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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  April 23, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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a very good day to all of you from msnbc world headquarters in new york. welcome to "alex witt reports." we begin with breaking news from ukraine where it is 9:00 p.m. and president zelenskyy has spent more than an hour now answering questions from reporters. moments ago, he said he still wants a face-to-face meeting with russian president vladimir putin. also, he is going to meet with big news here with the u.s. secretary of state, antony blinken, and defense secretary austin tomorrow. >> translator: i insisted from the beginning on holding talks with the russian leader because i believe that any format of a meeting through mediators with russia or by passing on some information so the leader of the russian federation through
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friendly countries, i believe that this will not produce a desired effect. i consider this war can only be stopped by whoever started it. >> ukraine is closing in on the end of the 59th day of the war as the region prepares to observe orthodox easter tomorrow. but officials say there is no sign that russian attackers will observe the holiday. earlier today, a missile strike in the city of odesa killed at least eight people, zelenskyy says. ukrainian officials released this video claiming that it shows the aftermath of that strike. nbc news is not yet able to independently identify where or when this was taken. ukrainian officials in luhansk say that region is under 24-hour shelling. russians are accused of opening fire in an artillery attack on civilians in a downtown area there. and new today from mariupol, ukrainian officials say russian forces have restarted their attacks on that steel plant where hundreds of ukrainian fighters and possibly civilians are blocked in by the russian military. ukrainian officials say kharkiv
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recorded 56 attacks overnight. this one was caught on video by reporters from the associated press. and new reaction from the government of moldova, pushing back on russia's reported plan to expand the war to take full control of southern ukraine, getting close to a russian-controlled section of moldova. government officials are demanding that russia respect moldova's neutral status. the united nations is launching a new high-profile attempt at peace talks. we have secretary general antonio guterres who will visit president putin in moscow on tuesday, and then president zelenskyy in kyiv on thursday. and the u.s. is inviting 40 nations to meet in germany next week. defense secretary lloyd austin will talk to defense officials and military leaders about a possible collective effort in response to this war. let's go to cal perry, joining us from kyiv. cal, welcome to you, my friend. talk to us about the big news here that zelenskyy says he's meeting with blinken and austin tomorrow in kyiv, so tell us about that and the rest of the
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news conference that he has been conducting. >> reporter: absolutely. we're monitoring it as it comes in. we can go ahead and put the picture up. it was about ten minutes ago when he said that there was a delegation coming from the united states tomorrow and then he said he would be meeting with secretary of state blinken and with defense secretary austin. we have reached out to the state department. we have not heard back from them just yet on that. obviously, they're going to be worried about giving away any security details of a future meeting. one of the extraordinary things, alex, about this press conference is where it's happening. and how it's being produced and we're seeing that live now on the left side of your screen. this is taking place in a subway station somewhere close to where i am but again, we don't know the location. and it is being expertly produced. as we have seen throughout this war, a president who seems to rise to the occasion and once again, and you see that subway station there, doing so in a location, in a city at war while he is under threat. he started the press conference by saying and answering a question about his level of fear, saying he's not afraid to die. that it is security that is more scared than he is, that it is
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his family that's scared. he said he wants more weapons from the united states, that this most recent aid package is more along the lines of what he was hoping for. of course, that aid package will start arriving this weekend. some $800 million of aid. and then he talks, alex, about the news of the day, that strike in odesa that killed at least eight people, wounding some 20 others. take a little listen to what he had to say about that strike. >> translator: 3-month-old baby has died. they killed a 3-month-old baby. the war started when that baby was born just 1 month old. can you imagine what this means? what's happening. they're just stinking scum. how else can i call them? i have no other words. just scum. >> reporter: this is something that we have been hearing all day from officials that this baby now unable to celebrate
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easter tomorrow, day 60 of the war, orthodox easter here tomorrow with his family. we also heard more details about mariupol. the situation there, of course, increasingly desperate. today, there was a chance, an attempt to evacuate civilians from that city, and according to the deputy mayor there, and we heard the president, president zelenskyy, talking about this in his press conference. instead, what they got was a russian commander who announced to the civilians that were going to flee that that area was soon to be shelled. it sort of goes along with what we've been hearing from the government here, that it is the russian side that continues to basically sabotage any chance at evacuating civilians. there was, i think, a growing concern here and it's something we've heard from the president, that the russians are using those civilians in mariupol as pawns, as perhaps something they can negotiate with in the future, alex. >> okay. cal perry, thank you very much for that wrap-up of things from kyiv at this point. on the heels of that, let's bring in former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul. ambassador, good to have you here. give me this big reaction to the
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news we reported, president zelenskyy meeting with the secretary of state and the defense secretary in kyiv tomorrow. what does this move signal to you? >> i think it's fantastic. i think it's a very important signal of support from the biden administration to have their two senior officials to come. i think you have seen an increased level and quality of weapons coming from the united states. what president zelenskyy's been calling for, for a long time. and i think part of that conversation will be about new sanctions too. remember, zelenskyy wants new weapons and he wants greater sanctions on russia to try to put pressure on putin to stop this war. this is a great opportunity to discuss both. >> what about security concerns on all this? i mean, did the u.s. expect zelenskyy to announce this meeting? i know that we have had reports, matt bradley and others, saying that kyiv is becoming a little more normal in the feeling around it. but this -- these are very high-profile people.
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this is kyiv, and we know that the russians still have rockets that they could launch that could hit kyiv. >> yeah, i don't want to second guess president zelenskyy about security in his own country. i'll let him be the best judge of that. i do think it would be highly, highly unlikely that mr. putin would try to strike the secretary of state or the secretary of defense. that would ensure that nato would be involved in this war. he does not have the capability -- >> good point. >> he barely has the capability to fight against the ukrainian army. he has zero capability to fight against nato anchored by the greatest military in the world, the united states, so i think that is a very highly unlikely event. >> okay. what about the u.s. inviting those 40 military and defense leaders to germany for the talks next week. it's outside the rubric of nato, though certainly nato members are involved in this. what kind of the consensus do you think the u.s. would be looking for here? >> again, i applaud the effort.
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i think it's fantastic. lots of countries have been providing military assistance, but from the ukrainian government perspective, i just talked to senior people there this week, they're not providing enough. it's just that simple. they're fighting the battle of donbas is the next great battle in this war, and they need more weapons, so i think this is a great way to try to put more pressure on some of those european countries that have those weapons, in particular soviet-era weapons that they might transfer to the european -- to ukraine in return for the united states providing them weapons to replace to back fill those weapons. so i think it's a great moment. put more pressure on everybody to do more for ukraine. >> so, give me a sense of what you think might be included in the talks. i mean, certainly, visually, and in terms of the symbolism of all this, it's a big deal that you have the secretary of state and the defense secretary going to meet with zelenskyy. but what do you think the talks
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will be about? >> well, there's no doubt president zelenskyy will ask for more weapons and better weapons. every time we deliver them, he says, thank you, and now i need more. number two, there is a real focus on trying to increase economic sanctions against russia, particularly cutting off oil exports to europe. that funds the war, right? it's just really that simple. we in the free world are funding putin's war machine in ukraine. he wants to get us to stop that. i'm sure that will be on the topic. and then third, this probably won't get in the press, but if you remember, president zelenskyy has proposed some terms for how to end this war. and one of them is he will accept neutrality for his country, provided that his people vote for it in a referendum in return for what he calls a security guarantee from the members of the united nations security council and a
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couple other countries. so far, to the best of my knowledge, maybe it's happened privately but i don't think it has, the biden administration has not agreed to that kind of deal, that kind of security guarantee in return for neutrality, and my hunch is president zelenskyy, especially in his conversation with secretary blinken, will press that issue tomorrow. >> couple of things relative to vladimir putin. first of all, zelenskyy said, in this news conference that's still under way that we're watching here. he said, i'm still willing to meet with vladimir putin. and then, there's this video of president putin, and this is still getting attention. it was released by the russians. it shows putin -- i mean, look, he's kind of slouching there in the chair. he's gripping the table with his right hand. so, couple of things. what do you make of zelenskyy saying he still wants to meet with him and then all this body language with putin? it seems somewhat uncharacteristic. i mean, do you think it's something intelligence officials are analyzing?
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>> well, first, with respect to president zelenskyy, he understands perfectly well there will never be a peace settlement negotiated by lower level officials. that's not how it works in russian system. by the way, even when i was in the government, it always had to go to obama and the president for obama and president putin on really tough issues, so he's absolutely right to keep saying he's willing to meet one-on-one. with respect to the body language, you know, i just say two things. putin's been slouching for a long time. he does that a lot. what's striking to me was his hand, as you see it there. he didn't move his hand the entire time. that was pretty strange. and then just listening to him talk, i thought that was pretty strange, too. i've listened to mr. putin talk for decades. he did not sound very confident. he did not have a strong voice. and i would also point out that his defense minister, shoigu, in making this report, read every
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single word. that was also extremely strange. oh, and by the way, they declared something to be done that is not done. president putin said, congratulations for taking mariupol. we all know that the russians have not taken mariupol, at least not yet. >> yeah. what about british intelligence, which is suggesting that russia might be intensifying attacks? they're trying to get some kind of wins before its world war ii victory day celebrations. that's a couple of weeks from now on may 9th. is that plausible, that they are ramping things up just to have the image on may 9 of success? >> well, most certainly, may 9th is the most important holiday in russia, period. i attended those events, by the way, when i was ambassador on red square where all the soldiers marched through and remember, the most significant positive event in soviet russian history in a hundred years was the defeat of fascism in world
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war ii, and so they celebrate it. it's almost a religious thing. and remember, putin is trying to connect his war in ukraine to that win in 1945, right? he's saying that he -- they are fighting nazis again. so, there's a direct propaganda tie to those two events. i wouldn't, however, overestimate the significance of trying to end the war by may 9th. they want a victory, but putin gets to define victory whatever way he wants to because russians don't have access to actual information. i suspect no matter what's happening on the battlefield, this special military operation in defense of donbas, that's the way they now describe it, will be declared a victory. >> how do you see this ending? do you have any sense of how long this is going to go on? >> well, it's very interesting to me that they've changed the
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objectives of the war very explicitly. so, remember, when we were first talking before he invaded, what were the objectives? ukraine's not a real country. they're just russians with accents. let's take them all in to russia. that didn't happen. denazification. that didn't happen. ending ukrainian military support -- military. that didn't happen. taking the major cities. that hasn't happened. and so, putin has very consciously changed the objectives of the war, which is, special military operation in defense of donbas. that, to me, is a hint how this war might end. if he connects crimea to donbas, takes mariupol, that might be a moment when he says, we've achieved our objectives. let's now sue for peace. whether zelenskyy can sue for peace after they've taken that territory, that's a different matter, but in putin's mind, i think that could be a moment for compromise. >> okay. michael mcfaul, come see me any
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time. good to have your insights. now back to the u.s. and capitol hill specifically. the day's other big headline, house gop leader kevin mccarthy today struggling to contain the growing fallout over those bombshell recordings, revealing his conversations with other republicans in the days after the january 6th attack. conversations about then president donald trump. nbc's allie raffa joining us from capitol hill. what's the latest on this front? what are you hearing? >> reporter: yeah, alex, well, house minority leader kevin mccarthy has been doing some damage control since these audio recordings have surfaced that very clearly contradict his earlier denials of what was said in them. take a listen to some of these recordings here. >> the only discussion i would have with him is that i think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation he should resign. he told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. and he needs to acknowledge that. i've had it with this guy.
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what he's done is unacceptable. nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it. >> reporter: now, lots of house republicans were saying things similar to what mccarthy is saying in these recordings in the days after january 6th, but what makes mccarthy's situation different is just how quickly he pivoted back to supporting the former president. we saw in the weeks after january 6th, mccarthy even visiting trump at his mar-a-lago home in florida, and now, in the aftermath of all of this, most house republicans are staying quiet while house democrats and even president biden himself are sounding off. meanwhile, you have democratic congressman and january 6th committee member adam schiff raising a bigger question about how the knowledge that mccarthy has of the former president's thinking in the days and weeks before and after january 6th could help the committee. take a listen. >> mccarthy earlier said when we asked him to testify that there
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was no point in his testifying because he had said everything that he knew publicly, but of course, we found out that was yet another lie. i think these latest revelations will kindle another discussion among our committee members about what to do about these members like mccarthy who have relevant information who are refusing to come in voluntarily and do their duty. >> reporter: and committee members have said publicly that they are -- they have been very interested in speaking to house minority leader mccarthy, not only because of his role in these recordings but because of how close of an ally he is to the former president, and at this point with the committee wrapping up its investigation, it's really unclear whether members will pursue this as they near -- as we have discussed on your show before, this midterm election deadline to wrap up their work. we heard this week the latest timeline of these long-awaited public hearings that we expect to last several weeks. we heard congressman jamie
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raskin say these public hearings, which were expected to begin in may, could shift back to june, alex. >> okay. thank you so much. let's get to carol lee, who's got new reaction from kevin mccarthy. so carol, what are we hearing from house minority leader himself now that these recordings have been made public? >> reporter: we're hearing a little bit of the same, alex, in the sense that he is trying to deny what is very clearly on these recordings. initially, he had said this was totally false, and then the recordings came out and now he's saying that this is something that he didn't actually do, specifically, focusing in on this asking president trump or telling him at the time that he should resign. he also said, alex, that he has spoke yesterday with president trump twice and that they had a good conversation. take a listen. >> the conversation was very good because the conversation here is what they -- what they said we did, we never did. let me be very clear. i have never asked the president
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to resign. so, what the book said was not true. i never asked the president to resign. we talked about the ability to win the majority back in congress. >> reporter: now, just to clarify here, what he said was that he was going to tell the president trump that he needed to resign, that he believed that his impeachment would pass the house and potentially the senate. now, for -- as for president trump, he's taking this a little bit in stride, according to an interview he gave to the "wall street journal," where he said, look, i don't like the conversations, but kevin and i, that's how he refers to the minority leader, we have a good relationship. notably, though, alex, when he asked if he would still support mccarthy for speaker of the house should republicans take control of the house in the midterm elections in november, he kind of deferred a little bit. he didn't say directly that he would do that. he didn't put his support
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squarely behind him and instead said, look, i'm not aware that anyone else is running in that race, and so that leaves it hanging out there a little bit, and if anything you know is that mccarthy really needs president trump's support in order to become speaker of the house, which has been his long-time political goal. >> it sure has. but we'll see if that will come to pass based on the election and whether or not republicans want to put him in that leader position. carol lee, thank you. so, i don't even need to tease our next story. let me just read you a headline about it. florida taxpayers could face a $1 billion disney debt bomb if its special district status is revoked. how this might go over with voters. i'm sure you've heard the phrase, lead balloon? next. you've heard the phrase, lead balloon next what happens when performance... meets power? you try crazy things... ...because you're crazy... ...and you like it. you get bigger... ...badder...
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growing outrage in florida to a new move by governor ron desantis. he has signed into law a bill stripping disney of its status as an independent special distribute. that move will undercut disney's
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autonomy and it could come at a very steep cost to taxpayers. let's go to nbc's stephanie stanton in orlando for us. stephanie, put this out there in terms of what does this all mean for residents? >> reporter: well, good afternoon to you, alex. it appears that taxpayers here in orange county and nearby county could be the real losers in all of this. now, as you said, yesterday, governor ron desantis signed into law that essentially dissolves the reedy creek special improvement district. what that means is that for the last 55 years, disney has kind of been in charge, self-governing, if you will, over all of its 25,000 acres here, making its own decisions about things like water, power, and infrastructure. now, disney will have to seek some kind of county, perhaps state regulatory approval, and governor ron desantis has not been shy about the fact that his decision to dissolve this special district was in response
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to disney's public support of the so-called "don't say gay" legislation. >> for disney to come out and put a statement and say that the bill should have never passed and that they are going to actively work to repeal it, i think, one, was fundamentally dishonest, but two, i think that crossed the line. this state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of florida. it is not based on the demands of california corporate executives. they do not run this state. they do not control this state. >> reporter: now, the new law won't take effect until june of 2023, but we spoke to the orange county tax collector, and he tells us that when it does, area residents here could see their property taxes jump possibly by 20%. now, at this point, there's still a lot of unanswered questions as to how this could
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be sorted out, if, in fact, there could be other agreements happening, but at this point, as of june of 2023, the reedy creek improvement district will no longer exist, and disney will not be allowed to make its own decisions with regard to its infrastructure. so, there's still a lot of unanswered questions, and no doubt a lot of experts are saying that they expect to see lawsuits in the near future involving this issue, alex. >> yeah, i'll bet you're right on that front. let me ask you quickly about what more we've learned about the math textbooks. they've been removed from the florida school curriculum by republicans. what's behind that? >> reporter: indeed. in fact, there were about 134 math books that were put forth for the florida department of education to approve, and roughly only about 54 of them were approved, so that's only about 41%. florida department of education is saying that they were not approved because they include things like social emotional
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learning, critical race theory, references to transgender issues, and in fact, the department of education put on its website some pretty clear examples. four examples, if you will, of what they say is the inappropriate content. so, this is going to be for the next school year in 2023, so it won't take effect immediately, but no doubt, you have this law was also signed into effect yesterday as well when we saw that flurry of legislation signed by the governor, and it is creating a lot of controversy within florida's schools right now in terms of public schools. >> yeah. absolutely. stephanie stanton, thank you for that. joining me now, carlos cabello, former congresswoman from florida and an msnbc political analyst. welcome to you, my friend. i'm curious, as a floridian yourself, how do you think this disney situation is going to go over with the voters there? the republican party is taking on the mighty mouse, a beloved institution. it is a move that is probably going to raise taxes, you heard
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stephanie reporting, as much as 20%. so how is this beneficial to floridians? >> well, alex, it's good to be with you and the truth is, it's probably too early to tell what the fallout is going to be from all of this. on the one hand, the governor's going to try to make the case that no company deserves these special privileges. it is kind of unique that a company would have its own police force, its own fire department, not really have to submit any plans for zoning or for anything like that. but i mean, this is a popular brand. this is a brand that has been beloved for decades by florida families, really, you know, families all over the country, but especially here in florida. i mean, i've been going to disneyworld since i can remember, and of course, we've taken our daughters there. at the same time, the company has been very outspoken, clearly, with republican base voters, the company has lost favor, and we have to remember,
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for ron desantis, this is not just about 2022, his re-election campaign, alex. it's also about 2024, and a lot of people here in this state believe he's actually getting ready to run for president, no matter what donald trump decides to do. and it's issues like this that he probably thinks will help him get the upper hand against donald trump. >> but here's the thing. i mean, this has been a mutually beneficial relationship, right? it can't be a good look for ron desantis to be taking on mickey mouse in this regard. >> well, you're right. this is the biggest private employer in the state, i believe. it's a company that lures a lot of tourists to florida, so a lot of the economic benefits that the state gets is thanks to disney, and of course, other companies like universal that have parks in the orlando area. it has a huge employment base. there's a lot of families that depend on disney for their
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well-being and we can imagine that a lot of those people are going to be upset and might vote against the governor in 2022 just based on this issue. if next year, florida residents end up seeing a tax increase as a result of this, that could be a major liability, especially for a republican who prides himself on small government and low taxes, so there's some major risks here. this is something unprecedented. this is something that could have never been imagined in this state just a few years ago where a sitting governor and legislature would slap disney in the face in this way, but it has happened, and now we'll just have to see the way things go from here, but there's some certain -- certainly some big risks out there for the politicians who took this step. >> 100% right. what about this, because it all comes about a week or so after florida's education department rejected those 28 math books, specifically because they incorporate prohibited topics,
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including critical race theory, which desantis also signed that bill to ban talking about that in classrooms. i mean, math books, carlos? these culture wars, are they working? is the republican party overplaying their hand on all this? is this the kind of thing that floridians really care about? >> i think that's exactly the right question, alex. so, republicans perceive that they have gained the upper hand on all of these culture wars, whether it's critical race theory, other education issues, masking, of course, we've just seen a host of issues, right? you know, these gay and transgender bills, all over the country, republicans are pressing on these issues. the risk is to overreach, to be perceived as being out of touch by voters. of course, the biggest issue that most voters are facing these days is inflation. the economy.
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the, you know, gas prices and to the extent republicans seem detached or just not concerned with those issues, that could cost them. but republicans are seeing poll numbers that are very favorable these days. they feel extremely comfortable in these culture wars, and for now, it seems like they're going to press on, even though there's a big risk of overreach there. eventually, there will be a backlash. >> let me switch gears here quickly and ask you about the recordings of house gop leader kevin mccarthy and those days following the insurrection. you know the congressman from your days in the office. what do you make of these recordings and how quickly he went from saying, trump should resign to meeting with him at mar-a-lago just weeks later? i mean, does it surprise you, knowing his character? >> alex, this was obviously big news, but it wasn't a surprise to those of us who frequently
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talk to congressional republicans. what kevin mccarthy said in that recording, his own words, his own voice, is what republicans have always said behind closed doors and in a whispering voice. they know that donald trump was responsible for what happened on the 6th of january. they know that it's likely there were criminal acts committed by him and others in the white house on the 6th of january. they know donald trump is bad for the country and for the republican party, but they don't have the courage to say so publicly because they want to continue winning their primaries, and in the case of leader mccarthy and others, they want to continue serving in their leadership posts, and he, in particular, wants to be speaker of the house, and leader mccarthy, unlike leader mcconnell, believes that it would be almost impossible for him to become speaker of the
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house without president trump's support. however, just across the hall there in the capitol, leader mcconnell, who has not spoken to donald trump since the 2020 elections, is in a very strong position with his conference, and if republicans do take over the senate, it's almost guaranteed that mcconnell will be the republican leader, so there's a lot of fear that motivates house republicans. it's less of a problem in the senate. but the center of attention in the republican party is still donald trump, and that's why you hear leader mccarthy doing damage control today, trying to show that he still has a good relationship with the former president, because he believes he needs that if he's going to continue serving as a republican leader and then as speaker of the house, if they win the majority. >> spot on perspective. thank you for sharing, carlos curbelo. there's some breaking news from ukraine. if you haven't heard it,
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president zelenskyy made an announcement that directly involves two high-profile american officials. we'll tell you about it next. e american officials we'll tell you about it next ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ we believe there's an innovator in all of us. ♪ ♪ that's why we build technology that makes it possible for every business... and every person... to come to the table and do more incredible things. ♪simply irresistible♪ ♪ ♪ ♪simply irresistible♪ applebee's irresist-a-bowls are back. now starting at $8.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. allergies don't have to be scary. spraying flonase daily stops your body from
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breaking news to report from the war in ukraine. with the volodymyr zelenskyy says he will meet with u.s. secretary of state antony blinken and defense secretary lloyd austin, this in kyiv tomorrow. no comment this hour from pentagon nor white house officials about it. the news came from zelenskyy's news conference that is still under way, and it is packed with reporters. it's happening in kyiv at this hour. joining me now from kyiv is daniel, a canadian attorney who's lived in ukraine since the late 1990s. he's a former chief investment advisor to the prime minister of ukraine. he is also right now volunteering as a member of the country's territorial defense forces. welcome to you, daniel. i'm glad to talk with you again about this. talk about this meeting. >> thanks. >> how big a deal it is that you have these two very high-profile u.s. officials coming to kyiv,
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and talk about your expectations. >> yeah, thank you very much for having me. this is, of course, a very big deal. but it's just part of the slew of world leaders that -- european leaders, nato leaders that have been coming into kyiv to speak with zelenskyy and to show support for ukraine's fight against tyranny. you know, everybody who's come in, whether they've been senior officials or prime ministers or presidents has come bearing gifts and we hope that -- i suspect this isn't war tourism that's taking place but that there will be some serious announcements regarding the ongoing flow of weapons to ukraine. which is absolutely critical to our prosecution of the war. absolutely critical. >> no, absolutely, and you know that president biden has said another $800 million in military aid is coming. at least, he wants to go to congress and get that approval, so maybe this is all about that
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and the contents of what would happen in terms of delivery with that kind of a payload. let me ask you about vladimir putin and the fact that zelenskyy said in this news conference, i still am willing to meet with him. talk about the prospect of that, first of all, and what he would potentially gain from a meeting with putin. >> well, i mean, you have to, as winston churchill said, jaw jaws better than war war, but we obviously need some sort of an end game here, but not at any cost. ukraine is -- and the president has been absolutely clear on this. ukraine is not going to sign anything that's -- that smacks of capitulation. and look, you know, we are fighting the anti-christ here. here we are, one day before orthodox easter, and he's lobbing rockets into odesa, killed eight people, including a
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3-month-old girl. his army is really not an army. it's a gang of marauders, looters, rapists, and murderers, and we've seen this time and again. i think the english language is running out of adjectives to describe the horrors of what happens behind russian lines, so giving up any inch of territory that's going to leave ukrainian citizens at the mercy of russian soldiers is just simply going to be not acceptable and i think the people here, certainly the sentiment is, look, we prosecute this war until the russians give in. and you know, we know that we can beat them. we beat them in kyiv. we know we can beat them in the east. we know we can beat them in mariupol. it really depends on how much support we continue to get from the west. the west, especially united states, is, i think, finally at the stage, i get the sense, where, as they say, they're in it to win it. look, i grew up in canada. the united states was always a
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force for good in my family and in my understanding of where we are in the world. and you know, at -- winston churchill says, united states will always do the right thing after it's exhausted all the other possibilities and alternatives, and i think we -- i'm hoping that we're at that stage now where some of the understandings of what america wants out of this weren't clear. i wasn't clear whether nato and the u.s. actually wanted us to win or whether they just, like the germans, said, we just want to stop the fighting. just stopping the fighting means you're condemning millions of people to basic slavery and slaughter, because this is a war about ukraine's right to exist. and vladimir putin has been absolutely clear on that. as i said before, he needs ukraine. he doesn't need ukrainians, and he's very happy to wipe them off the face of the earth. >> sobering words, and i remember those you uttered to me last week about that, he needs
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ukraine, he doesn't need ukrainians. daniel, take care of yourself. thank you so much. it is a story that comes up when you google the words "grooming" and "michigan." it is a disturbing accusation and my next guest, who came under attack, could not stay silent about it. you're going to hear from her next. lent about it. you're going to hear from her next resh refresh, and subway's refreshing everything! like their new premium angus roast beef. it goes great with oven roasted turkey and black forest ham on the new subway club now that's a perfect 10 thank you! stop trying to upstage the sandwich, simone biles. subway keeps refreshing and refre-
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liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for whatchya... line? need. liberty biberty— cut. liberty... are we married to mutual? only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ video of a michigan lawmaker's fiery speech defending herself against a republican smear, it has gone viral.
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speaking on the state house floor tuesday, democratic state senator mallory mcmorrow challenged unfounded claims made in a fund-raising email by her republican colleague. the email accused her of wanting to groom and sexualize kindergartners and teach that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery, and that is when mcmorrow responded. take a look. >> i sat on it for a while, wondering, why me? and then i realized, because i am the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme, because you can't claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of, quote, parental rights if another parent is standing up to say, no. so, then what? then you dehumanize and marginalize me. you say that i'm one of them. you say, she's a groomer. she supports pedophilia. she wants children to believe that they were responsible for slavery and to feel bad about themselves because they're white. so, who am i?
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i am a straight white christian married suburban mom who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery or redlining or systemic racism somehow means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense. i want every child in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, white, and christian. we cannot let hateful people tell you otherwise to deflect from the fact that they are not doing anything to fix the real issues that impact people's lives. >> michigan state senator mallory mcmorrow joins me now to which i say, you go, girl, and your speech this week has more than 14 million views online. tens of thousands of retweets. so, this was personal for you.
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talk about how you put this speech together, why you spoke up and why you think it has so resonated with so many people. >> it was personal, because it was in a personal attack on me by name, accusing me of something horrific. i mean, grooming and sexualizing children? grooming is befriending a child for the purpose of sexually assaulting them. it is so vile, and i felt so disgusted, but i sat with it for the day and realized, however bad i felt, it feels that much worse for somebody who's in the lgbtq community or somebody who is a black resident of our state who has consistently been the focus of these attacks and these hateful words, and i had to say something to put an end to it. >> well, you know there's going to be a response, and the michigan state senator, not backing off at all, issuing the statement saying, senator mcmorrow is not naive about politics and fund-raising. i know that because it took her
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mere minutes to turn her senate floor speech into a plea for campaign donations while senator mcmorrow is on msnbc preaching to her choir, i'll keep my focus on michigan parents who democrats are seeking undermine as the primary decision makers in the education of their children. by the way, you are welcome here on msnbc. glad to have you. but you have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars this week. so, is there more to this than politics and fund-raising? >> of course. this isn't a game. this isn't political, and i want to make it very clear, i did not do any direct fund-raising off the speech. i didn't ask for money in the speech itself. i didn't include a link on my own twitter thread. other people certainly googled and found it on their own but i was out at a climate rally this morning in my community, in my district, and i can tell you very honestly, i talked to a lot of parents who walked up to me and said, you said exactly what we all need to be saying, so the idea that she's doubling down and claims to speak for parents, i know a lot of parents know
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that she is wrong, and she does not speak for us. >> you know, these kinds of attacks, they are not unique to michigan. recent weeks, we've seen an increase in the legal and verbal assaults on the lgbtq community, something you just referenced earlier. they've come from republicans. they've included attacks that are similar to the ones you face, claiming people who support rights of gay and transgender people are aiding pedophiles. why do you think this messaging is gaining ground? >> this isn't the first time we've seen scapegoating used throughout history. it is a way to deflect and redirect anger towards a marginalized group of people as a way to say, all of the problems you're facing are somehow this group's fault. and it's cowardly, and it's a cowardly deflection to get out of the reality that they're not actually putting forward any solutions to fix the roads, get more teachers into schools, make sure our water is clean, lower healthcare costs, and that was the point that i'm trying to make. frankly, they're taking advantage of their own
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supporters by lying to them and trying to make them hate somebody so much that you forget that they're not actually fixing any of your problems. >> yeah. it's not just the lgbtq issues. you also addressed the way issues surrounding race and slavery are taught in schools. what are the kind of messages parents need to hear as these culture wars are reaching a fever pitch? >> the reality is, there is nothing that stops parents from being involved in schools. my mom was a home room mom, went on field trips with us, helped with class projects, and there are certain things that absolutely need to be taught. one of the things that i said in my speech is, we can't change history. we can't pretend it didn't happen. and kids need to be prepared to face the world because we're the ones who make decisions on what happens next, and how we respond to these issues. and you don't have to agree with everything that you're taught, but that is -- we need everybody involved. it takes a village to raise a child, so let's make sure we're raising them right. >> so, in addition, last
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question here, to the folks the parents who were coming up to you today at that event you attended, there are others calling your speech a case study for democrats in the run-up to midterms. democratic strategist james carville previously warned about the dangers of wokeness, he told "the washington post" your speech was an enormously effective piece of communication and said he would show this clip as an instructional video. is there anything you want to see your democratic colleagues do differently as they communicate their messages? >> i want to see us be honest and clear. my story is not everybody's personal story, but everybody has a personal story. tell your story. call hate what it is. we don't have to get into the weeds on, you know, how complicated these issues are. they're not. this is hatred, and it's distracting from the real issues, and we have to tell the truth and do both. >> michigan state senator mallory mcmorrow, you are impressive. we will leave it at that. thank you so much. nobody got hurt, but a lot of people got nervous. the one place on earth where nobody likes a surprise. e placee nobody likes a surprise.
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here are some other top stories for you right now. at least four people, including a 12-year-old girl, are recovering after being shot by a sniper-style gunman in washington, d.c., on friday. the suspect was later found dead inside an apartment where police recovered six firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition. the police chief says that the gunman appeared to be shooting at random. the federal aviation administration is apologizing for not notifying the u.s. capitol police about parachuters at nearby nationals park, which prompted a frenzied evacuation of the capitol complex wednesday. and a rehabilitated green sea turtle is now swimming free after being released in the florida keys. on earth day, several hundred onlookers watched as staff from the turtle hospital released the 65-pound turtle named t.j. sharp that was rescued in february and successfully treated. that's nice to see. that's going to do it for me on this edition of "alex witt
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hey, everybody, good afternoon, great to see you. i'm yasmin vossoughian. we have a lot of news to get to in the two hours ahead. stick with me. we are now in day 59 of russia's war inside ukraine. a new missile strike in the port city of odesa, the ukrainian government saying at least five are dead, including a young child. and as the besieged eastern port city of mariupol barely is hanging on, there are new efforts to evacuate women, children, and the elderly out of


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