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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  June 11, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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have to be cool with a 74-year-old retiree in giant pants just in on the golf course. that is somehow our broadcast for this thursday night with our thanks for being here with us. on behalf of all of our colleagues at the networks of nbc news, goodnight. nbc news, goodnight. >> tonight on all in. hold on to your brito's. new signs the biden recovery is worrying. aaa says it's raising a menu prices to pay for better wages for its workers. >> tonight behind the scaremongering over -- and how american workers are gaining power. then, the math spinning over what we actually know about the police gassing a peaceful protester before trump's photo
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op. plus as talks continues why any infrastructure bill that doesn't address climate bill is not worth passing. and how one senator gave up the game during an interrogation of the first african american secretary defense. >> mister secretary, do you believe that our military is a fundamentally racist organization? yes or no please? >> when all in starts right now. >> good evening from new york i'm chris hayes. the republican party has found the achilles heel to the biden economy. expensive burritos. this week the popular fast food chain chipotle announced they are raising prices to cover the cost of increasing wages for their employees. heaven forbid. now the price increase is olive 4%, prices vary by location, but that basically means that if your chipotle burrito used to cost $10, it will be going up to $10.40. and if it was for 70, it would
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be for 89. call me a little skeptical but that is going to be the deciding factor in the midterm elections. never mind the fact that chipotle rake didn't six billion dollars last year. paid their ceo $38 million. but you can understand why republicans want to run with this. this is from the national republican commission website, your burial just got more expensive. now this is a core, animated issue of the right of conservatives, has been for decades if not centuries. business owners and titans of capitals scaremongering about inflation and wages going up to high. the connection between the two. and inflation is going up, you've probably noticed it in your daily life. there's new data out today showing the consumer price index basically the average price of a bunch of stuff is up 5% since may of last year, across the basket of items that they monitor. that is the fastest rate of growth since 2008.
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as we talked previously on the show, a lot of that seems to be transitory with the strangeness of this economy coming back to life, after more than a year of a pandemic. back in may of 2020, for instance, a lot of things like airfare, car rentals, were really cheap because there was zero demand for them. as we get back to normal, demand and prices are back up. in many cases we have a mitch match between the demand and the available supply. how many cars there on the market, for instance. there is a good reason to think that a lot of that mismatch is going to go away, that is the bet that the biden administration and the federal reserve were making. the deeper issue here that is really animating the republican party is the fact that labor is scarce right now. it is hard to find people to higher. >> the unemployment rate dropping to 5.8%. companies still say they are desperate to find workers. the chambers out with a new
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report. >> at the very moment the unemployment is rising, fewer people are working american businesses say they can't find employees. >> this labor force problem isn't just limited to the restaurant and service industry. this is impacting businesses across the border, including construction. >> right now we are struggling with employees, it is the workforce that has been paralyzed. >> across texas, restaurants are hiring and getting creative to fill positions. this one's offering room and board and many now have sign on bonuses to sweeten the deal for job seekers. >> at this diner new orleans, you used to be able to get sizzling bacon, eggs and grits, 24 hours a day. but now. >> i'm 20 employees short right now to be able to open 24 hours. >> hungry customers aren't filling boots but this coal can't fill shifts. >> why do you think people aren't applying? >> obviously, on my opinion, it
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is the fact that they're making as much money staying home on unemployment than they would being back to work. >> there's a lot of people who think that way. the data on that doesn't paint a very clear picture. but if you're the boss and you're looking to hire people, yes, it is easier if labor is plentiful because and it is cheap. and then you can have your pick. a lot of people will apply to fill your position at your diner and you can say, i like this person and not that person. when the labor market is out like that, when it is scarce, you have to hustle. or you may have to do something even worse, raise wages. but for republicans, conservatives, most bosses, ceos you can tell from that period of freak, outraging raises is not something that they want to do. here's how the former economic adviser of ronald reagan puts it. >> for those people, sandra, who are coming into the labor force brand fresh, not old-timers who have been around for a long time, the port, the minorities, the disenfranchised, those with less education,
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young people who haven't had the job experience, these people aren't worth $15 an hour, in most cases. >> he just came out and said it, the poor, the minorities, the disenfranchised, young -- they're not worth it. i'm afraid you're was wrong. because the economy -- this is how it is. labor scares. some are having to do just that. some businesses have quote found a way around the worker shortages which is raising the wages to $15 an hour more. like this ice cream parlor -- between january and march, so he decided to more than double the starting wage to $15 an hour plus tips to see what would happen. the shop was suddenly flooded with applications. more than 1000 piles over the course of the week. this is of course elemental economics. when something is plentiful, it is likely to be cheap. when it is scarce, it is going to cost more money. so, another way to say labor shortage is just to say worker
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power. and worker power has been largely missing from the u.s. economy for literally 40 years, if not more. since the reagan era and the last great bout of inflation in the seventies when it induce punishing recession, we have seen a vast transformation of the american global economy. recreated in reagan's shadow and you economy that offers this bargain, consumer goods are cheap, everything from burritos to flat screens tvs, to all the stuff you can buy an amazon, or a target because it isn't made by other people in other countries. it brought all of these goods cheaper than they were ever. for years people defending this model, said look how cheap the tvs are. how can you say people are poor when they have smartphones. but, there's another part to this bargain, the key part of this bargain is the cheap goods go together with low wages. you're getting those goods from folks making little money but as our workers are competing
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with them. the only things that are not cheap, on top of it all, the pillars of middle class life, education gets more expensive, as does housing and health care. we might be on the precipice of a momentous change right now. we retransform that bargain away from cheap consumer goods and a low wage economy to a high wage economy, and that might mean that burritos cost $10.40 instead of just $10. it may also mean that you buy a new television less often. and other consumer goods cost a bit more, some services might cost more. there might be a trade-off like that, economics is about trade-off. i think it is a trade-off most americans are willing to make. in fact, if americans agree on one thing, overwhelmingly in a very poor lies era when no one agrees on anything is raising the minimum wage. 62% supported to $15 an hour according to a recent survey. in fact if you go back to that republican party post, if you reverse the republican party's
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messaging on the expensive burrito their promise is essentially, we will bring down the wages of chipotle workers. if you put it that way it doesn't sound so appealing, does it? sarah nelson is the international president of the association of flight attendants. and he is the secretary of labor, and the author of the system, who rigged it and how we fix it. they both join me now. sarah, let me start with you because you're in a sector, you're representing people in a sector that we're seeing a lot of tumble. the industry was obviously utterly hammered last year and when you look at the consumer pricing index, you look at flights they are up 24%, what is the kind of situation for the workers you represent in one of those industries where we're seeing this kind of rapid change? >> let's be really clear, chris, saying that fares are up 24% from last year when demand was down 97%, may not be a good comparison. let's talk about the airlines.
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80% organize have a union and they were able to get the best covid relief package in the industry, what we got was relieved to the workers. and we put a cap on compensation and a band on -- what we did with the power of our unions and because we had that union voice and were able to put those demands out front even in the words of political scenarios, is that we were able to craft a workers up relief package and that kept us in our jobs and kept things very stable. that did not happen across the economy. across the economy we had to have safety nets to catch people, who were being pushed into poverty by the million. if the government didn't step in and stand up. because we have this problem before we even came into covid but the american worker was working more to make more, not making more to have a better life. all of that productively was going into the pocket of ceos,
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we never talk about the prices of ceo make going up, we never talk about the -- or a lawyer needing to make $350 an hour paycheck, we only talk about this problem when you talk about low wage, working class workers and that is the problem that we brought into covid and the shared experience of workers understanding that we don't have to take that anymore, that we can raise expectations, you are starting to see the power of the working class come into play here. >> let me get the argument on the other side was not a crazy one, and not unground it in some genuine economic literature and intuition which is if we have is government subsidies, the bonus on unemployment insurance which allows people to make more than they would on unemployment, we are taking way of that incentive and if we want to get the economy back we need to get people in the labor, force patch employers with employees
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and get everyone working again some businesses can produce goods and services. right now, it's a hitch and it's bad for everyone that we can't find that. >> i would say that's total baloney. the reason it is baloney, chris, is because number one, raising wages is a good thing. one of the big problems in the american economy is that the past 40 years wages of the media markers, right in the middle, have hardly grown up well. adjusted for inflation, for 40 years even though the economy is twice as large as it was. where did the benefits go? they want to ceos but they've also gone to top executives and major investors. the shareholder class. the investor class, the executive class. they have done extraordinarily well. the workers happened. that's a problem for the economy. if you paid people more at the bottom they have more money to spend.
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you put the top -- they don't spend much of their paycheck or compensation. people at the bottom spend it. one of the biggest problems we've had in this economy for the past 40 years is you've got a majority of american workers without the means to keep the economy going. >> i want you to talk about, from your perspective as a union president, what a tight labor market does for your bargaining power. there's different ways workers can have power. one is to organize the unions. macroeconomic conditions can give them power. if unemployment is low if labor is scarce, they have more power. if there is tons of people out of, work people banging down the doors, there's a labor surplus, they don't. does it matter to people in organized labor what those macroeconomic conditions are? >> it does, chris. the fact of the matter is we have to grow the labor movement. it's what president biden is saying and he is absolutely right. if we don't grow that sustained
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labor movement where workers can actually bargained for their wages and their health care and their secure retirement and other benefits, vacation, things that make it a meaningful life, those things can change. you could have a whole bunch of worker power that games something in one month, and is taken away in the next. if you don't have a union, that contract that is in black and white like those executives demand themselves. >> robert, the question is how temporary this is and how structural. we have been pursuing this model for 40 years, which is breaking down in different ways, attacked both from right and left, across the world, different ways. we are seeing this confrontational stance towards china. do you see this moment as an opportunity to change that trajectory we've been on? >> it is an opportunity. sara is, right we need stronger unions and it's part of the structural change that's necessary to change the
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bargaining relationship. we have to attack a corporate monopolies. those monopolies are dominating this economy and not only are they charging consumers more, but they are keeping wages down for a lot of hourly workers. we also have got to make sure the economy is moving as rapidly as it can, and that's what it's all about. it' they are all part of that same structural change we need. >> sarah nelson and robert, that was great thank you for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> remember how for four years we had in the administration would come out and tell you things that were obviously untrue to anyone with eyeballs? why is the new government out with a report about the tear gassing of protesters in lafayette square last year, in trump's photo op which we all saw with our own eyes, that defies all obvious logical common sense? that's next.
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summer which was quite a summer was when in the middle of protest it against police brutality, police violently cleared protesters, peaceful protesters at a park across from the white house using tear gas and rubber bullets. just before donald trump -- to that park to stage a ridiculous photo op in front of the church. the bible. at the time it appeared to just about everyone the police cleared the protesters so trump could take his pictures. but a new report by the
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interior department inspector general found quote the evidence we have team did not support a finding the u.s. cleared the park to allow the president to survey the damage and go to the church. i'll be honest here we always have to be careful here that we don't let our own political and cognitive by sees blind us from the truth. sometimes you learn new facts that confound your prior beliefs. all that said, the ig report is obviously full of holes. it fails to clear ideological level, okay. the president walked to the church once the park was clear of protesters. the interior department in the park police are not making the ultimate orders about that because the president is going there. so of the park police had not clear the park to install their anti scale fencing like the report says, was donald trump going to just roll out there among the protesters? obviously not. what are we even seeing here. the president walked to the
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place that had been cleared, so it makes some sense that someone with the president security detail was obviously coordinating, controlling what was happening. in fact, according to the report, the u.s. park police incident commander said the secret service uniformed division chief told him that the presidents visit would likely occur ladle that day after protesters had been removed from the area. right, so trump would go after the protesters had been cleared from the park. the report also says contrary to the operational plan and before the u.s. park police gave the first dispersal warning, the secret service entered a street from madison place. that led to an earlier confrontation that was planned. the secret service lieutenant later apologized for the entry during the operation but did not explain why it occurred. i know why. pick me. it this whole thing was completely absurd. they didn't even interview any
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of the most important parties like william barr. so we're supposed to accept at the park police had this plan, right, to clear the square to build a fence and for reasons unbeknownst to anyone the secret service just went ahead and initiate it that way ahead of time, but definitely not so the president could walk to that park for his photo op? kara lending is a pulitzer prize winner, her latest book zero fail the rise and fall of the secret service. carol lenin joins me now. carol let's start with some level on the agency, the strikes me as important. the park police are under the interior department that has the initiative report. but there are other entities involved in anything involved in the presidents security, right? >> absolutely. i think that you've hit the nail on the head, chris about
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the incompleteness of this report. while the interior ig has the purview, his territory is the park police and he can poke as far as deep as he wants to in that area, he chose, or opted, not to ask any questions outside his purview. that makes this report really incomplete. also, kind of strains against what we all saw with our own eyes and i must say what we had the washington post reported in realtime. the white house was planning, monday morning, for this perimeter to be pushed. the president was planning for a movement to project is control over the city. he was doing that around 2:00 with his white house aides and between three and five, the white house secret service and the deputy chief of staff, who is the former secret service detail leader for the president,
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we're letting the park police, most senior leaders know, hey, by the way the president is going to be coming out. the president is their boss, and the question that continues to be left unanswered, from this report, chris, is why the urgency? if it wasn't to move things out of the way for the presidents movement, why did they have to use, you know, pepper spray? why did they have to use rubber ammunitions? why did they have to use shields to shove peaceful protesters as quickly as possible out of this area, about 20 minutes before the president emerged? >> right. it's one of many logical holes here. to your point, if you're going to build a fence and you want to increase the perimeter area, you can take your time doing fat. you could send people out with a bull horn, there's a lot of ways you can do that that doesn't require that very quick,
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decisive, suddenly announced action that we again, all saw the park police take with our own eyes. >> absolutely. keep in mind, there are many things about this report that are accurate. there was a discussion regarding that we've had a lot of violence on friday night after the george floyd protests began, outside the white house. there was a lot of feeling at the secret service and also in the park police, but especially the secret thought we were overwhelmed. we would not have been able at the secret service to stop series of protesters from jumping the fence on moss. we would've been swarmed and unarmed. there was a concern about how to establish a perimeter. but let's be clear the secret service and the park police have been trained how to move protesters, carefully, to another location safely, where they can exercise their first
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amendment rights. this did not follow any of those norms. it did not follow any of their training. in fact, as my book reveals, the secret service officers and agent pressed their director after june one, in a town hall meeting to explain what is our use of force policy exactly, because they didn't look like it. >> that is a great point. the final thing i want to say here again, and not to center on the logic as opposed to the facts, just as a logical level, the but for relationship, the causal relationship, obviously if they hadn't cleared that area the president wasn't going to it. that is an obvious point. he's not gonna walk out like hey, everybody in the middle of the protest. obviously, there is a relationship between the two at some level. >> 100%. this secret service director and the secret service detail leader would throw down their badges and quit rather than take the president into an area
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where protests were occurring. it would be professional malpractice for the secret service to do such a thing. let's focus on the fact that the director -- forgive me, the detail leader for the presidents protection division who is now at this point, the deputy white house chief of staff was on seeing coordinating this. the secret service had full knowledge the white house had full knowledge of what was going on. ironically, the police and most of the park police and the d.c. police had no idea what was going on. >> carol lenghi is such a great reporter and this is a bead that you've owned more than anyone, thank you very much it was very useful for me. thank you. >> thanks for asking these good questions, because you're on to something. >> all right. up next republican senators are trying to take the single most pressing infrastructure issue facing the country, maybe effort, out of the
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there is a bipartisan group of ten senators trying to get and infrastructure bill that places both sides, to get 60 votes. in fact, this afternoon, but romney said the group had reached a deal. >> the ten of us have reached tentative understanding so we aren't looking for adjustments, we are looking to see if our colleagues are open to it. and get a piece of paper which lays that out, and see if we can get people to sign on and have enough support to make it happen. >> when senator romney was asked about how the democrats climate agenda fits in the bill he responded, quote, the democrats climate agenda is probably something they pursue by and large outside of an infrastructure bill. >> here's the thing. in the infrastructure bill, that's not climate focused is
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quite literally not worth passing. probably worse than nothing. climate is the essential infrastructure challenge we face, obviously. remember last month one of the largest pipelines was hacked and shut down for days? what does that carry? fossil fuel transmission pipeline supplies, also fuel most of the east coast. remember texas during the winter storm? that was energy infrastructure. what drives on roads and bridges? vehicles entirely powered by the fossil fuel that we have to keep burning so we don't hate the planet to a crisp. the infrastructure doesn't live outside the energy and climate system. it is the backbone to that system not only that but if you strip the climate plan out of the bill you are going to lose a lot of democratic senators and will be left with nothing to pass. at a markey who co-sponsor the resolution green new deal told the new york times the planet cannot survive another successful republican obstructionist strategy. we have to have climate at the center of any prestructure package wanted to have my vote.
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no climate, no deal. and he joins me now. how are you feeling in the wake of the news from another bipartisan gang? yesterday there was the capital, and now we have this one. i'm hoping we rotate bipartisan gangs forever. the news coming out with a wait and see message on that deal, what is your understanding of where things stand? >> it sounds like to me that they have a package which is climate denial masquerading as bipartisanship. we can't have an infrastructure bill in 2021 that doesn't have climate at its center. any other bill that we are going to consider that does not have aggressive solutions to the climate crisis will just have that response which i've been giving which is no climate, no deal. that's the only way in which we can respond. this bill has to meet the
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magnitude of the challenges which the climate crisis is presented to our country. >> let's talk about the politics before substance. you have -- and clean energy should not count on every democratic vo. sheldon whitehouse says we must get senate down is unified on a climate reconciliation bill, >> how big do you think that gang is four senators for who this is just a red line nonstarter? >> my view is the democratic party won in 2020 on this issue, the house, the senate, the presidency. it was driven by young people across our country who rose up, went to the polls, worked hard, and they have a big iou that they should call. and the democrats across america are going to stand up
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and demand we pass a climate package an infrastructure bill that is worthy of the name. the plan is running a fever. there are no emergency rooms are planets. we have to pass legislation that releases the technology revolution we know is out there, to save all of creation by ingrate engaging. we need to have an infrastructure bill that embodies all of those ambitions, and i am afraid this bill, as it's being advertised, does not meet that test. >> you take through the things that are in the initial biden american rescue plan proposal. there is money for battery storage and research on, that money for electric vehicle charging stations, there is some talk about that moving to the surface transportation bill. there is stuff for the electric grid, stuff on clean energy in
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terms of renewable portfolio standards if i understand. do you have a sense of what is or isn't out? it's a weird thing when the senators and room treating the stuff away like, are you read in on what is in the package or not? >> i don't know what's in the package except what you just read about senate romney's commentary on it which this package will not be dealing with the climate crisis, and it needs significant way. bottom line is the gop used to stand for grand old party. now it stands for the gas and oil party. we know the fossil fuel industry is the largest single contributor to this party, so we do need new highways. new bridges. but we also have to have an infrastructure revolution for the energy sector so that we are the global leader so the rest of the world says the united states is back and we believe in science and we know we can solve this problem by
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unleashing this revolution. so biden can go later on this year and say we are back. we are no longer the lagging we are the leader and we must solve this problem for future generations. that's what this bill must have, so that biden will have the credibility he needs meeting with the rest of the world later on this year. >> no climate, no vote. ed markey, i suspect there is a lot more in that caucus as well. we will keep following this. thank you so much, senator. >> no climate, no deal. thank you. >> we have breaking news coming in tonight. i didn't believe this when it crossed my phone during a commercial break, but here's what we have. the trump administration tried to spy on adam schiff using the department of justice. it's a really big one. we will be right back with that in a moment. don't go anywhere. anywhere. pepto bismol coats your stomach with fast and soothing relief. and try new drug free pepto herbal blends. made from 100% natural ginger and peppermint.
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pain? yeah. here. aspercreme with max-strength* lidocaine. works fast and lasts. keep it. you're gonna need it. kick pain in the aspercreme breaking news about the trump justice department's abuse of power to investigate its enemies. new york times reports quote
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prosecutor subpoenaed apple for data from the accounts of two democrats in the house intelligence committee, aides, and family members. one was a minor. all told records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of adam schiff of california, then the panels top democrat and its chairman. katie benner covers the justice department for new york times, one of the violence of the story and she joins me now on the phone. thank you, katie. asha short notice for joining us. walk us through what we know here. >> this investigation really begins in 2017. after donald trump became president, as we know, there were several stories, very unflattering to him. they involved sensitive classified information. memos about how the president pressured him to drop the investigation on michael flynn, and then michael flynn and his
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conversations with the russian ambassador. stories and stories that detailed things by the trump administration that were questionable, but the ongoing russia investigation witch -- and the white house was determined to figure out who was the force of these leaks. people investigate these all the time we also saw these lakes and prosecutors started to think they're hitting that ends, that they were never really closed and included things like subpoenas are in formation when adam schiff. >> that's where, yes, leak investigations happen every white house. every president hates leaks. often there are leak investigation, sometimes they even include subpoena-ing reporters, which in my view is wrong the matter who is doing it. we know reporters were actually targeted in some of these like investigations, some of the reporting in your paper in the new york times.
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got statements from new york times lawyer and cnn lawyers about those, but subpoena-ing a committee ranking member of the committee was oversight secretly, right? was anyone notified about these subpoenas? was anyone notified about thes subpoenas? >> to your point, that was unusual and aggressive. both when you speak to people who are members of congress and former members of congress. they can't remember anything like. it and national security officials, current and former, and they will say this is an aggressive move. they not only subpoenaed apple for information on the ranking member of the committee, adam schiff, also another committee member current and former staff members of that committee. family members of the staffers including one child. it was a very aggressive broad reach into data of people associated with the committee. much like some of the media requesting, apple was given a gag order when they were given the subpoena.
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there are not to speak of it. the only reason they're able to tell that committee in may that this had happened is because the order had lapsed and the department did not move to renew it. also, the committee found out from apple, democrats found out from apple, not from the justice department, that numbers reached out to the justice department dismay under attorney general merrick garland and asked what happened. the justice department closed the case in may, which is what they told the committee, but they declined to tell adam schiff or other democrats whether or not any republicans were investigated as part of this leak investigation, and we haven't found any evidence yet republicans were. >> what's a story. i mean, i'm digesting this. katie benner, that was -- thank you so much were hopping on the phone. great reporting, as always. i should note adam schiff who was the target of one of these
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subpoenas will be on with rachel maddow in just a short while. you aren't going to want to go anywhere. i would read you a statement, but you might as well hear it from him in 15 minutes. still ahead, a grotesque display, but a junior republican senator of arkansas tells you everything you need to know about the republican party today. that is coming up. that is coming up. try pantene daily moisture renewal conditioner. its color-safe formula uses smart conditioners to micro-target damage helping to repair hair without weighing it down. try pantene. [sfx: kids laughing] [sfx: bikes passing] [sfx: fire truck siren] onstar, we see them. okay. mother and child in vehicle.
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like most of the country was racially segregated. on july 26 of that year, president harry truman signed an executive order to desegregate the military. which made vietnam the first major combat deployment which troops were not formally segregated. some black vietnam better and soft and talked about fighting
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with the called a war with no war. >> what did you do when you saw a confederate flag flying over the base? >> the thing came down. and the commander answered to me. >> why did you bring it down? >> because we weren't fighting the civil war. and those no such thing as northern blood or southern blood. there can be no such thing as black blood and white blood when you are being fired at. >> 75 years after integration, the military made progress, but problems persist especially with racial diversity and military leadership. in 2019 when the enacting secretary of defense mark esper tweeted out a photo of the president and his top generals and admiral's. look at the picture. it's striking in 2020 to see that. it looks nothing, of course, like the demographic makeup of the country. when you look back at the history of who this country has had secretary of defense, you
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get a very similar picture. that is until this year when the senate confirmed retired four star army general, former iraqi commander lloyd austin. today, as if we don't know this collective history, tom cotton of arkansas grilled secretary austin on whether he thought the u.s. military is racist. >> mister secretary, do you believe that our military is a fundamentally racist organization? yes or no, please. >> i want to give you a yes or no answer on that because it's more than a yes or no. the military, like any organization, will have its challenges. i do not believe it's a fundamentally racist organization. >> i'm sorry to cut you off, but our time is limited. i think it is a pretty simple question. i am glad you agree, it is not fundamentally racist. do you believe that any member of the military should be treated differently based on their skin color and sex? again yes or no will do. >> again, this question deserves more than a yes or no answer. >> mister secretary, i'm sorry
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to cut you. off our time is limited. it is a very simple question. should a member of the organization you lead be treated differently, in violation of the constitution, i would add, based on their sex with the color of their skin? >> no i do not believe that, and that is why we have diversity equity and inclusion focused in the military. >> here is what this jihad against wokeness comes down to. trying to badger the first black man ever served as secretary defense into a yes or no answer about the complicated racial history of the institution he runs, so you can manufacture a fox news soundbite. great question, senator. why would anyone have reason to think the pentagon has anything but a model of racial equity that happens to never have a black man in asylum for its two centuries? we're gonna lot about this very issue including great piece last year titled african americans are highly visible in the military, but almost invisible at the top. she joins me now. i wonder as someone who's
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covered this beat, if you could give us context to the exchange today? what was going on there? >> thanks for having me chris. it was such a weird exchange. this whole specter of tom cotton very much badgering secretary of defense lloyd austin. i think it didn't sit well with a lot of people at the pentagon. a lot of this is going on because the right wing of the republican party led by tom cotton and by senator crenshaw don't like the fact the pentagon at long last is starting to confront some of the racial inequities within the department of defense. they call this -- there is this new phrase that's been coined, they woke police. they are going after the pentagon for being too woke. and pentagon leadership for being too woke. they don't like the idea for instance the pentagon is going to be having, putting out some
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sort of juneteenth observance, for instance, coming up soon. they aren't crazy but the whole idea of renaming all of his confederate bases. there is a whole list of things. keep in mind on january six, as the capital was being stormed by pro trump rioters, we found out afterwards many of them were former military, and many of these extremists had military background, and were active duty military. we've had active military charged in the riots. the pentagon has been confronting this strain in the american military because it's, at the same time it's a reflection of american society, you have extremists within the pentagon. that's something that's been going on. you have people in the right wing of the republican party who don't like that for whatever reason they may present. >> the piece you wrote last
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year, but i remember reading, thinking it was great, we talked about the u.s. military as a sort of model of race blind american autocracy and in many ways it has been a more integrated institution in american life than a lot of other institutions, and colluding neighborhoods in new york, right? [laughs] >> that's right. >> there are still issues there, but you're right about. there are issues, and when you look at what's at the top of that military and who is at the bottom, there is some obvious color difference. >> there are. the american military is quite integrated at the bottom in the listed ranks. it's when you get to, and it's not just the top, chris, where you see it all white and primarily all male, it's not just the general level even though that is extreme. the marine corps has never had a four star general officer who is not a white male. the army has had a few, the air force now has a black air force
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chief of staff. these are all barriers that are being broken. everybody thinks about colin powell. that was decades ago. we haven't had another chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who is not a white male sense colin powell. we beyond the leadership which is extremely white, they also have certain combat units in the pentagon, and when you look at, for instance, a lot of navy seals who are not white or male, you don't see a whole lot of army rangers who lead the delta force, the green berets. when you look at the league combat units, and these are units of feet into the office of course, the stars of the american military. you don't see much other than white male. it's not a question of just the leadership. there are units in the military where a lot of black people, hispanics, women who said they have not been made to feel welcome.
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>> another generation ago, there was a campaign against political correctness. it was not people used to call the now call wokeness. one of the targets was canvas politics. i thought it was insane, but it was true. campus politics could get radical, pretty lefty, lots of new ideas. targeting the pentagon? like, it doesn't even stand. whatever talking about? >> they are the least woke people! they are not lefty. when i started covering the pentagon beat in 2014, a veteran, well-known pentagon correspondent for the wall street journal, washington post, took me to lunch and he was, like you have to get used to the fact that you are going to be covering. he said it's a tea party demographic. i didn't know what he meant because i kept thinking there's so many blacks in the pentagon who served in the marines. i know plenty of black, brown, you name it, who are in the american military. i didn't understand what he
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meant until i actually started covering the beat. it's very much a place that looks like america, but that means it does tend to skew a little bit more to the right because while you have a lot of black and latino, latino people you also have a very strong -- a lot of people coming from the american south and west. >> aline cooper, a great reporter on this beat, thanks for making time tonight. i appreciate it. >> that is "all in" on this thursday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> thank you, chris. thank you for joining me at this hour. we have thrown out the show, as we sometimes have to do, because we need to start tonight with some news that has just broken on the front page of the "new york times." this is a big deal. i will tell you, we're about to speak with one of the reporters whose by lined on this story. we're also about to speak with one of the subjects of this story. but in all the time i have been in this business, i have never covered anything quite like thi


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