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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 22, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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hushed tones from our president. humanity and empathy and sympathy in the face of a loss that makes us all feel so helpless. how many of them would be alive had the virus that killed them not been first denied? may their memories be a blessing. that is our broadcast for this monday night as we start a new week. with our thanks for being here with us, on behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of nbc news, good night. ♪♪ just after 6:00 p.m. eastern time, president biden and the first lady and the vice president and her husband led a long, just devastatingly sad moment of silence from the south portico of the white house to honor the half million americans who have now died from covid-19. it has only been a year, and already we have lost this year more than all of the americans
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who died on the battlefield in world war i and world war ii and the vietnam war combined. more americans that are buried at all of arlington cemetery, all gone in one year, all from this one contagion, this botched, terribly mishandled pandemic. before the moment of silence and the candle lighting at the portico, president biden gave what basically amounted to a national eulogy for all of those lost. he addressed the bulk of his remarks to americans who personally have lost someone they loved to covid, bringing to bear what's become sort of his emotional trademark in his political life, his empathy for people who are hurting. >> we often hear of people described as ordinary americans. there's no such thing. there's nothing ordinary about them. the people we lost were extraordinary. they spanned generations. born in america, emigrated to america.
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but just like that, so many of them took their final breath alone in america. as a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. while we're fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. we have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. we must do so to honor the dead, but equally important, care for the living, those left behind. for the loved ones left behind, i know all too well. i know what it's like to not be there when it happens. i know what it's like when you are there, holding their hands, as you look in their eye, they slip away.
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that black hole in your chest, you feel like you're being sucked into it. the survivor's remorse. the anger. the questions of faith in your soul. for some of you, it's been a year, a month, a week, a day, even an hour. and i know that when you stare at the empty chair around the kitchen table, it brings it all back no matter how long ago it happened, as if it just happened that moment when you look at that empty chair. >> looking at that empty chair. president biden tonight marking 500,000 american lives lost to covid-19. but let's put up these new graphs as of today from the covid tracking project. look, there is good news now. new cases now continuing to
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steadily drop since mid-january. cases have been steadily dropping and new hospitalizations have been steadily dropping, too. we are still at a hospitalization number that matches the worst of the spring surge and the surge in the summer. see how our low point now is still as high as those high points ever got from earlier in the year? but at least it is heading down and deaths are heading down, too, but not fast enough. even now we are still losing nearly 2,000 americans every single day. and nobody knows yet whether the decline in new cases and new hospitalizations and deaths are attributable to americans finally starting to get vaccinated in considerable numbers. dr. david kessler, top science advisor to the biden administration's covid response, told us on this show last week that it is just too early to separate out any potential
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vaccine effect as the cause of these recent improvements that we have seen over the past month. but on average, about a million and a half americans are getting the vaccine every single day now. that, of course, is coming too late for the half million americans who have already been killed and for their families and the people who love them. frankly, the vaccinations that are happening now are coming too late for the 60,000-plus americans who just got diagnosed with covid today. we're still over 60,000 new vaccinations -- excuse me, 60,000 new infections a day, even coming down from that massive peak. all right. the vaccination effort moved too slowly to prevent 60,000-plus americans from getting infected now. but at least after all of this loss and failure, at least we are finally headed in the right direction, finally. and, you know, it is probably time to start thinking of what we are ever going to be able to do for our nurses and doctors
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and hospital staff and emts and nursing home workers, all of the frontline health care staff who we have just put through hell this past year. forgive me. i mean we are still asking more of them than is humanly possible. we will be for months yet, as long as 50,000 and 60,000 americans are still getting newly infected every day. it will still be that we are asking them to do the impossible as long as our numbers stay that high. but we are the country that has had more deaths from covid-19 and more sickness from covid-19 than any other country on earth, and the people who have had to care for us all through it all, the health care workers, are going to need some kind of thank you, some kind of respite at least when this is all done. they have had to do things that are unimaginable, and for such a long time, for a running sprint of a year. i don't know what we should do on that front, but we really have asked the unimaginable of our nurses and doctors and
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health care staff. we are going to have to turn our minds eventually, and i think soon, to how we do right by them, to how we convey our thanks. in the midst of the pandemic, at 500,000 dead now, president biden's nominee to be health secretary in the united states will get his confirmation hearing, finally, tomorrow, more than a month after biden was sworn in. republican senators are already lining up to say how they don't want president biden's nominee, xavier becerra, to be confirmed as the health secretary, but it is likely he will be confirmed. there will also be nomination hearings this week for deb haaland for interior secretary. she will be the first native american cabinet secretary in u.s. history if she is confirmed. republican senators, though, are absolutely opposed to her too. while we're running down all the people of color that republicans object to as biden cabinet nominees, we should also note his nominee to lead the office of management and budget, neera tanden, is also on the big
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bubble right now in terms of her nomination because of not just republican opposition to her nomination, but at least one conservative democrat, joe manchin, has decided he doesn't like her and won't vote for her. senator manchin, i should say, has apparently invented a whole new standard for neera tanden that he never applied to other nominees that he voted for, which has put her nomination at risk. we will have more on that in a few minutes. but in addition to becerra and haaland and tanden, there will be hearing this week for the nominee to be cia director, william burns, and vivek murthy to be surgeon general. today, of course, was first of two days of confirmation hearings for merrick garland, president biden's nominee to be attorney general. judge garland was president obama's nominee for a supreme court vacancy but republicans in the u.s. senate decided they would hold that supreme court seat open for more than a year
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so a republican president could fill it instead of even considering judge garland when he was nominated. republican senators are still pretending like that was some sort of normal move. it absolutely was not. but merrick garland himself apparently does not hold a grudge. i do. i think a lot of people do. i think holding a supreme court seat open for more than a year when you later prove once a republican president was in there that you could fill it in about five minutes if you wanted to, i don't think that's normal. i kind of have a grudge about that. merrick garland apparently does not. which means he is a better person than i am on that scale and many others. but in a sort of twist of fate, the news gods gave us a confluence of events today that you've got to feel like they've been cooking up for some time with a little bit of a smirk perhaps, because while judge garland was having his confirmation hearing today, not for the supreme court because republicans held a seat open for a year instead of allowing him
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to be considered for that, today while he was not being considered for the supreme court but instead was considered to lead the u.s. justice department, it actually was the supreme court that made news big enough to justify news organizations breaking into the confirmation hearings for the next attorney general of the united states. and the news was, in fact, big enough to justify that. as "the new york times" put it in their coverage of the story today, quote, the supreme court's order set in motion a series of events that could lead to the startling possibility of a criminal trial of a former u.s. president. the former u.s. president in question soon affirmed that when he released a rambling and even for him almost hysterical statement in response to the supreme court ruling, saying, quote, the people of our country won't stand for it. he called the ruling of the court, quote, fascism. he was rambling about the court -- excuse me, rambling about what he called, quote, all
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the election crimes that were committed against me. really? election crimes committed against you? he said in his statement that he won the last election and, therefore, joe biden isn't even really the president. i don't know why that claim is at all relevant to the supreme court ruling that he is freaking out about here, but it seems clear that that's what he's going to say from here on out whenever he freaks out about anything. that's going to kind of his go-to. this isn't happening. i'm still secretly the president in my mind. this can't all be true. the supreme court's ruling today was issued in a short, unsigned opinion with no noted diss certificated, was that no one, not even a man who believes in his heart of hearts that the earth is flat or that donald trump was reelected, no one is immune from investigation if prosecutors believe they have committed crimes and they have a legal predicate to move forward with such an investigation. no one is above the law. in august 2019, it was state prosecutors in new york who sent a subpoena for trump's financial
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and tax records to the accounting firm used by the president and his business, and president trump pulled out all of the stops to try to block the subpoena from ever being effectuated. he sued to stop the firm from complying with the subpoena. that case went to the united states supreme court twice. he lost both times at the supreme court. he also lost at every lower court the case was heard in as well. his legal avenues are now well and truly exhausted. the accounting firm is now going to hand over the data. multiple news reports tonight describing their expected production to prosecutors as millions of pages of tax returns and financial documents. millions of pages, terabytes full of data. prosecutors will reportedly collect this information, "the new york times" says this week from the accounting firm's lawyers in westchester county, new york. prosecutors will get access to those millions of pages and then get to work examining them and determining if they prove a
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crime. prosecutor already retained a large outside consulting firm that specializes in crunching this kind of data. the prosecutors' office has also brought in a heavy-hitting outside counsel who is a former chief of the criminal division and chief of the appellate division at sdny. he is a lawyer with a long history in white collar crime prosecution and defense work. the investigation that led to this point started with the investigation into payments made during the 2016 campaign, payments to two women designed to keep them from talking publicly about their alleged affairs with candidate trump. those payments were made to benefit the campaign of candidate trump, and they were designated and prosecuted as campaign finance felonies by prosecutors in sdny. the president's lawyer, michael cohen, who facilitated those payments, he went to prison for those felonies. but those payments that mr. cohen made to those women to benefit the president's campaign, those payments were
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reimbursed by the president's business. reimbursed in a way that was apparently designed to look as if they were payments to michael cohen for legal services. that is not what they were, but that is how they were processed through the trump organization's financial systems. now, depending on how exactly that was done, that coverup could be a crime related to keeping fraudulent business records. if those fake legal expenses reimbursed to michael cohen were ultimately deducted in the trump organization's taxes, that could also be tax fraud. michael cohen, of course, then testified to congress and provided documentation attesting to what he described as a long-running scheme by the former president and his business to defraud insurance companies and banks and tax authorities. he described a scheme in which the president and his business radically changed the valuation of various properties depending on who was asking. they basically kept two sets of books in michael cohen's telling. when it came time to pay taxes on a property, trump would call
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the property basically worthless. but when it came time to use that property as collateral to get, like, a loan from a bank or something, well, then, suddenly that same property would be worth the sun, the moon and the stars, which is a cute way to do it. also, it is potential tax fraud, bank fraud and insurance fraud. but then came september 2020. it feels like it was 30 years ago. it was like several months ago. it is only february now. this was only september when it happened. it feels like a million years ago. september 2020. in the pages of "the new york times", we came to learn in very dramatic fashion why exactly president trump had been working so hard on keeping his tax and financial records hidden, why he was working harder on that than on anything else in the whole country. we learned why he was so panicked about keeping these things under wraps in september when "the new york times" reporters through separate means obtained more than two decades of trump tax records.
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and that reporting, those documents that "the times" obtained threw off a world war's worth of bombshells. the president, a self-described billionaire, turns out he paid a grand total of $750 in federal income tax in 2016, which is the year he ran for president. nun in 2017, his first year in the white house, he again paid a grand total of $750 in federal income tax. in ten of the previous 15 years, he paid zero in federal income tax, he paid nothing. "the times" reported he owed as much as $100 million to the federal government in back taxes and penalties. they reported that the president had apparently paid his daughter ivanka as an employee of the trump organization and then double dipped, also paid her as a consultant to the trump organization. why does that matter? well, the money that he paid her as a consultant he deducted from his taxes as a business expense. and that may sound like an arcane little bit of accounting mishegas, but that's a kind of a fraud that other people
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regularly go to prison for. and now trump tax and business records by the millions are in the hands of state prosecutors for the first time. prosecutors who are reportedly investigating him for tax fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud. now, lots of questions remain as to why federal prosecutors did not pursue mr. trump for prosecution after they named him as individual 1, this undecided co-conspirator, in the federal case for which michael cohen went to prison. lots of questions remain as to what happened to the culpability of individual one in that case, let alone the president's business and those who signed off on those bogus checks to michael cohen, which were really repayments for the campaign finance felonies he was committing but were disguised to look like business expenses. one of the things that merrick garland is going to have to sort out when he is confirmed as the nation's next attorney general is why his predecessor, william
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barr, personally spent weeks leaning on prosecutors at sdny to try to get them to go easy on that case, and then barr ultimately fired the u.s. attorney in charge of that office. merrick garland is going to have to sort that out. the solution to that can't be, don't do it again. the solution for that has to be accountability for hose who abused the justice department and the justice process in ways that were designed to shield the president from accountability if that is, in fact, what happened there. but what's happened here, what the supreme court set in motion today is something that does not involve federal prosecutors in that whole sdny mess. these are state prosecutors, and their case is moving forward and there really is now, as the times puts it today, the startling prospect of a criminal trial of a former u.s. president. we, the public, will not get to see these millions of pages that are getting handed over now. we won't see them unless and until there are criminal charges filed in this case and they
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surface as evidence in that case. the closest we can get now is maybe to talk to the reporters for "the new york times" who have themselves seen more information like this than any other civilian we can talk to, reporters who, in fact, won the pulitzer prize for their reporting on exactly this scandal. one of those reporters is suzanne craig, investigative reporter for "the new york times". ms. craig, it is nice of you to make time to be here for us tonight. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> from what you understand of the scope of the subpoena that was the basis of the supreme court ruling today, do you think that prosecutors are about to get their hands on a subset of what you and your colleagues saw at "the times" or do you think they're getting considerably more than what you guys were able to see? >> when it comes to the tax returns, they're going to get a subset. they're going to see eight years of the tax returns and we had over two decades of the tax returns, so in that sense they'll be seeing less.
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but they're getting just an entire universe more of information in terms of other documents that have been subpoenaed that could be really critical to actually making the case, and that includes communication between donald trump and his accounts, audited financial statements, communication that has gone back and forth and a whole other array of documents that are going to be produced that sort of explain sort of what went into the taxes in a lot more detail. >> in terms of the communications between the president and his business and the accounting firm or, indeed, the communications among people at the accounting firm who were working on this account, why would those be so valuable potentially to prosecutors who are looking to try to uncover evidence of the kind of white collar fraud that i just described? >> when you say they're really port but they're sort of top line. by using an example, there's a lot of questions and you mentioned it about the payment to stormy daniels and other
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potential hush money that was paid. we still have the tax returns. those payments aren't itemized but there's a lot of places those payments could go. for example, legal fees is a likely one and they could have been put into a line where, you know, legal fees are a tax deduction but they're not itemized on a tax return. but prosecutors could now get really detailed information that goes exactly to what was in those legal fees and they could find something there. so that's one really clear example of where they're probably going to look right away. they can get all of that. they're also going to see communication back and forth, so you're going to see, you know, the decisions that were made about what to file, what did the trump organization or donald trump tell his accountants, were there misrepresentations there. so a lot of things are really important and the pieces that go into it. we did a story in 2018 where we found tax fraud that donald trump had committed in the 1990s. we did that by piecing together financial statements, bank statements, general ledgers, public information, but it was a whole, you know, kind of puzzle that we had to put together.
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financial statement -- or tax returns are kind of your best case when you're submitting to the irs. there's actually a line where you can say, i accepted a bribe. people don't usually fill it in, but it is usually you're not filing something that's just apparently illegal. >> suzanne, one of the reasons i wanted to talk to you today was seeing your reaction to this supreme court ruling. one of the things you talked about as a potentially sort of dangerous area for the president might be these consulting fees that he paid to his daughter, ivanka trump. you also pointed out that there are a lot of unanswered questions about something that happened in 2016 where the president, when he was running for president, that his campaign was sort of low on funds and you and your colleagues were able to report that he engineered a big cash windfall himself that appeared to originate with a las vegas hotel. i wonder if you could walk us through sort of both of those concerns, the las vegas issue and the ivanka issue in terms of what the potential pitfalls
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might be there for the president? >> well, let's start with the payments, the consulting payments to ivanka trump. what is interesting about this, she got a lot of money for consulting payments. we don't know the totality of it. we were able to specifically identify some of it. the question there is she was an executive at the company, so why is she getting consulting payments. that could be a potentially illegal issue for them there. i think they'll be looking at her siblings, did they also get these consulting fees? what did they do for that since they were already on the payroll at the trump organization that warranted these special payments? and then at the las vegas hotel, very interesting. in 2016 he got several one-time really outsized cash payments, more than $20 million that we could see flowing from a hotel in vegas that he co-owns with another individual to companies that donald trump alone controls, and then they went out as just huge cash distributions in the middle of the election. he has said that there are
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agreements underpinning these. we could identify, you know, a couple of the payments where there was an agreement, others we're not sure. we haven't seen those agreements so we don't know, and i think it is one of the things that probably investigators are going to look at when they can get in and start to understand what's there. you know, let's see the agreement, what did he tell his accountants about it. they were very unusual and it was $20 million, $30 million coming to him during 2016 when he was, you know, his campaign was running low on cash. >> it's amazing that we had a candidate for president, ultimately a successful candidate for president who engineered a mysterious $20 million or $30 million payment to himself in the middle of his campaign and all of these years later it is still a total black box. suzanne -- >> no, those were -- they were shock -- >> go ahead. >> no, they were shocking to see when we could actually trace the money through, and it was significant amounts of money that we couldn't really explain and they wouldn't provide us
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with the underlying agreements that they said existed for these just massive cash infusions that suddenly came to him just as he needed money. >> one of the things that i have always found difficult about this story from beginning to end, having read every word of your reporting on this, having read a whole bunch of books that touch on this subject, having followed it so closely, is that i feel like i'm at a disadvantage because i'm not sure how bad the context is in which he appears to have been a bad actor. again, i'm not supposing any criminal behavior by the president. i realize this is an open investigation, no charges have been filed. he, of course, denies any wrongdoing. but it is my impression that the new york high-end real estate market is sort of scummie and gray area enough in terms of legality and money laundering and all sorts of gross stuff that the president might be a sort of normal actor for new york city real estate standards,
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and that it's therefore hard for me to understand whether his behavior will be seen as essentially normal for a gross pseudo illegal area of business or whether what he's done really stands out even in that sector? >> well, i think new york real estate, they do get a lot of tax deductions, but that's one thing. i mean the things that we're talking about are much different than that. were there payments, potentially hush money paid to women so that they wouldn't talk and used as a tax deduction? that has nothing to do with being a real estate developer in new york. you know, so there's a lot of things that are outside of that. i mean we've talked about the appraisals, and there's been a lot of attention on that, and that's going to be one thing that's going to be interesting to watch. and, you know, when you look at that, i mean it is not an easy case. people who use appraisals, they usually rely on experts, they high an aprayer.
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you hire a professional, so they can point to that and say, we relied on professional advice. what they'll be looking for in cases like that is did donald trump go and shop for appraisals until he found the one he liked? we've seen that plenty of times in new york where people do that, that's one example that fits into what you're saying. all we can see on a lot of things when we look at tax information is the final appraisal that arrives. cy vance in new york will be trying to find out did he go appraisal shopping or did he put undue pressure on the appraiser. >> suzanne craig, investigative reporter for "the new york times," one of the only humans on earth who could preview for us what these prosecutors are about to get their hands on. thanks for helping us understand. it's good to see you. >> thanks for having me. good to see you, too. all right. we have much more ahead tonight. stay with us. e ahead tonight. stay with us
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"the new york times" wins the prize for the most eloquent summary of today's plot twist involving the potential criminal liability, potential criminal trial of a former president of the united states for the first time in u.s. history. "the times" saying today, quote, the supreme court's order set in motion a series of events that could lead to the startling possibility of a criminal trial of a former u.s. president. they win the eloquence summary.
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but the prize for brevity today goes to the new york prosecutor whose office learned today that the supreme court had decisively cleared the way for something that president trump fought for a very long time and fought very hard to try to block from happening. former president trump's taxes and financial records will be handed over to a grand jury. upon receiving the supreme court's ruling clearing the way for that today, district attorney cy vance's response was three words. he said, quote, the work continues, period. dan alonso worked with vance. if anybody can tell us what today's plot the west means for the investigation into donald trump and what it may mean for the former president, mr. alonso is my bet. joining us, served as assist and da under cy vance. mr. alonso, thanks for making the time. >> thank you.
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>> i am not a lawyer and i want to give you a chance first to set me straight if there is anything that i have explained about this court ruling and its implications that strikes you wrong or you think i might have gotten the wrong way around. >> no, i think you got it pretty much right, and your previous guest obviously is incredibly well-versed in this stuff. so you got it right. to a certain extent we are all speculating a little bit, right, it is educated speculation. we know from the da and some statements made in court and we know from some of the great reporting that's been done that there may be six to eight areas of inquiry that they are tracking down. but we can't know, you know, whether they have smoking guns, whether they can really prove intent to defraud, as suzanne was saying. so there are definitely a lot of questions to be answered, but i would say that today's development is huge, not just because it is significant but also because they probably bought themselves millions of pages to have to sift through
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now. >> when you say six to eight areas of inquiry, and this being potential huge consequences, how serious are the crimes that are potentially implicated here? obviously, again, there have been no charges. the president and his business deny all wrongdoing and we won't know anything about what the grand jury has done until they present evidence in court, if they ever do. but given what has been publicly reporting about what they are looking at and the types of allegations that have been made by people who know something about these business practices, are these the sorts of things for which people get a fine and, you know, sort of a slap on the wrist or are these potentially serious charges? >> i mean, look, as with so many things in the law, they are -- it depends. so, obviously, there are very many serious charges that they're considering. just the fact that they're saying the words "insurance fraud," "tax fraud," "bank fraud," those are all serious charges. now, do they require time in
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prison? only at the high end, so we would have to know whether the loss was high enough to require a judge to put whomever, you know, behind bars. you know, lower level felonies don't require it but they do permit it. so we really need to know how much loss they can prove, whether that's tax loss or loss to the banks or loss to insurance companies or intended loss. we can -- once we know that, we can start to figure it out. but i would say all of these are potentially felonies, so i would say that by itself makes them quite serious. >> and, dan, in terms of what you know about the operations of this office, it is one thing for us in the journalism world and the citizens to talk about millions of pages being handed over, terabytes full of data, but from a prosecutor's perspective and from the perspective of people trying to put together potentially felony charges here, how long does it take to go through something like that? i mean it sounds like kind of a life's work, and presumably you
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need certain people quarterbacking it and organizing other people to work on it, delegating certain pieces out. how big a job is this? how much time do you expect that much paperwork, how much time do you expect prosecutors to take going through it? >> on one hand it is an enormous job. if this happened when i was starting out a prosecutor 30 years ago, i would say the sky is the limit on how long it would take. today the da and the consultant he has hired have serious data analytics tools that can be used to sort through what they have to quickly do the kinds of searches that will get them to, you know, separate the wheat from the chaff pretty quickly. those are -- those start out as simple word searches and number searches, but they involve artificial intelligence. so i think that they will be able to do this, you know, relatively quickly. you know, this is very complicated. the new york real estate industry is extremely complicated to begin with, so they have experts guiding them
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on how that works and how all these, you know, 500 or so llcs work together. but i think at the end of the day they're really going to be -- you know, right now they already know what they want to look for, so they're going to start there, and then they'll do the sort of bigger sifting through the stuff. so it will take a while, for sure, but it is not an impossible task, not in 2021. >> dan, there's also been some very interesting reporting in recent days that the office has brought in a very prominent former federal prosecutor and high-level white collar defense attorney, a man named mike pomerantz whose real pedigree is in new york law, and he is going to be involved in the trump investigation only, signed on as a special assistant da in the office for that purpose. there's also very recent reporting that mr. pomerantz recently within the last few days, re-interviewed, michael cohen, the president's former lawyer who went to prison for these campaign finance felonies
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and other charges and has made a lot of serious allegations about the president that seem to track somewhat with these bank fraud, tax fraud aelkss that we've heard in public reporting describing the conditions of the investigation. what do you think of the appointment of pomerantz and does it surprise you that he is talking again to michael cohen? is michael cohen going to end up being a valuable witness here? >> for sure you said it correctly. he is a prominent lawyer, what we call a heavy hitter, so that's good thing because he will, you know, have seen cases of this magnitude before in civil and criminal context. i will put in a plug for my former colleagues. the office already has some fantastic assistant das that have been working on this case for a while. so i think even without mike pomerantz the case would have been in good hands. i think that only enhances it to have him in the case. in terms of michael cohen, very interesting. so, you know, i actually watched the cohen hearing today when he
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testified before congress, and some of the attacks that were made by the republicans will probably be made if he testifies in a trial, assuming that trump or someone close to him is indicted, and i thought those -- you know, if handled correctly by the prosecutor, those will ring hollow. basically, the attack is, you know, this is a perjurying witness. this is somebody who lied to congress. how dare we have as a witness somebody who lied to congress? well, okay, but that doesn't end the story. i mean i have put witnesses on the stand who have committed perjury, who asked others to commit perjury, and that's not the question. if that was the question, then we wouldn't put them on the stand. the question is not whether they lied before, it is whether they're telling the truth now. so you have to ask yourself, well, why did michael cohen lie to congress? well, it was obvious to protect donald trump. it is not like donald trump corrected the testimony afterwards, even though he presumably knew the truth. so you have to ask yourself, you know, is whatever michael cohen is going to say corroborated by other evidence, and that's a lot of what they're doing now by
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pouring through these documents, other evidence and other documents and other witnesses, too. so, no, i think michael cohen could be a significant witness but i think he has warts, so it has to be a very careful prosecutor who puts everything out on the table, warts and all, so the jury can see it all. but i do think that he could be a persuasive witness if properly corroborated. >> and, you know, nothing corroborates like millions of pages of documents that the president fought tooth and nail to try to keep hidden. dan alonso, former federal prosecutor, veteran of the new york state prosecutor's office, that's cy vance's team, and cy vance's team that just got this incredible, decisive ruling from the supreme court today. thanks so much, dan. i appreciate it. >> thanks so much for having me. all right, we have a lot more to get to this busy, busy monday night. stay with us. , busy monday night stay with us ♪ hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid ♪ ♪ and all that glitters is gold ♪
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covid's still a threat. and on reopening schools, we know what happens when we don't put safety first. ignore proper ventilation or rates of community spread, and the virus worsens.
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fail to provide masks or class sizes that allow for social distancing, and classrooms close back down. a successful reopening requires real safety and accountability measures. including prioritizing vaccines for educators. parents and educators agree: reopen schools. putting safety first. we're going to start off with a nice easy warm-up, start jumping jacks. nice, easy jumping jacks, everyone. we're going to have a lot of fun
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today. i don't even know what to do right now, i'm so nervous. i'm like, oh, my god. >> the fact that our first lady is so into physical fitness and now we've got her on "the biggest loser" working out, that could not be any cooler. >> trainer bob very nervous. there's the first lady with that group of people, working out, michelle obama, april 2012, encouraging american families to get moving, to be fit and healthy. watching the first lady in action like that for a good cause, trying to encourage people doing crunches and lunges and jumping jacks, that was inspiring to a lot of people. this guy, though, had a different take. his reaction was this. quote, did you notice that while michelle obama is working out on tv, she is sweating on the east room's carpet? i'm just saying. dot dot dot. the guy who tweeted that is named rick grenell.
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back in 2012 when he tweeted that, he was a republican operative who had a very public habit of tweeting mean and frequently sexist things about the obamas and about their kids, also about then vice president joe biden, about prominent democrats. he would also sometimes use his twitter account to go after members of his own party as well. he repeatedly attacked former republican speaker of the house newt gingrich. he liked to go after newt gingrich's wife, he would make fun of her hair, that was kind of his level of insults, insulting people's looks and their weight, attacking their families, particular venom for women in the public eye. he's a real nice guy. this became a little sticky, kind of for rick grenell when president donald trump surveyed the american landscape and decided that above all other americans, the best pick for ambassador to germany would be that guy, ric grenell.
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there was talk when the nomination was announced that grenell's past behavior online might disqualify him from getting confirmed in the senate because it was so mean and sexist and petty and gross. turned out to be no problem, though, really, ended up being smooth sailing. mr. grenell and his archive of mean tweets were confirmed in the senate with bipartisan support, with votes to spare, not a big deal, apparently. right now, the current president, president biden, is dealing with a confirmation speed bump for one of his nominees, though. her name is neera tanden. she is biden's nominee to run the office of management and budget. and her nomination drew immediate complaints from republicans in the senate who complained that her past tweets about them were mean. they said her tweets about republican lawmakers were too combative. they said her old tweets about them long before she was a nominee would make it impossible for her to work with them. it seemed she would receive few
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if any votes to the republicans to confirm her for the job. she would need every democrat to vote in her favor in order to get confirmed. on friday, democratic senator joe manchin announced that he won't vote to confirm neera tanden. he said that it was because of her partisan statements on twitter. he said those statements would have a toxic and detrimental impact on her work. today main republican senator susan collins also announced that neera tanden's tweets are a problem for her as well. she says they demonstrate ms. tanden does not have the temperament to lead the omb, which is a peculiar decision on the part of those senators, given that both of those senators had absolutely no problem supporting someone with a hyperpartisan twitter warring history in the past. susan collins and joe manchin both voted to confirm ric grenell in 2017, the guy who used his twitter account to attack the sitting -- the
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sitting president's children, to mock a woman's hair, to attack all sorts of women for their appearance, to attack michelle obama for sweating on the east room carpet. but for them, neera tanden's criticism of republican senators, that's caustic and inappropriate and so she must be barred from a senate-confirmed position. ric grenell is fine. neera tanden, uh-huh. they're not the only senators to announce they will be voting no on the tanden confirmation. ohio senator rob portman also announced his opposition to neera tanden. so did utah senator mitt romney. there's still time to find one republican, any republican vote for ms. tanden. republican senator lisa murkowski of alaska was notably quiet on the prospect. but until then, until a democrat -- a republican senator decides he or she will vote for ms. tanden, tandem's nomination
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to lead omb is hanging by a thread tonight because of the absolutely outrageous and overt double standard to which she is being subjected by even at least one democratic senator who was happy to excuse much worse behavior than hers for a male nominee in a previous administration but has discovered some new standard to keep her from getting his votes. republicans have done it. at least one democrat is doing it. that might make the difference here. the biden administration says they remain in full support of her nomination and they're not pulling it. watch this space. you love your pet...but hate wearing their hair.
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a couple of developments worth watching on the aftermath of the january 6th attack on the capitol. back on december 14th wisconsin's state electors met to finalize their state's ten votes for joe biden for the electoral college, but despite the fact that biden clearly won wisconsin a separate group of republicans in the state decided that they would try to appoint themselves as wisconsin's state
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electors. it was weird, right? biden won the state. it was therefore his electors who would cast wisconsin's votes for the electoral college, but the republicans including the state party chairman, they just decided they would name themselves anyway and then they started forging documents. they signed bogus certificates of election. they sent fake documents to federal and state officials proclaiming that trump had actually won the ten electoral votes from wisconsin when, in fact, they were all won by joe biden. well, that was a weird moment in the post-election craziness in the republican party, but now lawyers for a wisconsin union, for sciu in wisconsin, have sent a complaint to the milwaukee county district attorney, to state prosecutors in wisconsin, requesting that a criminal investigation be opened into those acts. the union has written this letter to the milwaukee county da and says the republicans violated six state laws, forgery, falsely assuming to act as a public officer, misconduct, conspiracy to commit criminal acts. something to keep an eye out of
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wisconsin. meanwhile, tomorrow at the national level on capitol hill we will have the first big investigative hearing on what happened on january 6th. it is a joint oversight hearing conducted by the homeland security hearing and the rules committee. we will hear from a number of officials who should be interesting witnesses. the sergeant of arms from the house and the sergeant of arms in the senate both resigned in the immediate aftermath of the attack. they will testify tomorrow as well as the former chief of the capitol police who also resigned after the attack. those officials as well as the acting chief of police for the d.c. police department, they are all going to face questions from senators in tomorrow's hearing. it is called examining the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol. it should be one to watch. watch this space. by over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens. try claritin cool mint chewabls for powerful allergy relief plus a cooling sensation. live claritin clear. daddy, is that where we're from?
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that is going to do it for us tonight. i will tell you tomorrow is going to be a big news day particularly in washington. second day of confirmation hearings for merrick garland. today's first day of hearings was very newsy, tomorrow should be a big deal. also hearings for javier beccera, and deb holland. she would be the first native american in history if confirmed. i'll see you again tomorrow night. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> as you know, beto o'rourke is one of the texans who did not go to cancun when the crisis hit, and he's going to join us at the end of this hour and tell us


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