tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC September 30, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> happy to have you here. it is an under statement to say there is a lot going on tonight in washington. a lot of moving parts just this hour on capitol hill. a lot of stuff we are going to see develop. we think over the course of this hour while we are on the air. at the very end of last night's show you might remember we showed you footage we got in just at the last second before we got off the air from last night's congressional baseball game. this happens every year. it's been going on over a century and is supposed to encourage camaraderie among lawmakers. how is that going? if these games are supposed to be some kind of respite from the pressures of capitol hill, last night there was an interruption in that respite at least for some. during the game a group of fairly cheerful but determined protesters dropped these banners
that very much reminded the baseball players of their tay jobs. the signs read reconciliation first. hold the line. meaning pass the reconciliation bill. pass the president's budget first. hold the line. don't give in. also, there was this one we showed you our lives are not a game. pass 3.5 trillion. that is for the $3.5 trillion build back better plan. the reconciliation bill. president biden's budget bill. there is also one other banner that was perhaps a little less cheery. at the very top of the screen there it said, democrats don't f this up. all of those messages aimed at democrats last night ahead of the pivotal vote or votes there scheduled to take today. the really pivotal one we are waiting for them to take this hour. house speaker nancy pelosi has said she is holding a vote today on the small, bipartisan roads and bridges bill that has already passed the senate.
this is a little slice of president biden's agenda that was hived off of the main vote because they wanted pass something. this was the only piece republicans would support. progressives in the house say they're only going to vote for that little bill if the centrists vote for the big bill, too. they said, listen. we don't necessarily like the little bill. m fact we think if it passes alone it might make climate change worse. it is not our kind of thing. this is not what democrats were sent to congress to do but we'll do it. we'll vote for it as long as the centrists vote for the big budget bill, too. especially because the centrists by and large have said they support the component parts of the big budget bill as well. and that idea will pass them
together. we'll pass the two bills in tandem. a two track process. they are both going to go or neither. that was actually an agreement the two side appeared to have reached this summer. it was explicit. the leadership, even the president talked about it explicitly that this was the grounds on which they were going to move forward. but now it is the fall and the centrists, the conservatives apparently no longer want to do that. and so now we are facing the very real prospect that neither of these bills is going to pass. the progressives have said from the very beginning we're not going to pass one without the other. we are very happy to do both but just not going to pass your priority if you're not going to support us on ours. the centrists for their part, they say, what do they say? because these two conservative democratic senators joe manchin of west virginia and krysten sinema of arizona they now basically alone have been
dragging out negotiations on the larger budget bill for weeks and weeks with no apparent progress and no real bottom line or finish line that either seem willing to articulate in public. that is why just tonight the spirit of last night's congressional baseball game took to the potomac. several of senator joe manchin's constituents from west virginia boated up to him today. they paddled. they kayaked up to the house boat where senator manchin lives when he is in washington. do you see him on the back of the boat there? the constituents are in the kayaks and in the little boat. they have boated, is that the word? they have boated themselves up to him to the back of his house boat to plead with him to get onboard with the budget. get onboard with president biden's agenda. you can see here the kayakers all at manchin's house boat, senator manchin at one point in the video asks where they're from and they shout out the
places in west virginia they are from. what they did this evening was basically just ask him why he is not supporting the president's agenda. why he is not supporting the president's build back better plan. and what is he going to do for the incredible lovers of poverty in west virginia? what about expanding medicare? wouldn't that be good for everyone? what about lowering drug prices he says he is in favor of? what about taxing the rich which even the conservatives want? and tonight with these kayak-tivists he told them he was on board with all those things though he has been saying today he will only accept a bill less than half the size of what the president wants. somehow he tells these constituents of his that he is still onboard with all of the things they want. at one point he tells them we are on the same page. one shouts back to him no we are not. even showing up at his floating
house a cheerful but persistent group. we'll follow you home. this really matters to folks in your home state. again, that was just tonight just earlier this evening and, you know, i think credit to senator manchin for engaging with them being willing to talk to them about it even if they didn't agree they were on the same page since he isn't going to vote for all the things he says he is for. people are getting creative. that is a west virginian nautical interception of their senator to try to press him on this point. you know, this is the kind of remarkable thing about where we are today. you see that sort of creativity because the stakes are so high and people are so ex-as per ated. today the united states government came within a few hours of having to shut down. this of the last possible day for congress to pass a bill to keep the government open, keep the lights on, keep government
workers on their jobs. because of republican resistance to doing that because republicans have been refusing to vote to keep the government running congress really was pushed right up to the edge of the cliff today. it was only at the very last minute they did pass a bill to avoid a government shutdown and president biden has signed it tonight. congress barely kept themselves from tumbling over that cliff. the remarkable thing is in normal times that would be the biggest and most dramatic vote on capitol hill certainly all week definitely all month maybe even more than that. cliff hanger showdown vote keeps u.s. federal government alive with only hours to spare. that's big news in any congress. big news any political year. but this time, the vote to avert a federal government shutdown was not even the most dramatic thing that happened on capitol hill today. it didn't even count as quality drama in congress today. it was like oh, we're not shutting down the government at midnight? okay. we have to move on. we made it through that sticky
wicket? there is a whole set left to get through. that was something they dispensed with today without much fanfare so they could turn to the real main events, the wickets that are still sticking. the one we're waiting for tonight is of course the vote on this infrastructure bill. the roads and bridges bill, the bipartisan smaller piece of the president's agenda. nancy pelosi the democratic speaker of the house does not bring bills to the floor that are not going to pass. at least she does not bring bills to the floor she intends to pass if they are not going to pass. she is not known for there being surprises in her tenure running the house. that is her trademark and she prides herself on it. she has insisted she is going to bring the small roads and bridges bill to the floor tonight and meanwhile progressives in the house have been just as insist tent they're going to vote it down unless and until joe manchin and krysten
sinema and thereby a majority of the u.s. senate agree to vote the rest of president biden's agenda through. they say listen, we're not going to do this unless we do them both. you know, among those who rise to joe manchin's defense it is often pointed out that senator manchin represents a very red state one that voted for donald trump over joe biden by nearly 40 points. joe manchin is in a unique political position. his defenders say. a lot of issues that may well be true. but you know what? it doesn't apply here. because i mean this is something you can check. president biden's build back better bill the big $3.5 trillion thing they're calling this reconciliation package, the budget, it is extremely popular in joe manchin's home state. senator manchin's home state paper just reported on yet another poll bearing that out. 48% of registered voters in west virginia say they support president biden's plan according
to this latest poll. that is only before you really explain it to them. quote, after poll voters were given the option of raising taxes on the richest americans and corporations while closing the loop holes that have caused significant wealth disparities which is in fact how the biden budget is paid for, when people are informed that is how the whole thing is going to be financed, support rises from 48% to as high as 70%. oh, the more people in west virginia learn about how this is and how it will work and how democrats have structured it and how president biden wants it the more they love it. yes, trump may have won the state by 40 points but they like biden's budget to the tune of 70%. the director of one west virginia activist fwrup telling the paper today manchin should rest assured west virginia voters will have his back if he votes for president biden's budget. like his constituents. west virginia voters who kayaked up to his house boat today to plead with him to support the bill and he did again to his
credit have a long back and forth with them tonight. so that is one reason the vast majority of democrats in washington are intent on passing the president's agenda and getting it done intact and quickly. it is just super popular with voters. it is popular in west virginia. it is popular nationwide. it is popular among democrats. it is popular among self-described republicans and conservatives. another reason most democrats want to get this done is they don't want this thing to drag on for months. they certainly don't want to pass the small roads and bridges bill and then watch the larger biden legislation all of his other economic agenda items for his first term as president, they don't want to watch those languish in endless negotiations. with big legislation like this delay means death. we had congresswoman ocasio cortez here tonight and she talked about how hard lobbyists and special interests in washington have been working to get this small roads and bridges
bill passed while trying to put off the larger bill in order to give them more time to kill it. the longer it gets put off the more time those lobbyists and special interests have to tear it apart, pry votes away from it. time is not on the side of the democrats. it never is. the vast, vast majority of democrats in congress agree and want to get the whole biden agenda passed. the question tonight right now is when and how. joining us now is nbc news' political reporter. thank you for joining us to help us sort out what is happening. >> absolutely, rachel. great to join you. >> so the latest that i know, and i will put this to you. it may have been surpassed by events since i've been talking, tonight senator bernie sanders came out of a meeting in chuck schumer's office, told reporters he is urging the house to vote no on the roads and bridges bill tonight. vote no on the infrastructure bill tonight if there is a vote.
he said he was unhappy about these late night closed door talks. that seems significant given what a driving force the progressives have been in the house and what a progressive icon senator sanders is not only in the country but to progressive democrats on capitol hill. is that significant? what do we think is going to happen tonight? >> it is significant, rachel. senator sanders says this is an absurd way to do business, a direct quote from him. that they are trying to negotiate a multi trillion dollars bill in one night to have a vote on the infrastructure bill. he does in the believe that bill should go forward to a vote today and if it comes to a vote he is urging his colleagues to vote no. that is significant because a lot of house progressives look up to him and respect him and that is significant. not what happens tonight is highly unclear. officially the house of representatives is saying no votes until 10:00 p.m. but there is still expectation they will pass the infrastructure bill tonight which means two hours to pass the bill. it is not scheduled yet. i'll leave it to your viewers to
do the math on what is likely to happen there. as you correctly point out speaker pelosi does not put bills on the floor that don't have the votes. she has made a promise to her centrist members that she'll do what she can to get the votes here and that is what the long, drawn out drama today is about. she is trying to do that. based on everything i am hearing there is not a deal to be had at this moment to get the bill done tonight and progressives will vote it down if it does come up. >> let me ask you one thing that seems rational to me but doesn't seem to be a live prospect on capitol hill. just tell me why i'm reading this wrong. it seems to me like the progressives are correct in their assessment if the small roads and bridges bill passes, the bipartisan infrastructure bill passes, the chances that biden's larger agenda, the big $3.5 trillion bill will ever pass diminish significantly. their best chance of getting it done is for the more conservative bill and the larger, more progressive bill, to move together. if i was a house republican
leader i would look at that and say you know what? let's enough house republicans vote for this. lots of republicans like that legislation. let's let enough republicans vote for this that it passes. because we don't mind this bill. it's fairly conservative. it lines up with a lot of conservative priorities. and we can thereby remove all the leverage the progressives have. the larger bill will never pass. the whole debate will be a waste of time for the democrats and we have something to brag about next year for our re-election campaigns in our home states. why is that not a leave possibility? it seems rational to me. >> i actually had a similar thought, rachel, a few hours ago. why aren't republican leaders providing some votes to pass this infrastructure bill? because that would undercut the goal of house progressives if they do pass this tonight. the progressive position, their fear as you point out, is that if the infrastructure bill passes then centrist democrats in the house and the senate will bolt. they will say, we didn't commit to doing this other thing or we
would like to shrink it. cut it in half. centrist democrats insisted that is not what they are planning to do. congressman gottheimer ho has been pushing for the vote says he is absolutely committed to the reconciliation bill and progressives are less worried about centrists in the house but more wore id about centrist democratic senators. manchin came out with his plan for the first time today his price tag publicly at least $1.5 trillion which is a far cry from the $3.5 trillion the vast majority of democrats want. senator sinema has not said what her number is. she has not given a number and the opaqueness is only reaffirming the desire among progressives to hold up the infrastructure bill. among republicans, there is a group called the problem solvers caucus in the house of representatives that months ago endorsed this framework. the republican cochair of that brian fitzpatrick told me a few hours ago he is a yes on this bill but he does not know where the other 27 republicans in the group stand. it is a strange situation where
republicans could undercut progressives. instead they are actually strengthening the hand of the progressive caucus by opposing the bill. >> exactly. if they could see beyond the partisan lens or just to the longer-term partisan advantage here rather than any short-term instincts they could actually deal a real blow to the progressive cause here. i feel like they're not wired to do that kind of checkers. we shall see. nbc news' national political reporter, i have a feeling we'll be back with you again over the course of the night. thanks for your time. >> thank you, rachel. we are watching live developments on capitol hill right now as it looks like democrats may be not heading toward taking a vote tonight on this slice of president biden's agenda. progressives insist it must move only in tandem with the big, president biden budget bill that contains the rest of his economic agenda for his
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in the words of the great britney spears, oops. it happened again. today we learned that the secretary of state's office in idaho has gone out on a donald trump stolen election wild goose chase at the behest of mr. pillow mike lindell the wealthy ceo of the my pillow company who has made a whole new career for himself recently as a full-time promoter of the conspiracy theory that the last presidential election shouldn't count and donald trump should be allowed back into the white house can't we all agree? now, in the presidential election idaho was not exactly a close call. trump beat biden in idaho by more than 30 points.
but still apparently mr. pillow is bothered by that margin. he got in touch recently with the idaho state government to tell them 30% is not enough. that he is sure that trump won by tons more than that in idaho but for some reason somebody bother to shave down trump's margin of victory in every county in idaho so he would only win by 30 plus points. every count was hacked. mr. pillow guy says he can prove it and demand an explanation from the state. at one level that is par for the course right? this is this guy's new job. this is the kind of thing he asks for. okay. that is adorable. idaho decided if the pillow guy was going to make this allegation the actual state government, the secretary of state's office should expend resources, taxpayer dollars, from the good people of idaho in order to officially investigate what the pillow guy says. and so they did. even though it sounds like they
kind of knew from the beginning that this was going to be folly. the idaho secretary of state's office saying in a statement, quote, once we have the document in hand, from mr. lindell, we immediately believed there was something amis. this document alleged electronic manipulation in all 44 county in idaho but at least seven counties in idaho have no electronic steps in their vote counting processes. quote, that was a huge red flag. yeah, you think? your computers were hacked and i the pillow man can prove it. okay, sir. but you know we have no computers, right? is that weird? it going to be an issue? is it possible you hacked my hand as i was counting on it? nevertheless the idaho secretary of state's office decided they would recanvas two of idaho's counties where the pillow person said that donald trump had so many of his votes switched to biden votes.
they did a hand recanvas of the physical votes in order to test the pillow guy's theory that the magic computer machines had stolen the election even though they weren't used in these counties. they did the recanvas in these two idaho counties. it was completed. between the two counties the number of votes cast for joe biden changed by zero. the official certified count was in fact the same number for how many biden votes there were in the two idaho counties. now the number of votes cast for donald trump however in those two counties looks like it might have been a little high. after the recanvasing of the two counties at the insistence of the pillow guy who is trying to prove how trump was robbed after the recanvasing of those two idaho counties donald trump's vote total in the two counties declined by eight. so donald trump's margin of victory takes a little hit in idaho. drops by eight votes.
biden did a little better than expected. we now know thanks to the trump election conspiracy promoters getting these random rural idaho counties to keep redoing their vote counts in the hopes if you dig deep enough there, there will finally be a pony or hugo chavez or piles of bamboo or whatever it is. we reported earlier this week on a deposition conducted under oath and transcribed. a deposition of trump lawyer rudy guiliani in which mr. guiliani admits under oath that when he started spreading these conspiracy theories about voting machines somehow being used to steal the election for joe biden he actually had no idea whether the things he was saying were true or not. he didn't like look up anything to try to check these allegations. he did concede he might have read some facebook posts that led him to make these claims. he couldn't quite remember. he also conceded he didn't talk to any of these supposed witnesses he cited as sources for the claims.
he didn't investigate or literally even look up or read anything about what he was alleging. he just burped it out there to see what mute happen. this is from the deposition. question from the lawyer, as i'm hearing your testimony in terms of eyes on information about your claims about dominion voting systems we've got some media reports that you generally described and then you looked at some facebook postings you described? answer from mr. guiliani, i don't remember if it was facebook. that was social media posts get all one to me. facebook, instagram, twitter. question, social media postings. answer, guiliani, i think it was facebook. question, anything else that you laid eyes on? answer, right now i can't recall anything else that i laid eyes on. i maybe looked at facebook when i was coming up with that stuff. i don't remember. which is facebook? is that the one with the little bird? okay. sir, what about the bombshell source that you said you had who
had all the proof that the election was stolen? tell us about your investigation of this witness's claims. question, i take it from your testimony that you or your team didn't interview this man? answer, i didn't interview him. question, okay. answer, i can't tell you if someone on the team didn't interview him. i think somebody interviewed him. question, you said the story was credible. do you have any knowledge about the source that led you to believe he was credible? answer, guiliani, no. i didn't have any information that he wasn't. it's not my job in a fast moving case to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that's fwifrn to me. otherwise you're never going to write a story. why the heck wouldn't i have believed him? i would have been a terrible lawyer to, gee, let's go find out if it is untrue. i didn't have the time to do that. again, that is the explanation from president trump's lawyer of where the voting machine stole the election from trump conspiracy came from which they of course have been promulgating
for months. i assume somebody talked to this guy. no idea if he was credible. not like we looked into what he was saying. why would we do that? i don't know. maybe i saw something on facebook but i'm not really sure of that. i don't even know what facebook is. we didn't look into it. we just said it. no we had no idea if it was true or not. who cares? that is not my job. i think those under oath admissions from the former president's lawyer should be getting more attention than they are. just going to go on the record and say that. that is how it goes. we reported on that deposition two days agoment but that lie, which rudy guiliani admits he conjured out of his hair, that lie of course brought us the arizona five-month long so-called audit where they investigated arizona's president election results which showed up fewer votes for donald trump than the official tally and also brought us the ongoing republican investigation of the vote totals in wisconsin where
instead of badgering county clerks from a random g mail address and made up letterhead the republicans hand picked investigator this week graduated himself to a dot org e-mail address he bought somewhere and a new slightly less fake looking letterhead but the clerks in wisconsin still have no idea if it is even legal for them to hand over what the republicans are demanding from the state's election systems. wisconsin clerks have contacted the u.s. department of homeland security for advice on what to do with the burgeoning calamity in the republican investigation in wisconsin. all right. the election lie that the president's lawyer admits was just made up led to that. it also led to the investigation of election results republicans are doing in pennsylvania now where they are subpoenaing personal and identifying information on every voter in the state including full name, full home address, full date of birth. driver's license number, partial social security number for every voter in the state.
want them to have that? think they'll give it to the cyber ninjas? that lie also led to the oops two county recanvas in idaho just this week. which reduced donald trump's margin of victory in idaho apparently. it has also led to the republican secretary of state candidates all over the country campaigning for donald trump's endorsement by pledging they'll run the next election his way the way he wants. given his made up critique of why it is he lost the last one. and all of that is varying degrees of funny, sad, expensive, ridiculous, and dangerous. but of course that lie also led to the attack of january 6th on the u.s. capitol. and today the oversight group crew citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington released new never before heard police radio recordings from the u.s. park police. these are recordings that among other things show that as the national park police, that police force, was overwhelmed, they at one point had a number of their officers backed up
inside of the washington monument for their own protection. and that sort of extreme pressure on those police officers happened as early as 9:30 in the morning on the day of the capitol attack. now, as far as i know we had not previously understood the trump crowd on the mall and on the capitol grounds as early as the 9:00 a.m. hour was already fighting with police to the point of overwhelming them. >> units are backed into the monument. everyone's breaking. there is a large crowd following us. we're going back into the monument with the individual that's under arrest. they're breaking through the bike fence. >> we're inside. they're at the front of the fwaets. >> the prisoner is inside the base of the monument with multiple park police officers. they are completely surrounded with protesters and they're trying to figure out a plan how to get the arrestee down to the wagon. >> i have both my squads of horses set up on the south side.
if they can exit the building and come out to us we should be able to get them all the way down. >> how many guys you got in there with you? >> i got about close to 20. >> all right. that's good enough. if you can form a little bubble around the 10-95 we'll have the gate open for you. what is your e.t.a.? we got people starting to congregate around the horses. >> this is before 9:30 in the morning on the day of the u.s. capitol attack on january 6th. this is u.s. park police. we've not previously had access to park police audio. at 9:30 in the morning they are already so overwhelmed it is taking them, quote, about 20 guys, officers, and two squads of horses, to get one arrestee through the trump mob down to a police car because the trump mob at the washington monument is so aggressive against the police already by that time of day that they backed these teams of police officers up to and inside the washington monument where
the officers have gone inside the actual monument to barricade themselves inside. that police audio newly obtained and released today by the oversight grew crew. we've never before had this insight from the park police side. we didn't know things were that out of control that police officers were under that much of a threat. four, five hours before the capitol itself was breached. yes that whole attack was in the name of a ridiculous and we now know totally made up invented lie about the election which is ridiculous. it is also as serious as it gets right? and the more we're now realizing the more we find out about it, the more documents and information and testimony and recordings we get about that day, the worst that it gets which is important. joining us now is the maryland congressman jamie raskin who sits on the house select committee on january 6 which has
subpoenaed 15 people to testify and provide document about their role in, knowledge of the events that day. congressman raskin, a pleasure to see you. thank you for making time to join us tonight. >> great to see you, rachel >> i have to ask if the park police audio we just played, a very small snippet of about seven hours of audio obtained by crew today. that was new to us and i think new to the public. is it new to you and your colleagues in the investigation? >> i never heard that tape before. certainly we've spoken to park police people. the park police were valiant and brave on january 6 and right in the struggle but i haven't heard that tape from early in the morning. washington d.c.'s organized on a military basis around a series of circles. that was how the city was designed. and, clearly, the insurrectionists showed up with military plans to attack the police at every point in the district. >> in terms of the evolving
understanding of the seriousness of that day some of the other tape we heard today involves park police talking about finding armed people in the crowd arresting people who they found with firearms, going through bags that people were forced to keep out of the sight of the rally at which former president trump was speaking and people piled up those bags by the hundreds and they were going through those searching them for firearms to the point where they were so overwhelmed they just sent them all apparently out of the area without being able to even search through all of them. there's a lot of new information there. a lot of drama about the -- a lot of drama in terms of the park police experience and severity of what was going on there that wasn't previously known. it made me want to ask you today about what you think the prospects are for the subpoenas your committee has sent. you subpoenaed i think 15 people over the last couple weeks including very high profile people like steve bannon and also lower profile people involved in planning the rallies and events. do you actually expect compliance from the people you've subpoenaed?
>> absolutely. somehow during the trump presidency we slid into this ridiculous netherland where a subpoena from the u.s. congress could simply be ignored or defied. and we need to get back to basics here. a subpoena from the united states congress is about the most serious thing that can show up in your mail box that you can be served with. i wouldn't want to be anybody who decides to defy the authority of the united states congress. the first branch of government, the people's representatives. we are on a very serious investigative mission here, an inquiry to write a complete and comprehensive report to the american people about the attack. we are planning to get all the information we're seeking and people should be aware we have tons of information already from people who are calling in on the tip line, people coming forward
from police officers, and from information that is online, on facebook, on twitter posting photographs and so on. we're just trying to fill in the details now. we are trying to figure out exactly what the connections are between the trump entourage and trump white house and the oath keepers, the three percenters, different armed insurrectionist fwrups and who paid for the attack on the u.s. congress? you don't knock over the capitol of the united states of america for free. >> provocative point and one we'll continue to follow with interest. because you are here, we didn't lose you because you are here talking with me i assume that means you are not expecting a vote in the next few minutes on the bipartisan infrastructure package in the house. do you have any updates, any sense on how this is going to unfold? >> we have not been noticed yet for votes this evening.
the progressive caucus is meeting as we speak which shows you how seriously i take the rachel maddow show. but look, the bottom line is we've got overwhelming unity within the democratic caucus that we need to pass president biden's entire economic package. what has happened over the course of the week has seized upon the real problem which is unfortunately over in the senate and just two senators and that is why you keep hearing so many members saying we've got 97 or 98% of congress on our side. we want to pass the entire package and stop playing parliamentary games. we want the entire thing to pass together because we need daycare for working families. we need child care, tax credit. we need serious climate change progress because we're in a global emergency now. so i think that there's tremendous unity among the
democrats on that and obviously nobody likes to see the legislative process working because there's a lot of push and pull and back and forth. but the bottom line analysis, i believe, the democratic party is going to stand with the vast majority of democrats and americans as you were pointing out earlier tonight 70%, 80% of people in the polls in west virginia and arizona and all over the country support what is in the president's plan. we will get together and we'll pass it. i don't bet against nancy pelosi. she is going to land this plane with the help of chuck schumer and of course because of president biden's leadership. >> congressman raskin member of the house select committee on january 6th, senior member of the house progressive caucus i will send over a hall pass for you. sorry to get you out of the meeting tonight. i know you'll be there late with your colleagues. thanks for making time to be with us. >> very much appreciate it. >> more ahead. stay with us. it's a wishlist on wheels.
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before california congresswoman barbara lee turned 16 years old she had never been on an airplane before. this is congresswoman lee describing the circumstances under which that all changed for her. >> so i got pregnant. as a teenager. i had just turned 6. and quite frankly i really didn't know what had happened to me. i had just turned 16. in those days the word was take quinine pills. if you think you're pregnant. which i wasn't quite sure. i kind of thought but i wasn't sure. sit in a tub of hot water. or try a coat hanger. all of those. my mother took me to the doctor and god bless my mother. she had a ferren who is still a good friend in her 90s who she knew very well in el paso. one of her best friends in el paso, texas. she called her friend.
her friend said, send her to me. my first airplane ride from california to el paso, texas and my mother's friend said look. i know a very good doctor but he is in a back alley clinic in mexico. i was terrified. i didn't know what was taking place. and in fact you know i survived. and why it is so important now for me to tell the story is i don't want any woman to ever have to go through that. i think it is my duty now as hard as this is to talk about it because i know it is going to happen again if we don't stop what is taking place. >> california congresswoman barbara lee speaking with nbc yesterday. and then today, as a witness in the united states house of representatives, congressman lee told that story again along side her two other congress women sharing personal stories about
choosing to have an abortion. last week the full house passed a bill called the women's health protection act. it would codify the protections established under roe vs. wade guaranteeing the right for american women to have an abortion. the fate of the bill remains an open question in the senate as long as the filibuster exists. there is no reason to be optimistic about the chance of reaching president biden's desk. meanwhile texas's abortion ban is in effect. there is one potential source of hope right now. tomorrow there will be a court hearing in the case the u.s. justice department has brought against the state of texas over the new abortion ban. tomorrow the justice department will argue before a federal judge that judge should immediately block the law from continuing to be enford. that would essentially put the whole thing on ice while the texas case is argued through the courts. this ban on basically all legal abortion in texas has been in effect for a full month but a federal judge could stop it for the time being as early as tomorrow.
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so many women i knew especially black women died of back alley abortions. i was one of those that survived and i think it's my duty now as hard as this is to talk about, because i know it's going to happen again if we don't stop what's taking place. >> congresswoman barbara lee talking about what it was like for her as a young woman, as a teenager to obtain a back alley abortion before roe v. wade. the hardest thing to talk about as you might imagine. she's sharing that story as well as testimony in congress today. congresswoman barbara lee of california, thank you so much for being here today. i know it's been a long and exhausting day and you have a long night ahead of you yet.
>> i really am thankful to be with you this evening. >> i'm issuing hall passes wholesale so i'll try to do my best to excuse you from that meeting as well. thank you. congresswoman lee, i know that this is -- you have said and i can see when you talk about this, how difficult it is for you to talk about this. now that you have done so particularly doing this as a witness today speaking in congress i just have to ask if -- how you feel, whether it gets any easier now you've said it a couple of times in public, whether you feel regret, whether this is taking so much out of you personally to put so much of yourself out there in such a vulnerable way? >> rachel, i don't feel any regret. it's still in many ways scary for me because i'm a very private person, and having an abortion or having a back alley abortion especially when i knew
that i think abortions were the largest killer of african-american women. talking about it was really hard because i've never discussed it before and talked about it publicly and quite frankly not with my family either. so this is a big deal. it's a heart wrenching decision. it's a gut wrenching decision. and the stigma surrounding it was very traumatic. you know, rachel, i was raised as a catholic. i wept to catholic school. i wanted to actually go to the convent. i was the first black cheerleader. i made very good grades. i was in the honor society. i was an accomplished pianist, won music scholarships. and so the stigma of this and the fact that i did this -- i had to do it was -- is very hard to talk about. and i'm doing it, though,
because i don't want anybody to have to go through what i went through and i see it taking place now in the country. and god knows i'm worried if we don't stop these laws we're going to be back there where we were in the '60s. >> do you have any hope about this court hearing tomorrow? the justice department is suing texas and is going to ask that judge tomorrow to enjoy the law to essentially stop the if forcement of that? do you have any hope or do you feel this is going to be a long hard slog ahead for abortion rights advocates? >> rachel, i always have to have hope. and if it is a long fight for reproductive rights and freedom, we'll have to continue to mount that fight. but i can't imagine the justice system doing this and making a decision that would allow women to die. because this is a deadly decision that took place. these are deadly laws. and so i've got to be optimistic because i know what it's like.
and we can't go back there, and we have to just focus very clearly on what we have to do. i'm so pleased judy true introduced our bill and we passed it in the house, the womens health protection act. very important bill, uphill battle in the senate. but people around the country, the polling -- people understand that abortions should be a personal decision. one of the reasons i never talked ability it is because it's nobody else's business. and so hopefully we'll be able to codify this into law, roe v. wade sooner or later, but we can't stop now. we have to keep going until justice is done. >> barbara lee exhibiting a powerful form of personal leadership and the personal cost of it. thank you for being here tonight. >> thank you, rachel. nice being with you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. with you. >> we'll be right back stay with us (man 2) definitely higher.
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we are still waiting to see what's going to happen on capitol hill tonight. nancy pelosi has just sent a dear democratic colleague letter. she does say the substance of it is the work is being done, discussions continue with the house, senate and white house to reach a bicameral -- meaning house and senate -- framework agreement to build back bet through a reconciliation bill. many thanks to members of our caucus for your participation and patience. the bipartisan infrastructure bill has already had its rule passed and its debate has concluded. all of this momentum brings us