tv American Voices With Alicia Menendez MSNBC December 19, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
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."
thank you so much for joining us this hour. i'm katie phang in for alicia menendez. we begin with the surprise demise of build back better. this morning, a single united states senator, joe manchin of west virginia, went on fox news to declare he just couldn't get there in supporting his party's social spending plan, walking away from weeks of negotiations. breaking deals brokered with the president of the united states and the white house. burning bridges with many of his fellow democrats. it is news that came as a shock to all of washington. politico putting together each and every twist and turn of the day, starting with the half hour heads-up manchin gave to the white house and to congress, dispatching an aide only 30 minutes before he went on fox news. a white house in panic and disbelief. top officials are scrambling to call the senator and, quote, head him off. but as a senior white house official tells playbook, manchin
refused to take a call from white house staff. and then this happened. >> i've always said this, brett. 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've tried everything humanly possible. i can't get there. >> so at the white house tonight, disbelief, clear disappointment, and a sense of betrayal. press secretary jen psaki with a blistering response, issuing an unusually long press statement, bringing receipts to lay a clear road map that each and every day manchin brokered to turn build back better into law. calling manchin's move a sudden and inexplicable reversal. adding, quote, just as senator manchin reversed his position on build back better this morning, we will continue to press him to
see if he will reverse his position yet again. in congress, delight among republicans. disgust among democrats. angered by not only manchin's reversal but the provisions like climate change that the party was willing to gut in order to get manchin to yes. progressives have voted in favor of the lone infrastructure bill, giving up demands to pass it with build back better, they appear to be done. >> we all knew that senator manchin couldn't be trusted, you know, the excuses that he just made, i think are complete bull [ bleep ]. it is really disheartening to hear him say that he has been trying to get there for the people of west virginia because that's a complete lie. the people of west virginia would greatly benefit. >> i hope that we will bring a strong bill to the floor of the
senate as soon as we can and let mr. manchin explain to the people of west virginia why he doesn't have the guts to stand up to powerful special interests. >> so you want to vote on it no matter what, even if -- >> absolutely. absolutely. the american people have got to understand what is at stake. we've been dealing with mr. manchin with month after month after month. but if he doesn't have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of west virginia and america, let him vote no in front of the whole world. >> my lack and deficit of trust was about senator manchin. he has continued to move the goalpost. he has never negotiated in good faith. we cannot allow one lone senator from west virginia to obstruct the president's agenda, to obstruct the people's agenda. >> the apparent death of social spending to help millions of americans made possible by one united states senator begs a question about legislative power. in an interview you've probably seen on your social media feed by now, it's worthy of
rewatching, we promise. because while you may not like how the question was posed, today's news may have you reassessing the larger point charlamagne tha god was making when he spoke to the vice president. >> who is the real president of this country? is it joe manchin or joe biden, madam vice president? >> come on, charlemagne. it's joe biden. >> i can't tell. >> no, no, no. it's joe biden, and don't start talking like a republican about asking whether or not he's president. >> do you think joe manchin is a problem? >> 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 there's a whole lot more work to be done. it is not easy to do, i will not give up. >> starting our coverage this hour, we have democratic congressman brendan boyle of pennsylvania. congressman, thank you so much for being here tonight.
pennsylvania's neighbor is west virginia. i know your district borders jersey, but knowing the region and the needs of the people in it, what's the impact of today's news from joe manchin? >> yeah. wonderful to be with you, and i've actually campaigned in southwestern pennsylvania right on the border with west virginia, and i can tell you whether it's southwestern pa or west virginia or northeast philadelphia or any spot or county in any of the 50 states, every single region, every single state of the country would benefit from the build back better act, but especially west virginia because frankly it is one of the poorest states in the union. you just look at the child tax credit, and that's just one of the many things that's in the bill. my district happens to benefit more than any other in the state of pennsylvania. 155,000 children in my district get that benefit. but there certainly are a lot of kids in rural pennsylvania and rural west virginia that also
benefit from that as well. i also want to make one point. i went back and i watched the entire interview that senator manchin did, and perhaps this is me being more of an optimist than i should be, but i don't agree with the headlines that this is over and that this is dead. senator manchin has been known to switch his positions and his views on things, and this is not the first time, and i don't believe it will be the last either. i don't think this is dead. and we as democrats cannot walk away at this point having come so far. >> congressman, do you find that optimism to be well founded, though? i mean, we know that there were all of these talks between him and joe biden, all of these discussions about operating and negotiating in good faith, and yet he very publicly today -- because those things were kind of in secret a little bit, right? they were kind of confidential. but now we have a very public denial today. congressman, do you really think
that your optimism is well founded to think there is still something left to be done with joe manchin? >> i would make a couple points about that. first, he hasn't just been talking to the white house. he has been talking to a number of us on the house democratic side. number two, if you look at his top-line figure, take for example the document he actually signed with senator schumer back in the summer. and you look at the bill that i voted for and that we passed out of the house. the top-line figure is almost identical. i think that if we go back to senator manchin now and we attempt to address -- even though i don't agree with it, we attempt to address his chief complaint, which seems to be that a significant number of provisions in the bill are not funded over ten years -- now, i can explain why that is, but senator manchin for some reason has really zeroed in on this point as causing him heartburn. if we go back and ensure that they are funded over ten years, then i think we can actually
save this. it might mean that a couple popular provisions have to come out. again, i wouldn't agree with that. but at this point i want to make sure that we do at least pass something meaningful and we don't walk away after all of this work has been done. >> so, congressman, that sounds like a little bit of a piecemeal approach. what would you like to see stay in, and what would you be willing to leave by the roadside if this has to move forward? >> yeah. so for me, i'm someone as a ways and means committee member, i voted for $2.5 trillion worth of funding. so for me and my perspective, it's all important enough that more than what is in there now is paid for. i can't imagine that we could walk away at this point from the historic tax cut that we delivered to working and middle-class families who have children. i think that has to stay in there. perhaps, though, by bringing that number down, we would look at perhaps shortening the amount
for that that's paid for, assuming we would reauthorize it later. perhaps, for example, on the paid family leave, which for some reason senator manchin has always been opposed to -- i've always been unfortunately skeptical that that would survive in the senate anyway. the bill that i originally voted for had 12 weeks of paid family leave. it was down to 4 when it passed out of the full house. my point is there's a way we can get to yes, and i'm not willing to give up at this point. it would be easy to walk away, but i know too many people in my district and throughout the nation would suffer if we did. >> congressman brendan boyle of pennsylvania, i hope your optimism carries the day. thank you so much for being here tonight. and next, we've got trump family values. the former president's niece, an outspoken critic, mary trump, will join us to talk about the fight over trump's taxes, his returns, and the ongoing january
6th investigation. plus, the effort to prevent another insurrection that's resulting in far-right groups going bankrupt. that and more ahead on "american voices." but first to richard lui, who is tracking the latest developments on the rise in covid cases across the country. richard. >> katie, very good evening to you. omicron expanding across the united states. the new variant reported in 45 states according to new data today from the cdc. a short time ago, senator elizabeth warren tested positive for covid-19. she said, quote, i am only experiencing mild symptoms and am grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated and boosted. the country's rapid rise in cases continues to impact the world of sports as well. the nba postponed five upcoming games after positive cases popped up across several teams. the nfl postponed three games after 23 members of the cleveland browns tested positive.
the nhl also postponing all games involving cross-border travel to canada through the christmas break. and the president will address the nation this week to outline new steps he's taking to combat the omicron variant. be sure to catch live coverage of his address tuesday right here on msnbc. more "american voices" right after this break. (vo) singing, or speaking. reason, or fun. daring, or thoughtful. sensitive, or strong. progress isn't either or progress is everything.
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a brewing fight over donald trump's taxes. this past week, a federal judge dismissed the former president's lawsuit seeking to bar congress from getting his tax returns. and as his legal right, of course trump is appealing. prolonging efforts since 2019 by the house ways and means committee to obtain six years of trump's personal and business tax returns. doing so to conduct oversight of the irs' mandatory presidential audit program. trump is the first president since nixon to refuse to release his returns. his reasoning, the very same
from day one, claiming he's, quote, under an audit. with us now is someone who knows the man very well, trump's very own niece, mary trump. she's the author of "too much and never enough: how my family created the world's most dangerous man." mary is also the host of the new podcast, the mary trump show. it has been a years-long battle over trump's tax returns. what do you make of this recent decision that came from the appeals court? >> i think it's the right decision. i unfortunately think that it's -- it's too late, or it's taken way too much time. obviously, again, you mentioned he's going to appeal. and this seems to be the problem, you know. american democracy is on the brink essentially because over the course of five decades, this one repellent person has been able to get away with his many alleged financial crimes, his crimes against women, and now his crimes against our country
because he's either run out the clock or he's been able to outspend his opponents. and it puts us in an extraordinarily precarious position. >> so it would suggest, mary, then what is donald trump going to be afraid of to come out in those tax returns, right? isn't that what people do when they're scared of something coming out and seeing the light? >> yeah, and it's -- it's what he does all the time, right? it's his modus operandi. he never wants the truth about his finances or his business dealings to come out. what's kind of troubling, though, is that it's not as if we don't know. it's not as if we don't have information. in fact, on october 2nd, 2018, "the new york times" came out with an extraordinary exposé about donald and the trump family's dealings, financial dealings and their alleged tax fraud, et cetera. so this isn't new territory. it's not as if the tax returns
are going to uncover anything that hasn't already seen the light of day, and yet it's still vitally important, of course, that congress has the opportunity to go through them even more carefully. but, again, it's not as if anything in those documents will be surprising. they will only reinforce things we already know. >> so last week, a house committee issued a report finding the agency overseeing trump's d.c. hotel lease failed to examine ethical and constitutional conflicts and never checked if trump was complying with the constitution's emoluments clauses, which prohibits a president from taking payments or benefits from foreign and domestic governments. noah bookbinder, the president for citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington, lays out why this matters, writing, quote, the hotel was the epicenter of trump's graft. anyone looking to curry favor with his administration could simply walk over to his namesake hotel a couple of blocks from the white house and flash cash. mary, do you think the aftermath
of trump's presidency, the abuses of power, the multiple investigations -- do you think those make a good enough case to reform how oversight is being conducted of any u.s. president, democratic or republican? >> there's no doubt about it. i mean the emoluments clause exists for a reason, right? the hatch act exists for a reason, and yet time and time again, we see these things being violated and there being no consequences. so just in the context of what we're talking about right now, think about how many times there have been opportunities to stop or at least derail donald because he is -- has so blatantly broken a law. think about how many people have been complicit in enabling him over the years. so if our system cannot respond swiftly to the threats that this very vengeful person and all of his enablers pose, then i think
our system might be irreparably broken. so we want to focus on doing something about that in the short term while we still have a chance. >> so, mary, before i have to let you go, do you think there's any utility, knowing your uncle, knowing the litigation maneuvers that he does, do you think there's any utility in the january 6th committee trying to subpoena him to come and answer questions about what happened on the day of the insurrection? >> absolutely. he's a private american citizen. he needs to answer to his alleged crimes. he needs to explain his participation in the incredibly serious events. there was an armed insurrection on january 6th in this country, and we need to know what role he played. he needs to be held accountable if that is, indeed, what they -- if they indeed find that he was complicit in any way. and we also need to know what his response will be. is he going to plead the fifth? is he going to show up?
is he not going to show up and be held in contempt? last i checked, donald believes that people who plead the fifth are guilty. it would be very, very good to know how he responds and what that response says about what kind of trouble he thinks he's in. >> well, if he took the fifth, he'd be joining in a group of some other folks that have decided that that's the safety zone for them. mary trump, as always, thank you for joining me and for all of your insight. >> thank you, katie. >> you can check out the mary trump show, the hot new podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. coming up next, the legal fight over january 6th and what d.c. is going to do to put far-right groups out of business for good. plus closing arguments ahead in the ghislaine maxwell trial. what to make of her decision not to take the stand in her own defense. and more on the omicron surge across america, including the massive disruptions the new
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the january 6th commission carries on its quest for accountability. here is wyoming republican liz cheney, a rare voice of reason in her party these days, laying out what she ultimately hopes to uncover. >> did donald trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede congress' official proceedings to count electoral votes? >> joining me now, ryan riley, huffington post senior justice reporter. glenn kirschner, former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney danny cevallos. both glen and danny are msnbc legal analysts. glenn, i'm going to start with you. january 6 committee vice chair
liz cheney believes there could be groundwork for criminal charges. 18 usc 1512, the obstruction statute. any chance we see the committee actually subpoena donald trump himself? >> you know, probably. it's interesting that liz cheney is talking like a prosecutor. as you say, katie, she's using the precise language of the federal statute 1512 that reads, whoever corruptly instructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding or attempts to do so shall be imprisoned for not more than 20 years. these are the words that liz cheney is using to describe some of donald trump's conduct. interestingly, some of the folks who actually attacked the capitol have been charged with this exact crime. and a trump-appointed judge, judge dabny friedrich, when these insurrectionists tried to attack the prosecutor's use of that federal statute, a trump-appointed judge said, you know what? this is precisely the kind of
official proceeding when congress comes together to count the electoral college votes, contemplated by that federal law. and to answer your question, will the house select committee subpoena donald trump? probably. and my friend danny might agree with me that there's not a defense attorney, you know, worth his or her salt who would not advise donald trump to invoke his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. of course donald trump has the right to remain silent, but it remains to be seen if he has the ability to remain silent. >> yeah. and, glenn, that optic of taking the fifth, as we all know, would not look very good for former president trump. ryan, let's talk about the committee's calculation on this question of interviewing trump. would there be any line of questioning to get them closer to the truth, or should they actually just continue to focus on trump's inner circle, this idea of maybe getting that noose tighter and tighter? >> yeah, i think it really is interesting because if you look at the fbi investigation, the
committee really has its work cut out for them here because the fbi investigation honestly is going to only answer so many questions about this. there is obviously the potential that trump gets charged potentially, you know, criminally, but that's kind of far off and would be sort of this uncharted territory in a lot of ways. i think that the way the investigation is going so far is sort of working its way up. we saw a big development this week where a person who helped organize the protest has apparently turned over information to federal prosecutors and the committee. that might be of value going forward. so there's going to be this little bit of an intertwining connection between this federal investigation as well as this committee investigation going forward. i would note, you know, that this week we saw really the harshest penalty we've seen thus far in terms of the criminal investigation and the fbi investigation, involving this individual, robert scott palmer, who actually went forward and attacked officers at the capitol. and he was sentenced on friday,
and one of the points that he made -- or his lawyer made in court on friday, was that all of these individuals who actually were morally responsible, who were organizing this, haven't been held accountable. and the judge sort of laid out the idea that, you know, that may be true. these people who haven't been charged yet, but that doesn't mean you're any less guilty for spraying officers with a fire extinguisher and then throwing that fire extinguisher at the line. so that's the biggest penl 2i we've seen so far. but just a reminder, we're at the very beginning of this investigation. honestly we've probably only gotten about a quarter of the people who either entered the capitol that day or attacked officers outside of the capitol that day. that total number is upwards of 2,500, and right now we're about 700. >> so, danny, ryan just mentions one of the organizers for the january 6th insurrection. this committee has interviewed well over 300 people so far, and we also just learned that stop the steal organizer ali alexander told the committee that he spoke with several
lawmakers before the riot, including paul go go, mo brooks. who in your mind is going to have the most legal exposure from that trio there? >> of course we can expect the committee -- all of them. the committee is going to be going through, and i agree we're only at the very beginning. i believe at the end of this road there will be a subpoena for trump, but any defense attorney and of course the great glenn kirschner is right on, no one would let him testify in a million years. if there is an all-star person to subpoena, of course it's donald trump. it's any of those three, but the committee has only just begin its work, and frankly i think there's a lot more yet to be done. >> danny, on a separate legal note, "the washington post" reported this week that the rnc agreed to pay some of the trump's legal bills in his criminal investigation in new york. the rnc defended its position saying, quote, as a leader of our party, defending president trump and his record of
achievement is critical to the gop. it is entirely appropriate for the rnc to continue to assist in fighting back against the democrats' never-ending witch hunt and attacks on him. so, danny, did the rnc act appropriately here? should they be picking up the tab for donald trump's legal fees? >> should? beats me. but the rnc knows where its bread is buttered. they know they still need donald trump. they're heavily invested in donald trump, and perhaps this is the psychological principle of sunk costs. they've already put so much into him and put so much faith in him and so much belief that he could deliver them from whatever, that they're continuing to back him. in fact, you can read between the lines of that statement. that's basically what they're saying. they're saying, this is our guy. he's been our guy for a while. he's going to be our guy, i guess, going forward because we don't have anything else that we can think of. >> so, glenn, we know that the january 6th committee has issued a subpoena to phil waldron, who
circulated that now famous powerpoint before the riot. that powerpoint detailing how to overturn election results. glenn, what is this guy going to be able to provide to the committee in terms of details of the planning before january 6th? >> well, first of all, another guy who should seriously consider invoking the fifth, pleading his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. but if he doesn't, and he begins to testify, here's what i think everybody needs to keep in mind. the phil waldrons of the world or the jim jordans of the world sending texts to mark meadows on the eve of the insurrection, saying just tell vice president pence to throw out votes he finds unconstitutional. let's be clear. those would be votes for joe biden. all of this conduct came after the elections were declared safe and secure. in fact, after donald trump's own attorney general, bill barr, said there was no fraud undermining joe biden's win. after christopher krebs, after
donald trump's department of homeland security said this was the safest, most secure election in u.s. history. therefore, given that the trump administration announced there was no fraud, it was not rigged, and joe biden won fair and square, you know, the conduct of a phil waldron trying to throw out those results with no evidence, the conduct jim jordan urging mike pence to throw out electoral votes -- all of that feels criminal. it certainly feels like they were attempting to obstruct an official proceeding. >> it certainly sounds like a conspiracy. ryan reilly, glenn kirschner, and danny cevallos, thank you as always for being here. up next, to reporters following the trial of ghislaine maxwell will join men to preview tomorrow's closing arguments. and we're following breaking news. senator cory booker of new jersey now announcing just moments ago that he's tested positive for covid-19. senator elizabeth warren
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they'll even pair you with an expert bookkeeper like me, who knows your business. knows your business! expert bookkeepers who understand your business. intuit quickbooks live bookkeeping. closing arguments begin tomorrow in the trial of ghislaine maxwell. maxwell is accused of helping jeffrey epstein groom and abuse underage girls. this past friday, maxwell declined to take the stand, telling the judge, quote, your honor, the government has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and so there is no reason for me to testify. joining me now, adam class feld, the managing editor of law and crime, and vice news reporter carter sherman. adam, i want to start with you. the defense was planning to call almost three dozen witnesses. why do you think such a smaller number of witnesses ended up taking the stand in the defense of ghislaine maxwell? >> well, simply because they lost a number of important
rulings. now, remember, early in the defense case, they had wanted to call witnesses to testify under pseudonyms just as the prosecution called a number of witnesses testifying under assumed names like jane or kate. they wanted to have people hide under a cloak of anonymity. that is common in sex trafficking cases like these for the prosecution. it is not common for the defense. so once they lost that ruling, they lost a good number of their witnesses. there was another pretrial ruling where they -- we found out early on that they were going to call a defense psychologist, elizabeth loftus. they won that ruling. she did get to testify. so it gives a little insight into their plans and what happened when they tried to get people to testify under pseudonyms, they lost. and so went that slate of witnesses. they also tried to call a number of the attorneys who were representing some of the
accusers, and they lost that ruling as well. that was attorney-client privilege. so we saw their initial plans radically slimmed down, and we saw what started with a plan for 35 witnesses basically wrap up in two days. >> but, adam, you know, it sounds like maybe this defense case got a little bit weakened, but there were several of us, myself included, that predicted that ghislaine maxwell was going to testify in her own defense. do you have any insight about why she ended up not taking the stand to defend herself? >> well, one thing that was very clear, and when we look at the case as a whole, we're seeing six of the eight charges. the two other charges were perjury counts that aren't being heard at this time. that's because the last time she spoke in a deposition, she was charged with two counts of false statements. it backfired, and i think that was probably in the back of her defense team's mind when approaching this case that we have a history here.
in the prior instance, we were talking about a civil case, and the legacy of that civil case is that she has to face two additional criminal charges after this trial is over. so that speaks to, you know, only the defense team and ghislaine maxwell know the strategies that were happening behind the scenes. but let's just say the last time she took the hot seat, it didn't go well for her. so that would be one -- >> sorry, adam. so, carter, the defense has tried to cast the victims in a negative light, saying that they're just in it for a payout. do you think this is a strategy that's actually going to resonate with the members of the jury? and if so, i mean, how successful do you think it's going to do to carry the day for ghislaine maxwell? >> i think it's a dicey strategy for the defense to take. we'll ultimately see after the jury rules on how well that strategy works. but i do think that this idea that women are only accusing
powerful men of sexual abuse for money is going out of the window. i don't think that people believe that because over the last several years, we've started to see more and more what coming forward as a sexual abuse survivor actually costs women. it can cost you your job. it can cost you your family. it can cost you your mental health. and in a post-"me too" world. i do think there's a greater recognition of that, and we'll see in the verdict of this trial just how far that recognition has spread. >> you know, carter, maxwell's attorneys also outed an accuser who should have actually remained anonymous. do you think that might have been a bad move to make and that it might shape the jury's perception of how the defense is attacking the prosecution's victims in this case? >> well, it certainly doesn't look very good. i think if you're trying to make an argument that you care very deeply about these accusers and you respect their autonomy, you respect their choices, you
respect their life, accidentally naming them is not going to show that to the jury. that said, i'm also worried about the fact that someone who is a survivor of sex abuse might see that someone was outed in open court and add that to the tally of things that they're worried about when they're debating coming forward as a survivor. >> adam, the prosecution has argued that maxwell was epstein's enabler while the defense claims that she has now become a scapegoat for his crimes. i've heard the phrase "epstein by proxy" for ghislaine maxwell. at this time and after everything you've seen during this trial, which side do you believe has done a better job at making its case? >> well, we have two former pilots for jeffrey epstein calling her his number two. they both used that exact phrase. jeffrey epstein's former house manager said that she described herself as the lady of the house. and so we have multiple witnesses describing her as very high up.
so this kind of effort by the defense to distance her constantly from the allegations took a hit just through the testimony of some of the other witnesses that came out. then there's the photographic evidence. we have seen a rush of new photographs over the years of her and epstein at different times of their lives, in very intimate situations, with her giving him a foot massage in a couple of instances. so this kind of idea that she's a lightning rod who got swept into this rush to judgment has taken a hit just by the evidence and the testimony that has come in. >> so we're just going to have to wait and see as we often do in jury trials, to see what this jury believes is the actual final verdict. adam klasfeld and carter sherman, thank you so much for being here. up next, expert advice to combat the omicron surge. as covid cases hit capitol, two sitting senators tonight announcing that they are
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eating healthy, and our natural immune system -- >> so, nicholas, if you're so healthy, would you have unprotected sex with somebody who has syphilis or gonorrhea. >> you're missing the point. >> no, i'm not missing the point. they're contagious diseases. would you sex with somebody who has syphilis or gonorrhea and not worry baut you are so healthy? >> no i wouldn't do that. >> then why would you expose yourself to covid without some protection? >> because the protection is my natural immunity. >> no it's not. tell that to 800,000 dead americans. nicholas, this is a stupid conversation and i'm not going to continue it. >> almost two years into the pandemic and we are still forced to have conversations like that and two years of disinformation like that caller helping lay the ground for a new variant and another rise in cases across the country with less than a week to go for christmas. tonight the breaking news from washington.
senators elizabeth warren and cory booker announcing they've both tested positive for covid-19. both say the symptoms are mild. joining us now msnbc medical contributor, the co-founder of good stocking llc and a doctor at the university of virginia. so grateful to have you here tonight. this omicron variant is driving an increase in break through infections even on people like senators warren and booker who are vaccinated and boosted. what would you say to someone who feel the precautions are pointless. >> if we are relying on one method to prevent getting infected with covid-19 it is pointless. we have to go back to what we stated back in march, april, 2020 where everyone was screaming out, mitigate the spread. right? what did we say then? we had to wear a mask. we had to social distance. we had to avoid large crowds. those were the things that kept
our cases low. what we have somehow done over the last two years is forget the narrative and omicron is reminding us covid-19 has not forgotten how it spreads. and so we must go back to those basics in addition to now using our life saving vaccines and boosters. >> going back to the basics makes sense but with the extreme transmissibility of omicron how do people isolating with covid at home still keep their loved ones safe? >> that is a huge concern. one thing i would ask the administration is to provide resources for those families particularly those persons in the under served communities that have to deal with poverty where we know that mullet jin rational homes have to exist in order for persons to have a roof over their head, to provide them food, some form of shelter, because we know at this point we have 147,000 cases of covid-19 being diagnosed today. with omicron we expect if it
goes by new york city they had doubling of their percentage of positive within three days. so we could be looking at 200,000, 300,000 people being diagnosed a day. what does that mean? what does it mean not only to the health of our country but the economic security of our country sf when we have that many persons having to quarantine and not go to work? >> doctor, we're seeing major testing shortages in new york city and other hard hit areas with people waiting hours in line at testing sites if you can even find one that is open, spending hundreds of dollars on take home kits. where does this leave families who can't afford to invest that kind of time or money? is this a failure in your opinion of our public health system? >> it definitely shows how we are very much reactive in the medical system and not proactive in preventative in our strategy. what we know that is 60% of americans who make less than $40,000 a year. i went and bought some covid
tests for my home so i could have it with my family and it cost me a good $150 in order to make sure i had enough tests available for me and my sisters. that is a luxury i have the ability to do. we know many families do not. what we need to do is think of strategies like we have the social vulnerability index which categorizes zip codes based on who is more or less likely to have a burden of a disease process. we have that data already available to us. why don't we mail free covid-19 tests to those households, n95 masks, and help the most vulnerable protect themselves and all of us in the long run? >> i have a 7-year-old daughter. this week president biden announced a test to stay strategy for covid exposure at schools and allows students to skip quarantine if they test negative. how would you improve testing access to make this work for somebody like my little girl to make sure she stays safe in school? >> i would not only, for one,
tell your little girl merry christmas. but for one i would say not only for testing but also the vaccination what we know is there is a disparity of school nurses. 1 in 5 of u.s. public schools do not have a school nurse. who is going to vaccinate those children? we have to think about this in a different way. the mobile vans that used to litter the streets in church parking lots and barber shops have largely disappeared. we have to go back to that, go back to what we looked like unfortunately a year ago because our covid cases are looking like they did a year ago if not worse. reinventing that. and with the testing strategy it has to be more than just once a week we are testing these children. if we know omicron is doubling within every two days, right? we have to make sure we are testing them throughout the week. >> i will certainly tell my little girl that the dr. ebony jade hilton told her a merry christmas. thank you, doctor, for sharing your insight this evening.
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when our daughter and her kids moved in with us... 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. ♪ i'm a reporter for the new york times. if you just hold it like this. yeah. ♪ i love finding out things that other people don't want me to know. mm-hmm. [beep] i just wanted to say... ♪ find yourself in these situations and see who you are. and that's just part of the bargain. ♪
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♪ i'm watching it fall ♪ watch the full story at www.xfinity.com/sing2 a quick programming note before we leave you. ahead at 9:00 p.m. eastern be sure to catch a special hour of in depth coverage of the january 6th investigation. we'll recap developments and look ahead to what could happen next week. that is it for this hour.
i'm in for alyssa menendez. thank you for being with us. remember to catch "american voices" every saturday and sunday starting at 6:00 p.m. eastern. for now, "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton. good evening and welcome to "politics nation." tonight's lead, a break. and right now, even i need one. because even with this last live show and these last two weeks of 2021 i've already begun for the political reckoning promised by the coming year. starting with the fall out over what appears to be the failure of the build back better act. senator joe manchin telling fox news fittingly