s inner city comments when we`re talking about
poverty.

It says, quote, "as far as whether it hurt our efforts, no, I think that
Paul admitted that he was inarticulate. The fact is that he made those
comments because he`s devoted his life to this issue, which I think is
commendable."

Now, wouldn`t they have more credibility if they called him out on this?
He said that this was a traditional of men not working. This was inner
city culture. What is he talking about that he`s committed his life to
this and he was just inarticulate?

FINNEY: you know, I don`t even know. And I had to chuckle a bit as you
were reading that. I mean, look, saying he was inarticulate, even you
know, last week, when Congressman Ryan said that, I don`t think any of us
really bought that answer, right? I think he knew exactly what it was.
And you and I, we talked about this on your show. It`s not just what he
said, but it`s the, you know, racist person that he cited as well.

SHARPTON: Charles Murray, the author of the bell curve.

FINNEY: Exactly. So, to say that is the source of information that you
are going to espouse those ideas. Now, you know, we are not just
inarticulate. We knew exactly what you were saying. And Chairman Priebus,
you know, once again, they`re just trying to pretty it up, but they know
they have nothing to offer. I mean, look at just immigration reform for
heaven`s sakes. If they were in any way, shape or form, sincere or serious
about anything this that report, we would have seen comprehensive
immigration reform move. We would have seen no problem getting an
extension for unemployment insurance. We would have seen no problem for the
expansion of the minimum wage.

SHARPTON: You know, Cynthia, what also is interesting is that this is not
just a segment. They are on the wrong side of the American public on a lot
of issues, the public. Sixty-nine percent support raising the minimum
wage, 55 percent support same-sex marriage and 53 percent support a path to
citizenship for undocumented immigrants. So how much further out of the
mainstream could they be, Cynthia?

TUCKER: Well, you`re absolutely right, Reverend Al. But I think they`re
counting on a couple of things here. They are counting on the fact that
the Democratic base will not turn out in the midterm elections. And what
they have spent their time doing is selling anger and fear to their aging,
white base so that they will turn out in large numbers.

They know that the polls are against them on the issues. It`s not just the
things you named. Most Americans like most provisions of the affordable
care act, too. But they spend all of their time not trying to grow the
party`s voters. They`re not trying to attract more people of color.
They`re not trying to attract more young women. They`re not trying to
attract more LGBT voters. What they`re trying to do is get their aging
white base angry and fearful and drive them to the polls.

SHARPTON: Well, they`re not trying to attract any of those segments you
mentioned, then they are being successful because they`re not attracting
any, Karen.

FINNEY: No, they`re not. And let`s not forget, Reverend Sharpton, I think
this needs to be a real wake-up call to democratic voters in this country.
Don`t forget what they are also doing is trying to disenfranchise voters,
so they`re not only just trying to aggravate, you know, that very narrow
base, they`re continuing with their efforts to do everything they can to
make it harder for democratic voters, the traditional democratic voters,
African-American, Latinos, to vote in this country.

And so, I think people need to take that as a wake-up call in these midterm
elections and get out there and get to the polls and take people with you.
And don`t forget, you know, when it comes November, the very things we`re
talking about now, that`s why you`ve got to get out there and vote.

SHARPTON: Karen Finney and Cynthia Tucker, thank you both for your time
tonight.

Be sure to watch Karen by the way on "Disrupt with Karen Finney" weekends
at 4:00 p.m. eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, it happened again. Another Republican billionaire is comparing
this fight for fairness to Nazi Germany.

Plus, what do new e-mails released in the Bridgegate scandal reveal? The
chairman n the committee investigating joins us live.

And another twist in the search for that missing Malaysia plane. New radar
detected and a new focus on a computer inside the cockpit.

And an extraordinary ceremony at the White House today. The medal of honor
awarded to heroes overlooked because of discrimination. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: What do newly released documents revealed about the Chris
Christie Bridgegate scandal? One of the key figures in the investigation
joins me live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On investigators closing in on team Christie, newly released e-
mails showed that the George Washington bridge scandal sparked a frenzy of
activity among Christie officials with campaign staffers communicating
directly with members of the Governor`s office.

For example, in October as reporters first started asking questions, a
campaign staffer named Kevin Roberts wrote to a campaign manager, Bill
Stepien and he said quote, "coordinating with dreamy act on this." That`s
a reference to Michael Drewniak, governor Christie`s press secretary. Why
was the political campaign coordinating with the governor`s office about
the matter of state government? It`s a key question. Also released, a
December e-mail linking Christie`s chief political strategist, Mike Duhane
to discussions about the fallout from the lane closures.

If this was all just a minor traffic study, why did Christie`s top
strategist get involved? These new details helped fill out the web of
communication between the re-election campaign, the governor`s office and
the port authority. Key players were urgently e-mailing and texting about
the closing of the world`s busiest bridge, begging the question, was the
governor really kept out of the loop?

Joining me now is New Jersey Democratic assemblyman John Wisniewski, the
co-chair of the select committee investigating the bridge scandal. Thanks
for being here, assemblyman.

ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN WISNIEWSKI (D), NEW JERSEY: Reverend, good to be here,
thanks.

SHARPTON: What do you make of these new documents? I mean, what do they
tell us?

WISNIEWSKI: What they tell us is that this had become a very big political
issue. We see communication asking very fundamental questions about how to
deal with the press inquiries? Were there a respond to press inquiry. And
those communications were not within the port authority. Remember, this
was supposed t be a port authority traffic study. But these were
communications that went to the governor`s campaign manager, Bill Stepien
among others.

And so, it really shows that there was a significant political component to
what was going on here. We don`t know why. We`re trying to get that
answer. But clearly, involving all of these folks in the campaign, running
by them, the press strategy indicates there was some political element to
this.

SHARPTON: So, if it was just a traffic study, why would you be calling the
campaign, the governor`s office? Why not just be handled in the port
authority?

WISNIEWSKI: That`s exactly the question. And this is really gone beyond
the port authority. Where we thought it started, it went to Bridget Kelly
in the governor`s office. But now, we see those communications going
beyond that and now, going directly to the governor`s campaign.

SHARPTON: Now, last November, you heard testimony from port authority
official, Bill Barone and that these lane closures were part of quote "a
traffic study." But here`s what he wrote Bill Stepien the next day after
he testified. He wrote quote "at least we have explained the counter
narrative."

Counter narrative? I mean, what do you make of that phrase? Used to
describe a testimony before your transportation committee?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, it`s troubling. And I sat through that testimony and it
seemed implausible when it was being delivered. But to see this
communication really underscores the fact that they weren`t there just
simply to put the facts On the Record, but they were there to put a story
On the Record, a counter narrative as we see it described.

There was no traffic study. That`s been said by Pat Foye and many other
people. But this document really goes to show that they considered this to
be a narrative that they wanted to get out there as opposed to the facts.

SHARPTON: Now, Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly say subjects of a federal
investigation, and therefore shouldn`t have to answer your committee`s
subpoenas. Bill Stepien`s attorney wrote quote "compelling a testimonial
act of production by a person in the thorough of a criminal investigation
and that against all odds is precisely where Mr. Stepien finds himself,
undoubtedly violates the person`s right against self-incrimination." What
is your response to that?

WISNIEWSKI: Fifth amendment is one hand, a very simple piece of law, but a
very complicated one. There`s no testimony involved here what the
committee is looking for. Documents that had been created by Bill Stepien
among others. And we need that information in order to get to the basic
answers, why this was done and how this abuse of power could have happened.
We don`t have those answers, but the very people who are withholding the
documents may in fact have the answers to those questions.

SHARPTON: Do you feel you will not get those documents from those two
people?

WISNIEWSKI: Well, we`re in the middle of a court battle. The judge has
asked for additional briefing. And I`m confident in the position our
attorneys put forward and I think ultimately, we`ll get information we
need.

SHARPTON: Will it impair your investigation if you don`t get it?

WISNIEWSKI: No, it won`t impair our investigation. And I don`t think our
investigation will be impaired by this court battle. I think that we have
a legitimate right to get documents that were created, especially those by
Bridget Kelly, by a government employee, using her personal e-mail account.
I think the committee has a right to see those comments.

SHARPTON: Assemblyman John Wisniewski, we thank you for your time tonight.

We`ll be watching.

WISNIEWSKI: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, big news tonight about the so-called affluenza
teen. Will the families of his victim finally get some justice?

Plus, lifestyles of the rich and shameless. You got to hear what another
billionaire said about Hitler and the one percent.

Plus, is Willard really thinking about running for president again? We`ll
take a look at tonight`s got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney is taking back the spotlight. He`s giving
interviews on the Sunday morning shows and today, a "Wall Street Journal"
op-ed slamming failed leadership on Ukraine. Quote "President Obama and
secretary of state Clinton travel the world in pursuit of their promise to
reset relations and to build friendships across the globe. Their failure
has been painfully evident."

That`s suspicious. Why is he calling out Hillary Clinton? Sure, she might
run for president in 2016. But she`s not the secretary of state anymore.
Unless, wait a minute, are you thinking what I`m thinking? Is the third
time the charm? Is he ready for another run? Where there`s a Willard,
there`s a way. Look out, big bird, here he comes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: I`m sorry, Jim. I made a
stop to subsidy to PBS. I`m going to stop all the things I like PBS. I
like big bird, I actually like you, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But, it`s not just "Sesame Street" who should be on alert, all
of those 47 percenters better watch out, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent who are -- believe that they are victims.
Well, maybe I should also tell my story. I`m also unemployed.

I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.

Corporations are people, my friend.

I`m not concerned about the very poor.

I drive a mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of
Cadillacs, actually.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But, there is one constituency that will be thrilled about a
third Romney campaign, late night comedians. Your material could be coming
soon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m learning to say, you all. And I like grits and things are
strange happening to me.

I love this state. It seems right here, trees are right pipe and --

We went to the company and said, look, you can`t have any illegals working
in our property. I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t have
illegals.

Who let the dogs out?

No one`s asked to see my birth certificate.

They brought us binders full of women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I guess the binder business is gearing up, but who knows what
the future holds.

Mitt Romney going up to Hillary Clinton seems a little off. Is anyone
willing to take this bet? Anyone?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I thought so.

One thing we know. Mitt Romney isn`t attacking Hillary Clinton for no
reason. Nice try. But let me get nostalgic for a second because we got
you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The gap between the rich and poor has reached a level we haven`t
seen since the 1920s. That`s why President Obama`s trying to level the
playing field.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: As a country, we`ve got to make a
decision whether we`re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest
Americans or we`re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs
and grow our economy expand opportunity to every American.

One thing that Americans across the board agree on is if you work full time
in the wealthiest nation on earth, you shouldn`t be in poverty. If you
take responsibility and you work as hard as these folks work, you work full
time, you shouldn`t be living in poverty, not in America. We believe that.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But look how one billionaire is responding. Today, Ken Langone,
a top Republican donor, said this about the push for Feds. Quote, "If you
go back to 1933 with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in
Germany. You don`t survive as a society if you`re encouraging thrive on
envy or jealousy." Yes, he`s comparing populous politics to Nazi Germany
and earlier this year, billionaire Tom Perkins compared the treatment of
the rich to the holocaust. There`s no war on the rich. Just a push for
fairness. Comparing that to Nazi Germany is deeply offensive and only
reignites the push for change.

Joining me now are Goldie Taylor and Bill Press, thank you both for coming
on the show tonight.

BILL PRESS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Reverend Al.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Goldie, the President is trying to make this an economy that
works for everyone. But they`re making Hitler comparisons. What`s your
reaction?

TAYLOR: You know, in full disclosure, I used to work for Ken Langone at
Home Depot here in Atlanta and his Public Relations Department. So I know
a bit about him and his politics. I`ll say this, you know, people who
stand inside the gate, people who are on the other side of the wall making
these kinds of attacks on people who are trying to survive, hope to make it
on minimum wage jobs, I think it`s actually now deplorable. You know, it`s
incomprehensible to me how someone like him in Langone who has, you know,
tens of thousands of part time workers in Home Depot stores across this
country and the world who are, you know, qualified for food stamps, who
qualify for subsidies on the Affordable Care Act because they don`t make
enough money to support their families.

And so, I think that if Ken Langone even would just turn his eye to his
very own workforce, the people inside those Home Depot stores who are
putting in the work, you know, who deserve greater pay, who deserve greater
benefits, then maybe, just maybe he`ll see, you know, a little bit of
what`s on the other side of that wall. If you work full time in this
country, you shouldn`t be in poverty and Ken Langone ought to know that by
raising the stakes, by raising the politics of opportunity, not the
politics of envy, but the politics of opportunity, for people who really
work for it in this country, then it raises the quality of life for
everybody in this country.

SHARPTON: Bill, what do you think about this Nazi comparison?

PRESS: Look, first of all. It`s just disgusting. You know, I mean, this
started, let`s remember, it started when Barack Obama was running for
president and he attracted these big crowds and Mark Levin, right wing
radio talk show host said, oh, this is what Edward did, he got big crowds
like this. And they have kept that Nazi analogy comparison up since that
time. Right? And you know, Goldie is right, this is not the politics of
envy or jealousy. This is just all people are asking for is a fair shake
and a fair opportunity. That`s all and that`s not taken away from the
wealthiest people in this country.

SHARPTON: You know --

PRESS: It is just giving others an opportunity. I just have said, one
quick thing. You know, look at Ken Langone with Home Depot. I prefer to
think of Sol Price, God rest his soul now. The founder of the Price Club.
He made as much money as Ken Langone, and he gave so much money away. One
of the most generous people ever met in California. Look at Bill Gates,
look at Warren Buffett. But when these rich people get so greedy and want
to deprive anybody else of having a chance, that`s what`s disgusting.

SHARPTON: You know, Goldie, a billionaire real estate investor, thinks the
Americans are being unfairly criticized. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The quote one percent are being pummeled because it`s
politically convenient to do so. The one percent work harder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, the one percent work harder? I mean, is this all part
of the lazy comments we hear from some Republicans that are in Congress
now? They work hard. So, I guess everybody else doesn`t work hard. Poor
people don`t work hard?

TAYLOR: You know, I`m not so certain that, you know, the one percent in
this country spends 40 to 50 hours a week in a coal mine. They spent 40 to
50 hours a week, you know, waiting tables at a local restaurant or standing
at a retail customer service line. I just don`t understand how one would
believe that you know working as an investor and God love you, if you
inherited wealth, accumulated wealth it or earned your wealth. However,
you got it, you know, God love you for it, but other people deserve the
same pathway, the same kind of opportunity that my parents had, that your
parents may have had, to go to work for an honest day`s work and honest
day`s pay and to be able to invest in themselves for a greater opportunity.
To say that this is the politics of envy, to compare this whole thing to
Nazi Germany I think is really beyond the pale.

SHARPTON: You know, Bill, just last week, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
expressed her gratitude for billionaires who fund her party. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I just thank God that there`s a
billionaire or two on our side. All the billionaires seem to be on the
radical left, so I`m glad that we`ve got a couple on ours. This is an
intimidation movement. I`m sure that the donors on our side don`t like to
have their names vilified.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nope.

BACHMANN: And just remember, that`s really what this is about.
Intimidating people from giving money to our cause. That`s it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And I mentioned Tom Perkins and the set-up bill. Listen to what
else he had to say that I didn`t play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM PERKINS, VENTURE CAPITALIST: The way this system is, you don`t get to
vote. Unless you pay a dollar in taxes, but what I really think is, it
should be like a corporation. If you pay a million dollars in taxes, you
get a million votes. How`s that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Million dollars in taxes, a million votes. There was a lot of
laughter, but is this what the one percent is really think?

PRESS: Unbelievable. You know, what that means, that means the Koch
Brothers would get 400 million votes. Because that`s what they spent last
year. I mean, these guys again, nobody has taken anything away from them.
Stop whining. They`ve got it great. They don`t work a day in their life.
I mean, they coast, right, with all the money that they`ve got. All we`re
saying is, you know, give other people a chance to get up and live out of
poverty. And you know, what? I guess the final thing on this is, for me
is, if they really think this is like Nazi Germany, why don`t they talk
about the Pope? Pope Francis talks more about income inequality than
President Obama does. They call him a Nazi, really?

SHARPTON: But I think that all of this ugliness, I mean from the left or
the right, I mean, we do not have to get extreme to have a discussion on
fairness and the most, one of the most horrific things in the history of
the world was what happened in Nazi Germany. To act like talking about
having fairness and to close the gap in areas in this country and the deal
with income inequality to be compared to that, it should be beneath anyone
particularly intelligent people that have done so well in this country.

PRESS: Amen.

TAYLOR: Amen Rev.

SHARPTON: Goldie Taylor and Bill Press. Thank you both for your time.

PRESS: Amen to that. All right. Thanks, Reverend Al.

TAYLOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, too rich to jail, the teen who killed four drunk
driving and got off with the affluenza defense is in the news today and
tonight, more scrutiny on a cockpit computer as friends of the pilot are
speaking out. Are we any closer to answers in this mystery? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tonight, breaking news in the search for missing Flight 370.
We`ve learned that the plane`s u-turn was likely programmed into an on
board computer system in the cockpit and tonight, sources tell NBC News
that the turn was programmed into the computer at least 12 minutes before
the co-pilot calmly said, "Good night," to air traffic controllers. It`s
just another key element to a timeline that`s beginning to get pieced
together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Here is the mystery flight`s most updated timeline.
Flight 370 leaves Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. and 1:07 a.m. The last
automated ACARS data transmission. The next transmission scheduled for 30
minutes later never comes. At 1:19 a.m., the co-pilot radios, "Alright,
good night," as Malaysian air traffic controllers hand him over to
Vietnamese controllers. Just two minutes later, something happens, at 1:21
a.m., someone in the cockpit turns off the transponders. The plane then
turns around. At 2:15 a.m., the last military radar contact. All that`s
left are those six pings being transmitted somewhere along two very long
arcs to the north and south. The last one at 8:11 a.m.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That would further indicate the u-turn was planned and executed
in the cockpit before controllers lost contact. But was the plan to
sabotage the flight? And could more than one person be involved?

Joining me now are Gregory Feith, a former NTSB investigator and Jim
Cavanaugh, an NBC law enforcement analyst. Thank you both for coming on
the show tonight.

GREGORY FEITH, FORMER NTSB INVESTIGATOR: You`re welcome.

JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Greg, let me start with you. We`ve learned that the plane was
programmed to make this turn. Walk us through that. Could one of the
pilots have done this without the other one realizing it?

FEITH: Absolutely. During the preflight preparation on the ground,
typically you`ll have a pilot walk around the outside of the airplane to do
the preflight to make sure that the airplane is mechanically sound.

SHARPTON: OK.

FEITH: A lot of the time, the other pilot will be in the cockpit doing
cockpit duties to include building the flight management system flight
plan, so you`ll have a guy that`s by himself putting in the route. He
could build a primary flight plan from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. He could
put on the alternate flight plan --

SHARPTON: Without the knowledge of the other pilot that was checking out
the plane.

FEITH: That`s correct.

SHARPTON: Now, Jim, we`ve also learning more about the pilots. Take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Each day, the mystery surrounding the pilot Zaharie Shah
deepens. We now know he has two homes. Why would a well off pilot hijack
his own plane, friends ask?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bright, intelligent, inquisitive.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And a family man. Three children and a grandchild.
Then the co-pilot Fariq Hamid, he is reported to have a girlfriend, also a
pilot, why would he be involved?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jim, what do you think? Don`t seem like any red flags here.

CAVANAUGH: Right, Reverend. I don`t see a red flag either. You know, I
do think these pilots are good men, experienced and you know, I would stand
with that until the facts change. But they have to be look at aggressively
like we do at any case like this. We have to look at them as possible
suspects because they have the ability, the knowledge, the access, the
opportunity and like Greg described. One could manipulate the flight
system while the other was down.

So, they have to be looked at real hard. And also, that`s not the only
scenario. You could have a hijack by persons on board. A passenger could
be trained as a pilot by a foreign military and the pilots are innocent
where heroes and they could be hijacked or you could have a complicit pilot
with hijackers that are on board or in another location or you could have,
you know, a pilot suicide. So, it`s not the only scenario. It`s just one
of a few possible criminal scenarios.

SHARPTON: But you know, Greg, there are a ton of theories about, you know,
this plane. There`s even one that says the plane could have used another
jet to hide its movements. What do you make of that one?

FEITH: I think that`s probably the most preposterous. Because you`re
talking about a 650,000 pound airplane. You would take a train military
type pilot, even think about trying to fly formation. Level on ticket
triple seven and fly formation with another airplane at night, at altitude,
you`d have to, there would have to be so much choreography and experience
and it`s just, it`s just not reasonable.

SHARPTON: Greg, there`s also talk today that the plane could have
experienced a slow moving fire on board. What do you make of that?

FEITH: If there was an on board fire and it`s been talked about with the
wiring, that airplane has several hundred miles of wire in it. It would
have to be --

SHARPTON: Several hundred miles.

FEITH: Yes. Yes. I mean, this is a large airplane.

SHARPTON: Right. You`re talking hundreds of miles of wiring in there.
You`d have to get the wire. There`s wire all over this airplane. It`s not
just, you know, located in one particular area, so that fire would have to
burn through enough wire to take out all of the communication systems or
would be so big in the cockpit that it would render the cockpit basically
un-useful to the crew in a very, very short period of time and wire fires
don`t burn that fast.

Jim, ten days into the investigation, the Thai military says it may have
detected the plane. Doesn`t this delay at least raise the possibility that
the plane could have flown over other country`s radar systems and they`re
simply not telling us or not aware of that --

CAVANAUGH: It did.

SHARPTON: I think you`re right, Reverend. I think it`s kind of
disgraceful that the Thai government when this is all happening in their
backyard. I mean, Malaysia is directly next to Thailand. If they sort of
discover this, they sort of walk up, you would think all the countries were
sweeping their radar data. All their data, their surface ship`s data,
everything, just to find out where this plane is. But I agree with Greg on
the arson or the fire theory. And I investigated arsons and fires for more
than 35 years and you know, that`s the kind of analysis I feel like we`re
back in the command post.

These guys like Greg are the guys that are in there. They have the
knowledge. They tell you the facts, then you have to make the
investigative theories and you have to always work from a foundation of
facts. So, that`s smart thinking and, you know, we don`t have the answer.
Accident is not totally off the table, but it`s likelihood has gone down
and down and down. It`s still there, but it`s very, very low at the
moment. It could come back up if facts change and we`ve seen the facts
change from the government and the airlines in this many times.

SHARPTON: Greg, let me just ask you. What do you think happened? With
all that`s been going on, what do you think happened?

FEITH: I think that the Malaysian government is looking at this as a
crime. We`re not sure that we have all the information that they have.
With regard to the background of the pilots. We know what they`re saying,
but because we`re not all intimately involved in this process and we know
that they`ve not been forthcoming with a lot of information, plus, there`s
been some misinformation.

I know that in this particular instance, where you have deliberate turns,
you have a deliberate flight plan that was programmed in and executed, you
have somebody who wants this airplane to disappear by turning off all of
those things, those pieces of equipment that will provide the appearance,
the transponders, the ACARS system, they wanted to get lost. They didn`t
want to be tracked and this airplane, you would have expected if it crashed
on land, we would have seen it, if it crashed within a reasonable distance
from Kuala Lumpur, we would have found wreckage, with all the assets out
there, we have found nothing.

SHARPTON: You know, there`s a lot of talk about why no one on board sent
any messages. "The New York Times" reports that someone may have
intentionally depressurized the plane as it soared to an unusually high
altitude right after the turn around, which would have quickly rendered
passengers and flight attendants unconscious. What do you make of that?

FEITH: I think that that`s wrong information. The information that
they`ve been running with for the last three days about the plane climbing
to 45,000 feet and then making a dramatic dive is not accurate, is not
actually true. Those are errant data points, because when they got the
radar information from the military, it was at the very boundary of their
radar capability. Their coverage and the altitude information that they
were getting was not accurate. And so, they smoothed the radar data to
take those accurate data points and the airplane was actually at now 29,500
feet. Never climbed. Never descended.

SHARPTON: Now, Jim, do you think foul play is involved?

CAVANAUGH: Well, I think it`s a likely scenario in this event, Reverend
Al. Likely scenario that a criminal purpose was a foot here just like Greg
said, I`m in agreement. It looks very deliberate. I think this was a
mystery because it was designed to be so. The sequence of events, the
western flight path. The maybe evading radar, the way the plane turned and
turned, so it seems very deliberate. Seems like there`s a purpose here.
We just have to or investigators have to uncover that purpose, which is,
you know, the motive for what happened. It could be that the plane is way
there in the Indian Ocean and the goal of the purpose was to completely
disappear and that`s not unusual in a suicide case either because, you
know, sometimes insurance won`t pay for suicide and you wouldn`t want to be
blamed for the murder of all those innocents. So, there can be motives and
suicides to disappear as well.

SHARPTON: Well, Greg Feith and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both for your time
this evening.

FEITH: You`re welcome.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Up next, a new twist in the case of that affluenza teenager.
Who critics said was too rich to jail.

Also, President Obama makes a big move to set the record straight. And fix
an old injustice. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It was a case that had the nation outraged. Could someone
actually be too rich to jail? Last summer, we told you how Ethan Couch, a
rich teenager in Texas, avoided jail time after killing four people and
injuring two in a drunk driving accident. By using the affluenza defense.
Saying because of wealth, he never learned that bad behavior has
consequences. Today, we learned Couch`s parents have settled with some of
his victim`s families, paying an undisclosed amount to the families of
three of the victims, but Couch still faces charges of intoxication assault
for the injury. We will keep following this story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, President Obama took a big step to right some wrong and
corrects a historical injustice. The President bestowed the Congressional
Medal of Honor on 24 army veterans who had been passed over because of
their race, ethnicity or religion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: No nation is perfect. But here in America, we confront our
imperfections and face sometimes painful past. Including the truth that
some of these soldiers fought and died for a country, that did not always
see them as equal. But ultimately after years of review, these two dozen
soldiers among them, Hispanic, African-American and Jewish veterans were
identified as having earned the Medal of Honor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These soldiers have served during World War II. Korea and
Vietnam, their courage deserved the military`s highest honor. But they
were denied. Because of who they were. Three of these heroes are still
alive today. They travel to the White House and got special recognition
from the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Today, we remember how 32-year-old Sergeant First Class Rodela
fought through his wounds in Vietnam and rallied his men during 18 hours of
constant combat. Today, we remember how 27-year-old Staff Sergeant Morris,
one of our nation`s very first Green Berets, think about that. I mean,
that`s legendary. How staff Sergeant Morris recovered a fallen comrade in
Vietnam, took out several enemy bunkers and kept going even after he was
shot three times.

Today, we remember how 23-year-old Specialist Four Erevia under hail of
bullets in Vietnam gave first aid to his wounded comrades and single
handedly destroyed four enemy four bunkers. These are extraordinary
Americans. They are exemplary soldiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The shame is that they were not honored in the past. The good
news though is that the President said we confronted a painful past. And
corrected the record.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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