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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  January 18, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PST

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[bacon sizzles] [bacon sizzles] ♪ [electronic music plays] ♪ [bacon sizzles] ♪ [electronic music plays] ♪ woo! we were alone when my husband had the heart attack. [bacon sizzles] he's the most important ♪ [el thing in my life.ys] ♪ i'm so lucky to get him back. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. more than nine months after georgia passed an audacious law that sparked a wave of equally audacious gop voting restrictions, 34 bills have been
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passed in 19 states and after months of pressure and pleading from activists on democrats to do something, to do anything to stop this wave of voters suppression and nullification laws, the united states senate has now taken up a last ditch effort to try to pass federal voting rights legislation. debate on a sweeping bill that combines the two key voting proposals, the jon lewis voting rights act and the freedom to vote act, began just a few hours ago. democrats are pressing ahead even though the bill is doomed to ultimately fail. given the plans by the gop to filibuster and the fact that senators joe manchin and sinema and perhaps others are unwilling to reform the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation. senate democrats took to the floor to send the message that the fight for federal voting rights legislation is still a necessary effort. that will ultimately reveal who's on the side of democracy and who's not.
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>> win, lose, our draw, members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote. especially on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as voting rights. >> many of my republican colleagues have joined congressman jon lewis to commemorate the march from selma to montgomery. but today, they won't even allow the senate to consider legislation named in his honor and have called this bill radical. >> each day that we maintain the current undemocratic senate rules that allows 41 senators to block the will of the majority, we allow state legislatures to continue their assault on democracy. and we prevent our own democracy from working the way it was intended. >> as the senate debates voting rights legislation, the fallout from this failed push by
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democrats was already being felt across the country. "the new york times" is reporting today and over the weekend that activists and organizers are moving ahead to plan b ahead of the crucial 2022 midterms and the next presidential election. it's what amounts to trying to outorganize against voter suppression and nullification laws. from the times reporting, quote, democratic officials and activists now say they're resigned to having to spend and organize their way around the new voting restrictions. it's a prospect many view with hard earned skepticism, citing the difficulty of educating voters on how to comply with the new rules. on the right, republicans in state houses are taking their cues from the likely failure to pass federal vote rights legislation and the urging of a disgraced ex-president who has turned his delusions into an article of faith. among the gop faithful, they're crafting a new round of
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restrictions. playing on on capitol hill is where we begin this hour with some of our favorite reporters. garrett hague is here and erin haines, editor of the 19 as well as an msnbc. democratic senator jeff merkleyly will join us in a few minutes. i want to show you something, garrett, that makes he wonder what the bridge is between 2006 republican ideology on voting rights and 2022 republican dogma. this is mitch mcconnell who supported the renewal voting rights legislation 2006. >> we have renewed the vote rights agent periodedly since that time. overwhelmingly and on a bipartisan basis year after year after year because members of congress realize this is a piece of legislation that has worked and one of my favorite sayings that many of us use from time to time is if it ain't broke, don't
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fix it. this is a good piece of legislation that has served an important purpose over many, many years. this landmark piece of legislation will continue to make a difference. not only in the south, but for all of america and for all of us. whether we're african americans or not. >> senators grassley, shelby, crepo, cornyn, blackburn, capito, moran, wicker thought the same way mcconnell did. if it's not broken, don't fix it. who broke it, garrett? >> i think we know the answer to that, nicolle. >> what do they say? >> what they will say is the that times have changed. that's what republicans say about this. that the situation isn't what it was 16 years ago when that speech was given and they no lopger feel as the supreme court decided that those protections enshrined in some cases in the voting rights act are necessary to be renewed.
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all but one refusing to vote in favor of the two pieces of legislation now folded together. i think politically speaking, republicans have decided with 50 votes, they can just hang together on this and not let any one of those lawmakers you mentioned get hung on out a branch. be out on a limit on their own. they are all sort of in this together in their opposition to any of these voting changes sort of lining up behind this idea that they're going to leave everything to the states and kind of wash their hands of it. they have made that decision collectively and it's brought them to this point where they are on the brink of winning the immediate fight over these two bills. >> to they believe there was fraud in 2020? any of those 16? >> i'd have to go back through the list. i think you're mostly talking about people who have been here a long time and know better than that. i don't think mcconnell thinks
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there was fraud in 2020. moran. chuck grassley is someone who's been very interesting on this. he has his moments where he sort of tries an independent streak, but then tacks pretty hard toward the trumpist base of the party. he'd be an interesting person to try to pin down on that. but most of these republicans have taken the stance where they don't talk about this anymore. we press them. we ask these questions and they'll uniformly turn towards future elections. we're not talking about 2020. we want to talk about these other issues. it is striking to base policies on what they saw in 2020, but try to turn the rhetoric and the way they talk about it towards future elections. it can be a way to make it difficult to get the kind of accountability we'd all like to see. >> so here's what's happening in the future, erin. this is arizona's secretary of state this morning about new round of voter restrictions in arizona. >> we've seen close to 70 election related bills already
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introduced just in this first week of the session. bills that would eliminate secure ballot drop boxes, proposals to really cut back on early voting. increase voter id requirements, which are already pretty strong here in the state. so we're seeing a lot of attempts at overreach to make it harder for some people to vote. and we're continue to continue to fight that. >> so erin, the disconnect between alleged vote integrity measures is so stark. drop boxes and drive through voting yielded no fraud. they were some of the most secure ways people voted in 2020. i wonder what you make of the growing gulf between reality and political expedience? >> that's exactly where we are. that's the thing that has changed.
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garrett brought up the supreme court where justice roberts basically said there was really no need for pre-clearance and no need for that kind of oversight, but he also did say, he put it to the congress to update the voting rights act in that 2013 shelby versus holder decision and yet it's come to congress and now we see exactly where we are. i was watching part of some of today's cspan footage, shutout to that throwback footage you pulled up just now. i mean, it feels like that part in the titanic where the violins are playing on the deck and the ship is going down. getting these elected officials on the record in front of their voters pointing out that hypocrisy does matter, this is about future elections and particularly for the black voters that a year ago this week, watched as the president and vice president, they helped usher into office were inaugurated. they took office voeing
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democrats could get things done. what is their message to that base and black voters in particular? as you alluded to in that "new york times" story, organizers have a very heavy lift ahead. state legislatures are moving ahead with voter suppression laws. it will be on the books come november and could impact potentially millions of voters. >> stay with us. i want to add to our conversation. senator, first, could you update us? is there anything that has changed the trajectory of what is largely expected to happen with federal voting rights legislation? >> nicolle, conversations are still happening with all of our colleagues about how do you create a debate in the u.s. senate to address the big issues facing america and there's no bigger issue than the ballot box. taking on dark money and billionaires by election and certainly gerrymandering. if the senate cannot get to a debate on final passage so that
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we have to take a final stand and our citizens know where we stand, then not only is the senate failing to address those issues, but the cycle of democracy is broken in which people elect individuals based on an agenda and then they have a chance to fulfill that agenda. so this is a type of paralysis we're facing right now that has been conflicting the senate, but when it comes to an issue of this magnitude, the fundamental american in the ballot box, the senate has to find a way to reform itself. >> i want to play something for our viewers. you questioning slash challenging senator grassley about the filibuster. >> can you help my memory on this? did you not vote to strike down the filibuster on supreme court nominations? so you changed your position as well. you would concede. because previously, you opposed
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getting rid of the filibuster. >> i just said it so you obviously heard me, that we warned in 2013 when i think all republicans voted against reducing the 60 vote down for district court and circuit court judges so you could pack the d.c. circuit court of appeals that you would regret that and you have regretted it. >> it's unclear. grassley's on two or three sides, the issue at this point was for the 2006 federal voting rights renewal. he was for putting aside the filibuster for judges. he's against it now. what were you trying to ses out? >> grassley had just given a speech where he said changing
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your decision on the filibuster is hypocrisy. and it struck me he had changed his position. i thought that was important to acknowledge. also, he then noted the situation in 2013 saying the democrats had done something new. i felt it was important to remind people in this debate that what happened in 2013 is mcconnell did something new, which is he said no matter who the president nominates for positions on appellate courts, specifically the d.c. circuit court, that they will never get consideration in the senate. and that position which he said doesn't matter what their qualifications are, was a whole new level of obstruction never seen in the history of the united states of america. and so what was important was that was a rare moment in which two senators actually start debating issues back and forth. he bailed out after the second round, but i applaud he was willing to yield for question, respond to a question because we
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never get that anymore. we get position statements or press release speeches. i hope what's going to happen over the next two days is we're going to see a real debate about this big issue of election integrity in america and the rise of americans needing to be restored and defended. >> do you think showcasing a debate is where the base of your party is? it feels like the base of your party would have liked to see this debate in months ago in action this week. >> well, you know, i couldn't agree more. i'm the lead sponsor of the for the people act. i was able to get 49 sponsors on it. i couldn't get manchin to join us. so a group of us worked through the summer. amy klobuchar, the committee did a great job contributing to that. group of nine senators. we rewrote the bill, gave it a new name, gave it a new lead
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sponsor and so now we have a product that we could bring to the floor, but the republican doesn't like us bringing it to the floor time after time after time. now we've used a new instrument to get it to the floor. a message from the house. now our goal has to be to press to hopefully be able to have debate on amendments and hopefully on final passage. if we can't get to a debate on final passage, we have failed to be a legislature with any integrity in term ls of our responsibility. >> i want to bring garrett in on the question. >> hey, senator. i'm curious if you guys as a group have decided to set aside the idea of a carve out for the filibuster after what you heard from joe manchin and kirsten sinema last week and what you want to put before them in this meeting you're going to have tonight that you think might
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pass muster a big enough rule change to get these bills passed, but a small enough one they would still go for it. >> well, the basic notion is that to get past the 60 votes, you have to do one of several things. you either have to secure the 60 votes, which is not going to happen. or you have to be a break in the debate. or you have to exhaust the two speech rules in the senate. but because there's always an amendment pending, we cannot as in times of old, actually get to a debate on final passage and so one innovation, the talking filibuster, which i proposed and every democratic senator voted in support of it who is here today in 2011 for the vote. says hey, we will set aside a time for final passage, debate. the 60 votes still applies. so the point that senator manchin and sinema are making that still say 60 votes still
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applies. it then says that we do as a senate has always done, if there's no one speaking, it creates a question. because minority to sustain the 60-vote standard, has to show up in debate. can't let there be a break. >> do they indication that would pass muster with manchin and sinema? sinema was particularly firm on this point last week. >> well, she's really made the point about 60 votes. we weren't going to know until, this may be a john mccain moment like with the affordable care act where he's on the floor and his thumb was kind of sideways and we didn't know if it was going to go up or down, kept shaking it as he walked back and forth from the well of the senate. we may have that kind of moment. but i do think that that is one option. the carve out is a second
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option, restricting this to just voting rights, but in my heart, i believe in the talking filibuster because we want to retain the leverage of the minority. the senate is a better place, tht the point my colleagues from west virginia make and i agree, when the minority has leverage to be heard, to negotiate for amendments, to negotiate for a compromise, to slow down so the press and public and experts can evaluate a bill and give us information on it. all of that is achieved with the talking filibuster or the public filibuster. so i'm hoping that that set of arguments, which meets what they said is important, might carry the day. >> senator, my friend and colleague erin has a question for you. >> thanks so much. and senator, your remarks on cspan, i happened to catch today and saw you make a very impassioned case for the return of a functioning senate, but i have to say watching those
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remarks, i wondered were you just preaching to the choir there or did you have some republican colleagues who were in the chamber listening and were receptive to that message? how did they respond on the need for the senate to return and the debate you spoke so passionately about. >> yes, we don't have that debate yet. i'm sorry to say because there were no republicans in the chamber. i don't think they want to be in the chamber. i don't think they want to debate this issue. they know they all voted in 2006 voted for defense for the right to vote. five republican presidents have supported and signed bills trooing to extend the voting rights act of 1965. it has been as bipartisan as you can get. if you polled americans to date, republicans as well as democrats will say billionaires shouldn't
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be able to buy elections. politics shouldn't be able to choose their voters through gerrymandered districts. and most important of all, no state legislature should be able to put up fences to keep targeted groups from voting. so republican citizens agree that these reforms are needed so the democrats, independents, but the power hungry republicans in the senate know they benefit by these sources of corruption. they want to sustain it. there is complete source of politics of power over principle so it's up to the 50 democrats to take a stand. >> senator, i have one more for you. this is from a letter from the head of the naacp to all of you. he writes, democratic senators, what good is preserving a dysfunctional tradition of bipartsonship if it can't preserve democracy.
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i know you're on the side but i wonder if there was ever a plan to deal with the structural opposition from senators manchin and sinema and possibly others to that's clearly a partisan wildfire out in the states. they are targets restrictions that targeted voting methods that yielded zero fraudulent votes. investigations into voter fraud have turned up more dead people who voted for donald trump. it is fan tas cal. yet, you have this structural impediment in that senators manchin and sinema and perhaps others want a bipartisan fix to a partisan wildfire. what are the conversations like behind closed doors? do they understand that? are they in denial? is it the preciousness of the
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filibuster? can you explain what feels like a non-starter? >> i was really struck by an analogy i heard the other day where a person is brought into the hospital and they have a really horrific wound that needs to be addressed immediately or they're going to die and the surgeon says well i'll sew it up as soon as i get a republican surgeon to come join me and together, we'll stitch that up. won't that be a beautiful moment? well, it would be a beautiful moment except that the patient's dead and what the republicans are doing in state after state after state is enhancing the ability to cheat people out of the right the vote on election day. i won't say elections in the past have been perfect because they haven't. on election days, there's been a lot of tactics used in a lot of places to discriminate. if you want evidence of that,
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look at georgia last election where the wait time for black precincts was ten times on average the wait time in white precincts. so it wasn't a perfect election, but when you take away early voting and vote by mail, you allow greater discrimination on election day. you can put those precincts where you don't people to vote, where there's no parking. you can make them large and so they're overcrowded. you can send incompetent staff or not send staff at all so the line is very long. you can tell people they can't drink water while they're no line and you know people have children in day care. they have to go to the bathroom. they have to go home and cook a meal. make sure their kids are okay. they can't stand and many people aren't going to be able to stand in line for hour hours or six hours or eight hours, so this is really cheating people out of the chance to vote and that's why republicans are trying to do is enhance that ability to steal votes on election day by
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constraining registration and vote by mail and early voting and it is outrageous that in this time, so long after 1965 when we reached a national consensus behind everyone having the right to vote, we are still having to return to stop that type of discrimination. >> senator, you've been so generous to take all of our questions. thank you so much for starting us off today. garrett and erin thank you for starting us off. when we come back, new reporting on the deeply dysfunctional united states supreme court. new details and color on just how bad it is there. including some risky working conditions. at least for one justice. that story is next. plus, the white house is today offering free at-home covid tests. the administration's website is now live. just as president biden prepares to mark his second year in office with a new public strategy. we'll tell you about it. later, ron desantis is going
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to new lows in his effort to suppress the vote in florida, creating a special first in the nation election police force. those stories and more when we continue after a quick break. don't go anywhere. after a quick n't go anywhere. at intra-cellular therapies, we're inspired by our circle. a circle that includes our researchers, driven by our award-winning science, who uncover new medicines to treat mental illness. it includes the compassionate healthcare professionals, the dedicated social workers, and the supportive peer counselors we work with to help improve - and even change - people's lives. moving from mental illness to mental wellness starts in our circle. this is intra-cellular therapies. one of my favorite supplements is qunol turmeric.
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♪ ♪making your way in the world today♪ ♪takes everything you've got♪ ♪ ♪taking a break from all your worries ♪ ♪sure would help a lot ♪ ♪wouldn't you like to get away? ♪
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♪ ♪ sometimes you want to go ♪ ♪where everybody knows your name ♪ ♪ ♪and they're always glad you came ♪ tragically anti-mask insanity has now reached the highest court in the land. that's based on new reporting from npr which reveals new if,
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issures opening up. the report zeros in on a jarring site when the justices took the bench all wearing masks except justice gorsuch. justice sotomayor was there virtually. sotomayor has diabetes, a condition which puts her at serious illness or death from covid-19 and she did not feel safe in close proximity to peach who were not masked. roberts asked the others to mask up. they all did. except gorsuch. who as it happens, sits next to sotomayor on the bench. it is just one scene that illustrates why npr describes gorsuch as quote, a prickly justice, the latest conflict comes as the court examines pivotal issues like roe versus
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wade, vaccine mandate all where they describe is an unusual level of tension among the justices themselves. npr says this, quote, anyone who regularly watches supreme court arguments is used to seeing testy moments in both big and little cases, but you don't have to be a keen observer these days to see something is happening. joining our conversation, msnbc contributor, voice vance and brian is here. so the supreme court is very opaque. they're not, there's not like a white house press that reports out. there's not a lot of behind the scenes color, but to read the reporting who really is a true insider well sourced on the court sort of confirms what it looks like from the outside and i wonder if you can speak to the last places where i think people thought there was some decorum to learn there is none.
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>> one of the things we know about the court is that it is very opaque. we sometimes hear about relationships between the justices, the legendary friendship between rgb and scalia, which tells us people from all sides can have good personal relationships, but when something like this bleeds over and the support is just replete with different instances of discord on court, that tells you what's going on in reality is probably a lot worse than what we're hearing. it just speaks to how politicized and how divided the country is. the point i want to make is the supreme court is not cabined by the same ethics rules the guide the rest of the federal judiciary, but if you're a judge, you understand the compelling authority of the decisions that you hand down isn't because you have an army
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to back you up. in fact, justice kagan said that at a speech in princeton in 2018 where she said the only reason people obey our decisions is because they believe in our integrity and they believe that we're fair. and so that's what's at risk when that sort of squabbling comes to the forefront. >> i want to read some of npr's reporting about justice kagan to you, brian. at oral argument, justice kagan, one of the court's best, sometimes takes a different approach. she shuts down rather than alienate our colleagues. still, her anger is often palpable. the color draining from her face. and justice brier holds his head. you take that observation and you put it with justice sotomayor's warning about the stench attached to the court for carrying out or for taking up something that a state legislature was waiting to do
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until the three were there and you really have a low moment for the supreme court. don't you? >> yes, and the striking thing about the passage you just read is that justices kagan and brier are the two that oftentimes bend over backward to try to give the benefit of the doubt to their conservative colleagues, playing some kind of long game to try to forge consensus. baier was on a book tour saying that oh, politics doesn't get played out in the court. we approach our work as jurists, first and foremost and now i think even he can't defend on what's going on in court. when i read nina easter risk reporting about the reason why sotomayor has been participating in those arguments remotely, my first reaction was to think what a mean spirited person gorsuch
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is to be putting her in this situation, but it's not surprising. i'm surprised that alito and thomas put on a mask because it has become such a politicized issue on the right and the republican justices on the court are culture warriors through and through, almost indistinguishable from those at cpac. they view themselves earning style points just as gorsuch had to know this would become a public controversy so i think he did this as a branding opportunity and i think this is going to erode confidence in the court and increasingly, it's going to force democrats to reckon with a run away institution that behaves politically and that is now challenging pretty straightforward exercises of executive authority on joe biden's part. that ruling last week in the vaccine or test requirement case is pretty galling from the standpoint of supposed text lists going against a very clear
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1970 statute that gave joe biden the authority to carry that out. at this point, joe biden can't sweep this issue under the rug of this collision course he's on with this republican supreme court. >> what's amazing, joyce, is we know from the little reports there is on the court, they're acutely aware of their perception and i don't know they all view it as a problem. it's clear the chief justice does and that the liberal justices do, but i want to read this, which builds on some of the points brian's making. it's in the atlantic today. quote, the conservative wing of the court wants to have it both ways on its vaccine mandate decision. insisting they are not questioning the safety or efficacy of vaccination while issues decisions that are entirely premised on the right's newfound religious conception is significant and necessity for the mandates to be seen as oppressive. this is little more than culture war dressed up in the language
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of constitutionalism. is that fair? >> it's fair and it is a culture war. i think this is what drove justice sotomayor to make this very strident statement about the stench and whether or not the court could recover from it in oral argument recently. because in creasingly on the right in this newly conservative court, there appears to be a results oriented approach towards making decisions and of course when you contrast the decision making that's apparently going on on abortion, we don't have a final decision on that mississippi case yet, but there, there's a willingness to for instance force baby, force women to carry babies to term where the vaccination case takes a different approach. of course there's more grounded in administrative law and as brian points out, what joe biden has the authority to do under the law, but increasingly, this sort of semi hypocritical approach to rule making is going to diminish the court's
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integrity in the eyes of the public and i think we'll see the chief justice step in and try to impose some order on the court that will be named for him in the history books. the real question is whether chief justice roberts will take these stories and use those to convince his colleagues that the time has come for the court to do an about face. >> it would appear if he has tried that, he has failed, brian, and if you can't get grown men to wear a mask to protect a colleague with type i diabetes, i'm not sure you're going to be able to moderate their opinions. i want to read a little bit more from the npr reporting because it gets to what joyce is i think inching toward. in recent decades, the court has built its legitimacy on the certain degree of moderation. given the left and right some of what they wanted, but now the majority is on the cusp of
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ending that game. that's a harvard law professor. he says if a conservative majority overturns roe versus wade, it will be doing something the supreme court has never done. that is reverse a fundamental right that ordinary people have enjoyed for 50 years and say whoops, we never really had this right at all. at a time when the court has a low public approval rating, not rating, but feeling from the public, lower even after the 2000 election, 20 points lower than then, actually, what is ahead in the near future for this court? >> i think chief justice roberts is alone among the republican appointees to the supreme court in caring about the court's external rotation and one of the other pieces of nina's excellent reporting in the piece today was that there's continued ill will on the part of justice alito
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about the fact it was roberts appointed by president bush as the chief justice position. it was a position he had eyes on and that he continues to view that situation with resentment as is probably the case with most of the republican justices on the case. think of roberts as weak. too timid. as a squish. i think they lost respect for him when he reportically report his vote ten years ago now and i think there is preference to get to the same destination as his republican colleagues, but more slowly so as not to awaken a public backlash. i think that strikes the other justices as weak and too timid. they want to go there and they want to go there now. the machinery that helped elevate them to the court was propelled them to the court -- like the vaccine requirement that was struck down last week
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and so i think he's lost any control of this court even though it's named for him and historically will be remembered as the roberts court. he is not in control of his own conservative faction. they don't need his vote anymore. so i think on style, these republican justices are not paying attention to the court's reputation anymore. they're routinely appearing at political functions. the last three trump appointees to the court all went and appeared and kissed the ring of mitch mcconnell down in kentucky. and they increasingly, i don't think will care or be timid about issuing far reaching rulings including unfortunately, striking down roe come june. >> my memory may fail me, but wasn't justice alito george w. bush's second choice after harriet myers? >> so, nina's reporting goes into this today and alito was under the impression if rehnquist retired and the chief
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justice came open first, that he was going to be named to that position and then what happened was that o'connor retired before chief justice reinquist retired or passed away and when the first opening arose, roberts was named to that position after the myers flub. and then when rehnquist died and that opening became available, too president bush elevated that and got the o'connor seat. according to nina, alito fashions himself to the hard core conservative and thinks he should be the chief justice and that's contributing to the tensions here and sort of by incidents they've seen over recent years. alito gave a screeching appearance a couple of years back that was derided as partisan.
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he and thomas came out today that thomas' wife is among the public signers of a letter urging cheney and kin singer to be thrown out. they don't care about the optics. in fact, i think they welcome the idea of liberals being upset by some of the rulings they have in store for the end of this term. >> wow. we'll keep watching. thank you so much for joining us today. with a challenged agenda, the biden administration today planning to re-group with a new public strategy hoping to turn the page as they round the corner into year two of his presidency. and talk about what we can expect from the president's news conference tomorrow. stay with us. even with these crazy lovebirds. [ squak ] alright i'll take the barstools!
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at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner with access to financial advice, tools and a personalized plan that helps you build a future for those you love. vanguard. become an owner. so today, one day ahead of its official launch, the white house has unveiled its website where each household in america can order up to four free at-home covid tests. is limited capacity before it goes live tomorrow morning. from "the new york times," quote, there were more than 700,000 visitors on the home page early this afternoon. more than 20 times higher than the government site with the next highest traffic, the u.s. postal services tracking page.
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also tomorrow, president biden is planning to mark his first full year in office with a press conference. it is at 4:00 p.m. nbc news has learned behind the scenes, his team is plotting a reset for his communications approach and strategy. it's one that senior administration officials say will shift the focus to more direct engagement with the american people, showcasing the president's empathy and ability to connect. two things they view as this president's greatest political strengths while making his conversations with members of congress less of a public priority and less of what the public is facing. one senior administration official said biden is quote, mindful that he doesn't want to send the message his role is to be the legislator in chief. let's bring in carol lee, one of the reporters on that reporting. "new york times" political reporter and msnbc contributor. your knowledge of this white house is far deeper than mine, but my sense is when you point
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out something that isn't working for them, they're very aware of the problems and it seems that this reset is an acknowledgment that it's time to make a pivot or a change. talk about your reporting. >> yeah, it is. and they're acknowledging that things haven't been working as everyone's been talking about and the president's been criticized by that even about that even from allies and what they're saying is that they want to essentially reposition him how the public sees him. so they spent a lot of time, there was some early momentum, he got some good victories, then he just got bogged down in the legislative process and they don't want him to be seen as that with the public. if you're negotiating it, you own it. whether it's a success or failure. and he's seen some failures recently and that's not helping them in their view in terms of his standing with the public. so they're reaching for what you know as a former white house official is kind of a go-to for
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communications officials and that is to say you know, we're done with washington. we'll have quiet conversations wen we need to. we're not going to be very public about them. instead, we're going to go around the elites as our colleague mike beschloss said, we'll talk directly to the american people. there's agreement on the need to shift the president into that position publicly, but they don't know exactly how they're going to do that. obviously, covid creates some complications there as well. >> i know this is advice this president is getting, nick, we're going to press you on this. we have to sneak in a quick break. we're going to ask both of you to stay with us. we're going to be right back chblt y with us. we're going to be right back chbl
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as little as zero dollars at are you taking a statin drug to reduce cholesterol? as little as zero dollars it can also deplete your coq10 levels. i recommend considering qunol coq10 along with your statin medication. the brand i trust is qunol. we're back with carol and nick. you know, nick, sort of on planet earth, what people are talking about today is the free tests that are finally available today, a day ahead of that program. it seems that there is always a disconnect, a president gets mired in what carol's talking about, the gridlock and the muck of governing and in fairness to president biden, that was his role as vice president, and obviously in the senate, but there is seemingly a nod to the need to push him around the issues that people are dealing with in their real lives, keeping schools open, access to covid tests, information that is
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reliable and doesn't change when it comes to what we should be doing, and reassurances about the economy and inflation. this seems like if they can sustain it, it's probably a good idea in a midterm election year. >> i mean, it's the only idea, nicole. their problems here go back months when the president and his party set expectations sky high on voting rights and build back better, but they didn't have the votes on day one of his presidency, and they haven't got them now. and so the messaging problem was created a long time ago, and it's really a power problem. they haven't got the votes. so, they can send the president around the country, but he's at 42% right now. he's unpopular president. and there's no lawmaker or senator in a purple state or district who has to worry right now about joe biden coming into their backyard and punching them around. and the question is, can he connect on some more basic level? can he build more positive headlines aside from these looming failures in congress?
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>> carol, what is the process for making this pivot? is it to use the vice president more, who obviously was also in the united states senate? it is lean on the cabinet? is it to -- what is the process look like to make this adjustment in terms of where the president spends his time? >> look, nicole, the administration officials told us that they know they need to do this. they don't know exactly how they're going to do this. so, that's something that they are still sorting out. i mean, one of the things that we did see the president do last week and you'll probably hear him do this again tomorrow is talk about what he has accomplished, and he said it himself. there's a lot of talk about what i haven't done. let's talk about what i have done. there are allies of the president who have wanted him to do that for some time, to tell his own story so you'll see him do some of that. he also said a couple things last week that will resonate and that sort of go with this shift and that is, i hear you, and you matter to me, speaking directly to the american people. one of the things the white
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house says that he is going to do tomorrow is talk about how you don't get everything done in one year and that they're going to try to build on the foundation of year one. so, to that point, to nick's point, there's a little bit of expectations resetting here that's probably going to go into this too. >> you know, nick, they've been hearing from a lot of outside advisors who often take to the air waves to advise the white house, but i know james carville has talked about, they need to get out there and campaign, to carol's point exactly to, campaign on what they have done. the democratic party is so different. the republicans don't have public support behind what they are doing and what they're blocking and they go out and bang their chests. the democrats actually have a lot of public support behind what they're for and they're timid about bragging. do you see any sort of potential for reversing those fates? >> not really. look, it's an old problem, and the issue is that republicans are much more cohesive party. it's easier for them to rule
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with a narrow majority. the democrats are a coalition party and there's more cats to herd and people and groups to line up and it's harder and democrats needed a bigger majority in congress to do big things. what they did wrong here was they set out to do huge things on the thinnest of majorities and it was just, you know, obviously going to be a problem. i'm not sure what "b" was after "a" and "c," and maybe they have one now. >> we'll be watching. carol lee, nick confessore, thank you so much for spending time with us today. the next hour of "deadline white house" starts after a very short break. next hour of "deadle white house" starts after a very short break. at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner with access to financial advice, tools and a personalized plan that helps you build a future
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perhaps 2020 was the year that we finally vanquished the ghost of bush vs. gore. the way florida did it, i think, inspires confidence. i think that's how elections should be run. >> the way elections should be run. hi again, everyone. it's 5:00 in new york. we showed you those comments from florida's republican governor, ron desantis, not too shower praise on him or tout his state's election integrity but to show you that in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, desantis thought florida was a model, and he was proud of what his state had accomplished in the 2020 election. saying it inspired confidence. so, why, in the years since desantis made those comments, has he felt the need to reform his state's elections in the name of election integrity? back in may, he signed into law exclusively on fox news, we
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might add, measures that add new barriers to voting by mail and restrict the use of drop boxes. actions critics say will be felt disproportionately by voters of color in florida. now, there's this. brand-new reporting in the "washington post" finds, quote, a plan by florida governor ron desantis would establish a special police force to oversee state elections. the first of its kind in the nation. desantis is asking the gop-controlled legislature to allocate nearly $6 million to hire 52 people to, quote, investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation of election laws. they would be stationed at unspecified field offices throughout the state and act on tips from government officials or any other person. state democrats and voting rights advocates saw right through desantis's proposal. jonathan diaz, a voting rights lawyer at the nonprofit campaign legal center told "the post" this, quote, there's a reason that there's no office of this size with this kind of unlimited
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investigative authority in any other state in the country, and it is because elections crime and voter fraud are just not a problem of that magnitude. my number one concern is that this is going to be used as a tool to harass or intimidate civic engagement organizations and voters. these stepped-up efforts to intimidate, to suppress the vote, are even more alarming as the prospect of federal voting rights legislation looks all but dead. and add to this picture another attempt by desantis to seize control of his state's elections. politico reports, political observers across florida were caught off guard when desantis became the first governor in recent political history to submit a congressional map during the state's redistricting process. quote, the governor clearly believes that he is the king maker and can do what he wants, and that's why we're seeing this unprecedented move of him sending his version of what the congressional man should look like. florida democratic state senator
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shevin jones tells politico, quote, the map is not only unconstitutional but it dilutes black representation in florida. to add insult to injury, the governor submitted this map all actually tweeting a quote honoring dr. king. keep in mind, all this is happening as there is trouble in lover's paradise between desantis and his favorite ex-president. "new york times" reported that trump is grumbling to his buddies at mar-a-lago that desantis, quote, has been acting far less like an acolyte and more like a future competitor. and the two publicly blasted each other over vaccines. new voter suppression efforts under way in florida is where we start this hour. former republican congressman david jolly of florida is with us. he's now the national chairman of the serve america movement and an msnbc contributor. also joining us, "mother jones" senior reporter ari berman is here and florida state senator
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audrey gibson is here. let me start with you and read a little bit more of what desantis is up to. the bottom line is there is no widespread election fraud in florida, that's hillsboro's state attorney, a democrat. it's a microscopic amount. this is not a serious policy proposal. this is a door prize for qanon pep rally. is that how you see it? >> what's happening is utterly ridiculous. i can't even describe it any plainer than that. it's almost, as i mentioned to someone earlier today, it's an effort against minority voters, period. and i am alarmed at what's happening here in florida in the legislature as it relates to voting rights. i'm alarmed what's coming out of the governor's office, and he has the audacity to quote
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dr. martin luther king jr., who fought for civil rights and voting rights while he tries to denigrate them. >> madam senator, i just want to be clear that no evidence of fraud has emerged. i mean, we looked, and the same election that the state's governor, ron desantis, touted in the aftermath of 2020, that has held. there was no discovery of fraud. what is the spell? is it all about loyalty to donald trump? what is the spell that lets all of this happen in plain sight in florida? >> well, it seems that the governor wants to out-trump trump and continue to create division among the entire state of florida. he wants to have it his way, just because he's the governor, and as i've said on other speaking engagements, we do not
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have a king. and to try every day to find a different way to disenfranchise minority voters, particularly african american voters, which is evident by the map that he himself made is very telling, and absolute power, which he has over the legislature, corrupts absolutely. >> you mentioned the map. i want to read a little bit more reporting to you about it. desantis's map would cut in half the number of african american districts from four, a current proposed congressional maps, to two, while boosting the number of seats donald trump would have won in 2020 from to 18 from the 16 on the map being considered by the gop-led florida senate. it would also wipe out the fifth congressional district seat held by african american representative al lawson.
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we probably don't spend enough time here talking about the redistricting power grabs, but this one seems particularly egregious. >> it's absolutely egregious, and every person of color and everyone who cares about people of color should be disgusted and certainly should reach out to his office on what he is trying to do. this is all about the fact that president biden won the election, even though he didn't here in florida, he carried duval county, which is huge in our state, and so all of these efforts are really to try to push down african american turnout because certainly we do make a huge difference in the outcome in an election, and
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again, this is to -- while taking federal dollars from the biden administration, this is to stab or create -- to stab or attempt to stab -- take a stab at the president, his administration, and all of those of us who voted for him. >> ari berman, it feels like what we're watching play out is the audacity of shamelessness when it comes to voter suppression creating a climate for voter nullification and absolutely engineering the electorate. and i wonder at which point the hand-wringing stops and a really aggressive pushback can be mounted, either at a federal level -- it feels like voting rights legislation is dying while we speak -- or at a state level. the republicans have revealed themselves. this is the plan. and their voters reward them. they don't punish them. and it still feels like there isn't an adequate pushback or
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defense of democracy and the right to vote this time in florida. >> well, republicans, nicole, have adopted an all-of-the-above strategy to attacking democracy. they're making it as hard as possible to vote. they're passing extreme gerrymandered maps. they're passing extreme election subversion laws, so they're doing election rigging on the front end and the back end. they're choosing their own electorate through gerrymandering. they're making it harder to vote by restricting ballot access and if that fails, they're determining which votes are counted, which is the whole new voter suppression strategy they're employing and it's really amazing to hear joe manchin and kyrsten sinema say that it would be too partisan and divisive to stop actions that are meant to be partisan and divisive. the entire point of the republican assault on voting is to prevent democrats from winning fair elections, so far from encouraging republicans to become more bipartisan, what
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sinema and manchin are doing is basically giving a free pass to republicans to be as extreme and as partisan as they want, so i really do think that the federal efforts to protect voting rights would have been the most effective, and it's going to be very difficult to fight these laws, state by state by state, and it really feels like democracy is slipping away here, and that democrats had an opening, an historic opening, to protect voting rights, to stop voter suppression, and because of kyrsten sinema and joe manchin, just two senators in the caucus, they're not going to be able to do it and that means it's going to be very difficult to stop these kind of efforts moving forward. >> you know, and david jolly, you could look back and say, oh, they needed to rally public support. they have public support. a significant majority of democrats support majority rule. even more republicans do. you have big numbers. i think 60% of all american voters support making voting easier, not harder.
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and you have -- but you know, i don't show -- you know this. i do not show the trump republican party gratuitously, but i showed that sound of ron desantis because he went to the microphones thinking that it would be to his political benefit to tout how secure florida's election was. all that changed -- ron desantis didn't learn that florida's election wasn't secure. ron desantis read the room. and what the room wanted was qanon-grade b.s., conspiracy theories and lies about the result everywhere, including states where trump won. it's happening in texas as well. and i wonder if you can speak to the sort of growing rumble between donald trump and ron desantis. >> nicole, that is an icy relationship between ron desantis and donald trump, in large part because no one learned better at the knee of donald trump than ron desantis. but no one in american politics has more successfully used
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donald trump than ron desantis, and i mean used almost in a personal way. ron desantis was an early spokesperson for trump on fox news, not because he supported trump but because desantis wanted to be the front runner for the governorship. he then put his kids in a commercial, building blocks of a wall on the southwest border praising donald trump, but the moment ron desantis got elected, he was nowhere to be found. he was not a trump surrogate. he used donald trump to get tallahassee. during the surfside collapse about a year ago, donald trump was having a rally in central florida, wanted desantis there. desantis was not going to show up, and the consternations within the florida republican party were real, that desantis would not be there to support donald trump because of the tragedy at surfside, ron desantis got to be governor down in south florida and that issue went away. and this last one, on the florida election security force, look at what ron desantis is doing. he's not actually selling donald trump's big lie. he's not out there saying, donald trump should have been
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elected and the certification shouldn't have gone through. he's not carrying water for donald trump. what he's doing is taking the most powerful part of that -- the big lie and using the part that benefits ron desantis, not donald trump. this is about 2024 and about securing ron desantis's pathway to the gop nomination. >> well, i mean, i guess at one level, david jolly, who cares? two tarantulas in a bowl, may the more vicious spider prevail. but i think the fear has always been, and the reason we pay attention to what happens and who seizes the -- i don't want to call them aspirations, but the energy of that maga base is who is more dangerous with those lies, and in your view, who is more dangerous in charge of the maga base, donald trump or ron desantis, david? >> ron desantis is far more dangerous than donald trump because he's more savvy. he's more coy. and he doesn't have the pitfalls that donald trump does.
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ron desantis will announce he's running for president on this notion of the free state of florida. florida's not free if your kids can't be exposed to the full curriculum that would make them smarter and better educated students. florida's not free if you can't get a test or treatment for covid. florida's not free if you don't have access to the ballot box. florida's not free if you're a voter and you vote and by a majority, determined home rule and then governor desantis says, i'm not going to let you do that and he kneecaps local voters. florida's not free. it's a narrative that ron desantis is very successfully selling, which is what makes him dangerous. in ron desantis's narrative of freedom, he's really kneecapping democracy right now for people of florida and he will successfully do it on the national stage should he get to the white house. >> and casual racism is the gateway for the entire conversation on the right about voter suppression. it's shielded in voter integrity, election integrity, but there was no fraud. bill barr couldn't find any to
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investigate. that's how little there was. let me show you president joe biden last week about the choice before elected officials. >> so, i ask every elected official in america, how do you want to be remembered? at consequential moments in history, they present a choice. do you want to be on the side of dr. king or george wallace? do you want to be on the side of john lewis or bull connor? do you want to be on the side of abraham lincoln or jefferson davis? this is the moment to decide, to defend our elections, to defend our democracy. >> so, ari, i understand there's been some backlash at the president, but the rebuttal to the backlash is this. there was no fraud. and early in covering these measures, republicans would call me and say, what could you live
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with, nicole? it's not such a big deal to have to have an i.d. if there was fraud, that would be a reasonable thing to say to me. there was no fraud. the entire effort, the 400 laws introduced in 48 states are predicated on a lie. and my question for you is, is the -- is the train out of the station? is this lie too far permeated in the minds of the trump base and the right has it now codified in voter suppression laws that people feel good about. they go home and say, i did something good, i protected our elections from fraud. are we too late in the game to remind people that you protected the elections from nothing because there was no fraud? >> yeah, that's really what i worry about the most, nicole, is that voter suppression is the new normal in the republican party. the big lie is the new normal in the republican party. and a majority of americans don't believe this, but if a majority of republicans do, then
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the extremists have hijacked one political party, and that party is hijacking every part of the election system, which makes it really hard to have fair elections going forward, and it's amazing to hear people saying, biden went too far, when in fact, he didn't go far enough. he should have been talking about voter suppression earlier, more forcefully from the beginning of his presidency, so i think the georgia speech was very important, but it may have been too little, too late, and right now, what's happening is one party, the republican party, has completely radicalized against democracy while the democratic party, at least in terms of joe manchin and kyrsten sinema, are saying, we want bipartisanship. we want a return to normal when that normal doesn't exist anymore and that's why it's asymmetric warfare because republicans are going to do everything they can to make it harder to vote, to undermine democracy. if democrats don't stop them, they will be emboldened to just go further and further and further until free and fair elections become something that nobody in this country recognizes any longer. >> so, madam senator, i want to bring you back, and i started my
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career in tallahassee and i know sometimes the national debates miss what's happening on the ground, and i wonder if you can just speak to what would be helpful. what are we missing? what do you need in florida to protect the right to vote, to protect the maps from being hijacked by ron desantis's oval office fantasies? what do you need from washington? >> that is a million dollar question. we have to keep raising our voices and certainly if the -- if we could get the voting rights act across the finish line, that would send a message to the states and certainly a message to the state of florida about the seriousness of protecting voting rights and about the seriousness of not creating division. that's what we really need from washington.
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because otherwise, as was mentioned earlier, every state that is republican-controlled is going to create their own state laws that really put the people in the state of florida, in particular, at a total disadvantage, not to mention the creation or the attempted creation to create a militia for people showing up to vote or even to turn in their ballots. we're on fire, and we need the fire put out, and so this is an all hands on deck state, local, and federal to make sure that things are the way they should be when it comes to voting rights and not be taken over by other people's expectations of 2024.
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2022. sorry. >> david jolly -- >> and 2024. >> it all blurs together sometimes. david jolly, where do you think the -- i mean, the ground -- i've spoken to local officials in michigan, in arizona, in wisconsin, in florida, in georgia. the ground truth is the same everywhere. where is the disconnect with washington democrats? >> well, look, i think what's infected politics for a long time is the political golden rule, which is he who has the gold makes the rules. the one in power gets to make the rules, and what we're seeing in republican legislatures across the country, they are making rules that benefit republicans, but in so doing, they're actually restricting the franchise of voters, and in this case, democratic-leaning voters and particularly voters of color, and that is where the impetus for washington democrats and for washington to recognize what is happening. the federal courts have largely said, in brightline cases around
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civil rights and voting rights, we will intervene, but it's going to take us a long time to get there and if it's not a clear case of civil rights or voting rights protection, the courts will not intervene, and the import of what senate democrats are considering is creating federal statute that prohibits many of the actions now being taken at the state level. that is the failure we are seeing of democrats today. we can isolate the two that apparently have not come along with the democratic party, but i would also say the real failure rests fully within the republican party, because the two democrats we focus on, manchin and sinema, they would get halfway there on a voting bill, but no republicans would, and i think we have to remember that contrast as we watch this play out among democrats on capitol hill this week. >> ari, we've turned to you early and often as this conversation has taken on this split screen, the ground truth in places like florida and others and the inability of washington to do anything. what are your thoughts today?
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>> my thoughts are that if washington doesn't do something and soon, we are going to see a lot more of what we're seeing from florida, texas, and georgia and it's going to be so embedded in the election system that it's going to be very, very difficult to reverse, that voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering and election subversion, they are becoming part of the fabric in every key swing state controlled by republicans and this is the last, best chance for democrats to do something about it. and i really do feel -- we feel like we're at a moment where, what if the voting rights act of 1965 hadn't passed? and that's how it's going to feel if freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights act fail. voter suppression is going to become the new normal. the democrats will not be empowered to be able to roll it back, and we are going to be in these very long ground wars, state by state by state instead.
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>> we have major breaking news to tell you about now on the january 6th committee investigation. there is a brand-new batch of subpoenas. they include big names. rudy giuliani, jenna ellis, boris epstein, and sidney powell, who, of course, fronted donald trump's a-team, legal team in the fight to overturn the election results in several key swing states by falsely claiming widespread voter fraud all over the country. of course, as we've been discussing, there was none. committee chairman bennie thompson writes in a letter released just a few minutes ago, this, quote, the select committee is looking into the causes that contributed to the violence on january 6th, including attempts to promote unsupported claims of election fraud and pressure campaigns to overturn the 2020 election results. the four individuals we have subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former president about attempts to stop
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the counting of electoral votes. we expect these individuals to join the nearly 400 witnesses who have spoken with the select committee as the committee works to get answers for the american people about the violent attack on our democracy. the committee goes on to explain the role of each of these players in that effort, writing this, quote, rudy giuliani actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of the former president and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results. he was reportedly in contact with then-president trump and various members of congress regarding strategies for delaying or overturning the results of the 2020 election. jenna ellis reportedly prepared and circulated two memos purporting to analyze the constitutional authority for the vice president to reject or delay counting electoral votes from states that had submitted alternate slates of electors.
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sidney powell actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former president trump in litigation and public appearances. boris epshten reportedly attended meetings and had a call with former president trump on the morning of january 6th to discuss options to delay the certification of election results in the event of vice president pence's unwillingness to deny or delay the certification. joining our coverage, chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney, as well as a former senior fbi official, betsy woodruff swan is back, national correspondent for politico. david jolly is sticking around. all three are msnbc contributors. betsy, i come to you on this frame for the investigation that congressman jamie raskin gave me, the rioters outside, the conspiracy, maybe, carried out by extremist groups, we saw doj charge the first big conspiracy of the oath keepers' leader and then the inner ring, the coup.
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these subpoenas today seem directly targeted to the coup itself. >> right. there's no question. this is the select committee homing in on the legal team that trump used to try to take the battle that he lost at the ballot box and try to refight it in court. that legal effort, of course, was a spectacular failure, in large part because the facts were not on those lawyers' side, but it created a moment of significant suspense in the country in terms of just how far the president would be willing to go and the allegations that those lawyers made in court provided significant fodder to people pushing conspiracy theories about the election. those conspiracy theories, of course, were a key part of the reason that there was so much furor on the far right leading into january 6th. one of these subpoenas, which targets jenna ellis, a member of trump's legal team, specifically
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cites the fact that she wrote two memos in about the week before january 6th laying out legal arguments about how to go after the election results. now, ellis told us, of course, that she was not trying to reverse the election results. i have to note that. they now will say that they were trying to get to the truth about what happened, but the way that this is viewed by the committee and by, i think, all reasonable people is that the president's legal team was trying to engage in using bizarre legal theories to reverse the outcome. we obtained copies of both of those memos about a month ago. we published them at politico. one of the memos said that vice president pence could simply choose not to open the envelopes that some of these electoral ballots came in on january 6th. another memo suggests that pieces of the electoral count act, which has governed elections in the united states since time immemorial, could be considered unconstitutional. the first memo was addressed to donald trump. the second memo is addressed to
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a lawyer who's advised trump in varying degrees for quite some time, jay seculo. the select committee is zooming in on legal arguments that were made, legal arguments that were immensely consequential to the way the last months of trump's presidency played out. >> betsy, i glanced through these in just the couple minutes that i have had them and it's clear that they all get at the conduct around the lie. now, i wonder where the bill stepien-directed memo that the campaign undertook, debunking the lie, and the knowledge that they knew as a campaign that there was no fraud, and that these claims from powell and ellis and rudy and i don't remember if epstheyt was on that document were not true. i know there's been back and forth with him and i wonder how much the knowledge these were lies plays into the work that the committee is doing with these four subpoenas. >> it certainly highlights the extent to which there was basically a "by any means
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necessary" approach among some of the people close to trump in those final weeks as the now former president was desperate to try to maintain his power on the white house. the fact, of course, that bill stepien and people in the campaign knew that these allegations were nonsensical, it's amplified by the fact that bill barr, trump's attorney general, came out publicly and said they found in evidence of fraud. but despite that, these sort of parallel legal arguments first convoluted nonsensical allegations claims that things were true that just weren't true whatsoever, coupled with convoluted, very unusual legal assessments produced, failure in court, but in the court of public opinion of the ultra-far-right and the conspiracy theory community, we know what happened. we know what happened on january 6th. and the connection there between the foment, the anger, the conspiratorial thinking, it's
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hard not to miss. >> chuck, as an investigator, if you take some of the revelations of late, and my friend and colleague, rachel maddow, has done a great job on this document that was returned to the state of michigan with 16 alternate electors on it in a state that president joe biden won by 154,000 votes, alternate slate of electors was presented. now, i worked in two state houses and there are lots of smart people at a state level but i don't know that they're that smart, and i wonder how much you think, if you can think of this committee and their investigative work, how much they're trying to attach the conduct at the state level, especially the seven states detailed by john eastman in his memo, which include michigan, and then the conduct of these four individuals who were actively pushing this plot to overturn the election result. how much do you think that is the focus of today's subpoenas? >> well, i don't know that it's the singular focus, nicole, but
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it has to be a focus, right? i mean, if this committee is going to do a comprehensive and thoughtful job, they have to look at lots of things, what's going on in the states, what was going on in the white house, whether members of congress were helping former president trump. they have to look at intelligence failures and law enforcement failures before and after. so, i'm sure that this is part of the inquiry. i would also say this. for any witness to be helpful to the committee, they generally have to be three things, right? they have so have relevant information. so they have to be relevant. and to your point earlier in introducing the segment, all of them are relevant. they have to be credible. that's thing number two. and some of these witnesses might have a little bit of trouble there. and then third, they have to be willing, meaning they have to be willing to talk to the committee, and this is where the law gets really interesting, and we can talk about this some more if you want, but there could be a problem for some of these witnesses because they might be
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under criminal investigation, and so whether or not they're relevant, whether or not they're credible, they may not be willing to talk because they might have their own criminal liability. >> it is such a fascinating moment in all this. i want to add to our coverage and our conversation, jeremy bash, former chief of staff for the cia and department of defense, now an nbc national security analyst. you also did some high-level time on the hill and i wonder first your reaction to these four subpoenas today. >> well, i think, to your point, nicole, these were some of the architects of the plot to steal the presidency, and the wager they made was that the criminal was stronger than the law. and of course, it turned out not to be the case. the law was stronger than the criminal. but they advanced a theory of the election that was fundamentally fraudulent, fundamentally unconstitutional, and fundamentally illegal and so i suspect when these individuals are hauled before the january 6th committee, they'll probably take the fifth because they don't want to incriminate
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themselves because what they did was engage in their own election fraud to try to steal the presidency back for donald trump. all right but i do think it's significant that the january 6th committee is focusing on the lawyers. normally, investigators don't go after lawyers. there's sort of a healthy respect from investigators that you don't really go into the legal communications between lawyers and their clients unless the crime is so significant, so material, and those conversations are so relevant to the investigation that they have no choice. here, chairman thompson, vice chairwoman cheney, they had no choice. they had to go right there. >> jeremy, i want to press you on what i was asking chuck about. this is from the letter for ms. ellis. it says, between mid-november 2020 and january 6, 2021, and thereafter, you actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former president trump and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the
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election results. some of that sourcing is local coverage. a story from the detroit news and other reporting from fox news and other local sources, and i wonder again how much you think that the investigation has moved into the actual plot outlined in the eastman memo that pence ultimately foiled by listening to dan quayle and going ahead and certifying the vote. but the actual plan that was on paper to put an alternate slate in of electors that would have, as you just said, stolen the presidency. >> i think this is significant, nicole, and chuck will appreciate this concept. what these individuals did is they acted under the color of law, and that's a legal term that means that there's some authority given to a government official or government agency, and that authority is then used to deprive the constitutional rights, the liberties of others. and that's exactly what these individuals did on behalf of
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someone no less than the president of the united states. they acted under color of law to steal the right to vote from the american people. and i think this is so significant, nicole, because of all the things that we have to think about with respect to january 6th, there are ways to harden the gates, harden the doors, harden the glass, arm the capitol police, but if we're going to harden our laws, we have to engage in legal reform because under the electoral count act, under our constitutional system, the house of representatives can decide an election if there aren't 270 electoral votes that are given to anybody. so, all the republicans need to do is basically steal the slate of electors right out from under state legislators that would be sending them to washington, convince them to sent alternative slates or convince people to engage in other shenanigans and if they don't do it by the deadline, nobody gets 270, the house of representatives decides and that is whoever controls the house
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majority at that time, every state voting one time as jamie raskin outlined in his book. so this is very significant because unless the laws are reformed, unless we understand the plot that was used last time, we won't be able to defend this next time. >> and i think the committee's work, jeremy, is inching toward being able to put together the narrative to show us how close we came, because at this point, the only people that are saying that are people that understand what you just articulated, right? that understand that if you -- if you neither get to the threshold, then it's thrown into chaos, but i want to read this section from the subpoena for rudy giuliani. the select committee's investigation has revealed credible evidence that you publicly promoted claims of the 2020 election was stolen and participated in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results based on your allegations between mid-november 2020 and january 6th and thereafter, you actively promoted false claims of election fraud on behalf of trump and sought to convince state legislators to take steps
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to overturn the election results. again, we don't know if those state legislators are yet among the 400 that the committee has talked to, so what is revealed sometimes in these subpoenas is part of what they have pieced together, and i wonder your thoughts before anyone falls over the cliff of, well, rudy won't talk, it feels like from these subpoenas already, they have a whole lot of information around this effort of trying to manipulate state legislators to send in alternate electors. >> yeah, i think it has been said elsewhere. this is largely going to be a paper case. the evidence is going to come in through the documents but there are people who have openly described this plot. peter navarro wrote an entire book about it, the green bay sweep or whatever football euphemism he gave. the key thing i think people have to understand is, the armed attack on the capitol was kind of, in some ways, a ridiculous but potentially effective way to stop the certification of the
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election, because had that gone forward, had it been thrown to the house of representatives, it's not clear that the house of representatives would have allowed joe biden to take office. there could have been a controversy. it could have gone to the supreme court. we all know who controls the supreme court. and heaven help us if the democrats lose significant seats in the midterm elections here in 2022 and the complexion of the state delegations looks different and the next presidential election, i think this is going to be the core of the republican strategy to win the presidency, to steal it again, which is to get this thing thrown in the house of representatives and handed to donald trump or whoever the trumpist nominee is. >> well, and david jolly, as we have been discussing with this state-by-state-by-state laws and it's no mystery and it's no accident that the first one that passed was georgia and then they moved on to arizona. the president even targeting texas. there's a proposal in wisconsin and in michigan, and the only
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thing that stops all of them from passing in some of those states are democratic governors. frankly, what jeremy is describing is more likely to happen next time than last time. >> it is. or you can look at it as a continuation of the coup. the coup attempt is not yet over, it just lost the battle on january 6th, but what you saw is the primary actors re-engage in state capitols to prepare for the next round, for the next election, for '22 and '24, and i think what the january 6th committee ultimately will put in front of the american people is donald trump's culpability. i think the subpoenas today suggest the shadow of that investigation is getting closer and closer to the former president, and then that gets to the question of, what did donald trump know about those events? because look, a lot of the contesting of electors can be done in a lawful, constitutional way, and that will be their defense. but did donald trump have
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knowledge that counterfeit electors were being sent to washington? did he have knowledge that the oath keepers would be embedded in the crowd that day? how did he respond? did he insist on a stronger security posture, or did he suggest to not worry about the security posture and what the j-6 committee has done today is gotten right into donald trump's closest confidantes and advisors and it says that the man who was likely responsible for the events of january 6th continues to try to work this coup through the state capitols to prepare again for '24. >> i want to show everyone some of what was being said at the time, some of what is detailed in these four subpoenas today. >> what we are really dealing with here and uncovering more by the day is the massive influence of communist money through venezuela, cuba, and likely
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china and the interference with our elections here in the united states. >> this is not a singular voter fraud in one state. this pattern repeats itself in a number of states. almost exactly the same pattern. i think the logical conclusion is, this is a common plan, a common scheme, it comes right directly from the democrat party, and it comes from the candidate. >> they were so unbelievable at the time, these allegations, betsy, that the democratic candidate had colluded with venezuela to corrupt voting machines. they're so outrageous that at least two of those individuals are facing billion dollar lawsuits from voting machine companies, and i wonder what you make of those same lies now being in the sights of the 1/6 committee. >> it makes a lot of sense, and one valuable asset that the 1/6 committee has recently secured
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is the testimony of bernie kerik, a long-time ally of rudy giuliani's and a person who worked as an investigator on giuliani's legal team. kerik, of course, gave a massive document production to the select committee on new year's eve of this year and he sat for an interview with investigators on that panel. the reason that kerik was able to do this was because trump signed a privilege waiver, said that he was not going to assert any attorney-client privilege to block kerik from participating. now, trump and kerik said the reason they wanted him to participate was because they believed he'd be able to reveal the truth about voter fraud but any participation is helpful participation and they now have a voice from within the legal team already as well as documents from within the legal team already, and that's something that's invaluable when it comes to trying to make sense of how lawyers make litigation strategy, how they make
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investigative plans, how this harebrained, major head scratcher of a legal effort that was, you know, cosigned by the president of the united states at the time all came to pass. so it very much makes sense that the select committee is zooming in on this group of people. one of the only questions, frankly, is why it happened this late in the process. >> boris epstheyn is another individual subpoenaed. this is in his letter. you, boris, participated in a press conference on november 19, 2020, during which attorneys for the trump campaign promoted claims of election fraud. published reports have placed you at meetings at the willard hotel and you are reported to have participated in a call with former president trump on the morning of january 6th during which options were discussed to delay the certification of election results in light of vice president pence's unwillingness to deny or delay certification. so, it fell to boris to put in
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motion chuck rosenberg, plan b. talk about his importance as a potential witness. >> you know, jeremy made the point earlier and he's right that this, in many ways, will be a document case. emails and text messages are going to be crucial. but if you can talk to people like epstheyn who talk to the president then you get that inside account. not everyone who was around the president has relevant information. not everyone who was around the president will want to talk to investigators. but if the committee gets lucky here, and if epstheyn is willing to talk and he's truthful, and he doesn't invoke some privilege, fifth amendment or otherwise, then you're in the white house, not literally but figuratively. you're talking to someone who was talking to the president on the morning of that awful day. and so, as with all witnesses, we have to figure out whether or not they have privileges they might invoke.
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it's ultimately epshteyn's call. but if i'm a lawyer for any of these four people, i'm worried about their criminal exposure. what if they're raising money on the false pretense that the election was stolen? that could be a mail fraud. and so as defense lawyers often do, they think of the worst case scenario for their clients and then interpose objections to their testimony. so, documents are crucial. but if you can get a guy like epshteyn, who spoke to the president on january 6th, to speak to the committee, you get that much more of a fulsome picture of what the president was doing, saying, and thinking in the run-up to the riot. >> well, and jeremy, we know from reporting in "the new york times" that one of the two potential criminal referrals that the committee is at least eyeing is the crime that chuck just described, fraudulently --
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raising money on a fraudulent claim and sort of referring an investigation into mail fraud or any other statute that it's violated so there's a very real possibility that this group, in particular, they were all at the forefront of fund-raising for the legal fund based on the lie that we know from reporting the campaign told them was a lie. we know the campaign researched all these claims, came out with a document and bore out, in their own research document, that none of them were true. >> and all these people, rudy giuliani and sidney powell, they're going to lie until someone calls them on it, they're going to lie until they can't get away with it any longer and that's the thing. lying about election fraud is election fraud. if you make a false claim that there was election fraud, you will be denying the liberty and the right to franchise that americans are supposed to enjoy under our constitution and there has to be accountability and i think the underlying crime here
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is knowingly making false claims about election fraud. these people -- when i say these people, the president, his inner circle, rudy giuliani, and others, knew that the claims that they were making were false. that's why he called the georgia election official and said, i just need you to find me 12,000 votes. it's not, i just need you to count the votes that were lawfully elected for me or cast for me, he's saying, i need you to find me 12,000 votes. that's the way a mafia boss talks to his people and we're questioning whether or not the mafia boss has culpability? we know the answer, nicole. it's clear as day. >> well, and jeremy, we also know from the judiciary committee investigation that donald trump said to his own justice department, you just have to do one thing. just declare the election corrupt, and me and my -- our colleagues will do the rest. i mean, he was talking that way not just to brad raffensperger but to his own doj. >> once again, these aren't just loony tunes making weird claims about venezuela.
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these people had positions of power. you know, heaven help us if these people who are willing to lie about venezuela and lie about election fraud, what will they do if they get their hands on power again? imagine this team with their hands on the nuclear codes. imagine this team as advising a commander in chief in the situation room. if they're willing to lie about this just to maintain power, hen help us if they're actually in power again. >> but inches their way back to power is something that kevin mccarthy and republican leaders make more possible/likely. let's bring into our conversation nbc's senior capitol hill correspondent, making a return appearance on today's program, my friend, garrett haake. garrett, any reaction up there to these really, when you see it in black and white, what is in the subpoenas, for this batch, who became caricatures on "snl," their conduct was so, as jeremy bash used the technical national security term, loony. we see it in black and white. it's downright scary.
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>> reporter: these subpoenas were all a long time coming, i think. i don't think anyone is surprised that january 6th committee is wanting to talk to rudy giuliani, sidney powell, and particular jenna ellis, who i think people really only heard about in the context of the stop the steal movement and the effort overturn the election. rudy giuliani identified himself, he is the most identifiable figure to overturn the election. his comments at the garden supply will go down in history. i do think the committee is in for a battle over questions of questions alluded to in the last segment, attorney/client privilege, and so forth, particularly with giuliani who styles himself as trump's personal lawyer, even though he conducted little lawyering on behalf of the former president. again, these were a long time coming.
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i think i'm curious about inclusion of boris epshteyn. he is the odd man out of the four, less close to the former president, less involved to the degree we know about it in the planning of anything related to the stop the steal effort. he was mostly a coms guy through his tenure in the trump orbit. maybe the committee thinks he is someone they have more leverage over. that's a thing i'm going to try to report, why he is included with this batch. >> i read his letter with the same thoughts when they came out a little bit ago and what appears to be the thread they follow here is knowledge of a call. you heard liz cheney and benny thompson talk about getting eyes in the room on donald trump during the 187 minutes. it sounds like potentially he is another potential witness that gets the committee into the room. is that a possibility? >> reporter: i think it is. he is another alleged participant in the willard hotel meetings, another room that the
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committee wants to get into. also you look at somebody here that's been in and out of the media world, in and out of trump orbit, maybe someone that has more to lose and someone they can exert legal pressure on for compliance. it will be one of my reporting targets with the committee the rest of this week. >> one more question for you, garrett. i noted in the ellis letter and rudy letter interest in the efforts to, quote, convince state legislators to take steps to overturn election results, our colleague rachel maddow did reporting on the letter returned to the state from national archives with alternate electors on it. i wonder what you pick up on sources about how much the seven state efforts are in focus for the committee now? >> reporter: i think they're hugely important, very much in focus for the committee. the committee talks about that they interviewed now 400 people,
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and a lot of folks coming in aren't necessarily folks we are talking about, right? we focused a great deal on folks that defied the committee. but there are state level lawmakers, brad raffensperger was someone that talked to the committee early on, the secretary of state in georgia. they see the nexus clearly between january 6th and the efforts out in all of the states. i do think that could be continuing focus for the committee and i think one that arguably deserves more attention. none of this happened in a vacuum. >> but see, i am thinking of rudy giuliani's public fall from grace, is that a word, was there grace, i guess after 9/11 there was grace and penchant for butt dialing reporters. do you want to talk to rudy giuliani, ask him if he is going to respond? how do you approach these, what are your reporting targets. garrett talked about boris
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epshteyn. what are yours? >> for us it is a no brainer to reject everybody that's subpoenaed. they're more forthcoming on a shorter timeline than maybe you would be. one of the questions is how trump and current legal advisers will handle the subpoenas. the fact that trump chose to waive privilege in the case of bernie kerrick is significant. at this point, look, anything is possible. we live in an interesting world. there's always a possibility he could make similar decision regarding these four folks that have been subpoenaed, in the case of boris epshteyn, look through google image results, you'll see he appeared on stage at the infamous rnc press conference that you showed video of earlier in the program. epshteyn was physically close to perhaps the single most bizarre thing that happened at the rnc, he was there. there's a picture of him whispering something to rudy giuliani. it raises all sorts of questions
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about his involvement in that infamous legal crew. the question going forward of the legal strategy that trump takes as well as legal strategy these four new subpoena targets take is something that we're going to keep a close eye on. >> jeremy, what are your thoughts and questions as you digest today's bombshell from the 1-6 committee? >> well, i want to understand those three concentric rings that jamie laid out. riotest, coup plotters. the more we learn, the more it informs what legal strategies need to be done to harden the law, to improve the law so this doesn't happen again. >> chuck, same question to you. what are you looking at in this batch of subpoenas as the dust settles on them this hour? >> not surprising that the committee would want to speak to them. i want to give some perspective here. in any investigation, i spent a long time as a federal
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prosecutor, nicolle, you never get everything you want, all the documents you want. maybe some communications are encrypted, some emails haven't been retained. you never get all of the witness testimony you want. to garrett's point earlier and i think it is an important one. we spend a lot of time talking about things we're not going to get, people that are not going to tell the truth, folks that might invoke a privilege not to testify. but the committee has spoken to close to 400 people. they have an extraordinarily good idea of what happened that day and they're going to tell a very compelling story. if boris epshteyn for whatever reason doesn't speak to the committee, so what. i mean, he ought to. i hope he does. but we're still going to be a robust picture of what happened. closer we get to the president, more robust it will be. i am glad the committee is trying to do that. don't lose sight that in any investigation you never get everything you want. >> garrett haake, chuck
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on february 15th, please recall school board members collins, lópez and moliga before our kids fall even further behind. msnbc live coverage of breaking news out of the january 6th committee continues with my friend and colleague ari melber. >> hi, nicolle. thank you so much. welcome everyone to "the beat." i am ari melber. we begin with breaking news. a brand new development breaking late today here, nicolle wallace and others covering it. four members of donald trump's troubled legal team formally subpoenaed by the january 6th committee, that includes the lawyer who led it all, trump ally rudy giuliani. the other subpoenas went to names that may be less familiar, but were a core part of the legal team that remained after more serious lawyers that didn't want anything to do with the strategy to overturn the


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