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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 8, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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it's very simple. congresswoman katie porter, thanks for making time tonight. that is "all in" on this wednesday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thank you, my friend. much appreciated. and thanks to you thanks to you at home for joining us. we start on the republican side of politics and politics in the news where things are a little bit of a three-ring circus right now. it is starting to seem like the circus tent could come down in the wind. starting in georgia tonight, the national bull's-eye, the focus of so much anger and controversy and new restrictions on voting rights. today in a surprise, georgia's republican lieutenant governor admitted what critics of the law alleged from the beginning which is the impetus for the new draconian voting restrictions in georgia, the impetus for it was the set of lies told by president trump. and on behalf of president trump
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after he lost georgia in the presidential election in 2020. this is what all the critics of georgia republicans have been claiming about where this voting restriction bill came from in georgia. georgia republicans as of today are admitting that criticism is true. that these new voting restrictions they passed into law is all based on trump's lies from the last election. >> this is really the fallout from the ten weeks of misinformation that flew in from mr. donald trump. i went back over the weekend to look where this really started to gain momentum in the legislature. it is when rudy giuliani showed up in a couple committee rooms and spent howard spreading misinformation and sowing doubt across hours of testimony. >> that is the republican lieutenant governor of georgia admitting today that, yes, republicans in georgia just passed into law all of these new voting restrictions in that state because of the lies spread
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by president trump and rudy giuliani alleging that somehow trump didn't really lose georgia in the election. if georgia republicans are now admitting that's the impetus for what they have done to roll back voting rights in their state, then perhaps corporations and entities like major league baseball could be forgiven for levying that criticism. now that the republican party admits that, yes, this whole thing is based on a lie. in a related matter today, the prosecutor, state prosecutor in fulton county, georgia, announced park cannon will not face felony charges for knocking on the door of georgia governor brian kemp's office while he was holding a private signing statement for the voting restrictions bill. we all saw that astonishing footage of representative cannon being forcibly handcuffed and then dragged through the georgia
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state capitol that night by state troopers. all for the crime of knocking on the door of the room where the governor was holding the signing ceremony on that voting bill. she was on the outside getting arrested while the governor was on the inside of that door with six other white male republicans signing the voting rights rollback while seated in front of a painting in front of a slave plantation. representative park cannon really was not just handcuffed and hauled off. she was taken to jail that night. we played footage on the show of raphael warnock visiting her in jail that night after she was arrested. she was charged with two felony counts. looking potentially at years in prison if convicted on those counts. but the state prosecutor in fulton county, georgia, released a statement saying that after a thorough investigation, representative cannon will not be charged. after reviewing all of the evidence, i have decided to close this matter. it will not be presented to a grand jury for consideration of
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indictment, and it is now closed. while some of representative cannon's colleagues and the police officers involved may have found her behavior annoying, such sentiment does not justify a presentment to a grand jury of the allegations in the arrest warrants or any other felony charges. so the georgia voting rights restrictions law is still law. the biggest employers in the state gaffe of georgia are still reporting to be repulsed by the law. major league baseball will not host the all-star game. atlanta is figuring out how to avoid enforcing that law in atlanta. but this one atlanta-based state representative, ms. park cannon, at least she'll not be going to jail for years because of this law, of knocking on the governor's door to see it get
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signed. representative cannon put out a statement today after the di announced no charges brought against her. you see it at the top there. #keepknocking. as in keep knocking on that door. beyond the ongoing fiasco in georgia and the other states where republicans are moving to restrict voting rights, republican politics also went through a remarkable gyration today when it comes to what you'd think would be a sensitive issue about the party's comfort level with fleecing its own supporters with just downright defrauding its own supporters and basically stealing from them. a couple of nights ago we highlighted reporting from "the new york times" who had this scoop about how the trump campaign and republican party took in literally tens of millions of dollars around the 2020 election that their donors apparently really didn't intend to give them.
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and part of the stunning evidence in that story was anecdotal evidence. a 78-year-old california man who made a trump donation in september of $990. unbeknownst to him, the trump campaign then took that same amount, another $990 seven more times from him. without him knowing. they took nearly $8,000 from him when he was trying to donate less than $1,000. he told "the times," bandits. i'm retired. i can't afford to pay all that damn money. 78-year-old in california also an 87-year-old in illinois who made a, quote, series of small contributions to trump last fall that he thought would add up to $200. the trump fundraising operation had actually withdrawn more than 70 separate donations from the man's bank account totalling roughly $2,300. that man told "the times" it was, quote, predatory.
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there was a bunch of anecdotes like this. beyond the anecdotal evidence, just the shocking cumulative data. trump's campaign and the republican fundraising operation that he ran around the election ended up having to refund more than $120 million that a snookered their own donors out of. and that's just from the people who caught it and complained. who knows about the people who didn't notice they got fleeced or who did but didn't have the wherewithal to try to get the money back. there's just a shocking story, right? not only humiliating but damaging for the republican party. how do you ever ask people to ever trust you enough again to donate money to you once you've ripped off thousands of people like that? apparently with no repentance whatsoever. the times in that reporting, they documented these little yellow check boxes that the republicans used on all their fundraising pitches around this scam to basically unwittingly
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rope people into giving more money than intended. let's break a fundraising record on president trump's birthday. join now. and then below in lighter print, this additional donation will process on june 14th. that box comes pre-checked. as does the monthly recurring donation box above it. but that bottom one, even though it doesn't say it in plain language, if you don't uncheck that box, what they'll do is they'll double the amount of money they take from you. whatever your donation was, they'll take that amount a second time on that date. that's in the fine print. unless you uncheck that box. so if your sweet little trump supporting great aunt thought she was giving $200, unless she read to the bottom and figured out what those checked boxes meant and manually unchecked them, she was actually going to give $200 a month, maybe, and potentially a whole extra $200
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randomly taken out of her account or off her credit card on june 14th. she had to notice what those were, understand what those were and physically go out of her way to uncheck them in order for that to not happen. or there's this one. join the president's executive club. for true patriots only. in lighter type below, make this a weekly recurring donation until election day. unless you didn't want to be in president trump's executive club, unless you found all those things and unchecked that box, your $200 intended donation would become $200 every week until november until you figured out they were ripping you off and canceled your credit card. just a humiliating scam the republican party and trump administration got caught for. they got caught for that just this past weekend in "the new york times." now we know how they reacted. today a new fundraising pitch from the republican party itself, specifically the nrcc,
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part of the republican party that supports republicans in the house of representatives, they've put this out today. this box prechecked for their donors. we need to know we haven't lost you to the radical left. if you uncheck this box, we will have to tell trump you're a defector and sided with the dems. check this box and we can win back the house and get trump to run in 2024. but to be clear, the box starts off already checked. and then in lighter text below. make this a monthly recurring donation. doesn't even look like it's related to the text about whether you want to be a defector. this is what the national republican party is doing today to its marks. i mean its donors. if you're a defector and you want to be reported as such to our former president who is notoriously ruthless and relentless against defectors, ruins people's lives, sics his followers on them. you've seen the way he goes
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after people who aren't loyal to him. you want to be one of them? if you're one of them, then uncheck this box you traitor. but unchecking the box is the only way you can keep them from taking you intended one-time donation over and over and over and over and over again until your bank account is, what, trained? there's also this one today from the republican party. if you want trump to run for president in 2024, check this box. if we flip five seats in the house red, trump says he'll run. that's not actually true. uncheck this box, we lose. and what does unchecking that box do? well, you have to skip down a line and then look at the finer print. it would make it so that they don't keep taking more money from you in the future beyond what you're donating today. they don't double your donation. this was just exposed this week as having driven more than $100 million in fraud claims by
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republican trump supporters. they're not only still doing it, days later, they're going hog wild with it. i mean, they're upping the predatory nature and the sort of bamboozling nature of these things to try to trick as many people as they can into falling for one of these schemes where they donate more than intended and their bank account is left open to the republican party to keep coming back and taking money out of it without get anything further permission. becoming a donor to the republican party in this era is like replying to one of the nigerian prince emails with your actual bank account information. loaning your credit card to the local meth dealer. just for a few hours. he said he'd give it back. what could possibly go wrong. like i say, the latest news on the republican side of things is a little bit like a three-ring circus with the circus tent falling down. the saddest third ring is the ongoing and expanding scandal around the most visible, most
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enthusiastically pro-trump republican of them all, florida republican matt gaetz. the gaetz scandals has developed today in a way that does not look good for mr. gaetz. part of that broken by politico.com. part of that broken by cbs news tonight. i'll hold on those details for now. we have one of the reporters who broke those additional developments coming up in a few minutes to break that down for us. but the republican side of things today was a little helter-skelter. democratic side of things today was sort of a supercharged day. and it marked what may be a new tone, a new tenor from president biden and the democrats. there's reason for them to be making a little bit of a pivot right now because of something structural that just changed in politics this week. this week the democrats learned that they will be allowed, if they want, to use the senate rules in such a way that they can pass legislation in the
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senate with just a simple majority of votes. with votes from the 50 democratic senators, only if that's what they have to do plus a tiebreaking vote cast by kamala harris. that's a really, really big deal. they thought they may be able to do that one more time this year. turns out they can sort of do that when they want to. that ruling from the senate parliamentarian this week, that's a huge deal. if the democrats had to hit a 60-vote margin in the senate to pass anything, which is what's true with filibuster rule in place, if they had to hit that 60-vote threshold we could expect precisely zero new legislation. nothing else on the biden administration's agenda to pass into law. republicans have said and shown they'll not allow any republican senators to cast any votes with democrats on anything of substance. even a bill as widely popular as the covid relief bill which had huge support among the population as a whole, including among a majority of republican voters. still not a single republican
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senator voted for it. republican leader mitch mcconnell now says that not a single republican senator will vote for the infrastructure bill. no matter what's in it. and again, like with the covid relief bill, it's not because voters are against it or it's an unpopular measure. new polling today from politico and morning consult shows broad majority support for every single element of the infrastructure bill. from modernizing va hospitals to roads and bridges and streets to improving care-giving facilities for older americans and disabled americans to replacing all the lead pipes in our water systems, to building and improving public schools, to increasing high-speed broadband to improving public transit and amtrak, to airports, to electric vehicle fleets and electric vehicle chargers. capping and cleaning up abandoned wells and mines. they pulled on all of those elements of it separately. and every one of those elements has at least 50% support among registered voters. most of those considerably more than 50% support.
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but nothing has less than a majority of the country supporting it. and look at that one highlighted proposal we've got there. the one highlighted there in yellow. that's just the proposal about improving care-giving facilities for older americans and disabled americans. that's the part of the biden infrastructure bill that republicans keep picking on in particular. that's the part of it they really hate and really think that if they keep talking about that, that will turn the public against the infrastructure bill. turns out that has 76% support among american registered voters? 86% among democrats. 64% among republican voters. overall, only 13% of the country says they're in opposition to that. the rest say they don't know. but that thing with 76% overall support and 64% among republican voters. that's the thing that republicans have chosen to pick on the most. they think if they keep talking about that, oh, boy, they'll win on this one. it's wildly popular.
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that's more popular than like kittens. but still they say not a single republican senator will vote for this bill. even from the outside. even before they start formally debating it, they promise there will be zero republicans. well, that's your prerogative, okay, for something this popular for you all to stand against it when it's going to pass anyway. feel free. because democrats do have an option to pass this without any republican votes. and today president biden made the case that he would love for republicans to support this bill, and he thinks they should. but if they don't, they don't. their call. it's going ahead anyway. >> debate is welcome. compromise is inevitable. changes are certain. in the next few weeks, the vice president and i will be meeting with republicans and democrats to hear from everyone. and we'll be listening. we'll be open to good ideas and good-faith negotiations.
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but here's what we won't be open to. we will not be open to doing nothing. inaction simply is not an option. now since i announced this plan, i've heard from my republican friends say that it's -- many of them say it's too big. they say why not focus on traditional infrastructure. fix what we've already got, the roads and the highways that exist and the bridges. i'm happy to have that debate, but let me tell you my view. we are america. we don't just fix for today. we build for tomorrow. 200 years ago, trains weren't traditional infrastructure either. until america made a choice to lay down tracks across the country. highways weren't traditional infrastructure, until we allowed
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ourselves to imagine that roads could connect our nation across state lines. the idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the american people and their needs. and it's evolving again today. we need to start seeing infrastructure through its effect on the lives of working people in america. what is the foundation today that they need to carve out their place in the middle class to make it, to live, to go to work, to raise their families with dignity, to ensure that good jobs will be there for their kids no matter who they are or what zip code they live in. that's what infrastructure means in the 21st century. it still depends on roads and bridges, ports and airports, rail and mass transit. but also depends on having reliable high-speed internet in
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every home because today's high-speed internet is infrastructure. it depends on the electric grid. a grid that won't collapse in a winter storm or be compromised by hackers at home or abroad. ask a teacher or child care worker if having clean drinking water, noncontaminated drinking water in our schools in our child care centers is part of that foundation. >> president biden today speaking on infrastructure. with republicans standing uniformly against the infrastructure bill. the republican senate leader promising there will be no republican votes for it. if they're going to pass an infrastructure proposal, democrats have to pass it using that same process they used for the covid relief bill, which is a senate rule that let them pass it with 50 votes instead of 60. and we know now that they can use that process, not just one
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more time this year but basically as many times as they want this year, and i'll tell you, it still hasn't really caught on, i think, broadly, in terms of the way people are talking about politics. but this will be a defining thing about the biden presidency and the first two years he's in office. the filibuster rule that the 60-vote threshold, that has changed a few times in recent years. so that it doesn't apply to confirming cabinet nominees and then they changed it so it wouldn't apply to confirming judges and they changed it again under trump so it wouldn't apply to confirming supreme court justices. what you can exempt from that 60-vote threshold. this new rule this week effectively seems to mean that there's a new exception to the filibuster starting now that means that you can't apply that 60-vote threshold to budget bills, to bills that affect government taxes and spending. that seems to be with this parliamentarian's ruling and we'll wait to see the exact language of it, but the way it's
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been described, that seems to be what it means. and that will change what is possible in a big way with 50 democratic senators and a democrat in the white house. and so this 50-vote rule is how they will pass infrastructure in the end, mark my words, but in addition to that, what else are they going to pass using that rule? what else are they going to pass via these rules that dont require them to get ten republicans to cross some mythical line and side with democrats, which they won't do on anything. house speaker nancy pelosi is now saying they're working on a way to pass immigration reform under these same rules. you probably can't pass everything in immigration reform under these budget rules but you can do a lot. that will mean if democrats can agree among themselves on what to do and they can come up with a list of things to do on immigration that fit within the budget rules, they will be able to pass immigration reform this year even with unified republican opposition and zero republican votes. and again, there are limits, as
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i said. not everything in immigration reform can fit under the budget rules. most believe most voting rights rules or civil rights legislation can pass under those rules. probably not great rules for passing gun safety reforms, but they'll do everything they can, every way they can. and tonight we're learning that at least on guns, president biden is going to take some executive action to get things done, even where the filibuster rule means they probably can't expect anything through congress. president biden is due at 11:45 eastern time tomorrow in the rose garden to announce a series of executive actions on guns. and it will be interesting to see. he'll be appearing with vice president harris and with attorney general merrick garland describing a series of executive actions that includes treating home-made guns, guns without serial numbers, the same way that other guns are treated in terms of requiring backgrond
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checks for their sale and other regulations. that's the supposed ghost guns, so-called ghost guns loophole to background checks and other gun rules. president biden will also be nominating a former atf agent to lead the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms, which is the federal agency that's supposed to address gun trafficking and gun-related policy and crime. david chipman is his name. he was 25 years at the atf. involved in the world trade center bombing investigation, the oklahoma city bombing investigation. an expert on gun crime and gun law. he's been employed at giffords, at the organization founded by gabby giffords after she was shot and nearly killed in a mass shooting in arizona in 2011. and i have to tell you, even just the act of nominating someone to run that federal agency, to run the atf, is something that republicans considered to an affront, a terrible thing.
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there hasn't been a confirmed director of the atf at all since 2015. president biden is saying this year, well, this year there will be. and, yes, republicans will hate that and i'm sure no republicans will vote for him, but it will happen anyway. the nra will probably hate it, too, but you know what? they're tied up in a bankruptcy trial right now which does not appear to be going their way. wayne lapierre testifying today in that trial about all of the multiple times he spent taking free vacations on a multimillion-dollar yacht, 100% gifted to him personally as he repeatedly signed off on the nra paying its members money out in contracts to the dude letting wayne use his yacht. which really seems like wayne lapierre was taking very, very remunerative gifts and services for himself as part of the deal by which the person giving him that stuff was getting nra
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money. and that's one thing, if the nra is something that you call your personal baunk account. but in this case, they're a nonprofit organization governed by the rules that govern nonprofit organizations in new york state. they've declared bankruptcy to try to get out of a new york state attorney general's lawsuit which will absolve them if they're found to have abused their members and charter in the way the attorney general alleges. they're on trial in bankruptcy court in texas to see where they're trying to skate away from that accountability. and they're having to admit all sorts of stuff that they did that they have never had to testify about under oath in the process. so, yeah, the nra has had better days. the big, bad nra that has supposedly made everything impossible when it comes to gun safety and gun reform. the nra is otherwise occupied right now. and frankly, the republicans are going to vote no on anything and
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everything that president biden proposes and the democrats vote for. no matter what it is. no matter how much they themselves like it they'll vote no. what's going on in republican politics right now? it's a three-ring circus with the tent falling down. they are getting caught regularly and increasingly flagrantly defrauding their own supporters. they are worried about what they're going to do if one of their highest profile congressmen gets charged with child sex trafficking. they're trying to keep entertaining donald trump's fantasy that somehow he's secretly still president from his golf club because the last election didn't count so maybe if you call him the 45th president that will mean we don't need to tell him he's an ex-president because he doesn't believe he is. that's what's going on in republican party politics right now. so i know we're a two-party, two major party system in terms of our political system but one of these things is not like the other. one of these parties is not like the other right now. which is why democrats, we are seeing more and more every day
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now, democrats are just getting on with things on their own. surveying what's going on, on the other side of the aisle and saying, you know what? we're just going to get some stuff done. much more ahead tonight. busy news night. stay with us. body-sensing, automatically-responding, energy-building, dually-adjustable, dad-powering, wellness-boosting, foot-warming, snore-relieving, temperature-balancing, recovery-assisting, effortlessly life-changing, proven quality night sleep we've ever made. and now, the new queen sleep number 360 c4 smart bed, is only $1,499. plus, 0% interest for 24 months on all smart beds. only for a limited time.
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it's been like a twisted grab bag with this story. every day you reach in and find some new bizarre unsettling detail you weren't expecting and
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aren't very happy that you grabbed. today it was this. cbs news first breaking the news that federal investigators are looking into a bahamas trip that florida republican congressman matt gaetz allegedly took in late 2018 or early 2019. multiple sources telling cbs that gaetz made that trip to the bahamas with a -- let me get this right -- a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon. to be clear, that's one person who is both those things. and that person allegedly paid for congressman gaetz's travel expenses, accommodations and for female escorts, the sources said. investigators are trying to piece together whether the escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex with the congressman. nbc news has now confirmed this reporting by cbs tonight. we've also tried to reach the marijuana entrepreneur/hand surgeon, but he did not answer our calls. still, that was fun.
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congressman gaetz reiterated his denial that he's ever paid for sex. he specifically denied that he had sex with an underage girl. but the story, of course, first broke in "the new york times" last week that congressman gaetz is being investigated by the justice department over whether he had sex with an underage girl and whether he paid for her to travel with him across state lines. if true, that could constitute a violation of federal child sex trafficking laws. the investigation of congressman gaetz reportedly started as an offshoot of a different federal child sex trafficking investigation that led to federal charges against a friend of congressman gaetz. a local republican elected official in florida named joel greenberg. mr. greenberg was arrested last year on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. he's currently in jail awaiting trial. he's pled not guilty to all charges against him. according to "the new york times," the sex trafficking count against mr. greenberg involves the same underaged girl as the gaetz investigation. mark caputo at politico.com has
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more reporting today that sheds light on the relationship between these two criminal investigations. caputo spoke with three sources who knew joel greenberg before he was charged with child sex trafficking. all three of them told politico that they personally heard congressman gaetz's friend joel greenberg bragging about his sexual relationship with a girl who was 17 years old at the time. at least one of those friends has reportedly testified before a grand jury as part of the joel greenberg investigation. what does this mean? we know these allegations of child sex trafficking against joel greenberg are solid enough to have served as the basis for federal charges. we know from politico's reporting that there are identifiable witnesses who have testified to the grand jury about those charges. now we have three sources talking to a politico reporter about those charges. so all of that would seem to buttress the seriousness of that
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charge against mr. greenberg. he's denied it. what is the relationship between this child sex trafficking charge against mr. greenberg which seems to have all of this buttressing support and the matt gaetz investigation for child sex trafficking? on that, again, one more interesting piece of reporting from politico today. some people in joel greenberg's orbit suspect that greenberg might now be cooperating with prosecutors to build a case against congressman gaetz. well, if that's true. joining us now is mark caputo from politico who added these new details in the matt gaetz story today. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. appreciate it. >> nobody knows florida politics or writes about florida politics quite like you. i am happy to talk to you about this story. i'm happy to know what more of what you know about it. did you see any of this coming once the joel greenberg case broke open last year?
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his friendship and relationship with congressman gaetz was not exactly a secret. >> it wasn't. i think the alice in wonderland line, curiouser and curiouser comes to mind. it gets weirder and weirder. a mutual friend of a lawyer who represented the political opponent of greenberg had reached out to me many months ago and said, hey, you should interview this guy because joel greenberg tried to smear him falsely as a pedophile and has now been arrested for it. that just mushroomed out into this bizarre investigation. every day there's a new allegation. unfortunately, i can't discuss all of the things we've been making calls about, but dr. pirrazolo is among them. this bahamas trip has been long rumored. there's a possibility that other florida officials may be wrapped up in this, or former florida officials, republicans, may be wrapped up in this as well. >> mark, one of the things that i feel like i've seen referenced
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a lot, both in court documents related to mr. greenberg and in a lot of open source reporting about this, but still very fuzzy to me is the nature of the connection between the child sex trafficking charge against joel greenberg and what matt gaetz is reportedly being investigated for. we're told the gaetz investigation grew out of what they found out about mr. greenberg. what they found out about mr. greenberg did lead to him being charged in federal court. it's been reported in "the new york times" that investigation is linked because it's the same girl, the same underaged girl who is at the heart of both the gaetz investigation and greenberg charges. do you have any more clarity on what the connection is between the investigation on gaetz and the charges against greenberg? >> that's about it. the -- another common tie is the seeking arrangement website which hooks up sugar daddyes with women who, you know, are looking for a -- i guess a wealthier male to take care of them, may be the charitable way
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to explain it. when you read between the lines here, if the kind of salacious allegations and, by the way, they are just allegations so far. we report is seen any evidence on gaetz. haven't seen any names printed on gaetz. if they wind up being true, there's a possibility that the government might be viewing the seeking arrangement website or at least the women in those cases as being more akin to prostitutes rather than women who want to go out on expensive dates and date men. it's kind of complicated to talk about because there's, you know, there are these lines that are kind of blurred by these websites. the question is whether federal prosecutors see these arrangements as prostitution. in the case of a 17-year-old if they do declare it prostitution, it's clearly sex trafficking. so those are the details we're waiting to come out. one thing that gaetz's defenders have repeatedly pointed out is it's kind of day six of this.
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no names have come out. no clear evidence, and they say, look, other men accused of wrongdoing, by now there would be a host of names and accusers and that hasn't happened yet with him. we're certainly reporting this as well as the rest of the national media, but right now, we have a lot of anonymous rumors, a lot of salacious stories but not a lot of facts. >> mark caputo, national political reporter at politico. thanks for being here. i have a feeling we'll be talking about more developments in this case as the days go forward. >> oh, yeah. >> appreciate it. >> thank you. much more ahead tonight. stay with us. stay with us
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russian president vladimir putin has been in office as president or prime minister of russia for the past 21 years. his current six-year term in office will end in 2024. after that, per the russian constitution, he's banned from running for another term as
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russia's president and so he's now preparing to step down with dignity in 2024 and hand the reins to the next generation in a peaceful transition of power. kidding. no, vladimir putin has just this week signed a law that conveniently erases his previous terms as president, poof, pretend they never happened. that change hits the reset button for the term limits in the russian constitution. so this new law that he just signed this week will allow him to stay in power at least until 2036. 36 straight years in power because, clearly, after you have had 21 years of vladimir putin running your country, the thing your country needs most is another 15 years of him. but while that totally unsurprising little thing played out this week, what's more worrying is about alexei navalny that the kremlin tried to asatinate last year using a
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military grade nerve agent. mr. navally has been locked up in a penal colony. prison doctors say he has a respiratory ailment. he's complained his health has been in steep decline. he's described severe back pain and numbness in his legs. a fever and a severe cough. he's now a week into a hunger strike over the prison's failure to provide him with adequate medical care, which he is supposed to be able to get. alexei navalny's wife shared a letter she received from the prison director where her husband is being held saying that they can't send her husband to a hospital because they don't have his passport? why would he need a passport to go to a russian hospital when he's already in russia? your guess is as good as mine. but as all this is unfolding, the biden administration is preparing a set of retaliatory actions against russia for a range of offenses, including their interference in the 2020
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election, their alleged bounties on u.s. soldiers in afghanistan and their treatment of alexei navalny. bloomberg pointing out these actions will be the outcome of an intelligence review of russia's recent actions, which president biden ordered the intelligence community to do on his first full day he was in office. the biden administration already issued one raft of new sanctions against russia over a month ago, specifically for poisoning and jailing navalny. but now navalny appears to be in trouble. the biden administration's been pushing russia really from day one on the way they've treated navalny. now it seems like things are taking an ominous turn with these reports of his steeply declining ill health, mistreatment in prison. are they going to kill him in prison? what's the u.s. government planning on doing to stop that or to respond if it happens? we're going to have the latest live from moscow, next. stay with us.
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reports about the health of russian opposition leader alexei navalny who is in prison and has been movedinfirmary where he's being held, amnesty international says that russia, quote, may be placing him into a situation of a slow death and seeking to hide what is happening to him. making it all the more important that the world keep watching what's happening here. joining us now is andrew cramer, moscow correspondent for "the new york times." mr. cramer, thank you for being up at this god-awful hour where you are to help us with this story tonight. i appreciate it. >> sure. thank you very much for having me on. >> what do we know about the nature of mr. navalny's illness? we've heard through his lawyers that there are suspicions it could be tuberculosis. there are reports he's tested negative for covid but also these mysterious reports about back pain and numbness, which sort of sound like something
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else altogether. >> well, when navalny returned to russia in january, he was in apparent good health. three months later, his health is deteriorating. now his personal doctor says she is concerned that his health problems may pose lethal risks. and the principal issues are numbness in his legs and hands, pain in his back, and now symptoms of respirator ailment. taken together, we don't have a clear picture of what's happening, whether this is a lingering effect of the chemical weapon poisoning or consequence of being -- spending time in a russian prison. >> mr. navalny's statements through his supporters and through his lawyers have indicated that he at least believes he has the right at his own expense to get medical treatment of his choosing, to have a specialist come in and look at him. we know his doctor who you just described was detained when she went to the facility where he was being held and asked to see
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him. what should we make of those assertions and the kind of treatment that we've seen with his doctor, even for a time, a cnn correspondent who was also covering the situation at the prison, all being taken into custody by authorities. >> that's right. i was at that event on tuesday, and navalny's personal doctor was arrested along with several reporters. the concern of supporters of mr. navalny is that what we're witnessing is a slow motion second assassination. now the kremlin says that navalny has received adequate health care in prison, and state media has reported on this situation as if he may be maligning his symptoms, also taunting him for essentially being a complainer. but the great concern and this has been echoed by western governments is that his life may
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be in danger. >> how much attention is this getting inside russia. we saw those demonstrations in dozens and dozens of cities and towns in russia, not just in moscow, big protests in support of mr. navalny. we saw very heavy-handed security response to those protests. does the putin government feel any pressure about what's happening to him now inside prison? >> i don't think they have felt any pressure immediately in terms of protests, but they are definitely worried about the protests that happened in january. this was the first time there were nationwide protests in multiple cities over a national issue. the concern is palpable and it's unclear what would happen if something were to happen to navalny. that's a step of where we are from now, but it's a very sensitive situation for the kremlin, and something that is covered very delicately on state
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media. but then a lot of russians these days also receive their news through social media. so it's a delicate situation, and certainly central to russian politics right now. >> andrew cramer, moscow correspondent for "the new york times," thank you for your continued reporting on this, but also for helping us understand. it's invaluable to be able to talk to you in moscow tonight. >> thank you very much. again, we're reporting -- or bloomberg is reporting that the biden administration may be preparing to take some sort of retaliatory action against the russian government very shortly in short order, including for the treatment of navalny. that, of course, will tighten the screws on the putin government. watch this space. this is a scary situation. we'll be right back. table, foot-warming, temperature-balancing... proven quality night sleep we've ever made. and now, the new queen sleep number 360 c4 smart bed, is only $1,499.
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one thing to watch for in tomorrow's news, online, we're expecting the president's remarks just before midday easter time. also the first appearance of merrick garland since he was sworn in as attorney general. that's midday tomorrow. but also something else to watch for tomorrow, we are expecting tomorrow the first big count of the ballots in the union election at that amazon facility in bessimer, alabama. it's going to take a while to count and fight over those ballots but the potential consequences are huge. if the second largest private
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employer amazon is going to start unionizing it's potentially a huge deal in this country. we think we'll get the first substantive news about the outcome of that union election some time tomorrow. so watch for that as well. i'll see you tomorrow night. "way too will you have failer promise of bipartisanship if you don't get republicans on board with this plan? >> look, what i said was i would try to work with my friends on the other side. >> bit of a clarification when it comes to working across the aisle. his infrastructure plan hits some resistance with republicans and some democrats. and the uk strain now the most dominant in the united states. concern about another

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