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tv   The 11th Hour  MSNBC  December 22, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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merry christmas. thank you very much to gloria and her son thomas. they get tonight's last word. the "11th hour" starts now. good evening once again. i'm ali velshi. day 337 of the biden administration and tonight, omicron is now present in all 50 states. the variant making a rapid advance across the nation in about three weeks. the cdc said omicron is the dominant variant in the united states. the cdc revealed what so many parts of the country are up against. >> in some areas of the country, omicron increased further accounting for an estimated 90% of cases in the eastern atlantic states, parts of the midwest and
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south and northern pacific states. >> this means demand for tests whether they're done in a lab or at home are skyrocketing. nbc news reports that amazon, wall green and cvs are restricting the number of test kits that each customer can buy. tonight, during an interview with abc news, president biden was asked about the testing shortages and defended the response to the surge. >> i don't think it's a failure. i think you could argue that we should have known a year ago six month as i go, two months ago, a month ago, i've ordered half a billion of the pills. 500 million pills, excuse me, 500 million test kits to be sent to anybody in america this wants them. nothing is good enough. look, look where we are. when last christmas emergency
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rooms were filled and serious backups in hospitals causing great difficulties, we're in a situation now where we have 200 million people fully vaccinated. >> those 500 million test kits are supposed to go out next month. meanwhile, there is hope in the form of a pill meant to head off the worstfects of the virus. the fda authorized pfizer's anti viral drug, the first pill that can be taken at home to fight covid. the first pills could be available in the next week. scientists here in the united states are paying attention to two important developments involving omicron. in south africa the huge wave of cases seems to be subsiding and officials in the u.k. say omicron infections appear to be less severe. we have a doctor standing by to take our questions on the variant. she'll be along later in the hour but amid this, our elected
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officials have not escaped coming into contact with covid. tonight we learn a member of the house leadership jim clyburn of south carolina has tested positive but asymptomatic. clyburn is 81 years old and received two vaccines and a booster. the president has again tested negative after his exposure to a staffer that tested positive this week. and today officials revealed vice president harris has also been in contact with a different staff member who also tested positive. harris has since tested negative. the white house is taking steps to extend one covid relief measure extending the pause on student loan payments until may 1st. that suspension had been set to expire on january the 31st. >> a number of people, millions of people across the country are still struggling with the on going threat of the pandemic. many of them are student loan borrowers, this is something the president thought a lot about over the last several days.
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in coordination and of course conjunction and discussion with the vice president and led to the decision to extend until may. on capitol hill the january 6th committee wants an answer from republican and trump supporter jim jordan to voluntarily appear for an interview. he is now the second house member to receive such a letter after trump ally scott perry of pennsylvania that rejected the request. the letter sites a number of topics for discussion including this, quote, we understand you had at least one and possibly multiple communications with the president on january 6th. we would like to discuss each such communication with you in detail. congressman jordan was asked about the conversations with jump on the day of the capitol riot. >> on january 6th did you speak with him before, during or after the capitol was attacked? >> i spoke with him that day
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after. i think after. i don't know if i spoke with him in the morning. i'd have to go back. i don't know when those conversations happened but what i know is i spoke with him all the time. >> okay. well, jordan says tonight he will review the committee's letter. meanwhile, a federal judge denied michael flynn's request for a temporary restraining order to block subpoenas that from the january 6th committee for him. on another note a member of the extremist group the proud boys today pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge steaming from the insurrection. he agreed to cooperate with the government. with that let's bring in our lead off guests on this wednesday night, the moderator of "washington week" on pbs and carol co-author with phillip rucker of "i alone can fix it"
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and professor melissa murray of nyu law school. she was a law clerk for sonia sew before she was on the bench. we saw the reaction about testing and availability of test kits. you also asked him about that yesterday. there is push back they should have been better prepared for the need of testing, something we've been talking about for close to two years now. >> that's right. what we see from president biden is this sort of admission in talking to david muir that he said i wish i would have known two months ago to order 500 million at home tests. a lot of experts have been saying there are going to be variants and omicron and maybe a five and something after that so that testing is key. i've heard from a lot of people that say the u.s. is never really ramped up testing the way we should be. the basic idea there are a lot
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of americans standing in line before christmas wondering why is it taking so long to ramp up testing? the president told me two days ago the president said he essentially would not have been able to see this coming and omicron moved faster than the white house. that being said, the white house said they are doing everything they can to ramp up. there are critics every day americans that are just sort of frustrated and scared of the president's telling people not to panic but i think the more people get sick and the more people know people who are getting sick it sort of feels like this is a pandemic closing in on them with all americans. >> carol, let me ask about the january 6th committee asking for an interview with jim jordan. we played that recording of when he didn't seem really sure about when during the momentous day of january 6th he talked to the president and various times he said various things. what's the point with this committee? they're asking people to come voluntarily and talk to them, their own members believe it or not and saying no.
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why not skip right to a subpoena? >> because as you certainly know, the committee hasn't done this every other tick of the clock. congressional committees don't typically call for their own members to give testimony. it's pretty unusual. and it's also dubious or questionable ground. it's not yet been tried heavily this idea that you could subpoena a member of congress. members of congress have enormous legal protection and no doubt subpoenas that is a legal fight that might stall getting actual answers. members of congress may be the hardest people to get before the committee. i want to stress however it's interesting that the committee in the days of walking up to the winter holiday and christmas when most people are taking it easy and thinking about where they're going to meet their family and loved ones, what they're going to cook for
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christmas dinner, this committee is going hard at members of its own body asking them pointed questions. jim jordan's questions are about those communications with donald trump. jim jordan said he talked with donald trump on january 6th and later, he said he couldn't really member if it was multiple times or what they discussed and later, he said he could remember talking to them at least once. he wasn't sure exactly the details of it. >> let me ask you, melissa, if they can hold them to subpoenas that, obviously, if they can't or whatever is determined they can't do, the justice department generally can do and there is a little attention between what
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congress -- what some people want out of this committee and what some people want out of the justice department. one of the criminal referrals resulted in an arrest warrant. there is one for mark meadows waiting for action for the department of justice. what do you think the department of justice's role should be in this? >> hard to say, ali. what we have is an unprecedented situation where this committee, which is an unusual committee to begin with is trying to find and get evidence from individuals from outside of the body but within and of course, they made clear not only in their efforts to get the testimony of scott perry but efforts to get the testimony of jim jordan they're willing to keep going and look further into their own body and that can only mean they probably expect they will get some cooperation from the biden department of justice because it's very unlikely that either of these two members of congress are going to compile with the requests. there will likely be a subpoena that comes after this and there will be a request to the
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department of justice and i imagine they expect to get movement from the department there. whether that's the role of the department of justice, these are unusual times and we've seen a department of justice taking great steps to distance itself from the trump department of justice and perhaps restore confidence in the idea of this as a more independent administrative body going forward. >> let me ask you, the president came out and talked about the economy and how the economy is doing. it sounds like it may be a shift in messaging. the white house obviously has problems around messaging around the build back better bill and getting that done because of joe manchin. is there a shift in talking about the economy, which a lot of observers are talking about saying there is good stuff to trump it? >> well, the white house would say and the white house officials i talk to say the president has been focused very much on the economy. you can definitely tell the president wants to talk about what is going well at the end of the year when the build back better act is in such disarray. the president wants to talk
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about of course unemployment being low and the idea there are people able to get jobs in this economy and people are able to sort of have economic prosperity he had been promising running for office. the other thing is inflation is high. people are paying more for goods and the president is wanting to make sure based on my conversation that people feel like he understands what is going on and understands the sort of struggles that everyday americans are having. i think that that's in someways it's a strategy because democrats are dealing so much with the end fighting they have to deal with just today i interviewed jamal bowman on "pbs news hour" and he said joe manchin doesn't care about people of color or the poor because he's not supporting build back better. that's a really hard place to be when you have democrats accusing other democrats of not caring about the very people that the party as a whole says they really put at the center of their strategies. so the president has a lot on
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his hands, a lot of challenges going into 2022 and talking about the economy says look, we have challenges, here are things we're doing well. >> carol, let me ask you back to the january 6th committee. they -- the justice department now got prosecution, they got a guilty plea from a member of the proud boys who apparently is now cooperating with them. that of course is different than the january 6th committee but tell me what we know about this. >> you know, this is probably one of the most interesting turns. remember, this prosecution or i should say the fbi's investigation has come under a lot of criticism including prom a federal judge on the argument that many of the prosecutions, many of the charges levelled at people involved in storming the capitol violently and actually engaging with police in violent ways attacking them, bear spraying them, poking them with various items, black poles, fire
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extinguishers, bats, a federal judge and others have criticized this prosecution as treating this event like a misdemeanor of interrupting a congressional hearing and in fact, chief judge of the federal court in d.c. said this is a major violent felony and i'd like to see what in the world is going on. now we have now long, long into this case with 700 defendants we have a guilty plea a cooperation agreement from a member of one of those extremist groups that was planning violence that was discussing members were discussing bringing weapons, members of this group was discussing how to hide those weapons. members of this group and others were discussing how to kill cops. to make sure they could have their political result, one they preferred actually happen on january 6th. so this is a huge change and,
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you know, i would urge people to watch these cases closely in the next coming weeks because there are several other major conspiracy cases where individuals that look like they might be cooperating are kind of not being sentenced. there is a delay in their sentencing, which is a hint to me that they may be cooperating, as well. >> something is going on. >> yes. >> we'll watch that carefully. melissa, tonight the supreme court has scheduled a special hearing for challenges to the biden administration's so-called vaccine mandates. "the new york times" says that there is reason to think that the court's sixth justice conservative majority will be skeptical ofpower. i think january 7th they will hear oral arguments and perhaps tackle this issue. >> i think one thing it shows ali is that this court has at least heard some of the criticism of its prior use of the shadow dockets.
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the shadow docket is the emergency management tool it uses to handle emergency appeals like this. we saw they used it in the texas abortion case and earlier in a case involving execution but they received a lot of criticism. from the shadow docket to the regular docket is a really interesting move that suggestions that the court is amenable to out cry from the public. whether or not the biden administration is going to face a hospital reception before the 6-3 conservative super majority is a different matter. this is a court poised to be skeptical of executive over reach and likely the biden administration will face tough sledding here. >> i appreciate the time and your analysis from the three of you tonight. thank you so much for being with us. coming up, we'll talk to an infectious disease doctor about the severity of omicron.
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political experts act to the minority leader joe manchin. "the 1 1th hour" just getting underway on a wednesday night. g underway on a wednesday night. i have moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. so i'm taking zeposia, a once-daily pill. because i won't let uc stop me from being me. zeposia can help people with uc achieve and maintain remission. and it's the first and only s1p receptor modulator approved for uc. don't take zeposia if you've had a heart attack, chest pain, stroke or mini-stroke, heart failure in the last 6 months,
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join over a million members by signing up for free on the xfinity app. our thanks. your rewards. it appears in south africa between hospital sanctions and the number of infections this is good news however we must wait to see what happens in our
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population which has its own dep graphic considerations. >> a note of optimism and caution. to that point, hospitals here in the united states remain strained from the last surge fueled by the delta variant. omicron is rapidly spreading and nbc news analysis finds quote hospitalizations around the nation have risen 39% from november 1 s to tuesday. health care workers prepare for the worst, scott predicts some states sighing a surge now could fizzle out in a matter of weeks. >> the tri-state region is probably going to be coming out of this epidemic omicron by mid january. other parts of the country will still be heating up. >> with us for more is professor for infectious disease in miami, veteran of global medicine and with the world health organization. dr. marty, thank you for being with us. good to see you. we have dr. fauci talking about
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positive things in south africa, the fast rampup of omicron is soming down and two studies from the united kingdom finding fewer hospitalizations from omicron compared to delta suggesting it might be a milder illness caused if you're vaccinated. what is your take on what we heard today? >> so there is a lot going on here. first of all, there is nothing about this virus that would int -- indicate it's milder. we have to look what is happening boots on the ground why we're getting better results and milder cases. we're looking at for example in south africa, the mean age is about 27 that's getting this infection. so they're young so you expect
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milder sickness. you expect a better outcome in those populations and the studies that came out from the u.k. note these facts. there is no evolution to change. it may or may not but not from evolution pressure because there are so many different hosts it can infect. so there is all that. you heard the doctor talking about this probably peaking sometime in january and i think the data indicates if we look at what is going on right now in south africa, i think everyone should be aware of how very fast this is spreading. it now reached 106 different countries that are showing cases of omicron and here in the united states you noted the increase in hospitalizations, also the total number of cases
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we're seeing over 160,000 cases a day so when you have those numbers, even if it's milder there is still going to be a very significant portion among the unvaccinated that will end up needing a lot of medical care including hospitalizations and our work force is currently depleted. that's part of the complication. we've exhausted our medical staff and exhausted our emts and firefighters, all of this has been going on for two years. >> yeah, it's constant. let me ask you in this moment how you should think about behaving. how do you tell people about what to do? it seems like this is highly contagious but people are still traveling. do they pull back? do they isolate? how quickly do you get tested because it's hard to get tested. how are you changing your
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behavior? >> do it all. when you're in close settings indoors poorly ventilated with all kinds of people you don't know their vaccine status and exposure status, if you're vaccinated and boosted, wear your mask. keep your distance. keep your hygiene. there is a study that came out yesterday talking about the increased risk from the omicron variant. so the hygiene remains important even throw the greatest risk is by aerosols, inhalation and exhaing by those who have it. test if you can. i understand how challenging it is to get tested now. yes, we have good things in the horizon for example, the approval today of the pill by pfizer is great news. it's a shame that we don't have
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the amounts in supply that we need in order to really make a difference. but in the meantime, make sure that where you're going to the people are safe and that if you're going to be traveling that you yourself are negative before you travel. >> every night and every day on this network i'm talking to doctors like you and every one of them is bringing up staffing shortages. we know one of the government's actions this week is to send 1,000 medical military personnel to places that needed help across this country. in the united kingdom they reduced the covid isolation period from ten days to seven days to ease the staffing concerns and staffing shortages in the health care system. i know the airlines have told the cdc they need to consider this because they're going to end up with staffing shortages too. is that something to be considered? shorting the isolation period for people infected with omicron? >> assuming that the individual
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does not have, you know, notable symptoms that continue because it's going to be variable. so you still have to have an appropriate medical evaluation of the individual. but one of the good things if you will about the people who are vaccinated and boosted who get infected and may even become ill from omicron is that even though their viral loads are very high initially, they control the virus much better and so their viral loads go down very quickly as well. so they have a shorter period of which they're contagious to others, which would indicate in that setting, you can reduce the amount of time that they are isolated. and that's what we're looking at. that is for people that are vaccinated and boosted. that's not necessarily the case for individuals unvaccinated who could still pose a risk to others for a longer period of
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time. >> you did mention the pill that's been approved by the fda, the pfizer pill. is that a game changer to you? is that significant? >> very significant. it's a very safe pill with very, very few side effects for very few people that works exceptionally well. 88 to 89% efficacy but for a select population. it's not a post exposure pill. it's not a pill to take once you're in the hospital. it's a pill if you have symptoms and take it soon after those symptoms start and have a positive test. in that setting, it is outstanding and is something much easier to do than for example monoclonal antibodies especially now that most of the monoclonal antibodies aren't
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working as well with the exception of the jsk that has to be three times as before. >> i'll take outstanding for any development against covid. doctor, professor of infectious disease at florida university. eugene robinson and bill crystal are here to talk about luring joe manchin across the isle when "the 1 1th hour" continues. 1th hour" continues. are rethinking the choices they make continues. ey create continues. the way they exaggerate the surprises they initiate. otezla. it's a choice you can make. otezla is not an injection or a cream it's a pill that treats differently. for psoriasis, 75% clearer skin is achievable, with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. for psoriatic arthritis, otezla is proven to reduce joint swelling, tenderness, and pain. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
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i admire who joe manchin did. i don't expect him to give up. i suggested a good solution to his problem would be to come across the aisle and join us where he would be treated with respect. >> republicans are making it known they welcome him to the gop with open arms in addition to those comment the, senator john cornyn of texas personally texted manchin. this is how manchin responded when he was asked about the possibility two weeks ago. >> are you waiting for the world to come your way? are you independent? >> i'm caught between the two but you have to be caucusing somewhere. if they would ask me to leave,
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i'd i guess i'd have to say i have to abide by your wishes. i don't think that will happen. i don't intend to leave. >> important he says that. eugene robinson and bill crystal author, writer and thinking veteran of the bush and regan administration and editor at large at the bull work. i heard what manchin said eugene. i doubt manchin would switch parties since he would be a bit player with mitch mcconnell. manchin could become an independent and caucus with the democrats but that wouldn't materially change the situation. tell me more about that. >> i don't see him leaving. who knows.
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joe manchin has been for his entire political career a democrat and he believes most of what he believes, just not the build back better. i don't see him one of mitch mcconnell's legions. i'm sure they would roll out a red carpet for him but there are republicans waiting in line for those positions and that's not an easy thing for mcconnell to finesse so so why would he give up being star of the joe manchin show. >> joe manchin has more in
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common with democrats than republicans, you made the point he said there are things about build back better he can support. why not start to break it up and get what you can get done and run on that? >> i think it's what the biden administration wants to do there are some in the house presented as sort of take all package in the senate. let's have varyings on the child tax credit and prek, universal prek and support for family leave, medical leave and so forth. there are things i think that are problematic about the bill the way we do legislation and until recently in the quite as we have hearings, testimony, we have amendments offered and debated. some aren't just decided on partisan grounds and a bill comes to the floor to be debated.
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i think they may end up in something like this, some could pass with 60 votes. some might end up in reconciliation anyway. it might end up as a better bill, slimmer bill, more focused on the key things that have to happen soon than would have been the case if this went through with 50 votes. >> so eugene, bill has the view get what you can get done. you have a view from your column that democrats need to talk more about the things they succeeded. you wrote democrats across the spectrum have to stop talking so much what they can and won't do and instead talk about what they have already done and if necessary, gulling as it may be, they may have to settle for a pair of build back better package that funds fewer programs over a longer span. democrats are doing much. republicans are doing nothing and that's the message to take into the midterm. your views are dove tailing here. you're agreeing with get done what you can get done and then make hay about it. >> well, reality has an impolite
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way on imposing itself on all kinds of situations. it a 50/50 senate and democrats need joe manchin's vote because there are no republicans willing to cross over and no interest in that. they either get manchin's vote on this bill or they take a different approach and it might not be all bad perhaps legislatively and politically to have republicans go on the record in committee and floor on the child tax credit and universal prek and on all these very popular provisions of build back better. it -- there are some republicans who will find it uncomfortable to vote for them as if they come up one after the other one by
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one and that's what is on -- that's the question. do you want universal prek or not? and it will be interesting to see. i'm not yet convinced you get ten republicans but you make some uncomfortable. >> guys, stay with me. i want to take a break and continue this conversation on the other side. coming up, we'll talk about what happens when democrats layout the high stakes involved in the battle to pass voting rights legislation as the senate makes it a top priority for the new year when "the 11th hour" continues. n "the 11th hour" continues. and to know where you came from. ♪ we're discovering together... it's been an amazing gift. ♪ one of my favorite supplements is qunol turmeric. it's been an amazing gift. turmeric helps with healthy joints and inflammation support. unlike regular turmeric supplements qunol's superior absorption helps me get the full benefits of turmeric. the brand i trust is qunol.
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if you don't have 60 votes, change the rules in the senate. there is not support for that at this point in time. now, what the president's view is getting votes rights done is absolutely essential. if the republicans continue to obstruct, we'll have to look at what is necessary to get that done. we'd love to do that as quickly
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as possible. the president would love to sign a voting rites law into law. voting rights bill into law. >> stop me if you've heard this before. democratic leaders from the president on down agree that voting rights are a top priority but they haven't been able to get all 50 democratic senators to agree to a rule to change any legislation to the floor. majority leader chuck schumer isn't giving up during a caucus meeting last night, he reiterated plans for a vote saying quote, we're now called upon to act. we alone can protect our democracy from these attacks. schumer said that if republicans blocked voting rights legislation again in january, the senate would consider and vote on rules reform. still with us, eugene robinson and bill crystal. eugene, the concept of the senate taking up and voting on rules reform requires 50 senators to be on board and at the moment, krysten sinema and joe manchin are not supportive of changing the rules of the
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senate. >> at the moment, they are not. and i mean, there has been a group of moderate senators who have been working to try to see if there is some formulation, some carveout around the filibuster or some piece of legislation. we're talking for example in the john lewis act of provisions that are basically the same provisions that in 2004, 2005 they voted to extend. the provisions in 1982 even thurmond voted to extend. we'll have to see if they're
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able to convince mansion and frankly cinema that would be a tougher nut to crack on this. she's made the more sherman like statement about it and she's tougher to read than manchin. >> you said there is someway to do this that gets it through congress. what is it that you think can get through the senate and how? >> yeah, i think that's the key question. everyone talks about voting legislation there are many elements of these bills. some are much more urgent, i think than others protecting election officials for intimidation and preventing the state sleigh tour between november 3rd and january 6th tried to do. that would be harder for
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republicans to refuse to open debate on. that's not been introduced. why? i put pressure on them in the first two bills, they're not feeling any pressure. the bills get brought up one day of debate 50 votes. they don't get the 60 they need and go away and administration talks the next day. the john lewis stuff, most provisions are strong arguments for those. they had dramatic hearings where people testified in georgia and south carolina about what happened there and the need for these provisions, not generally some big act, just no, they forced votes on particular provisions, no. there is a lack of political strategy here on the part of the democrats. it won't be easy with the 50/50
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senate and radicalized republican party but they need to rethink the politics of this poitical strategy. >> let's talk about this, eugene. schumer sent a dear colleague letter in which he says i'd ask you to consider the question if the right to vote is the corner stone of the democracy, how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the republican party can debate and pass voter suppression laws with a simple majority vote but not allow the united states senate to do the same? i'm not sure who he's asking the question of but that's the call to make this majority vote issue if you can get sinema and manchin on board or two other republicans perhaps. >> that's the big if. and, you know, it -- i think bill makes valid points in that. when we talk about quote voting rights legislation end quote, it
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is unclear what specific measures we're talking about. i think there is value in putting republicans on the spot about specific provisions. certainly for example how the votes get counted, who counts the votes and how is that made, how do we ensure that's fair? how do we ensure that provisions of the 1965 voting rights act that meant so much to so many including my family in south carolina are not effectively reversed. those specific kinds of questions might put some republicans on the spot in a way that they're not feeling the
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pressure now. >> guys, thank you very much. it's been a great discussion. i hope some wisdom comes out of this. eugene robinson and bill crystal, appreciate you. the moving story of volunteers working hard to make a big difference with refugees in the united states continues when "the 11th hour" continues. s one hundred and fifty million meals to feeding america. and now through the subaru share the love event, we're helping even more. by the end of this year, subaru will have donated over two hundred and twenty five million dollars to charity. this is what it means to be more than a car company. this is what it means to be subaru.
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together, we can create a kinder, more inclusive world for the millions of people on the autism spectrum. go to autismspeaks.org mom, hurry! our show's gonna start soon! i promised i wouldn't miss the show and mommy always keeps her promises. oh, no! seriously? hmm! it's not the same if she's not here.
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oh. -what the. oh my goodness! i don't suppose you can sing, can you? ♪ the snow's comin' down ♪ -mommy? ♪ i'm watching it fall ♪ watch the full story at www.xfinity.com/sing2 four months ago the world saw chaotic images of afghans crammed on military planes. with thousands of refugees beginning a new life a group was inspired to help. a report from vicki nguyen. >> reporter: she's the c co-founder of a volunteer group helping africans resettle in seattle. >> we want them to feel welcome. there is a group of people they can rely on. >> reporter: she says these
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images of afghans escaping reminded her of the veelt that -- vietnamese experience during their escape as boat people. how did that experience at 10 years old shape who you are you now? >> it made me realize how someone's life can turn upside down quickly. >> reporter: in four months they resettled two families with help from the sponsored circles program. >> can i have a kiss? >> reporter: today, volunteers visit a man and his family of eight. >> the vietnamese communities help and help of other people close to him just been overwhelming. >> reporter: some 25,000 afghan refugees are currently living on u.s. military bases but next month, his family moves to this seattle apartment. tam nguyen offering it rent free. >> lest a friend generous enough to provide you the house.
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>> three bedrooms. >> reporter: the kindness continues. ta m's nephew will pay for the utility bills. what will you say to people that want to help but don't know how? >> we didn't know how either. just get started. >> reporter: they have to commit to three months but the bonds forming now will last a lifetime. vicki nguyen, nbc news. coming up, a look at a new very extensive telescope set to launch later this week when "the 11th hour" continues. when "the 11th hour" continues
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donate now at redcross.org the last thing before we go tonight on christmas day, nasa expects to launch what some are calling a $10 billion time machine. let me explain. the james webb space telescope has been decades in the making. it's seen as the successor to the hubble. it has instruments sensitive enough it will be able to look back at 13 billion years of cosmic history. how is that possible? nbc news explains telescopes essentially function as time machines because it takes time for light to travel through space. the web observatory will be able to see farther in the universe than ever before and farther back in time. this means that astronomers will have the chance to study prim primitive stars and galaxies.
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unlike hubble that sees primarily visible light, the web telescope will gaze at infrared light that can pierce through cosmic gas and dust that might otherwise obscure some objects from view. but a lot of things need to go right for this telescope to be a success. once, hopefully successfully launched a million miles into space, the mirror which is nearly 21 feet across at the heart of the telescope needs to be kept very, very cold which isn't always possible when you're orbiting around the sun. a five-layer sun shield needs to unfold and an spf of over 1 million. scientists and astronomers are nervous but excited. >> it a cliche to say it will change the course of astronomy but it might very well do that because it's such a big capability. >> we are going to learn things about how galaxies were formed and how the earth came into
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being. it's really going to shape our textbooks going forward. >> webb is about the same scale project in terms of dollars and people as building the great pyramid in equipment and that gives you kind of a sense for now thanks for being with us, and thanks to our colleagues at the networks cbc news. goodnight! cbc news goodnight! it is a very exciting lead up to the course of holidays, at the end of this week. so much so that i feel like the news is all rushing into the off ramp!

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