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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  April 3, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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and that means that lawmakers need to come together. democrats and republicans and put politics aside. also new today, georgia cover brian kemp blasting the mlb for pulling the 2021 all-star game out of atlanta due to georgia's new restrictive voting law. >> yesterday, major league baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists. they ignored the facts of our new election integrity law, and they ignored the consequences of their decision on our local community. in the middle of a pandemic, major league baseball put the wishes of stacey abrams and joe biden ahead of the economic wellbeing of hard-working georgians. and after a week of emotional testimony in the derek chauvin trial last hour, george floyd's cousin telling me what it's like sitting in that courtroom as those firsthand wbs witnesses relive the tragedy.
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>> many times, while i was watching their testimonies, i was brought to tears. i mean, i can see that -- the impact of having been there to witness what they had to witness was going to have a lifelong effect on most of them. and knowing the pain that i feel, i mean, my heart just breaks for them. >> we're going to be talking about the trial in just a little bit. first, let's go back to the breaking news for capitol hill. from capitol hill, rather, with nbc's vaughn hillyard. so, vaughn, a lot of people want to know about a possible motive. is there any update on that? >> reporter: this individual is 25-year-old noah green, alex. we know that this man spent most of his life in the state of virginia, in neighboring virginia here to washington, d.c. what the exact motive is, it's still unclear. what led him to the capitol yesterday, this friday, what led him here is still unclear, why attack the u.s. capitol is unclear. we do know from facebook
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postings, however, that prescribed to the national of islam. these are postings on facebook. nation of islam is denoted as an extremist anti-semitic hate organization. this person posted trying to reach out to louis farrakhan so there are still questions, whether it was related at all to anything that this man started to follow. there is still serious questions, ultimately, because now we know that this man ultimately is suspected of murdering billy evans, the officer, u.s. capitol police officer, an 18-year veteran of the police force here. there are already ongoing conversations about what changes would be needed to made permanently here to the security apparatus while there are calls to take down fencing here following the january 6th
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insurrection, yesterday's attack made it clear there are still threats that exist. take a listen to general russell honore, who was tapped by speaker pelosi to conduct an overview about potential security changes. take a listen as to what he said following yesterday's attack. >> the capitol is a target. it's a target because it is the center of power of our democracy. the capitol doesn't work, then democracy don't work, and it's subject to attack, and the only way we're going to protect it is modernize it with integrated technology of cameras and sensors and get our police officers where they're trained and have the equipment they need to get the job done. >> reporter: senator honore's review laid out several proposals. one of them calling on the government to hire more than 850 additional personnel for the u.s. capitol police force, noting that they are overworked, that they're ill equipped, ill trained, and that they are in need of back-up and need of additional funding.
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the u.s. congress is currently mulling over a potential $2 billion supplemental funding bill to see a great number of those proposals through, alex, serious questions here in this easter weekend. >> very serious questions, particularly on a holiday weekend. thank you so much, vaughn hillyard, from the capitol there. joining me now is california congressman ted lieu, a democratic member of the house judiciary and foreign affairs committees, a good friend to us here on the broadcast. thanks for joining us again. i got to ask your reaction to this latest attack as investigators are searching for a motive. what concerns you most? >> thank you, alex, for your question. let me first say that my prayers go out to the family and colleagues of officer billy evans. these are very difficult times for the capitol police family, and we in congress will make sure that they have whatever resources that they need. i look forward to the full investigation of what happened yesterday. we do know that the capitol has
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been the subject of multiple attacks. i previously served on active duty in the u.s. military and noted bases are subject to attack and that's why the first thing any base commander does is to secure and protect that base and similarly, the u.s. capitol is always going to be a target of attack and we need to make sure we're able to secure and protect it. >> given what happened january 6th, given what happened april 2nd now, what does it mean for capitol security going forward? >> so, we have an ongoing review of security at the u.s. capitol, and i look forward to the final report as well as to the investigations by the various congressional committees, and we're going to be corking with the sergeant-at-arms and capitol police and security experts to see what's the best way to secure the capitol, but the last few months have definitely brought home that the capitol is a target of attacks, and we just need to be able to protect it while at the same time ensuring access to the public because we
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are a democracy, and we need to do things transparently. >> yeah. very hard, though, to allow public access if for no other reason than letting the public be certain that they will be safe if they come to the capitol. just a week ago, i was talking with colleagues there on the hill, reporting about bringing down the fence that had been on the perimeter since the january 6th attack. that comes down, and then we have this attack on april 2nd. do you think those are related? i mean, is it time to think about putting that fence back up? ugly as it is, you know, keeping people out of the seat of democracy for this nation, i mean, there's a lot of reasons not to want to put it up, but when you talk about just security, should it go back up? >> so, we've always had permanent barriers like the one that the car struck, and i just know that it stopped the car. >> right. >> and i think those permanent barriers should remain. we've had them well before january 6th, ever since i've been in congress.
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in terms of the fence, i'm not sure that would have changed very much because the car just could have struck officers and hit them into the fence as well. so, in terms of the overall security layout, i think we're going to have to rely on the experts and see what u.s. capitol police and sergeant-at-arms and other experts believe how we should secure the capitol. >> yeah, well, god forbid we have another attack like this. let's hope we don't. but let's talk right now, sir, about your republican colleague matt gaetz, because there are some growing questions about his future because we're learning about a justice department investigation that focuses on cash payments given to women recruited for sex. that is according to people close to the investigation, and text messages and payment receipts that have been reviewed by "the new york times," the congressman has denied the allegations. his office says he's never paid for sex. congressman matt gaetz says he has no plans to resign, but what do you make of all this? will congressional colleagues want to work with him under this shadowy cloud? >> matt gaetz is entitled to
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presumption of innocence the same as any other person in america. but he is not entitled to sit on the house judiciary committee that has oversight over the very department that's investigating him. he needs to resign from the house judiciary committee or kevin mccarthy, the republican leader, needs to remove him immediately. this is a clear conflict of interest. there is no reason he should still be on the house judiciary committee while this investigation is pending. >> well, you mentioned house minority leader kevin mccarthy. i want to play what he said as to whether to remove matt gaetz from the judiciary committee as i know you have demanded and just done so here right now. let's take a look. >> will you take any action to remove matt gaetz from the judiciary committee while he's under investigation by the d.o.j.? >> those are serious implications, if it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that was the case but right now, matt gaetz says it's
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not true, so let's get all the information. >> he wants more information. you're saying he should not be on the committee while that information is being gathered. who's going to win out here? >> i think that kevin mccarthy doesn't really know what he's talking about, because if it turns out to be true, matt gaetz has way more problems than the judiciary committee. he should actually be removed from congress. if those allegations against him are true. but while this investigation is pending, and it's the department of justice doing the investigation, you can't have a member of congress sit on the oversight committee of the department of justice. that is just a clear conflict of interest, and kevin mccarthy needs to remove matt gaetz immediately. >> but, given the fact that the democrats are in the majority, so they have the majority as well on the judiciary committee on which you sit, could democrats have him removed from that committee? just from that committee itself? >> no. so, the judiciary committee cannot remove members of the committee. and the way it works in congress
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is, you rely on the other party to provide members to various committees, and you rely on them to remove members from the committees, and only in extreme case, such as the crazy conspiracy person, marjorie taylor greene, would it go to a full house floor vote where you could remove a member through a floor vote. >> okay, good. i'm glad you explained that to me. i appreciate that. you will recall when republicans called for representative eric swalwell to be removed from the intelligence committee, and this was over ties to a suspected chinese spy. he was not removed. where are the differences between what he was facing and the gaetz situation. are they different? >> absolutely. this is like comparing apples and oranges. my understanding is representative swalwell was never in a criminal investigation. matt gaetz here is a subject of a criminal investigation with very serious allegations. these are completely not
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compable and matt gaetz is sitting on the oversight committee of the justice department that's investigating him. >> so, you've laid it out pretty clearly. do you think your republican colleagues understand the two differences there, between these two cases? >> oh, absolutely. they understand. they're just being completely hypocritical but not removing matt gaetz from the house judiciary committee >> let's switch gears here and talk about a sensitive topic, that being the rise in asian-american attacks in this country. you're well aware of the horrific attack in new york city. a 65-year-old asian woman being knocked to the ground, beaten, kicked as her attacker was making anti-asian statements. staff members, though, the position from which we are seeing this incident, staff members inside that building did nothing. in fact, one actually closed the door as she was struggling to get up afterwards. how do you account for this? how do you account for people just sitting there watching?
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>> those staff members should be ashamed of what they did and hopefully their employers will discipline them or even consider removing them from their positions. at the same time, we do see not just this incident but a huge number of incidents against asian-american community. there has been a spike across 16 cities of nearly 150% in hate crimes against asian-americans in 2020, and that's why we're calling for more resources to go to prosecutors and investigators as well as for people to report hate crimes and hate incidents. they can go to the nonprofit stop aapi hate to make those reports or they can report it to their local authorities. >> the fact, though, that you and i are talking about this, that many in this country are talking about this, shining a light on this terrible, terrible rise in these kinds of attacks, do you think it's helping? >> i do. we do now have the highest number of asian-americans in
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congress in u.s. history. we had rallies across america. they weren't massive, but they weren't small, and so you had these rallies in support of the asian-american community in a way i've never seen before and i can guarantee you, if all this had happened during the world war ii, japanese-americans would not have been interned so we're in a different position where you have u.s. senators who are asian-american that are able to enact changes. you've got members of congress, you have state and local elected officials, and you have a growing population of asian-american community. since 2000, the asian-american community has more than doubled in size, and by 2055, the pew research report projects that asian-americans will be the largest immigrant group in america. >> california congressman ted lieu, i always appreciate our conversations, especially on a holiday weekend. thank you for making time. we're going to have a bit more now on the breaking news from atlanta. the governor there, brian kemp, just a short time ago, in fact, doubling down against the mlb
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and for that restrictive voting law. the atlanta mayor is also speaking out against the law today. we've got both aspects covered by nbc's deepa who's covering from atlanta. let's talk about what we heard from mayor keisha lance bottoms who also spoke about this earlier today. >> reporter: you're hearing from democratic and republican leaders about this very kofrl voting bill that was passed by the governor just a little over a week ago, one that really does restrict voting measures in this state, making it really difficult, particularly in the suburbs of this atlanta region, right, communities of color, largely black voters, asian voters, folks who are, you know, turning out in record numbers in this last election like we saw, especially in that special election earlier this year. now harder, essentially, to cast a ballot going forward, and what you're seeing is democratic lawmakers speaking out and kind of saying, you know, this is going to have financial impacts for the state as well and that's
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something we're already seeing with major league baseball pulling its all-star game out of the atlanta region. it was set to take place in july and now that's not happening. mlb commissioners saying it's a response to this bill and they stand up for access to democracy. keisha lance bottoms was on ali velshi's show this morning, saying it wasn't too late for republicans to reverse course here. take a listen to what she said. >> it's not too late for the legislature to go back and reconsider this. they are out of session, but the governor certainly can call a special session, have them reconsider this, make tweaks to it so that it is truly a bill that expands access to the right to vote. and i think this is just the first of many dominos that will fall in this state and we are all going to suffer because of it. >> reporter: alex, you know, you're hearing keisha lance bottoms saying that early this
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morning but just in the hour or so, governor brian kemp holding that press conference and it doesn't seem likely there's any kind of reversing course that's going to be happening here at all. the governor very much doubled down, defending this bill, defending the measures that he took, and so that's kind of where things stand right now. republicans don't seem to be turning away from the decision they made a week and a half ago at this point, alex. >> i agree. the tone certainly was not contrite at all. thank you so much. coming up next, gauging the emotionally charged week of the derek chauvin trial, the testimony that could have the most impact on the jury. ury. good boy! [laughs] ♪ hold my pouch. ♪ trust us, us kids are ready to take things into our own hands. don't think so? hold my pouch.
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let's go now to the latest on the derek chauvin murder trial in the killing of george floyd. the court is in recess for the weekend but testimony from police officers is making front page news today. nbc's meagan fitzgerald joins me again from minneapolis. meagan, it would be a surprise
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to many to hear that chauvin's fellow police officers came out so strongly against his actions. that was really a huge takeaway from this week, right? >> reporter: yeah, alex, absolutely. and you know, many legal analysts will tell you that it's not often that we see that. on friday, it was lieutenant richard zimmerman who testified. he is the longest serving member of the minneapolis police department, and in fact, last year, he and several other officers signed a letter condemning the actions of derek chauvin, so when he took that witness stand, he didn't mince words. i want you to listen to the exchange here between him and the prosecution. >> what is your, you know, your view of that use of force during that time period? >> totally unnecessary. >> what do you mean? >> well, first of all, pulling him down to the ground, face down, and putting your knee on a
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neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. i saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that's what they felt. and that's what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force. >> reporter: now, chauvin's direct supervisor also testified that the moment george floyd stopped resisting is the moment that chauvin should have stopped the use of force there. now, coming up next week, we know that the prosecution is going to continue to call witnesses. we understand that the chief of the minneapolis police department is likely to be called. alex? >> okay, meagan fitzgerald, thank you for that wrap on that and also looking ahead. appreciate it. joining me right now, veteran prosecutor paul henderson. paul, big welcome to you. what we just heard from that police officer who is the most senior police officer on the
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entire minneapolis police force, i was listening to him, and i think he began his police career like in 1981. so that kind of experience, he came forward and was so, just, matter of fact, like, unequivocal in his assessment of this. how powerful was that? >> extremely, because that is one of the lynchpins of this trial and one of the things that i think we have to keep in mind is it's not a reasonable person standard when it's a police officer. it is a reasonable officer in those circumstances. and so, while we have heard this corroborative testimony from his peers, from his supervisors, and other professionals in law enforcement, that will establish the standard for which chauvin will be evaluated in that jury. it's going to be really important. and one of the important things that stood out about that testimony was it was corroborative from the layperson and the witness testimony that we heard from the previous week. i would expect that because it
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is so important in addressing police officer standards, we're going to hear more from law enforcement, and we are likely to see someone talk specifically about use of force and comparing and contrasting the evaluation of restraining and restricting people when they are under your control. there's going to be a lot of focus on how long those handcuffs were on, objective standards like how long was chauvin's hand in his pocket and that infamous smirk, and most importantly of all, how long was his knee on that neck, even when paramedics arrived and were trying to check for a pulse and get aid to george floyd? >> yeah, that was most disturbing, to say the least. let me ask you about derek chauvin himself, and what we heard from him. it came from his body cam video. let's all take a listen to a little of what he said when he called his supervisor. here it is. >> yeah, i was just going to call you and have you come out to our scene here.
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not really, but we just had to hold the guy down. he was going crazy -- wouldn't go in the back of the squad car. >> so, what happens, paul, if what he has said there is not backed up by video evidence? >> well, not only is it not backed up by video evidence, it's also not backed up by the direct testimony from all the witnesses that we're hearing and seeing from on the stand. his allusion to george floyd going crazy is not the experience of what the witnesses saw. that is not the perception from his peers, and it is not the perception of his supervisor who was receiving and getting that message. one of the things that i think is important, from this week specifically, was that this is the first time we have heard from chauvin directly. his own voice. separate from just the videos
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that we have seen and the images that we have seen. >> and we -- >> i think that that -- yeah? >> paul, tell me what you took from the tone of his voice. i mean, look, i've not heard the guy speak a lot, so i don't know if his voice is more robust in other cases or if he speaks rather haltingly at times, but it struck me that that conversation he was thinking very carefully, understandably so, given what had happened, as he spoke to the sergeant with whom he spoke there. you know, it -- what do you make of his tone? >> that's what i took away from it, a sense of indifference and a lack of clarity because he's still never articulated to his supervisor what he was doing and how he was continuing the lethal restraint that he was exercising on george floyd. and when you couple that with those damning images that we have seen of him with the smirk, of the images that we saw of him later at the hospital, the cavalier attitude and the lack
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of focus or concern on george floyd, i think, is all going to matter, and all of this stuff puts a lot of pressure on the defense side to try and address why he was communicating how he communicated, but more importantly, how he justified what he was doing and his actions that ultimately led to the death of george floyd. i mean, it's -- >> and then the prosecutor video evidence which showed really some level of concern for floyd's wellbeing from chauvin's peers. listen to this. >> should we roll him on his side? >> no, he's staying put where you got him. >> i just worry about the delirium or whatever. >> okay, i suppose. >> so, he mentions the ambulance is coming. i mean, is this the evidence that can work both for or against him? how do you interpret it? >> well, i interpreted that as everyone was clear.
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i think it works against chauvin because it's clear that he needs medical help. if he needs medical help, that means he's no longer resisting. that means you can move your neck -- you can move the knee off the neck. it also means you can remove those handcuffs or try to do something else. one of the things that i thought was really powerful in relationship to that was how that emt, guy that testified earlier this week, talked about that any officer could have given chest compressions at that time, and i think that's the kind of information, talking about the medical conditions, that's going to be damning for those other three officers that are waiting in the wings as well for their trial to take place in august. so, while we're focusing on chauvin and his behavior right now, these are seeds that are going to be planted for the subsequent prosecution that's coming up for the other officers that were on the scene that also observed the same thing that the witnesses observed and should have had the same reactions based on the judgment from the supervisor for chauvin and the rest of law enforcement that i
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think we'll be hearing from throughout the rest of next week as well. >> let's take a look. you speak about the witnesses there. let's take a look at the scene during the 9 minute and 29 second restraint. take a look at this. >> get him off the ground, bro. get him off the ground. you're being a bum right now. >> chauvin appears to be ignoring pleas from bystanders there. how does the defense get around impressions that are generated by this kind of video evidence? >> i think it's going to be really hard and one of the important strategies i think the prosecution used by having those people testify is that it is clear to everyone that that is not an angry crowd. it is not an emergency situation from the audience and the witnesses there because we met them. and their testimony was extremely credible and raw and emotional. having all those young children and seniors testifying as to what they saw and what they observed. i think it's going to play a
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really big role on this jury and, in fact, i think had a real emotional impact on the jury as well, because keep in mind, this jury in particular was chosen because they didn't have a lot of exposure to the video. so, this is their first time seeing this video, interpreted through that audience. i thought it was very emotionally powerful, and those are the ones that are going to resonate in memory for the jury when they start evaluating this case, and that was a really great foundation to start with for the prosecution, and again, all of what they saw, all of what they observed and all of what they experienced was corroborated in the evaluations of the medical professionals and the peers and supervisors of chauvin that we heard from this week. i would expect a little bit more of that as they put the bow on closing the defense's or closing defense options for the defense counsel. >> okay. paul henderson, thank you very much for weighing in on all of it. appreciate it. brand-new guidance on travel for anyone who's been
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breaking news today in the fight against the coronavirus painted. a record 4 million-plus doses of the coronavirus vaccine were administered yesterday. that is the most in a single day, according to the white house. in fact, in the last week, an average of 3 million shots were given every day so in total, 101 million americans have gotten at least one dose. johnson & johnson is expanding its vaccine testing to adolescents, beginning with 16 and 17-year-olds. the company says it will move to younger age groups if the vaccine is deemed safe. and the tsa says yesterday was its biggest travel day since march of 2020. and despite the encouraging news, cases are still on the rise in 27 states across this country. 15 of those have experienced a
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significant increase just over the past 14 days. covid cases in michigan are the worst in the nation. the state averaging at least 5,000 new cases every day this week. let's go to msnbc's cori coffin, who's joining me from royal oak, michigan. and again, i'm so glad to see you with your mask on. what are the health experts saying about this recent surge? >> reporter: yeah, alex, unfortunately, epidemiologists say given the spike and just how vertical that spike is in this state right now, if they cannot get the spike under control fast enough, then the infection will spread faster than they can vaccinate people. they say that would mean a very different timeline for the state in terms of getting everything under control. that means from late summer or early fall to possibly the end of the year. listen to what one of the doctors that i spoke with earlier today had to say about this whole situation. he heads up the covid unit at the hospital we're at here. >> cases, you know, in the hospital, tripling, and even in the population, we see cases, you know, more than that.
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so, if you look back at the bad surge that we had in the fall, the last big spike of cases, the curve looks awfully similar and that was a large surge of patients that we had. >> reporter: it is eerie to say the curve looks awfully familiar given all we know now, alex, and he said that there are several factors at play here, obviously, we've been reporting on the record travel and the spring breakers traveling throughout the country. there's also pockets of this state in particular, if we pull up the heat map here, you can see the thumb region of michigan, where people have been more resistant to some of these mask measures and the social distancing, and that is where these rashes of cases are starting to pop up more and more. and then, there's this other factor of the uk variant. that doctor told me that it's very fast spreading here in michigan and in fact, in parts of communities, he is seeing that uk variant spread faster than they can get people vaccinated and that's why governor whitmer has requested more vaccinations from the white house to ramp up their vaccination effort here in the state. some 60,000 more will be sent
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just this week alone, which is a record number, alex. >> okay, cori coffin, thank you so much. stay safe, my friend. appreciate you. meanwhile, there's new word from the cdc for those who are fully vaccinated. cdc officials saying it's safe for those folks to travel again. 57 million americans are indeed fully vaccinated. let's go to nbc's scott cohen, who's outside san francisco international airport for us. so, how are folks reacting to the news, scott? >> reporter: well, you know, alex, it's not as if they were waiting for this news, and we're talking about people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not. it's very clear that traffic has been coming back. here at sfo, they were running at levels about 80% below normal after the pandemic, and that seems to be ticking up just as we look at it, and here's what we hear from the tsa nationwide. you mentioned this a moment ago. yesterday, good friday, more than one and a half million people heading through tsa checkpoints.
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that is the largest number since march 12th, which was before the shutdowns began, so they're telling people, get to the airport early. remember, the lines are back, but they're also socially distanced lines. now, here are the new guidelines from the cdc. first of all, for people who are fully vaccinated, and that means two weeks after you've gotten your second dose of pfizer or moderna or your one johnson & johnson dose, and with the caveat that you need to check with your destination, as far as the cdc is concerned, no test needed anymore for domestic travel. they still want you to get tested three to five days after international travel as they monitor these variants. no quarantine needed, again, subject to local rules, but continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, and social distance. now, for everyone else, and a lot of these people are still traveling, the cdc still says you should not travel if it's not essential. you do need to get tested both before, roughly, at least 72 hours before your travel and after you come back.
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again, subject to local restrictions. self-quarantine for seven to ten days after you travel, and continue to wear your mask. people do seem to be heeding this as they cautiously, slowly head back to the skies. >> i feel much safer, oh, yes. definitely. everything's sanitized. it's really nice. >> no, not quite. until everyone is vaccinated, i'm not comfortable. that's why you see the mask. >> i think it's great. i think it's a move in the right direction. >> reporter: i can tell you, at least anecdotally, yes, the traffic does seem to be back at the airports that we have been through, and industry analysts are saying that we are set up now for a potential post-pandemic travel boom, but alex, again, we are not near post-pandemic just yet. >> yeah, but you know what? it's going to happen right as summer travel hits and just buckle up, everyone. thank you so much, scott.
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florida congressman matt gaetz appears to be increasingly isolated but are republicans ready to force him out? ready toor fce him out start your day with crest 3d white and from mochaccinos to merlot, your smile will always be brilliant. crest 3d white brilliance. 100% stain removal, 24 hour stain resistance to lock in your whitest smile. crest. the #1 toothpaste brand in america. not everybody wants the same thing. that's why i go with liberty mutual — they customize my car insurance so i only pay for what i need. 'cause i do things a bit differently. wet teddy bears! wet teddy bears here! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪ ♪ (engine starts) the john deere z365r ztrak mower is here, and it's built for taking it easy. look, it says so right there. (sounds of mower cutting grass) it even makes mulching a breeze. ♪ ♪ so you can cut the hassle out of yard work, and focus on the reason lawns exist in the first place. run with us, because the best job is the one that's easily done. nothing runs like a deere. get a new z300 series zero-turn mower
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it has helped me an awful lot. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. ♪♪ strong new reaction on capitol hill today about the future of congressman matt gaetz, the florida republican refuses to resign amid a reported sex trafficking probe. "the new york times" reports the d.o.j. is investigating whether gaetz and a florida politician recruited women for sex in exchange for cash. the "times" cites interviews, text messages and receipts, though nbc news has not viewed those documents. the justice department is also looking into allegations gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor and paid for her to travel with him. earlier, i asked democrat congressman seth moulton what he thinks should happen to his republican colleague. here's his scathing assessment. >> matt gaetz is having one hell
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of an easter weekend here. these are very serious allegations. and if they are proven, he doesn't just need to be removed from congress or from a committee, as some people are calling for. he needs to go to prison. and he shouldn't serve on the prison library committee, let alone the house judiciary committee. this is disgusting. will it impact his work? i mean, frankly, he's not a very productive member of congress in the first place. he just tries to go around supporting donald trump. but he needs to go. that's pretty clear to me. >> well, matt gaetz says he's never paid for sex and calls the accusations disgusting. i want to now bring in olivia troye, director of the republican accountability project. olivia's also a former top aide to vice president mike pence and previously served on the administration's covid task force. welcome back, olivia, good to see you, especially on a holiday weekend here. look, there have been calls for matt gaetz to step down, but none of those calls are coming from his republican colleagues in congress.
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why is that, olivia? why haven't republicans at least spoken out against him? >> i'm pretty appalled that there's been no outrage on his behavior, at least, from some of the reporting that we've seen, sharing the photos with some of his colleagues on the house floor. that, to me, is just despicable for a republican elected official in congress to be behaving that way, much less there's an ongoing investigation on him. but when you look around, i think this is fundamentally the problem right now with these republican leaders that are part of what i call the sedition caucus, right? you've got marjorie taylor greene defending him. you've got jim jordan standing up for him. and then you have people that are not calling for his resignation and calling for him to be off the judiciary committee but that's because the overall problem here is all of these people at some point or another were united with matt gaetz. they were pushing the big lie. they were pushing the lies of trying to overturn the election, a fair election, that led to the insurrection on january 6th.
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and so, as part of the republican accountability project, we actually just recently launched a campaign and matt gaetz was one of the main targeted districts for this campaign, talking about his behavior and what he did, and this is just additional reason for why these people should not be sitting in office. >> but, to your point, the fact that he is picking up vocal support by some republicans there, what does that say about the republican party? >> well, i think it shows you that we have a group of individuals that are currently sitting in office that shouldn't be there. they are allowing this irresponsible behavior, and they allow it to continue. but this started from the very top, right? this started with someone like donald trump that they enabled and they didn't call him out, and they didn't hold him accountable, so now you have his biggest defender, matt gaetz, here and they still won't, you know, take a stand against him, because they're all in this together. and fundamentally, i think it's
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going to come down to voters remembering this in upcoming elections, getting these people out. >> yeah, what you have just said really reflects what you did back in january, which you wrote about, you wrote about what you called the trump mess. you started the republican accountability project, in fact, so where does matt gaetz fit into this? and by the way, are you surprised that donald trump has been silent about this investigation into one of his most loyal allies? >> yeah, i would love to say that i'm surprised that he hasn't made a comment about it, but at the end of the day, donald trump is about himself. and it's convenient to support people around him when they're supporting him and it looks good for his brand, but right now, i think, you know, his advisors are telling him, it would be detrimental to his brand to come out and support someone, which is really just telling about the trump enterprise, that here is one of his most ardent supporters, who is unwaveringly been leading the charge to, you know, back in the day, of trying to overturn the election in his
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favor, has been his number one fan, and it's been crickets from donald trump. it only goes one way, the loyalty there. >> yeah. >> this is exactly -- exhibit no. 1 is this guy. >> the way you put it, i'm not surprised either, given what we saw over the four years of the trump administration, those many that left the administration and were not particularly welcomed back for the most part. let's turn now to what must have been an extremely exciting moment for you because you tweeted earlier this week, olivia, that you got the covid vaccine. but you know, for you, given all your work, the time you spent on the covid task force, what was that like for you? >> it was emotional. you know, it was, you know, partially just relief that the vaccine is available and more people are being vaccinated now, and i think that we are starting to hopefully start to make progress on countering this pandemic, although i know we're still in a very tough place in areas around the country.
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but you know, i also thought about the frontline workers who are exhausted and have been fighting on the front lines and i thought about the doctors and scientists that worked on this, and i have to say that i thought about the people that suffered and the people that we've lost in the past year, and i thought about how they didn't make it to that day, right, where the vaccine was available to them. and so all of these emotions were really going through me and running through my head as i sat there, grateful for the opportunity to have the vaccine but certainly none of the past year was lost on me at that moment. >> all i can say is you're a good soul, olivia troye. thank you very much. and i'm so glad you've gotten the first of your vaccine. i can't wait to follow in your footsteps, let me tell you. thank you. it is one of the only ways to measure exactly who's had a covid vaccine. why florida's governor, though, wants to make it illegal.
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johnson reviews the first week of testimony in the derek chauvin trial. he's going to speak with floyd family attorney benjamin crump so watch the week with joshua johnson tonight at 9:00 eastern on msnbc. meantime, florida governor ron desantis is officially banning covid vaccine passports, prohibiting businesses in the state from requiring proof of vaccination. it comes as the covid numbers coming out of florida are facing new scrutiny after research from the american journal of public health suggesting the number of people who died from coronavirus in florida may be much higher than what the state reported. joining me now, rebecca jones, florida whistle-blower and geographer and welcome back to the broadcast. let's get into this because before we get to the latest on florida, the last time you and i talked, it was a raid on your house by state officials. it happened after you were charged with a felony for allegedly accessing the state emergency message system. give me an update on the latest on your case. what's going on?
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>> unfortunately, there's not actually an update to give. it's been four months since the raid, three since they forced me to drive down there to turn myself in when i was sick with covid, and nothing has really moved or happened. >> yikes. okay. well, we'll keep monitoring that for you, rebecca. let's talk about florida governor ron desantis. he has said that the florida health department is releasing ample and accurate information. what's your reaction to this new report, though, because there are people who argue we know the count of covid deaths and cases across the country are lower than reality, and that we don't know the exact number of people who died from the virus. however, as someone who used to work and analyze these numbers, what do you make of this? >> there are going to be a lot of studies in the future that specifically look at excess deaths, which is a metric of how many deaths beyond what we would expect during a normal year that can be attributed to covid-19.
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the most recent study was looking at deaths that are most likely to be covid-19 due to various causes, including pneumonia, acute respiratory disease and a bunch of other things that are associated with that virus that it can complicate. the important thing to note about that recent study is that it only covered through september of last year. and more than half of the reported deaths in the state have happened since that time. so, that 4,924 number that they repeated is only for about half of what we would call the covid year since last march. so we expect that number to go up. >> so, you've mentioned that number, and let's go specifically to yahoo, which is the first entity to report this story. it writes, in florida, researchers say 4,924 excess deaths should have been counted as resulting from covid-19 but for the most part were ruled as having been caused by something else. thus, lowering florida's coronavirus fatality count. that's possible because people who die from covid-19 often have
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comorbidities such as diabetes and asthma. that leaves some discretion for medical examiners who have sometimes struggled with conflicting science and been subject to political pressures during the pandemic. yahoo, as you know, rebecca, is reporting that the desantis administration did not respond to a request for comments on this. the big question resolves around those words, political pressure. do you think that had anything to do with the influence here? >> absolutely. last year, in april, we saw that the medical examiner reports were no longer being made public as they had been throughout time. medical examiners spoke out about how they were pressured not to release the reports, pressured to change the way that they reported with covid-19, and then there was interference over the summer about what constituted a covid death and then of course last october, there was the interference from the state again about additional investigations that would restrict arbitrary rules,
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basically, on what could count as a covid death. so if you got covid and then died a month later, they saw that as not being a covid death, even though you could have been sick in the hospital the entire time. >> can i ask you quickly how what we're seeing, these big crowds that are flocking to the sunshine state for spring break, florida's leading the nation in variant cases, how much do these numbers that you see concern you? >> a lot. we saw the 18 to 34 age group increase by 15% last week over the previous week, and under 18 increased by 10%. and there's no way to track just how many of these people brought covid into our state or into florida. that's a habit i'll have to break, i guess. and then took it home. that's unfortunate. but that is one of the impacts of having people from all over the country come to a place where variants are very high and not having contact tracing say, well, they caught this in florida. >> yeah, okay, rebecca jones. come see us again. we'll be watching with things relative to you, specifically, too.
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♪♪ good afternoon, i'm lindsey reiser in for yasmin. georgia's governor going on the offensive. short time ago, brian kemp did his best to call out major league baseball and other companies for their criticism of their new restrictive voting law. but we'll explain the reality facing millions of americans who will potentially lose access to the ballot box. right now on capitol hill, flags flying half staff in honor of a capitol police officer who lost his life defending the heart of america's democracy. the new details we're learning

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