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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  December 14, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PST

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it is 4:00 in new york. i'm in for nicolle wallace on a day of major developments on capitol hill. in the next few hours, the house is set to vote to fine former congressman, mark meadows, in contempt of congress. a move that could pave the way for the justice department to prosecute meadows. now the vote is expected to pass along largely party lines, but we do have at least two republicans, liz cheney and adam kinsinger, who will join democrats in voting to refer meadows for prosecution. this comes after the select committee made it case against meadows over the past 24 hours with bombshell after bombshell, much of it based on what meadows shared with the committee before he did a dramatic and sudden 180 and stopped cooperating. now last night, vice chair liz cheney read a number of texts of people begging the former president to call off the attack
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on the capitol as it was happening, including the former president's own son, don jr., as well as three fox news hosts. all of whom have since then down played trump's role in the insurrection. here's liz cheney, and i have to warn our viewers, these contain profanty. >> quote, mark, the president needs to tell people in the capitol to go hope. this is hurting all of us. he is destroying his legacy. laura ingram wrote. please get him on tv. destroying everything you have accomplished, ryan texted. quote, can he make a statement? ask people to leave the capital, sean hannity urged. one of the president's sons said
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quote, he's got to condemn this shit asap. the capitol police tweet is not enough. donald trump jr. texted again and again, urge action by the president. quote, we need an oval office address. he has to leave now. it has gone too far. and gotten out of hand. >> and at a hearing earlier today, cheney read texts from our fellow republicans to meadows asking him to take action. >> quote, it is really bad up here on the hill. another one, the president needs to stop this asap. another one, fix this now. >> now, these revelations by the select committee are leading to more questions about the role republican lawmakers played in the insurrection from what they said to trump as the capitol was
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being attacked to their involvement in efforts to overturn the election. here's adam schiff last night. >> the last message i want to highlight again from a lawmaker in the aftermath of january 6th. graphic number three. yesterday was a terrible day. we tried everything we could in our objection to the six states. i'm sorry nothing worked. the day after a failed attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power through violence, an elected lawmaker tells the white house chief of staff, i'm sorry nothing worked. that is chilling. >> all right, so you saw schiff there and other members setting the stage for today's vote and make no mistake about this. it is a stunning moment. not just for the house here, which is set to vote to recommend criminal charges against one of its former members, but also for meadows himself, who could become the first white house chief of staff to face criminal charges since
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watergate. let's bring in "washington post" congressional correspondent, jackie. also with us, former obama campaign manager and msnbc political analyst, david plouffe. jonathan is the host of way too early. also an msnbc political analyst. and garrett hague is live for us on capitol hill as the debate gets underway, which i understand is running a little bit late. garrett, let me start with you here. give us the latest on how this is playing out and are we expected to see any republicans by any chance to vote yes on this resolution? >> i just had senior democratic lawmakers and committee had passed me on to the house floor. this debate is finally going to get started. a little bit delayed here on the house side. i expect we might continue to see some new evidence. perhaps more text messages from mark meadows or other
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communications he had handed over to the economy. they have been very deliberate in how they roll out the new pieces of evidence that are available to them and they've done it at these inflection points as they've tried to push elements of their investigation forward. as for other republicans, there were seven additional republicans not including cheney and kinsinger who tried to hold steve bannon in contempt of congress. that was a little different. bannon made a blanket refusal to engage in any way with the committee, but among the republicans, they were willing to conduct oversight into any future witnesses to any investigation knew these matter. we say see them stand up for their fellow members of congress today, but the divide is sharper on this one and meadows to some extent muddied the waters a bit
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about his privilege claims and what that will or won't allow him to do. that may protect him. >> let me ask you about the text messages here. first of all, we saw on the screen the text from adam schiff in which he references a lawmaker sending a text to mark meadows. do we have any idea who that is and what is broadly speaking the thinking inside house leadership here on this vote at this hour? >> well, in terms of that specific lawmaker, we don't know. bennie thompson talked to one of my colleagues today. he said look, there's about ten lawmakers who believe were actively texting with meadows on january 6th. he said the names won't surprise us, but they're not releasing that information now. it is entirely possible those lawmakers will be asked to testify at some point. as for house leadership, they have given this committee a lot of leeway to do as they see fit and to move forward as they see fit. the way they've introduced these
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text messages into the conversation do two things. first, the text messages from donald trump jr. and from the fox news host really refocus the debate on what was actually happening here on january 6th. they give lie to all of the down playing of how severe the events of january 6th really were. that's important to this committee as they continue to reset the baseline, just the factual predicate of what happened on january 6th. the other text messages, the ones from those members, the ones that schiff read, for example, a reminder that mark meadows in particular, had such a long relevance to this investigation. not just as chief of staff, but as top campaign official. he was involved from election day up through january 6th and in fact even afterwards as that apology text showed. so they're trying to highlight his importance, what he's share and what he could offer this investigation. >> to garrett's point, the
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attempt to rewrite the narrative here is stunning because you go back to a week after the insurrection. you had the house gop leader literally saying trump bears responsibility for the insurrection. a lot of republicans including senator graham pretty much said they're done with this show. now he and the majority of the caucus, the gop, have moved so far away from that position. i'm curious how much of that is because of fox news hosts messaging meadows that day, deciding to down play what actually happened on january 6th and to garrett's point, trying to rewrite the facts from that day since. >> there was a brief and fleeting moment of clarity among a number of republican lawmakers on january 6th of what happened that day, condemned president trump's role in inspiring it, but with few exceptions, most had abandoned that stance now
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saying they're down playing what happened that day. whitewashing what happened that day because they're still in the sway of the former president, who is still the loudest republican voice in the room and very much so the favorite if he were to run in 2024. i do think it can't be overlooked or overstated what has been happening with the conservative media. fox news the most prominent example. where these text messages reveal in the moment how worried they were and how they recognized how dire that day was. even though publicly, they would go on to down play it in the days ahead. some of the president's staunching allies were begging meadows to get him on camera, get him to call this off. even the president's eldest son and most significant attack dog. the fact donald trump jr. tried to reach his father through the chief of staff, that's got succession vibes to it. although certainly we know his
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father doesn't actually use the phone to text message. he may have tried to reach him other ways. but certainly, this is the new narrative now. and even as seemingly every day has more revelations about just how much the white house knew what was happening that day and just how bad things were in the capitol, most reasons don't want to hear it. they want to move on, put their head down, look at next year's midterms. paying no mind to the investigation at capitol hill. >> some of us haven't seen the season finale, so please no spoiler alerts. jackie, take us inside the committee here for a moment and the thinking on meadows' contempt resolution. do you get a sense this committee needs this testimony for their investigation or is this about sending a signal to anyone who might want to try and obstruct their investigation going forward? >> i, too, have not seen the succession season finale yet, so
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no more spoilers, but that's a great question and one that a lot of legal scholars and democrats have been discussing today. and actually, liz cheney, who's voice chair of the committee and bennie thompson were asked about this during the rules committee this morning prior to the full contempt vote that's going to be happening tonight. basically, this question of why are you holding him in criminal contempt? this is going to mean potentially that you're not going to get the information you're seeking. the information is at the heart of this investigation and pertinent to answering questions about those 187 minutes, which liz cheney i believe was probably quoting "the washington post" reporting, and why not take half of holding mr. meadows in civil contempt first. you heard thompson and cheney fielding those questions, saying that it's too long of a process. they didn't want to be caught up in litigation that would impede the investigation overall. you also heard lawmakers tell us
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last night after the vote that they decided this was the best way to move forward to force others to cooperate and potentially to get mr. meadows to comply with their information and testimony requests a little bit more than he has been, but obviously, that time is whittling down. the vote is happening tonight and tbd on how long it will take merrick garland to decide whether he's going to prosecute meadows. >> the interesting thing here as well and somewhat expected, mark meadows' lawyer in a statement put out says that mr. meadows never stopped cooperating as widely reported. rather he has maintained consistently that as a former chief of staff, he cannot be compelled to questions and that he is not licensed to waive
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executive privilege claim by the former president. it is the current president that has to waive executive privilege claims and we know where president biden stands on this and his attorney doesn't mention the fact that meadows talked about january 6th at length in his newly published book. >> that question of who holds privilege, that's something that's potentially going to be litigated and sent to the supreme court, but with regards to mr. meadows, writing a book about his conversations with president trump and providing 9,000 pages worth of the document, personal communications, e-mails, powerpoints about proposals to delay the certification. those are things he has waived executive privilege on and the basis of what we're seeing come
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out of the committee at the moment. legal scholars across the board will say that it is very difficult to then walk back on that and say, sorry, i now claim executive privilege again. it's like having spousal privilege then spilling all the beans then going back on it and saying again, i had spousal privilege. the legal questions here are fascinating. we are trying to pick them all apart. i think ultimately, this question of who holds the privilege is going to be a key question for the committee when they're trying to access more documents related to former president trump. >> david, take a listen to what the house rules committee chairman said this morning about meadows. >> maybe former chief of staff meadows should talk to former congressman meadows. when he was serving here, he complained about subpoenas being ignored. information being hidden and
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congress being stone walled. when it came to other people facing a congressional subpoena, he said, i quote, they may be able to in congress, but 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 he's just that afraid of donald trump. >> david, what changed here? is it that it boils down to meadows being afraid of donald trump? >> well, i'm sure donald trump has sent in multiple pitches, both in terms of how he's approached this investigation as well as some of the comments in his book. i have seen the succession finale. what worries me is we may very well be witnessing the finale of american democracy. if there's not full accountability. in part because of fox and the sinclair stationings around the
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country. it's like they're living in china. there's a wall around information. and the people we most need to see this information, i think it's going to be incumbent to democrats to put that in front of voters so they understand what really happened here. but yeah, meadows i think has been ill served because he seems like he's been all over the place. but this couldn't be more serious and you know, i'm struck that you know, here we are, the nine-year anniversary of the tragic murder of 20 first graders in sandy hook. you have this hearing and the revelations last night. i think it was mentioned two days ago in some reports where one of 100 people in this country over 65 have died of covid. there's a huge percentage of americans, 30, 35%, who are okay with kids being murdered in school still.
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who believe january 6th was a tourist alley. we think about next november. there's a clear majority. maybe 60, maybe 62% of the people who feel differently, but if they reward those, the republicans essentially, not all, but most republicans with power, which puts us one step closer to basically ending this democracy, that is going to be i think so fundamental. you get some of those people who may not agree with democrats on certain issues, tax rates, capital gains rates, but on these big things do. i believe this is no longer democrats and republicans. and everything we're seeing shows how close they really do come to overturning the last election and i think if you don't hold coup organizers and violent extremers for their last coup, it's going to make it even harder to stop the next one. >> everyone stay with me. let's cross over to capitol hill where the debate on that motion
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is beginning. let's listen in. >> that's not what he did. he told us the day before his deposition the same day his book was published that he would no longer cooperate with our investigation. and that he wasn't coming in to be interviewed. put all the other arguments aside, this isn't about any sort of privilege or immunity. this is about mr. meadows refusing to comply with the subpoena to discuss the records he himself turned over. now he's hiding behind excuses. and at the end of the day, it's a simple proposition. if you're making your excuses to avoid cooperating with our investigation, you're making excuses to hide the truth from the american people about what happened on january 6th. you're making excuses as part of a cover up and if you echo these
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excuses, if you base your arguments on these excuses, if you adopt these excuses as you're own to explain why you want take action, then you're part of that cover up, too. i want my colleagues to think long and hard about that. because as the select committee has made clear in the last day and will continue to make clear, there was a steady stream of communication between certain members of congress and mr. meadows about matters central to our investigation. we have questions about those communications. we will pursue those questions and we won't let the facts be buried by a cover up. thank you, madame speaker and i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentlewoman from wyoming is recognized. >> thank you very much.
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as chairman thompson noted, we are here with great sadness. we are here recognizing and understanding the serious nature of the situation and we wish we had another alternative. we wish that we did not have to meet today to urge our colleagues to vote criminal contempt for one of our former colleagues and the former chief of staff to president trump. we don't take this step lightly. as my colleagues have noted and will no doubt say again today, for weeks, the committee has worked with mr. meadows, with his council, to reach an agreement on cooperation. to reach an agreement and accommodation. now the reality, madame speaker s the accommodations process is a protsz that takes place between the legislative and executive branch. mr. meadows is a member of neither and yet the committee has taken the extra step of working to try to make sure we
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do everything we can to secure mr. meadows' testimony. he is improperly asserting executive and other privileges but the vote on contempt today relates principally to his refusal to testify about messages and other communications that he admits are not privileged. he has not claimed and he does not have privilege to refuse entirely to testify regarding these topics. there are just three examples i will give you this afternoon of issues which we need to talk to mr. meadows about and on which his testimony is required and compelled by our subpoena. first is president trump's failure to stop the violence when this chamber and indeed the entire capitol building was attacked and invaded. the mob that attacked this chamber was summoned to washington by president trump. and as many of those involved
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have admitted on videotape, in social media, and in federal district court, they were provoked to violence by president trump's false claims that the election was stolen. as the violence unfolded that afternoon, nearly one year ago, it was evident to all, not only to those of us who were in the chamber at that time. it was covered in real time by almost every news channel, but for 187 minutes, president trump refused to act. let's let that sink in, madame speaker. he refused to act when action by our president was required, it was essential, and it was compelled by his oath to our constitution. mr. meadows received numerous text messages which he has produced without any privilege claim imploring that mr.
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takeaway the specific action we all know his duty required. indeed, some of those text messages, madame speaker, came from members in the chamber right now. members who understood that a violent vault was underway at the capitol. members who pleaded with the chief of staff to get the president to take action. dozens of texts including from trump administration officials and members of congress urged that the president take immediate action. i read a number of these last night. mark, one member said, he needs to stop this now. in all cap, tell them to go home. potus has to come out firmly and tell the protesters to dissipate. someone is going to get killed. indeed, a number of members of the press, a number of members
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of this body, a member of the president's family all urged the president take action because they understood that the president of the united states had a responsibility to call off the mob. hours passed without any action by the president. all of these texts are non-privileged. they are texts that mr. meadows has turned over and they are evidence of president trump's supreme dereliction of duty for 187 minutes and mr. meadows testimony will bear on another fundamental question before this committee. and that is whether donald j. trump, through action or inaction, corruptly sought to obstruction or impede conscious' official proceeding to count electoral votes. this committee is entitled to
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our legislative judgments, but mr. meadows has refused to give any testimony at all. even regarding nonprivileged topics. he is in contempt of congress. second, mr. meadows has knowledge regarding president trump's efforts to persuade state officials to alter official election results. in georgia, for instance, mr. meadows participated in a phone call between president trump and the georgia secretary of state. mr. meadows was on the phone when president trump asked the secretary of state to quote find 11,780 votes. to change the results of the presidential election in georgia. that's the president of the united states telling a state official to quote 11,780 votes. while this was happening, mr. meadows appears to have been
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texting with another participant on this call. mr. meadows has no conceivable privilege basis to refuse to testify on this topic. he is in contempt of congress. third, in the weeks before january 6th, president trump's appointees at the justice department informed him repeatedly that his claims of election fraud were not supported by the evidence and 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's conclusions regarding the election. mr. clark has now informed this committee that he anticipated criminal prosecution related to these matters and therefore intends an upcoming testimony to invoke his fifth amendment
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privilege against self-incrimination. as mr. meadows' nonprivileged texts reveal, he communicated multiple times with another member of this body 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. this body must investigate the facts and detail and we are entitled to ask mr. meadows about the non-privileged materials he has produced to us. i'm sure you'll hear my colleagues this afternoon say there are privilege issues here that must be resolved before we can move forward. any argument that the courts need to resolve privilege issues first is a pretext.
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we will question mr. meadows and e-mails and texts he gave us without any privilege claim. mr. meadows' role in the raffensperger call cannot be privileged. nor with mr. clark. we must get to the truth and ensure january 6th never happened again. mr. meadows is in contempt. he must testify and i urge my colleagues to vote yes on this resolution and i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentlewoman reserves is balance of her time. gentleman from indiana. >> thank you, madame speaker. here we go again, for the first time in history, democrats have complete control over a select committee. i hope the american people are paying close attention. i hope they see what happens when democrats get total power. they abuse it. they intimidate, threaten and
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harass and they try to put their political opponents in jail. in a matter of weeks, the committee has passed three contempt citations. today, we vote on holding mark meadows in contempt of congress. on september 23, 2021, the committee served meadows is subpoena for a sweeping set of documents and a deposition. in october, president trump instructed mr. meadows to maintain his executive privilege in any response to that subpoena. mr. meadows told the select committee he would give them any information they requested that wasn't protected by executive privilege. he gave the select committee over 6,800 pages of information. including 1100 documents and 2300 text messages.
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he agreed to sit for a deposition if it was limited to areas not protected by executive privilege. he tried to cooperate. but the select committee didn't care. mr. meadows even sought an independent ruling on the question of executive privilege, but the select committee voted to hold him in contempt anyway. just like they did with mr. clark, who offered to participate pending the supreme court's decision in trump versus thompson. >> we're continuing to follow the session taking place as the house considers a motion to hold mark meadows in contempt of congress. we're going to continue to keep an eye on it. i want to bring in our guests. we have jackie, david, and jonathan. we'll bring in congressman liu
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in a moment. liz cheney making the case about the specifics of why they want to speak to meadows and certainly for those hearing this the first time, some pretty strong reasons as to why mark meadows is at the center of this committee investigation and it goes to the point, was there important information they needed to get from mark meadows about their investigation and it seems we have a bit of an answer from cheney here because she spelled out three points including the conversation mark meadows was on when president trump called the georgia secretary of state asking him to find votes in georgia in an attempt to overturn the results of the election and more perhaps troubling, jeffrey clark. when president trump was trying to get the department of justice to find election fraud and to try to declare this election as being stolen, the department of justice said there's no evidence of that. this election was not stolen. the president wanted to put
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jeffrey clark as his attorney general to fulfill that and it seems mark meadows was on the receiving end of some communication or had insight into that plan by the former president. >> even in the 51-page contempt report and presentation last night during the committee's contempt hearing, these pieces of information were not yet released to the public. but it is news that there was a lawmaker working with mr. clark and that mark meadows was closely aligned with clark as well, which we did know. but who those lawmakers are that were part of this legal conspiracy or the effort to use the force of the information to overturn the results of the election is become a important pressure point for the committee and the reason why they want meadows to sit down for a
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deposition as was requested in the initial subpoena, it is not accurate for congressman jim banks to say that he is not, that he is actually trying to comply because part of the deal that was negotiated was that meadows would provide certain records then he would also sit down for an actual interview, but there are a lot of follow up questions to these documents that were handed over. and i think what's most fascinating to me having covered this investigation from the very start is seeing the committee circle around meadows and jeffrey clark as two of the key people who were assisting president trump. clark has not been held in contempt. they were giving him one more opportunity to appear before the committee to plead the fifth, so i am waiting eagerly to see if clark ultimately does that. and if he does, what questions he decides to plead the fifth on. >> yeah, and david, that was also an interesting moment for me where she outlined,
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congressman cheney outlined that she believed clark saying to the committee he expects criminal charges as a result of those proceedings or what was happening behind the scenes there with the department of justice and the white house, that he is deciding to plead and exercise his fifth amendment privilege not to incriminate itself. also a telling moment was to undercut the central argument that mark meadows provided this information. provided text messages and documents to the committee and he is no longer either part of the legislative or executive branch and therefore does not have a leg to stand on to claim executive privilege when when he was the one that officially provided these texts. >> he's an american citizen. that's his title now. and it was chilling to hear liz cheney talk about a plot to install a new attorney general for the purposes of overturning
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an election. it was incredibly chilling. we've saul seen transcripts. that donald trump phoned the secretary of state of georgia and ordered that republican elected official to find 11,000 votes then a little bit with saw with banks, it strikes me really how easy trump's republican party and all the soldiers in it lie with such ease. and it is because there's an alternative reality that most of his supporters live in. there's no price they pay for that and it's incredibly destructive to this country. my hope is more of these hearings get covered in prime time. i'd like liz cheney to have most of the microphone during most of those moments so the american people can learn fully. it won't be on fox, and that will be a test. what does fox do? oan? does sinclair out in the states provide coverage of this or not?
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the bigger the megaphone, the better it will be in terms of getting to the bottom of this. yes, this is about holding people accountable for what happened in the last election, but just as important is to prevent us being back here in the days and weeks after the november 2020 election. >> i want to bring in democratic congressman from california. he serves on the house judiciary and foreign affairs committees and was on the committee for the second impeachment of donald trump. thank you for your patience as we were juggling that breaking ins there. let me get your reaction to what has been presented so far from the chair and vice chair just within the last couple of minutes. the argument that cheney made about the three specifics as to why mark meadows, it's not about the symbolism, it's because there is real substantive questions that he needs to account for. >> thank you for your question.
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it's actually -- than that. the january 6 committee is a bipartisan committee from the house of representatives. you can't just ignore this committee. which is what meadows is doing. any witness that does that will be held in contempt so congress is going to hold meadows in contempt and that's the appropriate step. it's not because it's mark meadows. it's because you can't under american law ignore a valid congressional committee. >> as david was saying, we are still learning the scope of the communications and the details of this plot. do you think we fully understand just to what extent this white house, whether it was through the department of justice and jeffrey clark as alleged there by liz cheney, whether it was the pressure phone calls on the georgia secretary of state. do we have a full understanding you think of how close we were for this administration to derail our democracy? >> we do not yet have a full
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understanding, but with every passing day, the facts and details are more and more alarming. we had a powerpoint that was basically a roadmap to a coup. we had people who wanted to do an insurrection then you have all these text messages from mark meadows see cell phone that shows that people understood what was happening. this was an attack on our capitol. on our democracy. it was an insurrection and no one was doing anything about it including the president of the united states and we need meadows to explain what the president was doing in the hours and hours while this attack was happening. >> do you believe there's a pressure in terms of the time that congress is under to get those answers? because are you at all concerned that by sending this out to the doj to prosecute meadows, it could create a legal process that does not get resolved for months if not at least by the end of the next year, when there are midterm elections and
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congress may switch from the democrats leading this investigation to republicans who would want to stone wall it. >> i am absolutely concerned. which is why i have legislation that will allow the house of representatives to execute inherent contempt power. it's a power the supreme court has upheld. we can use it to find witnesses or put them in confinement. it's time we use that because right now, the trial for steve bannon for example was not set until august. for mark meadows, probably further. and when he can delay enforcement subpoenas that long and render them meaningless. i highly urge the house legal counsel to reverse course because their strategy has not worked. congressional subpoenas have been rendered largely meaningless. >> let me give you two examples mentioned by the committee. one text in a lawmaker unnamed to meadows reads pence as president of the senate should
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call out all electoral votes that are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all. "the washington post" is describing another one that reads in part the committee also wants to know more about messages received regarding apparent efforts to encourage republican lawmakers in certain states to send alternate slates of electors to congress in an attempt to undue biden's win. a member of congress told meadows the plan was highly controversial and he texted back, i love it. we heard the chair say he wants to discuss in the subpoenas. what's the importance of doing so? any idea of who these lawmaker are that are among your colleagues? >> what this evidence shows is this wasn't just a random attack on our capitol. that was an attack on our capital in an attempt to nullify the election. it was to keep the former president in power. this was an attempted coup.
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think weren't attacking the cap top because they were upset about tax rates or climate change. they wanted the electoral college to not be certified. overturn the will of the american people. this is something that has to be absolutely investigate d. >> thank you for joining us. jonathan, let me come back to you for a moment. you still with us? >> i am. >> final thoughts before we take a quick break. the white house here has the ability in the past exercise that they do not intend to have any privilege applied to the previous administration and it's something that republicans want to try and exert over mark meadows given the fact he was the president's chief of staff. has the white house weighed in on any of these recent developments over the past 24 hours or so?
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>> yeah, i was in the white house earlier today for jen psaki's briefing. she fielded a number of questions about these text messages, obviously the hearing hadn't started yet, but she said it was not surprising, but disappointing, that so many conservative media voices and republicans privately would express concern about what happened on january 6th, but publicly continue to down play it. she's not weighing in though and the white house as a whole, is trying to steer a little bit clear of the matters up on the hill. endorse the idea behind the committee. they want to see justice be done here. there's no sense they're going to change their mind on executive privilege. they've been pretty firm about that. and interestingly, there's also jen psaki was asked this. about what the white house is going to do to mark january 6th and she said nothing has been announced, but we have reporting
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there's a divide among top west wing aides as to whether to do a big remembrance that day that would give president trump a platform or do something smaller and somber. paying tribute to those who lost their lives and marking it as what president biden has called one of the darkest days our nation has ever faced. >> stick with us. we're going to be rieg back. we're going to continue to listen to the house debate and eventually, that house vote to hold their former colleague and former chief of staff in contempt when we continue after this break. don't go anywhere. n we continue this break don't go anywhere.
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these non-privileged texts are further evidence president trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes. and mr. meadows' testimony will bear on another key question before this committee. did donald trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede congress' official proceedings to count electoral votes? >> liz cheney there asking the million dollar question to hold mark meadows in contempt of congress, the congresswoman quoting from 18 code implying that criminal charges for donald trump may be possible.
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let's bring in former u.s. attorney, harry lipman. break it down for us. your reaction to the congresswoman there. explain to us and our viewers what that means and legally here, is there any grounds to charge the former president under that code? >> there sure is. so the code basically just says if you are impeding or obstructing official proceedings or congress. so all the tweets from meadows, those are like prima fascia evidence of doing that. they're playing it really smart. they're saying that is the evidence we need. this is non-privileged because that sidesteps the argument about whether trump still has a claim for executive privilege. that's playing out now in the d.c. circuit, but hasn't been
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completed. he might have a good faith argument if he were relying on it but he's saying forget abt. give us this evidence. to me, that is really throwing down the gauntlet. we thought the doj didn't want a part of it, but a criminal referral on the president for that charge, they've got to look at it seriously, and that would really, really up the temperature to the boiling point of this whole enterprise. >> so, harry, just from a legal perspective, is there a strategy here to try and converge investigations and potential charges like as mentioned by liz cheney there in usc 1505 as well as what is taking place in georgia with the fulton county district attorney investigating that phone call of the president to try and call or actually call the georgia secretary of state to try and find him 11,780-plus votes, do the -- should they converge into one investigation, or should they remain separate
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from a legal perspective, do you think? >> short answer is, they should remain separate. and really, what she's saying is, we really need this evidence, because one of the inquiries about the privilege, this privilege and others, is how bad is it needed? what's on the other side? because they are limited. so, they're not saying somehow that georgia d.a. and the doj should join forces and bring one case. what they're saying is, meadows, we need your evidence. it is critically important. and it is not privileged. you need to show up and talk. >> lemire, politically speaking here, jonathan, how realistically are charges against the former president? do you get a sense -- this is a guy who's been impeached twice. is there a political appetite to see this go into that realm? >> i'll preface this by saying anything can happen. i would have to say, no, for the people that i have talked to, at least let's put it this way. it's unlikely.
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we already, of course, d.c. is such a hornet's nest right now and so polarized. certainly no one in the white house is going to weigh in on this. they are very clear, they want the department of justice to be its own entity, to be separate and independent, which they say did not happen under donald trump. certainly, privately, you'll talk to some democrats and republicans who talk about this very subject matter. there are some democrats, of course, who want to see it, who feel that donald trump should be brought to justice and if charges are warranted, he should face them but think about just what that would kick up if that was the case. that's what a lot of democrats and certainly republicans have said to me. they feel like it would be, you know, that already this is a -- an election as we head into a midterm year next year and a presidential two years after that, people i've talked to, government officials and law enforcement officials alike really are afraid that violence is part of the political discourse now, that january 6th is just the beginning of what we could see down the road and charging a former president, something of course that never happened before in our nation's
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history, will just exacerbate that strain and potentially lead to more of that. so, it's anybody's guess. and if charges are warranted, maybe they'll be filed, but certainly, politics, in terms of the politics of it, i don't know there's much of an appetite here in d.c. >> david, i want you to weigh in on that. obviously, you have -- you're way more politically experienced than anyone else here. from a political standpoint, do you want to have a former president facing criminal charges? and i understand the argument being made from a legal standpoint that this is for our democracy and you have to do this at any cost if there is criminal wrongdoing at stake here. but at the same time, does the white house want to see this? it would suck up the political energy, if you will, in this country, given the current climate as jonathan just described. >> it would, ayman, but i think your point that the facts need to drive this, jonathan touched on this as well, it may seem quaint, but given the stakes here, i mean, you may count
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american democracy's length in another 36 months if there's not proper accountability here. so, yeah, maybe, in your political playbook about, what's the best way to navigate the midterms, you know, you might not have charges against trump on the first page if you're the democrats. but i really believe that that has to be immaterial. and i imagine it's going to be immaterial to liz cheney and others on the committee, so i think you've got to let this proceed, and if it's warranted, i'm sure that there will be charges filed, and we know how explosive that will be, and if not, not. but i don't think you can say, okay, the facts suggest there should be filed, now let's figure out how, from a political standpoint, if that's going to be helpful. this is a historic moment and i still don't think it's getting enough attention in the body politic among citizens and news media is spending a lot of attention on it but we need more. we came this close to losing our democracy, and if there's not
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accountability, i think we're going to lose it. because what's pretty clear is the vast majority of republican elected officials in washington, certainly in the states where they're trying to put trump disciples in, you know, election, seats of power, and too many republican primary voters would just be fine with a country where donald trump rules until he dies and then donald trump jr. rules and then ivanka trump rules. that's where we are today. and so, i think the politics of it, yes, could be complicated, but they have to take a backseat. >> yeah, and when you explain it that clearly, it is just an absolutely a harrowing thought to think we are 36 months away from our democracy being at this crossroads and potentially this time not sustaining the pressure that it was put under on january 6th. jackie, i want to get to a point, though, that david talked about earlier, which was, when you have a large part of this country, 60% of the population, believing the election was stolen, you watch the fox news and the conservative media echo chambers since last night, no
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mention of these tweets, no mention of mark meadows, january 6th is portrayed as a political protest, people on trial for january 6th portrayed as political prisoners and martyrs in the context of the right-wing media, how do you breakthrough? how does anyone break through to that part of the country to get them to understand what's at stake? is there a concerted plan by democrats and others in d.c. to drive home the message of what's at stake? >> well, look, i think, first off, it's important for us to talk about this in a nonpartisan way. i think the media needs to continue to relentlessly chase the facts and i think it's important for those covering the january 6th investigation to state the purpose of the committee, which is to put together a report of findings and proposed legislation to add more guardrails to our democracy as is so if a president abuses his power going forward, that
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there are, again, there are more guardrails and place to prevent the abuse of emergency powers so that a president doesn't potentially invoke the insurrection act or martial law in order to use the military to quell protests. the purpose of the committee is not to find the president criminally liable for some of what happened. that is just a result, potentially, of some of the findings that they're stumbling upon now, but at the end of the day, this is to provide a comprehensive, historic account that we still do not have. we still do not know what president trump was doing in some of the hours during january 6th as the violence was under way, how he was responding. what he was telling the national guard to do. and that is important for republicans and democrats to get to the bottom of that, to provide transparency, and to come to an agreement on the reality of the situation and to tell that story in a compelling way for the american people. >> all right, my thanks to
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jackie, harry, david, and jonathan for joining us throughout this breaking news hour. we're going to continue to follow the house of representatives. the next hour of "deadline white house" starts right after this quick break. don't go anywhere. s right after this quick break don't go anywhere. so we only pay for what we need. -hey tex, -wooo. can someone else get a turn? yeah, hang on, i'm about to break my own record. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ you booked a sunny vrbo ski chalet. with endless views of snow-covered peaks. ♪ ♪ a stove that inspires magnificent hot cocoa. and a perfect ski-in ski-out. but the thing they'll remember forever? grandpa coming out of retirement to give a few ski lessons. the time to plan your get together is now. ♪ ♪ find it on vrbo. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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with no line-activation fees or term contract required. see if you can save by switching today. comcast business. powering possibilities. ♪♪ hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in new york. i'm ayman mohyeldin in for nicole wallace. debate set to resume soon in the house over whether to find former white house chief of staff mark meadows in contempt for refusing to appear before the january 6th select committee after he had already handed over thousands of documents to that committee. now, this would be the first time that the house has voted to hold a former member in contempt since the 1830s, and as we continue to monitor the debate, the vote likely taking place in the next hour or so, we're going to take a closer look at the stunning revelations that came to light just last night as the
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1/6 select committee made public text messages meadows had received from fox news hosts on the day of the insurrection, including the president's own son. now on the night of the 6th and in the many months following, the narratives being broadcast to fox viewers around this country were that the riot was the fault of bad actors, a few who took it just too far or that it was just a normal protest that people exercising their rights. but now, thanks to these text messages turned over by meadows to the select committee, we know that in private, behind closed doors, on the day of the insurrection, some fox news anchors felt that storming the capitol was a horror that would ruin the ex-president's legacy, and he had the power to stop it and should. here are the text messages sent to mark meadows during the capitol riot that were read aloud by congresswoman liz cheney last night. laura ingraham wrote, mark, the president needs to tell people in the capitol to go home. this is hurting all of us.
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he is destroying his legacy. brian kilmeade, please get him on tv. destroying everything you have accomplished. and then there's sean hannity. can he make a statement asking people to leave the capitol? now, we should note almost 24 hours later, fox news has not responded to a request for comment from msnbc news about their anchors' messages. those reveal a lot. quote, these texts prove something essential. no matter what they say now, trump's loyalists knew at the time that what was happening at the capitol was not a peaceful protest. they knew that it was a dangerous attack on american democracy, and they knew that trump was responsible for it. that's why they sent the texts, pleading with him through his staff to make it stop. the hypocrisy at fox news as congress gets ready to vote to hold mark meadows in contempt of
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congress is where we start this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. ashley parker, "washington post" white house bureau chief. neal katyal, msnbc contributor and olivia troye, former homeland security advisor to vice president mike pence and director of republican accountability project and nbc news national political reporter sal kapur. give us a quick update on what is happening at the moment. i understand the debate has been paused, are we expected to see this play out in the next couple of minutes? how many -- how many more hours will this last, do you think? >> ayman, the house is still in the midst of debating this resolution. they are likely to vote on it, have a final vote sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. that has been the plan, that continues to be the plan, and it is highly likely, all but certain this resolution will pass. the only question is how many republicans join.
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we know liz cheney and adam kinzinger are going to be among them but a number of other republicans who are not on the january 6th committee, who didn't even vote for the january 6th committee, voted to hold steve bannon in contempt the last time this happened. meadows will be, as you mentioned, the first member of congress who was voted by the body that he served in, referred to the justice department for a criminal prosecution. he served in that body for years. he's friends with them, he worked with them, cosponsored bills with them. this is an extraordinary move, and it shows how serious the january 6th committee is about what meadows is doing in their view, which is refusing to cooperate, so this will go to the justice department once the full house approves it. it will be certified to a u.s. attorney in washington who will have the decision to make about whether and when to prosecute mark meadows. the last time this happened with steve bannon, 22 days elapsed between that certification and the time an indictment came down so if the timing holds, it doesn't look like meadows will be having a very happy christmas or a happy new year. >> so, neal, let's elaborate a
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little bit and expand on what sahil was just saying there. legally speaking, once the vote takes place and assuming it's going to pass as it's expected to, what happens next? what is the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. going to consider? and from your legal perspective, from your expertise, is this the most efficient way to do it? because as you probably saw in my last hour, i was talking to congressman ted lieu who said, no, the congress has inherent contempt powers. they should exercise it because this could drag out and be delayed. >> so, first of all, i mean, i want to say, just even before we get to the justice department for what they'll do, the vote right now is hugely significant. i mean, do you know how hard it is, if you're a former member of congress, to be voted on for contempt? i mean, it's kind of like failing a class at stanford. you've really got to try. but meadows did and the last time this happened was 1832. now, what's going to happen, presuming this vote goes through the way i think we all expect it to, that meadows will be
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recommended to the justice department for prosecution, is that the career attorneys are going to take the first cut and evaluate whether or not he had criminal intent, was he acting on the up and up, and does he have a valid claim of executive privilege? the claim of executive privilege is weak, at best. that's actually an overstatement. it's shoddy. and it's shoddy because of reasons that the d.c. circuit, the nation's second highest court, said last week, but in addition, meadows wrote a book about all this stuff, so on the one hand, he's, like, trying to publish a book and make money off this. on the other, he's like, i can't talk about it, it will interfere with presidential secrecy so this is not an executive privilege claim that's going anywhere. the other point will be about his criminal intent. was he doing it -- is he refusing to testify because he's trying to hide the truth and defy congress? or is he doing it because of some valid reason? and again, i think it's very hard to show a valid reason. that's what the justice department's going to be evaluating, and you know, i
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suspect they'll evaluate this in less than 22 days and find that mark meadows should be prosecuted for criminal contempt. as you say, there are a couple other options available. congress could try and enforce the subpoena on its own with its inherent contempt power. that's, again, something that it hasn't used in a long, long time, but it does have that available. and indeed, the justice department can try or congress can try to enforce the subpoena in federal court civilly, say, look, we're going to leave criminal sanctions for another day. we're not sure we're going to do there but right now, we're going to federal court to say, you've got to give us this information. this information is vital. it's about, you know, what happened on january 6th during an armed attack on our capitol. >> yeah, and it seems to me the degree of stupid toe with which mark meadows is trying to sell a book but at the same time saying, i can't talk about what i wrote in the book. meanwhile, i've handed over documents to the committee, but i can't tell you what is in the documents that i handed over, is just absolutely mind-boggling.
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neal, meadows here is the second select committee witness now facing contempt, as sahil mentioned. steve bannon was the other. here's adam kinzinger on msnbc comparing the two cases. >> in the most critical respect, mark meadows and steve bannon are in exactly the same position. that is, they refuse to even appear, so they didn't come and assert a privilege. they just basically said, we don't even need to bother showing up. so in that sense, they stand exactly the same way. you're right, bannon was -- hadn't been in the white house for years. meadows was the chief of staff. but meadows is talking about these events. he's talking about it publicly. he's releasing documents to the congress, at least he had, and he's written a book about this. so, if there's anyone who's made the case against meadows being treated any differently than steve bannon, it's mark meadows. >> evaluate that compare and
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contrast, from mark meadows to steve bannon. >> representative schiff is 100% correct, so, you know, there was a difference between meadows and bannon in that bannon never even worked in the white house during the relevant events of january 6th, so the idea that he was acting by executive privilege is, you know, just a joke on its face. meadows, at least, was the white house chief of staff. but on the other hand, meadows wrote the book. he turned over this information, ayman, as you were saying a moment ago and now is saying, oh, but i can't talk about it and i think most importantly, meadows looks like he's in the thick of the whole thing. i mean, meadows looks like, according to these documents, he was meeting members of congress, giving them this powerpoint presentation or talking about it, he was meeting the coup plotters. it looks like he was some sort of official liaison between them. he personally coordinated with the january 6th rally planners, and he promised that the national guard would go and help only these, quote, protrump
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folks. you know, this is demonstrating, like, these people protect america the way that they govern, which is, like, only care about republicans. i can't imagine something more unconscionable coming from anyone in the white house, let alone the chief of staff. >> i was going to say, just to add to your point, and sorry for jumping in there, and as we just heard from liz cheney, he was on that phone call with the president to the georgia secretary of state, trying to get the georgia secretary of state to find him votes to overturn the results there. he was involved in the communication, again, according to liz cheney, with the department of justice as the president was trying to install jeffrey clark in the department of justice as attorney general when they were telling him, there is no evidence that this election was stolen. so, he is not just a symbolic figure in this investigation. he has some real substance that they want to find out about. ashley, you covered the trump white house extensively. what is your reading of how
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trump world is feeling as this vote gets under way in a few hours and just over the past 24 hours, that damaging evidence that is being put forth by this committee in small doses, i should note, compared to the full report? >> well, it's a little complicated in terms of their feelings to separate it out towards mark meadows, for instance. the president is furious with mark meadows. he is upset about the book he put out, and it was interesting, you were talking about how mark meadows sort of tried to have it both ways with the select committee, he gave them some documents and then he offended them, i mean, mark meadows may be the only person who has offended the january 6th committee and the former president who is at war with that committee, just by what he wrote in his book. the president is upset about any number of details, including, i have been told, a scene mark meadows described when former president trump was very sick with coronavirus and meadows describes him sort of in his
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bed, looking disheveled with his hair askew. that's always a red line for the former president. and you know, people in trump world writ large in talking to them, they just sort of can't believe it. there's very little love lost for mark meadows, even among people who worked closely with him, and in some ways, most especially among people who worked closely with him. a number of them do not like him or respect him as a chief of staff, and they felt like rather than do that traditional job as a gatekeeper, he, in many ways, as these text messages, as these documents, as the information coming out of the committee is showing, was a gate opener, a conspiracy theorist could go to mark meadows with an unfounded, false, baseless claim about the election, and mark meadows in many instances, as has now been documented, would pass it on to someone in the white house, which is just antithetical to what a traditional chief of staff should do. >> olivia, how many members of congress, republican members of
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congress, are possibly deleting messages from fox news anchors this morning after what has transpired? i mean, it's a bit speculative but i'm more interested in what you make of what those republicans who are on capitol hill and those that are communicating with mark meadows after what has transpired in the 14 or 15 hours since last night, how they feel about these ten lawmakers that have not been named but were clearly either trying to help overturn the election or messaging mark meadows to say, we're sorry, we tried, we couldn't do it, or calling on the president to stop the violence that we're seeing. >> there's no doubt that this investigation is closing in on them but here's the thing. this is a group of morally bankrupt individuals who really have no regard for anybody else except for preservation of power for themselves at whatever cost at obscuring the truth. the grave danger about everything that has happened here is not only the lead-up that happened to january 6th and everything that has happened and
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now we're seeing it firsthand about these individuals who actually were texting and were concerned about what was happening that day. but the fact of the cover-up that happened in the days after and the fact that we are 11 months after and these narratives continue on, and they're impacting across america. we have these sham audits that are happening across america that are the result of these events, of all of these lies that have been told, of the cover-up, of this ongoing narrative, and a result of fox news anchors pushing these lies into households. think about the division that's happening across families, across america, who believe in the cover-up and the conspiracies that these people have been fed, and think about the threats to families, the threats to families of members of congress, threats to election officials and their families. all of these people, all of the second and third order effects that all of these people are fully aware that they are basically enabling and complicit in and i think that is what is
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so egregious is just watching all of this surface is just thinking about all of these things combined and the magnitude of the impact of this group of individuals who still is going to great lengths to obscuring the truth, and how many will vote today? how many are going to actually vote? those in congress. who is actually going to vote to hold them in contempt? who will actually take a stand? will it be any different? i'm very curious to see what these individuals will do today. >> sahil, you have the pulse of capitol hill much better than i do. give us a sense, based on your reporting, how this is playing out among republicans, and obviously, there are different types of republicans, but what is the consensus among, as olivia was just saying, this investigation closing in on lawmakers who are communicating with mark meadows? some saying, we tried, we couldn't, suggesting that they were involved in the attempt to overturn the election from the inside, not from the protests on the outside, but what is the
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consensus about where this investigation goes toward those lawmakers and whether or not we could see this january 6th committee, select committee, subpoena members of congress? sitting members of congress. >> well, ayman, let's start with the fact that house republican leaders are whipping their members to vote against this contempt resolution. in other words, they're pressuring their caucus to vote this down and arguing that meadows should be shielded from a referral to the justice department for criminal contempt for defying a subpoena on january 6th. and look, frankly, the mood among the republican caucus is that they don't accept the legitimacy of this committee. they think the fact that speaker pelosi booted out two members, to them, means they don't need to give this the credence. they have tried to stop this investigation. they have not encouraged people to cooperate with this committee, so i think the mood among the republican caucus is focused on the 2022 midterm election. they can win -- they can shut this committee down if they win that election and that's created a lot of urgency among democrats as well.
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they recognize that they may not be in control in a year. they have to finish this investigation. they have to put out that report and most importantly, they have to actualize those recommendations and these are things -- i've been talking to democratic members of this committee and republican members as well and they want to make changes to things like the electoral count act to prevent a situation where a single senator and someone in the house can force an objection that could prevent the counting of electoral votes. some of them are curious about the ability of the vice president under this warped interception of the electoral count act who can simply refuse to count the votes. that's not how they believe it was designed. and they believe that clarity is needed here, so the attitude among house republicans is, don't cooperate. don't encourage this committee. win the election, and go their own way with it. shut this investigation down. and for the democrats, it's, get this investigation done, and by the way, they do believe the fact that steve bannon was not only held in contempt but indicted by the justice department has jolted other
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hostile witnesses to cooperate, and there is some evidence of that. there were a number of them who were stonewalling. some of them have begun engaging, and some of them have begun cooperating, including, by the way, mark meadows, who gave thousands of pages of documents before he turned around and said, he's not willing to cooperate further because he asserted -- he was asserting a wide claim of -- a broad claim of privilege that the committee does not accept. they're scratching their heads, saying, how can you provide all these documents and then say you're not willing to come in and talk about these documents? >> ashley, last night, you know, mark meadows went on sean hannity's program and, you know, there was very little mention of the text messages and the context in which they were actually being read out by liz cheney, but it is very telling what fox news thought of at the time, and everything they've been doing since then to try and downplay january 6th, to try and say that it was a peaceful protest, to try and sometimes even imply that it was the police that was using excessive force and breaking up these
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peaceful protesters and we've -- we know what republicans are saying, that some of them are describing it as just a touristic event that took place on the capitol. what is the dynamic in which fox news, behind closed doors, is saying one thing to mark meadows to get the president to act quickly, which we know he did not do. it's not true. and then what they've been spinning since then to their viewers? how can anyone continue to trust what they're saying to their viewers? >> well, with those text messages revealed is what a number of people who are close students of the media and fox news already knew, that a lot of those, especially those late-night primetime hosts, a lot of those big names at fox news, very much do consider themselves part of the same team as former president trump, so you saw that in the text messages. the sort of, this is hurting us. not even, this is hurting the country. but you know, this is hurting us. as if team trump.
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what was most revealing was that in those texts, i think it was the third point of what you put on the screen earlier from amanda carpenter, all of these people recognized that president trump was the one who had the ability to do something to stop it and the reason why is because contrary to what they said on the air later, it wasn't antifa or a few bad apples or just a peaceful protest. it was trump's maga supporters. it wasn't all of his supporters, but the people there who overran the capitol were trump supporters. and that is why you saw trump allies like those fox news personalities telling the president, stop your supporters. you are their leader. you are the only one who can do anything to stop this. that's what they recognize, being as close to the president as they are, even though, as you point out, that's certainly not what they said on air going forward when they sort of tried to whitewash a deadly insurrection as something other than what it was. >> yeah, and liz cheney was saying just in the last hour,
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they were summoned to d.c. by trump and they were provoked to violence by trump. ashley parker, olivia troye, thank you both for starting us off this hour. neal, sahil, please stick around. we're going to continue to monitor the house floor for that debate over holding mark meadows in contempt. and when we return, in the face of the republican-led assault on voting rights, there are some new signs today that the senate may be open to a workaround on the filibuster. a key step toward passing legislation to safeguard our right to vote. plus, besides the meadows contempt vote, the house is also voting today to tackle the alarming rise of islamaphobia around the world and in the halls of the u.s. congress. we're going to tell you about that as well. and what may be a remarkable breakthrough in the fight against covid. a pill that can prevent serious disease, hospitalization, and even death. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. riders, the lone wolves of the great highway.
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we set the stage to raise the nation's debt ceiling, and yet, as we cast that vote to begin addressing the debt ceiling, this same chamber is allowing the sealing of our democracy to crash in around us. the american people have been pushing for leaders in washington to address voting rights. i have been hearing from my constituents in georgia.
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they are deeply worried. they are worried for good reason. they know their history. they are witnessing what is happening to our democracy in realtime. and they see the handwriting on the wall. >> georgia senator raphael warnock there sounding the alarm on the senate floor just now and urging the senate to pass voting rights legislation. voting rights legislation has been held up by republicans in the senate but today, what may be a step in the right direction. senator joe manchin of west virginia, who so far has resisted ending the filibuster, met with a group of moderate democrats on voting rights today. voting rights advocates wanted to see if manchin would be open to a carveout to the senate's filibuster rule for voting rights legislation. joining our conversation, errin haines, neal katyal, sahil kapur. how likely are these talks to
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facilitate a workaround that will allow voting rights to pass? i want to read you a little bit of what manchin had to say today. all of my discussions have been bipartisan. republicans and democrats. a rules change should be done to where we all have input in this rules change, because we're going to have to live with it. and so, again, it seems like he's not yet 100% committed to this rules change, but he wants to get some republican buy-in into it. >> right, ayman, and look, senator manchin is somebody who has been in conversation with people like senator warnock on the issue of voting rights, which i know a lot of us thought was maybe done for this year, that maybe nothing was going to be able to get done on this, but senator manchin, let's remember too, before he came to washington, was a secretary of state in west virginia, so voting rights was an issue that was once under his purview back in his home state of west virginia and something that he is more than familiar with. but yes, absolutely, your viewers should be tuning in this week because we have seen movement on voting rights that
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some folks are putting together. a tweet from nbc news congressional reporter julie tsirkin caught my eye just yesterday when she asked senator manchin whether he was open to this carveout to pass voting rights bay simple majority and he said, we're talking about that. how the senate can function the way it was designed to function and so you see him going on the record about restoring the senate filibuster reform in a way that signals an opening, and then today, we saw that majority leader schumer is pulling the senate in earlier next year than we thought he was going to, january 3rd, and then of course senator warnock giving one of his most impassioned speeches on voting rights and calling out the hypocrisy on using the simple majority to raise the debt limit but where the country's priorities are when they're not ready to do the same to protect voting rights. >> forgive me here for a moment of being skeptical on what joe manchin is signaling. sahil, give us a bit of reality.
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we have seen joe manchin signal a lot of things when it comes to other important legislation, whether it's build back better, willing to compromise, and we know how that's going right now. what is your read based on your reporting of the sincerity of these talks? is there actual follow-up to them? are we just looking at joe manchin signaling that he would be willing to talk about a workaround for the filibuster on voting rights? >> ayman, it remains to be seen, frankly, but the thing to know, the most important thing to keep in mind about this is that the debt limit carveout only existed because republicans signed off on it. they agreed to pass a piece of legislation that said, the senate can just this one time, just for the purpose of raising the debt limit, get around the filibuster, and that was their own cheeky way of trying to keep their fingerprints off an issue that they know needs to happen to prevent a catastrophic economic meltdown without having voters know they acted to lift the debt ceiling to prevent it from happening. that process is not replicable on a major piece of voting
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rights legislation because they would need to provide ten republicans to make that happen. the only way democrats can do this is if they trigger the so-called nuclear option which is overturn the ruling of the chair and set a precedent to change the rules. they did this in 2013 with lower court nominations and executive nominations. republicans did this in 2017 with the supreme court. the one person in the senate, the one person in either party in the senate to vote against both of those was joe manchin. his red line has always been that rules changes have to be done in a bipartisan basis. he's endorsed significant rules changes in the past. he's endorsed a talking filibuster, he's been open to other sorts of rules changes in the nearly decade that i have covered him, that he's been in the senate, but for, you know, reasons that people can debate, for reasons that many of his colleagues don't fully understand, he has staked his identity at home on this. the cause for hope is that democrats remain determined, extremely determined, to get
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something done on voting rights that's not just chuck schumer, not just reverend senator warnock. it is amy klobuchar, everyone in the moderate wing of the democratic party as well. kyrsten sinema is a cosponsor of boast the major voting rights bills. she's also a question mark on the filibuster. let's see what progress they can make with him but this is going to be a reckoning for democratic leaders because they have promised one way or another they're going to get this done. there's still not that clarity as to whether they can get joe manchin to go along with what would have to be a partisan rules change. >> we're not talking about just theoretical protection of voting rights here. we're talking about saving the democracy, because when you look at yesterday's revelations and what liz cheney was talking about, the president calling the georgia secretary of state to try to find those votes, georgia passing restrictive voting rights legislation earlier this year, trying to take over election boards in the state of georgia, there are some real implications on the need to actually get voting rights
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protected because people obviously believe what is happening across the country is an attempt to marginalize brown and black voters, which came out and delivered the state of georgia to people like senator warnock and the democrats' control of both chambers of congress. >> that's exactly right, ayman, and that's why i take senator manchin at his word, that he's serious about evaluating the possibility of some sort of filibuster reform. because nothing is more important, ayman. i mean, nothing. we're in an unprecedented assault on the right to vote in this country. about 20 states have passed laws just since the november election making it harder for people to vote. and voting rights used to be a bipartisan thing. when i defended it in the supreme court in 2010, the voting rights act had been passed 421-3 in the house of representatives and 98-0 in the senate. and now, things have changed, and the republican party has become the party of, basically, diminishing people's ability to
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vote, and even senator manchin's concerned about this. you remember, he introduced his own voting rights bill, which was just recently rejected by every republican, including senators collins and murkowski, and so i can imagine that he is feeling some frustration with where the republican party has moved to, and he's getting support from conservative democrats like senator teser from red state montana who are saying, look, we need filibuster reform. there are two different ways to do it. one, as sahil says, is a carveout, so you say, just like supreme court nominees, if they don't have to get a super majority of 60 votes, neither should the right to vote. that the right to vote, you know, sure, you can have a filibuster with 60 votes needed, but only in a system in which you have a true democracy that's functioning with true representation. otherwise, you can't. and the other thing, which manchin has himself written about is to have a talking filibuster. say, fine, you can filibuster and require 60 votes but you've got to be on the floor of the senate like ted cruz
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reading "green eggs and ham" or whatever. those are the two options. >> i was going to say, there isn't a person i've spoken to, activist in this country, that thinks that you can outdo what republicans are trying to do. you cannot out-organize what republicans are trying to do in terms of voting rights. this requires federal legislation. errin haines, neal katyal, thank you very much for spending time with us. sahil, i'm going to ask you to stay put. when we return, debate on the house floor resuming on the resolution to hold former trump chief of staff mark meadows in contempt. the house today also set to vote on a bill to tackle the rise of islamaphobia, a problem that has infected the halls of congress in recent weeks. plus, breaking news, another big legal defeat for donald trump. this time, over his taxes. we're going to tell you about that next. his taxes. we're going toel tl you about that next.
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all right, breaking news this hour, a court has dismissed former president trump's lawsuit to keep his tax records from going to the house of representatives. for more on this, we are joined by nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. pete? >> so this is in a decision from a federal district court judge here in washington. trevor mcfadden. this is over the long-running fight between donald trump and what was originally the treasury department and later it changed its mind about a request from the house ways and means committee to get the president's taxes. now, the committee's stated reason for wanting the taxes was to see how the irs was auditing
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the taxes of presidents because the irs said it had a program to automatically do it so that no poor irs person would have to make the decision about whether the president's taxes were going to be audited or not, and the committee said they wanted to look at that -- his taxes to see whether that was actually working or not. mr. trump and his lawyers consistently said, this is just an attempt to embarrass the position of the president. it was a political fishing expedition and that the democrats had said from almost the day he was elected that they wanted to see his taxes. well, today, the judge has thrown the lawsuit out, citing a statute, a law passed by congress, that says when any of the three tax-writing committees in congress want to see any individual's tax returns, the treasury department must turn them over. and quoting from the decision here, judge mcfadden says, a long line of supreme court cases requires great deference to
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facially valid congressional inquiries, even the special solicitude corded to former presidents does not alter that outcome. and there's an interesting thing at the very end of the ruling here. the judge says that if the committee is serious about what it said, that its real motive here is indeed to better understand the irs's program for auditing presidential tax returns, then the committee can do this without publishing mr. trump's returns, without making them public. he says, public disclosure of another's tax returns is a grave offense and prior committee chairmen have widely resisted using this statute to publicize individuals' returns. anyone, he says, can see that publishing confidential tax information of a political rival is the type of move that will return to plague the inventor, but then he says this at the end. it might not be right or wise to do so, but it is the chairman's right to do so. congress has granted him this
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extraordinary power, and the courts are loath to second guess congressional motives or duly enacted statutes so he says, case dismissed. obviously, mr. trump's lawyers will appeal this. they have tried everything in their power to try to restrict the publication or the turning over of his tax returns. the only failure they have had so far, before this case, was the tax returns were given to a grand jury in new york, a statewide grand jury that was investigating his -- the company's finances. so, this is another loss for mr. trump, undoubtedly going to lead to an appeal. >> all right, pete williams live in d.c. with that breaking news. pete, thank you as always. and we continue to keep an eye on the house floor where members are still debating the contempt resolution against mark meadows. later, they will take up a bill condemning islamaphobic hate. that bill, cosponsored by representative ilhan omar, will be voted on after the mark
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meadows contempt vote and it comes just weeks after the congresswoman was the subject of attacks from representative lauren boebert. the bill would create a special envoy and include state-sponsored anti-muslim violence in the state's annual human rights report. let me start with you and just how this has all played out in terms of both the condemnation coming from senior members of congress, the house leadership, and now this action given the time frame that we're seeing. what is your reaction to how forceful the condemnation has been and whether or not this is adequate? >> thank you so much, ayman. i think that the condemnation has not been adequate, and i think it's important to understand what's at stake. i think some people might look at this and think it's, you know, it's a joke that maybe is
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being taken too seriously, but it actually was a deliberately and very carefully scripted piece of political propaganda. not just against representative omar but against an entire community of religious americans. so, what we are dealing with, what's at stake here is political propaganda to take forth a type of bigotry that hurts every american, not just muslims. what we find in our research at the institute for social policy and understanding is that as islamaphobia grows, so does bigotry against every other minority. so do hate crimes against jews. so do hate crimes against african americans. you know, we were just talking on this program about voting rights. interestingly, there's a link between anti-voting rights legislation and anti-muslim legislation. so, so much more is at stake here than just, you know, an
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off-color joke or us being too politically correct or too sensitive. this is literally our democracy that we're dealing with. >> yeah, and you brought up a good point about the wider attacks that are added to the list, if you will, after islamaphobia, but i want to play you a sound byte from a pennsylvania representative who actually used that very same argument while speaking at the hearing on friday. take a listen to this sound byte. >> i have many pennsylvania dutch that feel that they're not treated properly. let's add some more. how about those that are gay? you know? the lgbtq community. that should be part of this bill. let's keep going, you know? there are people that are overweight and there are skinny kids that get picked on. why aren't they included in this as well? >> so, the republican
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congressman there is obviously mocking the legislation and trying to make this sound that it was just simply about a congresswoman who was picked on and as a result it should include the list of people that he mentioned there. what does that say to you that in a hearing to condemn islamaphobia, you have members of the republican party openly mocking the issue of islamaphobia? >> yeah, what that says to me is he simply doesn't understand what we're dealing with and what's at stake. so if you look at public opinion about muslims and islam over the past 20 years, you find something really surprising, that anti-muslim sentiment among republicans has no correlation with actual violence carried out by muslims. it correlates, instead, with republican political rhetoric around the run-up to the iraq war and around election season.
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and as that anti-muslim sentiment spikes, so does acceptance of authoritarianism. so does acceptance of other types of bigotry. so, he's making fun of it because he simply doesn't understand what is being eroded. it's the very foundation of our democracy. when we allow this kind of rhetoric to be normalized, when we allow these kinds of statements to go uncondemned. >> sahil, really quickly, is this motion going to pass, and where does it go next? >> it's likely to pass, ayman, and then it goes to the senate where, of course, as we alluded to earlier this hour, there's a filibuster. it's not clear it makes it to president biden's desk, but look, it's worth noting, ayman, that democrats, for many of the reasons that dalia is talking about, some of them had pushed to throw lauren boebert off her committee assignments much as they did with paul gosar and
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marjorie taylor greene. it's notable that house leaders decided not to go this route. part of the reason is there's fatigue within the democratic caucus after doing this a couple times. they worry if they do it too frequently, there could be retribution down the road as far as 12, 13 months down the road if republicans take control, they could start throwing democrats off committees as well. but it is notable that they've done that in the past. they haven't done that in this instance. they're going a different route, ayman. >> all right, sahil, dalia, thank you very much. with cases of coronavirus on the rise yet again, and a new variant taking hold, a breakthrough today that could radically reshape the fight against covid. we're going to tell you about that next. don't go anywhere. tell you abo that next. don't go anywhere.
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so two promising developments we want to tell you about today in the fight against covid, as experts analyze the fast spreading new omicron variant. pfizer says that its final review of trials confirms its oral covid antiviral pill is nearly 90 present effective. data suggests the pill is effective against the omicron variant and cuts hospitalization by about 70% in standard risk adults. the variant appears much more resistant to pfizer's first two vaccine dose when is it comes to preventing infection, but the variant still appears to cause
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less severe illness than previous covid variants, with hospitalizations among covid patients dropping 29% since march of last year. let's bring in dr. peter hotez, the codirector of the center for vaccine development at texas children's hospital and the dean of the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine. dr. hotez, great to see you again as always. some significant news today. how many lives could this antiviral pill save, and when can we expect the fda to move on approving both the pfizer pill and the one from merck that have been both submitted for emergency use authorization? >> yeah, well, first the pfizer pill. i think it's really important we move quickly on it. we are expecting a number of breakthrough infections even among partially vaccinated or in some cases fully vaccinated individuals, so we do need that pill now because it looks like omicron is starting to rev up a little sooner than i thought. i thought we'd have a little
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more time given that there's typically been a four to six-week lag when it really pops up in the uk with alpha and delta. i'm a little worried that it's still going to be somewhat delayed in terms of getting it out in time for this particular wave that we're going to be experiencing. but in theory, it looks like a great medicine provided you give it very early, and that's the other asterisk on something like a pill that works by interfering with virus replication. this covid-19 has two phases to it, the early virus replication phase and the later host inflammatory response. the key is early. it means that if you're going to see a big effect of this medicine, it means the minute you start having symptoms and you start testing positive, you have to get treated pretty early on if you're going to see that 90% effect. so the point is not a substitute for a vaccine. >> okay. so you just kind of beat me to that question that i was going to ask you. you know what i was going -- where i was going with this.
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you have folks who are going to be out there saying antiviral pills, they're going to have a positive impact on making treatment available at home versus getting vaccinated and hurting efforts to end the pandemic. why is it still better to protect ourselves with vaccination as opposed to relying on the antiviral pills? >> yeah, you're absolutely right. so my worry is that people are going to create this false equivalency. they're going to think, hey, i could either get vaccinated or i'll get the pill. doesn't work that way. the vaccine is far more efficient. that's the one that's going to save your life. we have to think about this pill as a backstop. if you have breakthrough infection or if you start getting sick early on, you have to hope you've caught it early on. there's not a guarantee for that. so don't get into this false dichotomy where i can either get treated or vaccinated. it's imperative you get vaccinated. >> final thought on this south africa study about the transmissibility of omicron and
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what it means for our fight against covid. >> what it means is this thing is like a fast moving freight train. the center for disease control director dr. walensky said today already 3% of the virus isolates are omicron. this thing is going up faster than many of us expected. and here's the other thing i'm worried about, ayman, is that we are going to see a number of breakthrough hospitalizations among our health care providers who while won't require hospitalization, they'll be sick so they'll be calling out sick. so i really worry about the instability in our health system, and a lot of people unable to take care of patients in the hospital. that's the weak link right now, and that's what we need the cdc director, the white house to address right now. >> something to keep an eye on. dr. peter hotez, always appreciate you giving us the facts. we're going to be right back after this quick break.
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thank you for being with us today, nicolle wallace will be back tomorrow. "the beat" starts now. >> good to see you. welcome to "the beat." i am ari melber, and we're tracking breaking nauz. all eyes are on the house floor you see right here where democrats say they have the votes to hold trump aid mark meadows in criminal contempt tonight for defying the january 6th probe. tonight's vote would tee off a major call with doj about whether to go ahead and indict meadows which would lead to trial and a possible jail sentence, the fate of steve


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