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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  December 11, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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alicia menendez picks up our news coverage now. >> thank you so much, reverend sharpton, hello, everyone, i'm alicia menendez. at this moment, huge swaths of the american south and midwest are in tatters and many dozens feared dead after an outbreak of tornados overnight. six states, arkansas, missouri, mississippi, tennessee, illinois and kentucky all hammered. in one case, a tornado is believed to have touched down for 250 straight miles across four states. if true, that would be a record breaker. a survey of the damage absolutely heartbreaking, and a reminder of the devastation such storms can bring, especially when they strike in the middle of the night and darkness makes it hard to see an approaching funnel cloud this the sky. in kentucky, more than 70 are feared dead. the state is now under a state of emergency with federal assistance on the way. stories emerging like the candle
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factory with over 100 people inside that collapsed from the winds. my colleague tiffany cross spoke to a survivor earlier. >> i was scared because of where i was and because when the rescue, search and rescue people came, i'm like can you just -- if you could just get this off of me where i can move my leg, i think i'll be okay. i can stay down here, but my leg, and he says, ma'am, there's about five feet of debris on you, and at that point i didn't think that i was going to make it. i didn't think that they were going to be able to get me. i thought the moving around, all the stuff was going to cause everything to fall on me. >> in arkansas, at least two people are dead. in tennessee the death toll stands at at least three. two more people have died in illinois, and another storm victim has been confirmed in missouri. officials caution these numbers will likely rise. kentucky governor andy beshear gave an emotional press conference just a short time
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ago. >> my dad's hometown of dawson springs, population 2700. they're going to lose a whole lot of people, one block from my grandparents' house there's no house standing. there's no house standing, and we don't know where all those people are. >> moments later, president biden in the role of consoler in chief addressed those affected from wilmington. >> we're going to get through this. we're going to get through this together, and the federal government is not going to walk away. this is one of those times when we aren't democrats or republicans. sounds like hyperbole, but it's real. we're all americans. we stand together as the united states of america, and so i say to all the victims, you're in our prayers, and all those first responders and emergency personnel and everyone helping our fellow americans that this is the right thing to do at the right time, and we're going to get through this. >> the threat isn't over just yet, roughly 12 million
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americans today remained under warnings and watched for these powerful storms. we start tonight in mayfield, kentucky, where nbc news correspondent wendy woolfolk is on the ground near the site of that candle factory. wendy, thank you for being with us. the scenes where you are, incredibly tough to process. what are you seeing and hearing on the ground? >> that's right, alicia, it is awful here. they are losing light here in mayfield, but the rescue crews and the emergency teams from all over the state are not losing hope. the temperature has dropped, but there are still hundreds of brave first responders meticulously looking for anyone who may still be alive in what was the mayfield candle factory. there were 110 people working during the busiest season of the year when the storm hit late last night causing the building to collapse. we asked crews what the scene looks like because from where our vantage point is, you can't directly see the pile, and they
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described it as when you get over there, it's like walking on the roof of the building. they're looking for crevices, for any sign of life. that structure collapsed. the governor even said there's probably 15 feet of metal and barrels that are on people who may be trapped in there. we haven't seen rescue dogs on the pile, but the coroner is saying this is still a rescue and a recovery mission. they have already rescued 40 people, and we are hoping for more. though it's going to be a long, tough night here in this area, hundreds of thousands of people without power and without water. so many people have come by this area. one local church even came and asked everyone out here if they wanted hot dogs, hamburgers, that they had just gotten off the grill just wanting to do their part in hopes that some good piece of news may come out of this scene. i can tell you one other thing, i've covered hurricanes, i've
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covered tornados where i live in texas, i've covered blizzard, polar vortexes, the aerial footage is like nothing i've ever seen. it's emotional out here. it's eerily quiet as the sun has started going down. we are keeping hope alive that we may have some good news. again, could be a tough, long road ahead. >> such invaluable perspective and reporting, nbc's wendy woolfolk in mayfield, kentucky, thank you so much for joining us wendy. let's turn now to nbc's morgan chesky on the ground in edwardsville, illinois, that's where that amazon warehouse collapsed leaving at least two dead. morgan, what more can you tell us? >> reporter: yeah, alicia, good evening. just within the last few minutes we've received some updated numbers from officials here in edwardsville just north of st. louis. six people died inside that amazon warehouse that was partially collapsed when that tornado roared through this area around 8:40 last night.
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the initial number was two. it's now risen to four. i want to be clear. officials have said that recovery efforts are ongoing at this time, but they're not saying much else aside from the fact that this is still an active search here. we do know that at the time this tornado struck, they were able to get 45 people outside of that massive warehouse through the debris and to safety, and considering the damage that we witnessed when we arrived today, it is hard to believe. alicia, this was a building as big as a football field that suffered a near direct hit from this tornado causing a wall to cave in and a roof to fall on top of some of those individuals inside. we did hear from a delivery driver who rode out the storm inside his own van, pulled up to the building, was ushered into a nearby shelter and he says the place he showed up to check in for his day-to-day job no longer existed. it looked as if the back side of that warehouse had been blown out. as of right now, we believe that this is the heaviest toll this
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tornado took on this edwardsville community. there is some light damage scattered in and around this area, but the building behind me, just a sheer testament to the power that this storm had when it came through. incredibly scary storm, hard to see that funnel cloud make its way here, it happened after nightfall, people did have a warning, but for those individuals working inside, an incredibly terrifying ordeal. no word if that death toll is expected to rise. officials saying tonight alicia, that the recovery is ongoing. >> nbc's morgan chesky, as you continue to receive those updates we may see you a little later in the show. let's go to storm chaser michael gordon who has been assessing the devastation on the ground in missouri and kentucky. he joins us now from near mayfield, kentucky. thank you for joining us. that is the site of the collapsed candle factory where authorities are still searching for survivors. michael, your sense of how things look on the ground.
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>> devastating, it's horrific exactly, you know, what human nature can do, and people, i think, underestimate that. i mean, these last few years mother nature has done some serious damage across the united states, and i think people are starting to see that. this -- the debris, the trees that are shredded, i mean, buildings flattened, homes completely off their foundations. cars stuck up in trees. i mean, a little ways away from mayfield, i seen whole power pole off the side of the interstate that was just stuck in the ground like it was lofted up into the air and just slammed into the ground. i mean, it's just -- the debris is so widely scattered and it
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was on the ground for so long that when it came into mayfield, i believe it was at its peak intensity, it stretches the whole -- almost the whole width of mayfield from one end to the other, and some areas have a little less damage but you can see the devastating path of where it took and leveled buildings. in that video there i've noticed and i've looked at a few buildings in the downtown area, and really, the only buildings that are really left standing are the brick buildings. i did notice that. any of the other metal structural buildings are completely shredded and gone.
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>> michael, talk to us about the fact that these storms hit at night making it harder to know where the threats were. >> from a -- i guess i do it a lot, but a lot of people need to listen to, of course, on nights like these, i really think paying attention to the weather channel or, i mean, some type of weather observation to where you can get the notifications instead of waiting for it to come all of a sudden. you know, there's simple weather apps you can download. just to get the heads-up because, i mean, this tornado tracked along the ground for -- we can't confirm yet, but could be over 250 miles. >> michael, michael, i'm going
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to have to ask you to hold that thought. right now illinois governor j.b. pritzker is giving an update on the storm damage in edwardsville, illinois, let's take a listen. >> and utilities are working around the clock to bring that to 100% restored as fast as possible. this storm system hit many other communities, and we are in communication with all of them to help meet their needs. at this time no additional region has requested resources from iema though we stand ready to assist. i am deeply thankful that at this time there are no additional injuries or deaths reported due to these storms. to anyone who experienced damage to your home or your business, we will pursue all available resources to help you recover. our iema teams on the ground have been in constant communication with local jurisdictions to support the emergency response by whatever
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means necessary and will continue to do so. my administration is committed to standing with ed wardsville in every aspect of immediate recovery as well as on the road to rebuild as a community. you are not alone. finally, i would like to ask every illinoisan in every corner of the state to take a moment to offer a prayer for the edwardsville and pontoon beach communities, and especially for the families who are grieving today as well as for all americans who have suffered at the hands of this weekend's storms. this is a difficult end to a difficult year. unfortunately the people of this state have been asked too many times over the last few years to persevere during difficult times, but time and again illinoisans find a way to do
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just that, lifting each other up. and on nights like last night, literally offering a hand to their neighbors trapped in the wreckage. we should remember during this holiday season that even during the worst of days illinoisans find ways to show the best of themselves. during a time when much is made of what divides us, that gives me hope. i pray it does for you, too. thank you. and i'm happy to take any questions and of course the leaders locally, too. >> did they talk about the fact that they took employees to a safe place? was there anywhere where employees could go to get shelter? >> we did not talk specifics about where the movement of employees were, but as i said, i implored them to stand up for this community, to make sure that the families get whatever they need in this community, and
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they've offered to do so. >> can you tell us how many workers were estimated to be -- >> i'd like to leave that to the incident commander. maybe you'd like to step up. >> i'm sorry the question was? >> do you have any idea how many -- >> we do not. for numerous reasons the warehouse doesn't have a specific count of how many employees were in the building at the time that the storm hit. so we're unable to determine how many may be missing still. >> what can you tell us about the. [ inaudible question ] >> we're not prepared to release any information like that at this time. >> this is a search and rescue or this is a search and recovery effort? >> so at this point we have transitioned to search and recovery. >> you've been listening to illinois governor j.b. pritzker and other officials on storm damage in edwardsville, and we
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are continuing to follow the latest on the deadly tornados throughout the hour. coming up, we'll talk with the fema administrator about how the agency is helping survivors, many of whom have lost everything. and a powerpoint that laid out a plan to keep trump in power now in the hands of the january 6th committee. next, the latest on the dozens of pages outlining options for january 6th as mark meadows, trump's chief of staff facing contempt charges. plus, congressman pramila jayapal will join me to weigh in on the supreme court's decision that's causing some confusion about texas's restrictive abortion bill, and what congress is willing to do to strengthen reproductive rights at the federal level. stay with us. tive rights at the federal level. stay with us ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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now to another big story, the investigation into the former president's attempted coup in january moving fast. the committee has already met with more than 300 people,
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despite the games being played by trump and his allies. and new details seem to be emerging by the hour. earlier today, we learned that phillip waldron says he spoke with mark meadows about the proposal, quote, maybe eight to ten times. he also says he briefed several members of congress on the eve of january 6th. well, the january 6th committee now has that document. it could be what committee vice chair liz cheney was referring to thursday when she announced the committee has received, quote, exceptionally interesting and important documents from a number of witnesses, including mark meadows. joining me now, joyce vance, former u.s. attorney and professor at the university of alabama school of law, jennifer rubin "washington post" opinion writer, both joyce and jennifer are msnbc contributors, and eli
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stokols los angeles times white house reporter. phillip waldron claims to have spoken with mark meadows about it eight to ten times. he also says he briefed several members of congress on the eve of january 6th. what do we know about waldron, and while i get that meadows' posture is listen i just collect information and disseminate it accordingly, what does it say that he met with this guy upwards of ten times. >> this is what is so extraordinary is not only he but members and congress and perhaps, although we don't know definitively, senator ron johnson or the staff of senator ron johnson. so it is remarkable that all of these republicans were meeting with someone who had this crack pot idea that he was going to overthrow the election results. now, we don't know whether this is a credible person. we don't know whether he, in
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fact, meant eight to ten times. that's what the committee is there for, to put people under oath, to get information, and to determine if there's other confirmation of his meetings with meadows. are there emails? are there calendars that confirm it. this is what the committee does, stitch together pieces of documentary evidence, eyewitness testimony, and begin to put together a picture of these remarkable days before january 6th when it seemed like there was a whole lot of discussion about overturning the election. >> eli, i want to talk both about the substance of this powerpoint, what was in it, what was the most striking, its most alarming revelations, and also it what it says that there was the hubris to put this into a powerpoint presentation. >> right, but you see that throughout the entire trump era, the hubris of putting these things out. the president was out there saying a lot of these things. i think the thing that was perhaps most striking was the possibility of the president declaring a national emergency sending in troops and trying to
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halt the count on january 6th. you know, but at the time we were reporting on what was going on inside the white house. you'll recall the president had not been seen for days, no public appearances, very few, anyway, in the weeks right after the election, and as we learn more about it, we are coming to understand how seriously he and his aides were taking and were, you know, taking the possibility of trying to stop biden from being certified the winner of the election. and the amount of people who were in and out of the white house floating ideas. this has always been a president who has been receptive to people from wherever coming forward if they had things that he wanted to hear, if they had things that might help him. so we don't have visitor records from the white house during the trump years. there's just a lot of things that we are going to find out after the fact. as more and more reporting comes out, and as the committee does its work, we are learning just how seriously this president and the cronies that he had around him at the time at the end of his four years in office, how
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seriously they were working to come up with some way to keep him in office. and if you think about that just in terms of the context and the history of this country, that has never happened before. an american president has never tried to cling to power as if this is some kind of dictatorship or autocracy. this is perhaps the biggest threat to our democracy in its history and we're still learning all the details and that is obviously what the committee is after. >> absolutely. you have meadows turning over this powerpoint document along with some other documents to the panel, but he's still are trying to exert executive privilege over a lot of things including his testimony. i want you to take a listen to what adam schiff said on this network just yesterday. >> we're citing this and other information that we got from mr. meadows, documents, emails, text messages, to show that he has already recognized these are not privileged materials. his lawyer has affirmed these are not privilege. we're making no claim for privilege here, and so how do
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you then turn about and say, well, i can't talk about these things. >> so to that point, joyce, does meadows releasing these documents actually hurt his claims of executive privilege? >> it really does because privileges aren't like blankets. you don't just climb under it and protect yourself. you actually have to assert the privilege to each question as it's asked, and not all questions fall within the privilege. so here by turning over this document, meadows has made this, i think, very explicit acknowledgment that it doesn't fall within the privilege. it's hard to figure out how plotting to interrupt with the smooth transfer of power could ever be considered a part of the president's work, though it's nice to know that even meadows sees that, and it will both diminish his ability to avoid testimony and strengthen the case for doj to prosecute for obstruction because there was a lot of concern among former prosecutors like myself that in
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a case where a witness has asserted even a tenuously legitimate privilege, it becomes much more difficult for doj to decide it will bring an obstruction prosecution. but if meadows is clearly outside of the scope, that becomes easier. alysia, what's so stunning here is just the utter banality of evil. the notion that you would use a power powerpoint, you know, something that your kids' homework would be on or to create this invitation to conspiracy. now the doj has some fresh information to consider. >> when you talk about that banality of evil, will any of these people face criminal charges for a coup to overthrow the government. could they face jail time, especially given that they laid it all out in a powerpoint presentation? >> i don't think we have a clear answer to that. one of the issues that merits further investigation is who developed the powerpoint, who knew about the powerpoint.
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how is it peddled? we've heard about this meeting with legislators. was that a meeting where people actually formed a conspiracy, or was it something where it was presented and people shook their heads and said, no, this is wrong, we're not going to engage in it. how did it end up in mark meadows' papers, why did no one take it to the fbi and say, folks we've got a problem on our hands. there's a lot of investigation left to do here. something, though, that this powerpoint may do. it's really, i think, surprising how much of this information we already knew, how much of what's encompassed in the powerpoint we saw during the perpetuation of the big lie. there's been reporting around the fringes of this, but a powerpoint that you put in front of people and let them see especially if the january 6th committee is able to put on testimony in the public from people who created it and who know what use it was put to, that may be what it finally takes to engage the american public and get people who have
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continued to support the president to see just how far they were willing to go to interrupt with the smooth transfer of power. >> so jennifer, all of this happening set against a democracy summit, i was very struck by your piece where you made the argument that president biden if he wanted to talk about democracy really needed to talk about what is happening here at home, and it feels to me that these revelations make your point for you. >> well, certainly i don't think any person who's been paying attention doesn't see that there was a serious threat. as eli said, never in our history, have you seen a power play like this. and what is even more stunning is that there is a party that still supports donald trump, that still peddles the big lie. normally you would think in such a startling revelation, the party would have distanced themselves, declared their loyalty to the united states. you see none of that.
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in fact, you see the opposite. i think at this point the president is going to need to be a little more specific and a little more direct with the american people about what this threat to democracy is, and exactly who is doing it, exactly who is presenting legislation at the state level based upon the big lie, exactly what these plans are to disrupt a certification of a president. and i think the president has steered away. he's hesitated. he wanted to get on with his agenda, but at some point he is the chief executive. he took an oath. he is the leader of the country, and he really does, i think, have to address this monumental threat to democracy at home. he talks about it on the international stage. it was very interesting that closing statement, he made a big deal of the fact we as leaders have an obligation to take on these forces. we have an obligation to identify threats to democracy. i hope he reads his speech again because i think that's what's needed here. i think to my delight and
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surprise, the january 6th committee is getting a huge amount of information. i think many of us thought, well, trump would just run out the clock or a few witnesses who would stand in the way, but the depth of information, the number of witnesses, the written document document ation is such that we're going to get a very detailed picture of what happened. >> thank you all for being with us. president biden has approved a state of emergency in kentucky following the tornados that hit across the state overnight. tonight emergency crews continue to look through the rubble hoping to find survivors. we'll continue to give updates on the severe storms throughout "american voices". and next congresswoman jayapal joins me to walk three what democrats plan to do to continue to protect reproductive rights. and later, the state of democracy here and abroad, what can president biden do to preserve it. hat can president biden do to
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the supreme court this week leaving in place a near total ban on abortion in texas and limiting challenges to the law in lower courts. the center for reproductive rights president calling it, quote, one of the most disgraceful decisions in supreme court history. >> essentially the supreme court said we can't sue judges, we can't sue clerks. we can't sue the attorney general. we can't get the lawsuits blocked and the lawsuits are what are making it impossible for the clinics to open because this law allows anybody to sue anywhere in the world against the clinics in texas. the supreme court is basically cut off the most effective way to get this law blocked statewide. >> around one in ten women of child bearing age live in texas, and their average drive to an abortion clinic is 14 times longer under the new law. joining me now democratic
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congresswoman pramila jayapal of washington state, a member of the house judiciary committee. ""vanity fair" write this is what minority rule looks. a supreme court reshaped by nominees of a president who did not win the popular vote. how then congresswoman, do democrats fight back? >> alicia, it's good to see you, and this is a really terrible ruling from the supreme court, and the reality is that we are in a situation where we need to, number one, reform the filibuster so that congress can actually codify roe v. wade and not deal with a politicized supreme court anymore. but i think also we have to think about this supreme court and what we need to do to reform the supreme court. i mean, this is something that the progressive caucus has been talking a lot about, you know, in terms of the overall approach the supreme court is taking.
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they seem to not -- no preceden know what that means for women across this country, poor women, black women who are not going to be able to get abortions anymore, who are not going to be able to travel across state lines where they could get an abortion. let's not forget that the supreme court if they abandon precedent in roe v. wade, what does that mean for workers' rights, for the environment. so i do think we should also be looking at some of the court expansion proposals like the one hank johnson mondare jones, tina smith have put forward. we have to be very clear that congress needs to act immediately and that means reforming the filibuster. >> this isn't just about abortion, quote, the court clears the way for states to reprise and perfect texas's scheme in the fuchl to target the exercise of any right recognized by this court with which they disagree. it's what you underscored about a variety of rights including workers' rights. i wonder from the political
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vantage point, then, how you create a coalition not just around reproductive rights and access, but the broader range of rights that are really under attack here. >> i think that is exactly the right question to be asking. we cannot be thinking about this only in terms of reproductive rights. reproductive rights are the tip of the spear, alicia. we have to make it clear to people that this is a critical moment for our country with a 6-3 majority. and i would just say, this isn't just a conservative supreme court, this is a radical supreme court, and i think we have to understand what that means for -- we've already seen what it means for voting rights. i mean, we have a court that is no longer protecting our democracy in the way it needs to be protected at the exact same time that people are subscriing to the big lie, you know, moving voting rights, voter suppression
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bills across the country. so how do we start to bring together our very diverse coalition of workers, of women, of immigrants, of all of the different groups that would be affected if we do not recognize that, a, we've got to reform the filibuster so we can codify some of these things into law and look at actual reforms to the supreme court because unfortunately, alicia, i feel like it's become essentially a tool of the political right to be able to overturn things that have had long standing precedent in this country. >> speaking of tools of the political right, you have called for gop congresswoman lauren boebert to be removed from her committee assignments over her anti-muslim remarks. what is at stake if she isn't held accountable? >> alicia, i see this as one of under 100 women of color who have ever served in congress seasons the founding of our
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country. what lauren boebert has done is not only about ilhan omar, not only about the muslims who work on the hill, not only about muslim americans across this country. it is really about the ability of one member of congress to incite violence using her political platform. she has called ilhan omar a suicide bomber, and the amount of harm and violence that that has done not only to my good friend representative omar who travels in an armored vehicle with six security guards everywhere she goes, but also to muslims across the country and to any population to whom violence can be incited from a member of congress. and so i think it is very important that there's accountability, and we have to be consistent about this. we can't act when there are acts
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of violence against certain populations but suddenly when it gets to muslims and islamophobia there is no action. so that is why ayanna pressley has led the resolution, but i'm proud to co-lead with her. prior to that i worked with the chairs of the congressional black caucus, the congressional hispanic caucus, the congressional asian pacific kaus caucus and the equality caucus. we all understand the violence that's created towards all our people of color, lgbtq communities, immigrants, et cetera, across the country when a member of congress is allowed to do something like this. >> congresswoman pramila jayapal, thank you so much for your time. we're continuing to follow the widespread destruction after tornados ripped through several states overnight in arkansas, about 30 minutes east of jonesboro, one person was killed and five others were injured at a nursing home when the roof collapsed, buildings destroyed. next we'll talk with the fema
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administrator about how the agency is helping those impacted the most by the storms that caused catastrophic damage across six states. stay with us. hic damage across six states. stay with us this is the sound of nature breathing. and this is the sound of better breathing. fasenra is a different kind of asthma medication. it's not a steroid or inhaler. fasenra is an add-on treatment for asthma driven by eosinophils. it's one maintenance dose every 8 weeks. it helps prevent asthma attacks, improve breathing, and lower use of oral steroids. nearly 7 out of 10 adults with asthma may have elevated eosinophils. fasenra is designed to target and remove them. fasenra is not a rescue medication or for other eosinophilic conditions. fasenra may cause allergic reactions. get help right away if you have swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue, or trouble breathing. don't stop your asthma treatments unless your doctor tells you to. tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection or your asthma worsens. headache and sore throat may occur.
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go to as we've been reporting, a cluster of deadly tornados ripped through large sections of the shout and midwest overnight. kentucky was one of the hardest hit states where at least 70 people were killed, and that number will likely rise. arkansas, illinois, missouri, and tennessee also experienced extreme storm damage and several fatalities. joining me now, fema administrator deanne criswalt, thank you so much for being with us. tell us about the rescue efforts. how many people are working with search and rescue? >> okay as you mentioned this has been a devastating series of tornados and storms across the midwest, six states impacted and we're getting reports that five
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of those states are reporting fatalities. so such devastation to communities across the country right now. we have provided support right now to kentucky on where the president did authorize an emergency declaration earlier today. we have urban search and rescue teams that are on the way to support the amazing work that the first responders have already been doing. really heroic efforts on the ground, especially in mayfield, and many of these first responders, remember, are probably impacted themselves, their homes damaged or even destroyed. we're here to bring in additional support and help them as they continue their recovery and their response efforts. >> we've heard both from our reporters and just the images we're seeing, many homes and businesses completely gone. what assistance is being provided to people who no longer have a place to live? >> yeah, right now we're still focused very much on the life saving and life sustaining operations, and we know that many people have been displaced from their homes right now. what i've seen right now and across the country during my
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time as an emergency manager is many people will stay with friends and family initially. i know that the states in the commonwealth are setting up shelters for short-term needs. we're working closely with all of the states that have been impacted to identify what the long-term needs are going to be, and as kentucky had an emergency declaration, we're also in conversation through my regional administrators with the other states to provide assistance and establish the declaration if they request one. >> if someone is watching and they are seeking assistance, how should they best go about that? >> right now the best way to go about that is to work with their local emergency management agencies or the local volunteer agencies. if and when there is an individual assistance declaration, we would provide additional information on how individuals can contact fema for assistance, but right now, again, the focus is on the life saving efforts, and if they have immediate needs, they really should be working with their local emergency managers to help them with those. >> absolutely devastating. thank you so much for your time.
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we'll continue to keep an eye on the catastrophic damage reported following a tornado outbreak stretching across six states. and just minutes ago, we learned 45 people were rescued from the amazon distribution center in edwardsville, illinois. at least six people were killed. next, the emergency physician who wrote this striking op-ed about how things are worse than ever at his hospital in western michigan is going to join me to talk through his worries, fears, and frustrations. sharp, stabbing pains, or an intense burning sensation. what is this nightmare? it's how some people describe... shingles. a painful, blistering rash that could interrupt your life for weeks. forget social events and weekend getaways. if you've had chickenpox, the virus that causes shingles is already inside of you. if you're 50 years or older ask your doctor or pharmacist about shingles. if you're 50 years or older ask your doctor ♪ ♪ ♪
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. the omicron variant is gaining momentum. it has reached at least 25 u.s. states so far. some studies show it might be able to outcompete the delta variant which has been driving a surge in covid cases across the country. an average of over 1,200 americans have died per day over the past week with an average of 120,000 daily cases. hospitals across the u.s. are being flooded with covid patients. the state of michigan is among the hardest hit. nearly 1 in 4 michigan patients have a confirmed or suspected case of covid-19. most of those patients are unvaccinated. dr. rob davidson is an emergency room physician in the state and says the surge is making it hard for non-covid patients to receive critical care. >> in a recent op-ed for "the new york times," he described the toll all of this is taking on him, his colleagues, and the care they're able to gave.
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dr. davidson joins me now. i'm so glad you're here. i want to start by asking you to describe what it is you have been experiencing on a daily basis in the e.r. >> well, for the entire system it's just been sustained. it's remarkable. it's been about six weeks around here where we've had numbers like we've never had before. they go up, they plateau for a day or two, we think maybe we're cresting at the peak and then they go up again. and these folks are younger. these folks are almost all unvaccinated 98%. that means people are staying in the hospital very long, and so we have nowhere to put new patients who come in. we're getting covid patients every single shift who are sick enough to be hospitalized, but there's nowhere to put them. but we also have people with chest pain, abdominal pain, who normally would have hospital beds available and, frankly, in our hospital, which is a small critical access hospital with about 25 beds, but with an
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two-hour radius there's nowhere to put them. so they sit for hours and days and they become inpatients taking up e.r. space. >> i have to ask, when you have these unvaccinated patients, you ask why many of them have not received the vaccine. what is it you hear most frequently? >> you know, there's some folks who are very defiant, even when they're gasping for breath. one man said i don't approve, but a lot of them say i didn't know it would be this bad. i don't ask the next question because at that point i'm there to care for them. i'm not there to rub it in. but it makes one wonder what weren't you listening to? we've been saying this for almost two years that this could be very bad and you should do everything not to get it. and they're listening to someone else, whether it's fox or someone on facebook. we had someone come in and ask for nebraska liesed iodine and peroxide, giving an asthma patient a breathing tube but
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putting peroxide in it. that would cause a catastrophic lung injury, but somewhere out there somebody is suggesting that's what you should do. and it's just so frustrating and it's sad to see these folks struggling when they don't have to be. >> you think about the quality of care, how this changes the quality of care that other patients are able to receive. i also, though, think about you and your fellow health care workers, the burnout we have heard so much about, the frustration that we have heard so much about. what toll is all of this taking on the health care workers at your hospital? >> well, i know that we have fewer nurses, fewer paramedics. we have shifts that are short, extremely frequently. not from vaccine mandates, because people just being teared of it and deciding to do something else, either in a different part of medicine or just getting out of health care altogether. it's done that. now, the positive is i see people rally. i see the team kind of rounding up and coming together to do the job we have to do. we had a critical pregnant patient coming in, premature
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effects from covid, someone unvaccinated. and the mobilization of different teams in the hospital to take care of this patient, it was striking to see how quickly everything happened and this person ended up getting to the appropriate place when they needed to. but, you know, that happens all too frequently. covid has made it worse, and, you know, it does chip away at you little by little. you try to maintain and empathy and the care that brought you into the profession, but it is a challenge. >> that ability to maintain that empathy and care is truly remarkable. dr. rob davidson, thank you so much for your time. search and rescue efforts continue after deadly storms struck six states late friday. we're continuing to follow the latest on the ground in kentucky and in illinois where officials expect the death toll to continue to rise. at the top of the hour, how the continued debate over texas's abortion ban shows where priorities lie for both democrats and the gop. ♪ ♪
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has resulted in increase in crime against asian americans. - the da's office is in complete turmoil at this point. - for chesa boudin to intervene in so many cases is both bad management and dangerous for the city of san francisco. - we are for criminal justice reform. chesa's not it. recall chesa boudin now. hello, everyone. i'm alicia menendez. this hour, the difficult night ahead for first responders still searching for survivors in communities devastated by tornadoes. today the president and the governor's promise to help all states affected, none more harshly than kentucky. >> that touched down in arkansas and stayed on the ground for 227 straight miles, which we believe is likely the longest in u.s. history. 200 of those miles were


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