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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  July 31, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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approved. then there's another 4,000 who will go to third countries. we don't know which countries. and their paperwork will get processed there. that leaves something like 16,000 afghans, plus their families, who are waiting. some of them outside kabul. they don't know how they're going to get there. the biden administration is taking a lot of heat for this and being criticized that they should have had a better plan in place much earlier. >> they have a plan for the 6,500, but the other 16,000, you are right on that. come back and let us know when we have updates on them. thank you so much. >> thank you. a very good day to all of you from msnbc world headquarters in new york. welcome to alex whit reports. we're starting with breaking news. a rally under way at the texas state capitol to push for improved voting rights.
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it is the culmination of a four-day march that comes 19 days after democratic members of the texas legislature broke quorum, traveling to washington, d.c. in an effort to block new restrictive voting legislation. former texas congressman beto o'rourke joined us earlier to discuss the importance of the rally. >> there's a lot of good energy and a lot of good power and that's what it's going to take to get the for the people act through. we've got to get the president and members of the senate the power they need to get this done. that's why we're rallying at the capitol. >> also breaking, millions of americans are facing eviction as a federal moratorium is hours away from expiring. missouri congresswoman corey bush slept outside on the capitol hill steps in protest after house democrats failed to push through a last-minute extension. msnbc caught up with her earlier
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on her efforts. >> the night was -- it was necessary to continue this awareness because we need the powers that be to understand that we're not just going to let this go quietly when the lives of actual people that we're supposed to represent, like actual whole people, like human beings actually are at risk by this policy decision. or the lack of one. >> and a pair of important new developments involving donald trump. "the new york times" was first to report that trump pressured justice department officials to declare the 2020 election corrupt, even though they had found no evidence of widespread fraud. according to notes taken by acting deputy director richard donahue, the ex-president directed him and jeffrey rosen to, quote, just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and to
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congressional allies. and the doj now says the treasury department must turn over six years' worth of trump's tax returns to the house ways and means committee. the congressman who serves on the committee telling msnbc how they could be used. >> the reason we sought the returns in the first place was because the ways and means committee needed this information to determine whether or not we need to legislatively require the president's returns to be audited on a regular basis. >> and breaking on capitol hill, the senate has convened for a rare saturday session as it hammers out the final details of that bipartisan infrastructure plan. let's go right to nbc's ali vitali. how optimistic are the lawmakers feeling right now? >> reporter: you can really feel the energy here on capitol hill. the desire to get things moving on this bipartisan
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infrastructure package. we actually just heard from senate majority leader chuck schumer just a little bit ago. his message on a pretty empty senate floor was effectively to the people who are writing this bill, hurry up. listen. >> i understand that writing the text of the bill this size is a difficult project. i've been part of many such efforts in the past. but i urge the bipartisan group to finish their work so we can begin the amendment process here on the floor. i have said for weeks that the senate is going to move forward on both tracks of infrastructure before the beginning of the august recess. the longer it takes to finish, the longer we'll be here. but we're going to get the job done. >> reporter: alex, this waiting game has been going on for weeks because as this bipartisan group has been negotiating the finer points of this bill, they've been writing as they go along. that being said, pretty empty here on this saturday on the
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hill while they wait for the text of this and really just consider over the course of the last few days what we've been hearing from lawmakers every time someone involved with this bill keeps saying something like the text is coming in an hour or coming tonight. that deadline keeps getting pushed as lawmakers continue to try to hammer this out and actually get the text of this bill, that there's been so much anticipation around. >> i guess there is a lot of money going into it, so i guess they're trying to dot every i and cross every t. thank you so much, ali vitali. joining me is jim headlines, a democratic member of the house of financial services and chairman of the house select committee on economic disparity and fairness in growth. welcome. it's very good to see you here on a saturday. let's get to the couple of bombshells that we started off with. the house oversight committee releasing notes from a trump phone call in which he pressed top justice department officials to declare the election he lost was, quote, corrupt and to,
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quote, leave the rest to him and republican allies. are you at all surprised the length to which donald trump went to overturn this election? can you believe just how blunt and obvious he was about it? >> well, yes, alex, i can, is the answer to your question. of course i can. ex-president trump continues to rail on about how this election was stolen and, very sadly, some meaningful percentage of your country continues to believe it. but it is shocking, nonetheless, because i was reflecting on something president lincoln said, which is that we will not be done in by our -- our democracy will not be ended by foreign enemies. it will be done in by ourselves. and this is the way that happens, alex. it happens because a meaningful minority, but a meaningful percentage of americans come to believe that our system of elections is corrupt, the political parties, and in this case the republican party decide that they don't need to acknowledge the results of an
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election that they lose. that is the way american democracy goes away and it is very hard -- i'm just back from a week in washington. it is very hard to try to do bipartisan business with a party, the republican party, that will not be loud and clear about what a threat to our democracy this is. >> i'll bet it is hard. it's hard to see something meaningful and bipartisan come out of congress these days. let me ask about the second big story, that being the doj now telling the treasury department it must turn trump's tax returns over to the house ways and means committee. do trump's taxes still matter to congress at this point? what would you most want to learn from these returns? >> well, i think they matter for three ways. two historical and one that is more current. number one, and we need to remember that presidential candidates have traditionally voluntarily provided their tax returns, donald trump did not do that. subsequently, of course, all sorts of questions came up about his business entanglements, his
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administration and he had every opportunity, promoted his business as president. you'll remember when he decided that he wanted to host the g20 meetings in florida. it went on and on. so it is important for us to understand what business conflicts may have existed at this time, foreign entanglements. from a forward-looking standpoint, this is going to be part of the story of how our tax code favors enormously wealthy people. when we get a look at donald trump's tax returns, what we're going to discover is that people who make a lot of money in real estate, people who have a lot of money can take advantages of all sorts of formal and nonformal mechanisms that basically pay no taxes. if you're a middle class person in this country watching your paycheck go out the door, that's a pretty appalling fact. it's something that we need to change as a congress. >> which brings me to the select committee that you compare on economic disparity. we learned that this week house minority leader kevin mccarthy
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pulled all six of his republican appointees off of your special committee at the same time that he yanked all five of his gop picks off of the january 6th select committee. why did he do that and how does it impact your committee? >> it was a real disappointment to me. i actually spent some time talking to the republican leader about this, assuring him that as chairman i was going to make this committee all about the facts, the analysis, the research, that i was going to do everything in my power to keep it from becoming just another platform for us to, you know, throw mud at each other. i had a lot of those good conversations and a lot of good conversations with republicans, but sadly, leader mccarthy made this choice. we obviously got caught in the cross fire of the january 6th committee. my hope is now that the dust has settled a little bit, he will come to realize that economic disparity is very much a red problem, a republican problem, as it is a democratic problem and give us our full complement of people so we can do our work. >> let's get to the 1/6 panel.
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it is optimistic it will hear testimony from former trump officials. who should be subpoenaed in your mind? what do you think is most important and what are the chances it happens? >> one of the key questions, of course, it's the old watergate question. who knew what and when? and so i think that the committee is going to need to hear from all of these pop who were around the president leading up to january 6th. how planned out was this? we don't know the answer to that question. what was the interaction between people inside the oval office, i'm thinking of the chief of staff, the many hangers-on with the leaders of this movement. i was at the rally the night before. i went incognito to the rally the night before and there were lots and lots of right wing luminaries there. how much communication had toured? what, by the way, was the president doing and thinking? what was the president doing and thinking as these insurgents were attacking our democracy? i think americans, just as they
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needed to hear what it felt like to be a capitol police officer and that incredibly emotional testimony this week, americans need to hear who and how intense the effort was to destroy their democracy. >> so to your point, the 1/6 committee heard that testimony from the officers who were defending the u.s. capitol during the attack, but republicans who opposed investigating the insurrection in the first place, they are instead trying to blame democrats for the violence. take a listen to what they're saying. >> what kind of intelligence did speaker pelosi get early off, weeks in advance, as leader mccarthy talked about, that gave tell-tale signals that could have prevented what happened on january 6th. >> it is a fact that in december of 2020, nancy pelosi was made aware of potential security threats to the capitol and she failed to act. >> i'm curious your response to
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that. to the point that you were making earlier and the fact that you went to that rally on the 5th of january and saw republican luminaries there, wouldn't it be fair to ask those two, representatives scalise and stefanik what advance signals they got. we know republican brooks wore body armor, so he must have heard something unless he wears body armor to work every day. >> it's hard for me to watch that without feeling a little nauseous and it comes back to what we've been talking about, which is where are you today? are you standing up for some absurd partisan effort to try to rehabilitate the republican party for what you're seeing on the screen right now or are you standing up for truth in our democracy? there's at least two problems with the absurdity that you just played from stefanik and scalise. number one, if you want to say that the leaders of the congress bear some responsibility, by the way, who runs the other chamber at the time? republican leader mitch mcconnell. so that's a little bit of a flaw in their logic, and oddly they
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didn't mention mitch mcconnell. but, look, the real issue here is their attempt to whitewash something that illustrates the complete hollowness of the republican commitment to our democratic republic. that's gone. if it's donald trump, whatever value, whatever basis we have for democracy doesn't matter. and number two, here's the party that has been accusing democrats of not being supportive. did you hear one of those republican leaders say i was so moved by what the police officers went through and i'm so sorry? you did not hear that because, again, republicans are only in support of the police, or at least the republican leadership are only supportive of the police if they can use that as a political way to beat up democrats. the police don't otherwise matter to people like elise stefanik and steve scalise. >> there's something that we in the country are dealing with, and that is whether or not we should wear masks, whether we should have mandates and the like with regard to covid.
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speaker pelosi called kevin mccarthy a moron after several republicans called her out about whether there would be a federal mandate or not. between this, republicans blaming pelosi for january 6th, what you touched on earlier, the tenor of things, how do you legislate when the environment is this toxic? >> it's really hard. it is really hard. you started out asking me what it felt like to not have republicans on the committee of economic disparity, a problem that affects republican districts. so it's really, really sad. but the good news is, the background, the senate is working on a bipartisan infrastructure plan. there's nothing more important to my district than getting the infrastructure investment done. it's really hard and challenging. and this isn't the usual partisan fight.
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this is a lot of members of congress, largely in my party, standing by our democracy, while we see the republican leadership try to dismantle it. and that makes it really, really hard to be bipartisan. >> at least there was good news for me today and that was having you on the broadcast to talk about all of this. connecticut congressman, jim headlines, thank you so much. we have new breaking news to share. tonight at midnight the federal moratorium on evictions is due to expire after house democrats failed to push through a last-minute extension, and that now leaves millions possibly facing eviction. let's go to l.a. >> guad, what are you hearing? >> reporter: with the house of representatives going on recess, we know they did not pass something to perfect people. we have to understand the cdc had extend today moratorium for the entire month of july and then the supreme court said that the federal government can no longer extend it, it has to be
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congress, the lawmakers that do it. they didn't do it. here's what's happening. more than $40 billion, allocated to go to people around the country to receive help to pay their rent. the problem is this money has been tied up with a lot of state governments and the people that need the money have not all received the money. that's why we stand here today. like you mentioned, millions could be evicted or the process to evict them could begin in the month of august, now with this moratorium ending. we're going to hear from my colleague, vaughn hillyard, who spoke to one of the attorneys. there's many attorneys around the country trying to help the renters. we're going to hear from an attorney that's helping renters in the atlanta area. >> what is it that you need? >> we need more time and we also needless limitations on what we have to do in order to get the assistance out the door. we've run out of time. >> reporter: now, once again,
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the assistance has gone to the state, but you have a lot of places where people filled in their applications and they're waiting to hear back and in new york the governor has assigned more employees to try to improve the process. meanwhile, you have states like california and new jersey where they've approved their own moratorium. so things can change for people at their local level, with their city, their county and state. the main thing is the money that was sent out to help renters has not been fully distributed and the moratorium will end at midnight and some people could be evicted or the process to evict them could begin, alex. >> it's heartbreaking. thank you for the update. if you think the latest spike in covid cases has sparked a nationwide debate, there's one state where it's turned into a battle between state leaders, especially over masks in schools. my next guest is in the middle of it and we'll explain. millions of vulnerable americans
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and new concerns over the delta variant. we are learning more about why the cdc changed mask guidance for vaccinated mrns this week. a new study shows 74% of people infected with covid during a massachusetts outbreak earlier this month were vaccinated. the cdc says this suggests it is possible vaccinated people can still spread the virus. the variant causing a surge in cases across this country, almost every state has seen an increase in infections this week. most are experiencing at least a 50% spike, hospitalizations and deaths also increasing nationwide. new today, some new covid vaccine requirements across the country. disney will require most of its workers to be vaccinated before returning to work and the michigan state university will require all students, staff and
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faculty to be vaccinated before returning for the fall semester. the cdc's new data on breakthrough cases has many americans wondering what exactly it means for them. let's go to kathy park in new york city with more on this. welcome to you, kathy. what is the message for vaccinated people? >> reporter: alex, good to see you again as well. cdc officials and health officials are stressing that breakthrough infections are expected, but they are extremely rare. data supports this information. according to 38 states that were reported, breakthrough infections make up about 0.8%. so it's extremely low, however those breakthrough infections do exist. but there is some vaccine hesitancy with this new information that is out, but health officials are saying that this is more reason for you to get the vaccine because we are now learning that the delta variant is more contagious, more lethal. so if you get the vaccine, this will prevent you from being hospitalized and possibly prevent even death. as you mentioned, there are a
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lot of restrictions that are starting to roll back across the country, and just yesterday president biden was asked about restrictions nationally. here's what he had to say. >> can americans expect more guidelines coming out, more restrictions because of covid? >> in all probability. by the way, we had a good day yesterday. almost 100 people got vaccinated. about half a million of those for the first time, for the second shot. i'm hopeful that people are beginning to realize how essential it is. >> reporter: alex, with the delta variant tightening its grip, really all across the country, there is a bigger push now more than ever to get more people vaccinated. yesterday the cdc director rochelle walensky was on fox news and she was asked about a national mandate when it comes to vaccines. she actually backtracked and
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tweeted out that she didn't mean to say that there would be a national mandate, a requirement when it comes to vaccines, but it is something that now we're seeing at the private sector and some sectors of the federal government. alex, we are seeing a lot of these restrictions starting to roll back, a lot of companies you just mentioned, like google, disney, they are just a growing list of companies that are asking employees to get vaccinated before they come back to work. here in new york city we expect to get some sort of new guidance when it comes to masking as well, and of course earlier this week the cdc issuing updated guidance for areas where there is substantial or high-rise in the spread of covid cases. >> kathy park in new york city, thank you very much. let's go from there to new concern in florida. coronavirus cases jumped 50% this week and it marks a six-week surge in new infections across the sunshine state. despite that, governor ron desantis has now barred schools from requiring students to wear
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masks when classes resume next month, saying there's no evidence they prevent outbreaks. joining me is nikki fried, the florida commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. she is also a democratic candidate for governor in florida. welcome back to the broadcast. good to see you. let me ask you about this reaction to the order from the governor in face of such a sharp increase in cases. 50% up and then this order comes out, what do you think? >> it's irresponsible and this is what we've seen from the governor from day one dealing with covid. he's had an opportunity right now to be a leader and to have daily reporting of where we are in the state, things that need to be done, including encouraging people to get vaccines, encouraging people to wear masks again. instead, he is going out to utah, to conferences talking about anti-vaxx nation and anti-masks. he has round tables with anti-maskers, spreading misinformation. so what we have done this week,
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i have filled that void, having daily briefings on where our numbers are, encouraging people to be wearing their masks, including making sure that people are getting vaccinated. we have the tools in our shed to make sure that we are protecting our state. this governor, instead, is selling merchandise, making fun of people who are getting the vaccine, making fun of dr. fauci and trying to make this a political discussion, instead of trying to take care of the health and wellness of the people in our state. just very irresponsible. >> do you think vaccines should be mandated in the schools? what has been the reaction from parents, schoolteachers, administrators and the like to this? >> look, every single county in the country is different. in the state of florida, some counties are being tremendous surges and some are less. and every single county where we have school boards, every school board member is voted on by the people of those communities. so it's going to be imperative that each of our school boards
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have given the power and authorizations to work with the parents, to work with people to make the best decisions for those specific communities. and the other problem is this, that right now the governor is sitting on $15 billion that should have been dispersed to our school boards in order to help with the pandemic. instead, they're saying, well, this doesn't have to be done now, it can be done over the next six years. it's our schools that need it now. our governor is not only mandating that there are no mask mandates. he's also threatening them to take away funding if they have a mandate but not giving them the resources to actually help with sanitizing the classrooms, making sure there's hand sanitizer, making sure there's ways to do social distancing. then what happens when there is an outbreak in a classroom, you're asking teachers to stay home for 14 days, asking them to take pay cuts. not only is the governor handcuffing our school districts by not giving them authorization to do what is best for their communities, but is not giving them the resources to protect the students. he's asking all of our students
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to go back to school completely vulnerable to the delta variant. our hospitals are filling up here in the state of florida, even with children, and he is doing nothing besides spreading misinformation and taking power actually away from the people in our state. >> and the fact is, we don't expect to have a vaccine for kids age 12 and under for at least a couple months. they were saying maybe potentially as late as mid-winter. let me ask you about what some of the mayors are doing. they've essentially defied the governor. in miami-dade county masks will be required indoors, and at disney world the employees and visitors all have to wear masks. what do you say to those mayors and any who might be on the fence about whether to reinstate mandates to keep their communities safe? >> thank you. it is our local governments, as well as our corporations that helped us get through this the first time. when the governor had a hands-off approach and, quite honestly, just panicked during the first wave last year, it was
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our local government and our corporations and our businesses that stepped up to the plate to help stop the spread of the virus. you're seeing them do that again here today. so i encourage all of our local government not only to step up, thin incentives, really encouraging people to get the to help slow down the spread of this virus and to make sure new variants don't pop up. we're seeing a new variant in south florida as we speak today. so i am encouraging all of our local governments, as well as our business partners across our state, to do what's best to show leadership at a time when our governor is, again, going to the border to talk about a border crisis and sending our troops over to texas, traveling around the state talking about his 2024 presidential run. it is the people here on the ground, our local government and our local businesses that are going to help our state get through this. >> florida commissioner and democratic gubernatorial candidate in florida, thank you so much. thousands marching with a message. whether or not they're being
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back now to breaking news from texas, where activists are wrapping up a rally to protect voting rights. hundreds took to the streets today to end a four-day 27-mile mark. gary, welcome to you again. what are you hearing from people who felt compelled to join this incredible march through the heat, the miles over four days? >> reporter: hey, there, alex. to paraphrase the movie, people are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. this is the crowd dispersing. after thousands gathered, they just heard willie nelson perform his first performance since the pandemic and that was the culmination of a four-day march and rally from georgetown, texas, to austin to the statehouse all in the name of voting rights legislation. back in washington, where the federal voting rights legislation has to happen, it's
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a very different mood. yesterday president biden and vice president harris met with congressional leadership to talk about the future and the path forward there. and really what they're saying is it's going to be more of a slimmed down version. it's going to be focusing on voter access. things like early voting and same-day voter registration. but folks here, they really just want anything, something done and they're calling on president biden to do that. here's one pastor i spoke to earlier. here's what she had to say. >> it seems like in the past few years the conversation both in the statehouse and in washington, d.c., and just around people's dinner tables, has sometimes gravitated toward limiting access to letting everyone have a voice. and for us to be working together, to be in conversation with one another, everyone needs to be able to have a voice, and the starting point of that is the vote. and we need to help allow people have their vote.
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>> reporter: now, alex, it's all about timing. special session here in texas ends a week from today. congress is starting their august recess now. so it's all about keeping the pressure on, according to activists here and they say they're continuing to bring the street heat, the emphasis on the heat there, on these legislators and on the lawmakers as they continue. >> gary, thank you so much from austin, texas. some new questions about the january 6th select committee and how meaningful it can be. ♪♪ power can't be tempered, ♪ ♪ silenced or caged. ♪ bad things. ♪ ♪ ♪ it can only be set free. ♪ ♪ ♪ i want to make you yell. ♪
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let's now go to some new details on two big decisions from the doj. a new opinion clears the way for congress to get five years of donald trump's tax returns. this is a reversal from the justice department's office of legal counsel, officials there now saying that in 2019 under the trump administration it wasn't astray and failed to give
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due respect and deference to congress. newly released handwritten notes show trump in a phone call last december pressing top officials to declare the 2020 election corrupt. when told the doj had no power to overturn the election, trump is quoted, noted, rather, as saying, quote, just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. according to the notes, trump said, the people saying that the election isn't corrupt are corrupt, adding, you guys may not be following the internet the way i do. he told the then acting attorney general and his deputy, people want me to replace doj leadership. well, trump is now responding to those notes and other documents saying democrats, quote, dishonesty described them as attempting to overturn the election. in fact, it's just the opposite. joining me, the former deputy attorney general under president bill clinton, former defense department general counsel and former member of the 9/11
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commission. so, first of all, do you agree with donald trump's assessment of what's going on, his accusations and it's actually helping to clarify what happened, that which he's accused -- not accused, but conversation? >> no, those notes reflect that he was trying to influence the department of justice to call the election corrupt. that effort on his part was corrupt. >> so this idea, jamie, of a sitting president even having conversations like this with top doj officials, is that routine? >> no, it's not only not routine, it's against every tradition of the department of justice in republican and democratic administrations alike. it's totally abhorrent. >> what do you make of the fact that the doj has provided these notes to congress and they've been released? does that meet with your
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expectations as a former deputy attorney general yourself? >> i think that the department of justice is now trying to right the ship in many ways in the relationship between the executive branch and congress. congress asked for all kinds of information, including the former president's tax returns, information like this that goes to the status of the department of justice, goes to the investigation that the congress is undertaking into what happened on january 6th, and the time surrounding it. so, you know, i think it's a completely appropriate set of decisions from the department of justice's point of view historically. >> with regard to the treasury department turning over trump's tax returns, can we, the media, the general public, expect to see those once they're given to congress? how do you expect that to play
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out? >> tax returns have always been treated with a great deal of sensitivity, and, you know, we've seen recently leaks out of the irs of people's tax returns, which is not appropriate at all. here the information about trump's tax returns are going to congress in a duly authorized and appropriate inquiry. what happens thereafter, i don't know. but i'm sure that they will treat these tax returns with a degree of sensitivity and caution. >> understandably so. but is there, in your mind, a right at all for americans who may be asked to cast a vote that involves the former president running again as president, would this help to have the information to determine, when someone is casting a vote, does
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this guy tell the truth, is he making money off the american people? he claims all sorts of personal wealth, whether it's true or not. the way he runs his business, the level to which he's been philanthropic, would there be a justification for getting this information out so that people can make a better informed decision? >> there's a good reason that every presidential candidate has released their tax returns, just for the reasons that you described. and once again, president trump, as a candidate, refused to do it, as a president he refused to release his tax returns. so you're right that people have a legitimate interest in knowing. there is no legal obligation, however, as of now, that a presidential candidate or a president release his or her tax returns, and that is something that congress should maybe consider. >> they may, as we said earlier.
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let me ask you about your experience as a member of testify 9/11 commission. you've said the january 6th commission investigating the capitol riot is better off without 50% republican representation, but without people in the room who are willing to raise uncomfortable questions, how meaningful can the investigation be? >> well, if the choice is between having a bipartisan circus and a not quite as bipartisan somber, sober inquiry that gets to the facts, i personally would choose the latter. now, there are two republicans on this house committee, i expect that they will ask hard questions. but as a member of this committee, someone like jim jordan, who is a witness and is someone who is perpetuating the big lie, i think would have turned it into a circus.
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as former 9/11 commissioner chair tom cane said, we would have all been better off if there had been a thorough, thoughtful, bipartisan look at what happened on january 6th and leading up to it. we don't have that option. >> are you confident that specific questions will be asked about who was responsible for which security decisions, regardless of which side of the aisle might be implicated? >> i am. i believe that the people who were leading this and the staff who are supporting them want to have the full truth and will ask all the hard questions, no matter where those answers lead. i do. >> last question to you with regard to the doj saying that former trump officials now can be called to testify. who do you think should be subpoenaed, and can that get strung out by court challenges? >> i think -- look, there are
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people who served in each of the relevant departments, the department of defense, the department of justice, many others, who have evidence to give this committee. and they should all be called. whether some of them try to string it out with litigation, that may happen, but i think there are going to know quite a few people who have their own reasons, their reasons having to do with their own reputations, for testifying. and that will put pressure on the other people around them, because, for example, if jeff rosen, who was the acting attorney general at the end of the trump administration, testifies, people who were surrounding him will not have their story told if they don't testify. and i think that will put pressure on them, as it should. >> former deputy attorney general jamie garland, it's
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a lot better. you know, whether it's a fraction or a decimal, it's still fun, you know? ♪ ♪ a new requirement by some businesses, either prove you have been vaccinated or show a negative test in order to coming side. this is a new policy. it is being taken up by several san francisco bars facing yet another blow after already struggling to bounce back. nbc's scott cohn is joining us from san francisco. scott, let's talk about the business owners and how they feel about this, if they have to turn away potential customers if they can't prove they've been vaxed or that they have a negative covid test. >> reporter: i think they're more concerned, alex, with protecting their existing customers and their staff, like at this irish public in san francisco's mission district. it is really become a very difficult issue for them.
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so this policy now by the san francisco bar owners alliance, that's 300 establishments. it is a voluntary policy so we're not sure how many have taken this up. but the idea is, yes, to get in you have to show proof of vaccination or a negative covid test that's less than 72 hours old. the president of the alliance says it is not just about safety. there are practical considerations. >> we started being really, really alarmed by the number of vaccinated people that were showing up positive with covid and it has real-world implications for us beyond the health issues for our customers and workers, but also there's a labor shortage in san francisco. if you test positive for covid, you can't come back to work for a minimum of ten days, usually more like two weeks. >> reporter: lyman is a bar owner himself and he says he experienced this firsthand where he had an employee that tested positive, contracted the disease at another job, couldn't come
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into work so he couldn't open. this on top of just some horrific statistics. these from the national restaurant association. the industry nationwide now has taken on $290 billion in debt. 90,000 restaurants nationwide either permanently or permanently closed. the hope is in they do the self-regulation and card their guest for something other than age coming in that maybe it will get some of this under control and they can try to get back to normal. alex. >> try is the operative word there. scott cohn, thank you so much from san francisco. so it is the last thing the former president wants to hear about who might testify before the january 6th select committee. committee. s a skeptic. wright brothers? more like, yeah right, brothers! get outta here!
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indication of who we might hear from next in the house's probe into the january 6th insurrection, and it is bad news for the former president. in a letter, the justice department says they will not block former trump administration officials from testifying in investigations related to the attack on capitol hill, and the former president's efforts to overturn the election. so joining me now nicholas wu, congressional reporter for "politico". welcome. talk about what doors this opens up for congress, not just for the select committee but other committees. could they also take advantage of this? >> this absolutely opens up a host of other avenues for committees to investigate things around the january 6th insurrection and beyond. so when i talked to lawmakers this past week democrats were increasingly confident they could use this department of justice ruling to find a way to get ex-trump administration officials to testify before the select committee, and this could mean that officials from the
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department of justice like jeffrey rosen or acting deputy attorney general donoghue, who were found recently to have been pressured by trump to try to call the election corrupt, to come and testify before, say, the select committee or the house oversight committee. so we'll see how this plays out over the coming weeks after the house comes back from its recess. >> i'm going to go through a bunch of names here. this according to david corn from "mother jones" who came out this week responding to the efforts with a list of top republicans who he believes should be brought in to testify. they include mark meadows. he was trump's white house chief of staff and can explain what was happening at the white house during the violent raid on congress. jared kushner and ivanka trump. we know ivanka was in the oval office with her father that afternoon. reports show that kevin mccarthy was reaching out to kushner for help in stopping the assault. lindsey graham was calling ivanka. kayleigh mcenany, then the white house press secretary, she was reportedly with trump during the attack and implored him to speak out against the violence.
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rudy giuliani, pat cipollone, trump's white house counsel while trump was attempting to overturn the election results. then donald trump himself. those are among the names there. what are the likelihood in your mind, nicholas, these people will be called to testify and show up? >> well, i think calling people to testify is one thing. but if we learned anything from the trump years that, you know, these -- these officials and, of course, the former president himself are going to litigate this every step of the way, whichever way they can. you know, select committee chair bennie thompson told us yesterday that, you know, we could expect to see quite a few subpoenas coming out very soon, but the select committee and all of these other investigative committees are still figuring out who exactly they will call to testify. for that matter, who might even be a cooperative witness. >> uh-huh. again, that was a list from "mother jones." let me ask you quickly a couple of names, legislators. kevin mccarthy, paul goesse earth, andy biggs, mo brooks,
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tommy tuberville. having lawmakers testify would be unprecedented. any sense this might happen, that any members of the gop are willing to testify before this committee? >> well, the committee could certainly try to subpoena some of these lawmakers, but, again, you know, we are getting into somewhat uncharted territory where a committee would actually regard a fellow lawmaker to be, as some of them have called, a material witness to what happened on january 6th. so, yes, certainly there's been some interest in calling people like kevin mccarthy, like jim jordan, both of whom spoke to the former president on january 6th. but whether or not they would actually come and testify is, of course, something else entirely. >> remains to be seen. nicholas wu, thank you so much for your insights. a very good day to all of you from msnbc world headquarters here in new york. welcome to ""alex witt reports"." here is what is happening at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m.

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