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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 4, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST

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for a class project that you had mastered a second grade-level understanding of what corruption is, of what it means to be a crooked corrupt public official. what are the things you might conjure up grader's level understanding of that concept is that, like, hypothetically, you might have a person in the government whose job in the government was that they were in charge of road-building projects, right? that person could not also own part of a company that was the country's biggest supplier of road-building materials, right? if you were a second grader trying to show that you understood what corruption is, that would be like an almost oversimplified example of what it would mean to be corrupt. being in charge of road-building while also holding a personal financial stake in a company that does road-building. that stands to benefit financially from your actions as
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a public official, which means you can take actions as a public official that will put money in your own pocket. that's a second grader's level understanding of corruption, an oversimplified one, right? except for the fact that in real life, in the trump administration, when elaine chao was appointed to be secretary of transportation, she was told by ethics officials that she needed to divest, she needed to sell her stake in a company described by the "wall street journal" as the country's largest supplier of crushed sand and gravel used in road paving and road-building. right? as any second grader who understands these things could tell you, as transportation secretary, you have a lot of say in, say, roads, so you can't also own a company that does road paving and road-building. elaine chao was advised by ethics officials that, of course, she needed to divest from that company. you can't be transportation secretary and have stock in a road-building company. come on!
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she was told she had to divest. she said she would. "wall street journal" had the scoop in 2019 that elaine chao actually did not divest from that company. she held onto the stock, tons of it, in fact. remember how the trump administration was always declaring that it was infrastructure-weak and that became a big punch line for them? i mean, every time there was some new scandal or indictment of a trump friend, something worthy of yet another impeachment, they'd declare infrastructure week, even though the trump administration never actually did anything on infrastructure. but american public media was first to report that one of the actual material consequences of them repeatedly declaring infrastructure week is that every time they announced, again, that it would be infrastructure week again, the stock price would go up at that crushed sand and gravel company that elaine chao stayed invested in, even while she was serving as secretary of transportation. nice gig, if you can get it.
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right? but in your hypothetical second grader project, explaining to your second grade colleagues what corruption is, even beyond the holding stock in the road-building company thing, if you don't have that much faith in your second grader colleagues, you don't think maybe they can grasp something even that simple, you might conjure an even simpler example, a paragon idea of what it means to be a crooked public official. you might imagine, say, that in your job as a public official, in your job as transportation secretary of the united states, you took official action, you arranged official travel, you arranged official government meetings and photo ops to benefit your family business. is that an even simpler idea of the basic idea of corruption? because in 2019, "the new york times" was first to report on a series of actions taken by trump transportation secretary elaine chao in which she brought or tried to bring her father and other family members involved in her family's massive china-based
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transportation business on official u.s. government trips and to official u.s. government events, into what were supposed to be official u.s. government meetings. she brought her family members, or wanted to bring her family members who run the family business. on what would have been her first trip to china as trump's transportation secretary -- she's there on behalf of the united states of america as a high-ranking government official -- she tried to get the u.s. embassy in beijing to help her arrange meetings with high-ranking chinese officials for her relatives who were going to travel with her on the trip, her relatives who run her family business that have extensive business interests in china and want additional business from the chinese government. she wanted the u.s. embassy, the state department, to help set up those meetings for her family members as part of her trip there as a u.s. government official. and the embassy personnel, the u.s. embassy personnel in china who got asked to do that for her
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family freaked out about how blatantly unethical that was. they squaukd about it. ultimately, secretary chao called off that trip altogether. but come on. the trump administration had a lot of corruption scandals. this is the kind that you can write in capital letters and fit on a bumper sticker. elaine chao, of course, is now no longer transportation secretary. she quit the cabinet right after the capitol attack in january. elaine chao famously is married to the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell. the widespread and quite towering allegations of corruption against secretary chao while she served as transportation secretary, they were -- you may remember, 2019, these scandals were reported one after another during her time in office. at one point in 2019, there were like five separate corruption scandals all raging around her all at the same time, most of which dwarfed the other
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concurrent trump cabinet member corruption scandals, and that's really saying something, given the levels of corruption at the highest levels of the trump administration. but it's interesting. senator mitch mcconnell and his wife, secretary chao, never really seemed all that worried about any of these scandals, about any of this public reporting. they never seemed to sweat any of it. mcconnell, in fact, frequently joked about this as if it was no problem whatsoever and they didn't have a care in the world about it. well, now we may know why. tonight, the inspector general at her department, the transportation department, has just released a public report on the matter, on the investigation that was done by the inspector general's office at the transportation department into these multiple allegations of corruption against elaine chao. the public report, the letter tonight released to the public discloses that investigators looking at these corruption allegations against elaine chao actually found the allegations to be substantiated enough and serious enough that she was
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referred to the u.s. justice department for potential criminal prosecution. now, she is not the first trump cabinet official who this has happened to. this is actually, by my count, i think the fourth trump cabinet official that we know of who inspector general investigators referred to the justice department for federal criminal prosecution on corruption charges after they looked into serious allegations against all these different trump cabinet members. i mean, that said, you spread the corruption around thick enough, seems like nobody ever gets in trouble for it. i mean, under the trump administration, see if you can spot the pattern here. robert wilkie, trump veterans affairs secretary, was investigated for corruption. the investigation resulted in a referral to the doj for federal criminal prosecution. trump's doj declined to prosecute secretary wilkie. interior secretary ryan zinke,
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with an investigation found substantive and serious enough that it was referred to the justice department for criminal prosecution. trump's justice department declined to prosecute secretary zinke. also, trump labor secretary alex acosta, investigated for corruption. the result of the investigation was that the allegations were found to be substantive and serious enough that he was referred to the department of justice for potential criminal prosecution. the trump justice department declined to prosecute him as well. well, now tonight we know that it's four of them, at least. we now know that it was trump transportation secretary elaine chao as well, also referred to the justice department for criminal prosecution. and referred to the trump doj on a very interesting timeline, because they, too, decided that they would not prosecute her. in this letter explaining the actions of their office tonight, the inspector general's office says they started their corruption investigation into transportation secretary elaine chao in 2019. based on that investigation, they decided that some of the allegations were serious and
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substantive enough that they required a criminal referral to the justice department. they made that criminal referral based on the findings of that investigation. look, they made the criminal referral on december 16th, 2020. that's when they referred her for potential prosecution to the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. then the following day, december 17th, they referred her to the public integrity section, which is essentially the public corruption section at main justice for potential prosecution there as well. so, this is in the waning days of the trump administration, during the transition, just a month before biden was sworn in as president, the trump justice department receives these criminal referrals to potentially prosecute transportation secretary and mitch mcconnell's wife, elaine chao, and they quietly decline those prosecutions. one other president in one term was efficient enough, effective enough, laser focused enough to
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have four different labor secretaries, at least, referred for federal prosecution for corruption? and this isn't like somebody writing a letter and saying, i hate this guy, you ought to look into him. this is, like, a real investigation that was done by inspector general professional investigators. and what they found was serious enough that, mm, this should probably be a court case. this should possibly be a criminal matter. we ought to refer this. i mean, that happening to one high-ranking government official of any kind is a big deal. he had four in the cabinet in four years! that's like -- that's -- that's -- well, it tells you something about the trump justice department. i mean, that's like an exhausting amount of work for the justice department, alone, kiboshing and turning down all of those already investigated, substantiated, serious corruption prosecutions of all the highest ranking officials in the government. it must have been exhausting turning all of those away, one after the other.
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when does merrick garland become attorney general? what's the plan for dealing with improper political influence and corruption inside the justice department during the trump years? how are they going to fix that? are they going to look into that? are there going to be consequences for that? but mitch mcconnell is still the top republican in the senate, so at least we know in this case that if any ill-gotten gains from his wife's alleged corruption made their way back to the family, at least we know those ill-gotten gains are staying close to the most powerful people in republican governance, even today. just incredible. we actually will have more on that story with one of the reporters who broke some of the most lurid allegations against elaine chao for "the new york times," coming up later on this hour. we had been expecting tonight that the senate right now would be taking its first action on the big covid relief bill. that did not happen because of some procedural delays in the senate, but we also know now that when they do start to debate and take votes on the covid relief bill, mitch mcconnell and the senate republicans are going to string
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it out for as long as possible. they're going to sort of pull out all the procedural dirty tricks to muck it up as much as they can, including things like forcing the clerks to read every word of the bill out loud and to read out loud every word of every amendment, and they can offer, basically, infinite amendments, so that could take, essentially, infinite time. they're going to try to slow down covid relief as long as possible with 20-hour and 30-hour marathon stunts on the senate floor, because it's not like the american people are in any hurry for covid relief or anything. no need to rush, like the funding for vaccine distribution or funding for reopening schools or relief checks to people who are unemployed right now. no need to rush. let's see how long we can stretch this out. maybe we can make it take weeks. meanwhile, on the other side of the capitol tonight, there is a rush on. a surprise, late-in-the-day announcement from the house today that they're going to be staying late and taking votes tonight on their big election
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reform bill, hr-1, the for the people act, as well as their big policing reform bill. they decided to rush to do those both tonight, essentially so that the house could not be in session tomorrow. the reason they decided late in the game that they do not want to be in session tomorrow is for security concerns. it is not yet two months since the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol by the trump-supporting mob, but the capitol police and the house sergeant-at-arms, and apparently, also a joint bulletin from homeland security and the fbi, have all now warned that the same kind of attackers might be coming back tomorrow, march 4th, thursday, march 4th. at least that's what militia groups and conspiracy theory adherents have discussed, apparently, trying to attack the collagen, tomorrow, on march 4th, because they are fantasizing that, somehow, tomorrow will be the day that trump will come back to power. now, why did they pick march
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4th? it's the day that new u.s. presidents used to be inaugurated, before they changed the date of the presidential inauguration to january. they did that i think in the 1930s. for several weeks now, even before the capitol insurrection, that quirk in history has made march 4th another day of focus for the extremists and cloud cuckoo land trump supporters and conspiracy theorists who, like, think he's an emperor or something and that he secretly won the election and mike flynn and the military are now somehow going to install him back in the white house and kill everybody else. incidentally, i also just want to note here that as random and weird and unsettling as these conspiracy theories are about this idea that on something -- for some reason, on march 4th, something's going to happen to reinstall trump in power and there, therefore, might be another effort to attack the u.s. capitol -- for as weird and
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unsettling as that is, for as far-fetched as that still feels, even after the january 6th attack, you should know that the trump hotel in washington, d.c., does appear to think that something really special is going on tomorrow in washington, d.c. this is something that was first reported by the "washingtonian" magazine last month. but we checked today, and it is still absolutely true that the trump hotel has marked up its hotel rooms for tonight and tomorrow to nearly triple their usual rate. they're usually at $400-$500 a night. that's, in fact, what they are the nights preceding march 4th and 5th. that is what -- excuse me, march 3rd and 4th. that is what they're going back to next week. that's what they have been in recent days. but for tonight, the eve of the 4th, and for tomorrow night, the 4th, itself, the trump hotel is charging a minimum of over $1,300 a room!
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and then the room rates go right back down. now, why is that? the fbi and homeland security are warning that tomorrow may be the date of a new attempted siege of the capitol by trump-supporting extremists, and the trump hotel has tripled the cost for a hotel room tonight and tomorrow. why is that? i mean, it's not like something else is going on in d.c. that would explain their hotel rates being jacked up tonight and tomorrow. we looked at equivalent hotels in d.c., places like the four seasons or the hay-adams. their rates for tonight and tomorrow are absolutely the same as they always are. it's just the trump hotel where, if, for some reason, you're going to be in town tonight for something special tomorrow, they are going to absolutely get triple the money they usually would. so, it's a special day for them, for some reason. the fbi, homeland security, joint intelligence bulletin to local state and law enforcement
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agencies say these trump-supporting groups have, quote, discussed plans to take control of the u.s. capitol and remove democratic lawmakers on or about march 4th. remove democratic lawmakers. remove them from the capitol. really. well, lawmakers, turns out, are removing themselves. they're doing these two big votes tonight so that they won't have to meet tomorrow, and they don't want to meet tomorrow because of the heightened security status around these threats, which seems both nuts and also maybe necessary, given how undefended the u.s. capitol was to disastrous effect the last time these nutballs said they were coming to try to install trump by force, and then they did. today in the senate, they tried to get to the bottom of one of the really vexing, worrying questions about what happened on the day of the attack. why didn't the police get backup when the trump mob started overrunning the capitol, when they absolutely overran the
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police, when police officers were being beaten and gassed and having their protective equipment torn off and they are being dragged down the capitol steps and stomped and beaten with flag poles and bats. when police officials were begging for the national guard to come in and backstop them, why didn't it happen? the senate tried to get to the bottom of that today. and it was a remarkable series of revelations. today we learned that the d.c. national guard was told the day before the attack, january 5th, that they were going to need special permission directly from the secretary of the army, himself, personally, if they wanted to employ a quick-reaction force in case of attack. we learned then that the next day, when the attack, in fact, happened, they refused to give that permission for more than three hours while the capitol was overrun and five people, including a police officer, died, and the request to send in the national guard as backup languished for hours. for hours!
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we also got confirmation today, believe it or not, that at the pentagon, one of the senior officials who fielded that desperate call from the police for help, one of the pentagon officials who expressed the opinion that it wouldn't be a good idea to allow the national guard in there to help was, in fact, the younger brother of trump national security adviser mike flynn, who, of course, was a focal point and hero of the extremists who carried out the attack, who, himself, promoted and spoke at the events in d.c. that preceded the attack, who publicly called for trump to use the military to overturn the election to stay in power. his younger brother, lieutenant general charles flynn at the pentagon was in on the decision on january 6th to hold the national guard back and not let them in to help the police who were being overrun by the rioters as the rioters swarmed into the capitol. now, the pentagon made multiple public statements explicitly denying that general charlie flynn had any part in these discussions. the army lied about that. why did they lie about that?
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>> who made that statement? >> that was senior leaders in the nagts army, general pyatt, general flynn and others. they got back to me, saying -- and that was on the phone call with district of columbia senior leaders -- that it wouldn't be their best military advice to send uniformed guardsmen to the capitol because they didn't like the optics. >> senior leaders in the u.s. army, including general flynn and others -- general flynn in this case is general charlie flynn, mike flynn's brother. why did the pentagon lie and say that he wasn't part of this disastrous decision when he definitely was? >> at 1:49 p.m., i received a frantic call from then chief of united states capitol police steven sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter
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of the united states capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. chief sund, his voice cracking we motion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the capitol, and he requested the immediate assistance of as many available national guardsmen that i could muster. immediately after that 1:49 call, i alerted the u.s. army senior leadership of the request. the approval for chief sund's request would eventually come from the acting secretary of defense and be relayed to me by army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m., about 3 hours and 19 minutes later. i had already had guardsmen on buses at the armory ready to move to the capitol. consequently, at 5:20 p.m., less than 20 minutes, the district of columbia national guard arrived at the capitol. >> so, i just keep imagining this scene. the whole country, the whole world is seeing this on tv. you've got the police line
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breached at this moment. you have smashed windows. you have insurrectionists going through the police lines. you are on the phone. everyone is seeing this on tv, and they're not immediately approving your request. and in your recent testimony, you just said, hey, i could have gotten them on those buses and ready to go. is that correct? >> that is correct, senator. >> and as you just testified in response to senator peters, you believe that would have made a difference, to have them at the perimeter at a sooner point. and i know that the people in charge of capitol security felt the same. >> yes, ma'am. >> and so, you could have had them there earlier, hours earlier, if it had been approved, and then you had them on the bus. and so, they were actually sitting on the bus for a short period of time, right? waited, because you thought, well, they just got to honor the request, is that how your head was working, so you actually put
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them on the bus so they were ready to go, but you couldn't let the buses go? >> yes, senator. i just came to the conclusion that, eventually, i'm going to get approval, and i didn't want -- at that point, seconds mattered, minutes mattered. and i needed to be ready to get them there as quick as possible. so, i already had district of columbia national guard, military police vehicle in front of the bus to help get through any traffic lights. so, we were there in 18 minutes. >> 18 minutes. >> i arrived at 17:20. and they were sworn in as soon as they got there. >> as soon as the pentagon finally told them, yes, it's okay to go, the guardsmen were at the capitol in 18 minutes. they could have been there in 18 minutes. instead, the pentagon, including mike flynn's brother, after mike flynn is publicly calling on the military to do what the rioters were trying to do, overthrow the government and reinstall trump
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in power, general flynn's brother and other pentagon officials told them they didn't like the idea of sending in the national guard, so the guard was held back for more than three hours while the capitol was overrun. they could have been there in 18 minutes. but instead, they were held back for more than three hours. while everything that happened that day happened and five people died. joining us now is senator amy klobuchar, chair of the rules committee, one of the committees that oversaw today's hearing. she also serves on judiciary committee as well as the senate committee on science, commerce and transportation. her committee assignments are basically the nexus of all of these developing stories tonight. senator, you are right in the middle of it all. thank you so much for making time to be here tonight. i felt like i learned a lot at the hearing today in terms of what happened with the national guard situation with that delay. i was frustrated, though, to not hear from the pentagon officials who made the decision that the delay should happen. do you expect that we will hear
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from general flynn, from the former defense secretary, from the chief of the army, who actually made these calls? >> well, first of all, as you know, last week -- and we talked about this -- we found out the mess-ups that happened on the capitol side. and that was not requesting the guard earlier. that wasn't really the defense department's fault. that was decisions that were made by the then sergeant-at-arms -- that would have made a big difference. i want to look at the big picture here because our whole hope is on being constructive. we did this on a bipartisan basis, senator peters and i, as well as senator blunt and senator portman. those were the major issues. we have the structure of the capitol police board, where multiple people have to make decisions and give the go-ahead to the capitol police. that has to change. then you get to what you're focused on, rightfully so today, the day of, where we heard the stunning testimony today from
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general walker, where, in fact, he said he was ready to go. he had a number of trained men and women at the national guard who, by the way, are guarding us today, will be guarding us tomorrow when we come in to do our work to get the covid package done, and they were ready to go. and he waited and he waited and he waited. and yes, this raises many other questions, and there's many ways we can get those answers -- additional hearing. we can have interviews. we can do written questions. but clearly, we were left with a big, fat question mark about what the motivations were. the walkers, the general walkers, the head of the d.c. national guard, who was incredible today, his theory was that they were concerned, somehow, of how it would look. they said that they were concerned -- this is his testimony -- that it could have gotten the protesters going more. but the point was, now, wait a minute, there was this moment where everyone in the world saw it on tv.
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when they made that call, it was already on tv that the glass was breaking, that they breached the lines, that they were entering the capitol. as we now know with bear spray and with stun guns and with poles that they used as weapons. and to just delay at all is what shocked the head of the metropolitan police last week when he testified, and this general said the very same thing -- they should have immediately, immediately made that decision. and by the way, if people say, well, it doesn't matter, they had already entered the capitol. every second mattered. every minute mattered. as you look at the loss of life with officer sicknick, you look at the people that were severely injured in that insurrection. >> senator, it's been a little bit jarring today to see that testimony, to look at what happened that day, to get new information about what happened, and also to see these warnings about another threat from the
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same types of folks pinned to tomorrow and these conspiracy theories about march 4th. i didn't -- i haven't known how much attention to pay to them, how much, frankly, to talk about them on television. i didn't want to amplify them more than they deserved, but there has been dramatic movement tonight. we're seeing the house deciding, basically, to not be in session. they changed their voting schedule. they're there late tonight so that they don't have to be there tomorrow. we've seen security advice that members of congress and senators should use underground tunnels and have staff teleworking tomorrow, if possible, just in case there is more trouble. what's your perspective on that? >> well, we are all listening to the acting police chief. we also have the acting sergeant-at-arms, and of course, we have so much more security than we had. it's not even a comparison. and so much more intelligence coming our way. there were issues, as you know, before the insurrection, where raw intelligence was put out. it didn't get in the right hands. we think there have been
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improvements there. and so, the senate, really, rachel, we've got to get this covid package done. and ron johnson, senator johnson, has decided, as you rightfully pointed out on your show, that he's going to make the parliamentarians read the entire bill into the record, read it out loud, that he's going to make the senate do that. and that's his choice. anyone could read the bill. it's been out there, actually, for a while. and i'm sure he could read it at home or he could read it himself out loud, if he'd like. but that's one of the things we have to do tomorrow. we have a vote. and then that's going to happen. then we'll go into the week. we don't think the american people can wait. if he wants to delay them getting their direct checks, people who need the help, or he wants to delay that money and the rest of the republicans want to delay the money going out there to pay for the vaccine distribution, we want to get the shots in the arm and we want to follow through on president
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biden's incredible news yesterday that there's going to be shots available for every adult by may, well, we've got to make sure the distribution's in place and we've got to help our schools. and so, we are staying in until it gets done. >> senator amy klobuchar, chair of the rules committee, again, right at the heart of all of these things happening all at once right now. senator, it's good to see you. thanks for making time. as i mentioned, one of the things the house is voting on tonight is the for the people act, hr-1, which is all these election reforms, trying to ungerrymander the country, trying to bolster voting rights. when that goes over to the senate, it will be senator klobuchar and her committee that will be helming that as that heads towards a big filibuster standoff in the u.s. senate. we're watching that vote tonight in the house, the vote on the george floyd policing reform act. it's a big night. lots still going on. form act. it's a big night lots still going on. they don't go to the post office they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com
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as i mentioned at the top of the show, we're following developing news tonight concerning allegations of potential criminal activity by trump transportation secretary elaine chao, who also happens to be the wife of senate republican leader mitch mcconnell. "the new york times" was first to report tonight that the inspector general at the transportation department had made a criminal referral to the justice department concerning chao's alleged behavior after investigaing allegations that she misused her office to benefit her company's shipping company. the ig said, "we concluded that a formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted." we also learned from the ig tonight that the trump justice department gave that criminal referral on elaine chao to the
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justice department -- sorry, the inspector general gave that referral about chao to the trump justice department on december 16th and december 17th, 2020. so, during the transition between the trump and biden administrations. the trump justice department declined to take up the investigations. they're not pursuing chao, despite the referrals. in 2019, it was "the new york times" that was first to break the story that chao had been using her role as secretary of transportation to boost the profile of her family's company. now we know what that reporting sparked. joining me now is someone whose by line is on both of those stories i just mentioned, "the new york times" investigative reporter eric lipton. thank you so much for making time tonight. >> thank you. >> so, the inspector general has described that office's investigation of what you and your colleagues reported at the "times" and some of the other allegations against chao. did you learn anything from the inspector general's disclosure tonight about chao's behavior or about the seriousness with which
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it was investigated? >> yeah. i mean, in fact, we learned that there are many more examples of her intervening in ways that were to benefit her father, and at times, her sister. her father was one of the founders of this shipping company, which largely operates out of china, and her sister currently is the chief executive there. and so, there were many more examples of her taking actions that was helping elevate the, sort of the promotional aspects for this company, particularly as her father, who's now retired but still is associated with the company, was promoting a book and was being described in chinese media as being, you know, a major player in the shipping industry in china. >> one of the things that this brought home to me is the sheer number of times we've now learned that the trump justice department got a criminal referral for a serving member of the cabinet and then declined to take up the case.
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from your reporting and your long career of reporting on public corruption and bad behavior by public officials, is it a surprise to you that the justice department declined to take up these referrals, either in terms of the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. or the public integrity division? >> not really. i mean, you know, these are not matters where she was, you know, taking actions that brought her direct financial benefit or that there was allegations of, you know, money being exchanged or anything like that. i mean, i think that what the inspector general found were instances that really appeared to be, you know, ethics violations, and they made a referral to doj, and they also made a referral even after doj didn't take it up to the office of the general counsel at the department of transportation. and what they got back from doj was that we don't see grounds for a criminal case, but we're not adjudicating on whether there were ethical violations here. that's up to an administrative
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process for department of transportation to take up. so, i'm not surprised that that was the outcome. what i was surprised with was how many examples there were that this report documented a dozen different cases where the department of transportation staff were used to help promote her father's interests or her sister's interests, particularly as it pertained to their face to china, which is where their business operates, mostly. >> eric, one quick last question for you. obviously, secretary chao is now out of office, but her husband is the republican leader in the senate. is there any indication that any family benefit that accrued to the chao family through the actions of secretary chao might have made its way home to secretary chao and to senator mcconnell, themselves? is there any indication that he might have benefited from any ill-gotten gains? >> nothing direct. i mean, i think the benefits would be that she used her staff and her office to help elevate her father, and at times, her
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sister, who are executives, you know, her sister in particular is still an executive at this prominent chinese, largely operated -- it's new york-based, but it's building ships in china and it's delivering freight in china. and this is a company that's gotten financial backing from the government of china to build its ships there. so, you know, i think that her work helped continue to elevate his stature in china, and that could potentially bring the family company some benefit, but nothing directly that benefited financially her or mitch mcconnell. >> "the new york times" investigative reporter eric lipton, thank you so much for helping us understand this story tonight and congratulations on being there for the beginning and the end of this arc. i really appreciate the time. >> thank you. all right, more ahead tonight. stay with us. all right, more ahead tonight. stay with us
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barbara howard is a professor at jackson state university in mississippi. this picture was taken this week on professor howard's back porch in jackson.
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she left that silver pan outside overnight to try to collect rainwater. because like tens of thousands of americans in jackson, mississippi, right now, professor howard has no running water. she told "the clarion ledger" newspaper it's getting complicated running all over town trying to schedule water pick-ups so she can do basic things like fill up her toilets so they can be flushed. so, she started collecting rainwater instead. she said, so far, this is easier. this woman here spoke to the local news in jackson today. she's showing them all the bottled water she just bought at the store. she says she spent $13 on a supply that might last her two days, max. unlike professor howard, this woman says she does have water coming out of her taps, it's just not clean enough to drink. and so, bottled water. jackson is the largest city in mississippi. it's the capital of the state. today is the 16th day in a row that the entire city of jackson is without safe drinking water. a cold snap last month knocked out aging pipes and water treatment facilities for jackson. 16 days after that, tens of
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thousands of people in the city still have no running water. the whole city remains under a boil water advisory, which means you can't just drink anything that comes out of the tap. and today, it actually got worse. the city's public works director gave a press briefing today to update everybody on how things are coming along and trying to fix all the broken water mains and all the pipes knocked out by the storm. this is how that press conference started. >> trying to be as transparent as possible. today was not a good day for us. >> today was not a good day for us, he says. and the reason is water pressure. yesterday, the water pressure in jackson was around 80 pounds per square inch. for context, pressure needs to be about 90 pounds per square inch to generate enough force to push water through everybody's pipes. so, yesterday, it wasn't 90, which is what it needs to be. it was 80. today it tanked all the way down to 50. which means some people who had regained water pressure to get running water back in their houses in the last few days have
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since lost it again as the water pressure dropped again from 80 all the way down to 50. public works director did say that the city is making some progress on fixing all the leaking pipes. there's about 20 broken water mains throughout the city. they're still spilling water into the streets instead of into people's taps. he said today he would expect all of those leaks -- those broken pipes to be fixed by the end of the weekend, which is good news for people who don't have any water in their homes right now, but it doesn't change the fact that the water, itself, still isn't safe to drink. the city, as of yet, has no guess as to when jackson's water will be drinkable, even if and when people do get it back in their faucets and running out of their taps. 16 days of this. how much more of this can jackson take and what can the rest of the country be doing to help? the mayor of jackson joins us live here next. stay with us. e mayor of jackson live here next stay with us
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that was the official tally of what was clogging jackson, mississippi's water intake filters today, filters that raw intake water has to pass through on its way to the water treatment plant, and eventually, into people's pipes. that debris and trouble with the filters was what caused water pressure to plummet again today in jackson. in the midst of this crisis, tens of thousands of people still without water. the entire city under a boil water notice, which means the water's not safe to drink. more than two weeks now with the great american city, a capital city, having no drinkable water. when is this going to end? joining us now is the mayor of jackson, mississippi. mayor la mumba, thank you for being here. this is a critical time and i really appreciate you being here. >> thank you for having me, rachel. >> how are your constituents, how are your residents holding up? this is a lot to ask of even the very resilient people of mississippi. >> well, i think your package
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describes it accurately. it's critical. you know, not only do people depend on water for the ability to drink and to cook, to bathe, but we are at a critical hour as we're fighting a pandemic. so, it quite literally is a protection mechanism to wash their hands and keep themselves safe. as you can imagine, residents are frustrated. residents have questions, and they deserve to know why this is the case. and so, we have been working day in and day out to get the system back running. we are operating from one piece of aged equipment to the next. and this is on account of years of neglect, years of insufficient investment. and that's not just simply on the local level. that's on a state level. that's on a federal level, understanding that we have legacy cities that are grappling with this. that's why you're seeing the same narrative from texas to
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mississippi and beyond. and so, you know, we are fighting in every way to get this system back running. my most recent report from my public works director is the issue that we suffered from today, has, fortunately, been resolved, and we are hopeful that overnight, the gains that we sustained over the last few days we can revisit early in the morning. >> do you need more help at the federal level than you've had thus far? we've been showing images of national guard, for example, distributing nonpotable water in some places in the city. you talked about this being a problem both at the state level and at the federal level in terms of what jackson needs to make sure this never happens again and to try to build out of it. but in terms of immediate assistance to your residents, do you need something that you are not getting right now and that you're trying to get? >> absolutely. the city of jackson, like most cities, is underresourced and not capable of making these
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corrections, you know, based on our own budgetary ability. and so, i've penned a letter to our governor, because it takes the state to activate the federal resources coming to cities. i think that in the midst of this challenge, we have to consider how we create a direct pipeline -- no pun intended -- for resources to go directly to cities. it is cities where the rubber meets the road. it's the cities where we see the efficacy of the investment of our federal government. i think we've been having this discussion concerning a large infrastructure package from the federal government for quite some time. it is beyond time that we leave the discussion phase and really, truly implement something that will help american cities. >> chokwe lumumba, mayor of jackson, mississippi, thank you for being here tonight to help us understand. and please, keep us apprised, sir. i know this has just been an
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incredibly difficult thing for the residents of your city to have gone through. keep us updated as you try to dig out from this and let us know what the country needs to know. >> thank you. >> all right, we'll be right back. stay with us. >> all right, we'll be right back stay with us
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gotta respect his determinatio. it's easy and affordable to get started. get self protection for $10 a month. as we mentioned at the top of the show, the house is taking votes late into the night tonight. they are planning on not being in session tomorrow for security reasons. they're voting tonight on their big for the people act,
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democracy and election reforms, also the george floyd justice in policing act that has just passed. there were initial reports that one republican voted for it, which, itself, would be news. turns out, one republican voted for it by accident and is going to change his vote. ah, well. that's going to do it for us, for now. see you again tomorrow. "way too early with kasie hunt" is up next. a new warning about possible violence at the u.s. capitol. it has been less than two months since the deadly riot, and now, new intelligence points to an effort by domestic extremists to breach the capitol. the question is, what are police and law enforcement doing to prepare? plus, senate republicans launch an effort to delay the vote on president biden's $1.9 trillion covid relief package. senator ron johnson plans to force clerks to read aloud the entire bill, which would take hours. the question is, when will senators actually vote? and new overnight, the house ha

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