tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 22, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in the east. i'm claire mccaskill in for nicolle wallace. more fallout from speaker pelosi's refusal to give in to the republican party's attempt to turn the investigation into january 6th into a farce strongly pushing back against complaints that the january 6 select committee will now be a partisan exercise in light of pelosi vetoing two of the house gop leaders' appointments and mccarthy pulling all of his picks in response to pelosi's veto. >> given how divided the country is at this point, do you risk what the committee finds with
your findings in the select committee, and, also, can you talk about liz cheney's role now after leader mccarthy's move of withdrawing his members? >> overwhelmingly, if you look at the polls, and that's what your measure is, they want to know the truth. like in the 70s people want to know more about what happened on january 6th and 59% of republicans think we need to know more about what happened on january 6th. nobody is saying that this should be one point of view going on in the committee but it is, when statements are ridiculous and fall into the realm of, you must be kidding, there's no way that they're going to be on the committee. >> nbc news reporting that pelosi is considering bringing former republican congressman denver riggleman onboard as an adviser. riggleman has been a prominent
critic of the former president and the republican party's efforts at sowing disinformation including on this broadcast. he'll join us in the next hour. and as the select committee inches forward with hearings scheduled next week the attacks from the republicans led by kevin mccarthy continue. >> it doesn't matter today what she does with that committee, because it's not going to change the outcome of what it seems like a predetermine or already written report. she played politics with this for six months. >> now here are the facts on who has really been playing politics. none of this would be happening if mccarthy and the republicans hadn't killed the bill to set up an independent 9/11-style commission with an equal number of democrats and republicans and no ability for pelosi to veto any of mccarthy's picks. and complaints by mccarthy and republicans that the committee is fully partisan don't hold
water either. given that a member of his caucus is already on the committee, that's liz cheney, who is committed to an impartial investigation. here is what she said yesterday. >> i am absolutely confident that we will have a nonpartisan investigation, that it will look at the facts, that it will go wherever the facts may lead. >> and we got a big hint about just where those facts may lead today. with new audio from an interview with "the washington post" philip rucker and carol leonnig saying the quiet part out loud admitting he supported the insurrectionists and they showed up to support him. >> personally what i wanted is what they wanted. they showed up just to show support, because i happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before. >> and that's where we begin today. joining us now tim miller,
writer at-large at the bulwark and an msnbc contributor. also, robert gibbs, former white house press secretary as well as an msnbc political analyst. and jackie, author of "washington post's" power up newsletter. thank you all for being with us. jackie, let's start with you. has trump's delusion, which was in full display in that clip we just listened to, is his delusion becoming the gospel in the republican party? >> absolutely, claire. that's what we're seeing really from the loudest voices in the party. yes, you have people like congresswoman liz cheney, who would say, in her opinion, is on the right side of history when it comes to calling out the president for his repeated lies and calling out her members for the propagation of those lies about election fraud. but i think that we heard time
and time again from other members of the party this has become a litmus test. speaking of president trump, former president trump, one thing minority leader kevin mccarthy has not taken into consideration when making the decision to pull all republicans from participating in this select committee. this is a president who is still deeply involved with the party, glued to cable news. when these hearings start, when we start hearing the compelling testimony from police officers who were on the front lines of the insurrection, there will be no republicans sitting on that committee there to defend the former president, and that's something the former president might not be very thrilled with. >> tim, listening to that audio and other pieces of the same interview that have come out today, it is remarkable when you think about that interview occurred months after january 6th. which tells me that he's not being confronted with people
trying to tell him that he's delusional. talk about trump's instincts and his impulses and whether or not they have gotten worse or even faded somewhat during the time that he's been out of office. >> delusional is one way to put it, maybe an understatement, listening to that the comment that the guy he ran against, supposedly sleepy joe, was meanwhile rigging the election at a level like we've never seen. it's fantasy. i'm not going to get into psycho analying donald trump. i think if you look back this has always been a guy who lived on bluster and delusion and wishing things into reality. i think after the 2016 election when everybody said he was going to lose, when i think he even thought he was going to lose and he won anyway, he sort of entered this next level of delusional bubble that was
unpopable. i don't really know if it's worse or better than it was, his first day in office. it's been bad ever since day one. i think that now he's down at bedminster or mar-a-lago at his own hotel doing his wedding singer shtick, golfing, and presiding over whoever wants to come by his hotel. he has no reason to hear or listen to anyone else. what the reality of that is his delusional life now intersects with what's happening in the real world. when republican congressmen and women have to sort of abide by it, have to go along with it, have to participate in it, when they still do encounter humans outside of the little trump bubble of delusion. i think their struggles and how to navigate that is why you see things like jackie is talking
about right now where you can't have any republicans in good standing participate in this commission because they all have to at some level or another go along with his alternate reality. >> so pelosi is trying to keep this committee from turning into a circuit. "the new york times" put it this way. mr. jordan said in december that there was no way mr. trump should concede the election, even after the electoral college certified mr. biden's victory. later that month he participated in a meeting at the white house where republican lawmakers discussed plans with mr. trump's team to use the joint session of congress on january 6th to challenge the election outcome. mr. banks released a statement after he was chosen to serve as the top republican on the panel that seemingly referred to the violent rioters as patriotic
expressing their views. robert, how different would this committee be if, in fact, jordan and banks had remain as members during these hearings? what difference would that have made? >> i think they would have tried to turn this into a sideshow and a circuit. i think they would have continued and been given a larger platform to push their delusional conspiracy theories, the idea the crowd was made up of patriots and not insurrectionists and terrorists. so, look, i think she made the right decision, and i give her a lot of credit for it. look, she was -- kevin mccarthy was in the same position nancy pelosi was around the benghazi hearings, and she appointed smart people, competent people, some of whom are on this committee, to investigate and to carry out the idea of an investigation at a high level. these are two individuals that
weren't going to do that. and as you pointed out, claire, this was kevin mccarthy and the republicans' own making. had they sat down at the table and decided how they wanted this to end and how they wanted to participate because, by the way, kevin mccarthy may well be a witness, an important key witness in this, testifying not just to donald trump's state of mind that day but what exactly he told him on the phone. nobody will be up there protecting and possibly asking questions to donald trump who could be a witness. and if you look back kevin mccarthy has misplaced the card so many times it's hard to recount it. he's made her more and more powerful this commission will be bipartisan every day she and democrats are on it. >> yeah, i think people need to remember she was part of republican leadership like five minutes ago. i mean, this is clearly a republican. jackie, yes, mccarthy may be a
witness, but clearly there is enough smoke around jim jordan and his involvement in meetings at the white house prior to january 6th. what was mccarthy thinking putting what could be a material witness on the very committee that clearly he will be called to testify in front of? >> that's exactly right, claire. we were the first to report he spoke with president trump on january 6th and has continued to repeatedly decline to provide any insight into those conversations and instead kept telling us he talks with former president trump all the time. talked with him on january 6th and still talks with him. that was another point of contention, how could you have someone overseeing this investigation who, as you noted, would have to provide testimony and insight and potentially might have helped president trump in the lead-up to the insurrection and the rally and the events that we saw play out.
but, look, i think leader mccarthy -- minority leader mccarthy was trying to balance a few different incoming opinions that were coming his way. some people were advising he should pick a pack of killers, as they phrased it, people who would go out there and use this committee to defend the president and make this a circuit. try to make it as partisan as possible, insert as many distractions as possible. and jordan and banks were capable of doing just that. they are comfortable with the media attention. they live on fox news. jim jordan in particular has a knack for viral moments. and then i think there were other people advising mccarthy to take this a little more seriously. that's why we ultimately saw the appointment of people like rodney davis and ultimately pelosi did not have a tolerance and her members didn't have a tolerance for having people like
jim jordan and jim banks who, according to bennie thompson as he told us this morning, the red line for democrats was not that they voted against certifying president-elect biden's win but they don't have a reputation for, as he said, civility and decore number a systemic way and this is a very serious and grave undertaking, and the mention of joe biden and speaker pelosi in the statements trying to get to the bottom of what happened january 6th was a grave misunderstanding and misreading of what they're trying to do next week. >> tim, you wrote a piece for "the bulwark" where you talk about banks and what his presence on the committee would have been. you said banks is an election truther who polled his constituents on whether or not he should cancel the votes of citizens from other states. the new chairman of the house republican study committee was
among the members of congress who joined donald trump in visiting the u.s./mexico border last month. banks' communications director is buckley carlson, son of tucker. ensuring the white power hour will have the direct line to leaks from the committee. talk about the absurdity of banks remaining on this committee and why, in my opinion, pelosi had no choice. >> i'm impressed speaker pelosi had the gumption to make this -- to pull the two jims off of the committee because obviously you saw in the clip at the beginning of this hour some in the press were going to challenge her about that and try to blame nancy pelosi for not making this bipartisan, which is a preposterous notion given the fact there were actually -- there was a massive bipartisan vote in favor with over 30
republicans in favor of it and then it got killed. there was a bipartisan effort republicans killed and, look, banks, as i wrote in that article, is maybe not as famous as jordan, not as many viral moments on fox. he has been a hard line supporter of trump, was extremely favorable towards all of this sort of slow motion rolling coup effort that happened from november all the way through january. as i said, his son -- excuse me, his spokesperson is the son of tucker carlson. he has a direct line in to fox. fox has obviously, as tucker has shown a willingness to take leaks from inside congress, from inside the administration and without putting full context and use that to make a bad faith on what has happened in this administration. no doubt had banks stayed on that committee that is what you
would have seen, the leaks to put the worst possible light on their work being aired on prime time fox. that's not something to stop entirely by getting rid of banks. i think you can get after the core of the problem there and so i really just think, frankly, pelosi, you know, did the right thing and the fact liz cheney is there and hopefully they'll add riggleman and kizinger to it. they will find this committee is looking to get to the truth of what happened on january 6. >> bennie thompson talked about the possibility of another republican being added. >> i think his reputation speaks for itself. from all indications, he's a fine representative, his district and state loves him, and that's the type of person we would love to have on the committee. as to the committee's having as
many members participate, i'm looking forward in the long run to try to have as many of the 13 members as i can. >> jackie, would it be smart for them to add adam kizinger as another republican on the committee? >> i think what some people will privately grumble about is the potential if you're adam someone like adam kinzinger while he's praised by democrats they're worried it might make for more of a distraction. i think there is some concern that cheney and kinzinger are such big targets for kevin mccarthy. it might lend itself to becoming a little less serious. bennie thompson confirmed multiple times today to us that there are multiple republicans under consideration right now by house speaker nancy pelosi.
the only thing still unclear whether those appointments can be made since they do need to be done technically in consultation with minority leader kevin mccarthy. obviously adam kinzinger and he do not have a productive working relationship much anymore, so that might be rendered moot. look, i talk to people like a republican who actually negotiated the terms of the independent commission with bennie thompson months ago and asked him if house speaker nancy pelosi asked him to serve next week if he could accept that. he didn't actually answer the question, but he did say that he really lamented the situation we were in right now since it could have been avoided if mccarthy and more republicans, more than the 35 just voted in favor of actually establishing this commission and that the senate had ultimately established it as well. >> gibbs, before i let you go, i have to ask you a little
politics. can liz cheney survive this politically? and, more importantly, what happens to the other republicans who voted for the commission? are they going to get blackballed the way she is? >> i think that remains to be seen what they say about this. i have no doubt kevin mccarthy has asked republicans other than liz cheney to get in line. look, i think every step of the way kevin mccarthy has just made liz cheney a bigger player on the national scene. he has made her the central player on this investigation and i think she seems very intent on using that leverage and the building profile to try to survive this election. so i think it will be -- i think she will play a central role, a big part of this and will be
damning for the republicans to have to answer. every time she walks down the steps that's why the tv cameras are there. >> thank you so much for starting us off. tim miller is sticking around. when we come back, the capitol police officer attacked by rioters on january 6th attacked again last night by tucker carlson. we'll talk to the officer's lawyer who says he'd lay down his life to protect any member of congress no matter what political party they belong to. also, a summer surge of covid and a new warning from the cdc. why doctors say we're at a pivotal point in this pandemic. "deadline white house" continues right after this. use" continues right after this the rule in business used to be, "location, location, location." now it's, "network, network, network." so you need a network that's built right. verizon business unlimited starts with america's most reliable network. then we add the speed of verizon 5g.
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attempts by right-wing media to white wash the capitol insurrection reached a new low last night when fox news host tucker carlson tried to smear capitol police officer harry dunn who is said to be one of the very first witnesses to testify before congress next week. >> dunn will pretend to speak for the country's law enforcement community. it turns out dunn has very little in common with your average cop. he is an angry left-wing political activist whose social media feeds are full of praise not coincidentally for nancy pelosi. >> backlash to those comments was swift, as it should be. in a statement attorneys for harry dunn said tonight fox news allowed its host, tucker carlson, who has not served a day in uniform, whether military
or law enforcement, to criticize the heroism and service of african-american u.s. capitol police officer harry dunn. officer dunn, who would lay down his life to protect a member of congress, regardless of being a republican or democrat, will testify next tuesday before the house select committee investigating the events of the insurrection. frankly, the last thing carlson wants is for the truth to emerge of what happened that day and why. joining us now, the attorney for capitol police officer harry dunn and my friend, michael steele, a former chairman of the rnc and an msnbc political analyst. mark, first, let me play, before we talk, let me play for you something that harry dunn said to our colleague joy reid back in april. >> the battle, i guess, was just
different. everybody we fought physical fights and we were emotionally tested. but to have racism rear its ugly head in there, while the fight was happening, i didn't process it while it was happening. so once it's all over and you're attempting to put together in your mind what happened, you are faced with, wow, we really were called the "n" word. it's a lot more to unpack than just, oh, the actual physical trauma we endured. >> you know, mark, that police officer put his life on the line that day for every member of congress and, frankly, even for their staff including tucker carlson's son. talk about where he is today in
terms of dealing with what he had to encounter that day and how strongly he feels about the way tucker carlson said it that he somehow was not an average cop and that somehow he wasn't like other police officers. speak to that. >> thank you, senator. yeah, i carlson, officer dunn will be speaking for other officers that day sharing a common experience, and that common experience is they almost lost their lives at the hands of insurrectionists and they couldn't care less whether they were republicans or democrats attacking them or who they were protecting, as we said in our statement. they suffered a lot physically. some more than others. mentally a lot are suffering. there's a lot of ptsd. law enforcement, very often, these folks don't say much about this afterwards. it's not a coincidence that in
the, what, now seven months almost since january 6th happened, there's only been -- you can count on one hand the number of police officers who have publicly spoken out. because they take their pain internally and there is a lot of pain. and that statement last night, all it did was revive and sort of re-energize with a knife stab wound to it, that pain. this is not coincidental and this is something new. harry has been out there to make sure he didn't violate anything of the capitol police. he's been out there five months. it was not until after last night, five months after tucker carlson made that despicable dialogue he started receiving the most vial hate messages, racist attacks, through social media. it is not a coincident that those attacks started after
tucker carlson made his comments, and i attribute those directly to carlson just like when i experienced death threats when i was representing the ic whistle-blower during the first impeachment hearings. those death threats started after right-wing social media and talking heads like carlson started speaking out and naming us publicly. >> michael, the republican party has branded itself as the party of, quote/unquote, law and order, even though there are many instances where they have been inconsistent on that. they have claimed they protect police officers no matter what. what are they doing to their branding with the positions they've taken? eugene goodman, the capitol police officer who fought on his feet and saved people by misdirecting the crowd at a time critical to getting people to
safety and the way the republicans dealt with him and now tucker carlson going after this brave police officer. do you think any of this video of these trump supporters attacking police officers are going to end up in political ads? >> well, yeah. the reality is with respect to the brand, claire, that's the new reality for the gop. they're just sort of thrown off the old brand, if you will. and so the law and order narrative that resonated for a lot of different reasons, certainly not based the way it is now, you know, had its place. it made sense to talk about, okay, how do we protect and serve our communities as best that we can? and then sort of talking about the police was the entire police body. they never singled out a police officer. so in that regard they sort of
stood with that blue wall. but this is where the racism changes that landscape and changes the conversation because of all the officers who have been on national networks, mark knows, you know, having this black officer speak out the way he has, the only one who has been branded the way he's been branded that he's a different kind of police officer. tucker, how is he exactly different again? what has he said that's so different? you see this narrative emerge and how it impacts a once solid straight forward narrative about policing and turned it into something ugly. >> in that clip from joy's show, he talked about hearing the "n"
word during this incredible moment of danger and emotion and frightening, frightening things happening. so that was different for the black officers. by and large, mark, there were a lot of police officers who feel exactly the way that harry dunn felt in terms of having police officers attacked en masse by a violent mob. that just doesn't happen in america very often. there may be one-offs of people who get out of control at a protest here and there but this was a mob of angry people that had no problem breaking windows in our nation's capitol, no problem jamming flagpoles into the faces of police officers and dragging them across pavement. isn't there really an incredible
amount of togetherness among police officers there that day? harry dunn was in the same place as the other officers attacked on that momentous, scary, awful, frightening day. >> absolutely. they really made a difference and all shared that common experience. my other officer is an army veteran. he served in iraq in a real war zone and he will testify that what happened on january 6th was worse than what he ever experienced in iraq and he wasn't prepared to deal with that because who would have been? that's not a scenario that we had prepared for since, what, 1814 when the british last stormed the u.s. capitol. and harry's experience with the
"n" word was not unique to him. he's just the one who vocalized that occurred. he's had other officers, other african-american officers come up to him and say, wow, that happened to you? that happened to me as well. while they and the metropolitan officers will be testifying in their personal capacities only, they will be speaking out for the shared experiences of what happened that day. i don't know what tucker was watching on january 6th but i was watching the video and have seen a lot since and there were no tourist that is were there that day. that was a violent insurrectionist mob. >> mark, give us a preview of what your client will testify to in the committee next week, and why should everyone watch? >> what makes carlson's comments even worse is that whatever the officers' backgrounds are has nothing to do with what tuesday is about.
they are fact witnesses. they are using the officers as a vehicle to simply introduce what investigation they will conduct. the officers aren't going to say why these people were there. they're going to talk about what they heard. how they sent them, that they should join them. they never let them in the way president trump has said, talk were attacked with bear spray and pepper spray and, as you said, american flags, of all things, that they were trying to steal their weapons, that they were trying to take their shields and masks and a lot of coordination especially among some of the folks on the real right-wing extremist white nationalists who were there in battle fatigues and decked out that we all see. and one of the things that you'll see that also goes to just kind of smack tucker right
across the head, so to speak, is that there will be video and photographs of our clients, of officer dunn, of the sergeant where you can see them getting hit. this was not a walk in the park. whatever they believed in their own minds politically or not before hand was not at play on that day, that's for sure. >> mark zaid, thank you so much for being with us today. and, michael, we'll see you again. i'm going to be handing off to you at the top of the hour because you're hosting the next hour of "deadline white house." up next, are republican leaders doing enough to get their constituents vaccinated? the white house today with startling new covid numbers that seem to say not yet. we'll be right back.
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the delta variant is spreading with incredible efficiency and 83% of the virus circulating in the united states. in areas that have a high amount of disease and low amounts of vaccination that if you're unvaccinated you should absolutely be wearing a mask. >> today top white house officials warned against the increasingly dangerous state of the pandemic for the unvaccinated who maintain they should be wearing masks. but despite the highly contagious delta variant, the
white house and cdc tell nbc news they have no plans to the update mask guidance at this time for fully vaccinated people. following new "washington post" reporting that they've been debating whether or not to do so. also today white house covid response coordinator jeff zients said this week just three states accounted for 40% of all the cases nationwide. florida, texas, and, sadly, my own missouri. states with governors who have gone to great lengths to block mask mandates or publicly oppose the face protection required during a pandemic. eugene scott, political reporter for "the washington post" and tim miller is back with us. eugene, what do you make of the moves by the republican governors and these states where they have not only talked about no mandates, they've gone so far
as to sign legislation that protects the unvaccinated, protects the people who won't mask and in texas, for example, banning the ability of local officials to require masks under certain circumstances. how does that leave local officials with that kind of leadership at the top of the states? >> it certainly puts mayors and local officials with more liberal cities who, you know, are following the science and are more aligned with the biden administration on this issue in a tough spot because you have these communities that have residents that have more -- that are more likely to have actually been vaccinated during the tougher moments of the pandemic to have worn masks, socially distanced themselves and hoping to move forward. we nope the numbers do not support that.
because so many people did not we're still in a difficult place and you will not be able to live and benefit from the rewards of complying. politics appears and continues to be a leading light in how people respond to this opposed to the cdc guidelines. >> yeah, and, tim, it's interesting because the dilemma here is the vaccinated don't need masks as much as the unvaccinated. but the people inclined to wear masks are conscious of the science and public safety and the officials -- i know the folks at the white house are really in a dilemma because they want to reward the people who have been vaccinated by saying you don't have to wear masks. what's the point of getting vaccinated if everybody has to wear a mask? talk about this whole issue of
mask or unmask and how it will play into greeting this delta variant with the kind of force we need to greet it with? >> first i will get off line with gene. my backdrop is inferior. as far as the mask thing, i have to be honest, i am sympathetic to the biden administration's concern about this. i think a big blow back to changing mask guidance. i think there's been a blowback to vaccinated individuals. governor newsom is hesitant and it makes sense. you're punishing the people who are doing the right thing. people that are unvaccinated going to wear masks? it's hard to imagine. i look at the other side of this coin, the carrot is the way out of this. look at what the nfl did today. they said if a player is
unvaccinated and a team has to not play, that team will forfeit. they're going to punish the team that had the unvaccinated player on it. i think if you look at what desantis is doing in florida with the cruise lines, this is a huge miss, a much bigger miss than anything he's doing with masks. the cruise lines wanted to require vaccinations. desantis won't let them. that is the kind of carrot you could get people to start getting vaccinated. maybe s.e.c. football games require vaccinations. that's going to help get people across the line in some of the red states or big 12 games in missouri. or i guess missouri is in the s.e.c. now. these are the kinds of things you're going to have to do in order to get people onboard and i think that is the kind of thing the biden administration needs to look for and that is the biggest and most harmful
action the red state governors are taking is preventing these sort of carrots from being able to be used in their states. that is how to resolve this quicker than the mask issue which would be a band-aid on a problem continuing to spike. >> go ahead, gene. >> one of the challenges i think the biden administration is facing related to what you just mentioned. we know that 40% of those new cases are in, what, i think three states. the idea there will be this national mandate when we know that there are communities that are actually doing better and that are getting vaccinated, that did wear masks and did socially distanced will not be a popular policy among those communities who did what they needed to do. it's one of these moments where big government applying to the masses is not going to be that well received. >> both of you, thank you for
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taliban. so momentum appears to be, strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the sal ban. there's a possibility of a complete taliban takeover or a possibility of any number of other scenarios. i don't think the end game is yet written. >> chairman of the joint chiefs, mark milley, with a sobering message, the taliban appearing to gain strategic momentum in the battle of control over afghanistan. this as the pentagon says the u.s. withdrawal is 95% finished and will be completed by august 31st. in the nearly two decades of occupation, and with all of the troops set to be out by the end of next month, the need to help afghan interpreters, contractors and security personnel who worked with the u.s. government hand in glove in afghanistan, that has increased in urgency. the house voted overwhelmingly today to pass the allies act of 2021, which allows 8,000 additional visas and also eases some of the requirements for visas.
joining us now, matt zeller, a former combat adviser with afghan security forces and co-founder of no one left behind, a veteran's organization that offers services to former afghan and iraqi interpreters who resettled here in the united states. it is a cause close to his heart. zeller credits his interpreter with saving his life during his service with the military in afghanistan. welcome. we're glad to have you. let's look at what the "ap" said about the response of these efforts and the quotes from republicans about the bill that passed today. florida republican and vietnam war veteran, representative neal dunn, evoked the scenes of the u.s. military withdrawal from vietnam which left many vietnamese who worked with american forces fearing and sometimes meeting death and detention. we cannot do this again. we must not do this again. we must bring back all of the people who were so important to
us in combat, neal said, urging fellow lawmakers to vote for the bill. please do not abandon the friends of america again. mark, could you talk about your interpreter and your personal story? i think it is important for people to hear because when you hear the word "interpreter" you think of people in a board room or you think of people at the u.n. or you think of political people that are surrounded by security. having been in afghanistan and seeing the roles that interpreters played, i understand this is much different. talk about yours, why this is so important to you. >> well, thanks for having me, ma'am. simply put, i wouldn't be alive talking to you today if it wasn't for my afghan interpreter, a man by the name of janis. he saved hi life in battle. on the 14th day of the war we were out making sure the afghan police were there doing jobs
when our unit ran into a taliban ambush and janis was part of the rescue convoy that came to save us. he killed two taliban fighters who were about to kill me in a battle. not everybody gets to meet their guardian angel, i did. i was fortunate enough to have him stand by my side throughout the rest of the war. what i will tell you is that in successive battles, in successive missions, the taliban shot at our interpreters first, they shot at them before us, and the reason they did is they understood without these people we couldn't do our mission. they called them the eyes. they would say over the radio, "shoot the eyes first." that was an apt way of describing them. they were not just our eyes, they were our ears, they were our linguistic and cultural bridge for the world around us and for that world back to us. they were more important to our survival on the battlefield than our weapons. >> how many of these interpreters and their families, what kind of numbers are we
talking about, and was the bill that passed today, was it enough? are we going to have to do more? >> oh, we're going to have to do a lot more. we are talking about 71,000 people when you include all of their family members. now, the bill that was passed today should hopefully cover enough visas to include all of those people, but the reality is that the visa program has been broken for years and is not what is going to save these people. what is going to save these people is an air lift, the largest of which has occurred since 1948, the berlin air lift. we are talking about at least 300-plus flights. we are talking about having to accomplish them before the 31st of august, which, according to the association of war time allies, means at a minimum we need to be moving at least 1,700 people a day every day between now to the 31st of august. here is the thing that i'm terrified about. thus far, the administration has said the only people that they plan to evacuate are folks who
can get to kabul. the taliban -- general milley is correct, the taliban are on the march. they now control all of the roads in between the major cities of the country. there aren't flights between different afghan cities. so if you are an after began in kandahar or harot, you are not able to get to kabul. i have had people selected for this evacuation, they've been notified, they will get on a plane, but only if they can somehow make it to kabul. that trip in and of itself is a death sentence. there's no way they can make it to kabul unless we go and save them. unfortunately, i don't think that's a political reality. that is the only way we're going to save these people, and we are talking about 40,000 people. the association of war time allies polled the afghan special visa population in the last week, and what they learned is that over half of them live outside of kabul. we don't have a plan to save any of those people right now.
>> mark, i think it is really important what you are doing, and i think our american military is capable of moving mountains if they have to. it is time for everybody in america to get behind this cause, and we're all grateful that you are. thank you for your service. we really appreciate you bringing it to our attention today. >> thank you. that does it for me. thank you, again, for being with me. thank you for watching. the next hour of "deadline: white house" with michael steele starts right after this quick break. as i observe investors balance risk and reward, i see one element securing portfolios, time after time. gold. your strategic advantage. why choose proven quality sleep from sleep number?
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we have positions for 13 people, and i hope we can ultimately get all of them. it adds to the committee's participation to have as many members as we can to participate. i'm looking forward in the long run to try to have as many of the 13 members that i can, but right now we are preparing for the hearing for next tuesday. hi, everyone. it is 5:00 in the east. i'm michael steele, in for nicolle wallace. buckle up. january 6th house select committee chairman bennie thompson looking forward to the next step in the investigation as questions swirl over the remaining five spots on the committee. one still open after minority leader kevin mccarthy yanked all of his picks yesterday. sources tell nbc news congressman adam kinzinger is possibly under consideration to fill one of those spots. although thompson said he is the kind of person they want to have on the committee, no official
announcement has been made. also reportedly under consideration, former gop congressman denver riggelman who would serve as an advisor to the committee and is currently meeting with the speaker in her office. he was supposed to be onset with us to talk but his meeting is apparently running long. they both alike have been outspoken about their party's role in propagating the big lie that lies at the heart of this capitol insurrection. that's where we begin this hour. joining us former congresswoman donna edwards, "washington post" contributing columnist and msnbc contributor. sam stein, white house editor for "politico" as well as an msnbc contributor. welcome to you both. so, donna, let's start with you. the exact point of appointing banks and jordan, right, were to undermine the committee's very goal, right? so we get what that was all about. what do you make of speaker
pelosi calling mccarthy's bluff on this whole thing and what should she do next? >> well, i think she decided rightly that she was not going to have this committee turn into a circus act. clearly the appointment of jordan, he's demonstrated his behavior in the past and, you know, certainly banks whose statements following his appointment just showed that he was going to turn it into a side show. i think that speaker pelosi just decided enough of that. they had an opportunity, the republicans did, for a bipartisan commission. they bailed on that. they sabotaged it, and now this is what they get. they're going to get a committee that's going to focus on the facts, bring witnesses in front of them, including material witnesses potentially like jim jordan who, you know, was going to sit in judgment when he's a material witness. it is kind of ridiculous. so i think that she's on the
right track here and, you know, now it is time for the committee to just put their heads down and get the work done. >> i have to admit, congresswoman, it was a smart power move. i loved it. it was the kind of thing that i think a number of people have been waiting to see if democrats really had the gumption to do, and she showed they did. sam, i would like you to take a listen to eric swalwell on this network last night. >> this is so binary right now, either you are trying to resurrect and revive democracy or you are trying to kill it, that when people say to me, "well, liz cheney, i don't agree with her on, you know, where she stands on abortion or where she stands on taxes." i say, well, give me the problem that democracy is around in three years that we can have that debate with her, but right now she is standing up for democracy. so we need her. the same thing to adam kinzinger. so, yes, we need to move swiftly right now, and having jim jordan on the committee gist for the
sake of, quote, unquote, bipartisanship, it doesn't save democracy. >> sam, do you think the serious word that needs to be done can go on without republicans on the committee and maybe, in fact, it adds more to the credibility everyone hopes this committee has? >> let me start off by saying i'm sorry i'm not denver riggleman, i'm not as important a guest as he is, but i'll do the best i can. i think in fact to your point, it actually probably helps the committee in terms of getting the work product done to not have members like banks and jordan on. they were there, you know, obviously to throw wrenches in the processes. they were there to run interference for trump. i don't think it is a crazy statement to make. the question comes now, does the credibility of the committee become in any way diminished because pelosi has exercised her veto power over these members.
you know, i think ultimately that the answer to that question is not determined in the decision pelosi made yesterday, it is determined in the work product that they produce. if they get primary documentation, if they get records of phone calls, if they get witnesses to testify in unimpeachable ways, ultimately, the public will say, yes, it is a credible outcome and it doesn't matter if she vetoed banks and jordan from being on the committee. what matters is what was discovered. >> i would like to bring into our conversation, jake sherman, founder of "bunch bowl news" and as msnbc contributor. jake, you are on the hill. you have all of the clatter and noise around you. give us a take of what you are hearing. what is the latest you are picking up on the hill? >> well, i'm also not dan riggelman or sam stein or donna
edwards, so i apologize. i think a few things. there's a lot to unpack. number one, if mccarthy wanted a committee, and i have said this to him, i have said it in press conferences. if he wanted a committee he had a say on, he could have worked to create this committee that the senate rejected that he had a say on, meaning the real way -- let's take the most cynical point of view, which may or may not be true. i will let you guys decide that, that republicans are going to strictly run interference for donald trump. a lot of people would say that. they had the opportunity to do that because they had veto power over subpoenas on that committee that nancy pelosi had tried to pass, that passed through the house and got stopped in the senate. so, you know, that would have been a really good way for mccarthy to have control. republicans got rid of that. banks and jordan, listen, i'm not going -- i have no idea whether it will lead to a more productive committee or not.
republicans have said they want to discover why the capitol was not well protected on that day. of course, the national guard is mostly in the purview of the president of the united states. so that's one thing to chew over. i do think though that pelosi is going to -- i would have to imagine is going to try to put another republican on this panel. the only other republican who would be willing i would imagine is adam kinzinger of illinois. listen, i think we wrote this in "bunch bowl news" this morning, both liz cheney and adam kinzinger, republicans have mostly if not completely written them off. do not think they're going to run for reelection. if they run, they believe they will lose resoundingly because as, michael, you and i have talked about so many times on the air, this is a republican party that is not interested in people -- >> no. >> -- a republican electorate that is not interested in people that do not have, that do not express fealty and support and
complete support for donald trump, still a party that supports donald trump 95% or 90% depending on the poll. so i think those are the dynamics. the house has turned into a food fight. listen, i will say this one last thing before i stop rambling here. kevin mccarthy is driven right now by one dynamic. he believes that he is going to take back the house of representatives in 2022 based on a wealth of about 100 years of evidence about mid-term elections in the first term of a president. we will have to see if that holds true. he believes that, you know, republicans are only five seats away from that. redistricting helps them, and they believe there are a lot of democrats in soft seats that they could knock off. so everything he is trying to do is based on that goal, straight ahead toward election day and to win back the house of representatives. everything he does is guided by that principle and by that goal. >> so, donna, i think jake kind of lays out the script for republicans very accurately.
so that means are the democrats doing enough right now? they have said that nothing less than our democracy is at stake. what should be, you know, the goal here? what should we be seeing from them right now? should these committees be hearing -- you know, for example these committee hearings being broadcast in prime time? make it must-see viewing. engage the public in a way that they appreciate the narrative that they're trying to create. >> well, look, i think -- first of all, i think house democrats have been standing in the gap for the last five-and-a-half years, through the trump years and now. i think that they intend to get to the truth. you know, it would be great if these were broadcast during prime time. obviously the networks have control over that, but i think people will be watching. they will be watching in whatever ways they get their news because i think the american public is interested in getting some of these answers as
well. you know, the testimony beginning next week with the police officers i think is going to be very, very compelling for democrats to be able to present as a starting point of this investigation. i think there is a way to conduct the committee's inquiry so that when the public does get the final product, they're not going to ask whether it was produced by democrats or republicans. they're going to say, "this was produced by americans who want to protect democracy." so i'm actually confident that americans are going to be tuning in in whatever way they get their information, to the hearings that are going to start next week. >> sam, you may not be denver wriggleman, but you're still my buddy so i have much love for you. >> thank you very much. i appreciate that. >> we saw during the second impeachment trial, for example, the power of images and the power of stories from 1/6 that played out before our very eyes.
what, you know, will it take to really grip the american people with this investigation? because i think for a lot of americans who are interested, they want to get at the truth, but how do the democrats do that in a way in which, oh, it is just politics from republicans doesn't stain the whole thing? >> honestly, i think it is going to be hard, and maybe i'm in the minority in thinking that. but i think the past couple of months have shown that even something as objectively awful as an attack on the capitol and an attempt to disrupt democratic governance, even that can be distilled through the price many of partisan politics and trumpism. what we see now is i would say the majority of republicans have either cast the scrutiny of january 6th aside, come up with explanations why it is not a big deal, or latched on to conspiracy theories, and you could go down various rabbit
holes, a plan of democratic operatives or fbi informants. i think where things can get interesting so to speak is not necessarily so much what it says about trump but what it says about the people around him. the questions we don't know are what was going on inside the white house that day, in those moments. what was said on the calls between trump and elected republican officials? what were the orders given around the deployment of the national guard? those are the holes that we have. when you fill in those holes, and i assume that's what this commission will do, when we fill in those holes, that's when you start to get questions answered around people like kevin mccarthy and jim jordan, people high up in the white house, so on and so forth. so the long and short of it is that i'm not totally optimistic it is going to change anyone's perception of trump. how you feel about trump is how you feel about trump. but for people outside of his immediate orbit, it could matter greatly. >> so, donna, jake spoke about
liz cheney a little bit earlier and how we are seeing her further ostracized from the party. here is what "politico" is reporting. cheney's decision to move ahead as the sole republican on the panel further solidifies her exceptional status within the capitol, a notorious and increasingly isolated figure in a gop conference that emphasizes trumpism above most else. for several of her republican colleagues, cheney has now committed a sin even more grave than her relentless criticism of the former president, publicly standing with pelosi. some republicans even raise the idea of cheney facing consequences for her decision to stay involved with the panel, though they didn't wade into the topic of what those should be. what do you make of what liz cheney is doing? i, for one, was saying, "you go girl" when she walked down those steps yesterday and every time she does that. but what is, in your view, having served in the house, the political consequences for that?
>> well, you know, you said nancy pelosi had a power move. well, liz cheney had a power move. i think that she has just made a decision that she would rather stand on the side of democracy and that she understands the consequences of that decision. you know, it is true that kevin mccarthy and the gop conference could strip her of committee assignments. why they would do that, you know, to her is, you know, beyond belief, but they could. she is isolated, i suspect. i don't even know if she shows up at her conference meetings. i don't know that she would be necessarily welcome there. but she has made a decision, and i think it is an amazing one that she doesn't care about that. she doesn't care about what they think of her because she's prepared to stand on the side of democracy. i just, you know, applaud her. i think like eric swalwell said, i don't really agree with liz
cheney on anything else, but, you know, if we are talking about lifting up and holding up our democracy, better that she stands there. >> jake, i want to get back to you real quick. we have seen the moves from pelosi. we have seen the moves from cheney. what's mccarthy's move look like at this point? >> he's going to try to do his own investigation. i'm not sure what that looks like. he doesn't have subpoena power. he doesn't have anything besides people who are going to make assumptions and presumably dig into things. i don't know what that's going to look like. i want to make a point here and i want to follow up on something sam said. i'm actually less hopeful than sam is, if that's possible, and i will tell you why. i don't think that anyone from the former administration is going to testify, and i think -- let me take it a step further. i actually think that this administration, the biden administration, is going to be forced, the department of justice, to defend people like mark meadows in not testifying
because of executive privilege. maybe mark milley is going to have to testify, people currently in government, but i just think based on people that i have talked to up here in both parties, it is going to be really difficult to compel former trump administration officials to testify unless they want to, unless they are personally compelled, morally compelled to want to testify against the former president and testify about those things that happened on that day. i don't think mark meadows, having known him for as long as i have, is going to be interested in that. i think it is going to be this administration and this department of justice, i'm just guessing based on my conversations and reporting, they're going to be forced to take the side of people who don't want to testify and say, you cannot force senior administration officials to testify about their conversations with the president of the united states. so i'm actually less hopeful that this will turn up much of anything. i think there will be things around the margins, you know, deployment of national guard and preparedness of the capitol and things in the capitol. i just don't -- i would not get
your hopes up if you are a bystander or watching this or curious about democracy. i mean i was here, i know what happened. there were former trump -- there were trump supporters who stormed the capitol. no doubt in my mind. as sam said, not many persuadable. i don't think you are going to get many first hand witnesses up there testifying about the former president. >> there in lines the rub, jake. i appreciate you always for joining us. donna edwards and sam stein are sticking around. when we return, a new study shows that the voter suppression crisis in this country is getting worse. that's next. plus, the dangerous delta variant of the coronavirus is sweeping through states that rolled back health and safety measures, and the departments charged with enforcing them. and the garland justice department is cracking down on illegal guns used to commit crime. it is a move that's not just about law enforcement but also about, you got it, politics. "deadline: white house" continues after a quick break. so don't go anywhere.
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a warning today from the center that the wave of suppression bills showing no sign of stopping. since january 1st 18th states passed 30 laws restricting access to the ballot, including key battleground states like arizona, georgia, florida and nevada. the brennan center noting this, congress has the power to stem the tide. in washington the biggest impediment to passing sweeping voting rights legislation in the face of unanimous republican opposition is the filibuster, and president biden last night
pushed back against calls to eliminate it. take a listen. >> it is a relic of jim crow. it has been used to fight against civil rights legislation historically. why protect it? >> there's no reason to protect it other than you are going to throw the entire congress into chaos and nothing will get done. >> right. >> nothing at all will get done. there's a lot at stake. >> joining our conversation is michelle goldberg, "new york times" columnist and msnbc contributor, and donna edwards is also back with us. welcome. welcome. donna, isn't there a contra contradiction is biden's position here? wouldn't you want to make effort to get rid of it? >> here is where i do disagree with the president. i think that there could be, you know, some limited carve-out even for the purpose of voting rights, protecting constitutional rights.
you know, it is really a tragedy when a small minority can hold hostage voters across this country, and as the brennan center report put out, and it is not just those 18 states. i mean there are, you know, bills in the -- waiting in the wings to be passed in any number of state legislatures. i think the only good news out of this is that the brennan center also reports that 25 states have actually expanded voting rights. but here the president really doesn't have the control. he can't do anything about the filibuster. this is all on the senate, and it is on senate democrats to decide whether they want to keep a rule or they want to get rid of a rule for the purpose of expanding voting rights. you know, so i put this in the senate bucket because there's really nothing that the president can do. i mean the president has already -- and the administration, they've doubled up enforcement and oversight in the department of justice.
i mean they've expanded what they're planning to do on the political side out in the states. it is up to the senate to get voting rights through, and it will have an impact for them both politically and morally in this -- in these upcoming years. this is in the senate's bucket. >> so, michelle, to the points just made by the congresswoman, the president did suggest a solution last night, reforming the filibuster, if you will. let's take a listen to more of what he had to say. >> i've been saying for a long, long time, the abuse of the filibuster is pretty overwhelming. when i got to the united states senate at a time when we had guys like jim eastland and strom thurman and robert f. byrd and a whole range of people who were very, very, very, very, very, very conservative on race, to say the least, even then if you
were to filibuster you had to stand on the floor and hold the floor. that's why strom, i think, set the record of 24-straight hours or something. don't hold me to the number, you know, so you had to take the floor. there were significantly fewer filibusters in those days, in the middle of the civil rights movement. >> let me talk to you about that. >> let me finish my answer because i'll tell you what i would do. i would go back to that, you have to maintain the floor. you have to stand there and talk and hold the floor. >> so, michelle, what are the chances that the moderate democrats are going to bite on this? is this where we could end up in order to get voting right legislation passed, for example? >> i don't think we know. i think that it is going to take, you know, joe manchin and kirstjen sinema being
intransigent, seeing them sort of refuse to cooperate on anything. you heard joe biden say if we get rid of the filibuster the senate will be dysfunctional. the senate is dysfunctional. the senate doesn't work right now. you can't get even very popular legislation with broad national majorities passed. so i think, you know, it is really unfortunate that so much of our national life and the prers vaccination of our democracy is going to come down to the ultimate frustration tolerance of these two senators, but i think that's where we are. >> so i think, donna, michelle makes a very important and critical point in not just the analysis of this, but how this conversation plays itself out. so where do democrats go? how do they resolve this disconnect that exists right now inside the party? you have dems at the state level begging for congress to do something. you have congress trying to avoid a fight on the filibuster, and then you have the president saying, well, if we got rid of it all hell would break loose and democracy would collapse. where do they go with this?
>> well, i agree with my sell. we've got a pretty dysfunctional system, you know, as it stands now. look, i do think it is more than just sinema and manchin. those are the ones who are -- you know, have made public statements. but i think there are other senators there, too, and i believe that's probably what joe biden was referring to. i mean the president was basically saying everything would go nuts, but i just don't know that i share that. i think there has to be a lot of public pressure put out in the states, and democrats have to make a decision. do you want to argue about the filibuster to move voting rights through or do you want to focus on trying to get, you know, some of the legislative agenda passed. some people would say, you know what? you got to do both of those things, because as much as we want a domestic legislative agenda passed, the infrastructure bill, the reconciliation, those are important priorities, we also
want to make sure that come november next year people are able to freely and fairly cast a vote. >> so i want to read a little bit more from the brennan center's new report, michelle. they say three states have enacted broad omni bus voter suppression laws this year, georgia, florida, iowa, while arkansas, montana and arizona passed restrictive laws, arkansas and montana passed four such laws each and arizona passed three. this wave of restricts on voting, the most aggressive we have seen in more than a decade of tracking state voting laws, is in large part motivated by false and often misinformation about voting fraud. the most aggressive we have seen in a decade. this is the name of the game in gop politics right now, isn't it? this is their bread and butter and a priority in how they go about playing the game. >> look, if you are main ort party, a party that hasn't won the presidential election,
hasn't won a majority vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections, is only able to exercise power because of the counter-majority aspects of our system, does not have an agenda intended to appeal to the majority of americans and is, in fact, extremely threatened by demographic change and extremely threatened by sort of, you know, kind of who the majority in this country increasingly is, your only hope of maintaining power -- well, i guess you have two things. you can moderate your agenda. you can try to appeal to more people, or you can try to stop more people from voting. it is very clear what the republicans have decided to do. >> michelle goldberg and donna edwards, you are going to stick around with us for a little more conversation. when we return, dealing with the surging delta variant and the crush of disinformation about the covid vaccines. "deadline: white house" continues after a quick break. us are almost unbelievable even for a meteorologist.
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the people who are really getting into trouble, both from an infectious standpoint, namely getting infected and then getting a serious outcome of infection, are the unvaccinated. so when the president says, "this is a situation of an outbreak and a pandemic of the unvaccinated," that's what he does mean. >> dr. fauci last night echoing president biden's warning that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, as cases and
hospitalizations surge, mostly among those who have not yet taken the jab. as "politico" explains today, in the states that need the most help, red states, officials have fewer options to slow the spread because of conservative lawmakers who have restricted their say. from "politico", in texas where covid hospitalizations are up 30% and deaths up 10% over the past week, governor greg abbott recently barred counties, cities and school districts from requiring masks. montana did the same for vaccine and mask mandates, while letting local officials overrule health department orders. and florida governor ron desantis, whose state accounts for one in five of new u.s. infections, asserted power to nix local health orders if he concludes they infringe on individual rights. let's bring in dr. irwin redlener, founding director of the national center for disaster preparedness of columbia university, professor of
pediatrics at the einstein college of medicine, and michelle goldberg and donna edwards are back with us. dr. redlener, here we are, buddy. all right. we know this was bound to happen. here are some of the same moves by gop lawmakers during the pandemic, banning covid vaccines, testing, mask mandates for schools, counties and cities, enacting new laws to limit local health agencies in emergencies, giving local officials authority over regulation health boards. florida governor desantis giving himself the power to nix local health orders. what are the biggest factors in your view from these states that we see right now? what should we be expecting going forward and what can local officials do in response? >> well, michael, my goodness. we are in such a crazy place now with the appreciation of what is going on and the management of it.
part of the problem is that we have a system of government that allows a total disconnect between what the federal government and scientists are saying, say through the cdc or through people like fauci, and that leaves the field completely open for states and local governments to do their own thing. we have a chaotic patchwork of disorganized policies, highly politicized, which is the other thing that's absolutely startling. if somebody told us a couple of years ago, michael, we will have this level of political input into a public health crisis, no one would believe it. republicans and democrats. and here we are now with the most horrible reality of our federalist system that is actually keeping us from doing the right thing when it comes to the pandemic. the problem is, of course, that costs lives. you can't have this kind of chaos and expect that we're not going to make a lot of mistakes on the local and state level, which is exactly what we're seeing right now.
>> so to pivot on dr. redlener's point, michelle, what do you make of the political climate that we're finding ourselves in at the moment and how do you in covering these stories assess what's going through the minds of leaders pushing covid disinformation? the political piece shares this quote. i would rather have a dangerous freedom than a comfortable safety, said arkansas state senator trent garner, who successfully pressed a ban on mask mandates and, like many like minded officials, is adamant that it stays in place. how do you see that? >> well, i think that -- i mean there's something very interesting going on the right, because just recently you've seen sort of a turn around, not universally but many republican officials including people who had been sort of wishy-washy before like steve scalise, fox
news figures, ron desantis, all strongly urging vaccination. i can only guess they're seeing polling suggesting a huge amount of anger and resentment among the majority of adults that have been vaccinated toward those stubborn holdouts who are thwarting our return to normalcy. either that or there was a broad memo that went out. but i still think that you have -- you have two things. first of all, you have republicans who simply don't want to see a recovery under joe biden's watch and you also have, you know, people whose kind of tribal identity is increasingly tied up with misinformation, with a distrust of official technocratic voices with this version of kind of, you know, freedom at all costs, this incredibly selfish conception of freedom in which you have no responsibility to your communities or your neighbors or
the people around you. that's why, you know, you see such a divergence by -- you know, usually diseases do not discriminate on the basis of politics, but you are seeing such an incredible divergence between states that voted for trump and states that voted for biden. >> so, dr. redlener, you know, you have got the white house and the cdc denying any changes at the time. what do you make of "the washington post" reporting that the white house aides and biden administration officials are debating whether they should urge vaccinated americans to wear masks in more settings? and at what point do you think that actually becomes necessary? >> well, the challenge is -- and michelle was touching on this, too. you know, the cdc or the federal government could say, you know, this is the right guidance, this is based on science and evidence and this is what people should do. beyond that there's really not much that the federal government can do to mandate anything,
including the mandating of either mask wearing or mandating, let's say, vaccinations for people going to school, going back to work, et cetera. so all of this has become hyperlocalized in terms of decisionmaking, michael. this is really a problem and the government is going to debate, and they had some advisory committee meetings and the cdc meeting today to talk about things like a third dose or a booster shot. there are many things that are being debated in washington that may or may not reach policy on the local level, and this creates confusion and chaos. and added to the disinformation that's out there, it creates a terribly difficult environment for the public to understand what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. i feel badly for people because even in my own personal life i am getting many, many questions that are not answerable by the cdc policy or guideline or even by the local officials.
so it is pretty chaotic as far as i'm concerned. >> yeah. in that chaos, donna, is really driving a lot of the narratives out there. so as a policymaker, how do you help people who don't want to be helped? how do you think a mask mandate or even new guidance on masks will be perceived in the states that need that guidance, red states for example? >> well, unfortunately, i think the hyperlocalization of what has happened over the course of the last year and a half is because it began that way intentionally to push the decisionmaking on to local officials so that the trump administration, the president, the then-trump white house would not have to be in the middle of the decisionmaking and not forcing these things. so now the biden administration comes in and is trying to, you know, in some ways put a round
peg into a square hole here by fitting in a set of guidance and resources that were already very local anyway because the disease and its response had been localized. so, you know, i think that we're just in a really -- right now where you do see this overlay of just red states and red localities where you are seeing numbers go up exponentially. i would expect that now that you have these republican officials, steve scalise and others saying, you know, get your vaccine, that that is now counterintuitive for some people who have heard nothing but the reverse for months and months on end. so i think it is hard to reverse engineer that psychology, and we may get some of them but i think this is going to be a long haul for all of us.
i'm still wearing my mask. >> yeah, me too. me too, for sure. dr. irwin redlener, michelle goldberg and donna edwards, thank you for spending some time with us. really appreciate it. when we return, it is an issue that voters care a lot about, and today the justice department under attorney general merrick garland is doing something about it. that's next. something about it that's next.
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violence here in the united states, the justice department has a series of strike forces across five major american cities. the goal is to crack down on the illegal pembroke pines line of guns flowing into urban areas, partly by targeting what are called straw buyers, people who purchase firearms legally only to turn around and provide them to people who shouldn't have tell. joining us now is cedric alexander, former member of president obama's task force on 21st century policing, a former public safety director for dekalb county, georgia, as well as an msnbc law enforcement analyst. sam stein is back here with us. cedric, we should say first of all any action taken at this point that's intended to reduce violent crime should be commended and we should try to get behind it. straw buyers are notoriously slippery to prosecute, as you know, so is this a good thing, what the justice department is looking to do? what is your read on something
like this? as the associated press has put it, violent crimes, particularly homicides and shooting, are up in many cities around the country and the bide administration has sought to aid communities ham strung by violence, but the initiative launched this week differs from other recent federal efforts to address violence because it is not sending agents or prosecutors into cities with crime spikes. justice officials say the strike forces are targeted prosecutions meant to be a longer term effort to combat gun trafficking. last week you asked on this network, what are we doing in the here and now. you called this a crisis. do you think this move from the justice department is adequate for the here and now? >> well, let me be clear about one thing, michael. we currently are in a crisis, particularly in many of our cities across this country as relates to violence. i think you would agree as well, too, that we have to do
something, and anything that's been done right now, particularly help that is coming from did doj and the head of doj, the a.g. himself. so i think this effort, this initiative is going to be meaningful to many cities across this country, but in addition to that it allows for opportunities not just for joint law enforcement cooperation. that's something they had been doing. they're being specific here around these gun purchases. i think it is a very clever thing to do in this very moment because in this very moment that we are in the here and the now, this is something we are hoping to address those urgent issues in cities like chicago and another across the country that's in such pain with this violent crime. >> cedric, the hearing now for this topic of crime is nuance. we know murders, about 20% to
about 2020. that spike is continuing. in 1991, for example, the fbi and "the new york times" report there were 9.8 murders. that number estimated to be down near six. they cut by about a third. here is where perception comes in. 56% of the american public believe violent crime is higher now than it was in the 1990s. which is factually incorrect. it is one thing to tackle violent crime, right? it is another thing to tackle the perception of violent crime. how do we go about doing that and how does that happen? >> perception is reality. if we go back to the '90s, we have to keep in mind we didn't have access to social media as
we did to get news out quickly. even though the number may indicate being higher back than the '90s, it does come back down to perception. you ask someone who's been robbed or violated, they would tell you those statistics mean absolutely nothing to them. another thing we have to be concerned with, these spikes we are seeing here prior to the pandemic and post the pandemic certainly don't rise to the level they did in the '90s but they are relevant to the world we live in today. people see it more as a threat and certainly a lot more because it is able to be captured and be played over and over again and we have to attend to the numbers because what we don't want to happen is the trend we are seeing, turning into statistics that we don't want to be lone standings. we don't want it to turn into trends is what i am saying here.
>> ced, i want to play something that president biden said last night at the cnn town hall. >> we have to deal with a larger problem of the whole issue of law enforcement generally. we are in a situation where as much as we need to pass the floyd act and all that. here is the deal, cops are having real trouble. they're not all bad guys. they're a lot of good guys. we need more policemen and not few policemen. we need them involved in community policing. it is about getting -- we have availability now of over lots of money for cops to be able to hire psychiatrists and psychologists and as well as social workers.
but now you have the president also feeling the tension with the folks who want to defund the police. do you think he's got the right approach here? >> well, yeah, i do and the reason i say that because this is the position he took during the 2020 campaign when there were an immense amount to go further and removing funding level. biden has gone against grain a little bit within his own party. we have to understand, you know, biden has history on the issue. he was up front in the late '80s and '90s and urging democrats to combat head on perception.
that led him to offer the 1994 crime and hundreds of thousands of cops on the street in addition to all host of different other mechanism producing crime levels. that's his background. the question is, can that legislative or moulding legislative initiative pass here? i want to enhance the ability of cops performing social functions. i don't know where the political coalition is, this floyd policing bill is stuck. we don't know if they'll have a break. they said they need to at the end of august. we'll see if there is the political juice behind it. >> we'll see. there is a lot of ongoing in this debate, i appreciate both of you coming on and spending some time talking about it. cedric alexander and sam stun.
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trump's loyalist sidney powell who was the loudest voices promoting the big lie. pennsylvania is the second state where officials had to jump their machines because audits by republicans looking for any proof that the election is stolen even there is no proof of such evidence. it does not exist. thanks for spending the hour with us, "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. >> i can't keep track of everything you are doing, man. >> i don't know what's coming next but i am in for the ride. it is good. >> we love it. any time we get your insights, we love it and you did a great job, my humble opinion. thank you, michael. >> i am ari melber. speaker pelosi leading