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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  February 2, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST

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s. good wednesday morning, everybody. there is major breaking news with the crisis in ukraine. the president just approved the deployed of addition props to eastern europe. in just the last few minutes saying they have added more troops. and the supreme court how will this work? and now millions of americans are under another winter weather alert.
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are you in the path of the storm? more on when and where we're going to see the snow and ice coming up. also this morning, the washington football team just revealed its new name. it's commanding attention. i'm going to talk with the group spearheading that movement. >> we have our team covering the crisis in eastern europe. courtney kube, richard engel and michael mcfaul, former ambassador to russia. courtney, let me start with you as you were in the room for the pentagon briefing. we know french troops are also being sent to the region. talk you through what more we learned today during that briefing.
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>> there's even some other allies that are considering sending some troops, the british, they've sent assistance, the dutch, among others. we heard from press secretary john kirby a very key words. the military and pentagon are making it very clear that they look at this as a temporary deployment, not a permanent deployment and the ultimate goal is to deter russia from making an incursion into ukraine. the yes on everyone's minds is will russia actually do this? has putin made a decision to invade? we're heard from john kirby. >> we do not know if russia has made a final decision to further invade ukraine. but it clearly has that capability. the department of defense will continue to support diplomatic efforts led by the white house and the state department to press for resolution. we do not believe conflict is
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inevitable. the united states in lock step with our allies and partners has offered russia a path to de-escalate. >> and while john kirby said that conflict is not inevitable at this point, the reality is every single day vladimir putin continues to send more troops, more capabilities along the border with russia and the fact that the u.s. is now sending these troops forward as this deterrent means, it's really just another indication that there is more and more confidence and more and more concern that an invasion or some sort of incursion is likely imminent in a matter of days or weeks. and just in the past few days, russia has of course they've already had more than 100,000 infaentory troops and logistics support but they've also been moving in some very important -- some very critical elements that may indicate some services may be coming, including blood and plasma.
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if there's a checklist of things that we've been watching for what russia and vladimir putin moves in, blood and plasma was one of them. that's something that could indicate they may need more blood and plasma in the coming days and it's also something that needs refrigeration, needs infrastructure to support. this announcement just another sign that the u.s. believes some sort of an invasion by russia may be in more imminent in. >> richard engel, talk to me about the reality on the ground there. we seeing the satellite imagery coming in over the last 24 hours or so, 20,000 or so troops amassed at the ukraine border, saying the u.s. is overhyping the military presence there, a military hospital being built by russians for a possible invasion and now of course this move by the white house. talk to me about the reality that you are seeing there on the
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ground. >> so i'm in the southeast of ukraine. and if russia were to launch an incursion, it would likely go through this area because this is the part of ukraine that russia is most concerned about, most badly wants to take because this is the bridge between russia and crimea. in 2014 russia seized crimea. it also supported a separatist movement in dombas, in eastern ukraine. russia has been 2,000 troops there. so russia has these two enclaves already in ukraine, one, that it is officially annexed, that it considers russian territory in crimea, the other a separatist enclave where it has troops it does not recognize, but they are not connected.
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this city stands between those two places. so if russia wanted to build a land bridge connecting the separatist pocket and connecting crimea, which is now returned to russia and says it will never, ever relinquish, it would have to go through this kind of territory. so people here are starting to get nervous. there's no panic, but i was at a woman's house earlier today and she was showing me her go bag. she's put on her key documents, money in a top drawer so she could grab it. she started to do more exercise because she knows that she may have to physically grab her children. she has a 6-month-old, a-year-old boy and a two and a half-year-old boy, one under each arm and run down the stairs and go somewhere so she said she's doing more physical exercise, signing up for the territorial defense services here so she could volunteer in
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some way in the war effort should there be a war effort. that's here in mariopol where people are starting to make preparations but there is not panic in the street, things are still open, people are still shopping and going about their daily lives. they're still going to work. so covid implications about that as well, but they're still doing the work that they were doing a month ago or a couple of months ago. but they are starting to take action to prepare just in case. >> worried about the possibility that may be to come, that an invasion may be to come from the russians. richard engel, i know you have to run. i appreciate you joining us on this. as always, my friend, great reporting there. just talk to me simply about kind of the white house thinking on this move. >> i think this is a move that has been in the process for at least the last several days, if not weeks. we heard from the president last week saying he would be taking a
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move along these lines within the near future. he said it wouldn't be a lot of troops. this is now 3,000 troops, notably today from the pentagon spokesperson, we heard there are 8,500 additional troops that have been on a heightened state of alert and the number could grow and they could go to that region. the white house is working with a desire to find a diplomatic off ramp, solution this to situation, those putin's actions have made it difficult to believe he's amenable to that. yesterday they did hear from putin alongside the hungarian leader, they said white house is trying to goad them into ukraine and he also said to continue talks and the white house is hoping there may be a solution
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to be found that does not end in military action by the russians. obviously as was presented in a question to john kirby earlier, these troops are not going to ukraine, though there are some forces in ukraine. they're going to reassure america's allies like poland and germany as well but the u.s. didn't have an expectation of expanding an offensive and wanting to demonstrate the allies with the nations with whom they've had direct conversations that we stand by their side. the u.s. will continue severe and swift consequences if russia goes forward but trying to prepare itself for whatever circumstance plays out. >> talk to me, ambassador, bringing all of that together. you heard from peter the white house still very much wants a diplomatic off ramp. does that help or hurt, the
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sending of these troops to the region, the baltic region? does that help or hurt with a diplomatic offering? >> i think it helps. it's called coercive diplomacy. we tend to think in war and peace terms, war and engagement. a lot of history shows you need both a carrot and a stick, the threat, as well as the off ramp. i think the biden administration is implemented a multi-pronged course or strategy. and it's changed. on the one hand increased military assistance to ukraine to make war more expensive and costly for putin. two, they've moved our troops in to make sure our allies are safe and secure. that has nothing to do with the war in ukraine. it's very important for all of your viewers to understand, we are not sending american troops to ukraine. and, three, behind closed doors they threatened comprehensive
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major sanctions and those a coercive attempt. and they have responded and i think they've done what they can and now they're just waiting for putin to give the definitive answer. >> it seems as if putin made a bet and he lost this bet in thinking there was a fracture among nato forces and that he could capitalize on this fracture but the west is showing that's not going to happen. >> well, i would say yes and no. i'm impressed with what the biden administration has put together in terms of unity. it is hard. hundreds of phone calls, lots of interactions. tony blinken is all over the world trying to do that. and at the same time, these are both true, as putin just sits and waits, there are little fractures in the alliance.
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look at our nato ally in moscow, he said i don't support sanctions. the croatians said we're not going to send troops to defend our nato allies. the germans are sending helmets, not guns to ukraine. they're sending guns to egypt but not sending guns to ukraine. if you're putin and you're watching those moves, you think if i hold tight, they'll keep negotiating among themselves and i'm finally get a better deal. >> i know senators were meeting on the hill. ukraine would come up either way. where are we on the sanctions package? >> reporter: both the senate armed services committee and the senate foreign relations committee about an hour into what we expect to be a lengthy closed door meeting, the
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original idea behind the briefing was afghanistan but ukraine and russia are top of line for everybody, even before the latest troop announcements for the president and the white house. it comes against the backdrop as senators from both parties try to figure out what they want to do in terms of next steps on russia. there are questions and conundrums over how to sanction, what to sanction and went to put them in place, specifically whether to include the pipeline into these sanctions. that was debated last year but also questions over when to levy these sanctions, republicans arguing it should be done before putin invades, democrats arguing they should be held until an invasion occurs. they're hoping to find progress soon. that's what we heard from senator chris murphy.
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>> on the foreign relations committee, the difference is pretty minor. there's broad agreement on increasing the amount of security we give to ukraine. hopefully by the end of the week we'll have something that will bring republicans and democrats together and show there's no daylight in the united states senate when it comes to sending a clear message to russia and there will be huge consequences if they march into ukraine any further. >> so they have already been working on these sanction packages for several weeks. you heard murphy saying they hope to have something by the end of the week. at the same time we expect this briefing they're experiencing to go for several hours. senators are allowed to leave and come back, though. we could be catching up with several of these lawmakers throughout the day, see what they're getting from the administration on this really important day. >> peter alexander, thank you as well. we want to take you an emotional
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scene at st. patrick's cathedral here in new york. it's the funeral service for fallen nypd officer wilbert mora. the 27-year-old was shot and killed last week responding to a domestic violence call. >> we'll never forget their names or acts of heroism. officer mora, we're here with you today and always and we know your heart is with us. >> mora joined the force back in 2018. they called him a hero. >> coming up, cutting the number
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people of killed by cancer in half. that's what the program is setting out to do. we're going to have the details coming up. also, 100 million americans could get hit by this new massive winter storm. we're going to check on its path. and a big reveal this morning with craig on "today." >> what is the new team name? >> we are the commanders. >> we are the commanders. >> the commanders, the washington commanders. >> that's right. >> the washington commanders. how activists successfully pushed an nfl team to change its name and the other teams they want to see follow suit. we'll be right back. they want to see follow suit. we'll be right back. i don't know. i think they look good, man. mm, smooth. uh, they are a little tight. like, too tight?
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that is deeply personal. the revamped program aims to reduce the cancer death rate in this country by at least half over the next 25 years, incredibly ambitious and much needed right now. carol lee is at the white house for us. this is incredible news. all of us, many americans, i'll go on a limb to say have been touched by cancer in this country. so what is this program going to look like, this revamped program? >> reporter: it's very personal to the president. this is something that he started during the obama administration after the death of his son, beau, in 2019. it's resetting and announcing very lofty goals. they're going to launch a cancer
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coordinator coordinator, somebody who will achieve the goals that the president will set, he'll create a cancer cabinet, including health and human services, that they will be involved in this effort and he's also going to announce that he'll host a cancer moonshot summit at the white house. and one of the goals that the president is going to set according to administration officials is just improve the life of those with cancer and their families members and to ultimately end cancer as we know it right now. so, again, a very big goal for something that is very personal to this president. >> fingers crossed this president can reach those goals. thank you very much for your reporting on this, we appreciate it. also happening right now, the leader of the far right militia group, the oath keepers, is appearing virtually before
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the house committee. he faces seditious conspiracy charges in connection to the capitol attack. talk to us about this. the idea is from what we're understanding from his attorneys, essentially he's going to be pleading the fifth on most things. so what is the committee hoping to glean today from this testimony? >> that is correct. i asked that question to a committee aide this morning and they declined to talk about what questions the members want to ask mr. rose but they pointed to a letter where they pointed out he has openly and publicly committed to violence he has used full-out war on the streets saying the only possible honest election could result in a victory for donald trump. after that subpoena was sent
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out, rhodes was charged on the justice department on the serious charge of seditious conspiracy. his lawyer has said he'll played the fifth across the board. the commission respects the constitutional there but it has to be done a case-by-case, question-by-question basis. it will be discussed whether the invocations are in accord with the constitution. the fact that he's being detained by the justice department, so serious was that charge that the judge decided he is a flight risk and an imminent dangers that he's being held and this is being conducted virtually. i have a state on the january 6th committee investigation. they have talked to more than 475 witnesses so far.
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60,000 pages of records all tolled and more recently they're in possession of 700 page from the national archives that former president donald trump tried to keep hidden. still to come are big questions about whether they subpoena members of congress and start rolling out their findings publicly. >> understanding that they are certainly on a timeline here looking towards the november mid-term elections as wrapping up this investigation, or so they hope. thank you. we appreciate it. >> just in the last hour we learned that a key figure in former president trump's first impeachment trial, former lieutenant alexander vinman has served a suit against donald trump jr., rudy giuliani, julia hahn, saying he engaged in
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activities against him. lots coming together for the supreme court nominee. he is talking to top laughs, including mitch mcconnell and getting her team in place. what can she expect when she makes the rounds on capitol hill? that's next. makes the rodsun on capitol hill that's next. winner, seven years in a row. in fact, subaru has won most trusted brand for more consecutive years than any other brand. no wonder kelley blue book also picked subaru as their best overall brand. once again. it's easy to love a brand you can trust. it's easy to love a subaru. at fidelity, your dedicated advisor will work with you on a comprehensive wealth plan across your full financial picture. a plan with tax-smart investing strategies designed to help you keep more of what you earn.
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find the right tech solutions. so you can stop at nothing for your customers. . all right. so this morning new developments in the white house's search for justice stephen breyer's replacement on the supreme court. they spoke on tuesday about the president's looming selection. joining me is brian fallon, executive director of demand justice and former communications director for chuck schumer and former national director for hillary clinton's campaign. let's talk about the nitty-gritty of this meeting and what this could mean for the future of a supreme court pick here. we're hearing from mcconnell's office that it was the president who reached out to mcconnell. what does this say to you? >> i think president biden and the white house team working on this confirmation process are
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approaching it the way right way. i think they have every right to move politically speaking, particularly the stand around and timeline on which amy coney barrett was put on the court in 2020. i think this white house is signaling it's going to be very deliberative and do the outreach to republicans. the president what dick durbin and chuck grassley and spoke to them. they've announced doug jones, former senator from alabama will act as the sort of sherpa for this nominee and he's widely respected on both sides of the aisle. i think they're approaching this the right way. they're probably going to take several weeks to consider people. i think they've been thinking about this for a long time but they want to do the touches on capitol hill and make senators think they have input and would
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ultimately improve the chances this nominee could get public support. you touched on the doug jones and sherpa, information as well, which rewill get into. i find it fascinating dissecting mcconnell's statement after the meeting yesterday. i want to read part of it to understand where i'm at with this. mcconnell's office saying the eventually nominee should believe in judicial independence. now, brian, the reason why i found this part so fascinating was originalism and texturalism, it seems as this if he want a scalia back on the bench. we niece not going to happen with this administration. ruth bader ginsburg argued she was an originalist but a
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different kind of originalist. talk to me about the statement from mcconnell's office and what that could mean for the future of a bipartisan confirmation hearing. >> well, this is sort of placeholder rhetoric that you always hear from republicans whenever supreme court vacancies arrive. we want texturalists, originalists. it's a super malleable term that really means nothing. it's a political term that republicans have sort of invented to give their preferred outcomes in supreme court cases a veneer of sort of substance, make it look like that their interpretation of the law is the one true way. really, we've seen republican-appointed justices on the court depart significantly from the texturalist reading as recently as the covid ruling. this court struck down the biden's attempt to say in workplaces across america you'd be required to either show proof of vaccination or get tested. there was a statute from 1970
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that very clearly gave the federal government the authority to do this and the republican justices basically decided they weren't going to honor the clear text of that 1970 statues because of issue of covid has become so politicized. so to me that's sort of a rhetorical safe haven that republicans retreat to. it doesn't translate to anything in the real world. i don't think this is telling one way or another about the overall approach that the republican caucus will take to this pick. what's been more meaningful to me in recent days is people like lindsey graham has signaled an openness to voting potentially for the president's pick and moderate members of the democratic caucus that have posed problems for other parts of president biden's agenda, namely joe manchin of west virginia has signaled he's broadly okay with the list of names the white house is considering and has no problem with a relatively quick
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timetable. >> just quickly because you allude to this, doug jones being the sherpa, not trying to get anybody up everest but the everest equivalent, what does that look like? >> this role is one inevitably when the president makes his selection, this person will then do what is known as courtesy meetings where they'll visit with individual members of the senate one on one, and it's usually sometimes upwards of 80-plus members of the senate will get one-on-one meetings. i don't know given the timetable and with covid whether it will hit that high a mark. this sherpa type position, sometimes a former senator, will be the person that ushers them around and helps break the ice. this person will be largely unknown to most senator. stephen breyer had worked in the senate when he was picked in the early 90s so he was known individually to a lot of senators as a senate staffer.
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doug jones will be the person that literally accompanies that nominee in the room, helps break the ice, make an introduction and help that person get off to a good foot in that conversation with individual senators. >> brian fallon, good to talk to you. >> icy roads, heavy snow, freezing temperatures. we are going to take a look at how this massive new winter storm is impacting people from new mexico all the way up to new england. and how teachers are fighting back after a wave of book bans. we'll be right back. e of book bs we'll be right back. cabenuva helps keep me undetectable. it's two injections, given by a healthcare provider once a month. hiv pills aren't on my mind. i love being able to pick up and go. don't receive cabenuva if you're allergic
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i just heard something amazing! one medication is approved to treat and prevent migraines. don't take if allergic to nurtec. the most common side effects were nausea, stomach pain, and indigestion. ask your doctor about nurtec today! right now, everybody, more than 90 million americans across 19 states face what could be the biggest winter storm of the season. you might be one of them. places like colorado, missouri,
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illinois, indiana, they're all getting hit with tons of snow, sleet, ice and then there's more on the way. the slow-moving storm is expected to be felt from south texas all the way up from new england. we just had breaking news come out that it seems as if the ground hog has seen his shadow, six more weeks of winter and the entire country, at this point, detroit being one of those places, feeling it. talk to me what are you seeing so far? >> they're getting a little preview of what could come across the country. you mention how widespread this storm is. we saw a snowstorm come through.
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we'll see what ultimately happens. you go anywhere else across the midwest and you are likely to see big snow scenes. you're looking at chicago, for example, where we know there are already hundreds of flight cancellations, thousands of people without power after the first round of this storm hit chicago. you mentioned even going down to texas. they're concerned not only about the accumulation they could get but the frigid temperatures that just last year led to those deadly situations. so much of the country, you said 90 million people across about nine states, at least nine states across the country feeling the impacts of this storm here in detroit. they're waiting and they're bracing for it. >> shaq brewster forrest, good to see you. the fight over books is intensifying across this
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country, especially true in texas where parent and politicians are leading an unprecedented effort to ban books. an nbc news investigation found parents made at least 75 formal complaints in the first four months of the school year, the books deal with gender, race and sexuality. they're being taken off shelves in record numbers. antonio, it's always great to see you. thanks for joining us on this. i got to say, this is astounding the book banning that's happening in states like florida and texas as well. talk me through what you've been hearing so far in the district in katy they've removed at least nine books, "all boys aren't blue", "out of darkness" and "lawn boy." what is the reason, the justification for this book
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banning. >> first i want to make clear that of those nine books, more than half of them are books that have primary lgbt character. what led to administrative action on these books is parents were saying the content around sexual relationships or experiences or reflections from the characters in these books was not appropriate for school children of any level. that means even high schoolers say 17 or 18 years old. the students in some cases, particularly students of color who identify as lgbtq are pushing back on this, saying many of them see themselves in these books, they feel reflected by this, that reading these books is not where they first found out about sex and relationship, that this isn't anything new to them. it's boiled down to this fight between kids who feel like their voices have been drown out and
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parents and politicians who are saying this content is blanket unsuitable for schools. authors of the books are concern -- i spoke with the author of "all boys aren't blue," and it's a memoir of their black, queer childhood. i want you to take a listen of what they shared with me. >> what do these book removals represent to you? >> to me these book removals represent the historic legacy of censorship of black story telling. politicians and those in power have always tried to push back. they've always tried to silence us and make it seem as if our stories were not necessary or deemed worthy for their students or their children to learn. >> reporter: and some of the students that i've spoken to who have read the book or are familiar with it said the push to remove books has had a direct
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impact on their mental health, that it sent a message that parent and teachers do not care about queer student and do want to know about their experiences and in case of abuse are stories they don't want to see reflected in their schools. all of this has led to them feeling less safe in their schools and less respected by the adults around them. >> these kids are on the margins just wanting to be who they are. antonia hylton, thank you for that. >> ron allen joins us with an update. >> a senior law enforcement is telling us that the fbi has identified six persons of interest in this matter. they're all juveniles, they're all very tech savvy and they've been disguising how they are
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making these calls, more than 20 now over the past month or so to hbcus across the country. and they appear to have a racist motive, this official is saying, which perhaps is obvious because a lot of these calls happened yesterday and the day before on the eve and at the start of black history month. again, they're persons of interest, they're not suspects yet so it's unclear how far the case against them or how -- there's going to be an arrest any time soon. this is still developing. i can tell you from talking from a lot of student and administrators at these schools yesterday, they are going to be please to see that the fbi is making some progress. there's a lot of concern that they want to see the federal government step up and try to solve this problem. you know, to some it's been a distraction, but it's also a huge threat. some see it as an act of domestic terrorism because these threats have only targeted hbcus
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right at the start of black history month. >> thank you, ron, for bringing that to us. coming up, everybody, the washington commanders. that is the official new name of the nfl team. i'm going to talk to one of the native american activists who pushed for the change. we'll be right back. o pushed for the change. we'll be right back. ♪ limu emu ♪ and doug. we gotta tell people that liberty mutual customizes car insurance so you only pay for what you need, and we gotta do it fast. [limu emu squawks] woo! thirty-four miles per hour! new personal record, limu! [limu emu squawks] he'll be back. only pay for what you need.
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or donate at yes welcome back, everybody. for it's official the nfl team in washington has a new name. the washington commanders. craig melvin was on hand as the team made the anticipated announcement. watch this. >> how do we settle on the commanders? >> it's a name that has the weight and meaning befitting a 90--year-old franchise. it's something that broadly resonated with our fans. and it's something that we believe embodies the values of service and leadership that really define the dmv in this community. and it's something importantly that we could own and grow for the next 90 years and something that can allow us to tie the rich history and championship legacy of the franchise to new
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traditions in the future. >> want to turn to the founder and executive director of illuminative crystal and her group spearheaded the change your name movement that led to washington and the cleveland guardians to change their name as well. great to see you. first, let me get your reaction. first to the name change. >> i mean, look, it signals an important new chapter. and i think everybody's talking about the name they chose today. to me the story is about decades and decades of native-led activism. illuminative didn't spearhead this alone. we stand on the shoulder of activists like suzanne blackhorse and dozens of native organizations and tribes across the country that fought for decades. today signals a new chapter. thank goodness the dictionary-defined racial slur has finally been retired.
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but we cannot lose sight of 90 years of harm and racism perpetuated by this team against native americans. and the new chapter must include a real commitment by the team to repair that harm. activists like suzanne and amanda and so many others were targeted and tried to delegitimize the movement. let's celebrate the new chapter, insure the team is repairing the harm and let's be the call to action going forward that we need eliminate all native american racist sports mascots. >> you talk about a commitment of the team to repair this harm. what does that look like to you? what do you want see it done? >> first and foremost, they owe a formal apology to native americans. i think they owe apologies to suzanne and amanda blackhorse and so many others. and i think it's about
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partnering with indian country to understand what does repair look like? how do they repair that harm? and how are they going to continuously educate their fans and fans across the nfl and other sports about why this name was harmful. and they were forced to change the name. they didn't do this willingly. this took a lot of pressure and native-led organizing over decades to make this happen and now they have an opportunity to be a leader, to really showcase a case study about how they were able to do the name change and do it successfully. they consulted with native american leaders to make sure it wouldn't continue to harm native americans going forward. i think there's an opportunity to turn our gaze to the kansas city chiefs, atlanta braves and over a thousand schools in the country that still carry native american mascots and racist sports mas kots as part of their team name.
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i think there's a huge opportunity going forward and we're going to work to pressure the team to see how they repair that harm and we've made that clear to them and we look forward to opportunities to work with them to think about how we can really turn this into long-lasting positive change in which we see the elimination of all native american racist mas kots. >> long, lasting, positive change. that's what we hope for. you can catch me weekends right here 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. eastern. n lymphocytic leukemia. c imbruvica is not chemotherapy- it's the #1 prescribed oral therapy for cll, proven to help people live longer. imbruvica can cause serious side effects, which may lead to death. bleeding problems are common and may increase with blood thinners. serious infections with symptoms like fevers, chills,
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♪ good day. this is andrea mitchell reports. i'm kristen welker in washington where president biden is honoring his commitment to support ukraine by moving 3,000 u.s. troops to eastern europe in what white house is calling a response to current conditions. administration officials say the officials are not going to fight in ukraine. but the decision is one day after president putin's comments that the west is ignoring his security concerns in diplomatic negotiations. >> to be prepared for a range of contingencies, the united states will move additional forces to romania, poland and germany. moves designed to respond to the current security environment. they're going to


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