tv Deadline White House MSNBC May 25, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
today the family of george floyd met with lawmakers on capitol hill, including house speaker nancy pelosi and congresswoman karen bass, the chair of the congressional black caucus. today, of course, is the one-year anniversary of the tragic and shocking murder by then police officer, now convicted murderer derek chauvin. through the day many people have gathered at the location. the community coming together once again to honor floyd's life and legacy, and urge action on police reform. it's legislation that president biden all but guaranteed and asked to be on his desk for his signature by today. the white house now acknowledges that today's target will not be met, but there is progress on capitol hill. >> we continue to work on the
process. i think we had good progress over the weekend, i thought, and we can see the end of the tunnel. i think we're starting to see a frame. >> we made a lot of progress over the weekend. we still have a lot of work to do. i'm going to be pulling long days all this week in the hopes by the time we come out of the weekend, we have more and more of this framework being put together. >> that good-faith effort and progress from representatives of both parties is a response to president biden's call to action. in his address last month to a joint session of congress. >> it was nearly a year ago before her father's funeral when i spoke with gianna floyd, george floyd's young daughter. she's a little tyke. i was kneeling down to talk with her, so i can't look her in the eye. she looked at me and said, my
daddy changed the world. well, after the conviction of george floyd's murderer, we can see how right she was, if -- if we have the courage to act as a congress. we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, and enact police reform in george floyd's name that passed the house already. the state of police reform and the larger state of the debate is where we start this hour. yamiche alcindar. and also paw butler is here, the author of "choke hold" and reverend al sharpton is here,
president of the national action network. i know you spoke with president biden. tell us what you know. >> i spoke to the president. he called me yesterday, late afternoon. i want to hinge that i wanted to be clear that my position as president of national action network and many of my civil rights colleagues is we were more concerned about a bill with tooth in it, a hard bill, and a soft deadline than a hard deadline of day, and he said he appreciated that. he reminded me that i was in a meeting that he had with the floyd family in houston the day before the funeral that i gave the eulogy, and that he wanted to meet with them to check in with them, as he's done by phone. he would meet with some of the civil rights leadership on a more policy kind of meeting later. but we want to make it clear we
want to see this bill. george floyd should not go down in history as a martyr and a victim. he should go down as a martyr that led to legislative change at a federal level around the issue of policing, just as jackson led the voting right, let selma, just as emmett till led to the civil rights act. we're determined to make this happen. i've been talking to this family meeting after meeting. we had a ceremony, mayor de blasio and i to report on it. we are determined as a family and as civil rights groups to make this -- our demonstrations result in legislation. otherwise, george floyd will be just another victim in history and we are determined not to have that happen. >> rev, are you confident that by sort of bending on the deadline you'll get it made up to you in the substance of the
legislation? any confidence in that? oinchts i would say i'm more hopeful. our hope is that when tim scott, who according to cory booker, the senator, and karen bass, the congresswoman, and i talked with both of them, he's been in good faith moving the movement forward. if tim scott says they're making progress, i can hope he's right. i can assure you we're going to stay in there, and keep the pressure on. if this does not work, it will not, because we did not show what we should have shown in terms of the family and in terms of the civil rights leadership. that's why many of us didn't go with the family today. we did not want to become the issue. the issue is police reform. the issue is that we have seen a litany of cases -- and there's
not been any federal legislation. we don't want to get in the way of the issue. >> yamiche, the white house has a very successful model for taking a popular president, with a 62% approval rating that i saw out today, and then fanning out using his vice president, his first lady, the first gentleman in his cabinet to push through legislation. we saw them do it very successfully. the relief package was more popular than that, in the 70s. do that plan to used model for police reform. >> that's a great question. i don't know the answer to that. what is president biden willing to do in order to get this
policing reform done. now, the family of george floyd came out after the meeting and said the president assured them he's trying to get a right bill, not a rushed bill. he assured he'll be in there can congress. i talked to people in the white house who said he's been on the phony with cory booker and very engaged, but will the president put a large portion of capital he has into police reform. he has so many other things on his plate. as we mark the one-year anniversary of the march of george floyd is the face of gianna. the president has often talked about she told him her father was going to change the world, the big if, if we can get to that point. the president today spent a number of minutes playing with gianna, looking into the face of the legacy of george floyd. now, the question is what comes after this? the family is adamant they will
continue to speak out. i believe that president biden also will be speaking out, but it also come down to is there going to be this negotiation where the president can put pressure on republicans as well to get this done? >> you know, you talked about gianna. i think about the very first time that this president who was then a candidate, met the family. he's told that story about that connection. i think back about this president as vice president after new town, being the tip of the speer, pushing for gun reform legislation for then president obama. it has this feeling if this tragedy, if this movement doesn't get it through, what will? i wonder, yamiche, if you pick up optimism on the white house staff? or concern? >> i detect hope and a bit of concern.
it is true that george floyd was the seminal moment, when have we ever seen something strangled to death on camera. it shifted or perspective. the question is, can it shift congress? i was there in new town, and i remember still remembers thor small -- i think it's right to make that connection to george floyd. , in terms of racial justice, but i will says -- if there's a new conversation happening, but also a lot of backlash in conservative districts, there's also this alternate movement to
really push back and say nothing is wrong with policing, even if black people are killed at higher rates, that's not a problem. of course it's a problem, of course it's unfair, so i think that is the big question. are we going to live up to this moment? is george floyd's death going to mean something to congress and to lawmakers? >> paul, yamiche brought us there, so let's go there. the backlash is made on misinformation. there's a sort of parallel universe, and liz cheney has sort of done her part, that by saying bluntly they weren't there, they had nothing to do with it, but there is this effort to equate that violence with black lives matter, which of course isn't based in reality. but i wonder if you take the non-reality-based -- are you
optimistic that reform happens now? >> nicolle, last june i had the honor of testifies about the george floyd act. this happened just two weeks after mr. floyd was murdered of optimism and momentum, that at last the time for police accountability and transparency had come. one year later we're still waiting. i think that accountability means that when cops abuse their badge, they should be held responsible, including in civil court. apparently now the holdup for senate republicans is qualified immunity. all that does is defend bad acting cops. that's understanding american and antidemocratic.
>> i always like to take a moment to remind people of what's in the act. there's been thing around -- paul, let's go some of these. it aims to end police techniques. potential forms of deadly force. they would ban those practices at the federal level and federal fund fog local and state police agencies, to be conditioned on agencies outlawing them. the bill also seeks to improve police training and invest in community programs and promote equitable new policies, but i think you hit on the sticking point. it's around qualified immunity. do you have some sort of crystal ball in terms of predicting where that big question is going to land in these negotiations with scott and booker? >> my crystal ball comes from great reporting by yamiche and our crew at msnbc.
all of ours does. >> apparently the compromise could be that police department could be sued, but not individual officers. activists question whether that would be as effective at deterring police misconduct. so now the question is whether a watered-down bill is better than no bill at all. nicolle, that's a sadly familiar question when it comes to racial justice and congress. >> rev on that question, how do you answer that? >> we all have to deal with what comes down. you have some invite civil rights community that we want both the police officers and the departments held responsible. others have said that if you have the cities and counties and departments responsible, the victims and family will have a lot to say in this, would be
compensated more than a policeman, and if you're able to sue them, what would the families get? there's going to be a debate in the room if it comes to that. we're not there yet. in terms of any kind of reform around the immunity, and i think until we get there, until scott and booker and bass can say this is what everyone has agreed to, and come back to the families and the civil rights community, i think it's premature to say where we go. i know how i feel, but i will operate in consensus with the families and the civil rights leadership. this is too big an issue and we fought too hard. i've been in this for decades -- to not get federal legislation, but it's also too big to get legislation that does not mean anything. we do not want a resolution in congress that you hang on the
wall. we want a bill that will stop this madness. i have done two funerals of police-related killings since the chauvin trial. in elizabeth city, and right up the room in minneapolis in brooklyn center. the message didn't get out with the chauvin conviction. it will get out if they know they'll have to pay, with time in federal jail, if they continue to do these acts. >> yamiche, where this movement and the administration stands from, we know from your great reporting. in that spirit, i want to ask you about some reporting, mostly been local, but it's starting to become more of a national story. that's the uptick of crime in major cities. this is from los angeles. a year after george floyd's death, american cities face a
surge of violence. the surge is prompting cities whose leaders -- to reassess how far they're willing to go, and divert money away from the police and toward social services. this feels like a false choice, right? this is about being holistic, and only the trump republicans were suggesting that there was a real plank for defunding police. i actually remember when -- i think in the early fall or right around the conventions -- i wonder it seems that that is sort of an outdated way to look at this. you should be able to do both. >> exactly. this is if false equivalency. when i talk to lawmakers, to city officials and ant rests. i just sat down the week before last, with the mayor of sluice,
the first african-american women to have that position. the 18-year-old whose death set off the ferguson protests, since that death, st. louis police have killed more people -- the police have, than in the last 100 largest cities. it is a city where people are getting killed the most by police. in the same regard, there's an uptick in crime. here's the pay yor she wants about 2% of the budget to reallocate toward social workers and houses. she also says if people are in despair, there will be violent crime. it's not an either/or situation. activists tell you the people who are being harassed by the police are also the people that need the police to be safe. >> i want to just ask all of
you, you know, your personal reflections over 12 months, all of us together covering this story. you first, paul. >> derek chauvin is a convicted murder, the evidence was overwhelming, but we could never take that conclusion for granted. that's not usually the kay when a police officer kills an african-american man, but nicolle, this is how i will measure progress. when i stop being scared when i see a cop car behind me, when seeing that officer doesn't make me anxious. i don't feel any less anxious now than i did last year or ten years ago. >> wow. thank you for sharing that, paul. rev? to you. >> i think that a year ago we had a president that would not even deal with the issue.
today we had a president that met with the family of the victims, and has committed to a bill. a year ago we didn't know if derek chauvin would be indicted. a year later, derek chauvin has been convicted of murder 2, 3, and of manslaughter, and in jail, and also indicted in federal charges, along with the other three officers who were with him. there's been movement. i saw, i went to the trial with the family, when i saw ten policemen and the police chief get on the stand and testify against a policeman, something we had not seen, the blue wall of silence, that's on the good side. the bad side is that we are still seeing police shooting people. as i said, i've done two shooting victims' funerals since chauvin was convicted. the fear is still there. the tension is still there.
this ridiculous notion that crime is going up because police are afraid to move forward, first of all, are you saying that you have to be brutal to enforce crime? then you shouldn't be in the police department. we stopped stop-and-frisk in new york, and crime went down. that's a bogus argument. i feel better than i did a year ago, but i'm not well yet. >> yamiche, you have covered this story i think better than anyone, but you've never shied away from your personal insights. i want to give you the last work on this today. >> the last year has been really tough for so many people. we're a nation where i think,
yes, we're going through a reckoning, but we're a bit traumatized we saw an african-american man choked to death. that trauma that gianna, the teenager who recorded all of though, is still living with us. you add to the fact that african-americans are three times more likely to be killed by police, black people are still terrified, that mothers and fathers are have been to teach their children how to stay alive with the police, just because it's part of the experts of african-americans. i think that fact to meunder scores we are a nation that, while not broken, is definitely still processing and still really striving to be so much better than we can be. i think through my reporting i've seen on the ground firsthand a president that, one, tear gassed myself and others
out of way to have a photo op. now i'm covering a president who i think really wants police reform, but still contending with the idea of what that actually means and how he actually gets there. >> i'm always grateful to see all three of you and hear from all of you, but especially today. thank you so much for starting us off today. i'm really grateful. when we come back, how many anti-semitic rants does it take to get kept mccarthy's attention? apparently three. today marjorie taylor greene made more comments, and kevin got mad. we'll explain. the decision from the garland justice department that has some democrats scratching their head today. plus more hopeful news about kids and vaccines that are 100% effective. yay. all those stories and more when "deadline: white house" continues after this. don't go anywhere. te house"
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madam speaker, do you have any response to marjorie taylor greene's comments? >> it's so beyond reprehensible, i mean, it has no place in our country. >> reporter: do you think she should be expelled or censured? that was speaker nancy pelosi calling out marjorie taylor greene for her latest appalling language compares vaccines and masks to the holocaust.
kevin mccarthy spoke out after five days of silence. mccarthy, who didn't bat an eyelash in his zeal to purge liz cheney, issued a statement about greene's comments mccarthy called greene's words appalling, adding, the holocaust is the greatest atrocity in history. the fact this needs to be stated today -- i'm not going to read the rest of this. can came five days late. she was removed from her committee assignment, but democrats are pushing for more consequences, including expulsion. donnie, i had jonathan
greenblatt here u. talking about something scary and sad, a rise in anti-semitism in this country. we have wonderful to governor -- this took the third comparison she made for her to send out a tweet. what say you? >> as a jew, i'm so repulsed by this beast. i would call a man like this the same thing. the comparatives to the holocaust, they did a survey last year with 11,000 people talking to gen-zers and millennial. one in ten didn't know what it
was. one in ten didn't think it existed. over half couldn't name one of death camps. this is set against the backdrop of the anti-semitism. nicolle, i texted you a very personal thing, my 13 years old daughter came and said, daddy, is there going to be another holocaust? think about the words off your child, saying that to you. something's got to give. to understand how vile this woman is, there was a tweet that marjorie taylor greene retweeted, it stayed up for six minutes. it said kevin mccarthy is a moron and feckless and used the most horrific word, the "c" word, and said thank you for seeing the truth. if i was a reporter and had a microphone. i would stick a microphone in
every congressman and senator's space, and what say you? the fact that kevin mccarthy took five days to come out with this? shame on you. it's sad, it's troubling, it's disgusting. >> i want to bring in our conversation olivia troy, former top aide to mike pence. i wrestle with whether to cover her at all, for the reasons donnie just articulated, but it's the same reasons that kasie hunt, garrett haake and all the great reporters we, stand in the hallways and near the train, where they would try to get responses. it's because everything you need to know by a party about how they react. the fact there's no reflexive condemnation -- this is day
five. if mccarthy was offended, he would have called into fox news, where he frankly could have had the most impact on the surges number of anti-semitic attacks in this country. i wish he had gone on the tucker carlson show the minute this started coming out of greene's mouth, and say this is not who we are. the fact he doesn't means this is exactly who they are. >> it's too little too late. this is -- there is no accountability for any repercussions in the republican party right now under mccarthy. he just doesn't care. the fact and reality is, i'm wondering if a couple years from now, we'll see a competition between greene and mccarthy for becoming the head of the party, and perhaps the speaker of the house, should the republicans gain majority again. that is the direction this party is going in. you're rightly right, the spreading of disinformation
during the ride in hate crimes across the board, and to see hate crimes in general, but right now we have a party in office, the republican party, that is basically the champions of hate. they don't condemn it. >> i want to come back, because you shared it, and how did you assure her that you wouldn't? i'm not saying there ever will be, and that is the greatest, you know, human atrocity in history, but the idea that, as a country, we all know the stats are undeniable there is an uptick in anti-semitism online, which always sort of precedes or coincides with attacks in real life. there are attacks caught on film in l.a., and why isn't it a national emergency to make sure that that never, ever happens again, we never have the conditions that even allow for
hate crimes to become a thing? >> that's a great question. what i said to my daughter, she goes -- it didn't happen here. i said, well, no, it doesn't happen here, which was not even a good response, just to calm her down. i said it can't happen again. she says, how do you know? and i said, it just can't, and this pit in my, with the italians marching, and the germans, it could happen again. she's not watching this show, but it can happen again. ima microphone in hawley's face, cruz's face, every reps, and if they say nothing, damn them, and they're on the same side. this is where it starts, the silence. i urge every reporter out there, because this is a story we can't let the parade move on. shove it in every rep's face to
hear what they have to say, and then we'll know what the state of this country is. >> that's the serious side of this, and the most important part of the story, but politically olivia, 15 minutes ago, republicans thought they were the saviors of the state of israel. when did republicans decide that anti-semitism was cool with them political? >> i think it's, you know, when it's convenient. it's like this with every issue across the board. it's the hypocrisy is astounding, because there's a track record here of where you can just rotate from whatever issue it is, whether it's israel, whether it's backing, you know, blue lives matter and law enforcement, until it's an inconvenient truth when you have to investigate what really went down on january 6th. it's okay, we support this until
we realize we're going to turn our backs on it, and we need to fund raise in a different direction. also, it upsits the guy down in florida, who is still pulling the puppet strings behind the scenes with all these people. >> you know, donnie, marjorie taylor greene has aligned herself with donald trump, but i'm surprised donald trump didn't rebuke her. don't laugh and don't attack me on twitter. donald trump, of all the things he was am bivalent about, israel was not one of them. eye just staggered that there isn't more of a rebuke to marjorie taylor greene's anti-semitic comments. we now have cdc guidance that said, if you're vaccinated, take off your mask. what is the thing that triggers them so much that they make holocaust comparisons about a grocery store mandate. >> the surveys, absence
news/washington poll says one in ten thinking that nazi views are okay. so that's the fartherers right of their base? and the defense was trump is always good for israel. where is he now? i want to know what hi feels about the holocaust. come on, trump. let's go. once again, put microphones in everybody's face on this. don't just walk on to the next news cycle. we'll do our best here. thank you both for joining us on this on this bizarre and tragic topic. and the justice department's move to release some parts of a memo might mean. hopefully we'll have answers, next. mean. hopefully we'll have answers, next
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there's a major development to tell you about on a legal dispute around the russia investigation that broke late last night. the department of justice has released just a portion of a 2019 memo used by then attorney general bill barr to shield trump from prosecution in the mueller probe. the justice department is saying it's going to fight an order by a federal judge to released entire document. here's the back story. judge amy berman jackson issued a scathing opinion, saying the memo was essentially a smoking
gun that would prove barb's doj lied about their decision-making process and barr was completely disingenuous that claimed at the time only he could make a discuss on whether or not to prosecutor trump for obstructing the investigation. the judge writing -- the doj's decision to appeal the release of the full memo comes amid some growing consternation that the biden administration is moving too cautiously in unwinding the many, many scandals, with nominees of the post after service saying they're keep in place. remember mr. dejoy? he tried to gut the post office during the election when many people were -- biden officials say they need more time to decide whether to hand off trump tax returns to the congress, to
the fbi deciding whether to cast a wide net in the capitol probe, and investigating anyone who might have ties to the insurrection. joining us is neal katya, lucky for us an msnbc contributor. let's take this decision on only release a redacted verbs version of this memo. >> the big decision is doj is coming back. the career staff is invigorated, the like. it's a about i sad that the biden administration folks won't go through the right of passage that's a bill barr cover-up like everyone in -- they're going to have to get bitten by major biden or something like that, but this decision is really disappointing. they have authorized an appeal, saying judge jackson's decision was wrong in ordering the
disclosure of these doj memos and documents that bill barr used to rely on to say he wasn't going to prosecutor president trump. they're not appealing it all. they're releasing 1 1/2 pages of this documents, but there's nor documents than that. that's why you used the words scathele by judge jackson. he underread all the documents, and basically said bill barr and those in the justice department lied. strong words. it is surprising to me and unfortunate that the justice department is appealing this decision. i used to make those decision at the justice department. i get why they would do there in an ordinary case, because you want to protect prosecutors. this is, like the farthest case from ordinary as imaginable.
this is about a cover-up potential and protection of the attorney general's boss, the president of the united states. let's track back in time. robert mueller wrote a letter, no one should think this is about protecting the andrew wisemans or any of those who prosecuted the probe. this is about bill barr saying, no obstruction, no collusion, which let donald trump throw a victory lap that he was not entitled to. this is about distorting what the mueller probe found. who wrote -- who authored -- what kind of person and what kind of job wrote this memo to bill barr? it's not the mueller prosecutors, is it? >> absolutely. it's steve engle, who runs the office of legal counsel, which is not a prosecutorial function,
and someone -- i think a political appointee. when i say that, ordinarily the justice department would appeal such a decision, that does generally think about ordinary prosecutors, their files, their thinking and the light, but look, i can see the argument in an ordinary case. just in this case, you have bill barr and people like engle and the like who are hellbent on protecting donald trump. bill barr wrote a 20-page job interview memo, saying president trump can't be indicted for, you guessed it, obstruction of justice. that's exactly what these documents are about. what they were hung up on is they thought robert mueller should have done a general declination. she refu -- he refused to.
why wouldn't they just dump the documents anyway, just to satisfy anyone who was concerned there was political influence? i guess this is my question for you. you know lisa monaco, you know merrick garland, why wouldn't they put all of the consternation -- why wouldn't that take precedent over whatever they're protecting? >> look, i can see why, if you're a true institutionalist, you want to play by the ordinary rule book, which is judges and the public don't get to see prosecutors' memos. that's a very common thing to do. in many ways it's what robert mueller did. he played by the book, he brought a feather to a knife fight, not realizing people on the other side were lawless and corrupt. i think the new justice
department decided we're going to play by the same rule books, appeal this decision, and i think the problem with that is they didn't have to appeal. even if they disagreed, even if they should worried by protecting prosecutors in future cases, they could have simply said, look, we disagree with this decision, its reasoning, but we're not going to appeal it. this is the people's memo, and release it, not because of technical argument. just simply saying, sometimes transparency requires an extraordinary result. leave it at that. you can fight to protect prosecutors in cases down the road. to me, this decision is rather baffling, unfortunate, undemocratic, and untransparent, and i hope to see this rectified in the days to come. with your help we'll stay on
it. i hope so, too. neal katyal, thank you for your time. another vaccine milestone today and great news for getting our kids vaccinated and back to school in the fall. don't go anywhere. o school in the fall don't go anywhere. tonight, i'll be eating fried avocado tacos. [doorbell rings] [doorbell rings] thank you. ooo... you gonna eat that at lesliepalooza? what? who's coming to that? everyone's coming, everybody. you, her, me, all of us. (man) i've made progress with my mental health. so when i started having unintentional body movements called tardive dyskinesia... ... i ignored them. but when the movements in my hands and feet started throwing me off at work... i finally had to say, 'it's not ok.'
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vaccinated. that number was 1% when president biden took office. across the country, 25 states and the district of columbia have fully vaccinated at least 50% of their adult population. in nine of those states, the number is more than 70%. when it comes to kids, moderna says that its vaccine is safe in 100% effective in 12 to 17-year-olds. moderna plans to ask the fda to expand use for them in just a few weeks. that would make two vaccines for that age group, pfizer and moderna. it's promising news that could lead to a second vaccine for those adolescents at a time when it's really important, this summer. it dramatically expands the vaccines available to middle and high school age students before back to school in the fall. let's bring into our conversation msnbc medical contributor, dr. kavita patel, former obama white house health policy director and a fellow at the brookings institute. we talk about how lucky we are to have our vaccines and we should just stipulate that we are, especially as we watch so
many parts of the world struggle with the variants and struggle with a lack of supply. we have this embarrassment of riches, and we also now have two vaccines for this group of 12 to 17-year-olds. talk about that and tell me what you know about trials for kids even younger. >> yeah, nicole, it's true. it is an embarrassment of riches. i can actually direct patients to, you know, vaccines based on their preference, one shot or two, and honestly, convenience. so there's a pharmacy right by your house or this clinic right by your house has the shot, you can just walk in. that's essentially where we're at today. and i do think that moderna putting in the kind of application for an emergency use authorization just echos what we knew would happen, that one after another, major manufacturers are going to have vaccines available for children. currently, all the three available manufacturers have trials in various phases with pfizer, of course, kind of having a little bit of a head
start and a lead, but johnson & johnson, moderna, and then vaccine manufacturers, nicole, that are really dominant in the rest of the world, astrazeneca and novavax and others are doing trials in children, and i think the tension that's now starting to kind of flare up is that we will have viable vaccines most likely for children as young as 6 months to 2 years all the way up through 18. there's a debate sparking about whether or not we should defer those vaccines to allow for other countries that don't have this access because we might see rates that are so low in our country that it makes the kind of ethical question come forward of, should we vaccinate our children? i think we should. i think we need to, to get our schools in order, but it is an important question we'll have to answer. >> yeah, i mean, i was going to ask you about mental health arguments have been made by members of both political parties after a year and four months of remote school and i wonder how you think those will figure into that debate you
predict. >> yeah, i do think that certainly for the safety of everybody involved, including faculty, staff, students, all alike, there is going to be a push, but i think it's interesting, if you look at the 12 to 15 age group that opened up with pfizer, about a third of the parents are choosing to have their children vaccinated. and i think that shows that as we get younger, nicole, parents are likely, even parents who believe in science, understand the data, might be a little bit more resistant so i think we're going to have to deal with lower numbers of vaccinated children as long as it's an emergency authorization. when would that change? it would probably be next year. >> i want to ask you about sort of the state of trust in america, so with the lifting of the mask requirement for vaccinated americans, a lot of the conversation has turned to, well, can i really trust you, that if you're not wearing it, you're not vaccinated, that seems like a societal problem,
not really a public health question, but where do you come down on those questions that people in communities and businesses are grappling with? >> yeah, look, i said in other settings that i don't think that we should leave it to kind of an honor system or trust, but really, it's not because i believe the person next to me wants to lie or wants to put me in harm's way. it has a lot more to do with why people don't admit that they might not want to get a vaccine or might be embarrassed about some questions they never got a chance to ask somebody, so i do think that we have to be much more transparent, and you're right, nicole, it's not putting public health officials or scientists do well. i think we are going to be dealing with, well, it depends on how the cases are. we're seeing cases continue to decline and as long as we see cases declining, i think people will go back into the workplace and there will be requirements to show their vaccine status, and everywhere else, people will kind of wonder until we see the
fall, hopefully, with hopefully as close to zero cases as possible. and then we just kind of trust that we're feeling normal again. >> zero cases. i haven't heard that come out of your mouth in a very, very long time, in a sentence. dr. kavita patel, i know it's a hope, thank you for spending time with us today. the next hour of "deadline white house" starts after a quick break, don't go anywhere. quick break, d'ton go anywhere r. hi. last piece. -kelly clarkson? you're welcome. like an updated kitchen in just an afternoon. it's a whole new look. -drinks? from the new kitchen cart? -yes. the bedroom style of your dreams. this room is so you. -i got it all on wayfair. yeah you did, and so did i. the perfect setup for game night. i know this! it's the singer, it's the singer! yes! i got next game. -kelly clarkson. i love this sofa. look at the storage. you like my sofa? -i love your sofa.
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♪♪ i will bring the bill forward for a vote very soon. i'm sorry that some republicans believe that a bipartisan investigation of the attack on our democracy is inconvenient for their midterm campaigns. but the democratic-led congress of the united states is not going to sweep january 6th under the rug. we're going to vote on the january 6th commission in the
senate, and the american people will see where every member stands, on the side of truth or on the side of donald trump's big lie. >> hello again, everyone, it's 5:00 in the east, another moment is here for republicans to show the world if they plan to put truth and country over one man, and that man's lies. the senate in the coming days will likely vote on that legislation to establish a bipartisan 1/6 commission to investigate the deadly capitol insurrection. the latest count from capitol hill finds one, maybe three republican senators at this point on the side of getting to the truth. lisa murkowski says she supports it, and senators mitt romney and susan collins say they would if certain conditions are met. but democrats need ten, not three republicans, to side with them for the bill to pass and the commission to be formed, which is why we're seeing statements like this one from democrats joe manchin and kyrsten sinema urging their colleagues across the aisle to vote yes. a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day has passed the house of
representatives with a bipartisan vote and is a critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again. we implore our senate republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of january 6th. the urgency of that full investigation is underscored in a new court filing denying one rioter's request to be released from jail prior to his trial. the filing details how lonnie coughman of alabama was arrested on january 6th when police found weapons, including multiple guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, machetes and a stun gun in his pickup truck. the filing adds this. in the bed of mr. coffman's truck, law enforcement officers also recovered 11 mason jars containing a flammable liquid with a hole punched in the top of each jar along with lighters and rags. all of that on top of the two guns coffman had with him.
the filing goes on to suggest a premedicated effort by coffman. he was found carrying contact information of a militia group member from southeast texas and had nearly a month prior to the riot reached out to a gop senator. it says on december 11, 2020, mr. coffman drove around the u.s. capitol and attempted to drive to the residence of in part ted cruz. then it describes how when he didn't find senator cruz at home, he called his office. the staffer said he seemed to be coming from the friend angle in wanting to help with the election fraud he saw. coffman has pleaded not guilty to his 16 charges of d.c. firearms violations and one federal firearms count, but the striking details about his alleged preparation and participation in the insurrection only bolster the rationale for an independent investigation into what really happened. if only the gop were into it. seeing if republicans stand on the side of truth and democracy
is where we start this hour. former republican congressman denver riggleman is back. also joining us, frank figliuzzi, former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence and host of "the bureau," a new podcast that launches today, and betsy woodruff swan is here, politico national correspondent, lucky for us an msnbc contributor. i want to ask you, denver, first, do you think that ten republican senators will feel the heat when they start to read accounts of what is in these charging documents? are they clearly planned and premeditated and potentially more deadly insurrection? >> so, i know a lot of politicians don't answer yes or no, but i'm going to answer just no. i think even with what you see with all the investigations and if you rack and stack all the data and all the individuals, what they've done and said, it's pretty obvious we need a commission or investigation into how this all worked together and it's something that i'm very interested in and curious to be a part of so i will say this. i think it's a no.
i also want to tell everybody out there, get your workout done, i know we talked about this, but i would be willing to -- i'd actually be willing to justify a committee. i think in front of republicans and democrats, i'd be willing to sit up there and talk about the data that we've seen and i'm also going to say this. i think committees are going to do this on their own anyhow. so i think they're going to do this regardless of whether there's a commission, so why not make this bipartisan and move forward? >> so, i want to hear some of what you would testify to with some specificity, but are you saying that the benghazi model is certainly good enough for investigating the insurrection and speaker pelosi should just appoint members and start investigating herself? is that where you are, denver? >> yeah, that's what's going to happen anyway. and that's what i have been trying to tell people. this is going to happen anyway, with a select committee, why not do this in a bipartisan way? i know john katko personally.
i know this is a good claim going forward and i think we need to do it. i'm still not sure of the pushback, i know a lot of it has to do with the elections but the thing is, this is going to go into 2022 anyhow. there's no way around it. because what's going to happen is the messaging from the democrats will be that republicans don't want to get justice here, they don't want to look into the nuts and bolts of what happened on 1/6. why not pull the splinter now, get it done before the end of the year, have experts in there and if you want to know what i'm going to testify about is the data that we had identified the white nationalist groups and we saw the communications that were going on, unclassified communications. we've seen this. we have it mapped up in a social network analysis map. we have all the data. it's huge. and i think it's going to happen anyway so why not do this in a bipartisan way and let's go out there and make sure this never happens again. i think that is a common sense way of looking at things and i'm willing to go in front of republicans and democrats and testify to the data that we have, even my own, you know,
former colleagues who might want to try to hit me but god help them if they do because we have if data to back it up. >> does the data show any contact between any of those militia members and any sitting member of congress? >> i don't know what the fbi has or law enforcement. my guess is that they're going to show a lot of coordination between specific groups that were there. you know, we have identified the seven white nationalist groups at a minimum that were there but i would like to see how much further can we go, how can we look at social network analysis and see where those touch points are. i've talked before, the information is perishable. it's going to go away, nicole. phone companies don't keep it forever. text messages are kept for a less amount of time than a lot of the phone records so i think we're at that point right now where we're starting to lose some of that data. so, even if we get started now, i'm a little worried and frank might have even more insight on that, but i'm a little worried that we're losing data that we can use for the analysis to see how the command and control functions worked, how they used
coded language, how they used memes, you know, how they're doing sort of coordinated activity amongst these specific groups and sometimes that activity is not -- maybe not coordinated specifically but they're certainly following the same tropes and memes and lines of activity so it's, again, we're starting to lose that data line that is perishable so if we don't get started soon i think your going to miss a lot of necessary information. >> frank, from a law enforcement perspective, talk about time and what you lose as time goes on, as it always does, in a political situation in washington. >> well, there's two ways to look at this. one is, we've got a massive fbi investigation going on now. it's not for public consumption. we get glimpses of it, like you've just led with on this show. we're seeing, you know, through filings of court documents but that's the tip of the iceberg. what i am saying is we need a public aspect this if we're ever going to get back together, if we're ever going to get to the truth and some resolution, there
needs to be a public investigation that mirrors what the fbi is doing. the congressman has a point in that even though the fbi and prosecutors can issue what's called preservation orders for social media and phone records, that can only be done when you know the people you're looking at and you ask to preserve their records. what you don't know is who else is out there and as the investigation continues and time goes on, yes, indeed, the congressman's right, there might be phone records and other records that just simply vaporize. that can happen if you haven't identified people to issue preservation orders about. but look, i'm also with the congressman on this issue of, this ain't going to happen. we're not going to have bipartisan support. here's why. in my fbi career, when i would sit across the desk from somebody who was a suspect, and i would say things like, your phone records are coming up, this bad guy drove by your house, he called your office, this keeps happening, who say
you about this? the normal behavior for an innocent person is to look you in the eye and say, knock yourself out. investigate away. there's nothing here. how can i help you? we're hearing the exact opposite from the gop. we're hearing, we don't want this investigated. stay away. it's time for this to go. move along. that is not the conduct of innocent people. that's why this isn't going to happen. >> you know, and betsy, it's not the conduct of honest brokers. after 9/11, everyone -- and i worked in the executive branch. the executive branch probably had the most friction with the 9/11 commission and had the most to produce, obviously, but everyone was interested in finding out where the intelligence failures were, where the airplane failures were, i mean, everyone wanted those answers, and to frank's point, i mean, are any republicans worried about everyone seeing that they're not interested in the answers?
>> you would certainly think so, given how obvious it is. the tough, unfortunate reality is that republicans resistance to efforts to gather better information and intelligence about the far right domestic terror threat is not new. in fact, in the early days of the obama administration, there was an intelligence at dhs who put together a report showing veterans were at risk of being radicalized. coffman brought machetes and molotov cocktails to washington. he was a veteran. when dhs tried to do more work on that topic, it was congressional republicans who usually oppose what they call, quote, unquote political correctness, who all of a sudden were very offended that anyone would even consider talking about far-right extremism when it came to our veterans. and so that effort got dialed down dramatically, essentially completely sidelined because of that republican resistance and the years since then, obviously,
we've seen the ascent of ultra-far right and u.s. terrorism as what u.s. officials now say is the biggest terrorist threat facing the homeland. this isn't the first time that republicans have pushed back against efforts to look into that threat. the only question is whether this time they'll be successful or not. >> and i guess, betsy, to your point, mike pence's brother, you know, voted against the formation of a commission that would get to the bottom of the people that wanted to hang mike pence and who built a noose to ostensibly further their ambition to hang mike pence. what do the -- what do the republican -- what does sort of the universe look like that anyone's even going to pay attention to? there were seven who voted to convict donald trump, three who were on the record being for the bipartisan commission, manchin has in some ways influence with republicans as well as democrats. who's he talking to? i'm guessing it's not more than
a couple. >> i think it's only a small number of republican senators who even would entertain the idea of voting for this commission. the fact that mitch mcconnell has now come out in opposition to the commission is such a huge barrier to it moving forward. now there's unanimous opposition among republican leadership and again, the fact that kevin mccarthy, top republican in the house, essentially pulled the seat out from under his negotiator, congressman john katko, on this particular matter just shows that for republican leaders, their number one concern is whether or not the possible moves that this commission would engage in would anger trump and would upset their base, and even in the wake of this attack that targeted republicans as well as democrats, they still aren't willing to try to move forward and get to the bottom of what happened. and that's because the republican party, for all practical purposes, remains the party of trump. >> well, and it has become, in
terms of their numbers, the largest anti-democratic movement that i think think of in the world and in today's anti-democratic news, denver, out of arizona, abc 15 is reporting that secretary of state katie hobbs has been stripped of her roles in managing elections there. i'll read from the report. on tuesday morning t appropriations committee stripped secretary of state katie hobbs of her ability to defend election lawsuits. it gave the power exclusively to the attorney general. democrats see the move as a response to secretary of state hobbes's use of outside counsel to defend arizona voters from lawsuits filed by the state republican party and others challenging arizona's election results. hobbs also did not support a decision by the attorney general to pursue a ballot harvesting case in federal court. we should always remind our viewers, denver, that the arizona vote count was certified by a republican governor, ducey. the arizona ballots were counted
three times. there was no evidence of voter fraud. there was no fraud that would have altered the result. yet, and, but they're looking for bamboo in an outrageous and ridiculous audit in maricopa county. now stripping katie hobbs is part of this national movement of removing honest brokers from election administration. what's your reaction to this news today? >> well, it seems like, you know, in arizona, i believe ducey was censured, wasn't he, nicole, i believe? i think he was censured -- >> i think he got a mean tweet. >> was it a mean tweet in but you know, i'm trying to remember if he was censured with cindy mccain based on that. but you think about the censuring, the bamboo and the cyberninjas and now this, and it seems like arizona is in a tail spin when it comes to sanity surrounding the election. and again, i do think if i do remember correctly, i believe he might have been censured. i know that people were there.
and i think a lot of that had to do with actually certifying the election, and i think that was when we had the phone call, while he was certifying the election, if i remember correctly, and i just find it amazing that we have individuals looking for ballots, uv lights, and now we have, you know, powers being stripped based on the simple fact that cyberninjas have seemed to worm their way into the psyche of the gop in arizona and that should terrify the hell out of people. i've been very clear about my thoughts on a bunch of florida yahoos coming up to arizona to try to do a cyber audit. i think it's absolutely astoundingly perplexing and ridiculous. and at some point, i would hope that there's a rise up of the sane, a coalition that says, we can't continue to do this because not only are we hurting democracy, we're actually making almost a mockery of the process here in the united states, and again, that scares me going forward as americans and us
trying to do foreign policy work, as far as where we are in a realistic way and how we're looked at by the rest of the world. and that does concern me. >> and frank, on the counterextremism front, i mean, these events seem to sort of birth a million new avenues for the disinformation to fuel the conspiracy, to say, oh, yeah, we're right, we got it, we won, we got rid of hobbs. how does news like this land inside that sort of alternate reality of the conspiracy theorists and those on the side of continuing the big lie? >> well, you've read my mind. if you didn't raise this question, i was going to do it because through the security lens, what this does is it continues to feed and almost mentor and facilitate the radical extremists who are tied to the big lie and the longer this is allowed to go on, whether it's arizona, which, by the way, is not really a one-off. you're going to see this action against katie hobbs here. you're going to see things like
this happen throughout the country, texas, georgia, florida, just wresting control from the professionals who are supposed to run elections and putting it in the hands of politicians. this is going to keep happening unless we see a much more aggressive response from the u.s. department of justice. so so far, here in arizona, we saw a letter come from d.o.j., right? it said something -- it was addressed to the lawmakers here and it said, you know, we have questions. we're concerned. look, i'm beyond concerned. we are losing control of the ability to execute fair and free elections and it's time for a far more assertive response from the justice department. >> betsy, any indication that the justice department intends to be more assertive? >> what i can tell you is that senior officials at d.o.j. are deeply concerned and disturbed by what they see playing out at the state level but because of the way u.s. elections are
structured, there's limited recourse that the federal government can take to step in when you see shenanigans like this playing out. i'm confident that top d.o.j. officials would want to do as much as they can to preserve the integrity of the u.s. elections and to make sure that the civil rights of arizonans who voted in a free and fair election are not violated by a clown car of officials trying to somehow engage in conspiracy theory nonsense about bamboo and cyberninjas and other goofiness. but d.o.j. just only has limited authorities in this space, and that means that people shouldn't expect them to necessarily be able to come in and fix this problem. ultimately, this is something where the ability of the feds to intervene is not nonexistent but it is limited. >> so, denver, are you resigned to this just happening the way the anti-democratic movement, as
liz cheney describes it, within the trump base would like it to? what does the fight look like at this point? >> i mean, right now, you're seeing the fight. there's a few -- and i told people before, we're sort of the fact-based radicals of the republican party right now, as you're trying to push for and say, hey, what are we doing here. but i am resigned. gosh, just be blunt, i'm resigned to the fact that we're not going to get the vote for a bipartisan commission. i think you're going to see the sanenyness still coming out of the arizona. i agree with frank. i think it actually increases the propensity for radicalization as people see that their behaviors are actually reinforced but it's also their belief systems that are reinforced and i agree with frank too on the cascading effect of other individuals or other places or officials doing the same type of things when it comes to this sort of ballot work that you're seeing. so, you know, it's not really that hard of an analysis. it's been happening in front of us now for a year, and you know, i just had somebody sending me tweets that i had, i think, from last july or august, and i can't
believe it's been this long that we've had individuals saying that this type of stop the steal nonsense would lead to things that we couldn't imagine, like it would continue. and again, you never know exactly what the cascading effects but seeing it right now, you're wondering how much further can this go? i mean, how far down the rabbit hole does this lead and does this lead to violence in the future as people's belief patterns are reinforced. >> we'll stay on it. we have a front row seat with the three of you, denver riggleman, betsy woodruff swan, thank you for sticking around. when we return, president biden set to meet vice president for their first summit. and it will be a sharp break from the former guy defending his buddy in moscow. plus, it is an unexplained mystery that now spans multiple administrations. what is behind the rise in brain
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or visit an xfinity store to learn how our switch squad makes it easy to switch and save hundreds. i got it. we've got breaking news in the criminal probe into the trump organization. "the washington post" just breaking the news that the manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury that could weigh potential criminal charges against former president trump and his associates. from that "washington post" report, the move indicates that district attorney cyrus vance's investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage.
after more than two years. it suggests, too, that vance believes he has found evidence of a crime, if not by trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company. that is an exclusive "washington post" report at this hour. nbc news has not confirmed "the washington post" reporting. frank figliuzzi is back with us. frank, other than an advanced stage, what else do we know from the convening on a grand jury? my understanding from covering all the trump years is that they're ready to present evidence to someone. >> yeah, that's what it sounds like, and this kind of coincides with the timing of the new york state attorney general saying, hey, she's in also on a criminal investigation. that kind of public announcement would not have come unless they felt they were close to moving toward presenting evidence toward charges, and let's remember, just because the case is on the trump org, does not mean that individuals in that organization aren't criminally
exposed. in fact, i would assert that they likely are. and cyrus vance, the manhattan d.a.'s office, what piece of this do they have? they have the more personal piece involving trump's taxes. so, i need further clarity on whether we're clearly talking about a grand jury for the organization or the trump tax case or both and also understand, at least from my experience in the federal system, and this is a state case, but you don't need to convene a special grand jury for things like a subpoena, getting your hands on records. you can just go to the grand jury, say they meet on tuesdays, and you say, hey, look, you're not sitting on this case, but we need a subpoena over here on this other thing. that's not what this sounds like. this sounds like they have specifically convened a grand jury for the trump org or for the trump cases. they're moving forward in a fairly quick fashion. >> frank, this just crossed the wire. let me read a little bit more from the "washington post" news as you help us navigate this for our viewers.
vance's investigation is expansive, "the washington post" writes, according to people familiar with the probe and public disclosures made during related litigation. his investigators are scrutinizing trump's business practices before he was president, including whether the value of specific properties in the trump organization's real estate portfolio were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies and if any tax benefits were obtained illegally through unscrupulous asset valuation. that is essentially what michael cohen testified to before congress. would you guess that michael cohen would be the kind of witness that would testify to those specific practices that the "washington post" is reporting? >> you would want to talk to the money people and the legal people attached to the organization, so typically, you either present documents to a grand jury, and this is a white-collar case, so plenty of documents for this grand jury. but you might also present people to the grand jury who would testify as to their personal knowledge of the accounting principles, whose
discussion was listened to, whose was ignored. that kind of thing. this could also be a signal, nicole, that somebody like allen weisselberg might have offered something up and that might be enough to also go before the grand jury with. >> and there's been a lot of reporting, a lot of tea leaf reading about a lot of public appearances, including last night, my colleague ari melber's show of his exdaughter-in-law talking about all the things donald trump paid for, raising real clear questions for not a tax lawyer to understand what's at issue, tax fraud. talk about how we ended up here with some of these sort of -- i don't want to call them low-tech crimes but the trump presidency ushered in terms like collusion and everything that we learned through covering the mueller investigation together for years and then digesting it and its aftermath. these are basically financial crimes, defrauding banks, defrauding insurers and whatnot.
>> you know, it's interesting. while white-collar crime, corporate crime, tax fraud may sound very intimidating and complicated to people, it's not necessarily so in this case. we're talking about lying about how much your property is worth when you want it inflated so that you can get a loan for lots of money, and then lying about that same property when you don't want to pay a lot of taxes so you say, you know, it's really worth much less than that, and you do that basically at the same time and can't explain the difference, essentially you're committing tax fraud and that's a state case here but the fascinating thing is, if it's proven at the state level, you know you're paying federal taxes as well, and you almost de facto have a federal tax fraud case developing at the same time. so, we need to monitor that as well. >> so, frank, we raise this question about federal fraud and i wonder if you have any theories on why -- i mean, obviously, donald trump couldn't
pardon allen weisselberg or anyone that we know to be ensnared in this investigation from this investigation, but if it does spur federal prosecutions, why not preemptively pardon them to -- i mean, he did it with manafort and stone. why do you think there weren't preemptive pardons for weisselberg, who as many people have said, holds the keys to the kingdom. >> i said before, i think trump miscalculated on weisselberg, and we don't know -- let's be clear. we don't know what weisselberg is doing, but he's jammed up on his own tax cases right now, and that's largely an effort to get -- to leverage him and help him get out of his mess by offering him a cooperation deal, and i think trump just blew it, thinking there was a loyalty there that may not be there. you've got, you know, trump allegedly paying for kids' tuition for weisselberg, right, getting him into the prestigious schools and all that, and i think maybe -- this is my conjecture -- may trump thought
that was enough to buy weisselberg's loyalty, but at some point, everybody has their price, and when you're looking at possible prison for a very long time, you find your price. >> and it's my understanding, again, from news accounts, that allen weisselberg's son, barry, is also ensnared. here is some of that interview i talked about, frank, that ari melber did last night with jennifer weisselberg. she's the ex-daughter-in-law of allen weisselberg. let's watch. >> oh, no, he's going to flip. absolutely. no, he'll save himself. no, i mean, him and donald are just the same. there's no difference. they'll save themselves at any cost. all of a sudden, 2017, he's suddenly showing that he's paying rent for an apartment because he wasn't -- it wasn't appearing on his taxes at all. it's not that it's indicated incorrectly. it's that they're missing and that's what my voice brought to the investigations was what was missing. i can tell them what number's wrong and how i know it's wrong but there are a lot of differences when donald says numbers are certain things and then allen says numbers are certain things. they're not adding up.
>> so, frank, if that's sort of a window, she's really pulling back the curtain on what she told investigators but if she told them where to look and what numbers are wrong, they are deep inside the weisselberg family finances. >> yeah. they've got the goods now, and i think because all the public attention and fear of leaks and, boy, you know the new york city media market better than i do. you start getting concerned. yes, there's grand jury secrecy, right, but you don't want this grand jury going on too long. the media will just figure out, camp out at the courthouse, follow people home, try to figure out what's going on, who are the witnesses, so you time it tightly so that you don't need maximum time in front of the grand jury, so they've got their case made is what i'm thinking, and now they're just presenting it. but nicole, as we're talking about witnesses, we might as well go ahead and talk about kind of those big, big witnesses, which is are we going
to see this grand jury subpoena or are we going to see subpoenas to testify before this grand jury for people like eric, don junior, and ivanka. if so, are they going to plead the fifth amendment against self-incrimination? >> well, i mean, you raise that. i mean, i remember when the "new york times" big investigation into the trump taxes came out and all that liability that he had and you were part of our coverage about the national security implications of that, right, that he was in so much debt, if the "new york times" learned that, certainly foreign government could have, but one of the line items were big transfers to ivanka trump. would you guess that they all have lawyered up in terms of criminal defense attorneys? >> i wrote a column about that, so they -- >> you did. >> they have individually lawyered up. yeah. they have had to have lawyered up, because they may have already made the mistake of
casually speaking to the organization's attorneys, and the organization's auditors, about what they knew and what their role was. big mistake if they had done that, because the organization doesn't represent them. the organization's lawyers' mission is to preserve the organization, not the individual executives and officers. it becomes every man or woman for themselves, and in this case, the men and the women happen to be family. >> i want to just reset for anyone just joining us. "the washington post" has just broken a bombshell of a news report. i'm going to read from the "washington post" account. nbc news has not yet independently confirmed this reporting, so this is "the washington post's" reporting. manhattan's district attorney has convened the grand jury to hear evidence and weigh potential charges in the trump investigation. the grand jury's expected to decide whether to indict former president donald trump, other executives at his company or the
business itself. should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges. according to two people familiar with the development. and to something that you have said, frank figliuzzi, about this operating in secret, there's this line down here i want to ask you to translate for us. "the washington post" reports that while extended length grand juries like the one selected to hear evidence in the district attorney's investigation can hear cases out of order and to varying levels of completion, it is likely that the trump-related testimony in the secret proceeding has already begun, said one of the people familiar with the matter. so, to your point about the maturity of this investigation and sort of the pressure cooker that is new york city sort of media on top of investigations, especially ones of this size and sensitivity, suggests that your theory is right, that they're already hearing evidence. >> yeah. much smaller cases in counties and cities across america in my law enforcement career, i've seen the courthouse reporters camping out, figuring out who's on the grand jury, who's coming
in the back door, who are the -- who are the witnesses coming in the front door, who's getting secreted by the marshals down into the parking garage. they figure it out for a local case. so they're moving smartly here in this very high-profile, national case to try to avoid the media spotlight. "the washington post" is now caught on to this and is reporting it, but i think this is going to be very tight timing. >> let me bring into our conversation harry, former deputy assistant attorney general, former u.s. attorney. harry litman on the breaking news the manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury to hear evidence as reported in the last few minutes by "the washington post" exclusively. >> so, nicole, it means they are -- first, it's a special grand jury, meaning it's a big one. they're going to go for many months. that's consistent with it being a big case. you want to work backwards here. remember, vance is leaving at the end of the year.
he's going to want to make the charging decisions, and that timeline is already fairly short, depending on what happens with the various steps of the investigation. for example, weisselberg. so, now, they are using the grand jury almost certainly both to investigate, serve subpoenas and the like, but also to present. they will be giving a rolling narrative, and at the end of which is certainly their intention now, things can go awry, but it is certainly their intention now for this kind of grand jury to be asking for charges at the end of the day against one or more persons. >> and harry litman, there's so much that's public facing. michael cohen testified publicly after making his cooperation agreement with the federal government and then serving prison time, was released as a by-product of the covid pandemic. still on house arrest. we know from his congressional testimony that was sworn
testimony that donald trump did indeed commit bank fraud. that's one of the things under scrutiny. we know from the public statements that it's at least alleged that allen weisselberg took gifts and didn't pay taxes on t >> the grand jury's going to get everything and that's true. we know that the -- that was the inception of the case, but then, they got the mother lode. they got the tax returns going back and forth to the supreme court twice to get them. so, that takes all kinds of transactions of this sort and forms the basis for possibly multiple counts where people surmise and it stands to reason that it's a similar kind of hanky panky, changing the way you valuate same properties, one for tax to make it look low, one for loans to make it look high, that's fraud on both entities.
and i think what is happening, likely, is a plethora of transactions like that, like that core one with stormy daniels, which we are learning is sort of the trump way of doing business, the general m.o. and also including weisselberg. >> i remember when the stormy daniels story broke and rudy giuliani went on sean hannity, and this may say something sick about me that i remember this night but i remember rudy saying to hannity, if you have a problem, hang a lantern around it and hannity says, did michael cohen pay her? and he says, yep. they basically confirmed the hush money scheme that was in the charging document for michael cohen. michael cohen has been outspoken, he's been outspoken on our network. here is an appearance i want to show you some of from last night on ari melber's show. >> allen was the gatekeeper for every penny that came in and went out of the trump
organization. but it wasn't just the trump organization. it was also donald's personal accounts. it was the kids' business accounts. it was the presidential inaugural committee. it was the campaign. any penny that had anything to do with donald trump went through allen weisselberg's desk. his exposure is not one that you can just hide, because the beautiful thing about numbers is numbers don't lie. >> so, harry, you know, all those entities have come under scrutiny, the inaugural committee, the businesses, the campaigns, hush money is a campaign finance violation. and allen weisselberg is sort of at the center of all of our speculation about whether or not he's cooperating now. if he is, you talked about a mother lode, what will they learn? >> well, the main thing they'll learn is the evidence they need of intent. without a weisselberg-type figure, it falls to trump and everyone to say, i don't know what was happening. it was just the accountants.
he's the guy -- he's really the lynchpin here because he can explain what michael cohen says, which is, no, trump knew everything, and there seems to be this incorrigible element to trump that he just can't avoid any kind of little shaving off just to save a few bucks here and there, including in these charges of just giving things as gratuities to save some taxes, so weisselberg can put letter and verse to the transactions, but most importantly, he can say, they knew it. they ordered it, even, as michael cohen says, there's intent there, not just sloppy absence of knowledge of accounting. >> frank figliuzzi, allen weisselberg's son, barry, was also involved in the trump organization. what do those conversations look like between investigators and potentially a reluctant witness?
>> well, there's no privilege between a father-son. you know, it's an exposure leverage that you start using with family members. you start saying things like, you know, do you want your dad going to prison? you say to allen weisselberg, your son's criminally exposed. is that what you want? or do you want to cooperate here? those are the kinds of discussions that happen with agents and prosecutors and family members and trying to convince them to cooperate and save themselves, but you know, i'm struck by the fact -- we talked about misplaced trust with weisselberg and trump. the very fact that trump decided that weisselberg was going to be the guy to handle inauguration funds, organization funds, personal taxes, that's a mistake. but it shows you how much trust he placed in weisselberg, and now, perhaps, how much he got that wrong.
>> so, harry, what would you imagine the pace is of a grand jury hearing evidence and then having to make decisions on charging? do they come all at once? do they hear all the evidence against an individual and then move on to another individual? what does that look like inside a grand jury room? >> it will be quite brisk, and i just want to point out, what frank's saying is exactly right, but this is hardball, right? i mean, this is really putting the squeeze to a 73-year-old, you know, father who -- this is tough, tough stuff. what's it going to look like? they have a real -- a mountain of sort of financial evidence that they'll put in through agents and then, is this accurate, yes, here's all the tax stuff. and then the drama comes if there are witnesses, you know, as they accelerate and the reason it's a little hard to predict is because if weisselberg doesn't, say,
cooperate, and they try to charge him or if they have that sort of detour, then the grand jury is stuck just hearing ministerial stuff. but eventually they'll get to the really meat of the matter, and again, we have one guide post that we wouldn't normally have, which is we have to think that vance wants to make all charging decisions, not weisselberg, all charging decisions up to the former president by the time he leaves, that is, by the end of december. that dictates a very brisk pace given that you're going to have to move, possibly, through various defendants and charges. >> and frank, we've been talking about weisselberg, but let me just -- we're going to be joined in a few minutes but one of the reporters who broke this news. manhattan has convened the grand jury. other executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges.
just analyzing, again, what is public-facing, that's all that we have to chew on, analyzing where they are with the convening of the grand jury and the reporting deep in this story that they've likely already heard evidence, what would you guess would happen next? i mean, would you guess the president start attacking this investigation the way he attacked the mueller probe? would you guess the kids become more high-profile and trying to fortify their political futures? i mean, just watching them for four years, how would you guess they'll react in the coming days? >> well, you say coming days. it may be coming hours before we see trump and his family members and the trump -- the trump cohorts writ large start spinning this almost immediately into politics, witch hunt, we've already heard that phrase used with the state attorney general's announcement. you're going to say, you know, you're going to hear him say, they're after me. it's only politics. but i also think fairly quickly, you're going to start seeing a strategy of, it's weisselberg's
fault. and that's what prosecutors are going to be telling weisselberg, which is, hey, you're going to be the fall guy, you know? do you understand, all of them are going to point their fingers at you, plead ignorance. you recall the recent reporting where ivanka trump was deposed in washington, d.c., on the inauguration case, and she pretended she could barely remember who allen weisselberg is. that's the strategy we're going to see here. it's all weisselberg's fault. it's all a witch hunt. and it's going to be -- it's all politics. >> i mean, that seems like a foolish strategy in that clearly none of them got any money for any of their pet projects without allen weisselberg's signature on it. harry litman, you talked about the tax returns as a mother lode. the tax returns were only made available to cy vance's investigation as a result of a supreme court decision that donald trump derided from go, and i wonder how much -- you talk about intent and sort of the state of mind, how much of that evidence will the grand
jury be made aware of? >> of their resistance, probably not a lot, but the time -- i want to go back to what you just asked frank, because it's clear the smart strategy here is to shut up, but it seems like one it's not capable of having trump do. but everything they say now, every little spin, can now be used in court against them. it's an evidentiary admission. so everything they say could come back to boit them. will the grand jury hear, well, they resisted us? maybe. it's certainly not improper to tell a grand jury that, but what's really going to matter and the actual transactions that show on a page. but you always need something else. you've got to have the taxes, but then they're going to want to have other paper that explains how things varied from the taxes. that, together, is what's going to make the compelling presentation to the jury and the grand jury. the grand jury here, by the way, is going to be months. they're going to be getting to
be both friendly with the prosecutors, maybe a little bored, they'll be hearing it all, and they'll be used to it, and you know, there's part of this that's the real nugget, but they're going to hear much more than the eventual jury will. they're just going to hear everything because that's just smart prosecutorial business to give them the whole kit and caboodle. >> so, to harry's point, "the washington post" is reporting that the grand jury will sit three days a week for six months. the reporter who reported that story joins us now by phone, one of the bylines on this "washington post" scoop, david farenthold, lucky for us, especially today, an msnbc political analyst, joins us by phone. david fahrenthold, we have been reading and digesting your reporting for the last 20 minutes. tell us, first of all, is there anything else you can tell us about what you're reporting this hour? >> no, i mean, we've -- this is a pretty important step that the
d.a. has impanelled this grand jury with the idea that they're going to hear the evidence. it's been gathered over these two years, they're going to eventually make decisions on who to charge. but there's still a lot of steps ahead. evidence has to be presented and the grand jury has to decide, and that may come out with they may come out with charges against donald trump or somebody you have never heard of or nobody. the important thing is the prosecutors think they have enough evidence to start this process, which is a pretty important step. >> it is likely that trump related testimony and the secret proceeding has already begun. we see people who we know from your reporting and other news organizations that make clear they cooperated and met with investigators like jennifer cohen and weisselberg. in qualifying how many witnesses you believe cy vance's office has engaged, do they represent the most valuable? are they middling? where do you put sort of those
two very public voices in terms of what you understand about the vance investigation? >> well, i don't doubt that both of them will be important in different ways. cohen is good in establishing trump's intent, his mo. i will tell you how donald trump acted, how reckless trump was and how disregarding he was of the law. jennifer weisselberg can speak strictly to one part, a very important part of this, which is the compensation paid to allen weisselberg and his son and any taxes that may have been paid or not paid on any of those things. the things that they're trying to prove something wrong are going to involve complex bank transactions, assessments of property. accountants, assessors, lawyers, lots of papers, lots of documents. but michael cohen saw trump through the years and can explain to the jury, look, this is how he works. so i do think cohen will be very important there. >> one of the big booms to cy
vance's investigation was the supreme court decision that released donald trump tax returns to him. how integral are those to the testimony to discreet aspects of trump's business practices? >> i have to imagine they will be extremely important. no one has ever had this level of information about donald trump. no one has seen this deeply into trump's finances as cy vance had. there will be cases made that trump misrepresented himself, it will be in those documents. one sort of penl liedsing evidence of this was the trump foundation. its tax returns, which we did get to see were prepared by the same accountants, and we look closely at those, they had all kinds of errors. trump got sued by the new york attorney general and had to pay $2 million in part because of the misrepresentations on those tax returns.
it's very possible that there is going to be evidence from those tax returns put in front of the grand jury. >> and, david, we have so much in this public testimony from michael cohen and appearances from jennifer weisselberg and your incredible reporting you write about the foundation. wherever the curtain has been pulled back, what is now the mo is not scrupulous tax paying. donald trump boosted when he refused to release his taxes that he obliterated that norm. he really staked everything on keeping them private. i think he had at one point the treasury department and other branches of government to obstruct their release to congress. how accelerated, if you have any reporting on this, was the vance probe after getting their hands on those taxes? >> it seems like that's really when it ramped up. in february 2021, which is when they got them and a little before that, vance brought along a guy named pomeranz, a former
mafia prosecutor who super charged that investigation. the sleepy waiting on the tax returns and then it was full stem ahead, very well organized, lots of people, lots of moving parts. i don't think it was just the tax returns but the anticipation of the tax returns that drove that acceleration. >> and, david, what charges are possible for the ex-president? >> you're pushing me into my knowledge of new york criminal law, which is pretty thin. but i would say that the allegations that have been made in general terms have been that he committed loan fraud by defrauding lenders, telling them he had more assets than he did, evading taxes, deceiving tax authorities. that's another allegation, that he lied about the value of his assets, the value of loans that were forgiven in order to reduce his taxes. trump will always argue, look, everybody does this, everybody tries to reduce their taxes,
everybody fudges a little bit to get a better deal. they will have to prove that trump went far beyond the normal gray area and committed something very brazen. >> david, i know you have more reporting to do. i want to read the last two lines from your story because they're just too -- they're too much of a cliff hanger not to. "the washington post" previously reported that vance's office has been trying to pressure the chief financial officer allen weisselberg into cooperating against his boss. weisselberg is said to know the ins and outs of every business transaction at the company over the course of his decades of employment there. an attorney for weisselberg declined to comment when reached on tuesday. all the speculation today is really around what weisselberg will do. any thoughts? or any reporting you can share with us that suggests a decision has been made on this part or his lawyer's part about what he will do? >> no.
if there has been a decision made, i don't know it. weisselberg, although he's often cast as this die hard will never turn on trump, a lot of the damaging testimony against trump and the trump foundation was given by weisselberg. nobody's liberty was on the line but he told the new york attorney general, this is what i did. he established trump's involvement and trump's intent in some of the most damaging allegations of the trump foundation. he's done that damage before. >> it is a bombshell of epic proportions. it is your biline on it and a couple of your colleagues. the headline is weigh potential charges including against perhaps the ex-president. david fahrenthold, thank you for spending some time with us. harry lipman, i mean, wow, a great point by a great reporter.
allen weisselberg has testified against trump in the past. >> that's right. he hurt him before. by the way, a great reporter since 2016. i have one little quibble with him. david said, well, the grand jury will decide. my friends in the defense bar bemoan this, and they're right. it will not be the grand jury deciding. the prosecution will decide when to say we recommend you consider and bring these charges and 99 times out of 100, they will. so even though nominally, legally it's a grand jury decision, the process is really being run including the actual bringing of charges by prosecutors and cy vance jr.'s office. >> and to david fahrenthold's point, you know, grand juries are made up of people who are not tax law experts, and they will be asked in some of the public trials we have covered together, we have watched juries be given a similar kind of instruction to use common sense.
whether or not donald trump went above and beyond simply trying to pay as much as possible and cheating. at the end of the day, this is about cheating. to david's point about his reporting on the foundation, they didn't just cheat. i think the foundation was shut down after it was revealed what their practices are. >> the rules of evidence are different. the grand jury gets to see everything. they see the whole story, and there is not fighting and motions about suppressing this evidence or this is prejudicial or this is immaterial. the prosecution will present what they have. that will include past acts of cheating. it is important to note that kind of cheating element is a very human element. that's why there has got to be more than documents presented to the grand jury. there has got to be people presented to the grand jury. this wasn't just his signature on the bottom of this tax return or this loan application. we had a long discussion at this date at this time and he told me
to move forward. it is that kind of human element that the grand jury wants to hear. >> harry and frank, when news breaks and i'm alone in my basement with my iphone, there are no two people i would rather get through with it than the two of you. i'm really grateful to both of you. thank you so much. we're a few minutes from the start of "the beat," whose interview i have been quoting and playing for much of the last 40 minutes. ari melber, here is my question. what did you know and when did you know it? >> well, nicole, always good to be with you on a really big breaking news moment. i think what's striking is, and i'm curious what you think as well, we have been living through this and hearing from different people who have been there. michael cohen has been in there several times. as you mentioned, we spoke to other people on "the beat" last night who have been in with this very da. they find enough information to feel they don't go further.
that would be the deescalation or they do what you have been reporting on to their viewers, they convene a grand jury because the da thinks based on this evidence, these witnesses and this evidence, they have evidence of a crime. who by, we don't know yet. i'm curious where you think this goes if donald trump, who obviously has had a strangle hold of some degree on the republican party lately now may be gearing up for a time where his business, if not himself, is in the eyes of a grand jury and bill barr is not here to helm him. >> so i am always brought back to something that a close friend and political ally of his told me when michael cohen was first sort of ensnared by his journey. he now can't lie, right? like he served his time, and the smears on him from the trump circle are just that. they're smears. michael cohen can't lie. he didn't lie. he can't lie. because he'd face more pen