tv American Voices With Alicia Menendez MSNBC December 19, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
so that a foster child isn't doing it solo. you just have to stand up for a kid who isn't fluent in bureaucracy, or maybe not in their own emotions. so show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at helpfosterchildren.com good evening, everyone. i'm katie phang in for alicia menendez. we start with a shocking curveball thrown at the white house this morning. senator joe manchin announcing he will not vote in favor of president biden's build back better legislation. >> i've always said if i can't go home and explain it to the people of west virginia, i can't vote for it.
and i cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. i just can't. i tried everything humanly possible. i can't get there. >> the white house says it was blindsided. press secretary jen psaki releasing a statement sharply criticizing manchin saying, senator manchin's comments this morning on fox are at odds with his discussions this week with the president, with white house staff, and with his own public utterances. weeks ago senator manchin committed to the president at his home in wilmington to support the build back better framework that the president subsequently announced. senator manchin pledged repeatedly to negotiate in good faith. congresswoman cori bush, one of six house progressives who voted no on infrastructure despite assurances from biden that he would get all senators on board for build back better, says she's not surprised at manchin's decision. >> so when i think about this no, this was a no all along.
so what we had was a bit of leverage which was having the coupling of the two bills, the infrastructure package as well as the build back better act. having those coupled together was the only leverage we had. and what did the caucus do? we tossed it. and, you know, for me, it's really -- it's sad. >> build back better aims to extend the child tax credit, help tackle climate change, expand affordable health care, and help fund childcare, among other things. representative ilhan omar says manchin has not only let down the general american public but he isn't even operating in the best interests of the people in his home state of west virginia. >> there are just so many things that, you know, the people of west virginia desperately need and we know that he is not working on behalf of their interests.
and i really am just completely disappointed and disgusted by his reasoning. >> joining me now to walk through where democrats go from here is nbc news white house correspondent josh lederman, katy tugman, and tyler pager, white house reporter for "the washington post." josh, i'm going to start with you. part of the statement from the white house says, quote, senator manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead and to work with us to reach that common ground. if his comments on fox and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position and a breach of his commitments to the president and the senator's colleagues in the house and senate. josh, do you think manchin's announcement truly came as a shocker as everybody is describing it, to the white house? >> it certainly did. and according to our reporting, katie, the white house only learned about a half an hour before joe manchin went on
television when they were notified not by manchin himself but by a congressional staffer about what president -- what senator joe manchin intended to say on television. and in fact once the white house got word of that, according to our white house correspondent monica alba, the white house tried to get joe manchin on the phone to convince him to change his mind and manchin did not take that call, according to a source familiar with that conversation. the white house had really for months tried to handle joe manchin delicately and deferentially and to avoid any criticism of him, even as frustrating from some of those leading progressives including just ones you just played in the intro, was really boiling over on capitol hill. but now it's very clear that the golfs are off, with that scathing statement from jen psaki issued just after manchin's remarks, saying he said one thing to us privately and then went ahead and did something else, which is a fancy way of calling him a liar. we know that the white house is
not closing the door to this completely. we saw actually from jennifer granholm, the energy secretary, on twitter saying, this is not over. and even psaki, the white house spokeswoman, in that statement saying, look, joe manchin reversed course once, maybe we can convince him to reverse course again. but at the end of the day, in that same white house statement, they stuck to this position that the way that they have calculated the cost of this, by essentially having some programs that they're funding for only a few years even though a lot of people suspect that will end up being extended and carried on into the future, that the white house thinks that's a fair way to calculate the price of this bill, whereas joe manchin could not be any clearer that he is not going to support anything that creates a program that's not funded for ten years. and so at the end of the day, the white house wants to get this back on track but so far no indication that president biden or the white house are willing at this point to relent on that issue and that leads us to where we are this evening, which is a very pessimistic place, even
though we are hearing from some democratic senators that they really think there's an opportunity somehow to get this back on track. >> you know, kadia, we heard about all of this deference being given to manchin. the amount of power he holds over key pieces of legislation like build back better led talk show host charlamagne tha god to question vice president harris about biden's presidency. >> who is the real president of this country, is it joe manchin or is it joe biden? >> come on, charlamagne, it's joe biden. no, no. and don't start talking like a republican about asking whether or not he's president. and it's joe biden, and i'm vice president, and my name is kamala harris. i hear the frustration. but let's not deny the impact that we've had and agree also that there is a whole lot more work to be done. and it is not easy to do, but we
will not give up. >> kadia, considering what just happened today with joe manchin, what do you now think about the vice president's response to that question? >> thanks for having me. first of all, kamala harris is right, there's so much more work that has to be done now that this news has come out today about manchin's plan to vote no and not support this bill. what the american people are wondering now isn't whether president biden is in control as opposed to senator manchin. what they are going to wonder is why didn't the white house know this was coming for weeks if not for months. we had been hearing that negotiations were going well, they were coming together, they were coming to terms about what would pass and what could pass. to have this news come out like this and also to hear, as we just heard earlier, that the white house didn't have much of a heads-up that it was happening, that doesn't look quite good.
that will have to be explained to the american people. i guess the white house tried to explain this by saying this was out of nowhere, that this was a reversal of private conversations. but those conversations were also relayed in the past weeks and months to the american people that things were going well and it turns out that it wasn't. and so the question i don't think is whether manchin has more power here, but he does hold a lot in his cards, and there are other members of the party who do so as well. but as we've heard from progressives like cori bush, from sanders today, from ilhan omar, all of them have said they knew this was coming, that they have given all their leverage up to be in this position. so this was not so much a surprise but actually a validation of the fact that they were holding out and trying to make sure that one man, one senator, didn't have all the power in his hand. >> tyler, i want to ask you, the people of west virginia have said that they see the benefit of build back better. adam crayton is a farmer who recently wrote an op-ed saying,
quote, when covid-19 hit many people lost their jobs or had significant pay cuts because of the strain on organizations. the expanded child tax credit that congress passed in february has helped these people billion their financial books. i learned this program expires at the end of the year and if congress doesn't extend it by passing the build back better act, 300,000 children in west virginia would lose this vital support. so tyler, will congress now have to create some kind of separate legislation to extend the child tax credit? >> so there's a lot of discussion among senators about how to deal with this problem, because the child tax credit, as you outlined, is going to expire. i think one of the things that a lot of democratic senators are frustrated by is this disconnect. as you outline, there are people in west virginia who are supportive of these policies. there's polling going around today that progressive lawmakers are touting on twitter saying, look, these policies are popular in the state of joe manchin.
but i think one of the disconnects here is just how unpopular president joe biden is and how unpopular democrats are. this is a state that i think sometimes people forget trump won resoundingly in both 2016 and 2020. and so joe manchin has a lot of power here and a lot of sway. as we look toward a path forward, there are a lot of proposals that we are going to see thrown around from different corners of the democratic caucus. but ultimately what matters here is what does joe manchin support. i think we've seen over the past few months all of these negotiations involving different senators got us to this point where it didn't ultimately matter how the rest of the caucus felt because one senator, in this case joe manchin, has killed the entire piece of legislation. i think there is some optimism despite the outrage from white house staffers and democratic lawmakers today, that there is a path forward, albeit a different one, one led by joe manchin and one that is clear he supports from start to finish.
he put forth a proposal to the white house this week, and there's conversation with trying to move forward with his own proposal. but at the end of the day, this is a real significant blow for the democrats and for president biden's economic agenda. >> we're going to have to see what that path forward looks like. kadia, tyler, and josh, thank you so much for being here. breaking news as well, massachusetts senator elizabeth warren has tested positive for covid. she says she has a breakthrough infection and mild symptoms. more on that momentarily. plus as the omicron variant continues to rapidly spread, what you need to know about testing regimens and the effect iveness of vaccines and booster shots. first, as president trump tried to change the narrative about what unfolded on january 6th, his personal lawyer, michael cohen, joins me to talk about how this is a tactic we all know all too well. and later, mary trump on
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often approaching a new year gives us time to reflect on how we could have done things differently. perhaps that's why "the houston chronicle" is reporting that former president donald trump said if he could do it all over again, he would do more to ensure that national guard troops were deployed on january 6th to prevent the storming of the capitol. he made these comments during a public event with bill o'reilly which we should note drew a much smaller crowd than expected. trump went on to say, quote, i would have insisted they have proper protection. he also claimed the day before the riot he recommended that 10,000 troops be deployed at the capitol. but we all know that didn't happen. trump, true to form, also said there was, quote, love in that crowd at the ellipse, referring to the stop the steal rioters.
trump of course made no mention of the text messages that were released by the january 6th commission in which fox personalities and even his own son don jr. pleaded with former white house chief of staff mark meadows to intervene. with me now is michael cohen. he served as trump's personal law and so-called fixer for more than a decade. he's also the host of the mea culpa podcast and the author of "disloyal: the true story of the personal attorney to president donald j. trump." thank you for being here. do you buy it that he would have done more to ensure the national guard was deployed to prevent the storming of the capitol? >> katie, it's good to be here. donald trump lies like we breathe. the guy doesn't know how to tell the truth. then he'll go to another super rally that he wants to say is fully sold out and he'll turn around and tell you that there
was nothing but love, that there was no insurrectionists, no storming of the capitol. he makes things up as he goes along. he thinks he's playing to the crowd. the problem is that the crowd is now fully informed of exactly what donald trump was doing, exactly what he was thinking at the time, exactly what opportunities that he had in order to deploy assistance to the capitol police to stop the insurrectionists, in order to do his duty as president of the united states. something that he failed and he failed miserably at. >> so michael, when congresswoman liz cheney disclosed the existence of these texts and that mark meadows and trump allies, there could be the possibilitobstructing, influencr impeding an official proceeding through action or inaction, which includes congress trying to count electoral votes recall do you think trump is actually concerned about where this congressional committee is going? i mean, he just released
yesterday what some are calling an inhinged statement railing against democrats and claiming they just want to put everybody into jail. >> yeah, i mean, what else can donald trump do, other than deflect and to denigrate anybody that questions his ultimate authority or power? even though somebody has to knock on the door and advise him that he's not the president anymore. he doesn't have the executive privilege to make these determinations. it's actually -- if it's not so sad, it would be comical. the guy just doesn't understand the way that government works. he doesn't understand that he's not the president and that executive privilege doesn't last forever. >> so a lot of people may or may not know this, but to be clear, you've given over 300 hours of testimony to ten different congressional and government agencies, which has actually spawned more than 18 investigations including new
york pro ersprosecutors. what would you say to people like mark meadows and steve bannon, what would be that takeaway because of the level of your corporation with authorities versus what these guys are doing? >> so you may remember when i testified before the house oversight committee and jim jordan and mark dopey meadows started on this liar liar pants on fire and all the other nonsense in order to denigrate me, thinking it was going to throw me off track, which of course it didn't, and i stopped the entire proceeding and i said to them, i know what you're doing, i know the play in the playbook that you're trying to run, because i created that playbook. and it didn't work out well for me and it's not going to work out well for you. that being said, mark meadows is in some real serious trouble right now. and i think so is jim jordan and so is donald trump jr. and so is eric trump and lara trump and a
handful of other councilmembers that were actually communicating with some of these insurrectionists on the outside while they were on the inside. this is crazy stuff, folks. you start to think about, this is our u.s. capitol, this is the people's house. and there was an insurrection. we haven't had this in what, 150 years? and now of course under donald trump, who is going to deny the fact that this actually even happened. there was no love in the air. maybe there was love among the insurrectionists but certainly for the police, certainly not if they got their hands on mike pence, certainly not if they got their hands on nancy pelosi and other members of congress who were doing their duty and certifying the electoral votes. >> i know you also filed a lawsuit against donald trump, bill barr and others. could you very briefly tell us what's the basis of that lawsuit? >> so the basis of the lawsuit stems from the teleconference that we had going back in july
of 2020 when i was unconstitutionally remanded. and u.s. district judge alvin k. hellerstein found that the trump administration's and department of justice's actions trampled all over my constitutional liabilities. hellerstein's quote was, i make the finding, it's so important here, this is hellerstein's words, not mine, i made the finding that the pick up of transferring mr. cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory and it's retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his first amendment rights to publish a book. now, that's insane. and rachel maddow who talked about this case on friday had an incredible comment when she turned around and she said that the point of this that's supposed to scare everybody is the extreme peril of a president who's willing to abuse this power in the way that he did.
and that's actually the point of the case. it's not just about only myself. it's about holding donald trump accountable, holding big barr accountable, holding the department of justice, the bureau of prisons, all of the folks, the 16 named individuals in this case. each and every one of them played a role in the unconstitutional remand of me back to prison because they were told to by obviously someone above them and the person who was in obvious fear of the release of the book "disloyal" was donald trump. >> it's more litigation against donald trump. we'll have to track and see where that goes. thank you again, michael cohen, for being here tonight. up next, dr. fauci's thoughts on the rapid spread of omicron around the world and dr. peter hotez on what we should all be doing to keep our families safe. join reverend sharpton at
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all the data on omicron indicate that even with the good protection that you get certainly against severe disease from a two-dose mrna, when you look at what it does against omicron, it's down considerably to a level where you really need to get boosted. if we're going to deal with omicron successfully, vaccinated people need to get boosted. and obviously people who are not vaccinated clearly need to get vaccinated now more than ever. >> dr. anthony fauci urging americans to get booster shots as new research reveals current vaccines have limited effectiveness against the omicron variant.
"the new york times" reporting, quote, all vaccines still seem to provide a significant degree of protection against serious illness from omicron, which is the most crucial goal. but only the pfizer and moderna shots when reinforced by a booster appear to have initial success stopping infections. senator elizabeth warren announced she has a breakthrough infection of covid with mild symptoms. joining me now, dr. peter hotez, the define the national school of tropical medicine at baylor college of medicine. dr. hotez is also the author of "preventing the next pandemic." dr. hotez, thank you so much for being with us. new york city mayor bill de blasio says the omicron spike is likely to pass quickly. let's take a listen. >> we expect omicron to be a fast and temporary phenomenon. we expect these next weeks to see very, very big surge in the
number of cases, more than we've seen previously, and then we expect after a period of time that it will dissipate. that's been so far the pattern we've seen in other places, notably south africa where we first saw omicron's presence. >> a surge next week? doctor, i'm seeing some pretty crazy numbers right now. you know, is that prediction accurate from bill de blasio or is that just wishful thinking from him right now? >> certainly one part of what he's saying is correct, there's going to be a pretty impressive surge. it could really pick up especially, unfortunately, around christmas. we were hoping there would be a four to six-week lag in this omicron epidemic compared to the uk. that was true of alpha and delta. but it's come much faster because it's so transmissible. so no question, this is accelerating now, especially in new york and new jersey, that
has some of the highest variant rates of omicron compared to other variants. how quickly it goes down, that's sort of dicey to predict. yes, it was true in south africa. it's not easy to extrapolate to the united states. so i wouldn't hang too hard onto that. we're going to be in for rough time, for three reasons, katie. one, we've got delta surging now. remember, delta has not gone away, especially among the unvaccinated, that's going to cause a lot of people to get very sick. we've been predicting that for weeks and weeks this winter, just like it did over the summer. now superimposed is omicron and it's so transmissible and so many people that you're hearing about that have been fully vaccinated, even boosted, getting breakthrough covid, that's most likely omicron, that's probably what you're seeing now in the nfl, in the nba. and that's going to be really problematic because it's so transmissible. and the third piece that i've been warning both the white house and others about is the
effective on our health care workers, because even if they are fully vaccinated and boosted, there could be some breakthrough symptomatic illnesses especially if they're a few months after the boost, they're among the first to adopt the boost. no that that's going to land them in the hospital themselves, but it's going to keep them at home and out of the health care workforce. so we face this very daunting prospect of the perfect storm of delta, home, people coming into hospitals and not enough health care providers to take care of them. that will be a very unstable situation that i'm looking out for. >> dr. hotez, bloomberg is reporting that omicron spread between two vaccinated travelers in a hong kong hotel just from their rooms being across the hallway from each other. you talked about the ease of transmission. what is it telling you and what can you share with us about the transmissibility of this new particular variant, omicron? >> you know, with each passing
wave we've seen greater transmissibility. following the original lineage that came out of central china, the alpha variant was more transmissible with that. delta out-competed alpha and was more transmissible. now omicron is more transmissible than delta. we're getting up to transmissibility matching measles. measles can linger in aerosols in the air for periods of time. that's what makes me very concerned about this big firestorm we'll see among omicron. i'm also worried about the kids. in south africa we've seen a lot of children hospitalized. that's something else that we're going to have to be looking out for. >> so dr. hotez, thank you so much for spending the time with us this evening, for the insight, for the knowledge. vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. dr. hotez is the author of "preventing the next pandemic." we're continuing to keep a
close eye on the fallout from senator manchin's announcement that he will not support build back better. i'll speak with congressman brendan boyle about how the democrats are moving on without manchin, in just a few minutes. and later, closing arguments in the ghislaine maxwell trial will begin tomorrow. i'll walk through what is expected in the coming days after maxwell herself opted not to testify.
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>> that little mountain was the fibroid. i finally got a name for it. now i can fix it. what was supposed to be 30 minutes was six, seven hours. when he went in, he said there was endo meet endometriosis lesions everywhere. finally somebody sees me and somebody can understand that i'm not crazy after all. >> don't miss "stories we tell: the fertility secret," tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. coming up, democrats vow not to walk away from president biden's build back better plan despite joe manchin's objections. we'll talk next steps with pennsylvania congressman brendan boyle. but first, who is next on the january 6th committee's target list? how the new year could bring new subpoenas for some of trump's closest republican allies in
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former united states attorney and university of alabama law school professor, also a msnbc legal contributor. and harry litman. harry, last week we learned new details about specific lawmakers like jim jordan who were revealed to have been involved. we also just learned that stop the steal organizer ali alexander told the committee that he spoke with paul gosar, potentially mo brooks, and andy biggs prior to the capitol riot. harry, when can we expect the committee to subpoena some of these people? does the fact that they're members of congress give them some legal protection in some way from being subpoenaed? >> it would often give them a kind of diplomatic protection. and it feels like a third rail, katie. but i think they're going to step on it, and soon.
we now have evidence tying them to the ali alexanders of the world but also to mark meadows and even through them to donald trump. and i thought it was a dramatic game changer this week when liz cheney came out and gave us chapter and verse about them and as much as telegraphed, in fact even more so today on the shows, they're going after them. and, you know, that's going to be quite a brouhaha. talk about a hornet's nest in congress. but i think they are poised to do it. and pretty darned soon. >> joyce, i would like you to listen to some comments from january 6th committee chair liz cheney this week regarding donald trump. >> 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? we know that for 187 minutes, president trump refused to act. and he refused to act when his action was required. it was essential. and it was compelled by his duty, compelled by his oath of office. >> liz cheney, she's not being shy, joyce. it sure sounds like to me she's laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against donald trump, specifically 18 usc 1512, the federal obstruction statute. do you think we're going to see a prosecution under that? and do you think he's going to see a subpoena? >> liz cheney doesn't have the ability to make decisions about prosecuting. but in this day and age, she has something that's perhaps a bit more important. she has a public bully pulpit. she has the ability to gather
information. and ultimately, the bipartisan committee that she's a part of will have the ability to make a referral to the justice department if they believe they've developed evidence of a crime. and it sure looks like liz cheney, even at this early point, believes that they're headed towards, at a minimum, evidence of obstruction of a government proceeding. so katie, you and i have both been here, you're in a long, complicated trial, you think the jury's attention may have wandered, so you do something to wake them up, i smack the table loudly. liz cheney has smacked the table loudly. there will be implications for the former president. like harry, think this was a strongly telegraphed message and it's hope for people who had
given up on seeing accountability for the former administration. >> harry, joyce talks about accountability. do you think it's even worth the committee's time and effort to even try to subpoena former president donald trump? we've seen how he specializes in running out the clock. >> sure. you know, even if he goes into a delay mode, there's still value there. but look, i would have thought, and i think everyone would have, joyce i think would probably agree, as of a few weeks ago, it was such a long shot and definitely merrick garland had no appetite for it. but when a select committee of the congress of the united states makes a referral, merrick garland has got to take it seriously and give it a hard look. so the dynamics change a lot. and they could make that referral based on the evidence without subpoenaing him. look, joyce read the language, you read the language. do they have evidence that trump impeded the january 6th proceeding? it seems almost a gimme, when
you put it that way. so i think they may -- whether or not they subpoena him is a different question from will they make a referral. i would have thought, no way, until this week. now i think there's a pretty decent shot. >> joyce, i want you to listen to what committee member adam kinzinger said earlier today about the text messages and what they could portend for election reform. >> it's, you know, folks not saying things like, hey, mark meadows, why don't you make sure all the votes are counted and then whoever has the most wins. it's going around the nuances of the law. or it's saying, here's how we can use this technicality to win. that's why we have to look at the electoral count act and say, if there's people who know how to win against the will of the people, something's wrong that we have to change in that. >> joyce, quickly, kinzinger is talking about these technicalities. is there anything illegal about
these nuances? are they literally just legal loopholes that need to be buttoned up? >> we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg with these texts. there's more investigation that's merited. that's why ultimately i agree with harry that so many of these folks will end up testifying to the committee or at least having the opportunity to do so. but what this points to is the importance of passing the two election protection bills that are pending in the senate, one that would restore the voting rights act, the other that would provide additional security around election and make it far more difficult for states to pass these voter suppression bills. it's always been the dirty little secret in america that republicans complain about voter fraud, that they've been vociferous in saying that democrats are winning elections because of voter fraud, but ultimately, that's not true. and voter fraud has no impact on our elections. the real problem is voter
suppression, and that's what these texts point to. >> always grateful for joyce vance and harry litman, for your time and for your insights. up next, the political land mines many of us want to avoid at family gatherings the holidays. and at the top of the hour, i will ask congressman brendan boyle what he thinks democrats should be doing next after senator manchin abruptly announces he is not going to support build back better. ds mo. our bargain detergent couldn't keep up. turns out it's mostly water. so, we switched back to tide. one wash, stains are gone. [daughter] slurping don't pay for water. pay for clean. it's got to be tide.
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as if a pandemic wasn't scary enough, there's also fear of politics popping up over christmas. but chances are whatever unfolds at your dinner table will not be as rough as what happened to one photographer and filmmaker in 2016. in fact, jillian's experience shocked her so much, that she decided to turn the lens on her own family for her new book. in her recent conversation with alicia menendez may offer some solace to anyone that is fearing what christmas day is going to look like and that family feud. >> i'm attracted to conflict and cultural tensions and going beyond the headlines and really looking at the nuance in different conflicts as i did in the middle east, as i did with the segregated proms in the south. and then what i realized in 2016 when my whole family became
trump supporters, that what i was going through personally was something that a lot of people were dealing with in america. so that's when something that was so personal, a personal project of mine, became more of a larger project and the personal became political. >> did it surprise you when they supported trump? >> absolutely. >> who sort of broke the news to you? >> so i was at the doctor's office with my daughter. i had just given birth, and my father texted on our family text a picture of him and omarosa at a trump fund-raiser. >> mm-hmm. >> and he wrote in caps, he's going to make america great again. watch and see. >> and your response was? >> i mean i was apoplectic. i didn't -- at first i maybe didn't take it so seriously because i didn't think his --
there was a real chance. i didn't think that this was really serious. and then as we got closer and closer, it was abundantly clear how serious this was. >> yeah, no. they -- they were deep in. >> yeah. >> you took a picture of your mom seated next to a sign that reads "women for trump," and you explained, quote, she said she didn't want bad people coming into the country, that trump was going to be very good for the jews, that he would protect our economy from the leftists who wanted to abolish capitalism. how did your family justify supporting someone who was anti-immigrant when they, themselves, came from a legacy of immigration? >> it's a -- that's a really hard question to answer. i don't -- it's something that i don't think i'll quite understand ever. and i -- i really do -- i almost
equate it to losing family members to a cult, right? so they went to sleep and woke up with fox news, so i think that we both were getting different narratives and consuming different narratives this whole time. so -- but it's something that it's really hard to grapple with. >> there's a very playful element to the book, to the story in part because they are such characters, and there's an image from 2016 thanksgiving where they put pence/trump paraphernalia all over your place setting, and you would think at that point it was still sort of playful, right, that they weren't putting the stuff out to say, like, please don't come to thanksgiving. >> right. well, you know, i think it's also -- humor is such an important part of our family life and our life, and i think that that's reflected in my photographs. but it's where humor kind of,
you know -- there was -- there's a fine line between humor and horror maybe. so when we went to thanksgiving 2016, they thought -- my sister and brother-in-law thought it was funny, really thought it was funny to put our place mats, you know, with all the trump and pence paraphernalia around. >> and you just sat down and ate some turkey and -- >> you know, i did what i -- what i always do, is i used my camera as armor, and i just -- i just said, okay. this is a historical -- it takes me a while to process things, so i process them through really photographing them. and, look, it's my family. i -- that's why i say i'm still -- it's like ptsd the past four, five years. >> talk to me about the decision to make this public.
>> it was -- it's been a really hard process. it was -- it's been a really scary process, and there were many times where i wanted to just -- i would ask friends, am i going to make the -- is this the biggest mistake of my life? and to expose, you know, your family, yourself, i feel like i exposed myself in a way. but i think -- i always -- i believe that stories have the ability to heal. that's -- that is what i believe wholeheartedly, and i know that so many people have gone through this, are going through this. throughout the years, i've kind of had my own support system of people who are going through this that are too afraid to speak about it. you know, it's -- it's not something that is really talked about openly, yet it's in so many families and households. so i felt the need -- i believed
that there were enough people that would connect with this story and it would resonate and help them, then that, for lack of a better word, that trumped my fear. >> as we begin a new hour, joe manchin's holiday surprise. the west virginia senator putting a nail in the coffin of build back better. how his party is reacting to the sudden reversal. plus breaking news. senator elizabeth warren announces she has covid-19, one of countless breakthrough cases we are now seeing in this new wave across the united states. also tonight, donald trump's niece, mary trump, on the record about the former president's legal woes and his ongoing refusal to release his tax returns. and tomorrow, closing arguments will begin in the ghislaine maxwell trial. will the jury see her as an enabler of jeffrey epstein or a pawn of his? this is "american voices."