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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  November 27, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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and a very good day to all of you from msnbc world headquarters here in new york. welcome, everyone, to "alex witt
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reports. "here's what's happening at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m. pacific time. we're going to begin with the breaking news. the omicron strain of coronavirus fueling new fears of yet another global surge. within just this last hour, germany reporting its first confirmed cases. the uk reporting new cases earlier as well. and today in the u.s., new york declaring a state of emergency. dr. anthony fauci on nbc this morning said he would not be surprised if it was already here in the u.s. >> i would not be surprised if it is. we have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you're already having travel-related cases that they've noted in israel and belgium and in other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go, essentially, all over. >> scientists now rushing to determine how effective current vaccines are against omicron as countries around the world are racing to implement travel
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restrictions. concerns over the variant also causing the stock market to plunge. plus congress is back in session this week, but lawmakers are coming back to washington with a long end of year to do list that includes preventing a government shutdown, raising the debt limit, passing biden's build back better act, and the ndaa all before december 31st. and it comes as another republican lawmaker is under fire. lauren boebert apologizing overnight after video surfaced of her making anti-muslim remarks about ilhan omar, suggesting her democratic colleague was mistaken for a terrorist. we're going to have her live report from capitol hill on that in just a moment. but first, let's go in depth with nbc's raf sanchez in tel aviv. raf, i'll start with you and this developing breaking news on the omicron variant. there is a new country involved. what can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah, alex, there's actually two. in just the last hour or so, both germany and italy
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confirming they too now have cases of omicron. all those cases in travelers who recently returned from southern africa. they are part of that rapidly growing list of nations that have identified the variant within their borders. also on that list, the uk, which has two cases. prime minister boris johnson just wrapped up a press conference in london where he announced tighter border restrictions to try to slow what he called the seeding of the variant inside the uk. from now on, if you're landing in britain, you're going to have to go into self-isolation for two days until you can produce a negative pcr test. now, the prime minister admitted there is a lot we still don't know about this variant, but he would prefer to be aggressive now. i want you to take a listen to what he said earlier. >> this variant is spreading around the world with two cases so far identified here in the uk. as always, i must stress this,
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as always, with a new variant, there are many things that we just cannot know at this early stage. but our scientists are learning more hour by hour. >> reporter: now, as you said, there are now confirmed cases inside the u.s. right now, but dr. fauci, other public health officials have all acknowledged it is possible that the omicron variant is already inside american borders and just hasn't been detected yet. it has been detected here in israel, in one traveler who recently returned from malawi, and the israeli government is reopening these dreaded so-called corona hotels. these are hotels where people who are returning from red list countries have to stay for ten days for two weeks. alex, i've stayed in these hotels. they are not fun, but it is a sign of how seriously the israeli government is trying to move to head off this new variant. >> yeah. trying to take matters and get
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it taken care of. okay. thank you so much, raf, for that. well, in pennsylvania, everyone, officials say that the state's seven-day average covid cases topped 6,000. that was on monday. that's up 60% compared to just two weeks ago. all 67 counties in pennsylvania are at the highest level for community transmission of covid relative to the cdc scale. this is according to the latest county level data. statewide, 58% of total population is fully vaccinated. so, joining me now, from state college, p.a., is nbc's gary grumbach. i understand you're at a testing site, so who's showing up there and how concerned are residents as they're coming off of holidays with friends and family and travel? >> reporter: hey there, alex. there's a lot of conversation in the early parts of the pandemic about the idea of getting the resources out to the community where it's needed. this is a perfect example of that. this is a covid testing center inside what was actually a former sears automotive center just down the road from penn
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state university, and there's a lot of conversations happening, you know, it's a walk-up site so people have been coming in. it's a steady stream of people throughout the day, and people have been saying, they're getting tested because they were a close contact of somebody who was tested positive. and there are a lot of positive people here in pennsylvania. as you mentioned, more than 6,000 people are testing positive for coronavirus every single day. that's more than 60% from what it was just two weeks ago. and here in center county, where we are right now, specifically, it's about -- got about a 52% vaccination rate. so, that, along with the concerns about this omicron variant, as we're talking about, has a lot of community members frustrated. here's what they had to say. >> i think people got a little bit too relaxed. masking is -- has fallen away a little bit. people are tired. they have compassion fatigue for the whole thing. they don't want to abide by these rules anymore, but i want to appeal to them that this is really still necessary.
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>> yeah, just reading about the south african one this morning. it's concerning. it's a little frustrating. personally, i feel like just because i feel like, you know, if more people were getting vaccinated, being more careful, it wouldn't be able to mutate as quickly, and we could get things under control a little bit faster and more safely. >> reporter: now, it's important to note, alex, the impact of this gatherings that we've seen over the holiday weekend won't be realized in covid tests until next week at the earliest. >> okay, gary grumbach, thank you so much for that. state college of pennsylvania. joining me right now is dr. peter hotez, co-director of the center for vaccine development at texas children's hospital, also dean of the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine. welcome back, sir. particularly on this really interesting developing news day, what can you tell us about this new omicron variant, and why is it so different? >> well, you know, i think a key point, alex, is it may not be as different as many portray it.
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first of all, in terms of disease severity, so far, the early reports suggest it's not producing more severe disease in anything we've seen before. delta, the delta variant or the alpha variant. i think the most -- what most -- concerns most people is the fact that there are more than 30 mutations in the spike protein, which is pretty high, including those in the receptor binding domain. that interacts with the receptor so there's worry that this could thwart some of the protection afforded by the immune response to vaccines. but we'll know that over the next week or two. so in our lab, we're looking at how our vaccine holds up against the variant, as is moderna and pfizer, and so we'll know that over the next week or so. but a key point there is, remember, we've had vaccine resistant variants before. we had the beta variant out of south africa. you remember the b.1.351 and we had the lambda variant. those were not necessarily big spreaders so they never really
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went very far. so, that's one -- that's still one possible scenario. one that the vaccines still protect quite well and this still may not be -- just because there are a lot of mutations in the spike protein, doesn't mean it's spreading. there is concern that it's gone up precipitously in one province of south africa where pretorian johannesburg is. i think we have to have some words of caution here, not to -- we're not ready to press the panic button yet. there's a lot we don't know. the vaccines could still work quite well against this variant. we'll know that over the next week or two. we haven't really seen this precipitous rise in the omicron variant anywhere outside that one province of south africa. so, whether it holds up elsewhere, i think these are all going to be important measures to look at. so, a week from now, if we talk again next weekend, you know, we can give them -- i can give a much more informed opinion on
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where this is going. i think it's still pretty early, though. >> okay, well, consider yourself booked because i'd love to know where you think this is going. with regard to what the w.h.o. was saying about, this preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection exists with this variant. so, doctor, would a natural variant evolve like this, or is this a sign of gain of function mutation? >> well, remember how well these variants arise. remember, the alpha variant, what we used to call the b.1.1.7 variant arose out of an unvaccinated population in southern england at the end of 2020. the delta variant arose out of an unvaccinated population in india in 2021. and this omicron variant is arising out of an unvaccinated population and out of south africa. so, all of these variants means that we're paying the price for not showing better global leadership and vaccinating the
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world and this is why i get a little frustrated, both with the biden administration and with the european union leaders, the g7 leaders and the uk leader, that, you know, the first response is to isolate africa when, in fact, all of this is avoidable had we made a greater commitment to vaccinate the african continent. the african continent, for all practical purposes, is totally unvaccinated. 6% of the population of africa, alex. and so, we practically guaranteed that this was going to happen, and so we're not seeing that leadership to really do what's necessary. >> and that's on a macro level. let me ask you on a micro level, that woman we heard from in state college, pennsylvania, her name was holly, and she said she's frustrated because not more people are getting vaccinated, and if that were to happen, just on an individual, case-by-case basis, we could get rid of this thing sooner. it seems like we've heard that over and over, but bottom line, is she right? >> she's absolutely right.
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we are now going to see another big winter wave of covid-19, and it's not going to be the omicron variant. it's going to be the delta variant and the delta variant is a bad actor. we saw it race through the unvaccinated population here in texas and in the south during the summer and now it's going to do the same in pennsylvania and michigan and elsewhere. remember, we've only vaccinated about 59% of the u.s. population. that means 41% is not vaccinated. moreover, even among the vaccinated population, many have received two doses of pfizer-biontech or moderna and that's now waning so we have to get them boosted with that third immunization. and there's a lot of people who have been infected and recovered who have this erroneous thinking that they're protected against the delta variant. >> i hear that all the time. >> the same reinfection. >> yeah. >> so, can you dispel that? i cannot tell you the number of times that i have heard that.
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people say, i had it so i'm immune. i'm like, really? >> we have now studies from the centers for disease control showing that if you're vaccinated on top of getting infection and recovery, you have a twofold less likely risk of getting reinfected, so we have a study from kentucky. we have another study on top of that, so the key is if you've been infected and recovered, you have unknown levels of immunity to reinfection. some people develop really robust virus neutralizing responses and t-cell responses and they're going to be protected almost as well as an individual who was vaccinated. but others have very low levels of virus neutralizing antibody and inadequate cellular immune responses and they're highly vulnerable. if you're infected and recovered and on top of that get vaccinated, you have robust and durable protection and you seem to be more resilient against future variants as well. so we've got to get that message across that we're going to see a
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lot of reinfected people with this delta variant over the winter and a number of them are going to be hospitalized as well. >> so, when it comes to the current vaccines, doctor, how effective are they going to be against these mutations. do you think it's going to take a newly formulated vaccine to fight them effectively? >> it may be, but i'm hoping not. so, we're going to know this pretty soon, over the next week. so, let me give you an example of how this works. in our lab, we have antibodies, either from laboratory animals or from our colleagues from vaccinated individuals. we can look at those antibodies and see how well they neutralize this omicron variant or what's called a pseudovirus of the omicron variant. so, we'll know pretty quickly how this is holding up, and we've been able to show, for instance, that our vaccine holds up pretty well against delta in terms of not a big decline in virus-neutralizing antibodies so all of the companies almost certainly are doing this over
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the weekend and into this week, moderna, pfizer, et cetera, so that's why i say, by the end of the week, i think we're going to have a lot more information, and it also may depend on individuals who have gotten boosted. so for instance, if you have two doses and then six months later got a boost of the mrna vaccine, we've seen a 30 to 40-fold rise in virus-neutralizing antibody and even if it goes down, you have enough virus-neutralizing to potentially neutralize the omicron variant. that's possible. definitely two weeks from now, we can make many more informed decisions about the threat of omicron to resist these vaccines, and we'll also know a lot more on how quickly this variant is accelerating in the african continent and elsewhere. >> okay. i'm getting my booster on wednesday. i will let you know all about it because i hope you come see me again on saturday and give us your perspective of what has transpired in this last week.
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thank you so much, dr. peter hotez. so for many, putting the turkey leftovers away means heading to the mall or taking out your phone or scoring some great deals on holiday gifts but this year, waiting until this weekend to start your holiday shopping, that might be a little risky. let's go to nbc business and technology correspondent jolene kent with all the details. hey there. >> reporter: hey, alex. this black friday continuing to look very different than the rush of black fridays past. a lot of the mad dash for the good deals were happening online, and customers were going crazy for clothing. consumers embarking on the final stretch of holiday shopping. but instead of storming stores on black friday, many just sauntered in, looking for deep discounts. >> it's emptier than i expected it to be. >> reporter: on black friday, an estimated 108 million people shopped both in-store and online. 64% hitting physical stores, up from about half last year. but spending on thanksgiving day
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didn't budge. $5.1 billion online, the same as last year. the double whammy of supply chain delays and rising cost of living hitting wallets hard. >> things are expensive, that inflation, man, you can feel it. >> reporter: the discounts aren't as deep as years past either. shoppers will pay 9% more this week thanks to smaller price cuts. >> prices going up through inflation is especially putting consumers in a position where they have to spend more. that old adage that i can get it cheaper online and it's available, that's being turned on its head. >> reporter: threats of shortages and delays inspired customers to shop before thanksgiving. >> shipping issues were my biggest concern and it's why i started in july. >> reporter: some of the most popular items this weekend are gaming consoles and toys. but consumers are expected to spend the most on clothing and over 300 bucks per person for the season. and despite the economic challenges, cyber monday is likely to be the biggest online shopping day ever. >> we're expecting over $11 billion to be spent online on that day.
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>> reporter: of course, today is also small business saturday and as you venture out to spend in your neighborhood or spend online with a small business, you want to remember this. according to american express, 78% of small business owners say that this holiday season is going to determine whether or not they can keep their doors open into 2022, so be sure and spend thoughtfully e. >> very good advice. thank you so much. president biden's taking action to battle high gas prices that few presidents ever have but when will americans see a drop at the pumps? it seems donald trump just cannot resist talk about running in '24. the reason may be all in the numbers. '24 the reason may be all in the numbers. knows how to handle dry weather... ...and dry, cracked skin. new gold bond advanced healing ointment. restore healthy skin, with no sticky feeling. gold bond. champion your skin. it's the most joyous time of year. especially at t-mobile! with no sticky feeling. let's go to dianne. i got the awesome new iphone 13 pro and airpods,
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we're back with some more breaking news on the omicron covid variant. in just this last hour, italy and germany both confirming new cases of omicron, and that's following the uk, which announced two new cases earlier
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today. starting on monday, the u.s. will restrict travel from eight nations in southern africa. that is where the variant was first reported. joining me now, representative brendan boyle, democrat from pennsylvania. he is also a member of the house ways and means and budget committees. lots to get to here. starting with this, sir, as i welcome you on this holiday weekend. your biggest concerns are what around this variant? and do you foresee the likelihood, even a possibility, of sending the u.s. back into varying stages of shutdown as a result of omicron? >> well, great to be with you on this holiday weekend, and certainly any news of a new variant concerns all of us. that said, though, we know the best way to handle, whether it's traditional covid or any of the variants that come down the pike, and that is through getting the population vaccinated. pennsylvania, which you were talking about moments ago, despite the increase in recent cases, we at least are in the
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top 15 or so of states in terms of percentage of the population vaccinated. the best thing that we can do is increase that in all 50 states, and i would also add, we in the west must do a better job of getting the rest of the world, especially the developing world, vaccinated, not just because it's morally the right thing to do, but because it is in our interest. it's not an accident that these variants have developed in developing countries where very -- a very small percentage of the population has access to vaccines. >> yeah. and you're exactly echoing the sentiments of dr. peter hotez, who preceded you on the broadcast. it's in our best interest to have these vaccines go all around the world, certainly. what about this as we change a little bit the subject here, investors that got spooked by omicron. that happened in the dow, took a pretty huge hit, 900 points or so, but even before that,
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inflation fears were already alarming consumers. prices of gas, food, practically every other good spiked in october. and i know, sir, that you're a member of the blue-collar caucus, so what are your constituents telling you about this? >> well, a couple points to consider. obviously, the dow dropping 1,000 points is something that will make one sit up and take notice. but i would point out that that just puts the dow back to where it was a month ago and it's still significantly higher than it was three months ago, six months ago, or at the beginning of the year. all of the economic data is pointing in the right direction. we are actually the one country out of all the countries in the world that is better off economically today than where we were in march of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. in terms of inflation, obviously, prices are higher than what we would like. but again, all of the analysis shows this is likely temporary. the reality is kind of like what
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we were talking about earlier. there are other parts around the world that are still struggling to get vaccinated, that are still struggling from covid, and so that affects the global supply chain. the final point that i would make on this is, we had such depressed gas prices for the last year and year and a half, now that we have had this surge in demand, we have obviously seen it at the pump, but i do believe that most projections show that is temporary, and they will come down in several months. >> and here's perhaps why, and to your point, gas prices are about 50% higher than this time last year and that's a lot for over one year, but the president says he's releasing some 50 million barrels from the strategic oil reserve, and that's supposed to be used in emergencies. does this qualify for an emergency in your mind? are you comfortable with the president doing this, and how much of it do you think is political? >> well, the president is taking decisive action. i'm glad that he's not just
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sitting back, that he is leading. i think it is the appropriate measure. i would also point out that in the infrastructure bill that we just passed, and the president signed about two weeks ago, there is money in there that will help with respect to our supply chains. finally, we do know that the quicker that we accelerate the transition to renewables, the better off that we will all be, not just at the pump but also in terms of our foreign policy. that's why passing the build back better act this month is so crucial. there's $555 billion in there to help accelerate the transition to renewables. that's not only best for our wallets and our pocketbooks, that's also what's best for our fight against climate change. >> which brings me to my next question. do you think build back better will pass? and what might have to be taken out in order to do so? >> yeah, i do, alex. what an historic week we had a
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couple weeks ago when the president signed into law the infrastructure bill. the infrastructure investment and jobs act on monday. and then at the end of the week, on friday, we in the house of representatives passed the build back better act. it is now in the senate. i think it will take a couple weeks there. we do have some hurdles, but i do think we will get this done. about 90% of the bill has already been preconferenced, which is a maybe slightly fancy way of saying we've already reached agreement with the relevant parties on most of that. in terms of what might come out, i mean, i'm one of the house democrats that's been fighting to keep paid sick leave and paid family leave in the legislation. i'm hoping that we'll ultimately prevail on that. but let's not lose sight of all the things that are in this piece of legislation from universal pre-k to the tax cut for families with children to the negotiation of prescription
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drugs, which will be historic, the first time ever, and will bring down drug prices. any one of those individual things would be enough merit their own bill so if something in the end gets taken out, let's not lose sight of how big and important and transformative the rest of the package is. >> okay. congressman brendan boyle, it's good to see you, my friend. thank you so much for your time on this holiday weekend. have a good one. meantime, some new evidence that omicron variant is taking hold in yet another country or two and it is not one of the nations on the president's restricted list. ever notice how stiff clothes can feel rough on your skin? it's because they rub against you creating friction. and your clothes rub against you all day. for softer clothes that are gentle on your skin, try downy free & gentle. just pour into the rinse dispenser and downy
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breaking news and some new details on the new covid variant that is putting the entire world on alert. in just this last hour, the new strain has been detected in both italy and germany. the uk also announcing some cases a little earlier today. let's go to nbc's josh lederman with the president in nantucket, massachusetts, on this holiday weekend. josh, what are we hearing about
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the president who i understand has just been briefed on this? >> reporter: that's right. we heard from the white house that president joe biden once again today was briefed on the latest developments on the omicron variant. president biden on his last full day of vacation here in nantucket. a white house official also saying within the last hour that officials at the white house remain in constant contact with public health authorities, with officials in other countries who are closely tracking this variant. but the biggest move we've seen so far from the biden administration in response to the variant is this travel ban now set to take effect on monday for eight nations in the southern part of africa, including south africa. that will affect non-u.s. citizens, citizens of the country as well as permanent residents will be exempt from that, although they still will have to get a covid-19 test to enter the u.s. the biden administration
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describing this move as out of an abundance of caution, even as they're still learning more about the new variant of the coronavirus. but we also heard this morning from dr. fauci on early today saying that while the cdc has not yet detected the new variant in the united states, it's only a matter of time. take a look. >> we have not detected it yet, but when you have a virus that is showing this degree of transmissibility and you're already having travel-related cases that they've noted in israel and belgium and in other places, when you have a virus like this, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go, essentially, all over. the issue of blocking travel from a given country is to just give us time to assess it better. that's the reason for doing that. >> reporter: scientists here in the u.s. will be using that extra time to do a number of things, alex. they'll be looking closely to
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see whether these dozens of mutations on the new variant will actually make it more vulnerable to -- less able for the vaccine to be able to respond to it, whether it will make it more dangerous in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, as well as the transmissibility. we also know pharmaceutical companies in the u.s. are already looking at what it would take to update the vaccine to be able to be more responsive to this new variant, but it's worth pointing out several of these countries that in the last 24 hours have detected cases such as the uk are ones that don't have travel restrictions, that are not part of that new ban on people coming into the u.s., which just goes to show just how difficult it is to try to actually contain something like this once it's out there spreading in the community, alex. >> yeah, we will see if some travel bans emerge as a result of omicron. that's for sure. thank you very much, josh lederman there in nantucket with the president. let's go from there now to capitol hill and the growing backlash against yet another
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republican lawmaker. congresswoman lauren boebert apologizing overnight to the entire muslim community after video emerged of her suggesting that her democratic colleague, congresswoman ilhan omar was mistaken for a terrorist. let's go to nbc's julie tsirkin on capitol hill talking about this for us. so, as you know, julie, these comments have caused a lot of reaction from house members and there's been a variety of reactions. overall, what are they saying? >> reporter: well, in short, alex, you have silence from republican leadership, outrage from democratic leadership, and sort of a mix of reaction from the republicans who did speak out. congresswoman lauren boebert, a republican from colorado, she's part of the so-called house maga squad and she apologized on twitter, saying she's sorry to anyone that she may have offended. critics are calling that sort of a nonapology apology and it came after video surfaced of boebert describing a fake situation over the thanksgiving holiday that happened here in the capital. we later learned at omar tweeted that it hadn't happened but she was describing a situation in
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which she was standing next to congresswoman ilhan omar, a democrat from minnesota, and she compared her to a suicide dom bomber and i should note that omar was the first congresswoman to wear a hijab when she was elected. you have some from marjorie taylor greene who tweeted saying that omar doesn't deserve an apology because she's, quote, part of the jihad squad. now marjorie taylor greene herself was kicked off of committee assignments for her rhetoric and was fined several thousands of dollars for refusing to wear a mask in the house chamber and she's unvaccinated, by the way. you have reactions from republicans like adam kinzinger, who is on the january 6th select committee. he tweeted, calling boebert, quote, trash, and that's about it. that's about all he said and that's about the reaction that we have from republicans on the matter. we also have democratic leadership led by speaker
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pelosi, of course, calling for a full retraction from boebert for the comments that she made, alex. >> okay, julie. thank you so much for all of that. it's always interesting, shall we say, some of the reactions there on capitol hill. coming up next, everyone, a tale of two verdicts in america. why the outcomes were so different. plus how a text message never shown to the jury would play a big role in the sentencing of ahmaud arbery's killers. sentencing of ahmaud arbery's killers. ♪ superpowers from a spider bite? i could use some help showing the world how liberty mutual customizes their car insurance so they only pay for what they need. (gasps) ♪ did it work? only pay for what you need ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ spider-man no way home in theaters december 17th ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ when our daughter and her kids moved in with us... our bargain detergent couldn't keep up. turns out it's mostly water. so, we switched back to tide. one wash, stains are gone. [daughter] slurping
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let's go now to georgia where the three men found guilty of murdering ahmaud arbery will have yet another day in court. travis mcmichael, his father, gregory mcmichael, and william bryan were convicted this week on multiple counts in the killing of 25-year-old arbery while he was jogging through a georgia neighborhood last year. now, those three men are preparing for a february hearing on federal hate crime charges of kidnapping and violating arbery's right to use a public street because of his race. the mcmichaels are also charged with using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm. i'm joined right now to discuss it by paul butler, a former federal prosecutor and georgetown law professor and kristen gibbons fedden, a civil rights attorney. they are both msnbc legal analysts. i welcome you both wholeheartedly. paul, the murder convictions have been praised by arbery's family, by civil rights advocates and even the president as a sign that our justice system can work. but the trial was largely void
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of any direct conversations about race, so how do you expect this upcoming hate crimes trial to be different on that front? >> alex, race will be front and center in the federal trial. the federal indictment said that these men infringed mr. arbery's civil rights because he was black. there was plenty of evidence that these defendants are old-school, unreconstructed racists, including that travis mcmichael allegedly used the n-word after he pumped three bullets into mr. arbery. the state prosecution could have used this, but i think when they ended up with a nearly all-white jury, they decided against introducing it. but alex, sometimes it's important to name the evil. racial animus is part of what must be proven in a federal trial, so prosecutors will fight to get all of that evidence in. >> you know, kristen, early on
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in the criminal trial, the prosecutors all said they had the evidence that the men were driven by racial animus and that included the examples of travis mcmichael to paul's point there, using the racial slurs. it happened on social media. there was also a text message, but that evidence never being presented to the jury, how much will it play a bigger role come february given this particular trial and its focus? >> well, just like paul said, you know, because those text messages were not an element that was necessary, racial animus was not an element necessary in the state's case. it is, however, an element in the federal trial because as paul pointed out, when these three men intimidated and threatened mr. arbery and interfered with his right to use a public street, because -- solely because of his race and his color, and then they chased him down in an attempt to restrain him, restrict his free movement, and corral and detain
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him, because it was because of his race and his color, now the racial elements are now relevant, and they are going to be admissible in this trial. the text messages, like you said, the social media posting, but also potentially the license plate of the confederate flag. >> right. >> that may be a relevant piece of evidence in the federal case. >> yeah, yeah. and paul, soon, we have the mcmichaels and bryan who will appear at a sentencing hearing for this first trial. their convictions of felony murder mean they must be sentenced to life in prison. however, the judge could allow them to be considered for parole after 30 years. how likely do you think it is that would happen? what kind of facts would have to influence that decision, whether they could be eligible for parole in 30 years? >> so, alex, you're right, the only choice the judge has is between life without parole or life with parole, and even if they get the chance for parole, they have to serve 30 years. so, what's happening now is a
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pre-sentencing report is being prepared where any circumstances involving their lives that might allow the judge some sympathy, any kind of mitigating circumstances about how they were raised, their life experiences, 30 years is a long time. so, life without parole, this is especially harsh sentence that some people have compared to the death penalty. it's just that when you get life without parole, you don't die in theics executioner's chamber, you die in state prison. >> do you think it could be divided up, that some could get the possibility of parole and another perhaps not? >> that's a great question, alex, and just like we saw the jury distinguish between the shooter, travis, and the other two defendants t judge might do the same thing in sentencing. >> okay. let's take a step back here, kristen, big picture, looking at the two high-profile erdicts
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this week, the conviction in the arbery trial and the acquittal of kyle rittenhouse. why were the outcomes so different and what does it tell you about the status of our criminal justice system? >> you know, alex, i think the big thing to take away here is no case is exactly the same. you have 12 different people assessing facts of a very specific case with very separate set of facts, different laws from their jurisdiction, and different applications of the law. you know, and i think one of the things the big takeaway, when we're talking about these two cases, talking about two different verdicts, there are some certain similarities that i think the nation as a whole needs to be forced to reckon with. specifically the effects of having justified homicide exceptions in a country with such deep systemic racism and you kind of ask yourself why but it's because it's being
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disproportionately used or applied to justify murders of black people and i understand that in the rittenhouse case, the three victims in that case, the two who were murdered and the one gentleman whose arm was shot off, were white but remember the root of why kyle rittenhouse was down there with an ar-15, to protect property, was because of the black lives matter. you know, and when we're talking about citizens arrest, all these legal standards, stand your ground, castle doctrine, the use of force provisions for police, we're watching it in living color now as people of color die and their deaths are justified by law. you know, we're talking about breonna taylor, trayvon martin, jacob blake and almost ahmaud arbery. we're being forced to address whether justified killing really works in our society. >> kristen gibbons feden, paul butler, thank you so much. i appreciate the conversation and analysis. david vs. goliath, an appeal to help the little guy next. d vl to help the little guyex nt. ray loves vacations. but his diabetes never seemed to take one. everything felt like a 'no'. everything.
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small retailers are certainly hoping coronavirus won't dampen the holiday sale season again this year. last hour, vice president kamala harris and our second gentleman, doug imhof, visited locally owned shops in washington, d.c., on this small business saturday. let's go to liz mclaughlin, who's outside a shop in raleigh, north carolina. welcome to you on this small business saturday. you've got 78% of the businesses relying on holiday shopping just to stay open. so what does today mean to shop owners? >> reporter: it's crucial, alex. that's what many of these business owners are saying. they are still struggling after facing those setbacks for nearly two years now from the pandemic. i'm in front of house of swank, one of the small businesses that line the street here. fewer small businesses downtown, by the way, than there were a year ago. and they said that they wouldn't be here, frankly, if it weren't for being able to have an online presence and shift their business model a bit because of
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the pandemic. they make custom t-shirts, things like this "don't stop believing" t-shirt. they shifted to face masks during the start of the pandemic. and they're saying that about a third of their sales will be in the four-week period of this holiday shopping period, but they're facing big challenges when it comes to supply chain issues. here's what owner john pew had to say. >> we have had, you know, shirt colors we couldn't get ahold of. i couldn't buy white ink for like two months. we have had weird things like, adhesives for bar code labels, stuff like that. really kind of eyeball chinks in the chain. we bought blank shirts when we can get them and that's what we've got. >> reporter: so it's not just those big retailers, the gaming consoles, this is something that's fluttering through all of commerce here in america. you know, they always say that cliche, pack your patience for holiday travel. well, holiday shopping might take some patience too.
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you want to shop early and try to get those items checked off your list soon. more people shopping in-person because if you can go in these small businesses, pick up and hold an item, you can take it home and not get it on back order. alex? >> liz mclaughlin, you stole my line. i was going to say, pack your patience. anyway, thank you very much. that's going to do it for me on this edition of "alex witt reports." my friend yasmin vossoughian continues our coverage. riend yan continues our coverage nurse mariyam sabo knows a moment this pure... ...demands a lotion this pure. new gold bond pure moisture lotion. 24-hour hydration. no parabens, dyes, or fragrances. gold bond. champion your skin. (vo) t-mobile for business helps small business owners prosper during their most important time of year. when you switch to t-mobile and bring your own device, we'll pay off your phone up to $1000. you can keep your phone. keep your number. and get your employees connected
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♪♪ good afternoon, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian. we are following major breaking news this hour. more cases of a new strain of covid that originated in south africa are now popping up around the world. the president taking the step of barring travel from countries in southern africa but is it enough to stop the spread? dr. blackstock is going to join me coming up. and covid and supply chain issues affecting what is usually the biggest shopping weekend of the year. we're going to have a live report on that coming up. representative ilhan omar demanding new action after shocking comment from colleague lauren boebert. plus we are a little more than 40 hours away from the start of the potentially explosive trial of ghislaine maxwell.

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