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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 5, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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before we go tonight, little bit of breaking news on story we covered top of the show. just developed on the air. u.s. justice department, head of the civil rights division sent this letter to republican-controlled arizona state senate warning them their so-called audit of the presidential election result done by company with no experience run by qanon promoter, justice department is warning that my be in violation of federal law. in part because turned over ballots to private company when legally required for under the control of elections official. also the people doing the audit may go door-to-door asking about votes and would constitute voter intimidation under federal law. just sent tonight, don't know
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what it portends, but if the justice department is getting involved in the bananas recount in arizona could be a very big deal. that's it for us. see you tomorrow nont. now it's time for "the last word" there lawrence o'donnell. >> thank you justice department, i was wondering about that. talking about it, all the great interviews about it, all been so wild and it had the feel of illegality to it, but i don't know enough about the federal law or arizona law to put my legal fingers on it. here we are tonight with something that's starting to sound like it makes sense from the justice department. >> that's right, and there's a reason why the federal government certifies various experts and entities who are allowed to do the kinds of work around elections that contractors are sometimes hired to do, recounts, audits,
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canvasses, forensics, those things, there's a federal certification prosecute, can't just be a rando off the street who heard about it on facebook group and wandered in and is given the ballots. essentially what the arizona republicans did. but these are real ballots in real federal election and there's real federal law that applies here. pamela carlin is running the civil rights division until clark is confirmed. i think can see this as justice department putting the whack jobs in arizona, forgive me, on notice. not allowed to do that much longer. >> whack jobs is in the "new york times" style sheet to describe what is happening in arizona. >> sorry. >> it's after 10:00 p.m., can't be held to the same careful semantic standard of 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. >> let the record show i never
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used word whack job before we reported tonight on the fact they were using cameras to look for bamboo in the papers because they thought something might have come from asia, therefore would have bamboo in it and thought would find the fraud to put donald trump back into the election. that alone i think earns the whack job moniker which i otherwise would not you'd. >> you're hereby authorized to use whatever word you want for that. >> thank you lawrence. >> thank you rachel. never a good time to be trump lawyer but this week is especially bad week to be a trump lawyer. former attorney general william barr has been rebuked by federal judge for not telling truth about how he decided that donald trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice based on
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the evidence in the mueller report. and rudy giuliani is now begging donald trump for money to pay for the small army of new york lawyers that giuliani has hired in his own legal defense after the fbi raided his home and office last week, seizing ten cell phones and other digital devices with mountains of evidence for federal investigators zeroing in on rudy giuliani. and because this is giuliani world we're talking about, which has always, and i mean always been every bit as crazy as trump world, the person publicly making the case for his dear friend rudy giuliani that donald trump should pay his legal fees, person making that case is a convicted felon. bernard carrick, who used to be mayor giuliani's chauffeur.
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i want to know what the gop did with the money collected for the election legal fight. lawyers and law firms that didn't do -- crap -- were paid lots of money and people who worked their a-s-s-e-s off got nothing. and made similar complaints to advisers, arguing that mr. giuliani incurred costs helping mr. trump and his name was used to raise money in the election fight. as mayor, rudy giuliani promoted bernard carrick from chauffeur to police commissioner. then he committed enough federal crimes to serve three years in prison. "new york times" reports that giuliani's advisers, which
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include bernard carrick were quote disappointed that giuliani did not receive a federal pardon from mr. trump despite facing long-running investigation into ukrainian dealings. person close said after months of speculation that he might offer a preemptive pardon and mr. giuliani said he didn't need a pardon because he doesn't commit crimes. appoints only new york city police commissioner in his lifetime convicted of crimes, says i don't commit crimes. maybe. figuring out rudy giuliani's relationship to crime will be left to the judgment of federal prosecutors scouring his digital devices. they have petitioned the court to appoint a special master to sort out any material they seize
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that might involve attorney/client privilege. a federal judge in washington, d.c., ruled against trump attorney general william barr's attempt to keep a justice department document secretment because it was used in his deliberations about whether donald trump would be charged with obstruction of justice because of the evidence in the mueller report. judge jackson said in her opinion that william barr was being disingenuous, not candid or sincere, typically pretending that one knows less about something than one really. does i of course think william barr was lying but i'm not a federal judge who has to be careful of accusing someone of a
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crime. if william barr was lying to judge jackson about the way he used that memo, he also lied under oath to congress about the way he used that memo. >> the deputy attorney general and i conducted a careful review of the report, with our staffs and legal advisers, and we concluded that evidence developed during the special counsel's investigation was not sufficient to establish that the president committed obstruction of justice offense. >> only problem with that is that william barr announced that the president could not be charged with obstruction of justice only two days after receiving the very, very, very long mueller report. hundreds and hundreds of pages of the mueller report. judge jackson noted the attorney general's characterization of what he hardly had time to skim
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much less study closely prompted immediate reaction as politicians and pundits took to feeds to decry what they thought was attempt to hide the ball. attorney general was not then engaged in making a decision about whether the president should be charged with obstruction of justice, the fact that he would not be prosecuted was a given. leading off, neal katyal, msnbc legal contributor. thanks for joining us tonight. as soon as i read what the judge said about william barr, i was eager to talk to you about this. disingenuous is not a word i find myself using because i'm not a federal judge but carefully used in situations like this. what do you make about what the judge is saying here about william barr? >> it's hugely significant, lawrence. yesterday in my city of
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washington, d.c., we really had a tale of two attorneys general. one, merrick garland testifying in congress, carefully, methodically, sober, balanced, and then second we had this description of bill barr from judge amy jackson who is regarded as one of our nation's top jurists, and what a contrast. attorney general is supposed to be the attorney general of the united states people, not the attorney for the president. and what judge jackson's opinion, you're isolating that key word "disingenuous" and that's right word, she's saying you were a liar, you were doing donald trump's bidding and not being attorney general. that's a word judges don't use for ordinary litigant, never see them call the head of the u.s.
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justice department disingenuous. we've always known there's a degree of corruption around bill barr but this puts exclamation point on it. notably she's not first judge in washington, d.c., to call bill barr such thing. reggie walton and emmit sullivan with the mueller report and claim he dropped case against michael flynn for reasons that didn't seem credible. >> want to spend a minute on this word disingenuous, and why the judge went that far but not beyond that, didn't say what i would say, call it a lie. that is because a judge is in a unique position, finder of fact and doesn't want to be in position to be accuser.
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she recognizes that prosecutors are in the business of accusing, not judges. so that's about as strong a word as a judge in this situation could use, isn't it? >> exactly. she couldn't go further, specific question in the case, a public interest organization was seeking memo that barr used to say -- that he claims he used to say i'm notice going to indict president trump. that's something ordinarily the freedom of information act protects against what are called deliberative documents, predecision documents that inform the way attorney general or someone might make a decision. judge said this is disingenuous because you made the decision where you had the document, post hoc rationalization. that's all she needed to dismiss
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the case. to go further and call for investigation is not the job of the judge. job is evaluate the case before her, not recommend new case. using that word went far, probably justified. barr tried to block her from reading the report and she got it anyway and before she wrote her opinion she read entire report and her opinion reflects what's in the actual report. >> is there legal jeopardy for former attorney general william barr in your view given that he did testify to congress saying the same thing that the judge is now saying is not true? >> absolutely. like every attorney that surrounds himself with donald trump he's looking for criminal
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liability. i'm sure by this point he's hired counsel because he's being accused of federal judge of being disingenuous, but problem is he said something very different to congress and that will be sorted out by justice department investigators, perhaps also by others, bar disciplinary committees or other things. i do think he's in some trouble at this point. >> it has been reported that rudy giuliani actively sought a pardon from donald trump, requested one and didn't get one. i've always been wondering is will barr, back when donald trump was president, asking for pardon? does he think he might need one? so many legal lines his toes were on constantly, including i would assume some we don't even know about. >> yeah, we don't know what barr
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did. i think barr is different from rudy. rudy giuliani hasn't been part of the reality-based community for quite a while. wouldn't say that about barr. i would say he has distorted view of what the law requires, one that's self-serving and protects his pals, but two distinct concepts here. >> neal katyal, thanks for starting us off. really appreciate it. coming up, liz cheney thinks the republican party is at a crossroads tonight. that's because she missed the crossroads in 2016 when donald trump got the republican nomination for president and the party became the cult of trump. that's next. mp that's next. what you need? i mean it... uh-oh, sorry... oh... what? i'm an emu! no, buddy! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty. ♪ it only takes a second for an everyday item
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today mcconnell said that every single republican in united states senate is opposed to every single thing on joe
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biden's agenda. so senator joe manchin's effort to find bipartisanship on anything might not take much longer. mitch mcconnell is trying to do what he did to barack obama, block every single thing the democratic president wants. republican party is no longer governing party, simply opposition party. republicans in the senate have no position other than opposition to whatever is the biden position. republicans in the house are not even an opposition party anymore, they're a chaos party. they don't pretend to have any position on any issues, they spend no time talking about what they think is wrong with joe biden's plans, they just fight among themselves. at center of that fight is congresswoman liz cheney, not backing down from what has become her public fight with
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leader in name only of republicans in the house, kevin mccarthy. in op-ed in the "washington post" published online this afternoon liz cheney said the republican party is at turning point and must decide whether to choose truth and fidelity to the constitution. the republican party had turning point in 2016 when donald trump got the republican presidential nomination. every decent republican publicly opposed his nomination and cand acy against hillary clinton. lifelong republicans who were thought leaders like pulitzer prize winning columnist george will left the republican party in 2016. that, history will show, was the turning point. liz cheney missed the turning point. liz cheney holds the position of house republican conference
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chair. if you don't know what that job is, no one else does. it is a job that has absolutely no function, never has had any function, it's just a way of giving a fancy title to a member of the party in the house. many republicans now want to take that title away and give it to 36-year-old congresswoman from upstate new york, elise stefanich who promises to continue to publicly lie as much as possible about the last presidential election. republican congressman anthony gonzalez, who like liz cheney voted to impeach donald trump for inciting the invasion of the capitol on january 6th says quote, if a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then liz is not the best fit. liz isn't going to lie to
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people. today president biden said this about republicans in congress. >> president biden, you said earlier you don't understand republicans. what does it say about them if they oust liz cheney from leadership for telling the truth about the election? >> look, um, it seems as though the republican party is trying to identify what it stands for. and they're in the midst of significant mini revolution going on in the republican party. i've been a democrat for a long time. we've gone through periods, had internal fights and disagreements, but don't ever remember any like this. and so as one of you said, not embarrassed by identifying them, but if you said on national
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television last night we badly need a republican party. we need a two-party system. it's not healthy to have a one-party system. and i think the republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than i thought they would be at this point. >> joining us now, democratic congressman of colorado, member of the house judiciary committee and served as impeachment manager in second senate impeachment trial of donald trump. thanks for joining us, congressman, really appreciate it. liz cheney thinks the turning point is now for the republican party. feels to me like they made their turn a while ago. >> good evening, lawrence, good to be with you. i certainly agree. clearly there were blaring
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warning signals as president trump was candidate trump for potential for him to undermine the rule of law in our country. many americans saw those signals, clearly apparent to most americans, obviously i agree with you there. that said, liz cheney should be applauded for speaking truth to power now, and her compelling editorial should be read by all americans. i agree that history is watching the republican party. what is most striking to me is the differences in way in which the two major political parties in the united states have functioned past 100 days. democrats are fighting for the american people, small businesses and families, kids. trying to speed up vaccinations across the country. republicans are fighting themselves. having existential debate not over policy but whether or not they will respect the rule of law and democratic institutions
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like legitimacy of the institutions and it's clear that battle is going to be won by hard liners and far right of the republican party and unfortunately seems to be no room for folks who take more reasonable view and believe in the core functions of our constitutional republic. >> you said they're fighting themselves. watch one member of the house who is fighting with himself. listen to what kevin mccarthy has said over time about this. >> the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. he should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw that what was unfolding i was first to talk to him after the riots, he didn't see it, told me he would put out something to stop this. that's what he did, put a video
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out later. >> kevin mccarthy has been fighting with himself ever since he delivered clearly the best speech his career when he said that president trump was of course responsible for what happened in the capitol. >> perhaps most insidious part of the charade is you have folks like the minority leader who know what they're saying today doesn't comport with the facts. he knew that the president bore responsibility for the insurrection on january 6th, as do most republicans in the house republican caucus. unfortunately they are unwilling to speak the truth and choose country over party, as you were, as the caucus chairwoman liz cheney spoke about in editorial in the "washington post" today. i think history is watching and decisions made today will ring
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loudly in history in coming years. i just wish more republicans would be willing to do what liz cheney has done. >> seems that the republican strategy, house strategy for those members is to win their primaries. they are concerned with not having someone who is trumpier than they are confront them in a primary and take that nomination away from them as the republican candidate for the house in their district. seems like a party entirely concerned with winning its own primary without any concern whatsoever for what voters outside of the republican party are thinking. >> i think that's absolutely right, lawrence. big part of their motivation or rationalization is the flawed incentive system we have unfortunately in our current political environment. most folks running to the right in their respective caucus to win their primaries.
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another reason we need to pass hr-1 and sr-1 that includes redistricting reform, similar to the model we have in colorado, redistricting performed by nonpartisan, citizen-led commission. but end of the day i would simply say it's important for those house republicans who agree with liz cheney, who understand the geopolitical ramifications of continuing to perpetuate the big lie, who recognize what happened on january 6th could happen again, it's important for them to speak up and speak up now. >> i understand when you work in legislative body with another party, you always welcome somebody who has been opponent to your side whenever there's any area of agreement. what is the feeling among democrats in the house. hearing what you have to say about liz cheney, what are your colleagues feeling about her position tonight?
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>> frankly, lawrence, most of the colleagues i've spoken with agree with the sentiments expressed by president biden early today. we need healthy parties in the united states, healthy political parties for our republic to function in the way the framers and founders intended. you want to see more sensible voices emerge within the house republican caucus, that's outcome every american ought to desire and what is happening to chairwoman cheney is deeply disappointing in terms of the broader trend lines it portends for the caucus to function as legitimate political party that respects the legitimacy of our elections in the future. >> congressman joe negative use, thank you. >> thank you lawrence. coming up, polling shows
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that republican voters are feeling much more bipartisan in support for the biden agenda than the republicans in congress. represents a formerly republican district will join us next. l jot m to customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need? really? i didn't-- aah! ok. i'm on vibrate. aaah! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ this is our block. our place. our people. our block, it's just like yours. full of the people who shaped you. they all deserve care and access to the vaccine. no matter their address, income, or skin color. not having a ride to get the vaccine. can't be the reason you don't get it. you wanna help? donate a ride today. some days, you just don't have it.
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president biden's proposals continue to prove popular with the american people, even as senate minority leader mitch mcconnell vows that republicans will completely obstruct the biden agenda. today a new politico morning consult poll found 58% of voters support american families plan for child care, paid family leave and prekindergarten and community college free, includes 25% of republicans.
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most surprising finding, it was one point higher when the price tag was mentioned than when it wasn't. polls also show that americans are in favor of raising taxes on the rich and corporations to pay for the plans. president biden is also proposing as nbc news details changing how corporate earnings are taxed at home and abroad to boost revenue, requiring heirs to multimillion dollar fortunes -- by treating as regular income. another way to look to pay for biden agenda is simply improving efficiency in which the irs collects taxes already owed to the government. to all of this, every bit of
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this, mitch mcconnell says absolutely no. >> 100% of my focus is on standing up to this administration, what we have in the united states senate is total unity from susan collins to ted cruz in opposition to what the new biden administration is trying to do to this country. >> joining us now, democratic congresswoman katie porter of california, member of the house oversight committee. thanks for joining us tonight. you represent a district formerly republican, you're talking to republican voters every day. what is your feel for the bipartisanship of the support by voters of the biden agenda? >> the american people want washington to help solve some of the problems and challenges they're facing. including things like being unable to afford college, being unable to afford child care, the high price of prescription
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drugs, our aging infrastructure, need to help more seniors age in place. that's what they want leaders in congress to be focused on, not opposing administration but solving problems and to hear senator mitch mcconnell say all he wants to do is oppose an administration or party rather than evaluate the quality of the ideas the president is putting forth is really disappointing and should be a letdown to every voter, regardless of party preference. >> promised no tax increases for everybody less than $400,000 in income. listen to what he said about people who would see tax increases in his bill. >> we're not going to deprive executives their second or third home. travel privately by jet. not going to affect their standard of living at all, not a
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little tiny bit. but i can effect a standard of living that people i grew up with, if they have a job, if they have child care, can afford it, 20 million more women can be back in the work force. this is just -- makes no sense to me. but i'm going to have to be able to explain this and i'm going to keep banging at it. >> congresswoman, porter, you've cross-examined some of the people in house hearings, very rich people worried about what this bill might mean to them. what is your reaction to way joe biden describes the possible impact on their lifestyle which he says is zero? >> well i love that president biden we just saw. i love a president biden making it clear what's at stake is helping american families, growing our economy. this isn't about making sure that the wealthiest of the
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wealthy never have to share any of the wealth to benefit from the collective well-being of our country. let's be clear about what taxes are. taxes are an investment we collectively make in growing our economy and making sure that we remain the best country in the world. that's what taxes are. they're an investment, and we should all be willing to do our part and pay our fair share in achieving that goal. which is really making america flourish. >> and we're not all paying our fair share because the current estimates indicate as much as close to $1 trillion a year could be collected by irs if we would just give them resources they need. let's listen to the way treasury secretary janet yellen talked about this. >> it is shocking and distressing to see estimates suggesting that the gap between what we're collecting in taxes
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under our tax law and what we should be collecting if everybody were paying taxes due, that amounts to over $7 trillion over a decade. and we're trying to make meaningful steps to close that gap. >> and congresswoman porter, history will show that irs lack of resources was a direct decision made by republicans in congress to not adequately fund the irs. >> treasury secretary yellen shouldn't be shocked at this situation, it's result of policy choices. policy choices that republicans have made to gut the irs from simply doing its job. who does this benefit? cheaters? call a spade a spade, there are cheaters. who are they? disproportionately the nation's
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largest corporations and mega, ultrawealthy. everybody else does their very best, sits down, goes through turbotax, digs out folder, accounts for the $10 they gave to charity and large corporations cheat us out of a trillion dollars a year. can do something about that by fully funding the irs and allowing it to do its work enforcing the tax code. >> we're seeing tonight that republican party in the house seems to be divided over the fiction most of them advance about the last presidential election. but what we don't see is any real stepping forward by any republicans in the house to try to become anything you could call a governing partner, even by offering some counter proposal to the proposals you're supporting, some lesser version
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or different version of anything. do you have any sense there is any possibility of a governing partner of any kind in the republican house? >> it really concerns me. even compared to the last congress, we have seen real changes in republicans' willingness to work across the aisle. i have legislation where i had a republican cosponsor just two years ago, a year ago, and i can't find one this time. lot of these topics that are bipartisan, problems longstanding bipartisan policy solutions, we're seeing republican party too busy fighting with each other to be fighting for the american people. that's a harm we all have to deal with. doesn't just hurt republicans, it hurts americans. >> congresswoman porter, thank you very much for joining the discussion tonight. >> thank you for having me. and up next, when harvard
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college was founded in 1636, its mission was to educate, quote, this is a quote, the english and indian youth of this country. that's what harvard set out to do. we'll see how harvard is doing with that mission next. that mit —e my car insurance so i only pay for what i need. 'cause i do things a bit differently. wet teddy bears! wet teddy bears here! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪
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taking a higher than recommended dose of xeljanz for ra may increase risk of death. tears in the stomach or intestines and serious allergic reactions have happened. you could take your uc treatment in a different direction. ask your gastroenterologist about xeljanz. the history of federal government treaties with native american tribes is a history of broken treaties, broken by the federal government. second half of the 20th century, some tribes went to federal court to try to restore lost lands. in 1976 in federal court in boston, filed a suit trying to reclaim 13,000 acres of land they inhabited on cape cod for centuries before the pilgrims landed at plymouth rock. court denied the claim.
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but under president obama, department of the interior approved tribe's application for land. mission of harvard college when founded in 1636 was to educate quote the english and indian youth of this country. caleb, a member of the wampanoag tribe was first native american to graduate from the college in 1665. none has graduated from harvard law school. samantha grew up as a member of the tribe. her mother chairwoman of the
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tribe. original inhabitants of martha's vinyard. she's just been admitted and perhaps will someday represent her tribe or another tribe's now joining us is samantha maltais who will be a member of the harvard law school class of 2024. samantha, thank you very much for joining us tonight. congratulations on starting your legal education in cambridge. how did you feel when you got the acceptance note? >> thank you so much lawrence for having me. you know, the overwhelming emotion was gratitude, really, for both my family and friends supporting me along the way as well as all of the sacrifices that generations before he made in order for me to get to where i come and where i am going in
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addition to activists and tribal leaders across indian country who have made the same sacrifices and the organizations that have supported me along the way, including the american indian college fund. that is providing me the harvard law school scholarship covering the cost of attendance for all three years and in addition to providing me the full circle scholarship when i was an undergrad at dartmouth college as well. there is good working done and i am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that have been afforded to me. >> it is so important for legal education to be included for people growing up in the tribes because we have seen the cases that continue to go in to federal courts and continue to go to the supreme court about tribal lands all over the country. >> yeah. like you said. we have seen it with mashpee and
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my own tribe. we are still fighting for our right to gain economic development. these cases are rooted in the same precedence that operate as the law of indian policy. they were designed to eliminate us systemically when they were written. they are cycled through generations. but it remains. it is an issue of injustice. today may 5th is the national day of awareness. and that is just one legacy of colonialism that manifested itself in our community. that is one of the many reasons i would like to pursue a legal career to address that for future generations to come. >> one of the most favorable
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supreme court decisions for tribes came last year involving a case in oklahoma where the court, the supreme court majority opinion, written said many of the arguments before us today follow a sadly familiar pattern. yes, promises were made but the price of keeping them has become too great so now we should just cast a blind eye. we reject that thinking. the basic statement of this is the way the cases are all defended. too much time has gone by and the price of trying to correct the wrongs is too great. >> correct, yeah. we are looking at things in a modern context. when you tonight take the historical relevance of a lot of the foundation of legal doctrine we are really doing future generations a disservice.
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>> samantha maltais joining us across the water from martha's vineyard. thank you very much for joining us. really appreciate it. >> thank you so much lawrence for having me. >> thank you. we will be right back with a big announcement from the biden administration today on a later of life and death for people around the world. that is next. d death for people around the world that is xtne so then i said to him, you oughta customize your car insurance with liberty mutual, so you only pay for what you need. hot dog or... chicken?
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>> u.s. trade representatives delivered life saving news announcing the biden administration's support for lifting intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines. the ambassador said in the statement this is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. the administration believes that strongly in intellectual property protections but in service of ending this pandemic supports the waiver of those
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protections for covid-19 vaccines. the waiver would allow developing countries to access the information to produce their own generic vaccine instead of waiting months or years from adequate supply from the pharmaceutical companies that developed the vaccines. africa has the lowest rate in the world and most african countries the current rate is less than 2%. >> we still have a lot of work ahead. that includes making the vaccine widely available and addressing the global inequity in vaccine access. this is not just a public health requirement. our economic recovery depends on it. >> 11th hour with brian williams starts right now. good evening once again.
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day 106 of the biden administration. we now have a major escalation in the battle for control of the republican party. wyoming republican liz cheney has gone beyond publicly challenging former president trump over his false claims of the stolen 2020 election. tonight she is framing her criticism as a fight for the future of democracy in the nation. in an opinion piece for the "washington post," cheney draws a direct line from trump to the january 6th riot and calls on her party to reject trumpism writing that trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional system that make democracy work. no other american president has ever done this. in the immediate wake of the violence of january 6th, almost all of us knew the gravity and