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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  July 1, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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well, i said this time last night there's going to be a ton of news today. i was right. we knew it was going to be like this but wow. in addition to the president's company being indicted, we had the president, today, the actual president of the united states, in miami at the site of the building collapse there. tonight, just before we got on the air, attorney general merrick garland announced a moratorium, a pause, on all-federal executions. the democrats in the house today, announced their appointees to the committee that's going to investigate the january-6th attack on the capitol. speaker pelosi appointing seven democrats and republican liz cheney to that commission. no word on whether the republicans will actually appoint anyone else, or if they'll punish liz cheney for accepting that appointment. and, of course, the day started with the supreme court taking a dull axe to what remains of the voting rights act and minority voting rights protections. that decision is one that is going to sting for a very long time. the entity that brought that suit, in the first place, is the democratic national committee. dnc chairman, jaime harrison, is
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going to join lawrence, this next hour, right now. here on msnbc so i am going to get out of the way. i will see you again tomorrow night. now, it is a time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell". good evening, lawrence. >> rachel, i think you isolated what could be the most important question about this indictment today because it refers to other people, other executives in the trump operation. are -- how many of those possible other executives involved in the commission of these crimes are named trump? how many of those are children of donald trump? >> and if it was a systematic scheme, by the company, to -- including its most highly compensated executives to pay them in ways that were -- that were designed to evade taxes. which is the way it's described in the -- in the indictment. allen weisselberg was getting paid a million dollars a year, and they said he was one of the highest-paid beneficiaries of that scheme.
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there aren't many people at the company who are more highly paid than him, and i don't believe any of them aren't named trump. so they are describing schemes that apply to other people who are beneficiaries of had things that are laid out there. and that's what -- allen weisselberg's just been criminally charged with so it's got to be an unsettling prospect for the trump family tonight. >> the other, amazing mystery. how is donald trump paid? what's the payment scheme within that business for donald trump, himself? and that's something we don't learn anything about in this indictment, so far. >> but i bet we are going to learn about it, before too long. >> it looks like it's coming. looks like that is what's ahead of us. thank you, rachel. >> thank you, laurchs. >> thank you. once again, donald trump signed his name to checks in the commission of a crime. according to an indictment by a manhattan-grand jury. unsealed today, in court, in manhattan. we have already seen donald trump's signature on checks
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written in the commission of a federal crime. here is donald trump's signature in a check to michael cohen, as part of the criminal payoff scheme to prevent stormy daniels from telling the ugly truth of what happened when she was alone in a hotel room with donald trump. that criminal scheme, of course, completely, fell apart. michael cohen went to prison for that criminal scheme. stormy daniels went on "60 minutes" and told the story of that night, including donald trump comparing her to his daughter. today, another, criminal scheme involving donald trump signing checks was described in the indictment of the trump corporation, the trump payroll corporation, and allen weisselberg. from 2012 through 2017, and as part of the scheme to defraud, trump corporation personnel, including weisselberg, arranged for tuition expenses for weisselberg's family members to be paid by personal checks drawn on the account of and signed by
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donald j. trump. the payment of tuition expenses for weisselberg's family members constituted employee compensation and taxable income to allen weisselberg, and was treated as part of weisselberg's annual compensation in the internal records maintained by the trp corporation. however, the indirect compensation in the form of tuition payments was not included on weisselberg's w-2 forms or otherwise reported to federal, state, or local-tax authorities. and no income taxes were withheld by the corporate defendants in connection with the tuition payments. weisselberg intentionally caused the tuition payments to be omitted from his personal tax returns, despite knowing that those payments represented taxable income, and were treated as compensation by the trump corporation in internal records. he did not pay taxes on approximately $359,058 in compensation he received in the
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form of tuition payments. that is a lot of money. but that is not the big money, in this indictment. which says that allen weisselberg and other, unnamed employees of the trump corporation, quote, devised and operated a scheme to defraud federal, new york state, and new york city tax authorities. the purpose of the scheme was to compensate weisselberg and other trump-organization executives in a manner that was off the books. the scheme was intended to allow certain employees to substantially understate their compensation from the trump organization, so that they could and did pay federal, state, and local taxes, in amounts that were significantly less than the amounts that should have been paid. the defendants arranged for weisselberg to receive indirect-employee compensation from the trump organization, in the approximate amount of $1.76 million. weisselberg, then, concealed the
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compensation from his tax preparer. and intentionally omitted it from his tax returns. additionally, weisselberg concealed, for years, the fact that he was a resident of new york city, who was required to pay new york city income taxes. weisselberg, thereby, evaded approximately $556,385 in federal taxes, approximately $106,568 in state taxes, and approximately $238,159 in new york city taxes. and he falsely claimed and received approximately $94,902 in federal tax refunds. and approximately $38,222 in state-tax refunds, to which he was not entitled. the 15-count indictment exposes allen weisselberg to a possible sentence of 15 years in prison
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for the most serious count, which is grand larceny in the second degree. most of the other counts carry possible-four-year sentences. the indictment details allen weisselberg's personal participation in, and supervision of, the crimes described in the indictment. for example, on or about september, 2016, allen weisselberg directed a staff member in the accounting department to remove the notations "per allen weisselberg" from the entries in donald j. trump's detail general ledger relating to tuition payments paid on weisselberg's behalf for his family members' private school. you can get four years for that. four years in prison. just for that. just for that falsifying of business records. allen weisselberg is accused of committing that crime, in the final weeks of the winning trump
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presidential campaign in 2016. the question that today's indictment does not answer is, exactly, how involved and responsible for these crimes was donald trump? tonight, donald trump, who is, reportedly, not a good sleeper, will, at some point, try to fall asleep knowing that allen weisselberg, who is 73 years old, is a husband, a father, and a grandfather. who wants to spend his remaining years with his wife, his children, and grandchildren. all of whom, have been beneficiaries of the crimes outlined in this indictment. direct beneficiaries. tonight, allen weisselberg is facing a possible sentence that could leave him in prison for the rest of his life. donald trump has to try to fall asleep, tonight, knowing that allen weisselberg could make those sentences disappear.
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by cooperating with prosecutors, and telling them everything that he knows about donald trump. "the new york times" reached donald trump for what they called a brief interview, today, after the indictment. "the times" reports, asked if he was worried about the pressure being put on mr. weisselberg. he said, only that his longtime lieutenant was an honorable man. i'm with him, all the way, he said. if donald trump was with him all the way, in the commission of these crimes, then allen weisselberg's chances of dancing at his grandchildren's weddings could depend entirely on what he is willing to tell prosecutors, about the man who now says, i'm with him all the way. leading off our discussion tonight. andrew weissman who served as chief of the criminal division in the eastern district of new york. he is msnbc legal analyst. also with us, susan, former manhattan -- assistant district attorney.
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she served as a prosecutor in the -- in the trial division and frauds bureau. is a white-collar criminal defense attorney, now. susan, what is your reading of this indictment today? and how much pressure does this put on allen weisselberg? that's what you'd be asking yourself tonight if you were in your old job. >> for sure. thank you. good evening, lawrence. today's indictment is, clearly, a very broad-ranging indictment. involving 15 years. allegations of 15 years of scheme to defraud taxing authorities. and we are talking about $1.76 million in income that was, either, falsely reported or mis -- or not properly reported. i think with -- it's -- it's clearly a very significant indictment. i think, in terms of the issue of mr. weisselberg's cooperation. right now, he is looking at charges that don't mandate a
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jail sentence. it doesn't mean that he wouldn't get one, if he was convicted. but it doesn't mandate a jail sentence. um, i believe that the calculation made by mr. weisselberg's lawyers and mr. weisselberg is he is going to fight this, for now. and see what comes down the pike, in terms of additional charges. if he were to have cooperated with the da's office, you can be sure that the da's office would have required him to imlicate not only other people in the larger investigation. meaning, loan fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, maybe other tax fraud. but he would have to implicate himself, as well, in order to be an effective cooperator. and that's a larger case. so his calculation, at this point, is he's not going to cooperate, now, on a case that doesn't require jail to implicate himself in a case that might involve millions of dollars. and perhaps, require jail. so, i think they are going to wait and see what happens with further charges. >> andrew weissman, we have been
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discussing, you and i, on this program for a while, the anticipation of this indictment. now that you have seen it, had a chance to read it. what is your reaction to what you find in it? >> so i agree with susan. and i think a really good sign of that is comparing the public statements of weisselberg's attorneys, to those of the company's attorneys. the company did a full-on attack of the office that reminded me exactly of what, you know, we faced in special counsel investigation. but mary, the lead lawyer for allen weisselberg, had a very quiet statement that just said, you know, he is going to plead not guilty. and he's going to, you know, prepare the case for trial. but it wasn't a full-blown attack. that's leaving the option open for him to cooperate. and my read of this indictment is, you know, for days beforehand, we were getting the
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trump spin that this was just about fringe benefits. to me, not only is this a very strong indictment, in and of itself, but to me, it reads like a shot across thebow. to have brought this charge now, and to have charged the company means there is more to come. i mean, this is a prediction, obviously. but all signs of reading this indictment are telling people we are not afraid to bring charges. we are naming other executives in a long-term scheme that began long before trump was president. during the time he was president. and after he was president. there's no way, in god's green earth, that donald trump did not know this was going on. so, to me, this is a very, very powerful message from the manhattan district attorney's office. >> yeah. and, susan, we discover it includes good, old-fashioned income-tax evasion because they're delivering bonuses, salary bonuses, that roughly -- almost half of allen
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weisselberg's salary in a year is being paid in a false way. in a -- in a way that doesn't have any withholding on it, at all, sets him up to do all sorts of other kind of deductions that, as an employee, he would not be allowed to do. >> yeah. i think what's one of the significant pieces of evidence in this indictment, which is a speaking indictment, which provides a lot of meat on the bone here. both, because this is a significant case of public interest. and also, perhaps, to send a message to the trump organization, to weisselberg, and to other employees and executives at the trump corp. which is, that there are internal documents from the trump corporation that show that there was a maximum-set income each year for mr. weisselberg. these benefits were backed out of that number. in other words, those documents show that the trump organization intended these fringe benefits, these off-the-books payments to be part of his overall compensation and, therefore, his income. i think that's a powerful piece of evidence that is revealed in this indictment today. >> and, andrew, one of the
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things that's so striking about the recordkeeping there is they do keep two sets of books. it's that they actually keep a record, in effect, of the crime. >> absolutely. so, you have, you know, basically, it's donald trump and his greed getting the better of him. by keeping track of what the, quote, true income is. so that they're not overpaying their employees. lawrence, one point i'd like to make, that's quite striking here, is that the indictment goes out of its way to talk about the fact that there was not just a state and city-tax offense here. but there was a federal-tax offense here. and that's repeated, i believe, 30 times in this short indictment. that there is a federal scheme here. and so, the pressure, to me, is on merrick garland, right now, to know is he going to put up? is he going to be investigating this? because it's, frankly, an embarrassment. that you have the state of new york pointing out a clear,
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federal crime. and, you know, is there going to be additional pressure put on these people? because a federal case will be brought. we know that there is an open civil tax investigation, in connection with donald trump that's been pending for years in connection with his taxes. so it'll be interesting to see what happens there. >> susan hoffinger and andrew weissman, thank you both. coming up. more on today's indictment with a tax-law expert, who says these are serious crimes. and tim o'brien, who has been studying the trump businesses for many years. that's next. r many years that's next. you need an ecolab scientific clean here. and you need it here.
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the federal case against michael cohen for the payoff of stormy daniels included an unnamed person called individual one. prosecutors say michael cohen acted in coordination with and at the direction of.
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individual one was, clearly, and obviously, donald trump. in today's indictment, there is someone referred to as unindicted co-conspirator number one. it is not very clear who unindicted co-conspirator number one might be. there are many possibilities, including someone who might, already, be secretly cooperating with prosecutors. the indictment says, from at least 2005 through the date of this indictment, the named defendants and others, including unindicted co-conspirator number one, agreed to and implemented a compensation scheme. with the object of enabling weisselberg to underreport his income to federal authorities and, thereby, evade taxes and falsely claim federal-tax refunds to which he was not entitled. on or before april 5th, 2010, the trump corporation, acting through its agent, unindicted co-conspirator number one, underreported al upon weisselberg's taxable income for the tax year 2009. joining us now, professor of tax
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law at new york university law school. also with us, tim o'brien, senior columnist for bloomberg opinion. and he already wrote the book about donald trump's businesses. professor, you tweeted your way on to e show today. when i saw your tweet describing your reaction to these charges, you said this is -- these are serious violations of tax law. that really have to be prosecuted. why? >> well, it's not really a fringe-benefit case. some of the spin and the expectation was it's like if you give a company car to someone and, gee, they didn't really use it for work all the time. that's not what this is. this is kind of like if someone went to his or her boss and said, why don't you reduce my salary by $5,000 this month but get me $5,000 in an envelope in cash and unmarked bills. that's what this is. as the previous guesting were saying, there is a fixed amount of compensation he is going to get. and then, it's reduced so they don't have to report it. but he gets, in some cases, it was cash. other cases, it's tuition.
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it's like buying a flat-screen tv. it's really just a scheme to do sneaky, off-the-books cash instead of reported income. so it's nothing to do, really, with fringe benefits. it's sort of -- again, this is just the allegation in the indictment. it isn't proven. but it's about straight-up fraud. keeping two sets of books and you can't allow this. if that happens, basically, no one has to pay taxes anymore. they just do silly things, like have side arrangements and dual sets of books. so it's really a challenge to the tax system. i don't see how prosecutors could not charge this. if you run across this. even if they aren't trying to get leverage on weisselberg like everyone's saying. if you come across this, not to charge it would be rather amazing. >> and, tim o'brien, the indictment is filled with unnamed characters and references to them as the unindicted co-conspirator. and then, there's references to others and other executives.
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other high-level executives. and so, the candidates for liability here include donald trump's children. obviously, include donald trump, himself. who is worried, tonight, as they read this indictment? >> um, anybody in the upper ranks of this very small organization. who advised donald trump or participated in any of these scams, alongside allen weisselberg. the trump -- the trump organization has scores of llcs under its umbrella. i suspect the trump corporation is -- is -- is another one of these entities. and typically, there weren't a lot of people at the top of that food chain. it was a -- it was a company that existed on paper. it usually included allen weisselberg and some constellation of the three children. so, to the extent of unindicted co-conspirator number one is -- is someone in the trump corporation. and that mirrors other llcs the
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trump organization typically constructs. it's possible the children are in danger there. um, i think, the other issue that's going -- will come on, very soon, with the weight of this indictment, is -- is people will start to rat one another out, possibly. i think this is an organization. we have talked about this before. there is not a lot of loyalty. everyone understands that trump saves his skin, before anyone -- anyone else. and i think a chill probably went down the spines of -- of people in senior ranks at the trump organization when they read this. i think a lot of the spin around this, as being a frivolous suit without a lot of ammunition behind it got dispelled today. this is the very early stages of this investigation. and a lot of people could be cross -- caught up in its crossfire. >> professor shaviro, andrew weissman just raised the question of what do federal
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prosecutors do today when they pick up this indictment and read it? and to be fair to them, the manhattan prosecutors are the very first prosecutors who've had the tax returns of donald trump's company and donald trump to study for criminal behavior. so, of course, they would be the first ones to find it. but what they found includes a federal crime. >> yes. no, it's kind of funny because the new york state basis for the charges that it's defrauding someone. so it could be that someone who is indicted under this statute defrauded you or defrauded me or defrauded someone else on the show. instead, it was the federal government. so, they fined -- the new york state people find federal income tax fraud, which is undeniable, if the facts of the indictment are proven. and they just kind of -- it's embarrassing for the feds, although as you say, maybe they didn't have access to it. it also seems to be stuff that, once you look at enough documents, it's just right there and there is no denying it. again, if the -- if the indictment is provable. so, yeah, i don't see how they
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can not charge, on this basis. >> and, tim, that's what's so striking about the indictment is that you can see how this case can be made be -- be -- so well because it is on paper. it is right there. and -- and the man responsible for it all is sitting in the courtroom, allen weisselberg. >> um, you know, that's an important thing to remember about the entire sweep of this case, lawrence. i don't think a special-grand jury would have been convened and -- and the da's office targeted a former president, if they didn't have a lot of other paperwork in their hands, already. that -- that goes to some of these other-possible crimes we've discussed. bank fraud. tax fraud. accounting fraud. falsification of business records. and allen weisselberg worked, hand in glove, with donald trump for decades. creating the kind of paperwork that that company sent out to
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banks, other lenders, and the media, to present this mirage around who trump was. we deposed donald trump for two days in 2007. and that deposition is full of -- of his acknowledgment that he and weisselberg worked closely together on these kinds of issues. >> professor daniel and tim o'brien, thank you, both, for joining this discussion tonight. really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. and coming up. donald trump is now the target of three important investigations, including the ongoing investigation by the manhattan district attorney. and a new one started by house speaker nancy pelosi, today. john heilemann joins us next. ut when heartburn hits, fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast heartburn relief in every bite. crunchy outside, chewy inside. ♪ tums, tums, tums, tums ♪ tums chewy bites
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donald trump is now the subject of a new investigation. today, house speaker nancy pelosi named eight house members to a newly-created select committee that will investigate the trump mob's attack on the capitol, which the house, already, determined was incited
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by donald trump. the speaker named seven democrats, including former-impeachment prosecutors, adam schiff, jamie raskin, and zoe lofgren. and one republican, congresswoman liz cheney, who was one of only-two republicans who voted to create this select committee. that means, as of tonight, donald trump is a target in three, important investigations. the new house committee's investigation, the manhattan district attorney's continuing investigation, and the grand-jury investigation in fulton county, georgia, run by district attorney fawny willis, studying evidence of donald trump's possible violations of election laws there. by trying to interfere with the counting of the votes. joining us, now, is john heilemann. nbc news and msnbc national affairs analyst. host and executive producer of show time's the circus. john, donald trump is famously an insomniac. tonight seems like one of the nights where sleep is gonna be
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very hard for him to come by. >> yeah. he'll be up watching don lemon over and over, again, because he likes to hate watch that. the other network. you know, lawrence, i was going to say, as you were going through the investigations, i was thinking that you and i have both been investigated a fair amount in our lives. i'm not sure whether you spent time behind bars but i have. i don't think i have ever been the target of three investigations, simultaneously. so i think trump's probably -- you know, he's faced some bad situations and obviously, the biggest problem for him is that he no longer has the shield of the presidency. and you can see him, just in the way he is dealing with the -- the -- the difficulties he is in right now. you can see how desperately he's, already -- he's, like, trying to think about how i can get back in that white house, again, so that i could have the immunity from -- from prosecution. he's, clearly -- i mean, we have seen trump wig out a fair number of times but it's -- there is a particular kind of new quality to the -- to the manic nature that he is reacting to these investigations in which we can talk about more, if you like. but i find it really interesting. >> yeah. i mean, for example, he actually
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has scheduled, on saturday, a rally in sarasota, florida. another trump rally, in sarasota, florida. this would be post-indictment. the governor, ron desantis, has sent word, please, don't do that. so, they've got a conflict there. governor's saying don't do it because we have a mass-casualty event we are still recovering from. fairly, you know, close by in surfside, where president biden was today. it'll be -- you know, this -- this is another test of -- i don't know what it is. the -- the -- the trump psyche. whether he actually tries to have that event, while they're still searching for bodies on saturday. >> well, i mean, obviously, you know, we know that trump doesn't care, at all, about the search for the bodies. doesn't care at all about any-human life or any of the -- the -- the family members or anybody that's impacted in a human way. i think this is a really simple one, lawrence. trump has been listening to people say that ron desantis is the next trump for the last-six months.
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and i would say, the thing that will most induce trump to do this event is if ron desantis continues to tell him not to do this event. trump, i am -- i mean, i bet every dollar in my bank account, which isn't nearly as much as in yours and, you know, who knows, in terms of trump's, it could be completely empty. but i bet a lot of money that a lot of what's motivating trump, in this particular case, is the combination of him needing to be in front of large crowds and feel better about himself. and exert some kind of -- in his mind, at least, exert some kind of political power. and the particular kind of rivalry that is brewing with him and ron desantis right now. there is -- i mean, you see desantis winning these straw polls. and that sort of -- ron desantis is a sane-donald trump is the new line among republican-political strategists. trump's hearing that and it's making him crazy and i think there is a reasonable chance he will end up going through with this to spite ron desantis and to spark a feud with ron desantis so he can have a big war over who is the king of florida. >> so, john, does allen weisselberg look like the g.
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gordon litty of this story to you? being, of course, the one watergate burglar who would never crack and never turn on the nixon conspiracy. >> well, i liked your analyst in the 8 block tonight who said i think it makes sense. i think that he is -- until -- until the time gets to be too significant. i think, you know, if you put weisselberg in a situation where he might have to spend the rest of his life, he is not a young man. potentially, the rest of his life or the rest of his semi-productive life behind bars. i think he is inclined to be. but there is a limit on a lot of people who think they're going to be. it's like that mike tyson thing. you know, you always have a plan until you get hit in the face. you always have g. gordon litty, until you face -- until you face actual jail time. >> john heilemann, my g. gordon litty. thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> all right, lawrence.
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good to see you. coming up. dnc chairman, jaime harrison, will give us his reaction to the supreme court, once again, weakening the voting rights act today. the voting rights act today. there's an america we build and one we discover. one that's been tamed and one that's forever wild. but freedom means you don't have to choose just one adventure. ♪ ♪ you get both. introducing the wildly civilized
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today, the conservative majority on the supreme court, once again, weakened the voting rights act for the second time in eight years in a 6-3 decision. the court upheld two voting restrictions in arizona. one requiring ballots cast in the wrong precinct to be thrown out. and the other, limiting who could collect and deliver ballots to polling sites. last year, the 9th circuit court of appeals ruled the laws violated the voting rights act because they disproportionately impacted minority voters. but today, justice samuel alito argued that the laws did not place burden on minority voters that would prevent them from voting. quote, the mere fact that there is some disparity in impact does not necessarily mean that a
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system is not equally open or that it does not give everyone an equal opportunity to vote. in a scathing dissent, justice elena kagan, accused the conservative majority of rewriting the law, beyond what congress had intended. 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. election law expert and professor of law and political science at university of california irvine says the court's decision, today, quote, makes it harder to prove intentional-racial discrimination in passing a voting rule. making it that much harder for doj to win its suit against the new georgia voting law. in a statement today, president biden said how deeply disappointed he was by the ruling. and added, quote, the court's decision, harmful as it is, does not limit congress' ability to
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repair the damage done today. it puts the burden back on congress to restore the voting rights act. and to its intended strength. joining us now, is jaime harrison. chair of the democratic national committee. jaime harrison, thank you very much for joining us tonight, mr. chairman. you are a graduate of yale law school. you know how to read these opinions. what was your reaction? >> well, thank you for having me, lawrence. listen. this was a kick to the gut. it really was. and i think justice kagan, in her dissent, put it perfectly. in essence, what the court did when they made their decision. they poured old poison into new bottles. we know the poison of jim crow. we know what has happened in the past, in terms of how minorities in this country have not always enjoyed the same voting rights that other americans have. and we know that justice roberts. this isn't his first bite at the
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apple. shelby was his first bite of the apple and this has been a lifelong dream of his. to chip away at the voting rights act. but you know what, lawrence? we're not going to sit around wringing our hands. crying into some handkerchieves. we have to mobilize and we have to fight. we got to get people registered to vote. we got to educate them on why it is important to vote. we got to mobilize them. and then, we are going to protect every damn vote that we can. that we will at the ballot box. and that's what we have to do. >> does this put more pressure on the democrats in the senate to change the rule on the 60-vote threshold so that they can actually pass a bill that protects these voting rights? >> i think the president put it perfectly. like, this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on congress to act. you know, the supreme court that's filled with folks who like to call themselves strict constructionists, right? who -- who follow the letter of the law, and they did everything to subvert the letter of the
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law. they went all around the legislative intent. they went all around the history behind the voting rights act. to come up with some arbitrary five -- five-factor test that i -- i don't know where they found it. to -- to, in essence, weaken this law. but again, this ball is now in congress's purview. they have to act. and we are gonna work very, very hard with our democrats in the united states senate, in the united states house, to act. we have to do that in order to protect the rights of so many americans. > listen to what the president said today and mentioning some of the other elements and some of the other restrictive voting laws that republicans are passing. >> it is mildly positive, in the sense that there's a remedy available, based on the particular voting decision. i think that it is critical that
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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 rule -- did not rule that way, today. >> the president focusing there on the vote-count process after the votes have been cast. and how that has been changed in georgia. that is being -- they are attempting to change that in texas. that seems to -- seem -- seems, to him, to be one of the scariest elements of this. the way republican legislatures are trying to reach in and put new controls on how they count votes. >> that's exactly right. this is the little, dirty secret in these -- in these
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voter-suppression laws that we see popping up across the state by these republicans. you know, they want everybody to be outraged about the fact that, you know, they're putting -- they're criminalizing giving somebody a bottle of water. but the real, real rub is that they are trying to make a determination that it's going to be republican legislatures making a determination, on which votes are counted and which are not. lawrence, that -- there is nothing about that is american. that is something that you find in -- in putin's russia. and so, this autocratic mess that we see in the republican party. i don't even recognize this other party. they love to talk about integrity and everything else. they don't know what damn integrity is. because when you are trying to take away the most fundamental, sacred right we have, as american citizens. something is fundamentally wrong with you. and that's why americans have to stand up. >> dnc chairman, jaime harrison,
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thank you very much for joining us on this important night. we really appreciate it. >> thank you, lawrence. >> thank you. and coming up. congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz represents surfside, florida, and was with the president today when he spoke with the families of the people who were in that apartment building when it collapsed last week. debbie wasserman schultz joins us, next. (realtor) the previous owners left in a hurry, so the house comes with everything you see. follow me. ♪ (realtor) so, any questions? (wife) we'll take it! (realtor) great. (vo) it will haunt your senses. the heart-pounding audi suv family. ♪ limu emu & doug ♪ oh! are you using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool?
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search and rescue efforts resumed today in surfside, florida, after a pause to allow structural engineers to inspect the ability of the remaining structure there. 18 people are confirmed dead. 145 people are still missing. president biden met with elected officials including the republican governor as well as first responders and rescue crews. and then the president mt with
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families of the victims, of those who are still missing, and the president had extended personal conversations. extensive personal conversations with those people for almost 3 1/2 hours. >> i used to drive me crazy. they would say, i know how you feel. i know they meant well. but they had no idea. no matter what the outcome, no matter what the outcome, when you love, the people you love, the people you may have lost, they're going to be with you your whole life, part of your soul, part of who you are. >> that audio was recorded by someone at that meeting. there were about 200 people at that meeting. president biden said it was important for him to meet with every person who wanted to speak with him. after that meeting, the president described the uncertainty that the families are now facing. >> it's bad enough to lose
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somebody. but the heard part, the really hard part, is to not know whether they're surviving or not. just not have any idea. when the accident took my wife and my family, the hardest part, were my boys going to get out? would they make it? and not knowing. and what amazing me about this group of people, is the resilience. the absolute commitment, their willingness to do whatever it took to find -- to find an answer. i walked away impressed by their strength. >> on the way to the airport to return to washington, the president and the first lady made an unplanned stop to pay their respects at a neighborhood
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memorial. commemorating and honoring the victims of the building collapse. joining us now is democratic congressman debbie wassermann schultz. she was with the president today. congresswoman schultz, you were with the president today, including when he was speaking to the families. what was it like to be with the president and the people who were suffering so much this week? >> lawrence, it was one of the most moving experiences i have had. i came home from d.c. as soon as we heard about the building collapse, and have been really here through most of the whole week. on the ground, with the families whose -- their hearts have been torn out. i mean, imagine -- it's
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unimaginable what they are going through. and the president started off talking about his own experience with tragedy, which we know is significant. and then literally, for 3 1/2 hours, i watched him go knee to knee, family to family, and pull right up to these people who are in the most horrendous pain. looking into the highs of someone who has lived through horrendous pain like that, and his visit helped him, helps us reenforce, not only are we taking a government approach to make sure we get the families through it, from search and rescue that continues to helping them get through every bit of the crisis, but to also thread humanity through what is ultimately going to be a lot of overwhelming bureaucracy. that is the magic of joe biden.
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>> let's listen to something the president said later to reports, when he was asking about government officials and others in florida. >> there's no disagreement, no bickering, everybody's on the same team. it's what america's all about. it's about pulling together, leaving it all behind. and that is one thing that made me feel good about it, the cohesion, there is no democrat or republican out thereto that make people want to do the thing. >> this is his first meeting with governor desantis, and it looked as professional as you expect in a situation like this. >> the local, state and federal level, we have been working seamlessly, there is no dying daylight. we have differences of opinion, strong differences of opinion on
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issues. but when it comes to taking care of the people in surfside, the building your loved ones are sleeping in, coming down around them, and they are buried it in. the focus and search for survivors is number one. number two is taking care of the families, and number three is making sure we get to the bottom of how it happened, and do everything we can, every level of government to make sure it never happens again. >> the governor specifically thanked the president for how smoothly the coordination has been with the federal government. do you have everything you need there now in terms of government support? >> we have -- president biden really approved in record time -- i mean, by the end of the first day, all the resources they need for fema to provide in a disaster have been provided. and we're going to have other
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things we need. but the president has committed to see it through to the end as we have all together. >> congresswoman debbie wassermann schultz, i'm very sorry for the loss your community is suffering. thank you very much for joining us. >> stick with us. we need help every step of the way. >> thank you, thank you very much. that is tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. and good evening once again, this was day 163 of the biden administration. big trouble tonight in the form of criminal charges however for donald trump's family-run company. prosecutors accuse the trump organization of running a 15-year scheme for frauding new york state and new york

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