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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  March 1, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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look -- he's brand new, already looks like he's ready for a driver's license and he might soon be able to make a good living as an elvis impersonator. god bless you, theo. we are having we are having a baby boom on "the rachel maddow show" right now. yeah. covid baby bust? as if. that does it for us. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> theo and the covid babies are arriving -- can't say covid babies. shutdown babies. whatever. >> lockdown babies, maybe. >> we thought this would happen. nine months after a giant blizzard that closes things down, we tend to see this.
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and so here we are. >> it's awkward to think about it that way, i don't like to think of my producers in those terms, but the idea of a pandemic baby bust is belied by the experience of the staff of this show. and it's very exciting. >> there we are. thank you, rachel. >> thank you, lawrence. >> thank you. we have breaking news tonight that could move new york state one step closer to having a woman governor. "the new york times" is reporting tonight that yet another young woman has come forward with a sexual harassment allegation against governor andrew cuomo. jessie mckinley broke the story. and has been leading the "new york times" reporting on three serious accusations of sexual harassment against the governor from three separate women, two of whom were working for governor cuomo at the time of the incidents. the breaking news involves a woman 30 years younger who
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worked in the obama administration and on the biden presidential campaign but never worked for governor cuomo. she tells "the new york times" had a disturbing encounter at a new york city wedding in september of 2019. the "times" has included this photograph of the incident as it was happening at the wedding. the details surrounding that photograph reported in "the new york times" are difficult to read and make you want to turn away from that photograph. the woman in this photo told the "times," he said, can i kiss you? i felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he is the one who should have been embarrassed. jessie mckinley's reporting around this photograph moves the cuomo story from controversy to crisis. president biden's press secretary was asked if governor cuomo should step aside while he is being investigated on charges of sexual harassment. if the governor does choose or is forced to step aside,
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the previously invisible lieutenant governor cathy hokel would become the acting governor. and the political danger for cuomo if this story keeps going is that new yorkers might prefer an experienced woman who served in congress, now in her second term as lieutenant governor and has never been involved in any controversy. we'll bring you the difficult and sensitive details on this story later in this hour with the "new york times" reporter who has been leading this investigation for "the new york times." andrew cuomo's political misfortune tonight is that he belongs to a political party that cares about sexual harassment. and so he's entering the political fight of his life to hold on to his governorship, and that fight is only with democrats. democrats only. the democratic mayor of new york
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says he doesn't accept cuomo's apology for any of the misunderstandings that he says may have occurred in his communications with women. democrats aren't going to change their position on sexual harassment in the workplace just because a democrat is accused. republicans on the other hand have proven that they don't care about sexual harassment at all. they don't care about any of the accusations, including rape, credibly made against donald trump, and republicans proved once again this weekend that they don't care about any governing policies. the god of the republican party is the most recent defeated presidential candidate who gave his first post-presidential speech and didn't say anything about governing policy. nothing. he didn't say whether he still believes that struggling americans should be getting another round of covid relief checks in a covid relief bill.
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he didn't say anything about whether republicans should be for or against increasing the minimum wage. because republicans as a party stand for nothing. absolutely nothing. no governing principle or issue, that means governing now is entirely up to the democrats. governing in washington. passing a covid relief bill is entirely up to democrats, and the argument about including an increase to minimum wage to $15 in the relief bill is among democrats only. the senate parliamentarian, who was appointed by the democratic majority leader reid in 2012 ruled that that can't be in the reconciliation bill according to the unique rules of the senate and everybody has always assumed a minimum wage increase could not be allowed in a budget reconciliation bill, which is why the democrats have never tried to raise the minimum
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wage in a reconciliation bill. many of the members working on the first budget reconciliation bill of their career were shocked to discover that rules of the senate can get in their way. this is a common experience for members of the house to have profound irritation to put it mildly with the senate parliamentarian. last night congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez said this. >> we should override the parliamentarian. i think that this is a matter of course. and that our constituents and people across this country put democrats in power to among other things establish the $15 minimum wage. we have a responsibility to do that. our two options are to override the parliamentarian or eliminate the filibuster, those are the only two paths we have
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in order to create substantive change in the united states and that's what people across the country sent us to do. >> sounds simple enough, and it can be done. but last week white house chief of staff ron klain told joy reid that vice president kamala harris would not overrule the senate parliamentarian. the white house announced it last week, and today jen psaki said it again. >> the decision for the vice president to vote to overrule or to take a step to overrule is not a simple decision and would also require 50 votes, it's not a one-step decision. and the president and vice president both respect the history of the senate. they're both formerly served in the senate. that's not an action we intend to take. >> and so even with the white house repeatedly saying no, vice president harris will not overrule the senate
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parliamentarian, members of the house of representatives continue to push for that to happen. here is congresswoman jayapal earlier tonight. >> i think the parliamentarian should be overruled. it's not unprecedented. hubert humphrey did it in 1967 and 1969. roosevelt did it in 1975. these are certainly unprecedented times. where we could thank the parliamentarian for her advisory opinion and still include it in the minimum wage bill. >> pramila jayapal is right, it is just an advisory opinion. but she did misspeak saying vice president roosevelt did it in 1975, she meant vice president rockefeller did it in 1974, but
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that's the last time it happened. 46 years ago. so there's nothing more rare in the united states senate than overruling the parliamentarian. i think it was actually 47 years ago. in this case it cannot work as a way of passing the minimum wage, cannot work, because the democrats don't have enough votes among the democrats to pass the minimum wage after vice president harris overrules the parliamentarian which they've announced she's not going to do. but let's go along with it. if vice president harris overruled the parliamentarian and allowed the minimum wage to be in the bill, mitch mcconnell would offer an amendment to remove the minimum wage from the reconciliation and the democrats would lose that vote. at least two democrats, joe
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manchin and kyrsten sinema, would vote against and others might join. earlier tonight, in an interview with rachel maddow, senator elizabeth warren said this. >> if we say we're going to get rid of the filibuster, go with majority rule the way the constitution holds for the house and the senate, and we can actually pass the things we need to pass, then this isn't an issue. >> so get rid of the filibuster is the suggestion from senator warren about how to pass the minimum wage. but there are ways to raise the minimum wage without using budget reconciliation or getting rid of the senate filibuster, because that's the way the minimum wage has always been raised, without using budget reconciliation and getting rid of the filibuster.
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and we are joined tonight by a master of the senate to guide us through the options. jim manley, a 21-year veteran of the united states senate, who served as adviser to majority leader harry reid and chairman of the senate labor committee, senator ted kennedy, also jason johnson, professor of politics and journalism, the host of a new podcast for slate. jim, let's begin with the senate options. get rid of the filibuster has become the easy throwaway line. that we already know is impossible because joe manchin and kyrsten sinema have said they won't vote to do that. and i've outlined why trying to get this into reconciliation won't work, mitch mcconnell can strip it out with an amendment if you did overrule the parliamentarian. the last time the minimum wage was raised, it was squeezed into
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a defense spending bill at the last minute. and that's the way it was done in the past, just stuck on to must-pass bills that then republicans vote for. the last time, george bush was president in 2007 and he signed it because it was inside a giant bill with military funding in it. >> and i just so happened to be working for senator kennedy, the author of that bill when we did this. it's a little bit more complicated than that. he spent more than a year stalking the senate floor looking for attempts to offer amendments to raise the minimum wage. i put together more press conferences than i thought
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humanly possible trying to highlight the need to get it done, then at some point dealing with guy named john boehner, chairman of the educational work force committee, dead set against doing anything, but push comes to shove, offered a compromise with tax breaks to small business. god, kennedy hated that idea, never done it before, but that's the art of compromise, that's what it takes to get things done. for the life of me -- your opening segment nailed it correctly. none of the options are going to work. all of them end up losing some more than others. so, yes, let's get senator manchin and republicans in the room, and get a compromise and if they can't, blame them, but first of all, take the first step, putting onus on them to deliver, and senator manchin as well. >> ron klain said wednesday to
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joy reid, no, we're not going to overrule the parliamentarian, that's a white house call. vice president harris would have to do it in the presiding officer's chair. and the white house said again today we're not going to do it, they couldn't be more clear. but members of the house of representatives continue to say overrule the parliamentarian, is there a communication disconnect here? >> as the other guest said, your opening was brilliant, there's some basic civics and government classes that certain members of congress have not followed up on. this is beyond "schoolhouse rock," and the house is the rabble, it's the passion, the
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people. manchin and sinema don't want it to happen. if you fire the parliamentarian, as you said, mitch mcconnell will just say no and have an embarrassing vote to yank it out. you can't blow everything up on this particular issue and long-term, i think this works for democrats. keep fighting for this next year and a half and blame the republicans all they want. passing this bill now is the immediate relief people need, fighting for minimum wage that has passed in many states -- this is short-term thinking by passionate, well-intentioned members who may not understand the things at play in the senate. >> some have said, and i get this, the moment with parliamentarian hasn't happened until it happens, so we are going to lobby up until the moment when the moment on the
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senate floor happens and vice president harris has that decision to make. so i get, i think, why they're continuing to put the pressure on, even though the white house has said they're not going to do it. but we are definitely going to have a vote on the senate floor on the minimum wage, and bernie sanders has told us how. he has tweeted tonight, this week as part of the reconciliation bill, i will be offering an amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. and jim, this is how we expect it to play in the senate. chuck schumer won't have the minimum wage in the bill he brings to the floor because he knows how the parliamentarian is going to rule. so there will be this sanders amendment offered and will take 50 votes to pass it, plus vice president harris' vote if they get there. and that will tell you right there if the democrats can do it. >> yup. absolutely, and to that i'd say
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it's about damned time somebody figured out strategy, try to move the amendment process. i'm glad that senator sanders made that announcement, but it piggybacks off what senator kennedy did. it doesn't have to be a one-off. a series of pressure tactics to put the republicans on the defensive and cut a deal. maybe not $15, maybe it will be $12.50 or whatever, paired with tax breaks for the wealthy. but i was encouraged that senator sanders made this announcement tonight, and i can only hope it's going to be first of many attempts to try and put republicans in very difficult position. because after all this is a pretty popular position, in many states, of trying to vote against the minimum wage increase, just like it used to happen.
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>> and i think the house members by this time know what they're dealing with and what the likelihood is down to, in the 1% range of overruling. but at this stage of the argument, it seems to be best way to keep this discussion alive, the house way of putting pressure on senators, they're hoping that somehow they're going to deliver some kind of pressure, joe manchin and kyrsten sinema. >> this is the smart thing to do, some is a lack of understanding, but some of this is the house's job. there needs to be minimum wage increase in united states of america, it's lost 18% of its value since last increase. we are in the middle of a pandemic, lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and whole families supported by one person on minimum wage, there is a legitimate urgency here.
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but the house's best option is continue to pressure. even with unrealistic ideas, it's part of a larger pressure on joe biden to say, look, incrementalism is not getting us out of this mess. donald trump was not an incremenalist, he tore down everything to get what he wanted and democrats across the board want to see bold action from joe biden. so i can't disagree with people who want joe biden to make big moves in this once in a century crisis that this country is facing. >> and i can remember senator kennedy, it was a lonely quest in those days trying to get attention to the minimum wage, even democrats thought they had bigger things to deal with. it was very, very hard to do it. here we have a visibility i'm not sure it's had in decades. urgency level, we're going to
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find out what that's worth politically. thank you for starting us off. really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. >> thank you. coming up, the most important ongoing political story of our time, nothing less than that, the republican attempt to restrict your right to vote in this country. democratic congressman colin allred, a former voting rights lawyer, joins us next. later and we'll be covering the breaking news tonight on governor andrew cuomo with the reporter from "the new york times" who has been leading their investigation of sexual harassment against the governor. heartburn happens when stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus. prilosec otc uses a unique delayed-release formula that helps it pass through the tough stomach acid. it then works to turn down acid production, blocking heartburn at the source. with just one pill a day, you get 24-hour heartburn protection. prilosec otc.
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tonight, stacey abrams told joy reid why republicans suddenly oppose mail-in voting. >> in georgia, mail-in voting has been primarily used by republican voters for years, 2020 was first time democrats won both early and mail-in voting. and to break that because too many democrats voted or too many black and brown people voted is to cut off your nose to spite your face. and the people in charge should be listened to, they're willing to destroy democracy to win elections. >> joining us now, democratic congressman colin allred of texas, he has worked as voting rights attorney. thank you for joining us tonight. i'm calling this the most important ongoing political story of our time.
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there's not necessarily a new development every day but momentum is moving in one direction for republican legislatures, to make it harder for you to vote. what stacey abrams is talking about, republicans now in georgia want to limit the way they have successfully voted in the past because they saw it work for democrats this time. >> that's right, lawrence, and we've seen this for years now. this is not a new trend. what we're seeing i think in the recent spat of laws is the most severe restrictions put on the right to vote since the days of jim crow, and just like in the days of jim crow, we are seeing politicians using the guise of election security to try and put in place laws surgically targeted to restrict the voting rights of folks they think might not vote for them. as a voting rights attorney,
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i've seen it play out in reality and seen the frustration on a voter's face when they realize they missed some deadline or don't have right i.d., it's heartbreaking, and it's not who we are as country. >> the house has legislation to try to deal with this. hr-1. what would that do? >> that's the sword for us to affirmatively expand voting rights. it has automatic and same-day voter registration. ends voter purges and stops i.d. laws and also ends partisan gerrymandering. that's the affirmative expansion of voting legislation that we need. we have hr for the voting rights act to repair the damage done by the supreme court to the voting rights act. that would be the shield to defend ourselves, bring back a
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national standard so states not covered would be covered by preclearance. that's the approach. both affirmatively expanding the voting rights and fixing what the supreme court did to gut the voting rights act. >> you're quarterbacking this for the democrats. what is more important, getting national legislation through the house and senate or fighting these things within the state legislatures? >> it's going to be a long night in the legislatures, so many we don't control and don't have ability to stop what they're doing. unfortunately we have seen judges put up to the district and supreme court who are going to be hostile to voting. we can't just rely on the courts or on the state legislatures to do the right thing. we have to have federal law. don't want vastly different
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voting rights one state to another but set a national standard. it should be fair, something that inspires confidence in the american people, but let's be clear, voter fraud is not a large risk for our country. the risk right now is politicians are trying to pick their voters, put in place laws to make it impossible for them in many cases to lose their jobs. that's not how this thing works. as somebody who has run for office myself, you have to accept being a texas democrat you might lose elections now and then. you go out, organize, put forward policies you think convince people to vote for you and try to win. that's how we do it in our country. >> not easy being a texas democrat but for one republican, it is not easy being a texas republican. new poll for ted cruz in texas, pretty big disapproval number, 48%, disapprove higher than
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approve, which is very bad for an incumbent office holder. that seems to be texans realizing what government means to them in a crisis like the electricity failure in texas. >> we still have texans right now, lawrence, who don't have water. we still have texans right now who are cleaning up from their ceilings collapsing and pipes bursting, who are wondering how they're going to pay and afford to replace some of the things they've lost, personal effects, and to -- during this crisis, to have the arrogance and callousness to think this is a good time to go on vacation, as senator cruz and our attorney general did, he was in utah. or to lie about what caused it as the governor did, to say it was wind power that did it. i think this shows a lack of respect for texans, a lack of empathy for what's going on. there are so many things i and
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my office are doing to try to help folks, i can't imagine thinking this is a good time to get away and get some sun. that's reflected in the poll. >> congressman allred, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, and thanks for covering this really important issue, you're right, it's the most important one. >> thank you very much. appreciate that. coming up, tonight's good news, a third coronavirus vaccine just become available in the united states. dr. peter hotez joins us next. t. the new provitamin b5 formula is gentle on skin. with secret, outlast anything! no sweat. secret. ♪♪ (car horn) ♪♪ turn today's dreams into tomorrow's trips... with millions of flexible booking options. all in one place.
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now california phones offers free devices and accessories for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program visit right now or call during business hours. today johnson & johnson began shipping 3.9 million doses of its vaccine. the food and drug administration approved it for emergency use saturday. it is 85% effective against severe covid-19 and 100% against hospitalization and death from covid-19.
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johnson & johnson is promising to deliver 20 million doses by the end of the month. pfizer and moderna are currently testing their vaccines in children 12 and older. johnson & johnson is planning to rapidly move to test children younger than 12, including newborns, then they will test in pregnant women. today dr. anthony fauci said this. >> if you project realistically when we'll get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, at the earliest, at the end of the year, likely the first quarter of 2022. but for high school kids, it looks like sometime this fall. >> and joining us now, dr. peter hotez, dean of the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine. dr. hotez, what is your sense where the johnson & johnson vaccine fits into the current
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vaccine delivery program? >> well, we urgently need a third vaccine and we will need a fourth and a fifth as well. we have a daunting task ahead. our original estimates were 60% to 80% of the u.s. population needs to be vaccinated to slow or halt virus transmission and save lives. and now with the new variants, with concerns of being more transmissible, like the board of arbitration s 1rks, that's right. pivoting towards adolescents. the only disappointing news about j&j is the fact we have only 3 million to 4 million doses right now. the whole point of operation warp speed was to manufacture at risk so it's ready to go.
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we don't have a lot of time. with the new variant accelerating, the original timetable of the fall is out the window, got to vaccinate american people by late spring, early summer, so i'm disappointed to learn we have so little vaccine coming and still have to wait for the mother lode to come over the summer. so that's a problem. >> as practical matter, it seems like johnson & johnson vaccine would be the one we someday get at our doctor's office because it doesn't require extraordinary refrigeration. >> and that's going to be true of the next few vaccines, j&j, oxford-astrazeneca, novavax, our vaccine as well. so that's right, it's going to be a little more user friendly. the mrna technology will improve.
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in the next five years it will be easier to scale up production. probably will work it out to the point where you can keep it at refrigeration or room temperature. but not right now, not for this pandemic. >> we just saw the first shipments to ghana and africa will probably be more suitable for the johnson & johnson vaccine because of the refrigeration issue with transport around the continent, refrigeration would be difficult during transport. >> the emerging story coming out of africa is not good news. b., it's going into zimbabwe and malawi. even though africa has done pretty well in 2020, i wonder if
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it will accelerate. we don't have vaccine for africa. the two mrna vaccines are not scaled. the j&j vaccine, you see the production problems we're having, unclear what role we're going to have. oxford-astrazeneca is a good vaccine but doesn't seem to work against south african variant. we're running out of options. i'm worried about humanitarian catastrophe in south africa. we don't have a lot of options, unfortunately. >> and of course the richer governments in the world have been competing for these vaccines. >> they all took care of themselves. and global policy makers anticipated this, a lot of acronyms that are not too familiar with the general
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american public but important global health organizations, w.h.o. saw this coming, created a covax sharing facility. the question is whether we have enough durable and quality vaccines to deliver to places like sub-saharan africa. >> dr. peter hotez, thanks for joining us. >> thanks so much. >> thank you. coming up, we'll be joined by the "new york times" reporter who broke the news of the third accuser of sexual harassment by new york's governor andrew cuomo, this report includes a photograph of the moment the alleged sexual harassment was taking place.
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it is a moment at wedding reception when the governor of new york is trying to kiss a woman 30 years younger than he is. to put it mildly, she does not look pleased, and she told her story to "the new york times" tonight in a report that has definitely moved the governorship of andrew cuomo to an extreme crisis point. most americans have no idea who their lieutenant governor is, and that's the way most governors like it, they want the limelight to themselves, but the limelight growing so hot on cuomo, new yorkers might soon begin to focus on new york's usually invisible lieutenant governor. she is from buffalo, served as a legislative assist to daniel patrick moynihan, now serving her second term as lieutenant governor of new york. as the attorney general begins
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an investigation of the governor, it could become necessary for hokel to step in as lieutenant governor. that was raised in the white house briefing room today. >> is the president concerned this could serve as distraction from governor cuomo's handling of the pandemic? should he step aside while the investigation is under way so there's no distractions handling the pandemic? >> as i stated yesterday, the president's view has been consistent and clear, every woman coming forward should be treated with dignity and respect, that applies to charlotte, to lindsey, and any woman coming forward. >> charlotte bennett and lindsey boylan have each gone public with accounts of being sexually harassed by governor cuomo, boylan posted her account online
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five days ago, saying the governor made suggestive comments on private plane and he once kissed her on the lips in her office. governor cuomo denied that. bennett told "the new york times" that when she was working for the governor last year at the height of the covid-19 pandemic, he initiated conversations with her about her dating life and asked if age mattered, and said he was open to dating anyone above 22. governor cuomo issued a statement, apologizing, saying i now understand may have been insensitive or too personal and some of my comments given my position made others feel in ways i never intended. bennett refused to accept the apology, saying the governor never acknowledged or took responsibility for his predatory behavior.
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and now new reporting from jesse mckinley in "the new york times," tells the story of anna ruck, who is 30 years younger than the governor and met him at a new york city wedding in 2017. she has never worked for governor cuomo but worked in the obama administration and the biden campaign. the "times" reports the governor was working the room after toasting the newlyweds, and came upon miss ruch, now 33, she thanked him. but what happened next unsettled here. he placed his hands on her bare lower back, she said it discomfited her. i promptly removed his hand with my hand, which i would have thought was a clear indicator i didn't want him to touch me. instead she says mr. cuomo called her aggressive and placed
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his hands on her cheeks, he said, can i kiss you? miss ruch said i felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed when really he's the one who should have been embarrassed. friend captured the exchange in a series of photographs taken on her cell phone. shaken, miss ruch said she later had to ask a friend if his lips had made contact with her face as she pulled away. the governor had kissed her cheek, she was told. it's the act of impunity that strikes me, she said. i didn't have a choice in that matter, i didn't have a choice in his physical dominance over me at that moment, that's what infuriates me. even with what i could do, removing hand from my lower back, was not clear enough. unnerved and baffled, miss ruch said she posed for a photograph with mr. cuomo afterwards, once he walked away, a friend approached with a look of alarm. when my friend said, are you
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okay with such genuine concern that i realized how obviously inappropriate it was, not only to me but those around me as well. we'll be joined by jesse mckinley, who broke the story in "the new york times" tonight after this break. not just unpredictable relapses. all these other things too. who needs that kind of drama? kesimpta is a once-monthly at-home injection that may help you put this rms drama in its place. kesimpta was proven superior at reducing the rate of relapses, active lesions and slowing disability progression versus aubagio. don't take kesimpta if you have hepatitis b, and tell your doctor if you have had it, as it could come back. kesimpta can cause serious side effects, including infections. while no cases of pml were recorded in rms clinical trials, it could happen. tell your doctor if you had or plan to have vaccines, or if you are or plan to become pregnant. kesimpta may cause a decrease in some types of antibodies.
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in jesse mckinley's breaking news reporting in "the new york times" tonight, anna ruch described an encounter at a wedding where governor andrew cuomo tried to kiss her against her will. jesse mckinley reports what happened next. after collecting herself, later that night, miss ruch said she had hoped to speak with the governor before he left and confront him about his behavior, but by then she said she could not find him. i would have rather just said it that night, she said. i wanted to say that wasn't okay.
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joining us now, the albany bureau chief for "new york times," jesse mckinley, thanks for joining us, really appreciate it. i want to go through the three accusations to make sure we have the governor's position defined on this. as i see it, the governor specifically denied the allegations made by lindsey boylan. has he denied the allegations made by bennett or ruch? >> he has not. charlotte bennett told her story to me last week and we published it on saturday night, and since that time he's not explicitly denied anything charlotte said, he made a broad statement on saturday, saying he believed that to be a mentorship rather than a relationship that miss bennett believed was veering in a sexual manner. in the case of miss ruch that we broke this evening, with matt, my colleague, his response is to point back to a statement he
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made on sunday night that some of his remarks he feels have simply been misinterpreted, that's he's been known to banter with people and he apologized if people took that as inappropriate comments. >> do you think the anna ruch story will be regarded differently in albany because it was not an at-work story? >> well, certainly it is not a place -- a case of workplace discrimination, but i think it's beginning to fit into a narrative of, first of all, a governor under siege, but also a governor whose private behavior is being thrust into the public eye. this is a guy who has run the state for ten years. has had pretty remarkably high popularity ratings, particularly since the coronavirus struck. and now has had without a doubt worst six to eight weeks of his tenure, not only with this scandal but the nursing home
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data being withheld and some of his abrasive, aggressive behavior against lawmakers. in toto, this last couple of months has really damaged mr. cuomo's reputation, which was rising and now looks in a very perilous position as we enter march. >> and so we now have the attorney general launching an investigation, she is going to hire outside counsel so it's impartial. the attorney general herself is a democrat. but in general, historically, new york governors and new york attorneys general don't necessarily have great relationships. >> that's putting it very kindly. you know, governor cuomo himself was an attorney general and was known to make elliott spitzer's life quite miserable and certainly that's a long-established trend.
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in this case, tish james is the attorney general in the state, will be giving subpoena power and perhaps a staff to an outside investigator to look into these claims. and keep in mind, that's a pretty powerful stick. subpoena power means you can compel people to give up documents and recordings and get witnesses to give depositions. all of which for an aggressive prosecutor or a special prosecutor or special investigator in this case can be powerful weapons to dig at the truth and dig at governor cuomo's reputation. >> i want to read more of the governor's statement which was issued prior to your reporting tonight, so it applied to the first two cases the we knew about. he said, to be clear i never inappropriately touched anybody and i never propositioned anybody, and i never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable. but these are allegations that new yorkers deserve answers to. so there's the governor himself
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supporting an investigation, and ultimately it was on his authority that he asked the attorney general to conduct this investigation, even though he was looking for a different form of it over about a 24-hour period before it evolved into what it is now. and so this investigation is going to go on, is there any sense of how long an investigation like this would take? >> it's interesting you say that. since the story with matt and i came out earlier tonight, there have been calls to expedite this investigation, to give it oomph, to get it going, on its feet and try to get answers quickly as possible. because i think beyond governor cuomo's uncomfortable position, i think for the people of new york, there's a lot of unanswered questions. a lot of people are wondering what happened here, and i think there's going to be pressure for a speedy resolution. >> jesse mckinley, thank you
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very much for joining us from albany. really appreciate it. >> anytime. >> that is tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. good evening once again, day good evening once again, day 41 of biden administration. tonight there are as you've no doubt heard, troubling allegations against new york governor andrew cuomo. "new york times" out with a report of woman accusing him of making unwanted advance at a wedding after two former aides accused governor cuomo of sexual harassment in the workplace. we'll have much more ahead. also tonight, a third covid vaccine is about to be available to millions of americans. johnson & johnson's single dose, one and done shot is making its way to communities across the country just days after the fda signed off on its use. >> starting yesterday, we began