tv Meet the Press NBC January 2, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST
♪♪ >> this sunday, january 6th: one year later. it was a violent effort to overturn a free and fair election. >> the deadly siege on congress as an angry pro-trump mob storms the u.s. capitol. >> behind the violence, former president trump's big lie of a stolen election... >> this is a fraud on the american public. we were getting ready to win this election. frankly, we did win this election. >> ...as he tried to reverse the results...
...supported by elected republicans... >> how would president trump lose in an atmosphere like that? >> ...aided by allies... >> all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. >> ...backed by unconstitutional legal strategies to declare president trump re-elected, and accepted by millions. >> how many elections are they gonna steal before we kill these people? >> this morning, as we approach the one-year anniversary of the january 6th insurrection, i'll talk to congressman bennie thompson, chair of the january 6 committee, and to peter meijer, the rare elected house republican willing to admit publicly that joe biden won the election. we'll also look at how the big lie had its start in the 2016 campaign. >> the only way we can lose, in my opinion -- i really mean this, pennsylvania -- is if cheating goes on. >> that our democracy is in peril if only one side is willing to admit that it lost an election. welcome to sunday and a special edition of "meet the press." >> from nbc news in washington, the longest-running show in
television history. this is a special edition of "meet the press with chuck todd." >> good sunday morning. happy new year. 2022 is here. benjamin franklin is credited with saying, yes, the founding fathers had created a republic, if we can keep it. but nearly 250 years after american declared independence, and one year since the january 6th capitol riot, american democracy will survive only if we can keep it. in recent weeks, we've learned that the riot was not merely an explosion of violence prompted by donald trump's speech, but the result of post-election planning by anti small-d democratic forces at the highest level, up to and including the then sitting president of the united states, to overturn the election and subvert the will of the american people. their plan did not succeed, because they did not have the power to make it succeed -- at least for now. you got election laws, secretaries of state, local election officials -- they didn't have them there to
overturn the result. they don't plan to make this mistake again, as they work to fill those positions with allies willing to do their bidding. and the more we learn about what the bipartisan january 6th house committee is uncovering, the more we see that the focus, increasingly, is not only on what president trump and his allies did on january 6th, but what they did before january 6th. >> how we address january 6th is the moral test of our generation. >> donald trump's campaign to overturn the 2020 election, a relentless, systematic effort to claim election fraud despite no evidence of it, began with the 2016 election... >> there were a lot of votes cast that i don't believe. >> ...accelerated in the run-up to 2020. >> they're trying to steal the election. steal the election. they steal and rig and rob. >> stop the steal! stop the steal! >> we will stop the steal. >> and it continued in the january 6th capitol attack. >> more and more insurrectionists were pouring into the area by the speaker's lobby.
i told them to just leave the capitol, and in response, they yelled, "no, man, this is our house. president trump invited us here -- we're here to stop the steal." >> it's a campaign to undermine the u.s. democracy that is ongoing. >> it was a corrupt election. >> election night 2020 -- trump declares victory long before all the votes are counted. >> we will win this, and as far as i'm concerned, we already have won it. >> november 4th -- a trump ally texts white house chief of staff mark meadows. november 9th -- meadows meets with trump allies, and according to the new york times, they settle on a strategy to continue to hammer home the idea the election was tainted. >> this election is not over. far from it. >> while announcing legal action november 19th, trump lawyers rudy giuliani and
sidney powell hold a bizarre news conference. >> the massive influence of communist money through venezuela, cuba... full-scale criminal investigation needs to be undertaken immediately by the department of justice. >> trump's campaign lawyers filed 62 federal and state lawsuits challenging the election results. 61 are denied. december 1st, attorney general bill barr tells the associated press that the justice department did not find widespread fraud. he would resign two weeks later. but beginning december 15th, trump pressures justice department officials at least nine times to overturn biden's legitimate victory, including in a meeting on january 3rd when he threatens to replace acting attorney general jeffrey rosen with loyalist jeffrey clark to carry out his scheme. >> trump intended to appoint jeffrey clark as attorney general in part so that mr. clark could alter the department of justice's conclusions regarding the election. >> we were a half step away from
a full-blown constitutional crisis if rosen would've folded. >> december 18th -- former national security advisor michael flynn and lawyer sidney powell push mr. trump to consider declaring martial law or to sign executive orders to seize voting equipment. >> if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. >> december 21st -- mr. trump meets members of the freedom caucus to discuss their plans. >> this is a desperate time for our country. >> and trump ramps up his effort in the states. january 2nd, he appeals directly to georgia's secretary of state, demanding he produce more votes in a state joe biden won. >> i heard the threat that he was making, and then obviously when he called me an "enemy of the people." >> chief of staff mark meadows personally travels to georgia to
inspect a counting audit. january 2nd -- mr. trump, meadows, members of congress and attorneys for mr. trump's campaign hold a call with some 300 state and local officials to discuss overturning some states' electoral college results on january 6th. donald trump also begins to lobby vice president mike pence publicly and privately to deny biden the 270 electoral votes he needs. january 4th -- trump and pence meet at the white house with lawyer john eastman about his memo, laying out steps pence could take to delay certification and keep trump in power. in effect, a blue print for a coup. it's a message trump hammers home on the ellipse on january 6th... >> i hope mike has the courage to do what he has to do. and i hope he doesn't listen to the rhinos and the stupid people that he's listening to. >> ...as members of congress inside the capitol tried to prevent biden's victory from being certified. >> i rise up both for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object to the counting of the electoral ballots from arizona.
>> meanwhile, planning for the january 6th rally steps up. >> all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. >> and january 6th, mr. trump urges protestors. >> we're gonna walk down to the capitol, because you'll never take back our country with weakness. you have to show strength. >> during the riot, meadows texts with at least one rally planner who tells him... ...as more than half a dozen others reach out to him, begging trump to intervene. >> still, president trump did not immediately act. >> in the last year, donald trump has remade the republican party in his own image, as republicans change their tone about the attempted
coup. >> the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. >> there's no involvement. but this is purely political. >> all i can say is count me out. enough is enough. can we move forward without president trump? the answer is no. >> and donald trump's lies have fueled new voting restrictions in 19 states, something the former president called for on the ellipse one year ago. >> i'm calling on congress and the state legislatures to quickly pass sweeping election reforms. today is not the end. it's just the beginning. >> recently, i spoke to congressman bennie thompson of mississippi. he's the chair of the house january 6 committee to find out where the committee's investigation is heading. let me start with some big pictures here. we're on the cusp of the first anniversary from january 6th. if i asked you today do you have a better sense of whether this was a protest that got out of
hand or a coordinated effort to attack the capitol, how would you answer that question one year later? >> well, i think it would have been a little bit of both, chuck. obviously, some people came upset with what happened in the november election. but others came with ulterior motives, and so you had citizens who had the right to protest, who thought that was the end of what would happen, and you had others who obviously came with bear spray, camouflage, kevlar, hockey sticks, everything, prepared to do something else. and the fact that those two convergence of individuals came together at the same time, and that is what we ended up with.
>> have you been able to determine what president trump was doing while the capitol was under attack? how much clearer is that picture today than it was on january 6th? >> well, you know, it's about 187 minutes. we have now determined he was in the white house. we've determined that a number of people made attempts to contact him through his chief of staff. some of those texts messages we shared on the presentation, the contempt citation... for mark meadows. but we also have information of other individuals who made calls trying to get some semblance of response out of the white house. but for that 187 minutes, nothing happened. we do know now that several
videos were made -- we don't have them yet -- before the right one was released, but we've requested it from the national archives. that and all the other information. so, the president was told, "you need to say directly to your people to go home, leave the capitol." and so it took over 187 minutes to make that simple statement. something's wrong with that. >> have you seen any evidence, or do you have any indication that maybe members of congress assisted any of the rioters on that day? >> yes. we have a lot of information about communication with individuals who came. now, "assisted" means different
things. some took pictures with people who came to the stop the steal rally. some, you know, allowed them to come and associate in their offices and other things during that whole rally week. so, there's some participation. we don't have any real knowledge that i'm aware of of people giving tours. we heard a lot of that, but we're still, to be honest with you, reviewing a lot of the film that the house administration and others have provided the committee. >> have you had any members of congress volun-- who were part of this who have already voluntarily helped you without you having to send a letter? >> well, we've had a number of members of congress to give us information on what they heard that might've gone on. we've heard directly from
members referring us to other individuals. but we heard from those early on. now we are trying to get to those individuals that we have basically identified that they have participated -- representative perry and jordan are two of those individuals that we've sent letters to asking them to voluntarily cooperate. but there were a lot of experiences on that day, chuck. i was in the capitol. a lot of other members didn't really know what was going on for quite awhile other than the fact that all hell had broken loose in a place where we thought would never happen. so, those members are concerned, but they have respected the committee's wishes to go forward and find the facts and circumstances, and that's what
we're doing. as you know, we've talked to over 300 people, all over the country. >> do you think you're gonna have to subpoena a sitting member of congress? >> well, i think there's some questions of whether we have the authority to do it. we're looking at it. if the authorities are there, there will be no reluctance on our part. >> many of the folks you've subpoenaed have filed countersuits, looked for delay tactics, and it's something you probably anticipated. what is the line for you where you and the vice chair say, "okay, this is a strategy to delay our attempt at a report, delay a public finding"? is it the spring, early summer? is there a point where you believe, okay, we've got what we've got. we've got to report to the american public"? >> oh, no question. our goal is to produce a report. we would like that report to be
as thorough as possible. we won't be deterred by the attempts to slow things down by suing the committee. we have a bevy of attorneys who understand the process. we'll go forward. there are a number of people who are cooperating in this investigation, and so we'll continue. now, to the extent we can access information with the authorities that we have as a committee, we will continue to do that. but we won't wait until somebody comes and talks to us. we have a number of people we need to talk with. we think we are in a good place at this point in time to begin the process of drafting this report. we will meet and establish timeline for the production of the report, because there are some legislation that we hope to recommend with this report that congress needs to adopt so
that what occurred on january 6th will never happen again. as i have viewed the film, as i've toured the capitol, as i've talked to the capitol policemen, metropolitan policemen, national guardsmen, we came critically close to losing this democracy as we've come to know it. and so it's our duty as patriots, as americans, as members of congress to make sure that we get it right. >> very quickly, i know we're short on time -- your relationship with liz cheney. you've been in congress with her a long time. i guessing this is the closest you've ever worked with her. tell me about it. >> no question. well, she is a straight-up lady. we agree on a lot of things. we disagree on a lot of things. but we both love this country, and i think putting us in the
room together has allowed me to see another side of her and she's another side of me. and i think if democrats and republicans who are ideologically apart like liz and bennie thompson can come together for the good of this country, we'd be in a better place if others could do the same thing. >> congressman bennie thompson, i appreciate your time. i know this is important work. we obviously look forward to seeing this completed and to seeing those hearings. thanks for coming on "meet the press." >> thank you very much for having me. >> when we come back, the anatomy of donald trump's big lie. how the former president actually spent years manufacturing this epic falsehood and how millions have bought into it.
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♪♪ >> welcome back. a little twist on "data download" this week. we're gonna take a look into the anatomy of the big lie -- how it began and how it spread, and how, frankly, it has led to this sad fact, that just 22% -- one in five republicans -- say joe biden was elected legitimately. so, how did we get here? well, taking a look back shows us that donald trump has been laying the ground work for this big lie really his entire political career. in fact, some say it all started more than 5 years ago. caucus night, 2016 in iowa, where trump, faced with his first big loss in the primary season, tweeted... trump would later delete the tweet, but even after he won the presidency, he blamed his massive popular vote loss on these mythical millions of people who voted illegally. and, in fact, to back up this lie, the president tried to
establish a voter fraud commission, which ended up quietly disbanding after finding no evidence of widespread fraud. then leading up to his 2020 showdown with joe biden, trump spent months repeating lies about the election system overall, particularly casting doubt around increased mail-in voting and other election changes made due to the coronavirus pandemic. here's a sampling. >> i think mail-in voting is gonna rig the election. i really do. you're sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots -- hundreds of millions. where are they going? who are they being sent to? this is just a way they're trying to steal the election. >> then before the votes were even counted, trump attempted to declare victory on election night. >> you just take a look at all of these states that we've won tonight, and then you take a look at the kind of margins that we've won them by, we were getting ready to win this election. frankly, we did win this election.
>> and then, less than two days later... >> if you count the legal votes, i easily win. if you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. >> and what is a better way to cast doubt on election results than to flood the zone with conspiracy theories, bizarre accusations, and lawsuits from your so-called dream legal team here? and the president got a lot of help from some far-right outlets like oan and newsmax, who sort of mainlined this propaganda, especially when his supporters felt that fox news wasn't being "loyal enough" after they called the election for joe biden. >> right now, joe biden is pretending to be the president-elect. they know they haven't won this thing fair and square. >> we here at one american news are the only ones providing truthful accurate numbers as we believe president trump, as you can see, still has a chance of
winning. >> and, in fact, take a look at this newsmax viewership increase in the days after election day, because trump was trashing fox and he basically pointed to the outlets that were believing his big lie. but it wasn't just on tv. let me show you this. the far-right social media platform parler, they went from number 1,023 on the most downloaded free iphone app ranking on november 2, 2020, basically just before the election. after a week of propaganda, number one in a week. at that same time, trump and his allies were trying to come up with ways to get congress to overturn the election results, and we all know what that led to. and since the january 6th insurrection, we've seen the republican party and the president himself perpetrate the lie and whitewash the violence that happened that day, saying things like... in fact, in the first three
weeks of december of just last month, trump's save america pack put out 19 separate releases promoting this big lie. that's almost one every day. again, just last month -- nearly more than a year removed from the election. and the impact from this ongoing big lie does live on. in fact, 10 out of 15 republican candidates for secretary of state in five key battleground states still question whether trump lost the 2020 election. and among republican voters, the impact is simply stark. take a look at the erosion of confidence that their votes will be counted fairly from this october compared to last october. look at this. right before the election, you had basically republicans and democrats feeling pretty confident about the election. a year of questioning it and gaslighting the republican party as former president trump has done, it has eroded that confidence basically in half. that is something that we're gonna live well beyond talk of the 2020 election. when we come back, the impact of
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>> welcome back. it is not easy to talk to my next two guests about donald trump without using the word coup. bart gellman's latest cover story in the atlantic is entitled "trump's next coup has already begun." it looks at how the former president and his allies are plotting to steal the next presidential election. and you may remember fiona hill from her testimony at mr. trump's first impeachment. hill was a top advisor to president trump on russia. she's an expert on authoritarian regimes and in her new book, "there is nothing for you here," she describes the january 6th capitol riot as the culmination of... bart gellman and fiona hill both join me now. and, bart, i want to actually start with the fact that this is not the first time you've sort of laid out this dark future we may be facing. about three months before the election in 2020, in september, you're almost like the guy, the
intelligence report in august before 9/11, bin laden determined to attack the united states. you laid out and even sort of foreshadowed january 6th as a date that would not be pro forma. so, putting that out there, how bad is it? how bad are we looking at the next two years in 2024? >> well, the basic point, chuck, is that donald trump came closer than almost anyone thought he could to overthrowing a free and fair election the last time. and as i walked through it in my new piece for the atlantic, he is in a better position now to subvert an election than he was last time. and that's pretty bad. >> why do you say that, though, when he's not -- i mean, he couldn't do this as the sitting
commander-in-chief. explain why as not the sitting president he's in a better position to do this? >> the last time, in the 2020 election, trump tried to use his powers as commander-in-chief and as chief law enforcement officer to marshal the federal bureaucracy in his favor to overthrow the election. he failed at that. where he came much closer to success was as a politician, as a demagogue, as a rallier of tens of millions of supporters, as a politician. it was private citizen trump actually who almost succeeded last time. this time, he's got several key knew factors in his favor. he is -- he and the republican party operatives all around the country are systematically going through all the places that thwarted trump's attempt last time and uprooting the obstacles.
so, if you were an election official who insisted on counting the actual votes and declared and biden won, you are being hounded out of office or primaried or made irrelevant in changes in the law that take away your power. if congress changes hands and if republicans control both houses of congress after the next election, they'll be the ones in charge of counting the electoral votes and there are... greater -- there's greater willingness now in the state legislatures to do what was trump's fundamental strategy, which was to induce republican-controlled legislatures to throw away the votes of their own voters and substitute electors for trump. >> you made an important point there -- if republicans control both the house and the senate
after 2022. fiona hill, assess america as if we were looking at another country. how weak is our democracy right now? >> well, i think the points that we just heard bart make are very important. if we were looking at other authoritarian regimes, and i've seen, like i'm saying, other authoritarian regimes around the world, because what bart is describing here is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime, that the ability to remove people who stand in the way from basically the point of view of maintaining the democratic institutions, the ease in which that is possible, to get rid of any opposition both within the system and also within the political party apparatus as well, these again are hallmarks of things that we've seen historically and also internationally. you know, if we take, for example, russia, the area that i am most obviously familiar with,
my area of expertise, and you see what vladimir putin has done systematically over the last 21 years to reduce the opposition, putting opposition figures in -- jail is obviously the most extreme version, but marginalizing them, as barton's describing some of the things that he just said, that you basically marginalize people, you make them irrelevant, you push them to the edges of the policy, you remove the checks and balances in the legal system. you basically have a compliant legislature, and this is really key. i think that point that barton said, we have to really bear in mind here and what you just said, chuck, about the house and both the senate being in republican hands, those loyal to trump, that is -- i mean, not republicans who want to actually maintain the infrastructure of our democracy here -- that will be really critical because when you have a compliant legislature and you have an executive that holds all of the power in its possession, that's when you're really in trouble. >> you know, bart, you were
looking at -- you found some interesting data when you looked at the counties where people who participated in the insurrection, that felt sort of compelled or motivated by trump's remarks, that there was sort of a pattern that you discovered. explain the pattern that you found and what do you believe that tells us about how his message resonates. >> well, what i'm reporting in the story is the work done at the university of chicago by robert pape and his colleagues, who went through all of the nearly 700 at the time arrested insurrectionists from january 6th and went back to their home counties and said, "what can we -- what do we find in common here?" they're not primarily heavy trump-voting counties. they're not primarily counties where their economies are in trouble. what he found was that the insurrectionists were most likely to come from counties where the white population was
in decline relative to minorities. and so if the proportion of non-hispanic whites had fallen by at least 1% in the previous, recent years, then that county was much, much more likely to send an insurrectionist. and what it suggests and what polling bears up is that a lot of trump supporters are believers in a theory called the great replacement, which is the idea that the rights and privileges and position of white people is under assault from black and brown people who are trying to replace them in american society. >> fiona hill, you testified in the first impeachment against donald trump. there was an attempt at a second one, both failed. how are those gonna look in five years? >> well, if you mean from the point of view of historians, i think people will look back at describing here and see that
this was a major tipping point in united states politics, a tipping point in pushing as in a direction i think most people would not have envisaged if we looked back, you know, kind of perhaps to 2010 for example. i think we've got a long tale of events here as bart is describing. we've had the great recession, the financial crisis tipping an awful lot of people into kind of financial crisis. some of robert pape's work at the university of chicago also looked at the backgrounds of some of the insurrectionists financially, and some of them had taken a hit in the great recession. then there's that demographic tipping point that he was describing there, and then there's the political tipping point. all of these are sort of fitting together. and when you look at other countries that have gone into civil war or kinds of civil crisis and political crisis, you see the same hallmark. and you also see a lot of people standing around basically going, "look, that couldn't possibly happen here." and that's the problem that we face right now a year on is that some people still cannot grasp the peril that we're in and the risk that we have to our
democracy looking forward. >> both grasp or want to admit the reality we may be facing. bart gellman, fiona hill, appreciate the both of you on this topic. when we come back, what happens when a republican is willing to say in public what many in his party will only concede in private -- that joe biden won the election fair and square? congressman peter meijer joins me next. ok, let's talk about those changes to your financial plan. bill, mary? hey... it's our former broker carl. carl, say hi to nina, our schwab financial consultant. hm... i know how difficult these calls can be. not with schwab. nina made it easier to set up our financial plan. we can check in on it anytime. it changes when our goals change. planning can't be that easy. actually, it can be, carl. look forward to planning with schwab. schwab! ♪♪ [music throughout] this year has been extremely challenging for me.
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>> welcome back. peter meijer is a man on an island in the republican party. meijer was one of 10 house republicans who voted to impeach president trump after the january 6th attack, and he was the first freshman actually lawmaker ever to vote to impeach a president of his own party. he worries that leaving donald trump behind is gonna be far more difficult for the republican party than perhaps he imagined in that first month in office. congressman peter meijer joins me now. congressman meijer, welcome to "meet the press." >> [ no audio ] >> i think we have a little bit of an audio issue there. you may be on mute. but as you unmute, let me ask the first question here, which is this. i want to play something mitch mcconnell said about the january 6 committee. take a listen. >> i think the fact-finding is interesting. we're all gonna be watching it. it was a horrendous event, and
i think that what they're seeking to find out is something that the public needs to know. >> you didn't vote to establish this committee. i think you wanted to bipartisan committee. senator mcconnell ended up not supporting the bipartisan committee. now he seems to be embracing what he's learned. i'm curious, what do you make of how the january 6 committee has conducted itself? >> well, i continue to look at their actions and judge each action accordingly, whether that is the contempt of congress that was suggested and sent to us for, you know, mark meadows or for steven bannon. i'll view each on their merits and, again, withhold judgement on the entirety of the committee until we see the end of their work product. >> given that you did vote in favor of the contempt against steve bannon, i'm curious, why bannon yes and meadows no, and does that mean you have some -- you do think that they're conducting themselves properly here or you perhaps wouldn't have even voted yes on
bannon? >> i think the ultimate thing to look at here is what precedent is being set and how that could be used in the future. with steve bannon, it was very clear congress has the prerogative to issue subpoenas and it has to have the contempt power in order for that subpoena to have any weight. and steve bannon flat-out rejected any cooperation and told congress to pound sand. so i held him in contempt and voted in support of that. when it came to mark meadows, he had been cooperating with the committee. while he should've appeared in order to assert executive privilege, and there are two lawsuits ongoing -- trump v. thompson and meadows v. pelosi et al -- to determine the limits of the executive privilege that can be invoked, at the end of the day, he was cooperating, at least in some degree. >> take a step back. i think you were among quite a few republicans in the month of january, right after january 6th, who really thought, in the words of lindsey graham, "enough is enough, i'm out of here," right? "i'm done with this. the party's gonna move on. trump's gonna be left behind." boy, did that not happen.
why do you think that didn't happen? >> there was no alternative. there was no other path, and given how president biden, when he was elected into office, you know, said he would be moderate and look for bipartisan solutions but then after -- and frankly, i blame the former president for this -- after we lost the two senate seats in georgia and the senate flipped, it became an exercise in trying to be an lbj- or fdr-style presidency and enact transformational change in the absence of any compelling mandate from the american people to do so. so, that gave the rallying signal. that created a very steep divide, and at the end of the day, there's no other option right now in the republican party, and that's a sad test-- >> why is it on president biden that the republican party can't seem to kick their trump habit? i mean, why isn't it on kevin mccarthy, mitch mcconnell, and yourself? >> well, we have a two-party system, and in the best case scenario, each party challenges
the other to do better, to be better, to have a scenario where iron sharpens iron. instead, if you have one party plummeting to the depths and the other just uses that as an excuse to go further, to go more to an extreme, to go more away from any sort of governing consensus and towards trying to enact, you know, whatever the will of the most extreme constituency they have is, you know, that is a recipe for both parties to drive further away from anything that resembles serving the american people as a whole. >> look, i get our inability to sort of meet in the middle here, but do you accept what you heard in the last panel there, particularly from fiona hill, that this is not -- this is not a political argument? you've got one party that's being led by trump here that seems to be trying to de-legitimize our democracy. does that concern you? does that -- do you share that fear and view? >> i do. but i also see another party that's trying to de-legitimize our democracy in far less dramatic ways -- at least, you
know, not guys with viking hats bare-chested running into the capitol, but calling for packing the supreme court, calling for abolishing the senate, and frankly doing the same thing, the same justifications that i saw from some members of my party after the riots last summer. they say, "well, why is it so bad that we storm the capitol? they were the ones burning down these cities." this sense of riot envy. now we have this de-legitimizing envy where, again, it is creating a reciprocal reaction. i think this is all incredibly dangerous. i think the threat of violence is probably more pronounced on the right today, but that does not mean the left is not capable as well, and that is what we need to cease. we need to cease this opportunity that has been grabbed at to expand the field of contest and the field of play where instead of working within institutions we seek to destroy and de-legitimize the institutions themselves. >> can the republican party survive donald trump becoming the nominee one more time? >> well, if by survive you mean
win elections, i think they can. if by survive you mean offering a cohesive governing ideology, some modicum of alliance to principles, i think that's something that's going to be a larger project. >> peter meijer, a republican from the grand rapids area. very much a swing area -- one of the few sort of i guess congressional districts that actually has moderate voters in it these days. peter meijer, appreciate you coming on. i hope you have a happy new year. >> thank you. >> when we come back, the january 6 committee -- will it change any minds? will its conclusions be seen as just another partisan attack? panel is next.
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ling calhope can help with free covid-19 emotional support. anxious about the future, you're not alone. calhope offers free covid-19 emotional support. call 833-317-4673 or live chat at calhope.org today. >> welcome back. the panel joins us now from their remote locations. yamiche alcindor, the moderate of "washington week" on pbs. nbc news senior capitol hill correspondent, garrett haake. johan goldberg, editor in chief of the dispatch, and nbc news senior reporter brandy zadrozny, who reports on misinformation for us. jonah, i want to start with you 'cause i want you to help translate for some viewers that may be frustrated, shaking their head about the peter meijer interview and this idea that, well, the republican party may be stuck with trump and, well, the democrats are polarizing us too and that's -- you know, what about this, what about that. is that any way to get trump out of our democratic cross hairs?
>> not necessarily. i substantially agree with some of what meijer said. i think one way to think about this is that we have elite failure in this country. and the failure of republican elites is pretty fricking obvious at this point. they've been feeding themselves one bite at a time to the trump alligator for five years. they've wrecked their reputation in all sorts of ways and their legacy in all sorts of ways. but, you know, the better example of how the democrats have been partisan in all of this is look how the impeachment was handled. an institution that took itself seriously would've impeached donald trump within 48 hours of january 6th. impeached and removed. but nancy pelosi, the way she handled impeachment, she gave a lot of republicans i think an indefensible but a politically defensible out to not vote for impeachment. why wasn't liz cheney made impeachment manager, for example?
the way the democrats have handled a lot of the trump stuff has been for partisan advantage. why are we not talking about reforming the electoral count act, which is the central tool for any attempt by donald trump and his minions to take power again? all the focus from democrat talking points is about voting rights bills that, you know, you can defend or you can attack for various reasons, but they don't address the actual threat that donald trump and his minions present in how they would try to take the next election, and they have not made it a priority to fix it. republicans haven't either. i've got not brief for how the republicans have acted. but each side seems to be looking for a refining the way to make the best advantage for their narrow partisan benefit rather than thinking about themselves as leader of the whole country. and i think that's the real problem about trying to deal with the reality of the trumpian threat is actually identifying the problem and dealing with the real problem rather than trying to turn it into some sort of
omnibus excuse for your entire wish list. >> yamiche, this feels like we may be in a cul-de-sac. >> it feels like we're in a cul-de-sac, and it feels as though we're in this sort of polarized moment where the lie of the election and the president, former president trump claiming that he won, that lie has just metastasized, and it's a cancer that's essentially taking over the gop. i am thinking about representative thompson talking about the fact it took 187 minutes for former president trump to speak out. and in that time, i remember standing on the white house lawn and talking to sources, and everyone, including republicans, they were all sort of seething and saying that the president needed to do something. but that really -- that sense of outrage, that sense of urgency, it was gone by the next day. you see now as even someone like mike pence, former vice president mike pence, who had to run for his life because people were chanting "hang mike pence," he's saying now we're talking too much about january 6th. and d rt of january 6th
course, an end of the trump era. in fact, i think it was the beginning of a new phase where the president has even more of an outsized influence on the gop because you can't even get gop primary candidates to say that joe biden is president. so, i know -- i mean, it's interesting to see republicans point to democrats and say they're the reason why we're so polarized and the reason why people wanted to smash into the capitol is because people got mad at black lives matter protests that got a little out of hand and got out of hand in some cities. but i think overall, what we're seeing is a fragility of american democracy and americans really not quite i think grasping how dangerous this is. >> garrett haake, how many peter meijers are there now in the republican party who are, i would argue, wringing their hands about the state of the republican party but have, like, "you know what? i'm just -- i'm not gonna be on the front lines of this fight right now"? >> in the house, maybe a dozen. maybe less. and i think the challenge is in the next congress, if republicans pick up any seats at all, there will be even fewer
proportionally. i mean, to yamiche's point, the idea of the big lie as kind of a campaign issue, as a cultural issue in the republican party has worked its way all the way down from former president trump to state legislatures, to congressional candidates. it is everywhere. and that's what the next crop oh house and possibly senate are gonna look like. so, this isn't going anywhere in the capitol. >> and, brandy, look. you spent a lot of time covering misinformation. this is -- this is so embedded. paint a picture for us now in this misinformation fire hose that the right is getting. >> i mean, it's an interesting time to study misinformation, because what we saw in the run up to 2020 was trump create this sort of not just a pipeline, which is how we had been used to seeing, but sort of a feedback loop, which was where he primed his base that the election would be rigged, and then he literally
sent out a call to his digital soldiers, which is what he called people on the internet, to sort of throw spaghetti at the wall, to choose your own adventure, of misinformation on election rigging. and then they would post that on social media, and then that would feed back to the president and his allies, who would then post more things about that, pointing to that as evidence. so, like, when you ask a republican, which i do as many times as i can find one, including in my own family over the holidays, you know, "what about the election was rigged? how was the election stolen?" no one can really answer me. again, it really is a choose your own adventure. it's so pervasive, that it's just a thing that we have now. and that's really the point of misinformation, right? it's to confuse, to muddle, to make everything so you just doubt democracy as it is and that, as you showed in your "data download," was exactly what happened. people have no faith in democracy anymore. >> very quickly, jonah goldberg, can the january 6 committee come up with anything that would change republican minds? >> remains to be seen. a lot of people did some very,
very bad things trying to steal the election, and it just depends on whether they can find the actual evidence, the smoking gun. if there are in fact videos of donald trump practicing his appeal to the mob to go home that have all sorts of damning stuff on it, that could be a big deal. but it just remains to be seen, because a lot of this is baked in. i do want to say i think there are a lot more what i call closet normals in the republican party whose chief crime is just cowardice and not being able to be willing to tell the truth rather than actually believing the full scope of the big lie nonsense. >> and that's what we're all hoping. looking for people to just speak the truth. that's all we have for today, guys. thank you for watching. have a safe and healthy new year. we'll be back next week, because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." ♪♪
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this week, 400 aepss of "press here" starting with steve wozniak. that's this week on "press here." good morning, everyone. i'm scott mcgrew. today's airing of this show marks its 400th episode. that is more than ten years of shows. now, do the math in your head and you might think that's 520 shows, but with the various preemptions for sports, it works out to 0.