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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  July 10, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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a very good day to all of us from msnbc world headquarters in new york. welcome, everyone, to "alex witt reports." here is what is happening at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m. pacific time. we are following breaking news in texas as a showdown over voting rights is under way right now. state republicans are mounting another effort to pass restrictive voting laws, and state democrats are considering their options to prevent the bill from becoming law. let's go to nbc's priscilla thompson joining us from the state capital in austin. priscilla, welcome to you. voters are having a chance to address their lawmakers today about the election bill. what are they telling you? what are they saying? >> reporter: yeah, alex. well, they're certainly hoping for the chance. when we got here this morning there were hundreds of people lined up outside of the doors that you see behind me to get into that house committee meeting and make their voices heard. but as it stands at this hour, the house has still not taken up
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that voting bill yet. it is last on their agenda and so public testimony on that has not yet begun. meanwhile, on the senate side the voting bill was the first thing that they've taken up, but to this point only the lawmakers have had that discussion. public testimony has still not opened up. so these folks who have come out to share their perspective have now been waiting hours for an opportunity to do that. one of the things that i've been struck by is the conversations that i've had with voters of color. i met a mother/daughter duo who drove three-and-a-half hours to be here with their sorority members and said they wanted to talk about this bill and talk to their lawmakers because they do feel like this bill is going to disproportionately impact their communities. i also spoke with another man, a bus driver who lives about 30 minutes from here, 71 years old, and i asked him what he makes of all of this and what he plans to do if this bill ultimately
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becomes law. take a listen to what he shared with me. >> i'm going to vote. too many people, white and black, died for this privilege to see that somebody is going to suppress it. we don't need suppression. we need more easier voting. it should be going -- voting should be more easy than you go to get a big mac. >> reporter: so, alex, there are tons of people like mr. jones here that are waiting to get that opportunity to speak. it is now 1:00 p.m. here in texas, so we're getting in to the afternoon. some folks have told me they're going to have to leave, they didn't plan to be here late into the night, but there are others who say that they will stay as long as they have to in order to make their voices heard on this. >> i'm betting some of the republican lawmakers that were counting on some people not being able to stay all day, thus putting it at the end of their agenda. okay, priscilla thompson. thank you so much. we have breaking news to share out of virginia. a third statue is coming down in charlottesville after the city held an emergency meeting today. let's go to nbc's dion hampton
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joining us. what is going on? what are we hearing about the latest development? >> reporter: yes. so, honestly, it is just a second day of surprises. council members yesterday announced they were going to remove the two confederate monuments here in downtown -- or i should say in the heart of charlottesville, but now breaking news, in the last hour or so all of a sudden the lewis and clark and another statue is all of a sudden being removed. council members met on a saturday in an emergency meeting, unbeknownst to the media already here. crews are already blocking off streets. officers are already getting a handle on the traffic, and they're right now -- or at least in the last 30 minutes, starting to remove that statue, which is the third controversial statue, you know, that's being taken away here. i want to point out one theme though, that there's a young woman out here, mrs. bryant.
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five years ago she was a 16-year-old student in high school and all of a sudden she had came up with a petition that she wanted these statues removed. so now today is a continuing trend of some of the things that she started five years ago, but i want you all to take a listen to what she said. take a listen to this. >> we are standing in a park where this city is still refusing to address systemic issues and the work of removing the statue is only the tip of the iceberg. some the young people out there, i hope that this empowers you to speak up on the issues that matter and to take charge in your own cities and communities. no platform for white supremacy, no platform raised for racism and no platform for hate. >> reporter: and i would like to point out that that interview was from this morning, but i recently ran into her a little while ago and talked to her again. she said, listen, this is just
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the tip of the iceberg. eventually what she wants to do is she wants to talk about education here. she mentioned that there's problems here with housing gaps where the average rent cost is sky high, comparable to new york city. some apartments cost $1,800 a month, and you have a lot of affluent people here but you have a lot of minorities who can't pay that type of rent. so as her activism continues, that's kind of where she wants to focus her attention on moving forward. alex. >> okay. well, she has a tall agenda. i'm sure she is going to stick with it. deon, thank you so much. let's go to the other top stories we are following for you today. president biden issuing a stark warning to vladimir putin after another wave of cyberattacks by a group of russian hackers. it comes just weeks after the two leaders met in geneva and biden addressed this exact issue. >> i made it very clear to him that -- that the united states
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expects when ransomware operation is coming from his soil, we know it is not, not sponsored by the state, we expect him to act and we give him enough information to act on though that is. >> over on capitol hill we are learning new details about the timeline of the select committee's investigation into the january 6th insurrection. chairman bennie thompson telling msnbc those hearings will start either july 21st or 22nd, and telling my colleague tiffany cross what the first hearings will focus on. >> the first committee hearing will be, we'll talk to the rank and file employees who had to fight some of these people off on that day. we will talk to the custodial help who had to clean the mess up after we got the people out of the capitol. none of these people have been talked to, so we want -- >> right. >> -- to set the tone. we want to set the tone for our committee's work, that we care about the employees who work
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every day in the capitol. >> and overnight the first high-profile firing of the biden administration. andrew saul, the head of the social security administration and a trump-era holdover. the white house saying saul's actions ran contrary to the agency's mission. saul, however, rejecting the move, saying his term was protected and telling "the washington post" he plans to be back at work on monday morning. let's go to nbc's josh letterman standing by for us in wilmington, delaware. josh, clearly andrew saul is refusing to step down. got to wonder what is going to happen on monday morning. do you have any insights into what happens next? >> reporter: well, a looming showdown, alex, with the ousted commissioner saying he's not going anywhere, calling this a friday night massacre and telling "the washington post" he believes he's entitled to serve out the rest of his six-year term, which is not scheduled to end until 2025. he does have some history to go on there because these independent agencies like the
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social security administration typically have had directors that serve for a set period of term regardless of if the white house changes hands. but the biden white house also has some ground to stand on here because in recent years the supreme court has ruled not once but twice that the executive branch does have the ability to hire and fire the heads of these agencies just like they would for any other political appointee in the administration. so the biden white house, they have now tapped the deputy commissioner to take over in an acting capacity. but in the meantime, the ousted commission, andrew saul, he says he plans to try to sign on to his computer monday morning from home, return to work as he normally would, while the white house says he is no longer head of the social security administration. that is setting up a showdown on monday that could very likely end up in court, alex. >> okay. josh letterman, many thanks for the update. joining me now is msnbc
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daily writer and editor hayes brown. hayes, a big welcome back to the broadcast. i'm curious your reaction, this overnight reaction here to president biden firing the head of the social security administration. what do you think this means for the future of the agency, at least during this administration? >> well, i mean honestly i am not too surprised that this is happening because the biden administration has been very clear that they don't want to just blanket fire trump appointees in positions like the social security administration. they want to wait usually, to have a reason behind it. that's why they explained this firing as mostly because he basically endangered the workers in the social security administration by cancelling telework and other actions that the employees of the social security administration felt were a problem during a pandemic. so as far as the administration, i don't know exactly what will happen in terms of what will happen monday morning. it is going to be a surprise for everyone. i really doubt he will be able to log on to his computer and go
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about his day as usual, but i do also see the idea -- the idea of it being filed in court on monday morning very likely in my opinion. how far this will go or how long this will take to sort out, totally unclear to me. >> yeah. well, we're going to be following it, that's for sure. let's switch gears to what is happening in charlottesville today, those statues having been removed. what do you think the significance is of this day, hayes, of these statues finally, four years at least since the charlottesville incident, the deadly one, you know, so much confrontation back and forth, really loud voices on both sides of it, yet today those two statues came down with a third being taken down right now? >> i think it is about time. i think it was way too long in coming. these statues didn't go up until the 1920s, years, decades after the civil war had actually ended as part of a nationwide push to revamp how america thought of
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the confederacy. these statues had no place being up in the first place. they were monuments to losers, to people who had fought for the right to own slavery no matter what sort of white washing has happened since. that's what they were fighting for, the right of people to own other people in bondage. so it is about time that -- i'm so glad that the charlottesville city council finally pulled them down. what is going to happen to the statues is not clear right now because these had some offers for them to be purchased and taken away. the third statue that came down, the lewis and clark was very interesting. i was reading in the last couple of minutes it came down because they removed the first two statues so fast that the third one they just kind of threw in as a bonus. like while you're here, do you want to grab this one? which the city council had already voted on previously to remove. so i'm glad all of these statues are coming down, the lewis and clark one, if you look at that
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one it is sakajawia hiding behind lewis and clark, very submissive. in totality these are three statues that promote the idea of white supremacy, white dominance as a cultural idea. so for them to be removed is a great step forward in trying to erase that stain from our nation's culture. >> a great step forward, a single step or do you think a great victory today? >> column a, column b, a bit of both to be honest. it is definitely great victory for the activists who have been fighting for this for so long. it is also just a step forward in terms of bringing down these sort of statues around the country, and, more importantly, in erasing the legacy that they represent. the statues coming down is a very positive move. it takes away the physical sign of this idea of white supremacy, this idea that there was something noble and good and valiant about the fight of the confederacy. but the idea of it still lingers
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in our psyche. the idea of the lost cause is still out there, that this was something that was valuable, that was worth fighting for. that is going to be harder to finally take down or finally remove from the nation's consciousness. >> i like the way you answer that. it wasn't an either more, it was a little bit of column a and column b. that was good. let's go to texas, my friend, where dozens filed into the state legislature today. they're part of a public hearing on new voting legislation. the chamber is taking it up during the special session. so that legislation would ban overnight and 24-hour voting. it would require id for mail-in votes, give power to poll watchers and make some rules for transporting people to the polls. that's just a few of the restrictions. how detrimental, hayes, could this bill be and how likely is it to actually pass? >> very likely to actually pass. the only reason that the previous version didn't pass during the regular session in texas state legislature session was because the democrats walked out. they denied a quorum for a vote
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to take place. they probably won't be able to do it again this time during the special session. i will say there's one small bit of positivity here in that after that action republicans looked at the bill, they actually looked at it and realized how controversial some of the portions were which have been watered down or stripped out entirely. but the bill as it stands is still full of restrictions on the ability to vote. so i think that it is very likely to pass. this is one of the main reasons why governor greg abbott called the special session, to get this voting legislation through. i do think that people are right to be concerned about how it will limit the ways that people can vote. i want to be clear really quickly that it is not about taking away the ability, the right to vote. it is not taking away any ability for people to vote. it makes it harder though, and that is what is true about so many of these bills around the country. what is so pernicious about them, because the advocates can say, no, it is making it -- it is putting it -- making it a little harder to vote to make it
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safer. no, it is limiting the ability of people to easily vote, which is contradictory to the idea of a free and fair democracy. >> perspective offered there, hayes brown. good to talk to you. thank you so much. so he wants his twitter back and he wants it back now. the first amendment argument being used by the former president against big tech. lawrence tribe joining me next. t . how much money can liberty mutual save you? one! two! three! four! five! 72,807! 72,808... dollars. yep... everything hurts. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ with relapsing forms of ms... there's a lot to deal with. not just unpredictable relapses. all these other things too. it can all add up.
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♪ ♪ we're getting a brand-new look this weekend at the violence that unfolded during the january 6th attack on the capitol. the doj releasing extremely graphic and disturbing video evidence at the request of nbc news and other organizations. we're going to warn you, this may be a little difficult to watch. perspective from capitol police
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video cam, body cam there, and it is new video which comes as workers are moving to remove protective fencing around the capitol, six months after it was first erected, but new concerns arising for capitol police who could be at risk of being furloughed. let's go to nbc's amanda golden joining us from capitol hill. what is happening with the capitol security funding? >> reporter: well, alex, as the fencing is coming down, that last physical reminder that we have of the insurrection that we saw take place just six months ago, this is still coming at a time when there are renewed questions around how the capitol police force can best protect the capitol complex, and it is coming amid continued scrutiny over if they have the appropriate funds and resources in order to do their jobs effectively with the potential now come mid-august they could need to furlough some of the capitol police officers in their force because they do not have adequate funds at this time. there are two duelling supplemental funding bills that worked their way through congress. the house passed bill, the $1.9
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emergency supplemental funding passed the house with $31 million allocated to capitol police salary but it is stalled in the senate. there's a republican senate counterproposal we just learned about yesterday seeking to do $632 million in order to bolster national guard and capitol police. no word yet on where democratic senate leadership will stand on that proposal. this is coming, of course, as the january select committee in the house is going to start those hearings just imminently. we heard earlier today from the chair of that committee, congressman bennie thompson, speak to what he hopes will be addressed in regards to capitol police funding. >> we will look at what happened on january 6th, but the security around the capitol continues to be a problem. as you know, we passed legislation in the house to improve the security, but we're still waiting on the senate. they have not taken action. we're about two weeks from
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running out of money. that is a concern. i hope the senate works its will so we can keep people employed, we can continue to secure the capitol. >> reporter: we've learned from congressman thompson that the first hearing that the select committee is going to hold will focus on capitol police and the support workers that were here at the capitol on january 6th to understand what they experienced firsthand. that's going to take place either july 21st or 22nd according to congressman thompson, and we are still awaiting house minority leader kevin mccarthy's additional five appointments to this select committee that comes in light of the eight appointments we saw from house speaker nancy pelosi just last week, alex. >> okay. amanda golden, many thanks for that. new reaction to the arrests of accused capitol rioters connected to the targeting of news crews and destruction of camera equipment and other media property on january 6th. my next guest co-wrote this for "the washington post". prosecuting assaults on journalists protects our
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democracy. joining me is laurence tribe, university professor at harvard law school. also an author and constitutional law expert. laurence, good to have you on the broadcast here. look, politicians routinely use the press as a punching bag, but you are saying the problem arises when those actions are allowed to go unchecked. >> that's right. when the press is not only a punching bag but is called the enemy of the people and when vigilantes are basically stirred up, whether it is the proud boys or any other group, the oath keepers, are stirred up by no less than the president of the united states to attack not only the capitol and the capitol police but the journalists who are covering the event, and it is really about time that the department of justice went out of its way to identify those attackers of the capitol who threatened the lives and safety
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of journalists who are performing an absolutely crucial function in our democracy. it is the only private institution mentioned by the constitution, the press. the freedom of the press was recognized as indispensable to a democratic system of government, as indispensable as votes and as peaceful transitions of power. all of those were under attack on january 6th. >> yes, pretty extraordinary as i was looking -- you rather succinctly drew this string of names, all of whom tried to limit the press and put restrictions on this. putin, chinese president xi jinping, mao se dong, and mussolini, having used the phrase fake news. hey, sound familiar? >> you left one out. you left out no less than adolf hitler. >> that's right. >> who went after the critics in the munich press.
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it is a standard autocratic technique. you go after the critics. you silence them. you use them as punching bags many you kill them. you assassinate them, and then you take over and hold on to power. if you are voted out of office the way trump was, you claim that it was a fraud and you try to make everybody who voted for you think that they're victims, and you try to get back into power. you claw your way back in. that's what this ex-president is trying to do. he's trying to foment violence even now. >> well, on the heels of that group of names, let's talk about donald j. trump. you write that his years of aggressive speech, that may have played a role in the attacks on the media. but how far does free speech take him and can he ultimately be held accountable for the actions of others because of what he said? >> there are several things involved there. for one thing, it is not just
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speech. in this case the things he said were part and parcel of the attempted takeover of the capitol. it is like, you know, your money or your life. that's words, but it is also a hold-up. so he was engaging in speech, but not really in advocacy. he was using speech to rile up the mob. besides, the first amendment is there to protect private speech against the government. he was speaking at that time with the voice of the government, and ironically he is now saying that the voice of the government has become facebook and twitter and he claims somehow that the first amendment gives him a right to be on those platforms as though they were the government. he's got it all upside down. >> so, laurence, the doj has actually named trump, they've cited his false claims about the election. this is a legal argument to try to keep an accused capitol rioter under monitoring.
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>> right. >> does that connection create any legal jeopardy for him? >> well, it is at least an indication that they're beginning to connect the dots. that is, if it is the case as the department of justice has asserted in saying that somebody ought to be constantly monitored and not trusted to be completely at liberty, if they're saying that part of what is fomenting violence even now is the claim by trump and some of his followers that the election was stolen, and if that is fomenting violence now, then the claim that it was all stolen and that the mob should use force to prevent the transition of power to joe biden by interrupting the counting of the electoral votes on january 6th, all of that seems to be part and parcel of a violation of a very important
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federal criminal law that goes back to the civil rights, civil war era that is, 18u.s.c.2383. it is a law that says anyone who gives aid and comfort to an insurrection against the united states government, whether in words or in action, shall be imprisoned and never again eligible to run for office. that law, i think, may well apply to donald trump. >> so you mentioned twitter. we know trump is crying censorship. he is seeing the social media platforms for banning his accounts following the january 6th insurrection. he's not the first person to have their account locked. does any user have absolute rights on these platforms or does the fact that these are privately owned companies or those that are, does that give them some level of insulation from that? >> well, it makes it clear that they are not subject to the
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first amendment. they are subject to various contract rules. they perhaps can be sued for breaching a contract with their users, although congress has given them quite a bit of immunity. but what you can't do is pretend they're the government. they, in fact, have rights against the government. one of the difficulties with these really powerful platforms is that we don't have any meaningful way to regulate them. there's this joke of, you know, an oversight board that is accountable to facebook itself, but self-regulation is not the way to solve the problem. we may need a regulatory structure, but whatever structure we put in place has to respect the first amendment rights of these private entities. in his op-ed on the subject, donald trump said, you know, they're like the newspapers of old and the television stations of old. well, yeah, but newspapers and television stations, though they can be subject to antitrust and other regulations, have first
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amendment rights. nobody has an automatic right to be -- to be on your program or to have an op-ed in "the washington post" or to be on fox news as a commentator. trump is simply making up a body of law that doesn't exist. and then in order to make it sound sensible, he says in his op-ed and in the papers that his new lawyers have filed, he says that the government is coercing facebook into kicking him off or twitter. there's no evidence of that, and that the government is using any power. it doesn't have any power right now over these organizations. >> yeah. well, let me make it official. you, my friend, do have a right to be on my show any time you want. i appreciate your scholarly insights. laurence tribe, thank you so much. >> thank you. also new on the capitol riot version, "politico" reporting the doj agreed to spend more than $6 million to create a database large enough to hold all of the videos, the documents, the social media posts, all related to january
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6th. it is being done to facilitate the discovery process that requires prosecutors to share evidence with defense attorneys for the more than 500 accused rioters already charged. there will be more to come. times square empty in 2020. packed in 2021. why getting back to the new normal across this country and staying there isn't a given. and one we explore. one that's been paved 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 all-new 3-row jeep grand cherokee l that delicious scramble was microwaved? get outta here. everybody's a skeptic. wright brothers? more like, yeah right, brothers!
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new today in the coronavirus pandemic, a warning for people living in states with low vaccination rates. health officials say new numbers and outbreaks are likely because of the delta variant. many of those states are in the south and mid-west. some reporting an increase in cases over the last couple of weeks. let's go to nbc's lindsey reiser joining me from new york city with more on this. how many areas are seeing outbreaks, lindsey? >> reporter: yeah, we are seeing outbreaks right now, alex, in the south, in the plains, and you had mentioned that this
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delta variant is driving it. it is the delta variant in unvaccinated clusters. for example, here in new york city the delta variant is the dominant variant right now, and even though tourism is back up there are a ton of people out in times square behind me, restaurants are back, even a broad way show is back. new york hasn't seen an increase in cases. state officials say that's because we have a high vaccination rate here in the state, about three-quarters of all adults have gotten at least one shot. even though the dominant strain is delta both here in new york city, also in new jersey, it is not driving the cases. new york right now reporting still record low number of -- seven-day rolling average cases. that's not the case around the country. we just talked about the south, the plains right now. so the states that we're seeing this are also the states that have the lowest vaccination rates. these are the ones that are experiencing increases in their 14-day totals. i will go through some of them. alabama, mississippi, arkansas, louisiana, tennessee. they're all seeing their
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vaccination rates hovering in the 30s, but their case increases right now, up 80%, up 86%, up 106%. so there's definitely a correlation here. you know, i talked to some folks about how they feel being out here, traveling. a lot of tourists are back here. how comfortable they feel about where we are in the baend right pandemic right now. this is what they told me. >> i think i feel pretty good. we're all vaccinated as a family, so i think it helps us feel better. i'm not so sure what the fall brings, but it seems okay now. in general, the unknown is a little concerning, but i don't think too much about it. >> i'm good. i'm comfortable. i'm sick of being home, so she came on vacation and said, "we have to go to new york and we have to do some shopping." we have to be careful. i am walking around with this, if i have to go somewhere which i feel uncomfortable immediately i will wear it. >> reporter: i heard a lot of that from tourists. they still have their masks on
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them just in case they get into an environment where they don't feel comfortable. but, you know, alex, the cdc says 99% of the deaths recorded last month were among unvaccinated people. that really highlights where we are right now, the fact that these unvaccinated clusters are driving some of the numbers, alex. >> listen, if those tourists have come to new york city by plane, they're going to have to keep the masks with them because getting back on the plane they have to wear them until at least september. good point. thank you very much, lindsey reiser. i want to bring in nbc news medical contributor, dr. bhadelia. give me your sense how serious the situation is in the states seeing the surge in the delta variant cases. do you think they should reimpose restrictions and mask mandates? >> yeah, alex, good to see you again. you know, it is these unvaccinated or undervaccinated states that are, as lindsey has been talking about, seeing -- we've seen about a 52% increase in cases over the last two weeks. the more worrisome thing is
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about a 4% increase, which is magnified in particular states to be up to 25% increase in hospitalizations. so what we're expecting, we have been through this before. you see the cases go up, and what we're expecting is among the unvaccinated you are going to see the hospitalizations go up, and that's why it is worrisome in those states. i kind of want to point to what lindsey was talking about, that picture behind her of a highly vaccinated state where delta is present, but people are able to return the normalcy, right. and this idea of what happens in the fall and put it all together for a second, because in the fall as long as there's no new variants, right -- what could change, what could make cases go up in highly vaccinated states? if we find pockets of highly unvaccinated people in one area, among highly -- sorry. unvaccinated people in a highly vaccinated state where outbreaks happen and then hospitalizations occur, or you find that even though delta variant is currently highly covered bess
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by these vaccines, they protect you from hospitalization and death, it is not a guarantee for every variant that might come on the horizon. if cases continue to be transmitted abroad and here, maybe a new variant comes on the horizon. those things could change the picture for the fall. for the most part states highly vaccinated are looking like what lindsey showed behind her in new york city. >> to your point, pfizer has said this week it is seeking fda authorization for booster shot of its covid vaccine. it is being done right now over concerns about the delta variant, but there could be something else that comes along to your point. the cdc and the fda have responded saying, fully vaccinated people at this time don't need boosters. they say they're prepared for that when science demonstrates they are needed. what do you make of this? do you think we could need booster shots sooner rather than later? i mean if something comes along. >> yeah, i think we don't know what is on the horizon, right,
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aelection. alex. that's why i agree with the statement that was made, which is that the evidence strongly shows if you are healthy, your immune system is intact, the vaccines are really -- if you are fully vaccinated the vaccines are doing a good job to protect you. you are seeing people on the fringes whose immune system, you know, in terms of their medical high risk, but we're already seeing vaccines are not that efficacious. in those people, there is data involving potentially if you give them a third dose their immune system will rev up for them to be highly protected but it is a small group of people. i think we won't know until something else comes on the horizon. right now the data that pfizer is using is delta variant data from israel. i think there's a lot of just conversations about why that data is different from the data, for example, from public health england or scotland that actually still shows against delta variant these vaccines are quite effective. i think the jury is still out. we may need it down the road but
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it is not a given right here. >> here is the deal. we are learning as we go along with this covid, that's for sure, as we have been from the beginning and with your help communicating what we've learned. thank you so much, dr. bhadelia. the heat wave in the west gets worse with a new record on the books in death valley. that's ahead. try boost® high protein with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients this is dr. arnold t. petsworth, he's the owner of petsworth vetworld. business was steady, but then an influx of new four-legged friends changed everything. dr. petsworth welcomed these new patients. the only problem? more appointments meant he needed more space. that's when dr. petsworth turned to his american express business card, which offers spending potential that's built for his changing business needs. he used his card to furnish a new exam room and everyone was happy. get the card built for business. by american express.
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scientists are saying they're extraordinarily concerned. it is not just scientists but also government officials it we heard from gavin newsom say it is a situation that is facing the state of california right now, is simply jaw dropping. that's because this is the third major heat wave to strike the western portion of the united states this year alone. we are not even halfway through the summer, and we are seeing really extreme temperatures. for example, in death valley yesterday, clocking 130 degrees. that's simply horrifying, that kind of temperature, just four degrees shy of the all-time record there. here in california, it is causing all sorts of problems with the power grid. they've declared a stage two emergency, which is just a step short of having to trigger rolling blackouts for the state, asking people to conserve energy. that situation is compounded by wildfires that we're seeing in oregon, which officials say is stopping their ability to import power from oregon into
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california to be able to provide some much-needed relief to the power grid. all of this, scientists are saying, is in part the result of climate change. take a listen. >> although it was a rare event, an event of this extremely would have been virtually impossible in the past. but we are going to be seeing more intense and more frequent heat waves in the future as global warming continues. >> reporter: and that scientist was specifically referencing that drastic heat wave that we saw towards the end of june that hit the pacific northwest. for the whole of june the united states recorded the hottest temperatures ever on record, but specifically hitting the pacific northwest. 200 died according to official estimates, not only impacting human life, not only a dangerous situation for the people living there, but it was also a very dangerous situation for the wildlife. hundreds of millions of mussels
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literally cook alive along the coastline. scientists saying the true ecological impact of that event won't be realized for years to come. >> i tell you, i can't even take it. when i see all of "the los angeles times" breaking news alerts that come to me recently, so many have to do with issues about the season, the heat and firefighters saying how concerned they are. as bad as the last few years have been, they've never seen it this bad. newsom asking people not to water their lawns, try to conserve water that way. i tell you, erin, there's a lot to talk about. thank you for bringing the story to us. i appreciate you. new today, the first lady of haiti breaks her silence for the first time since her husband's assassination and has a warning to the nation. n. whoo hoo! ensure, with 27 vitamins and minerals, now introducing ensure complete! with 30 grams of protein. i'm really nervous. ensure complete! i don't know what i should wear.
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martin moise says that tears will be incessant. she went on to call the killers gutless thugs and warns the threat of political violence is not over. she is now recovering in miami. joining me now is gary pierre pierre founder of "the haitian times" and a former times reporter. an extraordinary incident we are talking about. first of all, your reaction to the first lady saying other mercenaries are out there who want to end her husband's dream. what does she mean by that? >> she means there are other people trying to attack democracy in haiti. i'm not so sure that the message about her husband's work, you know, it resonates too much. i mean this is a tragedy obviously, but at the same time we understand the pain that she must be going through, both physically and emotionally. this was a traumatic experience.
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but in terms of the politics of it all, this is not over. there's an investigation going on. the fbi and dhs are down there investigating, and so we'll hopefully get to the bottom of this. this case, hopefully, will not be another one of those situations in haiti where the investigation continues ad nauseam. >> uh-huh. i want to, gary, get to some details about the investigation and the people who are responsible for this assassination in a second. but put in perspective the upheaval in haiti in recent months, because there's been a lot of violence there. >> well, we can go back to 2018, alex. that's essentially when it started and it culminated with the assassination. it has been god awful, difficult to live. the gangs have taken over this country. they essentially control the capital city, port-au-prince.
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they have segmented the place. you can't go north, you can't go south. so while we're talking about all of this, there's a covid, delta variant is taking hold in haiti, there's food insecurity, and you have on top of it this situation going on that's virtually out of control. >> yeah. okay. so perspective there. let's talk about those people that are under arrest. who are they and are you surprised there are so many of them? >> well, listen, this is something akin to a movie. they're showing us a movie. i'm talking to people in port-au-prince who told me these guys actually witnessed colombian nationals that moise had contacted, had hired to help him deal with the gang issue. so they were living in the country already. so i don't know clearly how they got mixed up in this, but they seem to be a very convenient
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foil and so they're being paraded. but there's no clear evidence that they were involved in anything. ask ourselves this question. how would a group of mercenaries be able to execute flawlessly, this execution of a president? okay. and then not have an exit strategy and be able to be caught so quickly and remain in the country? it doesn't make sense and we should not accept that explanation. >> so where do things stand now? because you bring up a really salient point as you break it all down. first of all, how did security forces respond to the attack? >> nothing. not one single shot was fired. nobody got injured except the president and his wife, nobody else. >> wait. we've heard about some people having lost their lives. i think four -- don't quote me on that, but four, maybe five people were killed. no? you're saying it didn't happen? >> no, that was -- that was after, after the president was killed. during the operation, no one got shot except the president and
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his wife. >> okay. so police -- police, that's when they were looking for suspects, right? that's what you're saying, that's when that happened, that's when those people got shot? >> yes. >> okay. so what are the big questions that are being asked now? >> well, what's next? who is in charge? it is a really legitimate question. although the u.n. is trying to throw its weight behind claude, it is not going on very well with civil society in haiti. even the people in the diaspora, people are pushing back and saying the u.n. shouldn't be imposing its will on haiti. it remains unclear who is in charge. it has been complicated even more. this morning the former president of the senate threw his hat in the ring, saying that constitutionally he is president, but he is right but he's no longer in power because parliament was dissolved because
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moise failed to organize parliamentary elections. so the situation is fluid and we don't know what is going to happen right now. >> yes, fluid with a lot of moving pards. gary pierre-pierre, thank you so much. come see us again as things become more enlightened and fact-based for us. thank you so much. everyone, we will be right back. . ♪ after we make grilled cheese, ♪ ♪ then we're eating grilled cheese. ♪ ♪ because it's time. ♪ ♪ yeah. ♪ ♪ time for grilled cheese. ♪ your mission: stand up to moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and take. it. on... with rinvoq. rinvoq a once-daily pill can dramatically improve symptoms... rinvoq helps tame pain, stiffness, swelling. and for some, rinvoq can even significantly reduce ra fatigue. that's rinvoq relief. with ra, your overactive immune system attacks your joints. rinvoq regulates it to help stop the attack.
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virgin galactic's rich and r ard branson will take the lead in the space race. he and employees will soar to space and return about an hour later. it is the first of three test flights to pave the way for tourist space travel starting next year. >> we as a human race to be able to go into space and, and marvel at -- you know, marvel at the world and have the experience of a lifetime. that's only happened to 500 people roughly since space travel started. you know, virgin galactic hope to enable hundreds more. >> branson's billionaire space rival jeff bezos is set to launch in ten days. so you be sure to catch our space race coverage. it is tomorrow morning at 8:00 eastern right here on msnbc. and that's going to do it for me on this edition of "alex witt reports." i will see you tomorrow at noon
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eastern. my friend yasmin vossoughian continues our coverage. good afternoon, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian. a lot we are covering this hour, an hour ahead. voting rights under attack and hearing going on right now in texas. with the sanctity of the ballot up for grabs, a sight some thought they would never see, the statue that lead to deadly right wing extremist violence in charlottesville, virginia, coming down. this as video is released of violence on the capitol hill. and reporter ali vitali one-on-one with caitlyn jenner. find out what happened. plus, covid confusion over whether people need a vaccine booster shot. later on this hour, race and sports. we're going to dig into a controversy involving two espn sideline reporters that puts the issue front and

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