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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  April 21, 2021 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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zimmerman? do we have to brace ourselves for that? >> i think that what we've seen, joy, is there is no low that is too low for these people to go to. and that's exactly what they're going to continue to do. >> i hope that's not what happened. we shall she. thank you both. that is tonight's "reidout." "all in" starts right now. >> tonight on all in -- >> yesterday's verdict and the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in minneapolis. >> one day after the murder verdict, the push for reform grows. >> we still have work to do. >> tonight, how derek chauvin got more justice than just about any american ever does. and the renewed push for big change with senator cory booker and congresswoman corey bush. >> then senate republicans confront reality by way of stacey abrams. >>.
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think i you called it a racist bill, right snt. >> i think there are provision that's are racist, yes. >> plus, ben rhodes on what our president can do about the russian president as protesters swarm the streets. and steve kornacki and his big board break down where we are after 200 million shots in 92 days. and where there is work to be done. "all in" start right now. good evening from new york. there are those that will tell that you former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin didn't get due process. some on the right are calling his conviction a lynching, claiming the jury was intimidated into finding him guilty. these people seem to be taking his conviction bernlly because they seem to be personally invested in derrick shoef yip chauvin and what he did and it being allowed. he got more due process than at least 90% of criminal defendants in this country. every once in a while america we have a big show stopping trial.
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we all tune into like the chauvin trial and people start to think a trial like that represents american justice. just like perry mace son or law and order. it doesn't. thinking that is like watching the nba and assuming that's what every pickup basketball game, every level of schooling in america looks like. trials do not happen that frequently in america. less than 10% of criminal defendant goes to trial. the whole system works on plea deals. every day the criminal justice system moves people from arrest to jail to plea to prison. that's the system. if every criminal defendant in america got the derek chauvin treatment, full trial, the entire legal criminal justice system would collapse tomorrow. can't function. jail, plea, prison. that's the way it goes for, you know, just about everyone 90% of the people. except cops. cops are often not even indicted by grand juries. when they are indicted, they go to trial. with the reasonable expectation
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that they will be acquitted. going into the chauvin trial and the aftermath of his conviction, it's been abundantly clear that criminal justice system is not fixed for the bigger problem here. nearly 30 years ago in the wake of the police beating on tape of rodney king and then the acquittal of four los angeles police officers involved, the city and much of the country erupted in outrage. congress gave the attorney general a new power, to investigate police departments in cases involving a "pattern or practice of conduct by officers that may violate the federal rights". this is part of the 1994 crime bill and they came to be known as pattern or practice cases. in may of 2000, it was filing a lawsuit against the los angeles police department under that law. alleging the lapd is engaged in a pattern, practice of constitutional violations through excessive force, false arrests, unreasonable searches and seizures and that management deficiency as loud this misconduct to occur.
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now this followed years of misconduct at the lapd. beatings, shootings. corruption, including a group of officers originally tasked with combatting gang that's became an armed gang themselves. later this year, the city of los angeles agreed to enter into a federal consent decree. that say mute little agreed upon set of reforms to the police department and then a federal oversight process to make sure those reforms are being implemented. under the obama administration, the department of justice opened 25 of these pattern or practice investigations into police departments. i read a bunch of the reports issued from them from ferguson to cleveland. one of the most prominent is being the probe into the ferguson police department after a police officer shot michael brown in 2014. but the trump administration almost completely band ond the practice. under boj attorneys general jeff sessions and bill barr, opening one investigation into the springfield, massachusetts police department in 2019.
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at the time they noted what a huge mistake that was. what an unused power. >> this justice department is not interested in remedying major systemic problems in police departments. >> the president, jeff sessions, bill barr have been uniformly focused on dismantling the police reform effort that's the justice department had been engaged in. this justice department has really walked away from the role that it needs to play. >> the donald trump lost and joe biden won and to date federal government is getting back in the game. joe biden's attorney general announcing an investigation into derek chauvin's police department. >> yesterday's verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in minneapolis. today i am announcing that the justice department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the minneapolis police department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional
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or unlawful policing. the department of justice will be unwaivering in its pursuit of equal justice. under law. >> attorney general marek garland is heading that new probe along with his newly confirmed number three at the justice department, the associate attorney general of the united states who you just heard speaking about the need for those investigations. the chauvin trial laid bear the dire need for change in american policing. this is one existing policy tool we do have to reform police department that's are broken. democratic congresswoman corey bush of missouri became an 5:00ivist after the killing of michael brown jr. and she joins me now. congresswoman, you have seen this up close. and it's part of what got you into politics. your reaction to the verdict yesterday and the announcement from the attorney general today? >> the trial was just traumatic to watch. but it is as traumatic as every
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day living in this country as a black person or a brown person or indigenous person that just would like to live your life, the life that, you know, you get to see other people live. we just don't get that. we don't get that type of jury. they all have faults. but the ping that people expect us pob overjoyed and happy and just celebrating this -- this should be the thing that if you murder someone, you know, you put your knee on someone's neck and you -- and it was your job to protect and serve the community that you put your knee on someone's neck that begged
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you that kept saying that they were, you know, they couldn't breathe and people were saying, you're going to kill him and you continue to do that, i think that -- that that says that we have this huge problem. but the thing that i don't understand, i'll say, chris, is we have to keep fighting this. why is it that the world was watching? what is going to happen with this? it should have been oh, we already know what is going to happen. it shouldn't have happened. this should be the thing. now we're here and i hope that all of our law enforcements, the -- i'm not someone that is anti-law and nobody needs to put that out there. i want people to do their job right and be held accountable in everything they do. so pay attention, law enforcement. >> do their job and do it right and being held accountable. if you articulate the vision that way, obviously you're a member of congress. you represent police officers. i'm sure you vicinity actions
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with them as a representative in that respect. i guess the question is do you think that the federal government can help here? you remember congress now, you worked your way from being a organizer and activist in the death of michael brown's death to now having a vote in congress. do you think the federal government has a role to play here? >> absolutely. first of all, you know, just the fact that we do get to bring forward legislation. you know, i'm here to legislate. i said it a million times. i'm here to legislate to save black lives. because black lives are -- there is a huge problem in our country where black lives are always, always targeted. brown lives are always targeted. i'm here to legislate. with that in mind first. so, yes, that is our job. we have the power of the pen and the power of the purse. so we can do something about i we do have legislation that is brought forward. we have the brief at and then my office, we're also working on some things that we will be
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bringing forward. but, you know what? the thing is, i am a member of our house judiciary committee. everything on this committee, one thing i can look at is bringing those -- bringing to the forefront these issues that i've been able to witness. so this is the thing, chris. i'm not talking about what i just heard. i'm not talking about what i read only. i'm not talking about what people said and what i seen and witnessed and what i experienced myself. i remember laying on the ground, chris, during the ferguson protest the night when the bill was called by the -- yes, that night. who do i call out to in this moment? who do you call when it's the sflees who am i calling ought to save me? we should not be live in a country where that is the thing for somebody who is just trying
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to work to save lives. and being a member of this community here. but now, now that i sit in this seat, that is the work that i have before me. bring them before hearings to make sure that that change happens. look, change doesn't happen if people don't feel it. if their lives don't change. that's what i'm here to do. >> thank you so much. >> thank you, chris. i want to turn to the acting president and executive director of the lawyers committee for civil rights under law. that's an organization you may have heard of and previously led by kristen clark who is now awaiting confirmation to lead the justice department civil rights division. so mr. hewitt, you have big shoes to fill. we're all watching the kristen clark hearing. you have a lot of experience with these -- what we call federal consent decrees. mfrp from the department of justice into local police department that's lead to some sort of oversight situation. do they work? is this an effective tool in the
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tool kit here? >> first of all, thanks for having me. it's important to make sure we use every tool that isn't s. in the tool kit. there is a reason request a former attorney general tried to neutral they are tool on his way out the door. in fact, he spent time in the seat as attorney general. there was some concern or fear that it was going to be an effective tool. but there's a reason why it wasn't used. there is a reason why our attorney general is using the tool once again. it's not perfect. right? but it is the one thing we have at the executive tlaefl can go beyond an individual killing, an individual murder or individual trial to look at every aspect of policing in a particular jurisdiction. it can be triggered by a particular killing as this one was in minneapolis. but it can be triggered by a number of things, including complaints from community members who were getting the raw end of the deal. >> one thing that i found as a
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journalist with these patterns and practices investigations is they produce a written record by the federal government that almost has this effect of saying to communities, you know, you're not crazey. it's pretty bad here. you saw that with the ferguson report of patterns and practices where federal investigators confirmed that this was a fundamentally an exploit ative force. how important is that record setting in having an authoritative voice with the justice department to fwauk what has happened with a given police department? >> civil rights 101 is documentation. it does a couple things. it creates that record which helps build the case. the policy case. the activism case. but it also, again, it is validating the communities. it gives people energy. but it also gives a road map to those at the local level who actually want to make change. who can actually be partners in
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that. we can provide you an effective road map as well for what is the problem, what is wrong and what the changes need to be made? >> what other tools do you want to see marshalled here? again, in the aftermath of this, the aftermath of the biggest civil rights protests and probably a generation this brutal murder that happened video recorded, a country in which police officers killed three people a day, sort of unlike anything that happens anywhere else in the world. but a country with very high levels of interpersonal violence that relates to that. very armed populous the police are engaging every day. what other tools do you want to see marshalled here? >> the cycles of violence in state houses is part of it. and that's what the federal government and local and state governments can certainly address directly. what we need is a counterpart for the investigations. and i think corey bush mentioned one great one.
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george floyd and the policing. we need that 1-2 punch. and criminal liability in the appropriate case. inappropriate cases. you know, registry that shines some daylight on what officers are doing when they act with impunity. again, it's not all officers. but in are certainly some, too many, frankly, acting with impunity. day in and day out, you go from one police department to the next. without any accountability killing people when they go unchecked. if we have the moral clarity that information can provide through the practices and the investigations combined with the potential for enforcement at the executive level and the potential for civil and criminal sanctions, i think we can then start to see can the legal system when it is fully loaded actually start to make some changes? policing? >> all right. thank you so much for sharing your experience and expertise with us tonight. and her address to the nation last night, vice president kamala harris urged the senate
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to pass the george floyd act which mr. hewitt is discussing. that is a policing reform bill that she introduced along with cory booker last summer. now in the wake of the guilty verdicts, there is renewed attention on making meaningful change in policing. sort of a now or never moment for the george floyd act. it's going to pass, it has a window right now. so i'm going to talk to senator cory booker about whether they can get this done right after this. get this done right afr te this it doesn't happen often. everyday people taking on the corporate special interests. and winning.
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last summer together with senator cory booker and representative karen bass, i introduced the xwornlg floyd justice and policing act. this bill would hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities. this is part of george floyd's legacy. the president and i will continue to urge the senate to pass the legislation. not as a panacea for every problem, but as a start. >> last summer, members of congress promised fundamental changes to policing. it was not long before a bill in george floyd's name was passed in the house along party lines. and nevertheless, republicans offered a counter bill, watered down versionst bill instead. now at the time, cory booker called the bill "he wouldfully inadequate, deeply flawed and painfully weak."
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when it comes to policing reform, he may have a closer hand on this than any other senator. he was mayor of new jersey when they sent him ray letter announcing a investigation into the city's police department. by the time newark entered a settlement announcing hugely agreed upon reforms, he was in the senate. he made a number of proposal to reform criminal justice, including one signed into law by donald trump in 2018. joining me now is cory booker, democrat from new jersey. senator, we're talking about the policing act. we referred to the reform. what would it do? what is the sort of version to people about what it would do and how it applies to problems that people are experiencing?
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>> i'm a former mayor with a majority black city, majority black city council, black mayor. and we were doing innovative reforms. but the justice department took our data and showed us we had severe challenges and problems. and we went about changing them even further with the aclu. this goes to show you, this isn't about good intentions. this isn't about overt racism. these are about systems that need change. we need accountability in the george floyd act has a lot more transparency. we want to pull that data from every police department. we want to begin reporting from uses of force to even the racial breakdown of the traffic stops and more. in addition to that, we want to ban certain practices that has led to the death of people like eric garner or breonna taylor, specifically those kind of no
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knock warrants. we want greater liability. we want to see real accountability. that means taking on qualified immunity that is shielding cities and officers from that. so there say lot in our bill that would go a long way in shifting american police accountability. >> i heard this argument from police officers. police officers are probably good cops, good police officers, care about what they do and something like, for instance, getting rid of the qualified immunity protections which is something that the supreme court kind of built up through the jurisprudence to make the inpenetratable shield for misbehavior on the job. that that would put police officers in a defensive crouch. it will make them less pro active and you'll get worse
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policing. what is your argument? >> that's not my belief. i don't share that belief whatsoever. i really do believe you have to know if you grossly violate laws and civil rights that there are consequences for that. we've seen the impunity and this led to a lot of folks' death. the bad apples do not think there will be consequences when they do the horrific things. so i am trying my best. i'm in the middle of some deep talks to get to a place where we don't solve all the problems. i think policing reform is going to take a lot more. but where we can say to america, we have created more accountability. change standards and make americans safer and the police profession is hurting right now. a headline just read that we
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have historically low in applications for our state police. we need to heal the police community relations and trust in law enforcement. so there is a lot we have to work on and do. i think we can. this is the moment to make some strides. >> karen bass on the house side was on joy reid's program in the last hour talking about feeling that there is prospect here. i think there is informal conversations with having the author and sponsor of that sort of alternative bill that was floated the last time around. is there an actual booip consensus piece of legislation? is that is a possibility in the short term? >> it is most certainly a possibility. tim and i are friends. we've done big bills together.
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he's a good faith actor. will it be enough to lead to real change and reform? i've seen things before from racial sense tifrt training to community policing funding and it has not led to a stop of the deaths of people like rice, george floyd, breonna taylor, eric garner and the names we all know. so my standard is are we making -- are we making real substantive reforms that we can say are really going to make a difference? i'm encouraged by the conversations now. i'm hard at work. this center of my efforts for many days now to try to get something passed. all right. senator cory booker, thank you so much. >> thank you very much. >> just ahead, republican senator john kennedy tries to go toe to toe with stacey abrams and it does not go so well for him. that amazing exchange next. t gor him.
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there was a hearing on voting rights in the senate judiciary committee yesterday. stacey abrams, testified as a witness. for some reason, john kennedy seemed to think he could stump abrams to list all the reasons why georgia's restricting law is racist. one of the most knowledgeable people in the country about that law was ready. >> you're against the georgia bill, i gather. is that right? >> i'm against certain versions of it, yes. >> i think you called it a racist bill. am i right? >> i think there are provision that's are racist, yes. >> okay. tell me specifically, just give me a list, of the provisions that you object to. >> i object to the provisions that remove access to the right to vote. that shorten the federal runoff period from nine weeks to four
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weeks. restrict the time that a voter can request and return an absentee ballot investigation. >> slow down for me. because our audio is not real good here. >> certainly. >> could you start over for me? >> certainly. >> thank you, ma'am. >> it shortens the federal runoff period from nine weeks to four weeks. >> okay. >> it restricts the time of voter can request and return an absentee ballot investigation. >> right. >> it requires that a voter have a photo identification or some other form of identification that they're willing to surrender in order to participate in absentee ballot process. >> that -- if i can stop you. that's where they're going to not comparing signatures but to voter id? >> yes. and as she pointed out, we would become only the fourth state in the nation to -- >> what else? >> it eliminates over 300 hours of drop box availability. >> okay. what else? >> it bans nearly all out of
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precinct votes. >> bans what? i'm sorry? >> out of precinct votes. meaning you get there and you're in line for four hours and you're not there between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., you have to start all over again. >> is that everything? >> no. it is not. no, sir. it restricts the hours of operation because it now under the guise of setting standardized time line, it makes it optional for counties that maybe -- may not want to see expanded access to the right to vote. they can now limit the hours. instead of the hours being from 7:00 to 7:00, they're now from 9:00 to 5:00 which may have an effect on voters that cannot vote during business hours. >> okay. i get the idea. i get the idea. >> that's enough. you asked, sir. the georgia law is one example
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of aggressively, for lack of better word, anti-democratic laws being pushed by republicans across the country. in florida, republicans passed a law that attempts to criminalize protests. that will be challenged. introducing new crimes like aggravated vie yachting and mob intimidation. the law also this is real, increases protections so those responding to demonstrations granting civil immunity to drivers that run through crowds of protesters. florida republicans are also trying to pass a voter restriction bill which make absentee voting harder. just passed out of the florida senate rules committee. one of hundreds such bills as of last month, they have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. not just in places where republicans may lose but in places like montana where they elected a republican. he signed a clause ending same day voter registration and increasing voter identification. ari burrman is a senior and
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author of "give us the ballot." and he joins me now. you know, one thing that came through effectively in stacey abrams response to senator kennedy is there is a death by 1,000 cuts feel to them, right? like small -- like oh, we're going to limit this and we're going to reduce drop boxes and reduce hours. it's all the change that's go in one direction. >> that's right. it's a couple la sieve effect of voter suppression, chris. in georgia, they wanted to do the big sweep changes. they wanted to repeal automatic voting registration. that was so politically unpopular, they went for the more under the radar changes. they thought them wouldn't be able to understand. things like stripping the secretary of state of power after he stood up to trump or
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giving them control over an election administration they didn't have before or having ballots cast in the precinct. he asked the secretary of state in georgia to fine him 11,000 votes. and the secretary of state and so now they're passing the laws to try to find 11,000 votes and more by making it harder to vote in future elections. >> you know, georgia is such an interesting example. there is a history there with brian kemp and stacey abrams before this. it is a longer history because it's a state in the deep south that had all the kind of jim crow sort of laws on the books. prior to voting rights act. and now it's a state that flipped by this narrow margin. huge, right? montana's interesting. it's like republicans did fine. they have voter registration. they did fine. can you win an election as republican. you don't need this. and, yet, same impulse. one of the first things the governor is doing. >> well, this is the playbook all across the country, chris. the top priority of republican
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party right now is to make it harder to vote. and not just in states that joe biden won. obviously that, is ground zero for the effort. places like georgia, arizona, michigan this is where they're most desperate to enact the restrictions on voting. they're pushing them in states like florida and states he won comfortably like montana, and iowa. they're all marching off the same playbook. the laws they're passing to restrict voting rights are similar across the country. for example, georgia passed a bill that criminalized giving food and water to people in line. that is a controversial provision. well, similar bills have now been introduced in florida and in arkansas. criminalizing election administration. that is happening not just in georgia but in iowa in, florida, in other states, in texas. and so really, not just -- they're not just trying to make it harder to vote in all the states. they're trying to make it hard to vote in all the same ways in state after state after state. >> there is an ohio story i saw
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today about the -- that they have judicial elections that democrats have done pretty well in. and they don't have the party line listed. even though the judicial -- if you're running for the state courts are democrats and republicans and republicans want to change it now to have a partisan id. i thought it was interesting. that isn't anti-democratic. i think can you make arguments in both directions honestly in terms of voter transparency. but yet another example of losing a set of elections and immediately going to the rules. that's the thing to deal with as opposed to like your message, platform, whatever you're going to do. >> well, that's been the playbook across the country. it hasn't been to reach out to more voters. it's been how to have fewer voters participate in the process. and it's always about changing the rules only when they don't work for them. so in georgia republicans wrote all of the voting laws. and they're perfectly fine with them until democrats started using them in large numbers.
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and it's interesting in florida they're trying to make it harder to vote by mail. they're trying to get rid of drop boxes. they're only doing that when democrats outnumbered republicans and mailed voters. so they trump it. they talk about trying to get people to vote by mail. and then the second the democrats start doing this they say, no, we have to get rid of these things. that's really telling that instead of trying to appeal to more voters, they're just trying to have fewer voters participate. i think that's basically the central organizing principle everywhere whether it comes to how they view democracy right now. >> yeah. i think they have convinced themselves. i don't think they're right about. this here's the crazy thing. they convince the fewer people voting, the better for us. on the margins. let's make you it harder. don't go anywhere. the u.s. hits a major milestone in vaccinations, one and only steve corebacky here at the big
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with nervive nerve relief. you know, life is complicated and being a human in the world presents challenges all the time. i mean maybe you're in a fight with a friend or family member or someone else and it's bumming you out. it's keeping you up at night. maybe you have some kind of workplace conflict or you have a relative that is sick or your kid is getting bullied in school or in debt, stressing your finances. i mean there are all kinds of sources of anxiety and difficulty around us. it is never the case that you can just go and get a shot and take it all away. it's not how life works. that never happens. which means the coronavirus vaccine is as close to a magic wand that will exist in our life. the virus is part of stress and anxiety and peril to your health. now can you get a shot and
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essentially make all that stress disappear. that's why people talk about getting emotional when they get the vaccine. it's so remarkable because nothing else in life works that way. in that sense, it really is a miracle. just today president joe biden announced, we have administered 200 million doses of vaccine in less than 100 days, in 92 days. great news. here to crunch the numbers to tell us how much of our country is vaccinated is the great steve kornacki back at the big board. >> chris, thanks. let's take a look at the way we can look at the numbers. plan your vaccine.com. that is our way of helping you figure out where, how, when can you go get the vaccination. like right now 40.5%, a little more than 40% of the entire population, everybody in the united states from the oldest to the youngest, the entire population in this country, now 40.5% have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. now there are a couple others way to break down this number.
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that's everybody. what about just the adult age population? 18 years and older. number gets higher there. in fact, it was this week that that milestone of 50%, 50% of at adult population vaccinated. we crossed that milestone. work your way up to senior citizens. the most vulnerable group. 65 mus now over 80% of seniors. that number continuing to rise with at least one dose. you can add another layer on to this. fully vaccinated. getting both shots. take a look at that category for the groups. again, basically a quarter of the total population, third of the adult population and two third fully, two-thirds of the senior population. and just as a reminder, when you look at the numbers among seniors, that rast vaccination, look, again, more than half a million deaths from covid-19. look how skewed it is to seniors? 81% of the deaths, more than 80% have come from the 65 and older.
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95% of those deaths came from folks 50 and older. when you see vak andation rates that high for seniors, for older americans, keep that in mind. and that also probably goes a long way to explaining this, what you see here. this is the rolling average here of deaths from vud. remember, early this year we were really hitting that new peak early this year. this right here this is basically the start of february. this is basically the point where we cross the 10% threshold for vaccinations. it's been climbing and climbing. millions of every day really since then. as that happened, you can see here that daily rolling average of the death rate has really dropped. it's kind of plateaued a bit lately. one thing we've seen lately is there are more and more people getting vaccinated every day. but the growth in vaccinations actually seems to be stopping. maybe even slowing a little bit. so that might be the cause for concern at least right now. can you get that really ramped
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up, get the numbers even higher than we've seen? one other way of looking that is to compare that one shot for the adult population in the u.s., how does that compare to other countries around the world? give you a sense of the range that is out there right now. so for at least one shot, israel kind of leads the way internationally. 62% there. if you look by the way at israel right now, this could be a preview of what is to come here. if you look at the new daily cases, they're really getting low right now. when i look at this, japan. summer olympics. supposed to be this summer in japan. 1% right now in japan of the adult population there has at least one shot. >> that chart, that one you got up there is so fascinating. gaza and in terms of the population that is vaccinated. that is the denominator there. but israel, uk and united states, those are place that's had bad outbreaks. had a tough time. if you look at japan or germany, like they did a much better job suppressing the virus.
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but it's topsy turvy in terms who have is vaccinating and what countries are doing a better job. >> i think interesting, too, you note the uk versus u.s. here. keep in mind this is at least one dose. because the way they stressed this the rollout in the uk has been to get everybody at least one dose. and in some cases kind of put off that second dose. if you look at the fully vaccinated numbers, the u.s. would actually vault past the uk on that one. >> yeah. among large countries, we're up near the top. steve kornacki, fantastic. thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you, chris. >> all right. massive arrests in ben rooedz on what the biden administration can do next. biden agedministra can do next. fort in your hands or feet? introducing nervive nerve relief from the world's number 1 selling nerve care company. as we age, natural changes to our nerves occur which can lead to occasional discomfort.
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a little preparation will make you and your family safer in an emergency. a week's worth of food and water, radio, flashlight, batteries and first aid kit are a good start to learn more, visit safetyactioncenter.pge.com thousands and thousands of people took to the streets across russia today to protest the treatment of imprisoned
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opposition leader alexei navalny. his health is failing. there is real concern he is slowly being killed by russian president vladimir putin in front of the world. people gathered in towns chanting, "putin is a thief." in the capital city of moscow, people chanted, "get a doctor to navalny." his wife also took to the streets. one human rights group says 1,500 people were arrested in russia as the government cracked down on protesters. incredibly brave, what those folks are doing. there's a new administration in the white house that is no longer openly deferential to vladimir putin but still, there's the same set of intractable problems between the two countries. the biden administration imposed new sanctions on russia.
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nearly 100,000 russian troops are on the border. how does the u.s. manage to create some kind of workable bilateral relationship with putin's russia? ben rhodes served as the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications under president barack obama. he has closely been following developments in russia and tweeted out, it's hard to capture the profound sadism and broad ramifications of slowly killing your most powerful and popular opponent in front of the entire world. ben rhodes joins me now. you know, ben, i think obviously this relationship was very strange under donald trump. his deference to putin was very strange. his refusal to criticize. but it is also always the case that the difficulty of this relationship was deeper than trump. and you're really seeing that now. it's like, okay, trump's gone and we can, you know, do sanctions and we can call out human rights abuses, but i don't
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know how much that changes russian behavior. like, how do you see the path forward here? >> well, first of all, putin tends to make the decisions that he thinks are in his best decisions for his own domestic political standing. the u.s. has tried pressure and he's done what he wanted to do whether it's in places like ukraine or syria. we've tried to have resets with the relationship with russia and he's still done those things. we have to understand putin is going to make these judgments, particularly about how he treats his people at home, on his own. but we can impose a cost. because part of what putin is doing, part of what i was referring to in that tweet, was not just strangling russian opposition in civil so the. he's been in the vanguard of authoritarianism that's spread around the world as well. it's important for the u.s. to take a stand against that authoritarianism which we've seen reaching our own country.
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>> it keeps being a problem, russia is a nuclear power. so, you know, when you talk about eastern ukraine, they basically straight up stole crimea, it was an international crime, to go and take another country. they thought for their own security, it was worth the cost. we're not going to go to war with a nuclear power, they know that. what's the answer to the "then what" question? >> to me the answer is that we take the work that alexei navalny is doing and we do things that are not only necessary to confront putin but also to uphold the things we care about around the world. what do i mean by this? alexei navalny has successful because he successfully opposed putin's inner circle. he released a video about a house that putin owns that's the
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most expensive house in the world. if the united states government wanted to reveal the full extent of vladimir putin's corruption and that of his circle, we could do that. if the united states of america wanted to spend much more resources cracking down on money laundering, on the trafficking of dark money through the american financial system that supports the oligarchy of not just vladimir putin but some of his like-minded friends around the world, we could do that. so to me it's about going on offense, not necessarily just against putin himself, but against the brand of corruption that he represents. that navalny and his supporters in the streets are so frustrated with. that's something we have not yet done and could do. >> so i want to make an argument on the other side, just as devil's advocate, because it's a thorny problem. we need a modus vendi against russia, a nuclear power. we don't want nuclear war. so we're sort of cause in an
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escalatory game here. it's like, let's find an off-ramp, here's a summit. the things you're describing keep us in the escalatory loop. i'm just gaming out, is there a way that we unilaterally bring the relationship into something more functional or is that just not possible? >> i'm not sure, chris, that it's possible with vladimir putin running russia. and we have to recognize, that's because of vladimir putin, not because of us. that said, i don't think we should be looking to go to war here, i don't think we should be looking for cyber escalation upon escalation. the big, complex relationship between the u.s. and russia has enabled for corruption -- sorry, for cooperation on things like the iran nuclear deal or nuclear arms control, at the same time we're confronting each other in other areas. again, i do think we have to do certain things because we care
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about them not just in russia, but globally. the reason to go after corruption and autocracy is not because we're seeking to get rid of putin in russia. it's because we're seeking to get rid of those things globally. the united states can take a stand for those principles, not just in opposition to putin, but anywhere. >> the point about money laundering is really, really, really well said. that is "all in" on this wednesday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris, thanks, my friend, much appreciated. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy to have you here. a big news day today, president biden announcing we just hit 200 million doses of vaccine administered. you will recall he initially said he wanted 100 million shots to be administered in his first 100 days as president. then when he hit that really early, he doubled the goal and said, okay, not 100 million shots but 200 million shots in 100 days. today's announcement means that he hit that, evenha

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