tv Politics Nation MSNBC July 10, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
>> susan del percio, former congresswoman donna edwards, thank you both. very much appreciate it. that wraps it up for me. i'm yasmin vossoughian. "politicsnation" with the reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening and welcome to "politicsnation." tonight's lede, the summer of our discontent. right now i'm still reflecting on something that president biden told me this week when i and other legacy civil rights leaders sat down with him and vice president harris at the white house to address the national right-wing assault on our voting rights. he said that action is coming, and i take him at his word, heartened that will travel to philadelphia next week to address this suppression
campaign as vice president and attorney general garland play their roles in directing the administration's response to it. because whether the assistance comes from the white house, the people's house, or both, the only response that has ever worked to protect minority rights from abuse has been a federal one. teaching us by history, history teaches that left to their own devices, our states can rarely be trusted to do so. but the answer apparently won't come from our u.s. congress where the gop doesn't want to see a problem and legislatures have such -- and the state-level republicans are literally just making problems up. and with the current convulsion in texas where gop state lawmakers refuse to be denied their voting restriction legislation, they're convening a
special session this week largely to continue looking the part for donald trump and ultimately his voters. but i warned those lawmakers pushing this suppression, allowing it to happen, please don't expect some kind of vacation because, as i told the president, this activist summer is only just beginning. so we start with texas. with us now is texas congresswoman eddie bernice johnson. always a pleasure to have you with us. coming off the president's meeting with myself and other civil rights leaders this week, he will now deliver remarks on the voting rights crisis from philadelphia this tuesday. democrats' signature voting bills appear inert or stalled in the senate for the time being. when we're watching this special legislative session in your home state, we call it suppression session, called for by governor
greg abbott, the gop legislators trying to add additional restrictions on voting to their so-called election integrity bill. if some version of this bill becomes law, would you invite the justice department to intervene as in the case of georgia where attorney general merrick garland has filed suit over its voting restriction laws that they passed earlier this year? >> well, thank you reverend sharpton. and i appreciate you keeping an eye on texas. my answer to your question is, yes, we will go the full extent that we can to protect the voters of this state. you know, it's so interesting that there were 44 cases that they were able to find with a little bit of a -- course with voting, and that is 0.0004% of those who voted.
there's no reason, no grounds for them to be restricting our voting based on that. but i can tell you this. we have some very bright, loyal state elected officials both in our house and senate that's on top of it. today they're hearing testimony, and the divine nine is present, the urban league, and all of the organizations are lined up there to testify. so they will not get by without having to listen to the facts. it's on a fast track. they got the votes to do what they want to do, but they're going to do it after hearing the facts. and after listening to the leadership. we have had a lot of interest. we kept a lot of interest and people are there to make sure that their voices are heard for
the record. >> let me make sure we understand what you said. after the research, they found 0.004% fraud, so this is legislation and a solution looking for a problem, it's not a problem in need of legislation and a solution? >> that is exactly right. they're looking -- actually, trying to find a reason to interfere with our voting. we do not intend to slacken our pace in getting the vote out. so no matter what they do with this legislation, they got the votes. they can roughshod us if they please, but it won't be the end of it. we'll continue to fight it. >> congresswoman, as republicans in texas and washington try to suppress the vote, they're also dying on the hill of critical race theory. though most of them couldn't tell you what it really is. now, that hasn't stopped the gop
in your state from trying to ban its teaching, using a special legislative session to block it. they use it as a boogie man to frighten their constituents. i wonder how republican lawmakers can elevate black historical holidays like juneteenth but then suppress the history behind it, while at the same, insisting that the confederate monuments erected to celebrate that history, like the two that came down in charlottesville this morning, have to be maintained because to do so would be to suppress history. how do you have it where you don't want racial theories taught, which is really american history, but the critical race theories taught, but you do want to preserve confederate statues and you do want to say at the same time we'll celebrate
juneteenth? how are they trying to have it both ways, congresswoman? >> well, that is because they cannot justify what they're doing. they're reaching out to grasp at straws to try to justify what they're doing. we know the difference. there are enough people who have studied our history and enough people who can pass on what it is. you just cannot erase our history in this country. the world is aware of hour history. our young people need to know our history because that's the only way we can stay aware of how we can prevent that from happening again. it seems to me that some of the things they're trying to do now are worse than some portions of that history. if they try to wipe out our right to vote and find every reason not to count our votes, that sometimes can have a worse effect than what our history had because we have fought and
continued to move forward, and we will continue to move forward. we will not allow them to erase us as if it didn't happen because we can see that without strong attention, it will happen again. >> and i might say that blacks and whites are fighting in texas and all over this country to preserve this. people are confused when you say critical race theory. it's really american history. this is no theory. these things happened. >> exactly. >> before i let you go u you're the highest ranking texan on the house infrastructure and transportation committee. senate majority leader chuck schumer has said he intends to work into august to get an infrastructure plan passed through the senate. we know it will be a challenge. not only is it likely no republicans will support the measure, but several moderate democratic senators have said they're concerned about the price tag. are you confident the senate
will pass a bill that matches the bold vision of rebuilding america set forth by president biden and you and your colleagues in the house? >> well, thank you very much. i have been on the transportation committee for all these years, and we worked all night in getting the bill out from 9:00 a.m. to the next morning around 6:00 a.m. and so now in the hands of the senate we can only pray and encourage that they would not move away from this. and what they're really complaining about more than anything else is the other type of infrastructure that we insist upon addressing. you know, when they built the interstate highways in this country, you go anywhere in the nation, if you get on an interstate highway, you're going to go through a black community. we've addressed that in this bill to try to restore some of the things that we lost because of that.
that is infrastructure. we need wi-fi and broadband as critically as anyone because we have been able to see with this virus and the absence of classroom space for our children that even in our urban areas we have not had access to broadband. we insist that we will not continue to go along to get along and leave out these important things that our young people need. >> all right. thank you, congresswoman eddie bernice johnson. on tuesday -- i want to share this with you. tuesday in arkansas i delivered the eulogy for 17-year-old hunter briton who died the way so many others have unfortunately died in this country, as a victim of police brutality. he was shot and killed by law enforcement during a traffic stop. hunter was a white teenager.
his death and case reaches across racial lines to prove that we need universal criminal justice and police reform for all americans, that all of our children are being at risk at being shot. joining me now is civil rights attorney benjamin crump and the uncle of hunter briton, jesse briton. thank you both for being with me. let me go to you first, jesse. again, my deepest condolences to you and grandma and the family. your nephew, hunter, was killed on june 23rd. the officer involved in the shooting, deputy sergeant michael davis, has been fired by the department after failure to turn on his body camera during what led up to his shooting your nephew. what actions would you and the family like to see? >> i'd like to see the officer
charged with murder, just like if any one of us made the mistake he made. we would be charged with murder and we would be held accountable for what we've done. and i'd like to see the same. >> they call you uncle jesse because you were his uncle, hunter's uncle. you took the step to try to bring everyone together in a rural part of arkansas, bringing me in to do the eulogy. we didn't know what too expect down there, but people were standing together saying we want justice. this is not about black and white, it's about right and wrong. what brought you to that determination, to that decision, knowing that it was unsettling for some. you and ms. becky, the grandmother, that had encourage
to stand up and say we're going to go do this together? >> that's right. it's not about black or white or brown. it's about us coming together as americans and fighting for what's right. i mean, this qualified immunity, it must end for these law enforcement officers. they can come out and kill our kids and do anything they want and they have no consequences. something's got to be done. >> attorney crump, you represented many bereaved families mourning loved ones shot by police, like the ones that are not new, george floyd was black, hunter britain is right, both victims dead. unless we all come together, we can't solve it for anyone. americans of all races suffer at the hands of police. this is not just racial. it's class, it's many things, but it's a lack of accountability. it's an american problem. what needs to be done to stop
this narrative from happening over and over again? >> [ no audio ] >> i think we can't hear attorney crump. >> reverend, can you hear me now? >> yes. >> as jesse said so eloquently at the home-going services for his nephew, hunter, we all have to come together because we all want our children to get home to us safely. it doesn't matter whether it's a black parent or white parent or hispanic parent, a native parent, a latino parent. it doesn't matter. we want our children to get home and not be killed by the very people who are to protect and defend their lives. and the fact that when george floyd was killed unjustly and said george floyd life matter, breonna taylor, a black woman killed unjustly by police, we went and said her life mattered.
christian hall, reverend al, as you remember, a young asian-american teenage, when he was killed on a bridge by police in pennsylvania, we went and we said his life mattered. and so we have to go to bebe, arizona, when they kill hunter britain, this 17-year-old unarmed white teenager, and we have to say as loud as we said for george floyd, hunter britain's life matters. >> you know, jesse, one of the things that was striking to me there in bebe rural community, the funeral services were mostly white but they stood up and clapped as we spoke there. we all understood -- i said right out, i know some of you voted for trump, some for biden, but all of us want to see our kids come home safely and we want people paid to protect us
to protect us, not shoot us unarmed. all your nephew had was a freeze can in his hand that you give to take care of cars, anti-freeze can in his hand. hunter was a young man with his whole life in front of him. tell me more about what you want people to know and remember about your nephew, the human side of this. >> he was an awesome boy. like you said, he had his whole life ahead of him. he could ride four-wheelers, any kind of dirt bike. he was a hard worker, man. he busted his butt. he was out here busting his butt all summer trying to get his truck going. he wanted to be a nascar driver and i really believed there wasn't nothing that would have stopped him besides those bullets from these officers. he would have definitely made it there. he would have had the chance.
>> attorney crump, when i spoke at the eulogy this week, i noticed the crowd was mostly white in a county that's politically considered ruby red, trump's america. yet the demand for justice and police reform was never stronger. i got standing ovations during my eulogy many times, you did. i saw the same painful look of grief and anger in this community as i did in blue cities and black communities across the country with similar other tragedies. how did you think this case proves that police brutality is more than just a black issue? >> rev, i think as many times we talked about, this tragic killing of hunter britain, it tells them that hunter looked just like my child, and this could happen to my child too.
so we have to pass the george floyd justice in policing act to have meaningful police reform because this is about all of our children. the fact that cedric richmond, the director for public engagement for president biden, as well as senator tim scott and senator cory booker from both sides of the aisle said that hunter britain's blood is going to be on this legislation that we're proposing for police reform in george floyd's name. and so, reverend al, we get all of our children -- black, white, and asian -- on this legislation. so we have to get it right, not just for george, not just for breonna, but now we have to include hunter britain name to that and we have to make sure america says his name just as loud as we said george floyd and
breonna taylor. >> i'm thankful for you coming on. i want you to tell the grandma, i kept my word when we were meeting with president biden and vice president harris. i told them the story of your nephew, hunter britain, and told them how i was received by y'all and how we all bonded that we're going to fight for police reform in this country together and qualified immunity. i want her to know that. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> yes, sir. >> ben crump and jesse britain, thank you both for coming on "politicsnation." as fencing around the capitol starts to come down six months after the january 6th insurrection, former president trump is bringing up a new version of his big lie. i'll tell you about it in today's "gotcha", but first, today's top news stories. corey? >> here's what we're wachg at this hour.
in charlottesville, virginia, two bronze statues of confederate generals have been removed. they were brought down today. the move comes four years after the unite the right rally in charlottesville organized by far-right groups to protest the removal of the statues. the rally resulted in violent clashes, including one death. the death toll in the surfside, florida, condo collapse now stands at 86. about 43 people remain unaccounted for. authorities say that more than 13 million pounds of concrete has been removed in the search for the missing. billionaire richard branson and three other employees of his verge galactic space flight company are scheduled to launch into space 9:00 a.m. eastern time tomorrow. the launch of the vss unity will take place in new mexico. if successful, branson will beat his billionaire competitor bezos, who is slated to launch into space using his own rocket company, blue origin, on july 20th. more "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton after the break.
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for this week's gotcha, i'm taking aim at the former president of the united states, donald trump. instead of taking his cues from his predecessors and fading quietly into post-presidency life, donald trump has spent every day since his election defeat whining and lying. and this week he announced a series of lawsuits that portray both the depth of his sore loser syndrome and his complete misunderstanding of the very constitution he swore to protect and defend when he was president. trump has filed a suit against facebook, twitter, and google for their actions in banning him from their platforms. the former president's suits allege first amendment violations and is demanding unspecified punitive damages for
himself and unlisted plaintiffs. they would make up the class in this class action lawsuit. there are many problems with these lawsuits, but let's start with the most obvious one. it's clear that neither trump nor his lawyers have actually read the first amendment, so i put it on the screen behind me. see the highlighted portion where it says "congress shall make no law abridging the free speech"? i don't remember the ceos being elected to office. they are private entities allowed to decide what kind of content they want to host on their platforms, which means they were actually fully within their rights to ban trump for violating their respective terms of service. in this case the prohibition of inciting violence. and that's not straightforward enough for you, maybe it's not
straightforward enough for this man. so this suit seeks to portray companies as, quote, state actors that are doing the bidding of the government and, therefore, bound by the first amendment. but don't let this legalese here confuse you. trump was president when he was banned by big tech, so if they were working with the government, they were working with him. legal experts agree these trump lawsuits are without merit and doomed to fail, and there's a lot of history to suggest trump knows that also. even when you leave out election-related litigation, donald trump has threatened to sue dozens of people, companies, and even nation states over the last six years, and most of those threats turn out to be empty. of the 10 he actually filed, half of them were dropped or dismissed. i'd also like to warn any unnamed coplaintiffs on these lawsuits a class action suit
allows for any monetary damages to be divvied up between class members, starting with the lead plaintiff. so i'd like to levy a gentle reminder to any regular americans tempted to join donald trump in his ridiculous cru said that this man has long history of refusing to pay his debts. if this ill-considered gambit defies all odds, he's unlikely to share it equitably. finally to mr. trump, we're not fooled by your flimsy lawsuits. we know they are just the latest version of your big lie, a series of doomed and desperate ventures you've embarked upon since the election to deny your defeat and take money from the pockets of your most fervent supporters. and when these lawsuits are thrown out, like so many of the others, you'll just continue your long streak as the thing you despise most, a loser.
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welcome back to "politicsnation." i want to bring in my panel to talk about all the big political news we've seen this week. joining me now is michael steele, republican strategist and partner at hamilton place strategies and aisha mills, democratic strategist. let's jump right in with the continuing fallout of the capitol insurrection. this week conservatives have been posting a the name of the officer they claimed shot insurrectionist ashli babbitt. that fury has been gleefully stoked by trump. aisha, what are these people trying to accomplish by this? >> you know, rev, it seems to me
that this is equivalent of attempting to put a hit on somebody by putting out names in this way. trying to incite a mob to go after that person, be it digitally or in person, it just seems to me nothing good is to come from this and the real intention is to try to do harm to whoever's name it is they're throwing out there. there has got to be reprimand, way to hold people accountable to potentially putting someone in harm's way. >> the house select committee to investigate the events of january 6th, their first hearings are supposed to take place by the end of the month. michael, do you expect the minority leader leader to name members? and how do you expect that to impact the first hearings if he does? >> i think he should. i hope he will. i think that it's a real problem
to find the right members for this task simply because the action of the president and his supporters -- former president, rather -- are indefensible. so the more intelligent, more rational, more respectable members of the house are not going to want to be involved in this effort, and that will leave the potential to put some of these flame throwers on there. that, i don't think, will help the search for the truth. >> the former president is also causing problems for his own supporters. his debunked insinuations that could be somehow be reinstated by being cited by prosecutors as justification to keep the kraptd insurrectionists in jail until trial, saying trump's false rhetoric could inspire supporters to further violence. aisha, what happens to these conspiracy theorists when it
comes and goes with no change? >> i mean, look, you know, rev, i'm glad you're talking about this because donald trump incited the violence at the capitol in the first place, and everything that he continues to do is really a re-enactment of that. so i think that if we just hook at history, recent history, january 6th, we can expect that people are going to behave the same way. i don't know the doj prosecutions are going to deter some of his rabid, enthusiastic followers acting a fool. >> let me turn to the vaccination campaign with coronavirus, which is an area donald trump could make an enormous difference just by telling his supporters that he has been vaccinated. and so right-wing media outlets are running anti-vaccination segments, contributing to low
vaccination rates in the reddest areas of the country. what are they trying to accomplish by scaring their viewers away from this life-saving vaccine? >> trying to improve ratings, which is dumb and shortsighted. everyone should take it if you have access to it, and everyone at this point has access to it. floss reason not to get this vaccine. if you're a trump supporter, remember, these vaccines were developed under the trump administration with the assistance of operation warp speed. these are trump medications. please take them. >>? charlottesville, virginia, this morning they took down the confederate statutes that white supremacists rioted to protect in the so-called unite the right rally in 2017. what this it mean that the monuments to white supremacy are coming down? >> well, not only did white supremacists riot to keep them, but someone died in the process
of that and it keeps reminding me of january 6th. we've seen this time and time again. it's great that they're finally coming down. it's about time. you know, i think people were anxious about what was going to happen today as they were being brought down and if we were going to see additional demonstrations, but let this just be a lesson that those statues are going to come down whether people, you know, on the far, far right want them too or not. it is a new day and we're not going to have racist symbols in our country that we revere anymore. it's just a matter of time before they start to topple. >> michael steele and aisha mills, thank you for being with us. up next, as those two confederate statues came down in charlottesville today, the battle over how we teach race in america rages on. i'll be joined by the president of howard university to discuss how hbcus are on the front lines of the fight. stay with us.
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welcome back to "politicsnation." one of our historically black colleges scored a massive boom this week after weeks of controversy. investigative reporter nicole hoon jones rejected an untenured position at the university of north carolina, announcing instead that she would be taking her talents to the mecca, howard
university. she would be joined by ta-nehisi coates. nearly $20 million of charitable funding to make their tenures possible. to our next guest and all the alumni watching, all i can say is go boston! joining me now is dr. wayne frederick, president of howard university. dr. frederick, first of all, how do you respond to this? thanks for being with us on this victorious week. you and i know all too often black academics have been lured to predominantly white institutions because that's where the bulk of resources went in terms of endowments and, quite frankly, the presumption of prestige. but this week's news that howard will now have two of the
nation's leading thinkers on race in tenured positions, they're success made possible in part by some $20 million in philanthropic funding. it's what your students might call a flex. how does howard university and the rest of hbcu family capitalize on the attention tat when many of the institutions are still struggling to get resources that they do? >> yeah, well, you know, it's a good week for black america. for too long i think we have tried to allow other people to dictate who we can be and who we will be and who we are. and the reality is that we are a community of scholars, a community of excellence, and we have to demonstrate that. and i think the best way for us to continue this is to be excellent at what we do. so bringing these two faculty members on -- and i want to be
clear, they're joining an illustrious faculty that are producing right now -- and these resources will certainly help other faculty who are there as well. we're not stopping here. we're going to continue to recruit aggressively to get the best and the brightest in all fields to come to howard and to educate our students because that's what we are about. we are about being the best. we had that tradition at our hbcus and i want to emphasize that and illuminate the nation as to what we're capable of. >> i'm familiar with howard. you and i talked through the years. i have preached there once a year. so i have an alumni from howard, an alum right on my staff here at "politicsnation," my producer tack kersey who helped me craft this segment. he went to unc as an undergrad, but he told me when it came time
to graduate, to go to graduate school, he wanted to focus on our representation in media, so he chose the mecca, howard. and i think about that when i read when ms. hannah jones have written this week. as applications to howard and other black colleges increase, whether it's a student or faculty, there seems to be more to this than just a diploma or a job. there's a mission in mind, and it goes back decades. your response to that, dr. frederick? >> yeah, i think you articulate it with: i'm not asking students about their majors, i ask about their missions. we're removing all the barriers that will may get in the way of students fulfill their mission . if young people are being exposed to a wide variety of fields of study, a wide variety of the intersectionality of
where our academic learnings can lead, and so i think we have to really push on our own selves, first and foremost, to design curricula that will accommodate the students. a large number are very discerning. they're not applying to us because we have the tag of a historically black college or university. they apply to us because of excellence. they expect to get a world-class education and they expect that will be the place that will launch them to go out and fulfill their mission in the world. >> i'm sure you know and have certainly heard throughout the hour the city of charlottesville has removed two of its remaining confederate statues today four years after the racist horror there that ended in a woman's death. you're an educator tasked with preparing young mostly black minds for the world they will matriculate into.
or else we'll forget saver is wrong, how do you prepare your students to enter without hostility? >> it's a great question. we can do it at the university of level and we will. we will continue to provide an environment where the full breadth of the debate can take place. we want to be very clear about that. we want our students to be exposed to everybody's theory, everybody's teaching, everybody's learnings, and have them be discerning about it. the one thing that must happen on our campus is that our students must question the truths that we are putting in front of them. either affirm those truths or go back and create new knowledge, research, and bring back new theories that advance us as a people in the whole.
what we will not do, though, is to cower and stay away from that truth and from taking the light to illuminate that. but the bigger problem i would think right now in our country is in the k-12 arena because if we do not start there, it's very difficult to do that at colleges and university that make up a significant segment of our higher education, so we really have to look at our public school system and ensure that our k-12 education is going to be as broad, as open, and gives stunts an opportunity to learn the truth. >> well, dr. wayne frederick, i'm very happy you're with us tonight. i might add that when we met with president biden and vice president harris this week, she had said she had just came from howard where she talked about voting rights with the dnc, and she chose to come to howard where she went to school.
she's an alum, probably the most famous alum in howard in recent history. take that, tack. we have a howard alum a little more known than you. thank you, dr. frederick. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. ♪are you down, d-d-down, d-d-down, d-d-down♪ where we're driving down the cost of insurance. ♪ ♪ are you down, down♪ ♪d-down, down? are you♪ drivers who switched saved over $700. ♪ allstate. here, better protection costs a whole lot less. you're in good hands. click or call for a lower rate today. (piano playing) here we go. ♪♪ [john legend's i can see clearly now] ♪♪ ♪♪
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as i sat in the white house this week with fellow national civil rights leaders meeting with president biden and vice president harris about the right to vote that is being, in many ways, and in effective ways in many states, being threatened and being impeded, i thought about how this is not fighting for some civil exercise. it's fighting so we have a tool, a weapon, to give ourselves a better life for all americans. we cannot get the things we need, ending broadband deserts,
dealing can infrastructure of bridges and tunnels and dealing with health care and dealing with the education of our children, if we can't vote people in that will give us the right stand for that. and that goes in every community. you heard on this show tonight jesse briton saying that we must deal with qualified immunity. he's a white male from texa -- excuse me, from arkansas, not texas. i'm a black man from bed stuy, but we want the same thing. we want equal protection under the law, and we want to be able to have equal opportunity for our kids, our nephews, our children and our vote can give us that. that's why we must fight to keep it. that's why we're rallying all summer. the president's speaking tuesday in philly, but we're going to keep speaking and keep marching.
we're going to march august 28th in washington by the thousands. martin luther king iii and his wife and the drum major institute and national action network and sciu and march on is calling people to come and stand up, stand up for our vote, stand up for statehood for washington, d.c. go to nationalactionnetwork.net and register to vote. we need to get justice for the george floyds and the breonna taylors and for the hunter britons and we need our vote in order to guarantee that. we'll be right back.
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thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for another live hour of "politics nation." my colleague alicia menendez picks up our news coverage now. >> thank you so much, reverend sharpton. hello, everyone. i'm alicia menendez. a new threat to democracy once again playing out in the state of texas. republicans there are embracing the big lie once again to push voting restrictions. today is day three of a special session at the state capitol in austin. the republican mission is crystal clear. make it harder to vote. and within that argument by claiming restricting ballot access is the only way to prevent fraud. imagine having the will to solve for a problem that doesn't actually exist, because