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nevertheless she persisted last night. and that's persisted into this morning. we're going to see this in the coming weeks and months. >> i think democrats are underestimating the american people like they did in november. they wanted this change. they want things done, and they're not going to appreciate democrats who obstruct that. chip, jess, thank you. we've run up against the end of the show. it's time for ali velshi to take over. we'll see you back here 24 hours from now. >> i wish you didn't have to stop. i've been riveted listening to all your great interviews. have a great afternoon. right now on msnbc, mitch mcconnell's mistake this morning. three more senators read a letter from martin luther king's widow. the same letter senator elizabeth warren read to ban her from speaking over a debate over jeff sessions. will the extremely rare move silencing a senator backfire on the gop? and defending the ban. this morning, president trump
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tells a gathering of law enforcement officials his executive order on immigration is completely legal and, quote, perfectly written. this as a federal court panel is deciding right now whether the controversial ban can be reinstated. plus, the dakota access pipeline gets the final green light. it sparked months of protests and the largest tribal gathering in nearly 100 years. what's next for the protesters? i'll ask taboo from the black eyed peas who vows to continue fighting construction of the pipeline. i'm ali velshi coming to you live from msnbc headquarters in new york. we begin with the fehrwoirework capitol hill where democrats are staging their talk-a-thon, this time against jeff sessions to be attorney general ahead of his confirmation vote set for later today. the fireworks coming last night as senator elizabeth warren quoted a 1986 letter from the late coretta scott king. dr. martin luther king jr.'s
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widow who was opposing jeff sessions nomination for a federal judgeship back then. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell when objected and had senator warren silenced. >> mr. sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. >> mr. president -- >> the majority leader. >> the senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from alabama. i call the senator to order under rule 19. >> mr.president, i am surprised that the words of coretta scott king are not suitable for debate in the united states senate. i ask leave of the senate to continue my remarks. >> is there objection? >> i object. >> i appeal the ruling -- >> objection is heard.
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the senator will take her seat. >> now after the senate voted, 49-43, along party lines that senator warren violated the arcane rule that no senator can impugn another senator during debate, senator warren went live on facebook and read coretta scott king's letter. she then talks with msnbc's rachel maddow. >> i'm not allowed to speak so long as the topic is senator jeff sessions. >> wow. >> i've been red carded on senator sessions. >> wow. >> i'm out of the game on the senate floor. >> kasie hunt joins us live now. kasie, quite a scene there in the senate last night. explain what's been happening since and how the vote on senator sessions nomination as attorney general is shaping up. >> ali, good morning. we are outside senator warren's office here in the capitol complex. and this really is dominating all the conversations here on capitol hill today. and what's going on on the senate floor now, more reaction
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to this. they are continuing debate on senator sessions but what democrats have decid to do, and we've seen this now from a number of democrats is going down to the senate floor and read that coretta scott king letter. they are essentially daring republicans to start applying this rule to everyone who goes down and reads that letter. as you outlined it was a letter sent in 1986 opposing senator sessions for a federal judgeship. that appointment was sidelined because of concerns about his record on race. that came back up at his hearing for attorney general. but i want to show you a little bit of what's going on on the floor right now where democrats are reading this letter. take a look. >> mr. sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district. he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. this simply cannot be allowed to happen. >> so those are the words that
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republicans used last night to say that senator warren was impugning the character of another senator. now this is a pretty tricky and rather arcane rule called rule 19. and it only applies if you are talking about another senator. you may have heard senators on the floor talking about, say, presidential candidates or other people, maybe members -- even members of the house. this rule specifically says that you can't say nasty things about another senator. so it's supposed to be about the decorum of the chamber. of course, over the years, the senate has seen fist fights on the floor. relatively te lly tame compare other things we've seen. the senate did vote to say this was a violation. now she will not be allowed to participate in any of the remaining hours. this has democrats seizing on the idea this was sexist, for example. silencing a woman, especially now we're seeing male senators from the democratic party on the floor reading the same letter and so far not being silenced.
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this is a rule they have to invoke as something is going on. so tom udall read this letter earlier. was not stopped. we'll see if republicans take a different tack as this unfolds today. >> kasie, we'll be watching. thanks so much. kasie hunt at the senate. joining me, democratic senator patrick leahy of vermont. a former chairman of that committee which voted 11-9 along party lines last wednesday to advance senator sessions nomination as attorney general to the full senate. senator, thanks for joining me. i want to get your reaction to the silencing of your democratic colleague, senator elizabeth warren. republicans have been saying the senate has rules. she broke the rules, and it wasn't personal. >> of course it's personal. and it was a big mistake on the part of the republican leadership. remember this rule 19 was instituted after there had been a fist fight on the senate floor decades ago. they didn't impose it when a
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republican senator called harry reid running a cancerous, cursed leadership, or when ted cruz called mitch mcconnell a liar. i mean, those would seem to be what rule 19 was intended for. they may offer to apply it there. and i think the fact that there's probably been a lot more coverage of the coretta scott king letter because they tried to impose the rule than there would have been otherwise. so it was a bad mistake. i've been here 43 years. i have never known a time when anybody's objected to a letter being put into the record. i've had letters and items put in critical of me. i've made no objection to them going in the record. and this was a tactical mistake on their part. >> senator, let me ask you
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something. there's another talk-a-thon going on ahead of the vote for senator sessions. obviously, you and your colleagues know after the betsy devos vote that there's no chance of it not happening. what's the strategy? what's this meant to do, and what do you do in the face of criticism from republicans who say you're not getting the nation's work done for optics? >> of course, that's phony on their part. you recall they held up an attorney general nomination of president obama for months, and they say, well, you're taking two or three days longer than we need to for president trump's attorney general nominee. give me a break. it's pot calling the kettle. this is not the sort of thing that they should be doing. i think there are a lot of issues. it's not against senator sessions personally. there's a lot of issues in what he's done. he voted against violence against women act.
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you would think that would be an easy thing. he voted against him. he voted against a resolution which said in the united states we respect all religions. those are rather troublesome things. you are looking at being attorney general. >> senator leahy, i want to ask you one quick thing about the nomination of judge gorsuch to the supreme court. he's been making the rounds on catol hill. he's set for his hearing next month. have you made a decision on how you're going to vote on his nomination? >> i'll sit down and talk with him. i'm troubled the way the nomination was made. the president made it look like it was a reality show. i have two people waiting in the wings, and here's the person i've picked. and it turned out that it was somebody -- right wing lobbying groups. you have to ask, is this going to be an independent judge or
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somebody who has to be responsive to the right wing groups that brought his name forward. >> senator leahy, thank you for joining us. >> happy to be. president trump is again defending his executive order on immigration. it's on hold now as the federal appeals court decides whether to reinstate it. the president spoke this morning before a conference of law enforcement officials a day after the three-judge appeals court panel heard arguments both for and against the travel ban. >> never want to call a court biased, so i won't call it biased, and we haven't had a decision yet, but courts seem to be so political, and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what's right. and that has to do with the security of our country, which is so important. right now, we are at risk
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because of what happened. >> nbc's peter alexander joins us live from the white house. i'm not even sure that was the best part of what the president had to say about the appeals court. >> we'll play a little more for you. donald trump this morning sounding off again about the judicial process, frankly. the court. the judge in seattle, the federal appeals court in california that's still weighing this controversial executive immigration order. it's notable because, frankly, presidents don't normally do this. they don't weigh in and want to appear like they are tipping the scales in a legal process that is not yet completed. president obama was always very clear about that. donald trump, obviously, is taki a different tactic saying that his order was beautifully written, insisting it was within his executive power. he also said, quote, that high school student would understand this. here's more of president trump just a short time ago. >> i will not comment on the statements made by certainly one
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judge, but i have to be honest that if these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they'd do what they should be doing. >> suffice to say, he's making clear his opinion of this before the court opinion has been communicated. >> busy morning. more tweets from the president. we'll get to those in a bit. good to see you, peter. let's bring in justice correspondent pete williams who is following all of these developments for us. pete, what's the latest? >> we're waiting for the court to rule, ali. it's that simple. they said last night the judge that ended the one-hour conference call oral argument said the court is aware of the time sensitive nature and would rule soon, as soon as possible. the website said the decision would come some time this week.
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so, really, any day now. today, mo, any time before the end of the week, we'll get the ruling. on the one hand, it's a straightforward question to the court of appeals. it's a yes or no question. will you lift the judge's order that put a stop to the government enforcing the trump executive order? yes or no? will you lift that stay and let the government enforce it? but there are some complexities to this, ali. for example, the government lawyers suggested a fallback. the state has argued the harm to the states is stranding its faculty members, its students, its family members who now have visas and can't get home or are overseas and can't get back. and so what the state has suggested, and i think what the federal government has suggested is, okay, to the federal appeals court, let us impose the travel ban once again, but we won't apply it to people who already have visas and have already been in the country. in other words, it would aplay ply only to people from those
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seven countries who want to seek visas to come here for the first time. so there's a possibility that the 9th circuit could modify the lower court order and let the government go ahead and enforce most of the executive order. n the government seemed to say that would be just fine. so that's one of the things the court has to consider. >> so the government has put forward a potential compromise solution in the event the court were inclined to vote against the government? >> yeah, i'd call it more of a fallback because the state wants the whole thing put on hold. so it's really not a compromise in that sense, although i guess that would go part o the way towards solng the state's problem, at least that's what the government says. >> pete, always good to hear from you. pete williams in washington. 97 technology firms joined together to file a document supporting the state of washington in its battle against president trump's immigration executive order. silicon valley giants like apple, google, facebook all signed the amicus brief saying the order harms business, innovation and growth. joining me is vivek, a professor
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of engineering at carnegie mellon's silicon valley campus. he wrote a piece on how these affect these companies. tell me what motivated you to write this piece. >> donald trump has done more damage to the cause of innovation and job creation than anyone could possibly imagine. this is more than an executive order. this sent a loud and clear message that xenophobia and racism and bigotry are the new rules of law in america. you're not welcome here. stay out. this is what the world is hearing. and it's doing us so much damage. silicon valley imports people. it exports technology. it fuels the country's innovation and world a innovation. it's been creating jobs all across the economy. this is what we have hit now. >> in the piece, you write by blocking entrance based on country of birth, paints people with the same scarlet letter. how does thism pact their
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credibility and within the tech world? >> in the tech world now, 10, 15 years ago, we had a monopoly on innovaon. this was the only placeo be if youed to build any amazing hardware or software or any new types of systems. the cost everything starting with our computers has dropped to the point that anyone can afford it. you can innovate anywhere in the world. so people still want to come here because they love america. they always believed this to be the most open and inclusive place in the world. now we've said we're racists, bigots. we're going to discriminate based on religion. now people are saying, why do we need to come to america? we can be as successful in new delhi, shanghai, rio de janeiro. why do we have to come to america? this is a type of message we've sent abroad. >> according to a 2015 immigration study that you and i have talked about in the past, 1.2 jobs are created with every one immigrant brought into the united states. so there's actually -- one of
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the arguments you've heard in the past, you've made in the past is that immigrants are actually good for this economy that donald trump claims to want to expand far beyond the rate at which it's currently growing. >> immigrants like me. immigrants like you create jobs because we bring our skills here. we bring our education over here. we uplift the economy. i said if my own career, i created 1,000 jobs and one of my companies, 250 in another one. so this is the way it is in silicon valley. look at the complexion of the people over here. mostly foreign. and evenhe top companies have ceos born in india, in china, all over the world. this is silicon valley. this is what we need more of, not less of. we don't need to close our doors. we should be opening it wide are and say we want to boost the economy. come and help us create jobs for our people. and our people are suffering. >> always good to talk to you. thanks for making time to talk with me. coming up -- what's next for
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the opponents of the dakota access pipeline now that the army go ahead for its completion. i'm going to talk with taboo from the black eyed peas. he's part native american and has been fighting to protect the people and the area. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life. ♪ ♪ i'm raph. my name is anne. i'm one of the real live attorneys you can talk to through legalzoom. don't let unanswered legal questions hold you up, because we're here, we're here, and we've got your back. legalzoom. legal help is here. parts a and b
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protesters, activists and native americans are warning of more massive protests now that the controversial dakota access pipeline is one step closer to
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completi. construction on the 1100-mile, four-state project was stopped in december by the obama administration after thousands camped out in the area for months arguing that a spill could be disastrous. a pipeline supporters say it's going to bring jobs and money to the area. the line would transport almost 500,000 barrels of oil a day. part of it would go under a sacred lake in south dakota and north dakota and a lake that provides drinking water to native americans living nearby. yesterday the army corps of engineers would grant a permit that clears a way for construction at the lake. it comes two weeks after president trump signed a presidential order, ordering an expedited review of the pipeline. joining me is the musician taboo from the black eyed peas who has been standing up against the pipeline for months as part of a group that calls itself the water protectors. taboo, thank you for being back with us on msnbc. it's an issue very important to you. you are part native american. >> yes. >> the last time you were here with us, work on the pipeline
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had been halted in early december. tell me where you are on that now? >> first of all, good morning, and thank you guys for allowing me to be here again and speak on behalf of a lot of us natives but also as a father who cares about preserving, you know, clean water for my children and their children to come. my thing is this. as a representative, i have to voice my opinion and say that i'm very disheartened by the situation. me actually going to standing rock the day after thanksgiving and seeing all the amazing indigenous people, but all the people that were standing in solidarity, it was so overwhelming and so positive that to see this happening, it's just -- it means we have to go back into strategic fight mode. and i knew that once obama put a halt to the dakota access pipeline, i knew the war wasn't over. the war against injustice. so i'm just trying to do my
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part. anything that i can do, you're going to see a lot of me being part of organizations and different types of attempts to make a difference and to be a voice and to use my voice and platform. >> you did use your voice as part of a song. i want to play a little bit of it for our viewers and ask you about it in the end. let's play a little bit. ♪ we've been fighting for our freedom since the nina, pinta and santa maria ♪ ♪ stand up ♪ no poison in the waters for our sons and daughters for we're on the frontier ♪ >> that's called stand up, standing rock. the demonstrations we've seen, some are saying these are the largest native gatherings and demonstrations in 100 years. obviously for native communities around the country, there are a lot of issues to deal with. maybe this pipeline is getting built. maybe there's no more that can be done there but can you
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harness the power that has been motivated here of native americans to fix some other injustices? >> definitely. and that's why i think, you know, the main reason why this was important for me is because the standing rock movement was created by the native youth. so the fact that they were activated to do their part and then everyone else started coming, you know, standing in solidarity with all these amazing energies and people that came from across the world, it wasn't just native people. it was different people from different parts of the world. it inspired -- it inspired a movement and caused people to really understand the power of the people. and i always say the power of people can be a lot stronger than the people in power because as long as we harness that energy and use strategic ways of doing our part and being part of this fight against injustice. >> one of the injustices or one of the problems amongst native
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groups in america is poverty and joblessness. there are a lot of people who have taken to this idea of having pipelines nearby or fracking, even if it dirties the water and creates earthquakes because it brings jobs and increases wages, which is what some of the opposition, to your group, was in that area. is there some fracturing among the native community for people who say, we can get some jobs out of this if we let this pipeline go through? >> you got to understand it's deeper than jobs. you're talking about clean water being possibly contaminated by oil. so when it comes to jeopardizing people's lives, i mean, i get it. you got to be respectful about the job opportunities and raising the economy. but also, you got to be really cognizant of the fact this could be affecting not only the native people from those surrounding areas but also people that, you know, that want clean water. i went to flint, michigan, and i
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saw the situation there. so then when i went to standing rock, these things are happening in our own backyard, and people got to be cognizant of the fact that ts is something that could really affectveone and affect climate change. it could affect the water. n that's what's important to me. like i said, i respect the job opportunities, but i'm fighting the fight against injustice and just for humanity. >> taboo, we appreciate the passion you bring to this and coming back to us and the great music you make. >> thank you, man. appreciate that. seattle has vote tot cut financial ties to wells fargo over the bank's involvement in the dakota access pipeline. activists at the city council meeting chanted water is life as the nine-member council voted unanimously to let the 18-year relationship expire at the end of next year. wells fargo handles about $3 billion per year for the city. seattle is exploring options on where to manage its money. this morning, louisiana is
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under a state of emergency after several tornadoes tore through the new orleans area. the severe weather lifted homes, flipped trucks and injured dozens of people. the worst damage is in the same area devastated by hurricane katrina. this comes as the northeast braces for a storm that's expected to bring significant snowfall in a very short period of time. significant flight delays are expected, too. we're live with the latest forecast after this break.
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a ste of emergency is in effect in louisiana after a tornado outbreak leveledomes and injured more than 30 people. the governor's office says seven parishes in louisiana were hit by tornadoes during several rounds of storms yesterday that also hit mississippi. in new orleans east, one of the hardest hit areas, the national
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guard has been called in to help with the cleanup. new video of the damage this morning shows just how powerful these twisters were. nbc's gabe gutierrez joins me from new orleans. gabe, you were on your way there as this was turning out yesterday. what did you find? >> hey, ali, good morning. there's a whole lot of damage. as we take a live look from the air, you can see footage from our drone over a warehouse not far from here. just ripped apart. that's near a nasa facility that also suffered some damage. we're here in new orleans east. thankfully no one was inside this home when the tornado hit. i'm joined by a resident, steven reed. this is not your home but you don't live far from here. >> just down the street. >> what's did you see yesterday and how is your home? >> my home is fine. we had a lot of roof damage. we have to repair that. i was actually outside in the yard when the tornado touched down. so i got a chance to see it when it first activated and then i ran inside, put my mom in the tub and we just waited for it to
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pass over. so after it passed over, we ran outside and i noticed the house was gone. >> must have been a terrifying experience. >> yes. >> a lot of activity here. power crews working to restore power. the height of this storm more than 10,000 people were without power in this area. you were here also during hurricane katrina, right? tell me, this area had rebuilt after that. now to go through this. >> rebuild. put all the sheetrock back. all the electricity and other things. so now it's going back over it again. n and we just want to thank everybody for their prayers and thinking about us and everything because that helps us a lot going through this and having people -- knowing people worried. >> there was a business damaged. tell me about that, and how are you recovering from that? >> i had a beauty salon. it's totally gone. the roof is gone and everything like that. so now they have to wait for the insurance company to come in and tell us what we can do with the
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building and everything. and the process of looking for a new building. >> thank you so much for talking to us, sir. the governor has declared a state of emergency. around 40 people or so were injured in southeastern louisiana. thankfully, though, what we've been hearing over and over, no deaths have been reported. back to you. >> it's incredible how thankful everybody is. we talked to about it, despite the suffering they've gone through. gabe, thanks for your reporting. i want to get an update on that situation from nbc's bill karins, meteorologist. >> the national weather service just said that was officially an ef-3. there's a scale that goes from 0 to 5. 5 most intense, 0 the weakest. this is the first ef-3 tornado in the history of new orleans parish. orleans parish. winds above 135 miles per hour. >> you got the map of the northeast here. it's useful for those viewers not in the northeast to know it's 51 degrees outside. so what you are about to say is
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hard to believe. >> there's people in d.c. and philly and baltimore going, it's not going to snow. i mean, we are under a winter storm warning. 40 million people including the philadelphia area. if i get to the temperatures here. we're at 64 degrees in philadelphia. it's going to start snowing in philadelphia in about 18, 14 hours from now. and here's why. look over here. that's 33 in erie. that's the cold air that's going to come in and meet the storm at almost the exact -- like the perfect ingredient. that storm is out nea central illinois and i now. light snow for those areas. not a big deal. one to three inches. here's the new snowfall amount. it shows the biggest, highest totals, i-95 from d.c. to philly and baltimore north of there. if you are anywhere north of there, probably get a lot. d.c., maybe an unch or two on the back side. philadelphia, up to about nine. a foot of snow north of you. new york city in the six to nine-inch range and the lower hudson valley. it's the timing that's going to make this significant. there's some of those totals.
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this is where we get interesting. we've had much bigger storms than this, but the timing. i'm trying to remember -- >> it's a very short storm. >> i'm trying to remember the last time philadelphia and new york city had to go through a morning commute with snowfall this intense. and i really can't think of -- >> once you get past that six-inch mark it becomes a problem. >> these are areas people think they can drive in snow. they haven't really driven in snow that's going to be this dense. maybe five inches of snow. >> no ability to clear it. >> whatever the car in you makes a path, that's it. that's at 7:00 a.m. that's philadelphia and new york with the bull's-eye. >> real quick. two weather systems next to each other with great temperature differences, any tornado risks? >> severe weather is virtually no with this. maybe an isolated storm in the carolinas. what is philadelphia and new york going to look like tomorrow morning? we are going to have a charlotte? an atlanta situation with cars stranded? i hope not. >> bill, thanks for the update. are congressional republicans fearing for their
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safety? a new report outlines the strategies being discussed to counter outrage over the gop's efforts to repeal obamacare. i'm going to be talking to a california republican who says police had to rush him from a town hall when the crowd turned angry. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at
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vowed to set up a white house commission to investigate his claim that 3 million to 5 million ballots were cast illegally during the 2016 election. the commission was created after the bush/gore election to help states improve their election systems. republican congressman greg harper, the chairman of the committee that eliminated the commission said it was, quote, a complete waste. house republicans met in closed door tuesday to discuss how to protect themselves and staffers at town halls against people who are protesting the repeal of obamacare. >> resist. resist! resi resist! >> this meeting comes after protests this this one forced a california republican congressman tom mcclintock to be escorted out of his town hall by police. he joins me now from capitol hill. good to see you there. were you in that meeting yesterday? >> no, i missed the meeting, but i understand the security was discussed.
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>> what -- without telling us all the details, are there others like you who are concerned that it's getting a little hot out there with the obamacare discussion? >> well, i can tell you this. i've done over 100 town hall meetings throughout the entire lifespan of both the tea party and the occupy wall street movement. this was the first time the police department determined that for security reasons, i needed to be physically escorted out of the venue. and we've seen violence erupt recently in berkeley. it is a situation where emotions are running high, and unfortunately, a lot of americans have stopped talking with each other about our disputes and started shouting at each other. and that causes a breakdown of the fundamental institutions that guide our democracy. >> how do you find a balance between either your maeessagingr security needs so you can continue to talk to your constituents and hearing something that comes out of
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those protests, regardless of whether or not you agree with the way they're protesting? >> we need to continue to do town hall meetings. we're going to get bigger venues. one of the problems was the venue that normally would have held more than enough people, instead was completely overwhelmed. so that's one lesson we took from it. the other is to closely coordinate with local law enforcement. but that interchange of views is very, very important. it's not -- it's not their job to listen to me at these town hall meetings. it's my job to listen to them, and i take that very seriously. but what disturbs me is this breakdown in civility that we're seeing to the point where americans are no longer talking with each other. >> congressman, thank you for engaging and for taking the view that it is your job to listen to constituents, even if you don't agree with how they say it. and we wish you to continue that in safety. thanks for taking the time to talk to us. >> thank you for having me.
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>> congressman mcclinton talking about the challenges he's facing talking about obamacare. some breaking news. capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt has just spoken with senator elizabeth warren. >> senator, thank you so much for joining us today. >> sure. >> last night, quite a spectacle on the senate floor. >> yep. >> walk us through what it was like and how events unfolded from your point of view. >> look, i just went to the senate floor to do what i was supposed to do, debate the nomination of jeff sessions to be the attorney general of the united states. highest law eorcement official in the country. and so when i got there, i wanted to talk about the facts. and one of the things i wanted to do was to read a letter from coretta scott king, martin luther king jr.'s widow. and the letter went directly to an important moment in history. and that is that jeff sessions had been the u.s. attorney down in alabama.
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and he had prosecuted -- prosecuted civil rights workers for helping elderly black citizens vote. and so when he was then later nominated to be a federal judge, coretta scott king sent a letter to the judiciary committee of the united states senate -- >> and that was not put in the record at the time, correct? >> that's what i understand. and i wanted to read the letter. and so i started reading the letter. explained the background. started reading the letter and then i hit this line. mr. sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens. and that was it. >> but you had been warned. your speech was much longer before. >> but let's be clear. what i had been warned about. there is a back story to this. i didn't actually start with coretta scott king's speech. i started with ted kennedy's
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speech. i have ted kennedy's -- i am the senator from massachusetts as well. and i started with ted kennedy's speech, also about jeff sessions, when the senate judiciary committee considered him. and i read senator kennedy's speech, and i got warned in senator kennedy's speech. but again, i just want to say on both of these, highly relevant to the question of whether jeff sessions should be attorney general of the united states. and i thought it was entirely appropriate to be citing a revered member of the united states sene on the floor of the senate. and that was the warning. >> at the same time, the rules say, can't impugn the character of another senator. >> let's go back over this. this is coretta scott king talking about the facts as she saw them. that he used -- he, jeff sessions, used his office to chill the free exercise of the
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vote by black citizens. she's not calling names. she's just describing what happened. and i always say on this, i hope everybody reads this letter. is in is a powerful letter, a deeply moving letter, a personal letter and also an important historical letter. >> do you think it impugns the character of jeff sessions? >> the facts may hurt, but we're not in the united states senate to ignore facts. we're in the united states senate to exercise our constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on nominees. and my view is that part of my constitutional responsibility is to consider the facts of what jeff sessions did when he was the u.s. attorney in alabama. in fact, can i read one little portion just because it's a reminder. coretta scott king points out, the irony of mr. sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he'll be given life
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tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what local sheriffs accomplished years ago with clubs and cadle prod lcattle pr. >> let's talk w what's happene in the intervening hours since this happened on the floor. your democtic colleagues have gone down to the senate floor. they've been reading this letter out loud. was that something you asked them to do? >> nope. >> and so far, they've been allowed to continue speaking. some say it was sexist to silence you on the floor last night. >> you'd have to ask mitch mcconnell. he's the one who shut me down for doing this. but i will tell you what i did. as soon as i was no longer allowed to read, i went outside the senate chamber and i read the whole speech, just did it live on video and posted it on facebook. i hope everybody reads the speech. i have tried to put up as many connections. i want children to read this speech. i want adults to read this speech. i want all people, and particularly, i want the
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republicans who are going to vote tonight on whether or not jeff sessions becomes the next attorney general of the united states. i want them to read this speech before they vote. >> do you think what senator mcconnell did last night was sexist? >> i think what he did was wrong. i think that -- >> but it wasn't sexist? >> i think reading the words of coretta scott king on the floor of the united states senate honors the senate. she talks about a very difficult time in our history. and a time and a reminder that even today, african-americans are often denied access to voting. and she talks about how it happened and why it happened. i think it's an important part of our history that we cannot just pus behind us. that we cannot just gloss over. everyone needs to read coretta scott king's letter. >> did republicans do you a favor? is this a first step in your 2020 presidential campaign? >> republicans have said in effect about jeff sessions, they
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don't want to hear the facts. and you know, that's on them. you don't want to hear the facts, then go tell that to the american people. go explain to the american people why why it is that, wh r coretta scott king says "many elderly blacks" this is under jeff sessions and his pr prosecution "were visited multiple times by the fbi who hauled them over 150 miles by bus to a grand jury in mobile, when they could more easily have testified at a grand jury 20 miles away in selma." these voters and others have announced they are now never going to vote again. look at those facts before anyone votes on jeff sessions to be attorney general of the united states. >> and are republicans essentially trying to do themselves a favor by elevating you? they see you as somebody who is on the left of the democratic party? >> you'd have to ask a republican about that. i have no idea what they're doing. >> and one final question.
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more broadly than just jeff sessions, what is going on in the progressive base of the party right now? can you just, as you see it, i mean you took heat for voting ben carson, the hud nominee, out of committee. you are now doing this very publicly, clearly there has been so much pressure on leaders here. how would you describe what's going on right now in the base of the party to oppose donald trump? >> the way i see it is that democrats have the minority in the house, the minority in the senate, but that does not make us the minority party. we are the party of opposition, and that is our job, and but our tools are very limited. we don't have the capacity to stop jeff sessions if all the republicans lock arms. we saw that yesterday with betsy devos. we just don't have the votes to be able to stop them if all the republicans stick together and vote through these terrible nominees, and that, in fact, is exactly what they are doing.
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they are cramming terrible nominees down the throats of the american people. our tool is america. it's the grassroots. it's the people who say, wait a minute, this is too far. no, we cannot do this in america. when i was at the women's march in boston, i saw someone who held up a sign, and they said "thank you donald trump, you've turned me into an activist." in a sense i think that's what's happening. democracy is not a machine that will go of itself. democracy takes the people and i think that's what's happening now. >> why didn't they do it for hillary clinton? >> ihink white male people are deeply exercised about what donald trump has shown, and the direction that he wants to take this country and let's be blunt, not just that he wants to do it, that the republican leadership
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is all-in, 100% in, that mitch mcconnell is in, that paul ryan is in, and i think the real point is, we just got to hold them accountable for that. the number one thing we can do right now is hold them accountable. donald trump wants an audience, let's give him an audience. >> thank you very much for your time, senator. >> good to see you. >> i really appreciate it. >> kasie hunt joins me now live. we also were watching you could see in part of your screen minority leader chuck schumer speaking on this particular ruling, this particular matter that elizabeth warren got silenced for talking about. as you heard in the interview with kasie, elizabeth warren talking about the fact that she was silenced and then subsequently this morning several other democratic senators have gone, taken to the floor and they have read coretta scott king's letter about jeff sessions and they have not been stopped. kasie is with me now. kasie, great interview with
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elizabeth warren. it is a little puzzling and i can see you were trying to get there, puzzling to understand why she was silenced last night and no one has been this morning. >>eporter: ali, that's right. she di give a much longer, brder speech on the senate floor before she got to reading coretta scott king's letter but it was the letter that was specifically cited by republicans as a reason to cut this off, and you heard mcconnell down on the floor, when he was talking about this last night say, she broke the rules, she was warned, but she persisted, and that of course has turned into kind of the hashtag of this moment that we have seen it has been trending, i asked elizabeth warren about that also after our main interview concluded. take a look. the hashtag she persisted, what does it mean that exploded on social media? >> it's that a lot of people care whether or not mitch mcconnell is going to try to shut down coretta scott king's
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speech. >> reporter: you're going to persist with this? >> you bet i will. >> reporter: so i think this is something that has clearly galvanized the left and what i'm trying to get a sense of from republicans in particular is whether this is something that they wanted because they think that it would be beneficial to have elizabeth warren be the face of the democratic party. she is very much to the left. there are a lot of republicans who believe that if she becomes the standard bearer it will be easier to defeat democrats in elections into the future, but on the other hand, this has taken on a life of its own and the accusations of sexism that democrats are leveling at republicans, and the way that they are demonstrating that today having male senators read that same letter without having anybody interrupt them, i think is something that potentially was not nessarily predictable, so i think over the crse of the day as this continues to play out that's what i'm going to be watching for, is this something that republicans feel has spiraled out of control, was a mistake. >> kasie, let me ask you --
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>> reporter: or if it helps them. >> senator leahy said no one did this to ted cruz when he called mitch mcconnell a liar on the floor. is this a debate about this particular rule in the senate or do you think the republicans are going to try and get away from this fast? >> reporter: look, i think that it's a little bit difficult to start trying to explain to people based on the arcane senate rule that was invoked here, the details of that. there are plenty of examples going all the way back of times when this rule was put into effect or not. there were times when there was physical violence on the senate floor. this rule to a certain extent has also evolved over time. i think the question is going to be the back-and-forth over who was allowed to speak and why. >> kasie, talk to you soon. thanks very much. great interview, kasie hunt for us at capitol hill. senator bernie sanders also read that letter from coretta scott king today. he'll talk live with andrea mitchell today at noon eastern on msnbc. nbc's senior political editor mark murray is joining us now.
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mark, it's week three of the trump administration for some of the polling, if anybody still believes polling it might feel like it's year three. >> ali that's a reall good point. of course this has been actually a very long three weeks. when we actually dig down into the numbers, you end up seeing donald trump has an approval rating in the low 40s, either by gallup or quinnipiac, both at 42%. that's terrain we've seen for past presidents for sure, but george w. bush didn't reach to that level until the fifth year of his presidency. you ended up seeing for barack obama didn't get down to the low 40s in some polls until year three and so here we are already in the honeymoon phase for donald trump, but then actually what's also happening is deep polarization. you look at quinnipiac when it tested donald trump's travel ban, 88% republicans agree with that. 88% of democrats oppose. almost several polarization.
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again something that we've seen when president obama, during his potcy, when he would touch an issue, you would see that almost perfect division but the fact that we are getting it as we begin week three of the trump presidency is a remarkable development. >> mark, let's talk about what, if the trump administration were to think something was wrong with these numbers, how would they improve things? it's hard to argue that they might think something's wrong because when they look at the base, the graphic you're standing in front of, they may use that to say it's going pemp perfectly. >> that's right. that is the very good news, and ali, as you know donald trump is a different kind of president. his trajectory might be different than what we end up seeing for barack obama or for george w. bush, but what i do think is a little unsettling is that normally this is the honeymoon period. this is when things are rosy, when you are going to have all of your base, where people are going to be able to back you, but what ends up happening if these numbers persist going into april, may or june and that's where we're all going to have to
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watch. >> mark murray thanks for this good afternoon, very interesting information obviously the administration still talking about the fact that polling is not something to be trusted. so we'll keep looking at that. the all rig that brings us to an end of hour, thank you for watching this hour of "msnbc live." right now on "andrea mitchell reports," muzzled elizabeth warren is silenced by the republican leader after trying toead a letter by coretta scott ng and andrea mitchell has got that and got an interview with bernie sanders, talking about these arcane senate rules that stopped elizabeth warren from reading her letter on the senate floor. this all has to do with the vote that's coming up on the confirmation of jeff sessions as attorney general, so with that i'll hand it over to andrea mitchell. >> and right now on "andrea mitchell reports," muzzled, elizabeth warren silenced by the republican leader after trying to read that letter about jeff sessions written in 1986 by coretta scott king.
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forced to sit down by a rarely invoked rule not used against republicans. >> senators impugn the motives and conduct of our colleague from alabama. i call the senator to order under the provisions of rule 19. >> mr. president, i am surprised that the words of coretta scott king are not suitable for debate in the united states senate. i ask leave of the senate to continue my remarks. >> is there objection? >> i object. >> a peeled the ruling -- >> objection is heard. the senator will take her seat. >> senator warren speaking out just moments ago to msnbc's kasie hunt. >> i want children to read this speech. i want adults to read this speech. i want all people and particularly i want the republicans who are going to vote tonight on whether or not jeff sessions becomes the next