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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  July 17, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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you from ms. nbc world headquarters in new york. welcome to ""alex witt reports"." here is what is happening just a bit after 2:00 p.m. eastern. we begin in california with the alleged plot to fire bomb the state's democratic party headquarters in sacramento. in a newly unsealed indictment two men are charged, prompted by their belief their action would spark a movement. eric swalwell telling me how it is one piece of a bigger picture. >> we are just as vulnerable today, alex, as we were on january 6th. my fear is that there will be more loss of life as long as the following ingredients still exist. you have donald trump and kevin mccarthy advancing the big lie. you have a country where we have unrestricted weaponry, and you have law enforcement that doesn't have the resources yet to attack white supremacist groups in this country. so if those ingredients still
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exist, that's a recipe for a disaster. >> new reporting today deals yet another blow to donald trump's baseless claims of a stolen election. an investigation by the associated press found fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in arizona, and so far only four cases have led to charges. no one has been convicted. no person's vote was counted twice. but is the battle over voting rights intensifying across the country, new polling shows democratics' efforts to expand voting access is more popular than the type of restrictions pushed by republicans. a poll from yahoo news and ugov shows a majority of americans support reform similar to what senator manchin proposed, making an election day a national holiday, bandering partisan gerrymandering and requiring at least 15 days of early voting. in less than two weeks the first select committee on the
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january 6th insurrection will take place on capitol hill. let's go to nbc's amanda golden joining me from the hill. amanda, welcome. now that this date has been set, the focus is shifting to the selection of committee members and potential witnesses. what are you hearing about that, particularly the five republican seats that are unfilled? >> reporter: exactly right, alex. now that the first hearing is set to take place on july 27th, about a week and a half away now, we are turning our attention to where the five additional republican appointments from house minority leader kevin mccarthy, when they will be coming, who he wants to pick. he is keeping his cards close here. he is being very coy who he wants to name to the five seats. additionally, it is worth noting democrats are not going to wait to move forward, especially with the first hearing because, as they said before, they have a quorum. they have the eight committee assignments already for the select committee that were named by house speaker nancy pelosi just a few weeks ago. because they have that quorum they can proceed. they don't need to wait for the republicans to name their additional choices. but as we have heard previously from the chairman of this committee, that's congressman
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bennie thompson, he said the scope of it, no one is off limits, that they will proceed and follow the facts as requires, that no one would be off limits from a potential subpoena. that includes former administration officials, potentially former president donald trump. it was telling in your conversation just last hour with democratic congressman eric swalwell, speaking to what he hopes the select committee can really uncover here, especially as it relates to the former president's role. >> what did he know as the mob was descending on the capitol and what did he do and not do that could have saved life and saved democracy? for the first time in our country's history, we are not able to say that we had a peaceful transition of power. there was an attempted coup. hundreds of the president's supporters made their way into the capitol. i and others left the floor and stopped counting. a capitol police officer was killed. two others would take their own lives days later. hundreds were injured. officers lost fingers. one lost an eye. >> reporter: congressman thompson has said the first
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hearing, now set for july 27th, will not include any former members of the administration, no members of congress to testify, but instead will focus on the rank and file capitol police officer as well as support staff, custodial staff, others here at the capitol on that deadly day, alex. >> amanda golden at the capitol, thank you so much. president biden certainly firing back at a texas federal judge who ruled the daca program was created illegally. nbc's josh letterman standing by for us at the white house. josh, before i get to daca i'm told you have breaking news. what is that about? >> reporter: that's right. alex, you know the texas democrats who fled the state and are now in washington amid this fight over voting rights? we are now told that three of them have tested positive for covid-19. the first one tested positive last night and then after that the rest of the democrats were given tests. this morning two more of them testing positive according to texas democrats. all of them had been vaccinated for covid. so these are breakthrough cases. just the latest reminder that
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while getting the covid vaccine dramatically reduces your chances of getting seriously ill or dying from code, it does not mean that you cannot actually still contract covid. >> wow. i should know we are going to vaughn hillyard, our colleague in austin, texas. we will get to him in minutes to elaborate on the development. let me ask you about the president and what we're hearing about his reaction to the ruling and what it means to the current daca participants. >> reporter: immigrant advocates wasting no time in demanding the white house act immediately after this shock ruling on the daca program. now, here is what it will not do, and this is important. it will not affect those who currently have daca status or are in the process of renewing it. that's because the judge, he put a hold on that as this plays out in the courts. but it will prevent any new applicants for relief from the daca program from being able to apply for the time being. but president biden vowing to fight back, issuing a statement, calling this very disappointing
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and going on to say, while the court's order does not now affect current daca recipients, the decision nonetheless relegates hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to an uncertain future. biden going on to say the department of justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify daca. he says, the court has recognized, the department of homeland security plans to issue a proposed rule concerning daca in the near future. that regulation, proposed rule from the homeland security department, would seek to actually strengthen daca. but the other thing that the president is saying is that ultimately we've got to have a legislative solution to immigration. democrats expected to include a pathway to citizenship for the dreamers in that massive $3.5 trillion infrastructure spending bill that they plan to pass with democratic votes only, but as we have talked about so many times, alex, you know, that reconciliation process is narrowly meant for budget-related items. entirely unclear whether democrats would be able to get
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immigration provisions past the senate parliamentarian, actually past a pathway to citizenship for dreamers using reconciliation. >> you make a good point. thank you, josh, from the white house. let's go now to the coronavirus pandemic, and a troubling new rise in cases. hospitalizations and deaths in the u.s., new cases are up almost 70% this week. the u.s. has now recorded more than 34 million infections. covid hospitalizations also up by 36% this week. deaths up by 26%. there's a new warning today from the cdc director that unvaccinated americans are at risk. >> this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. we are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. and communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well. >> and in california today, a new mask mandate goes into effect just before midnight in los angeles county, but the
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sheriff says he's not going to enforce that order. it requires residents to once again wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. and in tokyo, the first covid cases in the olympic village have been reported just days before the games begin. officials say that the person infected so far not an athlete, rather someone involved in organizing the games. that person now in a 14-day quarantine. let's go to nbc's cori coffman join inus from new york city, specifically staten island where the delta variant is surging. welcome to you. what are officials doing to try to slow this down? >> reporter: yeah, alex. health officials not only at the national level, which is what we heard from dr. rachelle wilensky there just now, but also at the local level are trying to explain to people, show people the numbers and show the correlation between what it means to get vaccinated and what it means to not be vaccinated if you do encounter the delta variant. we recently heard from dr. fauci about exactly why that is, why it moves through the
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unvaccinated so much quicker and what it means for this country. listen to what he said recently here to lester holt. >> and for those who are not vaccinated, there is a risk because this virus has an extraordinary capability of efficiently spreading from person to person, and that's the reason why we're unconcerned that we are going to have essentially two americas, an unvaccinated, at-risk america and a vaccinated america that relatively speaking is quite protected against infection including by the delta variant, which has a great capability of spreading from person to person. >> reporter: okay. so staten island where we are at has about a 53% vaccination rate, alex. that's compared to manhattan behind us that has a 70% rate. here in staten island they have double the infection rate than manhattan so you can see the correlation. shh is happening on a national level, too. i will give you two examples statewide. the first one is arkansas, which has the lowest vaccination rate
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in the entire nation at 35%. they are reporting the highest increase in cases. in fact, a sobering reality is one health care worker said, quote, of all of our critically covid positive patients at baptist health facilities, none have been fully vaccinated. just let that sit in for a moment. and in florida, 20% of all new cases of covid here in the country, they are accounted in florida -- they are coming from florida. florida now accounts for four times the vaccination -- or four times the spread rate of covid cases than the rest of the nation. this is something that, unfortunately, with these lower vaccination rate communities it is going to extend this spread out, officials think, at least until september or october. so when you look at what that wave looks like, that means we will be getting into the colder months, alex, and health officials are concerned about that because naturally covid cases rise in these colder
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months, which means this pandemic will be extended for that much longer among the unvaccinated especially. >> yep. okay. great setup for my next guest. thank you so much, cori coffman. now i want to bring in nbc public health analyst, dr. redlener, founder of disaster preparedness at columbia university. good to talk to you. a couple of things i want to see if you agree with the categorization of this as being a pandemic of the unvaccinated. that was dr. wilensky who said that, and then dr. fauci said, look, we are looking at the potential for two americas, a vaccinated america and the unvaccinated america. where do you stand on both of those sentiments? >> well, i actually agree with both of them. but it is actually more than america. we are looking at two different global populations. one highly, highly unvaccinated with many countries in africa less than 2%. the differentiation among states here in the united states is stark, alex, and it is very dangerous, and it is probably going to be lingering for quite a long time.
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you know, unfortunately, we've had so much -- so many political influences on whether people getting vaccinated or not vaccinated, and we look at the difference between the states that voted for trump versus biden, we see this absolute political influence over a public health crisis. it is a tough call here to say what is the right message to get people in arkansas and other under vaccinated states to come around. these are people that are more than just hesitant waiting for more information. these are people that are kind of deadset against getting vaccinated at all, and it is a problem. because as long as those unvaccinated populations remain so prevalent in different parts of the u.s., even different parts of new york city as you guys reported, that's a danger to all of us. so it is not like the unvaccinated are going to be somehow living in a bubble, protecting those who are vaccinated. we still have lots of problems that we need to get over with
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all of this, alex. >> let me ask you about those people who are fully vaccinated and the extent to which they should be worried about the delta variant. can they get it? and if they do, what's the reaction in the body, or does this really protect if you are fully vaccinated? >> well, if you are fully vaccinated, you almost certainly, almost certainly will not get extremely ill, needing to be in a hospital on a ventilator. you will likely not die. you know, 99 plus percent of people who are dying from covid right now have not been vaccinated, and that's a big differentiation. so the vaccines won't protect you from getting a mild illness or even an illness with -- even infection with no symptoms. you will still probably be able to transmit that to high-risk individuals. but you, yourself, will be very adequately protected, of. but the thing to keep in mind here, alex, is that, you know,
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we're not going to know for sure whether there are not virus mutants or variants that are much more virulent and much more deadly working out there which eventually could come to our shores. so this is far from over. the last thing we want is complacency or ignoring the guidelines from the cdc. >> is there any certainty of those people who are vaccinated, have gotten covid since, but, you know, kind of a mild case of that and they don't really test, they don't really worry about it because they're vaccinated? i mean how much is that out there in realistic terms? >> well, i don't think we know the exact numbers, but i think that's actually an excellent observation and it is true, that there are people who are getting -- even after being fully vaccinated, that are still getting infected with very few symptoms, if any symptoms. what's the danger that those
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people then, you know, project to other people who are at high risk? so, for example, if you contracted a very minimally symptomatic case of covid after being vaccinated but you live with, you know, elderly parents or grandparents or there are other factors that make people at risk, the possibility that you could infect others is still out there, although it is still pretty minimal. i mean the actual -- the bottom line message under all circumstances is that people need to get vaccinated, and quickly. that goes for the people in arkansas, the people in staten island, new york, and so on. i think we have just a patchwork of acceptance of the vaccine, and that poses a long-term danger to the whole population. >> let me ask you quickly specific to l.a. county, the fact that at midnight tonight they're going to reimpose mask in any public indoor spaces, everyone has to wear it. do you agree with that? do you think the numbers support that kind of action? >> yeah, i do.
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unfortunately, this is tough for all of us. i started masking, even though i've been fully vaccinated for many months, i started wearing masks indoors over the last week or two. i'm concerned, and i think it is okay for l.a. to make those guidelines real. >> okay. dr. irwin redlener, thank you for lending your voice and expertise. it is an important conversation. i appreciate you. >> of course. the democrats who left the lone star state are fighting for voting rights. but back home republicans are ramping up pressure for their return, so who is going to blink first? . first? you need only the freshest milk and cream. that one! and the world's best, and possibly only, schmelier. philadelphia. schmear perfection.
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some new details on our breaking news. three of the texas state lawmakers who traveled to d.c. this week have tested positive for covid. nbc's vaughn hillyard is joining us from austin, texas. what are you hearing there about this? >> reporter: yeah, alex. there were 56 texas house
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members that traveled to washington, d.c. and nine texas senate democratic members, 65 in total. what we have now in the last few minutes is three of the members, three of the texas house dem members who traveled to washington, d.c. tested positive for covid here. but you and dr. redlener were talking about what does it mean for individuals who are fully vaccinated and are not showing symptoms. cdc guidelines currently say that you are able to go about your daily life. that is where now these other members, we expect them to continue on as planned. they were already planning to stick around in washington, d.c., but at least three members have now tested positive. what does this mean for the future? well, they were going to stay in washington, d.c. as was already planned. of course, they were trying to run out the clock of the special session here at the texas state capital, trying to hold up those voting restriction measures in the house and the senate here from being passed into law and signed by the governor.
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well, the question is where do they go from here? i want to let you hear from one of the house dem members. i spoke with him before the covid tests came out but this is his message about what their goal is in the days ahead. take a listen. >> all we're asking them to do is make one exception to one senate rule to save american democracy. it is not that hard. it is a pretty light lift when you consider what is at stake. our national democratic peers hold majorities in the house, in the senate and they hold the white house. there are no excuses not to pass a voting rights bill to ensure that millions of americans in texas and in georgia are able to access their sacred constitutional right to the ballot box. >> reporter: alex, you hear representative talarico say their goal is to force the hand of congress, with democratic majorities in the house and the senate, to take up the for the people act and the john lewis voting rights act.
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essentially, upend the filibuster and make the state laws like this, you either have to go through pre-clearance or essentially make federal statute that there has to be a certain number of days of early voting as well as mail-in voting. that is what you heard representative talarico said their goal is. now the question is how do these positive covid tests impact their agenda, impact their mission? you know, one member they had yet to meet with was democratic senator kyrsten sinema of arizona. they met with manchin last week, but talarico is telling me his caucus hoped to have a meeting this week with senator sinema, and the question is to what extent do these positive covid tests ultimately get in the way of their mission on capitol hill and in washington, d.c.. >> it just may. i'm going to further this conversation as i thank you, my friend, vaughn hillyard. right now i will bring in democratic texas state representative ron reynolds. thank you so much for being here. your reaction to what vaughn hillyard was just saying?
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have you heard that conversation? to what extent might these three covid positive tests now effect what the plans are for your activities in washington, d.c.? >> well, alex, first of all it is great to be with you. >> thank you. >> we are taking these positive confirmations very seriously. each of us took covid tests last night and again today, and everyone else has tested negative. we are following all cdc guidelines and we're going to continue to do what the cdc recommendations call for. so we are being very cautious and judicious in our approach, and we're going to make sure that we don't expose anyone, but we are going to follow all of the necessary guidelines. >> okay. sounds good, and i have no doubt that you are doing that. you have been there for about a week now. tell me what is next on your agenda, what you hope to accomplish and how you are going to go about doing that. >> well, alex, on this one-year anniversary as we commemorate
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our legendary, fear less leader john lewis who made good and necessary trouble and gave his life's work towards the passage of the voting rights of 1965 that ended jim crow laws that pro hinted people of color from voting, i wouldn't be where i am today as the first african-american state representative area in my area since reconstruction if it wasn't for the courageous acts of john lewis and others like him who gave everything to make sure that we could vote in this country. it is the bed rock of america. so what we're trying to do this week is appeal to the senate to pass hr-1 and hr4. this is fundamental to our democracy, and we want to protect people's precious right to vote. >> 100%. i love the kind of good trouble that john lewis brought to everything around him. he was much loved, much admired, much missed for sure. i see you are trying to carry on his mission. let me ask you about democratic senator joe manchin, as you
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know, traveling to texas for a fundraiser hosted by gop donors. this happened a day or so after he met with you and the group of democrats on the hill. >> that's correct, alex. >> you, of course, pushing your efforts to move congressional voting legislation forward. so your meeting with manchin, did anything come of it? what do you think when he goes one day from meeting with you to going to texas for gop donors to fete him? >> alex, it was a very positive meeting. my colleagues who have met with senator manchin came out with a sense of optimism. they had some very candid conversations, and they really expressed to him how these impacted our millions of texans that would be disenfranchised. this is jim crow 2.0, and we impressed upon him the fierce urgency of now that we need federal intervention. with respect to him going to texas to fund raise, i think it was a preplanned trip. we are not at all concerned about the fact that gop donors -- i mean he is a senator
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that works across the aisle, so it is not a surprise that many republicans are supporting him as well. so we're focused on the task at hand, and we believe in good faith, based on our conversation with senator manchin, that is he is open to moving forward with a version -- not necessarily the version that's been introduced, but a version that would accomplish the goal that we have come to d.c. to do, and that is to ensure that there's federal legislation to stop states like texas and other states from passing restrictive voter laws that disenfranchise communities of color and the disabled. we have to protect the fundamental precious right to vote. >> let me ask you about in terms of negotiating. do you have any sense that your republican colleagues in texas are willing to negotiate? and i guess there's the question, do democrats even want to negotiate. do you see the entire bill as being unacceptable? >> it is unacceptable. i mean here is the truth. we know this, alex, that this is the big lie that donald trump
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told america. what has happened since then? his own personal attorney, rudy giuliani, has lost his law license from the new york bar. his own former attorney general willian barr has said there was no evidence, and countless supreme court appointees that trump appointed rejected. there was no evidence, not even a little bit. so we need to move on. republicans need to be statesmen. they need to get on the right side of history and level up and tell people that he lost fair and square. we had sound elections, and we don't need voter suppression to overcome good public policy. if you want to win, win on ideas. don't win by putting your thumb on the scale to try to disenfranchise, cheat and trying to win by any means necessary. don't try to take away the precious, fundamental right to vote. that's the bedrock of america.
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we sent our troops abroad to protect that right, and as we commemorate john lewis's death, shame on them. we have come too far to go back, and we shouldn't be relitigating this in 2021. we should be focused on other issues like medicaid expansion in texas, fising the grid, equal pay. so many things we could be focused on, but it is certainly partisan politics they're playing for the next republican primary. but this is divisive and it is not what is good for the american people nor texas. it is unpatriotic and unamerican. >> i got to tell you, that statement. i hope that statement is ricochetting around and people can hear that because you said it very, very well, sir. last quick question. how long do you guys plan to stay in d.c.? >> alex, we plan to stay in d.c. for the duration of the -- what we call the suppression session because there's nothing special about it. we plan to stay in d.c. through august the 7th. that is the last day of the session. we hope to get this legislation passed by august 6th recess.
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so we are going to stay here for as long as we need to, and we will not cower to governor abbott's threats. we are here to protect democracy. >> democrat of texas state representative ron reynolds. good to talk to you. best of luck. we will check in gun r again. >> thank you. it is probably the worst thing that could happen to donald trump, at least in his own mind. a new report today about ticket sales for a big stadium tour he was planning. we will tell you what today's headlines are saying about that. headlines are saying about that. ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service. ♪ i'm greg, i'm 68 years old.
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here are the two battling to the line and allyson felix... simone manuel's above her trying to fight on, and above simone... getting an opportunity to show her stuff. nonstop, displayed at the highest performance level... finding something and the us takes gold! ♪ dream on ♪ ♪ dream on ♪ ♪ dream on ♪ ♪ dream on ♪ - yes! ♪ ahhhhhhh ♪ ♪ dream until your dreams come true ♪
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new today, a report that an anticipated stadium tour featuring donald trump as the star attraction is lagging in ticket sales. the event, called "the history tour" will also feature former tv personality bill o'reilly and is expected to make about four stops in december. but qanon supporters may not be welcome. a new "politico" report reveals trump's team is trying to distance themselves from this controversial group.
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joining me is the author of this piece, meredith ma graw. welcome back to the broadcast. let's get to what you write about this. the attempts at creating distance from qanon have been complicated, however, by the former president who has refused to disavow the movement even when described to him as a conspiracy. so what is going on here? what is donald trump trying to do? is he straddling the fence and can he possibly use that as a winning strategy if that's what is behind it? >> well, for a long time the campaign has tried to distance themselves from the qanon movement, at trump rallies they discouraged people from wearing "q" attire, they discouraged people from bringing qanon posters and things like that. they recognized that this is a conspiracy theory that has latched on to a lot of the former president's own supporters. but the former president himself is somebody who has continued to wink at the conspiracy theory
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movement, even as those around him have tried to distance him from it. i think one of the most recent examples is when the former president has brought up ashli babbit and that she was shot during the capitol hill riots, but she was a qanon follower who went to capitol hill thinking that they were going to be able to overturn the election, and she has really emerged as a martyr for the qanon movement itself. >> yeah. well, here is another one to consider with the qanon supporters who still continue donald trump's big lie about the election. some believe the former president will be reinstalled to the white house. there's been an august date, they've moved the goalposts now. it is maybe september. but why does this theory continue despite being debunked? >> well, in talking to experts on qanon, they say one of the center pieces of this movement these days is the audit in
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arizona and this belief among its followers that the former president will be reinstated as early as august. now, a close ally of trump has said that -- and believes in that and has pushed for that. he said that that date is not final, but even people like congresswoman marjorie taylor greene has told supporters and people that isn't true, that people should not be thinking that the former president is going to be reinstated by 2020. but it is remarkable that there is such a large group of supporters that actually think that this is going to happen. it is something that "politico" reported a while back, is that dhs actually has their eyes on this movement and this belief. they don't want any new eruptions of violence to happen if people do think that the former president is going to somehow come back into office, which isn't going to happen and won't happen, but people become so frustrated that they could be
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motivated to take violent action. >> yeah. you mentioned the arizona recall -- recount rather, the voter fraud cases that have been found. according to the associated press as of yesterday, again, more than 3 million votes cast in that state, they found a big total of 182 cases that just warranted looking at, of which four, four, that's it, four were found to have lead to problems and that they brought charges. no one has been convicted, by the way. those kinds of numbers, it doesn't even begin to support these ridiculous and bizarre theories, but you have written about the qanon persistence and how it has been a problem. enough so that dhs is monitoring discussions about these theories online. give me a sense of how great a threat dhs is considering qanon. do you think it is possible to combat this group via dhs in some way? >> well, this is from one of my
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colleague's reporting, betsy swann. she wrote a few weeks ago that dhs was monitoring it. they didn't have any kind of evidence, anything that was going to happen, but it is just something that is on their radar this summer, especially considering everything that happened on january 6th. >> hmm. so you quote there's an author, meredith, who says that when they don't win, that's going to work into their sense of grievances that they've had building up in the past few years. i think it will be a dangerous moment. you mentioned the prospect of violence, but what do you think relative to future elections? >> you know, i think one of the most disconcerting things about the entire movement is there is this large swath of americans who don't believe that their vote counts. they think that the election has been stolen from them and, you know, just speaking, you know, as somebody who wants to see a healthy democracy like we all do, i think that is really disturbing that some of these people have bought into that and truly believe it.
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>> can i just ask you real quick, even though i'm out of time, what do you make of the lagging ticket sales for this tour? >> well, that was just announced, this tour was just announced recently that former fox news host bill o'reilly will be -- going in four cities this -- and one of my colleagues, daniel lippman, reported ticket sales have not been great. they booked pretty big arena, places where they sell out for large concerts for big rock stars, but so far this duo hasn't been able to capture the ticket sales, the attention that they might like. it is something that trump, who is very sensitive to things like crowd sizes and appearances will certainly take note of. the trump spokesperson and o'reilly himself pushed back on the notion that ticket sales are lagging, saying that they still haven't promoted these events, but knowing how much trump has paid attention to crowd sizes in the past, i'm sure it is not a
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headline he would like to read. >> i know. i was going to beg the question has trump lost his luster. it will be something analysts will be looking at for sure. meredith, thank you so much. good to see you. it is a troubling legacy of the war in afghanistan that may challenge the very principles of american society, but what will change now that u.s. troops are leaving? oist. or is that the damp weight of self-awareness you now hold in your hand? yeah-h-h. (laugh) keep your downstairs dry with gold bond body powder.
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over command to afghan forces this week, questions remain about why guantanamo bay is still open. joining me now, carol rosenberg, "new york times" reporter who has covered guantanamo bay since the first prisoners were brought there from afghanistan back in january 2002. a big welcome to you. you are certainly the person to talk to about this. you were back in gitmo this week, so here is the question. why is it still open? >> well, this administration, as a matter of law this administration, like the previous administration, says that this war extends beyond the battlefield. so even if the last troop were to leave afghanistan, they do not say that their detention authority would diminish, and there are 40 men there, a dozen of whom are in kind of trial proceedings or would be on trial if the court were up and functioning. they have some pretrial hearings they need to get started. there's another dozen for whom they would like -- there's
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another dozen for whom they would like to send away, and then there's this whole group in the middle called the forever prisoners who are prisoners of this war. as a matter of law, they say they can keep them. but there is in this administration some behind-the-scenes brainstorming going on about how to close that detention center, to move them, where to move them, repatriate people. it has become, as i think you know, quite a complicated and burdensome chore. >> yeah, no, 100%. here is something you reported this week about seeing construction of $124 million barracks for the troops going up across the street from mcdonald's. so is there a sense that the biden administration wants to close gitmo? >> not to close -- certainly not to close the base. the base has been there for over 100 years. >> ah. >> but one end of the base far from the mcdonald's, far from the barracks that will rise near the mcdonald's is the detention
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center, the prison operation. 40 prisoners are in there. there's 1,500 staff members, about 1,000 troops. that is the portion that people would -- that this administration seeks to close. so people think closing guantanamo means picking up and leaving the base. what they really want to do is figure out how to extricate themselves from having the detention operation there. >> so these -- >> alex -- sorry. >> no, no, so these 40 remain. five of them are suspected of plotting in the 9/11 attacks, right? so you have 17 being held in what is called indefinite law of war detention, and they're not recommended for transfer to other countries. so what is that plan then for them? >> i think that's where the brainstorming is going on. there's a dozen for whom they've approved transfer with security assurances, and i believe people over at the -- at the state department are working on figuring out what countries might take them. one of these dozen is pleading
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guilty later this year and would return to pakistan, maybe as early as next year. there's another dozen in these legal proceedings. but for the rest this administration decided to take a hard look on whether they're considered too dangerous to transfer to the custody of other countries. they're having hearings and trying to figure out what to do with them. but they maintain that they can hold these men as forever prisoners of this forever war as long as the war on terror continues. the desire is to close it, so they have to look hard at who are these men and why are they holding them. >> so i want to take a look at one specific case here of more than half of these 40 prisoners, they previously had been held at cia black sites including this man now as abu zaida, palestinian born, raised in saudi arabia, captured in march of 2002 and held at black sites for 1,600 days, right? he was the first prisoner to undergo waterboarding, forced
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nudity, sleep deprivation, confinement to a coffin-sized box among other things. in 2006 the cia conceded he is not a member of al qaeda. there has to be a bunch of challenges that cases like this raise for the biden administration in deciding where do they go next. >> through the years of court challenges for the detention of these men, the courts have allowed a broader interpretation of detention authority, meaning association with al qaeda has been sufficient to keep you there. ab zubaydah is the perfect example. they thought he was number three of al qaeda when they water boarded him, carried him off to black sites and disappeared him for four years. now he sits at guantanamo. the question is where can he go, what country would take custody of him, and would the americans be comfortable enough with sending him to live in another country, to a rehabilitation center, and where can he go. he is a palestinian and he grew
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up in saudi arabia, but he is one of the forever prisoners. never going to be charged and not on a list to be transferred any time soon. >> which means to be continued on all of this. there doesn't seem to be really a path forward they figured out completely yet, so we'll have you back to talk about it. thank you so much. so as the fourth heat wave hits the west coast, there's a new threat for wildfires in a different part of the country. we will share after the break. try boost glucose control. it's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels and contains high quality protein to help manage hunger and support muscle health. try boost today. i'm still wowed by what's next. even with higher stroke risk due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin,... i want that. eliquis. eliquis reduces stroke risk better than warfarin. and has less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis has both. don't stop taking eliquis without talking to your doctor
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worries about drought and fire certainly. what are you seeing there, scott? >> reporter: well, alex, you can see behind me a big portion of the water supply for silicon valley. it is not supposed to look that way. you see there's a little finger of land kind of out in the middle of that reservoir. folks that have been around here a long time have never seen that, that's how low the levels are. it is the result, of course, of the drought that's been going on now in the second year. governor gavin newsom in california has instituted voluntary cutbacks on water use of 15%. here in santa clara county they've made some of those mandatory because they say the water levels are critically low. >> we're seeing the driest season since 1977. if you look locally in santa clara county, which is the heart of silicon valley, our total reservoir storage is just at 14% of capacity. our ground water aquifers are still full, however, we are really concerned that next year we potential could see subside
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ens. >> reporter: when he says subsidence he is talking about the ground water levels getting so low they start to deteriorate. you can see the drought monitor in the u.s. you see the dark areas. that's what they call exceptional drought. all of the state of california is in some degree of drought. there have been monsoons in the southwest, but the issue with that is that it triggers some of the dry thunderstorms that you were talking about, alex. that means lightning. with everything tinder dry out here, that potentially means fire. so we're watching that very closely, alex. >> thanks for doing that. it is really troubling, that's for sure, scott. two months of rainfall in a matter of two days. the disastrous flooding in europe that swept away entire homes like this one floating down the road. the race to find survivors next. ♪ ♪
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happening now in western europe. devastating flooding. let's take a look at this video. it is a pretty heartbreaking scene. officials say that at least 160 people are dead. there are hundreds more who are missing. let's go to our correspondent, claudio lavanga standing by for us in germany. i'm curious what i'm seeing there. if you are still standing in front of the train station that was wiped out, the visuals are just extraordinary. >> reporter: that's right, alex.
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after days of uninterrupted a run fail that brought upon these floods, finally the clouds have cleared and the water is finally at long last receded, but it left behind a trail of death and destruction. as you mentioned, right behind me it used to be -- this used to be a train station. the train station here in the western germany, one of the most affected areas. now it is a pile of rubble with car wreckage scattered on and across it and on the rails as well. i don't know whether you can see it. this is how powerful that wave coming from the flood was. it just brought upon all of this rubbish, all of the car wreckage. there in the distance you can see two enormous giant concrete pillars. those used to be a walkway, a bridge over which people will cross from one side of the river to the other. well, that had to be brought down because it became unstable. now, one of the residents just living next to this live position, next to the station, or what used to be a station,
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told us that this river just next to me has always been a very shallow, gentle river up to the waist. and then all of a sudden on wednesday evening, she said, it became a wall of water that just suddenly, very quickly broke its banks and came all over here. she saved, actually, her tenant on the ground floor by waking him up, practically saving his life, and the whole building, well, they all ran up the hills where they stayed overnight until the water receded slightly the day after. she also took some amateur footage. i don't know whether you saw that. the president of germany visited this area today. he said it will take weeks to figure out the real damage of these floods. well, by the look of it, alex, it is pretty clear that the damage is really extensive. alex. >> yeah, claudio, it is extensive. it is heartbreaking, and considering those hundreds that are missing they still have quite a task ahead of them to find them.
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claudio lavanga, thank you so much. i will see you again tomorrow at noon eastern. our coverage continues with joe fryer in for yasmin. ♪ ♪ good afternoon. i'm joe fryer in for yasmin vossoughian. a lot going on today. the events of january 6th continue to reshape american politics, but we're still learning from that moment. even today, more than six months later. we will show you the new destruction, items stolen and how the next sentencing will shape what is in store for others facing legal trouble. winning the hearts and minds of cuba. demonstrations inside and outside that communist island are happening right now with a familiar face we haven't seen since his retirement. we are on the ground in ha van vana with the layest. plus another back and forth fight over daca, the program that shields those brought

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