tv Alex Witt Reports MSNBC August 14, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT
good day from msnbc world headquarters in new york. welcome to "alex witt reports." i'm lindsey reiser. breaking news out of haiti, the prime minister confirming in the last hour people have died after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit just off the coast of the caribbean this morning. now, the exact number of fatalities is still unknown. but we want to show you a look at the damage here. this is near the site of the quake. people in jamaica reportedly felt the tremors. that was from a distance of about 200 miles away. as you may remember here, haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake back in 2010. that was a 7.0 magnitude quake so that was actually smaller than this one. and that one killed about 200,000 people. let's go right to nbc's ed augustine, following the breaking news for us. ed, what is the latest on the
situation? >> reporter: as you mentioned, the haitian prime minister has confirmed that there are deaths, and we're expecting those deaths to be significant and casualties also to be significant. i spoke to people in port-au-prince earlier this morning and the person i spoke to did not report any damage from this earthquake, that he could see, whereas back in 2010, the damage in port-au-prince, the capital of haiti, was catastrophic. this earthquake hit further to the south. so there's at least hope that the human cost will not be as cataclysmic as it was back in 2010. this earthquake comes at a difficult time for haiti. last month the prime minister -- sorry, the president, the head of state, jovenel moise, was assassinated. foreign powers have selected the acting head of state, the prime
minister, a core group led by the united states selected that prime minister. and joe biden has just been informed of the earthquake and he has authorized a humanitarian response to be headed up by usaid. >> ed augustin, thank you so much for following those developments. joining us is a caribbean correspondent for "the union herald." we're looking at video coming in, the damage looks extensive. what are you learning, jacqueline? >> reporter: we're talking about a region of the country with a lot of old buildings. we're hearing about churches that have collapsed, buildings collapsed, people trapped underneath the rubble. the current prime minister who had been secondedly late president moise before he passed
away, he declared an emergency. he has experience with this, he was on the front lines in the 2010 earthquake. now they're trying to find out what the extent of the damage is, how widespread is it, how do you get assistance to this region of the country which has been cut off from the capital due to armed gang violence as of june 1, so it's difficult to access this region by roadway. haiti will have to rely on planes, boats, choppers, which they really don't have a lot of. >> i know it's early, but, you know, are you hearing anything about casualty numbers yet? we heard from ed augustin there that they're not saying any numbers yet. are you hearing anything? you mentioned this as a rural town, this is a rural area. do we know, it's maybe not as populated as the capital, but do we know an estimated population? >> reporter: so on the peninsula, the third largest city in haiti, the other major
cities struck in the western part, this is a major portion of the country that has been hit. we've seen preliminary reports, in terms of a major figure, a former mayor, there are reports that he died underneath the rubble of a hotel in the area. we are trying to confirm this but we have former ministers, elected officials who are basically giving condolences to their families. again, because of the logistical issues, i think it's very difficult for us to see right now what are we looking at. and this happened also in 2010, we have to remember that it was hours before we really got a sense in terms of the amount of damage, the devastation, and the death toll. and the death toll in that earthquake, according to the haitian government, was 316,000. >> i mean, we've talked about the challenges here.
this is coming right after the assassination of their president. the country is still struggling with covid. you mentioned this area, the roadway is cut off because of around gangs. what will it take to get aid here to this area and are these citizens be able to handle such a major crisis? >> that is a major concern, because we are hearing reports of hospitals that have either collapsed or they're being inundated with people who are injured. we're dealing already with a weak health care system here. so whatever health, medical care is going to have to be on site, in place. we heard from a number of charters, a few that are still left, they say they're mobilizing. the united nations is on the ground. there talks with haitian officials in terms of how we get humanitarian assistance to this area. prior to all of this, haiti was looking at a humanitarian crisis because of hunger, the economy is in shambles. as you mentioned, the death of the president, we still don't
know who is behind it despite the fact that there are 40 people currently in custody. yesterday the judge in charge of the case basically withdrew himself. this is the last thing haiti needed, a major natural disaster. let's not forget we have two tropical storms that are there, and matthew struck this area just a few years ago. so they still haven't totally recovered, much less port-au-prince which was 20 years ago. >> fred and now grace on its heels. jacqueline charles, you're painting a picture, quite devastating. we'll check back in with you throughout the coming days to see what else you are learning. thank you so much. breaking news from afghanistan, some u.s. forces have arrived in kabul with up to 3,000 expected before monday, as taliban fighters close in on the capitol city. they will help evacuate americans caught off-guard by lightning-fast gains made by taliban fighters. president ashraf ghani says he is remobilizing government
security forces to prevent further instability and heavy police presence is visible on the streets of kabul. in the skies above, as taliban fighters get closer, we also see some support. now, meanwhile, at the kabul airport, the exodus is under way for those who are able to leave. but many who worked as translators for the u.s. military still haven't gotten their visas to travel. and agencies say afghanistan has about a quarter million new refugees, many women fleeing their homes with their kids. some settling in a park in kabul. we have a team of reporters and analysts following this for us. we'll first go to nbc news correspondent kelly cobiella in kabul. kelly? >> reporter: lindsey, fighting is getting closer to the capital. there are reports of heavy clashes in a province about 20 miles away. all of this has happened just with stunning speed. the taliban taking control of half of the country's regional capitals in just a week.
the first of 3,000 u.s. forces landing at kabul's airport for what the pentagon says is a limited mission, to get embassy workers out. >> i expect that by the end of the weekend, the bulk of the 3,000 that we talked about yesterday will be in place. >> reporter: the u.s. embassy is ordering its staff to destroy census documents and computers, according to a memo obtained by npr. afghan president ashraf ghani addressing the country for the first time in days this morning, saying "i know you're all worried about your future. i as your president assure you i am focused on reducing violence." on the ground, the taliban are advancing across afghanistan at lightning speed. in one propaganda video, they claim to be in control of the road to kabul, saying they're allowing government forces who surrender to pass. in another, militants claim they ambushed an afghan military convoy 50 miles from the capitol and captured government soldiers. the militants now firmly in control of afghanistan's second
largest city, kandahar, and consolidating territory in the south, north, and west. the taliban took its first provincial capital one week ago. now their territory looks like this. closing in on kabul. panicked afghans are rushing to the capital as aid agencies warn of a humanitarian crisis. >> at least 241,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes and humanitarian needs are growing by the hour. >> reporter: these men all worked for nato as construction workers, cooks, interpreters. >> we assisted on the ground. we translated. we put them in the jail. because of that, if they arrest us, they will kill us, if they want, they will kill us. >> reporter: many here feel abandoned and betrayed. nbc news has spoken directly to a taliban commander on the ground here in afghanistan. he says the taliban is aware of
the presence of u.s. forces on the ground and said that if they try anything, they will be dealt with the same way the taliban has dealt with afghan defense forces. lindsey? >> nbc's kelly cobiella reporting from kabul, thank you. we want to get to monica alba with reaction from the white house. mon monica, how is the biden administration reacting? >> reporter: lindsey, the president is spending this weekend at camp david. we know he's closely monitoring the situation. we've learned from officials he held a secure videoconference this morning with the vice president, the secretary of state, the pentagon chief, and others to get a latest assessment from the situation really that is devolving at a speed that is even surprising the administration. but the white house says the president has no regrets about his decision to withdraw troops from the country by the end of this month. president biden silent on afghanistan since authorizing troops to kabul thursday to help
evacuate americans from what he views as an unwinnable war, as the pentagon acknowledges just how fast the taliban is gaining ground. >> we are certainly concerned by the speed with which the taliban has been moving. >> reporter: republicans pouncing. >> this was very predictable. the united states forfeited away the leverage that was needed to withdraw in the right way. >> while it's a disgrace and a national humiliation, i think that president biden is barrelling towards his own saigon moment. >> reporter: the biden administration pushing back on any vietnam comparison. >> what i can tell you is we're not focused on the history of the vietnam war. we're focused on meeting the requirements that we have today. >> reporter: just as the president did when he announced the accelerated withdrawal last month. >> there's going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the united
states from afghanistan. it is not at all comparable. >> reporter: as veterans like paul miller wonder how the u.s. departure will be justified in the long run. what message does that send to those who served there over the last two decades? >> i lost friends there. it's hard to understand what it was for. if this is how it ends, how do you tell veterans that it was worth it? >> to see this withdrawal just so callously disregard human life at almost every metric, we seem to hold up our hands and say we quit, is really upsetting to me. >> reporter: so much is changing minute by minute but the pentagon says the plan is still to get most of these troops out well before the 20th anniversary of the september 11th attacks which are exactly four weeks from today, lindsey. and the white house says the president is committed to that timeline and what that would mean is only leaving behind a
core diplomatic presence in afghanistan. >> monica alba, thank you so much. we are going to dive further into this with anne gearan, washington correspondent for "the washington post" and msnbc analyst and gayle lemmon, senior fellow for the council on foreign relations. gayle, we'll start with you. you've been covering women and girls in afghanistan for years. you spoke to a young woman in afghanistan right now. what is she doing, is she fleeing? what is she telling you about what's happening on the ground? >> the situation is dynamic, but the tragedy facing women and girls is certain. and that is i think the crushing piece. i've been talking to young women, many of whom i haven't known or haven't seen in years, reaching out saying, could you please help me figure out a way to get out, i'm a college student, i'm a high school student, i'm a medical student, i'm trying to figure out what my future holds. and the truth is there's no place for people to go.
so the one thing i think that can be done is to create enough time and space to evacuate those who supported the u.s. and nato effort. i've had the privilege of seeing women from 2005 on, since my first trip, seeing their contribution to security and stability. and all these young women fighting for their future. there was a girl i just spoke with who was talking to a girl her age who was displaced who told her that in the town she fled, the taliban wa anesthetizing girls, to sell them in pakistan or traffic in pakistan or other countries. i don't know, i want to be very careful, i don't know if that's true, but that is what girls say they are facing and it's what people who don't even know foreigners are telling me. so i think that is what we're facing. and the one thing we can do is
process more visas and create more open space for people to evacuate who supported the u.s. and nato. >> and the fear certainly is real. gayle, do you get a sense that people in afghanistan fema band -- feel a3w57bd -- feel abandoned by the u.s.? >> what i think they feel that is certain is fear of the uncertain. and they know that what's coming up ahead means that they might go from being high school students to right in the crosshairs of becoming taliban brides. that's the reality they're up against. the taliban is asking in certain towns for lists of widows and girls that are 14 and over. and this is all playing out right now.
>> anne, you wrote a new article about this that's out this morning in "the washington post." and the headline reads, "biden has wanted the u.s. to pull the plug on afghanistan for years. doing it has consequences." in your article you mentioned something the president said in july about the topic. let's listen. >> the taliban is not the north vietnamese army. they're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. there's going to be no circumstance where you're going to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the united states from afghanistan. it is not at all comparable. >> we're not seeing that, but anne, do you get the sense that we could? did the administration have any indication that this would happen at the speed it's happening? >> lindsey, the administration really was taken by surprise by the speed with which the taliban was able to make the military
gains that we've seen over the last two weeks and over the last five days or so. what the president ended up ordering on thursday is tantamount to the helicopter vacations from saigon that he said would never happen. what he's ordering is more troops than were in afghanistan when he took office, returning there for a short mission in order to evacuate americans, help process the visas for as many people who helped americans during the war as they can, and then get out. you know, to hear gayle's stories of what is potentially facing young women, girls, women who had really banked on a future that was backed by the entirety of the 20-year u.s. nation-building mission in afghanistan, whatever people think of the wisdom of that, you know, we can't get all those people out. there is no way that all of the
people, you know, particularly women in afghanistan, whose futures were constructed around the idea that this government in kabul, backed by the united states, and that the united states would continue to be a military defender, they're really out of luck. >> anne, some would argue u.s. troops could have stayed in afghanistan another year, another 20 years, and the same thing would happen. was this a lose/lose situation for the white house? >> the way the president has seen it for a long time, dating back to even before he was vice president, before president obama, is that nation building never works, and that if the afghan government itself couldn't do the job of governing the country, it wasn't going to be a winning proposition for the united states to do it for them. that said, he has in the past backed the idea of a very small u.s. military footprint in the country basically as an insurance policy. and many people thought that
that's what he would support when he became president. that would have been a rejection of a deal that former president trump had struck with the taliban under which all u.s. forces would leave. instead, the president really surprised a lot of people by saying, you know what, we're all leaving, we're doing what the previous administration had set out to do, we're just going to do it a little more slowly. and that was a rejection of military advice that he got from pentagon brass that leaving a really, really small number, i mean, a matter of a few hundred, up to a couple of thousand, u.s. forces in the country to keep an eye on things, was really, you know, sort of a cheap insurance policy. he didn't see it that way. and he continues to not see it that way. so the goal now, the military goal, is to get as many people out as possible, as safely as possible, without getting into a shooting war with the taliban, which is something that is now a
prospect in these waning days, and then leave by the deadline that the president originally set of august 31. >> gayle, is the fear here that things are going to go back to pre-9/11 there in afghanistan? we're talking about no school for women and girls, no rights, just complete taliban rule? >> i think the question now is what is the political construct look like. and it was never a question, i think, of whether in terms of the withdrawal, but how. let's just think about how you help those on the ground in the immediate moment. i completely agree that you'll never get everybody out. it's a country of 19 million women who will be in this country. but it's about the people who were front and center and very visible and the entire nato/u.s. effort, is there a way to process visas faster, is there a way to make sure they get out on flights. i'm talking to people who want to move up their flights and are
being told there is no seat out. it's a question of how do you help -- i got a message from a girl who said to me if you help me get out to finish my studies i promise you i'll always make you proud. so this is what you're seeing. and i think how do you look at a political future that is definitely going to -- that was not the question, but how does a political future that includes taliban also allow women and girls to work. one just final point is that the first book i had the privilege of writing was about a teenage girl whose business supported her family under the taliban. during the taliban last time around, women ran underground schools, they started businesses, they worked as doctors throughout, in fact the taliban sent their family members to women doctors and midwives. how do you get out the people that you need to and create space to serve those who will remain. i think that's the urgent question. >> all right, anne gearan, gayle lemmon, thank you so much for your time and discussion today. the fight over masks taking
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breaking news from haiti, the associated press says haiti's civil protection agency is now reporting at least 29 people have been killed in today's powerful earthquake. these are just preliminary numbers here. we know president biden and vice president harris have been briefed on this. the president has authorized immediate u.s. response with the u.s. aid administrator directing the effort. the haitian prime minister has declared a one-month state of emergency there as well. we'll continue to keep you updated on this breaking story. a new surge in coronavirus cases is worrying health experts. the u.s. is now averaging more than 140,000 new infections daily, a rate the country hasn't seen since last year. new vaccination numbers show more americans are choosing to get the shot. almost a million people were
vaccinated thursday according to the white house. and that's the most in a 24-hour period since before the fourth of july. in georgia, almost 700 students are quarantining after dozens tested positive for covid in the southeast part of the state. now all schools in that county, are closed until the end of the month. and more than 1,500 national guard members are headed to oregon to assist hospitals as covid infections surge. more than 700 people are hospitalized with covid there, 185 of those patients are in the icu. new concerns today about the surge of covid cases in florida. the state's average of new infections shot up to 21,000 cases a day compared to 2,000 in early july. nbc's stephanie stanton is in tampa today with more. stephanie, what are officials doing there? >> reporter: good afternoon to you, lindsey. as you mentioned there, with school back in session here in
the state of florida, that concern of covid-19 now shifting to children. i want to talk about some numbers, this is according to the cdc. hospital admissions of children with covid-19 have officially reached the peak of where they were in the winter surge. so they've exceeded that number. that is a concern. i'm here in south tampa, outside roosevelt elementary school. this is in hillsboro county. we understand that 13 employees of this elementary school have tested positive for covid-19. and this school has been tracking their covid cases. since august 2, they've seen more than 500 cases of covid-19 district-wide. again, this is such a big concern among many parents. of course there's been that debate about mask mandates here within the state of florida, with governor desantis. i did have a chance to speak to one parent whose child attends this school here. take a listen to what she had to
say. >> i've heard from other friends whose children's teachers are out. so it's definitely very concerning that we have that high number of staff in our school who are clearly ill. we don't want our children to have an interruption in their education. it's hard enough to learn in this environment as it is. >> reporter: again, a lot of concern here in the state of florida. across the state in palm beach county, we understand that on day two of the return to school, some 440 students there were placed under quarantine for covid-19. and this is all coming, of course, as florida is releasing its latest case counts. we are seeing more than 151,000 cases of covid-19 statewide, roughly more than 16,700 of those cases are involving children. that's about 22%. that's involving children under 12, by the way, who are not eligible for the vaccine. and, you know, this week,
governor ron desantis did acknowledge the rise in cases overall but he did point out that children, pediatric cases are still between 1.1 and 1.4% of overall hospitalizations, lindsey. >> and stephanie, i know when we get information from health departments and school districts, it's not necessarily clear, but do we know whether the teachers at the school behind you got covid because school was in session and it's possible that they got it as a result of so many people being back? or had school not started yet, or is it still unclear? >> reporter: you know, lindsey, that is still unclear, because school started here last week. i believe tuesday or wednesday, depending on which county you were in. and so they're being tight-lipped due to hipaa laws, they're not releasing exactly, we don't even how many of that 13 are teachers or other employees. but we know that 13 employees connected to this school and one student last week did test positive for covid-19. >> gotcha. all right, stephanie, thank you so much for that clarification, we appreciate it. in broward county, florida,
there are new concerns about the return to in-person learning too. similarly three teachers in the county school system actually died of covid in just a 24-hour period this week, according to the teachers union president. again, unclear whether that was because school had started or how they contracted it. but it comes a few days before the fall semester is set to begin. we should mention those three teachers contracted the virus while still on summer break, my mistake there. joining me is rosalyn osgood, representative for broward county school board district 5. you spoke actually to the family of one of those teachers and obviously such a sad time, we can't even imagine what they're going through. but what did they tell you, and did they have a message for what's happening right now, a message for other teachers? >> the two teachers that passed away, and the one esp educational support professional, were in broward county. they had not returned to school
in the sense that they were interacting with students. one of the families i know personally, because the parents are members of a church that i attend, where i'm a minister. and the mother is also a member of an organization i'm a member of. and their story is a story that everybody needs to listen to. so the young person, the teacher that was 49 that died, several months ago we were doing covid vaccinations at our church, and she brought her mother and her father to be vaccinated because they were 65 and over. a couple of weeks ago she went out of town on a trip. she came back and got sick, infected both of them with covid but because they were vaccinated, it didn't have as bad an impact on them.
she never got the vaccination herself, and ultimately it ended up fatal for her, that she passed away. we have to get vaccinated. that's the measure that we can use to protect ourselves. and in school environments, it is imperative that everyone wear a mask. our children that are 12 and under, they don't have an option for vaccinations. so the mask is the tool that we can use to help them, and we must use it. >> broward county officials voted to require masks in school this semester, defying the governor's order there. so tell me about how significant that decision is by that school board and do you think that the lack of masks in schools universally could impact the state as a whole? >> so we're a nine-member board. eight of us on that board voted to make masks mandatory, because we feel that the lives of our staff and our students are
invaluable. we won't put monetary value, although we were threatened and bullied that our salaries would be taken away. we made decisions to protect the people that we were elected to serve. school districts are large employers. in broward county, we employ over 30,000 individuals. so if you have a covid breakout at any school, it impacts the school environment. it impacts the community, because those individuals go home to their families who interact with other people. and it would just be a horrible thing to have happen when we can use masks to help minimize it. most counties go as their school district goes because of the number of students that attend and the number of employees that work in the school district. >> rosalind osgood, we appreciate you coming on and explaining your decision as a board. we hope you'll come back and let us know how the school year is going. we certainly hope whether to see
now to the latest on the infrastructure standoff on capitol hill. nine moderate democrats are demanding an immediate vote on the bipartisan bill passed by the senate earlier this week. and they're threatening to derail the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill on human infrastructure. speaker pelosi not showing any signs of giving in, though. nbc's ali vitali is on capitol hill. ali, if there was ever a script to use a pothole reference, i feel like it's this one. it feels like the road to infrastructure is just full of them. >> reporter: yeah, that's absolutely been true of this entire process. many fits and starts over the course of the negotiations and then into the procedural portions. we've seen multiple potholes on this infrastructure week that has stretched for many, many
months. but in this case we're trading the normal partisan bickering for some intraparty jockeying on infrastructure's next steps. you mentioned that moderate group of congressmen and women in the house saying they won't vote for the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package unless the house votes more immediately on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that's already passed the senate. that's the opposite what have speaker nancy pelosi's plan. she wants to wait for both bills to pass the senate. she has dozens of progressive lawmakers at her back, backing that plan up, because the other side of this political seesaw is that while moderate democrats are threatening to have their way, progressives are also threatening to tank the bipartisan portion of this bill if they don't first see their policy priorities met in the reconciliation bill. a lot of jockeying here going back and forth. but listen to congresswoman
jayapal on this. >> we can't call people moderate democrats who vote against childcare, paid leave, and addressing climate change. that is a democratic agenda. it is the president's agenda. and it's what we promised. >> reporter: we talked about the tight margins that speaker pelosi has been operating with for this entire congress. that's definitely going to be true here as we stretch into september, as we start seeing the actual machinations of this infrastructure process play out here on capitol hill. there's two political sides in this. there's strength in numbers, in that we don't want to be one of a few members tanking your party and your white house's biggest policy win over the course of the last year. that could be where some of these members end up and we could start seeing the white house applying pressure if it actually gets to that point. on the other side of it, though, the moderate democrat argument is the sooner that you get shovels in the ground on these infrastructure projects, the sooner that voters can see the
actual deliverables of this bill. infrastructure is not just theoretical or something that plays out on paper or in people's bills. it's something that they literally can drive on every day or drive over in the case of tunnels. this is something that you can tangibly see and it's definitely something that democrats and republicans alike will want to run on in the midterms. but democrats certainly want to be the party that owns this. that's the argument for getting it done sooner. at the same time, though, speaker pelosi said towards the end of the week, she hears that argument but she's sticking to the path she's already choreographed. >> hopefully we'll see something by the midterms. ali vitali, thank you. joining me is georgia congressman hank johnson, a member of the transportation and infrastructure committees. he's also a member of the congressional progressive caucus. what do you make, congressman, of those arguments by your more moderate colleagues? if they're not on board, nothing guess passed, right? >> i think my colleagues, my
nine colleagues are assuming also that if the senate bipartisan bill comes to the house floor for a vote, that it's going to pass the house as it is now. and i don't think that that is a reasonable assumption to have. i mean, after all, the house passed the invest in america act which provided for funding for our infrastructure, heavy emphasis on transit, heavy emphasis on rail, both freight and passenger, to put this country in a new posture where we're getting away from motor vehicles. whereas the senate bipartisan plan -- and by the way, i congratulate the senate for passing a bill, much less a bipartisan bill, so they're to be commended for that.
but the house has its prerogatives and its priorities. and, you know, to think that the senate bipartisan bill will just float through the house with a kind of a crammed-down type of mentality, we passed this so you have to pass it with no bargaining, no consideration of the house priorities, i think that's a wrong assumption to take. but beyond that, for nine members to hold up progress, i mean, it's been the consensus of both democrats in the house and the senate that we would pass -- that the senate would pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the senate would pass a budget framework for the house, $3.5 trillion, that's what they did. the senate has delivered. now the ball is in the court of
the house. and for nine members to now come and say that we're going to do away with our consensus that we had and we insist that the tail wag the dog, i don't think the dog is going to respond positively to that. >> how do you convince your more moderate colleagues, your republican colleagues, who are all worried about the cost here, not just the cost of budget reconciliation but they brought up concerns about the cost of the bipartisan infrastructure plan. how do you convince them? it sounds like you want to keep tacking on more to that senate-approved bill. how do you convince them that that's the right way to go? >> the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill would be paid for largely by increasing taxes on those who make in excess of $400,000 per year. so we're talking about folks who got a $5.8 trillion tax cut back
in 2017 when they didn't need it, and 83% of that went to the top 1%. now we're asking those same folks to come back, instead of a $5.7 trillion handout, we're asking them or we're going to be requiring them to pay their fair share of a $4.5 trillion bill to get our country -- to build our country back better. that was the pledge that elected the biden/harris administration. it is the consensus that we as democrats in the house and senate have held. and that's what we plan to see forged through. and we quite frankly kind of shoot ourselves in the head when we start insisting that we're going to vote -- we're going to deviate from the plan that has been our consensus from day one. i don't think that's a
reasonable course of action for the house to take and i don't think the house is going to take that action. >> okay. i want to shift gears here and talk about voting rights because just last month you were among those arrested while protesting essentially the inaction on federal voting rights legislation. but majority leader chuck schumer says now the upper chamber will vote on voting rights first thing which they return in september. wasn't the promise before that it was going to half before august recess? do you have confidence that this will in fact happen? >> i think it's within very challenging for the house to get to the point where we're on the cusp of passing the john lewis voting rights advancement act, hr 4. we're being called back into session a week from this coming monday. and one of the things that we will do is to vote to approve of the john lewis voting rights
advancement act which we will then send to the senate which of course has worked hard, they just started their august break after passing that budget bill that they sent to us. and we'll also pass that budget framework next week when we get called back. >> all right. a lot on your agenda. congressman, thank you so much for your time, good to talk to you. >> thank you. the many ways donald trump tried to overturn the election. could they lead to criminal charges? the savings event of . the homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon! at this homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon, there's no telling what we might bundle! homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon! bundle cars, trucks, colonials, bungalows, and that weird hut your uncle lives in. so strike up the homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon band for the deal that started forever ago and will probably never end. homeandautobundle xtravafestasaveathon. -say it with me. -homeandautobundle-- no one's leaving till you say it right. homeandauto... did you know diarrhea is often caused by bad bacteria in food?
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it's okay, you can stare. when you're a two-time gold medalist, it comes with the territory. alice loves the scent of gain so much, she wished there was a way to make it last longer. say hello to your fairy godmother alice and long-lasting gain scent beads. part of the irresistible scent collection from gain! breaking news from afghanistan. a member of the afghan parliament says mazari sharif, the last major city in the north, has fallen to the taliban. the city is afghanistan's commercial hub. it comes a day after two other key cities in the southern and western parts of the country were also lost to the taliban. we'll have much more on this at the top of the hour. new congressional testimonies are revealing some
of the many ways donald trump tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election. according to "the washington post," donald trump's final attorney general, jeffrey rosen, told the senate judiciary committee in closed doors testimony that trump applied persistent pressure to get the justice department to discredit the election. joining me right now is joyce vance, former u.s. attorney and professor at the university of alabama school of law and msnbc legal analyst. senator richard blumenthal didn't mince words when he heard the testimony, he said this is important for all of democracy. there are major implications not only for former president trump but for other people involved. what are you try to go in terms of something that would define a criminal act that could lead to charges here? >> so senator blumenthal is dead on the money here in his comments, lindsey. he said something that really struck me. he characterized the former
president's conduct this way. he said that trump tried to break the justice department. and that sort of conduct gives rise to a reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been committed. my belief is that doj should be investigating that conduct for criminality. it is, for instance, illegal to try to coerce government employees into political action. it seems to me that trying to coerce a government employee into helping you overturn a lawful election would fully qualify under that statute. so it's easy to be an armchair prosecutor. doj should be investigating these sorts of potential crimes, whether it's conspiracy, coercion, or a criminal violence of the hatch act or other election laws. and it's up to doj to fully vet that evidence and determine whether there are charges that should be brought and if so, they should bring them. >> i want to ask you about something else that transpired this week. a federal judge ruled that dominion voting systems can
proceed with a defamation case against several trump allies who accused the company of rigging the election. what does that mean for the people on your screen, rudy giuliani, sidney powell, and other people named in the lawsuit? lawsuit? >> this is an early stage in this defamation case. this is a civil case brought by dominion over claims that these folks in the course of propagating the big lie damaged dominion's business. dominion makes voting machines that leave a paper trail and can be used for paper balloting. so at this early stage in those proceedings the judge is simply saying that dominion's claims pass legal muster, that if it can find evidence to support its claims that they would be actionable. but nonetheless, the judge went to some pains to indicate that he does not believe that the defendants here were on firm ground. it is a bad signal reacts to th
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he didn't want to drag the state through this months-long impeachment process and then
win. some new york state legislators are reeling after the state assembly decided to drop governor andrew cuomo's impeachment probe. assembly speaker carl heastie saying the investigation is now moot since cuomo will be stepping down august 24th, adding that the constitution doesn't authorize the legislature to impeach andrey move an elected official who is no longer in office. >> the purpose of the impeachment of the investigation was to investigate whether there were grounds to remove the governor. so it would really just be a tremendous waste of government resources and millions of dollars. >> reporter: but speaker heastie said the inquiry did under governor'ses made against the government which could likely have resulted in articles of impeachment had he not resigned. the evidence concerned accusations of sexual harassment, misuse of state
resources to write his book and the misleading data about nursing home data during the
pandemic. cuomo has denied wrongdoing. his critics are pushing back on the assembly's decision including former aide lindsey boylan, the first of nearly a dozen women who accused him of sexual harassment. she tweeted the public needs to know the extent of the governor's misdeeds and possible crimes. his victims deserve injuries advertise. assembly member ron kim outraged as way. >> his playbook is to blame the victims and exit without admitting to doing anything wrong with zero accountability and it is not good enough. >> reporter: by dodging impeachment, cuomo still has the option to run for state office and possibly another shot at being governor. meanwhile, governor cuomo's legal woes are far from over. he has not been charged with any crimes, but prosecutors in five different jurisdictions are looking into those sexual harassment allegations.
lindsey. >> kathy park, thank you for that development. new congressional dividing lines will soon be drawn and it could determine which party controls congress. steve kornacki shows us how new census data may alter the political landscape over the next decade. decade. ♪ ♪ ♪ hey google, turn up the heat. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ when you have nausea, ♪ ♪ heartburn, ingestion, upset stomach... ♪ ♪ diarrheaaaa. ♪ pepto bismol coats your stomach with fast and soothing relief. and try new drug free pepto herbal blends. made from 100% natural ginger and peppermint.
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good day from msnbc world headquarters in new york. welcome to "alex witt reports." here is what is happening at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m. pacific. we will start with breaking news. at least 29 people were killed and multiple hurt in that 7.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of haiti this morning. just last hour the prime minister declaring a state of emergency, the quake happening about eight miles offshore, about 100 miles southwest of the capital port-au-prince. let's go straight to nbc's ed augustine who is following the breaking news for us right now. ed, what are we hearing, what are we seeing right now? >> reporter: well, the biggest earthquake to hit haiti for quite sometime. i would like to say the biggest earthquake to hit it since the huge one in 2010 that killed up to 300,000 people. unfortunately, this on the richter scale is even bigger than that one. fortunately though, it was well south of the densely populated capital, port-au-prince.
the nearest city to where the epicenter of the earthquake was is a haitian city called la kai and there was extensive building damage there. a huge hotel collapsed, rubble all over the street, bodies in the street, and the prime minister has just declared a state of emergency that's going to be lasting for a month. he has called on the international community for solidarity at this traumatic time for haitians. >> all right, ed, thank you so much. joining us now gary pierre pierre of "the haitian times" on the ground for us as well. gary, tell us about the area where this quake hit and how populated it is. >> reporter: well, thank you for having me, richard. the area is fairly populated. right now we are looking at about 2.1 million people who are being affected in this earthquake.