tv Alex Witt Reports MSNBC July 3, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT
wakefield, massachusetts. it started overnight when police found a group of men heavily armed refueling their vehicles on the side of the highway. they ran into the woods after refusing to comply with police. earlier today state police detailing the weapons found among this group, which identifies itself as rise of the moors, which claims to be immune from state laws. >> the number of firearms have been seized, i cannot share with you the exact number. the two vehicles that were at the scene are being towed from the scene. they will be processed pursuant to a court-authorized search warrant and we will know the number of firearms that have been seized. i can tell you both land guns and handguns are in plain view and we anticipate those will be seized. >> nbc's kathy park is watching developments in massachusetts and joins us live. how did all of this unfold and how are police able to come to a peaceful conclusion? >> reporter: well, lindsey, it
certainly was an unusual situation that played out early this morning. we're told that it happened around 1:30 this morning off the interstate near wakefield, massachusetts. a state trooper saw two vehicles off the side of the road and a group of men. they were wearing military gear and they were heavily armed. when this trooper asked to see i.d., as well as licenses for those firearms, that's when things quickly took a turn. the men apparently ran off into the woods and a lot of the neighboring areas were placed into a shelter in place order, so a lot of those residents were told to lock their doors and not come outside. this played out for several hours. but from 1:30 in the morning until about 11:00 this morning, we are told that 11 people are now in custody because of this
hours long standoff. this was disruptive not only in those neighbors, but on the interstate as well. >> what do we know about this group rise of the moors? >> reporter: so investigators are still trying to get a little bit more information about this group. we know that they posted, in fact, at one point a live video during the confrontation, and they were telling the people who were watching that they are anti-government, but authorities are coming out saying that at one point they claimed that they do not recognize our laws. so there's still a lot of questions swirling about this group, but there are 11 people who were arrested in connection with the standoff today. so still a lot of questions out there. >> i'm glad it did end safely. thank you so much. also in the news this hour, the post covid holiday rush is on, and it is intensifying. 48 million americans are on the move, making it the second
busiest independence day weekend ever. popular tourist destinations are crammed. ahead of all that fun, it comes at a price. gas prices are up nearly a dollar more than a year ago. we have reporters covering the highways, the airports, the concerns about the weather, all of it. let's go ahead and begin with cori coffin at laguardia airport in new york city. cori, how have the crowds been like where you are? >> reporter: lindsey. concerns over the weather, increasing pricing, and also the delta variant. so what we have seen is certainly more people coming out to travel this holiday than any of the holidays that i've reported in the past year and a half. if you take a look at the numbers, you can see tsa says they screened about 2.2 million passengers a day the last week and they are closely mirroring pre-pandemic 2019 levels. normally we would be excited to report about this and the return of the economy and people being able to get back to normal. the problem is there is now an uptick in cases and the cdc says
it is due in part to this highly transmissible delta variant. now, i talked to passengers out here about if this is concerning at all to them, if they're going to change their travel habits, at all, especially as they were excited for more travel. listen to what one woman told me. >> yeah, it's definitely a little bit of a concern, but at the same time, i'm not planning to go to large crowds, i'm kind of just sticking with my family, and, you know, i think as long as we're kind of only together and we're not really joining large -- just going out a lot and doing a lot of things, i think it's pretty safe for the most part. >> reporter: that's really the sentiment that most of the travelers had that i spoke without here, lindsey. they felt like they still wanted to continue to live their live and push forward, but they were going to continue to remain safe. the delta variant, by the way, is 60% more transmissible than
the dominant strain in the u.s. right now, according to the cdc. it also accounts for a quarter of all of the new cases. so the cdc estimates it will just be a matter of time before it does become the dominant strain in the u.s. so they are urging people to continue to get vaccinated in order to try to tamp down this surge of cases that we're seeing. and of course as a reminder for anybody who is traveling, especially in these public spaces with airlines, masks are still required, social distancing certainly encouraged this holiday. >> cori coffin, thank you so much for that report. let's go ahead and head over to gary grumbach in delaware. i'm wondering how the lines have been at the pump. i'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that they were paying around $2.11 a gallon last year and now it's a dollar more. >> reporter: that's right, lindsey. we are all excited to be able to get out. we've been confined to our homes for a year and a half. people are over the masks, they're vaccinated, ready to go
out and enjoy their fourth of july weekend. that's exactly what's happening this weekend. we have 47 million americans that are going to be hitting the roads, the sky, and traveling, but everything is going to be a little bit more expensive. hotels are 30% more expensive than last time you probably stayed in a hotel for a vacation. rental cars are 80% more expensive than the last time you may have rented one because of supply and demand with the number of rental cars available out there. and gas prices are expensive everywhere. >> it looks like we lost gary grumbach's shot. he was talking about expensive gas prices. the gas station he's at is around the national average of $3.11 a gallon. but people were cooped up and we're going to have a price to pay for that. let's go ahead and go to mount rushmore where business is booming this holiday weekend. msnbc's cal perry is on the ground there. i know there were crowds there
last year, then-president donald trump was visiting. what are you seeing on the ground this year? >> reporter: it's boom town, and americans are just ready to get out. mark will show you the main street. we couldn't find parking this morning and that's not unusual. the hotels are booked, the restaurants are booked. it is absolutely cram packed. one of the issues that businesses are having is a labor shortage. it's hard to time workers seasonally right now. some businesses paying $15, $17 an hour, offering incentives. sometimes that's not enough. some of these restaurants will close early. for an idea of just how important tourism is to this town, we spoke to people about it. take a listen. >> tourism is our fuel. that's everyone's livelihood. 80% of the businesses are seasonal businesses, so it's so important. >> are people happy to be back out? >> yeah, absolutely. >> what are you hearing from
customers? >> yeah, i think everybody felt pent up, everybody has a new freedom this year, kind of a new lease on life. i think feeling like we're all on a little bit of a lockdown, your priorities shift in getting out and getting some play time and spending time with each other has really become the new priority. and so being able to be part of an area that allows you to do that and feel safe and secure, we're blessed to be part of it. >> reporter: that business owner you just heard from said to us that there was a 300% increase that she's seen year over year in her business on average. last year was not a miss for keystone. president trump was here at the time. we had that big celebration. so impressive numbers they're putting up here. >> i'm going to need you to do some research at the taffy shop behind you. i'm dying to know what you find out. please update us throughout the hour. >> reporter: i'm on it. everyone wants to know what the weather is going to be like
for their fourth of july barbecues and fireworks. but in the southeast all eyes are on tropical storm elsa, making its way through the caribbean, taking aim at florida. this is what it looked like in st. vincent near barbados. michelle grossman is tracking the storm. this is the last thing people in florida want to be hearing right now. >> i know, that is so true, especially holiday weekend and surfside, dealing with all the recovery efforts. but since we last spoke at 7:00, we did see a decrease or downgrade in elsa. it's a tropical storm, still really powerful and going to dump a lot of rainfall. there are a lot of alerts posted for cuba. as we go throughout sunday we're going to see the effects in jamaica, also cuba. this is going to be the tell-tale sign of what's going to happen to elsa. they're very mountainous and we could see a weakening of the storm throughout the next couple
of days. the big story will be the rainfall. we could see up to 15 inches of rain in cuba that will cause flash flooding and mud slides. we could see rainfall in florida as well. this is the latest, as i mentioned, downgraded to a tropical storm as of the 11:00 advisory. still very strong at 70 miles per hour. you only need 74 mile per hour for it to be a hurricane. we do expect it to stay a tropical storm and even weaken a bit more. the location is 40 miles south of dominican republic and it's moving very fast. it's uncommon for a storm to be moving this fast. it's also uncommon to have a hurricane this early. typically on the average we see them around august 14th. we are just a month into the hurricane season. winds out of the northwest at 29 miles per hour. let's track it for you over cuba, jamaica. we're going to watch how the mountains interact with the
storm. then florida is going to see the fringe effects sunday into monday. by tuesday, wednesday, we could see a landfall somewhere along the west coast of florida. let's talk about the fourth of july weekend. luckily most of us doing really well. you see the map here, most of us in the clear. it's going to be really hot in the northwest. they've been dealing with that for weeks and they'll be dealing with it for many days to come. stormy along the gulf coast but turning right in the mid-atlantic. we're going to see sunshine tomorrow. and i can't leave you without showing you this fireworks forecast. because, again, we're looking good in many spots. along the gulf coast, southern florida, that's where we're going to start seeing the effects of elsa in those spots. >> i'm glad to hear it was downgraded. thank you so much, michelle. now to breaking news this hour, president biden will soon be landing in michigan, the day's second stop on his america's back together tour, celebrating the country's progress against the
coronavirus. nbc's mike memoli in traverse, city, michigan, where we saw the president last hour. that felt like a very quick first stop. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, lindsey. the president has a full day here in the upper michigan peninsula area, and it very much feels, as you were talking to cal a few moments ago who reminded us that president trump spent the fourth of july last year at mount rushmore. do you remember where then-candidate joe biden was on the fourth of july? he was home in delaware, very much off the campaign trail. and the white house very much appears now on a campaign like footing, the president touching down in a swing state, joined by the governor of michigan who is up for re-election next year, the two senators to tout the progress the country has seen since the president took office. they issued a fact sheet as the president landed, touting that the case rate is down 90% since biden was inaugurated.
the hospitalization rate, because of covid-19, is down 87% since the president was inaugurated. so, yes, we remember the president set those goals about having 70% of adults vaccinated, at least partially, by the fourth of july. didn't hit that exactly. we're at about 66 and change percent right now. but as you can see, we're at the national cherry festival where the president might stop by as part of his visit later today and it's very much a fourth of july like we're typically seeing. the cherry festival itself was canceled last year because of the pandemic. it's a big driver of tourism in this area. and so what we're seeing in addition to what the president is up to today, the first lady is going to be attending a barbecue in new hampshire with the two democrat senators from that state, and the vice president is going to be visiting a union facility in nevada. so obviously they're trying to get a little bit of credit where credit they feel is due for the president in bringing the country back to a sense of normalcy. we also expect the president, if
we hear informal remarks from him as he visits the cherry farm, to tout the infrastructure and bipartisan deal that has been struck. the president wants to sort of keep the momentum going, the political momentum that he feels he deserves because of the tackling the pandemic and carry that through his economic agenda as well. >> mike memoli, the people behind you, it certainly seems like quite the feat from where we were just a few months ago. thank you so much. president biden will fall slightly short of his goal to have 70% of all adult americans with at least one shot by the 4th, and while we may not want to even mutter the word coronavirus this weekend, we aren't yet completely free of it. the highly contagious delta var variant is spreading and the cdc expects it to become the dominant variant in the next few months. this week los angeles county
health officials are calling for people to continue masking up indoors. msnbc's scott cohn joins us live now. california, it feels like, just reopened. how are people reacting to this recommendation? isn't it enough to be vaccinated? >> reporter: not necessarily. that's what they're saying in l.a. county. california just reopened on the 15th, so two weeks ago. i have a mask on in santa clara county, san jose, because i'm in a vaccination clinic where everyone is required to be masked. the l.a. thing is just a recommendation and it hasn't been statewide. this vaccination clinic, i think it's a good sign, perhaps, that they are seeing some traffic here today. nonetheless, in a state that has done very well with vaccinations and in a county where about 75% of the population is fully vaccinated, they still have seen 56 cases involving that delta variant. and california, which has done better than the nation as a
whole on vaccinations, is among the states where it is most prevalent, according to cdc data that was posted earlier this week. california with about 8.5%, the most prevalent in missouri where it's nearly 30% of the cases. bottom line, officials and experts say this is not over yet. >> we think the delta variant is going to become dominant in the coming months. it's a combination of the ways in which the coronavirus has changed in 18 months. we're seeing definitely a combination of those two variants driving the surges because they're more contagious particularly if you're unvaccinated. >> reporter: and that is the key. the unvaccinated. and there are still a lot of people nationwide and here in california that are unvaccinated. about 147 million people nationwide. and even here in california where, again, they've done better than the nation as a
whole, some 10 million people 12 and over who are still unvaccinated. that's who they're targeting. if you want a sense of the difference between how this disease hits the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, contra costa county is now breaking out the cases. and the case rate among unvaccinated people, nearly 9 cases per 100,000 residents are infected, whereas with the unvaccinated it is 0.7 cases. so you can see the difference in why they want to get more and more people into clinics like this one. >> i was going to say, that graphic is missing a decimal point because it said 8.7 and then 7. 0.7, you're right, if there was a reminder to get vaccinated, that's it for you there. scott cohn, thank you so much. fresh heartbreak and tears in florida after keeping vigil for nine days, a firefighter discovered the unthinkable. his story next.
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from surfside, florida. city, count and state officials are in a race against time, expediting the demolition of remnants of the champlain collapsed south tower. elsa is putting winds in its path. allison, this was supposed to take weeks. how will they get this done quickly? >> reporter: this was a big shift from the last update that we had yesterday evening, and the mayor of miami-dade, who was also the incident commander as it relates to this condo collapse, she says that they found out something that they didn't know about yesterday evening, that they have a new resource, and that is a company that's called cdi controlled demolition, inc., and that they have the expertise to bring this
building or what remains of this building down a lot faster than originally anticipated. we know what is left of champlain towers south is not structurally safe and we know rescue workers had to stop everything they were doing and evacuate the mound on thursday after they noticed and structural engineers noticed that the remaining structure was shifting and moving and there was concern that the entire thing could collapse. they had to evacuate. it took at least 15 hours to get that safe or at least to get engineers comfortable enough to allow rescuers to go back on the mound and continue their work. so as you said, this was something that was going to happen, but we thought it would take a lot longer. now with this storm moving in, with elsa and the potential for heavy gusts of winds, all of that made the situation much more tenuous and something that needed to happen a lot quicker, and according to the mayor what really changed is that they found out there was a group of
experts, a company that could do this quicker than they thought possible. listen to more of what we heard from the governor and the mayor of miami-dade. >> that building is too unsafe to let people go back in. i know there's a lot of people who were able to get out, fortunately, who have things there. we're very sensitive to that. but i don't think there's any way you can let somebody go up in that building give continue shape that it's in now. >> naturally if we can bring this building down safely in the footprint that we can predict that has maximum safety for our firefighters on the mound, as well as to preserve the area that they are continuing to search and rescue, that is our very best path forward. >> reporter: and governor desantis says that the state will pay for all costs associated with the demolition of champlain towers south. we're told the building will be brought down with some sort of charge and once engineers give the final go ahead that this
building can be brought down within about 36 hours. lindsey. >> allison, thank you. joining me right now, florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, democratic member of the house appropriations, oversight and reform committees. you've been at the briefings, standing behind the governor there and the miami-dade county mayor. we're on day nine here and tropical storm elsa is, as we just heard, threatening to put a stop to all of the search and rescue efforts. do you get a feeling there's still a sense of hope there? >> there is, and it is thanks to the incredible search and rescue teams that we have expertise that is the top in the world in and our search and rescue teams and the israeli teams and federal teams that have been rolled in, they are telling us there is still hope to find survivors and everyone wants to make sure to hold onto hope.
at the same time we're trying to ensure that we care for both the survivor families who got out of the building and lost everything, as well as the families who still have loved ones under the rubble. and it's just been excruciating. these are people who i know in my role as their member of congress, i'm going to have to help them pick up the shards of their lives that have been shattered into a million pieces for months to come. >> some of the details that we hear out of those briefings, for example, hearing a female voice and then not hearing one anymore. they're just absolutely horrific that one can't even fathom what you and the people there at the scene are having to witness. you saw president biden console families and survivors this week and i want to take a quick look at what the president said about some of those exchanges. >> basically heart wrenching questions, recovering the bod he'd of my son or daughter, 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. >> it's just heartbreaking to hear that they're asking those questions, that they're having to. do you think that the visit had an impact on those families? >> it was such a huge impact, lindsey. i was with the president in the room and we spent three hours and he was there knee to knee, as we all moved around the room to talk to survivors, to talk to families with their loved ones under the rubble, and they do have so many questions. they are praying, as we all are, for hope that they can find their loved one. but making sure that he was there and giving them the confidence and the reinforcement that this whole of government effort is going to be with them every step of the way and not leave their side, there's nothing like having the president of the united states look you in the eye, really give you that comfort, and make sure
that they understand that we're going to be with them all the way through this. lindsey, the critical thing here, because sometimes, oftentimes these disasters are overwhelmed by bureaucracy, is that they've been trying to thread humanity throughout the bureaucratic process because these people have lost everything and many of them, likely, or may have or already know they've lost people that are most dear to them. >> what kind of preparations are being made before tropical storm elsa makes landfall? >> so we live in hurricane alley and we know this time of year is particularly difficult in terms of impact of hurricanes and tropical storms, so we are right now trying to do everything they can, they're taking apart the command center. these are all in mobile trailers at the site. they're going to be moving operations to the emergency operation center and then they're ex sfa indicting, as you described, the demolition of the building.
thankfully they were able to get an expert company that could bring it down faster than they anticipated. it was supposed to be weeks, but now they should be able to get it down before we get hit with tropical storm force winds. there have been so many difficulties, fires in the pile, torrential rain. so many complications. so just making sure that we help people get through this with patience, but while expediting everything as much as possible and giving them comfort, and helping them with the minutia that is going to be necessary to put their lives back together and either mourn their loved ones or go through the grieving process. >> before we let you go, obviously there will be a time and a place for investigations, but is there anything that can be done on a federal level to prevent anything like this from happening again? >> yes, the national institute of standards and technology, the
federal agency, the safety board for construction disasters, is already opening a full investigation. they have structural engineers, forensic engineers, arm corps, all going to be thoroughly examining how this happened top get to the facts, and then they'll recommend policies and changes to national building standards that, for example, as a member of congress i'll be able to help legislate so that we can make sure this is the only time it ever happens and never happens to anyone again. >> all right, congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, thank you so much for joining us today and we're hoping to praying for the best in surfside. >> thank you. we need that. what would it take to get alan weisselberg to cooperate with prosecutors? someone who knows him very well joins me next. way of imag g the worst... ...especially when your easily distracted teenager has the car. at subaru, we're taking on distracted driving...
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sarasota, florida. it will be his first public appearance since his company and long-time cfo alan weisselberg were hit with a 15-count indictment, and what prosecutors are calling a sweeping and audacious tax fraud scheme. weisselberg's lawyer said i will fight the charges. trump called the case a political witch hunt by the radical left democrats. trump himself was not charged with any wrongdoing. joining me is alan weisselberg's ex daughter-in-law. it's so good to speak with you about this. you've talked with investigators multiple times. when you read the indictment, did you recognize any of what you told them? >> yes, i did. >> can you specifically tell us, was it any of the perks that you alerted them to? >> it lined up with everything that i had given to them, it lined up with my documents exactly. it looks like 2005 is when he began living at trump place, which is riverside boulevard,
which is indicated as his full-time home. everything lined up, absolutely. >> and investigators did talk about a spreadsheet that they found at trump tower that did outline some of these perks. but do you think that there would be a case here if it wasn't for your testimony, what you told investigators? >> i think it takes both, because it's not a witch hunt. would there be a case, yes, because they had to get subpoenas from the school, they had to talk to other witnesses. the ledger, what's interesting to me, i think they've always had folks that are not electronic, i think the ledger was probably something that alan wanted to make sure he indicated the actual -- these meticulous. but i was actually shocked by that. it looks like indictment 13 doesn't say specifically, but it looks like it's about barry and the apartment we shared and an
apartment he had in 2018. but the 15 indictments were absolutely provable by my documents and then the ledger backed it up. >> what do you think is going through alan weisselberg's head right now? >> it's a new day, it's the first time he's ever had to be accountable. i think he's surrounded by a lot of lawyers. but i think what might be going through his head is he knows what those ledgers say, he knows what he's done. maybe what's going through his head is if my sons are next, if they find the books on -- the information on jack or barry, and they have to do that walk in handcuffs, maybe i should think about doing the right thing. >> interesting. there have also been questions over whether trump's children may be involved in this case. let's listen to what donald trump's niece mary trump told
rachel maddow this week. >> i think he would be surprised to learn that i don't believe my cousins would exert that -- exercise that kind of loyalty toward him because his relationship with them and their relationship with him is entirely transactional. and conditional. >> how willing do you think they would be to cooperate like you did? >> in terms of the children, eric and ivanka and don? >> the adult children, correct. >> she's right, it's transactional. he's an accountant. it's totally different. they will protect themselves, they're family. he's an employee. very different relationship. i agree with her. >> i told my colleague hallie jackson that alan weisselberg refused to cooperate because donald trump has, quote, leverage on him. what did you mean by that? >> i think that we're just getting started here. i think there were things going on in the white house that he
was involved in when he wasn't supposed to be discussing money. i don't think it matters anymore. i think that they both know a lot about each other. i was talking specifically about the political inaugural committee. >> jennifer weisselberg, we'll have to leave it there for today. we appreciate your time in talking to us about this. >> thank you. new york city's mayoral race mess, the fallout and what's being done to keep it from happening again.
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the elections board has since released its latest tally without the test votes, showing brooklyn borough president eric adams leading former city sanitation chief kathryn garcia by about 2%. the results do not account for the 125,000 absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. joining me is politics reporter for new york one news. what has the fallout been so far from this human error? have they implemented any changes to make sure it doesn't happen again? >> not yet, unfortunately. and unfortunately for new yorkers this latest error from the board of elections is really just one more in a long list of errors made by an agency that is really in charge of administering one of the most important parts of our local democracy. so there is some conversation at the state level. there are some bills that have been introduced that would go significantly far to reform the board of elections, but there hasn't actually been any significant movement on them
just yet. >> how big of an impact will these absentee ballots have on the outcome here? will we see the numbers shift quite a bit? >> no next week is really going to be all about the absentee ballots and we here in new york have been in a pretty long waiting game, not only just to see the results of the ranked choice count, but also looking to next week, which, as you said, will be when they open the absentee ballots. we know there's about 125,000 of them out there and they could really make a crucial difference for these candidates, for all of them, not just eric adams and kathryn garcia, but also maya wiley, who is currently in third place, also one of the top contenders in this race. all of these three candidates are looking forward to when those absentee ballots are going to be opened, because it could make a significant difference for each of them. >> with that said, it still could take weeks before we find out the official winner here of the primary.
so what's your prediction on when we'll find out? >> well, the board has said that they expect to have results by july 12th. unfortunately, as you said at the top, the board has failed to keep up some of its promises. the initial round of ranked choice was reported incorrectly, that led to additional delays. we are only just learning this weekend about some of the results in the down-ballot races. the board has quite a catch-up to play, but they have promised some sort of a final result by july 12th. >> this is really new york's city's first ranked choice mayoral race. in a new article in the nation. it says the chaotic count of mayoral election votes has nothing to do with ranked choice voting and everything to do with mistakes the board of elections has made. from your reporting on this, do you find that to be a fair assessment? >> yeah, i think that's exactly
right. i think we knew that ranked choice was coming to new york. this is something that new yorkers had a chance to vote for or against and it was ultimately approved. we knew it was coming to the elections and we knew it was going to be a big test of this agency, because as i said, the agency has a pretty checkered history when it comes to how they handle elections. it's not the first time that we see major problems. so i think that the assessment of ranked choice voting not really being the problem here is correct. however, there was some questions and doubt raised by public elected officials, by some of the candidates who ran in this race, that the city hadn't done enough education of new yorkers to tell them about ranked choice, to make sure that people were prepared. some of the exit polling that we saw after the election showed that new yorkers were in fact quite aware of the ranked choice and that many of them did rank their choices.
so it seems like it wasn't really a problem of changing the way in which new yorkers cast their vote, but really in the accounting that's done by the city agency. >> gloria, thank you so much for joining us today. >> thank you. the action taken on capitol hill after the supreme court's blow to voting rights in arizona. will it be enough? ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service. ♪
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effect. and by us doing that, it's going to take forever. so they're going to be able to pass these laws, potentially win elections, and by the time we can actually get some type of settlement or some type of we relief it will be too late. >> that's why he says he introduced a bill that would reinforce provision two of the voting rights act, barring states from adopting election laws that disproportionately impact minorities. joining me now is abbie livingston, the washington bureau chief at "the texas tribune" and michael star hopkins, founding partner of northern star strategy. the supreme court decision means in arizona ballots cast in the wrong precinct are rejected and only a voter, family member or caregiver can deliver completed absentee ballots. the vote was 6-3 along ideological lines. abby, what are the implications of the ruling immediately and in the future? >> well, i think this is a historical moment because this is sort of the final near
gutting of the voting rights act, which was the pinnacle of mid 20th century liberalism and president johnson's presidency. so i think what is happening right now is democrats are just having to batten down the hatches and also politically speaking i moved to washington in 2006, and the vra, the voting rights act was up for renewal and passed along largely bipartisan lines. it was a huge deal, so we have moved politically big time. >> certainly. then came 2020. justice samuel alito wrote the decision for the majority basically saying because it may be inconvenient to vote, access to voting is not unequal. michael, your reaction? >> this is a continuation of the roberts' court devastating the voting rights act. you know, if you can't vote, if you can't fully participate in our democracy, then you don't have your citizenship. i think what we're seeing all across the country is republicans attempt to strip
people's citizenship by stripping their right to vote. it really weakens our country and it is an insidious act which democrats have to push back against. >> justice kagan wrote the dissent saying 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 referring to the voting rights act. abby, i mean you cover washington. you are there. you saw what happened with infrastructure. it was something that both sides agreed was needed. do you actually see them, for example, doing anything with the john lewis voting rights act? >> if anything passes, that will likely be the one that passes, and that's to reinstate a section of the voting rights act that states have to clear it with the justice department if they have a history of racial discrimination in voting. that's the most likely but it doesn't mean it is likely. >> michael, justice alito laid out guidelines, a five-point
test for assessing voting rights going forward here. what kind of precedent does this set as states across the country are enacting their own restrictions? what does it mean for the for the people act, for the john lewis voting rights act? >> it means that democrats really have to put the pressure on not just republicans but our own members, people like manchin, people like cinema, to get this voting rights act put forth. when we head towards the 2022 election, there's no guarantees people will be allowed to vote. republicans are doing everything we can, and we have seen it in 2020, the big lie, just that they want to stop people from voting. it is cruel. it is anti-democratic. i think at the end of the day it will weaken us as a country. >> you know, michael, there have been articles written about why this is happening and why the gop is so focused on this, and there's been a lot of debate over whether this is essentially them trying to be the stop gap
to some of the changing demographics here, especially in the sun belt states. is that an argument that you agree with? >> 100%. look, if republicans had better numbers, better demographics they wouldn't be doing this. but republicans are a majority white party and the demographics in this country are changing. so the only way republicans can continue to stay in power is by stopping black and brown people from voting. it is that simple. everybody knows it. they're doing it right out in the open. so the question is going to be what are democrats going to do about it. >> abby livingston, michael starr hopkins, thank you both so much for your time on this holiday weekend. voting rights will be one of the issues reverend al sharpton will discuss with house representative stennie hoyer here on "politics nation" on nbc. another ransomware attack to tell you about. the details next. to tell you about the details next
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not a coincidence. hackers often target the beginning of a holiday or weekend when more employees are off. i'm lindsey reiser. i will be back tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. eastern and again at noon eastern. my colleague allison morris continues our coverage right now. hey there, everyone. welcome to "alex witt reports." i'm alison morris. here is what happening is happening at 2:00 p.m. eastern. 11 suspects in custody after an hours-long arms standoff on i-95 in massachusetts north of boston. it started overnight when a group of heavily armed men ran into the woods after refusing to comply with police. those men part of a group called rise of the moores. they claim to be immune from state laws. earlier today state police detailed the group's demand to negotiators. >> they wanted a voice. they wanted to be heard.
they wanted to be a variety of not demands but requests they just be allowed to leave the area, transit the area without any accountability and at the end of the day we couldn't accommodate that. >> nbc's kathy park is watching developments. she joins us live. what can you tell us? how did this standoff begin and how were police able to bring it to a peaceful end? >> reporter: allison it was a wild incident that took place while both you and i were probably sleeping, around 1:30 in the morning is when state troopers came across two vehicles that were in the breakdown lane on i-95 in wakefield, massachusetts. there were several men outside of the vehicle. they were wearing tactical gear and they were heavily armed. they were asked to show their ids and permits for those firearms but they didn't comply. that's when things quickly escalated. the men took off into the