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tv   Katy Tur Reports  MSNBC  July 30, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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♪♪ it is good to be with you on this friday. i'm geoff bennett and as we come on the air, the war has changed. that is the word from the cdc in an internal document obtained by nbc news that details alarming dangers of how contagious the delta variant really is. look at this chart contained in document showing that delta is more transmissible than the flu and the common cold and the smallpox and just as contagious as the chicken pox. this is key. vaccinated people may be just as likely to transmit the virus as the unvaccinated.
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that is what prompted the sudden reversal from the cdc about the masks, and the agency is now considering requiring vaccines for doctors and other health workers since a startling number of them refuse to still get the shot. and there is an unsettling question as all of this comes to light. why did we first learn about it from the once secret document and not from the health officials themselves? however, and this cannot be said enough, the vaccines are still working. 97, 98, 99, and in some places 100% of covid patients being hospitalized or who are dying are the unvaccinated. look at the covid hot spots closely correlating with the places that have the lowest vaccination rates. it is not complicated, if you are unvaccinated, your danger is much greater. and top health officials are warning that if we don't crush this now, and get as many people vaccinated as we can right now, we could be several mutations away from total disaster.
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a virus strain so powerful that it is too strong for the only thing that we have to dig ourselves out of this pandemic which is the vaccinations. there is a ray of light to report this afternoon on the front, the biden administration says that we are seeing the highly daily vaccinations in a month, and close to 70% of the adults with at least one dose. all right. joining us as we kick off this hour, nbc news correspondent heidi prpresbylia. and we will start with you, because you have reported on this document, and tell us about this findings, and tell us why health experts say it is also frightening. and then we will go to yasmeen.
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>> and so, the document said that the cdc had changed that vaccinated people didn't need recognizes that it needs to revamp the public messaging in light of the delta variant and details how dangerous the agency scientists and outside scientists have concluded how dangerous delta is and how transmissible the chicken pox is and severe the infection is and that while the vaccinated people's infection is mild, it is still transmissible and that is what changed the mask recommendation this week. >> and so for the indoor masking for the vaccinated, and the guidance has been confusing and we talked about it yesterday on this program, and the cdc wanted to get ahead of the information leaking out, and that begs the question, why is that leaked and
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why didn't the cdc make this available based on the guidance, and what did you find in your reporting? >> as you know, geoff, this white house is maintaining a firewall between the public health officials and the political side and the white house, and the appointees at the agencies, and while that may have come into play here, because based on the reporting, some of the officials may not have known that this was coming as it was being debated among the health officials on the health side, and the straight health experts and therefore some of the messaging was kind of a last-minute thing that they had to figure out. they debated whether they should just put this information out there, geoff, with no recommendation, and just saying to the public, here is what is going on, and we want you to know or whether they needed to have the cdc and health officials to stand behind with a firm recommendation and of course, that is what happened. based on the reporting, there were individuals pushing for
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that in the states, and some of the local folks who for instance out in california wanted to put into place these mask orders before the cdc guidance came out, and they felt they needed to have the federal government to stand behind in order to explain this to their citizenry, geoff. >> heidi, tell us about the other finding, of the cdc finding that 3/4 of the massachusetts citizens recorded in an outbreak there where they were all vaccinated. >> that is a huge number, right? this is one of the studies that the public health officials were looking to in addition to other data coming out of columbia and india, and this is provincetown, which is a huge resort area in massachusetts where you had high levels of vaccination, and yet, 3/4, and another huge finding in that is that vaccinated individuals carried as much virus in their noses as unvaccinated individuals, and that is telling us that not only
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can vaccinated individuals with delta infect others, but they could have essentially the same viral load, and that is a troubling finding and what the cdc director told us last night was really pivotal when they made the call, okay. we can't just put this information out there, and it must go out with the recommendation as well. >> and yasmeen, the cdc in the document said that they faced communication challenges, and that is the phrase they used, and based on the reporting s the cdc poised or prepared to do that, and they have faced criticism for the poor communication since the pandemic under the trump administration and now under the biden administration? >> it is a huge challenge for them, and not least of all, because it is a complicated message to convey. the vaccines are highly effecttive and prevent illness and death, and what the internal
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document and the study today shows that health officials have been understating how frequent the breakthrough infections are. ed and they have been overstating what these vaccines can do, and they are highly effective, and just because the infections are happening, it does not mean they are not working, but they are doing what they are supposed to do which is to prevent against severe illness and death, and because it is so rare, and so rare, and they have to backtrack and say it is not as rare as we thought that it was, and this evidence has been mounting for some time, and i have heard from a lot of experts that are frustrated in singapore and other countries that the data on the transmissibility among the vaccinated people has been out there a little bit, and because of that, they are losing near the public trust and regain it, and it is great to see that the vaccinations are picking up in the last couple of days, but it is a delicate line that they are trying to walk here, and because, i think that they are so confusing with the messaging in the last year and a half, it is going to be an add challenge going forward.
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>> yeah, yasmeen abutaleb and heidi prizbyla, thank you, both. and now, joining us, we will see the press secretary behind that lectern and bring you any relevant portions of the q&a live when it happens, but dr. olsterholm, we are hearing that this delta variant is more contagious, and what is it that we should learn from this data? >> well, it is that data is something that we apply and we should learn new things. so this issue of how well the vaccines work also includes an element of time.
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we have known all along that maybe six months or eight months the vaccines may not be as effective, and that is why there is a discussion of boosters, and some what you are hearing today is that in fact we have learn more about these breakthrough infections occur. the data from israel shows that as time goes on, they are likely to increase. nothing to consider here as a fundamental change in what has been happening. the one exception would be just the fact that those who are now infected and are vaccinated may have levels of infection and be able to spread the virus similar to those who are not vaccinated, and otherwise, this is in the evolution of what we would have expected to happen. >> given this, and do you think that the booster shot is going to be for immune compromised or for the elderly? >> well, israel just put it into place, and they have some of the best data in the world in terms of starting the vaccine program so early and moving the vaccine
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forward and they have more people who are at six, eight or more months out from having the first shot. i think that is very much possible likely that we will see the booster shots, but the bottom line message wading through all of the confusion that is clear today is the fact that the vaccines are still very effective in reducing serious illness, hospitalization and deaths. not as effective as we said three months ago and maybe it is not 92 or 95%, but maybe in the mid-80s, but it is still really effective, and in effect if we had this data back when the vaccine was first released earlier last year, we would have said, wow, what a hit. but then we had this 95% effectiveness that came out, and so, i think that we have to keep this all in relative terms. we still have a very important and effective tool in our vaccines. >> so what does this all mean for schools? i think that a lot of the parents of the school-aged children, myself including, are
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wondering if it means that the schools are still on track for in-person instruction, and one hopes that the staff are vaccinated, but children are still not eligible. >> i wish this were simple to recite for a sound bite to make it worthwhile, but let me give you a couple of issues. i think that the school guidance today has to be revisited. much of the conclusions reached about how infectious this virus is in kids and how much they transmit to each other and from each other was all gained basically a year ago during the summer and early fall of 2020. when the alpha variant showed up in january and february, we saw a different variant, and now with delta, it is more pronounced and it is infectious in kids and like we have talked
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about that they get the serious illness less frequent, but it is not infrequent. the deaths have been increased twofold of what we would expect see in annual influenza season. in the sun belt, they are experiencing serious challenges and kids are part of the picture. so assume that we have to deal with the infection in kids. the next question is really, will there be a major outbreak and surge occurring in september. i have today been quoting "the new york times" saying that in fact, i think that this is going to follow a pattern with delta and other parts of the world where we have a surge that lasts for four to eight weeks, and that is by the time school starts, the case numbers may be coming down. >> dr. olsterholm, when we talk about the vaccines, there is one group that is hesitant and 1 in 4 health care workers are not vaccinated for covid-19, and
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with us is my correspondent gabe gutierez. >> yes, we spoke with some health care workers who felt that it had not been vetted, and somehow, they are not convinced, but geoff, they are not a fringe group. 1 in 4 health care workers across the country are not vaccinate and protests against the mandates in many parts of the country including new york city in front thf hospital right here in new york city where they rallied against the mandates, but we traveled to north carolina yesterday and sat down with that group. take a listen. >> a show of hands, how many of you have gotten the vaccine? >> reporter: these are four health care workers from different hospitals in north carolina. why not?
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>> we don't know what the long term side effects are. >> it has not proven to be effective. >> the cdc and the public health department says it is more than 90% effective. >> they say that, but i don't believe it is proven, and i am not jumping on the bandwagon for something that is tested. >> it has been tested. >> if you are looking at the normal year span of something that is tested it is usually 12 to 14 years tested before it comes to humans. >> reporter: 1 in 4 health care works is not vaccinated for covid. and from texas to new york, there is protests mounting. and so is the pushback. >> thisis now in the category of give me a freaking break, and when did everyone get a medical degree. >> reporter: and now the president is begging people to
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get the shot. >> and do people believe you? >> reporter: and it is not anti-vax, but anti-mandate. >> i am not comfortable to put anything into my body, and when and i want to get vaccine, it will be on my own accord. >> reporter: you don't trust the cdc? >> no, i do not. >> reporter: and that is fueling their skepticism. >> i will question anybody in my country. >> you are entitled to your opinion, but these are the facts? >> but are they though? are they facts? >> reporter: and that is essentially, geoff, summing up the argument, and the basic disagreement on what the facts are, even though public health experts and leading scientists have verified they are safe, and that is pointing out that more than 40,000 people participated in the pfizer clinical trial alone, but it is not enough to convince some health care workers in this country, geoff. >> it is unbelievable.
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gabe, thank you for bringing us that reporting. back with us is dr. olsterholm, and as a health care professional yourself, and people who have been on the front lines of the pandemic for almost two years now, and how are they still refusing covid vaccines? >> well, unfortunately, i think that in a piece like this, it gives the sense that there a large number of health care workers who think like this, but i would clearly put this group in a fringe element. a vast majority of the health care workers have not only been vaccinated, but begging people not in the health care arena to get vaccinated, so we have to be careful here. yes, there are some who still have concerns, and we have had pregnant nurses for example who said, is this really safe for my unborn child, and we have to answer those questions and we have. to address the point that it has not been well researched, this vaccine has now been given to over well over half of the country, and day to show the
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dramatic decreases in the hospitalizations and deaths and showing the relative safety of the vaccine versus getting covid, itself, so the news media is not doing us any favors by showing a piece like this, and they might walk away saying they have legitimate concerns and represent health care in general, and neither are true. looking at the organizations in the health care area that have actually now pushed forward the idea of mandates for health care workers, i think that tells the whole story. finally, let me just say, i understand choice, and i understand this issue that goes into your body, but you know what, if you are infected, you are putting the others at risk, and you don't get the choice then at that point, so if i am in a health care area, and i am already hospitalized for some serious illness, i don't want the health care worker spreading the infection to me. so you a moral obligation to take the vaccine to which is
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different from other professions in the country. >> and it is going a long way, but when you have a study showing 25% of health care workers refusing the vaccine, that is more than a fringe element, isn't it? quickly, your response? >> i think that the numbers are dropping precipitously as we are getting more information on the vaccine, and that is what is important right now, and health care workers are lining up, and we are seeing more and more, and are there those who won't get the vaccines, yes, there are, but as with any issue, there are those who won't go with the prevailing science. it is not just one group, and it is not the cdc, but it is the body of the scientific world that is saying how absolutely critical these vaccines are. would these people not get childhood immunizations or others, and that is the question that we have to ask and not let them represent the body of public health and the health care industry. >> point taken. i am told that msnbc's gabe
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gutierrrez wants to get in on the conversation. >> certainly, geoff. 24 is a group that is not like a majority of the health care workers and i have spoken to health care workers all throughout the country, and state after state after state and just in the last few weeks we have been to florida, tennessee, arkansas and other states just to name a few, and we have been reporting on this pandemic, and most of the health care workers that i have spoken with have practically begged americans to get that shot, and geoff, i would say to your guest, they, this group, i do not agree this is a fringe group. as you said, one in four health care workers in this country have not gotten vaccinated. there are these protests happening against the mandates across this country, and to ignore voices like this completely, i believe is to be missing part of the story, and yes, they should be pressed and i did so in my interview, but these workers do feel
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passionately, and as the next few months play out, they really are an example of how challenging it will be for the biden administration to inoculate more americans. geoff. >> gabe gutierrez, thank you for your insights and you as well, doctor. and now, how far donald trump went to overturn the 2020 election and including evidence of a phone call where he pressured the top doj officials to declare it corrupt. also ahead, overcrowded conditions in spreading the covid cases, and whistle-blower is talking about conditions that a migrant worker faced at a border facility. and family members of the surfside collapse about the legal battle of the site where 98 people lost their lives. the one thing that we knew right away is that we do not want to see a fancy building at
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we are following breaking news from the department of justice. they are telling the treasury department that they must turn over donald trump's tax returns to the house ways and means committee. and joining us is white house correspondent pete williams, and what is behind this ruling and how soon could that committee get the tax returns? >> well, what is behind this is a federal law, and one that the trump administration resisted. it says that they have to give individual tax returns for congress when they ask for them. it says shall furnish or shall provide. it is no discretion in it. the trump administration when they got a request from the house ways and means committee, and they said that you don't have authority to ask for it unless you have a legitimate
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law-making purpose and some reason to see it, and you want to poke through the returns and look for something embarrassing, and no, you can't have it. at the time the justice department said, that, yes, that is right, and there has to be a legitimate purpose, and today, the legal office said that the legal department went astray and didn't give due deference to a legitimate branch of government, and now they are required to keep it secret. and how fast will this happen, and we have not heard from treasury or the house ways and means on that one, and the other question is could the former president try to block this in court and he could try and whether he could succeed, and he could try, but when congress asks, they shall get, but it doesn't mean he won't try. and now to the bombshell
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reporting on the efforts of donald trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election. "the new york times" was first to report that trump pressed top justice department officials late last year to declare the 2020 election corrupt despite no evidence of actual voter fraud. now, according to handwritten notes provided to the congressional committee then president trump told the doj officials quote, just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and congressional allies, and those notes were taken by congressional aide and now joining us is leigh ann caldwell, and richard, and so at that time, it was reported that he was wanting it to be reported
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corrupt so they could declare the election corrupt, so it shows the lengths he was going to go to remain in power. >> we know that president trump had been pressuring the justice department, and mark madows had been pressuring them to look into the conspiracy theory, and the note shows leave the rest to me, to get the justice department to buy into the false narrative and the justice department had proven that there was no evidence of widespread fraud on the order to overturn the election, and the president of the united states who had lost by 7 million votes in the popular count was trying in effect to get the government to endorse a false theory to justify staying in power at the end of the term. and we focus on january 6th, justifiably, because it was a big moment, but the events
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leading up to january 6th is important, too, and this is the revelation that is many that we will find in the weeks and months to come before the rioters arrived at the capitol that day. >> and leigh ann to peter's great point, the justice department that provided donahue's handwritten notes to the oversight committee, and the house will not impeach him a third time, we don't think, but there is an avenue for the house select committee investigating january 6th as part of the work is looking to the lead-up to the insurrection, and do you think that the january 6th committee will go down this road? >> that is right, geoff. we don't know for sure. the select committee members have not responded to my request just yet on what they will do with this information, but it is possible, especially considering that the scope wants to be broad and look at what happened from the election up until january 6th, and they have not ruled out
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talking to white house aides and even the former president. there's something else that is really interesting in the handwritten notes, there is mention of three members of congress, including representative jim jordan who representative liz cheney who is on that select committee said could be a material witness for the select committee. and so while we have not gotten any official notification that this is going to be something that is part of the investigation, it seems like an obvious piece of evidence that will just play into whatever path they look to, and especially with the mentioning of the members of congress, it could be a valuable piece of information, geoff. >> and when leigh ann is bringing up the members of the congress, and just say that the election is corrupt, and leave the rest up to me, and the congressional allies, and the report is such that he did not name the lawmakers, but at other members of the call he mentioned jim jordan of ohio who is a
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fighter, and scott perry of pennsylvania who promoted the idea that the lie, the election was stolen and also senator ron johnson of wisconsin whom the president apparently praised as getting to the bottom of the things. what does all of this mean for these three lawmakers in particular do you think? >> well, i think that to leigh ann's point, it certainly is going to put the question to whether they will be called for more information by either the house oversight committee or the january 6th select committee or some committee in congress that wants to hear their version of events and whether that is going to have them comply or raise a legal fight or whether that is going to result in testimony is a good question to this point, but it is not just what the president did between november 3rd and january 6th, but what the allies did to help him to overturn this election, and remember that 150, and about the
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140-some, and leigh ann will know the better number than i do, to reject the electors for the states that had voted for biden because of the unsubstantiated vote of something wrong that happened, and that is all part of president trump's plan to find a way to hang on to the power and overturn the election so he did not have to turn over the office of the presidency to the person who beat him at the polls. >> peter baker, and leigh ann caldwell, we appreciate your reporting. we continue to follow the reporting out of the white house, and we are following the reporting where press secretary peter jean pierre could be reporting on the delta variant, and we will bring you that news as it happens, and coming up a nationwide ban on evictions is set to expire tomorrow unless congress acts. vaughan hillyard is in georgia with the families on the brink of homelessness.
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democratic congressional leaders will go to the white house this afternoon to talk voting rights with president biden and the meeting is coming as a group of senate democrats
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prepare to release a voting rights bill. a narrower piece of legislation will succeed where others fail, and news of those voting rights discussions will be energizing activists in texas on day three of the four-day march to the state capitol led by former congressman beto o'rourke and william barber. and priscilla thompson when we checked in with you yesterday, there were activists that expressed remorse that more was not being done in washington, and that lawmakers did not understand the urgency. what is the dynamic today? >> yeah. yeah, geoff. those folks just wrapped up and headed into the church to grab food and snow cones, but some folks are telling me that they are more energized and excited 27 miles in than they did when the march began and one of the
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folks is telling me that is jill here from dallas, texas, and she came here to do this. jill, tell me why you said that and how you are feeling right now. >> i do. i am excited, and i am grateful that i made it all of the way. i can't believe it. and i have to be honest, i am relieved that there were moments that the camaraderie of everybody in the march is literally what got us up the hills and down the road. >> reporter: yeah, and now lawmakers in washington, d.c. are talking about a revised voting bill that they hope to make progress on before congress recesses. do you think that it will happen, and have the provisions that you all are asking for and marching for? >> we are hoping for that, and yes, i absolutely believe it is going to happen, and we march and we did our part, and now it up to them to get it done. we came together, and wanted action, and they are going to give us action or we are going to keep marching until we get it. >> thank you, jill. so there you have it, they are going to keep marching and
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reverend barber says they will march on state capitols until they get action on the state level, geoff. >> and priscilla, you are going to be with them filing that great reporting, and appreciate your time this afternoon. until something is done today, the evictions is moratorium is going to expire tomorrow right now, a extension of the ban is being considered right now under house speaker nancy pelosi, but right now, the fate is facing steep odds in the senate. right now, without an extension, millions of households are in danger. the problem is that the millions of dollars is sitting unclaimed to help. there is confusion over who qualifies and access to the technology needing to signup is keeping the help to getting to those who need it the most. right now from georgia is national political reporter vaughan hillyard, and you are speaking to people who are at risk of being evicted and face
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potential homelessness, and what are they telling you? >> exactly, geoff. that is exactly why that moratorium needs to be extended here, because you are dealing with the federal pipeline of dollars that is part of the relief packages intended to help the very renters that we talked with here looking for the funding to keep from frankly evicted and removed from the homes here, but across more than half of the states in the u.s., less than 10% of those federal funds have made it to the renters and the landlords. here in georgia just 5.5% of the $522 million pot here allocated to georgia has actually made it to the renters, and that moratorium ends tomorrow. those eviction notices are already on the front doors of folks. i want everybody to hear the voice of sierra green. you will see her here with her three kids. the three kids each of them going to school monday. this last week, she got the notice, and she appeared at the hearing and we talked with her afterwards and she could be evicted at any moment.
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take a listen. >> reporter: you said that you turned in the documentation? >> yes, i turned in the documents. >> reporter: what have you heard? >> at this moment, i have not heard anything. >> reporter: so you could be evicted at any moment? >> yes. >> reporter: where would you go? >> i don't know, to be honest. i mean, the only option is a hotel. >> reporter: and that is why we cannot underscore, geoff, and i know that you understand that the nature of the crisis that we face on the streets in the weeks ahead, and it is not sierra green and her three kids, and we are talking about upwards to 3.6 million individuals who told the census this month that ti are likely to be evicted because they are not able to meet the rent pay, and those federal funds are intended to help people like sierra, but not over to the renter's hands, and into the landlord's hands. it is a crisis. >> yes, millions of stoies like
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ms. green's. and i want to bring in deborah hafner, who is an advocate for nonprofits, and community advocates has administered over $25 million in aid to households in milwaukee and waukesha county since last june, so you are urging members to continue to apply for the assistance even after the ban has been set to expire, and so what happens saturday after midnight? >> yeah, well, thanks for having me, geoff. so, you know, we have been seeing unprecedented amounts of needs, but also unprecedented amount of resources. so we have been working as a rent assistance administrator in waukesha county to get out the word that resources like this, and that, you know, there is more to come, and so we know that there has been sometimes waits and sometimes uncertainty, but the federal government has invested a lot of dollars, and these dollars can help keep
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people in their homes. >> right. you are right about that, and the resources do exist. do you know why people are not able to claim it? is it because of a lack of awareness or lack of proper infrastructure in washington to make sure that the money is finding the way to the people most in need? >> yeah, well, i mean the milwaukee outreach is huge, and we have recently launched the outreach collaboration center which is partners and legal mediation, and partner association between wisconsin and government and to spread the word to landlords that there are other alternatives, but it takes a lot more than one organization. you know, all of the entities needs to be working together, and that is the exactly the premise of the housing resource center. >> so the people across the country watching this who are standing on the brink, what should they do if they face eviction, and what can they do to find help? >> well, again, the resources exist in milwaukee and across
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milwaukee, and these people are working as quickly as possible. so if you have applied or will apply, let the landlord know, and know that the resources exist more than anything. >> deb heffner, thank you for your time, and the work you are doing. and now the complex legal battle brewing over the site of that collapsed condo and what should be done with the site where 98 people were killed? see disney's jungle cruise. it's time to rock the boat, america. see disney's jungle cruise. before discovering nexium 24hr
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correspondent ellison barber, and what are the families telling you what they want to be done with the collapsed site? >> well, there are different opinions here, and this is a very complex legal battle, and one that could ultimately pit those with the condo collapse against the families who lost loved ones. the judge here ruled that this property can be sold, and he formed a steering committee to try to come up quickly with a track in terms of how to deal with all of the different property litigation that is coming from this. this property is a beach front property valued over $100 million and this property will sell, and it is to likely sell soon, because you have people who according to the judge and others, they need the funds, and they need them quickly to try to rebuild their lives, and this building when it was still standing, it was woefully
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underinsured. the question is what happens in terms of who buys it, and what do they do with the site? is it a developer who comes in, and buys it and builds another brand-new condo building or does someone else step in, a government official maybe or a private philanthropist or something along that lines, and buy the property and turn it into a permanent public memorial? we spoke to three different families and all of them who lost someone in the condo collapse, and what they want to see is a permanent public memorial, and nothing else. i want you to listen to a mother who lost her daughter who lived on the eighth floor with her husband luis, and they had only been married for six months. take a listen. >> and you relaxed when you received the text "i'm home," you know. i know that she died at home being safe at that moment.
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i will never forget that. i lost my best friend. she was my best friend in life. the life of my life. i don't want to go through 88th street and look at a building of people that they don't care what our pain was and is and is going to be forever. >> the grief is different for everyone, but everyone that we have spoken to tells us that their pain is forever. they know that this property that it has to be sold, and that this people who live here need money, and what they are hoping is that someone, the federal government, state government or local will step in and buy the property so that people can be financially compensated and then turn it into a public permanent memorial, and geoff, the families would like the white house the weigh in on this specifically president biden, because they met with him, and they spent a lot of time talking
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with him, and they say that he is one of the very few people who can actually understand their grief. geoff. >> wow. those stories, ellison, they are so unspeakably tragic and i am glad that you have stayed on the story for us. we appreciate it. straight ahead, a whistle blower is detailing the devastating experience of the migrants at the border. >> the one consistent complaint is that the children felt like they were in prison. rison. hey, me towel su towel. more gain scent plus oxi boost and febreze in every gain fling.
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later today, president biden will host cuban-american leaders at the white house. the talks center on the administration's response to on going protests including sanctions on cuban leaders. cuban-american political figures, community leaders and artists are among those who will be in attendance. now to news of a whistle-blower complaint about the alleged mistreatment of migrant children at a texas border facility earlier this year. two federal employees have come forward saying the shelter in ft. bliss, texas, was so crowded, it led to a covid-19 outbreak. they down played the number of infection ands shulter officials refuse to disclose data on
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transmission within that facility. with us now in washington is nbc news justice and national security correspondent julia ainsley. what did they tell you? >> i sat down. i spoke with two and sat down with one in western yesterday. arthur pearlstein. he was a federal employee to be a volunteer at the border when the surge began earlier this spring. went because he had a heart for migrants and children. instead, what he found there was that there was chaos. completely overcrowded. he saw children 500 to a tent. he said the beds were so close together you couldn't even walk between them. it was his job though did he not have a background in child psychology to interview hundreds of children and decide whether or not they needed a psychological assessment. here's what they told me that they said. >> the main kind of complaints that i was hearing from the kids were, i mean in general the
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feeling like they were in prison. there were so many of them that complained they had no underwear or one pair with nothing to change into. and often lack changes of clothes which discourage them from taking showers. >> and what happened? what did you do with that information? >> i began to ask some of the management officials well, why can't a federal employee that has a purchase card just go to walmart or some costco or some discount store? there was plenty of underwear there in el paso. i said, no, this is the contractor needs to wait for it. >> you know, julia, i think the warehousing of the migrant children, it was an outrage under the trump administration. and it still an outrage under the biden administration. have things gotten better apart
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from what the whistle-blower is saying? >> the government has an inability to prepare for a surge of migrant children swrechlt done reporting that says the trump administration refused to stop building the capacity when they saw this coming at the end of their administration. hinting the biden administration was early on. they are emergency intake facilities. they're not licensed by the state. there are no inspectors going in making sure health care is taken care of. and they depend very heavily on federal contractors. there were three companies with no prior experience handling children who shared $1 billion in contracts between the three of them. speaking to people like arthur, you realize how hard it was to get anything done there. he just tried to get them a pair of underwear let alone add on the pandemic and everything that comes with that. >> it's like the rules that are designed to keep these kids safe in many ways.
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we don't want to just release churn coming on to the streets. but does it make it harder. >> you can catch more of julia's exclusive interview tonight on nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. that does it for us today. ayman mohyeldin picks up our coverage coming up next. ayman mohyeldin picks up our coverage coming up next. m cash℠ card, a different kind of card that rewards dan where his spending is trending. just ask stepping outside his comfort zone dan... dan: okay, i don't know where the hole for this is. or fourth time streaming that period drama dan... dan: you just made me miss her best line, dan: so now i'm going to have to start it again. even insisted he didn't need directions dan. dan: okay, i'm not lost. i'm exploring. dan: that said, do you know where i am? from select gas, streaming, travel and more earn 5% cash back that automatically adjusts to your top eligible spend category, up to $500 spent each billing cycle.
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