tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 6, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
this weekend. and so it seems like an era is ending. we are nearing the final good-bye to all of them. we run the risk of course of their story getting fuzzy, hazy, what they did, happy to have you with us here on this monday night, 30 years ago, this week, the other superpower in the world besides the united states, breathed its last breath as a nation. 30 years ago, this week, the leaders of what was then, russia, not an independent country. but russia part of the ussr.
the leaders of russia, and belarus, met in belarus, and they signed a document acknowledging that the ussr. the union of socialist republic was coming to an end. the baltic states had been first to bail out of the soviet union, but by the end of 1991, 30 years ago, all the constituents parts of the ussr had been fighting for, or just declaring their status as independent nations, and it was a landmark moment. 30 years ago, this week. when russia itself, acknowledge that the game was up. the leader of the ussr, mikhail gorbachev, realized that he would have to agree. and before the end of that month, on christmas night, december 25th, 1991. mikhail gorbachev, step down as head of the soviet union. the hammer and sickle flag of the ussr was brought down at the kremlin.
the three color flag of the russian federation was rose in its place. and on christmas, 30 years ago, christmas 1991, boris yeltsin, became president of the russian federation. he served as president for eight years, almost exactly from christmas 1991, until new year's eve, 1999. he served as president until y2k. december 31st 1999. that night, boris yeltsin, was gone. and vladimir putin, became president of the russian federation. and putin has been running that country with an increasingly authoritarian hand ever since. since 22 years, it's clearly not long enough in power for him. putin has given himself the authority to stay in power until 2036. because who among us doesn't think a 37 year presidential term is normal for a president and something that is nominally
a democracy? vladimir putin has described the collapse of the soviet union, 30 years ago, as quote, the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. a genuine tragedy. and when he says it was the greatest geo political catastrophe of the century, he is talking about the 20th century. the century that included world war i, where 20 million people minimum died. the flu epidemic where 50 million people died. world war ii where 60 million people died. putin believed that the collapse of the soviet union, 30 years ago, this week, was worse than all of this. he says that the end of the ussr was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. well tomorrow president biden will hold a long teleconference with vladimir putin. putin is currently mass-ing russian troops on the border of ukraine, again.
russia has been raging a low level war, in ukraine, for more than seven years now. on top of putin's actual invasion in 2014 where he just took part of that country for himself. and next part of ukraine into russia. that is the only time since world war ii that one country in europe has had another country invade and take over and change its borders. president biden, tomorrow, will be trying to head off another russian invasion of ukraine. presumably at that meeting he can also find some way to -- mr. putin at the big end of the soviet union and avert surrey this week. 30 years it's a big one. if this were a wedding anniversary he can get him pearl airings, 30 years is pearl. i don't think they counted dissolution of your country anniversary the same way they count them for weddings. but still, i pay good money to see him open the box. oh, pearls. immediately after his putin meeting, president biden this
week, on thursday and friday this week, he'll be hosting with the white house is calling the summit for democracy. this is 110, democratic countries meeting at president biden's invitation. the meeting has a three part agenda. promoting respect for human rights. addressing and fighting corruption. and defending against authoritarianism. again, the summit of democracy. right at the end of this week. right after the putin meeting. 110 countries. the chinese and russian governments have already put out a very hefty statement. saying they are very upset about this summit of democracies because they think it implies criticism of the kind of governments they are running instead. the answer to that of course is yes. correct. you have correctly summarized that president biden is trying to rally the small democratic countries of the world to stick with democracy. to advance democracy. to protect democracy. and to not slide toward the authoritarian models that china
and russia represent instead. yes you are right. the whole idea of it is implied criticism of you. but again, look at those three points of the summit. as it says, promoting respect for human rights. fighting corruption. and defending against authoritarianism. now, ahead of the summit, because president biden has invented the summit, he is invited all of the other countries, the u.s. is leading. in the head of the summit, the u.s. wants to show off that we're taking all three of those things very seriously ourselves. the u.s. is trying to sort of lead by examples on all those three points. so the first one, for example, on human rights, the white house announced today that the u.s. government will not be sending any u.s. government officials to the winter olympics in beijing. as a protest against the chinese government human rights, specifically, their mass internment camps and prisons that they're using to lock up hundreds and thousands of chinese muslims. the u.s. is not boycotting the beijing olympics full stop, u.s. athletes will still go and
still compete, but there will be a full scale diplomatic boycotting. no u.s. government officials will attend. and again, the timing here, the announcement about that today, ahead of the democracy summit at the end of the week, if taking action to promote human rights is one of the themes of the big democracy summit that president biden is hosting, while this announcement about the beijing olympics diplomatic -- is something concrete that he and the u.s. government can point to. to say hey, we are not just talking about this. we are walking the walk on that point. there's human rights, second point was corruption. corruption is the under appreciated, but constant companion to authoritarian government. you don't get one without the other. and you don't get the other without the first one. but today, the biden administration rolled out a new long u.s. government strategy against corruption. this is a 30 page document, not a whole new approach to fight. it includes, for example,
concrete new steps to stop people from money laundering. from stashing illegal obtain money in u.s. ethicists. particularly in the u.s. real estate. that anti-corruption being rolled out today. again, the timing on that is helpful for the summit of democracy this week. so the u.s. government can point to what we are doing on each of these three points. on human rights, on anti corruption. and what is the third one? what's the third one? all right. defending against authoritarianism. well that one, on that last one, what is the biden administration going to say about their actions there? about their priorities there? about how it is walking the walk and not just talking the talk? defending against authoritarianism. that one is not that easy. because on that one we do have our own significant, a very live, domestic challenges. i mean, just today's news alone on that front shows and gives
you a sense of how big an active that challenge is with the united states. here's one little piece of it. the conventional wisdom in washington is at the republican party to take control of congress. at least the house, and next year's election, historically speaking, they have a good chance of doing that. if that happens, that will mean any senior republican, anybody who is the top republican on a committee right now or who used to be a committee chair, the last time republicans were in charge, all top republicans, all leading republicans, are gearing up to take back over and wield power again. under the assumption that they are going to do well in next year's election. particularly being a committee chair, if you are in line for that sort of thing, committee chairs, it's a boring couple of words. but they run the show on capitol hill. they kind of run the legislative branch. so, the republicans who are potentially in line for those leadership jobs, the republicans take control again, they are really stoked right now. they are making their promises,
they are raising money, they are planning their staff higher, they are doing all the horse training they need to do among themselves, to maximize the power. they think that they are about to get. it's a really have been to. if you are expecting to your party to take back control, and you are trying to do the thing the powerbrokers are doing once it happens. it kind of depends what happens right now. working towards our next year elections. but contrary to that, in tonight's news, there is news that republican congress men, devin noon's, is quitting congress. now he is definitely one of the people who are in line for a major gig if republicans win the elections and. the last time republicans ran, devin nunes, was in charge of the intelligence committee. he is in line if they win next year to be the chairman of the weigh-ins committee. which might be an even more powerful job than running intel. but nevertheless, we learned
that he is quitting congress altogether, effective immediately. basically, he is leaving at the end of this month. why would you walk away? right now? especially when he is poised to have some real power? well he, he is walking away because instead of the power in congress he will apparently preferred to be the ceo of former president trump's new media company. that media company we also learned today is under federal investigation by the investigation committee. as well as an agency called finna. it investigates things like illegal insider trading. the other agency, as you see, appears to be investigating whether not the whole trump media launch might have been illegally structured as a way to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. so it is already under federal investigation by two powerful agencies. naturally, you give up one of the most powerful jobs in government to go do that
instead. that is not weird at all. that doesn't suggest anything weird about the perceptions of corruption. to government service in this country. the same former president, this weekend, last night, told an interview on the fox news channel that he fired the fbi director, james comey, in order to stop fbi investigations that he believed would result in him being removed as president. he just volunteered this information. he said, quote, don't forget i fired comey. had i not fired james comey, you may not be talking to me about my four years at the white house. he said, quote, i don't think i could've survived if i didn't fire him. he doesn't mean, he'd be dead. he means, he couldn't survive does president. he couldn't have made it four years as president. because of the fbi investigations that were in placed under james comey, that stood to remove him from office. so he fired the fbi director in order to divert those
investigations. in order to keep himself in power. he just admitted that is why he did it. and that it worked. that is how he managed to stay in office for four years. this is like the thing you hoped would entrapped somebody into saying. this is the thing you hope to tape somebody accidentally admitting to somebody doesn't know that they're going to get in trouble for saying it. this is him confessing. i would just say, not a lawyer, but, theoretically, if somebody were going to bring an objective prosecution against him, firing the fbi director in order to get rid of the investigation that stood to remove him from office. if somebody were going to bring one for that, we are still looking at the statute of limitation if that in fact was a crime. i'm just saying. and he did just confessed to that on detail, on national tv, last night. i'm dissing. i continue the transcripts, i'm dissing. we have news as well, that the chief of staff, the vice
president, is reportedly operating with the january six investigation on the violent attack. and the plot to overturn the election results that lead up on that day. this weekend, in washington, a ridiculous white supremacist boys club called the patriotic front dressed up in matching outfits to make themselves look like menacing mid-little managers at an electronic store. they have their white nationalists flags, their little shields, their khakis, their shoe guards and they marched from the lincoln memorial to the national mall. which was supposed to be a white supremacist show of force at the nation's capital. according to reporting today in the daily beast, this is the neo-nazi group that used to call itself vanguard america, but they changed their name to patriot front after one of their members drove his car into counter protesters at charlottesville, virginia. killing one person and injuring
more than a dozen. that was a unite the right rally where trump said that they were very fine people on both sides. both sides being the neo-nazis and the protesters against them. this weekend in dallas, the trump supporting cultish qanon, had one of its offshoots show up at the dallas christmas parade. this is trump supporters qanon offshoot, this is a trump supporter qanon offshoot. that believes trump is going to be king of the world, or maybe he already is, and the reason they have pictures of john f. kennedy with my guests on here is because they say president john f. kennedy is coming back from the dead, and so on his son, john f. kennedy junior. i'm going to show you a video here that was shot by an online reporter who goes by the name, hot tub tween, on twitter. she is covering these folks and they're doing in dallas. the concern grows that this mass, this trump supporter mass
delusion might be turning into something that seems more dangerous than it does just lacking, dangerous potentially of course to the people involved. >> you remember jack? he's our president. jfk juniors our vice president. you'll find out soon. [inaudible] >> one 74, you'll find out. i >> see how they are saying numbers in between those statements? jfk is alive. one 74, you'll find out. one 74, it's in your face. one 65. the numbers they're saying at the end of those phrases is because they are doing bogus kindergarten level made up numerous-ology. which they believe unlocked the secret code that their leader communicates with trump, uses to communicate with donald
trump. and the secret code is about how trump will be restored. how he is secretly orchestrating the return of the kennedys beyond the dead. also all of the dead celebrities. they are very joyous about this because the numbers tell you this is about to happen. the dallas christmas parade. this weekend with big jfk heads, with maga hats on. been in dallas for weeks now because they keep expecting the opposite of the zombie apocalypse. when the dead celebrities come back and it's a good thing. and trump gets restored. that's how it's going right now on the political right in america. that's how half of our two party system is holding up. before the 2020 election, pulitzer prize-winning reporter wrote a piece for the atlantic about this seemingly farfetched scheme. article is called the election that could break america. some had says there, if the vote is closed, trump could easily throw the election into
chaos and subvert the result. who would stop him? >> government described this scheme, again this was advanced election september of last year. wrote about the scheme of which trump and his supporters would try to steal the election, or at least make it seem like the election had no clear result. common reported in that piece, he broke the news, that republican officials in at least one swing state, in pennsylvania, had been in touch already ahead of the election. in touch with the trump campaign about a plot to have the republican-led state legislature in that state, and others, override the results from the voters. the state legislators would instead declare that the voters intent couldn't be clearly discerned, there would be problems with the vote. so instead, the legislator would just declare that trump had won. the legislature, the republican controlled legislature, would decide to ignore the vote and just send trump electors to the electoral college, even if biden had won the state.
mark element again wrote that in september of last year. he wrote that in advance of the election, that that was the plan of the trump side. it seemed crazy at the time. easiness trump was openly laying the groundwork before the voting was even started. he was calling the election a hoax before there was even voting. even then, galleons reporting seemed like it was visiting from another planet. one that wouldn't necessarily sustain democratic life. but sure enough, that's exactly what happened. that's exactly what trump and company did. it's in fact they are still trying to effectuate in the state legislatures with these election reviews from the republican state legislatures in arizona, wisconsin, and other states. they're saying that the election results should be decertified, which means that there shouldn't have been buying electors from their. should've been trump electors. trump secretly won the election and he should be restored to power. that is what they tried for the election. still with trump is trying.
mark goldman was right about what trump was going to do in 2020, as far fetched as it seemed at the time. now today barr endowment has written his follow up in the atlantic. it's the new cover story today. it's called the january six was practice. here's how it starts. technically, the next attempt to overthrow a national election may not qualify as a coup. it will rely on subversion more than violence. although each will have its place. if the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by american voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the acquired effect. the winner will be declared the loser. the loser will be certified president elect. the prospect of this democratic collapses not remote. people with a motive to make it happen army new factoring the means. given the opportunity, they will act. they are acting already. who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. it's not even a parent who will try. democrats, big and small d
democrats, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. some of them, including president joe biden, have taken passing radical notice. but their attention wanders. they are making a grievous re-stake. -- told me in late october quote, the democratic emergency is already here. awesome prides himself on a judicial temperament. only a year ago he was cautioning me against hyperbole. now he speaks matter-of-factly about the death of our body politic. quote, we face a serious risk that american democracy as we know it will come to an end in 2024. he said. but urgent action is not happening. for more than a year now, explicit support from their parties national leaders, state republican operatives have been building an apparatus of elections that. elected officials in arizona, texas, georgia, pennsylvania, wisconsin, michigan and other states have studied donald trump's crusade to overturn the 2020 election. they've noted the points of failure from 2020 and of taking concrete steps to avoid failure
next time. some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan controls of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard. which results to certify in which to reject. they are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last november, in to replace them with exponents of the big lie. they are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters. by way a foundation for all the rest, trump and his party have confidence they don't thinly large number of americans that the essential workings of democracy are corrupt. that made up claims of fraud are true. that only cheating can for their victories at the polls. that tyranny has usurped their government, and that violence is a legitimate response. any republican might benefit from these machinations, but not repeat ten that there's any suspense. unless biology enter seeds, trump will seek and win the republican nomination for president in 2024. the party is in his thrall.
no opponent can break it and if you will try. neither will a setback outside politics, like indictment, say or a disastrous turn in business. neither will those things prevent trump from running. if anything, those could redouble his will for power. in nearly every battle space of the war to control the count of the next election, state house and state election authorities, court houses, congress, the republican party apparatus, trump's position has improved since a year ago. to understand the threat today, you have to see with clear eyes what happened, what is still happening, after the 2020 election. the charlatans and cranks who filed lawsuits and lead public spectacles on trump's behalf for stage shows. they distracted from the main event, to nullify the election results and then reverse them. the strategic objective of nearly every move by the trump team after the networks called the election for joe biden on november 7th was to induce republican legislators and states biden want to seize control of the results and appoint trump electors instead.
every other objective in courtrooms, on state election panels, in the justice department and in the office of the vice president, was instrumental to that and. in the state legislatures. although trump won broad rhetorical support from state legislators for his fictitious claims of voter fraud, legislators were reluctant to take the radical concrete step of nullifying the votes of their own citizens. despite enormous pressure, none of the six contested states put forward an alternative slate of electors for trump. only later as congress prepared to count the electoral votes did legislators and some of those states begin talking unofficially about the certifying the biden electors. still though, the trump team achieve something crucial and enduring. by convincing tens of millions of angry supporters, including a catastrophic 68% of all republicans in november p are our poll. that the election had been stolen from trump. nothing close to this loss of faith and democracy has happened here before.
even confederates recognized abraham lincoln's election. they tried to succeed because they knew that they had lost. the illegitimate-ing biden's victory was a strategic win for trump, then and now, because the big lie became the driving passion of the voters who controlled the fate of republican legislators and trump's fate was in the legislators hands. calm and then explains how the bizarre world theory that republicans and state legislators should just take over, nullify the actual votes in their states, and proclaim the winner that may prefer themselves. he goes through and explains how that crazy theory is now not just being propound it by crazy people like rudy giuliani and sidney powell, it's being fine-tuned by real lawyers. it's already circulating on places like fox news as a republican party talking point for the election in 2024. he explains point by point how republicans who weren't on board with those kinds of efforts to throw out the real
election results in 2020, those republicans, everyone from brad raffensperger and ryan camped in georgia, to lesser known officials in michigan and across the country. those republicans who wouldn't go along with it for the 2020 election, they have been removed from office, they've been censured, they've been facing trump backed primaries if they want to stay in office. he shows the polling data. which indicates that the republican base voters, haven't cooled off or backed off from the literary revolutionary implication of which trump tried to do to overturn the election. over the past year instead, republican voters have become more militant on the subject and more likely to embrace violence as a potential solution. he says quote, donald trump came closer to than anyone thought he could to toppling a free election a year ago. he is preparing in plain view to do it again. and his position is growing strong. republican acolytes have identified the weak points in
our electoral apparatus and our methodically exploiting them. they've set loose and are now driven by the animus of tens of millions of grief trump supporters who are -- who reject democratic defeat. those supporters are armed and single-minded and will know what to do the next time trump calls upon them to act. democracy will be on trial in 2024. the midterms, marked by gerrymandering will be more than likely tight in the republican party's grip on the legislators in swing states. the supreme court may be ready to give those legislators near absolute control over the choice of presidential electors. and if republicans take back the house of the senate, as odds makers seem to believe they will, the republican party will be firmly in charge of counting the electoral votes. against biden, or another democratic nominee, donald trump may be capable of winning a fair election in 2024. but he does not intend to take that chance.
meaning he does not intend to take the chant of the election being conducted fairly. sounds dystopian i, know. but the last time i read something that was simultaneously this serious and well reported and this dystopian, it was part in goldman in september of 2020 predicting exactly what was going to happen with election 2020. and its aftermath up to and including january 6th. the last time i read something this serious and this worrying, it was part endowment predicting something exactly. well this is what he is reporting today. he joins us next. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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protect voting rights, doj making the case that the new electoral matter that was drawn up by texas republicans, those illegally disadvantaged minorities, in order to give extra disproportionate respirators and station to texas republicans. that is kind of the action that the justice department has been taking on voting rights. the second time they sued in a month. but as he notes in his new cover story for the atlantic magazine, the biden justice
department has shown that they are willing to go to court to protect voting rights, they haven't been going to court to protect elections themselves. to protect democracy themselves. and he uses this as an example in the state of georgia. we're quote, the justice department has filed suit to overturn some provisions of the new georgia law, but not to challenge the hostile takeover of election authorities. instead, the doj's federal lawsuit takes issue with a long list of traditional voter suppression tactics. these provisions make it harder by design, for democrats to vote in georgia. the provisions that attorney general garland, did not challenge though, make it easier for republicans to fit the outcome. those provisions represent danger of a whole magnitude. meanwhile he writes, the justice department and the fbi are chasing down the foot soldiers of january six. but there's no public sign that they are building cases against the men and women who sent those foot soldiers. can they will certainly try
again. an unpunished plot is practice for the next one. joining us now, is barton gellman, who is the author of today's cover story, january six was practice. mr. barton gellman it's a pleasure to have you here. thank you for terrifyingly once again. thank you for making time to be here tonight. >> thank you for having me on. and for reading my story. i don't want to publish anything else. i just want you to read my stories. >> anything you publish, i will read. i am telling you. and i will read them out loud for the most part. i can promise you. well, let me ask you in terms of the peace and the elements that i chose to read, to present here on the, air let me ask you if i've gotten the important bits or if there is other pieces that you want to put on the front page and make sure people understand. >> you hounded indirectly on the most important points, as usual. and you have been following this stuff as closely as anyone. the other big chunks of the
story go into detail about what is happening in the states, they also focus in on some individuals. i spend a lot of time with the firefighter in new york. who is a trump supporter. and i want to understand why he believes that. whether his beliefs were capable of being altered by evidence. and i found that to be very interesting and very scary in fact. because i couldn't budge him. >> barton gellman, when you talk to republican officials before the 2020 election and they were willing to tell you in that very scary piece that they were in conversation with the trump campaign, that there was a plan afoot to have state legislatures replace the vote with what they wanted to be the result of the election for
their state, you wrote that up before the election in a way that was illuminating and shocking. but it was ultimately borne out. do you feel like in your reporting, right now, particularly this idea about moving to throughout thousands if not millions of votes in the 2024 election, do you feel like you are similarly sort of uncovered something that might seem sort of farfetched and unbelievable? that is actually a real plan? >> i think it's very real. i personally, just as a citizen, very worried about it. i think that you have people who are bound and determined not to allow republicans to lose another national election. and that will allow trump to not lose another election. and they are giving themselves permission to do it. this is something i don't go into in this piece, but you've seen it all. they are characterizing the
democrats as tyrants, as thieves of an election. who actually stole the presidency. as communists. as people who hate america. and they couldn't discuss it with anymore externally than they are doing. and when you do that, you give yourself permission to take all kinds of steps. in opposition, if you have a next essential threat to the united states, which is what republicans are saying about biden, then what remedy would not be allowed to? >> is that why you believe, barton gellman, that the feeling among trump supporters, especially the hard edged trump supporters, is hardening.
both the militancy around the election issue has gotten steadily worse over the course of the year. but also the openness to violence as a potential solution here. that has gotten worse over the course of this year to. it did simply a result of the type of rhetoric that you are describing, or is this some kind of other dynamic report? >> i think that there is a strong ongoing message that is amplified thousands of times by the whole ecosystem on the right. that is a proxy began the ecosystem. and it is telling people that someone stole the election from them. that the democrats are destroying the country. that more and more evidence approves these things. and i think that there is this very large mass of trump
supporters who believe both, that biden is an illegitimate president who's still the office. and that violence is justified. and frankly, if you're living in a country in which the election was literally stolen and an impostor was holding office, why wouldn't violence be justified? they are making an argument that leads only to one place. >> the cover story, in the atlantic right now is called january 6th was practice, donald trump's better position to subvert an election that he wasn't 2020. it is offered by barton gellman, barton gellman staff writer at the atlantic. thank you so much for your time tonight. again, this is terrifying, but it's required reading. really important stuff. thank you. >> thank you for having me. >> much more ahead tonight, stay with us. stay with us
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president biden got on the phone tonight with the leaders of france, germany, italy and the uk. here's the white house readout of the call quote, the leaders discussed their shared concern about the russian military buildup on ukraine's borders and they called on russia to de-escalate tensions. the leaders underscored their support for ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity. president biden tonight leading that five way call with major league pin allies ahead of his one-on-one tomorrow with vladimir putin. there is a handful of things on his agenda with putin tomorrow, but the big one is to address what nato is calling large an unusual russian troop movements on the border with ukraine. no one knows exactly what putin is up to here, which i think is part of the point. is russia deliberately trying to create the fear that they are going to invade ukraine again? with no intention of actually doing so. or is this actually a prelude to an invasion. if the united states knows what's we know by the behavior
of our own government, based on how president biden conducts himself in this meeting. joining us now is michael mcfaul, he served the u.s. ambassador to president obama, mister ambassador it's nice to see. >> sure, glad to be here. >> are you glad that the u.s. government has agreed to this one-on-one between president biden and president putin tomorrow? or, is it possible that this is something in itself, that putin wanted. and the u.s. government maybe shouldn't have given them? >> i'm not glad, i do think it's necessary though at this moment in this crisis. which is to say yes, putin created this crisis. i want to underscore that 100 times. there was no reason for this buildup. no threat of ukraine trying to take back by force. the prospect of ukraine joining nato. measured in decades, not years. he created this crisis. but in times of crisis, leaders
need to talk. i support the idea of talking. i would like to see more coercive diplomacy ahead of these calls rachael. not after them. but i think they have to talk and i hope it leads to some kind of diffusion of this moment. >> do you have a sense as to whether or not putin is trying to create the appearance of a crisis here? trying to create a crisis environment, without actually having an intention of reinvade-ing ukraine? are there things that we should be looking for on the outside, or that the u.s. government may or may not understand about his real intentions here? >> i don't know. and the director of the cia doesn't know. and president biden doesn't know. and i don't think vladimir putin himself knows the answer to that question yet rachel. which is to say, as you said in your setup, he would like some predictability. makes this all move. makes us all think of well let's do this in that and that to appease him. and therefore, that uncertainty is precisely what he wants.
now having said all of that. this is the largest buildup ever. this is much bigger than what he did in the spring. if he wants to move, he has the capacity to do it. whether he's made that decision yet, i don't know, and i don't believe anybody else does. there's so much craziness going on in belarus right now. i don't want to try to project any rationality on to the behavior of that russian ally but, i was struck that not too many days ago the dictator in belarus said that if russia invades ukraine. belarus will join that war as well and will stand along russia in doing so. if putin does pull the trigger here and essential oops across the border wearing insignia, or not. is it possible that this triggers a wider european more? >> mr. lukashenko might join. that reminds me of soviet interventions and 56, 68, when
lesser allies joined declarative lead those soviet actions. i don't think it leads to an interstate war with nato allies. certainly the united states is not going to go with war to russia over ukraine. but i do think it means a qualitatively different moment in terms of european security. and i hope short of military action, president biden on all of those people who he was on the phone with today understand that this would be qualitatively different. and therefore act qualitatively different in response. including massive sanctions and massive military assistance to the ukrainians. we want to deter putin. those are two things we should be doing more of. >> michael mcfaul, u.s. ambassador to russia over president obama, thank you so much for your time tonight ambassador, it's really nice to see. >> good to be here. >> we will be right back, stay with us. ay with us. unlike other cold medicines, coricidin provides powerful cold relief without raising your blood pressure be there for life's best moments with coricidin.
section two of the voting rights acts. texas has violated section two by creating district-ing plans that deny or abridged the rights of latino and black voters to vote on account of their race. color or membership in a minority group. >> texas's population grew by 4 million people from 2010, to 2020. 95% of that growth came from minority populations. texas will game two new congressional seats because of its population growth. almost all of which is due to the growth in the states minority population. whoever, texas has designed both of those new seeds to have white voting majorities. the justice department will not stand idly by in the face of unlawful attempt to restrict access to the ballot. >> attorney general garland and senior justice official gupta announcing today that the justice department will sue the state of texas over that states new republican drawn electoral maps. we've been covering on the show
the ways these new congressional maps really frankly reduce the number of congressional districts where black and mid-latino voters are in the majority. in a lawsuit filed today, the justice department says the congressional map from republicans quote, effectively turns back a decade of rapid latino population growth and preserves angulo control over most remaining districts. they asked the court to immediately stop texas from holding any election using these new congressional maps. the justice department asked the court to act on that quickly in time for texas's upcoming primaries, which are set to take place in march. depending on how the courts view this challenge of the justice department, it means this case could move relatively quickly. that said, thanks to the supreme court's decision to gut the voting rights act back in 2013, the doj is going to be waging an uphill battle here. by now you probably know that attorney general garland is very hands off when it comes to matter of congress, he doesn't tell congress what to do.
he doesn't like onerous telling him what to do. but on this topic, a.g. garland has been quite outspoken about what he wants congress to do. today he concluded this press conference about suing texas with a plea to congress about please passed new rights legislation in order to stop this kind of gerrymandering. this kind of tilting the playing field. to stop it from happening in the future. the justice department in other words's making clear it will do whatever klain but, it wants members of congress to do the same. watch this space. watch this space 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
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with us tonight, one less reminder before we go, tomorrow, president biden is going to have that big one-on-one summit with vladimir putin. it is a one-on-one teleconference. that basically means meeting on soon. the two of them doing some sort of teleconference. it is going to happen at 10 am, eastern time, this of course
happens as russia appears to be 175,000 troops on the border with ukraine. russia is insisting it is not planning on invading. but we expect tomorrow to have a readout from the white house very shortly after that conference ends, in terms of the resolution of that matter. the question of whether or not the u.s. is going to put some sort of sanctions in place against russia, for that buildup, for other things that they've been fighting with russia against recently. that may be resolved as soon as tomorrow, tomorrow is going to be a prickly day in terms of that relationship. and all the high stakes that it means. watch for that tomorrow. that's going to do it for us. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening rachel. i wonder if you can remember who was the first person whose name you knew, but who you didn't know? when you are tiny.