tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 29, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
hi there, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. today president biden is set to make a major announcement aimed at boosting vaccinations which have failed to reach beyond those hardened political divisions in this country. and now put the country at risk of those of the unvaccinated and to the vaccine mandate president biden is expected to announce a series of measures to boost the lagging rates including expanding leave to get vaccinated and recover from side effects and is urging state and local governments to offer a major incentive to people who decide to get vaccinated now, $100 in their pockets when they go get the shot. finally the president setting an example that some in corporate america are already following, announcing this afternoon that all civilian federal employees
will be asked to attest to the fact they are fully vaccinated or face strict screening measures like regular testing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel. it comes as major companies also hoping to stave off a third covid wave initiate their own vaccine mandates. companies like google, netflix, facebook, morgan stanley, and "the washington post" and lyft are among the major corporations requiring their employees to show proof of vaccination. restauranteur danny meyer is even taking the step of requiring indoor diners at his restaurants, not just his employees, to show proof of vaccinations. and where vaccines aren't yet required, covid restriction that is have become the new normal for us in the last year. apple is reinstating its mask mandate at most stores. companies like twitter are shutting down offices again weeks after they reopened them
for business. president biden's declaration of independence from the virus earlier this summer is creating a bit of a political challenge for his administration as well. this new landscape, and some say the administration's less than clear messaging, is complicating biden's efforts to show that he is still leading the u.s. out of the pandemic. and this time he must do it after americans have enjoyed a taste of normalcy and been assured, including by the president, that they had turned a corner. this week's developments mark the first significant retreat in public health guidance since biden became president and they set up a test of whether many americans will agree to return to the tiresome protocols in place before the shots became widely available. the shift has been thrust upon the administration because of circumstances beyond their control including a more contagious virus variant and
anti-vax movement fueled by disinformation and emboldened by republican leaders and right wing media beholden to trump. u.s. this pandemic could have been over by now and certainly would have been by vaccinations t pace in april and may. the country would be nearing herld immunity. with most adults immunized more infectious variants would have nowhere to spread. life could return to nearly normal. experts list many reasons for the vaccine slump but one big reason stands out, manage conservative, evangelical and rural americans. vaccine refusal is a statement of identity and a test of loyalty. the mega right is the most potent virus threatening public health and economic vitality is where we start with some of our favorite reporters and friends. jonathan lemire for the ap, a
pulmonologist and global health policy expert and former obama campaign manager, all three msnbc contributors. jonathan, i start with you. what is the latest on not just how we got here but what the conversations look like inside the west wing ahead of today's announcement? >> we will be hearing from the president very soon. he will unveil a number of steps to address head-on the issue we're seeing in the country right now, the surging coronavirus cases particularly among the unvaccinated, and he is trying to set an example with the federal workforce, unveil new restrictions for federal workers. those they need to attest whether or not they are vaccinated. if not mask requirements, testing, their ability to travel on the job will be limited.
it is certainly steps on the way to encourage them to get these inohm racials and they hope the private sector follows suit. companies are within their right. the first federal agency to adopt similar measures could follow receipt but not just yet. the white house also has directed the department of defense to explore how to add the covid vaccine to its list of required vaccinations. there are a number, anyone who will serve in the u.s. military has to take, a step to making the shot one of them. and the u.s. -- president biden is going to encourage state and local officials to offer $100 payments to anyone who gets the shot. we've seen similar measures in some municipalities already. this, nicolle, in conclusion, is a moment they're trying to throw everything they can against the wall.
they know this is a precarious moment. the president knows the economic recovery and the nation's steps to returning to normal is all very fragile because of the threat posed by the delta variant of the coronavirus and trying to urge all americans to get their vaccines. >> doctor, jonathan took us through almost everything they are announcing today. i want to take you through one more on the mindz, i think, of parents, and i have pressed this white house for information most days about kids because you are hearing more stories but anecdoally the risk to young kids is still less than the risk of being in a pool or car accident. i want to read what they're announcing today for adolescents 12 and over. today the president will in an effort to get more kids 12 and older vaccinated call on school districts nationwide to host at
least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks and the administration is directing pharmacies and the federal pharmacy program to prioritize this and to work with school districts across the country to host vaccination clinics at schools and colleges. in march the biden administration prioritized k-12 educators, staff and child care workers for vaccinations. this directive worked. today almost 90% of educators and school staff are vaccinated. the president believes every student, no matter their zip code, should have an easy and accessible way to get vaccinated. vaccination is our leading public health strategy to end the covid pandemic. obviously on the minds of people alm across the political spectrum is back to school, and i wonder what your assessment is of this measure and of the risk to our kids and the school year. >> good afternoon, nicolle. what we do know from both the private sector and public sector is proximity, onsite clinics,
vital. i would like and i hope we hear this from the biden administration, talking about introducing friction. you don't get the vaccine you'll have to mask up and test. that's a great strategy. we need direct engagement, nicolle. i think we've underestimated a willingness of those unvaccinated to get vaccinated if they have their questions addressed directly. from folks back home in ohio where you would think there's hesitancy. there is a lot of people willing to get the vaccine which is why i'm skeptical incentives like cash payments are going to work. right now the holdouts have questions. they don't want $100. they have questions. and we need direct engagement from trusted authentic messengers. we don't have enough of those. we need to find more pharmacists, nicolle we need to empower pharmacists. a lot of people trust their pharmacists and have more engagement than with their
medical provider. >> tell me what some of the questions are that have put them over the edge and get vaccinated. >> it's so difficult but for 18 months you and i and others have had conversations about who is most vulnerable. what we've implied is it's mom and dad or grandma or grandpa. that message has gotten very clearly to the teens and adolescents and young adults across the country. i've personally leaned into what my colleagues who tackle tobacco cessation to pulmonologists have targeted anti-smoking, graphic visualization, story telling to make the threat clear this is -- and i know some folks don't like me saying this but this is covid 21. this is not covid-19.
that's number one. number two, i hear this frequently, this notion if they previously had covid they're safe. and we've had -- and this is where it's tricky. you get too technical, you lose people. it is different than the antibodies produced from natural infection. reaching people through story telling, making them feel like you understand them and then also doing a fast follow with science i found to be effective. >> david plouffe, i want to bring you in on this sort of loose narrative there's political parallel. i think it's only among people who are already detractors. i think most thinking people understand there were assumptions made about people doing what they were asked to do which is to talk to their doctors and get vaccinated to protect themselves and families and communities. if you could give me your political assessment where this
fits into what is a hot war between the two sides of the disinformation divide. >> i very much agree with that, nicolle. i think joe biden, yes, he promised to lead us past the pandemic but he promised to be truthful and to take it seriously. communication is important for the white house but states and cities that are now bringing back mask mandates. you have to explain why we're here, why the delta variant is different, and we have so many unvaccinated people. i do think it's fair to point out that while there are people who may have legitimate questions, they are merchants of death on fox news keeping a lid on the number of vaccinations. i think we probably have roughly at least a third of house republicans still not vaccinated. we got very close to stamping out the vaccine. but we're not there yet. we have a variant that's much
more dangerous and we have a higher percentage of people than we'd like unvaccinated. i think you have to point out why we are where we are, which is that's the tragedy. we could be literally weeks away from ending the pandemic in the united states of america and we're not. and, again there is active malice happening in the country. you have all of these folks in the news media on the right, most of them anyway, too many elected officials with notable exceptions. no question the republicans are stepping out to be more aggressive about vaccinations. it's as much as sinking poll numbers as rising covid numbers. we need to see more of that. i think at the end of the day you probably have two-thirds to 75% of the country who have done the right thing and want to be done with the pandemic. if joe biden and his administration are honest where
we are and why we're there and what we need to do -- we talk about last mile in transportation, we're potentially in the last mile of the pandemic. that last mile can be really tough. >> dr. gupta, are we in the last mile of the pandemic? >> this surge is going to certainly answer the call, i think we'll see, as some projections say 800 to 1,000 deaths a day attributable to those zip codes of 40% vaccination rates or less. we're in the last mile in most places but there are going to be a bunch of jasper, missouris, playing out. in certain parts, yes. other parts definitely not. >> i understand our audience pretty well. i know their adherence to science, trusting of medical advice and primarily are vaccinated, but i do hear anecdotal evidence asking vaccinated americans to put their masks back on doesn't just
raise questions about the science among vaccinated people, there's a sense that vaccinated folks have done their part and so now the only people that will heed another public health warning are the vaccinated walking around in their mask. can you just address all that? >> i think that's a concern many of us in public health share, nicolle, and you really nailed it with that. the place that is need to listen to cdc guidance issued recently are the place that is are least vaccinated and where governors like the governor of florida are concerned, carolina, montana, expressly prohibited mask mandates, for example, in schools. there is a divide here which is why, while this is important and, as david mentioned, we need to explain why the delta variant is a different threat especially to young unvaccinated individuals who are not understanding the perception, we need to recognize here we need to double down on engagement, that going back and saying masking in terms --
>> we're going to fix dr. gupta's audio feed and come back on the point. i want to show you something, jonathan lemire, that had to be welcomed by the white house. danny meyer this morning on not just vaccine mandates for his workforce but for diners, for his customers. watch. >> this is the most logical thing i've ever seen. i'm not a scientist but inknow how to read data and what i see is this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated and i feel a strong responsibility on our part as business leaders to take care of our team and our guests and that's what we're doing. >> how much of this does the white house think they desperately need to avoid a third or whatever surge number of covid we're on in the fall? >> the white house is deeply heartened by remarks like that. they want it to be on
restaurants, business owners, to stay not only the people who work here but who dine here should be vaccinated. this is a tricky political situation, the idea of a mandate of vaccines. the white house has made clear, at least to this point, despite critics on the left, that they should do so, they're not going to mandate vaccines. they would rather have the onus be on the private sector. mr. meyer is doing so. this afternoon, washington, d.c., the home of the white house, the mayor announced the mask mandates would be returning for people to be inside whether you're vaccinated or not, anyone over the age of 2 has to wear a mask indoors now which, of course, could impact the economy there in the district of columbia, and, you know, similar measures could happen overseas or around the nation.
and that does worry the white house. it's first and foremost a health one. but it's an economic one. there is robust growth that didn't meet expectations. the economy is showing positive signs but worries the next quarter won't be as strong because of what the delta variant poses. and this is a white house controlled by a party that has slim margins and the midterms will be here before we know it. >> david plouffe, i'm going to put you on the spot. are we too broken? are our politics too dumbed down to beat the coronavirus pandemic? >> it certainly seems that way. i'm really tired of the stupid. i'm sure you are as well, nicolle, on a whole bunch of issues. and i think the point, by the way, you made about vaccinated people being really not pumped to go back to mask wearing because of unvaccinated, i think it's real. i think most people will do it grudgingly.
but the other thing i think, it's the selfishness that really strikes me. when you don't get vaccinated, and the people who pay a price are the people whovaccinated, screaming that we shouldn't have to wear masks. these merchants of death in fox news in prime time and many others, you're putting kids under 12 at risk, immuno compromised at risk, doctors and nurses who have been heroic for over a year and a half now at risk. the selfishness is remarkable. you're putting our nation's economy at risk. and we're one of the few countries in the world there's enough vaccines for everyone and they're free throw and they're available. to dr. gupta's point we need to get them in communities. there's not a lot of friction to get them. that's what's remarkable here. some of that is stupidity, some of that is selfishness, some of it's play to go a very narrow
slice of america that drives primary politics. whatever it is, whether it's getting on the other side of the pandemic, saving our democracy, there are days you wonder are we capable of doingdeeply disturbi. >> this is the question, can we do something this difficult? and i wonder from a scientific perspective, do you think we can? >> nicolle, throughout 2020 we messaged on anxiety and the unknown and, frankly, fear. i think we need to message and pivot to the hope that we see. i see a hopeful situation. when i listen to news headlines i don't get that. if i'm unvaccinated i wonder for the unvaccinated out there what message do they get when the cdc goes back and makes this pivot, when the cdc designs at-risk counties based on test positivity from covid or case rates.
that made sense in 2020, and i'm not criticizing them entirely, i do think we need to acknowledge the impact vaccines have had when we're building in this risk paradigm. a lot of places might have increasing test positivity, nicolle, due to covid-19 because few people are testing. they're only testing if they're systemic and yet the vaccine rates and hospitalization are low. we need to narrow the definition of risk, we need a message on hope and we need to be clear that breakthrough infections from delta are rare especially mild or any type of symptomatic illness so people recognize there's hope here. that we are back to day zero. >> the breakthrough infections are rare. there's a piece i was going to read from a former bush speechwriter about how you're more likely to die by a lightning strike than cope covid if you're vaccinated. if you could explain why we're going back to the mask mandates.
is that more about transmission? >> it is. i think a lot is public. dr. fauci 48 hours ago said there can be the instance, however rare, if you're fully vaccinated, otherwise healthy, you may have enough virus in your nose, as much virus in your nose as someone unvunvaccinated. that was concerning when they said it. there was no frequency attached to it. we don't know how much of a problem that is. based on prior learnings from the alpha variant that first arose in the united kingdom, it came out that much more -- the magnitude is one and a half times, two times at most in terms of transmissibility based on the data we do have. yes, the delta variant will be more transmissible, yes, more vaccine breakthrough cases. universally these are extremely rare, mild to asymptomatic, and weep need to be better able to communicate to the masses relative risk, nicolle. you mentioned the risk of breakthrough illness from the
delta variant, that risk that poses is less than they would otherwise be at risk if they just hopped into the car and drive down the street. we need to keep that relative risk paradigm in mind and communicate that so we all have hope. >> all right, jonathan, dr. gupta, we were going to sneak in a break. we got a two-minute warning president biden's speech that he will announce the need for all federal employees to attest to vaccination stat sus two minutes from getting under way. i want to bring you back in, jonathan lemire, and ask you about what is clearly a very complicated two sides of the coin message. they have to thread the needle in such a precise way to sort of keep the people that have done everything they've been asked to do, they've worn masks, they've stayed home, they've offered remote school, remote learning, they're now asked to put their mask back on, but to also sell the vaccine as a gateway to a
post-pandemic america. what went into this speech today, jonathan? >> you described it right, nicolle, in terms of threading the needle. we will hear the president in just a moment so i'll be brief. they don't want to alienate the people who have done the right thing, done what they've been asked to do in terms of masks, social distancing and vaccination but imploring people who have not gotten vaccinated. most of whom are people politically opposed to joe biden and made this part of their identity. it's young people who perhaps don't think them need it. they do. but it's also a lot of republicans because joe biden is saying they should. and that's a very difficult way and they're trying to empower local leaders to encourage people to take the vaccine, take measures on the community, grassroots level to do so. at the same time they have to be mindful of the greater public health good, even if that requires asking americans who have already done so much to do a little bit more, to try to get through this together. we hear from biden all the time, don't ever bet against america. this is another moment where
he's asking people to step up and be patient again. >> david plouffe -- i'm going to ask you about this on the other side. mitch mcconnell has had a real public pivot on his messaging. let's listen to the president. good afternoon. today i want to talk to you about covid-19. maybe the best way to start is a significant part of the country wouldn't have to take one of these office if you don't have to put one on like in my home state of delaware where i live in new castle county, where itches yesterday in pennsylvania. because people got vaccinated. they got vaccinated. they don't need a mask when the majority -- the vast majority of the people got vaccinated. look, i want to talk about what's really happening what it means, what it doesn't mean, and what we need to do this week and the months ahead. from the moment i was elected i said i would always give it to you straight from the shoulder. we need some straight talk right
now. because there's a lot of fear and misinformation in the country. we need to cut through it with facts, with science, with the truth. so what's really happening today? after months and months of cases going down, we're seeing the spike in covid cases going up. why? because of this new form, this new variant called the delta variant. this is a much different variant than the one we've dealt with previously. it's highly transmissible and it's causing a new wave of cases in those not vaccinated. our experts tell me that cases will go up further before they start to come back down. while cases are on the rise, we're not likely to see, according to experts, a comparable rise in hospitalizations or deaths in most areas of the country. so you have to ask yourself why is that? because 164 million americans
are fully vaccinated including 80% of the most vulnerable are seniors. so there's a challenge as you knew there could be. but there's also good news. we spent the last six months preparing for this possibility. the vaccines are highly effective. we have enough vaccine for everyone to get vaccinated. and thanks to the american rescue plan and the hard work of the american people, we've administered over 325 million vaccination doses in the past six months. we have the tools to prevent this new wave of covid from shutting down our businesses, our schools, our society. as we saw happen last year. i've said from the beginning that we will be guided by the science, so here's what the science tells us.
on tuesday the center for disease control and prevention, the cdc, announced its new mask recommendation in parts of the country where covid cases are substantially higher where people didn't get vaccinated. which they define as 50 new cases for every 100,000 people in a week. the cdc recommends you wear a mask when you're in public and indoors like work or in a grocery store. that's true for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. why? because even if you've been fully vaccinated and protected from severe illness from covid-19, you could have the delta variant in your system and spread it to someone who isn't vaccinated. we need to wear a mask to protect each other as we work to get more people vaccinated. i hope all americans who live in
areas with substantial or high case rates will follow the mask guidance as being laid down by the cdc. i certainly will and i have because this is one of those areas in washington. and my decision, my direction, all federal personnel and visitors to federal buildings will have to do the same thing. as i said from the beginning mask is not a political statement. it's about protecting yourself and protecting others. masking is one defense against the spread of covid-19. make no mistake vaccines are the best defense against you getting severely ill from covid-19, the very best defense. you want to know how we put this virus behind us? i'll tell you how. we need to get more people
vaccinated. look, and it's important to understand what vaccines do and what they don't do. put simply the vaccines are designed to save lives and prevent severe illness. they're highly effective at both. 190 million americans have had at least one shot. of that, 90% are done now and 10% are waiting for the second shot. to those folks who have one shot but not the second, go get the second shot. even if you are overdue for the second shot, it's not too late. go get the second shot now. now. the bottom line if you're fully vaccinated, you're highly protected from covid-19. but i also know that many of you who are vaccinated are concerned about what's called breakthrough cases. yes, some fully vaccinated people will still test positive
and some will show some symptoms of covid-19. that's expected with almost every vaccine there is for other diseases. but breakthrough cases remain rare and almost all are mild cases. in fact, virtually all hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated. i also know many of you are wondering if you need a booster shot to add another layer of protection. as of now my medical advisers say the answer is no. no american needs a booster now, but if the science tells us there's a need for boosters and that's something we'll do. we have purchased the supply, all the supply we need to be ready if that was called for. folks, the truth is as more people get vaccinated, we are better protected as a nation to continue reopening safely and responsibly. we are not fully out of the
woods yet. because what is happening in america right now is a pandemic, a pandemic of the unvaccinated. let me say that again. it's the pandemic of the unvaccinated. there are about 90 million americans who are eligible to get the shot that haven't gotten it yet. as i just mentioned nearly all of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to covid-19 today are from unvaccinated people. last month studied showed over 90% of covid-19 deaths had been among the unvaccinated. 99%. this is an american tragedy. people are dying and will die who don't have to die. if you're out there unvaccinated you don't have to die. read the news. you'll see stories about unvaccinated patients in hospitals as they're lying in bed dying from covid-19, they're
asking, doc, can i get the vaccine? the doctors have to say, sorry, it's too late. right now too many people are dying or watching someone they love dying and saying if i'd just got vaccinated. if i just -- it's heartbreaking. it is complicated even more because it's preventable. america is divided between the majority of eligible people who are vaccinated and those who are not. i understand many of you in the majority are frustrated with the consequences of the failure of the minority to get vaccinated. i want you to know i'm going to continue to do everything can i to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated. that includes address heing
hesitancy and misinformation head-on. for example, i know some of you who are unvaccinated think the development of a vaccine was rushed, therefore i'm not going to take a chance. as a result i think it's not safe because it was rushed. i understand. but let me explain. our top scientists, the national institute of health, the nih, and across the country got to work applying decades of research, decades, that had already been done to develop the covid-19 vaccine when it hit. in the last six months more than 325 million doses had been administered in the united states and billions of doses administered around the world. the vaccine was developed and authorized under republican
administration and has been distributed and administered under a democratic administration. vaccines are safe, highly effective. there's nothing political about them. look at all the people who took a shot at it. later we learned a lot of them were already vaccinated from the start. i have to compliment mitch mcconnell. he has encouraged people to get vaccinated and is continuing to do so and his state is in pretty good shape. alabama republican governor kay ivey recently spoke out to encourage vaccination and even the commentators on fox who have been belittling this for a long time, some haven't but many have, are arguing get vaccinated. look, this is not about red states and blup states. it's literally about life and death.
it's about life and death. that's what it's about. i know people talk about freedom, but i learned growing up in school and my parents with freedom comes responsibility. the decision to be unvaccinated impacts someone else. unvaccinated people spread the virus. they get sick and fill up our hospitals. and that means if someone else has a heart attack or breaks a hip there may not be a hospital bed for them. if you're unvaccinated you put your doctor or nurses at risk, the same frontline essential workers have gone through hell. with freedom comes responsibility, so, please, exercise responsible judgment.
get vaccinated for yourself, for the people you love. for your country. i'm being literal as i say this, a foreign leader calls me asking can i find his or her country more vaccines? people are desperate for vaccines. doing everything to answer those calls, sending millions of vaccines to millions around the world. but, folks, it's an american blessing that we have vaccines for each and every american. we've made it our first and top priority to have available vaccines for every eligible american, and that's never going to change as long as i'm here. and it's a shame. it's such a shame to squander that blessing. that's why after six months of extraordinary work and effort today i'm laying out additional steps we should be taking to deliver these lifesaving
vaccines to more americans. first, we're going to provide more incentives to encourage unvaccinated americans to get vaccinated. that starts with paid leave to get the shot. we're still hearing that people are unable to get time off from their employer to get vaccinated. this is unacceptable. for some time now i've said you should be able to get the shot and still get paid thanks to the american rescue plan the federal government is fully reimbursing any small or medium-sized business that provides workers with paid time off to get vaccinated. employers, this costs you nothing. if you haven't given employees paid time off, do it now, please. today i'm announcing we're taking this a step further. the federal government will reimburse those employers to
give their staff -- who give their staff time off not only to get themselves vaccinated but family members vaccinated. that means employers can get reimbursed if they give parents time off with paid time, paid leave, to take their kids or their own parents to get vaccinated. so i'm calling on all employers to give paid time off or help a family member to do so. it will cost you, the employer, nothing. you'll be reimbursed. secondly, i'm announcing that will continue to work with states to encourage unvaccinated people to get vaccinated. in february the grocery store chain kroger's offered $100 to their associates if they would get vaccinated. and it worked. vaccination rates moved up from 50% to 75% among their
employees. states like new mexico, ohio and colorado offering similar programs. so today i call on all states and local governments to use funding they have received including from the american rescue plan. i know it may sound unfair to those who have gotten vaccinated already. here is the deal if incentives help us beat this virus, i believe we should use them. we all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated. it's time to impose requirements on key groups to make sure they're vaccinated and, excuse me, just this week, we took an important step to protect our veterans.
like many systems are doing the department of veterans affairs will now require covid-19 vaccines for doctors and nurses and other health care workers who provide medical care for our veterans. we must do everything possible to protect our veterans from getting covid when they come to get medical care they so richly earned serving their country. we owe them. next, since many vaccinations are required for active duty military today, i'm asking the defense department to look into how and when they will add covid-19 to the list of vaccinations our armed forces must get. our men and women in uniform who protect this country from grave threats should be protected as much as possible from getting covid-19. i think this is particularly important because our troops serve in places throughout the world. vaccination rates are low and
disease is prevalent. next, every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. anyone who does not attest or is not vaccinated will be required to mask, no matter where they work, test one or two times a week to see if they have acquired covid, socially distance, and generally will not be allowed to travel for work. likewise, today i'm directing my administration to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. if you want to do business with the federal government, get your workers vaccinated. look at the chamber of commerce, and that's the association of manufacturers. the business roundtable which surprises of the largest and biggest corporations in america
are all applauding the actions the federal government is taking and i urge them to follow suit. i commend the national football league. it was announced if there are outbreaks among unvaccinated players and personnel, the team risks forfeiting games. i urge other sports leagues to take every step they can. every day more businesses are implementing their own vaccine mandates. the justice department has made it clear that it is legal to require covid-19 vaccines. we all want our lives to get back to normal. and fully vaccinated work places will make that happen more quickly and more successfully. we all know that in our gut. with incentives and mandates we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives.
i also want to speak to families with children in school. we can and must open schools this fall full time. it's better for our children's mental and emotional well-being, and we can't afford another year out of the classroom. every school should be open. we're giving them the tools to be able to do so safely. even in those areas where they have a higher vaccination -- they have a higher rate of covid. through the american rescue plan we've provided billions of dollars to implement safety measures. better ventilation, social distancing and other measures. in march the vaccinations were scarce, i prioritized teachers and schoolworkers. almost 90% of educators and school staff are now vaccinated. additionally the cdc has provided clear guidance on how
all schools can safely protect the kids and bring them back to the classroom. every student wear a mask. it's that simple. so we funded safety measures in schools. we vaccinated teachers and staff. and we can mask up our kids for further protection. once again, there's one more thing we need to do, get more adolescents ages 12 and up vaccinated now that they've been cleared. in the past week, the good news is you're seeing the average number of 12 to 17-year-olds getting vaccinated increase 22% per day. today i'm asking school districts to host one last pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks for kids ages 12 and up. we're directing the federal pharmacy program to help make that happen.
parents, get your children vaccinated. you do it for so many other things right now. for kids under 12, if and when the vaccines are deemed safe for them, we'll be prepared to get the vaccines administered as quickly and safely as possible. look, as we work to vaccinate more americans we're prepared for outbreaks in areas where there are unvaccinated people. my administration has made it clear to every governor that more federal resources available to them, this includes the deployment of surge teams composed of experts from the cdc and federal emergency management agencies, fema. we will provide states with more testing, treatment, protective equipment, personnel, mobile vaccination clinics to stem the surge of the virus among the unvaccinated. pictures of hospitals in several
states overloaded with patients is unnecessary, avoidable and tragic. many systems are overloaded and unable to cope with the spike in cases, ready to do that. let me close with this. if you're at home and vaccinated but anxious, or even angry, or if you're at home and unvaccinated, unbothered and unconvinced, let's step back and see where we are. just remember how we've emerged from the dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer but remember just how dark that winter was over 3,600 americans were dying each and every day. now even with the surge among the unvaccinated we're down to that 300 americans a day. significant.
millions of people were out of work, out of homes, out of hope and going hungry. those long lines people in their automobiles waiting for a box of food to be put in their trunk. experts and pundits said we couldn't get the vaccines. and even if we could get the vaccines, we couldn't get them in people's arms. we couldn't get them vaccinated. they predicted our economy would collapse. remember how we stayed focused and how we went to work. in six months we got 164 million americans fully vaccinated. because we vaccinated so many people, put in place so many members and got businesses and people most in need, our economy is recovering. more than 3 million americans are back to work since i was sworn in. faster job growth than any previous administration, any, we're experiencing the fastest
economic growth in nearly four decades. the best in the world as of now. today's gdp numbers show in the first half of the year our economy grew faster than any point in nearly 40 years. our economy grew more in six months. most wall street forecasters expected for the entire year before we implemented our plan. and just yesterday a bipartisan infrastructure deal that will continue this in the long term by making the most significant investment to rebuild america in nearly a century. we still have to face many challenges. we still have a lot of work to do. as we readjust to a post pandemic economy. we have the right plan. we're coming back. we have to stay ahead of this
virus. i know this is hard to hear. i know it's frustrating. i know it's exhausting to think we're still in this fight. i know we hope this would be a simple straightforward line without problems or new challenges. but that isn't real life. coming out of the worst public health crisis in 100 years. the worst economic crisis since the great depression. i told you before, i carry a card in my pocket, i hope i have it with me, i have the number of americans dead from covid-19. as of today, this morning, the total deaths in the united states was 609,441. granted the death rate per day is way down. it's down to 400 about. but that's more deaths than world war i, world war ii,
vietnam, 9/11, iraq, and afghanistan wars combined. this is as tough as it gets. we're american. when we get knocked down, we get back up. that's who we are. we are. that's what we do. that's why there's no nation on earth like us, and we're prepared like never before. we have the tools to save lives, to keep our economy growing and growing and going. after the past six months, following the science, we know we can dramatically lower the cases in this country. we can do this. we brought our economy back to life and we kept it going. we know we can send our kids back to school. we know we can beat this virus. we can do this.
we all just have to do our part. my fellow americans, this nation has never failed. we have come together as the united states of america. so i say to all of those who are unvaccinated, please, please, get vaccinated. the rest of america, this is no time to be despondent or let our guard down. we just need to finish the job with science, with facts, with the truth. together as americans we're going to be able to beat this. may god bless you all. may god protect our troops. thank you. >> reporter: mr. president. mr. president. mr. president. >> reporter: why do people still need to mask up. >> reporter: mr. president. >> reporter: how long do you think it might be necessary to wear masks and at what point do you think people might have to have a booster shot?
>> i said in my talk, the booster shot is not needed now. it is possible that it will be needed later. i don't know. they don't -- the science hasn't dictated that yet,. and the first part of your question? >> reporter: do you think people might have to wear masks again? >> well, if you notice, a lot of places people don't have to wear masks, let's get that straight. the places where people have gotten vaccinated, where we have a high vaccination rate, people do not have to wear masks at all. like some of you who were with me yesterday when i was up in lehigh valley, didn't have to wear a mask there. don't have to mask if you come home to delaware with me. i know you love doing that. but you don't have to wear a mask. the places people are probably going to have to wear a mask in those communities where the high rate of unvaccinated stays high and they don't move, they don't move to get vaccinated. but i think you are going to
find the patience of businesses and the patience of a lot of other people running thin, because the fact is if you had high vaccination rates we wouldn't be in this spot right now. yes, sir? >> reporter: mr. president. mr. president, will this set off an american workplace for federal workers and private sector that really is the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated? and is that a pressure you are trying to harness now? >> well, i'm not -- look, what i'm trying to do is keep people safe. i mean that sincerely. so if, in fact, you're unvaccinated, you present a problem to yourself, to your family and to those with whom you work. because it was pointed out, i was asked a question about why would people who have already been vaccinated get it. well, you got anywhere from 2% to 3% on average the last study done that can still get covid.
they don't get very sick. they don't get hospitalized. it is not serious, but they can catch it. the concern is they may be able to pass it on, and so that's all being studied right now. but the important thing is if people are vaccinated, the transmission rate drops through the floor. that's all we're trying to do. yes? >> reporter: mr. president, thank you. why not push for vaccine mandates in states, private companies, schools? do you want to see those entities pass vaccine mandates? >> well, i would like to see them continue to move in that direction, and that's why i have pointed out, i had to ask the justice department to determine whether that is -- they're able to do that legally, and they can. local communities can do that. local businesses can do that. it is still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country.
i don't know that yet. >> reporter: mr. president, you said earlier this week that we are not headed back towards lockdowns, but if the science is evolving how can we be so confident in that? we heard you say weeks ago that the virus -- but dr. fauci has also indicated that we are headed in the wrong direction. >> well, you're literally correct on everything you said, but it doesn't make -- come to the conclusion you are implying. it is clear that if everybody's vaccinated, the existing vaccines work to prevent death, serious illness, hospitalization. okay. so if tomorrow i can wave a wand and every american was vaccinated, then, in fact, we would be out of the woods. now, can something else happen a year from now? can there be a different virus? can there be something? it is possible. but i'm talking about covid and the existing variants that have come forward so far. so it is a simple proposition.
if you are vaccinated, you find yourself in a situation where you are highly unlikely even if you somehow get the virus, very small percentage do, that you are not going to be hospitalized, you are not going to be on a ventilator, you are not going to be sick, but you could be in a position to possibly spread it to someone who wasn't if you have it in you. yes? >> reporter: mr. president, thank you. i wanted to ask, why not require that the people show proof that they're vaccinated? also, if you could just with the 4 million, how much of an impact do you think this will have? do you have a projection, sir? >> the projection on what? >> on how many people will get vaccinated by putting in this system. >> no, i'm not going to get into the business of projecting exactly how many people are likely. all i know is that we go through these periods and then we run up
against a wall, then something happens where people realize, oh, my lord, this is really a problem and they begin to see things. look, the fact that a lot of your friends are now saying get vaccinated who before were saying it is not a problem, this is all a democratic thing, with a small "d" and a capital "d". i mean there's a lot changing. people are becoming aware. the more aware they become, then we have these surges of people going out and getting vaccinated. it just keeps building. >> reporter: what about requiring proof, sir? >> well, that is -- there's two ways to do it. i think you are going to see some institutions doing that. like you are going to fly abroad, you will have to have proof. you are not just going to be able to say, yeah, i got tested, you got to provide proof. my guess is if we don't start to make more progress, a lot of
businesses and a lot of enterprises are going to require proof for you to be able to participate. >> mr. president. >> reporter: mr. president. >> in the back. and then i will take off shortly here. >> reporter: what sort of actions are you going to take to encourage private business to follow this type of model, to either require vaccines or require testing or other preventive procedures? >> i just did. i'm going to keep at it. i'm going to be talking about it around the country. >> reporter: to reach out to private business, meet with them, try and actively encourage them to follow this model? >> well, i have. that's why we have folks from everything from the chamber of commerce to the manufacturers, et cetera. so, you know, i am -- am i going to call a meeting of every, you know, business in the country to come to washington or go on -- i have made the case repeatedly. i doubt whether there's a single, solitary business that doesn't understand that i think it is smart for them to require testing, require -- and if you
can't demonstrate, you can't prove you have been vaccinated, you have to be tested. >> reporter: secretary austin said he was already considering mandating the vaccine after it was fully approved. would you like to see the mandate go into effect before full approval and do you think he is open to that? >> i know he is open to it, and the question is when is the right time to get the most bang for the buck when you do it. a lot of this is timing, and so i think it is going to happen. but, look, the one thing that you all are politely and appropriately referencing is that it is still a temporary approval. so when does the final approval come? it usually takes a lot of, a lot of work to get there. i made a commitment i would not
tell anyone in the justice department who they should prosecute and i would not tell the health industry -- excuse me, the government health entities what they should say and do. but my expectation is they're going to reach that conclusion in the early fall. thank you very much. it was a big speech from president biden at a big and crucial moment in the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic. let's see, he's taking one more question here. let's listen. . >> -- where we do not have -- let me clarify. >> reporter: in may you made it sound like the vaccine was significant to lose the mask forever. >> that was true at the time because i thought people were going to get -- that getting vaccinated makes a gigantic difference. what happened was a new variant came along. they didn't get vaccinated. it was spread more rapidly, and people -- more people were getting sick.
that's it. >> reporter: the people, sir -- >> reporter: how is the first lady, sir? >> going to find out in a minute. we're still listening and watching because questions are still being shouted around a questioning that kicked off with steve holland followed by kelly o'donnell, the new chair of the white house correspondent's association. turned into quite a q & a with president biden. the headlines there today, president biden making clear that he had sought a legal opinion from doj about whether communities and businesses could require vaccinations. he says that has been clearly articulated by doj. the president today announcing that the federal workforce will be required to attest to their vaccination status. if they are not vaccinated, they will be asked to subject to rigorous testing, mask wearing, social distancing and very
limited travel will be permitted. the president also there at the end getting some questions about the status of his secretary of defense, secretary austin mandating vaccines at the pentagon. he says he has asked him to look at that. some questions there at the end, one that seemed to evoke some passions from this president about why the mask guidance in america changed for the vaccinated. the president turning around and making very clear that this is a dynamic situation. that because the vaccination rates didn't reach a level that allowed us to stamp out covid, the delta variant is now surging among the unvaccinated. the president notably singled out three republicans and one sports league for praise, arguably because they perhaps reached people he can't. mitch mcconnell, kay ivey, the nfl and some unnamed fox news host for being pro vaccine. watching along with us jonathan lemire, dr. ben gupta and david plouffe. jonathan, your thoughts? >> well, first of all, it was a
passionate response from the president, and the line that stuck with me more than any other is that he declared it an american tragedy, that people are dying that don't have to die. he pointed a finger squarely at the unvaccinated, saying they were the source of the surge we're seeing of the virus, that people, you know, who many of them identify as republican or conservative or the young who don't think they need it are putting themselves and others at risk for not getting vaccinated. he is doing what he can. right now the federal government, as we were discussing before the president took to the podium, he is not mandating the federal workers receive the vaccine. that's a bridge that he and his team don't want to cross, at least not yet, although certainly they hinted it could be in the future at the pentagon before too, too long. we have seen it at the department of veteran affairs. but he is doing everything he can to encourage people to do it, including making life very difficult for federal workers and contractors who haven't been vaccinated. in they can't prove that they are, they will have to be tested
repeatedly with the idea some won't want to. he added incentives, $100 he encouraged state and local governments to pay people to get the shot. we heard him talk about asking the military to explore adding the covid-19 vaccine to the list of required inoculation and the appeal goes on. it was an appeal to human decency saying, look, we have come together but it is a risk, touting what his administration has done so far in terms of economic recovery and getting people vaccinated. he said there's a chance for a slide backwards. let's be clear as a final point, for the first time since the president took office the cases have gone up. the news on the virus isn't good news. it is not steady progress. it is, as he said, not a straight line. that's something that he is asking for patience from the american people and asking people to do their part, and that means getting the shot. >> as if on cue, joining our conversation is white house chief of staff ron klain. my first question for you, as the president was leaving the
speech and the -- the lengthy q & a session afterward, there was a shouted question about dr. jill biden. what was that about? his response was, "i'm about to find out." >> reporter: well, dr. biden while she was in hawaii coming back from japan from the olympics, she made some stops there to encourage vaccination. while she was out walking she stepped on a sharp object, and so she is going to go to walter reed this afternoon and have that object removed. >> okay. we appreciate that. i mean we just caught our ears. he was almost out the door. i want to ask you about what -- the president made abundantly clear it is a tragedy because obviously we continue to have americans sick and dying. but at this point the vast majority of all of them, he said, are unvaccinated. how did you come to sort of this passion plea and calling out and singling out for praise people like mitch mcconnell and kay
ivey and the nfl for their help? is that where we are? do you feel like the president has reached everyone he can convince? >> yeah, look, i think that the president has consistently been reaching out to people to try to persuade them, but it is not just persuasion. also provide incentives, make it easier for people to get vaccinated. look, the most compelling thing i think is putting the vaccine within reach of the largest number of people. we have done that with 80,000 sites. it is free obviously. you no longer need an appointment, you just walk in and get it any time. the president talked about more incentives today, whether it is paid tied off to get yourself vaccinated, get a family member vaccinated, giving people $100 to get vaccinated. also, of course, putting some requirements on to try to encourage people to get vaccinated or else go through rigorous testing regimes and what not. so we're going to use the full set of carrots and sticks we have here to try to make more progress. we have nearly 70% of people with one shot. we need to get the rest of the country vaccinated. that's what we've been trying all six months. that's what we're going to continue to do. hopefully this new delta variant
will make people pay a little more attention and do what they need to do. >> does the president -- we saw a flash of real passion there, that he's having to explain that the mask guidance changing wasn't any sort of policy flip-flop. it was a dynamic nature of a vaccine. i mean what is sort of the degree of exasperation with the power of this information on the right? >> well, i mean obviously we are concerned about disinformation. also, we're trying hard to correct it with truthful information, with real information. you heard the president go through that today. you know, the number one thing we hear from people who refuse the vaccine is this concern that it was developed too quickly, and the president again explained the scientific background and history of the vaccine. we hear people say that they're, you know, concerned about the side effects. we talked about that. so, you know, we are combatting disinformation with the truthful information, with scientific information, trying again to persuade more and more americans
to get vaccinated to protect themselves, to protect their families, to protect their communities, keep our economy growing. you know, all of the things we all want to see happen. >> do you expect policy escalations. could you see calling on the sorts of things where you do have control to mandate vaccination, attestation, to travel by air or train or any other way? >> well, i think we have laid out a set of incentives today. obviously we're always looking at additional policies. hopefully these things will get the job done. but, you know, i think that we laid out a very robust set of policy initiatives today, and we're hoping that it continues to prod the american people to do what they need to do, get the rest of the country vaccinated. >> ron, were there conversations between -- he singled out senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, who has a very notable new -- i believe his campaign fund is paying for psas or ads to advocate for the vaccine. was at this president's urging?
>> no. first of all, we need to give senator mcconnell credit. he has been encouraging americans to get vaccinated since the vaccine was first authorized back in december. he has been a strong, consistent, regular voice urging vaccinations. he and the president have discussed this previously months ago, and i just think senator mcconnell has been as strong urging vaccinations as any public figure has been. >> would you like to see him do more if that's the case? >> look, i would like to see us all do more. senator mcconnell has done -- again, has done a lot more than what a lot of other folks have. what i would like to see is more and more people do this, more voices, you know, in both parties, reach out and encourage people to get vaccinated. but i think, you know, we have our differences with senator mcconnell here, but his vigor in pushing vaccinations is not one of those differences. he has been a very strong advocate for this. >> i know this isn't all that you work on. i have one more question. i mean the president -- >> sure. >> -- made clear to speak to
what is on people's minds across the country, across the ideological spectrum. he made clear that schools will be open in the fall, unequivocally that the safest way to do that is to keep vaccination levels in communities down so that kids under 12 who can't be vaccinated are at the lowest risk possible. do you have any information about when kids younger than 12 will be eligible for the vaccine? >> nicolle, i don't have any private information on that. you know, the medical community's discussed that clinical trials are still going on, as you heard last week. two of the major vaccine makers expanded those clinical trials to make sure we're going to be safe in terms of side effects. as soon as those clinical trials are finished, the fda i know will review the data quickly. i really wouldn't want to put a timeline on it. i have heard experts say later this fall, maybe november, but, again, i don't have any private or inside information on that. that's just the public information about the progress of these clinical trials and potential fda reviews. >> ron, let me get you on the record on the infrastructure
deal. how involved were you? how involved was this president? how important is this to the agenda? >> well, it is very important to the president's agenda. it is very important to the country. look, we've been talking about infrastructure week for a long time, and we have bridges in this country that are cracked, that are unsafe. we have roads that need to be upgraded. we need to get every kid in this america broadband. we need to get all of the lead pipes out of the ground and get every kid and family in america safe drinking water. we need to build electric charging station, we need to build the clean economy for the future. all of these things in this package are vital investments. i'm proud to be part of the team here. the president really engaged directly with members of the house and the senate, particularly members of the senate. he met with republicans, with democrats, really pushed to get this done. obviously we're still at the first step. the bill is just now getting to the senate floor. we have to get the bill passed. we have to get it over to the house.
we have a lot of work left to do, but i think it is a significant move to address the vital infrastructure needs. yes, i do think it is positive that it is bipartisan. it shows the democrats and republicans can get together and start to tackle some of these problems. i think that's also a hopeful element of this. >> ron, there's now a playbook for the successful legislative endeavors by this white house, the covid relief package which was not bipartisan, it was in terms of the support you had in the country and the president made that point repeatedly, and now the infrastructure deal which you said is bipartisan. will either one of those approaches be applied to something many democrats and even some republicans find urgent, and that is the need to protect the right to vote and the right to have your vote counted from 389 voter suppression laws racing through 48 states? >> yeah, nicolle, obviously voting rights is very important to this president. it is one of the reasons why he ran for president. i was encouraged to see yesterday progress in the senate. you had conversations between
senator warnock, senator manchin, senator klobuchar is a great leader on this. hopefully they can come together on a package we can start to move through the senate. >> ron klain, on whose desk every problem in the country lands. thank you for spending time with us to talk to us. nice to see you. >> thank you for having me. i appreciate it. let me come back to our friends that have been watching the day's news with us. dr. gupta, what did you hear today that you think might make a difference, either in a company sort of anxious about a vaccine mandate for their workforce or someone oat there who may not be part of the hard-core anti-vax but may be hesitant? >> well, a few things, nicolle. thank you. president biden focusing on paid leave, absolutely vital. proximity, talking about making access within, say, five square miles of an individual.
we know both of those things are vital. also just talked about misinformation. it is important for him at the podium to talk about that. where i disagree is this motion that money incentives will move the needle. i think money has moved the needle at this point. it is not going to reach those who we haven't reached yet. he was also clear, nicolle, on what success looks like, you know, especially with pivoting cdc guidance. a lot of people wond irwhat does success look like so i can hope. it is pretty clear. he said lowering deaths and hospitalizations is what success looks like, not necessarily lowering case rates. that's important. you know, president biden noted two things that i just wanted to elaborate on. one, he said that he was in philadelphia and he didn't need to wear a mask because he was in a highly vaccinated region. just to elaborate on that, that's not what the cdc put out. they said in places where there's high transmission rates of covid-19 you might be in a substantial or high risk area, you should consider masking up, not places that have high rates
of vaccines. that matters because that's been confusing to people. say in l.a. county or even here in seattle where we are recommended to wear masks even though we have 70% adoption of the vaccine, covid-related hospitalizations are low. that feels unclear to people, so he was clear on what success looks like. he even delineated that when he said why he didn't wear a mask in philadelphia, but, again, it was counter to what cdc put out. lastly, booster shots. he said that he doesn't have clarity on that right now. it is -- and for all of those people who are immuno compromised watching right now, it is pretty clear we are going to need booster shots for those immuno compromised, cancer, recent chemotherapy, it is a long list, nicolle, but we will need booster shots for that group based on studies that have come out. the fda, the cdc will be updating the guidance shortly. i want to clarify that, that booster shots will be needed for a select group of americans. >> you know, it is important to have you underscoring. we're all become armchair
epidemiologists, trying to make the best decisions throwing masks in the hands of our family members based on where we are. it is helpful to have the clarity. david plouffe, what i come to you on, and ron klain and the president on, this is sort of eyes wide open in the country. the president's calculation seems to be that we are down but we need to get back up. it is the president's view and the chief of staff's view that we can do the things we need to do. i wonder if you can sort of speak to the sort of singling mitch mcconnell. both ron klain and the president did that. they're obviously seeing some usefulness and need to have allies on the other side of this sort of disinformation divide in this country. >> absolutely. yeah, i think the message may be
we can still do hard things in this country, but we're making it harder than we should to do hard things. by the way, i think america is so fortunate to have ron klain in that chief of staff seat given the variety of crises we have. no, i think there are still democrats, you know, a handful of progressives maybe that are not vaccinated but the data is pretty clear where most of the unvaccinated people lie ideologically. so i think to lift up -- and mitch mcconnell has been from the very first day just steadfast. he has been terrific on messages around vaccine. you are starting to see more republican governors do that. you are starting to see more members of congress not just say you should get vaccinated, some of them like steve scalise finally saying now is the time to get vaccinated. so, yes, i think you want to lift those voices out and know those are the messengers. dr. gupta talked about your local pharmacist. there's local messengers and national messengers, you just need to surround us. i thought the speech was very
remarkable. it was very plain, not a lot of spin on the ball, very urgent. i think that's what was needed. i think what was interesting was he spoke almost as much to the vaccinated as to the unvaccinated. >> yes. >> understanding the frustration people have out there and understanding why we need to do the things we need to do. i thought that was very, very important to acknowledge that. i was also very glad to see him really speak to the toll that this is taking now on our public health professionals who have gone through wave after wave of this, and in some places of the country are right back to where we were in the beginning. i thought it was effective. but i do think you have to paint the picture, which is we can get to the other side of this. there's a lot of things that governments can do, a lot of things the businesses can do, and ultimately that's very important. but this is about individuals kind of bellying up to the bar here and doing the right thing, and that's what is going to be required. but i think it is going to be really, really important. i thought what the nfl did was really, really important. i think it gave permission structure to hopefully other sports leagues but also other businesses. if the nfl can do this, we can
do this. you know, hopefully you see -- just today it seemed like every 15 minutes another company was saying they were going to mandate vaccinations. so hopefully we will see that trend continue over the coming days. >> jonathan lemire, dr. ben gupta, david plouffe, who sat down probably an hour and a half ago, they're still with us. so generous with your time. like, what, "hotel california," you can check out but never leave. we are grateful for you not leaving us. when we return, we are learning much, much more about the lengths the disgraced twice-impeached ex-president went to try to get his justice department to support hits false claims of voter flawed and to actively worked to overturn the 2020 election result. we will have that brand-new reporting from "the washington post" and more analysis on that after the break. plus, we will talk to one of the texas democratic lawmakers who testified on capitol hill today about the republican war on the right to vote and what the federal government should do to protect it. also, new developments in the january 6th investigation including some jail house
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say "show me the olympics in 4k" so you can watch in stunning 4k ultra hd. i can't imagine a more critical question. did you have conversations prior to january 6th with the president of the united states urging you to question or overturn or challenge the election results of 2020? that's a simple question. by the way, no executive -- no executive privilege has been invoked prior to this hearing and your testimony, and you have known you were coming here for over a month.
>> congressman, respectfully, i understand your interest in the issue and i have tried to be as forthcoming as i can with regard to the facts at the department of justice. when you asked me about communications with the president, i as a lawyer don't get to make the decision on whether i can reveal private conversations. other people make that decision. >> that was then. but now we are getting a whole lot closer to learning the answer to the question posed by house democrat gerry connolly back in may thanks to new reporting by "the washington post" as well as a move by the doj that clears the way for congress to get to the bottom of the ex-president's intense campaign to pressure the justice department into supporting his attempts and aiding with them to overturn the 2020 election. "the washington post" is reporting today that at the end of last year, at the peak of the pressure campaign on elected officials all across the country over earthive indication, trump called acting attorney general rosen nearly every day in which
trump, quote, raised allegations he had heard about and asked what the justice department was doing about the issue. the "post" reporting on the doj's decision to remove a crucial road block facing investigators looking into the final days of the trump presidency. they wrote, the justice department recently notified rosen, donoghue and others who were serving there during the end of trump's presidency that they would not seek to invoke executive privilege this they were asked questions about that period. joining us, mike schmitt, and former congresswoman donna edwards, "washington post" contributing columnist as well as an msnbc contributor. harry litman, could it be a dam-breaking moment in terms of beginning to understand exactly what pressure was exerted on doj and what they did about it? >> it really could.
so you've heard what rosen was going to say, and there was this playbook established from the impeachments, nicole, that trump could have tried to exercise, bring a crazy constitutional claim, wait two years for the courts to resolve, repeat. but the law is clear. it is the current executive branch who gets to decide if there's executive privilege. they've decided there isn't. rosen cannot invoke it. even if trump tries to go to court, and nobody can stop him from doing that, the judges should say, hey, there's no executive privilege here. moreover, you don't have standing to be here. this is a matter between the current department of justice and rosen. they've told him to start talking. they've told him he can't invoke it, and we have the reporting that you've just mentioned that it was a daily harangue, every conversation improper between trump and rosen. that would be exactly the kind of information we haven't had to date and it would be a wealth
of, i think, damning testimony about what trump was doing between the election and january 6th. >> donna edwards, let me read you a little bit more about what could -- if harry's analysis sort of holds and rules the day, strengthen congress's hand. the justice department letter noted even former officials are obligated to protect nonpublic information. they learned in the course of their work and that they generally do not allow former officials to disclose documents relating to such internal deliberations. however, the letter continues, the extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances warranting an accommodation to congress in this case, including lawmakers' efforts to determine whether, quote, former president trump sought to cause the department to use its law enforcement and litigation authorities to advance his personal political interests with respect to the results of the 2020 presidential election. we know from this reporting,
donna, as well as reporting mike and his colleagues have done that that effort predates election day. i mean this justice department started to look at issues around ballots and the election even ahead of whatever it was, november 6th. so my question to you is what should the scope be in terms of what congress wants to get its hands on? shouldn't it go beyond rosen and to really understand what barr did as well? >> well, i think that, you know, we know from the former attorney general barr that there was pressure being put on him even as he was stepping down as the attorney general and that rosen, you know, apparently, you know, we know that rosen was anything but forthcoming when he was in front of the committee. so i think that the select committee has said very clearly that they are looking at the before, during and after january
6th. and if there are notes, information, testimony, phone calls that are related under the former attorney general barr, then i would expect that that would be part of the before that the committee would be able to look at. i'm glad that this justice department is not going to stand in the way because we know that january 6th was extraordinary and it calls on a different way of looking at executive privilege in this particular instance because it was about potentially overturning an election, going at our constitutional process. i think there's a lot more to learn here, and it seems that the committee is going to get a hand being able to get the documents and the testimony they need to put the pieces together. >> mike, can you speak to sort of your body of reporting? let me read the language of this
letter again. what they have authorized is congress, including lawmakers, more latitude to determine whether former president trump sought to cause the department of justice to use its law enforcement and litigation authorities to advance his personal political interests with respect to the results of the 2020 presidential election. there's been reporting about u.s. attorneys in georgia being pushed out or resigning. there's been a lot of news reporting about what was happening, but what does this really unlock for congress, which at most turns have been stymied from this kind of access? >> i mean in some ways this is all a bit ridiculous because the president said all of this stuff out loud. he said it all. he said it before the election, after he lost the election, in the period of time before it was certified, right before the certification, and then afterwards. even in his statements more recently about what barr did and didn't do, what the justice
department did or didn't do. so all of this stuff is out there in the public. this is very similar to a lot of things that we have seen in the trump era where the president says something out loud and then we as reporters go and find out that he was saying and doing the same thing behind the scenes. in a normal presidency the president wouldn't have said any of these things and we would have to go find out what actually happened in private. but these are things that he -- he does not deny these. he says them all the time, and he still tries to put out statements about this. so this is not something that he has hid from. and while it is important to hear from the folks inside the justice department about how this was happening, a lot of stuff here we already know. we know what happened on january 6th. we know what he said when he was there in front of the crowd on the mall. >> well, harry, to mike's point, i guess the sort of purpose then would be to understand how these
requests were responded to inside the justice department. we know there was a transition, bill barr ultimately left after doing a whole bunch of donald trump's bidding before that point. mr. rosen, although unwilling to answer those questions, has turned over some documents to the judiciary committee investigating all of this activity. what is sort of the public interest in seeing it all and understanding just what was being demanded of not his doj but the government's justice department. >> i think it is still pretty big, nicolle. we know in broad strokes, but, look, the report today in "the post" still startles and gives meat on the bone to the charges. the other thing we can find out is where trump tried to install somebody lower, stark, to kick everybody out and make him attorney general. how did that go down?
how desperate was he? what was he trying to make the justice department do? i think those details are more than sort of nuances. i think they're pretty vivid evidence of the -- you know, of a lawless president trying to really browbeat his department of justice. i think that will be an important part of the historical record, and they ought to be getting it even if it won't be a surprise overall. >> mike, it also brings us back to the urgency in understanding the president's role on january 6th, that this was all stated by the president and all of this frees up is the understanding of what happened at the department of justice and the same ruling sort of holds at other agencies, understanding how the government held or didn't. do you think this makes it more likely that this president's testimony will be sought by the january 6th committee? >> i think they have to. i think they have no choice but to try and do that. i can see that turning into this extended thing where it sort of
elevates trump again and he gets to have a fight with congress, with the democrats in congress about his own testimony. i mean that would play in some ways directly into his hands, in other ways his testimony is essential to understanding who did he talk to on that day and what was really going on and what happened in the white house. now, i can't imagine that the president would be fully candid when, you know, he would be talking about what he did on those days because he has provided so many different varying, inaccurate account about things in his presidency. but at the same time i think if you are the committee and you are doing this investigation, you have to seek his testimony and the testimony of as many of these people as possible to have the legitimacy that you exhausted all of the investigative avenues to get to the bottom of all of that. >> we will be watching.
harry, thank you for being with us. when we come back, scoring a couple of high profile meetings today. we will talk with one of them after a short break. don't go anywhere. anywhere. ♪ 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. ♪ to deliver our technology as-a-service. you need an ecolab scientific clean here. and you need it here. and here. and here. which is why the scientific expertise that helps operating rooms stay clean is now helping the places you go every day too.
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postpone a vote, passing the restrictive bill, and to push congress to act on federal voting rights legislation. joining our conversation, one of the three texas lawmakers who testified on the hill today. texas state representative diego burnell. tell us more about your message to congress other than the important message we all should start with, that massive voter fraud. >> thank you. i would like to focus on the substance of the bill. i took them through a small corner of it to demonstrate how it would affect a voter in their
everyday voting activity to show how harmful about it. afterwards, people reverted to platitudes, they dant want to engage on the substance of the bill. in texas we are not leaving to make a statement or to raise our profile. there is a really bad bill in front of the house and the texas senate, and our duty here is not only to kill it but to get the congress and the senate to help us out. i wanted to talk about the bill itself, and i think we did a decent job of that. >> i feel you on the platitudes. and even people with a stated commitment to the mission sometimes regurgitate them. go ahead and just go through that exercise here. go through the damage it does to a voter in texas. >> well, i will give you a small taste of it. so what the bill would allow is for partisan poll watchers to have free range over the polling place. they could get close enough to
observe and hear voting activity. they could lean over you as you vote. another part of that is that the law itself says that they can break criminal law and election law and the election judge can't remove them from the polling place. they're allowed to stay there. they can only get a warning. only after the second warning, if the election judge sees it themselves can they be removed. if everybody in the polling place sees the election violation but the judge didn't, the person gets to stay. only if the judge sees the second one can he remove them. there's no else in the code, anywhere in any state that allows someone to break did law and not be removed. the point i made there was the manager targeted has a -- has more power to protect their store than an election judge in texas would have to protect voters in the polling place. that's one example. >> have you had any conversations with anyone in washington that lead you to believe that there is frantic
activity around voting rights legislation? >> we do get that impression. whether or not it fits our particular timeline, who knows? but even yesterday there was news that there's some movement, there's another version or an iteration of a bill that may help us, that may help all of texas and the united states. there's certainly activity happening. whether or not it meets the deadline or it can gather enough support is something else, but no one is just sitting still doing nothing. in fact, i think one of the things we have accomplished is we've forced the issue and people in d.c. really are working to get something done now. what it is, i don't know. i also think we're pretty open to seeing what they have to offer, and we will take just about anything to get things better than where we are right now. anything that raises the bottom floor, we will take -- it is a good start, and i think we have to keep pushing on that. >> representative jasmine crockett said that while she likes what has been proposed, she doesn't need the whole thing. she needs an inch.
are you confident that you will get an inch, that you will get something in the form of federal voting rights legislation? and if you don't, can you explain what will happen in texas? >> well, that's sort of two really interesting questions. first answer is, yes, i do think we will. whether or not it happens in time is the other question. that's what remains to be seen, and if i'm being honest that is what makes me nervous. i thi can happen in time if people commit to making it happen, because to your point what will happen in texas is hb-3 will most likely pass, and hb-3 is one of the most draconian voter suppression bills we have seen in the country. look, voter suppression bills either add more procedures to vote, they add more requirements to vote or create new ways for votes to get kicked off or discounted. hb-3 does all three. that's what will happen in texas, in a variety of different
ways, some overt, some subtle. the only way we're going to get away from that is if d.c., if the federal government steps in and raises the bottom floor. whether it is an inch or a foot, we will take anything at this point. >> can you just -- this is the best articulation of what i have heard of what the laws do, 389 of them racing through 48 states. can you just say that once again, the three things they do and the fact that in texas they do all three? >> historically voter suppression bills throughout history, they either add procedures to vote, they add requirements to vote, or they -- or they create new avenues for votes to get kicked off. this one does all three. it is those three things. you can always find more, but that's something they all have in common. usually it is one of those things. this bill in the senate version do all three. >> i thank you for your clarity. i thank you for your optimism that there is frantic activity we just don't see. i ask you to come back and keep
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if you're 55 and up, t-mobile has plans built just for you. switch now and get 2 unlimited lines and 2 free smartphones. and now get netflix on us. it's all included with 2 lines for only $70 bucks! only at t-mobile. as congressional investigators surge ahead in the quest to uncover who was ultimately responsible for the insurrection on january 6th, prosecutors are still carrying
out their investigation into those responsible for carrying out at the capitol. on that topic let's bring in nbc's washington investigative reporter scott mcfarland and olivia troye, a former top aide to vice president mike pence, now director of the republican accountability project. scott, i have to apologize. i called you seth yesterday, seth mcfarland, who when i tweeted to you to thank you i have to make sure -- >> i get it a lot. >> i'm sure you do. scott mcfarland, take us through the latest. >> reporter: in the last 72 hours we've seen a quick succession of plea agreements from lower level dedefendants. what one federal prosecutor calls the long-rung defendants. if history is any guide there will be little or no prison time for those. for the higher tier, there's a long road ahead. right now they're litigating whether to be held in jail pretrial which brings us to richard bar net. he is accused of putting his feet on nancy pelosi office
suite desk and taking her mail and leaving her a vulgar note. he revealed what life is like in jail for the defendants. he served a few months pretrial. he says there's now a january 6th newsletter the defendants share and hand cell to cell. he says they are kept in a separate wing of the jail, and he did successfully challenge his pretrial detention. he says he we should not be surprised to trying to get free from jail. >> you can love me or hate me. you can love or hate what i did. you cannot like anything about me but you have to put that aside. this is not about me. this is about our federal prison system in america and what they're doing to people. not just me but everybody in there. >> and barnette pleaded not guilty. he's accused of leaving that vulgar note.
he got in trouble mouthing off to the correctional officer. he's back in court next month. >> olivia, you watch what's going on outside, jail, outside the courtroom and there is almost a moral elaborate and deeper permission structure for the crimes committed january 6th and even then. >> it was striking to me as i watched that interview and really what's happening here is just what a case of radicalization of this individual. he subscribes to dogma and trumpism and the big lie that that lives on and elected officials still in office right now. in his eyes he's done nothing wrong. he's sticking up for his rights and these individuals should they walk free? i don't doubt they'll continue to remain involved and inspiring others like them to continue in the clause.
i think that goes to show the lack of accountability thus far on the action to that day and what led to that day, that's the driving force behind all of these. these people are doing their court hearings and they'll be held accountable. there is a whole population out there who was part of this entire thing that needs to be accountable. >> this has come up from some of the judges seen these defendants, the repeating of the big lie and you had one of the most outrageous and description of january 6th of normal tourist day repeated by jamie raskin this week, does that still fit into the calculations being made by judges. >> this came up, a defendant who's trying to get his release condition loosen, a judge
recalls a few weeks ago, no, donald trump still perpetuating this lie and indicating he may come back in august, that's too dangerous. we are not going to lose restrictions while that's going on. hart ryder kicks back -- donald trump, what he says continues to complicate matters of these. >> donald trump left them to rot in jail. i mean he's still saying things that make it much more difficult for any of them to get out pending their trials and he's not interested in any of their plays. there were no pardons considered for people of his speeches to his rally crowds, he describes in glowing terms. >> that's exactly it. what we saw this week during the
committee hearing and those officers described of what they faced in that mob. these individuals were in that mob. they're part of that movement that was there. they led the charge that day. i think what's happening here, there is a narrative out there. it is encouraging this. it is not going away any time soon as long as people continue the way they did. it is so disparaging on these officers and this week and other networks spoke so poorly of them just for speaking the truth. this is a moment that's going to continue and we'll see this happening with defendants. >> scott, you mentioned in a newsletter, do they report to one another how they're being defended in these networks like fox? >> they're updating each others on a lot of things on relative's birthdays and injuries and how they think things are playing out in the court of public
opinion. they show tuesday's hearing in the local jail in purgatory, utah, one of the inmates, landon copeland, one of the january 6th lock-ups. copeland tells me, he watched and struck by what he saw. >> struck in what way? does he feel bad? >> he thought members of congress and his words asked relevant questions. he thought the officers were going too far. this is a defendant accused of assaulting police that day. particularly, a unique and bias opinion. >> unbelievable. >> scott mcfarlane. olivia troye, thank you for spending some time with us. we'll be back after a short break. don't go anywhere. back after a break. don't go anywhere. when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance.
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spoiler warning for all of you hoping to watch the olympics all around competition and not knowing what's going to happen. 18-year-old suni lee became the first asian-american woman ever to win gold for team usa, she grew up practicing on a family built, there was special focus on her family during competition. when she won, for your enjoyment, here is how they reacted the moment it happened. >> a little bit of bonus in the difficulties for her. >> now a big release sequence right now. here back off. that was flawless.
>> if you didn't see it last night, go watch the profile on her whole family, it is so beautiful. a little bit of joy in these ridiculous times we live in. thank you for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. "the beat" with ari melber starts now. >> thank you very much. i am ari melber. president biden delivers a major address of what came late today of what he calls the pandemic for the unvaccinated. >> every federal government employee will be asked to attest their vaccination status. a mask is not a political statement, it is about protecting yourself and others. >> biden using his federal power to tighten vaccine participation instead of standards as