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Rev. Al Sharpton Defends Eric Holder

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 25, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Eric Holder's nomination for attorney general has drawn criticisms from conservatives, but our next guest thinks he is the right man for the job. The Reverend Al Sharpton said of Holder's nomination, quote, "I think that his appointment is one that both the law enforcement and the civil rights community can exhale and says that someone that is fair and open will take the top law enforcement seat in Washington."

With us now the president of the National Action Network, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Welcome back, Reverend.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you, Alan.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Rev. Al Sharpton

COLMES: You know the conservatives are beating him up, blaming him for the Marc Rich pardon, blaming him for FALN, blaming him for the, what their guess, calling the hijacking of Elian Gonzalez.

How do you respond to those charges?

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, again, I think that in the Marc Rich case, Mr. Holder has publicly stated where there was there. I think what they are going to find challenging is that Mr. Holder was not the attorney general, Janet Reno was. And in some of these situations, these were ultimately decisions made by then sitting President Clinton.

I think that while Eric Holder is going to be hard for them to paint as some bleeding liberal. I mean there are things that I can remember we went to him as deputy attorney general, that he didn't do, the very well known Amadou Diallo case. Many of us met with him. He did not prosecute.

Other situations he did, which is why I think he has the balance and fairness that both the law enforcement community and the civil rights community can feel that we would get a fair hearing from him. I don't think anyone would feel that they have an inside track as to what he would do.

COLMES: When you've gone to him in the past, where did you disagree with him in terms of those decisions when you went to him with cases and where did you agree with him?

SHARPTON: We disagreed with him on the Diallo case ultimately. He was shot 41 times by New York City police and was not prosecuted. And he was running the department at the time.

We have agreed with him on various cases where he was very well known for what he did in terms of corporate regulations and corporate greed as well as some of the profiling laws.

So I think he has a very credible but balanced record. And I think that it was a very prudent decision on the part of the president-elect.

COLMES: Given your investment in the Diallo case and you're disagreement with Eric Holder in that case, why would that have you supporting him here?

SHARPTON: Because I think you don't support people based on one or two cases of situations. You deal with their balance over the long run. And I think that whoever is the attorney general, you don't want them to be as a yes person for any particular constituency.

You want someone that is fair even if you think they may go against your particular view in one situation. I think he has demonstrated that. I think, frankly, all of the appointments, I agree.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey.

SHARPTON: . for the first time with Mary on this. I think all of them have been that.

HANNITY: Good to see you, Reverend. How are you, my friend?

SHARPTON: Fine. How are you doing, Sean?

HANNITY: I'm going to roll some videotape here. And what our audience is going to see. I don't think you can see it where you are. These are FALN terrorists. These are FALN terrorists and in this video they are making bombs.

We know from all the different information that has come out that, in fact, Eric Holder himself, in fact, went forward with the recommendation of these terrorists getting this pardon.

Now, doesn't that show poor judgment in your view, Al Sharpton?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I am sure that Mr. Holder will go before Senate confirmation committee and we will see if the information that has been touted about what his role was, what he knew and all, is, in fact, what has been projected to be.

And I think that time will tell. I do not think that Eric Holder is in any way, shape, or form a softy on terrorists or terrorism. And I don't think that President Obama will be.

HANNITY: Let me -- a list of FALN -- FALN documents were withheld from Congress shows that many memos on the FALN clemency decision came directly from Holder. Now you brought up the discussion of Marc Rich before and you said, well, that was Janet Reno's Justice Department.

Well, we also know that, in fact, Holder reviewed in the case of Marc Rich, a guy that renounced his citizenship, a guy that was dealing arms to Iran during the Iranian hostage crisis, that he reviewed the last minute pardon of Marc Rich.

And in fact, Holder waived Rich's pardon in the final days and he did that as Clinton's deputy attorney general. He did this. These are his decisions that he made.

SHARPTON: Well, what I said.

HANNITY: Is that poor judgment?

SHARPTON: What I said, Sean, in response to Alan bringing up Marc Rich is that he said he earned it. What I've also said is that in the FALN thing what you raise is everything but the direct involvement of Holder.

To just raise things and not be able to attach them to Holder.

HANNITY: No, I'm not.

SHARPTON: . and the judgment decision-making power.

HANNITY: I'm directing it directly to.

SHARPTON: . is an incomplete charge.

HANNITY: No, we have the memos and we have, for example, as Bill Clinton's attorney general, he was the gate keeper. This is the "The Washington Post," by the way. Four presidential pardons, quote, "most famously he waived through the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich in the waning days of the Clinton administration and Clinton White House."

They're saying that he did that. And then top of it he defended on this very network with Judge Napolitano, you know, snatching Elian Gonzalez late at night at the point of a gun. Do you support that -- did you support that effort to put a gun in a boy's face?

SHARPTON: Well, again -- again, I think in the Senate confirmation hearings he will establish a lot of this.

You know what is interesting to me, Sean, is that the hard right.

HANNITY: Hard right?

SHARPTON: . wants to say that Clinton had deals -- yes, the far right.

HANNITY: Who are they?

SHARPTON: Hard right, far right, whatever way.

HANNITY: Who are they?

SHARPTON: Well, you might want to stay with you, brother Hannity. I would say you personify that in my judgment.

HANNITY: Does that make you far left?

SHARPTON: At with one level -- but at one level, you -- are telling the American public that President Clinton had a deal with Marc Rich and his ex-wife.

HANNITY: Wait a minute.

SHARPTON: Now Holder had it. I mean.

HANNITY: Well, he recommended this.

SHARPTON: . how many people do you want to attach to the same deal?

HANNITY: No, no, no, no, no. The memo show he supported it. It went through him. And that they even bypassed some of the process traditionally in place.

SHARPTON: He has addressed that. He has addressed that. But you can't take his saying that he earned here and just do a blanket across the board.

HANNITY: All right.

SHARPTON: You're throw out one thing.

HANNITY: Reverend Al, we got to run.

SHARPTON: .. and then you try to rush three or four other things in there.

HANNITY: We'll see you soon.

SHARPTON: You usually do and I get it.

HANNITY: Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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