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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  July 25, 2020 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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john lewis will lie in state at the united states capital. msnbc will be carrying live coverage of that starting this weekend. that's going to do it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow where it's time for the "last word" where ali velshi is in for lawrence tonight. >> john lewis, they broke his school when they beat him. and he went to jail dozens of times. yet, every time i met him and every time i interviewed him, the man had kindness. he had a smile on his face. i often think if they jailed me once, i would probably be bad for the rest of my life. so the grace that he brought, even when you talk about him a week after his passing, it still brings a smile to my face. >> oh, yeah. there has never been anybody like him, never. >> rachel, you have a great weekend, and i will see you in a couple of days. thank you, rachel. look around. take a moment. process this. this is the united states of america. did you know that? sounds like a silly question, but i mean it. i'm asking whether you know this
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is america because little by little over the last three and a half years this country has changed. have you noticed it is not the same america we once knew? if you haven't, that's part of the point. that's how democracy starts to slip into authoritarianism. it doesn't happen all at once. but at some point you start to realize that the values of the country that you know and love have been replaced with more sinister ideals by the people in charge. and you realize those sinister ideals are designed to keep those in power in power. it is not about you or us. it is about them. and anything that goes against those sinister ideals, no matter how central they are to the founding of this country gets tossed aside. rules fail, norms change, institutions begin to crumble. this isn't some futuristic dystopian novel about america. this is america in 2020. america is in crisis. our democracy is under attack. the historic social unrest, the recession, the ever raging pandemic is bringing those sinister ideals into relief.
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the constitution protects the freedom of free speech and assembly and protest. but not in portland, oregon tonight. armed federal agents are patrolling the streets of portland. federal forces wearing camouflage and military gear as if they were in war, using tear gas on demonstrators. according to a lawsuit filed by oregon's attorney general last week, federal agents, quote, have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown portland, detain protesters and place them into the officers unmarked vehicles. and breaking just now, a federal judge has denied a request by the oregon attorney general's office for an order that would have required federal law enforcement officers in portland to identify themselves when making arrests and would place limits on the detention and arrest of protesters. it is one of several lawsuits challenging the trump administration's deployment of federal officers. but the deployment itself is only part of the problem.
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since when do we tear gas peaceful protesters in america or shove them into vans? it is not the actions. it's not just the actions. it is the justification for them. listen to how the president of the united states described the situation in portland. >> let us go in. we'll clean it up. we'll clean it up. now, in portland, we had to do it because that's their anarchists. that's a level that people haven't seen. but they're anarchists. and they were going wild for 51 days. >> all right. let's be clear. at no point has portland seen anarchists. the city is not going wild. and for that matter, no city that has seen protests for racial and social justice since the death of george floyd has devolved into any of the anarchy that trump talks about. cities are not burning. no one is coming for the suburbs. homeland security official
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called out portland protesters for vegas masks and shields, claiming that protesters were preparing for violence. the protesters are protecting themselves against a government not allowed to use tear gas on its enemies and adversaries but who use tear gas on them. when i covered the protests in minneapolis, i had a gas mask and a hardened helmet and a bulletproof vest to protect myself from authorities. i was caught in the middle of four different tear gas deployments. so were many of my colleagues covering protests across the country. the constitution protects free speech. and, yet, our government appears to be criminalizing it. these protesters are, quote, petitions their government for the redress of grievance or as we say today fighting injustice. they're doing it without tear gas and rubber bullets. sometimes they link arms to protect each other. yet, they are demonized by those in power to inspire fear in americans, fear that in turn is used to remain in power and put even darker ideals in place. it is why trump tweets about law and order every couple of days.
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it is why he lied in a tweet to, quote, suburban housewives claiming that joe biden would destroy their neighborhoods. he wants you to be afraid. he wants you to think only he has the power to take away that fear. ifs a zero sum game. if someone else gains, you lose. such an old trick and it keeps on working. later in the hour, i'll talk about how trump's rhetoric reinforces that fear and sews division. but let's step back for a minute. there are three things to remember about the founding of this nation. america was born of protests, protests that was often violent. two, america was forged in slavery which was also violent. and, three, a key part of our constitution written by the founding fathers who in many cases engaged in violence and supported slavery is protection not from the protests of the people but protection from the
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tyranny of government. so the idea that our federal government is using the guise of law and order to bring in government agents to suppress protests should be shocking to everyone's sensibility no matter what your politics. it is anti-american. what is more shocking is that the president is not operating alone. he has many, many accomplices in the federal government and in congress. none of this would be possible without the attorney general, william barr. barr's role in ordering this attack on protesters and then participating in what amounts to propaganda events to justify possibly entering other cities with similar federal agents raises troubling questions about whether our justice department is actually concerned about upholding the rule of law or rather with bolstering the president's political power. a member of the senate judiciary committee will join us later in the hour on that. sadly, though, trump's accomplices extend beyond the department of homeland security. even the cdc is now bending to the president's will.
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despite polling that shows american's overwhelming fear of students returning to school in the fall, the cdc is down playing health risks from the coronavirus. the president wants schools to reopen and the president gets what he wants. it doesn't matter if it puts your children at risk. the president wants it, so it will happen. and there are far too many people around the president who will make it happen for him. as one lifelong american diplomat wrote in 2018, a fascist is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly concerned with the rights of others and is willing to use violence or whatever other means necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have, end quote. fascism doesn't just show up. you stretch the laws. you ignore the laws. you use loopholes in the laws until the laws themselves become irrelevant. americans are protesting as their constitution allows them
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to do in greater numbers than they have ever protested before in history. that sound you hear in the streets of america is the music of democracy. trump wants you to think our cities are on fire and out of control and that you are in danger. it's a tactic used against legitimate protests throughout the world and throughout history. john lewis's death reminded us of how americans handled protesters in the '60s. they cracked his skull. they jailed him. it was very long then and this is very long now. the real peril is where would we be without protests, without people who go out and under trump risk their health and freedom and their lives to protest. this abnormal world without them would be normalized. trump wants you to think what he's doing is normal. he wants you to be afraid so he can stop people from calling out these abnormalities. he wants you to stop fighting. he wants you to stop supporting the fight. how did we get here? how did we get to the point where the specific ideals upon which this nation were founded have been blurred and smudged
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and erased. look around you. do you think we're still in america? leading off our discussion, coauthor of the book "tight rope." he has been in oregon. he's been tear gassed twice. thank you. nicholas, you have been there. tell us about the anarchy and the burning of portland. >> so portland is a beautiful city that is completely at odds with president trump's description of it of worse than afghanistan or tucker carlson's description of it as a war zone. there is, obviously, about a two block area around the federal courthouse named after a legendary senator and governor who was something of a passivist and the presence of the federal troops has resulted in more and more oregonians turning out to protest against what they see as foreign invaders by president trump. there are a lot of moms who take
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up the front row. they link arms. and they try to protect the protesters behind them from getting arrested or beaten. simply, if president trump claims this was an effort to bring law and order to the streets of portland, the protests had been subsiding before he sent in those troops. now they are growing. there is increasing anger and every night there is tear gas. president trump got in trouble for one incident in lafayette park where he tear gassed peaceful protesters for a photo op. well, every night in portland he's tear gassing peaceful protesters for a photo op.
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>> laurence tribe, help me understand this. i will be talking to a number of senators who put forward legislation to prevent federal troops from going in. i certainly do not understand the constitution the way you do. but it does actually -- our first amendment does give us a right to protest. the president is criminalizing protesting in general rather than arresting people who set fires to things and threaten public buildings. >> you're clearly right. and in fact just listening to nick reminds all of us that the destruction of america is underway in the hands of this tyrannical president. there is no ill legality except occasional minor offenses that
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the police of oregon can take care of themselves. and the homeland security acting director chad wolf and the attorney general are deploying para militaries on the streets of america sweeping up lawful protesters, targeting the press, essentially creating a nation that was the worst nightmare of the framers. the people who fought a revolution to preserve this new republic, the people who gave their last measure of devotion in the civil car, the people who fought fascism in world war ii would not recognize what the president is doing as consistent with america. the american tradition is being shattered before our very eyes. it's true. one court declined to issue an
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injunction. but in the end, i believe that american traditions will prevail. i can't believe that we are going to allow this monster, really, to destroy the country. and that's exactly what's going on. people have a right to protest. they have a right to go to the streets. and this is the time to do it. >> it's not an abstract right. >> that's right. i mean, we talk and it -- >> it's what's written in the constitution. >> it's more than just written in the constitution. it's written in blood in the history of our country. people have given their lives to live in freedom, and this president who claims that he stands for law and order is destroying freedom before our very eyes. we cannot standstill through this. courts have to be evoked in even
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better declined lawsuits. people cannot be cowed and deterred from protest. when the president says i'm going to do it in every city, he now says he's going to send 60,000 troops to seattle, to albuquerque, to seattle, to new york. when the attorney general, the district attorney of philadelphia is saying that if you start kidnapping our citizens on the streets of our cities, the fact that you have a federal badge is not going to prevent you from being prosecuted for kidnapping. >> that was remarkable. the philadelphia d.a. has said he will arrest -- he will have them arrested. we have two responses, by the way, to this lawsuit. let me just read you these two responses. the interim executive director of the aclu of oregon has said about this oregon ruling that you were talking about, while the decision in the state's lawsuit is disappointing,
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federal agents should not for a minute think their unconstitutional actions should go unanswered. the aclu will be in court again to hold federal agents accountable. and the oregon attorney general said if the state of oregon does not have standing, who does? nick, you have traveled i think everywhere in the world. i don't know if there is anywhere that you haven't been. i have been looking at these scenes of american cities since the night after george floyd died. if you and i were in other countries reporting on this thing, we would be reporting on authorities that are silencing dissent, that are targeting in some cases journalists who are not letting observers know what's going on. i haven't seen video in america of anything like this since the '60s. we see this in other parts of the world, not in america usually.
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>> that's right. i use my gas mask in all kinds of countries across the world covering democratic movements. and it's not something we typically do here. i do think that ultimately what is going to matter is not only the legal courts but also the court of public opinion. and i see that -- i mean, there is a struggle over the narrative here and president trump is portraying this and to some degree you see this on fox news as well as rioters who were trying to burn down the federal courthouse. and i think that ultimately truth will prevail. and, look, i mean, there are some people who are violent in those protests. and i think they undermine the cause, but there are people who start fires, who throw things at the federal officers. but overwhelmingly, the protesters are peaceful. overwhelmingly the risk of
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injury and the nature of the violence comes from these federal troops. and i don't know what else to call them but troops. if this was in any other country, they would call them troops. and, so, i think that, you know, at the end of the day, facts matter. and anybody who goes down to portland sees this growing crowd of people trying to protect their city, trying to protect each other from what they see as invaders who were bringing disproportionate force and in some cases causing injury. a young man was hit, was standing there doing no provocation and was hit in the face with a supposedly less lethal round, fractured his skull, had facial reconstruction surgery. there is a woman called naked athena. we don't know quite who she was, but she walked naked only wearing a face mask toward the federal troops, and they fired these pepper rounds at her feet. now, what kind of a threat could a woman wearing only a face mask possibly present?
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yet, she too was fired at. >> so to your point about public opinion, there is a poll that indicates who do you trust more to handle crime and safety. joe biden is actually beating donald trump on that. 50% say joe biden. 41% say donald trump. larry? >> well, i was going to say the moms who are joining arms in order to confront these storm troopers, and that's what they are, represent the best of portland. the people who are standing up to these illegitimate uses of power ultimately have the law and the right on their side. this reminds me of the people who were swept off the streets in argentina. there are people who have been arrested by unidentified officers in unmarked vehicles, swept off the street, not given any reason for their arrest. there are regular violations of
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the first amendment and the fourth amendment. there are violations of the kidnapping laws of oregon and other states. and in the end, it is more than ironic. it is deeply cynical for this president to say that he is the president of law and order when his whole strategy is to get people to forget about his other ineptitude about the pandemic by changing the subject to conflict and clashes of power that he himself is generating. it's a distraction. it's a diversion. and it's a deeply distressing distortion of what america is all about. and i think that it has got to stop. >> well, we have nicholas cristoff who goes around the world to bear witness to these things so we can put them on tv and talk about them. and we have people like you,
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lawrence, who are constitutional experts. and we have the courts. and in 102 days we have an election. thanks to both of you for helpi helping kick this off. coming up, assault on our elections. we have more than russian interference to worry about. the incumbent president who is trailing badly in the polls is at every opportunity attacking mail-in voting in the middle of a health pandemic and creating doubt of the middle of the election outcome in advance. we'll talk about that next. out. we'll talk about that next audi e-tron. the next frontier of electric. get an exceptional offer at your local audi dealer. i appreciate what makes each person unique. that's why i like liberty mutual. they get that no two people are alike and customize your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. almost done.
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the united states is facing an assault on our elections. both domestically and internationally. donald trump is attacking the legitimacy of this year's election. the president has made it clear he does not support allowing all registered voters access to mail-in votes this fall.
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here is what the president said on fox news earlier this week. >> i think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. i really do. >> are you suggesting that you might not accept the results of the election? >> i have to say -- >> can you give a direct answer? >> i have to see. i have to see. joe, i'm not just going to say yes. and i didn't last time either. >> actually, it's binary. it's actually a yes or no question. but today a top official at the u.s. national counter intelligence center issued a warning that current and ongoing threats and attacks are targeting american elections. we see our adversaries trying to target us. our adversaries also seek to compromise our election infrastructure. at the top is of course russia. trump spoke yesterday with volume who had paid no price, by the way, since u.s. intelligence said he interfered in our elections in 2016 to help elect donald trump. joining me now malcolm nance, the author of the book "the plot to destroy democracy" and mia
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wily, a former civil prosecutor and former counsel to the mayor of new york city. she's an nbc news and msnbc legal analyst. welcome to both of you. mia, i want to start with you. we have two different things going on. we have the continued threat of outside interference, whether actually physical interference or through influence campaigns. and then we have the president who is warning us that mail-in ballots is illegitimate, subject to fraud and suggesting in advance in 102 days he may not accept the result. >> he will lie, cheat and steal to win an election. we already know that. we have an impeachment process with even republicans acknowledging that the president had done wrong by seeking outside foreign investigations of his opponent joe biden in order to sully joe biden's reputation. we have got the hush money payments to stormy daniels. we know one of the things he was trying to do was prevent the public disclosure of stormy
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daniels' story about him. we know from the robert mueller report that he was eager. we have witnesses who have testified in court that he was eager and before congress that he was eager to know when more e-mails were going to be dumped by wikileaks on hillary clinton. and we also know that he has lied about voter fraud and mail-ins are just the most recent. remember, he had to fold on his -- in his poker bluff around voter fraud when he established a commission shortly after his presidency. but all of this was to serve donald trump who, not the u.s. constitution. and remember that donald trump only won this election not by popular vote in 2016 but because of an electoral college, he only won the electoral college by a mere 73,000 votes. so what happens now and whether he can undermine a vote count is absolutely about helping donald
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he only won the electoral college by a mere 73,000 votes. so what happens now and whether he can undermine a vote count is absolutely about helping donald trump lie and steal his way potentially through our democracy. >> so malcolm, let me widen back to this discussion about this winding road into authoritarianism. if for whatever reason anyone thinks that characterization is incorrect then people in power would be doing everything possible to ensure the integrity of our voting system. if you know you're in the middle of a pandemic and people are worried about going to a voting booth you'd do everything possible to secure your mail in ballots, make sure russia is not interfering. donald trump started talking about china interfering, but we don't see anything being done to actually protect against this. >> no, we don't. and you would think a reasonable
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decent president of the united states regardless of party would go to protect the lives and health and welfare of the citizens who would come up to exercise their franchise of voting, not donald trump. donald trump does not believe in the american system of government, which is done in a decent and respectful manner. he will cheat in this election if he can get away with it. the mueller report made it very clear he knew he was benefitting from the russian interference and sought to advance that. as professor wily just said a moment ago he was well aware of the e-mails that were stolen by a foreign intelligence agency and that were being injected into the news media stream and was, you know, chomping at the bit to get even more of that. that is the least of what i expect to have happen here. yes, we expect foreign interference. we expect to have china on the fringes, but you never know. there may be new players who are out to support donald trump like north korean intelligence, saudi
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arabia, israel, turkey, countries that have already played around the fringes of information warfare who may decide since russia did it and donald trump invited them that they can just jump into this election and sway it for him. >> mia, you know, for more days than i care to recall i have been reciting person, woman, man, camera, tv because donald trump used that as proof he has cognitive abilities or a genius or something. vote vets tweeted out -- this one actually hits home. it says someone asks trump if he can recall this in order. putin, russia, bounties, troops, silent. it hits pretty close to home. >> it's very close to home. i'll start by saying i don't want to make fun of anybody's cognitive decline. i think one thing, though, that
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is clear is that trump is very clear about how he is trying to manipulate our system. i think malcolm is exactly right. and i think your point, ali, goes straight to this notion of what happens if donald trump cheats? do we see republicans in the senate and in the house standing up for our institutions of democracy, or do we see them standing from a narrow sense of self-interest about party and power over patriotism? that's the real question. you know, tim snyder reminds us in his book on tyranny what protects democracy in addition to our relationships with one another is our willingness to stand up for the institutions of democracy, and that includes our government, our federal system, our laws. and i think that what we need to do and what we will see is that we the people will be standing up for our institutions of democracy. but we have to start doing that
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now because i don't think donald trump -- whatever is happening with his cognitive tests, i don't think there's any question that he's very clear how he's going to use and abuse the power that the people should be controlling and that he will try to manipulate for his own personal gain. >> and tim snyder from yale is the one who has actually said thatta t that authoritarianism doesn't happen instantly. malcolm, i want to put up 2018 numbers in terms of voting, how people voted. it may come as a surprise to people that 23% of the ballots cast in 2018 were by mail. a lot of the country actually does vote by mail. a lot of the country votes early. we can actually do this despite what donald trump says. >> yes, of course we can. i think the number in the state of utah is like 90% of votes are cast there. and in the state of washington
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it's 100% if i'm not mistaken. but this is all part of donald trump's new excuse for trying to rig the election. he loves the word rigged because he fully intends to do this. he's in bad shape in the polls. he knows this is not like hillary clinton. he can't just come back from here. and let me say i have no compunction of making fun of donald trump and his cognitive abilities. he is unfit, but this is very, very serious moment in american history. and we are going to have to do mail-in voting and alternative methods other than showing up for voting, and this could lead to a break down in the smgs unless we all turn out and blow out the margins. >> thanks to both of you. maya wily, and malcolm nance.
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both of you, i'm grateful for having you here tonight. coming up prince and professor eddie gloud what donald trump is doing with his new rhetoric when he talks about the suburb. that's next. ks about the suburb. that's next. because he said a multi- vitamin alone may not be enough. and it's my vision, my morning walk, my sunday drive, my grandson's beautiful face. only preservision areds2 contains the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced amd progression. it's how i see my life. because it's my vision... preservision. who knows where that button is? i don't have silent. everyone does -- right up here. it happens to all of us. we buy a new home, and we turn into our parents. what i do is help new homeowners overcome this. what is that, an adjustable spanner? good choice, steve. okay, don't forget you're not assisting him. you hired him. if you have nowhere to sit, you have too many. who else reads books about submarines? my dad. yeah. oh, those are --
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adam once wrote about donald trump's policy of separating migrant families at the southern border writing, quote, the cruelty is the point. quote, the chaos is the point. and they do have something sinister in common. a zero-sum strategy rooted in fear and racism. it's the false notion that if someone else gains then you lose. donald trump is increasingly using that tactic to stoke racial division by pitting cities against suburbs, warning suburbanites he alone is the law and order candidate. yesterday the trump administration announced a move to repeal an obama era fair housing rule designed to reduce fair housing discrimination and
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segregation in suburban neighborhoods. donald trump claimed democrats want to abolish the suburbs by, quote, bringing in who knows and making their communities unsafe and lowering property values. in a tweet yesterday he said this. quote, the suburban house wives of america must read this article. biden will destroy your neighborhood and your american dream. i will preserve it and make it even better. then there was this ominous campaign ad showing an elderly white woman being robbed while she waits on hold for 911. it ends with this phrase on-screen, you won't be safe in joe biden's america. but recent polls show trump losing to biden among suburban voters by as much as 22 points. joining me now the chairman of african-american studies at princeton university. eddie, you've commented this is an old trick. it's a particularly unique trick in america, but i love the fact donald trump just comes out and
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says anybody who calls anybody a suburban housewife, but he actually tweeted at them. it was almost as if saying hey white people the black people are coming. >> right, ali. you know, donald trump doesn't know how to whistle. he ends up spitting on everybody. and this is the latest instance of a long-term strategy. those of us old enough to remember the willie horton ads and ronald reagan's campaign announcement in mississippi. we understand racial dog whistles as being an essential part of american politics. it's the underbelly of american politics to who can deploy white grievance and white resentment. we know that. donald trump, though, does it in a crude way. he's a caricature of that form of politics, but i think he's a caricature because we need to ask ourselves a different sort of question.
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what is donald trump's mandate? why is in office? why did people put him there even though he only won the electoral college by 73,000 votes as maya said in the last segment. one, he's there to deepen the pockets of the oligarchs, and two, he's there to make america white again. we need to understand he sits at the sweet spot between greed and selfishness and racism. that's donald trump's presidency. those are the legs underneath the stool, ali. >> but some of us remember willie horton ads and some of us remember what ronald reagan did, and this feels different, even the polling that indicates suburbanites reaching out for joe biden more, the poll that asks who do you think is going to deal with crime better, people still think biden is going to do it better. >> yeah, i mean -- so, look,
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his tropes, the metaphors we know many black people are moving into the suburbs. we're seeing the suburbanization of poverty because of gentrification inner cities. the rhetoric doesn't map on the ground but there are sentiments. you and i know what was driving 2016. we know how deeply polarized this country is. we know that republican and democrat, those party identifyin identifications are proxies for racial identifyings. it's not as if covid-19 has wiped that all clean. we know the country is deeply divided. donald trump is a reflection of that division. whether it maps onto polling data is a different question. but what we do know is that those divisions have not disappeared, and they still move our body politic in very, very insidious ways. >> and it would be good for us
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to remember that those divisions have not disappeared and we might be getting played. eddie, good to see you. i'm going to see you this weekend on my show. coming up, the justice department inspector general has announced an investigation into the conduct of federal agents in portland and in lafayette square in washington, d.c. the senate judiciary committee mayor, senator mazie hirono will join us next. hirono wil join us next is that net carbs or total?... eh, not enough fiber... chocolate would be good... snacking should be sweet and simple. the delicious taste of glucerna gives you the sweetness you crave
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the feds came to town and i've seen a shift a little bit in a lot of peoples reasons for being out here, which i appreciate because they're upset, they're angry. we're out here being hurt, and the underlying part of that is that essentially they've been sent here to shut us down and silence us. >> the presence of federal agents have reinigerated p--
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reinvigorated protests. the judge has denied the efforts of the attorney general to restrict efforts of protesters when exercising their constitutional right to assemble, however the justice department inspector general has opened an investigation to you the conduct of doj law enforcement agents to warn protesters in portland right now and last month in lafayette square in d.c. joining me now she sits on the armed services and judiciary committee. good to see you. thank you for being with us. let me ask you about everything you are seeing in the country right now. you are seeing these federal agents going in. donald trump was on sean hannity's show last night when he was asked about what he's going to continue to do with this. let's listen together with what he said. >> we're going to all of the cities, any of the cities. we're ready. we'll put in 50,000, 60,000 people that really know what they're doing and they're
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strong. they're tough, and we can solve these problems so fast. but as you know we have to be invited in. so that last part was interesting, senator. as you know we have to be invited in. this is a bit of a walk back for the president. we're going to send troops in, go into all these democratic controlled cities if they let us. >> that's new because here is a president who generally does not care whether there's a legal basis for whatever he's doing. and that is why i'm very glad that the department of justice inspector general horowitz is going to be investigating the legal basis of what happened at lafayette park as well as what's going on in portland, to investigate the kind of training that these federal agents, whoever they are -- we do not know who they are -- and also the tactics that they are using and the legal basis for those tactics. so, you know, that's why the inspector generals and the independence of the inspector generals are really critical at
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a time when we have an unfettered, lawless president who thinks he can do anything he wants. >> so you make an interesting point here. that's why the independence of inspector generals are so important. they're the ombudsman. they're the people inside the department who keep things honest. >> yes. >> but take a look at all the inspector generals that the president has targeted. >> oh, yes. >> on april 3rd, michael atkinson at the intelligence community inspector general. april 7, glenn fine, the acting defense department inspector general. may 1st, christi grimm, the health and human services principal deputy inspector general. may 15th, steve linick, the state department inspector general, who was closing in on an investigation. may 15th, mitch behm, the acting inspector general for the department of transportation. this is a problem. when we're talking about a road to authoritarianism, you take the one person in the department responsible for making sure they follow the rules, and trump just gets rid of them. >> exactly. and of course aided and abetted by what i call his chief legal stooge.
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that would be the attorney general. now, you would think that the attorney general would be right in there saying to the president, you can't do these things. it's unconstitutional. you can't attack people who are exercising their constitutional right. but, no, we have an aider and abettor attorney general, so it's even more important that the inspector generals are able to do their jobs. >> you and a number of senators are getting together to try and create legislation to stop the federal government from being able to go into these places although i was talking to laurence tribe at the beginning of the show, and every constitutional expert says you don't have to be a constitutional lawyer. this is written into the constitution, the right to protest. the president is portraying this as if our cities are burning and that these are violent protests. >> oh, yes. >> in lafayette square in washington, that just wasn't the case. >> this is why not only do we have to go to the courts, which is exactly what the attorney general of oregon is doing, and, yes, her request for a temporary restraining order was denied, but then she's still going for a preliminary injunction, et cetera, so the legal processes
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and all the lawsuits that have been filed as a result of what's going in portland and whatever else the president has in mind will proceed. and of course, most importantly, at a time like this, the people have to exercise their responsibility to vote. and i think absentee ballots are going out now, mail-in ballots and they better get those ballots in asap because you also have a president who wants to try and stop mail-in voting by not funding the u.s. postal service. so he is doing everything he can to, in my view, rig this election. and at a time when he's not paying any attention to the pandemic. so all of these things are such major distractions although, you know, i can't call attacking our democracy, our democratic institutions, a distraction. but we have a pandemic that is raging. 4 million. i was talking with a friend who lives in amsterdam, and they said they are looking at the united states with a great deal of sadness and pity. that's where we are, because we
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have a president who is totally incompetent in what he's doing. >> i'm glad you mentioned the voting because on sunday it will be 100 days until the election, and donald trump is setting up for the idea -- he told chris wallace last sunday on fox, he's setting up for the idea that he may not accept the results of the election. >> this is what you call a lawless president. that's why we need joe biden, a person who believes in the rule of law, who will bring the country together as opposed to the divisive tactics you just covered a while ago, and who has decency and who cares about the american people, who will not say in the middle of a pandemic, this is not my responsibility. >> senator, good to see you as always. thank you for joining us. senator mazie hirono of hawaii. >> thank you. aloha. coming up, new polls of the key battleground states show joe biden with a double-digit lead. but do the polls reflect the reality on the ground? we'll look at that next. l look . ta-da! did you know liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need?
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with 20 electoral votes, pennsylvania is the fifth biggest prize on election day after california, texas, new york, and florida. in 2016, donald trump became the first republican to win the state since george h.w. bush in 1988. trump won the state with 48.2% of the vote to hillary clinton's 47.5%. fewer than 44,000 votes separated them after more than -- out of more than 5 million cast. and, remember, fully 200,000 ballots in pennsylvania were cast for third-party candidates.
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that is how close pennsylvania was in its most recent election. joe biden hopes to claim a little bit of the home field advantage in pennsylvania, having grown up in scranton. he often talks about his working-class roots. pennsylvania has got a lot of working-class people who were hoping donald trump would change things for them. a new fox poll of pennsylvania shows joe biden at 50%, donald trump at 39%. but how well do the polls like this reflect the reality on the ground in pennsylvania? >> well, i'm here to find out. sunday will be 100 days until election day 2020, and i'll be hosting velshi live on sunday from the steel stacks in bethlehem, pennsylvania. the steel stacks are the site of a steel plant that closed in 1995. bethlehem steel after operating 140 years. the city of bethlehem straddles two of the swingiest counties in a swing state. lehigh county went for clinton in 2016. northampton flipped for trump after obama and biden won it twice.
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sunday i'm going to meet in a safe and socially distanced way with a handful of pennsylvania residents to see what's top of mind for them and how they plan to vote in november. i hope you'll join us sunday morning and tomorrow morning as always for "velshi" starting at 8:00 a.m. eastern. in my younger days i got arrested and went to jail 40 times and since been in congress another five times, and i may get arrested and go to jail again. >> an icon of the civil rights movement. >> they found the power of the human spirit in john lewis. and he came to symbolize the student movement. >> he believed that he could help a country find its soul. >> he risked everything to fight for what's right. >> i did not think john would