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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  February 27, 2022 10:00am-11:01am PST

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a very good day to all of you from msnbc headquarters in new york. welcome to alex witt reports. fast and furious backlash against russian president vladimir putin for his comments in moscow today about putting nuclear deterrence forces on alert and the day's other big breaking story, possible talks between ukraine and russia even as the fighting continues. president putin under fire for invoking nuclear weapons in remarks in moscow this morning. >> this is dangerous rhetoric. this is -- this is a behavior which is irresponsible and of course if you combine this rhetoric with what they are doing on the ground in ukraine, wagging war against independent sovereign nation, full-fledged invasion of ukraine, this adds to the seriousness of the situation. >> putin's comments came after a rough night of fighting on
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multiple fronts. ukraine's government released video of russian forces entering the city of kharkiv followed by video of armored vehicles on fire after the heavy fighting that broke out there. then video of a long line of abandoned armored vehicles and military gear. >> we personally sanctioned putin. he now joins that group of gadhafi, assad, a few world leaders that have been personally sanctioned. even former russian allies like kazakhstan refused to back him. i think he underestimated ukrainian's resolve. so far he's not thrown everything. he's not throwing the sign were -- cyber attacks the way we thought he would. the european union will finance the purchase and delivery of
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other equipment. they are banning russian aircraft from their air space. new images coming showing destruction and devastation. officials belief russian cruz missiles were fired from the black sea striking civilian targets in the small center ukrainian city. ukrainians are seeking refuge. the number displaced from this conflict at over 368,000. we have a team of correspondents ready to expand on the hours' major correspondent. >> reporter: yeah, it's going to threaten people clearly. it's posturing by president putin. the reason i say that, because we know, for example, russia has
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scanned the missiles they would have the power to fire on them and unless there's negotiations, that seems relatively unlikely. we'll see how things play out. to go from the way that russia has been pursuing this campaign so far to nuclear would be an extraordinary escalation. we've heard president putin talk about russia's nuclear deterrence before, early on when he launched this assault on ukraine. i think the idea from his perspective is to message from nato, as he has said, not to interfere because he understands he may be able to win this war, although it's more challenging than he thought. now just to explain a little
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bit, russia's nuclear deterrent is on a high stakes of readiness at all times. there are restrictions on the system, you know, we don't know when president putin said. moving to a special moment of combat duty. they are already on a high state of readiness. another aspect of this, russia's protocol in the main is that nuclear weapons would only be used if there's an existential threat to russia. so that clearly is not the case here. so i think what we're seeing is president putin playing for high stakes, very dangerous stakes, but i think we need to take what he says in context. >> thank you for putting it in
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context for us. keir simmons, moscow. we're hearing new developments from the white house. that's where we find nbc's mike memoli for us. >> reporter: alex, what we're hearing from multiple administration officials is a strong response to activate the nuclear arsenal at this moment, put it on a state of alert. the administration calling it an -- it's led to the kind of sanctions that seemed very unclear that they would be willing to take just weeks ago. the kind of steps like we saw including banning some russian banks from the s.w.i.f.t. banking system. targeting vladimir putin personally for sanctions. the kind of sanctions on oligarchs as well. it's the kind of response that also is leading the u.n. security council to vote today for something they've only done ten times before which is to
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call an ordinary session of the u.n. general assembly. it was something we heard also from the u.s. ambassador for the united nations. let's take a listen to some of her comments. >> it is vladimir putin's decision on whether he will stop what he's doing and listen to the voices of the world, the voice that is have condemned him or he will continue and if he continues we will continue to apply sanctions, but at the same time we were preparing for just this action. we hope that the russians would listen to the pressure that we were putting them under but they didn't so they have to continue to feel additional sanctions and additional pressures on their economy and they will feel the pain. >> alex, we heard from white house press secretary jen psaki,
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she said, not yet. the president is currently in his hometown of wilmington, delaware, attending a memorial service for a family member that recently passed. the president also working on his state of the union address. i've been told by the official the president picking a supreme court justice, dealing with this ukraine response was working with his top speech writer, his top strategist on rewriting his speech to incorporate this. almost 48 hours away the president's first speech to a joint session of congress and how this factors in. >> i recommend the film "the american president." if that is the gauge, that will get done with this president. >> especially with this president. >> joining me right now, admiral
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svrides. you're always welcome. your reaction to putin's order putting nuclear forces on high alert. what goes through your mind? >> dangerous. clearly he's trying to send a signal, but i think it's beyond the paille. beyond the pale of using this. we have defense conditions, running from 5 which is very benign to 1 which is you're in a war. we might update this. there is less here than meets the eye. it is a dangerous, rhetorical tactic. tell me, is it as alarming as it
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sounds potentially? >> well, certainly if vladimir putin decided to launch nuclear strikes against the united states we're under an apocalyptic scenario. we have been in this moment before, if you will, in the cuban missile crisis, but, again, at this stage of the drama i don't see this as a realistic 24re9 for putin but rather an indication of the fact this is not going well for him in ukraine. he's encountering stiff resistance. he's doing everything he can to scare the west into walking away from supporting ukraine. we should not walk away and i don't think we will. >> admiral, thank you for that assessment. please stick around because i want to bring you back. thank you so much for standsing by. meantime, joining me right
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now is maryland senator, ben cardin. good friend to us here. welcome back to the broadcast. how do you view this. so far we have been able to predict every move mr. putin has made. obviously he's meeting more resistance than he expected from the ukrainians. first of all, let us just reach out and say how proud we are of the leadership of ukraine and standing up and defending their country. i agree with the other comment. i expect this is just mr. putin trying to make it more difficult for our alliance to stay united. we will always monitor every threat made by mr. putin but we
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watch his actions, not his language. we'll take all the precautions we need to. the focus is on ukraine and he needs to take the temperature down. he needs to remove the troops. >> i'd like, sir, to get your assessment of the talks between russia and -- >> once again, you absolutely uses cause. having said that, we always wanted to keep a diplomatic channel open and we respect the decision by president zelenskyy to meet with mr. putin. we're quite concerned about mr. putin's desires. >> let's talk about president zelenskyy who has been very
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vocal. question to you, sir, do you agree with that? what is the likelihood that the u.n. even considers that? does it get addressed in today's u.n. security council meeting or is that something that will be delayed for a broader discussion? >> well, this is an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country by mr. putin. as a result, a lot of people have lost their lives already and more are going to lose their lives. we've seen targets hit. he needs to be held fully accountable, that's why president biden and other countries have now issued personal sanctions against mr. putin. that is why he should be held responsible for his actions. all of that needs to be on the table and we can evaluate how
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that proceeds with accountability. he is the person that has caused the misery. we also have expelling selected russian banks from s.w.i.f.t. is there anything specific that comes to 3450i7d you would like to see that has not been done? >> i with like to get through the shell corporations and the way he's design these. i know that we're planning that as speak about it. we want to make sure we can get to his assets and to the oligarch's assets spread around the world so we can caution them toville pain. >> senator, as you're well aware, china is the only one
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that could do this? >> that's a discussion we really need to have with china. obviously we have significant differences with china. right now the immediate focus is on ukraine. china we expect are very concerned about mr. putd continue's actions. it's a chance for china's leadership to choose the right side of this issue and help us in stopping in ukraine. but i think we should encourage his cooperation with us and make it as easy as possible to do that recognizing we have our differences and we have to
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maintain our controls. considering we are already see incredibly high gas prices and food prices. >> we have legislation rion passing through. buy hope that will protect our supply chains. we are advancing energy policy that are key short term/long-term objectives. you'll see action in congress, i am confident, on the supply chain bill within the next couple of weeks. >> senator ben cardin.
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given what you said you would like to see is on the table. stick around and listen to this. that is another big hit to russian business. bp, british petroleum, will dump its 20% stake in rosneft. they will no longer sit on the rosneft board. this was a highly lucrative partnership. >> absolutely, alli. this is something that generated 2.4 billion in profits for bp. highly lucrative. this is the final relationship and the russians have made billions as well. the ceo saying effective immediately he will be resigning
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from the rosneft board. how big of a financial hit will they take? it's a toxic asset. who is going to buy that. you refuse to be drawn into it. >> i also got the sense when we talked about potential sanctions, b.p. has been an hon north in order group. interest shows you the level of concern businesses are looking at russia in a certain way. you have to remember, too, this is the biggest foreign director. lots of companies.
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exxon has 1,000 customers here. they're doing business here. we're talking about a country that's been working over the last couple of decades to bring in this kind of partnership. there will be questions about what happens next. >> it's kind of extraordinary to me given your stage point. this does not seem like standard operating procedure for him losing so much money in something that really has such a political and almost populist reasoning behind it. do you find this to be incredibly unique, this situation. frankly, since you became ceo in february, this is the kind
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inform no longer call it. this is all part of what someone called green industry. most people are trying to diversify their energy and how much pressure this company has been under. we know the government hauled them in to talk over the weekend. there were and people you want liking you not attacking you. >> short term pain for long-term gain. in just a moment, a glimmer of hope. russia and ukraine agree to hold talks. plus, how might the invasion of russia shape the state of the
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union coming up on tuesday. with the expectation of large protests on tuesday, also 700 national guard troops have been deployed over the threat of a trucker convoy like we saw in canada. r convoy like we saw in canada
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as the fighting continues in ukraine, new hope for resolution with the prospect of new talks between ukraine and russia. call perry joins us from lviv, ukraine. cal, i want to get a sense if you have a time line for these talks. what might have prompted this initiative as well. i understand you were hearing air raid sirens just a moment ago. wrap that up and give us a sense of what's happening now? >> reporter: yeah, that was my a apollo guess for not making the top of the hour.
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to be clear, i am 350 miles from kyiv. the fact that air raid sirens are going off here is something that has people worried. there have been no attacks in the area. the other thing that's happened in the last hour, it has snowed. while that may seem trivial, it's not. you have thousands of people sleeping outside along the border of poland. they have very little with them. so as this humanitarian crisis grows worse, the snow, the wet, the cold is going to become a possible disaster. to the talks. i don't mean to pour cold water on them. we heard from the ukrainian leader it was a non-starter to go to belarus. some of the troops did psh in and the second reason is this is a security. this man is leading the defensive in the center of kyiv.
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every morning he seems to put out a video. it is part proof of life. it is part rallying the ukrainian people. they say he has done a tremendous job of it. he is not likely to go to the talks. he is willing to send a, quote, delegation. we don't know who would be part of that delegation and the location having been moved from minsk in belarus to the river crossing which borders ukraine and belarus. for a little more we heard from the ukrainian ambassador on one of the morning shows this morning. take a listen. >> they are demotivated. you spoke earlier today about them surrendering and our ministers in internal affairs put out public information about those who are just children.
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a whole family was shot in the car. but, you know -- and also people who they lost, more than 4,000 russians will never go back home because they were sent to kill us. >> reporter: so the ukrainian government is walking this fine line where they want to be open to the idea of talks. at the same time they're being very clear. this and the power of ukraine they're willing to find for their land, in defense of their homes. >> spot on with that comment. thank you so much, cal perry, with that. back here in the u.s. president biden is gearing up to give his first state of the union address in just two days amid the ongoing crisis of ukraine and what's going on in russia. robert gibbs is joining us. you always put a smile on my face so i hope we can keep that
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considering what we're going to be talking about concerning the state of the union today, robert. is it fair to say it is different than it was a year ago? should it? is that what americans want to hear about? >> great question, alice. i think what we've watched is ukraine always wanted a spot in this state of the union. that happened with what we saw happen mid week. it's an important opportunity for president biden to speak to the world about this crisis but maybe just as importantly to talk in plain laj will language
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and quite finally, what happens with this conflict in europe, increased gas and food prices. it might get worse. this is an opportunity for him to talk to the american people about why what we're doing there and why the coalition we're trying to lead internationally is doing there and why it's impact full for the american people and which found a, quote, a deeply pes miss stick nation, to your 30i7bd, and the earlier settlements were contradictory. they disapprove the way biden
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has managed the crisis to date. so far it's not given a boost as sometimes happens in some moments. what do you make of that, robert? >> well, i think part of that, alex, is we live in the idea of rallying around the president and the administration is part of a bygone era. that doesn't mean there aren't really some important things that he needs to get done in this speech. his handling of the economy and inflation, we've been taught to think how the jobs numbers and how people view the economy, when there's great job loss, there is. because we are nearing full employment and gaining a huge chunk of those jobs that were lost during the two years of covid, inflation we've seen affect, quite frankly, across
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the board millions and millions and millions of american and like middle class joe biden, like the candidate did in talking why he's fighting for working families, why he's trying to get ahold of inflation, fix some of our supply chain problems. again, that's a big piece of business given the way americans view his leadership around the economy. and why it can't just be about ukraine and what's going on. >> it's hard for me to hear you talk about a bygone era but it is an era that gets further buried by a previous president calling the current president dumb. really remarkable for that. judge kentaji brown.
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what do you make of the timing do you think he did it now so they could have more to offer on the subject of the state of the union? >> i think he wanted to get this done before the state of the union. my time in the white house, look, an administration has to be able to manage while a lot of people spending the time, the president, vice president, national scouty and filling this opening for one of the most important things he will tackle this year. keeping that nomination on
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track, making the nomination public and the asperatus that will go into the judge having visits on capitol hill and it's important that that continue to keep pressure on allies, helping and they all happen psy mull tab yously where the entire building can look at one thing. >> look at you, robert gibbs. still keeping a smile on my face. i appreciate it. thank you. where does the fighting in ukraine go from here? i'll continue with the former nato supreme allied commander next. nato supreme allied commander next fortunately, they were covered by progressive, so it was a happy ending... for almost everyone.
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let's bring in kelly cobiella. what have you seen on the ground, kelly? >> reporter: alex, these numbers are growing dramatically by the day. today we saw a train come into a very small station on the border with ukraine full of refugees, women and children. there were families on the other side of the fence waiting to greet them and we've talked about these huge numbers, alex. really want to put a face and put a story to who these people are. who are these refugees? we met one 29-year-old man named maxime. he's been working in poland for the last several weeks. his family living in the home village of ukraine. he's the father of three with another one, a fourth on the way. his family said fighting was coming within 12 miles of their home so his pregnant wife and
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three very young kids had to get out. they made it to the border. they were on the train. while maxime said he's relieved they're with him now, he's also worried. he's a laborer. he works in building and he was staying in a very small flat and room just for himself. he now has to find a place to house his expanding family. alex, these are the kinds of stories that are -- you can times that by 100,000, more than 100,000. 368,000 people have now crossed ukraine's borders into neighboring countries and they will -- most of them, the great majority of them will need some sort of support and it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out over the coming weeks. many european countries have vowed to welcome them with open arms and support them.
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but these numbers are continuing to grow, alex. we're not going to stop, it doesn't look like, at 368,000. >> i bet we're not going to. thank you so much, kelly cobiella. >> with me once again, admiral james stavridis. i want to ask you first about ukraine agreeing to talks in neighboring belarus after a fourth day of fighting. how do you interpret this? >> it's positive and i think it was a wise decision on the part of president zelenskyy who was turning into a churchillian level leader. he's making a smart call here. he himself is not going but he is sending a group to the border, relatively safe. the belorussians have pledged not to conduct any military activity during the period of time talks are engaged.
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i think it makes sense. a sensible tactic on his part. we can interpret it positively. >> that's good to hear from you, sir. what about the fighting? where does it go from here? how long can ukrainian forces hold their own? >> the ukrainians have surprised many with tenacity of defense. i am not one surprised by it. i've had ukrainian troops under my command. they've deployed with us as a nato partner to afghanistan and other nato operations while i was supreme ally commander. they're tough. they need material. they need bullets, ammunition, missile systems. we the united states and our european partners are flooding the zone with that in western ukraine. i think the ukrainians will continue to fight and fight hard and i'll close with this, alex. they're the ones fighting with their wives and their children and their parents and their
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homeland behind them. the russians who are coming at them understand that this is an invasion of another country however you want to put a variety of rhetoric around be that. that gives real moral high ground and inspiration to those ukrainians who shouldn't underestimate that. they will put up a long and tenacious fight. >> let me ask you about the logistics to get the support ukraine needs, military support. the united states has made that commitment, the e.u. is making a commitment as well. given that russians control the air space over ukraine, how much does that complicate things? just a scenario, coming from me not anyone with any sort of military background, but you put heavy equipment over into the border, couldn't it be taken out by russian aircraft? >> it is a risk. you're on the right point, alex,
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which is to salo guess sticks eats strategy's lunch meaning you can have all the grandiose strategic plans in the world but if you can't execute them logistically, that brilliant strategy doesn't matter. here we have one advantage. poland is obviously a nato country, powerful country. we, the united states, have deployed an additional thousands of troops to that border so it represents a gateway, a door through which we could move these supplies right across that border in ukraine is the town of lviv. that's a long way from the russian offensive forces. i think that will serve as a very functional conduit and at the moment it will be challenging because of a lack of air control but still possible to move supplies across ukraine, get it to the fight and get it to the front. we're seeing that happen now. >> our friend admiral james
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stravides. no other justice on the supreme court ever held this job. it might leave you wondering why that's never happened before. those details next. never happee those details next
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every single meal? if only it was this easy for us. judge nominated to the supreme court. >> hello. >> judge jackson.
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>> yes. >> this is joe biden. how are you? >> i am wonderful. how are you, mr. president? >> well, you're going to be more wonderful. i'd like you to go to the supreme court. how is that. >> sir, i would be so honored. >> well, i'm honored to nominate you. >> i am just so, so overwhelmed. >> well, you deserve it. you deserve it. >> we are so, so gritful. thank you, mr. president. >> well, if confirmed, judge jackson will become the first black woman to serve on the high court and will fill the seat of retiring justice stephen breyer. joining me now, maya wiley. it's so good to see you. let's talk about this. if confirmed, judge jackson will be the only supreme court justice to have worked as a public defender. how important do you think is that experience? >> you know, that experience is critical. i just have to say, alex, it is impossible for me to have heard
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that call and not tear up because -- because it's not just an historic moment. to your point about both having a black woman but a black woman who has served in many different roles in her career and has many different vantage points around the legal questions that will come to her on the supreme court and come to all the justices on be the supreme court. in our history ultimately about 7% of all federal judges have any public defender background experience. only 1% on appellate courts and zero on the supreme court. really what that means is there is a leaning towards belief in government getting it right and it is critically important to have the experience of knowing when and how government gets it wrong so that there's a balance of perspective that makes sure that when there are decisions on things like criminal justice,
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that they are balanced by an experience to look at all sides of a problem. that's part of what's different. >> she is eminently qualified for this position, but what do you think it is specifically that would her out over two other eminently qualified women in the decision-making process by the president? >> a powerhouse list of highly qualified lawyers, but i think what the balance seems to be, and i'm projecting that, is one that she has a very long and storied career. she has a huge number of people extolling her virtues as a legal thinker, as a human being, and someone who approaches these matters as she presented herself so eloquently at the announcement as someone who is balanced. someone who is fair.
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someone who is thoughtful. someone who actually wants to understand the experiences of everyone. she is also someone who has been confirmed three times. her bones have been picked over by the senate and that really is the way it feels when you're going through one ke in the past, so really it's also not new. not only is she qualified, but you've already acknowledged her qualification. >> yeah. >> so that's a powerful, powerful motivator for a president who wants to see this successful. >> and something that has really been underscored to your point about how much support she gets, i find it remarkable that she has clerks and former clerks with whom she worked concurrently and since who were representing all nine branches of the supreme court, all of them, you know? and they're certainly political and interpretive discussions
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that will go on, but they're all saying she's awesome. that's a huge statement. >> it's a huge statement, and it's one that demonstrates one of the things we heard from president biden. he said he wants someone who's going to be able to walk and talk with others even if they have different opinions, that it be someone who's going to have those conversations on the court, and she's certainly someone who will bring that. she's also someone who progressives will love and do love, and i think that makes her a win-win, right? because what he's really saying is everyone loves this woman. >> well, and they do, but let me ask you about senator lindsey graham, of course, a member of the senate judiciary committee, and a strong supporter of j. michelle childs. he released a statement slamming president biden to choose
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jackson. he says, it means the radical left has won president biden over yet again. i mean, how do you interpret that because didn't he throw his vote behind her previously? >> well, look. that's a political talking point rather than a polished fact. you know, i think really lindsey graham did support and vote for her, and he voted to confirm her within the last few years, but really this is about the politics and the judicial process rather than what it was intended to be, which is really a sober look at the qualifications of a candidate, and whether they also had the integrity, the integrity to serve. those who factors are critical. she is the lovely one who represents that, and i think that's what she has projected into the world. >> i can tell you i'm smiling right alongside with you, maya
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wiley. we're expecting it frankly. thank you. it is three days to go before an important day in texas that many people don't even know it's happening. important day ins that many people don't even know that many people don't even know it's happening yeah, you'll get used to it. this mom's depositing money with tools on-hand. cha ching. and this mom, well, she's setting an appointment here, so her son can get set up there and start his own financial journey. that's because these moms all have chase. smart bankers. convenient tools. one bank with the power of both. chase. make more of what's yours. this is the sound of nature breathing. and this is the sound of better breathing. fasenra is a different kind of asthma medication. it's not a steroid or inhaler. fasenra is an add-on treatment for asthma driven by eosinophils. it's one maintenance dose every 8 weeks. it helps prevent asthma attacks, improve breathing,
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the texas primary election is just a few days away, but despite the high stakes, the awareness is very low. we're being joined now from houston. so with a good day to you, i know early voting just wrapped. what kind of turnout levels are we seeing? what's driving voters to the polls? >> reporter: hey there, alex. yeah, well the campaign yard signs are out here in force today, but the voters really don't seem to be. we spent the weekend here in harris county where houston is located talking to voters, and many of them didn't even know an election was happening on tuesday, and now voing advocates say that's in part due to the fact 200,000 people have voted early. that's less than 10% of the population of harris county, and
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that voting turnout in part, because of that controversial law that was signed -- that bill that was signed into law that included restrictions on mail-in ballots and included drive through voting, and folks that are interested in voting, those 200,000 folks say the issues that matter to them, are some of the controversial issues, things like voting rights, abortion and gun rights. take a listen to what we heard. >> i come from a gun-loving family, hunters, and they can have their hunting rifles and i'm fine with that. i've hunted with my dad before myself as a texan. i'm okay with that. it's just i don't -- i don't feel like i want to worry when i drop my kids off at school. >> when you look at gas prices right now it's pretty terrible. so yeah. i don't know exactly how to get far into it, but when it comes into it, more money on my check, less taxes and cheaper gas prices is where i'm at. >> reporter: now for those who
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are planning to vote on tuesday, there are a number of big races on the ballot including at the top at governor's race. governor greg abbott is running for re-election on the republican side, and beto o'rourke is running for election on the democratic side, and looking down the ballot a little bit, texas '28 is the most interesting house race. you'll see the progressive, sanders and aoc-endorsed candidate against the other who was wrapped up in an fbi investigation. >> i've got the say i'm smiling at the signs. dolly for judge, and one could have done it, but you have a bunch there as people are walking into the polls. thank you so much. two breaking developments in the invasion of ukraine. one sinister, one hopeful, what they both mean, next. sinister, they both mean, xtne
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hey, i get it, commitment can be scary. but not when you're saving up to 15% with subscribe and save at amazon. you get free repeat delivery on your favorite items and if things don't work out, you can always cancel. seriously, no one will judge you if you call it off. ok! - love you. learn all the ways to save with amazon. have a good day, behave yourself. - like she goes to work at three in the afternoon and sometimes gets off at midnight. she works a lot, a whole lot. - we don't get to eat in the early morning. we just wait until we get to the school. so yeah. - right now, here in america, millions of kids like victoria and andre live with hunger. and the need to help them has never been greater. when you join your friends, neighbors, and me to support no kid hungry you'll help hungry kids get the food they need.
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- if we want to take care of our children, then, we have to feed them. - your gift of just 63 cents a day, only $19 a month, at right now. will help provide healthy meals and hope. - we want to our children to grow and thrive and to just not have to worry and face themselves with the struggles that we endure. nobody wants that for their children. - like if these programs didn't exist, me and aj, we wouldn't probably get lunch at all. - please call or go online right now with your gift of just $19 a month. and when you use your credit card, you'll receive this limited edition, t-shirt, to show you're part of the team that's helping feed kids and change lives. - if you're coming in hungry, there's no way you can listen to me, teach, do this activity, work with this group. so starting their day with breakfast and ending their day with this big, beautiful snack is pretty incredible. - whether kids are learning at school or at home,
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your support will ensure they get the healthy meals they need to thrive. because when you help feed kids, you feed their hopes, their dreams and futures. kids need you now more than ever. so please call this number right now to join me in helping hungry kids. or go online to and help feed hungry kids today. what does a foster kid need from you? to be brave.


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