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tv   The 11th Hour With Stephanie Ruhle  MSNBC  March 31, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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and mobile together, you can save hundreds off your wireless bill compared to verizon. hello? it's for you. xfinity can do all that. but that's a four tonight, we sorry, verizon. will see you again. tonight it is time for a last word lawrence o'donnell. i have been preoccupied with the war coverage here, there are big things going on a home. and the clarence thomas ginni thomas saga that continues i understand that you're going into that deeply tonight. >> yes, and ali, i'm going to cover this in this hour. it's teamwork. >> i'm happy to do it my friend, you have a good show.
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we will show you later in this hour extraordinary video of the head of british intelligence describing the mistakes of vladimir putin. this is an amazing video to see. we begin tonight in the united states senate where today senator lindsey graham announced what was obvious to anyone that watched his outrageous comp duct in last week's supreme court hearing, where he repeatedly violated the rules. i will announce my decision on judge jackson's this is into the supreme court. i will oppose her and vote no. lindsey graham then listed some prison sentences that judge ketanji brown-jackson impose that he thought should be longer. judge jackson had already imposed every one of the senses when lindsey graham had confirmed her last year to the d. c. circuit court of appeals. lindsey graham is one of three
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republicans that voted last year to promote judge jackson to the court after she had issued the sentences that lindsey graham has now, and only now, objected to. the other objection that he mentioned his morning was ketanji brown jackson's work as a public defender, which involved her representing prisoners at guantánamo bay. all of that the fence work has a lawyer done before ketanji brown-jackson to her first judgeship in 2013, and lindsey graham voted for her than. in fact, there was not a single vote against ketanji brown-jackson in her first confirmation as a federal judge after she had represented clients at guantánamo bay. judge jackson's confirmation for the supreme court already has 51 supporters in the senate,
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with republican's lindsey collins saying she will vote for her confirmation, just as she voted last year for her commission in the circuit court of appeals. it was hard to see how lindsey graham will be going from voting for joe jackson devoting against her this year. what's new cases can she handle that lindsey graham will find fault with, the answer turns out to be zero, none. there is no republican objection to the work judge jackson has done on the appeals court, so lindsey graham had to humiliate him self, once again, this time, that he is announcing he will vote against ketanji brown-jackson for reasons that were present when he voted to confirm or twice before. donald trump lesson to republicans has been, you can say anything, then say the opposite thing whenever you want. lindsey graham has learned that
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lesson. donald trump's lesson to republicans has been, you can do anything and get away with it. that is the message that mitch o'connell sent to clarence thomas yesterday from the senate floor. after lindsey graham spoke this morning, senator chris murphy steered the supreme court confirmation discussion to what he called, quote, recent revelations about justice clarence thomas and his wife. >> judge jackson has answered hours of questions about her judicial philosophy, why she made certain decisions, why she represented certain clients, how are back on a shaper review, every detail of her professional and personal life has been it will continue to be interrogated publicly as she goes through the final stages of this process. a strange thing will happen
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when jackson finally takes her seat on the supreme court. she will, after all this review and scrutiny, become effectively immune from ethics standards. why is that? because every federal judge, circuit judges, district edges, court of international trade judges, kora federal claims judges, bankruptcy judges, magistrate judges, every federal judge is bound by a code of ethics in order to safeguard to nutrition areas neutrality and transparency. all federal judges, except for nine, the supreme court. recent revelations surrounding justice thomas and his wife's involvement in the events of january six have finally brought attention that those standards that we try to uphold during the confirmation process quickly disappear upon
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confirmation. >> disappear. our first guest tonight, jane mayer has reported extensively in the new yorker about the disappearance of ethical standards in clarence thomas work as a supreme court justice thanks to repeated and now extreme conflicts of interest presented by justice thomas's wife. jane mayer most extensive reporting on the conflict is that virginia thomas presents to her husband, is ginni thomas a threat to the supreme court? the article was not written this week, after bob woodward and robert costa's revelations about ginni thomas's text messages to the last trump chief of staff, mark meadows, urging the illegal overturning of a residential election. the article was written to four months ago. it was written before we knew
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virginia thomas was at donald trump's rally on january six. it was written two months before we got to read virginia thomas's text messages to mark meadows. the answer to the headline question in jane mayer, is ginni thomas a threat to the supreme court, was obviously, yes, based on the evidence presented by jane mayer two months ago. the question now is, can clarence thomas remain on the supreme court? there is no evidence that virginia thomas has done anything illegal. there is evidence that supreme court justice clarence thomas has the something illegal. on january 19th of this year, justice thomas participated in a supreme court decision that involved his wife. he did that before virginia thomas publicly amid that she was at the january 6th rally with donald trump. justice thomas did that before we knew that virginia thomas
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was a regular text and email correspondent with white house chief of staff, mark meadows, and possibly others in the white house, including jared kushner, who testified today for more than six hours. a january six member, elaine luria, said that his testimony was quote, really valuable. maybe they will discuss communications with virginia thomas. on january 19, justice thomas was the only member of the supreme court, the only one, who voted to block the delivery of trump white house records to the january six committee, including communications that were to and from mark meadows. we do not know yet what is the massive amount of material that was handed over to the general six committee by the order of eight justices of the supreme court. we now know that dozens of text messages from virginia thomas to mark meadows had already
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been turned over by the time the supreme court ordered all of the rest of that kind of communication, all of, it to the committee. virginia thomas appears dozens of times in the first batch of communications that mark meadows voluntarily handed over to the committee. how many times will virginia thomas communications appear in the massive archive of material that eight justices ordered to be delivered to the january six committee, and only one justice said no. how much virginia thomas material is in there. it was public information that mark meadows voluntarily handed over a significant portion of his communication to the general six committee, did virginia thomas get worried when that became public? did virginia thomas think, oh, the committee and the public will see my text to and from mark meadows.
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virginia thomas had a lot to worry about in those texts because now that we have seen her texts, we know that some of them are certifiably insane. some of them advocate for turning over the election for no good reasons. some of them say, quote, there are no rules anymore. was she worried about those text becoming public? did she know that mark meadows handed over texts to the committee? is that the kind of worry that she would bring to the dinner table to her husband? mark meadows handed over some texts, i wonder if she handed over some of mine? the rest of the text from mark meadows and donald trump's communications come before the supreme court. eight justices easily agreed that it should all be handed over to the committee. only clarence thomas says no. none of it should go to the committee. was clarence thomas knowingly
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saying no, you should not get my wife's communications. the day will come in weeks or months when we will discover how many communications to and from clarence thomas's wife were in that massive archive of information that clarence thomas alone said should not be handed over to the january six committee. >> it is not enough for us to just trust the core any longer and self enforced a secret, internal code of ethics. the highest court in the land cannot be exempt from the standards we hold every other federal judge to. >> that is one of the problems here. there is no code of ethics at the supreme court, but there is a federal law applies to all federal judges, including supreme court justices about matters that might come before them that might in any way
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involve or affect their spouses, specifically their spouses. the law requires that all judges, including supreme court justices, to recuse themselves from those cases. harvard law professor laurence tribe believes clarence thomas has violated a law. >> it specifically says that no justice shall participate in a manner where he is presumed to know that his or her spouse has an interests. the interest here is very direct. well clarence thomas did was illegal. if he continues to participate in matters that arise from the attempt to get information to the january six committee, or anything related to the 2020 election, he will be violating the law again. >> this is one of those laws where there is no criminal
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enforcement mechanism to that particular federal law on judicial conduct. the only disciplinary action for supreme court justices is the crude instrument of impeachment, which has been used exactly once against a supreme court justice in 1805. as we discussed on the program must night, that justice samuel chase was impeached by the house of senate but not convicted. mcconnell went to the senate yesterday and posing the idea of impeaching clarence thomas. he is the only senator that had mentioned the possibility of an impeachment occurrence thomas on the senate floor. that is how worried he is about this. while he is at it, matching condo insisted that clarence thomas should not be forced to recuse himself from any cases, none, no matter how many text
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messages from his wife that might be in the case file. even after reading virginia thomas's text messages to mark meadows in the washington post, and knowing that there could be dozens more of them in the material turned over to the january six committee by the order of eight justices of the supreme court, even after knowing all that, yesterday, on the floor of the united states senate, where impeachment trials are held, mitch mcconnell said this. >> i have total confidence in justice thomas impartiality in every aspect of the word of the court. >> leading off our discussion tonight is jane mayer, chief correspondent for the new yorker. she is the coauthor of strange justice, thank you very much for joining us tonight. jane, no one knows more about what clarence thomas's work. no reporter knows more. i have been eager to talk to
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you about this. you raise the question very dramatically in your reporting two months ago before we knew the existence of these text messages. what do these text messages at the story? >> lawrence, first of all, thank you for having me on. it is great to be with you. i think what we have seen in a granular way is just how fringe the ideology is of ginni thomas and how she uses her husband to enter with people high up in the trump administration, could basically berate the chief of staff in this case over and over. these messages are relentless. saying that he has to act, that he has to overturn biden's victory. you see her in action in this. you see much more closely how
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deeply involved she was in the plotting and planning and scheming of the coup. this is, as you say, i have been ready about this and reporting on this for a long time, i find some of the text shocking. >> jen, one of the things that i find shocking about clarence thomas's behavior in and all of the story, all of his behavior shocking, is he knows when his decision is coming down that he should recuse himself from, he knows there are eight votes. he is going to be the only dissenter, the only one. and even at that point, he does not recuse himself. his vote was going to mean absolutely nothing. and he still did it. in lawrence tribe's view, he violated the law. >> as you said, this is a law
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that has no enforcement. so he is laying down the conflict here. and giving us a preview of what is to come. one of the things that's interesting about this is, the story is far from over. there are other cases that are involving january 6th, there are sort of the plot to overturn the 2020 election. they're steamrolling their way to the supreme court. one of them involves john eastman, the lawyer who advised trump to -- on how to -- and try to get pence to step in and not certify the electors. and that case, his papers, have now been ruled that they have to be turned over to the committee. and he surely will be appealing this to the supreme court. how can clarence thomas sit on
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that particular case there's gonna be a big issue. i think it will be a ruckus if he does. >> jane, there's a stunning line on the last page of your -- in the new yorker about clarence thomas and his wife and it's, as for lawyers involved in cases before the supreme court, it can be deeply disturbing to know that johnny thomas is an additional opponent what. you described several cases in which ginni thomas is definitely a player on one side of that case, cases that end up in the supreme court. >> in one instance, she has a business as a political consultant. in one instance, she was paid by a client who had an abacus brief in the supreme court. in the time that her husband was considered in this case and
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the client was frank daphne, clarence thomas was sitting on that particular case, ginni thomas was earning over $20,000 from francophonie. none of this was disclosed at the time. these are really serious conflicts. and if you talk to the most revered experts and judicial experts, they are shocked right now. the problem is, as you said, there's no mechanism really for requiring a justice to recuse other than potentially an impeachment which is a far out possibility. but the damage that gets done by this sort of thing undermines the credibility of the court and respect for the court. it's exactly the kind of thing that chief justice roberts has said that he's wrong worried about. and clarence thomas has said himself that he worries the justices may be seen as just political. well, what could be more
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political than his wife's role in all of this. >> you've studied these two, both mr. and mrs. thomas. we spoken to people who know them very well. is it conceivable to you that on january 6th, the day that we now know, and you didn't know two months ago, but that we now know, virginia thomas was at donald trump's rally on january six, that at dinner time that night, while the capital is still occupied, while the police are still trying to clear the capital, that clarence thomas in virginia thomas are sitting at the dinner table and virginia thomas never says to her husband, i was at donald trump 's rally this morning. is that possible? >> i mean, you know, anything is possible. but is it probable? just you don't have to be a reporter, he just have to be a human being to know that that's
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going to be -- that seems a bit farfetched. also, you can see in these text that she talks about, she mentions to meadows and one of them that she is just talk to which she describes as her best friend. which seems very much like coded language for clarence thomas. because they describe each other as each other's best friends. so, it seems possible that he would understand that she's deeply involved in this. and it's not just from the texts. you could see that there are fights where -- clarence thomas has a lister with his former court clerks and this issue of what to do about the election came up, ginni thomas was apparently vocal about it and created a ruckus on that. her -- she has said that she was there. and she's gone to facebook and sort of cheered on the protests. there are million red flags
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here. and they're also some red lines. and they seem to have been crossed. >> jane mayer, you are on this case before the rest of us. thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you. coming up next, we're gonna show you some extraordinary video of clarence thomas himself describing in a conversation with his wife how important she is to his work on the supreme court. eugene robinson and and why you professor stephen killers will join us next. des comprehensive solutions, and shows me how to get the most out of my workplace benefits. voya helps me feel like i got it all under control. voya. well planned. well invested. well protected.
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that's a savings of over $500 a year. switch today. >> and her most recent article on clarence thomas and supreme court experts, all of whom expressed shock at what they read in virginia thomas's texts to mark meadows, our next guest is the first expert quoted in jane mayer's piece, steven
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killers, a law professor at nyu, who calls the revelation of mrs. thomas texts a game-changer. he told jane mayer, jimmy has now crossed a line, clarence thomas cannot sit on any matter involving the election, the invasion of the capital, or the work of the january six committee. was there ever a line separating virginia thomas from clarence thomas's work? it doesn't sound like it. in this 2018 video, a virginia thomas and clarence thomas, discussing his work as a supreme court justice. >> and the best part of being a justice? >> first of all, it's we -- would be impossible without you. i have to be honest. it would be -- it's sort of, how do you run with one leg? you can't.
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it makes it hole when i have my wife. >> joining us now, steven killers, a professor at new york university of school of law, he's an expert on judicial ethics. also with us eugene robinson, correspondent with the washington post. he's an nbc political analyst. jean robinson, how do you run on one like? >> incredible. the whole thing is it credible, lawrence. this is a slam dunk jacques [inaudible] it should not be a question. clarence thomas should've recused. i agree with professor gillard. he has to recuse any further cases involving january six. and he probably will not. a lot of his supreme court career, i think, has been about defiance.
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and i think defiance is part of his character. i think he sees it as part of why he's there. so i don't think he will go gladly away from these cases. and maybe he can be convinced by the other justices. but i don't think he will. he will just say -- listen to all the reporting, seeing the uproar and say, oh gee, i better accuse. i don't think he will. >> professor killers, everything we're looking at here as long time supreme court watchers, you're the most expert among us, is -- was, inconceivable just weeks ago. days ago. before reading these texts. even with jane mayer's reporting, up two months ago, this was shocking, certainly to me, and eugene has just raised a few culture shock that i can't even imagine how to deal
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with. and that is the possibility that justice thomas completely ignores all of this and follows mitch mcconnell's advice from the senate floor yesterday, and refuses to recuse from anything. no matter how many ginni thomas's emails and texts come out in the eventual case of -- >> thank you lawrence. i don't think it's -- i think it's certain, nearly certain, that justice thomas will not recuse himself from any case involving the january six committee, or the election. to recuse now, i think he will see it as an admission that he shouldn't have sat in the earlier cases. so he's going to stay, and he knows he's appointed for life and he knows that no one on the supreme court can get him to back down. so he's the final arbiter of
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whether he can sit. and he is going to rule in favor of himself. that's for sure. >> professor gillers, clarify for the audience, there is this notion that there's a chief justice and he might sort of be their boss and tell them to do things. that's not quite the way it works. >> no, it's not the way it works. each one of them is a prima donna. and while there is a chief justice and all, he can beg and plead and try to persuade other justices to recuse in a particular situation. he has no power. the power is in each justice. i am sure that chief justice robins we -- is beside himself, but there is nothing he can do. >> eugene just anticipate for me the political reaction to clarence thomas refusing to
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recuse from cases, even when we know that his wife is involved. >> there will be a huge uproar. it will be a front page story for days there will be people who will be horrified. there is an amen chorus and there will be top of impeachment and he won't be impeached because i think there's no stomach for that. there's no real constituency for that. and it's not going to happen. look, i think there is one shot here. if chief justice roberts manages to get the other conservative justices together and somehow they all try to convince thomas that the integrity and the future of court is at stake here and that it will be a generous and good
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an american thing for him to do to recuse, maybe. you know, maybe. that would be a long shot. i'm kind of pessimistic. that sort of overtake them. we will see what happens this time, thank you both very much are joining us tonight. coming up, an extraordinary video of the leader of the british intelligence today explaining the many mistakes of the mass murder vladimir putin. that is next. that is next
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murdered by vladimir putin in his war in ukraine is now at 148. that is just the official account. president zelenskyy expects the real count to be much higher. after russia announced a de-escalation of military attacks, depending on how says that russia has increased the number of air strikes targeting kyiv and its surrounding area. tonight, russian troops shot at buses filled with civilian volunteers trying to help evacuate people. one person is killed and four injured in that attack. fighting has intensified and mariupol, where thousands of civilians have been killed, according to president zelenskyy. ukraine's deputy prime minister said russia received 14 tons of
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food and medicine meant for humanitarian aid. nato's general said intelligence shows russia is repositioning, not withdrawing. they are trying to regroup, resupply and reinforce their offensive in the donbas region. today, president biden said this. >> there is no clear evidence that he is redrawing. it is an open question whether he is actually pulling back and going to say, i will just focus on the donbas, i am not worried about the risk of the country. i am skeptical. >> in a video tonight, president zelenskyy said, quote, our ukrainian cities are gradually being freed from occupiers. we know their intentions, what they are planning, what they are doing, they are leaving those places where we are defeating them so that they can focus on other ones. today, moscow countered u.s.
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intelligence, revealing that vladimir putin was being misinformed about how badly the war was going. kremlin spokesperson, dimitri peskov, said the united states does not understand what is happening inside the kremlin, nor vladimir putin himself. here is what president biden said today. >> how badly is vitamin putin being misinform by his advisers? >> that is an open question. there is a lot of speculation but he seems to be, i'm not saying this uncertainty. he seems to be self isolating. there is some indication that he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisers. >> in an extraordinary speech today, jeremy fleming, the head of british intelligence, laid out the various mistakes by vladimir putin. >> it increasingly looks like
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vladimir putin has misjudged the situation. it's clear he's misjudged the resistance of the ukrainian people. he underestimated the strength of a coalition his actions would galvanize. he underplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime. and he overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory. we've seen russian soldiers short of weapons and morale, refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft. and even though we believe putin's advisers are afraid to tell him the truth what's going on and the extent of these misjudgements must be crystal clear to the regime. this week, the russian emoji stated publicly that they will
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drastically reduced combat operations around kyiv and a city in the north. what it looked like they had been forced to make a significant change. but then, they proceeded to launch a taxing both the places. mixed messages, or deliberateness in formation? we'll have to see how it unfolds. but at any event, it all adds up to the strategic miscalculation that our leaders warned putin it will be. it's become his personal war with the cost being paid by innocent people in ukraine, and increasingly by ordinary russians too. the greater irony is, of course, through his actions, putin has brought upon himself exactly what he was trying to avoid. a ukraine with a renewed sense of nationhood. a nato that has been more
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united than ever. and a global coalition of nations that condemn his actions. now increasingly, many of those truths come from intelligence. it is already a remarkable feature of his conflict, just how much intelligence has been so quickly declassified to get ahead of putin's actions. from the warnings of the war to the intelligence on false flag operations designed to provide a fake premise to the invasion, and more recently to the russian plans to use chemically banned weapons, deeply secret intelligence has been released to assure that the truth is heard. at this pace and scale, it really is unprecedented. in my view, intelligence is only worth collecting if we use it. so i unreservedly welcome this development.
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>> up next, we will be joined by tom nichols who will consider the question of what will vladimir putin know and when will he know it. that is next. or sunday afternoon in the produce aisle. these moments may not seem remarkable. but at pfizer, protecting the regular routine, and everyday drives us to reach for exceptional. working to impact hundreds of millions of lives... young and old. it's what we call, the pursuit of normal. ♪ ♪ >> tonight, a u.s. official
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provided this assessment to nbc news, quote, we have information that indicates that some russian government senior officials likely disagreed with putin's decision to invade ukraine. their disillusionment is probably amplified by the russian militaries underperformance. joining us now is todd nichols, a contributing writer at the atlantic and retired professor the u.s. naval war college. tom, what did putin know, when did you know, it and when is he going to know it question becomes fascinating. all the intelligence agencies are kind of going public with their contributions to it as we heard from the british today. >> which i think is great.
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i think that the head of british intelligence saying that intelligence, the point of collecting intelligence is to use it and the americans in the british have been using intelligence i think very masterfully here to keep people informed, to head off some of the -- sum of putin's future rationales and attempts to pop surprises. i think putin has to know something is going wrong. and american intelligence sources that you quoted a moment ago saying that some people were against the invasion of ukraine, i am guessing that that was almost, maybe with one or two exceptions, i think everyone around him thought it was a bad idea. but nobody wanted to tell him. that's characteristic of dictatorships. nobody wants to go in and tell the boss that this is a bad idea and it's going to go badly because, when it does go south on you, you're gonna be the guy who's going to get blamed for having said it out loud.
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. . ? >> and i worry about the because one of the things i wrote a few years ago in the atlantic could squash internal dissent even in the kremlin, much more in society as a whole, but even among his confederates is that to pick a fight with nato. then almost any dissent or departure from the idea that this patriotic war really will get blown out of the water. on the other hand he may
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realize just what a jam he is in, let the military do what it is doing right now, which is to reposition itself and claim that they meant to do this all along. but i do not know. this is not a man that takes humiliation very well. that is what worries me. the question is, does he realize what a humiliating situation is for him? he may, even if he seeks a settlement, he may lash out in a dramatic way at the ukrainians just to make his point, even if he has to pull back. >> tim nichols, thank you very much are joining us tonight. thank you. coming up, a representative, lucy mcbath, will join us with a secret story about democrats and congress trying to make life better for people who need insulin. republicans doing absolutely nothing. the story is secret because it is exactly what that news media in d.c. always ignore.
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poll finds that 42% of voters plan to vote for the democratic candidate in the congressional elections this year. 41% will vote for the republicans. 17% are unsure. those numbers could change and stories like this are presented to voters. today, every democrat in the house voted to pass the affordable insulin now act which would kept the monthly cost of insulin at $35 starting next year. almost every republican voted against that. every member of the house republican leadership voted no to 35 dollar insulin. minority leader kevin mccarthy voted no. republican conference chair elise stefanik voted no. the bill now heads to the senate where georgia senator
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has introduced a companion bill. joining us now is representative lucy mcbath, the cosponsor of today's bill, who voted yes. thank you very much for joining us tonight. what will this bill do people that need insulin? >> thank you so much, lawrence, it is always a joy to be with you. this bill is very simple in its nature. it basically will lower drug costs for millions of americans. about 40 million americans in this country that are suffering from the chronic disease of diabetes. there is no time off when you live with this disease. it is a constant presence in the lives of almost 40 million people. it influences every aspect of their lives. so, we just know that this is an opportunity to help millions of americans lower the cost of something that they need every single day to survive. i hope republicans in the senate will do what is needed to make life more affordable, and this drug more affordable
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for the families. >> i did not know that diabetes was a partisan issue. did you hear anything and the republican argument against this? >> yes, we did. i heard over and over again that we are not considering the individuals that are uninsured. this bill does not protect those that don't have insurance. as i said to my republican colleagues on the floor today, you are right, it does not. there again, come to the table, build some compromise, some consensus, help us to do that very thing to make sure that we are putting forth a policy that will protect every individual in this country, whether they have insurance or not. making sure that they have access to this lifesaving drug and can afford to pay for. going >> going forward in the senate, you have to pass a bill
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and reconcile it with the house. there is plenty of opportunity still for republicans to do the right thing beginning in the senate? >> absolutely. we were very fortunate today because we did have 12 republicans that actually agreed with us. it did make this legislation bipartisan in the house. we are fortunate that we have senator warnock there in the senate that is championing this very vital piece of legislation. i know my colleagues and i in the house can do everything we can to make sure we are encouraging the senate republicans a do what is right. as he stated, die a bts is not partisan. it should not be partisan. republicans and democrats alike are diabetic. >> congresswoman lucy mcbath thank you for joining us, we always appreciate it. >> thank you. >> the honorable lucy mcbath gets tonight's last word. the 11th hour with stephanie
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roe starts now. >> tonight as russian forces appear to regroup the ukraine says putin's army has handed back control of chernobyl. by making big moves on oil and gas and oil prices at the pump will it work? and if, not will voters give him credit for trying? plus, kushner spends more than seven hours chatting with the january six committee and handing more clues to the doj's investigation is growing. as we're getting underway on the thursday night. >> good evening once again i'm stephanie ruhle. fierce battles continue across ukraine as russia's invasion now enters day 37. u.s. military officials say that over the last 24 hours, russia has increased its

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