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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  March 24, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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we are expecting the first former press conference of president biden. it is going to be a big day tomorrow in washington. see you again tomorrow night.
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it is time for lawrence o'donnel. >> it is good to see the mayor. it is a real changing of the guard there. >> i thought about you today when i was reading all these stuff of modern boston history. there has been other mayors who got the job as an acting mayor because the person at the top job moved onto some other post. it will be interesting to see if kim janey decides she's going to run for the job full-scopic between now and december. she was the first mayor who was not the white man. >> i was waiting for my big announcement on your show tonight, rachel. >> yeah, not going to happen. >> there is about five major candidates announced already.
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all of them minority. i think two or three or two women, one black woman are already in the race. it is a already active race. we'll be watching. >> indeed, pretty fascinating. thank you, my friend. >> thank you, rachel. well, brian sicknick did not look like his life was endangered before he was attacked. the new york times released new video showing what happened to brian sicknick that day. after 2:00 p.m. he was holding his position on the west side of the capitol. the police already lost control of the vast lawn on that side of the capitol and retreated to a line at the foot of the building which actually seemed more manageable. seemed like they had more
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advantages there. it seemed at that point in that shot you are seeing as though that brian may hold. he's not having to do anything at that moment to hold that. those fight barriers or doing the job well enough. the first image we see there brian sicknick, the police still seemed to be control of the situation. they were about ten minutes to lose control. the police did not know that as they stood there. mostly looked like a police line that we have seen at countless protests around the country. i have seen some of those police lines up close at all sorts of protests. most of the time people on both sides of that police line are safe. most of the them. most of the time people on both sides of the police line don't want any contact with the people on the other side. most of the time but not all the time. for police officers who have
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been on duty at enough of those protests can at times feel routine. at that time brian sicknick had no reason to think he was not protected with his covid mask and helmet and police gear. he had no idea how bad it was going to get and that full riot gear with the helmet and complete face shield would have been the only possible hope for him to come out alive. he didn't know that his family members would soon be trying to remember the last time they said "i love you" to him. here is brian sicknick when he did not know any of those things and didn't know what was going to happen. at 2:09 p.m. julian khater are first captured on camera near brian sicknick. at 2:14, we heard khater said to
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tanios. "give me that bear stuff." at 2:20 p.m., video shows khater near the police line with brian sicknick standing behind the bike rack barrier with other police officers. three minutes later, the trump mob continues to take control of those barrier and khater raises his arm in front of him and from that position where he was fully protected by the police by the rioters in front of him. he sprays brian sicknick and
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hitting him directly in the face. officer sicknick instantly realized he's been hit with something and puts his hands to his face. other images showing officer sicknick tried to wash off his face with water. in court prosecutors showed body camera footage of the incident that they had not release that video to the public. the new york times says police body cam shows, quote, "khater raises his hands and sprays
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sicknick." later that day sicknick texted his brother, he was pepper sprayed but he's in good shape. that's what he thought. he collapsed and he rushed to the hospital where he died at 9:30 p.m. the next night. the cause of death has not yet been released. one of the most consistent feelings for professional republicans in washington is that they never feel threatened by violence that happens to other people. >> on january 6th, i didn't. there was much more violence on the house side. there was no violence on the senate side in terms of the chambers. >> i knew those were the people that love this country and truly respect law enforcement and would never do anything to break a law. so i was not concerned. >> we are getting similar
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response from republicans from the mass murders last week in atlanta and this week if boulder, colorado. >> every time there is a shooting we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders. what happens in this committee after every mass shooting as democrats proposed taking away guns from law-abiding citizens because that's their political objection. >> he's lying . the city of boulder actually passed the law and would have prevented the murder buying the weapon that he purchased six days before he murdered ten people at king soopers super market. >> she had dreams and ambitions. she was moving up the ladder at
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king soopers. and now she can't. she can't do those things. she didn't get to experienced motherhood, she didn't get to experience marriage. she was 25-years-old, she didn't get to experience a lot of stuff we get to experience in life. >> democratic congressman of colorado, serves as a house impeachment manager in the second impeachment trial of donald trump. congressman, thank you very much for joining us tonight. i know this has been a difficult week for you and it continues to be that for you. what is your reaction and what can you tell us about how the community of boulder has responded to this tragedy? >> thank you for having me
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lawrence. it has been a devastating week for boulder for this community, from my community and certainly for the state and the country. we are in a process of healing and grieving and lifting up victims. the ten people who tragically lost their lives and another mass shooting on monday. you heard mr. olds described one of the victims he loved so much. each of these community members led impactful lives and the impact they had in boulder county and across our state and beyond. we are focused on them and doing what we can to help our community heal. boulder is a strong and resilient community. i have no doubt that we'll come together to help each other during this incredibly important and tragic time. >> we just saw a senator who engages just about nothing other than political theater has no
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accomplishments in his time of the senate. none. accused you and the democratic party of engaging in political theater after this mass murder, what is your response to that? >> yeah, i would say it is so disappointing and emblematic. we have a gun battle crisis in the united states. my constituent are tired and tired of eck accuses and want congress to take steps necessary to protect our community so people can feel safe in their grocery stores and schools and movie theaters and in their communities. >> i heard some of the arguments and the clips that you just
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played. the bills that had been proposed thus far of universal background checks and assault weapon ban reinstating. they would save lives. we should take those steps. >> gun legislation is one of the few areas of what we may call liberal progress may occur, beginning in the 1930s with social security and on ward where there had been reversals. joe biden was able to get through an assault weapon banned. assault weapons banned in 1994. we have gone backward in terms of that kind of progressive steps that we took in the 1990s and statistical evidence shows it worked very well. >> you are right. i know you as a student of history and served in the
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senate. in 1994, there were nine republicans who voted to assault weapons banned when then senator biden helped lead it. what's happening the last two decades is hard for me to describe the feelings that so many of my constituents have as they look to a federal government time and time again failed them in taking meaningful steps are supported by a broad population of the united states. there is no excuses. i am hopeful that we'll finally be able to make meaningful progress this year with president biden leading the helm given the way of what he said yesterday at the press conference. >> senator schumer has said the difference between the last few years on this issue is that we
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now have a democratic majority leader of the senate which means he's in charge of the senate calendar and he has promised to bring something to the senate floor. it will face the challenge of current senate rules and filibuster rules but he's promising to bring certainly background checks at a minimum to the senate floor. >> incredibly important step and i am appreciative that leader schumer committed to do that and finally we'll have a debate on the floor of the united states senate of sensible gun violence. i know you will have senaor merkley on and i could not agree more. it is time to end the filibuster. really prohibits and stops us making progress on these issues and we know ultimately will save american lives.
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>> he's going to join us later in this hour. >> congressman joe neguse, i am very sorry for what you and your people in boulder are enduring this week. >> thank you, lawrence. >> up next, andrea wiseman will join us of the prosecution of the two men who are charged in the assault on officer brian sicknick. that's next. sault on officer brn sicknick that's next. and winning. but now, the for the people act stands on the brink of becoming law. ensuring accurate elections. iron-clad ethics rules to crack down on political self-dealing. a ban on dark money. and finally reducing corporate money in our politics. to restore our faith in government. because it's time. for the people to win.
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there are now 400 defendants charged on the riot. defendant kelly meggs, the
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leader was communicating with members of the so-called proud boys in the weeks leading up to the capitol attack. kelly meggs wrote in december, "i organized an alliance between oath keepers, the florida three percenters." he called us all to the capitol and wants us to make it wild. donald trump put it on writing on december 19th, 2020. donald trump tweeted "big protests in d.c. on january 6th, be there. will be wile." joining us now is andrew wiseman. one of the lead prosecutors at the mueller investigation.
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andrew, what to make of this new video, what it tells us of the kind of evidence that prosecutors have that would accomplish the actual results on officer sicknick? >> i hope better evidence than that, lawrence. you know this is prosecutor's dreams and a defense's lawyer nightmare is having the defendant on video tape committing the crime. this is sensationally good proof. it is the kind of proof that when you are a defense lawyer, you have a serious talk about your client cooperating with the government. it is a very, very strong case. this is something with the police and a lot of people anticipated that there would be public protests and violence and
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there were a lot of people with iphones capturing everything that's going on. it is not surprising that it makes a key conviction to the government. >> prosecutors are talking about the oath keepers talking to the proud boys and getting together and the specific use of donald trump's actual word "wild" which he put in a tweet to them and inviting them and putting that all together, how may that influence the prosecution of these cases? so i think there are two things. let's put donald trump aside. when you are looking at interesting evidence they are piecing together of these two gangs and how they are working together. what i see going on is building
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a so-called rico laws. it is routinely used by federal prosecutors to bring gang cases that is no longer limited to organized crime characters. longer sentences and you can really present to a jury the full scope of gang activity. you are not limited to just what happened on january 6th. you can talk about all the violence that these gangs part participated in. that's evidence that could be used against donald trump but it is not sufficient because donald trump could say you misinterpret
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what i said and i didn't think you will engage in violence and i didn't promote it. you and i may think that's not the case but it would not be enough just to point to what people interpreted, his words to me. >> joe biden and the justice department decided on a new u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. this choice as you know made by the senior democratic center chuck schumer. he used to make these choices before when he was a senior senator. he'll be the first black u.s. attorney in the southern district of new york. we did have zachary carter in the eastern democratic before. this is a very important job, considering the most important prosecutorial in the country.
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what does it mean? >> i actually think that the relevance of this, you have not just in the southern district but in the eastern district and in the western district of new york. there are three districts. the nominees are all african-american men and women which falls into the category of it is about time. by reputation, these are all three excellent choices. in terms of what it means for donald trump, i think it is important to remember that the current u.s. attorney and the southern district is also a wonderful career person so in terms of the cases there, whether they are overseeing by audrey strauss or by the in coming nominee, i think that district is going to continue to do excellent work and be
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independent and the same thing will be true in the eastern district and the western district. these are all a good sign for president biden. >> on justice department protocol, i know nothing about this. would there be a consideration that if we are going to indict a former president of the united states in what was the michael cohen's case, would they think it is better to wait for the new u.s. attorney to be fully confirmed by the senate in place to do that? would that be a factor in thinking about how to perceive with such a case? >> i don't think so. i think that this is something that the attorney general is certainly going to weigh in on if there were to be such a case and that's a big "if." that's something would go to for approval by the attorney
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general. we bring that case when it is ready whether it is audrey strauss or the in coming person should not have an effect on the timing. >> andrew wisemann, thank you very much for coming on. >> coming up, the senator that does not need any introduction. jeff merkely joins us next. mert king's hawaiian sliced bread makes everything better! ♪ (angelic choir) ♪ and here's mine! ♪ ♪ it's not "pretty good or nothing." it's not "acceptable or nothing." and it's definitely not "close enough or nothing." mercedes-benz suvs were engineered with only one mission in mind. to be the best. in the category, in the industry... in the world.
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chuck schumer never -- well, almost never attends committee hearing but he did today to support a voting rights bill that have been passed to the house. >> the most reprehensible bill
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in georgia. what an astonishing coincidence? outlaw voting on a day african-american churches sponsored get out the vote efforts. i would like one of the republican members on this committee to give us a plain sense justification for that restriction. no early voting on sundays. >> and one of the republicans gave this answer to that. >> in god's word and exodus 2018, it says remember the sabbath and keep it holy. she meant exodus 8th and not 18th.
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it was written in hebrew which refers to sun down on friday and sun down on saturday. the old testament is totally cool which voting on sunday. we'll find out when senator schumer brings the voting rights bill to the senate floor. >> this is not some as i heard some silly idea that we should stop voter suppression, it is fundamental. we took an oath to the constitution and that involves defending the right to vote. defending the ballot box. >> joining us now senator jeff merkley. thank you very much for joining us tonight. it is rare for rules committee to take center stage but it did today. it is headed to senate floor
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where under current rules it is going to need 60 votes to be considered. >> well, that's absolutely right. under current rules as a policy, i take 60 votes threshold to close debate and this is what some folks called filibuster. that's not the case. this is just a veto exercised on policies he does not like we are talking about this poor constitutional principles of the ballot box and we fought through our entire history to make the ballot box assessable to everyone and now republicans trying to tear it down. >> the theory o f the filibuster and i am glad you made the distinction that few people understand that we are not talking about the filibuster. let's get it out of the way
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right now. no one is suggesting a rule change that'll prevent the jimmy stewart moment or the strong, 24 hours and 18 minutes record. anyone who wants to run out the senate floor and go do that will still be able to do that. when they stop speaking, the senate will continue to proceed its business, it is this 60-vote culture threshold we are talking about. that's the motion to end the debate, that's what has to be changed if there is going to be any progress. you will be able to go out the senate floor to speak for 24 hours if you have some feelings at some point. >> absolutely. >> i can tell you some members will want to draw national attention by giving those speeches. it should be a civil majority to close debates. we are now in position to have
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many options. this 60-vote threshold to close the debate, this is exact major that our founders said don't do this. while they are writing the u.s. constitution, you had it in place, the confederation, congress, under the articles of confederation, requiring a super majority to get things done. it did so it was paralyzed, the founders, all the rest, you don't do this, you got to be able to go forward. it is not the minority that controls things. it is the majority. this is predictive. >> i follow the senate votes, it was a senate culture vote today, 98-2. a 98-2 vote on closing the debate on a deputy secretary
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nomination. now, that's the kind of thing that a short time ago in the senate would have been unanimous consent and would taken literally one second of the senate's time. that's the kind of junk that clogged up the pipeline for years in the mcconnell's era. >> it takes two days before you can vote and another 30 hours afterwards. it takes a whole week of the senate's time. that was an instrument recognizing that it would be very, very rare that the pirates would take over. that's the term filibuster comes from. free booter. now to the silent, no-show, no effort obstruction.
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if you obstruct everything from getting done, you would show the minority becoming the majority. if each side does that, it is simply an old adage, an eye for an eye. if both sides paralyzing each other, we'll never address the issues of america. well, the rest of the world going we don't want that system. it hurts us in all kinds of way and our ability to help the world taking on common challenges. >> i know you had private conversations with senator joe manchin trying to persuade him to see this the way you do, he would be the ddecisive vote in
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this. >> not at all concerned of that. my friend joe manchin wants to make sure we do the right things to protect the ballot box and i know that he'll be working and talking to others trying to figure out his course and understanding the differences in his state and understanding the traditions and somehow we are going to figure it out. we have this oath to the constitution. that involves setting the ballot box. voting suppression efforts across the country. we thought in 1965 there, we gotten past this. we are not going to have these great voter suppression. and yet here we are.
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here we are with folks saying we are going to make it hard for black americans to vote and the poor to vote and native americans to vote. and then this strategy is if we can make sure that the voting only takes place on election day then we have so many tools to make it hard for people to vote, we reduce precincts or staffing or make people stand in the rain for five hours or change locations or put out false information about locations. these folks who want to take the vote away from millions of americans are absolutely on the wrong side of what it means to be a country by and for the people. >> senator jeff merkley, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> coming up. president biden giving vice president kamala harris the most
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today president biden held a meeting at the white house on a problem that had every president -- >> i asked the vp today to lead our efforts with the northern triangle and the country -- we are going to need help in stemming the movement of so many folks stemming the migration to our southern border. this new surge we are dealing it now starting the last administration but it is our
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responsibility to deal with it mainly. >> during the early days of the presidential campaign, some of the candidates including kamala harris and our next guest went to the homestead juvenile facility in florida and nearly 3,000 students being held. >> don't discounts these hundreds and thousands of children being treated this way by us. what will it mean for them in terms of what is our country and who is our country? what are the values of our country? what are we telling our own children who are aware that this is happening? i strongly believe that you should judge us aside based on how we are treating our children. we are not treating them well at all. we are treating them like prisoners. >> weeks later that facility was closed. the "miami herald" reported the
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facility had four child sex abuse claims that resulted in the firing of one employee. that's what happened at our border when donald trump and steven miller and jeff sessions made cruelty the official policy of the united states. turning now to julian castro, the former mayor of san antonio, texas. you were with kamala harris that day looking at that facility where 3,000 kids were being held at the time. what's the difference between then and now? >> the difference is now you have a biden/harris administration has compassion and concerns for these children and wants to get them out of those types of facilities and
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into the hands of loving relatives who are here in the united states. i remember that visit in late june of 2019. what i remember about vice president harris was her passion and knowledge of the issue. when she was attorney of california, she led the effort to respond to unaccompanied minor of california. she organized an effort to get them a pro bono legal representation. she pushed back against the cruelty of the trump administration. she knows the issue and had a passion. because of that i have confidence that she's going to do a good job in this role. president biden made a wise move and a good job. >> what is good job? if the standard is efficiently and humanely and immediately dispatching people who arrived
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at the southern border illegally including children. no presidents succeeded at those three things at the same time. >> this is how i think we should measure ourselves here. number one, are we treating people who are in our custody, people who are seeking asylum and undocumented immigrants humanely and keeping our values. are we getting them out of the border patrol stations which are over crowded. mayorkas says it is unacceptable now. but, also, part of what president biden has charged the vice president of doing is looking at the longer term. when i was running for president, i called for 21st century marshal plan for central
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america so we partner with those countries and invest there so people can find safety and security opportunity at home instead of having to come to the united states to look for those things. if we can do both of those things in keeping with our values and treat people humanely and decently but also solve this challenge in the long-term, i think it will be a success. i think we can do it and i think vice president harris is going to do a good job at it. >> we have attempted that in the past. people have attempted it with goodwill, not in the trump administration but many administrations prior to this. it seems to be the calendar. it seems to be the seasonal swell in numbers that we always get this time of the year and we
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always get the drop box in the middle of the summer when the journey becomes deadly. and so all of these things and everything that's discussed have always been tried before. >> well, i would say look, the so-called surges that we are talking about started say the s surges started in earnest in 2014, that's not that many years. we had 2014, 2019 and now. when president biden was vice president, he led an effort to invest $750 million in northern triangle countries to try to get this partnership solidified, and trump froze those resources. two steps forward and one step back. now the biden administration would like to invest in earnest and forge a stronger partnership with the northern triangle countries to have a longer term solution to this. i don't think this is something that's been going on long enough for us to give up on them.
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we can see results the way we were able to in a different context in colombia over the years, it's so different from what it used to be. also in mexico 20 years ago people coming here were largely mexican, single men coming to work and send money back. but because you can find more opportunity and in some places more safety than you used to in mexico, you don't see those numbers anymore. we have a blueprint, we need to be smart about this for the long term. >> what is clear is it is a problem that requires that mix of enforcement and humanity and problem that every president will have to work on every day. it's not a problem that we can see a point on the calendar that we will solve and be able to put away, i think we can agree on that. >> absolutely. republican or democrat, going to have to focus on this, that's why putting your vice president in charge of it, making it high
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profile, makes a lot of sense. >> mr. castro, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks lawrence. coming up, congresswoman lucy mcbehalf who lost 17-year-old son to racist with a gun will join us on the gun safety legislation she sponsored in the house and chuck schumer will soon be bringing to the senate floor. senate floor you see the glow? that's a dove bar. dove cleans effectively, cares beautifully.
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right... ( horn blaring ) this is not about getting rid of the second amendment. it's simply about saying we need reasonable gun safety laws, there's no reason we have assault weapons on the street of a civilized society, weapons of war. they're designed to kill a lot of people quickly. quick pushing this false story about coming after your guns, this is not what we're talking about. >> congresswoman lucy mcbath, thanks for joining us again.
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you sponsored the background check pieces of the legislation that moved through the house. chuck schumer has it in the senate and your part might be the only part he can get through the senate, background checks. >> i hope so, the bipartisan options -- we passed in 116th congress, it's bipartisan, republican and democratic support. if over 90% of the american public believe in this legislation and policy, we need to do everything in our power to get it passed in the senate. >> how are you feeling in the house about the possibility that the current senate rules could block consideration of this, requiring a 60-vote threshold? >> well, of course i'm hoping for the best. i'm hoping that as i said, both
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republicans and democrats will see the light that our constituents are adversely affected, republican or democrat, by unnecessary gun violence as we've just seen in colorado, as we've just seen here in georgia, as we've seen over and over and over again, just since i lost my son in 2012. and we know of course that the debate over gun safety and saving lives is far more important than procedural discussions we might be having, anything that might stall the ability for us to get this legislation passed. >> you know what the families in colorado and families in georgia are feeling tonight, the families in georgia have had a week to live with their new feelings of grief, it's even fresher than that in colorado, what could you say to them about what they're going through, what they're going to be experiencing? >> well, first what i would say to them is that absolutely i
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understand what they're feeling. and i offer them, truly offer them my prayers and condolences, because it's something that i understand to my core. but what i would say to them, please take time to honor the memory of their loved ones, please take time to absorb and digest everything that has happened and surround yourself right now with friends and family and community because that is what you need right now to be tethered to at this really delicate time in their lives, and just to continue to honor the legacy of the loved one that they've lost and know we're fighting as hard as we can out here in congress to make sure we're honoring their lives with gun safety legislation. >> congresswoman, lucy mcbath,
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gets tonight's last word, thanks for joining us tonight. >> good night. >> thank you, "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. and good evening once again, day 64 of the biden administration, we're now at point where its agenda is running headlong into reality. president is going to get a chance to talk about his priorities and his challenges at his very first quote/unquote formal news conference tomorrow and challenges are many. just tonight u.s. officials confirmed north korea has launched two more short-range missiles. white house is grappling with the growing surge at southern border, renewed call for gun control following two more mass shootings and resistance from republicans, issues all vying for his attention as