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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  January 4, 2021 3:00am-6:00am PST

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happy birthday. tricia said this little cutie decided that blowing raspberries on my arm was more important. she is adorable. stephen says i'm up early for a job interview but katie refuses to get off the couch. from carrie, i'm up early because it's back to school. i'm trying to keep life rolling. happy new year to you. thanks to all of you for getting up "way too early" on a monday morning in what is set to be a historic week here in washington. for that reason, don't go anywhere. "morning joe" starts right now. now, do you think it's possible that they shredded ballots in fulton county? because that's what the rumor is. so supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it's ultraviolet or very powerful light. and also that dominion took out
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machines that dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their machinery. do you know anything about that? and then i said, supposing you brought the light inside the body. which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way. no, but have they -- have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts? and then i see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute. one minute. and is there a way we can do something like that? by injection inside or almost a cleaning? >> president trump and his theories. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is monday, january 4th. with us we have white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan lemire. washington anchor for bbc world news america, katty kay. national security expert, columnist at "usa today" and
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author of the book "the death of expertise" tom nichols. making his "morning joe" debut, cofounder of the lincoln project and a contributing columnist to "the washington post," george conway is with us this morning. what a day to begin with mr. conway. we begin with president trump's remarkable hour-long phone call with the officials in georgia where he urged them to find enough votes to overturn the state's election results. president trump can be heard pleading with georgia's secretary of state brad raffensberger and the legal counsel brian germany to alter the vote count. he makes vague threats to them both if they don't comply. do we remember that? the call which took place on saturday was first reported by "the washington post." nbc news has obtained a recording of the conversation.
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>> so look, all i want to do is this. i just want to find 11,780 votes which is one more than we have, because we won the state and flipping the state is a great testament to our country. the people of georgia are angry. the people of the country are angry and there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know? that you have recalculated because the 2,234 absentee ballots they're all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms, law firms, et cetera. and even if you cut them in half, cut them in half, and cut them in half again it's more vote than we need. >> well, mr. president, the challenge that you have is the data that you have is wrong. >> i won this election by hundreds of thousands of votes. there's no way i lost georgia.
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there's no way. we won by hundreds of thousands of votes. i'm just going by small numbers when you add them up they're many times the 11,000. but i won that state by hundreds of thousands of votes. now, do you think it's possible that they shredded ballots in fulton county because that's what the rumor is and that dominion took out machines that dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their machinery. do you know anything about that? because that's illegal. >> no. dominion has not moved any machinery out of fulton county. >> no, but have they moved -- have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts? >> no. >> are you sure? ryan? >> i'm sure, mr. president. >> the ballots are corrupt and you're going to find that they are and which is totally
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illegal. it's more illegal for you than it is for them. because you know what they did and you're not reporting it. you know, that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense. and, you know, you can't let that happen. that's a big risk to you and to ryan. your lawyer. that's a big risk. but they are shredding ballots in my opinion. based on what i have heard. and they are removing machinery and they're moving it as fast as they can. both of which are criminal fines and you can't let it happen and you are letting it happen. you know what i mean? i'm notifying you you're letting it happen. >> the contents of the recording extraordinary all the way through and there are two lines that stand out. one where the president tells the secretary of state of georgia to find 11,780 votes. that's one more than we need to win. and the second is when the
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president says just tell people that you have recalculated the votes. just tell people that you recalculated the votes, it will be fine. george conway, i'd like to ask you the specific question of whether the president broke laws in the united states and also federally and also in the state of georgia. but first, i have to ask you generally, what's your overall impression of this extraordinary audio recording where every american if they wish can listen to the president of the united states trying to undermine american democracy and overturn an election. >> it's shocking, but not surprising. he -- i mean, the real question that pops up here and pops up again and again is how delusional is he? is he that delusional or is this -- or is he just desperate and i think it's a little bit of both. he is absolutely desperate to avoid leaving office on january
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20th and he's delusional in the sense that he thinks this is the way to do it. and the reason why he's desperate, frankly, is because something more than him having to leave the grounds of the white house happens on january 20th. something more important. he loses his immunity from criminal liability on january 20th. and that is something that has been reported that his aides have talked about, that he has talked about to his aides, according to reports in "the new york times" and other newspapers and it's something that if you recall a month ago he gave a 45-minute or so address that nobody covered on the networks but that he broadcast on facebook and one of the things he talked about was the fact that there's this investigation in the manhattan d.a.'s office of his finances and that they're trying to get him.
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he's obsessed with the fact that he loses his immunity on january 20th and that i think more -- as much as anything else explains his desperation here. it's not just that he can't take loss, the loss of an election which he can't. but that doesn't explain the fact that we're here now two months -- two full months after the election, november 3rd election, and the electors have voted. they have been certified by the governors and all of the states have been certified, the electoral votes are signed, sealed and delivered and he's still at this. and not only that, he's so desperate to avoid the potential for investigation and prosecution that he's risking more criminal liability. it harkens back to the mueller investigation. if he just kept his mouth shut and not tried to interfere with
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it, that investigation -- that report would have been just the first volume would have been about the russian hacking and the contacts between the campaign and russian agents, but it really would not have been -- it wouldn't have involved him that much. he made that investigation -- he's dumb as a rock and he made that investigation about himself by trying to interfere with it. and now he's making the -- his legal situation worse in his fear of criminal liability in an investigation by essentially committing more crimes. if you look at the georgia statute it's pretty clear this is a crime. the only defense he would have and also there's a federal statute that's differently worded that also arguably comes in to play, but if you -- his only defense to that, to a criminal prosecution on that phone call, he's so delusional that he actually believes that he won this election. that he believes all the things
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that he said and maybe he's convinced himself of that. but if i broke into your house, and i claimed it was my house, and i was arrested, it might be a defense if i truly, truly believed it was my house. but i can't establish that just by saying, oh, i told 50 people that it was my house and i made a big deal of it and lin wood and sidney powell and rudy giuliani said it was my house. it doesn't work especially in you're the biggest liar in the world like president trump is. >> jonathan lemire, of course this wasn't the president dialing the secretary of state by himself or conducting the call himself. he of course had his chief of staff, mark meadows, also involved in -- well, it sounds
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like a criminal conspiracy, actually. whether you're looking at the georgia statute or whether you're looking at the federal statute. let's listen to mark meadows engaging in this attempt to undermine american democracy, to participate in a coup. to throw out the results of an american election. >> what i'm hopeful for is there's some way that we can -- we can find some kind of an agreement to -- to look at this a little bit more fully. you know, the president mentioned fulton county, but in some of these areas where there seems to be a difference of where the facts seem to lead and so, mr. secretary, i was hopeful that, you know, in the spirit of cooperation and compromise there is something we can at least have a discussion to look at
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some of these allegations. to find a path forward that's less litigious. >> well, listening to what -- you know, to what the president has just said, president trump, we have had several lawsuits and we have had to respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. we don't agree that you have one. >> okay, so joe, in terms of accountability is there a difference when it's a president who's committing a state and a federal crime openly and his chief of staff, you know, are there any possibilities these are not state and federal crimes being broken? >> well, i'll leave that to election lawyers. it is though from mark meadows one more dark stain on his public record. here he's participating, jonathan lemire, after three recounts in the state of
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georgia. he's participating in an attempt to overturn democratically -- democratically -- democratic elections. trying to overturn an election result in the state of florida, sitting there with the president who's asking for 11,780 votes to be found. the sort of thing that we used to talk about the 1960 election would look back and say, well, they found dead voters, they found this and that. it's exactly what donald trump trying to do here and mark meadows, don't know if he thinks he's being the reasonable man here saying isn't there some middle ground? when you're talking about auto coups, when you're talking about overturning democratic elections, there's really no third way there. so what's going on in this recording and what have you learned since it came out yesterday? >> well, joe, we have known now
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covering this president for four years that he often late at night will get on the phone, usually -- often without an aide present and will call, you know, elected officials, call allies and float wild conspiracy theories. that was not this. this was a call where the chief of staff was present, there were lawyers on the call. this had -- the inner circle of the white house which is indeed shrinking by the day, the president had the white house's blessing to make this phone call. certainly chief of staff meadows who as you say often tries to present himself as the reasonable voice of compromise is knee deep in this. and let's remember, this is a president who has spent an entire year railing, making baseless claims of voter fraud. making extraordinary wild accusations and conspiracies that the election was rigged, that the results couldn't be
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trusted, it's illegitimate. he is trying to participate in the election fraud and stopped by the secretary of state in his own party, in georgia. it's an extraordinary undermining of the democratic process. he knew how many votes he needed, he knew what number to ask for and he was rebuffed but this shows he's not accepting the results of the election, he's undermining the democratic process and there have been numerous recounts and mind you, of course even if the result of georgia were to flip, which it won't, it wouldn't change the result of the election. he would still lose to joe biden in the electoral college. the electoral college certification is wednesday and we know the number of republican senators have given license to the bid by those in the house to try to overturn this result. the latest effort to undermine
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democratic norms and to delegitimize joe biden's election and tomorrow is the georgia runoffs. the two senate seats there that -- the control of that body of congress. the president is supposed to go to georgia tonight to rally republicans to do this. a lot of republicans i have talked to since the release of the tape are petrified as to what he'll say on stage, if he'll do more harm than good. >> you do hear that as mr. conway pointed out desperation in his voice, joe, asking again are you sure, are you sure, and sort of veiled threats but also the totality of the stupidity here that he was talking about is that this is a call with the georgia secretary of state and an attorney. like did they think -- did they really think that this was a call nobody would hear about as they openly tried to break laws to overturn the election?
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attorney, president, many present in the room. >> the guy's got political instincts but as george conway said he's just not smart. i mean, he -- so many of the things that have caused donald trump his biggest challenge hasn't been the liberal media, it hasn't been democrats, it hasn't been the resistance, it's been donald trump committing one self-inflicted wound after the after, shooting himself in the foot time and time again. he's done it again here, tom nichols. the only question is where is your party, my former party? you have a dozen members who are following the president over this cliff and once again, we find ourselves -- i find myself thinking back to what jonah goldberg wrote in december. when jonah said, if i predicted
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six months ago that donald trump would be doing after this election, republicans would have accused me of having trump derangement syndrome. but it's much worse than that. now, those same senators that would accuse me of having trump derangement syndrome six months ago are some of the same senators who are helping the president try to overturn the election results. and here we are. it keeps getting worse. you almost expect this to be a candid camera script where alan funt and donald trump walk out from behind the curtain at the end and say we were just joking. we wanted to see how far you guys would go and my god, you shocked us all or maybe -- >> ashton kutcher. >> or maybe "punked". it's amazing how far they'll follow him off the cliff even after this tape. >> it's great that we're all
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remembering alan funt, but, you know, the problem here is that to the people that told us that we had trump derangement syndrome, our only answer would be we weren't pessimistic enough. we knew it would be bad and we knew it would be, you know -- we knew it would get worse than anybody realized. but to be here in january and to have two-thirds of the house gop caucus signing on to this madness along with 11 senators is remarkable. and part of the reason it's remarkable is that this isn't even something they can spin. you know, in the past, they'd say, well, you know, this is just the way he talks and it's a point of nuance or style. they have him on tape sounding -- this sounds like a low-level mafia goon. this is like some bad scene out of dumb fellows where he says we have to get straightened out. there could be problem. there could be people mad at
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you, you're going to have an issue here, it would be a shame if something happened next week. instead of distancing himself from the man who already lost the election and standing by their duty to the constitution which in the republican party has just gone out the window. the constitution at this point isn't even an afterthought, these are people that are actively encouraging sedition and the overthrow of a legitimately elected president. this is -- this is now like some early post soviet republic where elections are a comic opera rather than the kind of majesty and gravity we expect and the republican party has sunk to the moment lower than i think any of us would have expected and that's saying something because our expectations were pretty darn low to begin with.
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>> as we have mentioned, 12 republican senators say they plan on joining the over 100 republican members of the house in objecting to certifying joe biden's victory. those senators include josh hawley, ted cruz, ron johnson and james lankford as well as several who were sworn in sunday as members of the new congress. all threatening to object to the certification of trump's loss to president-elect joe biden when a joint session of congress meets on wednesday. the senators are demanding a commission to audit the results of the election. here is ted cruz explaining the decision. >> we have seen in the last two months unprecedented allegations of voter fraud. and that's produced a deep, deep distrust of our democratic process across the country. i think we in congress have an obligation to do something about that. we have an obligation to protect the integrity of the democratic
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system. i think we have an obligation to the voters and we have an obligation to the constitution to ensure that this election was lawful. >> yeah. >> all right, you know, i mean, there's -- there is some form to this and the democratic members have done this in the past, but katty kay, in light of the tapes released by "the washington post," i wonder, i wonder if potentially have we hit bottom yet? and will republicans continue with this when they're walking in the footsteps of a man who's committing state and federal crimes and, you know, open meetings? >> i mean, you have had a few republicans come out in a bipartisan way saying the election has been lost, biden is going to be the president, we have to move on now. but will those 12 republicans who have signed on to support the house lawsuit now decide well, because of the tape we're
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going to reverse course, that sounds unlikely. for josh hawley this is his one shot at a presidential bid. his only possible route to winning he thinks the nomination of the republican candidacy the next time around is to be the next trump. he's not going to abandon the president. ted cruz is not going to abandon the president at the point. the problem the more people who come out like cruz and hawley and speak in support of what president trump is doing, the more the president feels this is what happened. i mean, i spoke to somebody who speaks very frequently to the president last night who said to me, in the beginning after the election, his understanding was the president had realized he had lost, that he didn't have the votes but it's interesting over the last few weeks that he seemed to change his tune and he's only speaking to people who told him, he won, that the election was stolen.
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anybody who believes the election wasn't stolen won't raise it anymore because they don't want to incur their ire, they won't get other things done with him. so he's got himself into the position, the president, where he really does believe that georgia was stolen. you could hear it in the tape, listening to the hour-long tape. he keeps saying, well, we must have won because we had the big crowds, we must have won because our supporters are angry. you hear that from ted cruz, well, we must be right because people are disappointed. there's no evidence there. but they're all talking themselves more and more into the position that the election was stolen which is why you get conversations like that between the president and raffensberger on saturday. i don't see any sign that those 12 will walk away from the position because they feel it's the only position to hold and they don't feel like they'll lose by sticking close to president trump. >> listening to ted cruz in the tape we just played, you know,
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george conway, i'm but a dumb country lawyer and i see the yale boys and harvard boys coming out and saying some of the stupidest damn things in my life. you talk about ted cruz, circular logic. they would have kicked me out of the con 1 law class if i used the stupid circular logic that ted cruz actually was not ashamed to say on national television which was we must do this because there have been unprecedented claims of corruption and widespread voter fraud the likes of which we have never seen before in american history. of course, it is ted cruz and josh hawley who are continuing to allow that perpetual conspiracy machine to keep moving and it's donald trump that's fanning the flames of the conspiracy.
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so of course, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. yes, there are unprecedented claims of election fraud and they're all coming from a president who is sounding more deranged by the day. >> that's absolutely right. and the thing about cruz and hawley is they're not deranged like the president and they're not dumb as a rock like trump. i mean, somebody told -- some republican told olivia newtsy the other day apparently that the reason why a lot of people in the senate caucus were angry at hawley was because he's not a moron like louie gohmert. that's absolutely right. the same with ted cruz. they know better, okay? they both clerked, you know, hawley clerked for chief justice roberts and cruz clerked for chief justice rehnquist. these are guys who are at the top of their class at harvard in the case of cruz and and yale in
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the case of hawley. they know how to read a statute which says how the votes are counted and what you do is when the states -- when the governors of the states have certified the identity of the electors and you have valid electoral certificates, that's it. there's no basis for an objection, even if you -- there's no basis to even send the matter to both houses of congress to vote. they're not allowed to sustain the objection under title 3, section 15. so this is all just a ruse apart from the fact that they don't have the votes in either house of congress. it's all about as katty said, it's all about trying to control the trump lane to the gop nomination in 2024. it's all about ruthless ambition and for a guy like cruz who in march -- who i guess in may of 2016 who recognized and said
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publicly that donald trump was the most narcissistic person we have ever seen in politics and he was a path logical liar, and for someone like him who -- you know, whose family was trashed by donald trump to come out now and participate in the facilitation of these lies that trump has now sent into the echo chamber in the world is a lie. trump reads from the 4chan echo system of lies and others repeat what he is saying and oh, the american people are concerned about an election. people of georgia are angry. i mean, this is insane.
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this is just -- this is just absolutely manipulative, cynical abuse by guys like hawley and cruz and they know better. they just don't care. >> yeah. senator cotton is not joining the ranks of hawley and cruz with this. the last three times a republican has been elected president, democrats in the house have brought objections to the electoral votes in states that the republican nominee has won. senator barbara boxer objected to bush's votes in ohio citing voting irregularities in the state. this gives the members on a
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bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face. not just in the last election. in one state, but in many states. compare that to durbin's tweet last wednesday on the republican's effort. the political equivalent of barking at the moon. this won't be taken seriously nor should it be. the american people made a decision on november 3rd and that decision must and will be honored and protected by the us senate and house of representatives. in 2005, durbin was not alone when senator chris van hollen of maryland issued this press release on boxer's efforts. it reads in part, i believe that senator barbara boxer and representative stephanie tubbs jones have performed a very valuable public service in bringing this debate before the congress. as americans, we should all be troubled by reports of voting problems in many parts of the country.
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but then last wednesday he tweeted, senator hawley's actions are grossly irresponsible and he's trying to undermine the process and delay the certification of biden's win. in the end, this reckless stunt will fail and joe biden will become president on january 20, 2021. 15 years ago, senator ed markey of massachusetts then a member of the house also praised boxer's 2004 effort and supported her challenge saying in part, i thank representative tubbs jones and senator boxer and representative john conyers for forcing this institution and thus our nation to debate the quality of our democratic voting process. and to consider whether it meets the expectations of its people. compare that to what he told "the washington post" this past weekend. there's a political invasion of the body snatchers which is taking place. donald trump and his supporters are now actually able to create
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a situation this coming wednesday where people who are senators and house members are going to vote for something that is absolutely and totally untrue. so the point is this. democrats should probably hold their criticism on this one. leave the criticism to the true conservatives, though it's worth noting that in 2004 and here's the big difference. john kerry conceded quickly after losing a close election. later saying he believes he was right to make a timely concession for the greater good of the country. unlike trump, kerry did not push unfounded conspiracies for months on end and never suggested the election was stolen or quote, rigged. >> all right, you know, we fortunate we have a few conservatives with us this morning. true conservatives whose bodies weren't snatched in the words of
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ed markey during the age of trump. let's put up george conway and tom. and tom, i'll start with you. it was stupid for democrats to do that in 2005. it's stupid for republicans to do it in 2020. it was undermining of the democratic process in 2005 just because democrats were angry that george w. bush won ohio. the same is true in 2020. obviously, the big difference is the scale. it's much larger and also you have the president of the united states actively working every day, the loser, working every day to overturn the election results. something that john kerry did not do, did not participate in. >> yeah. when i was a republican i used to tell my democratic friends don't do stuff like this because
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down the line somebody else is going to do it and you're not going to like it. don't establish these kind of precedents and with that said, this is one of the mornings where i'm in the uncomfortable position and defend something that the democrats did 15 years ago, i had never known or forgotten that that even happened because that was a symbolic challenge that was meant to gain some press about voter suppression issues that were important to members of the democratic caucus. what's happening here is the president of the united states is leading an entire political party in trying to overturn a democratic election. to the point where there could be violence. and that i think is -- it's not just a matter of scale. i mean, i think you're right, joe. the scale is much larger when you think about the number of republicans that are involved in in. but there's also the intensity involved where the president is trying to convince and has
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convinced millions of people that this election was rigged, that it was riddled with fraud, that it was potentially controlled by foreign adversaries. he has really created an alternate reality around this. i don't think barbara boxer or tubbs jones thought that anybody would take seriously that the electoral college wouldn't certify the win and as you pointed out, john kerry has already conceded. it doesn't make it right, it makes it grandstanding but this is something qualitatively different. this is legislators and their hangers on out in the media and the punditocracy engaging in sedition, engaging in the active attempt to overthrow the processes of the united states. that's a world of difference from what we saw 15 years ago. >> there's a world of
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difference, but george conway, the common denominator in 2005 and 2021 is this. they're all paying for the cheap seats. ted cruz knows that the election results aren't going to be overturned. josh hawley know that the election results are not fog to be overturned and just like boxer and just like durbin and you name it, this -- this was a cheap way to play -- to grandstand, play to the people in the cheap seats and yes, it's far more dangerous in 2021 but at the same time, they knew. they know this is going to fail in 2021 just like boxer and durbin and ed markey and everyone else knew it was going to fail in 2005. >> 2004 was a clownish publicity stunt. you can raise legitimate issues
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about how the elections are conducted, voter suppression if you believe there was voter suppression or how to hand the absentee or mail-in ballots. it's legitimate to raise the issues in 2004, but it's not legitimate to hijack the electoral count process to do that. and to go to the violence point that tom really well made is, you know, trump is out there now tweeting stuff like it's gonna be wild on january 6th. he's inviting and retweeting tweets about people coming to washington to do lord knows what. you know, you know it's going to be groups like the proud boys who got kicked out of their hotel and qanon and all of the crazies he's encouraging them to come to washington and on january 6th and on the message boards apparently there's -- there are basically threats of
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violence. that people are going to go and go up to capitol hill and lord knows what. and this is a scary thing. this is nothing -- you can't compare what's happening here with the president of the united states essentially trying to conduct a bloodless coup. fated to fail as it may be, but encouraging millions of americans who don't know any better i guess to believe him and in the belief that the senators are saying oh, many people are concerned, many people are concerned. it's a totally different situation in that respect from 2004 although the democrats really did not cover themselves with glory, at least those who were objecting did not cover themselves with glory in 2004 and kudos to john kerry for not buying into that. that's the reason why as tom pointed out, i mean, i had forgotten about this. i don't think i remember that that happened in 2004. it was just a blip.
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maybe not even that. >> yeah. to add to your list, desperate, delusional and very dangerous, george conway, tom nichols, thank you both for being on this morning. still ahead on "morning joe," president trump heads down to georgia today on the heels of that phone call with secretary of state brad raffensberger. the question is will he really be focused on tomorrow's critical senate runoffs or will he make his rally today all about himself? plus, all ten living former defense secretaries have a message for president trump. the election is over. we'll take a look at their new public letter. >> i think dick cheney is one of them. >> you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. hing "morni e. we'll be right back. to support a strong immune system, your body needs routine. centrum helps your immune defenses every day, with vitamin c, d and zinc. season, after season.
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have you all heard about
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that recorded conversation? well, it was yes, certainly the voice of desperation. most certainly that. and it was a bald, bald faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the united states. >> that was vice president-elect kamala harris on the campaign trail yesterday in georgia. >> i still can't get used to the horns and the cars. >> i know. i know. >> it's really something. >> it has to be done. >> you've got to do it. i understand you've got to do it. >> and we are going to be covering the effects of the coronavirus which are appalling. >> just devastating. actually getting worse. but yeah, it is -- that's why i really -- be really careful to project too many lessons from the 2020 campaign on to what happens in '22 or what happens
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in '24. because you had one political party campaigning in a way that was more effective politically, but also more dangerous. >> deadly. >> health wise. >> more deadly. so it's fascinating, but you're right, mika, covid is exploding like never before. and it's -- my god, the death toll is skyrocketing right now. >> now, president trump is heading down to georgia today and he will hold a rally in the conservative strong hold of dalton to the state's northwest. more than 3 million georgians have already voted in the runoff that is nearly 39% of all registered georgia voters and shatters the previous total turnout in the georgia runout set in 2008 when 2.1 million people participated. joining us now political reporter for the "atlanta journal constitution," greg bluestein. greg, what is that very, very
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high number of early voting indicate if anything? >> first of all, the georgians understand the stakes of the election. and the $500 million in ads hasn't gone to waste and it's very good news for democrats. that number shows if you look a it he deeper that democratic strong holds of metro atlanta, rural georgia, all have extremely high turnout when compared to the november general election and there's disproportionately large numbers of african-american voters voting and generally in georgia in runoff elections, younger and more diverse voters tend to sit these ones out and it's good for the democrats who felt like they built an early advantage going into tuesday. >> so greg, i was born in the suburbs of atlanta which is really it's the heart of obviously of the battleground
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for georgia. but i spent my early summers up in dalton, georgia, at my grand mom's place and that's not battleground territory and the fact that donald trump is campaigning there, it seems like i haven't spent a lot of time there because it's like pensacola, florida, the area that i represent. i mean, it is deep, dark red republican. does this give us any insight on what republicans think they need to win this race? >> yeah, i mean, this is a turnout election. so just like his last visit, another red area, this is one to one of the most conservative areas in georgia and an area where it's lagging behind in early voting turnout. it is one of the lowest performing parts of the state and that's exactly right. he's not trying to go and try to convince unpersuaded, undecided voters. he's going to the heart of the
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republican territory in georgia. one of the most conservative congressional districts in the nation. represented by marjorie taylor green who just won an open seat by aligning herself to donald trump in every corner. very, very conservative and very troubling early participation numbers for republicans right now. >> greg, jonathan lemire with a.p. is with us and he has question for you, but first, jonathan, i want to ask you what you're hearing about the president's trip to dalton, georgia, today. >> well, joe, i'll tell you that we heard last night there was at least some informal chatter as to whether the president would go through with this trip to georgia today and it's hard to know how serious this is. he floats things out the aide and it's certainly on the schedule today, he's expected to go but there's some consideration that he may not because of how angry he was about the phone call and saturday and the resulting coverage yesterday, how angry he is at the republican officials
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in that state which of course has hurt the two senate candidates there who aren't able to campaign for fear of drawing the president's wrath and, greg, tonight of course will be what we expect president trump's final rally in office. but he's not the only major political figure in the state today. president-elect biden's going to be in atlanta as well. talk us through a little bit about that. we know that the president is heading to a deep red district to try to drive turnout. but what are democrats seeing in terms of early turnout in places like atlanta and the places like atlanta which were so key to biden's victory in november? who are they seeing there? >> yeah, they're very enthusiastic about what they're seeing in metro atlanta. joe mentioned especially in the atlanta suburbs used to give republicans the margins that they needed to win this state. and now it's flipped. i mean, it's metro atlanta, it's
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become the biggest democratic bastian in the areas spanning from cobb county which was the springboard for newt gingrich and johnny isakson to republican offices and now would have the bigger democratic strong holds and gwinnett county. he is visiting a part of southeast atlanta that's predominantly african-american to try to get the cornerstone of the democratic party here to continue to come out and vote. and drive those election day numbers because as i said, democrats feel like they built a cushion. we don't know how big the cushion is but it could be a couple hundred thousand votes but if the democrats can hold their own on election day, they might flip the two seats. >> you know, greg, talk about the calculation and also what you're going to be looking for early tomorrow night. for those who weren't listening or watching during the election,
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we had talked about georgia, how downtown atlanta always went democratic. but while i was growing up, we republicans could always count on the suburbs like you said evening things out. in this case, you have downtown atlanta breaking strongly for the democrats. you've got the suburbs breaking for the democrats. the question is now in georgia are there enough rural voters to make up that difference and you're telling me at least in the dalton area right now they're disappointed in that turnout. is that what you're seeing across the state of georgia and what are you going to be looking at specifically early tomorrow night to try to figure out which way this race is breaking? >> yeah, the magic numbers for democratic politicians have been 30-30. they want to get to 30% african-american overall turnout and they want to get to 30% white turnout -- sorry, white
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support for democratic candidates. they feel like they can hit those two numbers like they hovered around the two numbers in the general. and they feel like they can win. that's why it's so important for democrats to get there -- get their ground game back out and going. and for republicans sit that rural white conservative turnout, that's why both the senate candidates and david perdue is now self-isolating because he was exposed to someone with the coronavirus, but senator loeffler has been out in the exurbs of georgia, in rural parts of georgia, those are deep, deep, deep red, conservative bastians where the turnout is wrote they want it to be. >> greg bluestein, thank you. anthony fauci pushes back after the president claims the coronavirus death toll in the u.s. is exaggerated. we'll have the latest on the
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the president tweeted just before you came on, questioning the death toll saying the cdc massively overcounts the death toll. many experts have told me we're undercounting the death toll. where are we on this death toll? it's over 350,000. are we overcounting or undercounting in this country? >> the numbers are real, you'll have some deviation plus or minus a bit, but they're very real. we're averaging 2,000 to 3,000 deaths per day. all you need to do is go into the trenches or the intensive care units and see what is happening. those are real numbers, real people and real deaths. >> the nation's top infectious disease expert dr. anthony fauci
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rebuked president trump's claims yesterday that the u.s. coronavirus death toll is exaggerated. president trump responded to fauci's comments with another tweet complaining about -- >> let's take the tweet down. i -- let's -- can we not spread disinformation. >> of course the numbers are real and they're devastating. the united states has reached another milestone going into the new year. as the death toll has now surpassed 350,000. the number of cases nationwide now sits at over 20 million. public experts attribute a surge in cases, deaths and hospitalizations in early december to thanksgiving traveling and pleaded with americans to stay home for christmas and new year's. joining us now, "morning joe's" dr. david campbell. dr. dave, just from our own experience, drove through a town in florida and it was as if the
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pandemic didn't exist. the -- there's either a lack of knowledge or people are just -- what are they, fed up and they think it's gone? >> well, in part people look to their leaders for an example to follow. if you look at texas and florida, they're the two states, i'm in florida that have decided that the cdc guidelines are not for them. they have already started to vaccinate people out of order. 65 and up that's not what the cdc has suggested for phase one. if you look at the numbing effect, over 350,000 deaths so far, think back to when there was 100,000. that was reported as an incalculable loss. then in mid december, we hit 300,000, 350,000 by the first of
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the year. and today, we're past 350,000 by inauguration day. that's only a little more than two weeks from now. if you just do the math, you'll see that we will be at 400,000 deaths or close to it. so the united states has a very real numbing effect happening right now. it's happening inside the home. it's happening when friends and families get together, don't wear face masks inside the home, even when there are closed windows. even when there are some familifamily members who have not been infected and it's happening all across the country and the estimates are that we will see a continuing surge in january and february and nobody's even willing to predict much past that. we can see that the general public will not be getting vaccinated until april or may if the estimates are accurate.
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that's a lot of people, mika. >> so dr. dave, we spoke over the weekend and we're talking about these surging numbers. death toll numbers. talking about the surging numbers in icus. the number of icus that were filled and you likened it to a lottery that now people are deciding that they're going to in effect play the lottery with their own health because they're so fed up with being inside their homes. explain. >> joe, it's a deadly lottery. so it happens in two ways. you have younger people who plan on even knowingly get infected or don't care they don't get infected because the numbers are in their favor. we all have at least one friend who is in his 20s who had a significant heart condition caused by covid very recently.
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so this lottery that they choose to play perhaps doesn't calculate the risk to older folks or those with underlying health conditions where the numbers are really stacked against them. so it's just a deadly game that's being played now as the general public is exhausted. the health care workers they're exhausted but the general public is numbed out from this from what we can see. we all had great hope that the people across the country would abide by cdc guidelines and would listen to experts like dr. fauci and many others. but now that we see at least two states who decided to just boldly decide that the cdc guidelines aren't for them and break them what are people to think? what are others likely to do if leaders are not leading, joe. >> we're past the top of the hour and we'll be talking about
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the shocking tape that was released yesterday by "the washington post" where the president is asking for a specific number of votes from the secretary of state in georgia to overturn the results of that election. a crime most likely on the federal level, also certainly in the state of georgia. we're also going to be talking about the runoff elections in georgia. right now republicans are concerned. in the last hour we got the report that republicans are very worried about the number of rural voters and the levels of early voting. just haven't reached their expectations. right now though, katty kay, we're talking about a pandemic that continues to sweep across the world and you look at the numbers that we have -- we're at over 350,000. it will be 400,000 soon enough. and many experts of course now concerned that it's going to go past half a million.
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past half a million, katty, when we have a president that said this was one person coming in from china and soon it would be -- it would be going away. and then celebrating the fact that we weren't even going to get through to the 60,000 number. he time and time again, the president of the united states has lied about the extent of this, even while telling bob woodward something completely different. again on audiotape. >> yeah. we had dr. fauci this weekend directly rebuking the president after the president suggested that actually there weren't as many as 350,000 people who died of the coronavirus and dr. fauci saying, yeah, those are the numbers. these are real numbers, real cases go to the hospitals to see incredibly overwhelmed they are and how stressed they are. i wanted to ask dr. dave a couple of questions, because we have had a surge of cases particularly with the new variant of the coronavirus in the uk which meant our cases are
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really now exploding in the uk. so uk authorities, dr. dave, are trying a couple of things. one, is they want to get at least the first dose of the vaccine to as many people as possible. perhaps even potentially delay the second dose in order to give some people some immunity. i think that's in response to the new virulent strain. but now they have changed the guidelines to say that you can mix and match. if you get the first dose of the pfizer, you can have the second dose of the astrazeneca to get your boost from the astrazeneca vaccine. either of the things that you would advocate happening here in the u.s.? because the new strain is here in the u.s. it's much more widely here in the u.s. than is being reported and therefore cases are going to carry on multiplying fast. >> katty, it's really two different issues combined into one, two very important issues. this new mutations and viruses mutate constantly and experts
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would confirm that. that variant increases the viral load in the nose and in the sinuses that is in part believed to be what makes this a more contagious -- a more contagious virus. it's not more deadly. it's just spreading more wildly than the other variations. and then secondly, in order to get ahead of this very real issue of increasing numbers in the uk and across the world, the uk has decided to mix and match to take vaccinations that are not studied so far and being used together and also to delay the booster because they are going to use up some of the vaccinations to increase perhaps even double the number of people who are vaccinated early. the united states had decided against taking that position so far, because the science doesn't support it. the clinical trials have not been designed to study a mix and
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match of different vaccinations, katty. >> dr. dave campbell, thank you very much. now to the call that joe mentioned at the top of the hour. president trump's remarkable hour long phone call with officials in georgia where he urged them to find enough votes to overturn the state's election results. president trump can be heard pleading with georgia's secretary of state brad raffensberger and the legal counsel, ryan germany, to alter the vote count and he makes vague threats to them if they both don't comply. the call which took place on saturday was first reported by "the washington post." nbc news has obtained the recording of the conversation. >> so look, all i want to do is this. i want to find 11,780 votes,
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which is one more than we have, because we won this state and flipping the state is a great testament to our country. the people of georgia are angry. the people of the country angry. and there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you have recalculated, because in 2,230 absentee ballots -- i mean, they're exact numbers done by accounting firms, law firms, et cetera. and even if you cut them in half, cut them in half and cut them in half again it's more votes than we need. >> well, mr. president, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong. >> i won this election by hundreds of thousands of votes. there's no way i lost georgia, there's no way. we won by hundreds of thousands of votes. i'm just going by small numbers and when you add them up they're many times the 11,000 but i won
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by hundreds of thousands of votes. now, do you think it's possible that they shredded ballots in fulton county because that's what the rumor is. and also, that dominion took out machines. that dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their machinery. do you know anything about that? because that's illegal. >> no, dominion has not moved any machinery out of fulton county. >> no, but have they moved -- have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts. >> no. >> are you sure? ryan? >> i'm sure. i'm sure, mr. president. >> the ballots are corrupt and you can find that they are -- which is totally illegal. it's more illegal for you than it is for them. because you know what they did and you're not reporting it. you know, that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense.
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and, you know, you can't let that happen. that's a big risk to you and to ryan. your lawyer, that's a big risk. but they are shredding ballots in my opinion. based on what i have heard. and they are removing machinery and they're moving it as fast as they can. both of which are criminal fines and you can't let it happen and you are letting it happen. you know what i mean? i'm notifying you that you're letting it happen. >> yeah. and the president also notified americans that he is committing crimes while this is going on. yes, he's stupid and he's not going to succeed in a coup attempt, but just because you don't succeed at the bank robbery doesn't mean it's not a crime to attempt to rob a bank here. the president is trying to steal something far more precious than money. he is actually trying to steal votes. gives the specific number of
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votes that he wants stolen. he wants 11,780 votes because as he explains, that's one more than he needs to win. and it's not like the president is caught on tape saying we won a fair election so i want you to do an audit and let the chips fall where they may like my republican or any other democrat or any other president. the 44 that preceded donald trump, what they would have said in this instance. he specifically is asking for a crime to be committed. he has a specific number of votes that he wants stolen and he accuses the secretary of state of committing a crime if he refuses to commit a crime. >> do you know the shocking thing here is the crime obviously being committed in open air on a phone call with an attorney on the other end with
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the secretary of state from georgia. but i think what's going to bother donald trump about this tape he sounds so desperate. he sounds so out of luck. and like he's pulling some sort of alternate reality out of the mouths of the secretary of state and attorney and they just won't play ball. >> well -- >> because it's too stupid. and it's not legal. >> yeah. >> at all. >> they call his bluff at the end. and they call his bluff at the end where the secretary of state says, well, mr. president, you've got evidence? you gather it up and you have your lawyers bring it to court. we will gather up our evidence. we will bring it to court. >> yeah. >> then we'll let the courts decide. of course, that is check mate against the president every time because he knows -- i mean, i know people say maybe he's too stupid, no, he knows. there's a reason why every court
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is rejecting every one of his lawyer's challenges. there's a reason why a supreme court that now has three trump appointees on it won't provide him relief. despite the fact they're going to spend the next 30 years passing one or signing one conservative ruling after another conservative ruling. there's a reason why federal judges across the country, who sided with the president on immigration and on abortion, who would side with the president on every other conservative issue are not siding with him here because what he's doing is not conservative. >> yeah. >> what he's doing is illegal. and i guess the most shocking thing about it all is we're not surprised that this president is doing it. it's a crime but what's new? that's how he spent his life and the republicans have sat by quietly and let him commit
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crimes. >> as we continue to cover how the republicans could watch this go by and the logical part that you just laid out, joe, knowing donald trump, what's going to upset him today is the desperation and the stupidity that was so exposed in that tape and the fact that he was so stupid to expose himself that way and to be recorded. being so stupid and desperate. i shiver for his staff and for the country because the next step for president trump is going to be so angry about how he was exposed and how bad he looks lord knows what he's going to do to deflect from this. with us now we have nbc news capitol hill correspondent and host of "way too early," kasie hunt. national affairs analyst, executive editor of the recount and host of hell and high water podcast, john heilemann. u.s. national editor at "the
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financial times," ed luce is with us. from the house oversight and government reform committee kurt bardella, a seniored a adviser to the lincoln project. >> when i saw great lawyers prosecute cases, there would be this moment where they would pull a quote and pull a quote from the deposition that was the absolute worst thing in the world that a defendant would want to be shown. and they'd usually do it in the opening -- opening statement before the jury and you put it up and it would just be a sentence and you'd sit there and gasp and go oh, my god, he's guilty. well, in this case, the quote that would be put up on the board by a prosecutor would be along the lines of i just need
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you to find 11,780 votes because that's one more than i need to win. >> right. hey, yeah, i mean, look, happy new year. joe and mika, great way to start the year, here we go. >> here we go. >> kind of crescendo of crazy as we head into the last couple of weeks before inauguration. and joe, i think the other thing that just -- just to pick up on your analogy, right, what you would see in that case is you would see the most damaging quote, the pool quote would be up there and you know if you went and examined the totality of the transcript, of the other evidence, there would be some mitigating circumstances. you'd be showing the worst thing, right, and there are other things that might change the context that might make it sound a little better. this was heaven forbid, a lawyer
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putting up something slightly misleading. when the story broke yesterday, you saw these quotes and you thought, my god, these -- these quotes on their face suggest a violation obvious, gratuitous, plain, open and shut violations of georgia. most pertantly the election law, the georgia state law, now we have people in georgia, by the way, one of the members of the georgia election board has gone to the secretary of state and wants to open a civil and criminal investigation of this case already and that's something that donald trump faces the moment that he gets out of office. but you saw the quotes and you said, okay, this is obviously illegal or at least there's a pretty good case for illegal behavior here. then you said, let's go listen to the whole tape. and the hour-long tape does nothing to soften this, does nothing to raise extenuating circumstances or change anything. in fact, it makes it more damning if you listen to the
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full hour. if you haven't listened to it or read it, i strongly commend everyone to do it. what you hear and read in that transcript and that recording is a president who is deeply, deeply demented and deluded and, yes, as mika said desperate and it has pushed him into the place where i think, you know, donald trump has always been for all of these four years before a danger to the republic. it has been, you know, our contention on the show for many, many weeks and months. but i think we're in the most dangerous period of the entire trump presidency where a donald trump who is obviously desperately clinging to power and is willing to do something this egregious and this stupid knowing who brad raffensberger is, knowing that there had to be someone taping this. then he went on twitter and taunted raffensberger the next day which elicited the release of the tape. raffensberger is like i don't want to put this tape out unless
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the president attacks me or mischaracterizes the meeting which of course he did and so trump brings all of this on himself. that guy at that degree of desperation of delusion, of dementia, all of that and stupidity, how dangerous is he right now for the country? i am -- i mean, i have been worried about donald trump as you guys know for four years. we all have been. right now, it's a very, very perilous time for the country given that there is -- i know we'll talk about this, the degree of support for what he's doing. even after this revelation. there's still -- no sign that the 12 republican senators or maybe more are going to stand up on donald trump's side and try to decertify this election on wednesday. >> you know, a year or two ago we said on this show that, all right, we're not going to be surprised by anything else that donald trump does. we know he's an inherently bad man. we know, you know, mika was saying during the campaign we all were saying during the campaign, he was a danger. but we started focusing more on
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the republicans that stood quietly by while this man did what he did. i must say i'm not shocked by anything donald trump does. i am shocked though by republicans continuingly to stand by this man's side when he's acting in the words of john heilemann and mika deluded, desperate, dangerous and yes, you have just got to say it, dumb. ed luce, speaking of dumb, his -- his dumb defense for the secretary of state stealing votes and overturning an american presidential election was to say, well, you can just tell, you can just tell people that you recalculated the votes. and that you found 11,780 new votes. which of course is something he could never do. this sort of talk is what we
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would expect from russia. it's what we would expect out of belarus. it's what we would expect out of hungary. it's something before donald trump we would never expect out of the mouth of the united states president. >> this is worth -- also, happy new year, by the way, to both you and mika. this is something that richard nixon never got caught on tape saying, anything this egregious. this is clearly criminal. we don't know yet who president-elect biden is going to appoint as his attorney general. we can probably guess that trump is going to be advised doubly so now to self-pardon because it's his -- he's caught red handed. this is an attempt to overthrow an election, a conspiracy to overthrow an election. any number of opportunities here
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for even a modest attorney general with a sense of forbearance to prosecute. so self-pardoning and pardoning of his family i think is now even more likely in the coming few days. i have to say though in terms of this next 16 days being the most dangerous period, the -- the letter by the ten former secretaries of defense, including mark esper, jim mattis and originated by dick cheney, originated by the person who personifies an expansive view of executive power, to me is a very clear sign that they have grounds to be worried. that president trump will use these last 16 days to attempt other methods to overturn this
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election and to prevent president biden from taking office. that's not a pro forma letter that they have written, i think it's highly motivating. so we're entering a very dangerous period. >> dick cheney, don rumsfeld, eight other secretary of defenses are sounding the alarm because of what they're hearing in the pentagon and because of their fears that this president is going to try to do what he did on june the 1st and that is get the united states military involved in a political process, but now the stakes are so much higher because he's trying to overturn an election and engage in a coup against a president-elect. >> so with the letter that has
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been just talked about and the former defense secretaries and the danger this country is in, think of all the republicans who had the opportunity to stand up to trump in real time and the many who haven't. i mean, there are a few in the senate who are experienced at what they do and have a position and they have stuck to it. ben sasse, mitt romney and thank you for them. >> john thune. >> but can you imagine that brad raffensberger, a republican secretary of state from georgia, is the only one i think in this entire presidency that we have heard pushing back to donald trump in real time saying no, i'm sorry. we have our evidence, you have yours. bring it to the table, the courts can decide. his attorney, no. that did not happen. >> germany. >> he'll end up being the
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american hero out of all of this and that's amazing and he's amazing, but where is everyone else? where are these losers? these spineless losers who don't care about this country who should be stepping up now, who should have stepped up every step of the way. now, 12 republican senators say they plan on joining over 100 republican members of the house in objecting to certifying joe biden's victory. those senators include josh hawley, ted cruz, ron johnson and james lankford, as well as several who were sworn in sunday as members of the new congress. all threatening to object to the certification of trump's loss to president-elect joe biden when the joint session of congress meets on wednesday. the senators are demanding a commission to audit the results of the election. but nearly a dozen senate republicans have come out against the move by their colleagues. senator mitt romney said in part, the egregious ploy to
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reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our republic. it is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. these are far from it. senator pat toomey said in part, a fundamental defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of people to elect their own leaders. the effort of senators hawley and cruz and others undermines this. senator tom cotton surprised some when he came out in opposition to the move. and a number of house republicans have spoken out including liz cheney a member of house leadership who sent a 21-page memo outlining why this would set a quote, exceptionally dangerous precedent adding that it is directly at odds with the
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constitution's clear text and our core beliefs as republicans. thank you. there's also former house speaker paul ryan who released a statement concerning the 2020 election results saying in part it is difficult to conceive of a more antidemocratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state certified elections and disenfranchise millions of americans. he went on to say joe biden's victory is entirely legitimate. and here is that op-ed published in "the washington post" yesterday by all ten living former defense secretaries urging for a successful and peaceful transfer of power and writing in part, quote, our elections have occurred, recounts and audits have been conducted. appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts, the governors have certified the results and the electoral
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college has voted. the time for questioning the results has passed. the time for formal counting of the electoral college votes as proscribed in the constitution and statute has arrived. >> kasie hunt, you can see the divide that's happening in congress right now. you basically have scared republicans in the senate. some of them who just got elected. who want to stay on the good side of trump supporters who are going to go along with this. but you have a group who think -- i think it's cute that josh hawley and ted cruz think they're going to be president of if united states from four years from now or a republican nominee, and president trump says he's going to run or a member of his family is, and he's going to be running against supporting ivanka. the fact that josh hawley, a
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stanford undergrad, and yale law school, and ted cruz, harvard law school, the fact that they would trot out such as paul ryan said such antidemocratic, anti-conservative nonsense in the support of a coup and the overturning of a democratic election, i guess would have been shocking four years ago. it was shocking no more. but it is pathetic and it is dangerous. so talk about the calculations that are going into these senators who were siding with the president who is trying to pull off a coup. >> well, joe, i think the relevant bible quote is you reap what you sow and mitch mcconnell is learning that right now as he watches the party that he has held with an iron fist splinter before his eyes. he has been behind the scenes
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telling those people, josh hawley, ted cruz, don't do this. this is a vote of conscience. he has called it the most consequential vote he'll take in his career, mcconnell has. he said, don't make us go on the record with this and he's cast it in moral terms behind the scenes. and you have seen others that mika just walked through, mitt romney, ben sasse, pat toomey also cast this vote in those kinds of terms. the reality is that the assumption has always been for these leaders, these long-time leaders who have been around way longer than president trump has here in washington was that they could use donald trump. they could use him to achieve their ends. they could get tax cuts passed. they could get conservative judges on the bench and that when the time came, they would have the power that they needed to continue governing the way they always expected. that they would be able to.
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but the reality is they didn't stand up to donald trump when he did things like call the media fake news over and over again. what does that accomplish? it accomplishes a situation where the people that support donald trump they only believe donald trump. they don't believe anybody else. so now these republicans are out there saying, well, my constituents think that this election was called into question. i have a responsibility to explain to them, to have this commission. why is it that they think that? it's because that's what donald trump is telling them and donald trump has spent four years telling them that they shouldn't believe anybody else. so while republicans thought behind the scenes they could control trump, if they kept their mouth shut in public, they actually now are at the point they never thought we would be here. they always said this is our line in the sand. they're trying to draw that line in the sand and they're finding they have very little power to actually draw it. >> you know, mitch told me in
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the 2016 convention that donald trump wasn't interested in legislation. he can get elected, they'd be able to legislate and pass whatever they wanted to pass and he would gladly sign the bills but kasie, you're so right. things of course haven't turned out that way. and kurt, these republicans did remain silent when donald trump used stalin's term enemy of the people against the free media. when donald trump two weeks before the election pressured his attorney general to arrest his political opponent who was ahead of him in the polls. and to arrest his family. again, so grossly un-american. they remained silent when the president of the united states during the debate repeatedly refused to guarantee a peaceful transition of power. they have remained quiet while the president of the united states has tried to conduct a
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coup against a democratically elected president-elect. and now they are engaging in acts that are helping the president's attempt to pull off sedition against the united states of america. i don't know what you call this if it is not sedition against the united states of america and i have got a feeling that dick cheney and don rumsfeld and paul ryan and a lot of people that were criticized their entire lives for being too conservative while in public service they understand just how dangerous this moment is. what should the democrats in the house do? what should the oversight committee do right now? >> well, i'll tell you, joe, you know, if i were the house democrats, there's nothing stopping me right now from convening the oversight judiciary committee, play the audio in full for an hour straight, make every member sit there and listen to it. and then vote on impeachment right there because that --
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there has to be a cost for these things. even if he won't be removed and indicted by the senate, president trump deserves the historical stain, the permanent stain, of impeachment. there's a reason why these processes exist in the first place. it's to have some measure of accountability even if not in real time but for the future and in the context. it has to be very made clear by a coequal branch of government that what donald trump is caught on tape doing is it's illegal, wrong, undemocratic. there has to be a mechanism for accountability and when i think of what's going on in the congress right now with decision council going on right now, the last time we had an opposition president coming into office, this isn't 2009. this reminds me of the conflict that drove john boehner and eric cantor out of congress when they
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had a caucus they couldn't control. when they let the base overrun everything, let the populism run everything and let breitbart and fox news being the center of the party they couldn't control it. the fact that mitch mcconnell had the conference call trying to talk to hawley about what he was doing and hawley wasn't even on the call. didn't care about mcconnell enough to show up to talk to him about it, i think that tells you right now that mcconnell is in a very different situation than he's ever been before. 2009 we had people like olympia snow or chris dodd or john mccain, john kerry, it was a different united states senate, people who cared about the institution and cared about the democracy more than partisanship and those type of figures are gone now and they have been replaced by hawley and cruz and marco rubio. people that we know are spineless. we know don't have any true conservative values. they don't have any policy agenda or anything driving them other than the pursuit of power.
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for all of those people who think foolishly they can kowtow to donald trump and turn around and give his blessing and run for president they have not been paying attention because every relationship that president trump has, go ask jeff sessions, go ask michael cohen or bill barr, they are trashed and they're left with tatters of their reputation. >> hawley will be thrown under the bus and ted cruz whose wife was viciously attacked by president trump and whose father he accused of jfk and who donald trump accused of stealing the iowa election by voter fraud, they will be all thrown under the bus by donald trump. it's happened before, it will happen again when any of them stand in the way of the family member who's running for office. ed luce, before we end this
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segment, i want to end this segment where we started it. talking about covid. obviously, it's spreading across the united states. the numbers are exploding. the death rate is exploding. we're going to be over -- you just look at how the exponential growth and there's a good chance we're going to end up going past 500,000 dead americans. and yet, you look at what's happening in britain. and the exponential growth there with the new strain of the virus and my god, it gives us a reason to -- should give every american a reason to be horrified by what's coming our way. in fact, in some places, already here. >> it's a very good question. i mean, this new strain more infectious strain of the virus that started in britain and is now present in the united states as well as other countries has really upped the sort of stakes
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for this race between how quick we can vaccinate the population and how quickly this more infectious strain is spreading. britain is i think the only thing it's done well recently having screwed up pretty much everything stage of this pandemic. the only thing it's done well is it is getting the vaccine out quickly. and there is this new vaccine the astrazeneca one from oxford that's recently just been approved. which can be distributed more quickly, because it doesn't need to be kept at minus 70 degree temperatures and it is a lot cheaper to produce. but in the meantime, the rates of infection and mortality and hospitalization in britain are accelerating even faster there than it is here. and we're looking at probably 100,000 british dead by the end of this month which would be the
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equivalent of the population of half a million american dead by the end of this month. probably that's going to be by the end of february in america, not by the end of january. the lesson america can learn i think from britain in addition to what not to screw up and unfortunately america doesn't seem to have learned many of the lessons, but the speed of the vaccine distribution is upperly paramount, particularly with just how contagious this new strain is that's now beginning to spread in the united states. >> wow. ed luce and kurt bardella, thank you for being on this morning. still ahead on "morning joe," president trump lashes out at the second highest republican in the senate, john thune, urging south dakota governor to launch a primary challenge
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president trump is waging a political war against republicans who are vying for re-election in 2022. he is openly calling for primary challenges to gop lawmakers who have spoken out against his attempts to overturn the presidential election results. including senator john thune who reacted this way to that tweet. >> yeah, well, finally an attack tweet. what took him so long? it's fine. it's what he commune -- it's how he communicates. >> whoa. >> very funny. >> very good.
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>> john heilemann, you can talk about his response to the president or let -- i just wanted to read a couple of lines. lift a couple of lines out of today's lead editorial in the "wall street journal" which at times has been depressingly apologetic for some of the worst acts but this morning they talk about the corrosive damage and the republicans blindly following. it will be the -- it will be the precedent and the resulting political damage. republicans would be crushed in the 2022 midterms and mr. trump would promptly be impeached again if republicans were to succeed in this. talk about it being unconstitutional and says that the cost of this show boating will be more political cynicism and this is what concerns me and i have been saying it for a long time, it's a precedent that the republicans are sure to exploit.
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republicans are setting a precedent for democrats, for independents, for populists, for demagogues in the future. "the wall street journal" goes on, this is also a lousy political strategy for turning to power by indulging mr. president, the republicans are helping him to divide the party and remain a kingmaker. this would hurt a good chance to retake the house in 2022. as for 2024, good luck trying to court his support. what we have been saying over the past 30 minutes today, but "the wall street journal" understanding what mitch mcconnell is understanding, understanding what a lot of trump apologists who have been engaging in anti-anti-trumpism over the past four years are now understanding. the frankenstein monster is up off of the gurney. has ripped the cords and is now
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terrorizing the republican party. >> wow. >> the people who enabled this frankenstein monster to have the power that he has. >> okay, so now after you guys talked about alan funt earlier today, you've got me thinking about peter boyle in young frankenstein and marty feldman with the bugged out eyes. look, joe, i get the concern about setting precedent, but honestly like i don't think we need to get to that. that's sort of like -- well, what democrats might do in the future. sedition is a bad idea. it's not because it sets a precedent for future sedition. it's a bad idea because it's anti-constitution and it is sedition, right? again, we have been talking about this all morning but it is stunning to me that a dozen ostensibly intelligent, sentient republicans are so craven that
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this morning they're going to wake up after having listened to this tape of the president of the united states committing these nakedly out in the open these crimes and still go and do his bidding on wednesday, it is just an amazing thing. they're committing sedition on behalf of this power hungry autocratic thug who's trying to cling to power in the most obvious ways. you made the point earlier, if we had said a month ago, two months ago, six months ago that this is where we would be on january 4th, january, in the first week of january, with donald trump doing what he was caught on tape doing yesterday, people would have said we were out of our minds, trump derangement, blah blah blah. but it's out in the open. what he's doing to the point of john thune and the wall street editorial, he's demonstrated he does not care whatsoever about the future of the republican party. he's going down to georgia -- >> oh, we lost heilemann.
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joining us now we have jake sherman and anna palmer. they are cofounders of the brand-new newsletter entitled punch bowl news. so congratulations to both of you on that. jake sherman, i'll start with you and start with the republicans who in light of those tapes, will they still stand up for trying to overthrow this election any way this president can? >> good morning, mika. yes, of course. and listen, here's the reality, josh hawley has kind of set this groundwork, right, that is basically we believe that our constituents stink. there's fraud in this election. and ipso facto, we must pressure -- we must have a vote. here's also the second reality here, i mean, the only thing this does, the only thing this does is create a long day on wednesday for congressional
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reporters, congressional aides and members of congress. this has no bearing, no grounding in reality, no actual impact. the house is not going to overturn the election. so like let's not confuse this. the house becoming president for any of this to have impact. so just a gigantic waste of time. hawley is putting all of his colleagues in a bad political position, and just one note on john thune here. john thune has been probably the most critical, so to speak, in the republican leadership of donald trump, but has always done it in kind of his midwest coast, upper mid-western way, which is very polite and using matters. he is mild mannered for the most part. still he is just acknowledged the fact that joe biden is going to be president in a few weeks and trump is calling for a prime challenge. yes, they are going to do this and it's a kamikaze mission. >> it is, and the only thing
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that josh hawley is going to accomplish as mitch mcconnell tried to tell him is put other republicans in a bad position and possibly hurt republicans' chances of winning in the state of georgia tomorrow, especially, especially after that tape was released yesterday with the president trying to pressure the secretary of state of georgia to find 11, 780 votes and overturn that election. anna, pell us about punch bowl. >> yes, thanks. we are excited to be here. official launch day this morning. we are a news company focused on pow power, people and politics in washington. we are going to be delivering newsletters three times a day monday through friday, all the news about what's happening in washington. you can subscribe at punchbowl .news. this morning we have an interview with alexandria
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ocasio-cortez. she was pretty coy, but you can read about that at punch bowl .news. >> the new daily newsletter is punch bowl news. >> i have already signed up for it. i am really excited. >> thank you both very much. we look forward to it. and we will be right back with much more "morning joe." much mo" is at increased risk for shingles. the pain, the burning! my husband had to do everything for weeks. and the thing is, there's nothing you can do about it! well, shingles can be prevented. shingles can be whaaat? prevented. you can get vaccinated. frank! they have shingles vaccines! whaaat? that's what i said. we're taking you to the doctor. not going through that again. you can also get it from your pharmacist! 50 years or older get vaccinated for shingles now. 50 years or older see every yikes...... and even every awwwwwwww... wait, where was i? introducing self protection from xfinity.
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with presidential coups. in the background, i speak of course america's heartthrob, roger bennett. i am not sure why we don't have pretty vacant playing in the background. perhaps we will get it for next week. but let's start off with business. frank lam part's chelsea not doing so well against city. what happened? >> seeing the holiday period, traditionally a time when the english parking lot goes to omnipresent, even in the face of covid. chelsea/man city, a class which flung together, 25-year-old native zack stefan in goal against christian pulisic. a fight even john fetterman wouldn't know what to take sides on. so much young american talent shining in europe right now. and the game was a manchester mauling. 80th minute, roll tape, and you
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see a spin move like najgy harris spanking the ball home. like a german trae young. it would get worse for chelsea. three minutes later it would be 2-0. young local manchester born street urchin phil foden, the eyes, oh, of an english poet. the finishing skills of a world-class footballer. not every britain is a brother, but this no-look finish, i burn for you. chelsea shellshocked, torn apart. it en >> let's talk about arsenal. a rough start, but a big win this weekend? >> rough start. they had the season like a my pillow infomercial. but this weekend they went north of the wall facing the wildings.
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look at the snow. winter is coming. they revelled in it. these scottish players, english players, for them, the snow is like the beach for brazilians. 4-0 arsenal. and that is a three-game win streak. a goal to raise a pint of wine to. >> what a go out of crystal palace. let's look at it. >> crystal palace, picture that ball. there are more twists and turns than the entire season of the undoing. sheffield united defending like rudy giuliani, about to see better defending at four seasons total landscaping. but what a goal. magnificent humanity. >> it's fantastic. hey, roger, we are halfway through the season. just passed the christmas break. liverpool may be ahead, but
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nothing like last season. anybody can win. talk about what you have seen the first half of the season. >> it's a grinding season. there has been no preseason. the games are compressed. these footballers are exhausted. they are playing covid-19 bubble conditions. liverpool owned by americans red sox owners john henry and tom, magnificent, trying to defend the title. they are not invincible. they have so many injuries. but mentally they are what you call mentality monitors. they keep finding a way to grind out results. they play south marampton 3:00 today on nbc season and it's going to go down to the wire. >> fear not. everton is going to finish as strong as secretariat going down the homestretch of the belmont in '73. you just wait and see. >> from your mouth to god's ears, it's gorgeous to see you,
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america. courage. >> courage, my friend. roger bennett, thank you so much. and now for something completely different, as they say on monty pyton. john heilemann is with us. john, you froze up on us. finish your thoughts. >> i was just saying that i thought we have known all along that donald trump does not care about the future of the republican party. he does not care about where this party goes and it's amazing to me schso many republicans don't see it. he is going to go down to georgia tonight. this is, you know, the supposedly going to be the big finish or david perdue and kelly loeffler. mika was saying earlier, in addition to the dangers he poses in the last days before he leaves on january 20th, think f about the political damage. it david perdue and kelly loeffler win the runoff races they should have won by all normal metrics, the republicans in georgia in a runoff where the
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turnouts should go down, et cetera, et cetera, it will be largely because of donald trump. donald trump and his allies who have done everything in their power to depress turnout on the republican side in georgia. it continues to boggle my mind that these otherwise -- and, you know, josh hawley, not a dumb guy, ted cruz, not a dumb guy, these aren't dumb people, but they continue to -- they are like -- they continue to strop themselves to donald trump and his nihilistic impulses and what will be his nihilistic affect on the republican party. we are witnessing the end of your former party, joe. it's happening before our eyes. wednesday is going to be a big chapter in the book about the death of the modern republican party. >> yeah, and mitch mcconnell no longer is the leader of a unified republican party. he is looking more like the leader of a splintered wig party. i don't know what the future of this party can be other than
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very bad. very, very broken. >> straight ahead, days before he is set to leave office, president trump makes that brazen attempt to cling to power during a phone call with georgia election officials. it comes as republicans are taking sides in the fight over joe biden's election certification. the next hour of "morning joe" starts right now. now, do you think it's possible that they shredded ballots in fulton county? because that's what the rumor is. >> so, supposing we hit with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or very powerful light. >> and also that dominion took out machines. that dominion is really moving fast to to get rid of their machinery. do you know anything about that? >> and then i said supposing you brought the light inside the body, what you can do either through the skin or in some
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other way. >> no, but they have moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts? >> and then i see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute. one minute. and is there a way we can do something like that? by injection inside or almost a cleaning. >> president trump and his theories. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is monday, january 4th. with us we have white house reporter for "the associated press" jonathan lemire, washington anchor for bbc world news america katty kay, national security expert columnist at "usa today" and author the death of expertise tom nichols is with us, and making his "morning joe" debut lawyer, co-founder of the lincoln project and a contributing columnist to "the
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washington post," george conway is with us this morning. and what a day to begin with mr. conway. we begin with president trump's remarkable hour-long phone call with officials in georgia where he urged them to find enough votes to overturn the state's election results. president trump can be heard pleading with georgia's secretary of state brad raffensperger and the secretary of state's legal counsel to alter the vote count. trump makes vague threats to them both if they don't comply. do we remember that? the call, which took place on saturday, was first reported by "the washington post." nbc news has obtained a recording of the conversation. >> so, look, all i want to do is this. i just want to find 11,780 vo s votes, which is one more than we
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have, because we won the state and flipping the state is a great testament to our country. the people of georgia are angry. the people of the country are angry, and there is nothing wrong with saying that. they are all exact numbers that were, were done by accounting firms, law firms, et cetera. and even if you cut them in half, cut them in half, and cut them in half again, it's more votes than we need. >> well, mr. president, the challenge that you have is that the data you have is wrong. >> i won this elections by hundreds of thousands of votes. there is no way i lost georgia. there is no way. we won by hundreds of thousands of votes. i am going by small numbers when you add them up they are many times the 11,000.
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y but i won that state by hundreds of thousands of votes. now, do you think it's possible that they that red ballots in fulton county? that's what the rumor is. also that dominion took out machines. that dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their machinery. do you know anything about that? because that's illegal. >> this is ryan germany. no, dominion has not moved machinery out of fulton county -- >> have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts? >> no. >> are you sure, ryan? >> i am sure. i'm sure, mr. president. >> the ballots are corrupt and you are going to find that they are -- which is totally illegal. it's more illegal for you than it is for them because you know what they did and you are not reporting it. you know, that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense. and, you know, you can't let
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that happen. that's a big risk to you and to ryan. your lawyer. that's a big risk. but they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what i heard, and they are removing machinery and they are moving it as fast as they can. both of which are criminal fines. and you can't let it happen, and you are letting it happen. you know, i am notifying you that you are letting it happen. >> the contents of the recording extraordinary all the way through. there are, of course, two lines that stand out. one where the president tells the secretary of state of georgia to find 11,780 votes. that's one more than we need to win. and the second is when the president says, just tell people that you have recalculated the votes. just tell the people you have recalculated the votes. that will be fine. george conway, i would like to ask you the specific question of
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whether the president broke laws in the united states and also federally and also in the state of georgia. first, i have to ask you generally what's your overall impression of this extraordinary audio recording where every american, if they wish, can listen to the president of the united states trying to undermine american democracy and overturn an election? >> it's shocking but not surprising. i mean, the real question that pops up here and pops up again and again is how delusional is he? is he that delusional or is this -- is he just desperate? i think it's a little bit of both. he is absolutely desperate to avoid leaving office on january 20th and he delusional in the sense that he thinks that there is a way to do it. the reason why he is desperate, frankly, is because something more than him having to leave
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the grounds of the white house happens on january 20th. something more important. this is his, he loses his immunity from criminal liability on january 20th. and that is something that it's been reported that his aides have talked about, he has talked about to his aides, according to reports on "the new york times" and other newspapers, and it's something that if you recall a month ago, he gave a 45-minute or so address that nobody covered on the networks, but was covered -- but he broadcast on facebook. and one of the things that he talked about was the fact that there is this investigation into the manhattan d.a.'s office of his finances and that they are trying to get him. he is obsessed with the fact that he loses his immunity on january 20th, and that, i think, more -- as much as anything else, explains his desperation
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here. it's not just that he can't take loss, the loss of an election, which he can't, but that doesn't explain the fact that we are here now two months, two full months after the election, a november 3rd election, and he's -- the electors have voted, they have been certified by the governors, all the results in the states have been certified, the electoral votes are signed, sealed and delivered, and he is still at this. and not only that. he is so desperate to avoid the potential for investigation and prosecution that he is risking more criminal liability. it harkens back to the mueller investigation. if you just kept his -- if he kept his mouth shut and cooperated to the mueller investigation and not tried to interfere with it, that investigation, that report would have been, first of all, it would have been about that the russian hacking and the contacts between the campaign and russian agents, but it really would not
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have -- it really wouldn't have involved him that much. he made that investigation -- he is dumb as a rock, and he made that investigation about himself by trying to interfere with it. and now he's making his legal situation worse in his fear of criminal liability and investigation by essentially committing more crimes. if you look at the georgia statute, it's pretty clear that this is a crime. and the only defense he would have, and also there is a federal statute that's a little bit differently worded that also arguably comes into play, but his only defense to that, to a criminal prosecution on that score for this phone call would be that he is so delusional that he actually believes that he won in election, that he believes all of the things that he said. and maybe he has convinced himself of that. if i broke into your house and i claimed it was my house and i
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was arrested, it might be a defense if i truly, truly believed it was my house. but i can't establish that just by saying, oh, i told 50 people it was my house and i made a big deal of it and, you know, lin wood and sidney powell and rudy giuliani told me it was my house. not going to quite work, especially when you are basically the world's biggest known liar, which donald trump is. >> still ahead, the president's attempted coup isn't the only huge story playing out in georgia. there is also tomorrow's runoff elections for the u.s. senate. jonathan lemire has a preview of that next on "morning joe." stock slices. for as little as $5, now anyone can own companies in the s&p 500, even if their shares cost more. at $5 a slice, you could own ten companies for $50 instead of paying thousands. all commission free online. schwab stock slices: an easy way to start investing
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♪ jonathan lemire, of course, this wasn't donald trump dialing the secretary of state by himself. this wasn't donald trump conducting the call himself.
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he, of course, had his chief of staff mark meadows also involved in, well, it sounds like criminal conspiracy, actually. whether you are looking at the georgia statute or looking at the federal statute, let's listen to mark meadows engaging in this attempt to undermine american democracy, to participate in a coup, to throw out the results of an american election. >> what i'm hopeful for is, is there some way that we can, we can find some kind of an agreement to, to look at this a little bit more fully. you know, the president mentioned fulton county, but in some of these areas where there seems to be a difference of where the facts seem to to lead. and so, mr. secretary, i was
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hopeful that, you know, in a spirit of cooperation and compromises, and there is something that we can at least have a discussion to look at some of these allegations to find a path forward that's litigious. >> well, i listened to what, you know, the president has just said. president trump, we've had several lawsuits and we have had respond in court to the lawsuits and the contentions. we don't agree that you have one. >> okay. so, joe, in terms of accountability, is there a difference when it's a president who is committing a state and a federal crime openly and his chief of staff and, i mean, are there any possibilities these are not state and federal crimes being broken? >> well, i'll leave that to election lawyers.
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it is, though, for mark meadows one more dark stain on his public record. here he is participating, jonathan lemire, after three recounts in the state of georgia, he is parseticipating an attempt to overturn democratically -- democratic elections, trying to overturn an election result in the state of florida, sitting there with a president who is asking for 11, 780 votes to be found, the sort of thing we used to talk about the 1960 election, would look back and say, well, you know, they found dead voters, they found this, they found that. that's exactly what donald trump is trying to do here. and mark meadows, i don't know if he thinks he is being the reasonable man by saying, isn't there some middle ground? when you are talking about auto coups, when you are talking about overturning democratic
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elections, there is really no third way there. so what's going on in this recording, and what have you learned since it came out yesterday? >> well, joe, we have known covering this president for four years that he often late at night in the white house residence gets on the phone, often without an aide present, and will call, you know, elected officials, call allies and float wild conspiracy theories. that was not this. this was a call where the chief of staff was present. there were lawyers on the call. this had -- in the inner circle of the white house, which is, indeed, shrinking by the day, they, the president had the white house's blessing to make this phone call. certainly chief of staff meadows who, as you say, often tries to present himself as the reasonable voice of compromise, is knee deep in this. this is a president who has spent an entire year railing, making baseless claims of voter fraud, making extraordinary wild accusations and conspiracies that the election was rigged,
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that the results couldn't be trusted, that they were illegitimate. in this call, and democrats were quick to pounce on this yesterday, joe, he is the one participating or trying to participate in election fraud and stopped by a republican secretary of state of his own party that in georgia. it is an extraordinary undermining of the democratic process. he knew exactly how many votes he needed, he knew what number to ask for and he was rebuffed. this goes to show that he will not -- he is not accepting the results of this election. he is undermining the democratic process. there have been multiple recounts now in the state of georgia. it has found zero evidence of any sort of widespread voter fraud that would change the result there. and mind you, if the result of georgia were to flip, which it won't, that wouldn't change the overall outcome of the election. donald trump would still lose in the electoral college to joe biden. but it sets up what we have this week as well. first of all, the electoral college vote certification is wednesday. and we know the number of republican senators have given
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license to the bid by those in the house to try to overturn this result. the latest effort to undermine democratic norms and to delegitimize joe biden's election. of course, tomorrow is the georgia runoffs. the two senate seats there that are going to control -- the control of that body of congress. the president is supposed to go to georgia tonight to rally republicans to do this. a lot of republicans i talked to since the release of this tape are petrified as to what he will say on stage, if he will do far more harm than good as they try to cling to power and prevent the democrats from controlling all three parties of government. coming up, our next guest says it might seem tough to stand for the rule of law after watching a president violate it, but that's exactly what the nation needs to do. joyce vance explains that straight ahead on "morning joe." "
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♪ 12 republican senators say they plan on joining the over 100 republican members of the house in objecting to certifying joe biden's victory.
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those senators include josh hawley, ted cruz, ron johnson and james langford as well as several who were sworn in sunday as members of the new congress, all threatening to object to the certification of trump's loss to president-elect joe biden when a joint session of congress meets on wednesday. the senators are demanding a commission to audit the results of the election. here is ted cruz explaining the decision. >> we've seen in the last two months unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, and that's produced a deep, deep distrust of our democratic process across the country. i think we in congress have an obligation to do something about that. we have an obligation to protect the integ it i of the democratic system. i think we have an obligation to the voters and an obligation to the constitution to ensure that this election was lawful. >> all right. you know, i mean, there is some form to this.
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democratic members of congress have done this before in the past. but katty kay, in light of the tapes that were released by "the washington post," i wonder, i wonder if potentially have we hit bottom yet? and will republicans continue with this when they are walking in the footsteps of a man who is committing state and federal crimes in, you know, open meetings? >> well, you have had a few republicans come out in a bipartisan way saying the election is being lost, biden is going to be the president, we have to move on now. will those 12 republicans who have signed on to support the house lawsuit now decide, well, because of the tape we are going to reverse course? no, that seems highly unlikely. somebody like josh hawley, this is his one shot he thinks at having a presidential bid so he is going full on trump to get there. that's his only possible route to winning, he thinks, the nomination of the republican candidacy next time around is to
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be the next trump. so he is not going to abandon the president. ted cruz isn't going to abandon the president at this point. he thinks his political ambitions clearly best serve by being as close to trump as possible. the more people come out like ted cruz and josh hawley and speak publicly in support of what president trump is doing, the more the president feels this is what happened. i spoke to somebody who speaks very frequently to the president last night who said to me, in the beginning after the election, his understanding was the president had realized he had lost, that he didn't have the votes, but it's interesting that over the last few weeks he seems to have changed his tune. part of that is he is only speaking to people who tell him that he won, that the election was stolen. anyone around him who believes the election wasn't stolen won't raise it with him anymore because they don't ant to incur his ire and that means that you ha just have a conversation about how the election was stolen. so he has himself into a position, the president, where he does believe that georgia was
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stolen. you can hear it in the tape, listening to the hour-long tape. he says, we must have won because we had those big crowds. we must have won because our supporters are angry. you hear that in ted cruz, too. we must be right because people are disappointed. i mean, there is no evidence there, but they are all talking themselves more and more into a position where they actually believe the election was stolen which is why you get conversations like that between the president and raffensperger on saturday. i don't see any sign that those 12 of going to walk away because they feel it's the only position they can hold and they don't feel like they have anything to lose by sticking close to trump. >> coming up, talking with congresswoman stacey plaskett. what she expects from her party and the president-elect next on "morning joe." next on "morning joe." ♪
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assange cannot be extradited to the u.s. to face espionage charges. joining us now with more is nbc news senior international correspondent keir simmons. keir. >> reporter: good morning. what just happened in this british court will be seen by many members of the u.s. intelligence community as a stunning blow. it's also a blow to the trump administration which chose to pursue julian assange despite the obama administration choosing not to. at the heart of all of this was a claim by the u.s. government that julian assange could not be considered a journalist because the u.s. alleged he had helped chelsea manning to hack american military computers. but another extraordinary turn, the judge here in the court said that he should not be extradited to the u.s. because you couldn't depend on the u.s. to safeguard his mental health in an american jail.
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a stunning courtroom outcome for julian assange. a british judge refusing his extradition for trial in america. a decision that will anger u.s. intelligence officials. his fiance speaking to nbc news in an exclusive interview before the court ruling. >> julian has not committed a crime. he is innocent. >> reporter: julian assange and wikileaks published hundreds of thousands of american diplomatic cables and military files. even footage of a u.s. apache helicopter killing 11 civilians. reuters journalists among them. but facing an accusation of rape in sweden, he was given asylum in ecuador's london embassy for seven years, from there publishing emails hacked by russian spice during hillary clinton's election campaign. now he will likely skip trial in the u.s. on espionage charges but his lawyers say could have meant a 175-year sentence.
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>> how is julian doing? >> it's very hard for him. he is isolated most of the time. >> reporter: his fiance says their two young children, gabrielle la and max, rarely saw him last year because of coronavirus restrictions in prison. >> i tell him that he is a hero and he is special. but of course they don't understand when we go to the prison to see him. >> reporter: it isn't over yet. the question now will be whether the u.s. pursues an appeal. it has said that it will. while julian assange's fiance just came out of court and called on supporters to continue to call for his release. that could happen. there will be a discussion about bail this week. that could happen. you could see julian assange effectively walk free this week, mika. >> wow. nbc's keir simmons, thank you very, very much. we turn back to president
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trump and his phone call with georgia's secretary of state raffensperger. >> what are we going to do here, folks? i only need 11,000 votes. fellas, i need 11,000 votes. give me a break. we have that in spades already. >> this morning we are learning more details about that hour-long call. nbc news reports that secretary raffensperger received the call from the white house at 2:41 p.m. on saturday afternoon after the white house switchboard had made 18 previous attempts to have trump speak to him in the past two months since the general election according to a georgia republican familiar with the call. the hour-long conversation was the first time the two republicans spoke directly. officials within the office recorded the call and secretary raffensperger made clear to his advisors he did not want a transcript or audio recording
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released unless trump attacked georgia officials or misrepresented the conversation per the source. the secretary of state's office requested that their general counsel be on the phone call, but the call was not scheduled for the purpose of settling any pending litigation as falsely alleged by the georgia republican state party chairman. wow. a lot to unpack there. let's bring in our panel. legal panel. former u.s. attorney for the northern district of alabama and an msnbc legal analyst joyce vance joins us. former acting u.s. solicitor general, now an msnbc legal contributor neal katyal. and state attorney for palm beach county dave aronberg joins us. nbc's kasie hunt is back with us as well. >> neal, did the commit a crime? >> absolutely. it looks that way from everything on the tape. maybe there are some surrounding
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circumstances that exculpate him. but i think a criminal investigation is absolutely warranted. he said, i need to find -- you need to find 11,780 votes. i mean, someone who is committed to seeking the truth goes and wants to seek the truth. they don't seek a certain specific number of votes and threaten georgia officials with criminal prosecution if they don't comply. >> so what, joyce, what are some of the crimes the president may have committed on this weekend call? >> so i agree with neal. first, it's important to say that there has to be a full investigation. here's why. there are a lot of possible crimes. there is this georgia solicitation statute soliciting election fraud. that looks like a slam dunk. it's what lawyers call an incoate crime. you don't have to complete the crime. so the question is whether there will be a prosecution in georgia. on the federal side of the of
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"the clarion-ledger" there is a range of crimes that involve extortion, wire fraud, conspiracy. there is a specific crime that relates to election fraud. there needs to be investigation. here's why. these crimes all come down to the president's state of mind. did he really believe he had won the election and he was just seeking a fair count? or did he know what was really going on here? that answer might seem obvious to all of us watching and certainly as a prosecutor i would look forward to playing the tape in court, but you really have to engage in investigation into the conversations the president had with people. i would have subpoenas out this morning for grand jury for folks that the president has been in touch with to see if he acknowledged that he had lost the election. there is also this concept in the law of willful blindness, someone who ignores the truth. so when the president repeatedly asks on this call for the specific number of votes he needs to win, i just need you to
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find me 11,780 votes, that is an indication that he is not seeking an election recount, that he is trying to steal an election. we need to have an investigation conducted by career officials at the justice department who know how to do this right. >> well, and the fact that the president's coherent enough to know that he needs 11,780 votes stolen, and put into his column, certainly would suggest that he is not delusional. dave aronberg, this weekend we spoke about this matter and you actually said the president's best defense under the law, both georgia and federal, could be that he is delusional. that the president's attorneys would need to convince a judge, my client's delusional, he just don't know the difference between truth, between reality and fiction. >> yeah, joe, i agree with my colleagues. at the very least there is a clear predicate to open a criminal investigation at the state and federal levels, and a
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prosecutor could indeed file charges. but whether a prosecutor would is another question because there is some ambiguity on the president's intent, and intent is an essential element here. indeed, his best defense is that he could claim that he really believes these lies. he believes this massive conspiracy that stole his votes and that's why he was talking to the secretary of state about finding lost votes. the problem though, as neal said, is that he didn't ask raffensperger to find the votes. he asked him to find a specific number of votes. 11,780 votes to be exact, which is just one more than he needed to overcome biden's victory in georgia. plus, trump knows that his attorney general, his election security chief and every judge that heard these claims, including ones he appointed, have rejected them, debunked them outright. so in the end, yeah, i think this was less than perfect call. i like to refer to it as the four seasons total landscaping version of the call to ukrainian
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president zelenskiy, except here it's all caught on tape. all caught on tape. neal, kasie hunt is with us and has a question for you. >> neal, good morning. i mean, i guess my question for you here is what happens next? if you are the department of justice in a biden administration and you have this call laid out there. i mean, we know that the president-elect has been trying very hard to turn the page. he has been trying to give republicans space to step away from president trump, to return to normal, to get the country back on track as he sees it. but with this tape, i mean, this is a huge new piece of evidence. so if you were the biden team coming in, what do you do with this? >> first of all, kasie, i don't think we should dismiss joe's concerns about trump's delusions right away. georgia is only a 16 electoral votes. even with all this pressure, you have to wonder what in the world was trump thinking here?
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what was his plan to knock on doors like the world's only mob affiliated url gi affiliated girl scout or something like that? it was a plan destined to fail. with respect to your question, i think joyce is absolutely right. the justice department has to open an investigation. it's got to be run by career officials. they have got to interview everyone and find stuff out. and then i think the house and senate need to be unfortunately thinking about impeachment again. and i know that's like the last thing many people want. they just want to be done with donald trump in 16 days. but the constitution expressly says in it that impeachment is about barring people from holding future office. so certainly it wouldn't be about trying to get him out in the next 16 days, but drawing a red line in the sand that says you are the president of the united states. what have you been doing here? the word anti-democratic is thrown around a lot in this condition text. here's what it really looks like. millions of americans went to the polls to vote for one candidate or the other, and what
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trump is trying to do behind closed doors is pressure georgia to throw out that vote and just to stall their own vote. you know, now out in the open, 12 republican senators and 140 members of congress are planning essentially the same thing on wednesday on a national scale. i mean, it would be the largest act of disenfranchise. in the modern world to throw out over 100 million votes and let vice president pence pick the next president. all these efforts are aimed at that quixotic loser thing they have been trying to do the last couple of weeks. >> joyce vance in the quest for oversight and accountability here in terms of the crime openly committed in this conversation, what advice do you give in terms of cautionary steps for democrats or for anyone who hopes to have the president come clean on what has happened here?
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>> look, mika, it's a tough pitch right now to the american people to say let the justice system work because we have lived through four years of the trump administration where, quite frankly, it's been broken. but january 20th starts a new day. the fbi has primary investigative authority in this kind of a case. either the u.s. attorney in the to northern district of georgia or district of columbia, perhaps both, could be working with the fbi. i think we need to let the justice system restart its engine and go to work here because the truth matters, and ultimately that's what criminal justice is about. getting to the truth and holding people accountable. and in some ways perhaps this is an opportunity for americans to regain faith in our possibility to function as a rule of law country where, instead of leaping to conclusions, instead of engaging in mob justice, we can let competent career people
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do their jobs and then, if it's appropriate, bring an indictment to court. i know a lot of people won't like that. they want justice and they want it now, and i understand that. but it's important to put down a marker that we are not a country where we lock people up because we don't like their politics. instead, we deal in facts. we deal in the law. if donald trump has broken the law here, he needs to be held accountable. i would have confidence that any of the attorney generals who are being discussed as possible picks for joe biden will oversee a fair and a competent process here. >> yeah. i couldn't agree more. investigate. take your time. don't leave any setone unturned. and certainly don't rush to judgment. there are 16 more days of donald trump's presidency. >> well -- >> well, there is 16 more days of donald trump's presidency, and then the republicans, who are engaging in the president's,
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helping the president engage in an attempted act of sedition, will, i think, pay the political consequences for quite some time. we heard that call. it wasn't just the president calling from his cellphone alone. there were -- there was mark meadows on the call. there were other members of the president's staff on the call, which is deeply disturbing. they are all implicated. this is what peter navarro said over the weekend about the inauguration. >> and peter, the interesting thing is that that ten-day window is, it is something that they can change the date. the first january 20th cannot be changed. that's constitutional. but this whole certification thing, the -- >> it can be changed, actually. we can go past that date. we can go past that date. >> oh. >> we can go past that date. if we need to.
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>> you see, this is the thing. >> yeah, no. >> and the people that are blindly following donald trump, they don't give a damn about the constitution. they don't give a damn -- and they haven't given a damn for quite some time about the constitution. they don't care about constitutional norms. they don't care about history. they don't care about political norms. and they are willfully ignorant, like the president. they are willfully ignorant and put peter navarro in that batch of people saying that they can go past the 20th because theth amendment of the constitution clearly states that the terms of the president and the vice president shall end at noon on the 20th day of january, and they are terms of the successors
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shall then begin. dave aronberg, this reminds me of donald trump saying that article 2 gives the president unlimited power to do whatever he wants. it reminds me of the president of the united states time and time again questioning judicial independence, the power of the federal judiciary. time and time again he has trashed constitutional norms and tried to trash the constitutional norms like peter navarro when the constitution didn't fit within the four corners of their conspiracy theories. >> yeah, joe, this gets the larger issue of the death of expertise. i mean, peter and a hanavarro id to issue that opinion yet "maga" world defers to people like this and like they have some special understanding. he is completely wrong. and i think that is one of the lasting legacies of this
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administration. hopefully, the next administration will bring back the experts because that's something that has been degraded over the past four years. you know, people who have degrees, who have expertise are seen as just, should be shunted aside in favor of these in favor of these hacks. so, joe, i'm optimistic about the future but let this be for this maga world that they're relying on people like this that issue these crazy opinions that in the end mean nothing. >> dave aronberg, neil catial. members of the 117th congress officially sworn in yesterday. we'll speak with democrat stacey plaskett. she joins the conversation next on "morning joe." see what scholarship you qualify for at phoenix.edu
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side effects include indigestion, fatigue, belly pain, decreased appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting which can lead to dehydration and may worsen kidney problems. i have it within me to lower my a1c. ask your doctor about trulicity. yesterday was the swearing in of the 117th congress. and nancy pelosi was re-elected speaker of the house. the final count was a narrow 216-209 as democrats now hold a smaller majority than in the previous congress. two democratic members voted for someone other than pelosi and three others voted present. joining us now, a member of the house ways and means committee, democratic congresswoman stacey plaskett of the u.s. virgin islands. great to have you on the show, congresswoman, and our capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt has the first question for you.
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kasie? >> congresswoman, good morning. happy new year to you. my question is actually about the votes that look like they are set to transpire on the house floor on wednesday. this vote was so narrow for the house speaker. we know that was in part because of the coronavirus. we also know that there may be different procedures for voting on wednesday when this electoral college challenge is made. but are you confident that your leaders are prepared to handle any scenario that may unfold on the house floor if this process that your guardrails are steadfast? >> well, happy new year to you, and kasie, i hope your baby had her wonderful first christmas. this was the first christmas for your first child. that's always really special. but, yes, you know, although our leader had a very narrow win, 216, if there's one thing that
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the leadership that the democratic caucus can do it is not only count but it is also manage the floor as well. and so i'm extremely confident that we will be able to get through this process. albeit a very lengthy one. i also believe that, you know, we have now seen through the -- what transpired last night, that there will be challenges of up to six states when they asked for a vote to not even seek their own colleagues in the -- for the 117th congress. those states that were identified, i think, will be the states that there may be objection to. so the vice president is going to preside over the joint session. there's going to call a roll of states and the tellers will announce the results of the states alphabetically. if there are written objections lodged by either member of either chamber then we meet in
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the individual chambers for up to two hours of debate and only then will members be recognized on the floor. unless the house and senate both vote to object, the objections are rejected. we may have to do that for six or more states but we're confident that at the end of the evening, joe biden and kamala harris will be officially declared the next president and vice president of the united states. >> congresswoman, i'm curious your reaction to the big news of last night that you alluded to. i'm assuming you're talking about the tapes of president trump talking to the georgia secretary of state and openly committing federal and state crimes. what's your response to this hour-long conversation, much of what most people have heard and you've probably heard. >> not at all surprised by the conversation. grateful that it was taped. i think this just is par for the course of the type of individual
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that the president is. this is a president and many who follow him are singular -- their singular objective is power for self. not about the democracy, not about the people that they are supposed to represent, and are supposed to be here in washington fighting for. and so we heard a desperate man seeking to retain power for himself. at the expense of the american people in our democracy. and what the house will do about that, we're meeting at 9:00 in the democratic caucus meeting. i'm sure part of that caucus meeting will be a discussion about what are the next steps. as a member of previously in the last three congresses of the oversight committee there is some position for the oversight committee to have, but this is also within the jurisdiction of the judiciary committee. and we'll see what the judiciary committee decides to do for the next 16 days. >> and as we get past the next
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16 days, could you please talk about how the pieces are picked up in terms of addressing the major issues of our time. many created by this presidency. but first and foremost, the coronavirus and now what appears to be the slow and very inconsistent distribution of a vaccine. >> right. you know, coronavirus has just revealed so much about what many of us knew was already occurring in this country. that there's a disparity of wealth, there's a disparity not only of distribution of a virus -- of the vaccine, but there was a disparity in how the economy is going to be picking up. communities, underserved communities, communities of color. communities like my own, were hit much harder than other places were. individuals we saw who were getting the coronavirus are disproportionately people of color. are those who do not have the same level of wealth or the ability to social distance or do
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the things necessary to avoid being infected. and so congress is going to have a job of not only in this new administration of not only distributing the vaccine but making sure that our economy and the things that were exposed by the coronavirus, that disparity is leveled out and that we're all protected moving forward. and so the need for a true economic package that is not nearly a patch on what is happening but really to jump-start our economy and to build back better is something that we're all going to have to roll up our sleeves and get to work on, on day one. >> congresswoman stacey plaskett, thank you very much. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> hi there. i'm stephanie ruhle live from msnbc headquarters in new york city. it is monday, january 4th. the start of a huge week that will decide the direction of american

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