tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 1, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
in court and pleaded not guilty before being released on his own recognizance facing charges of grand larceny, tax fraud and more. weisselberg accused of avoiding taxes and more than $1.7 million in unclaimed income and fringe benefits. in all it encompasses 15 counts against weisselberg and the trump organization as a whole surrounding what prosecutors allege was a deliberate multiyear scheme. we are continuing to sift through the indictment which was just unsealed in the last hour and we'll have more details on the first crimes now being charged in the two-year investigation by manhattan d.a. cy vance and letitia james. the charges against the trump org and mr. weisselberg whom mr. trump once praised for doing whatever was necessary to protect the line emerged from the district attorney's sweeping inquiry into trump and his
company. he ran what is a well-worn play for his multiple brushes with criminal investigations calling the probe, which was boosted by a united states supreme court decision that cleared the path for trump's financial records to be turn over to the new york investigators a, quote, scorched earth attempt to harm him. the charges come as the twice impeached ex-president is stepping back into the political limelight as a rogue kingmaker in the adherence to the big lie, the one that incited the deadly insurrection and is at the intersection of current warnings about domestic violent extremism. "an indictment of the company that carries his name strikes a blow to the former president just as he has resumed holding rallies. even if trump parlays the charges into some immediate good will from his supporters, he has denounced the investigation as political persecution, he could face the costly distraction of a trial if he attempts to mound another presidential campaign." and there are reasons for
concern for the ex-president. today's charges likely not the end of the new york probe which is also examining allegations of fraud. the kinds that have been leveled publicly but one-time insider michael cohen and others. "the times" writing this, quote, the broader investigation into trump and his company's business practices is continuing. prosecutors have been investigating whether trump and the trump organization manipulated property values to obtain loans and tax benefits among other potential financial crimes. the first indictments for the ex-president's company and top money man where we start with some of our favorite reporters and friends. daniel goldman is here, former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york and the lead counsel for the democrats' first impeachment trial of donald trump. also joining us yemisha alcindor, moderator of "washington week" and an msnbc contributor. david k. johnson is here, pulitzer prize winning investigative reporter, founder
of the d.c. report and the author of "the making of donald trump" and msnbc's chief league correspondent ari, host of "the beat." i heard you call it the kitchen sink being thrown at trump org and allen weisselberg. i want to -- actually, go ahead and tell us what jumps out and where you still have more questions. >> thanks for having me, nicolle. i thought you laid it out in the league. the namesake, trump's reason for being in business and how he launched into politics. it is a very detailed and long-running indictment. the scheme here allegedly 15 years. we're talking tax fraud, false statements, filing false instruments about tax and accounting, falsifying business records, which is a local charge that is tantamount to obstruction of justice, something viewers are quite familiar with in the donald trump play book.
and so i think if you take it all together and up see the d.a. is trying to be very clear with the trump organization which now stands indicted and with mr. weisselberg that they're not playing around, that this is their first move and there are references in here to things that could, we can't say will, but could ensnare others. a reference to an unindicted co-conspirator nbc reporting says is not donald trump but is somebody, a reference to donald trump's ledger. a reference to federal tax evasion, which obviously poses questions for the garland justice department about concurrently or later whether they deal with that regarding both mr. weisselberg or the company, and the big question that looms over all of this and, nicolle, you've been such a reporter and student on it. i'm curious what you and the other panelists think. if mr. vance went to the supreme court to get mr. trump's tack returns and he has them and was willing to aggressively make this case against mr. weisselberg, a case some lawyers and definitely the trump lawyers
say shows an aggressive reading of the law, what is left in donald trump's tax returns that might be chargeable or might be chargeable if they got cooperation from the cfo? i cannot prejudge and i cannot say where it goes but, boy, is that a big question that is hanging over this lengthy indictment. >> dan goldman, i would like for you to pick up where ari left off. and i think for the viewers of ari's shows he's had many of the players themselves on. michael cohen testified before congress about regular business practices at trump org where values were inflated when that served them and deflated when that served them. he testified under oath to fraud that he witnessed and pointed to allen weisselberg. i think some are surprised nothing in that category was charged today. are you? dan goldman, you're muted.
>> oh, my gosh. i'm like my mother now. >> we all are. start over. >> i am a little surprised, nicolle. i think the charges against the trump organization, to me, would likely be lumped in one indictment in af ordinary case. this is a detailed indictment. it's clear they spent a lot of time on this. on the one hand you could say they made a run at allen weisselberg, a run to try to flip him. he decided not to flip. so as part of indicting him, they'll also indict the company for the same conduct and they'll keep the other fraud investigation separate and maybe go forward with that later. that's the best case scenario. but i'm a little surprised ordinarily an indictment of a corporation would be the last step you take because you're never going to get a cooperation from a corporation. you get cooperation from individuals. that being said, this is a very
persuasive indictment for the charges that it alleges which still are less serious than some of those charges michael cohen testified to. the documents they reference are extensive. it's clear that they've done a good investigation and that they have the goods. the big question for me, though, is it's easier to make this case based on the evidence that they have, which is a very different case than making that insurance fraud that michael cohen talked about because particularly to charge donald trump for that because donald trump has a lot of defenses based on allen weisselberg, my cfo, my accountant said this was okay, as an example, or advice of counsel defense saying my lawyer said this was okay. i'm not a trained lawyer. i took their advice. and so without a witness such as allen weisselberg to say i
misvalued these properties or valued them differently to inflate or deflate to our benefit, and donald and i discussed it and he told me to do it. you would need that or you would need a document where donald trump says, yes, do it, in order to charge donald trump. and we're no closer to knowing whether or not they have that today based on this indictment, but the one thing we do still know is that they have gone forward with charges, and those charges are not included. so from a probability standpoint i do think there's less of a chance that they will go forward with other charges because if they had them they would have included them today. >> well, i'm no lawyer but this is where this gets dangerous. why go to the united states supreme court if you're not following sort of a hunch or a suspicion that the documents, the paper, will show cause for
concern? i mean, what do you think they did with everything that was released to them because of the supreme court decision, dan goldman? >> well, look, you can go and try to get documents because you have suspicion, but that doesn't mean you can prove the case. and those documents might not prove the case. you have to recognize that these prosecutors are not making up facts. they're not going to create documents that don't exist. they can only charge what the evidence they have supports. and so the tax returns obviously supported the charges today, so there was some benefit and value to them, but it's possible that they don't support additional charges, that maybe this misvaluation michael cohen talked about, and let's be really clear, michael cohen has some information but he was not in the inside circle of dealing with these financial records. that was not his job. and he has some documentation that supports this, but it's not enough to charge donald trump. i've seen the documents that he
has and that he turned over and they're not sufficient to charge donald trump with that conduct. you need more than that. and soap the bottom line, nicolle, donald trump could have done this, but there may not be admissible evidence to prove a specific crime beyond a reasonable doubt. and everybody needs to remember that this is not just, oh, i think donald did it. i'm going to put a witness up there to say i think donald did it. no, you need to have admissible evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that is our criminal justice system. that is our system of the rule of law and we cannot stray from that just because some people want donald trump to be starred. >> david k. johnson, there is some surprising information in the indictments about the culture. i think anyone who saw the ex-president with a pen saw him
changing hurricane paths and never doing anything precise, but other people were quite precise. let me read this from the indictment. the trump organization maintained internal spread sheets that tracked the amounts it paid for weisselberg's rent, utility, and garage expenses. simultaneously the trump organization reduced the amount of direct compensation he received in the form of checks or direct deposits to the account for the indirect compensation that he received in the form of payments of rent, utility bills and garage expenses. the indirect compensation was not included in weisselberg's w-2 forms or otherwise reported to federal, state or local tax authorities. based on your knowledge of the trump organization and how the ex-president rolled, what strikes you about the trump org and allen weisselberg? >> donald is notorious for destroying records. we saw him tear up notes by a translator when he met with
vladimir putin with no one else in the room but the translators. this shows that they kept two sets of books. that is a classic thing for prosecutors to do to show fraud and intent to defraud, that you kept two sets of books. the indictment also makes clear that there are other people who were vulnerable to being charged in the same way. underlying this is a garden variety tax fraud case. and allen weisselberg until recent changes in new york law could have used as a defense exactly what's tax fraud, the legislature fixed that when they rewrote the law. it is an affirmative defense if you're a bookkeeper or a clerk and you just do what you're told unless you benefited from the fraud. it says allen weisselberg was a primary beneficiary of the tax fraud so he doesn't have that as
a defense. i think more bradley that by indicting the organization it's a further indication are looking at bringing a new york state racketeering charge, article 460 case which would have a receiver to take control of the trump organization. >> i just keep thinking of the ex-president's hurdles that he put up for anyone to see anything about his business or about his finances and they go back to 2015 when mitt romney was running against him in the republican primary. he mocked him. he gave a scathing rebuke of any fool that would release their taxes and obviously became the nominee and became the president but then he turned the entire executive branch of the u.s. government into basically bouncers for his financial
records. the lengths he went to to keep them, he said in an interview with "the new york times" his businesses would be a red line for robert mueller. unfortunately, it appears mueller heeded those warnings. what do you make of what they have to work with and where there may still be vulnerabilities for the ex-president and his company? >> you're muted, too. >> i am also muted. and my mother is worse. >> start over. >> it's that kind of news day, right? >> it sure is. >> i think what this yund scores is there are so many questions, financial questions, about the way the former president was.
even in reading emails about what this means, what i'm told is these are not small charges, these are not things that are sort of, okay, one and done. this is the beginning of the road not the end of the road. we saw how adamant he was about not revealing his tax returns or suffer consequences when we saw so many other people being charged. there were charges to congress and in the case of michael cohen hush money. will the president, will the former president actually finally have his nine lives and his ability to skirt the criminal consequences so many others around him have faced? the former president is out today calling it a witch-hunt, that this is politically motivated. in reading this indictment again as someone who is not a lawyer, like you, nicolle, i was struck by the fact that over and over
again what you saw was defraud. this document shows that you lied over and over and over again allegedly and had all to do with money and taxes and how the business was run. >> everyone's analysis -- go ahead. >> it's a long, interesting indictment. at its core is the allegation donald trump is at the helm of a criminal enterprise. that's what's new today. that's why the new york d.a. did the research, did the investigation and indicted. and the organization will have its day in court to rebut that. this is not nothing that a recently departed former president who touts his business acumen above all and is
synonymous with his company indicted for being at the helm of it and sometimes we look to other insights. donald trump always wanted to be bigger than he was. many around him have said. he seems to want to be a jay-z type billionaire who famously said i'm not a businessman. i'm a business, man, let me handle my business. if the business is trump and trump is the business, the business is indicted today and the d.a. is saying maybe you shouldn't be able to handle your business because it's illegal. >> so, ari, i was coming back to you with the same point. it is a sign of some of his success at constantly moving the goal post because he wasn't charged and handcuffed today. everyone is like, oh, trump dodged another bullet. houdini does it again. to your point, his company has now been charged with a crime, as you said, being a criminal enterprise, and i wonder what that means for the company. do his kids still go to the
criminally charged company tomorrow? do the banks say keep our money. keep doing business. maybe the insurrectionist in chief will still have people come to their golf -- what happens next? >> it's a great question, nicolle. number one, every step that the business now wants to take has this cloud of indictment hanging over it which is why companies big and small fear this time of legal action. so if they want a new loan or want to do new business or even in other countries they want to go, they are the currently indicted company. so that hangs over them in a practical sense. in a legal sense they have to spend resources and money defending this. there are companies that sometimes beat these kinds of charges, possible. they also sometimes have companies that settle and agree to fines or other things. david was mentioning receivership which is severe in other contexts. and then you have the open question of whether cooperation leads to larger legal exposure for other company executives, other ways the company runs or, yes, the founder himself.
and so the trump organization to stay alive and healthy would have to really punch back and find a way to beat this case or minimize it. it's possible they could come to a settlement agreement involving money or actions that are satisfying to the d.a., but, yes, i think you hit it on the head, nicolle, anyone watching and saying, oh, wow, there goes donald trump, teflon don. the last time i checked teflon would keep your accountant and company out of handcuffs, proverbially. this is one of the worst days he has had since january 6th and legally up on par with some of the mueller indictment days. the fact he hasn't been indicted yet, quote/unquote, and only his company, doesn't sound like a victory lap material. >> and i wonder, you made the parallel to the mueller probe, david. i wonder if in this instance you think there would be questions about witness tampering, questions about cooking the
books. there's news reporting that he's been meeting with allen weisselberg regularly up to, i think, last sunday, based on "the washington post" reporting. >> yes, and apparently they've been given advice they're not to meet together without a third person as a witness. donald doesn't follow rules and he never has. he's not ever going to change about that. i suspect one of the things you're about to see happen, nicolle, is the biggest massive pretrial effort to avoid bringing this case to trial. to tie it up. because the tactic donald used to beat four grand juries in his 30s and he's used a number of other times is to run out the clock to try and extend something until either the law no longer applies or, alternatively prosecutors for whatever reason lose interest in the case, people get promoted to a judgeship or something else and a new person steps in. you're going to see a tremendous
amount of effort to keep this case in moving forward and the prosecutors are going to keep putting pressure on allen weisselberg because since donald doesn't use email, doesn't leave a paper trail, getting hip to flip makes their case a lot easier. it doesn't mean they can't make it without but it would make it an enormously easier thing to do. >> dan, what -- go ahead. >> oh, just echoing the point count 15 is exactly what you and david are discussing. it's an allegation of obstructing the investigation by falsifying or deleting business records in september 2016, an interesting time to do something like that, and that's an allegation against mr. weisselberg but also the trump organization, nicolle. >> so, dan, to this point of patterns, what would your -- i know you have some surprise
about what you saw today, some surprise that the company was charged first. what would your sort of theory about the case be about the unidentified co-conspirator is, the specifics in the indictment mean for the other people that we know have been before this grand jury. >> well, i hate to speculate about the unindicted co-conspirator. it could be the comptroller because it's an agent who underreported the taxes. there were also other employees who received lesser amount of these off the books benefits. they may get charged based on this indictment. i do want to just, if i could, take a minute to kind of give the viewers sort of the inside baseball view of how these things often work. first of all, there's no question that the d.a.'s office approached the trump organization and said this is what we're going to charge you with. you can make a pitch to have us not charge you or we can engage
in settlement negotiations and this type of case, as the trump organization lawyer said, is often settled civilly. if the trump organization wanted to, my guess is they could have engaged in good faith negotiations to try to settle this case with a fine and perhaps avoid a guilty plea or a conviction. they chose to fight this. that says something. it's typical of donald trump. but i am a little surprised that this ultimately ended based on these allegations in a criminal charge rather than a settlement. second of all, they've already taken a run at allen weisselberg. they have also approached allen weisselberg, i am certain, and said this is what we have. we would like you to cooperate. allen weisselberg said, thanks but no thanks, i'm not going to cooperate. i'll take my chances. he's not facing that much jail time. and i don't think there's any more pressure to add to him based on the fact that he was in
handcuffs today. he knew that was coming. he made that conscious decision to get arrested and get indicted rather than cooperate. i don't think we have any good reason to suspect that he is going to cooperate down the road. so i don't see why there would be additional charges against the trump organization unless new evidence comes in. i don't really see any statute of limitations issues in this indictment that would have required them to do this now as opposed to later. it's a little confusing to me if they have more why they would charge this. common sense leads me to believe they're not going to have anymore. >> new york's attorney general
letitia james says something different. she says the investigation goes on. we will all continue to watch. thank you so much for starting us off. you have a little jay-z in the 4:00 hour for the first time ever. thanks for that, ari. yamiche is sticking around. all of the players are on tonight. do not miss "the beat" at 6:00 p.m. michael cohen will be there. don't miss it. when we come back much more on this huge news day. what do the charges mean for others inside the organization, the family? do prosecutors have more moves ahead. a clash of words between two supreme court justices on the topic of voting rights. what this monumental weakening means for democracy, and does it force democrats' hand in congress? and president biden and the first lady consoling the hundreds of families grieving the unthinkable as their loved ones remain missing in the building collapse in surfside, florida. all those stories and more after
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got it! i'm sending you two undercover. saving the world is our family business. we meet again, doorknob. eh! we're waiting to hear from president biden who is on the ground today in south florida after the collapse of the condo building in surfside, florida, one week ago today. he and the first lady thanked the heroic rescue teams and this afternoon has been meeting with the families grappling with the unknown and many with the tragic lost of the lives of their left ones. the death toll has climbed to 18. two sisters who were pulled from the rubble yesterday. the bodies of their mom and dad
were also found. 145 people are still unaccounted for with the massive search and rescue operations now halted due to concerns that the remaining portion of the building could also collapse. president biden urged state and local officials to ask him for whatever help they need, and he said that he intends to have the federal government pay for 100% of the cost. his visit symbolic in empathy and hope. the president of the united states. >> i want to thank our fema director for leading this national effort, governor desantis, senators rubio and scott, congressman debbie wasserman schultz, and mayor -- they've all cooperated in ways i haven't seen in a long time. and it's really a testament to how difficult things are down here, and it's what, quite frankly, we miss a lot.
we've all been working in tandem from the moment we got the news of the collapse of the building. i think my colleagues will tell you we cut through the bureaucracy. the one order i gave was no bureaucracy. cut through it. get to whatever they need. that's why we decided to cover, for example, 100% of the search and rescue cost for the first 30 days. not done often but necessary here, in my view. and fema is going to provide temporary housing and other urgent needs for the survivors. the state department is expediting visas for family members from other countries, and there are from latin america, south america, europe, israel. and i want to give a special shoutout to first responders. international association of firefighters, one of the best organizations in the country. and particularly i want to thank
the president that came down from boston and is here with the entire group. these folks are always showing up no matter what. they're risking their lives. there's that old expression i know the press that travels with me is tired of hearing me saying it but i'm not tired of saying it, and that expression god made man and then he made a few firefighters. they're remarkable, remarkable people. they're always risking their lives to save lives as well as police and other first responders. i got to meet with a whole bunch of them and we were able to deploy nearly 500 personnel including five other search and rescue teams on the ground today here because of our fema director ordered it. i want to compliment fema and i might add all those folks for risking their lives but also holding out hope for those to be
found. hope springs eternal. when i talked to the first responders, i pointed out they're under a great deal of stress and we should take advantage -- they should take advantage of the mental health facilities that will be available because, you know we talk about our military suffering from posttraumatic stress. well, seeing what they're seeing, doing what they're doing, understanding how much trauma is involved, i just don't want them thinking they should walk away from help if it's needed. you know, they stand together and it's really impressive and there's also the need in addition to state and local assistance to determine the cause of this collapse and the adjacent buildings, how safe they are. there are two outstanding concerns. first, the remaining buildings may collapse. the remainder of the building may collapse. we need to determine if it's safe to continue their rescue mission. that's being done right now and
that's why i asked the national institute of standards and technology to investigate to see if it's safe to go back and what caused the building to collapse in the first place because we're committed not only to recover but to restore the safety across the board. the other reason i came down was to meet with the families. the whole nation. they see it every day on television. they're going through hell, and those who survived the collapse as well as those who are missing loved ones. i realize i'm a little late because i spent a lot of time with the families, a whole lot of time, and i apologize for taking so long to get here because i thought it was important to speak to every single person who wanted to speak to me. so after what you all covered when i opened up the meeting, i spent the remainder of the time
and such incredible people. i sat with one woman who had just lost her husband and her little baby boy. didn't know what to do. i sat with another family that lost almost an entire family, cousins, brothers, sisters. and to watch them and they're praying and pleading that, god, let there be a miracle. let there be something happen that's good. i have like many of you do some idea what it's like to suffer that kind of loss so many of them are suffering. they had basic heartwrenching questions. will i be able to recover the body of my son or daughter, my husband, my cousin, my mom and dad? how can i have closure without being able to bury them if i don't get the body? what do i do? jill and i want them to know that we're with them and the country is with them. our message today is that we're
here for you as one nation and that's the message we communicated. we'll be in touch with a lot of these families continuing through this process, but there's much more to be done. we're ready to do it and, again, i thank the governor. i thank my colleagues, senator scott, senator rubio. i thank debbie wasserman schultz for their total and complete cooperation. there's no disagreement, no bickering, everybody is on the same team. it's what america is all about, pulling together, leaving nobody behind, and that's what made me feel -- the one thing that made me feel good about this is the cohesion that exists. there's no democrat or republican out there, just people wanting to do the right thing for their fellow americans. so may god bless the victims and
their families and may god protect our first responders and i'll take a couple questions right now. >> what were you told about the likelihood -- you said hope springs eternal -- that somebody will be able to be pulled out alive? what were you able to con videotape to the families? >> look, first of all if the families are realistic. they know the longer it goes -- and one of the things that the local fema personnel as well as the local first responders did is they took all of the families to the site to see what it looked like. they're all realists. they see cement upon cement upon cement.
when i talked to some of the families, some of the people who did survive, escape, get out, they talked about watching the building collapse and watching as they were in the garage one floor come down literally a whole floor on top of another floor. they know that the chances are, as each day goes by, diminished slightly. at a minimum they want to recover the bodies. they want to recover the bodies. there's a lot of very religious people who are in there, members of the rabbis and the jewish community talking about the need they recover the body to be able to bury them, give them, you know -- anyway, i think they're realistic, mike. but i don't think that that in any way suggests that we should stop. i think we should move on and continue to try to recover the bodies.
in the meantime, that's why they are determining whether or not it's safe. when they asked me i would point out the last thing they would want and we would want is in the process of trying to recover and the possibility -- there's still a possibility someone could be alive, someone could still be breathing, someone could be there, that the last thing you want to have happen is have that building collapse and kill 10, 20, 50 firefighters or wound them or first responders. so -- but, mike, they're realistic. it just brought back so many memories. it's bad enough -- it's bad enough to lose somebody, but the hard part, the really hard part is to not know whether they are surviving or not, to not have any idea.
when the accident took my wife and my family, the hardest part was were my boys going to get out? were they going to make it? and not knowing. not knowing. when you're flying home from washington to get the news, you just don't know. but i was amazed -- as you know, unfortunately, i've done a lot of these circumstances where i've met with families who have had great loss. and what amazed me about this group of people was the resilience, their absolute commitment, their willingness to do whatever it took to find an answer. i walked away impressed by their strength.
and nancy bloomberg, do you have a question? >> oh, thank you. what did you learn, if anything, about the collapse of the building? is there anything more you learned from investigators or the fema administrator? >> no, it's under way. the director of fema is with me here. we don't have any firm proof of what's happened. there's all kinds of rational speculation about whether or not rebars were rusted, whether or not the cement, whether there was limestone or not. but a lot of the families who survived talk about how upset they were that in the last -- how there was one condominium complex built across the street and a road was purchased and while they were living there they would hear the drilling and feel their building moving and
shaking. there are all kinds of discussions about whether or not they thought that water level rising, what impact it had. and interesting to me i didn't raise it, but how many of the survivors and how many of the families talked about the impact of global warming, how much and about sea levels rising and the combination of that and the concern about incoming tropical storms. and so i don't think there is at this point in definitive judgment as to why it collapsed and what can be done. i'm supposed to head out and catch up with the governor so i want to thank you all for taking
the time -- >> can we ask you about two matters away from where we are now? first is while you've been speaking a top associate of the former president has been in a new york court pleading not guilty to various financial charges. do you have a reaction to that? and, secondarily, if i can, does the supreme court's ruling today on an important voting rights decision add to the sense of urgency you feel about pursuing voting rights legislation at this time? >> i know nothing about the first circumstance because i've been gone so i'm not going to comment. even if i did i wouldn't comment on an ongoing case if it's an ongoing case. with regard to the second point, i think i did get a summary on the way down on the plane, a supreme court decision. it is mildly positive in the sense there's a remedy.
i think it is critical that we make a distinction between voter suppression and suspension. the ability of a state legislative body to come along and vote -- the legislature vote to who is declared the winner i find to be somewhat astounding. the supreme court did not rule that way today, to the best of my knowledge. but i'll have much more to say about that because i plan on speaking on voting rights. thank you all very much. >> we have been watching along with some of our favorite reporters and friends msnbc political analyst david plouffe, a former campaign manager for president obama.
yamiche alcindor is back as well. david, this seemed like the part of the job that this president was most prepared to do and yet it still seemed like a very sad and difficult day where he tapped into his faith, into the reality there's nothing he can do other than offer comfort and the comfort of the nation. >> no question, nicolle. i think it was comforting, though, i'm sure for the entire country to watch president biden on two fronts. one, the professionalism about what needed to happen, the cooperation, even with ron desantis who may run for president against him in 2024. professionalism, strong execution, but i think he's a unique con fo the comforter. president obama, bush, clinton,
h.w. bush, reagan, this is an important part of the job. just given joe biden's personal history with grief he is incredibly well situated. let's not overlook the fact there's the professionalism. what are the facts? what do we need to do? be honest about what we know and don't know and never make it about yourself. so it was refreshing to see that after the last four years. >> yamiche, we did learn something about these families. my colleague, allison barber, has done coverage of the families waiting for news of their loved ones and we learned that they went down to the site, that fema took them there, they understand with each passing hour and day the chances of their loved ones being found
alive are diminishing but it was about faith, how they have closure, how they bury their loved ones. we learned something more about the incredible strength of this group of strangers that have been brought together by this tragedy and now are waiting for news of the fates of 150 moms, dads, aunts and uncles. >> this is such a terrible position to be in for these families to be waiting, to be hoping for a miracle, but understanding as the president said that this was a building that caved in on top of itself with concrete floors hitting concrete floors. the president there did try to thread the needle and describing the way the families are trying to thread the needle. they are realistic and understand with each passing day, the president said, the chances of someone being recovered alive diminished.
he also said that they are wanting and hoping that there is someone alive or people alive under that rubble and he talked about families who said what they're hoping for is for bodies to be recovered and people to at least get the closure of putting their loved ones to rest. what was powerful about this moment and president biden really leaning into the job as empathizer in chief, he brought to the idea he's also been in a situation where he was unclear about what was the fate of his own loved one. he talked about going back to delaware and waiting to see if hunter and beau, those two little boys, who were in the accident along with their mother and their late sister, whether they were going to be making it through that accident. i thought it was very moving because we've heard the president talk about the personal tragedy of losing his wife and his children and of course beau. this was a moment where the president was saying i've been in their shoes. i have been on a train waiting
to see if someone that i love, my own child, whether there was a miracle that these two little boys in the back seat were able to survive this horrendous crash. i thought it was powerful and he underscored the idea the federal government, he's saying, is doing everything they possibly can to support this. you see the florida governor, the partisanship is alive there. there is this idea the governor came out and said thank you for supporting us and a sort of pause to the deep partisanship we've seen in our country so much. >> yeah, there were some headlines including the one yamiche is hitting on, the president making a point to say there is no acrimony, just cohesion and a shared mission. the president also made some news on another issue and i'm going to ask david and yamiche to stick around and pull into the conversation the former acting solicitor general and an msnbc legal analyst.
it was about an unintentional disparate decision. the supreme court put its thumb on the side of the state and said as long as the totality of the circumstances is such that the state has a reasonable argument for doing what it is doing, that's enough. that's a devastating blow to the one piece of the voting rights act that has been left standing since 2013. so absolutely nicolle. >> i want to talk about the
fireworks of what justice alito had to say, saying there was no fraud, bill barr said there was no fraud. justice kagan's di sent is scathing. she writes this. the court has no right to remake section two. this court's duty is to apply the law as it is written. the law that confronted one of this country's most enduring wrongs pledged to give every american of every race an equal chance to participate in our democracy and now stands as a crucial tool to achieve that goal. that law, of all laws, deserves the sweep and power congress gave it. that law of all laws should not be diminished by this court. yet it was, neil. >> yes. justice kagan is picking up on something that, you know, we know from "schoolhouse rock" with the essence of our constitution is congress makes
the laws, the supreme court interprets this. what justice kagan is saying there is that what you are doing, majority supreme court, is actually distorting and rewriting the law to fit your own preferences. let it not be said, you know, this was a case with major political overtones. indeed, at the oral argument the lawyer for the republican national committee was asked by one of the justices, why do you care about this arizona case, why does it matter? you should be against discrimination. his answer was, well, you know, every single time one of these changes gets into effect, these voting changes, it benefits our team. it is additional voters to us. it is, you know, a zero sum game. so, you know, there was a political piece to the case today as well as that legal piece. i think one thing that is, you know, becoming increasingly clear with decisions like these, justice kagan is going down if not one of president obama's greatest legacies. she is writing powerfully, consistently.
she will, you know, apply her methodology even if it gets to results she doesn't like, but she has a lot of fidelity and a lot of power. it is incredible to watch. >> well, i guess the only spoiler is she is in a minority. this was the prevailing opinion. i want to read to you from justice alito's opinion. one strong and entirely legitimate state interest is the prevention of fraud. fraud can affect the outcome of a close election, and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots that carry appropriate weight. fraud can also undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and the perceived legitimacy of the announced outcome. so there was no fraud, and i guess what haunts me since i read these words, neil, is that disinformation and this red herring there was enough fraud -- let me read the words.
fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast votes that carry appropriate weight. in the context of an ex president who is carrying out a conspiracy about fraud that was so repugnant to bill barr that he left, that he knocked them down. to hear a supreme court justice write an opinion that fraud can affect the outcome of elections feels like playing with fire. >> yeah, i mean it is tenured at best, nicolle. i think it is notable that justice alito along with the other justices rejected donald trump's attempt to interfere under the guise of voter fraud. if you are one of the state legislatures trying to disenfranchise voters, you now get to read part of justice alito's opinion, a majority opinion of the supreme court and point to that language and say,
see, we need this restrictive voting thing or that restrictive voting practice and law and the like. the bottom line is today's decision is going to have to catalyze the voting rights bills currently pending on the floor in congress, because what the supreme court decision did, it didn't just remove a tool we have been using to prevent voting discrimination, it also kind of catalyzed and encouraged new rounds of voting discrimination with that language, nicolle, you just read about voting fraud. so the urge and need for a voting rights act is even more important now. >> neil, david, yamiche alcindor, thank you for joining us on a very busy news day. we are grateful to hear from you. next "deadline: white house" starts after a quick break. don't go anywhere. we are just getting started. t g. ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪
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every single thing, whether it was the acquisition of paper clips, light bulbs, furniture, mattresses, you name it, right, allen weisselberg's kids' payments, rent, everything would have donald trump's signature on it or initials. you know, the saying the cat has nine lafs, i think his nine lives have expired because the documentary evidence that is in the hands of prosecutors is so significant and so spot on there's no way anybody is getting out of it. hi, again, everyone. it is 5:00 in the east. potential trouble ahead for the ex-president, the man who ran his campaign and won the presidency in part by touting his business acumen is now seeing that business and its chief financial officer indicted. indictments for the trump organization and the former
guy's top money man allen weisselberg coming down from the manhattan district attorney's office, unsealed just this afternoon. from the indictment, quote, the defendants and others deviced and operated a scheme to defraud federal, new york state and new york city tax authorities since 2005. the indictment alleges weisselberg avoided paying taxes on $1.7 million. weisselberg and the trump organization through an attorney pled not guilty. in a trumpian style statement, they said that the manhattan da is using weisselberg to harm the former president. the twice-impeached one-term ex-president has already been the target of two lawsuits by the new york attorney general's office, who is working in connection with the manhattan da
in this current criminal investigation. back in 2016 trump paid a $25 million settlement after he was sued for defrauding students of trump university. his foundation was shut down in 2018 after it was found to have a, quote, shocking pattern of illegality. the new york ag at the time, barbara underwood, shed it was functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve trump's business and political interest. although today's charges are against the organization and allen weisselberg, they don't necessarily mean that the ex-president is in the clear. as "the new york times" reports today, quote, now that he faces charges, weisselberg, who is 73 years old, still could cooperate with the prosecutors. if he ultimately pleads guilty and strikes a deal he could do considerable damage to trump who for decades has depended on his unflinching loyalty, once declaring with 100% certainty that weisselberg had not betrayed him. potential legal jeopardy for the
former president is where we start this hour. joining is former inspector general for the justice department. thank you for spending time with us today. i want to show you something congressman schiff said and see if it is a sentiment with which you agree. >> it is relatively easy to make the case against a corporation, but to be able to follow that criminal liability to the very top, you need people inside cooperating. that's, again, why weisselberg is so important. everything about donald trump's life, everything about his every day in office spells corruption. so none of this is surprising. it is just the same kind of rift in private practice that he imported to the white house. >> do you agree with if congressman's description of basically the way the ex-president operated? >> yes, i do. i think what we've seen in this indictment is consistent with the way that we've seen that trump operated his business and
operated in the white house. so i don't find the indictment surprising and i certainly don't find what congressman schiff said surprising. people are, i think who have watched him evade accountability from the law, either through the mueller probe or through the campaign finance investigation that the southern district undertook that sent michael cohen to jail, the ex-president became individual number one, through instance after instance, two impeachments, have felt that the ex-president constantly evades accountability. what are your thoughts about his company where he devises, you know, more than an income, but it is his brand, it is sort of his reason for being, being charged criminally. is that enough in your view? >> well, it is a bad day for donald trump. i mean he is completely identified with the trump organization. it is the brand that he built. it is the company he's proud of. he spent his entire professional
life in that company, so it is devastating to him and to his brand to be indicted in this way, and to have his chief financial officer, one of his top aides, charged with not only a scheme to defraud but conspiracy, filing false documents, changing records of the companies. it all speaks very poorly for the trump organization and the way it was run. >> and we are just, you know, in these sort of six months of his post-presidency getting our fullest window into the way his company operated. we are also getting our fullest window into the effect he had over the executive branch in the form of a lot of investigative journalism and some good work by the house judiciary committee. i wonder if i can get your thoughts on some of the sort of slow-moving scandals that trump's public calls to investigate and prosecute enemies like "the new york times" and cnn and "the washington post" and congressman
adam schiff were for one way or another appear to have been heeded. what do you think the justice department needs to do to make sure that, one, that wasn't the case or, two, that it never happens again? >> well, i think the justice department has a heavy burden to launch those investigations that have merit, not to bend to political pressure to conduct investigations that don't have merit, but not to shy away from conducting investigations that really do go to the heart of how our system is supposed to operate. so i think it is some very difficult decisions that the justice department is going to be facing about which of the investigations to pursue and how extensively to pursue them. but i think there's a real risk in simply trying to put things in our rearview mirror and saying, let's look forward and not look back. accountability is an incredibly central principle of our government. it was largely ignored for the last four years, and we need to reclaim it in part through the responsible conduct of these
investigations. >> well, you are an expert in a league of your own in this category. i mean one of the only inspectors general that donald trump liked, i believe he put out a statement praising him this week, mr. horowitz, is the man who will do all of the investigations. so far the current attorney general and deputy attorney general have not tapped anyone other than mr. horowitz. is that the right way to understand the depth and the lengths and who was involved in what was clearly the politicization of the pardon process, of criminal sentencing, of domestic spying? >> well, i think the ig's office in doj is the right entity to conduct these investigations. i think there's obviously a lot on mr. horowitz's plate, but these are really important investigations to conduct. it is a little surprising that over the last four years there have been relatively few investigations done by the doj ig of activities during the trump administration. so i think it is high time for those to proceed and to come to a prompt conclusion.
>> when you see the appointment of a select committee to commence the first investigation into what was behind the attacks of january 6th, do you feel optimistic that that will be an investigation that is a true fact-finding mission? and we can get to whether or not the trump side of america will believe it, but just on the investigation itself, do you have confidence that they will get to the bottom of what happened that day? >> well, i certainly hope so. i think it is an incredibly important investigation to be done. i think it is really a disgrace that we don't have a bipartisan commission as the democrats in the house and the senate have proposed. i think that investigation was very important, but i think members of the republican party deliberately withheld it in order to deprive such an investigation of credibility. i think that speaker pelosi and the members of this select committee need to be very careful to conduct this investigation right down the
middle, very responsibly and in a bipartisan way even though it is not really a bipartisan panel. i think if it does that, it calls witnesses to testify publicly, it puts out a compelling report, i think that will have value and is very important for us. >> here is hoping. michael bromwich, thank you for spending time with us on a day like today and talking about all of the day's headlines. we are grateful. >> thank you. joining our conversation, some of our favorite reporters and friends, ashley parker, "washington post" bureau chief. also mike schmidt and michael johnson is here. lucky for us, all three msnbc contributing partners. ashley, you can put it for us to having the best people, to the ex-president flying his helicopter around the iowa state fair in 2015. his company is him and he is his company, and keeping his
company's financial records became one of the central missions of the white house and the entire cabinet over the last four years. what do you think is really going on today behind closed doors for the ex-president? >> well, the president -- or the former president and his family, of course, are incredibly worried. when he was president as he was facing any number of investigations and probes and impeachments, there was always this talk that he sort of had two red lines. one was his family and one was his business. obviously, today's news touches on both of them in an incredibly devastating way for the former president and potentially his entire family. >> mike schmidt, the red line is something that you and your colleagues actually asked the ex-president about in an interview. i want to play that audio. we will talk about it on the other side. >> mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to russia, is that a red line?
>> would that be a breach of what his actual -- >> i would say yes. i would say yes. >> if he was outside that lane, would that mean he'd have to go? >> would you -- >> no, i think that's a violation. look, this is about russia. >> but what would you do? >> i can't -- i can't answer that question because i don't think it is going to happen. >> i guess at this point there's some irony in the fact he was fine with mueller looking at russia and not his businesses, but this was something that he thought he used mnuchen at treasury to help keep his taxes from congress, he used all of the levers of government to shield any transparency into his financial records. cy vance and the state attorney general's office had all of that. today they charged his company as being a criminal enterprise. do you think that they have everything he was trying to keep secret and do you think there's more to come? >> i don't know, but i think what we see today and what you saw in that audio that you just played has maybe been the president's biggest exposure from the beginning, and that was
could his life sustain the exposure of running for president and becoming president. in many ways, you know, we knew more about donald trump than any other candidate when the 2016 election happened. his life had been exposed in all sorts of manners and people had made their judgments about him, but the other part, besides the public, you know, attention that he would receive would be criminally. when you become a high-profile person like the president of the united states, everything that you do gets examined and it is put through that dense lens of the law. i often wondered would his life be able to survive that look. would it be able to do that? and as president, he was able to survive all of that. i think a lot of that had to do with the simple fact that he was the president and that gave him an enormous amount of power and
made him very difficult to investigate, but that is no longer. today he is confronting the realities of his life being examined and he does not have the powers of the presidency, and he may be in the most weak position that we've seen him in. >> yeah, i mean, jason, to mike's point, these are the entities, you know, to take mike's analogy further, when he popped his head up these are all of the sort of entities and associations that got a closer look perhaps, trump university, i think half a dozen people with his 2016 campaign were charged and pleaded, from manafort to gates to -- you can go on and on. the inaugural committee was charged for misusing funds. that investigation is ongoing. his foundation was shut down. his business was indicted today. i remember someone saying to me when michael cohen was first out there talking about stormy
daniels that this was the thing that would take him down, that it was such a sloppy sort of hush money operation that it wouldn't have been collusion with russia, it would have been something about the almost mob-like way he conducted himself. what do you make of the company that bears his name, that is really just a branding entity, slaps his name on stuff, being charged criminally today? >> well, nicolle, this is the thing. for a long time because of his celebrity in tv and tabloids and everything else like that, trump could sort of do that thing from the "naked gun here" nothing to see here. explosions in the background, he could distract people. what we're seeing now is this was going to happen anyway. he sped up the process by running for president. >> yeah. >> like at some point somebody would have started to say, wait a minute, this is just too messy and it doesn't make any sense, but his arrogance -- this is why mobsters don't want to be on the cover of "time magazine".
this is why tony soprano told everybody else, hey, stay off the tv, christopher, because once you get this level of exposure people are going to start digging into your background. this is where i think this could potentially go. one, i think this hopefully discourages any other multi-billionaires or wannabe multi-billionaires for running for president because they don't want anyone looking into their finances. but what it also does potentially is open up the doors for all of the other investigations for where this money has gone, because we know some of it has gone to him but we have no idea how many other foreign governments or organizations or other members of the republican party that this money could be shifted to, and now we could begin to find out just how many tentacles this octopus has. so it is damaging for trump. i still don't think he'll ever end up seeing, you know, an orange jump suit or a jail, but it could lead to a chilling effect on other people who have worked with him and tried to cover his behavior for who knows, last four years if not 20. >> well, ashley, that is sort of
the enduring image of the trump story, right? i mean journalists who cover the ex-president have to consider whether they can go visit some of their sources in jail. i mean michael cohen now does our tv show and others, and i mean all of the people around the ex-president seem to have already committed crimes in service of him or to have been willing during the last four years to do so, and there's been a debate raging on this show and others among our legal experts, dan goldman feels like if this was all they had, then this is less than what people thought they might be pursuing in terms of charges. folks like andrew weisman described it as the tip of the iceberg. let me read you a statement from new york's attorney general letitia james. she says this. today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the trump organization and its cfo, allen weisselberg. in the indictment we allege other things, financial wrong
donning, whereby they engaged in a skiem with mr. weisselberg to avoid paying taxes on certain compensation. this investigation will continue and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead. what does your reporting suggest in terms of where we are with this probe, beginning, middle or end? >> well, i think the sort of important thing to keep in mind that someone close to the president was making -- point was making to me yesterday is that in terms of this probe the former president created a culture, right. he created a culture where just about everyone who touched him or entered his bubble emerged in some way singed or tarnished or under criminal indictment. there was a spectrum there, but it almost never ended well. there were specific instances of the president directly asking people to do things he knew were inappropriate like fire comey. that's one example. but then there was this culture where even if the president did not specifically ask someone,
the former president did not specifically ask someone to do it, he had people around him who were "yes" men and enablers and were desperately trying to anticipate what he wanted and do his bidding in advance. so when you read these stories and you begin to report more on weisselberg, he is someone who became so valued in the trump organization, not only because he explicitly did what donald trump wanted him to do, but because in many cases he anticipated what the president would want or his boss would want and did it in advance of him asking. so when we look at these charges, you know, there's a world in which he is doing these things because he knows trump as a boss is not going to want to have to pay -- his organization to have to pay taxes. he is going to want the value of his organization inflapted when he needs to borrow money and then deflated artificially when he wants to claim he owes no taxes. i think in that manner you could see a lot more of these people in the president's orbit
exhibiting similar behavior and getting in trouble for it. >> well, and i guess that is actually the sort of enduring legacy. mike, you covered how he imported that model into the white house and all of the havoc that caused, his war against the justice department. we are learning more about it now. its impact on the pentagon. if you pull that thread forward, we now know exactly how he ran his business, thanks in part today's indictment. we know a lot more about how he ran the white house, and ashley mentioned firing jim comey. we're learning more and more about how he sought to politicize his own justice department. he's at it again. i mean he's just re-emerged politically for his whatever, second act. what do we understand now to be kevin mccarthy's role and mitch mcconnell's role not just in enabling it but saying, yeah, i'm for that, i'm for that model of criminality and law breaking and norm busting?
>> well, it will put them in an unusual, another difficult spot where they're going to have to make sort of a determination about their public posture on this. they have struggled with that mightily since the insurrection. but i think on sort of a larger point about today that i was sort of thinking about is that this is the latest person to come up to bat in the battle against donald trump. we have watched as a slew of different people came up and donald trump's opposers put their faith in them. jim comey when he announces his investigation into trump's campaign's ties to russia publicly in 2017. next was robert mueller. mueller was going to get trump. then it was going to be congress. then it was going to be congress again with the republicans flipping to help the democrats put an end to trump and making it so he could never run again. that didn't happen. so now -- then it was going to be georgia state crimes, and here we are with a tax case,
with the beginnings of a tax case on his cfo. it is the latest thing for us to see. maybe it is going to be successful, maybe it is not, but everything up to this point has struggled to hold him accountable. i think a lot of that had to do with the fact that he was the president and the powers that came with it, but, nevertheless, he has continued to evade things his entire life. this is -- this is the next battle on that front. >> ashley parker, mike schmidt, jason johnson, thank you for starting us out this hour on another remarkable day. when we return we will talk with one of the democrats named by speaker pelosi today to the committee investigating the deadly insurrection at the united states capitol on january 6th. plus, the supreme court's decision today to uphold voting restrictions in arizona. it essentially gives republicans a green light to continue to enact those voter suppression laws around the country. already democrats are fighting back to protect the right to
vote. the republican party's fear of right wing media is so bad that house minority leader kevin mccarthy is tapping devin nunes to investigate tucker carlson's baseless claims he has been spied on by the nsa. we will unravel most of it. moments ago president biden along with first lady jill biden making an unannounced stop to the makeshift memorial to the victims in surfside, florida. they spent the day meeting with the family of victims as well as those working on the cal lapse that happened one week ago today. apse that happened one week ago today.
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i just wanted to underscore that the focus of this is on seeking the truth. the focus is on making sure that the american public understands the threat to democracy that took place on january 6th. >> that was democratic congressman pete aguilar of california earlier today after being one of the eight members that the house, named by speaker nancy pelosi, to serve on the select committee to investigate january 6th. the big news from pelosi's choices was the addition of wyoming republican congresswoman liz cheney who went against her own party and was one of only two republicans to even vote to investigate the riot. earlier today congresswoman cheney responded to news that republican leader kevin mccarthy warned republicans they could lose their committee assignments if they accepted an appointment to the committee from speaker pelosi. here is how cheney responded. >> congressman, are you concerned about getting
reprimanded by your conference, potentially losing your committee assignments over this? >> listen, i think it is clear to all of the people on this committee that our oath to the constitution, our duty, our dedication to the rule of law and peaceful transfer of power has to come above any -- any concern about partisanship or about causes. >> joining us now congressman pete aguilar of california, one of the members of the committee investigating the january 6th capitol riot. thank you so much for spending some time with us today. i think that liz cheney speaks for a lot of americans. people are eager to have an investigation commence, and i wonder if you could tell us what happens next. will you meet over the weekend? do you expect to issue subpoenas sooner rather than -- you know, tell us what happens next. >> sure. well, you know, we begin the organizational process, you know, now. we met as a group in the speaker's office. you played a clip just outside
the speaker's office when we were done meeting. we're going to continue to have conversations as a group. we all exchanged numbers and made sure that we all knew how to contact each other. the first step is to start to iron out the staff issues and making sure we are fully staffed, associated with the work that the commission wants to undertake. so we will begin that process, and chairman thompson will be leading those efforts. we await republicans being appointed to the commission, and we will work expeditiously to set a calendar and to be guided by the facts and to seek the truth. so that becomes our focus on the events that led up to january 6th as well as the response and what happened on january 6th. >> are you able to tell us how it will be broken down? i mean if you look at the 9/11 commission, there were the sort of the intelligence that existed
that maybe wasn't heeded or didn't get in front of policymakers, there were the events of that day that involved airports and tsa, and from that all sorts of reforms were made. are you breaking it into different buckets from which reforms could be considered by policymakers? and if you are, do you know yet what they might be? >> well, we aren't there yet, but i will tell you that the committees of jurisdiction are also going to carry forward and to continue to do oversight, but our focus is to complete a report at the end of thi which will get to what you are asking. we don't want to presuppose what that will look like until we start gathering those facts and getting that information and pulling together those pieces. but we're going to follow the information that we have and our goal is to produce a product that we can share with our colleagues and with the american public on exactly what transpired, what led into it, but we're going to be guided by the facts here.
we want to follow that wherever they may take us. >> some of the facts that congresswoman cheney is interested in follow involve kevin mccarthy and the conversation he had with the disgraced ex-president. how interested are you in having kevin mccarthy testify, and if he won't testify are you willing to subpoena him? >> well, i believe in prior interviews he said that he would, but, you know, we're less concerned about that right now. we will be guided by the information, and so every bit of information related to that day that is relevant to the proceedings i think is in play. so, you know, we want to be focused on that, but i don't want to get ahead of chairman thompson and where the committee might take this because we're not completely constituted yet. but if there is relevant information that we can glean from conversations that were had, we should be willing to take those in and to follow
them. >> i'm not going the play it but i just want to tell our viewers what kevin mccarthy said. i'm sure you already know. when he learned that liz cheney agreed to serve on the committee to investigate the insurrection. he first denied that he was threatening anybody with committee assignments, and said, "i was shocked she would accept something from speaker pelosi. it would seem to me since i didn't hear from her that maybe she is closer to them than she is to us. i don't know." i know liz cheney, she is very tough, but -- >> he clearly -- >> go ahead. >> he clearly doesn't know, nicolle. i think that's the unfortunate part here, is, you know, kevin mccarthy and house republicans had an opportunity, and i want to lift up the work that chairman bennie thompson did with his ranking member, john katko, a republican, to come up with the draft and the document and the bipartisan work that they put together only to have kevin mccarthy walk away from it and leave john katko out there.
now, thankfully -- but that was an evenly split commission, and that's what we wanted. we wanted to remove the specter of politics out of this. this is about patriotism, not politics, and we will be guided by the oath we took to the constitution. but between kevin mccarthy walking away from his own ranking member who negotiated the deal, the bipartisan deal, to mitch mcconnell on the other side of the capitol asking senate republicans to do him a personal favor by voting the legislation down, you know, that's why we're in the position that we're in. so if we want to get to the truth, this is the only way for the time being that we can -- that we can go. so that's what we plan to do and that's what the -- the bipartisan group that has been appointed by the speaker will do. >> congressman, would you consider having some of the hearings in prime time so that you can go straight to the american people and maybe get around some of the disinformation and right wing media? >> i think that's a fair point.
that, you know, getting around the disinformation is going to be a huge task, butch i do think that the composition of the commission can play a role in that. chairman bennie thompson will lead us in a very thoughtful way. anyone who has worked with him knows that he is incredibly measured as he goes about carrying on the work. by the way, he has been talking about domestic violent extremism for decades, so i think his leadership will play a key part in this. but i would not rule out having those hearings, you know, where more individuals and members of the public can see them, so they can see our work product and judge for themselves that this isn't about politics and this is about seeking the truth. >> congressman pete aguilar on a really important day, really important endeavor you are embarking on. i hope we can call on you often. thank you for spending some time with us today to talk about it. we're grateful. >> thanks so much. when we return, democrats are vowing to not back down in
the fight for voting rights in this country after the united states supreme court upheld voting restrictions that critics say make it harder for minorities to vote. that story is next. i am robert strickler. i've been involved in communications in the media for 45 years. i've been taking prevagen on a regular basis for at least eight years. for me, the greatest benefit over the years has been that prevagen seems to help me recall things and also think more clearly. and i enthusiastically recommend prevagen. it has helped me an awful lot. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. ♪ ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪
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we make a distinction between voter suppression and suspension. the ability of a state legislative body to come along and vote, their legislature vote to change who is declared the winner i find to be somewhat astounding. but the supreme court ruled -- did not rule that way today. >> president biden in just the last hour reacting to a major decision handing -- handed down today by the supreme court, which is calling into question the future of the voting rights act and could embolden those republicans pushing voter suppression measures all across the country. the conservative majority on the supreme court up holding two voting restrictions in the state of arizona, one that requires officials to toss out ballots cast in the wrong precinct and another that makes it a crime for most people to collect ballots for delivery to polling
precincts, a practice that has been a target of the former president and his allies peddling the big lie. "the new york times" reporting on the wider implications of the decision says this. quote, the larger message of the ruling was that the voting rights act of 1965, hobbled after the supreme court in 2013 effectively struck down a central provision, retains only limited power to combat voting restrictions. in a scathing dissent, justice elena kagan writes, quote, if a single statute represents the best of america, it is the voting rights act. it marries two great i deals, democracy and racial equality. and it dedicates our country to keerg them out. if a single statute reminds us of the worst in america, it is the voting rights act because it was and remains so necessary. what is tragic here is that the court has yet again rewritten in order to weaken a statute that stands as a monument to america's greatness and protects
against its basest impulses. joining us is ari berman, author of the book "give us the ballot" and kim atkins, as msnbc contributor. ari, you have done such reporting on this story. first, you reaction to the supreme court decision today? >> thank you so much, nicolle. it is a dark day for the voting rights act and it is a dark day for democracy. the supreme court has essentially eviscerated what is left of the voting rights act, leaving it severely weakened. remember, nicolle, they already gutted the voting rights act in 2013 and ruled that those states with the longest histories of discrimination, like georgia and texas, don't have to approve their voting changes with the federal government. but then they said in that decision, there's another part of the voting rights act that's left that could be used to combat discriminatory voting measures. well, now they've essentially gutted that part of the voting rights act as well. so they have taken the twin vott
and weakened both, leaving very little protections in place to challenge all of the voter suppression laws we are seeing across the country today. >> you know, ari, your reporting i think has sounded the right alarm, and i wonder if you think the democratic party is acting urgently enough. i mean i think almost 30 laws have already been passed. they've targeted the states president biden won by the closest margin, and absent federal legislation which at this point would require filibuster reform, that's it. this is the new, you know, field on which elections will be waged and they strategically and openly and as a mission statement disenfranchised democratic-leaning voters. >> yeah, well, i think that democrats need to be as aggressive in combatting voter suppression as republicans are in doing voter suppression. we are seeing a lot of asymmetry
between the parties because republicans are using all the levers of power they have to make it harder to vote, namely their control of the states and their control of the courts. they're doing it unilaterally, using the partisan majorities they have to enshrine anti-democratic power. democrats meanwhile are saying, we can only do it if republicans join us. meanwhile, republicans are doing everything that they can to freeze democrats out of the process. so democrats have to realize this is a make-or-break moment for democracy. we're in a 1965 moment right now where we need to strengthen the voting rights act and pass new protections for voting rights. and if democrats don't do it soon, if they don't do it in the next two years, they're likely not going to get another chance to do it for a very long time. so there needs to be an incredible sense of urgency here, and i think between all of the new voter suppression laws in the states and now the court's decision, the democrats are realizing what the cost of inaction will be. that if they don't act to stop these voter suppression efforts, they're only going to get worse and worse and the court is going
to give them a green light. >> kim, the president today referencing something we've been talking about here for many, many months, that they don't just limit access to the polls and target voters of color and young voters and more transz transient voters who benefit from things like same-day registration, drop boxes and early voting, they also target the exact people to a person who kind of walk the line for our democracy in 2020. it is as though they thought, how could we have made november 2020 go trump's way? oh, those are the people we have to get off the field. they're strategically taking them all out on the right. to ari's point, there is no counterproposal to protect them or enshrine their role in the administration of elections. are you growing concerned that time is running out? >> i've been concerned for quite a while, nicolle. i've been concerned since the
shelby county decision ari referenced eight years ago. what is particularly concerned about this opinion, and it is what i feared after listening to oral argument, is that essentially in this majority opinion written by justice alito not only parroted republican talking points about the need to do things like protect against fraud, even when not a scintilla of evidence of fraud has been found, but that is a strong enough stated interest to essentially block any challenge to any one of these laws. it essentially set up a playbook for republicans to follow. as long as they say they are afraid of voter election fraud, they don't have to show that there is a less restrictive way to secure the election systems, that they're going to beat these challenges. it really just shrank section 2 of the voting rights act, which, as you said, was the only way to stop these sort of restrictive laws after they've already pass.
it is already gone, the part that would allow the justice department to review them, to keep them from going into effect. now this is what you have. it essentially givens cover to the big lie, which is that election fraud is a reason to impose these things. we saw in 2020 a perfectly secure election in precincts across the country with the largest turnout ever during a pandemic. there is no reason that these laws are necessary to protect from fraud, but the supreme court gave the big lie cover in this. so this is a part of the democrats not only not doing everything they can to strengthen voting rights laws but not campaigning on how important the federal judiciary is. this is what allowed mitch mcconnell to hold the seats open to make the supreme court the most conservative court in a generation. this is what allowed the lower courts to be as conservative as they are, and this is the result. >> i want to read, kim, from some of mother jones' reporting.
republicans have already admitted that they're passing such laws for partisan gain. during oral arguments in the case a lawyer for the rnc said that striking down restrictions on voting, quote, puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to democrats. the decision on thursday signals that a conservative-dominated judiciary, which includes three supreme court justices nominated by trump, will not stand in the way of the greatest rollback of voting rights since the end of reconstruction. i guess, kim, my mounting frustration is the republicans are saying all of the quiet parts out loud and proud in front of the supreme court justices. what else do sort of democrats need to take the extraordinary measures, as ari is saying, to counter them? >> well, they needed to do everything they needed to do yesterday. i mean some of the horses have been out of the barn, and a lot of it by not campaigning on the importance of the supreme court and the federal judiciary. but at this moment they have 50 seats in the senate, and as we've been talking about the
idea that bipartisanship is an ideal that is more important than protecting the voting rights of all people. yes, these laws are primarily targeted at black and brown folks or people -- people more likely to vote democratic. in that it is also going to disenfranchise some people no matter how they vote. to protect these voting rights for all people requires doing everything you can, and at this point the filibuster, a senate rule that was created not by the constitution but by the senate itself, is the main thing that is standing in the way from pushing back at this. right now congress could pass laws that essentially overrule both of these decisions by bolstering the voting rights act back to where it used to be, but the filibuster is in the way. >> we will stay on it with your help, ari berman, kim atkins stohr, thank you for your reporting and spending time with us to talk about it. when we return, kevin mccarthy doesn't want to investigate the
caucus warning republicans and pelosi to uncover all the facts around the insurrection to strip everything to do that. one thing he's very interested to getting to the bottom of it. he's going to ask devin nunes of all beam to investigate the baseless claims of one fox news host, mr. tucker carlson about any evidence that the nsa is spying on him. let's bring in ben rose, former deputy national security adviser to president obama and msnbc contributor, it is not appropriate for family-friendly viewing. i wish i could read this
response. he had to put out a statement denying tucker carlson's faceless accusation. here we are, mccarthy ignoring his oath as liz cheney describes it. >> it should not be that surprising. this is a political party in congress sustains itself on conspiracy theories for some time now. it is a huge propaganda of those conspiracy theories. the big issue that can be emphasized is not driven home by democrats, they are subordinating the national security of the united states, the security of their own workplace threatened by this violent insurrection to a conspiracy theory of a fox news talk show host. in the same way, national interests related to putin and
russia of the conspiracy theory of donald trump. when you hear republicans put themselves forward as advocates for american national security, i think nobody should be at all -- this tells you the absurd lengths they'll go through to choose a self-conserving conspiracy theory even one as tucker carlson. >> well, you mentioned vladimir putin, one of the more outrageous things he said during president biden's summit with putin was this accusation about babbit being assassinated. it is a claim that tucker carlson picked up. today at 2:06, the twice impeached ex-president sent out a statement with one line, who
killed asheli babbit? who's useful and who's the idiot? >> the reality is, this russian and disinformation and propaganda and the kind of garbage that imminents every night if you tune into tucker carlson or if you see donald trump's statements here. they clearly are serving news of what those russian trolls, the reality is they're all existing in the same ecosystem of conspiracy theories. the challenge of this is people take it seriously. there should be and used to be some responsibility that goes along with that. people may not have the capacity to sort out disinformation online or may look at tucker carlson and wonder whether he
may be telling the truth. when they see the republican leader who may want to be speaker of the house inherited that. that grossly contributes to misinforming of the american people and some of the american people in this kind of bubble of conspiracy theory and incredibly corrosive to the health of our democracy. it is incredibly cynical. it is not normal politics. it is something much more sinister than that. >> yeah, i mean it leaves us to ponder the question day after day is our country governable. when you have this information with genesis in vladimir putin's propaganda popping out and coming out of the mouth of the president. ben rhodes, thank you for your help. we have to sneak in a quick
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thank you very much for letting us in your home during this extraordinary times. we are grateful, "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. hi ari. >> i have a question for you, you asked me about the law. i want to ask you something you know a lot about which is government and accountability. we can do the narrow legal thing and that's what happens in the courtroom. what does it mean to you, what should it mean to america that this person gotten away so much is facing a type of broader accountability today? what does it mean?