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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  July 10, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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a new war against voting rights. right now texas state republicans using lies to make the case for voting restrictions. the chair of the democratic caucus in the texas house joins us. president biden puts russia on notice. temps not even wildlife and water stands a chance. ready for takeoff. what to expect in just hours when a billionaire blasts off to space and what richard branson's trip would one day mean for you.
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welcome to a new hour of voices. welcome to a new hour of "american voices." thank you for joining us this hour. i'm alicia menendez. we kick things off in texas where lawmakers are back in austin for a special session this weekend. republicans there have one goal -- making it harder to vote. the gop's proposed legislation would cut voting hours, restrict mail-in ballots, and ban drive-through and overnight voting options. much of the new legislation seems to be aimed at harris county, home to houston, which we know is trending more left due in part to changing demographics. and it was innovative voting options like overnight polling locations that helped the county break an all-time voter turnout record during the 2020 election. because of that, republicans are pushing new restrictions with the bogus argument of fighting voter fraud and trump's big lie will be reverberated again when trump speaks at cpac tomorrow in dallas.
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he and texas attorney general ken paxton are due on stage tomorrow, both of whole have been touting lies about the election trump lost fair and square. but getting trump's supporters to face that fact, still appearing near impossible. attendants handed out fliers outlining a seven-point plan to reinstate trump without an election. even if he runs again, it could be easier for him to win if states don't act to protect his attacks on voting rights, like the questionable audit in arizona's maricopa county by the group cyber ninjas. a group conducting a bogus audit that the former president continues to cheer on, an audit in which workers checked ballots for bamboo and examined them with uv light. wouldn't you know that in just two weeks trump himself returns to arizona. this comes as new records released this month outline the pressure campaign from trump and his allies on gop election officials.
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that includes text messages showing the chairwoman of arizona's republican party asking an elections official to stop counting and unreturned calls for the trump white house. arizona secretary of state wants to get to the bottom of it, pushing her state's attorney general to open a criminal investigation into possible efforts to influence election officials. secretary of state katie hobbs joins me now. secretary hobbs, i want to start with your push for an investigation. what new information led to your call to investigate? and what could a criminal probe uncover? >> well, it's certainly not surprising that this new evidence came to light, but it was reported in the "arizona republic" that there were text messages and phone calls from former president trump's attorney, from the white house switch board, and from the gop state party chair to the county board of supervisors who were overseeing the election
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tabulation and certification in maricopa county, making it very clearly -- interfering with those processes. this is criminal conduct in arizona, and absolutely this new evidence warrants further investigation, and that's what we've called for. >> former president trump plans to return to arizona later this month touting so-called election integrity, which is rich. as republicans continue to push the big lie. i mean, talk to me about the damage that all of this has caused when it comes to trust in the system. >> well, this is, you know, all coupled with the big lie, the rollback we've seen on voter access across the country, and this fake audit in maricopa county. this is all extremely damaging to voter confidence. the goal here is to continue to sow doubt. that's why we went to court to force them to allow reporters in, to allow independent
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election observers in, and to show their procedures so that we knew what was going on in there to some degree. we've been able to point out that this is just really not a real audit. it's totally fake. and so we're going to keep talk -- talking about that. nobody should give any credibility to what's going on here. >> you're running for governor. if elected, what steps would you take to ensure this never happens again? >> i certainly would not remain silent while folks continue to attack the integrity of our elections, like many of the republican leaders in the state have done here. it's very unfortunate. voters in arizona are tired of this. they want real leadership. and they want folks that are going to tackle real problems. rehashing the 2020 election is not one of them. >> secretary hobbs, it's easy for people to watch what is happening in arizona or watch what is happening in texas or
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watch what is happening in georgia and say, that's just arizona, that's just texas, that's just georgia. i don't live in any of these three states. can you talk to me a little bit about how all of these threats weave together and the way in which they challenge not just democracy in the state of arizona, but democracy writ large. >> absolutely. we've been having conversations secretaries of state and other election officials across the country who are concerned about this fake audit in maricopa county. we've seen legislators from other states come and tour and try to bring this kind of thing to their state, pennsylvania, michigan, wisconsin, georgia. there's a lot of concern about this. the goal here is not to validate the 2020 election results, to continue to sow doubt not just in maricopa county, arizona, but across the country and potentially lay the groundwork to steal a future election. this is -- this is -- it's so
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damaging to our democracy and i know your audience understands that. but these things are all connected and connected to trump's continued rhetoric about the 2020 election results and people saying he's going to be reinstated in the white house. >> given that it is all connected, what more support do you need from the federal government? >> well, we've certainly been in contact with the department of justice alerting them to our concerns. and i think, you know, with this new information that came to light, i don't know what the attorney general is going to do, but we're going to continue to call for an investigation. if he fails to do his job and do that, then hopefully the department of justice will decide to step in there. but we're going to continue to make sure we're alerting them of our concerns. >> secretary katie hobbs, thank you so much for your time. i want to turn back to texas and how democrats plan to fight efforts by republicans to restrict ballot access. joining me now, texas state representative chris turner, chair of the texas house democratic caucus. representative turner, which
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parts of this legislation were you most understanding? you have a lot to choose from. >> that's right, alicia. thank you for having me on. the latest version of the republican anti-voter legislation in texas looks unsurprisingly familiar because we've seen a lot of it before. so in no particular order, some of the most onerous provisions of this new bill include enhanced powers for partisan poll watchers who republicans have used in texas to intimidate voters and election officials in usually predominantly minority neighborhoods. it includes new restrictions on the vote-by-mail process, both in terms of limiting who can send in an application, and also making it more difficult for the voter to actually cast a ballot by mail by including a voter i.d. requirement now for mail-in ballots, again, searching for a problem that has not been identified.
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there are a number of other problematic provisions in the bill that bans 24-hour and drive-through voting. both of have harris county, our largest county where houston is used very successfully in the last election cycle. the most fundamental problem, this is what the states have in common where republicans are doing this, it's based on the big lie. it's based on the lie that donald trump actually somehow won the last election and it was stolen from him and, therefore, we got to pass all these voter suppression laws. nothing could be further from the truth and republicans needs to start telling the truth to their supporters that our elections are secure. joe biden is the lawfully elected, duly elected president of the united states and they need to drop the big lie. >> you led a walkout in may. we all watched. i've been following this story very closely and i keep coming back to the same question, which is what are your options now? >> sure. well, what happened in may was
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all 67 members of our house democratic caucus were unified in our opposition to do everything we could to kill that bill. all credit goes to all members of our caucus. what i can tell you is going into the special session, again, all 67 members of our caucus are completely unified in their opposition to these anti-voter bills and we're going to collectively work together and do whatever we can and whatever it takes to slow down and hopefully derail these bills. but our unified message is we can only do so much for so long here in texas. we need the u.s. congress, specifically the u.s. senate, to pass federal voting rights legislation to safeguard voters across the country, including here in texas against these republican voter suppressions. >> to that point, we've been talking about a generalized sense of urgency, which is in the lead-up to 2022. but as you see it, how is that clock ticking down? how is the urgency of it happening now different than it happening in four weeks,
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different than it happening in eight weeks? what do you see on the horizon for texas if there's not federal action? >> well, absolutely. as you know, republicans in texas hold majorities in the house, the senate, they hold every statewide office. in the circuit you have a lot of very conservative judges, many appointed by donald trump. so congressional action is really the antidote for this virus of voter suppression that republicans are spreading around the country, including here in texas. and so it is urgent now. congress has a window here in july where both the house and the senate are in session. there's an august recess where not much happens until after labor day. as we get into the last quarter of year, we're approaching an election year, 2022 and historically that's when things slow down in our nation's capitol. so it feels like we need to get something done. is here in these next several
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weeks. >> we'll all be watching. texas state representative chris turner, thank you so much. next, new remarks from the president on russia's role in waging cyber war. he's issued a warning to putin and promising action. plus, is donald trump using his battle against big tech to raise money? later, the summer of billionaires blasting into space. tomorrow's launch could be a big step toward you booking a trip to the final frontier. we're going to explain why. but first to corey coffin tracking the other big stories we're watching this hour on msnbc. corey? >> thanks, alicia. >> this morning in charlottesville, virginia, contractors removed three confederate statues. the robert e. lee and stonewall jackson statues came down first. the removal of the lewis and clark statue was unexpected this comes four years after talks of removing the statues sparked violent white supremacist rally that left one dead and many injured. the statues will remain in storage for now. over to surfside, florida, where recovery efforts continue 17 days after that condo
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president biden is cracking down on the kremlin after russian hackers seized data from hundreds of american companies. biden spoke to president vladimir putin friday telling him the u.s. will take, quote, any necessary action against cyberattacks. including retaliation against russian hackers. >> up until now, the u.s. response has been to exercise sanctions, impose sanctions on russia for this malign activity.
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does it make sense for the u.s. to take it up a notch and attack the actual servers that are used? >> yes. >> joining me now, msnbc national security analyst frank figliuzzi, former assistant director for counterintelligence at the fbi and author of "the fbi way: inside the bureau's code of excellence." russia has carried out several ransomware attacks this year. the white house says they're a growing concern. take listen, frank. >> there's been an escalation of ransomware attacks over the course of the last several years. it's been a growing and escalating problem that even pre-dates president biden. and it's not just the united states, it's something that's happening around the world. >> frank, help us understand what's behind the rise in russian ransomware? >> oh, it's profitable. the ransoms are in the millions and millions of dollars, and unfortunately victim companies find themselves between a rock and a hard place and often pay
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out. it's also one of the fastest growing areas of insurance, this whole cyber field as well. but it's like piracy at sea. once the bad guys know you're going to pay up, they keep coming back. and that's the problem. that's why it is time to ratchet this up. the problem on a diplomatic geopolitical level, alicia, is what does response look like? and are the american people ready for a response that will almost definitely result in retaliation back at us from a cyber perspective? are we ready for the possibility of waking up one morning and realizing that we can't use the atm? or our supermarkets can't open their registers or we can't use our credit cards. that's the discussion that's going on right now at the national security council. what do we do and what happens if we do it. >> it's incredibly complicated. to your point about piracy, the latest ransomware was programmed not to infect russian computers and spare the kremlin's allies. are these groups essentially
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privateers, pirates with permission from the russian government? >> this is an important piece because essentially we've been parsing out attribution. for each one of these things that happens. sometimes you'll hear this was the russian intelligence service, and sometimes you'll hear like over the july 4th weekend, this is our evil, a group that is a transnational organization that seems to be based in russia. i'm here to tell you these are distinctions without a difference. in other words, because it's all coming from russia and russia permits this to happen, and the code that they use for their malware actually makes it certain that it will never attack a russian target, you can bet that putin is permitting this. this is essentially state sanctioned, state-approved cyber terrorism. we shouldn't care whether it's criminals or putin's government. they are now one and the same. >> russia also targeted the republican national convention but failed to recover data. how often are these hackers trying to gather intelligence?
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how often is this happening? >> oh, gosh. we are at a daily battle level. this is like the u.s. navy submarine service, the silent service. every day there are professionals in the government and private sector who get up and do cyber battle, monitoring, patrolling, pushing back, retaliating, planting seeds, seeing where the next attack is coming from. this is the new battlefield, and until american corporations and the government get their act together and raise the notch, we're going to be behind the 8 ball. >> talk to me about those battle plans because at the top you said if we launch an attack, part of what we would need to be prepared are is a counterattack. what are the other options that are on the table? >> yeah, you know, for as long as we had a department of defense, we had battle plans. if china moves into taiwan, we do this. if north korea does this to south korea, we do this and this. we don't have sophisticated, planned-out battle plans for all of this.
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and again, i come back to saying the american people may not be ready for it. so what are the options? look, sanctions really haven't worked. there's not much higher you can go with the sanctions we're doing. one component of response has to be targeting the criminals and the government officials personally. make it painful to be that hacker, that malware criminal. what does that look like? fry their electronic communications right there in place in russia, make it impossible for them to use their tools, shut them down, block their money, freeze their assets, red notices all over the world where they can't travel, and do it with our nato allies so that the entire civilized world is saying to russia we are one, we are against you, you are a pariah. that kind of combined effort and personal accountability needs to happen. >> such an important point about nato. frank, thank you as always. next, how donald trump is using his social media blackout to make bank.
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this as "the washington post" reports reveal trump continues to charge secret service thousands in rent, profiting from the privilege of secret service protection granted to all former presidents. joining me now, the reporter behind that scoop, david fahrenthold of "the washington post." since january trump has earned over $50,000 just from renting to the secret service. can you walk me through how these costs compare to other presidents? is there any limit on what trump can charge? >> there's no limit on what he can charge. the secret service is allowed to pay whatever they need to to be near the people they're protecting. for trump, since he goes to his own properties and stays there, that means they're going to be near him and they need to rent space from him at mar-a-lago in the winter and at bedminster in the summer. he can charge whatever he wants and in this case he's chosen to charge $400 a night at mar-a-lago. and it appears $567 a night at bedminster. you ask what other ex-presidents have done this, as far as i can tell no other ex-presidents can
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have charged their protectors. the only parallel was joe biden when he was vice president. he charged the secret service to rent a cottage on his property in delaware, although the total spend joe biden got over seven years was equal to what trump charged the government during his first three months as president. >> not exactly apples to apples. how is the new york indictment affecting trump's finances at large? >> well, coming at that time when the trump organization is already facing an existential crisis. covid, the political backlash, january 6th have robbed him of a lot of things they needed to succeed, customers, vendors, lenders, lawyers. at the same time, the point of the company is slipping away. it was basically built to serve the brand and to serve the interests of one guy, and that guy trashed his brand and then basically lost interest in the company. so you put all those problems out there and then you add on top of that its cfo, the guy that runs the company day to day is under indictment. the company is under indictment. they'll be paying legal fees from now until who knows when.
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and there's also the threat that others in the company may soon be indicted and add pain and could be convicted and taken out of the company that he basically runs. >> as you laid out beautifully about this being an existential crisis, could this investigation actually end trump's business empire? >> it's so hard to know because it's such an odd business run by a small set of people who are, you know, very proud and i'm sure don't want to be seen as being defeated in this. the trump organization has been refund on autopilot for basically four years, and it's reason to be a sort of slipping away. if it does end in the next couple years or shrinks down to just mar-a-lago and bedminster and a couple other things, i don't think you could say it was the d.a.'s investigation that did this. but certainly it's adding pressure at a time when there doesn't seem to be much pushback from the trump organization. >> you talked about allen weisselberg. he stepped down from the scotland kbours but is still going to work at trump tower. i wonder what that signals to
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you. >> i'm interested in that too. you're right. he stepped down from this one position at one trump golf course. is he backing out of a lot of the responsibilities he has with the trump organization? i can't find evidence of that, just this one scottish golf course, so i'm not sure what that means. as far as we know, he's still working at the trump organization. he's more than a cfo. if you took him out of the trump organization, i'm not sure the place could function. he's more integral to the day-to-day operations. than donald trump ever was. if he left on his own or if they fired him for some reason, that's a huge blow to the operations. >> i want to ask your take on the daily beast reporting. are trump and the other trump children actually in legal jeopardy? >> it's so hard to know. so there's two questions here. one is, did they benefit from the tax evasion scheme? there's reporting from "the new york times" and hints that maybe they were among the executives
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who got these bonuses that were sort of given as if they were contractors of their own company. that's one part of it. did they receive the benefits? the other part is did they understand and direct the benefits? weisselberg is a great person to indict because he both benefited from this scheme and he also ran it. but to indict the children you would have to show they understood what they were doing and they understood it was wrong and they did it anyway. it's not impossible given their high rank at the company, but it's not as much of a slam dunk given their positions as it was with weisselberg. >> if trump's social media lawsuits move forward, he could end up on the stand answering questions about january 6th. your sense of the chances of him actually testifying? >> very little in this case because i feel like this florida lawsuit is not really a lawsuit. it's a pressure release in lawsuit form. there's many reasons why it would not succeed as a lawsuit, so you don't see that going to trial somehow. but there are other cases in georgia and possibly in the district of columbia that are -- where people are looking at
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prosecuting trump for his role in trying to overturn the election. one of those prosecutions are one of the lawsuits that has coming out of january 6th filed by other people might produce that moment, but i don't think trump's own lawsuit will just because i don't think it's going anywhere at all. >> david, always appreciate your time. thank you so much for being with us. next, she wants to be california's next governor. but caitlyn jenner faces an uphill battle. if she wants to win by telling hard truths, wait until you hear what she told nbc news at cpac. plus, the billionaire space race goes supersonic. a huge test for man that could one day result in you getting to space too. more love, more adventure, more community. but with my hiv treatment, there's not more medicines in my pill. i talked to my doctor and switched to fewer medicines with dovato. dovato is for some adults who are starting hiv-1 treatment or replacing their current hiv-1 regimen. with just 2 medicines in 1 pill, dovato is as effective as a 3-drug regimen...
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in her bid to become california governor, caitlyn jenner is in dallas for cpac, not to speak, but to mingle and raise her name recognition with the most influential names in republican politics. however, when speaking to nbc news, it became clear jenner is fighting to serve a republican party that may no longer exist. nbc's ali vitaly has more from dallas. >> reporter: texas in so many ways is the ultimate embodiment of the state of the republican party right now. you take the room i'm in right now at cpac where former president donald trump will close out the event tomorrow. this is the place where ideas are being born and foment in this conservative movement, things that center around cancel culture and banning critical
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race theory and stoking the wig lie about the 2020 election. but then what we see is growing out of rooms like this and conferences like this one those voices being amplified to the point where republican legislatures across the country are taking up these ideas and trying at least to put them into law. look no further than just a few hours from where i am in austin where the republican state legislature is trying to pass a restrictive voting bill and also in this special session focusing on legislation to ban critical race theory. so you're really seeing the juxtaposition of the ideas and really the causality between how state legislatures are starting to push on these issues and the ideas that they are born in and fomented in. at the same time, though, i did ask one republican running to be governor of california right now, former reality star caitlyn jenner, what it means to see this casting of doubt over the u.s. elections especially after 2020. listen to what she told me. >> everybody's different. but for so many people, they
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feel like they lost integrity in our voting system. >> do you have -- >> we can't do that. we can't do that. we have to know everybody in this country, citizens legally have the right to vote. and it has to be as easy as possible, but it has to be secure and it has to be impossible to cheat. just so we can have integrity so people feel better about our elections and our elected officials. >> reporter: meanwhile in rooms such as this one, there's an eagerness to hear from former president donald trump. this is his second time this year in the span of a few months headlining the cpac conference, continuously people have joked that this should be renamed tpac because it's an event that really is made and sounds like it's done in his image. now, the script i don't imagine to change too much from the rallies i've been covering over the last few weeks. the former president taking a much more public posture over the course of these next few
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weeks and months trying to reignite with the base ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. but certainly something the crowd is hoping to hear about are the new lawsuits he announced against the ceos and heads of twitter, facebook, and google, platforms that have banned him. he says that's an example of cancel culture, certainly one of the things he's going to talk about here as he takes the stage to close out this conference. alicia? >> ali, thank you. president biden unveiled a sweeping executive order friday aimed at curbing the power of large corporations in america. the order includes more than 70 initiatives across more than a dozen agencies. the goal, to fight back current corporate tactics that drive up prices, decrease wages, and stifle new companies from getting off the ground. >> let me be very clear. capitalism without competition isn't capitalism. it's exploitation. fair competition is why capitalism has been the world's greatest force of prosperity of growth. >> nbc news national political reporter josh lederman has more.
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>> reporter: alicia, president biden's far-reaching executive order aiming to increase competition in the u.s. economy as well as to address corporate dominance, something that president biden says is to blame for limiting social mobility in the u.s. and even making it harder for americans to do things like switch from one job to another. 72 different provisions in this executive order signed by president biden touching all aspects of the u.s. economy, from transportation and aviation, to health care and pharmaceuticals, shipping, to big technology. now, the president cannot change law with an executive order, and many of the agencies that are responsible for regulating the different parts of the economy are independent from the white house, meaning president biden can encourage them to take certain steps, but it's up to those agencies to ultimately figure out how they want to follow through. so, for example, right now you actually need to go see a health care provider and get a prescription in america if you want a hearing aid.
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president biden in this executive order suggesting that's something that should be done away with in the days ahead. president biden also calling attention to some $35 billion annually in fees that the airlines charge. looking for changes to those types of situations. for example, fees for baggage that he says should be refunded if your bags end up being delayed. now, president biden is getting some pushback on this executive order from big business groups who call it federal overreach. they say it could actually stymie economic growth, but progressive groups have long been calling for these types of changes, even saying that the former obama administration, the last democratic administration, had been insufficiently tough on corporate dominance and big mega companies that have so much control over the economy. president biden fitting this executive order squarely into his broader economic vision, saying that as we come back from the covid-19 pandemic, the
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economy can only truly thrive as he wants it to if there is more competition, a robust ability for americans to choose between different businesses. he says this executive order will be a first step in that direction. alicia? >> josh lederman reporting. >> for more on his latest executive order targeting corporate abuses, let's bring in juanita tolliver, msnbc political analyst. juanita, always good to see you. tell me why you think the president is prioritizing this right now. >> look, alicia, i think he sees the monthly jobs reports and the overall -- and he knows there are gaps for employees who are seeking to re-enter the workforce as well as consumers looking to spend money in this economy. and so i think this is a way for him to start to scratch the surface and undo some of the harms that 40 years of big mergers and acquisitions from corporations have presented to individuals and consumers. and so he's really putting this front and center because he does want to rebuild an economy
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better than it was before because we know a lot of these challenges existed well before the pandemic. i just think they have more impact now as we're rebuilding an economy after the pandemic or still during the pandemic. >> juanita, a topic and i come back to over and over is this idea of the biden administration and biden himself needing to sell the accomplishments of the administration, actually getting out on the road talking with the american people about what this administration has been able to accomplish. where do you see this fitting administration's objectivities? >> every time he hits the road, i think he's going to emphasize the direct individual benefits that this executive order includes, whether that's lowering prescription drug prices, whether that's raising wages as a result of more competition, or whether that's related to noncompete clauses being removed. he's going to talk about the individual benefits because we know with the midterm elections around the corner, folks and voters are going to be asking what have you done for me lately. in that answer he's going to provide them with the direct
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benefits they stand to gain from these executive order orders, alicia. >> since i have you here, tuesday we'll hear a big speech from the president on voting rights. i have asked reporters, but i really want to hear your analysis. what is it that you think we're going to hear from the president? >> i think we're going to hear a couple overtures, but i know what i want to hear and what legislators want to hear. they want to hear action, because what we see in this situation in texas and across the country is that democrats and the state and local governments cannot handle this without federal action. and so they're going to be expecting biden to lay out actionable steps, whether that's applying pressure to the democratic caucus, whether that's him formerly coming out and saying eliminate the filibuster, let's pass the john lewis act and the for the people act. he has to make a big declaration in that speech next tuesday in order to make sure that people understand how intentional he's being about protecting voting rights. >> we will all be watching. juanita, thank you as always.
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next, billionaires race to space. tomorrow's takeoff opens the door to out-of-this-world tourism. 130 degrees in death valley? it was supposed to be even hotter today. we'll tell you if this dangerous heat wave produced an all-time record high. een 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 seeing blood when you brush or floss can be a sign of early gum damage. introducing the wildly civilized new parodontax active gum repair kills plaque bacteria at the gum line to help keep the gum seal tight. new parodontax active gum repair toothpaste.
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the race to the edge of space is coming down to the wire. richard branson will be the first to blast off with the rivalry between he and other billionaires far from over. yesterday jeff bezos company y threw shade at branson tweeting their rocket will fly higher than his into internationally recognized space. tom costello met with branson ahead of tomorrow's takeoff. >> reporter: it's the last place
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you'd expect to find two billionaires. jeff bezos in the desert of west texas. sir richard branson, here. >> if you didn't know better d you'd think you really are in in the middle of nowhere. >> well, you are in the middle y of nowhere. you are in the middle of new mexico, which is sort of the middle of nowhere. wh >> reporter: new mexico's brand new spaceport america. branson is now just hours away from fulfilling a dream, to fly his own spaceship across the common line, the boundary between earth's atmosphere and space. the air force and nasa put that invisible boundary at 50 miles i above the earth. >> wow, look at that view. >> gorgeous. ou >> reporter: so far only virgin's test pilots have t crossed the line. branson and five others will go weightless for three minutes before gliding back to earth, making all of them officially civilian astronauts.ll >> this is your baby. i mean you have spent 17 years and now it's coming true.
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>> yeah. it's definitely a pinch yourself moment. >> reporter: earlier this week, branson gave us an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour. the mothership named eve after his mother that will carry a spaceship named unity climbed to 40,000 feet and release. >> fire. >> fire. >> unity will then rocket to the edge of space. also onboard three virgin galactic employees. >> you're like it's happening. it's actually happening. i'm really just incredibly grateful. >> reporter: the entire flight expected to last two hours max. all of it live streamed. meanwhile in west texas -- >> and we have liftoff. go new shepherd, go. >> reporter: jeff bezos blue origin has also been flying test flights. no pilots, all remote controlled from the ground. bezos is set to fly on tuesday, july 20th.
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coming along for the ride veteran pilot and one-time nasao female astronaut candidate wally funk.st at 82, her first ride into space will make her the oldest person to go there. also flying, an anonymous person who bid $28 million for the trip. blue origin uses a rocket.gi virgin galactic uses a space plane with wings that unfold for landing. both plan to soon carry paying passengers.to branson and team have been practicing in a simulator. >> hello down there. >> you're not nervous? >> i'm not nervous because we've got incredible engineers. we've got the best of the bunch. >> that was tom costello reporting. our special coverage of the virgin galactic space flight begins tomorrow morning 8:00 a.m. eastern right here on msnbc. next, dangerous heat in the west. so hot it is cooking marine life alive. the effect the record-breaking temperatures are having on the environment after a short break. first, a look at what's ahead tonight on msnbc. l hey there, i'm joshua johnson. tonight at 8:00 eastern, texas
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governor greg abbott has set the agenda for the special legislative session. voting sessions, critical race theory, rules for transgender student athletes and more. texas state representative at jasmine crockett joins us on "the week" tonight at 8:00 eastern here on msnbc. with 5g than the other guys. t-mobile. america's largest, fastest, most reliable 5g network. age before beauty? why not both? visibly diminish wrinkled skin in... crepe corrector lotion... only from gold bond. 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. kesimpta is a once-monthly at-home injection... that may help you put these rms challenges in their place.
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♪ watch the olympic games on xfinity ♪ ♪ root for team usa and feel the energy ♪ ♪ 7000 plus hours of the olympics on display ♪ ♪ with xfinity you get every hour of every day ♪ ♪ different sports on different screens, ♪ ♪ you can watch it anywhere ♪ ♪ and with the voice remote ♪ ♪ you never have to leave your chair ♪ show me team usa. ♪ all of this innovation could lead to some inspiration ♪ ♪ and you might be the next one to represent our nation ♪ ♪ this summer on your tv, tablet, or any screen ♪ ♪ xfinity is here to inspire your biggest dreams ♪ this weekend triple-digit temperatures are sweeping the west coast. 33 million people across 11 states are under excessive heat warnings. it is so hot the clams and
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mussels along the coast of literally being boiled alive. over 1 billion marine animals are likely to die, according to biologist christopher harley. scientists say these extreme temperatures are a clear sign of climate change, which president biden calls an existential threat to america. >> last week i met with eight governors for a better part of an hour, all from the western states, republicans and democrats. they're facing extreme heat, record drought, and a fire season that threatens to be much longer and more dangerous and more destructive than ever. we can't wait any longer to deal with climate crisis. >> in fact, global warming is so hard to deny, "the washington post" writes it could actually convince republicans to pass biden's infrastructure plan. but that does nothing to help americans sweltering now. nbc's erin mclaughlin has more. >> reporter: hey, alicia. scientists and government
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officials are extraordinarily concerned about this situation. this is the third major heat wave to strike the western portion of the united states this year alone. we're not even halfway through the summer yet. here in california they have ordered a stage 2 power grid emergency, asking people to conserve energy during certain hours of the day. the situation compounded by a wildfire in oregon that is threatening power lines, preventing officials from importing power into california to ease the situation. and just yesterday in death valley, a staggering 130 degrees fahrenheit was recorded, just four degrees shy of the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth. the california governor is pointing to climate change and asking people to conserve water and power. scientists warning that the ecological impact of all of this will not be realized for some time as they're warning that these heat waves are going to
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become more intense and more frequent as climate change persists. alicia. >> absolutely terrifying. erin, thank you. that is all the time i have for today. i'm alicia menendez. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern for more american voices. for now, i hand it over to my colleague, joshua johnson. hello, joshua. >> hello, alicia, thank you very much. and hello to you. a new round in the fight over voting laws continues tonight in texas with a special legislate i've session. jasmine crockett joins us from the lone star state. today was a day four years in the making. charlottesville, virginia, removed two confederate monuments. president biden had a message for vladimir putin after more fall victim to ransomware attacks. how should the president respond to these attacks? for that matter, what are his options? and we'll answer your questions about the rapid spread of the delta variant, especially

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