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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 9, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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that's not spending extra money to put extra computer chips in a warehouse somewhere. >> peter goodman, check out his article on this in "the new york times." thank you so much. >> thank you. that is all. good evening, rachel. >> thank you. much appreciated. thanks for joining us this hour. in the white house, there's an important but sort of low profile job that is called staff secretary. if you are staff secretary in the white house, what that means is you are the person in charge of managing the paper flow around the president. all the documents and materials that are handed to the president, everything the president is asked to review, everything that the president does review, anything that ends up on the president's desk, everything that goes to the president or from the president, white house staff secretary is the person in charge of keeping all of that in order.
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it's a very important job. it's obviously a very sensitive job because you see everything that goes to and from the president. for all the reasons you might imagine, it's not only detail oriented or 24/7 but which you need to be a trustworthy person. in february 2018 -- almost exactly a year into the trump presidency, the staff secretary at the trump white house had to resign for a terrible reason. he had to resign because both of his ex-wives came forward with lurid and terrible domestic violence allegations against him. that young man's name was rob porter. a scandal like that, somebody in that job, a job that sensitive, having longstanding known, serious domestic violence allegations against him by multiple previous wives, but
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nevertheless getting that job and holding onto it for a year, i mean, a scandal like that would be a marquis thing in any other presidency. it would be a defining scandal. that would be remembered forever by any other modern president. in the trump administration, that was like one blade of grass on a football field. how do you keep track? yeah, remember that scandal? again, it would be a massive overshadowing scandal for any other president. going back to nixon. for this president, it was like, literally one in a gazillion. that scandal-ridden disgraced had to resign staff secretary, his name was rob porter. that same rob porter today had a cameo role in the long awaited testimony of the star witness against president trump for the serious allegations of potentially criminal obstruction of justice that dog him even now
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as a former president. this is from the transcript we got today.
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>> i was disappointed to read in the report that the president had called me a lying bastard because i'm not a lying bastard. why do you think he called you that?
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you would have to ask him. nobody is going to ask him. it's more and more clear it seems like nobody is go to ask him not unless he is going to face criminal charges for obstruction of justice, in which case prosecutors might talk to him then. get his answer to that and many other questions. so far, he has never been questioned. that isn't -- it hasn't been in the cards. there's also this from the same transcript that we got today about the kind of lawyer president trump wishes he had had when he was in the white house.
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really the great villains in modern american history. right? aide to joe mccarthy during the worst of the demagoguery in washington. roy cohn famously corrupt lawyer
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to the mafia and to the trump organization as it turns out. that testimony just unsealed today from don mcgahn who served as white house counsel to donald trump. mcgahn is the star witness to the more than ten instances of alleged obstruction of justice, instances of alleged obstruction of justice by trump when he was president, when he was maneuvering to try to shut down the investigation into russia's interference, when he directed don mcgahn to create a false paper trail to cover up how he tried to derail the investigation.
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the president told you to put out an inaccurate statement denying that he told you to get rid of robert mueller. he told you to do that, right? yes. that would have been a false statement? yes. but he told me to cover it up. here it is. the firsthand testimony from the white house counsel about alleged serious acts of obstruction of justice committed by the former president while he was president. this only came out today. this is testimony that was taken last week. the transcript was only released today. it took the house judiciary committee years to get this testimony on the record from don mcgahn. this is the first time he has testified. the judiciary chairman saying, quote, don mcgahn provided the committee with substantial new information including firsthand accounts of president trump's
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out of control behavior and insight into concerns that the former president's conduct could expose both president trump and don mcgahn himself to criminal liability. could it really? could trump really be exposed to criminal liability by any of his actions? really? only if there was a prosecutor who would be willing to prosecute him for these alleged crimes. under justice department policy, robert mueller, the special counsel, didn't believe he or any prosecutor had the power to charge trump with any crime while he was still serving as president. mueller made very clear when his report was released that once trump was out of office, yeah, he could be charged as a former president. >> was there sufficient evidence to convict president trump or anyone else with obstruction of justice?
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>> we did not make that calculation. >> but let me just stop. you made the decision on the russian interference. you couldn't have indicted the president on that. and you made the decision on that. when it came to obstruction, you threw stuff up against the wall to see what would stick. >> i would not agree to that characterization at all. >> could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe that he committed -- you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> yes. you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? yes, yes, yes. that's the whole point. now he left office. the main witness for the ten plus instances of alleged obstruction of justice in that report, that witness has just testified to congress about what he saw and what the president tried to get him to do, confirming the allegations at their core. now the president could be --
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the former president could be prosecuted for those alleged instances of obstruction of justice. any takers? think there's any appetite for that in the u.s. justice department during the biden administration? the judiciary committee has the option, if they want, to make a formal referral to the justice department for potential prosecution of crimes they have become aware of. that among other things would require a response from the justice department as to what they were doing about that criminal referral. we know from ongoing current court battles that under the former attorney general, under the trump administration, the justice department never actually substantively considered the evidence against trump and whether he should be charged. the justice department never looked at it. now there's no reason why they couldn't look at it now. he is only a former president now. he is not protected by any
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justice department policy that would grant him immunity. again, any takers? is this all just going to slide? why was this evidence all compiled if the justice department, if federal prosecutors are neve substannively -- substantively going to look at? what was this evidence collected for anyway? "the boston globe" launched a remarkable project. check this out if you can. it's not behind a pay wall. it's up on the website. you can access it for free. they are running a series of -- they are editorials. they are more like arguments, essays as a public service. first was yesterday. second was today.
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they will run six consecutive days. i'll six are up on the website. it's a six-part series of recommendations for basically how to tyrant proof the presidency in the wake of trump. the idea is that if trump comes along again or if somebody else with this sort of corrupt or mindset of a trump approach to politics comes along again, how can we make sure that the presidency isn't abused? the presidency and its vast powers and its vast immunities aren't used to serve a corrupt purpose to try to hurt the country. basic idea is that before we had somebody that bad and that destructive in office as president, as a country, we thought that norms and rules and policies and strong recommendations and firm precedent would be enough to
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constrain the worst behavior by a potential president. we thought that stuff coming to light would bring about such shame that a president wouldn't do the worst stuff, not if there were norms against it. we learned the hard way over a very hard four-year period that those norms didn't hold. they weren't effective. he pardoned people for their crimes after praising them for not ratting on him. he installed his unqualified family members in higher level government jobs. then directed millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to himself and his family's private business. because he didn't divest from his family's private business. he took in payments from foreign governments. while he was serving as president and making u.s. policy that served those foreign interests. even without all of obstruction of justice stuff, we're not even scratching the surface here.
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the point of what "the globe" is doing is they say, without reforms, the modern u.s. presidency under trump was exposed as what they are calling a treasure map for an american tyrant. they have done this six-part series that methodically lays out six reforms and actions that the u.s. government could enact now. things that the trump experience shows we need before somebody else like that gets back into the presidency in order to make sure this doesn't happen to us again or worse. as i said, it's a six-part series. the final one, step six of six is this one. it's titled, the case for prosecuting donald trump.
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norms in a democracy are only as good as our willingness to enforce them. that's the case "the globe" made in this series. s series c
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it goes on from there. as i said, this is from "the boston globe." a remarkable series from yesterday for the next six days. a plea to the country, a potential map to save democracy from this kind of crisis ever happening again in the presidency. today president biden arrived in
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europe for the first foreign trip of his presidency. in his first remarks upon landing, speaking to u.s. troops after he landed in the uk, he talked about saving democracy. >> i believe we are at an inflection point in world history. the moment where it falls to us to prove that democracies will not just endure but they will excel as we rise to seize the enormous opportunities of a new age. we have to discredit those who believe that the age of democracy is over, as some of our fellow nations believe. we have to expose as false the narrative that the decrees of dictators can match the speed and scale of 21st challenges. you know and i know, they're wrong. it doesn't mean we don't have to work larder than ever to prove
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that democracy can still deliver for our people. many think things are changing so rapidly, democracies cannot get together and form a consensus to respond like ought considers -- autocrats can. we will make it clear the united states is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future. we are committed to leading with strength, defending our values and delivering for our people. this is my first overseas trip as president of the united states. i'm heading to the g7, then to nato ministerial and then to meet with mr. putin to let him know what i want him to know. [ applause ]
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>> to let him know what i want him to know. crowd goes wild. president biden speaking with u.s. troops in the uk as he starts this overseas trip. pledging to make the united states a world leader again, not just in our own performance domestically as a country, but as a leader of the world's democracies. to show in this moment, in his words, that democracy is the better choice for the people of the world, because democracies can act to not only affect the will of the people but to meet the challenges of the century. in advance of that summit between biden and putin, the russian government today prepped for that summit by declaring illegal the political organization of the main opposition figure in the country, navalny who they locked up. they put his organization in the same category as isis, calling
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it extremist, same category as isis. it's a political movement that's anti-corruption, pro-reform. it's considered essentially to be a terrorist organization in russia and its leader is in prison. that's the message for what putin and the autocracies of the world are offering. the biden administration announced the u.s. government is purchasing a half billion -- 500 million doses of the pfizer vaccine against covid-19, which we will distribute abroad. not directly ourselves, the united states shipping them in crates marked made in the usa, but rather shipping them abroad to dozens of counties and the world through the covax initiative, because that's an international initiative we want to support because we believe
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democracies around the world working together, good for the world. american leadership, american strength, american leadership strengthening international institutions, america leading the world's democracies, democracies leading the world. a lot to take care of in our own democracy here at home as we try to broadcast that message to the world. we have senator chris murphy joining us. we have really big news on the keystone pipeline ahead tonight. activists fighting that for more than a decade, getting huge news today, lightning bolt out of the blue. we got lots to come tonight. stay with us. with relapsing forms of ms... there's a lot to deal with. not just unpredictable relapses. all these other things too.
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tonight, the state of ohio announced the latest winners in that state's big money giveaway designed to encourage people to get vaccinated against covid-19. a little while ago, we learned a guy named mark would be winning
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a million dollars because he got vaccinated in ohio. a student named sara will receive a four-year scholarship to any university in the state. room, board, books, tuition, because she got vaccinated in ohio. ohio will announce two more rounds before they are done. it's a crazy thing. from a global perspective, it must look particularly crazy. contrast that only in america strategy of spending hugely to convince americans to please go get vaccinated with so many countries around the world desperate to get vaccines. other countries don't need to persuade people. other countries need access to vaccines at all desperately. today as president biden left on
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his trip to europe, "the washington post" was first to report the u.s. government is going to buy 500 million doses of pfizer's vaccine to donate to the world. the first 200 million doses will go out this year. the rest shared during the first half of next year. the world health organization will handle distribution of the doses to low income and middle income countries around the world all through the international covax initiative which the biden administration made tremendously viable by this huge international donation. these half billion doses are in addition to the 80 million vaccine doses the u.s. plans to share with the world by the end of this month. it's one thing to pound your chest and say to the world, america is back. it's another thing to put a half billion vaccine doses behind those words in the name of the american people. joining us now is senator chris
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murphy of connecticut. senator murphy, thanks for making time to be here. i appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> let me get your reaction to the biden administration's plan to buy and donate half a billion vaccine doses to the world. >> i think this is an extraordinary announcement. it's a recognition that american power really in the end isn't about our army or navy or air force. it's about our example. it's about our reputation. for 100 years, it was america that offered the big solutions to the big problems of the world. right? it was america that invented the internet. it was america that saved democracy in europe after world war ii. that light has been fading. it faded fast over the last four years. china has taken advantage of it. people look to china to provide solutions to big problems.
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it's chinese technology that is now the backbone of the internet rather than american technology. here is the opportunity for america to once again capture the world's imagination. this is about american business. it's about american boldness. it's perfectly timed as the president makes his first foray back to europe. it makes people just want to be part of the american experiment again. it wants -- it makes them want to align themselves with us economically and diplomatically. it's good for america from a purely sort of selfish standpoint. we are in a race to try to stamp out this virus and its variants as quickly as we can. so we don't end up with a variant that is immune to the vaccine. it ends up protecting us to inoculate the world as fast as possible. it also just wins a lot of friends and begins to rebuild our ability to create partnerships that are good for the country. >> that idea about building partnerships and winning friends, i listened to an
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interview today by president bide biden's national security advisor. he did an interview upon them arriving in the uk. he stressed a couple of points about this move. he said, as you know, the other two countries in the world that have been making a very big deal out of the fact that they are distributing their vaccines abroad are china and also russia. jake sullivan making a point that this will put the u.s. in the position of far outpacing china or russia in terms of the number of vaccine doses that we have distributed. this is a higher quality vaccine that anything that china or russia is distributing. he went out of his way to point out this is without strings atax -- attached. it's not something where the united states is asking for anything in return. we are not putting strings or prerequisites. do you agree with that approach?
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>> i do. it's, of course, reminiscent of the marshall plan. it's been compared to that over the course of the last 24 hours appropriately. the marshall plan was criticized by some because it didn't come with many strings attached. we said to europe, if you are interested in building a democracy, if you are interested in an open economy in which american companies can compete, then we are willing to be your partner. the bet was that that level of generosity would be paid back over time. and, of course, it was. we have created millions of jobs in the united states because of our partnership with europe. it was the europeans who came to our defense after september 11th as we fought back against those who attacked us. that theory worked. it's a different world today than in 1945. psychology hasn't changed. people are going to notice that if you want the russian vaccine, if you want chinese investment, it's going to come with all
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sorts of those strings you talked about. america wants to be your partner down the line. we may come asking for something. it's going to be, i think, the way in which we approach there vaccine distribution campaign that will help to sort of rebuild the reputation of the united states which under trump became sort of entirely transactional, which ended up pushing a lot of folks away. >> as the president sets off on this foreign trip, obviously, he is doing the g7 summit. he has bilateral meetings with some of our most important allies. it's going to end with putin. i wanted to ask you about this hearing that happened today in your committee about belarus. this crisis including a hijacking of a commercial passenger plane to arrest a young opposition journalist. putin is bringing belarus very tightly -- even more tightly into their camp in the wake of these abuses by the dictator
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there. today, your committee heard from among others the main opposition figure in belarus who may have beaten that dictator in the last election he rigged. she said that the country is becoming -- belarus is the north korea of europe. that has implications not only for belarus and the way they live but for how much of a threat that poses to europe and that neighborhood as putin embraces that country as its dictator seems to be going off the rails. do you expect there will be new sanctions there and that this is potentially a new global flashpoint the president will have to confront on this tri? >> i was actually in lithuania last week meeting with her. we should offer her and her democratic movement support. does it matter to the u.s. in the end whether belarus is
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aligned with russia or aligned with the west? probably not. that's a decision for the belarus people to make. we should stand squarely behind their right to make it. now with the downing of this plane, with a state-sponsored hijacking having taken place, we need to send an unequivocal message to the world and dictators that if you cross this line there will be costs. i think there will be sanctions. maybe that doesn't have an immediate impact in belarus, but it at least has a chilling affect on this kind of behavior in other parts of the world. we need to support other mechanisms to try to uncover what's happening in belarus. we talked in our hearing about supporting independent journalists, make sure there are people inside and outside of minsk that are telling the story. so it's not -- we get so hung up
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on sanctions that we forget there are other ways to get under the skin of dictators and supporting independent journalists, supporting the true story of his brutal regime, that can go a long way towards helping the pro-democracy movement there. >> it's a remarkable thing how potent truly independent journalism can be against authoritarianism. senator chris murphy, it's great to have you on the show. thank you so much for being here. >> thanks. we have more ahead tonight. stay with us. ave more ahead tont stay with us hey, you wanna get out of here? we've got you. during expedia travel week, save 20% or more on thousands of hotels. just book now through june 12th to plan your escape with expedia. expedia.
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but it will help you and your family stay safe ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ monitor, check and lock down you money with security from chase. control feels good. chase. make more of what's yours. people turned out in large numbers in northern minnesota this week. more than 1,000 people there to protest the construction of a new multi-billion dollar oil pipeline. a pipeline that among other things would cross through the delicate headwaters of the mississippi river. the protesters are trying to block that new pipeline and all the environmental hazards that it brings with it.
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a separate group of protesters made their way into one of the new pipeline's pump stations. that's currently under construction. they piled a bunch of stuff, including a boat at the entrance so nobody could get in or out. the demonstrators started locking themselves to the construction equipment bodily at that site. that had the effect of shutting down all work on the pipeline for the day. eventually, police showed up. they started dragging protesters through the dirt to arrest them. about 200 people were arrested just at the pump station. the response by law enforcement wasn't just local in terms of minnesota police officers. look at this. this is a helicopter belonging to the federal government, u.s. customs and border patrol. they flew this really low, dangerously low over this pipeline protest, using the wash from the chopper to blow dirt to get the protesters it leave. they are investigating the use
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of that helicopter. you are not supposed to use a government helicopter like that. even if it's against protesters. maybe especially if it's against protesters. this pipeline, called line three, it was approved, green lit under president trump. the protesters are pushing for president biden to suspend the permit for the pipeline before construction on it is finished. about 200 protesters are camped out along the pipeline saying, we won't stop pushing. they're not saying -- they won't leave. some of the protesters, they have been at this for years. we don't know if they will succeed in blocking the pipeline. even as this battle continues in northern minnesota over that incredibly controversial project with the biden administration absolutely having the power to block, even as that battle continues, today brings fresh and truly astonishing evidence that with enough stamina and strategy, protests just like
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that one sometimes do succeed against incredible odds, against huge multi-billion dollar projects. if you stick with it for years and years and years and you never give up, sometimes you win. as i said, astonishing news today is our next story here tonight. stay with us. you will want to see this. ant t. [sfx: rainstorm] ♪♪ comfort in the extreme. ♪♪ the lincoln family of luxury suvs. (computer beeps) ♪♪ (shaq) magenta? i hate cartridges. not magenta, not magenta. i'm not going back to the store. magenta! cartridges are so... (buzzer) (vo) the epson ecotank. no more cartridges! it comes with an incredible amount of ink that can save you a lot of frustration. ♪♪
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a decade ago in 2011, november, thousands of activists surrounded the white house to urge president obama to block construction of an oil pembroke pines line called keystone xl. keystone xl would have piped canadian tar sands oil all the way across the united states from canada, all the way down to the gulf of mexico. that surrounding the white house, that was the culmination of a summer of protests outside the obama white house. over 1,000 people were arrested in those demonstrations.
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bill mckiben was among those arrested. four days after the big november surround-the-white house protests that he helped organize, president obama announced he would at least delay a decision on approvals for that pipeline. he would delay consideration over a year. after that "the boston globe" published a profile of him with this title. the man who crushed the keystone xl pipeline. you know, as flattering as that might have been that headline was a little premature. the fight would go on for another decade as the oil industry and their many allies in congress pulled out the stops they could to try to get the thing approved. it wasn't until late 2015, the very end of his presidency, president obama finally announced he would, in fact, block that pipeline. but then, of course, the following year the u.s. elected a very different president who made a big show of reviving the pipeline in his first week in office and, in fact, construction started up last year in 2020.
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what else happened in 2020? joe biden won the presidency and ousted donald trump, and on biden's very first day in office he cancelled the permit for that pipeline. and while that sounds like a definitive thing honestly it set off what everybody expected to be a whole other round of years of fighting over this thing. but then today this lightning bolt finally arrived. a decade in the making. the keystone xl pipeline is officially dead, dead. the company that was building the pipeline said today it is pulling the plug. it is not going to try anymore. they said they will work with government agencies, quote, to ensure a safe termination of and exit from the project. tonight bill mckibben said this on line, just a reminder that ten years ago this summer when mass arrests began in the keystone fight 93% of insiders said the project would be approved. today tc energy, the pipeline
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company, threw in the towel for good. he closed by saying, never, ever give up. joining us now is bill mckibben, climate expert, one of the founders of the grassroots campaign, 350.org. thank you for being with us. i appreciate you taking time. >> what a pleasure. let me begin by saying i did not crush the keystone pipeline. this fight began with indigenous groups and ranchers across the midwest and involved millions of people, perhaps as many as any environmental fight in american history. what it really does is show that now there's a possibility of beating these other things just like that line three fight you were describing a minute ago. >> well, let me ask you aside from persistence, i mean correctly noting today this was ten years plus of work by all of the people you were just describing, and so many of them. other than persistence, what was the secret to success here?
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>> well, there were many. part of it was the real huge coalition of people that came together. as i said, indigenous groups, frontline communities in the lead, farmers and ranchers but also climate scientists. jim hanson early on, our greatest climate scientist, said if we pump the tar sands dry it is game over for the climate, and that helped people begin to understand that we really were going to have to leave fossil fuel in the ground. this keystone pipe was one of the first moments when that kind of keep-it-in-the-ground message began to emerge and now it is at the heart of so many battles that are underway. what was special here was that -- and the reason correctly, i think, that all of the experts said we knew this was that big oil had never lost a pipe like this. you remember 2013 exxon was still the biggest company on planet earth. you know, big oil was still all powerful and yet people were
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willing to take them on, willing to believe that we had a chance. because of that great organizing that so many people did from so many vantage points, you know, the emergence of -- remember, we were talking tonight about the fact that julian bond, the great civil rights leader, the last time he got arrested before his death was outside the white house, outside the obama white house protesting the keystone pipeline. there were people from every kind of community. it became a big, broad fight that brought the environmental justice movement together in a way that we haven't seen before, but that has continued now. you know, i was out in minnesota earlier this week, you know, backing up the indigenous leaders that were occupying that land along the head waters of the mississippi. if obama's climate test was keystone, biden's is probably going to be line three because -- and here is the
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thing. obama said that we wouldn't have the keystone pipeline because it couldn't pass a climate test. line three is exactly the same size, about 800,000 barrels a day, and it carries exactly the same stuff, tar sands crude. so if keystone couldn't pass climate test, there's no way six years later after we've had the hottest temperature ever recorded, the biggest forest fires ever recorded, the biggest hurricane season ever recorded, after we've had the paris climate accords, there's no way that anybody with a straight face can say line three is somehow passes a climate test that keystone couldn't. >> bill mckibben, environmental activists. thank you for joining us. i know it is a landmark moment but a one that was a long time coming. thanks for being here. >> thank you so much, rachel. we will be right back. stay with us. with us
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we're proud to be 100% employee owned with local workers as diverse as san francisco. we built the city's recycling system from the ground up, helping to make san francisco the greenest big city in america but we couldn't do it without you. thank you, san francisco. gracias, san francisco. -thank you. -[ speaks native language ] let's keep making a differene together. all right. that is going to do it for us tonight. thank you very much for being here. i will see you again tomorrow. what's tomorrow? friday eve. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening. >> good evening, rachel. two years in the making, i have mine here, the judiciary committee transcript of the don mcgahn testimony. only took them two years to get that testimony. we're going to be joined tonight by judiciary

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