tv Deadline White House MSNBC November 29, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PST
♪♪ think there, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. cause for concern, but not a cause for panic. that was the message from president biden today on the new covid variant known as omicron. it sparked worries of a new global search. it promised travel ban trs the southern african countries where it was first discovered and it is raising questions about the state of our pandemic recovery at what had been considered a turning point with boosters just made widely available and families gathering together again for the holiday season. the things we don't know about omicron in many ways outnumber what we do know, when it comes to what actions should be taken, whether this variant is more infectious than the dominant strains out there, whether it causes more severe disease and
how effective the existing vaccines are going to be against them. according to the president, the unknowns are exactly why it is too early to overreact calling for time to let the data and emerge and the science to led. >> today there are three messages about varnt i want to family to hear. first, this variant is a cause for concern new york of the a cause for panic. we have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists, and we are learning more every single day. and we will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed. not chaos and confusion. we have more tools today to fight the variant than we have ever had before. from vaccines to boosters, to vaccines for children, 5 years and older, and much more. while we have that travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, it cannot prevent
it. but here's what it does. it gives us time, time to take more actions, to move quicker, and to make sure people understand you have to get your vaccine, you have to get the shot. you have to get the booster if you are -- sooner or later we are going to see cases of this new variant here in the united states. we will have to face this new threat just as we faced those that have come before night president biden was also clear that even amid all the uncertain about what the winter will look like, the new covid strain on the scene, shutdowns like the ones we saw in the spring of 2020 are not on the table, not part of his recovery plan. >> on thursday, i will be putting forward a detailed strategy outlining how we are going to fight covid this winter. not with shutdowns or lockdowns. widespread boosters, vaccinations, testing and, more. i promise every american that there always be the latest vaccines available and booster
shots available to them, and for free, and everywhere available. every single american, free of charge. i will keep that commitment. >> president biden's message is in line with what the available information makes clear. our best chance against this variant rails, you guessed it, getting as many people vaccinated, including with those booster shots. the president making clear his intentions to step up efforts to encourage more vaccinations in parts this country where vaccination levels remain low. but republicans are already doing their best to down play the new variant baselessly calling it a political tool of the left. the scientist leading the charge against omicron appeared on face the nation to bring the people guidance about this new threat. he was asked about attacks he received from senator cruz. >> senator cruz told the attorney general you should be
prosecuted? >> yeah. i have to laugh at that. i should be prosecuted? what happened on january 6th, senator? >> do you think that this is about making you a scapegoat to deflect -- >> of course. >> -- from president trump? >> of course. you have to be asleep not to figure that one out. >> well, there are a lot of republican senators taking aim at this. >> that's okay. i'm just going to do my job. and i am going to be saving lives. and they are going to be lying. >> nation's top scientist dishing out some first-rate shade there for someone who deserves it. our scientists forced to cut through the fog of gop disinformation and what could be a kurt critical turning point in our fight against covid and where we start today. dr. vin gupta here. also joining us, "new york times" white house correspondent michael shearer is back. and the former senator claire
mccaskill joins us. dr. gupta, i start with you. what do we know about omicron? should we be talking about it, leading newscasts with this story? >> good afternoon, nicolle, that's a great question. this is what we know. lets a start with what we know. we know that south africa is largely unvaccinated. 75% of the country that's eligible to receive the vaccine has up to now said no thank you. what we also know is that pfizer was asked by south african officials to put a stay on additional supply. they, like us r dealing with a distribution problem, a hesitancy problem. we have to get this clear for everybody to get context. what do we also know? it's early recall we are not seeing a run on the hospitals. it suggests that vaccines are holding up, keeping people out of hospital. we need to learn more of course but that is a good initial sign
here, not at run on the hospitals amongst those who have gotten fully vaccinated. also really helpful here. with all of that said, where are we now? to your paint, it is going the take some time. for all the viewers a key point for moving toward for 2022, 2023, and onwards, in the going to be the last variant. i say this as a pulmono psychiatrist, if the goal here is anything other than to keep you out of the hospital, the goal of vaccination is to prevent infection or a positive test, we are going to be constantly chasing our tail, nicolle. for flu -- as an example, for flu, every year we say please get your flu shot. it is not to prevent a positive test. it is to keep you out of the hospital. if this is now a three-dose regimen, and now we think it is, get your third dose if you haven't already. if this is a three dose regimen, we should be reflecting who has been and hasn't been vaccinated
to reflect that. but we need to know what we are controlling for. a contagious respiratory disease like covid, there is going to be a future variant. and we have to ask, what are we vaccinating and protecting for? a positive test aura staying out of the hospital. it is the latter. >> what is your advice for making our goals here? i think it is tied to anxiety. i look at the case count in the "new york times." as it climbs, my anxiety climbs. i think the point you are making is we should be looking at other metrics? >> we should be looking at how many people are die after entering the hospital. from a shift away from daily cases to what is actually happening on the ground in hospitals. that's had we need to be thinking about worldwide as we distribute more of the vaccines. never in history when battling a contagious pulmonary did he see like coronavirus or flu that
preceded it has the purpose of vaccination been to prevent a positive test. it's always been to keep people out of the hospital. so if it is three doses of the vaccine, fine, but that needs to be then the metric by which we define success, how we design what fully vaccinated is, we need the change that soon. and how we message the world what our definition of success looks like so we don't overreact to the next variant if it is likely the rear its head down the road in michael i want to ask you about this white house. there was some -- we had understood an economic address was in the works today. the president addressed the press and the country on covid, on this new variant. it feels like ruling out any shutdowns or lockdowns was a messaging priority. do you have any more reporting or insight into the president's day today? >> i mean, look, i think the economic address is going to
come. it may not be today. i think they have said it's going to be in a couple of days. and i think going to continue to be focused on this variant and what it means for the economy and for the public health in the next weeks. look, the discussions that you have already had so far underscores the uncertainty. that's really what he's trying to navigate, both the public health uncertainty. they really don't know the answers to the questions you posed at the top, about how viralent it is and whether it is going to be contained by the vaccine -- to the doctor's point, contained meaning preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. but they are also trying to navigate a political uncertainty as well. they don't really know how -- how much the emergence of this new variant is going to cause the president and his party political problems. you have seen, as you said, the
republicans already take an initial whack at this. the rnc put out a statement questioning the president's handling of the covid pandemic again. i think all of that uncertainty is going to keep this at the front burner for the next week or ten days or two weeks until the answers to some of these questions are apparent. >> claire, i want to show you some of what michael shearer is articulating, sort of the president really knocking down the notion that this variant or our fight against covid now that vaccines and treatments and some of the science is known would ever lead to lockdowns. let me show you this exchange. >> are lockdowns off the table? >> yes, for now. >> why is that? >> well, because we are able to -- if people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there is no need for lockdown. >> claire, let me also show you the ten states with less than
50% of their population vaccinated. idaho, wyoming, north dakota, louisiana, tennessee, arkansas, georgia, alabama, west virginia. i believe every one of them has a republican governor. i believe these are some of those states that show up in the "new york times" reporting with the counties. and you have circulated this yourself, claire, of sort of republican-leaning places. the irony there that what president biden is trying to do is to protect these states and these citizens from this new variant -- those of us who are vaccinated and boosted, as dr. gupta is explaining really development face the risk of death or hospitalization. so he's trying to protect people who are very skeptical of all of his prior attempts to contain covid. how do you sort of square that circle? >> well, what dr. gupta explained very clearly is we are now -- we now know enough to understand vaccinations are
about preventing death. that it is about not giving the disease to someone whose system cannot handle this virus and therefore has to be hospitalized and then could die. and we now know, we have a lot of data that those counties that trump won by more than 60% have ten times the number of deaths as the counties that biden won by 60%. so this party that has called itself the party about life is actually becoming the party of death. they are actually becoming the party that thinks it's okay for people to die when science can save their lives. and it has just become that simple. and when you have people -- this nancy mace, did you see what she did, nicolle? >> i did. >> she went on fox news and said -- she goes on fox news and
says, oh, natural immunity, we have natural immunity, and then she goes on cnn and says, i'm all for vaccines. i mean, what a political hack, with no soul, because she's saying different things depending on which audience she's speaking to. that kind of irresponsibility is getting people killed. and that's what i cannot understand, how this party can be righteously indignant about, quote, unquote, life and then be a party that is anxious to throw away keeps when it can save your life. >> i mean, claire, that's a brutal but fair takedown of someone who goes on one network and says one thing about taxes, and another, and says something else about tacks. it is, as you are saying, deadly when it's about public health, when it's about covid, and the body of people saying irresponsible things that have likely led to vaccine not just
hesitancy but vaccine disdain. let's be super duper blunt if we are going to start here 20d. there is vaccine hesitancy and dr. gupta is taking that on sort of one person at time with the patience of a saint. that's whatnot we are talking about here, not who mace was talking to on fox news. there is covid vaccine disdain and there is this analysis that covid helps democrats. where does that come from? the opposite is true. i have lost the plot on the right's approach to their own base. the people that are going to die are their voters and their viewers. what is going on? >> it is -- it is so interesting that they have stepped into quicksand thinking this was a political winner. and what kind of irresponsibility that reflects. because -- i mean, rodney jackson is a doctor.
he's a doctor. how do doctors, with a straight face, give the back of their hand to the scientists? by the way, the scientists that trump supported in getting the vaccine in the first place. this was trump's vaccine. it wasn't biden's vaccine. it was trump's vaccine. and the notion that it has become politicized -- i mean, honestly, if donald trump thinks he's running for president again, i have got news for him. if he thinks the way to win is by not coming out and saying i took the vaccine because i don't want to die, you should take the vaccine so you don't kill someone else -- i have a hard time believing he's ever going to get back those suburban women that he lost to joe biden. >> michael shearer, have anyone in the administration making any of the arguments that claire mccaskill just did so effectively? >> look, they are trying to be careful about it. but i think they largely agree.
i mean, i -- the doubling and tripling down on vaccines as the -- the tool, the primary tool, that's going to get us out of the mess. and i think they -- privately, if not publicly -- are scratching their heads, too, why the republicans would take the approach that they are taking given, as you laid out the way in which the vaccine helps everybody. it isn't -- it doesn't depend on political affiliation. and so -- you know -- but at the same time, you know, from a political perspective going into a midterm elections where you have very thin margins they are going to let people like senator mccasse kill make that argument in a blunt way and i think you are unlikely the see president biden and members of his staff to do that in exactly the same way. though i don't doubt they would
agree privately. >> i want to ask you, dr. gupta about some of the reporting we have about vaccines we have being adapted and adjusted. this is sort of playing an arm chair epidemiologist for 20 months makes me dangerous. tell me how pfizer and moderna would alter the vaccine and distribute it. would that ab booster or another three-shot regimen in what is going on inside the folks who made the original vaccines to potentially help it protect us from this variant? >> so, these vaccines, these mrna vaccines, nicolle, you can substitute out the genetic footprint of whatever you are trying to protect against. in this case, the original version of coronavirus. they can sub in the blueprint of this new variant into the vaccine platform very quickly. we already know that that platform is very safe. what they can then focus in on quickly in clinical trials, is
it effective at preventing infection or serious illness from this varpt? that's why this is such an interchangeable new world when it comes to these vaccine developments. you know these are safe, then you can focus paidly on effectiveness with the substituing out. it is just a matter of getting people to enroll in the studies. >> why didn't they do that from delta? >> the belief was that two doses of the, have eep was still extremely effective against severe disease, even if effectiveness against infection or testing positive was slightly lower. so we were seeing real world evidence that they didn't actually need to do that substitution, which is great. i will also say for the viewers out there all the tests that you might have purchased for holiday travel they still work to detect this new variant. rest assured. >> doctor, i want to give you a chance to take all the time to tell people what they should
know, what they should worry about, what they should watch, upu how much they should be doom scrolling about the new variant. is this something that you are getting calls on from your vaccinated patients, from your unvaccinated patients? what should we do with this information? >> i heard nothing but 72 hours of panic and fear. i feel a lot of it has been premised on speculation. everybody -- as the president said -- needs to take a breath. there is focus -- there is concerning, but there is no reason to panic because, again, the signals out of south africa they are early suggest that the vaccines are holding up against the things that matter most in face of a contagious respiratory virus, keeping people out of the hospital. this is the case where i would say to everybody watching right know and those in the administration we need to be clear what our goal is here, three doses? fine. but the goal against a contagious respiratory virus should never be to get negative
test new or in the future. the flu shot is not good at preventing a positive test. it is great at keeping you out of the hospital. >> right. anyone that takes their kids in understands that's the case. you protecting them from getting are really sick with the flu. dr. gupta, i really, really always appreciate you, especially today. thank you very much for that reality check. michael shearer thank you so much for starting us off. claire sticks around. when we come back, as we have been discussing, covid politics again taking over the place of science in the gop. a former white house doctor, now a u.s. congressman, says this new variant is a hoax made up by democrats. claire previewed that for you. we will tell you more. plus the january 6th committee could be ready to move on another contempt charge as the d.o.j. calls out steve bannon for attempting to try his case in the media. trump and his allies trying to dismantle the guardrails that
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we take care of the science. all you have to do is sleep. don't miss our black friday sale. save 50% on the new sleep number 360 limited edition smart bed. plus, 0% interest for 60 months. ends cyber monday the news the emergence of a new covid varpt has republicans turning to the same playbook they have been using since the earliest days of the pandemic, an endless stream of disinformation and attacks on science and the scientists. ronny jackson who was once a white house physician for years
suggested that the omicron variant is a conspiracy intended to encourage mail-in voting in the mid terms. a fox news host suggested that the variant in south africa that led to travel bans and warnings from the world health organization was made up by democrats. all of this on top of the continuing gop war on vaccine mandates. the disgraced expresident's son went on fox news on saturday to praise protests and uprisings in europe against covid restrictions and to wonder allowed where americans weren't taking to the streets. >> europe is pushing back, and america is sitting there like sheep, it is great, this guy who hasn't gotten anything done in the last two years tells uls. absolute insanity. we bring in miles.
i keep an eye on that because i think a lot of people look at the vaccination rates, if they live in some of these states they look at the hesitantsies in their communities and until recently you couldn't vaccinate your kids. i understand the instashible desire for disinformation. where does the desire to endanger the live was their base come from? >> well, it comes from people who frankly care more about politics than public mental health. i don't think that don jr. is an epidemiologist or a public health professional or probably someone who took a single class in health. he's not to be taken seriously. but if these people who are elected members of congress as you highlighted that are worrisome because they are in positions where they have a fiduciary responsibility to their voters to tell the truth.
when we look at that -- they say things that attack anthony fauci. he's not beyond reproach but he is a smart health care professor. folks like this are calling for fauci and other officials to be arrested for merely telling the truth. that rhetoric doesn't just undermine the health care community it puts lives at risk. my question is, who in the republican party are they going to trust on health care? they are not going to listen to the career epidemiologists, the non-politically biased professionals you had on. they are listening to ronnie jackon who now has introduced what i think is the mother of all miss information in this election cycle. he's twining covid misinformation with election misinformation and saying the democrats are trying to rig the elections by lie being covid.
this is pretty taking conspiracy theory stuff. it reminds me of a quote you and i, nicolle, i think referenced back to a number of times in recent months. it was you listese s. grant who helped us win the u.s. civil war. he was asked if there was ever going to be another war that threatened our nation. he said it is going to be intelligence on one side and flippantness on the other. when i see don jr. that's exactly what i think. we are in the midst of a war. >> at a simpler less profound level if you think that jackson was telling the truth when he said trump weighed 219, go ahead and take his medical advice. where does someone like ronnie
jackson -- i know the answer. he does so much more harm. the reason we focus on him is because he plays a doctor on tv. even when he was doctor to donald trump it's clear he wasn't telling the truth if that capacity either. what does it say about the sickness in the gop that these people are lifted up? >> it says a lot about where the party is at. i wouldn't trust ronnie jackson to put a band-aid on me. i met him in the trump administration. didn't know him well but based on everything he said i wouldn't trust a single word that comes out of his mouth. i have to suspect it borders on malpractice spreading these rumor asks lies that are getting his base killed. i think the republican party in its current incarnacion is a current national security
threat. they are literally murdering their base of support with this disinformation. why do they do it? really sadly, i think it is base self interest it is politics. the guys love their jobs in congress so much they just want to keep them. i talked to a former member of congress and he said, that job wasn't each that great, i can't imagine why you would sell your soul to the mob to keep it. that's that they are doing. selling their souls to misinformation mo be to keep their jobs. the on way we can hold them accountable is frankly to unseat them from public office. that's one of things we are trying to do. >> claire we doug up the two clips that you erchs ared. i want to play them back to back. nancy mace on fox news touting natural immunity. then as you correctly point out nancy mace on cnn the same day as the fox appearance saying she is always been a fan of
vaccines. watch? one of the things the cdc has not done and no policy maker at the federal level has done taking into account what natural immunity does. in some studies i have read natural immunity gives you 27 times more protection against a future covid infection than a vaccine. we need to take all the science into account and not selectively choosing what science to follow when we are making decisions. >> i am a proponent of vaccinations and wearing mask when you need to. i wrote an op ed to my community, i worked with our state department of health. i have run ads encouraging my district to go and get vaccinated. >> claire, it proves your point perfectly. but i guess just jump into this. i mean, what does it say that she has to go lie on one network about natural immunity being where it's at. and then i don't know what makes her tell something truthier on
cnn. shame? i don't know. i don't dare to suggest republicans have much of that. what do we do with that? >> well, she is changing what she says based on the audience that she is speaking to. and she is a smart woman. she knows the audience of fox news are people who want to be fed more of the same, more of the misinformation, more of the skepticism of vaccines, which they have substituted as skepticism of government with a skepticism of science. listen, i'm from a state that -- you know a lot of missourians don't trust anything that the government does. i get that. i mean, there is a rich history of that in our country. but not trusting science is much scarier. i have got to tell you the truth. why don't these guys ever -- why around they ever asked, why
isn't don jr. asked, have you had the vaccine? and what about ronnie jackson? has he had the vaccine? and i decided that ron jackson, who has taken an oath to do no harm when he became a doctor -- ron jackson is to doctors what rudy giuliani is to lawyers. and their profession should take action against both of them. >> amen. it is another big week for the january 6th select committee facing several scheduled depositions and a big decision what to to with the expresident's exchief of staff, mr. mark meadows tflt very latest is next.
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i expect that there is going to be movement on mark meadows that we will know about in the next day or two. the bottom line, this committee is going to get their answers. we are going to do what we need to do. we are not going the rush anything but we are also going to make sure we are not allowing trump and his folks to drag this out. >> adam kinzinger this morning on the committee's unwavering commitment to get the answers no matter what it takes.
it announced it will vote on wednesday on a criminal contempt of congress referral for former d.o.j. official jeffrey clark. that could make him the second person after steve bannon to potentially face criminal charge force defying a congressional subpoena. committee members also say they expect to take up the same vote this week for former trump white house chief of staff mr. mark meadows. joining our conversation betsy woodruff swan, and miles and claire are still around. betsy, this would be to referrals for contempt of congress this week, jeffrey clark and mark meadows. >> we haven't heard confirmation from the official committee spokesperson about what the plans for the next couple days regarding meadows are. we know for sure clark is teed up to be referred over to the justice department for prosecution. i will believe the meadows referral will happen when it
happens 678 sometimes different members have said things that the time line that the committee is operating under that haven't always proven to be totally accurate. of course it is possible we will get news about med knows the next day or so. again, i would believe in a when it cams. clark by himself, though s a huge deal. if the committee does vote to hold him in contempt which i think is almost certain to happen, and then if the house refers it over to the justice department, you would have a really interesting moment of d.o.j. prosecutors weighing whether or not to bring charges against someone who up until very, very recently was a senior official within the department of justice. it's going to raise real questions about the vetting process that the senate uses when it greenlights these senate-confirmed people to take top law enforcement roles in the united states. within the same calendar year jeffrey clark could go from being one of the top d.o.j. officials to the subject of
criminal d.o.j. charges that would be really an extraordinary shift. >> i mean, miles, the intervening even was being a coup plotter inside the d.o.j. not just against the president but against the acting attorney general. the thing will jeffrey clark, he's sort of the villain that everyone can hate. i mean he failed in donald trump's eyes. he didn't get rid of rose skpep donahue who sort of hold the line and tell donald trump, yeah, we cannot just declare the election corrupt per your instruction, and by the way it is in my notes that i turned over to the 1/6 committee along with hours of interviews. jeffrey clark was stirring up the department to turn against the government it was set up to serve. he was plotting a coup and putting together the pieces including overturning the result
in j gentleman. do you think someone like clark should be retaining lawyers for other legal issues he may face? >> god, i hope he's got a really good legal team. i think one thing we learned nicolle in the last couple weeks is that the january 6th committee is not behind closed doors playing tiddly winks and baking cookies, these guys are serious. a very serious bipartisan outfit with top tier investigators that aren't going to take any b.s. i mean, they are taking they subjects to the mat and making sure that the law is enforced. congress's ability to subpoena someone and interview them is one of its most crucial oversight powers. if that oversight power is undermined, it fundamentally undermines the checks and balances. and whether you are a democrat or a republican you shun want that to be the case. people like steve bannon, mark
meadows, jeffrey clark they are going to pull every legal trick in the book to prevent their cases from going forward. that's their right. never this country gets due process. i am less worried about the legal tricks they are going to try the deploy and more worried about this pr operation folks like this have underway to discredit the january 6th select committee. that's what's really worrying is that they are spreading disinformation and politicizing a non-partisan inquiry into this investigation. what we need because of that is we need good members of congress to come out and counter message that. we need the rational republicans, the renewers like liz cheney and adam kinzinger to be out there. but what i worry about when i watch this is that decent republicans are an endangered species and there is not enough of them coming out and saying let the process move forward f. the bannons and the clarks win this war of words you can consider it one of the time nails in the coffin of
congress's oversight power over the executive branch. >> let me push back a little bit. the disinformation has already permeated and rotted to its base from its roots -- the grassroots, literally, of the party, all way to its highest leaders, kevin mccarthy. i think, if i think -- you talk about decent republicans, i count two. only two. we started with adam kinzinger. that was from "morning joe" today. the right has already predetermined what they are going to do about this. you are not suggesting their worry about p.r. >> you are right, nicolle. that's why i say these folks are an endangered species. we have very few that are willing to push back against this. largely the republican caucus looks like the walking dead. these guys are zombies going along with any of the misinformation being spread right now about this process and
they are undermining the authority of the select committee. you can have an opinion about what happened on january 6th but this bipartisan select committee is our best opportunity to get to the truth. and every single day there is new information that emerges that suggests this was more than an innocent tours visit. people using burner phones, communicating with members of the trump family. this is scary stuff, this is a real investigation, and we need real answers from credible people. that's not going to work out well if we have got folks be instructing justice. >> claire, congressman adam schiff is out of patience for the sort of legal accountability, especially around this area that i know jeffrey clark was involved in, this effort to sort of create or pressure a phony sort of corrupt and fraudulent result in georgia. let me show you his sound from this weekend. >> concerned that there does not appear to be an investigation unless it's being done very
quietly by the justice department of for example, the former president on the phone with the georgia secretary of state asking to find, demanding he find 11,780 votes that don't exist. we will pursue our role in this which is to expose the mall factors, to bring about legislation as a result of our investigation to protect the country. but we will down on the justice department to play its role. >> do you think the justice department can be counted on to do what he just said, the former president with the georgia secretary of state asking him to find votes that don't exist? do you think they are investigating that, claire? >> no. i don't know, but i don't have confidence right now. let me take a point of personal privilege. i think miles is right, we may be watching the slow moving but inevitable destruction of the ability of congress to do meaningful oversight. that is a big deal in our
constitution. that is a very big deal. and the people that can stop that from happening appear to be frozen in norms. and this is not a time for norms. congress appears to be frozen and unwilling to use their inherent power the try to force testimony. the department of justice, as a former state prosecutor, you know, we -- we answered 911 calls. if there was a murderer that was arrested we had to take action immediately so make sure that murderer didn't go back on the street. meanwhile, the department ofious is famous for working so slowly, taking months when they don't need to. think how long it took them to make the decision to prosecute steve bannon. this was not a hard decision. this was not like some kind of extraordinary research that had to be done. move it. my message to the department of
justice is get on it. do not act like feds here. act like state prosecutors, go fast, do not take the time -- don't give the other side a month to answer a pleading. go to the judges. we saw this supreme court go quickly when they wanted to hear the texas case. >> yeah. >> they racketed it up, that case. the federal judiciary can do it if they will collectively decide, this is an issue about power in our government permanently going forward. and if they don't get moving, this is all about running out the clock. and i say to the january 6th committee and d.o.j., get going, guys. quit stalling and treading. go. >> you heard it from claire. go. nobody here is going anywhere. another test of dangerous republican rhetoric facing kevin mccarthy. we don't need to tell you how it ended. kevin mccarthy once again is
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after greene called mccarthy weak and said he needed to earn her vote if he wanted to be speaker. our friend charlie sykes in the bulwark laid it out perfectly. the unambiguous implication here, if mccarthy does not appease greene, she and the other deplorables might withhold their votes from mccarthy, denying him once again the object of his ambition that has slipped from his grasp before, the passion and obsession of mccarthy's life. it is the lode star that guides his every action and utterance. this weekend's phone call was simply a reminder of the overarching reality. trump holds the gop leadership hostage and that leadership is held hostage by its most junior members who in turn are creatures of a political culture that is increasingly inflamed. in the gop, it's humiliation all the way down. we're back with our panel. this isn't the only sort of member behaving badly. there's what's her name, boebert. you know, racist attacks.
what do you do, miles, about a leader, and forget about these nuts, what do you do about a leader who green lights the violence, who green lights the racism, who green lights all of it in service not just of his own ambition but donald trump's. >> well, one, you don't make that person a leader, and charlie sykes said it so eloquently in that piece, he's left me scarcely anything to say but my point to kevin, if i saw him right now and worked with him once upon a time and i know that claire did as well, and unfortunately, kevin mccarthy's the type of guy that goes whatever way the wind blows and does what he has to do to advance himself politically, but if he does not condemn the marjorie taylor greene goons and the boebert bigots in his caucus, it's not only going to undermine his ability to govern, if he becomes speaker of the house, it will drastically reduce his ability to stitch together a fractured country, because he is enabling highly
divisive figures, and it's not that he's just giving them a pass. kevin mccarthy is actively protecting these folks and he is standing on their shoulders. he stands on the shoulders of bigots because he wants to be taller. now, what we are watching play out in realtime, i think, nicole, is what's likely going to be a shakespearian political tragedy, because kevin mccarthy is relying on these people to ride like a chariot into the speakership and they are the same people that are going to destroy him politically. they are the same ones that if he becomes speaker, they will decide he is no longer useful and they'll lock him in a political closet and he will wonder why he sold his soul to the mob. now, we used to think of these people like greene and gosar and boebert as the crazies but they are now the ones calling the shots in the republican party. they're calling the shots in the party. and this is not what a lot of us signed up for in the gop. but look, here they are, the inmates are overtaking the asylum, and if they do so in this next cycle, they are going to pave the way for the return
of someone like donald trump in 2024. that's very alarming. >> you know, betsy, i'm not going to play it, but arkansas governor asa hutchinson made comments this weekend about the violence, about the lack of civility. i mean, are there private concerns? i know there aren't any public utterances but are there private concerns about the violent, most racist elements of the party being green lit by the party will endanger the homeland, will green light the extremists here at home? are there folks who used to care about homeland security who are worried about that? >> within the republican party and the republicans on the hill who i talk to regularly, i haven't heard anyone say they believe this type of extremism in the case of lauren boebert explicit islamaphobia is a security threat. that's just not something that i have heard. one thing that republicans are monitoring really closely, of
course, and that's going to have a huge impact on the direction the republican party goes is which republican candidates win primaries for house races and then if republicans do flip the house in 2022, how big their margin is. if republicans flip the house but they win with only a tight margin, that means people like greene and boebert are going to have even more significant sway than they currently have. even more significant than the current substantial sway that they have. but if the house flips because comparatively moderate or at least moderate-sounding republicans are able to defeat democrats in the midterms, then, from a purely transactional standpoint, which is how republican leadership looks at this, the calculus gets a little bit different. so, that's something that people are tracking just at a minute level. >> it's all so bleak but thank you so much for spending some time with us.
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in america, if you lose, you accept the results. you follow the constitution. you try again. you don't call facts fake. and then try to bring down the american experiment just because you're unhappy. that's not statesmanship. that's not statesmanship. that's selfishness. that's not democracy. it's the denial of the right to vote.
it suppresses. it subjugates. >> hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in new york. that nightmare scenario of one of america's two political parties abandoning truth, abandoning principle, abandoning the constitution in pursuit of power sometimes feels like a fever dream. sadly, the threat to our democracy is very real, very urgent. what you might not know by only listening to this white house, other than that really important, really powerful speech from president biden four and a half months ago. it's the clip we played. we've seen almost no action and very little public recognition from this administration about just how dire the situation is. on the other side, trump and his allies talk about it all the time. they've turned up the heat in their ongoing, very public war on democracy. they take any and every opportunity to publicly spread lies and to shore up the reinforcements should the
ex-president again attempt to undermine an election result he doesn't like. there's brand-new reporting in the "washington post" that takes a deep look at how trump and his backers are installing loyalists in key positions. quote, the effort goes far beyond the former president's public broadsides against well-known republican state officials who certified president biden's victory such as georgia secretary of state brad raffensperger and arizona governor doug deucy. citing the need to make elections more secure, trump allies are also seeking to replace officials across the nation, including volunteer poll watchers and paid precinct judges, elected county clerks and state attorneys general. that's according to state and local officials as well as rally speeches and posts by those seeking the positions. if they succeed, trump and his allies could pull down some of the guardrails that prevented him from overturning biden's win. election officials and watchdog
groups say. it's happening everywhere. we cover it here almost every day. we see it in pennsylvania where in two communities, candidates who embraced election fraud allegations won races this month to become local voting judges and inspectors. it's happening in colorado where 2020 truthers are urging their followers on conservative social media platforms to apply for jobs in election offices. and in michigan, where local gop leaders have sought to reshape election canvassing boards by appointing members who express sympathy for ex-president donald trump's lies. michigan in particular has been a big key target of the ex-president's effort to totally remake election systems and turn them into ones that are friendly to him. nbc news reports this. quote, trump has backed seven candidates for state house or senate seats in michigan, an electoral battleground that he lost narrowly to joe biden.
trump's focus on the state illustrates how determined he is to exact revenge on those who haven't supported his baseless claim that the last election was stolen from him. it's also a play to install allies who could be helpful should he run for president again in 2024 and find himself locked in another close race. the alarming attempts by republicans to dismantle democracy in broad daylight is where we start this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. msnbc political analyst and former congresswoman donna edwards is here. also joining us, charlie sykes, an msnbc contributor whose brilliant work we've already quoted from. and michigan secretary of state jocelyn benson is here. madam secretary, let me start with you. we talked to you about it. we ask you what's happening in michigan. does anyone from the biden administration call you and ask you what's happening in michigan? >> no. i mean, i think part of it is, you know, this is on the official side, we're working on policy. you know, it would be perhaps
untoward for a sitting president to reach out to a secretary of state and ask, you know, things like this, but that said, we are not seeing the action on the federal level, the prioritization of this issue on the federal level that we need to be seeing, whether it's in congress or in the white house. this is a five-alarm fire. this is happening in broad daylight, as you mentioned. the dismantling of democracy by putting people who are willing to undo the results of an accurate election, fail to certify it and the like, simply because they don't like the results, and the federal government has a critical role to play now in ensuring that we are protecting our states and our state officials and local officials from attempts to replace them by -- with people who would willingly, openly block the will of the people. >> i mean, madam secretary, with all due respect and more, an american president has conversations about attacks on democracy with foreign leaders. what is untoward about monitoring our democracy with
leaders like yourself? >> that's true. and i think there does need to be more outreach and conversations with secretaries on both sides of the aisle. and as chief election officers of what we can do perhaps even call us together for a summit or a broad conversation about what we can all do collectively. to protect the will of the people and protect our democracy from these attacks. i think it's important that those conversations be bipartisan because democracy and protecting democracy is not a partisan issue, and i do hope to see more from this white house and again from leaders on both sides of the aisle in congress, really prioritizing simply just protecting the people's voices. unfortunately, all of this has become politicized, which i think is one of the reasons why we may see people shying away from it. that said, this is no time to shy away from protecting our democracy. >> in michigan, are the folks who are aligned with the dissemination of lies about
fraud winning or losing? >> the energy is on the side of those who believe falsely that the election was, quote, unquote, stolen. we're seeing a lot more intensity, a lot more frustration or anger and engagement, frankly, among those who are believing these lies and their leaders who are also continuing to stoke the fires around this deception. so, i do think it's really important for the majority of citizens, both in michigan and across the country, and i do believe it's the vast majority of citizens who know the results of the election were accurate and who want to protect our democracy for the future. the time is now to step up and ensure, as voters, as citizens, as, you know, active members of our communities, that we're telling the truth, that we are ensuring people running our elections are committed to truth and to the law and to the constitution and democracy and if we don't do that work over the next year, then we will be
in a perilous position come 2024 to again protect our democracy against the attacks that i believe will return and will be stronger, perhaps, and more powerful than they were in 2020. >> i read now the michigan press, i read the pennsylvania press, i read the arizona press. it takes longer but it is where the best coverage is of what this looks like at a local level. i want to read this to you from the detroit free press from last month. the next gop wayne county canvasser says he would not have certified the results of the 2020 election. robert boyd, 73, of rockwood, will soon replace wayne county's board member. asked about the 2020 election and what he would have been done, boyd said he would not have certified the results of the election. if the election were held today, are you confident that the accurate result, the victory for president joe biden, would have been certified? >> i am, because the law is on our side, and ultimately, the
courts will step in, and would have stepped in if anyone appointed to a canvassing position failed to do their legal duty. that said, it is extremely concerning, perhaps one of the most concerning things we're seeing right now, that many of the good people, particularly on the republican side, who follow the law and protected democracy, be it in pennsylvania or in michigan or in georgia, that they are being replaced by people who would do the opposite, who are willing, openly, saying they're willing to block the will of the people, fail to certify the elections, fail to do their legal duty, regardless of the presence of evidence of wrongdoing, and that is extremely concerning because if nothing else, even if we were to succeed in protecting the election results through the use of the law and other means, we have created or others have created this state of confusion and chaos around our democracy, which even if the will of the people or when the will of the people prevails, it creates an
air of illegitimacy around those who are elected which makes it more difficult to govern, which is what we're seeing now. >> secretary benson puts it accurately but diplomatically by saying the energy is on the other side. the election deniers, the people who parrot donald trump's lies about election fraud existing. there was no election fraud. there was no fraud in michigan. the results in the states are the most scrutinized and audited results in our country's history after the, quote, most secure election in our country's history from lifelong republican chris krebs. so that's the delta between reality and what the base believes. but here's what they're doing, all day, every day, this from the "washington post" report. the party, republican party, is growing its election day poll watching operation into a permanent infrastructure. staffed with attorneys and organizers all year round. it's according to rnc officials. target states will have their own director focused on recruiting, training, and deploying volunteers and poll watchers. quote, we're doing more recruitment ahead of time
instead of just a few months before election day. that's according to justice rimer, chief counsel of the rnc. we're doing more recruitment for what? there was no fraud. what are they recruiting people, and what are the people being told they're going to be doing? >> well, first of all, i think the way you framed this is very, very important, that all of this is happening in broad daylight. they've announced what they were doing to do. they are doing it. it is taking place in realtime. and i think it's very important to point out that we're not talking about a push for more election integrity or even more poll watchers to look for fraud. what the secretary laid out was an ongoing process by which reasonable, rational, principled republican election officials are being replaced by people who have bought into conspiracy theories, who buy the big lie, and who openly say that they might not certify the election. so, it's hard to overstate how
alarming this is, but also, very clearly, they're not making a secret of what they are doing here, and the real danger here is that even if they don't overturn the election, which i think is their intention, it would be to delegitimize any result. now, we've seen what the fallout from 2020 has been. 2024 may be, i mean, we may look back on 2020 as sort of a garden party, a rehearsal for what's coming in 2024. and i have to say that also in the state of wisconsin, i'm really struck by how rapidly things have moved, how quickly the lunatics have taken over the asylum. i spoke to somebody a few months ago close to the speaker of the state assembly who was describing many of the people who bought the big lie as kind of the -- they were the crackpots, the fringe element. they had thrown them some read meat, nobody took them seriously and as we sit here today, it looks like there's a very real possibility the republicans in the legislature may take over total partisan control of the
election process in the state of wisconsin. so, things that would have been on the fringes, that people rolled their eyes at just a few weeks ago, now are becoming very, very serious efforts to change the rules for 2020 and 2024, so yes, it is alarming. >> and what's being done, charlie? >> well, i don't think that there is a sense of urgency in washington to deal with all of this. i think there's been a reluctance to actually focus on exactly what is being done in terms of counting the votes, the power of the legislatures to overturn the popular vote, what's being done with the electoral vote count act. none of that seems to be moving ahead. we're being treated as the existential threat that it is and we've talked about this before. if people believe there is an existential threat to democracy, then they should act like it. the justice department should act like it. the congress should act like it. the administration should act like it. and to date, i don't think that
they have -- that they really have come to grips with that. >> donna, it is not fair, and it is not appropriate to leave one of the two parties in america responsible for the preservation of democracy. but that is where we are. the republican party, in terms of numbers, is the largest anti-democratic movement the world over. it believes and parrots the ex-president's message about journalists being enemies of the people. it furthers lies about -- forget about election disinformation for four seconds. it parrots medical disinformation that endangers the lives of its own base and viewers. as a party, it is moving corrupt cronies into never-before-politicized roles, never, by either side, and secretary benson has never talked to this administration about democracy, about election
integrity. they talk about policy but not other things. she is the tip of the spear. again, her party doesn't make any difference. no one has talked to her about democracy. how do you change that in time to make sure we don't lose it? >> well, i'm worried, nicole. i'm very worried because i think that while i applaud democrats for trying to govern in an environment with a republican party that refuses to do so, our pants should be on fire about the imminent threat to democracy, and i don't think that we can pretend that this is a normal operating environment. i am assuming that the majority, the overwhelming majority of republicans in congress will never do anything to put guardrails up to protect our democracy. that is an assumption. and given that, it falls on democrats, maybe unfairly, but
it falls on democrats to do that from the white house to the department of justice to our elections administration to the congress. and those guardrails have to go up now, because we are in danger of playing this out in the november '22 elections that will then be reinforced by the time that we get to 2024, and so i'm urging democrats to, like, forget that you're ever going to get agreement with republicans on these issues. come to the table, make sure that our state and local elections officials have the resources that they need, that there are standards put in place for federal elections so that we don't have a circumstance where that big lie becomes the truth of overturning on election. >> secretary benson, i'll give you the last word. what would help in michigan?
>> i can't emphasize enough, our democracy is going to be saved by the people. what actually happened in michigan in 2020 was not just that more people voted than ever before but that people showed up to local canvassing boards and demanded that the truth be told and their vote be counted and they supported those election administrators who did the right thing. that's what's ultimately going to move the leaders, by people getting engaged, demanding that their votes be protected in '22 and in '24, serving as election workers, running to be local clerks as well. but truly, it's people who are watching the show right now who are truly going to enable us to save democracy by getting involved, getting angry, demanding that their leaders do more and showing up to even the local meetings and conversations where people are talking about audits and elections and running elections and being a part of the process and protecting the process in their own communities. >> i mean, just as you're
talking, chris goldsmith, who's sort of monitors extremism in the military and other places made a similar point about school board meetings. just show up. you don't have to say anything. just be present. be in the room as sort of a witness to what's going on. it's a great point. it's something people can do. it helps with the despair. michigan secretary of state jocelyn benson, thank you so much for starting us off this hour. when we come back, long-time trump fixer michael cohen says the disgraced ex-president's lie is actually a big grift. cohen's prediction about where it's heading and the latest as investigators zero in on donald trump and his family. plus how online sleuths tracked down a january 6th insurrectionist accused of assaulting police officers at the capitol. and later with much of the world worried about that new coronavirus variant, one medical experts say it is not time to panic. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break.
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so, this should become a documentary and it should be called "the greatest grift in u.s. history." look, donald trump has made it very clear that he is grifting off of the american people, these supporters, these individuals that are just sending money to him at record levels. so, one of the biggest problems for donald trump is that he makes a statement is that i'm thinking about it. i'm thinking about it. that's only to keep the grift growing and it's -- and to keep the grift going.
>> you can probably count on one, maybe two hands the number of people who know more than michael cohen about exactly how donald trump cheats, about how he lies to make money. so, when the former fixer to donald trump insists that the big lie is in reality a big grift, simply a revenue stream, it's a claim worth paying attention to. but it goes further than that. on "meet the press" this weekend, cohen made a prediction, that trump's grift based on a phony claim of a stolen election is precisely what will stop him from running again in 2024. watch. >> one of the things donald trump has done is grift off of the big lie, that the election was stolen from him in 2020. it was not stolen from him. if he loses, which he will, in 2024, what happens to the big lie? the big lie disappears. he can't now be like the boy who cried wolf. oh, they stole it from me in 2020. they now stole it from me in 2024. right? now that goes out the door, and
there goes his money. there goes the big grift. so, like i said before, it's not going to happen. he's going to run it like he did in 2011 right to the very, very last second. >> joining our conversation, harry litman, former deputy assistant attorney general, former u.s. attorney, so, michael cohen has been on the inside. i don't pretend to understand what makes the ex-president tick, but i have heard from another source who was in contact with donald trump in the days and weeks after he lost the november election, but before the insurrection, that this was a fund-raising effort to sort of pad his coffers for the legal battles ahead as an ex-president. what do you make, harry, of michael cohen's analysis of the sort of risk-reward calculations trump may be making? >> on the first point, nicole, nothing new there. everything, and i mean everything, is a fund-raising effort, including the litigation he's now doing. that's his, you know, main
expertise is being able to use this to really fund all kinds of donations on the right among trump true believers. michael cohen, look, i'm certainly, like you, second to michael cohen or far behind on psychoanalyzing donald trump but i decided a long time ago, that path lies madness. and i don't think that michael cohen has any special line to the inscrutable psyche of donald trump. what he says makes some sense, but of course, that might have made sense in 2016 too, when we're told he ran really just as a brand enhancement exercise. who the heck knows? the dangers, however, whether he runs or not, because it is all fueled by the big lie, are exactly what charlie sykes and donna edwards have been saying for the last 10, 15 minutes and, of course, 10, 15 months. he's a extreme danger because of his propagation of the big lie,
whether he ultimately throws his hat in or steps back at the last second. and yes, between now and then, no doubt about it, his coffers will be growing bigger and bigger and bigger. that's his only business success. all indications are that trump brand does terribly in the market but it does well as a matter of political fund-raising. >> i mean, charlie, harry's right. i mean, this is -- and this is depressing about where our country is. trump raised $56 million during the first six months of 2021, peddling the lie and putting out, i don't know, by however he disseminated, carrier pigeon or his email missives attacking anyone from mitch mcconnell to john kelly to anyone -- mark milley, i mean, he sends out these statements that are just almost make his presidency look -- there's nothing nice to say about his presidency but he's more unhinged than ever. his missives are -- make the tweets look like they were
edited. and he's got a hundred million dollars available in cash on hand. >> you know, i mean, first of all, michael cohen is obviously right that this is a massive grift. it's always a grift. of course it's a grift. on the other hand, these things do have a momentum of their own and as you point out, nicole, this is a man who does appear increasingly unhinged and increasingly in a certain way kind of delusional about his status, so i mean, i -- i think you have to assume, and i am assuming that donald trump is going to run because at a certain point, what else is he going to do? why is he doing everything else he's doing? he's looking at the polls. he understands he owns the republican party. the republican party will hand him the nomination. he's looking at an incumbent president who is weak and he's thinking, if i can get republican legislatures, if i have this guarantee in my back pocket, pennsylvania, wisconsin, and michigan, going to make sure i don't lose those states, why wouldn't he run, particularly when he's motivated not just by
ego but by an insatiable desire now for revenge. so, i do understand michael cohen's point that he wouldn't want to cut off the grift, but the grift is forever. the grift doesn't go away. whether he wins or loses, because this is who donald trump is. the grift will -- the grift will persist one way or another. >> yes, and he called former military heroes losers, his patriotism did not extend to them. but the grift is forever. and all time. donna, let me show you something that may complicate that. he may have to do that, i don't know, from jail. here's michael cohen on where the investigations stand. >> and you can bet your bottom dollar that allen weisselberg is not, and i mean this, allen weisselberg is not the, you know, the key to this. they are going after donald. they're going after don junior, eric, ivanka, a whole slew of
individuals, family, you know, family as well. >> you're one witness. they're going to want somebody in the trump organization actively too. do they have it? >> so, again, i don't want to get into the investigation at all, but rest assured, i am not their only witness, and most importantly, what i gave to them are thousands and thousands of documents. every statement that i make, i've backed up with documentary evidence. i truly believe that they could indict donald trump tomorrow if they really wanted. they would be successful. >> wow, donna, my ears perked up when i heard that. >> mine did too. i mean, look, i do think that the hammer is coming against donald trump and all of those close associates of his that michael cohen named. i also think that when you couple that with donald trump being able to use the rnc to pay his legal bills, he raises all this money on the big lie and
his political operations. he has the rnc and others come to mar-a-lago so that they can pay the outrageous hotel fees and event fees, and i think all of it is combined to try to keep him elevated, and i think he is going to run so that he can try to avoid what is the inevitable legal consequences, and so it's a race against time for donald trump, but i think they're going to get him. >> and speaking of the law and ethics and the trump family, harry, i want to get you on the record on some new reporting in "the new york times" about what jared kushner has been up to. he was in charge of everything, but now he's raising money from middle eastern governments, the saudis, he's been turned down by the qataris and the emiratis, but the saudis are interested
and they're negotiating what could be a, quote, sizable investment. my question is, and i know if trump wins, there wouldn't be anything that would preclude jared kushner from running the world again, but is this a dicey area for jared based on his past role as someone who dealt with these governments for the u.s. government? >> both these themes are the same. both trump and jared. and they are a leopard or a trump doesn't change his stripes. i've looked at it. i think it's probably not outside of the law, but it's sleazy as the day is long, and that's, by all indications, what he was doing in government in the first place. he was using his position to try to further his own interests. now he's not in government anymore. it probably flies with the ethics rule. one quick point. i think the evidence is to the contrary on the manhattan d.a. investigation actually indicting trump, but we'll know soon because vance jr., who's heading it, is going to be gone at the
end of the month. he needs to make a decision. i would maybe look to georgia if trump's going to get the hammer, but i don't see it happening with what we now know in manhattan. >> we'll stay tuned into it. we'll watch it with all your help. harry litman, thank you for spending time with us. when we come back, the hunt for january 6th insurrectionists, how online sleuths tracked down one rioter as he was attending basic training with the air force. that new reporting is next. the force. that new reporting is next see og portfolios, time after time. gold. your strategic advantage. ♪ christmas music ♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪
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as we near the one-year anniversary of the january 6th insurrection at the u.s. capitol, the investigation, one of the largest in law enforcement history, is still ongoing. the fbi has made more than 650 arrests, roughly a fourth of the individuals who were engaged in chargeable criminal behavior that day. one of those arrests coming in recent days was that of a trump supporter who attacked cops at the u.s. capitol all before heading to basic training with the air force. aidan billiard was interviewed by the fbi at lackland air force base back in august after being identified by the online sleuths known as the sedition hunters. billiard's arrest in north carolina this week highlights yet again a problem we've covered on this program since january 6th, the existence of extremism in the u.s. military. joining our conversation, huff post senior justice reporter. you have been on these cases.
tell us about this one. >> yeah, this is a really interesting one. actually, i first heard from a sleuth about this one back when another member of the military was arrested and they knew that this person because of his mother's sort of poor privacy settings on facebook and tendency to brag about her child, they knew that he was in basic training and were sort of worried about the fact that there was another person potentially going into the military who the fbi hadn't caught yet. as it turned out, the fbi was actually pretty on top of this one, because they interviewed him when he was at basic training, back in august, so months before the actual arrest took place just last week. but it really does show that for a problem with a military that's almost getting to the point now where you think you're going to have to add an entry question into, when you go to enlist in the military about, where were you on january 6th, because we've seen this in two cases now where after attacking the capitol, and specifically after pepper spraying law enforcement officers and bear spraying law enforcement officers in this
most recent case, that members -- that people joined the military. in one case, it was someone who reenlisted. in another case, it was this individual who went to basic training for the air force for the first time so it really is a big problem going forward. >> let me read from the charges that he faces. host of charges including felony civil disorder, assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon, destruction of government property, entering and remaining in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and other misdemeanors. what -- if he's found guilty of these charges, what happens to him? will he face jail time? i imagine there's no opportunity to serve in the u.s. military? just take us through the paths his life could track on. >> yeah, i mean, the evidence is overwhelming against him, and it's just not one of those cases that i think is going to be a great move for him to go to
trial on, frankly, just because of the overwhelming evidence here, and i mean, he wasn't within one of these individuals who did what, you know, a lawyer would tell you to do, which is not talk about it. he didn't go on and sort of spill his guts as so many other defendants have done, but still, he's facing a pretty uphill battle here and facing severe felony charges and the best case scenario, especially for an assault on a police officer case, that's not -- you're not walking away from that without a decent time in federal prison because that's not something a federal prosecutor is going to work out a deal for when you actually assaulted law enforcement with bear spray during this ongoing mob attack. >> you know, charlie, ryan referenced the extremism in the military being something that these investigations reveal the military and the country has to grapple with. politico reported last week that d.o.d. is delaying the release of their extremism report. john kirby has sort of been on the defensive about that delay, saying, quote, we appreciate the
work stakeholders across the enterprise have put in this important effort. that work is undergoing additional reviews and coordination. this is an important enough issue to the secretary and the department that we want to get it right and to move forward in the most deliberate way possible. what do you think is happening behind the scenes, and how important is this report? >> well, it's very important, and as that report points out, the delay does seem to conflict with a sense of urgency that the biden administration claims to have about this particular issue. i would like to point out, though, the -- look, as alarming as this is, my sense is the vast majority of the men and women in our military understand the importance of their oath to uphold the constitution and to defer to civilian leadership. on the other hand, there is a real danger and i keep -- i'm sorry to seem like a digression, but the fact that michael flynn was once a general in the u.s. military continues to bother me, because it does raise questions
about the vetting. so, this is something that we need to keep a very close eye on, particularly since the maga world seems quite focused and obsessed about men and women in the military aligning themselves with whatever it is that they want to do. so, clearly, there is -- there's an undercurrent, there's a subculture there. how big it is, we don't know, which is why we need to see that report as soon as possible. >> it's such a good point and we should make it every single time. the vast, vast, vast majority of men and women in the military are not extremists, but i think the other piece of it is what you're hitting on, charlie, which is that what maga world can do with one is incredibly dangerous. >> right. >> to all of us. ryan, thank you for joining us and for your great reporting. we appreciate you. when we come back, why the alarm over the new covid variant may prove to be completely premature. our medical expert weighs in after a quick break. our medical expert weighs in after a quick break.
i found lower premiums and lower prescription costs. that'll save you money. so uh, mark? on medicare.gov now. open enrollment ends december 7th use the plan finder at medicare.gov to compare medicare health and prescription plans. comparing plans really pays. paid for by the u.s. department of health & human services right now, there are more questions than answers about the new omicron covid variant. experts and the president are saying it is a cause for concern but not a cause for panic. david in "the new york times" writes today on why assuming the worst is not the science. >> based approach, pointing to the patterns of previous variants so far. quote, it is too soon to know whether the omicron variant will fit the pattern but the very early evidence suggests that it may.
unfortunately, omicron seems likely to be more contagious than delta, including among vaccinated people. fortunately, the evidence so far does not indicate that omicron is causing more severe illness. and as experts continue to emphasize the power of vaccines to diminish any chance of a severe outcome, "new york times" david leonhardt writes this. quote, absent new evidence, the assumption is that covid is likely to remain overwhelmingly mild among vaccinated people. covid probably presents less risk than some everyday activities. joining our conversation, dr. kavita patel, former white house policy director and now a fellow at the brookings institution. so, dr. patel, in the break between the last segment and this one, i saw two new developments that i quickly want to get your reaction to. the cdc has now changed the wording to, quote, should, in terms of all adults getting a booster.
i think president biden made that announcement at the end of the summer and it was waved off by the fda and others, but now, the cdc is saying, all adults should get a booster. and the "washington post" has just reported in the last few moments that pfizer is seeking authorization for its booster for 16 and 17-year-olds. talk about the importance of the boosters in the fight against this variant and at this point in the fight against covid. >> yeah, nicole, as you mentioned, a lot of our kind of understanding of omicron is still pretty preliminary but what we do know about boosters and why i think the cdc really emphasized boosters for everyone over the age of 18 today is because we know that boosters have at least two functions. number one, it just increases the antibody response from what you had had in the first two doses, so it does literally boost your immune system. but two, kind of part of that is that it also tells those same cells that make antibodies to actually create more breadth and variety of the types of antibodies, giving it potentially more opportunities
to have kind of a wider attack on new variants that have yet to be introduced to the body. it's kind of the magic of the natural immune system. so, for all of those reasons, combined with some data that keeps growing from israel and other countries, including the united states, boosters now have become a part of our kind of natural language, and i suspect this might lead, nicole, to eventually, not in the long distant future, but in the near term, changing the definition of fully immunized to include a booster. that's what the cdc action today signals to me as well. >> dr. patel, what is your sort of freakout level about this new variant, and what are your questions? >> yeah, well, you know, having raised two toddlers, i get less freaked out about a lot of things than i used to, but i do see -- and i have to say, i'm not as freaked out in general because i do think that, number one, not only do we need more data, but it's really implausible for me to believe that our vaccine efficacy goes from 93% to zero. so we know it's going to be reduced. i think that, we should just
level set, don't be disappointed when in a week or two, we see data that shows it reduces to 60% efficacy. but that's still incredible and will likely protect us against hospitalizations and deaths. my freakout level, actually, nicole, comes at the conversation of the number of mutations. there are at least 32 mutations on the spike protein that are somewhat concerning and pretty different from previous variants, and that tells me that this could be mutating at a slightly faster pace than even i thought it would, and it just reminds me that the majority of the globe is not vaccinated and especially in many parts of the world, only 10% of the countries are vaccinated, in the africas, for example, and we have a lot more to do before we can say we can put the pandemic in our rear view mirror. >> donna edwards, you know, claire mccaskill made this point in the last hour, and i just come back to it. listen to dr. patel and others. the republican party's posture this week is, on bated breath,
hoping that roe vs. wade is overturned in mississippi and then across the country, and it is at its best about protecting the most vulnerable, the -- in their view. the most vulnerable people walking the earth are the eart immunocompromised and children too young to be vaccinated. how do you deal with a party so hypocritical on the question of protecting life as we deal with -- and i don't know what spikes on a protein are, but it sounds scary to me. how do you deal with the unknown when you've got one political party so broken it wants to protect some lives but not others? >> we're not going to be able to square that circle. the president today, and dr. patel has reiterated, we need all americans to be vaccinated, we need to get our boosters. i got mine. i feel really great and protected, even as this new
variant comes along, and i think that we have to continue to encourage that and continue to get as many vaccines out to the developing and emerging world as possible so that all of us can feel confident that we're returning to our normal lives, doing things that we want to do without feeling that we're going to be sick and dying. so i don't want to say ignore the republican party, because we do that at our peril, but at the same time we have to ignore the republican party and stay focused on a message of getting everybody vaccinated who can be. >> charlie, i was sort of musing to myself in the studio about what a challenging message, mission this is for president joe biden. he has to convince a swath of americans who are totally faithful to their leaders, ex-leader to do something that they're being told by all those folks they don't need to do, to
vaccinate themselves and their families. how do you do that? >> it is very difficult, particularly when you have republican governors who are now fighting this by extending unemployment benefits to people who refuse to get the vaccination, some of the same governors that refused to pay a bounty for people to get the vaccine are now supporting government aid to people who refused to get the vaccine. so there's significant headwinds. this would be a moment, though -- and i was thinking about this a little earlier, this would certainly be a moment for professional athletes, members of the nfl, the nba, major league baseball, to try to counteract the aaron rodgers of the world and speak out because joe biden can't do it on his own. >> that's a great point. thank you all so much for spending time with us today. quick break for us. we will be right back.
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or live chat at calhope.org today. thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. "the beat" with ari starts right now. we have reports tonight on a legal rebuke for steve bannon and his criminal case and democrats eyeing a december breakthrough for president biden. our top story right now is about covid-19, and about new evidence there's reason