tv Deadline White House MSNBC October 7, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
their failure to get the justice department to tip the scales and declare the election riddled with fraud. even though we all know there was none. a bombshell new report released just this morning by the democratic majority on the senate judiciary committee is revealing just how far trump was willing to go to enlist his justice department in his scheme and how important the d.o.j. was to trump's coup attempt. thetimes says the report describes how justice department officials scrambled to stave off a series of events during a period when trump was getting advice about blocking certification of an election from a lawyer he had first seen on television. and the president's actions were so unsettling that his top general and highways speaker discussed the nuclear chain of command. among the most stunning revelations new details on a tense january 3rd meeting in the oval office in which top leaders of the justice justice department warned of a wave of massive resignation if trump
replaced rosen with clark a subordinate who supported trump's big lie and wanted to send a letter command georgia to -- that letter was to be the first of six with one sent out to each of the swing states where trump hoped to toss out the election results. that's according to the plan hatched by clark. from that new report, according the rosen trump opened the january 3rd meeting by saying, quote, one thing we know, you, rosen, aren't going to do anything the overturn the election. the deputy attorney general richard donahue and assistant attorney general steven engle made clear all the assistant attorneys general would resign if trump replaced rose within clark. donahue added the mass resignations likely would not end there and other u.s. attorneys and other d.o.j. officials might resign en masse. donahue and rosen also rrld pat
cipolloy and patrick philbin pushing back against a proposal to replace rosen with clark calling clark's letter a murder-suicide pact and the two white house lawyers reporting they would also resign. trump only backed down in the final two or three minutes. the pursuing documents were the trump white house could reveal more bombshells. this report is leading lawmakers to understanding how close we came in this country to having the election overturned. >> he was pushing the department of justice to bend to his political will. i tell you, i don't think i am overstating the case, we were half a step away from a full-blown constitutional crisis f. rosen would have folded. if the other parts of the members of leadership and the department of justice were not willing to stand behind him -- i give them credit for that, we could have seen the attorney
general of the united states pushing for the election results to be ignored by governors and states across the nation. it would have been catastrophic. >> breaking just now, the january 6th select committee has issued subpoenas to two pro-trump activists and an organization deputily involved in the rallies that took place just before the insurrection. the committee requesting documents and deputations from alley alexander, who is the leader of the group called stop the steal, one of the most prominent organizations pushing donald trump's big lie about election fraud. the former president's efforts to enlist the justice department in his coup attempt is where we start this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. katie benner is here. also joining us, harry will itman, and jonathan lemere is here. katie, this is your reporting. it is shocking in an era when
the blueprint for a coup is something that was described by republican adam kinzinger and just about every detail that has become public since that label was slapped on it details a very meticulously plotted and planned coup attempt. this was the piece that the justice department was to carry out in that architecture. and in the end, they refuse. explain. >> sure. so, to your point, this was something happening across the administration where pressure was being placed upon officials in several different places that to do something that would we legitimatize president biden's win and allow trump to hold onto power at least for several months as public faith in the election was thrown into disarray, as people stopped believing the results and chaos would ensue. at the justice department it is clear from the transcripts of interviews from the senate judiciary committee that were released today that officials
felt this pressure. they felt the former president wanted them to legitimatize these claims either by announcing investigations that would have supported the idea that massive amtsds of fraud should undermine our faith in the election or by taking steps by sending letters that contained things that officials knew to be untrue in order to overturn the election. and they felt that their word, the word of the justice department, would hold weight because, clearly, trump felt that way, too. so the pressure campaign we see from what is the most detailed and fulsome account yet from the judiciary committee is startling because you really do start to get the sense the full pressure that was on. >> let me read what the report reveals about the instances in which trump applied this pressure you are describing. on december 15th there was an oval office meeting with rosen and donahue. on december 23rd there was a call, the trump/rosen call. on the 24th, a trump/rosen call. on the 27th, i believe those are
the notes the judiciary committee released prior to today's report. trump/rosen/down hue call. december 28, december 30th, two calls. december 31st, an oval office meeting. january 3rd, oval office meeting including rosen and dan hue. january 3rd a trump/can donahue call. on january 4th eastman is in the oval office presenting this plan. i mean, what clark asked the d.o.j. to do, john eastman, the lawyer who wrote that blueprint for a coup attempt, which is what kinzinger describes it as, is in there the next day. i wonder katie benner where the intersectionity is between what the d.o.j. was supposed to do and what eastman laid out for pence to do. >> it is also one of the things we also sense from the interview asks the many, many documents and email has the committee obtained. is that the justice department
was not only being pressured by trump as you saw in that list of communications. also that list of communications was in direct violation of the white house contacts policy. nobody from the white house is supposed to talk to the justice department about investigative steps and prosecutions. that is forbidden. yet we saw that happen many times. the justice department was not just pushing back on pressure from the former president. officials were pushing back on pressure from allies that came from seemingly all corners, people who trump had started to bring into the white house as more establishment voices fell out of favor with him because they did not agree with him. he started to fill those slots with people like eastman. and those were the folks who were pressuring people at the justice department to take investigative steps or file legal briefs that officials believe would have been disastrous for democracy. >> jonathan, there is a lot in this report about the flash points in the effort the overturn the election result. dwoblbly the one with most
public-facing evidence, that's georgia. i want the read the report from clark's letter. on december 28th clark emailed rosen and donahue a draft letter addressed to the georgia governor, general assembly speak -- the letter was entitled jad gentleman proof of concept. clark suggested replicating it in each relevant state. it was just a blueprint. the letter would have informed state officials that d.o.j. had taken notice of election irregular lartsds in their state and recommended calling a especially legislative to investigate those irregularities, determine who won the vote and determine electing new electors. this is what i want to address. katie said bill barr ran down claims of election you fraud, found none that would have changed the election result. i want to know how close we came to a fraudulent letter coming
out from the nights justice department asking each state as requested by trump and his allies to throw out their results? >> the answer is dangerously close. there was an extraordinary amount of momentum here to do just that. we should be loathe to give too much credit to people who went along with the former president's ill will and actions for most of his term but at least did stand their grounds in the last moments. have been pence is one of them. although some reporting in recent books suggest he did everything he could to try to bend to donald trump's wishes only at the last minute realizing, he could not. only because of advice from former vice president quayle. bill barr is another who we are seeing in the reporting now. he -- again, we know he as much as he could supported the president throughout his term. and even framed so much of his arguments starting with the mueller report in his first days in office here at the end, this was a bridge too far and he could not. so it was close.
let's also remember, of course, there were some local officials who stood strong, including the secretary of state in georgia who resisted calls from the president including literally a phone call from the president, one that we received -- we were able to listen to thanks to the leak of remarkable audio in which he the president was asking for a specific number of votes in an effort to overturn the election and give him gentleman. there was a sense that if georgia went, so would arizona and that would -- he would be well on his way to reclaiming a second term. it is extraordinary effort here in the last few days. now we have enough distance from it to realize that on the face it was far fetched but it wasn't. this was close n. actuality there was momentum to this actually happening. in reality, it didn't. we should be careful what happens next time around. >> precisely. next time around, people like raffensperger -- it was the leak of that audio, that call that
gave us the most revealing window into the pitch that trump was making to local election officials. this is some of trump's call with raffensperger where he attacks the area attorney general. let's listen. >> it was 18,000 ballots but they used each one three times. >> well, i don't know about that. >> i do. because we had ours magnified out. each one magnified out. >> i watched the entire thing. >> but nobody can make a case for that, brad. nobody. i mean, look, that's, you would have to be a child to think anything other than that. just a child. >> how many ballots -- >> so there is trump repeating something i think that circulated on social media was investigated actually. that seems to be the crime all this bogue u.s. b.s. fraud allegations never saw the light
of day in a courtroom because none could be backed up. there was donald trump bullying the georgia secretary of state and i guess besmiching if it is still an insult to be a never trump u.s. attorney. i wonder harry will itman, if there were calls like that to multiple states. >> right. more than besmirching, the report documents that that u.s. attorney was forced out because he wouldn't play ball. it was a direct trump to pac u.s. attorney play. i think it is right as jonathan and katie say, it was -- other than pence, if pence had buckled and actually declared, you know, everything a jump ball, this is the closest we could have gotten. as durbin does, play it out if they had sent that completely bogus letter. and by the way, who is strong arming in this january 3rd
meeting? who is jeffrey clark? he's not the top guy. he's not the second guy. he's not the third guy. he's not the fourth guy. he's an acting fifth guy. he's any port in a storm for trump. anyone that's going to resign are people over him. but he goes to him, finally finds someone he can pressure. and they are going to send out a letter with no basis whatsoever. what would it have done? basically, just inserted huge chaos. they hoped that when all the pieces fell there would have been new electors in these six major states. so it was bogus and illegal sort of six different ways. and clark was the guy who played ball when the u.s. attorney wouldn't. everyone else was going to be fired. >> can i press you, harry will itman. a lot of the trump presidency was chaos. this seemed meticulously plotted. they have the eastman memo, the
underpinning of the coup attempt. they had the accomplices in the congress. three elected officials were amplifying his claims, perry, jenson, and mass triano. trump complained the republican officials were trying to address election fraud claims but had limited capacity and authority to to so whereas d.o.j. was not doing enough. those guys were lying. d.o.j. was hemmed in by not much under trump but they did have to deal with facts. and i wonder if chaos is not a harsh enough term for what was happening. >> first, another big point -- a revelation in the report is perry is the guy who makes the bridge from clark to trump. you will see in that list several one on one calls. remarkable -- the eastman memo, nicole, emerges the day after. it is a pernicious document. and it might come into play in 2024. but at that point that we are
documenting this and that clark pressure campaign, it was basically for d.o.j. to send a letter that would get everybody in a lather and kind of suspend the clear results. so i do think -- and it was a trump play -- that at that time it was less grounded and thought through than the eastman memo later made it become. i think it was basically, how can i, in my trumpian way, just make a total mess of things and see what falls out? >> you know, there is an echo, jonathan lemere, in this -- i don't know what the right word is, nieldsing, prodding, litany of calls and meetings. there is an echo of diagnose being prodded to fire mueller, have mueller fired to others being prodded to see to it to let -- game.
this relentless pushing to the justice department to punish his enemies and serve himself. i wonder if you think there is sort of a pattern to be revealed by the january 6th committee, other agencies or if d.o.j. was special in the mind of trump? >> i think d.o.j. was certainly first in mind for president trump. but not alone. we know throughout his whole time in office, not just over the 2020 election, he tried to bend the federal government to follow out his own pill wins, to carrot revenge against his allies. but in particular the d.o.j. he thought the attorney general was like his personal attorney, his roy cohen we always would say, that he would look back to his own attorney general harkening back to his hardened and tough lawyer that he had in manhattan in the '90s. he thought it should be used to prosecute his political enemies. james comey, he was fired because comey wouldn't do his bidding.
and he certainly leans on subsequent attorney generals. attorneys like jeff sessions were also shown the door because they wouldn't do what he wanted. mcgahn, yes, barr, yes, vice president pence? yes. thankfully, they -- they held. but this is how donald trump worked. for matters big or small. also i was struck by how reminiscent this was of his phone call with the ukrainian president that got him impeached the first time as opposed to these calls that got him impeached the second time. pushing and pushing, fo anything that would allow him to hold on to power. >> katie, i want to come back to something harry talked about. that's the firing and sort of attempt to purge the government even if his final days in office of anyone who sided with the rule of law and not his coup plot. this is from the report. after being told that d.o.j. had
looked into election fraud claims in atlanta and determined that there was no evidence to support them, trump mentioned pac. donahue told us that trump looked at a piece of paper on his desk and responded atlanta, atlanta, no surprise there. they didn't find anything, no surprise because we have a never trumper there as u.s. attorney. trump then told donahue, i want to you fire him. a lot of the outlines of this was apparent. his resignation, the reporting about the pressure. but never sort of detailed in this blow-by-blow. any reaction to pac to pab litation of the report? >> no, but you can imagine if he wanted to push on it he could have. because the committee of course votified him they were going to make his transcript public and the transcripts of others public. what you are seeing here is that the president was determined to
put people who would do his bidding into place. pack is removed because he doesn't want him there. bobby christine, from savanna, he donated to trump's campaign. he believes he will do his bidding. bobby christine arrives in atlanta. no sooner is he there than a phone call is leaked from u.s. of the u.s. attorney's office in atlanta. it's a meeting bobby christine held with prosecutors saying wow i expected to get here and find a lot of fraud. guess what i did not find? the find of fraud i had heard about. it is not happening. you guys were right all along. that was leaked to the media as soon as bobby christine enters the picture. yes, it seems that trump was again and again determined to fill the government with people who would support him. who will the committee interview next? what additional information can they find? they made clear they want to
empower the house select committee on january 6th to find out more information and they are trying to determine whether or not jeff clark will speak to them. that is tbd, for as much information and detail that is in this report it raise as lot of outstanding questions. what can jeff clark tell us about his communications with the white house is there there is a block hole there. two, what if people like representative scott perry -- who harry mentioned. perry emerges in this part. we had written a story in january saying he was a key player but he comes out in this report strong as somebody who was happening the white house create some sort of map to keep trump in power. he was also a sitting member of congress. so you have to wonder if there is not more report asking not more information to be gathered there. it does seem like the senate committee is on it. but it will take a while for them to gather those facts. >> and we will keep pursuing that line of questioning. thank you for sharing it with us. katie benner.
harry will itman thank you for starting us off. jonathan lemere is sticking around. >> when we come back, much, much more on this blockbuster report. senate judiciary chairman dick durbin will be our guest. where does the investigation go from here. also, joe biden is out touting covid-19 vaccines, well, they work and pushing more employers to push their employees to get shots. also, good news regarding vaccines and kids. later, a federal judge in texas giving a temporary reprieve on the attack on women's reprauktive rights. all those stories and more when "deadline: white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere today. nywhere. like the splash they create the entrance they make, the surprises they initiate. otezla. it's a choice you can make.
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it wasn't just a near miss or a close call. what is detailed in the senate judiciary committee report on crump's effort to overturn the election result qualifies as a half step from a full-blown constitutional crisis. that's how the committee's chairman describes it. joining us is dick durbin of illinois, chair of the judiciary committee. sir, we played your comments from earlier today. i wonder the we could just get you to react to what i think people have grappled with, and that's just how close this country came to having the legitimate most secure election result in our country's history overturned by trump. >> well, just follow the direction the trump effort.
first, after he saw the results in november and said, well, those can't be true, he went to 50 or 60 different courts. in each and every one of them fell on his face because he didn't produce any evidence of vote fraud. his next stop, the department of justice. attorney general bill barr announces he's resigning. donald trump is on the phone to the new jeffrey rosen, the acting attorney general. clearly trying to get him engaged in his own conspiracy theory. he tells him different aspects that he has picked up on the internet or from rudy giuliani and other sources hoping to convince him to lead the effort. and what was the effort going to be? he wanted the attorney general of the united states of america to be writing to attorneys general and governors across the country to tell them to not announce the electoral vote count in their own states, to withhold that information based on suspicions by the department of justice that something was
wrong with the election. thank goodness rosen resisted, said he wouldn't do it, and stood his ground. and he was joined by other attorneys in the department who stood with him. >> i want to ask you about something that we talked about but we have never seen so explicitly detailed. and that is the role of run members of congress. trumps efforts to enlist d.o.j. if his leadership and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election were aided by numerous allies with clear ties to the stop the steal movement and january 6th insurrection. three of these allies and their connection to january 6th are notable. u.s. representative scott perry. spence spence state senator doug mass triano. and trump campaign attorney mitchell. these ties warrant further investigation to better place trump's efforts to enlist d.o.j. in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in context of the january 6th insurrection. can you elaborate specifically on what scott perry was doing. >> well, imagine if you are
jeffrey rosen, and now you have been told bill barr is leaving and you are in charge. tur acting attorney general. and all of a sudden, you are getting all of these phone calls from the president of the united states. and up pops a name within theent did of justice that doesn't quite fit. jeffrey clark is involved in this, the presidential request of an examination of votes in the last election? wait a minute, he handles a civil division this the department of justice. what does he have to do with this. as know from the report they call him and ask how are you involved. turns out a talent scout, congressman scott perry of pennsylvania had found an attorney who would work with the trump white house. the end of the story, i guess the great climax of the story was clark was promised by touch he would be the next attorney general and would replace rosen that plot fell apart at the last minute, but that was the scheme.
so these names came out of nowhere. they were loyalists. they were the big lie lawyers, and they were schilling for the president and hair brained screams about why he actually won the election. >> senator, will you subpoena jeff lee clark? >> we can't. in the judiciary committee rules in order to do that you need a democrat and a republican. well, you can guess it is hard the find a republican on my committee who is willing to join me in this effort. we made the invitation to mr. clark to come in as mr. rosen did, mr. donahue and mr. pac. he hasn't agreed to do night should the january 6th commission subpoena mr. clark? >> i can't see how they can avoid it. but that's their decision to make. we are trying to cooperate with him completely. we let them of course see the report and ask them for any reactions to it. we hope the information we have gathered will be of value to them. we want to make it a complimentary effort to their
undertaking. theirs is a select committee undertaking. hours is a bipartisan committee set up by speaking pelosi and longman liz cheney and kinzinger from illinois. i think we should have had a bipartisan commission taking a look at the january 6th event. >> right. >> that was killed by mitch mcconnell, the republican leader. i am standing behind what the house is doing. i think it is a good undertaking. >> katie benner made the point a couple minutes ago that this is an interim report. can you quantify how much more there is in this category of trump trying to overturn the election result using the justice department? >> understand the justice department under its new leadership basically said to those who were engaged in the events of that day and week, don't look for us to harbor you. you are open to tell your stories. so there is nothing holding jeffrey rosen back, nor mr.
o'donahue, or mr. pac for that reason, others have this same opportunity. maybe they will take the opportunity now that this interim report has come out. in the meantime we will go after archived material that may be important and see if there is any other information that's relevant so we can get a complete record before it's over. >> do you get the sense -- i mean, you used this term. i want to just read it again. that you believe the former president would have shredded the constitution to stay in power. harry litman made the point at the top of the show about chaos. this seems like something further, more sinister, who never had a plan to get through the next stage death toll of the pandemic. it seems like a meticulous plan to overturn the election results. he could never communicate with the states about ventilators or ppe.
but he had more contacts with them than he ever had the dr. anthony fauci. what are you seeing from what you have unearthed from this investigation? >> we know from the intensity of the president's effort that he would reach out to the attorney general of the united states and have this relentless badgering of him day after day after day calling on the telephone, having people meet are him. meetings in the oval office to bring him into his point of view. thank god mr. rose sken those around him had the courage to stand up to this president because he would have pushed them over on his way to trying to discredit an election custom had clear results that were on the in his favor. >> how much is on mind of your committee's work that donald trump's currently most powerful republican among the base and could be the republican's nominee in 2024?
>> i can tell you -- if we can, i don't know, we have had help from merrick garland in the department of justice in terms of once again defining the relationship between the white house and the department of justice, who in the white house can legally legitimately contact the department of justice for what reason. and secondly, the role of the department of justice in elections. it's not to influence the outcome of the result. it is only to pursue any allegations of criminal activity. so i think good work by the department of justice now under its new leadership can insulate us from some of this in the future. but who would ever havist guessland we would come up with a donald trump in this circumstance who was willing to blow through all precedent, all values, all constitutional prince for his own purpose? >> and appears to still be committed to i. there is news today working in politico and the "washington post" that donald trump through a lawyer has forbidden mark meadows, cash patel, steve
bannon and dan scavino, his twitter guy, from testifying or cooperating with the january 6th committee. just in the category of lessons learned, how do you think this fight ends with the committee making perfectly clear that they are not afraid to sanction people with criminal contempt? >> i really love that this former president of the united states thinks he can forbid people from paying attention to a legal subpoena. i mean, just gives you an idea of his grandiose view of his power and role in history. i would say to each of those individuals, take care. just having the blessing of trump may not be enough to keep you on the right side of the law. follow the law, even if it's painful for donald trump. >> my last for you is about, what the fuller picture looks like. we have through a series of books, through what feels like a lifetime ago but it was just daysing a that general milley was testifying before a
bipartisan committee about among other things investigative reports about the nuclear chain of command. you have this portrait from your report. you have subpoenas, more going out today for the insurrection organizers -- the preevent, the tailgate, whatever you want to call it. what are you trying to reveal to the country? do you think it matters. >> we need a complete record of what occurred. we were so close to a constitutional crisis. i know that may be a cliche to many people. but to think we would allow donald trump to question the outcome of a presidential election and to defy all the legal analysis which said there was no mossive voter fraud, that he flat out lost the election -- that was a serious moment in the history of the united states. shame on us if we just pass it by and say what's new today? i don't want to reflect on the past. we need to make a clear record.
i was in this complex, on capitol hill on january 6th when i saw the last fatal attempt -- i should say futile attempt by donald trump to overturn the election results. i will never foreit. and americans across the board should never forget what happened on that day. we have got to make sure there is a complete record what have trump after the election until he was finally replaced. >> you are right f we don't care, shame on us. senator dick durbin, i know it is a busy day. thank you for taking time to talk to us about the report. president biden saying his administration will soon issue its rule to require all companies with more than 100 employees to ensure that everyone is vaccinated or submit to weekly covid testing. that news is next. ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark.
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we know there is no other way to beat the pandemic than to get the vast majority of americans vaccinated. first requirement. encourages businesses to feel they can come in and demand the same thing their employees. more people are getting vaccinated. more lives are being saved. today's report shows that vaccination requirements are good for the economy. not only increasing vaccination rates, but to help send people back to work. i know the vaccination requirements are tough medicine. unpopular with some. politics for others. but their life saving. they are game changing for our
country. >> president biden in chicago today touting the success and the growing momentum of vaccine mandates and pushing for more of them from large private companies arguing that mandates not only boost protection against covid but also protect and build the economy meeting today with leaders who already announced mandates for their companies, chicago's mayor, the governor of illinois, the ceo of united airlines, whose u.s. ployees are now more than 99% vaccinated. in the last, president biden toured a construction site where the blahher clayco one of the large nest the midwest just announced its own vaccine requirement. the white house says the vaccine mandates are becoming the standard across multiple sectors and since july cut the percentage of unvaccinated marns by one third. also today, pfizer announcing it has officially asked the fda to authorize its covid vaccines for emergency use in kids 5 nears old to 1 years old. let's bring into our coverage
dr. patel, former obama white house health policy director. jonathan lemere is still with us. doctor, this was a speech, i believe we were on the air together covering it, that was attacked by sorm of the smarmiest playing politics with the pandemic republicans immediately. but after that, it wasn't into effect and it has worked. it has been a resounding success of this white house's covid policy. talk about it. >> yeah, i mean just look at what the other option was, to continue in kinds of an endless cycle of surges and telling people that you know they need to wear masks indoors and all the limitations we have put on our children over the last 20 months. that was not a choice we could take. the other choice was do anything possible to get as many people vaccinate as safely as possible. mandates -- by the way i thought that white house analysis was elegant because it went back into the history, into the 19th century with the small pox
mandates. even in states such as alaska, where they had a measles outbreak instituting measles vaccines recently resulting to taking the number of case down to zero. it is good possible policy. there is more to come. eer we are seeing a seven-day average of a million vaccines a day. a large number of those are boosters, and a large number are because of mandates. that should continue even up through december where we have a key milestone of federal contract workers having to get vaccinated by then. >> i want to ravel back in time jonathan lemere because i think it is worth pointing out all the doomsday scenarios haven't come to pass. millions of people didn't quit instead of getting vaccinated. some have quit. they have been held up and celebrated by the obvious and usual suspects. the vast majority of us did what we have to do not just to keep
faith but to kept our jobs. >> no. you are right, nicole. this is something president biden was a little bit reluctant to do. earlier in the pandemic he sort of steered away from mandates. he didn't think that was the right way to do it. his offerings were more incentive based. but top officials got him to change his mind. it wasn't working, not well enough. there were too many big pockets of resistance to the vaccine. to mandates we went w. the federal employees first and now encouraging it in the private sector. it has been a resounding success. one who is near and dear to your heart, andrew wiggins, he plays for the nba. he didn't want the vaccine. the mandate from the league and the city of san francisco was such that if he didn't get the vaccine he wouldn't play in any home games. so he got it. he grumbled about it but he got it and now he can play.
it doesn't matter if you want to get it. it is a question of whether you do get it, to keep yourself and others safe. these are good signs the white house is touting. the president also in a speech noted in personal terms we are not out of the woods. last night he called an emergency room at a hospital in pennsylvania and asked for the wife of a friend to get care because the er was still overloaded with covid patients. get nervous when the conversation and the coverage moves too far away from the reality. the reality is there are still a lot of sick people and a lot of people dying. i wonder if you can talk about that in this context, seeminly with the approval of emergency use authorization for the vaccine for kids. >> we had a large bulk of kids
cases in september. thankfully, the numbers who have died and been hospitalized are much smaller. but all preventable, ideally with a vaccine that can allow for children to do so many things that we are still restricting. i do think this could be a game changer. i don't think the 28 million eligible children from ages 5 to 11 are all going to get vaccinated overnight. even in high vaccination states, probably a third to half might get vaccinated. but it is critical because that frees up the health care system to to all the things we still need to do. treating cancers, taking people for heart surgeries, hip replacements. i appreciate your point. it is nice to say this pandemic feels behind us because hospital rates are decreasing. that is true but you are right, go to alaska, to idaho, go to other parts of the country as a microcosm and it is still kinds of a rip roaring wildfire out there. it is going to be a while until we feel hike we can confidently
say, you know, things are in the clear. but the approval of a vaccine option for 5 and up, with soon to follow 2 to 5, it really does give us a better 2022. >> we are going to disneyland right after words. doctor and jonathan, thank you so much for spending time with us. president joe biden has been the president of the united states since january. the election was 11 months ago. yet a sitting member of congress in a hearing today, today, couldn't say any of that. this is where we are. we will bring you that next.
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do you accept this audit which showed that joe biden won and indeed by more votes than -- >> that is not what the audit concluded. >> who won the election in arizona, donald trump or -- >> we don't know. because as the audit demonstrates very clearly, mr. raskin, there are a lot of issues with this election that took place. >> there's the problem that we have. donald trump refused to accept the results, and unfortunately, we have one of the world's great political parties, which has followed him off of the ledge of this electoral lunacy, and it's dangerous for democracy. >> lunacy is one way to put it. that was democrat jamie raskin pressing his republican colleague from arizona, a man named andy biggs, to publicly accept the results of the 2020 election, something he could not do. it came during an oversight hearing examining the sham,
bogus cyber ninja audit in arizona. for all its flaws, even it found that joe biden indeed won. chairwoman carolyn maloney pointing out the so-called audit served a more broad, chilling purpose. >> the ultimate aim of these audits is even worse, to lay the groundwork for new laws that make it harder for americans to cast their ballots. but easier for dishonest officials to overturn the results of elections they don't like. >> let's bring into our coverage nbc and msnbc national analyst john heilemann, host and executive analyst of "the circus," hi there, friend. >> hi. how's it going? >> well, you know, it's a day with a -- start with a little coup, get to a little vaccine disinformation and we're going to round out the hour with election disinformation. but i guess at some point, we
have this sort of edict -- >> you call that just another average thursday in america, nicole. >> exactly. we had this edict in politics and it comes to my mind a lot that you can't be more upset than the principal, and on election disinformation, on the intersection of disinformation about stop the steal and domestic violent extremism, at some point, if that isn't the impetus for doing away with the filibuster, passing federal voting rights legislation and taking seriously the effort to change all these laws, not just to disenfranchise voters, which should be enough of an incentive, but to change the way votes are counted, to take out people like brad raffensperger, to take out the republicans who were as trumpy as it gets but simply refused to overthrow the election. that's the scenario that i have -- that i feel like get lost somewhere. >> yeah. but what was the point about the principle? that's the question. you started out with that, going towards the principle. which principle are we talking about? >> i'm talking about the
democratic party. if they're going to have another six months of wringing their hands about how noble the filibuster is and how we can't get rid of it to pass federal voting lights legislation and we're just going to watch. 33 states have passed laws that do the nullification thing, most of them. and if we're going to head into the next election with our election systems weakened and corrupted and politicized by taking out the kinds of people who walk the line, even though they were republicans, they're all being primaried by trump picks. if that's where we're heading, we're not going to have federal legislation, at some point it becomes preordained. >> yeah. well, look, i feel like you and i -- we're like in a mobius strip here with this discussion because i feel like -- and you know i think this is the most important discussion in american politics and maybe in america right now, so it's not like i'm in the mobius strip. i understand why we have to talk about it over and over again because look, the politics are also in a mobius strip where nothing seems to be changing and we go round and round and say,
guys, like, you get this? this is existential and the people we're talking to seem not to think it's existential. the democratic party is trying to do a lot of really big stuff right now. joe biden's trying to do big stuff right now. the reconciliation package is huge. the infrastructure package is huge. until yesterday and now we're going to wait until december, have a debate about the debt ceiling that is, you know, could have cataclysmic consequences for the world economy so it's not like they're twiddling their thumbs and not taking care of important business. they are. but i agree with you that this is the most important thing. because without this being right, everything else falls away, and i think, you know, the suggestion about not being more upset than the principle, you know, trump uses that to his advantage. he basically says, you all need to be as upset as me. everybody needs to take this as seriously as me. andy biggs does not believe that the election in arizona was fraudulent. he knows that joe biden is president of the united states. but he also knows if he says that, donald trump will come
after him. so, he stands up and tells this lie, which is corrosive and terrible. the question is, why is joe biden not able to or why has he not tried to exert that kind of power over the democratic party on this issue? why -- i don't mean i want joe biden to be like donald trump. i mean, to -- he gave one big speech on this, one big speech, and i know he thinks it's important. but one big speech in ten months, nine months, isn't enough for the scale of the problem and the importance of it. >> you're right. and that was a fantastic speech he gave in philadelphia, and it was well received, but to your point, with the myriad other priorities, it hasn't had a lot of air time. john heilemann is sticking around for the next hour, which starts after a very short break. don't go anywhere. which starts after a very short break. don't go anywhere. our workforce overnight out of convenience, or necessity. we can explore uncharted waters, and not only make new discoveries, but get there faster, with better outcomes. with app, cloud and anywhere workspace solutions, vmware helps companies navigate change--
this is an extraordinary opinion, and i'm in houston right now. i will tell you that it is being met with enormous excitement and gratitude that there is finally some sign of relief here for the women of texas. i think the problem, of course, is that we are -- this is going to be a it's an important temporary victory, but i think there's a long road ahead to restoring full abortion access for people in the state. >> hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in new york, finally, a moment for women in texas to start to exhale for now. late last night a federal judge in the state issued a sharp rebuke to texas's near complete ban on abortion with an order that temporarily halts the new law. from the "new york times"
reporting, in his 113-page ruling, robert pitman, a federal district court judge in austin sided with the biden administration, which had sued to halt a law that has changed the landscape of the abortion fight and further fueled the national debate over whether abortion will remain legal across this country. judge pitman called out the law, sb8, and deputizes private citizens to sue anyone helping a woman get an abortion. from his searing opinion, quote, a person's right under the constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established. fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the state contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that. this court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right. a.g. merrick garland put out a statement shortly after, saying
this. quote, today's ruling enjoining the texas law is a victory for women in texas and the rule of law. it is the foremost responsibility of doj to defend the constitution. we will continue to protect constitutional rights against all who would seek to undermine them. but judge pitman's ruling does not mean abortion clinics are now free to resume providing care completely. it's due to another insidious aspect of the law. "the texas tribune" explains it like this. the law is constructed in such a way that people who violate the law, even while it is being temporarily blocked, could be liable to litigation if the law's enforcement were to be reinstated in any existing suits could continue. so, clinics in response to the halting of the law say they want to resume services as soon as possible for women there. the question remains when exactly that will be. texas's a.g. announced he has already taken steps to appeal judge pitman's ruling. the case now heads to the fifth circuit court of appeals, known as one of the most conservative
courts in the country, a temporary reprieve in the attack on women's reproductive rights in texas is where we start this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. neal katyal is here, former acting u.s. solicitor general, now a georgetown law professor. also joining us, cecile richards, former president of planned parenthood, now the cochair of american bridge and john heilemann is still with us. neal katyal, let me start with you on, first, the significance of what happened last night, the strength of doj's case, and then on what is likely to happen next. take me through both. >> sure. so, i mean, everything may be bigger in texas, nicole, but yesterday's decision reminds us that no one towers above the law, at least for now. this is only temporary in a manner of speaking. what the court did was say we're going to stop this law. it's unconstitutional. it can't go into effect. but of course texas can't appeal. so, what happened here is that justice department came in and sued texas because this law made
it impossible for individuals to bring suit, individual women, so the justice department kind of came in as the gap filler and said, we're going to challenge the law, and you know, even under the biden administration, i still get a chill every time i read the justice department is in the news for doing something right but that is our new justice department. they are doing things right. garland is protecting women here. and what the judge said was that this is an unprecedented scheme, picking up on chief justice roberts' words last month about this texas law with scathing words about what this decision meant in terms of restricting abortion, violating roe vs. wade, violating the rule of law, and you know, every legislator in texas should read this opinion, frankly, for no other reason that it includes a much apparently needed explanation of how pregnancy works, which i think legislators don't quite understand there. but you know, it's a scathing opinion about how dangerous the law is, and now the question is
what happens. texas has said and has filed some papers saying they will appeal, but they haven't actually so far challenged the texas decision -- the texas judge's decision last night to temporarily halt the law, which is just beyond bananas to me. when i was in the government, if we had a law that was, you know, that was being -- there was an argument about whether it should be temporarily stopped or something, we'd have those papers ready to go right away. these folks still haven't filed it and it suggests to me, for texas, it's symbolism. it's not actually about what the law is. if they actually cared about it, they should have been in court already. they're not because they want to slow walk this thing a little bit. >> neal, i want to read something and put you on the spot to see if you agree. the decision blocking texas's abortion ban is a meticulous rebuke of the supreme court. doj's bet that agents of the state could be subject to suit paid off particularly in the face of mounting evidence that pregnant texans had been materially harmed as a result of the law.
pitman's decision has moments of powerful rhetoric but it is largely devoted to the complex and novel threshold issues the majority of the supreme court was too exhausted to probe when they allowed the law to stand. can you put that into english and just help me understand, is the doj argument strongest in terms of the constitutional right to privacy and abortion, or is it about this gimmick, this scheme to put the enforcement in the hands of neighbors and friends and vigilantes or both? >> it's the same constitutional objection that the justice department has, that the folks last month suing had had about privacy and quality. that hasn't changed. what has changed is who's actually bringing the lawsuit. texas did have this gimmick in saying that, you know, private individuals can't sue, and much as i disagreed with the supreme court's decision vehemently, and you and i talked about it last month, that was a gimmick and it's a joke that -- to really be
faked out that way. but regardless, i don't know if the supreme court was exhausted or anything like that. they just fell for the gimmick. and what the justice department did is from what you read, it's exactly right. they called out this bluff and said, okay, if individuals can't sue, it is the, you know, mission of the justice department to fill in the gap at that point and sue. and that's what they did. and i think it's very hard, it's not impossible, but hard for the fifth circuit and indeed the u.s. supreme court to say the justice department can't sue and you know, that nobody can bring his lawsuit, neither women nor the justice department, that states can just willy-nilly pass unconstitutional laws and nobody can walk into federal court. i mean, you know, as i said with cecile last night, that may work in the soviet union but it doesn't work in the united states. >> they fell for the scheme, #sad. cecile, i want to bring you in. we started the program, i know we were having some technical
difficulties but we saw some of your immediate reaction and the reality for women on the ground is not quite yet relief from this law. can you just talk about what's happening in texas for women right now? >> sure. well, and as neal said, i think that this -- this decision is worth reading because judge pitman talks about actually that what it is like on the ground, that so many women who are trying to get access to a legal abortion are -- a legal abortion live in rural areas. they are low income. they are working at jobs where they can't take off weeks at a time. they can't go out of state. and that's actually what is happening. the difficulty here is, and of course we just heard the news that some abortion providers have been able to reopen today, so that's creating some relief, but women are basically living under a daily sort of changing environment on something very
important and very fundamental, which is being able to make a decision about their pregnancy, and so as we saw, you know, years ago in the whole women's health case which we eventually won in the supreme court, you can't just turn on and off healthcare services, particularly for people with low incomes, and that is, of course, even though this is an incredible opinion and i think it is so strong in so many ways, the reality on the ground is that many doctors still aren't able to provide abortions and many women still aren't able to access them. this is going to be -- this is a long road, but i do think we have to celebrate what an extraordinary opinion this is, and obviously, the depths of which judge pitman went to actually explain and understand what women are facing in the state. >> is it your honest sense that the conservative nature of sort of the next legal step will mean that our relief and this
celebration is short-lived? or do you feel like this is a tide-turning moment? >> well, i think that's really the point, nicole, is how can we know? and how can we expect women to be living under this kind of cloud where they literally don't know what their rights are, day in, day out? i mean, ultimately, i believe this opinion is so strong, i hope that this injunction lasts for a long time and certainly until we get to the supreme court. i think that ultimately, as i said last night, this is a political problem we have. when you have a republican governor and a republican-led legislature that is willing to go to all lengths, including continuing to pass unconstitutional laws, there has to be -- they have to pay a price for that. and so i do think it's important and the work we have to do here is to educate people that there is a major party that is actually completely committed to
ending access to safe and legal abortion, a right that people have had in this country for almost 50 years. and that, to me, is the long haul work, even as we address the immediate framework, cruelty and pain that people are suffering in the state of texas. >> john heilemann, not just this story specifically that you're in texas reporting out around abortion, around voting rights, around myriad issues, and i'm going to play in a second something matt dowd said to you but i want to put up for our viewers the political peril that republicans in texas and across the country have put themselves in, regardless of their strongal hold on statewide elections right now. this is how unpopular a near total ban on abortion is. on the action, the vigilante piece, 74% oppose that. 90% of democrats, 57% of republicans think that's a horrific idea too. and 75% of independents. on this six-week ban, which i think cecile and others who work on women's health issues have
made perfectly clear is a point where all but 15% of abortions do not happen in this window. 85% of all abortions in texas happen after this six-week mark. 58% oppose that. 59% of republicans oppose the six-week ban. this is wildly unpopular among republicans in this country. >> right. right. well, look, i mean, nicole, here's one of the things that -- there's all kinds of political peril in this for republicans, but there's something that neal said that i think rings true about how serious these legislators are. there are passionate anti-abortion legislators in texas where i am. there's no doubt. but what the reaction to this ruling was last night and today has not been, you know -- i think that most of these legislators knew this was likely if not certain, and from their purely political standpoint and the horrifying thing about this is that these people are willing to play games as cecile
described just now with women's lives in the service of their politics, but one party state where all of the politics now are dominated by republicans trying to cater to the far right because the only game in town in a lot of these districts is how far right can you go. if you don't go far enough to the right, donald trump or someone else will have you primaried. this is about what's driving all this and in a world like that, you pass a bill like this, in part, to just excite and animate the farthest extremes of the republican party. you know that there's a reasonable chance that it will be either knocked down or suspended in the way it has been, and then when it is, you stand up and play the other side of the politics and decry the liberal obama judge and the liberal joe biden socialists and the federal overreach from washington. so, it's like -- in a world where all you care about is primary politics, and the far-right is the only -- is where all the action is in the republican party, this is a win-win for them. they passed the bill. if it stands, they're happy because they're getting rid of
abortion. and if it doesn't stand, they get to turn it into a campaign issue they can raise money off of and get the right to go crazy because the liberal obama judge who knocked it down. and i think it's obviously a grotesquely cynical but that is what's going on to a large extent in the reaction to this bill here. there are republicans who voted for this bill who are like, we knew this was coming, that's fine. i got an ad ready to go against this obama judge. >> cecile, how do you make sure that is not the political outcome? this is a general election issue and i think there's also some polling that suggests that women are particularly motivated by this overreach. young women voters with a large majority saying they're more interested in voting in 2022 because of this bill. 72.5% more interested. how does that -- >> absolutely. no, i mean, i think that's what we're seeing is that the issue of the texas bill and this ban on -- which is essentially a ban on abortion, let's face it, it's a ban on any access to safe and legal abortion. this is something we saw come up
in california. we're seeing it virginia now in that governor's race, and i actually think this is -- it is now kind of to john's point, i feel like it's sort of been a -- like a free vote for all these republicans because they would go, well, we know it's going to be unconstitutional, as he said, then they can run ads against it. but this law actually, for the last month, people haven't been able to access abortion at all in the state of texas. and so it's now -- i mean, they're like the dog that caught the bus. now they've got it and the stories, some of which judge pitman put in his opinion, the stories are going to come out of the harm -- literal harm to women, to people -- pregnant people all across the state of texas, and that is going to be on -- that is going to be on the republican party and on every single republican legislator that voted for this. but it is incumbent on all of us to remind people, this didn't just drop out of the sky. this wasn't just some wacky idea that came from some fringe group. this was passed by governor greg
abbott and every single republican in the state legislature, and they're the ones that have to be held to account. >> and matt dowd is trying to do just that. john heilemann, i'm going to play some of your interview with him. >> you've lived here for 30 years? >> 38 years. >> do you sense there's a palpable awareness within texas at how bad [ bleep ] has been for the last year here? outside, we all look at texas and go, what -- it's a [ bleep ] nightmare. but to texans feel that? >> i've talked to a lot of people, including disaffected republicans, and i've talked to independents and all over. i would say the most consistent way they say it is, you know, i'm proud of my state and i love my state but what they're doing is embarrassing. >> yeah. >> republicans, independents and democrats, democrats might state it in a more vociferous way, independents might say it in a different way but republicans who are disaffected, they all say basically the same thing. this is embarrassing. the >> and that is the coalition to tip that fate that matt dowd
would have to build or any challenger to these republicans in the state, john heilemann. >> right. yeah. i mean, look, and we're talking here about the abortion bill, for sure, but also about voting rights and guns and about their policies on the border. greg abbott was down there with all these republican governors on the border, rolling out panzer tanks and helicopters to show how tough he is. the question, here in texas, a state you know well, has been for a long time, what was going to make the state competitive? what's going to make the state blue? the argument of -- we know why matthew dowd is in this race. he thinks that running in texas is -- democracy's at stake and this is a target -- this is the way you got to try to win to keep our democracy is to beat anti-democratic forces like governor abbott and like lieutenant governor patrick, and i think what is interesting, to cecile's point about accountability, is this onslaught of far-right
legislation that has created this perception outside the state that texas has gone bonkers, and inside the state, that matthew believes there's this widespread sense of, we're embarrassed. it has done a crazy thing. matthew dowd's running in a lieutenant governor's race. i've never seen a lieutenant governor's race in my life covering politics that's been nationalized. like, most americans don't even know who their own lieutenant governor is, let alone who the lieutenant governor of another state is, but matthew's going to raise money all over the country because people all over america think that dan patrick is the devil and that tells you, in this race here, nationalized, fully nationalized and next year, beto o'rourke is running against greg abbott and maybe matthew dowd is running against dan patrick. the stakes are going to be sky high. i don't think we'll have seen anything like that it, what's going to happen next year in texas where it will have the flavor and intensity of a presidential campaign, i think, and that is the way, ultimately, if accountability is going to come that cecile is talking about, that's the path to it. making people realize that
there's that much on the line. >> neal, i want to come back to you and give you the last word on -- i want to understand what the united states supreme court thinks of an opinion. as cecile said, it's extraordinary. it's a rebuke of the scheme. i think whatever the politics of the supreme court are, they're usually smart. how do they fall for that and are they capable of feeling shame? >> absolutely, they are. whether they will is, you know, remains to be seen. so, justice alito defended what the supreme court did last month by saying, look, it was just procedural. we didn't say anything on the merits of roe vs. wade and the like. but i think that really, as we talked about before, a slice of bologna far too thinly but now let's take justice alito at his word. roe vs. wade is the law of the land. when this case goes up to the court of appeals for the fifth circuit, court of appeals cannot overrule the supreme court. so what that means is effectively that the court of appeals is going to have to
affirm the decision yesterday. they can try on technicalities and so on, but i take justice alito, what he said at his word and it makes it very difficult for the court of appeals to do anything but stop the enforcement of the texas law. what that then does is set up a supreme court decision, do they want to hear this on the shadow docket, which means no oral argument, just kind of, you know, quick decision on whether roe vs. wade is the law of the land? i don't think so. i think they will have to set this case for oral arguments and then the question you asked me will be played out in realtime, with an oral argument, you know, do they really want to overrule roe vs. wade? and right now, actually, they have another case from mississippi with a 15-week abortion ban that also presents that issue that the court will be hearing on december 1st so i anticipate that it would make sense for them to hear all this together as one big set of cases and it will be a vigorous
argument at that point. >> we'll be watching. neal katyal, cecile richards, john heilemann, thank you so much for starting us off this hour. when we come back, we'll go back to our top story from the last hour, inside the twice impeached ex-president's pressure campaign to get the justice department to help him overturn an election he clearly and decisively lost. we'll ask a democrat from the senator judiciary committee what happens next. later in the hour, the troubling parallels between the rise of authoritarianism under donald trump and the gop and that of russian president vladimir putin. long-time presidential foreign policy advisor, fiona hill, will be our guest. she was a key witness at donald trump's first impeachment trial. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. es after a quick break. don't go anywhere. now, we all know progressive offers 24/7 protection, but we also bundle outdoor vehicles with home and auto to help people save more! [ laughs ] ♪♪ [ humming ] [ door creaks ] oh.
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we shared the reporting in the last hour about the bombshell senate report prepared by the judiciary committee that details the twice-impeached disgraced former president's attempts to install a loyalist as the acting attorney general in his final weeks, someone who would act on his wishes, mainly that of continuing his spread of the big lie and blocking the certification of the actual 2020 presidential election result. one of the committee's members, senator richard blumenthal, spoke out this morning about the report and described just how close this country came to a constitutional crisis. >> the department of justice should not be a political tool of the president as trump tried to make it, and the standing up and courage of a few department of justice officials prevented it from, in effect, shredding
the constitution. this moment was spine-tinglingly, chillingly close to shredding the constitution because donald trump tried to subvert and corrupt the constitution and the department of justice. >> joining us now, one of the members of the judiciary committee, senator hirono of hawaii. thank you so much for joining us today. >> good evening, nicole. >> tell me what, to you, was the jaw on the table, i can't believe i'm seeing this in black and white. >> well, the specificity of all the efforts by trump and mark meadows, his chief of staff, and others to overturn the election results. the fact that this is a president who totally abuses his power, abused his power, still wants to, he's not even the president, and to whom the rule of law did not apply. and so, this is yet another example of trump in action and trying to force an outcome that
is totally unjustified. >> there's someone we learned about from some of the earlier investigative work of your committee, but i want to read from the "times" reporting about jeffery clark. the report fleshes out the role of jeffery clark, a little known justice department official who participated in multiple conversations with trump about how to upend the election and who pushed his superiors to send georgia officials a letter that falsely claimed the justice department had identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election. trump was weighing whether to replace rosen with clark. of particular note was the january 2nd confrontation during which clark seemed to both threaten and coerce rosen to send the letter. he first raised the prospect that trump would fire rosen and said he would decline the offer to replace rosen as acting attorney general. clark revealed he had secretly conducted a witness interview with someone in georgia in
connection with the election fraud allegations that had already been disproved. >> how do we get rid of accomplices to an attempted coup inside the justice department? >> well, for one thing, one of the recommendations is that we make very clear that there have to be firewalls between the president, the executive branch, and the justice department. you cannot have a president acting as though the justice department is his very own law firm. so, those kinds of firewalls did not exist so now you have this guy named jeffery clark, who i never even heard of up to this point, running around, kind of conducting interviews no less for which he had absolutely no authority, but he certainly had the ear of the president, who likes anybody who is -- who we perceives as loyal to him. so you need to have a very, very clear firewalls as to these kinds of actions.
>> senator, between your committee's investigation, what we know the select committee investigating the insurrection has subpoenaed and asked for and a growing body of investigative journalism, it's becoming abundantly clear that the events leading up to the insurrection are all part of a cohesive attempt by donald trump with assistance from his man at doj, with outside lawyers like john eastman who crafted the memo, to overturn the results of the election. what is your sense -- what is your ability to sort of quantify and describe how close to successful those efforts came? >> very close. as my colleague, dick blumenthal just said, we came very, very close to a constitutional crisis, but i feel as though with president trump, former president, that we came close to a constitutional crisis many times. this is why he got impeached twice. so, he abused his power at just about every turn to get what he
wanted, and clearly, when you're trying to overturn the outcome of a duly conducted election, that is mighty close to overturning a government. that's exactly what happened on the insurrection on january 6th. i'm really glad, nicole, that you see all of this as part of an effort on the part of trump and his minions to get the kind of outcome, which was that he continue as president that he wanted. so, the massive abuse of power, the fact that rule of law didn't apply to him, those are all -- every -- i felt as though every day presented some kind of a attack on the body politic by former president trump. >> you're right. i mean, just to put it in that broader frame of the two impeachments and the second, i believe, the most bipartisan impeachment, and even though it came up short, conviction in our country's history. senator hirono, i know you've had a busy week. thank you so much for spending time with us today.
>> thank you. aloha. when we come back, she was an essential and compelling witness during the disgraced ex-president's first impeachment trial. in the news today only underscores what we have learned about trump's embrace and attraction to authoritarianism and authoritarians. fiona hill will be our guest after a quick break. don't go anywhere. guest after a quick break. don't go anywhere. ♪girl, i don't know, i don't know,♪ ♪i don't know why i can't get enough of your love babe♪ ♪oh no, babe girl, if i could only make you see♪ ♪and make you understand♪ get a dozen double crunch shrimp for $1 with any steak entrée. only at applebee's. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. at humana we believe your healthcare should evolve with you and part of that evolution means choosing the right medicare plan for you. humana can help. with original medicare you are covered for hospital
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the russian government's goal is to weaken our country. to diminish america's global role and to neutralize a perceived u.s. threat to russian interests. we are running out of time to stop them. >> her testimony in donald trump's first impeachment hearing, november 2019, began with a warning. stop. stop spreading disinformation. stop. stop playing in to vladimir putin's hands. now, nearly two years later, in her new memoir, "there's nothing for you here," russia policy expert fiona hill, once donald trump's top russia specialist, offers this assessment of the united states in the wake of trump's presidency. quote, russia is america's ghost of christmas future, a harbinger of things to come. if we can't adjust course and heal our political polarization. her realization after years serving in trump's administration, quote, donald trump began to follow the authoritarian's playbook, scripted by vladimir putin and other strongman leaders. it's borne out by today's headlines, a scheme to pressure
his justice department into overturning the results of the 2020 election, a state-by-state campaign now under way to install supporters of him and his big lie in state and local leadership and elections posts. a coup attempt supported and incited by the former president to interrupt the very function of our democracy. following a months-lock coordinated disinformation campaign to undermine confidence in our elections and now, two years after her warning to gop, to all members of congress about playing into vladimir putin's hands, apparently fell on deaf ears. another warning about the danger that could lie ahead. she writes this. if we fail to fix our ailing society, another american president, just like vladimir putin, might decide to stay in power indefinitely. and the next insurrectionary force that invades the u.s. capitol building might be better prepared than the january 6th 2021 mob. they might just manage to hold it. terrifying thought. our guest is fiona hill. thank you so much for joining us. it's a pleasure. we have covered your testimony.
we have covered everything about you, and it's a pleasure to have the book and to get to talk to you. >> thank you so much, nicole. great to be here with you. >> i feel like everything that you and your colleagues in both the career and political national security post saw what was happening up close and in slow motion and i have that experience from being in the government, but it feels like the worst case scenario has come to pass and i wonder how you feel about that. >> yeah, it has. and you know, obvious, an awful lot of people will say and will know that they saw this coming, that there was a lot of things in, you know, donald trump's character that would perhaps lead him down this path of wanting to seek greater and greater personal power. you know, certainly, when i entered the administration, i can't say that i expected exactly this. i was worried deeply about what the russians had done in terms of the sophisticated influence operation that they'd launched against the presidential
election campaign, against our democracy in 2016. i knew it had done serious harm, they'd targeted the whole of the campaign, not just one particular person. they wanted to, as i said in my testimony, undermine our democracy, show us up on the world stage, and you know, they succeeded. but i don't think i had fully appreciated until i got into the national security council, i started to see things playing out, how much our own democracy, our own political parties and our own system had degraded. because you know, like others, i actually thought that, you know, once i got in there, it would be clear to everybody, the national security crisis, people would pull together behind the scenes. surely they would all be on the same page. and of course that was not the case. >> and perhaps most publicly in terms of your area of expertise was helsinki. what did you think when you heard donald trump stand next to vladimir putin and side with
vladimir putin over the entire american intelligence and national security establishment? >> well, i thought the same as everybody else, of course, and you know, i write in the book about some of my feelings in that particular moment. but it was also entirely predictable. because president trump did not want to be challenged at all about the outcome of 2016. he thought that if he admitted the russians had done something, it would be admitting to essentially saying, i was not elected. i am moscow's candidate. he didn't want to do that. and he also, most importantly for his perspective, didn't want to be shown up in front of vladimir putin. because he has this autocratic strongman envy, he saw himself as a vladimir putin. he doesn't see his staff, his cabinet members, anybody else around him as his peers. he doesn't take their word, you know, on anything. he just looks to his fellow strongmen. it's not about the country. it's about the person themselves and what they stand for, and he did not want to be shown up in front of putin so he was trying
to deflect away the questioning, and of course we ended up in that mess that we saw, all of us saw, that spectacle of him essentially greeting with putin at the expense of what was irrefutable evidence from his own intelligence services. >> and you just articulated where you land in the book on the diagnosis to the question that hung over his entire presidency, what was the thing with trump and russia. and you write, and please jump in and correct me if i'm wrong, that it was more affinity for putin's powers, attraction to authoritarianism, and disdain for western leaders and democratic leaders. i wonder if you experience anything that made you think it was something more than that. >> you know, here and there. there were concerns, of course, about -- obviously, president trump was still interested in building real estate in moscow and else where he. he talked about that with other world leaders, in fact. i mean, he was always talking
about the buildings he had built in turkey, for example, and mentioning this to president erdogan. so the thing is, it wasn't only just about his relationship with putin either. i saw this playing out in very unfortunate, very difficult terms with other leaders. but it really, i have to say, is everything in my interactions, confirmed for me after this initial diagnosis, that he was more obsessed about the person themselves, what they stood for, the celebrity aspect of their persona, the power that they had, the lack of checks and balances and their ability to basically get people to pay fealty to them. there was no ideological interest in vladimir putin or anyone else. in fact, i don't believe that donald trump actually has an ideology. it's more about idolatry and for him, whether people admired him and you know, were basically, you know, giving fealty to him at all times and he said this in public. i mean, he said this all of the time. it's not just me interpreting this or anybody else
interpreting this. he said himself that this is what he's interested in. >> i worked with john bolton in the previous republican administration, and i used to text him around these various crises and say, how can you stay there with his worship of putin? it's so disgusting. and it's un-american. and he would say, wouldn't you rather have me here than anyone else? and i wonder if you can flesh out for me or get to the bottom of whether the talking point that aside from trump, the white house and the administration was actually tough on russia or whether trump prevented you from doing and john bolton from doing what was in america's national security interests when it came to russia. >> well, the interesting thing about that is he didn't actually stop us from doing any of these things so you have to, again, take putin out of russia anywhere because putin is a sort of stand-alone for him, just like president xi out of china. we know he was very negatively disposed toward china, trade, economic issues and security terms, but president xi was also a focal point of admiration,
just like kim jong un at different times in north korea. he didn't really stop people from pushing back. he did, however, undermine it. because he wasn't on message. he wasn't, you know, kind of consistent in his approach. so, he didn't stop, but he undermined and made it much more difficult. >> i want to understand with your both sort of political scientist parts of your brain and expertise as well as your historical view on russia and the preconditions for where russia is today. where you think we're heading in terms of one of the two great parties in this country's complete dependence and saturation of propaganda and disinformation, be it around the insurrection or public safety, public health things, the vaccine, the election result. be it around knocking out anyone who tells the truth, even if they're in their own party, inside that coalition. people like liz cheney, who's as conservative as you can be. adam kinzinger. where are we heading?
>> well, again, i think what you've just said and discussed, this is not about ideology. this isn't about conservatism or right versus left. this is about the kind of path of a personality cult. and you know, just in the previous segments, you know, the quotes that you had about what was happening behind the scenes in the department of justice, the fact that president trump hasn't left the scene. he's still in the wings all the time trying to orchestrate his return to power or at least his king maker possibility here. there isn't really a political party anymore around him. he has even said there is no congressional republican party. there is just the party of trump. and in russia, putin isn't part of the united russia party. he's the head of a movement. he's the head of a personality-based system. and he's put his cronies in place. there is still a really serious russian state, however, that vladimir putin actually operates within the state. he's not operating as an outsider and that's a key distinction. he tries to unite the country
around him as well, not divide it. but some of the way that this plays out is very similar. putin, unlike trump, as i said, is a unifier. trump is a divider. he wants to destroy the state to keep himself in power and this is a key and very telling difference. >> i want to read some of what you write about the tools at trump's disposal and the damage, that dynamic you just described has done here so far. throughout history, you write this. throughout history, coup plotters have seized control of the main communications channels, the central telegraph or post office and later the radio and tv towers. trump, instead, recruited fox news, newsmax, one america network and used social media platforms like twitter and facebook to sway public opinion in his favor. twitter became trump's modern day equivalent of the tv and radio tower. he directly messaged the 88 million people who followed his account to propagate self-serving narratives and blatant lies. social media helped him mobilize
his supporters into action. that was a dynamic that was present through his entire candidacy, but it maybe didn't reveal itself for as dangerous as it had become until the pandemic when his supporters were sort of parroting his liberate virginia, liberate michigan sentiments and when january 6th happened and with the mission statement of hanging mike pence, they stormed the united states capitol. how do you turn back the tide of that power of propaganda when it's tied to a leader like donald trump, who as you said, will not exit stage left? >> yeah, look, it's very difficult. i think we're actually making some headway right now, in fact, thanks to frances haugen and the whistle-blower for facebook. she's pointed out to everyone how these social media platforms use algorithms that, in fact, enable people to exploit them to sow division and polarization.
and of course she's laid it all out for us. and in fact, that's when our politics is right now. it's very divisive, polarized, basically a flawed algorithm. and you know, social media, trump was remarkable in his use of it, incredibly clever. so is vladimir putin and the russian security services. they also used facebook. they created fake personas to basically fuel more discord and to basically pit americans against each other by pretending to be other americans on facebook. i mean, this is a pretty flawed system if people can get away with that. we all keep hearing about bots, you know, that basically put things out on twitter. the trolls that are out there. but there's also kind of a lot of overlap on the domestic and foreign policy front, because one of our problems is there's so much disinformation that's being created in the domestic front that russians and others can actually exploit and also propagate, and we're going to have to deal with that -- sorry to talk about disinformation, my daughter just came in from school behind us. >> my dog used to chime in. >> teenagers.
they're getting -- it's adults. we're worried about the kind of impact of instagram on teenage girls and obviously trying to get my daughter off her instagram account. we're going to have to do this as adults for our whole society as well. this is how we address this. we've got to be more savvy about the way that people use information. >> i want to just end by -- this, too, i mean, this is in the news right now, but you put this in a historical context as well. you write, as a result of all this eagerness at the top to embrace fictional narratives for purely personal and domestic political purposes the u.s. under trump joined the historical pantheon of states promoting conspiracy theories. america was no different from hitler's germany or czarist soviet and modern russia. george orwell's "1984" moment of manipulation came to fruition in 2016 to 2020 with the qanon conspiracy and with trump's eventual big lie, that he had won the presidential election.
this is who we are. >> yes, sadly. we're no longer that exceptional, you know, power standing out for the truth. there's another line that a colleague sent to me from george or orwell. in a universe of lies, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. it shouldn't be that. telling the truth should be a matter of course and the fact that the united states should be propagating lies and conspiracy theories, for me, it's incredibly shocking. i aim here in 1989 as an immigrant against the backdrop of the soviet union still in place, the berlin wall came down when i was here. i started studying russian in 1984, the year of george orwell's book. i never thought i would see this here in the united states. this is not the united states that i came to. and there are millions of other immigrants like me who feel the same way. many of my friends from countries that have been ripped apart by civil war, who came here because the united states stood for the truth, was a
beacon of hope, the land of opportunity, are looking at themselves and their families and saying, what's going on here? how can't people see this? sigh mean, that in itself is something of a motivator for writing the book after i stepped away from the table at that testimony and thought, what has that happened to us? testimony and thought, what has that happened to us? >> fiona hill is staying when we w come back, one of the viral moments from the ex-president's impeachment hearing that propelled fiona hill to iconic status. we'll ask her about it next. c ss we'll ask her about it next.
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well, i think you might recall in my deposition on october 14th that i said that very unfortunately i had a bit of a blow-up with ambassador sunderland and a couple of testy encounters with him. i was actually to be honest angry with him. i hate to say it but often when women show anger, it's not fully appreciated, it's often pushed onto emotional issues perhaps or deflected onto other people. what i was angry about was that he wasn't coordinating with us. >> truer words. we're back with fiona hill, author of "there's nothing for you here." with this comment i suddenly found myself elevated to female icon status. i didn't feel like a female icon on november 21st. you also write being called the russia bitch, the name you were called by senior officials in the trump administration was another example. that is ongoing in life. and i want to know if you can
talk about whether the trump administration was sort of a high-water mark of it. >> well, it was another example of it. i think, you know, i wasn't really expecting it to be in the u.s. white house in the 21st century. after decades of women basically moving themselves up into more senior position. i'm in my 50s now, i'm well on in my career and life here and a lot of things of changed but some things really haven't. one of the reasons i wanted to put some of these aspects of my experiences into the book because i think it's very important to draw attention to the fact there's still this incredible discrimination against women. i also point out in the book that for black women and women of the minority backgrounds, it's even more of a problem because you have these double sets of disadvantage. but gender is a major obstacle
in many respects for people doing their job. you're often just overlooked and discounted because, you know, you happen to be a woman or somebody of some lower level status in society. >> how did you get the name russia bitch? >> well, i wasn't even aware i had it until one of the gentlemen who had been writing a feature of me went and talked to some of the other people at the national security council around the white house. he said did you know they called you that? i was like, wow, at least they noticed me, right? i assumed they hadn't paid that much attention to me, but i've got a nickname and i decided to make it a badge of pride in the book because this is a word that people use all the time, particularly when it comes to women's anger. you are a bitch if you're criticizing something or you're pushing back on something. it's obviously a genderized word. men don't get called that. >> they do not. i want to ask you real quickly, are you more worried about the united states or russia?
>> well, i'm more worried about the united states right now because this is my country, this is our country. it's a country that's meant a lot of things for people around the world. you know, russia is where it is. vladimir putin actually in many respects from the vantage point of many russians has been a pretty good leader for them. he has improved the lives of many people who kind of had problems in the past in terms of getting a job and getting opportunity. i mean he runs the place with a strong grip. he is, of course, a major threat on the international stage with the subversion and constantly pushing our buttons, but the main problem for the united states was ours. if there weren't buttons to push, vladimir putin would have a much harder time of launching influence operations against us. if we got our act together and were able to bridge some of these divides and heal some polarization, there would be a lot less problems with many of the countries around the world.
>> we'd give him less to work with. the book is wonderful and important. it's called "there is nothing for you here." fiona hill thank you for spending some time with us today. it's a real pleasure. >> thanks for having me. >> we'll be back after a quick break. having me. >> we'll be back after a quick break. ♪girl, i don't know, i don't know,♪ ♪i don't know why i can't get enough of your love babe♪ ♪oh no, babe girl, if i could only make you see♪ ♪and make you understand♪ get a dozen double crunch shrimp for $1 with any steak entrée. only at applebee's. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
congress pretty busy this week. leaders have been furiously working on at least four priorities all week, hustling to avoid a debt default that mitch mcconnell was threatening until he blinked wednesday. we have more later tonight. also all the work hammering out possible deals for several trillion dollars in spending. congress also deciding how to handle these republican officials who are on the way to defying subpoenas in the insurrection probe with a deadline of midnight tonight. so it's a lot. and amidst all that, there's another issue now rocking washington tonight. a type of progress in the vow democrats made to pursue accountability for january 6th with the senate releasing damning findings on trump's attempt to overthrow the election, including premeditated efforts before the riot and insurrection on january 6th. these were by then president trump, demanding the doj take actions to overturn the election with