tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 14, 2020 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
thought this is it, i'm home. >> reporter: she earned a doctorate in education from the university of delaware and taught at community colleges for 35 years. >> i have always loved the sounds of a classroom. >> reporter: the op-ed drawing fire in part for its tone. epstein addressing biden in his opening line as madam first lady, ms. biden, jill. perhaps he should no better than to mess with a woman who body blocked a profester from getting to her husband last march. a spokesperson calling the column disgusting and sexist. tweeting, this story would never have been written about a man. michelle obama writing all too often our accomplishments are met with skepticism, even derision. biden taking the high road tweeting, together we will build a road where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated rather than diminished. >> andrea mitchell with that report tonight to take us off the air. with our thanks for being here with us, that's our broadcast as
we start a new week on behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of nbc news. good night. so today joe biden and kamala harris was formally elected by the electoral college to become the next president and vice president of the united states. also today, at long last, the first americans started to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. also today, the most radicad attorney general since the watergate era, when one attorney general went to prison, today trump attorney general william barr finally resigned, or was fired. hard to tell. all of those things happened in one day. a vaccine, a new president and vice president, and the northbound of a southbound attorney general william barr. how was your day?
all at once. everything happens all at once. in just a moment, we will be speaking here with the incoming white house chief of staff. president-elect biden tonight gave a big, serious speech on the occasion of the electors' meeting in the various states and officially casting their ballots to make biden and harris officially the president and vice president-elect. ron klain is going to join us live in just a moment to talk about that speech from president-elect biden and also to talk about this historic moment that we got to see play out live today all over the country. i never thought i would burst into tears watching a ups driver go up a loading dock ramp with a hand truck but that happened to me more than once today. all over the country today, nearly 150 sites received their first doses of corona vaccine today. 145 sites got it today. another 425 sites are going to get their first doses of vaccine tomorrow. a few dozen more sites will
receive their first doses on wednesday. it is rolling out, and we saw today highly at risk frontline health providers getting the first doses of the vaccine. nurses and doctors who work in covid icus. even as we saw those first shots administered today to those frontline heroes, the white house was apparently embarrassed enough -- yes, apparently it's possible. the trump white house was apparently embarrassed enough today by reporting this weekend that trump white house staff would jump the line and get vaccinated before everybody else -- they were embarrassed enough by that reporting this weekend in "the new york times" that they climbed down from that plan and publicly announced that at least, okay, most white house staff will not jump the queue. just astonishing that they even tried to get away with that. almost as astonishing that they were embarrassed enough to change the plan when it was exposed to sun light.
hey, look, shame. the national priority populations for access to the vaccine are, for a very good reason, health care workers, who we need to stay alive so they can keep the rest of us alive. also people who live and work in long-term care facilities like nursing homes. those are the americans most at risk of dying. those are the locations where americans are most vulnerable not only for getting the virus but for dying from it, right? those are the priorities. frontline health providers and people in long-term care facilities, people who live and work there. white house staffers fit neither of those categories, but they tried it until they got called out on it. now they've walked that back. i mean then again, you know, it's not just supposed to be the president's friends who get access to super expensive, super rare, monday cloenl antibody treatments when they get covid, right?
the protocol for the distribution of those super rare, super expensive treatments is not just supposed to be people who the president can call on his cell phone, but that's how that worked out so far. so maybe they thought they could get away with having white house staffers jump the queue. to showcase just how much the administration is prioritizing the fight against the virus even now, it is tomorrow night that secretary of state mike pompeo is hosting a holiday party at the state department, an indoor holiday party that has a guest list of 900 people all in one room tomorrow night at the state department. that's how serious they are about this thing. today on the day the first vaccines were administered in this country, the trump national security adviser, robert o'brien, was off on a european and mediterranean junket. robert o'brien had a meeting overseas today to be followed by some lovely and ambitious sightseeing time in paris and in london and in rome, and then he's going to tel aviv. it is a taxpayer-funded trip, but as first reported by axios,
national security adviser robert o'brien has brought his wife on this trip. it sounds like it's going to be romantic and amazing. their itinerary reportedly includes a private tour of the louvre, the louvre museum in paris, even though the louvre is closed to the public because of covid. nevertheless he pulled some strings so he could get his wife in there, and that's the junket that he's on right now. that's how the national security adviser is spending coronavirus vaccine d-day. oui, c'est bon. alongside nursing homes, veterans homes have been particular hard hit by big coronavirus outbreaks with multiple veterans homes in multiple states reporting dozens of deaths in single facilities among elderly veterans. well, today, on coronavirus vaccine d-day, multiple american veterans groups are calling for the resignation or the firing of trump v.a. secretary robert wilkie. this after the v.a. inspector general told justice department
federal prosecutors that wilkie's behavior may have crossed the line from unconscionable to potentially criminal when he led an effort to try to undermine the credibility of a female veteran who had made a sexual assault allegation involving a v.a. facility. 37 days left, right? on the pace of scandal that the trump administration has maintained from the beginning, honestly, 37 days is plenty of time for them to have another cabinet official resign in disgrace or get fired or arrested or maybe all three. i mean 37 days? how many more cabinet scandals might break open? how many more people might resign in disgrace or potentially have criminal charges brought? you know, watch this space. there's plenty of time for them. as i mentioned at the top of the show, attorney general william barr is out tonight. we're going to have reaction from a former senior justice department and fbi official who has been one of william barr's most potent critics. but i should also note -- and,
you know, this may turn out to be just a coincidence, but just before we got word that william barr was resigning tonight, we also learned about the resignation of the first trump-appointed u.s. attorney as well. u.s. attorneys, of course, don't serve for fixed terms. they can quit whenever they want. but the resignation tonight of craig carpenito, who is the trump-appointed u.s. attorney in new jersey, he's the first u.s. attorney to quit since the election. and it is a little bit weird for a u.s. attorney to quit during a lame duck. notably mr. carpenito was also part of the scheme that attorney general william barr cooked up in sdny. you might remember this summer there was a big scandal when william barr tried to sort of nudge out and then force out the u.s. attorney in the southern district of new york. it was carpenito, the new jersey u.s. attorney, who bill barr wanted to install instead as a temporary leader in charge of sdny when he was trying to fire u.s. attorney geoff berman there. this all fell apart when u.s. attorney geoff berman pushed back on what barr was trying to do. he went public with what barr
was trying to do. he wouldn't go quietly. he insisted it would be his own deputy at sdny who would take charge at that office, not some guy barr was bringing in from the outside. again, carpenito resignation announced tonight just minutes before we learned that barr is also resigning. it may just be a coincidence, but barr is out, as is the guy that barr used in that sort of hit job where he was trying to decapitate sdny, while, it should be noted, sdny was reportedly investigating the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani. i mean untangling the mess left behind by bill barr at the justice department and the way he blatantly, brazenly used the justice department to serve the president personally, to settle political scores for the president, to go after the president's enemies, to protect the president's friends, wading in personally to multiple u.s. attorneys' offices to stop or to derail prosecutions or sentencing that was potentially
going to pose a threat to the president in terms of the president's own criminal exposure -- i mean unraveling all of this stuff is going to be -- it's going to be a lifetime's work in terms of the amount of mess that he was able to create inside the storied department of justice. but as of tonight, barr is out. so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night. some -- some -- republican u.s. senators are now finally acknowledging that president-elect biden is president-elect. people like missouri senator roy blunt, who now says, quote, we have gone through the constitutional process, and the electors have voted, so there's a president-elect, by which he means it's biden. and senator john thune of south dakota, who said, quote, at some
point you have to face the music. and i think once the electoral college settles the issue today, it's time for everybody to move on. senator shelley moore capito of west virginia saying, quote, it's time to turn the page and begin a new administration. republican senator joni ernst of iowa going the classy route saying, quote, i know for iowans it's disappointing, but the process is what it is. it is what it is. and this year the process was weird and threatening at every turn, especially today as the electors met in their various states and in the district of columbia to cast their electoral votes to officially make biden and harris president and vice president-elect. today was weird and threatening in terms of the way the process goes because of how president trump and the republican party have handled themselves since the election. i mean this was the start of the day today in michigan. this was a radio interview conducted by pro-trump republican state representative by the name of gary eisen.
listen. >> you can't keep me from going into the capitol on official business. they can't do that, okay? so if they do that today, then we're simply going to move our event to a different location and proceed what we're going to do today. >> and what's that? what event are you planning? >> what's that again? >> what event are you referring to? >> it will be all over the news later on. >> this sounds dangerous, gary, and i'm not kidding around. >> it is dangerous. i was warned there is going to be violence, there's going to be protest. and they asked me if i would assist today, and i said, you know what? how can i not? >> who asked you to -- gary, who asked you to assist, and what kind of assistance are you providing? >> okay. originally it was to support and escort certain members in and out of the capitol, okay? and i can't go into a lot of it,
but -- and i was asked to do that. and i said, yeah. >> we're talking to state representative gary eisen. i'm concerned about violence today in lansing. i understand your passion about this. a lot of people are passionate about it. can you assure me this is going to be a safe day in lansing, nobody's going to get hurt? >> no. >> all right. >> i don't know because what we're doing today is uncharted. it hasn't been done. it's not me doing it. it's the michigan -- it's the -- >> you're part of it. >> it's the michigan party. >> you're part of it. >> i'm just here to witness. >> well, you said you were asked to help and participate. >> well, help as far as they said supporting, being there, and that kind of stuff. showing that i support what they're doing, so -- >> all right. >> there's more to it than what i can say right now. >> can you assure me that nobody's going to get hurt? no. no, i can't.
no, i can't. they told me there's going to be violence. they told me there's going to be protests. they asked if i would assist today. i said yes. can you assure me nobody's going to get hurt? no. it's not just me. it's the whole michigan republican party. it's michigan republicans. we're going to the capitol, and, yeah, we're expecting violence, and i'm not saying nobody's going to get hurt. that's an elected republican official in the state of michigan. that state representative after those remarks today was stripped of his committee assignments. he later apologized for his remarks and said they had been confusing. he says he did not go down to the capitol today. what did happen at the michigan state capitol today was a group of republicans, including some other republican state representatives turning up at the door of the state capitol, demanding to be let inside as electors even though the state of michigan chose the democratic slate to be its electors, not the republican slate when biden and harris won the election in
michigan by more than 150,000 votes. republicans in the state of michigan apparently really do not care. they turned up anyway. they want the state's electoral college votes to go to trump anyway. so today at the state capitol, they wanted in. >> per the capitol commission, per the governor's office, per the speaker of the house, per the speaker of the senate, the capitol is closed unless you have an office here to conduct business today or if you are taking part in the electoral college process. anybody else is not permitted to come in. >> we're electors. >> we're electors. >> the electors are already here. they've been checked in. >> not all of the electors are inside. >> the capitol is closed. all 16 electors that were going to be here to vote in the electoral college have been checked in. they're already here. >> but the gop electors -- i'm sorry. >> i understand. the capitol is closed. >> michigan republicans trying to get into the state capitol
today to cast electoral votes for trump as republican electors even though there is not a slate of republican electors in michigan because trump lost michigan, and so there's a democratic slate of electors instead. michigan today did have its real electors cast its real electoral votes. all 16 of them went for biden and harris, and that happened today officially and really. just like all the states did that trump and his supporters have been raving about ever since biden and harris won them. wisconsin cast its electoral votes for biden and harris today. pennsylvania cast its electoral votes for biden and harris today. georgia, arizona. but it did get weird. in arizona, i kid you not, republicans in arizona sent a forged certificate of ascertainment to the national archives in washington pretending that they were the real electors from arizona and their votes for trump are real and should be counted by the united states senate. literally they sent a forged
document. this is from "the arizona republic" today. quote, fake electors try to deliver arizona's 11 votes for trump. here's the lede. an arizona group sent the national archives in washington, d.c. notarized documents intended to deliver wrongly the state's 11 electoral votes for president trump. mesa resident lori osiecki, age 62, helped create a facsimile of the certificate of ascertainment that is submitted to formally cast each state's electoral votes. she told "the arizona republic," quote, we already turned it in. we beat them to the game. so the real electoral votes won't count because we sent in a fake set of them first. we were earlier. the actual arizona electors cast their votes for biden and harris today. and the fake republican electors and whatever they do it doesn't amount to anything legally, right? i mean legally, i suppose, it's possible the consequence of that might be significant if they get charged with a crime, something
having to do with forged government documents. but they weren't real electoral votes. the real arizona electors today cast the real votes for arizona. they did have to meet at a secure, undisclosed location for safety reasons. same thing was true in wisconsin. the real electors in wisconsin were told that they needed to come into the state capitol through an unmarked side door in an obscure part of the state capitol for their own safety. in michigan, one of the real electors, one of the democratic electors today turned up to cast her electoral vote. she wore a bulletproof vest for her own safety today. republicans in georgia and republicans in wisconsin and republicans in pennsylvania all ceremonially cast fake electoral votes for donald trump today. the real electoral votes in all of those states were cast today for biden and harris, but republicans held ceremonial, like, fake pageants where they fake-cast votes for donald trump
just in case or because that's the world they want to live in, so they're pretending those are the real votes. white house adviser stephen miller said in an interview today that multiple states where biden won will have alternate electors, alternate electors, who will pretend that trump won those states even though biden won those states because somehow they think having alternate, fake, republican states of electors from all these swing states, that will somehow help them when they try on january 6th to not count the electoral votes when they formally get conveyed to the u.s. senate. i mean they're working -- they're working all these things, right? they've got their fake republican electoral slates all ready to go and doing stuff in states that biden won, so there aren't any republican electors. i mean this is not getting better over time. things are not getting better in terms of the republicans coming around to democracy as the way we decide things as a country.
as the pro-trump, pseudolegal effort poops entirely, not just at the supreme court but everywhere, as the electoral college votes cast in 50 states and d.c. today -- as those electoral college votes sealed the deal for biden, these stunts in all these states today, the forged documents, the pretend electors arguing with the state police captain that they must be allowed in the building to go cast electoral votes for trump -- i mean the hundreds of millions of dollars in fund-raising they're still doing on this fantasy, it's really not getting better. it is getting worse, and elements of this movement and this fantastical trip into unreality are getting more unhinged and more dangerous. meanwhile in the streets this weekend, there's this pro-trump sort of paramilitary gang roving around the streets of the
capitol, brawling, drinking, attacking people in the street, right? attacking and ripping down banners from historically black churches in washington, d.c. there really is a violent, pro-trump street movement, and they're not getting any better either as the election fantasy substantively comes to an end, but these guys are coming nowhere near recognition of that. i mean four people were stabbed saturday night in washington, d.c. one person was shot on saturday in washington state at these protests by pro-trump sort of quasi paramilitary neofascist groups that have no intention of accepting the biden/harris election victory. where does that go? where does that end? tonight president-elect biden sort of called the question here for republicans and for what they've been trying and for what it has led to already and for where they think this ends. >> the trump campaign brought dozens and dozens and dozens of
legal challenges to test the result. they were heard again and again. and each of the times they were heard, they were found to be without merit. time and again president trump's lawyers presented arguments to state officials, state legislatures, state and federal courts, and ultimately to the united states supreme court twice. they were heard by more than 80 judges across this country and in every case, no cause or evidence was found to reverse or question or dispute the results. 17 republican attorneys general and 126 republican members of the congress actually -- they actually signed on to a lawsuit filed by the state of texas. that lawsuit asked the united states supreme court to reject the certified vote counts in georgia, michigan, pennsylvania, and wisconsin. this legal maneuver was an effort by elected officials and
one group of states to try to get the supreme court to wipe out the votes of more than 20 million americans in other states and to hand the president to a candidate who lost the electoral college, lost the popular vote, and lost each and every one of the states whose votes they were trying to reverse. it's a position so extreme, we've never seen it before. a position that refuses to respect the will of the people, refuses to respect the rule of law, and refuses to honor our constitution. together vice president-elect harris and i earned 306 electoral votes, well exceeding the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory. 306 electoral votes is the same number of electoral votes that donald trump and vice president pence received when they won in
2016. excuse me. at the time, president trump called his electoral college tally a landslide. by his own standards, these numbers represented a clear victory then, and i respectfully suggest they do so now. >> president-elect biden speaking tonight. his incoming white house chief of staff joins us live here next. stay with us. greater. more families than ever are facing poverty. if you need help, please reach out. if you can give help, please reach within. ♪
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receiving the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, when we crossed the terrible threshold of 300,000 americans dead from the coronavirus as of today, when we just tonight hit a new record for the largest numbers of new cases in a single day ever, nbc news reporting just moments ago that there were 232,000 new infections reported just today. that is a new record for the largest number of infections ever reported in one 24-hour period. on this day, the day that joe biden and kamala harris officially became president and vice president-elect, with the electoral college votes being submitted today in all 50 states, i know it kind of feels like too much all at once. i know. but you can make yourself feel better about it with one neat trick. imagine you had to be running the white house in a time like
this. that would be impossible. doesn't that make you feel better about your own responsibilities maybe? joining us now is president-elect biden's incoming white house chief of staff ron klain. mr. klain's was biden's chief of staff when he was vice president, and he also was president obama's coordinator for ebola response. mr. klain, it's great to see you. thanks for making time for us on this historic day. >> thanks for having me, rachel. >> for all of the things that are happening all at once, the thing that today will probably go down in history for first is that the first doses of the vaccine got into the first american arms today. >> yeah. >> i just have to ask how both exciting and daunting that is for you as you prepare to take over.
>> well, you know, rachel, as you said, it's both a great day and a horrific day on the front of the battle against covid. the first vaccination given is obviously a sign of hope. but the record number of cases today and the 300,000-death mile tone is a reminder that we're still in the middle of what will be a very, very, very dark winter. there are literally probably tens of thousands of deaths left before the end of the year and more deaths after that. and the saddest thing of all, rachel, is while we're waiting for this vaccine to be deployed, manufactured, distributed, there are simple things we could do now that would radically change the course of this virus. all americans could wear masks. we could socially distance. we could wash our hands. we could do the things we need to do to bring this virus under control. the vaccine is hope. the vaccine is the end point. but full vaccination of the country is still months and months away, and it's in our hands and in the hands of the government and washington, our leaders around the country to save lives between now and then. >> president-elect biden has talked about sort of the coming crimps in the process, that he expects that there may be supply issues in coming months, in part because the trump white house
turned down the opportunity to get more doses than we're getting. >> yeah. >> he also talked about the fact that if congress doesn't act to fund vaccination efforts, we're not actually funded for very long to carry out vaccination efforts around the country. is it clear to you what the sort of decision points are, where we need to do policy things, legislation things, funding things in order to make this work as well as it can? >> yeah, rachel. i think it's pretty clear what needs to happen. first of all, congress needs to act this month to fund the vaccination effort that's going to unfold next year. the president likes to talk about the fact that we've bought a lot of vaccine, and that is a good thing. but we don't have enough vaccine yet to cover all the american people. and more importantly, we don't have the funding we need, probably as soon as february or march, to actually vaccinate people. owning the vaccine is one thing, but getting it to people is an entirely different challenge.
it has to be transported. it has to be distributed. medical workers have to administer it to people, and we need special efforts to reach people in urban areas and in rural areas and places that aren't covered very well by the existing health care system. we need special outreach workers to get the vaccine to people. there's a lot of work to be done. our transition team is busy planning that work that will start after january 20th, but congress needs to fund it now even before joe biden takes office. >> ron, today as we watched the historic rollout of the first vaccine doses, we're also watching the historic vote of the electors in the 50 states and the district of columbia all gathering to cast those official electoral votes. it is unnerving to have to report that there were armed police escorts for electors in multiple states, that there were multiple states in which the electors had to meet effectively in secret locations for their own safety, that we had fake republican slates of electors trying to present themselves, in one case, to the national archives as if they were the real electors when they were not.
is this just noise to you, or do you see this as dangerous? >> rachel, i think it was important for the president-elect to address this directly tonight, to talk about the challenges to our democracy that have been posed over the six weeks since the election, that were posed today on a number of fronts. but i also think it's important to take a moment and to thank all the people, including a lot of republican elected officials, who stood up for our democracy and who insisted that the will of the people be done. i mean, you know, that scene in michigan which you showed earlier, the republican electors being turned away at the capitol door, that was of course because of the leadership of the people of michigan in voting for joe biden and kamala harris, but also the republican legislators in michigan turned back an effort by the president to get them to reverse the will of the people. republican election officials all over the country stood by their counts, famously in
georgia. we saw the harassment and intimidation of republican elected officials for trying to stand by the count. so i think, look, i think there are people who are launching an assault on our system. the system so far is working. it has held. i think tonight we're not just celebrating the victory of joe biden and kamala harris, we're celebrating a victory for democracy and getting these electoral votes cast the right way and in reaffirming that joe biden and kamala harris did win the election. >> ron, are you at all worried that january 6th is going to be truly weird? i mean that is when the congress will gather to receive the electoral votes, to formally tally them, to basically put the period on the end of the sentence here. the white house is suggesting that they're going to try to make that as difficult a process as possible, and it seems like some trump allies in congress, potentially even republican senators, may be willing to try to basically muck up that process at the end and make it not work. are you prepared for that, or do you have expectations around that? >> well, of course we're prepared for that, rachel. we've been prepared for every step in this process as it's moved forward. i was heartened tonight to see a number of senior republican
senators, even members of the republican senate leadership, come out tonight and acknowledge that joe biden and kamala harris had won. i think the dam broke on that tonight. we saw people who hadn't said anything before finally acknowledge this victory. so president trump is going to be president trump. he is not going to change. he hasn't changed in four years. he is not going to change in the final 36 days. but i think the system is working. we're getting towards that inauguration date on january 20th. joe biden and kamala harris will be ready. they're picking a cabinet. they're setting their policies in place. they're doing their part, and i have confidence that on january 6th, the electoral college tally will reflect the votes cast today making joe biden and kamala harris the next president and vice president of the united states. >> ron, i have one last question for you about just how unusual this lame duck period has been, this transition period has been. i mean the litany of things that have been weird and unprecedented, i could go on. but the latest one is the news tonight that attorney general william barr is resigning. it is not weird to know that he'll be leaving washington. it is weird to know that he's going to be leaving washington essentially with three weeks
left of the trump administration in office. i just have to ask your reaction to that news tonight. it did surprise me. >> i think it's a bit of a surprise, a bit rumored, rachel, but, look, i think weird thinks happening at the trump justice department isn't news unfortunately. we know the president's treated the department like his personal law firm. we know he fired an attorney general, an acting attorney general. he's done all kinds of strange things. all i can tell people is that that will change on january 20th. we're going to restore the independence and the integrity of the justice department. it's going to be the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer. what happens between now and then, i have very little say over. but what happens starting january 20th, i can tell you joe biden is going to change the way the justice department has worked these past four years. >> ron klain, incoming white house chief of staff for
president-elect joe biden, officially president-elect joe biden as of today with the electoral college casting its votes. ron, it's great to see you. good luck in the weeks ahead. stay in touch. >> thanks, rachel. appreciate it. >> all right. speaking of william barr's resignation as attorney general, andrew weissmann, former senior member of special counsel robert mueller's team, somebody who has been very and specifically critical of william barr at the helm of the justice department, andrew weissmann joins us next to get his reaction about barr's surprise resignation tonight. we'll be right back. when heartburn hits fight back fast... ...with tums chewy bites... beat heartburn fast tums chewy bites research shows people remember so to help you remember that liberty mutual customizes your home insurance, here's one that'll really take you back. wow! what'd you get, ryan? it's customized home insurance from liberty mutual! what does it do bud? it customizes our home insurance so we only pay for what we need! and what did you get, mike? i got a bike.
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quote, i stiffened up behind the wheel. something was very wrong. that was not, in fact, what our report said. knowing the evidence inside and out, i found it inconceivable that attorney general william barr had digested our voluminous discussion of the facts and come away believing that the president had not obstructed justice. barr could not have written what they said, i thought. but when our report would become public, it was obvious that barr had spun our findings for
political gain at best and lied for the president at worst. i had seen an analogous dereliction of duty time and time again during my prosecutorial career, most notably in the failure of numerous financial watchdogs to prevent or at least blow the whistle on the corrupt leaders of the enron corporation as they pulled off one of the world's most lucrative and destructive corporate frauds. but barr's complicity was far worse as it struck at america's core democratic architecture. that barr and his wife were personal friends of robert mueller and his family struck an especially painful chord. barr had betrayed both friend and country. as bad as it was, william barr's false public representation of the mueller report was just the start. barr, of course, had only been at the justice department for a hot minute before he did that. barr, of course, tried to throw out the case against trump's former national security adviser, mike flynn. barr personally intervened in another case against longtime trump adviser roger stone to try to get him a reduced sentence.
barr personally organized a big show of force against protesters in the streets by federal officers with no name tags and no identifying insignia. barr personally ordering the removal of peaceful protesters around lafayette square outside the white house just before trump staged a photo op in front of a nearby church. in the lead-up to the election, barr parroted the president's attacks on mass mail-in voting and exaggerated claims of possible voter fraud. in his resignation letter tonight, william barr continues to beat that drum, telling the president in his letter that the justice department is still reviewing how voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election will be pursued. it is quite a tenure to say the least, but as andrew weissmann wrote about in his book "where law ends," it started in bill barr's very first days at the justice department with him making a public porky pie, a big public lie about the content of the mueller investigation, which came as a shock to the people working on that investigation at the time that barr ambushed everybody with it. joining us now is andrew
weissmann, former senior member of special counsel robert mueller's team. he served as fbi general counsel, former head of the criminal fraud section at doj. and his latest book is called "where law ends: inside the mueller investigation." that's why we have that first-person account of the initial shock what barr tried to do with that investigation. it's really nice to see you tonight. thanks for making time. >> nice to see you, rachel. >> what is your reaction to attorney general barr's resignation tonight? >> what i think about when i heard that he was resigning is i thought about the enormous number of career prosecutors who have had to resign under attorney general barr's watch. and, rachel, as you know, that does not happen under normal attorney generals, whether republican or democratic. as you recounted, when attorney general barr filed a motion to dismiss the flynn case, prosecutors resigned. when he filed a motion to reduce
the sentence recommended for roger stone, another friend of the president, prosecutors resigned. when he appointed john durham to do an investigation of the investigators, the number two to john durham resigned. and then most recently when you had attorney general barr touting that mail-in voting would somehow be fraudulent and admitting there was no evidence and then changing the department of justice policy on elections so that they could interfere sooner, again, career people resigned. i think the legacy of attorney general barr is going to be dismal, and i think there are numerous career people today who are really looking forward to a new administration. and that means an administration, whether it was
biden or anyone else, but a president who is actually going to uphold the rule of law, which is absolutely central to our country and our democracy. >> there was a simultaneous announcement, the president telling us -- telling the public that barr was leaving and also that deputy attorney general jeff rosen will be taking over, at least in the interim, as acting attorney general. i don't know very much about deputy attorney general rosen. most of what i know is unflattering in terms of public reporting, open-source reporting about the senior levels of the justice department under barr, including deputy attorney general rosen having leaned on prosecutors in various u.s. attorneys' offices about sensitive cases related to the president in ways that seemed
likely to benefit the president. but, again, that's a very narrow slice. do you have a reaction at all to the news that he'll be at the helm, at least for these next few weeks? >> well, it's pretty typical for the deputy attorney general to take over. it's remarkable that jeff rosen has no criminal experience whatsoever and is really not a doj alum with any kind of experience in running the department. he was a friend of attorney general barr, and as you may recall, one of the very first things that he did when he took office -- it's small, but it shows the lack of respect for the rule of law -- is he reached out and changed the location of where paul manafort would be housed. so while everyone else. >> oh, god, yeah. >> when everyone else when they get brought up to new york to face charges has to go into state custody, nope. that was not going to be the right thing for a friend of the president even though every other prisoner is not treated
that way. you know, that, to me, it's a really small anecdote, but it is so telling because that is the real problem with this administration, which is the rule of law means people get treated the same who are in the same situation. it doesn't matter that you're a friend of the president or an enemy of the president. there's still due process. otherwise, we really become an autocratic regime, all the kinds of things that we see around the globe that we heretofore have tried to change and deplored, we have been emulating. so seeing attorney general barr go is something that, you know, it's hard to not think of the word schadenfreude at this very moment where, you know, you're just waiting for january 20th to restore the department of justice to what it once was. >> andrew weissmann, former senior member of special counsel robert mueller's team, has had
senior roles both at the justice department and the fbi. andrew, thank you for being here tonight. i'm really glad we could get you on the air tonight. thanks. >> nice to be here. >> all right. it is a historic day with all of these things happening at once. an attorney general resigning would normally be like a blow out everything kind of story. it's one of three stories we are covering tonight as well as the electors formally making biden and harris president and vice president-elect and of course the first vaccine doses getting to the first americans today. more on all of it ahead. stay with us. parodontax is 3x more effective at removing plaque, the main cause of bleeding gums parodontax
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has treated since then. she knows the faces, too, of every patient she's discharged and every pagts wtient who has from the disease. this morning she lost her 27th patient to covid-19. that patient died today just before ups unboxed the first shipment of the covid vaccine in louisville, and those vials were rolled onto hand trucks and rolled into her hospital where she had just lost a patient today for the 27th time this year. and then it was time. dr. valery breonis prier rolled up her own sleeve just before noon today. she said, quote, and just lost my 27th patient today, so the vaccine i took today was for her family and for the other 26 patients that i've lost. that was kentucky today. this was pittsburgh today when health workers at the presbyterian hospital took a vote to decide who should get
the first vaccine today they picked charmaine. she's 67 years old, been a nurse and she said she was excited and relieved to be vaccinated. she said today she was trying to smile with her eyes because her mask cover said the rest of her face. this is sandra lindsey. she's an icu nurse in queens, new york. she worked on the front lines in one of the worst hit hospitals at one of the worst hit cities, at one of the worst times of the pandemic. when she was done she held hands with her colleague. she said as the needle went into her arm she said i am hopeful, i feel like healing is coming. there were more than 232,000 new infections reported today, most ervin a single day in this country. and also today thousands of americans were vaccinated.
tomorrow there will be thousands more administered as the largest rollout continues one shot at a time. and it's not going to go perfectly, and there's going to be bumps along the way, but we've gotten this far one foot in front of the other. more to come tonight. stay with us. ♪ ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list sales event. sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment.
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man" is only two events. the first one was last night which was awesome with magic city books in tulsa. the second one is 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. anyone can attend from anywhere. if you'd like to get a ticket and go you can find out how to do that as msnbc.com/bag man, basically buy a ticket. if you try to sign-up tonight and get stuck in the online waiting room they told me if you try hitting refresh on your browser that should speed it along and unstick you from the waiting