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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 6, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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good night. a little bit of breaking news off of the top. the just-posted headline over at the "new york times" right now. "matt gaetz, loyal for years to trump is said to have sought a blanket pardon." that is not the kind of pardon that you need for your blanket. what this means is that he was asking for a pardon for himself for things with which he is not yet charged. he is a republican congressman
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from florida that has been one of the most stanch and flamboyant defenders of former president donald trump. first reported that matt gaetz is currently under federal criminal investigation for allegations of alleged sex trafficking of an under aged girl. this started during the trump administration with bill barr being personally briefed on the matt gaetz investigation on multiple occasions. it is examining whether federal campaign funds might have been used congressman gaetz said they
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are all made up and he did nothing wrong. the breaking news in the times tonight puts the denials in a different light. here is the lead from the "new york times." michael schmidt is the lead on the story along with maggie -- representative matt gaetz republican of florida was one of president trump's most vocal allies in his term. in the final weeks congressman gaetz sought something in return. privately asking the white house for blanket preemptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed told of two people told of the discussions. the times reports it is unclear whether the congressman or the white house knew he was under investigation for child sex
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trafficking. now, congressman gaetz did not get any such pardon from president trump or one that we know of. the white house thought that might be something that would set a bad precedent. in recent days some trump associates speculated that mr. gaetz request for a group pardon was an attempt to camouflage his own exposure. he asked for a pardon for himself and a lot of other guys just in case. it is not a trophy you can show off to your friends to show off
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how much the president likes you. it is a legal tool. it is a weird thing to ask for if you have not done anything wrong. he denied to the times he privately requested a pardon the times advancing the story tonight in a way that casts a different light on mr. gaetz denials that any of the allegations will stick. we will stay on the story and let you know when we learn more. i am not putting it out of the realm of possibility that the story will further develop on the air over the course of the next hour. we are watching that. and here is something else. in the year 2000, the presidential election, you may recall was closer than close and it took weeks to determine the outcome and a scandalous supreme
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court ruling that came down to a few hundred votes in florida and a bunch of votes that were not counted. how close we were to president bill clinton being succeeded by democrat al gore instead of george w. bush. because of the wacky and the contested outcome of the 2000 election george w. bush is who we got. afterwards they did shockingly well. 2002, after 9/11 and after starting one war on the way to starting another his party does well in the midterms. 2004 reelected as president
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running against john kerry. 2006 it was time for another election. a president's party almost always loses seats in the midterm election. it did not ian happ after the 9/11 terror attacks. the pendulum almost always swings back in the other direction after you elect a president of one party or the other. the pendulum did not have a chance to do the normal swing against the republicans in the first midterm in 2002 because of the 9/11 attacks and the politics around the wars. even though bush was reelected in 2004, by the time that the second midterm rolled around, not only were they overdue for the pendulum swinging back against them, want bush administration was swamped in
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scandal by that time, by the time the 2006 midterms were rolling around. the mishandling of both on going wars. the torture scandals. the prisons, corruption scandals. mishandling of hurricane catalon. killed nearly 2000 americans. the federal government went from complaining about it to botching it even further. i mean by the time the 2006 midterms rolled around, the republicans knew they were in trouble. they knew they had so many scandals that things were going to go badly for them in 2006.
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nancy pelosi. democrats would take control of the senate. the pendulum really did just swing back in 2006. it wasn't that hard to see. democrats and republicans knew it was coming. the lead up to the 2006 election republicans tried their best. they tried to shine up their reputation with minority voters and black voters. after hurricane katrina they knew it. they figured they had to do something to cut in to that
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margin that would be absolutely terrible for them. and so, in the summer of 2006, knowing what they were heading in to. heading in to election season they tried to cut into the democrat's massive advantage with black voters and they decided that they would reauthorize the voting rights act of 1965 and they would do it early and even before provisions were due to sunset they would vote to extend the provisions of the historic civil rights era law. the real political is that they wanted to do it in plenty of time to get credit for it in the 2006 elections among black voters in particular. ultimately they would get it passed. george bush would hold a big statement for it in the rose garden. george bush went to the ncaa
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convention that year. the politics of it were painfully obvious. it is clear why they were doing it. it was a real thing that they wanted to do. the problem they had along the way is that quite a number of their own members of the house did not want to do it or want to reauthorize the voting rights act of 1965.
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there were dozens of republicans in the house. southern white republicans that did not like the voting rights act of 1965 and they did not want to extend it and they did not plan on voting if are it, even if it was being championed by their own party's president and by the rest of the republicans in congress. and that was going to be embarrassing for the bush white house. given that this extension thing was supposed to change their image and make them look good with black voters. they hit a roadblock. they hit a roadblock with dozens of house republicans saying no. they did not do it. they knew the politics changed
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but they couldn't support it and it was a real problem for the republican party in 2006. it was that moment when surprising cavalry rode in to the rescue to shong the republicans in congress in to line to get it passed. here is how npr covered it at the time. >> the first corporation to call for a renewal of the act was walmart. walmart has a great number of our customers who are african-american and hispanic american. we have a great interest in the issue.
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s it executives met with the black caucus in 2005. >> in june of last year the walmart ceo sent a letter to president bush urging him to support an extension of the voting rights act. at eli lily the spokesman said they wanted to add a voice from the heartland adding it is a unique situation. >> when we lobby on capitol hill, we are lobbying for broader health care issues or industry/pharmaceutical issues that may impact our company. and we saw this as an opportunity to be a leader on this and we did so because we believe in the legislation and we think that it has contributed
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to monumental and dramatic changes in american society. >> there was a letter from the pfizer ceo writing as chairman of the business roundtable, a group of ceos of 160 major companies. the group's public policy director. >> our main purpose is to promote economic growth. but i think one of the fundamental tenents is participation in the economy and the political process. john lewis of georgia said he has never seen anything like it from corporations and that minority voters will remember it. to see in those ethnic publications that they supported the reauthorization of the
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voting rights act gives them a leg up. >> reporter: if there is any blow-back the corporations say they have yet to see it. that kind of odd backwards politics episode. 2006. republican party unsuccessfully trying to head off a -- makinga i big show out of moving early to reauthorize the voting rights act of 1965. the biggest corporations in the country stepped up. walmart, at&t, all of these pharmaceutical companies, coca-cola, the walt disney company. they stepped up and stepped in to the ring to help them get the
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vote right and helped them get the reauthorization of the voting rights act done. and for voting rights it was a short lived victory. they got their big photo op. it would be in 2013 when a conservative majority would eliminate all of itself most important protections. even though it was reauthorized by congress in 2006, eviscerated by conservatives in the supreme court in 2013. in 2021, republicans in state legislatures all over the country are racing to enact the largest most wide ranging and aggressive restrictions on voting rights since the 1960s, since the voting rights act blocked the worst of it. right now there is no act to
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speak of to protect voters in all of the states but republicans are now moving to strip their voting rights as fast and as far as they can. so now, once again 15 years down the line some of the biggest corporations in the country, once again, some of the same ones that spoke out 15 years ago are speaking up on the issue now. and most of them are very tentative about it first. now we are starting to see more moment momentum. big corporations say they only weigh in on things that affect their industry. they are once again saying it. they want to be recognized as standing against voting rights roll backs and want to stand against the voting rights restrictions republicans are putting in place in the states and increasingly large corporations are willing to stick their necks out, at least a little bit, to say so.
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it is not the first time that it happened. in happened in 2006 in different circumstances. you know, it is not a monolithic response. patagonia that makes outdoor gear went beyondiciing the restrictions. they say they are going to fund pro voting rights advocacy groups in georgia. over in texas meanwhile corporations like at&t that stood in favor of the act in 2006. they have made mild statements but have not taken a strong stand against what republicans are trying to do in the states right now. at&t and others are facing pressure to take a more pointed stance and put their money and institutional heft where their
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mouth is. in dallas at&t plaza will see a rally to press at&t to do more along with other texas companies like frito-lay and pepsi and whole foods and the list goes on. companies taking a stance. big business taking a stand in favor of voting rights. it is not actually a new thing here. republicans had to deal with it in 2006 when the politics of the circumstances are different. the president wanted the republican party to at least appear to get under the voting rights side of thing. corporate pressure helped republicans to get in line to do that. this year, they are not even bothering to pay lip service to the idea that republicans support voting rights. this year republicans are only uniformly and aggressive lee pushing against voting rights.
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this year they are not handling it well. the big business interest, once again, are on the voting rights side of things. >> my warning, if you will, to corporate america is to stay out of politics. it is not what you were designed for. you get my drift. this is an issue that the big corporations in america, major league baseball being one of the biggest should stay out of. if i were running a major corporation, i would stay out of politics. >> republican senate leader mitch mcconnell pounding his little shell and telling corporate america to stay out of politics. warning them. my warning. at least on this. at least stay out of it on being in favor of voting rights. there is nobody that has done more as an individual to ensure
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that companies stay in politics. to ensure that massive unrestricted corporate involvement in u.s. politics. literally nobody has done more for that cause than mitch mcconnell. the one thing he has been devoted to more than anything else in his career. his own power and making sure corporations flood as much money into politics as they want with no accountability for it. the last campaign finance law we had. mccain-feingold. when that went to the supreme court. what was was that court case called? mcconnell versus federal election commission as in mitch mcconnell suing to make sure that corporations can stay in politics as much as he wants. that is what he built his career on. now corporations are in favor of voting rights today. >> my warning if you will to corporate america is to stay out of politics. >> yeah. stay out of politics if you are
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going to be on the side of voting rights. we were willing to have you help us in 2006. right now we are on the other side and you better shut up. i'm warning you. it does actually matter when corporations come out and support voting rights. it mattered when they shocked everyone, including john lewis when they did it in 2006 and it matters now. republicans are infuriated by corporations taking a stand about voting rights in georgia. texas appears to be the next battle ground. beto o'rourke joins us from texas next. beto o'rourke joins us from texas next ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ comfort in the extreme.
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so how do i do this? you don't do this. we do this, together. bounce forward, with comcast business. this is a republican party power grab. the republican party in texas is trying to bring back jim crow style voter suppression to this state. they are trying to achieve in texas what they tried to achieve in georgia. and companies have a choice to
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make. >> let's make sure that while we still have time at&t, toyota, frito-lay, pepsi, southwest airlines and others add their favorite companies in texas as well. you still have time to do the right thing. as charlie reminded us, when you step up and when we all step up to do the right thing we can stop really bad things. we did it with the bathroom bill in 2017 and other voter suppression measures. we can do it now. we still have time. if you fail to act and step up, the very hottest places in texas will be reserved for those companies who remain their neutrality in a moment of moral crisis like this one. we are watching you, but inviting you in. there is still time to act and still, please do. >> the very hottest places in texas will be reserved for those companies who remain their neutrality in a moment of moral crisis like this one.
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the founder of powered by people, a grassroots organization working to mobilize voters in texas. thanks for making time tonight. >> thank you for having me on and i really enjoyed listening to the start of the show. i didn't know the history about 2006 but it should give us greater encouragement about the work we are doing in 2021. 2006 is a lesson. >> 2006, i was thinking about in particular because we are seeing some of the same corporate names pop up. i thought about it with at&t. still having come out to say they are generically in favor of voting rights but not taking an active role in stop what they are doing with voting rights in texas or anywhere else. at&t was important as a big company 15 years ago for the national push on voting rights.
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to the extent that the company identified with the issue, it would not be new for them to take a strong stand. i feel like some of this is reminding companies who they are and not asking them to become something they are not. >> that is right. and we should also acknowledge that whatever mitch mcconnell says, others are very involved in the politics. since 2018 at&t has given more than $574,000 to texas governor greg abbott, dan patrick and the authors of the voter suppression bills. they are a party to this effort. maybe they follow the lead of someone like pa, tagonia and
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fund the effort to expand access to the franchise and make sure all eligible voters, republicans, independents, democrats in the state of texas can vote and have some say is in who will represent them and the course and the direction that the state and our country will take. i don't think that is asking too much from at&t or the other companies we named earlier on in the program. >> is it possible things are too far along in texas to stop it. texas republicans are considering more than 100 bills to restrict voting rights in the state right now. republican governor and controlled senate and house. it seems hard to be hopeful voting rights advocates will be
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able to stop it. >> i was in the state capitol last week and i saw folks that drove to austin from del rio and dallas and el paso eight and a half hours away and all points in between. folks waited 14 hours through a hearing to get their two minutes. literally, their two minutes to be able to make their stand for democracy and it happened again a little bit more recently and folks waited until 3:00, 4:00 in the morning to testify. it is that type of people power and grassroots activism that can put a stop to it as it did the bathroom bill in 2017 in concert with big texas companies, major employers who saw their customers in the line of fire. they stood up. they spoke up and they forced the state legislature along with the people of texas to do the right thing and effectively withdraw the bill. we can do it now but it is what
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is happening in texas and georgia and what is pending in 41 other state legislatures. if i could, i want to make sure that beyond the issue of justice and the right that everyone should have to be able to vote and to participate in democracy, it comes down to the lives that our fellow texans lead. what happens when you can't vote in the school board election to your kids' school? how are they going to be represented. if you can't vote on the bond issues. is your part of town going to be taken care of. state elections and the distributions of the vaccine across the 254 counties in texas. if you can't vote, will you be heard. in the state where the minimum wage is $7.25 minimum and you are a shift worker making that at two or three jobs to make ends meet, do you have any hope
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if you can't effectively participate in deciding who your representative is going to be and what they focus on and whether or not they hear you. this is people's lives, the schools their kids go to and the wages they earn. there is a study that finds up through 2025 this will cost the state nearly $15 billion in losses. it will cost tens of thousands of jobs. lest anyone think this is a fight about democracy. there is still time to fight it and do so successfully and we have to take the inspiration from john lewis.
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i think that we can win it. it is not going to be easy, but we can do it. >> former democratic congressman from the state of texas. thanks for helping us understand. >> thank you. >> much more to get to tonight. stay with us. >> much more to get to tonight stay with us freshness and softness you never forget, with downy.
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there was the $39,000 shopping spree on really nice suits. there was the $200,000 spent on private jet vacations a stay on a yacht that came with a private chef and a jet boat and couple of jet skis. couple of nice stays on the yacht. tens of thousands on hair and makeup for the ceos wife. all paid for by the members of a
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non-profit organization. last year the attorney general in the state of new york sued the national rifle association because the nra is a nonprofit. these types of spending details. those were the basis of her lawsuit. saying they used it as a private biggie bank. it is one thing to spend your own money on yachts and jets and safaris and stuff. but a nonprofit may be
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fraudulent and illegal. the attorney general sued to dissolve the entire organization, the nra fors it leaders alleged financial misconduct. the nra denies any allegations calling the lawsuit baseless. but they also reacted to it in unexpected ways. given the nature of the allegations in the lawsuit, the lavish spending allegations, it was weird that in the wake of the lawsuit being brought, the nra earlier in the year filed for bankruptcy. a weird thing to do when you have $39,000 to spend on fine luxury suits if are your company's leader. they said it was coming at a time when the nra is in their strongest financial condition in years. again. that is a weird thing to say on
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the same day you officially declared bankruptcy in a court of law. why are you telling a court you are out of money and telling all of the supporters that we never have been richer? they said their intention is to reincorporate the nra in the state of texas, far away from the attorney general in the state of new york. suggesting that it may have been devised as a way to dodge a lawsuit and dodge accountability from the new york attorney general general who is trying to dissolve their organization. it will put a cause on any litigation going on against you.
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at a minimum it would delay the lawsuit against them. organizations often try to slow walk litigation. we don't know if that is what the nra was doing. but if it is what they were trying to do, and if they are caught for trying to do here, that can get them in even more trouble. the judge in the case that is deciding whether or not the nra will be allowed to declare bankruptcy, they have the option of appointing a trustee to manage the nra's finances an outsider to investigate the fraud allegation and to make all decisions going forward for the nra. the judge also has the option of saying no and that would clear the way for her to continue her
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litigation. the nra's bankruptcy trial started this week in texas. the entire trial is expected to last a week. several top officials are expected to testify about the spending abuses for the first time ever. including the ceo. he was asked about the stays on the yacht. why he needed to stay on the yacht. from a yacht owner who was getting multimillion dollar contracts from the nra at the same time. he said he went on the sandy hook shooting in 2012. after sandy hook he thought his own life was in danger as the
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head of the nra and fled to the yacht for safety and said the yacht was the one place that i hoped that i could feel safe. i remember getting there going thank god i am safe. nobody can get me here. miss watts is an interested party here and has been following the nra bankruptcy trial closely. thank you for being here with us tonight. >> good to see you too. >> i think that i am surprised that the nra's bankruptcy trial. i realization that is an arcane thing but it is not a big national story. the contested bankruptcy filing
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seems to be such a conessential thing to be tied up in and something with high stakes for the future of gun reform and the future of that organization. >> hugely high stakes. i think the nra thought it was a get out of jail free card. they are finding that the trial is more trouble than they thought it was worth. the spending and financial mismanagement. wayne lapierre is a man who spent years and made millions saying the only protection from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. basically now the only protection is actually a good friend with a 100-foot yacht, right.
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i think she has been masterful they spent $11 million on private travel for friends, family. and a lawyer has even said that we should expect more cringe worthy revelations. the best argument seems to be yes, we looted and set this fire but look how hard that we are trying to put it out. >> from an advocacy and activism perspective. you and moms demand action have been pressuring the issue relentlessly, trying to make gun reform achievable in the individual states. how does the solvancy of the nra affect the work you are doing now. the gun reform and the gun
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policy space has been so defined by the nra. if they fall apart or if they are revealed to the public eye as a hafraud on their own members. >> well, let's be clear, you know. the nra used to be a power broker and now they are just broken. it is clear they do not care about public safety or policy and certainly don't care about the members. they care about money and power. our supporters are demanding actions. 60 stops in 22 states.
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we are telling d.c. that we want our senators to act. this is a perfect time. just to put it in perspective. the last time that we had a major fight in 2013, the nra was a political power house. today they have to ask the court to pay their light bills. this is a completely different time and day and i truly believe the nra is a paper tiger. senators should vote their conscious. clearly the nra's badge of honor, the a-rating is now a scarlett letter. >> shannon watts, the founder of moms demand action. thank you for being here and i appreciate being able to talk with you about this tonight. >> thank you.
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>> as i mentioned, the nra bankruptcy trial in texas. the nra officials who are having to testify at the trial, the first time any of them have had to fest tie under oath and had to for the for the ways they ripped off their members. this is one of the stories that i feel like lawsuits and legal cases get covered pretty well in the country. i don't know if it is because it is a bankruptcy court. but this has huge ramifications for a really important political issue in this country. more news ahead. stay with us. s country. more news ahead. stay with us sorption of calcium and phosphate - helping keep teeth strong, white and protected from sensitivity. new pronamel mineral boost ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> it is week two of the trial of former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of george floyd. the prosecution continues to roll out one law enforcement witness after another to testify
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that officer chauvin's actions were not what he was trained to do. including some dramatic testimony from the chief of the minneapolis police department. once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when mr. floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy and it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics and our values. >> today the prosecution called a minneapolis police officer who led use of force training classes which officer chauvin took. >> is this an mpd-trained neck
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restraint? >> no, sir. >> as it ever been? >> no, sir. >> say for example the subject was under control and handcuffed would it be authorized? >> i would say no. >> one of the defense strategies in the trial has been to argue that the crowd mattered. the crowd that gathered out of concern for george floyd. the crowd that included an off duty firefighter, elderly man and 9-year-old girl. defense argued they were so rowdy and threatening that they were a distraction to officer chauvin and drove some of his actions. >> if we are looking at assessing someone's medical condition, like for the purpose of rendering emergency aid would that be a big or a small thing? >> that would would be a big
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thing. if that is contrasted with say a 17-year-old filming you with a camera. a big thing or a small thing? >> the filming would be a small thing. >> so far the prosecution has called 26 witnesses. 10 of the 26 have been law enforcement officials, not to include emts, dispatcher, a firefighter witnessing george floyd's death. the trial resumes tomorrow, 10:15 eastern time. watch this space. stern time watch this space (mom) it sure is. (mom vo) over the years, we trusted it to carry and protect the things that were most important to us. (mom) good boy. (mom vo) we always knew we had a lot of life ahead of us. (mom) remember this? (mom vo) that's why we chose a car that we knew would be there for us through it all. (male vo) welcome to the subaru forester. the longest-lasting, most trusted forester ever.
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quick reminder of the top story tonight that just broke as we were getting on the air. the "new york times" furthering their story on matt gaetz, the most pro-trump republican congressman on capitol hill and is currently under federal investigation for child sex trafficking. the times reporting in the closing days of the trump administration gaetz asked the white house privately for a blanket preemptive pardon for himself while the justice department investigation of him for alleged child sex trafficking is underway and the times reporting at the time he asked for the pardon justice department investigators had begun questioning associates of mr. gaetz about if he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. he obv


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