tv Jose Diaz- Balart Reports MSNBC December 14, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
thank you so much for all that you do and thank you for joining us this morning. we will be posting a link on how you can help organizations like team rubicon and others. for you at home watching, just go to our show's twitter handle, @ruhleonmsnbc. thank you so much for watching. that wraps up this very busy hour. i appreciate being back with you. i am stephanie ruhle. my friend and colleague, jose diaz-balart, picks up breaking news coverage right now. >> thank you, stephanie. it's 10:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m. pacific. the search for people still unaccounted for after friday's deadly tornado outbreak continues as the long road to recovery begins in kentucky and several other states. the house is set to vote today on whether to refer former white house chief of staff mark meadows for contempt of congress. as the house committee releases texts he received during the january 6th insurrection. good news this morning in the
fight against covid, as pfizer says its pill to treat the virus has the ability to greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death. we'll also talk with nba star enes kanter freedom about his outspokenness when it comes to human rights in china and throughout the world. and we'll remember legendary mexican singer vicente fernandez whose career made him a beloved figure far beyond his homeland. and we begin with the aftermath of the catastrophic tornado outbreak that left a trail of devastation across several midwestern and southern states. in kentucky, where dozens of people have been confirmed dead, the search continues for more than 100 people who are still unaccounted for. president biden will visit kentucky tomorrow, to get a firsthand look at the damage, and kentucky's governor will provide an update on the situation at noon eastern time
9:00 a.m. pacific. this as several employees at a candle factory in mayfield, kentucky, that was destroyed by a tornado tell nbc news, supervisors warned them they would be fired if they left before the twister hit. the company denies the allegations. meanwhile, families are just starting to pick up the pieces. i want to play for you part of my interview with a family who lives just two miles outside of downtown mayfield. they lost everything. but they survived the storm by riding it out in their bathroom. >> what were you thinking? >> i was thinking that i wasn't -- we were not going to survive. i thought -- i was just waiting, any minute, to the ceiling to come on top of us. and i was just praying to god, saying, like, please, god, if you want to take me, take me, but don't take my granddaughter. and i was so scared. and i thought we were going to die. we were not going to make it. it was so hard. something like, when we were in the hall, it was like -- i went
to uncover myself, because i was feeling the rain, and he said, no, don't uncover yourself, and i said, i want to see, because i could feel the rain on me. >> tell me about this baby, what were you thinking? >> i was thinking that the house is going to fall on us. because how strong it was. so i thought, it was going to -- the whole house was just going to come down on us. >> what were you doing? what were you thinking? >> i was thinking that we weren't going to make it. >> that's amazing that you all made it alive, right? >> yeah, and when i was with mama, she said that god had his arms around us. >> indeed, he did. she's 8 years old and now looking for a future where they've lost everything. dasha burns is in bowling green, kentucky. nbc correspondent megan fitzgerald is in edwardsville, illinois. dasha, let me start with you. the death toll if bowling green you stands at 15. we've learned that 11 of those deaths occurred on a single
street. >> reporter: yeah, jose, that's right. this street where i am right now, this is the epicenter of the death toll here in bowling green. and you can see why. i mean, take a look at this damage and this devastation. cars lifted up, thrown back down, demolished. this right here, this entire house was lifted up out of its foundation. you know, jose, we were talking yesterday about how people were hiding in crawl spaces, in bathrooms, in closets. none of that would help you here in this situation. this tornado just tore right through this neighborhood. this is the spring hill subdevelopment here, subdivision, is one of the newer subacquisitidivisions in bowlin. it had a lot of younger families. these are sort of starter homes. and when you look at that list of the people who were killed here, it's just heartbreaking, jose. it ranges from infants to a 77-year-old. two infants died here.
a 4-year-old died here. a 16-year-old. the heartbreak is just unimaginable. and now there is a cleanup effort underway, but it's going to take a significant amount of time, just looking at the amount of damage here. just a few moments ago, a school bus filled with law enforcement officials came and started doing their grid search in this neighborhood. and with me, i have officer ronnie ward from the bowling green police department. and sir, can you walk us through where you are in that process of looking for victims, of understanding the extent of the damage here? >> yes, after the storm, you know, the -- trying to locate victims, and we started that process. and it has continued on. and you can look. once you start looking around and looking at the damage, you understand why it is such a tedious task in trying to locate someone. you can't just walk up to a house and say, well, there's no victims here, because you have to go through all of the rubble that's from that house. >> just the extent of the damage makes your jobs all that much
harder. >> absolutely. >> how long might it take? >> we don't know. we talked yesterday that it could possibly be weeks of actually combing through all the wreckage, but we have a lot of volunteers here. we have other agencies that have come in from all over the stays and other states as well, to help the fire department with their task. >> and, sir, everyone keeps asking me, what can people do? what can they do to help? >> that's a great question. and right now, we are up to our necks in our volunteers, which is a great problem to have. we can't let people into this area yet, just because of the fact that we've not continued -- or we've not completed the search and the rescue part of it. and so, we've got to get through that portion. and then we can allow people in here. so you can see, there's a lot to be done here, and we'll utilize a lot of volunteers. and you can give to the red cross and to the united way, but when you do that, specify that
for kentucky. >> you can hear all of the ways you can potentially help. they need every helping hand they can get. >> dasha, i think it's important, you're there, and it's almost difficult to describe just how massive the destruction is. you know, it isn't a small path that normally, you know, tornadoes take. i mean this was just humongous. how do you describe that, dasha? >> reporter: undescribable, is how i would describe it. i'll tell you, when we first arrived on the scene here and take a look around, it punches you in the stomach. it really does take your breath away, because you can literally see sort of the path of how this thing tore through here, wiping homes away, all the way down this street. i mean, it's just remarkable. and jose, i can't help but stand here and just imagine what it was like in those moments. these were people, these were homes, these were families.
in fact, you can see on the corner's list, several of the names are the same last names. it looks like five members of one family and four members of another family, all were killed here. and you can just imagine those final moments and it is heartbreaking. that's all you can really say. >> it is. everything, just wiped away. lives, memories, histories, roots. thanks, dasha. megan, what do investigators, meanwhile, hope to learn about what happened at that amazon warehouse in illinois? >> reporter: so osha has announced that they are investigating. what they'll be looking into is to make sure that amazon followed all of the guideline that they have in place to ensure the health and safety of employees. so they're going to be taking a look at things like the structural integrity of the warehouse. was it built to code? was there an evacuation plan in place? was there an evacuation plan for
a tornado? was it executed properly? this is going to be up to a six-month investigation. and as they comb through to try to get those answers, if they determine that there were some missteps here, the company could be cited, they could be forced to pay a penalty here. now, amazon is saying that they've done everything right. that in the minutes leading up to this tornado, there were alarms and sirens that were going off. they reached out to their truckers, who were on the road, alerting them about this danger. inside the warehouse, telling all 46 employees to hunker down in the northern part of the building or the southern part. unfortunately, at around 8:30 on friday, that tornado just came ripping through the southern end of the structure, killing six people, critically injuring another. amazon says that they welcome osha's investigation. they, too, say they have launched an investigation, as well as the state of illinois, jose. >> megan fitzgerald and dasha burns, thank you both for being with me.
folks in graves county, kentucky, are coming together as they begin the process of picking up the pieces there, too. one community trying to provide help to its neighbors is fancy farm. joining me now is one of the leaders behind that effort, janet throg martin is now with fancy farm. thank you for being with me this morning. take me through the day-to-day at the elementary school these days. what does it look like? >> we were supposed to have school this week. this was our last week before christmas break. and friday night, after this came through saturday, we came here because we still had power and water. and determined that people would need a place to go to charge phones, to be able to take a hot shower, because we do have some showers here available, and then we started collecting supplies. the church here, st. jerome parish here in our town was able
to house some families, at their parish hall. so that way we could provide shelter for people. we've been cooking hot meals. but a lot of just reaching out to families, in our school and in our school district, that we move had been affected to meet their needs. we learned sunday, as we were reaching out through social media in different ways, that many of our families no longer had a vehicle, even if they still had a standing home that they could somewhat shelter in, without power and water, they didn't have a vehicle to get out here or to other shelters or places, so we've run school buses, church vans, those kind of things to get people to the food and to the showers. and a lot of people just needed somewhere to be together with others. just to rye to work through the emotional side of all of this. >> yeah, which is just humongous. i mean, how can we -- how can people help you and your
community? >> well, this is, you know, immediate needs seem to be met. the long-term is what we're looking at now, and how we support our students and our families, in both graves county schools and in mayfield city schools, who were even harder hit, because they lost their bus garage and all their school buses and those kind of things. and so how we can support each other, and, you know, the financial need will be great. we've got lots of families, their house may have survived, but they no longer have a job, because the place they worked is gone. and that's going to have a trickle effect to hundreds of people in our area, and in the six surrounding counties with us that were also affected. so financial, gift cards -- >> janet, thank you so much for being with us this morning. there is much need and hopefully we will, of course, keep everyone still in our minds for
the long-term. thanks for being with me. now to what could be a crucial day on capitol hill. right now, the house rules committee is meeting to discuss a resolution to refer former white house chief of staff mark meadows to the justice department. >> we know that hours passed with no action by the president to defend the congress of the united states while we were trying to count votes. this brings up another point. mr. meadows' testimony will bear on a key committee in front of this committee. did donald trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede congress' official proceeding to count electoral votes. mr. meadows' testimony will inform ourjudgments on those issues, but mr. meadows has refused to give any testimony at all, even regarding
non-privileged topics. that puts him in contempt of congress. and let me pause and just note that we as republicans used to be unified on this point, in terms of what happened on january 6th, and the responsibility that the president had to stop it. we all remember, every one of us, what republican leader mccarthy said on the floor of the house the following week. quote, the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. he should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. these facts require immediate action by president trump. that was republican leader mccarthy. mr. meadows has also got knowledge regarding president trump's efforts to persuade state officials to alter their official election results. in georgia, mr. meadows participated in a phone call
between president trump and georgia secretary of state raffensperger. he was on the phone when president trump asked the secretary of state to, quote, find 11,780 votes. to change the result of the election in georgia. at the time of the call, mr. meadows, according to texts he has turned over, appears to have been texting at least one other participant on the call. again, mr. meadows has no conceivable privilege peace to refuse to testify on that topic. and doing so puts him in contempt of congress. finally, in the weeks before january 6th, we know that president trump's appointees at the justice department told him repeatedly that his claims of election fraud were not supported by the evidence. they told him the election was not, in fact, stolen. president trump intended to appoint jeffrey clark as
attorney general, in part so that mr. clark could alter the department of justice' conclusions regarding the election. mr. clark has now informed the committee that he anticipates potential criminal prosecution related to these matters, and he intends in upcoming testimony to invoke his fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination. as mr. meadows' non-privileged texts reveal, he was communicating multiple times with a member of congress, a currently-serving colleague of ours, who was working with mr. clark. mr. meadows has no basis to refuse to testify regarding those communications. he is in contempt. january 6th was without precedent. there has been no stronger case in our nation's history for a congressional investigation into the actions of a former
president trump. we must investigate the facts in detail and we are entitled to ask mr. meadows about the non-privileged materials that he has produced to us. any argument that the courts need to resolve privilege issues first is a pretext. we need to question him about e-mails and texts he has given us without any privilege claim. his role in the raffensperger call cannot be privileged, nor can his dealings with a member of this body regarding jeff clark. we must get to the objective truth and injury that january 6th never happens again. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution and i yield back. >> well, thank you very much. and thank you, both, for your testimony and for the work you're doing. you know, maybe former chief of staff meadows should talk to former congressman meadows. you know, when he was serving
here, he complained about subpoenas being ignored, information being hidden, and congress being stonewalled. when he came to other people facing a congressional subpoena, he said, and i quote, they may be able to ignore congress, but they won't be able to ignore the american people, end quote. so i don't know what changed when he moved from working for one branch of government to the next, maybe she's just afraid of donald trump, but there are no two systems of justice in this country. no one are above the law and i -- again, as i -- the more and more we reflect on what happened on that terrible day, the more and more i am stunned by the stonewalling of people close to donald trump. the american people deserve to know what happened and who is responsible. again, a lot of time went by
before the president finally intervened. and, you know, lots and lots of -- we were seeing some of the texts that were released from republican lawmakers and others, you know, texting to mr. meadows were under siege up here at the capitol. they've reached the capitol. protesters are literally storming the capitol, breaking windows on doors, rushing in, is trump going to say something? there's an armed standoff in the house chamber -- at the house chamber door. we are all helpless. and, you know, even some trump administration officials, you know, potus has to come out firmly and tell protesters to dissipate. someone is going to get killed up here. he needs to stop this now. tell them to go home. potus needs to calm this -- i can't repeat it here -- down.
i mean even people -- and you released this yesterday, in the very conservative news media, were begging that there be an intervention, that the president put an end to this. and he didn't. it took hours. and, you know, i really believe that, you know, they say that sometimes, you know, coups don't succeed the first time, but there could be a second or a third time. i mean, what happened that day was so wrong and the president and some around him, behaved in such a way that quite frankly, everybody's life was endangered here on the capitol campus. staff, people who worked in our cafeterias, people who the capitol police, you know, who
are -- you know, who are injured and some died. and i -- you know, at some point, you know, enough is enough. and there needs to be a pull accounting. and we all need to come together around this. and i get it. i mean, you know, politics is involved in everything we do up here, but this was just so wrong. and if -- if the goal by some is to wait out the clock to try to invoke stalling tactics, so we don't ever, ever get to the finish line, that's a terrible tragedy for this country. and, you know, we were there. many of us were there, on the floor that day. i was in the chair that day. and when i walked out into the speaker's gallery, i came face to face with this angry mob smashing the door to get into
the speaker's lobby. i couldn't believe it was happening here. i never thought such a thing would happen here. and for people to try to minimize that or to try to invoke delaying tactics, or to try to characterize it as something that it was not, this was not a group of people interested in protecting our democracy. this was a group of people trying to destroy our democracy. and so i, you know, i regret that we have to be here and invoke the measures that we're about to do, but, you know, this is serious business. and i commend you both for your efforts here. but, again, i -- i think that we need a full accounting of what happened and we need to
understand why the president waited so long, hours, you know, hours went by. before he finally decided to say anything. so i -- so i thank you. i have no questions, mr. cole? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to introduce a letter that was sent by the counsel for mr. meadows to mr. thompson, chairman thompson, the other members of the select committee on december 13th, and just ask unanimous consent -- and without objection. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, did mr. meadows write you on october the 6th to request the select committee identify topics that he might be able to provide useful non-privileged information? >> i'm certain he did if you're referring to a letter. >> yeah, i'm sure you're right.
did you engage in an accommodations process to narrow the scope of the subpoena. was that a serious back and forth discussion? >> well, we've been back and forth with mr. meadows counsel since september. on various issues. at no point did we refuse to engage in. >> did you ever seriously consider -- i mean, was your subpoena absolute or were you willing to say, yeah, there are some privileged areas here that perhaps are beyond what we should be acquiring. >> well, the subpoena spoke for itself, mr. ranking member. what we tried to do was to accommodate his counsel on any questions to the extent practical, that's what we did. >> on november 3rd, did mr. meadows write again, stating that he was, quote, willing to explore with the select committee whether outside the confines of the subpoena an accommodation could be reached
which he might be able to answer a limited set of questions that would further validate the scope of questions within the select committee? >> the subpoena required a deposition and we have as a committee sought to depose him pursuant to that. now, we can negotiate around some other issues, but he has to sit for the deposition. >> and again, can that deposition be limited in any way before you sit down? isn't that the purpose of the negotiation, to say, okay, there's non-privileged matters that certainly -- and as you suggested in your testimony and he clearly thought there were issues that were non-privileged, that were appropriate for the committee to be asking about. >> if he felt that there were areas that would be outside, he could put them forward at that
proper time. but we felt he needed to do it at the deposition. >> okay. after additional exchanges of letters, you wrote to mr. meadows on the 9th, unilaterally saying that the accommodation process has reached its natural conclusion, yet mr. meadows was still seeking to define the contours and accommodation. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what legal standard did you use as a basis for your decision despite ongoing correspondence that the accommodations process was over? >> well, the legal standard was the fact that every person that has offered testimony to the committee, we've tried to work with them. but it's the committee's standards that we are here to, not the other individual. >> on november 19th, did mr. meadows sent you a letter,
clearly communicates a list of topics on which he was willing to provide responses to written interrogations? >> well, in our deference to mr. meadows' counsel, you know, he can say it, but it's left up to us to accept it as a committee. >> mr. chairman, could i -- i would like to make sure that we enter into the record all of the committee, all of the chairman's responses to mr. meadows' attorney. because in addition to what the ranking member is referring to, the committee has engaged with mr. meadows' counsel multiple times, providing with him lists of topics about which we would like to question him, which are clearly nonprivileged. and if he has a privilege claim he needs to make, he needs to appear and assert it on the record. but his refusal to appear at the deposition that was scheduled, and he requested it will scheduled at the end of multiple exchanges back and forth, made his assertion of that privilege
on the record impossible. and he has never indicated to us any justification for his refusal to appear to discuss non-privileged materials, and that's because he has no basis for which to refuse to appear to discuss those materials. >> without objection. >> mr. chairman, has mr. meadows provided you with 1,139 documents, 6,638 total pages, and a privileged log for any documents withheld? >> he has provided the committee with a number of documents. >> did mr. meadows also provide 2,319 text messages and a meta data from his spernl cell and 20 documents from his personal computer and a privileged log for any withheld text messages? >> to the extent that the numbers you quote are correct, those documents are what we
have. the question, mr. ranking member, for a lot of us is, now that we are in repeat of those documents, we wanted to talk to mr. meadows about them. and that's why we wanted to get him before the committee for deposition, and he's refused to come. >> on the subpoena in question, did the committee issue it for law enforcement purposes or legislative purposes or both? >> i would say for legislative purposes. >> that's what i would assume. during our hearing on the jeffrey clark criminal contempt resolution, you and your colleagues repeatedly said that clark could not raise executive privilege pursuant to clark versus thompson, because clark was not the one in court. but mr. meadows is in court, is that correct? >> that's correct.
>> and during the same hearing, you and your colleagues repeatedly referred to the need for document production in order to continue your investigation. and i'm sure that is the case, but why are we advancing a measure here that's purely punitive, that is the committee's not pursuing civil enforcement of the subpoena. why not the civil course? why the criminal course? >> well, clearly, the criminal course is what the committee made. we see the lawsuit merely as a delaying tactic on the part of mr. meadows and we have given him, as i've said earlier, every opportunity, we negotiated with him, and at the last moment, he said he's not coming and he
filed suit, which is his choice. we done have to as a committee -- >> i'm just trying to be clear on this, because you had a choice to make, and when you sure the criminal course, you sure you're not going to get cooperation, when you choose the civil course, you ensure you might. why not try that first? civil contempt as opposed to criminal contempt? >> it was a decision that the committee made to go the criminal route. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. torres. dr. burgess. >> just to your last statement that it was a choice that the committee made -- >> as this hearing at the rules committee continues, we'll be monitoring with it. with me now, ali vitali and "playbook" co-author, eugene
daniels. he is also an msnbc political contributor. thanks for being with me. let's talk about what we're seeing there. congressman mcgovern was reading some of the texts from meadows, it's part of a huge amount of documents that he turned over to the committee. what else have we learned from these records? >> reporter: jose, what you were just seeing on your screen and what's still happening is the procedural step that has to happen to get this criminal contempt referral on to the house floor, where we expect it's going to be voted on just a few hours from now, later this afternoon. remember, the last time they went forward with a contempt referral like this, it was for steve bannon and it was ultimately bipartisan. there were some republicans who joined with democrats to vote on that contempt referral. some of them because they believed in steve bannon being held accountable. others because they wanted to see the right and the power of a congressional subpoena be upheld. republicans telling me that they did that in part because if they take the majority back, they
would like their subpoenas to be dealt with and cooperated with. that's what we're looking ahead to. in terms of what we've learned, though, vice chairwoman liz cheney laid this out last night and you heard it from chairman mcgovern just a few minutes ago, the text messages that they did get from mark meadows, which ill aluminum mate the several hours of conversations that they were having as the capitol was under siege. it wasn't just from people like fox news hosts, although their text messages were stunning. all of, but it was also people in the capitol themselves, reporters and colleagues of ours saying things to meadows, like, we're helpless, and telling him that there was an armed standoff to the chamber doors to the house. remember, this is a body in meadows served, which makes those text messages all the more important. and also underscores the historic significance of what the house is about to press
forward on today. not just on a attempt referral, but for a former colleague here. and i think the other piece of this that's important, and donald trump jr. is not commenting on this, i'm told, but the president's own son, texting with mark meadows and saying that his father needed to issue a statement needed to go to the oval office. we know that oval office address never happened, but those were the conversations happening inside the white house at that point. i also think, jose, there's so much we know about january 6th. we all know those indelible images, the chaos and the tragedy here on the hill, but there is so much we don't know. the conversations happening around deploying the national guard, getting help here to the hill, as well as the role that the president was playing at that time in quelling or rather in this case, being inactive on dealing with the situation here. and these text messages and documents only underscore that there is so much to learn from the people at the center of
this. it makes sense why the committee is moving forward on a contempt referral here. but the documents that they have already gotten are illuminating. what they're trying to do and push forward here, too, is being able to ask meadows questions about it, as well as potentially get at the documents that he didn't turn over. because, remember, these are the non-privileged documents that meadows gave the committee. what we don't know are the privileged documents that he withheld from him, and that's at the center of this, too. >> and apparently there are thousands and thousands of pages. i mean, we just heard that in the testimony today. eugene, it's kind of unusual, isn't it, for the rules committee to be bringing in another committee, all members of congress, speaking about a former member of congress. it's unusual, but it's so important. >> all of this is very unusual and unprecedented because nothing like this has happened before in any of our lifetimes and hasn't happened for decades and decades and decades, something like that. and so i think it reminds us all
just how terrible january 6th. a lot of people aren't thinking about january 6th, the same ways that they were at that time. they're not talking about it as much. and you have had for the most part a whitewashing of this on the right, and from some of the same people who texted and begged donald trump or texted donald trump to have him do something. most importantly, donald trump's son himself, asking his father to do something. and i think that shows that all of what we've seen, the white washing, hasn't really been in good faith. every one on january 6th, whether they watched it from their homes, whether they watched it from the capitol, were terrified about what could happen and how dangerous this was. and i think it's really important, the idea that this body has made sure that they
want everybody to understand, that when we subpoena you, you have to come forward. what's really interesting is when there's a criminal contempt, if he is to be found guilty, the same thing with steve bannon, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have to share any new information, right? that is what you heard one of the representatives asking, right? why didn't you do this the civil way? because, one, meadows is probably not going to work with you anymore if he's found guilty and he isn't going to be forced to. this is about the congress making people know, you can't flout us. and they're doing this by using a former member of congress, a former chief of staff to the president of the united states. >> eugene daniels and ali vitali, thank you for being with me this morning. i really appreciate it. with me now to continue our conversation is henry cuellar. he sits on the appropriations committee and is a member of the hispanic caucus. a pleasure to see you. this year is almost over, congress is finishing up its work for the year.
what are your top priorities as the year comes to a close? >> my top priority was to finish the appropriations bill, but as you know, it got pushed to february the 17th. i hope we don't continue beyond that, because one of the basic things that we're supposed to be doing is fund the federal government education, health care, the homeland, the military department of defense. so i'm hoping that we don't go beyond that. so that is one of my top priorities and get ready to implement the largest infrastructure bipartisan bill that we had on infrastructure which means moneys for roads, bridges, broadband, water projects. all of the basics, so we can get ready to be able to compete against other countries, like china, as an example. >> congressman, how will that bipartisan effort have a direct impact on your district?
>> it brings almost $30 billion of highway dollars to the state of texas bridge, water, broadband. certainly in south texas, in my hometown of laredo, trade is very important. in fact, we get 16,000 trailers a day, every day. we're number one in trucks in the whole country. number one in trains, also. there's money also for rail also. and of course, now that we've opened up the border to the people with visas, what they call the non-essential people, the mexicans and canadians that spend billions of dollars every year, we immediate to make sure that our roads and bridges and ports of entry are taken care of. >> congressman, i think it's times -- i guess folks don't really recognize or realize just how important -- what an economic impact the border crossing has between laredo -- i
mean, this is -- the whole area really depends on cross-border transportation, communication, and academic goodwill. >> absolutely. we have a tendency of just looking at immigration issues at the border, and those are important. those are important. but we need to look at the trade that we have. for example, before the pandemic, we had over 18 million mexicans that would spend over $19 billion in the u.s. restaurants, stores, et cetera, et cetera. for trade, think about the things we have from agriculture to automobile parts. a lot of that is something that we feel here in the u.s. economy and we have to understand that mexico and latin america are partners. those are partners that we need to work. and the more we work with mexico as an example, the stronger the
and the more secure and prosperous mexico is, and therefore less people that will come across so trade is so key. so laredo is number one in the whole country. 16,000 trailers a day, we're also number one in trains, about 24, 25 trains that cross laredo, and we're number one in buses. and those are people from mexico. legal visa holders that are spending money in the u.s. economy. >> how great is laredo, congressman. i just love it there. but there has been a significant uptick in people that are coming from mostly central america through mexico to the southern border. last week, nearly 60 migrants were killed in an awful crash in southern mexico. the father of one of the victims spoke with reuters. here's what he had to say. let's listen in.
>> congressman, they leave because of the extreme poverty, the violence that for living h their countries. the biden administration has reinstituted the remain in mexico policy. you've been critical of the biden administration's actions on immigration. what do you think could be or should be being done differently? >> i heard the very sad words of the father and i feel for him. but poverty or crime that's not
done by the state, all of that is not covered by asylum laws, unless it's persecution by a state. so therefore, what we need to do is we need to make sure we assist those countries more. and i'm talking about american companies that can go there and invest and create the supply chains. i would rather have supply chains with countries in central america and mexico and latin america that have supply chains with china. if you look at what china is doing in central america, mexico, latin america, south america, china is there. they're in there. and we're going to wake up one of these days and realize that china and russia and iran to an extent are down there in latin america. and they're going to be right across the border. so i want to make sure we help those countries. and it's not only the foreign aid that i've been a supporter of, but we need to have american investors down there, because the more jobs we create, the less people who come over to the
u.s. so i feel bad for those folks, but if you have 100 people that are asking for asylum in front of an immigration judge, a judge will reject 88 to 90% of them, so why at the end of the day are we giving them false hope when they're not going to be receptive, because poverty and crime are not covered under the asylum laws that we have. >> congressman, i thank you for being with me this morning. i appreciate your time. >> merry christmas to you and your family. >> likewise to you and yours, sir. thank you. breaking developments in the fight against covid. pfizer says its new pill will be a game changer, but will it be ready by christmas? you're watching "jose diaz-balart reports." ing "jose diaz-balart reports.
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48 past the hour. pfizer announcing this morning that clinical trials of its anti-viral drug showed that it is 89% effective at preventing high-risk people from being hospitalized or dying from covid. joining me now is dr. joseph varon, the chief of critical care in houston. always a pleasure to see you. what's your reaction on this latest news about this pfizer covid antiviral drug?
>> i think it's a little bit of a hype. my concern, as we have discussed before, remember that covid is a an illness that has several phases. if you get people very early on the illness, that is, in the first three to four days, you have a good chance that that medication will work. the problem is that most patients i see brought in the clinic or hospital, they come to me after a week of symptoms or a week and a half. at that time, the pfizer product will not work on those patients, because it only works on active virus. at that point, you have no more virus in your body. you just have the ill effects of what covid has done. >> so, doctor, why is it that people are waiting, not a day or two, but sometimes a week or more to go get help? >> there are many reasons. first, they don't want to go to a hospital, because they think they're going to get covid. two, they think that they're going to die if they go to a hospital. and the third one is that they
are concerned about the financial implications about seeking medical care. t i see. a lot of other people have actually just said, it's just covid, it's no big deal. we hear on the news that not everybody dies, despite the fact that we have now lost more than 800,000 people in on the news t everybody dies despite the fact that we have now lost more than 800,000 people in this country. >> what are you seeing on the ground? there has been a 92% increase in new cases in texas over the last couple of weeks. what are you seeing? >> i'm still seeing patients that are very sick that have not been caring for themselves and then two weeks into the course they are coming into the emergency room. they're coming in sicker than what we were seeing before. 95% of what i see is unvaccinated of the people that get admitted. omicron is already here in the u.s.
it's hitting us pretty hard as well. >> the los angeles times reports that in california latinos ages 20-54 have died from covid at a rate more than eight times higher than white people. it's something you have been dealing with for more than a year. why is this happening? >> several reasons. the most important one is neglect. the latin american communities, to some extent they are neglecting themselves. they don't have regular medical checkups. the young people go out, big parties and they wait until the last minute. every young person i have seen admitted to the hospital that has expired has been waiting for two weeks before they came to us. >> thank you for everything you do.
>> my pleasure. still ahead, bringing politics into the basketball court. when is it acceptable to do it and when are people criticizing those who speak out against human rights violations? nba star enes kanter freedom is going to be with us. nes kanter going to be with us. - oh...oh. - what's going on? - oh, darn! - let me help. lift and push and push! there... it's up there. hey joshie... wrinkles send the wrong message. help prevent them with downy wrinkleguard. feel the difference with downy.
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turning to one of the united states' newest citizens and his campaign to call out human rights abuses wherever they are. enes kanter freedom, a center for the boston celtics, born in switzerland, raised in turkey, took the oath to become an american citizen last month. he has made the issue of human rights a center piece of his playing and his world view, both on and off the court. it's a pleasure to see you. >> thanks for having me. i appreciate that. >> you're particularly vocal about atrocities faced by the uyghurs in china. why do you think it's so difficult for other players, other people in general to speak out about these things? >> it's crazy because while we are talking right now there's a genocide happening. what is happening to the uyghurs is one of the worst human rights
abuses in the world today and we cannot stay silent. more often i sit down and have a conversation with not just people in my team but people and athletes from every major organization. i try to explain to them, listen, that could be your mother, that could be your sister and that could be your dad that are getting tortured and raped. the chinese government is sending millions of uyghurs to concentration camps where they are subject to torture, rape and starvation. it doesn't matter how much business is involved, how many money is involved. this is human rights. this is bigger than everything. >> but it seems like money is not everything, but a lot to a lot of people. >> unfortunately. >> it seems so easy to be able to talk about human rights
violations in some places, but then why not be able to talk about human rights violations in china? you're wearing a t-shirt that says taiwan is not china. let's talk about that. why is it so difficult to speak about something so clear? >> obviously china is pretty much the big boss and they pay the bills. it's crazy. all these organizations and companies, they're going to talk about the things that doesn't affect their pocket or their endorsement deal. once it's starting to affect the business, the company or the endorsement, they remain silent. this is a bigger hypocrisy. i try to talk about all the hypocrisies done by the companies like nike or nba, nhl, mlb, mls.
they stand up for the players. i don't care about the business side or money side of it. we care about our players. that gives you hope and motivation. morals, principles and values is way more important than anything they can offer us. >> this is costing you clearly. this is a really important part of people's careers. >> yeah. this is bigger than myself. this is bigger than basketball. this is bigger than nba, because many of the people over there are losing their lives, their homes, their loved ones. this platform is given to me by god and i feel like i have to use it for innocent people and be the voice of innocent people out there. it is what it is, but i know i'm doing the right thing. >> you use kind of colorful shoes on the court, shoes with a
strong message. where do you get those and how do you do that? >> i remember when i was a kid and i watched nba, the first thing i looked at was an nba player's shoes. my goal is to educate our young generation so they won't face the same problems we are facing. i want to give them courage to stand up for what's right. when i put those shoes on with a message and go out there, obviously all the kids are looking what kind of shoes or what kind of message i'm wearing. i think those shoes are not breaking any kind of rules or violating any nba rules. let me make that clear at first. i want my colleagues to see what is happening and maybe join me. that's my hope. >> enes kanter freedom, thank
you for being with me. that wraps up the hour. thank you for the privilege of your time. chris jansing picks up with more news right now. ♪♪ good morning. i'm chris jansing in for craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york city. new developments in some major stories this hour beginning in tornado ravaged kentucky, where we'll get an update from the governor in an hour. this morning, new and heartbreaking details about the lives lost, like this headline from the lexington herald leader, 11 of 15 killed by the tornado in bowling green were just from two families, seven were children. baby chase, just 5 months old had just met santa on friday. his family raced him to the fire department after finding him in the wake of the tornado, but it was too late. right now, however, communities in turmoil are coming
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