tv The Week With Joshua Johnson MSNBC July 31, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
that is it for today. i'm alicia menendez. i'm going to see you back here tomorrow 6:00 p.m. eastern for more "american voices." but for now, i hand it over to my colleague, joshua johnson. hello, joshua. >> hello, alicia. thank you very much. and hello to you. it is good to be with you tonight. right now, the senate awaits the final text of the bipartisan infrastructure bill after a rare-saturday session. if it passes the senate, will progressives in the house support it? we'll speak to the vice chair of the house progressive caucus. plus, the delta variant is sparking new concerns. today, florida reported its highest-daily caseload, since the pandemic started. the president's former-senior adviser for covid response, andy slavitt, joins us live. also, a report suggests that republicans could retake the house, just by re-districting four southern states. it is mathematically possible but is it politically probable? and how might a pared down voting rights bill affect that? from nbc news world headquarters in new york, i'm
joshua johnson. welcome to "the week." i work a lot of saturdays but the senate really doesn't and we have been following a rare-saturday session in the senate today. senators are waiting for the final text of that bipartisan infrastructure bill. it includes $550 billion in new spending. now, our understanding is that the text could come, pretty much, at any point this weekend. this evening, senate majority leader chuck schumer said that the senate remains in session, and the discussions are ongoing. after weeks and weeks of negotiations, the senate voted, wednesday, to advance the package, 67-32. that number, 67, is key. that means, 17 republicans supported the move. and that is seven more than the 60-vote threshold. but the bill they voted on was just a shell. it's a placeholder that the actual full-text bill will replace. clearly, leader schumer would
like to see that text, asap. >> i have said, for weeks, that the senate is going to move forward on both tracks of infrastructure before the beginning of the august recess. the longer it takes to finish, the longer we'll be here. but we're gonna get the job done. >> now, remember, this is one of two infrastructure bills moving through congress. there is this $550 billion bill, of physical infrastructure. that's the bipartisan bill. and then, the $3.5 trillion bill on so-called human infrastructure. now, senate democrats hope to pass that one with a simple-majority vote through the reconciliation process. the margins for error are razor thin. it is likely that both bills would need to pass for either of them to survive. getting them to this point has not been easy. president biden and his allies in congress have had to tread very carefully to avoid losing support from moderate republicans and democrats in the senate, without alienating progressive democrats in the
house. as we said, we'll speak to the vice chair of the house progressive caucus, congresswoman marie newman, in just a moment. it is an act of legislative gymnastics worthy of sunisa lee from team usa. granted, less flashy than the move that won her the gold in the women's all around but can congress show the same focus and stick the landing? let's begin with mike debonus, he is a congressional reporter for "the washington post." mike, where do things stand on the infrastructure bill right now? the bipartisan bill? >> well, thanks, joshua, for having me. you were right when you said, at the top, that it's rare for the -- the senate to be in on a saturday. that doesn't mean there was a lot to watch today. it was a hurry-up-and-wait kind of day on capitol hill. we are still waiting for this group of bipartisan senators, the so-called g22, to come up with an actual bill. we're still waiting. it's 8:00, and there's still some hope that it could happen
before the end of the day today. but it -- there's no guarantee. but what's important here, and why they're in this weekend is that leader schumer is really trying to create a sense of urgency around this. he doesn't want any momentum to go to waste. he wants to make sure that they get this done. they can start the amendment process. and i think there are aiming to wrap this up, certainly, by the end of the week. >> back up a step for us. why did they move this bipartisan bill forward, this way, with a shell bill, as opposed to the actual text of a bill? why not just finish writing the bill, and then put it before the senate? >> well, a couple of reasons. there's some really wonky constitutional reasons why you need a house -- you need to take a house bill to -- to pass a bill that raises revenue. it's in the constitution, actually. so, that's one reason you do the shell. the other reason you do the shell is they have an agreement in principal. they have a handshake deal. they have an outlined -- they -- they have the votes to proceed with this. they have the votes to keep it
started, to get it started. and the rule, if there's any rule in congress that every party adheres to, it's when you have the votes, you take the vote. so they took the vote. they're on -- in the process. they're in the legislative process of debate now. now, we are just waiting for that next step where you actually have the bill. and we're, still, waiting on that. >> what about the other half of this process? the house. they're out. so this seems like it's going to have to sit, until mid-september? how does that work? >> well, nancy pelosi has made perfectly clear this bill could sit for weeks, maybe months, while this whole-other parallel process plays out. the -- the reconciliation bill that you talked about, $3.5 trillion. she has said, on multiple occasions, as recently as this past week, that she does not expect to hold a vote on the bipartisan bill until that democrats-only bill is ready to go, alongside it. and that's -- the reason they are doing that is, frankly, it's
politics. it's internal politics in the democratic caucus. they won't have -- you know, people are threatening not to vote for the -- the bipartisan bill on the democratic side, until they see that parallel product that has all the goodies that democrats have been campaigning on, for years, if not decades. things like, you know, climate provisions. things like free-community college. things like extending that new child-tax credit, into the future. all of those things are on the line. and basically, you have progressive democrats, who are holding this bipartisan bill hostage to make sure that that other -- other bill gets across the finish line. >> mike debonis of "the washington post," i appreciate you starting us off tonight. thanks very much. >> my pleasure. let's continue, now, with democratic congresswoman marie newman of illinois. she is the vice chair of the congressional progressive caucus and member of the house infrastructure and transportation committee. her district includes parts of
chicago and its southwestern suburbs. congresswoman newman, good evening. welcome. >> good evening, thank you for having me. >> where do the members of your caucus stand on the handshake-bipartisan plan, at least as it appears right now? do you feel like you know enough about it to take a position on it? or are you, still, waiting for more details? >> well, the devil is in the details. and i just want to make a quick correction, from the journalist that was just on. very quickly, we're not playing politics. we are -- we are keeping our commitment that, in fact, madam speaker and our caucus has shared, on multiple occasions. so it's no surprise, and we're not playing politics. in fact, we need that budget resolution prior to signing off on anything. and we also have to see that this infrastructure bill is doing what we need to do. it can't be a bill that is this 1950s-style antiquated let's go throw cement at things. this has to be a forward-thinking, bringing our economy into the 21st century
around climate action. and making sure that we're supporting transit agencies. so, this is a very critical, forward-thinking bill that has to come out. so we'll -- we'll see what's in the next. i am looking forward to it, and i am hoping that it is more forward thinking. >> could i ask you specifically about climate? congressman peter defazio was one of the people who expressed concerns about whether this bill would throw cement at things, as you put it. he said, among other things, it looks eneemic at best on climate change. and in his words, i do not want to have a bill that does not deal with fossil fuel reduction from our largest polluter, which is transportation. congresswoman newman, i'm not sure how you build a jobs bill of the future that is all about cement for an array of reasons. but do you have specific concerns, in terms of what the deal is? or are you willing to kind of let it move forward, based on what the framework looks like now? >> well, i can be optimistic, and be watching, very carefully, at the same time. and i think that's what we're doing, in the progressive
caucus. is that we're watching the -- what the details come out. in terms of climate action, to get at your question, we need to see that there is a strong electrification, researching renewables, making sure we are starting to use renewables and making sure we are looking at things like high-speed rail. and most importantly, joshua, the most important thing we can do right now is getting people back on public transit. and if we can spend enough on public transit to make it accessible, affordable, and convenient, that creates jobs. it, also, allows people to get to their jobs. so for all of these reasons, and much more, we need to make sure. now, we are being very clear that our priorities have to be met, in this reconciliation package. things like housing, a pathway to citizenship, expanding medicare to make it very robust with vision, dental, and hearing and -- and more. so, those -- those priorities are critical as part of the reconciliation package. but we are standing firm that, if we do not have climate action in this package, um, we will
never get to a 21st-century economy. you know, there's two things that -- that we desperately need to think about. is that we need to think about -- um -- the economy, in terms of more people is always better. that's how a gdp it grows, right? it's a very practical concept. that econ 101, if you will. that we need to build the economy, with people. >> could i ask you to respond to one of the concerns that critics of the reconciliation bill have? just to ask it very simply, what does a pathway to citizenship have to do with infrastructure? >> because we need more people to produce more jobs to fulfill these jobs and have businesses grow. it's really simple. so, let's be clear. you should -- um -- allow our 11 -- 11 million undocumented a roadmap to citizenship because it's the moral thing to do. but it's, also, the very practical thing to do, right? it's the only way the gdp grows so let's let these folks that have been doing great things in our country and producing money and jobs and all those things. let's let them continue to do
so. >> and we should know, there are plenty of industries right now, including agriculture, in parts of the west -- western part of the country that are, i think, quite concerned about what that will turn into, understandably so. also, congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez tweeted, in response to a report that senator kyrsten sinema of arizona would not support that larger-spending plan. basically, saying, good luck tanking your own party's investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure, while presuming you'll survive a three-vote house margin. especially, after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a bipartisan accomplishment. this is one democrat taking on another democrat. how is your party doing, right now, in remaining unified enough to get this bill passed? i understand all the disagreements. but your party still wants this to become law. how is that working, in terms of just keeping everybody kind of facing the same way? >> we are all talking, constantly, right? and i -- i agree with my
colleagues' comments. that i think it's unadvisable for a senator of a state that is largely behind all of these infrastructure measures. making sure that we address climate action. that state is in desperate need of climate action. so she's effectively -- ms. sinema is voting against her constituents. i think, at her peril. so i -- i would hope she comes around, in the coming days, to understand that this package strengthens our care economy, produces jobs. we -- we are looking at a package that would produce 2 million jobs, per year, over the next ten years. i don't think ms. sinema wants to be the one that votes against a jobs act. i just think that's not wise. particularly, when arizona, desperately, wants all that. >> well, there are so many details for the devil to be in, with this package. i know you are avidly looking forward to the next. we, certainly, are. and i will be interested to see how this shakes out, if you have folks like senator sinema, whose
objections may be dropped or who come around. and whether or not enough people align on both sides of -- of the party to move this thing forward. but we will discuss that, once we actually have the text of it. congresswoman marie newman of illinois, good to have you on the program. thank you very much. coming up, there is a new push in congress for a slimmed-down voting rights bill. the provisions on redistricting could decide which party controls the house. and up next, florida reported a record number of new-covid cases, today. more than 21,000. former-white house adviser, andy slavitt, joins us when "the week" continues on msnbc. ugh, these balls are moist. or is that the damp weight of self-awareness
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meanwhile, an nbc news exclusive is shedding light on how common breakthrough covid-19 cases are. at least 125,000 fully-vaccinated people have tested positive for the virus. but, that number needs context. more than 164 million people have been fully vaccinated. these breakthrough cases are less than .08% of them. now, this reporting follows a shift in mask guidelines from the cdc. that includes recommendations that vaccinated americans mask up, in some areas. and now, we're getting a look at the science behind that decision. in a new-cdc report, first obtained by "the washington post," the agency issued a stark warning. quote, acknowledge the war has changed. joining us to discuss it is andy slavitt. he is the biden administration's former-senior adviser for covid response. his new book is called "preventable: the inside story of how leadership failures, politics, and selfishness doomed
the u.s. coronavirus response." mr. slavitt, good evening, good to see you, again. >> joshua. >> so what do you make of that remark? acknowledge the war has changed, especially in light of this new-cdc report? >> well, the job of the cdc to keep up with all the changes that we are seeing with the virus, and to report to us, honestly and clearly. and what the cdc's seeing now is, what? they are seeing a virus that can spread among unvaccinated people, in as little as five minutes. they are seeing some erosion of the level of efficacy of the vaccine, towards the end of people who have been taking it for a while. they are seeing some other issues, which are causing local communities to see more and more pervasive threat. so, what they've said, basically, is this looks like a different virus than the 2020 version did. it's far more easy to catch. you can catch it in -- in much
quicker amount of time. and even vaccinated people, if exposed to enough virus, can also get a breakthrough case, as you showed. it doesn't happen very often but it does happen. so, i think this is a report where they said we have got to go tell the public. thankfully, earlier in the week, that's what rochelle walensky did. she went out and said we got to make some changes here, folks and that's important. >> what do you think vaccinated people should make of these breakthrough cases? i mean, we have heard a lot in the last few days about the cluster of cases in provincetown, massachusetts, which is all the way on the tip of cape cod. that there were about 75% of the people who were infected were fully vaccinated. only four ended up in the hospital. none has died. i have to admit, i -- i'm a little bit bothered by some of the way that this has been characterized, cause i was in provincetown, this month. spent a few days there. had a wonderful time. came back. got tested. i'm negative and i'm vaccinated. so, now, i don't know what the hell to think. was i lucky?
did the vaccines work, the way they were supposed to work? like, i'm not sure how to interpret this, now. how do you interpret it? >> well, here's what -- here's what that report said. the report said that if you have been vaccinated, you are one-eighth as likely to get covid as someone who has not been vaccinated. so indeed, joshua, the vaccine did protect you. you are also about 1/25th as likely as someone who is not vaccinated to get more serious case of covid. so if the people in provincetown who got a mild case of covid hadn't been vaccinated, it would have been a horror show. there would have been lots and lots of people with very serious illnesses. lots of people hospitalized and, unfortunately, people would have died. because of the vaccine, much fewer number of people got covid. much fewer number of people got a serious case. and thankfully, people like you and -- and many, many, many others, in fact, the majority of people, didn't get covid, at all. so, this is evidence that the vaccine works. we need more people to take it. >> yeah. i appreciate you saying that. i just want to admonish my -- my gay brothers out there, who go
to events like in, you know, provincetown and puerto vallarta and elsewhere. please, be vaccinated. please, protect yourself, please protect the rest of your community. get vaccinated. with regards to protection, though, the shift on masking, in terms of wearing a mask, even if you are vaccinated, what do you make of that? especially, with more venues, like disney world and disneyland saying they want everybody wearing masks indoors, whether you're vaccinated or not. how do you read that? >> i think about it this way. when it's raining out, i will carry an umbrella so i don't get wet. if it's really raining, hard, i will carry an umbrella and i'll wear a raincoat because i -- because i don't want to get wet and because there's a possibility that the wind -- the rain can go sideways. we all hate that slanty rain. and i think that's how we should think about this new strain delta. that the -- that the umbrella, that the vaccine, helps us a great deal. but that a mask adds a layer of protection.
and in this climate, now, now that there's more covid. now that it's easier to get. i wear a mask indoors. whereas, even a week or two ago, before it was clear that delta could spread among people who are vaccinated at all, i was fine with just the first layer. just -- just the umbrella. so if you are living in a climate where you are seeing a little more covid, doesn't hurt to put on a mask. i think -- i think it's a wise move. in addition, it will protect you and it will reduce the spread. >> and before i have to let you go, i am wondering what you make of some of the pushback against the cdc not tracking some of these breakthrough cases, since breakthrough cases were part of the calculus for the cdc offering this new guidance about masks. do you think they should have had a more complete tracking policy? or how -- how do you see this? >> there's a good reason to track, and there's, also, an important reason why they didn't. the reason to track is because you always want more data. and you always want to be able to do the analysis, which says here's how likely it is, if you have been vaccinated, to get
covid. i think your analysis showed 0.8% have gotten an infection. and it's important information. the reason they didn't is because their best information, at the time, had been that those cases, mild cases, most of 'em, we'd never know about because most of them would be asymptomatic or very lightly symptomatic. and would be very difficult to track and wouldn't be worth tracking because their belief was that those cases would be less likely to spread. they may want to revisit that, in the context of the fact that if you get even a mild case of covid on a breakthrough case, you can spread this to someone else. so i think it's -- i think it's something that they should go back and revisit and look at. and i'm not -- >> i appreciate you saying the best information, at the time. we have to keep remembering this is kind of public-science research, discovery in motion. and the data we have today might turn out to be different from what we have, six months from now. part of the reason, just kind of have to stay on top of what's
happening. andy slavitt, appreciate you making time, sir. thanks very much. now, some americans choose not to be vaccinated. some cite a sense of patriotic rebellion. but what would our founding fathers do? i'm not kidding. there's some history you should know about. but up next, republicans have their sights set on retaking the house, in 2022. they could make winning easier, by just redrawing some districts. we'll show you, when we come back. ug. so then i said to him, you oughta customize your car insurance with liberty mutual, so you only pay for what you need. oh um, doug can we talk about something other than work, it's the weekend. yeah, yeah. [ squawk ] hot dog or... chicken? [ squawk ] only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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a voting rights bill might survive congress, after all. perhaps, in a different form than it's in, now. yesterday, president biden and vice president harris met with the top-congressional democrats at the white house. they are finalizing a scaled-back voting rights bill for the senate to vote on, before going on recess. one of the most critically-important parts of the bill would end partisan gerrymandering. why is that so important? well, a new analysis shows that republicans could retake the house, in 2022, just with their
control of redistricting, in just four southern states. that is according to the democratic firm, target smart, as first reported by mother jones. the republican-controlled legislature in north carolina could draw one or two new gop-controlled districts. in texas and georgia, it could be up to three, each. in florida, it could be as many as five. according to the political report, when redistricting begins, republicans will be in charge of redrawing congressional lines for 187 districts. democrats will control 75 districts. joining us, now, is charlie cook. he is an msnbc special units political contributor, as well as the founder of and contributor for the cook political report. mr. cook, good to see you, this evening. welcome. >> thanks for having me on, joshua. >> i wonder what your thought is on this. before you respond, here is a quick clip of congressman ronny jackson from texas speaking at an event for the faith and freedom coalition, last month. listen.
>> we are four votes, right now, from controlling what happens on the floor, right? we have everything working in our favor, right now. we have redistricting coming up, and the republicans control most of that process in most the states around the country. that, alone, should get us the majority back. >> what do you make of that? >> well, it's actually five votes but anyway, it -- the thing is, when you have got -- the "mother jones" piece is absolutely right. redistricting could cost democrats their -- the five seats that republicans need to get a majority, absolutely. but when you have got a majority that's that small, anything going wrong. i mean, yes, redistricting. but just the reapportionment process. you know, where they reallocate states, at the end of each decade, seven -- seven house seats are going to be switching states. and mostly, going from blue-democratic states to red-republican states. that could be three out of the five that republicans need, just right there. so, you've got redistricting as
a problem. you've got reapportionment's a problem. and then, you've got just sort of the historic average that only, you know, 3 out of 39 midterm elections since the civil war, the party in the white house that actually gained seats. so, democrats, there -- there's a lot that can go wrong. and they -- they need everything to go right for 'em to hang onto a majority this small. >> what about the impact of, you know, voters? what's it look like in terms of the actual leanings for the election? like, are there districts that you're following that look like they're leaning more to tossups when they were more solid or that might be leaning kind of away from one party or another? how might that work just taking redistricting out of it for a second? >> well, the thing is because -- because 43 states argue to crack their maps open, we don't know what the districts are going to look like. so there's that. but there -- you know, there is always going to be 30, 40, 50, whatever house seats that are going to be really, really close. and we have a general idea of what -- whatit's going to be but
we won't really know for sure in each state until the maps are -- are -- are -- are drawn. but this is a very challenging situation. i mean, to give you an idea, the democratic majority in the house, basically, was determined by fewer than 32,000 votes in a half-dozen districts. 32,000. that's, like, the population of walla-walla, washington. that's what -- that's such a narrow, narrow majority that democrats need everything to go right. and um, you know, the good news for democrats is that president -- president biden is not unpopular. and he is, certainly, a lot better off than where president trump was, at this point. but -- but at the same time, voters have a tendency. one of the things that happens, these midterm elections, is that -- that unfortunately, love and -- and -- and -- and gratitude are not the dominant motivations for voters in midterm elections. >> right. >> it's anger and fear. and it, generally, it's the losing side from the previous election. their voters are more motivated.
so that's the challenge that democrats have, this election. >> i wonder what your sense is of how some of the voting restrictions that states have passed factor into this? we spoke to gabriel sterling, who is one of the top-elections officials in georgia approximate a few months ago over on peacock. and i asked him, very categorically, on the record, if he actually believed that the guardrails of government would prevent those new laws in georgia from being used to partisan aims. here is what he told me, then. >> i think it'd be extremely difficult and unlikely. and if somebody tried it, i got a feeling that, joshua, you and every other journalist in the -- in the country would say, what -- what the heck are you doing? because it -- and the thing is, it's a long process. there's a lot of due process involved. it's not, like, a snap thing that can just happen. but we have years of counties in this state that have made mistakes and -- and really damaged their voters' abilities to vote. >> how do you see that, now? >> well, you know, i had heard democrats talk about voter suppression, for decades. and until about 2011, '12, '13,
i, frankly, think it was -- it was -- it was exaggerated. but we have seen, over the last, say, six, seven years. state legislatures and governors putting in completely arbitrary changes that have made it very difficult for certain kinds of people to vote. and, you know, it -- it -- you know, at first, you know, it might seem coincidental. but after a while, a pattern appears and is obvious. and, you know, it's pretty clear, now. whether they'll succeed or not. but again, the margin that democrats have is so narrow that little-bitty things can make all the difference in the world. so, i think, democrats are very -- you know, they're -- they're -- they're not -- they're not paranoid to think that there are state legislatures that are out to try to cost them their majority. there's no -- no question, in my mind, about that. >> charlie cook, always good to have you on with us. thank very much. >> thanks, joshua. >> coming up, at the top of the hour.
simone biles steps back from her olympic competitions to focus on her mental health. our saturday-night panel is just ahead. but first, more unvaccinated americans are weighing whether to, finally, get the shot. if you're skeptical, it might help to consider this question. what would george washington do? welcome to allstate. (phone notification) where we've just lowered our auto rates. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ and savings like that will have you jumping for joy. now, get new lower auto rates with allstate. because better protection costs a whole lot less. you're in good hands with allstate. click or call for a lower auto rate today.
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i booked our hotel on kayak. it's flexible if we need to cancel. cancel. i haven't left the house in a year. nothing will stop me from vacation. no canceling. flexible cancellation. kayak. search one and done. it's one of the biggest pushbacks to getting vaccinated. personal freedom. some critics of the push to
administer vaccines speak with a sense of patriotic rebellion. a refusal to give into a heavy-handed government. they argue that it's downright un-american. that argument may seem strong. but is it valid? is pushing to inoculate people against covid un-american? well, you know that america won its independence in a grueling revolutionary war. george washington had his hands full commanding the continental army. turning volunteer militias into a, more or less, professional-fighting force. but do you know what killed 90% of his troops during the american revolution, 9-0 percent? give you a hint. it was something the british no longer had to worry about. the answer? diseases. especially, smallpox. when the war broke out, europe was well acquainted with inoculating people against diseases by beginning them a less-lethal form of the disease. that's what vaccines do. they teach your body how to fight a disease, by giving it a
weak or dead form of the virus to beat down. george washington knew, firsthand, how awful smallpox was. he caught it, as a teenager, during a trip to barbados. it knocked him down for weeks. rashes, back aches, chills, painful sores. nearly, a month of sickness. according to the cdc, smallpox, once, killed about 30% of its victims. survivors were, usually, left with scars, including young george washington. decades later, general washington wrote, to the president of the continental congress, john hancock. he passed along concerns that the british were releasing smallpox-infected people into the population. flatout biological warfare. then, on february 5th, 1777, george washington ordered all troops to be inoculated against smallpox. it had to be done strategically so there would still be enough soldiers to fight, while their comrades healed up. and it had to be done in secret
so the british would not catch on. but that allowed the continental army to fight on, until three and a half years after that order, the british surrendered at yorktown. this fall marks 240 years since the revolutionary war ended. perhaps, it could mark the end of another war, if we fight it with everything we've got. see? america's fight for freedom only began with rebellion. it ended with wisdom. look. if you are choosing not to get vaccinated, that's your choice. just know that our young country depended on more than firing bullets. it depended on taking shots. the kind of shots that save lives. sick of the mandates? tired of the restrictions? you want your freedom back? maybe, consider doing what george washington did. lead us out of this pandemic, and just like washington, you can do it privately, quietly. wouldn't want the british to find out.
it's easy now, than ever, to get vaccinated. planyourvaccine.com has all the information you need to get it done. there's info for people, in every state, and links to register online. that's planyourvaccine.com. after years of wading through lengthily-court battles, congress will finally get former-president trump's tax returns. that's next. that's next. age before beauty? why not both? visibly diminish wrinkled skin in... crepe corrector lotion... only from gold bond.
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we are learning more about the startling lengths that former-president trump went to in hopes of overturning his election loss. handwritten notes from a former-justice department official, the notes suggest that mr. trump pressured the doj late-last year to declare the 2020 election corrupt. as we've said, repeatedly, there is no evidence of the kind of widespread fraud that would change the outcome. the acting-deputy attorney general, richard donoghue, took
those notes. they recount a phone meeting he had with president trump and former-acting attorney general jeffrey rosen, on december 27th. according to the notes, mr. trump told the doj officials to quote, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the r congressmen. r, presumably, refers to his republican allies in congress. now, this punctuated a difficult week for the former president and his family and closest allies. they were hit with a number of legal challenges, including a ruling from the justice department. the doj ordered the former president's tax returns delivered to the house. let's break down these cases with carole lam, she is a former federal prosecutor and an msnbc legal analyst. ms. lam, good to see you. welcome. >> thank you, good to see you. >> what do you make of the release of these notes? and what they say? and not even just what's on those notes. but the fact that the notes were released, at all? >> i find it very extraordinary. and in fact, i'm -- i'm -- i'm
sort of impressed. they were released without a lot of hullabaloo. and i think what happened is justice department said, these are notes that, although written by department-of-justice now this department of justice's notes. and we have decided that we are not going to assert any kind of privilege, executive privilege, or other privilege. and we are going to release these notes to the congressional committee and they did and i think the notes are extraordinary. >> how significant or how damaging are these notes, just in their existence? i remember, in the past, we have had to learn about how the notes of a federal prosecutor or the notes of somebody, like former-fbi director, jim comey, could be significant, in and of themselves, almost with the weight of being sworn. being testimony. that they are considered to be credible. >> yes, and you'll recall that donald trump, once -- once said
he doesn't want an attorney who takes notes. just for this reason. um, of course, when people take notes, they are taking notes in order to memorialize what's actually happening -- happening, at the moment. and they're what we call contemporaneously. they're -- they're being taken, at the time that the events are happening. and so, in terms of credibility, they're given quite a bit so they're viewed as being contemporaneous recordings of what's happening at the moment. so the fact that rich donohue took these notes with verbatim quotations from the president at that time is pretty significant. they, you know, you read these notes and he's a trained lawyer and you read these notes and you say, you know, there's not much question about what was going on here? this was the department of justice whose job it is to develop evidence, you develop evidence and you see if there's credible evidence that would cause you to find somebody guilty or not guilty of a particular allegation.
and here's the president of the united states saying, here's the result i want, you announce that result and i'll find a way to get us there. it's extraordinary. >> what about the doj, the current doj under the biden administration with merrick garland as attorney general. that doj, ordering the treasury department to give the u.s. house the former president's tax returns. where do you see that heading? >> so that's another somewhat unusual thing to have happen. you do sometimes see that when an administration flips from one party to the other, you do sometimes see that the department of justice taking different position from the prior department of justice. the office of legal counsel within the department of justice is supposed to be a fairly resilient, you know -- it's supposed to be a department that just follows the law. and when you have a flip-flop like this, when you have one olc, office of legal counsel,
opinion reversing one from just two years ago, it is a little bit jarring. however, i think that in this case, it was the right thing to do. because, basically, what the office of legal counsel under trump said was that the treasury department could just second-guess a congressional committee. that has a right to request tax returns. and they could just second-guess their motivations and say, we find their motivations to be pretextual. this department of justice said, no, you can't do that. >> before i have to let you go, something else i wanted to ask you about was mo brooks. he was someone who spoke at the rally on january 6th that proceeded the insurrection at the capitol. the doj also ruled that he was not, not acting an official capacity when he spoke at that rally. what's the impact of that? >> also a significant impact there, because what the
department of justice is saying is that although, yes, when somebody -- when a federal employee does something within the scope of their employment, as a federal employee, we will step into their shoes and we will defend the case and we will be liable, if anybody is liable. what the department has said here is that, no, when mo brooks got up there and did what he did on january 6th and in events leading up to january 6th, he was not acting in the scope of his employment as a congressman. what he was doing was he was basically engaging in a political campaign. and there's some credibility to that, because at that point in time, although president trump was still technically the president, he had been voted out of office and that was going to take place very shortly. >> last thing, very briefly, a federal appeals court said that donald trump and his adult children cannot send a fraud lawsuit into arbitration. this stemmed from his time on "celebrity apprentice" and there was a lawsuit accusing them of exploiting their family name to
promote a marketing scam, targeting the poor and working class. that's the accusation in the lawsuit. that seems like a big decision, to me. i mean, arbitration can be private, behind closed doors, and we never know what the outcome is. this makes it much more public. >> yeah. you have that exactly right. that was the motivation in trump and his children, hoping to get this litigation, this class action lawsuit into arbitration, so it would not be public. the result wouldn't be public and the evidence wouldn't be public. but what happened here was the court said, no, when you were persuading those people to invest their money in this company called acn, their agreement to use arbitration was with the company, acn. it was not you, donald trump, or your children. and therefore, the arbitration agreement does not apply to you. and you're going to have to litigate this in open court, in public. >> former federal prosecutor carol lam, miss lam, good to see
you. thanks very much. our saturday night panel is coming up at the top of the hour. stick around. ng up at the top o hour stick around how much money can liberty mutual save you? one! two! three! four! five! 72,807! 72,808... dollars. yep... everything hurts. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ introducing aleve x. it's fast, powerful long-lasting relief with a revolutionary, rollerball design. because with the right pain reliever... life opens up. aleve it, and see what's possible. icy hot. ice works fast. heat makes it last. feel the power of contrast therapy,
we have breaking news tonight on immigration at the southern border. nbc news has learned that i.c.e. is planning to transfer migrant families to their custody and out of border patrol facilities that are amazingly overcrowded. i.c.e. will give the families covid tests and court dates, ankle monitors will track the parents until a court determines
whether they may stay in the u.s. now, as of this morning, border patrol processing facilities were nearly six times above their capacities. 585%, to be more precise. nbc's julia ainsley joins us now by phone. julia, what more have you learned? >> yes, that's right, joshua. so intense overcrowding in these facilities. we've seen this happen before with children, but now they say, with an increase in families coming in, they're worried about the spread of covid-19, as well as other viruses, lice, and it's really just become an unhealthy and unsustainable situation at these border processing facilities, especially over the last week, as it's grown worse. that has triggered a number of senior-level phone calls between the white house and dhs, as this administration grapples with what to do and they say that they really have tried to keep the humane conditions here at the forefront, trying to make them as humane as possible. what that has now led to that we can report tonight is that i.c.e. will be stepping in, in an unprecedented way.
they will start to transfer families out of border patrol custody, into i.c.e. custody, and i.c.e. officers will be doing what they call the processing, helping with medical screenings, covid-19 tests, even offering them vaccines, connecting them with ngos, telling them their legal rights, something that isn't typically done by the agency tasked with enforcement and removal of undocumented immigrants. but they say this is the necessary steps to alleviate some of that overcrowding. the other thing it does do, joshua, as we point out, is that now these families will be released if they do pass an additional asylum screening, they will be released with a court date and an ankle monitor. it will be some way for the government to track who is in the united states and if they're showing up to their court date, as opposed to what border patrol has been doing recently, where they've had to release some people without a court date, simply to alleviate that overcrowding. i.c.e. is able to provide more of that humanitarian relief, but also, to be able