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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  October 7, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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when they are authorized, it's going to be really important that we make sure that employers are giving their workers paid time off to get their kids vaccinated. we don't see the same breakdown in terms of the have and have nots when it comes to kid vaccines. a third of workers in america don't have sick leave or personal leave. it's choosing between getting a paycheck that day or getting your kid vaccinated. we don't want people to have to make that choice. >> dr. besser, as always, great talk to you. thank you very much. that is all. good evening. i will pay you a compliment. i hate to encroach on your time. that was the most compelling, transfixing television i have seen about moles and mole removal in my life by far. i was watching it thinking, this woman is genuinely a genius. i can't take my eyes off this
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story. this is incredible. excellent job. >> you know, i feel like if -- we could invent awards. most compelling television ever about moles. most compelling about -- >> for sure. >> grub worms. slip knots i'm very good at. you are very kind. thank you very much. thanks to you at home for joining us. happy to be back. this is just released today. the interview with the investigators went long. it was like a 3 1/2 hour interview in the end. the first swearing, however, did not happen until about halfway through this 3 1/2 hour long interview. this is how the swearing arose. you ready? here we go.
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there was no plan. that testimony unsealed today from a man named bj pack. we have been following his story
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for almost a year now. his shock resignation as the top federal prosecutor, u.s. attorney in georgia. forgive me, it stunk to high heaven when it happened, without explanation, in early january right in the middle of trump trying to stay in office despite the fact he lost the presidential election. we had just learned at the time, 24 hours earlier, about trump's efforts to pressure georgia state officials into changing the vote count in georgia, into finding him just enough votes so the election results could be overturned. the same day that pack resigned was when we learned about that call pressuring georgia officials. never had any explanation. now we get the explanation. we learn among other things that pack, when he was the u.s. attorney in georgia, when this was coming down from the white house about them trying to say trump didn't really lose georgia and that it was some sort of
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stolen election and the justice department should fix it, at the time mr. pack seems to have been quite unnerved by the fact that white house chief of staff mark meadows turned up in person in georgia at election site in the middle of all of this. we covered this at the time. what is the white house chief of staff doing in georgia? at a place where they are reviewing the ballots and the election materials in the state of georgia. what's the white house chief of staff doing there? now we get a little new insight on that from this interview, just unsealed today.
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never happened before in the history of the united states. what the justice department was potentially going to do here on behalf of the president of the united states was, in mr. pack's words, bat bleep crazy. that u.s. attorney was
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ultimately fired as u.s. attorney. his firing came down from the white house. he was told to resign after the president told senior justice department officials how mad he was that none of the bs voting claims he wanted to make about georgia were being backed up by bj pack's office. he wanted this federal prosecutor, the u.s. justice department in places like georgia to say that there was massive criminal election fraud that was under active investigation and the election results were suspect and potentially criminal. bj pack wouldn't say that. so he had to go. now we know. today the judiciary committee in the senate released what they are calling an interim report, a staff report about 50 pages long. they released that alongside 900 pages of documents and transcripts that have turned up in their investigation so far into the justice department getting involved in efforts by former president trump to try to
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overturn the results of the presidential election to stay in power, despite his losing that election. that's what the judiciary committee is investigating. this preliminary report tells us a lot of alarming things we did not know before about how the justice department ended up right in the middle of all of this stuff. some ways unwitting and some way witting. this guy jeff clark, who was given pack's cellphone number. who is this guy? why is he going to call me? jeffrey clark, unknown justice department official. he was the head of the environmental division. they made him acting head of the civil division for a short time. we know in detail that he does appear to have launched a plot with trump in which they were going to have the justice department assert that there were ongoing serious
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investigations into serious allegations, serious and credible allegations of election fraud in georgia and other states that biden won. the plan was that the justice -- the united states justice department would send a scary letter to republican-led state legislatures in each of the states that biden won. the letter would tell the legislatures that there were serious matters under investigation by the justice department and it would tell the legislatures they should come back into session, into special or emergency session, and they should appoint new electors in each state. even though biden won each of the states. the biden electors were about to be seated. the justice department, the u.s. justice department would effectively tell republican legislatures in those states that the biden victory appeared to be a sham, a crime. the justice department was on the case. those republican-led legislatures should consider
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just disregarding the purported election results and do what they needed to do to declare trump the winner. or at least to not declare biden the winner. do what you need to do. justice department will back you up. that's bat bleep crazy. right? as bj pack said. you can imagine how it would work. if they sent that letter to even one state and the republican legislature acted on it, it would spread to others. all the other states, they would do the same. even if it didn't work in multiple states, just having this kind of assertion from the justice department related to multiple states that biden won, that presumably would have been enough to give vice president mike pence a justification for not accepting or delaying the acceptance of the results from those states, which is something we know mike pence and his
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counsel looked into ahead of january 6 and the certification of the election. that letter to georgia, which was first drafted to georgia but they intended to send it to multiple states, that was not theoretical. it was drafted. here is jeff clark, head of the environmental division, the civil division, jeff clark is saying, let's send out this letter to georgia. it should be signed by the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. let's get this out there. let's do it fast. this was a scheme with trump. in today's report from the senate judiciary committee, we learn that the attorney general at the time was told by jeff clark that if he did sign on to that crazy letter to georgia, then he could stay on as attorney general. he was told if he didn't sign on to it, he would be taken out. he would be replaced as attorney general by jeff clark. by the guy who wrote the georgia
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letter, the guy who concocted and pursuing this scheme. jeffrey rosen, you sign on to this letter and we're going to send it to the republican controlled legislatures to overturn the results. if you don't sign on, you will be fired and replaced with a guy who will do it instead of you. that's what jeffrey rosen was told. he was acting attorney general. the deputy attorney general was rich donaghue. he explains what it was like to talk to trump about this scream -- about this scheme. out this .
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it's not good for you, mr. president. this is dramatic stuff. right? the president in the oval office has a guy sitting in front of him, jeff clark, who is willing to do it. hatched the scheme with president trump to do it. he drafted the letter. he has asked for the other official signatures on it and
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threatened the attorney general. if you don't sign, i will be attorney general and i will sign it. they will tell republicans in the state legislatures where biden won that the justice department is treating the election as a crime scene. they should throw out the election results, take steps to keep trump in office. this guy is willing to do it. trump is very willing to put him in charge of the justice department so he can carry out that plot. what stops is that everybody else in the justice department says they will quit, make a stink, it might look bad. that's what stops it. it's dramatic stuff. these justice department officials -- we know apparently white house council and his deputy all threatening to resign in this circumstance -- makes them the stars of their own movies here. makes them seem like they really saved us. here is the problem. here is the problem not just for
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them being cast as heroes in their own telling of the movie. here is the problem for the u.s. justice department on its own terms and today. here is the problem that has landed in attorney general garland's lap. the problem is that before, in the end, they finally all offered to quit to stop this plot, before they did that, a bunch of them helped in the plot. they didn't just passively observe that this is what trump wanted and this is what trump was pursuing and this is how trump wanted to use the u.s. justice department. they helped him use the justice department to advance this plot up to a point. the deputy attorney general telling trump, it will be bad for you, for the country, we will quit. he looks like a great star. before that, we know he took trump's bat bleep theories about voter fraud, stealing the election from him in multiple states, and he sent those to the
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u.s. attorneys in michigan and pennsylvania. he as the deputy attorney general of the united states justice department told u.s. attorneys in michigan and pennsylvania that they should use justice department resources to go check that out. to try to substantiate these nonsense claims that were coming from the white house. to be clear, these claims about voter fraud in michigan and pennsylvania, these didn't bubble up from local law enforcement efforts in michigan and pennsylvania and that's how they got to the u.s. attorney's office there. no. these u.s. attorneys got calls from main justice in d.c., the number two official in the united states department of justice, the trump appointed deputy attorney general in his official capacity telling u.s. attorneys in those states to pursue these made-up claims that president trump was using to cast doubt on the election. in the end, he threatened to quit if trump went ahead with this crazy scheme. but leading up to that, he helped trump use the justice
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department and federal prosecutors to pursue these claims. it wasn't just him. today, we have learned that former attorney general william barr, who received all this positive attention for his public assertions that there wasn't any significant fraud in the election -- glad you said it. what did he do when he was in office as attorney general? he personally weighed in and told at least one u.s. attorney that he needed to investigate. that attorney general william barr had information that he needed to investigate. he got it from rudy giuliani. that that u.s. attorney should make it a top priority to go investigate rudy giuliani's made-up bat bleep claims about voter fraud. the same claims that trump was using at that moment to try to get the election overthrown. barr did it, too. this is from bj pack's testimony just unsealed today.
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it's not normal for the attorney general of the united states to call a random federal prosecutor
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to tell him personally and directly, here is what you are going to investigate now. make it your top priority. i'm giving you these allegations that i want to become your first priority as an investigator. you are the federal prosecutor. do this for me. that's what bill barr did to bj pack with rudy giuliani's made-up allegations about voter fraud in georgia. pack said, yes, sir, you are the attorney general. you want me to make it my first priority, of course, i will. he uses resources of his office to go start investigating those things. pack goes on to say as far as he knew the division at main justice that handles election-related crimes thought that this giuliani stuff in georgia was not a substantive matter and should not be investigated by the justice department. bill barr overruled that concern at main justice and said, i'm telling you to do it anyway. i'm telling you personally as attorney general directly on the phone that i need you to look into this as your top priority.
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then i'm going to go to the white house with it. one of the surprise revelations in this report just released today by the senate judiciary committee -- what they are investigating is what was the justice department's role in trump trying to seize power, trying to stay in power even though he lost the election? one of the surprise revelations is that the committee, based on what it found already, they have asked the d.c. bar to open a disciplinary investigation into the behavior of jeff clark. given what he did as a lawyer, given what he did with his justice department role in that scheme with trump. there's an interesting question i think as to whether or not what jeff clark did might be criminally prosecutable. his law license may be on the line. whether or not there's a potential crime, something for which he could be prosecuted, the committee said it's not willing to pronounce judgment on criminal matters.
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i feel like the thing that is missing from the analysis of this today and all the revelations here is that disturbing facts, the now disturbing time line we have got about other senior justice department officials, including attorney general william barr, using the powers of the justice department in an irregular, out of chain of command kind of way, to get the justice department to bolster trump's made-up claims about fraud. these made-up claims he was using to try to stay in office. all the attention is on the fact that at the end of the day, senior justice department officials said, we're not going that far. you have to fire us or we will resign if you go that far. along the way, all of this stuff fed from rudy giuliani and from the qanon groups or whatever else they are, wherever else they got this stuff, it flowed into the trump white house, it flowed from the trump white house to the justice department and then senior justice department officials told
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federal prosecutors around the country, use the resources of your office to chase this down. it's not the way the u.s. justice department is supposed to work. now that we know the justice department did work that way under trump, what's the justice department going to do about it? what is the justice department doing with this new knowledge that its senior officials, up to the highest levels of the department, attorney general, deputy attorney general, they tried to use the department. once you at a senior level use the powers of that department for that purpose, it can't be that you just get to leave and move on and the next person who holds that job gets to then try it again? what is the justice department going to do here? how does the justice department clean up after this mess? i don't know what will happen to trump. i don't know what will happen to jeff clark here. what's the justice department
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going to do about the way it was used? joining us is rhode island senator sheldon whitehouse. he sat in on some of the testimony. he is also a former prosecutor. he was u.s. attorney in rhode island. he was the state's attorney general. qualified to comment on these matters. it's a pleasure to see you tonight. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me on. >> this is a lot of material. it's about a 50-page staff report. it's several hundred pages of transcripts. several hundred pages of exhibits. what do you think the public should understand is the most important thing you and your colleagues have found? >> i think three really key takeaways from this. the first is a simple one. that's how deeply personally involved president trump was in all of this. meetings and phone calls and contacts, oval office. he was neck deep in this personally. that would be point one.
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point two would be how much of this scheme focused on georgia. the letter was about georgia. the schemes to maneuver u.s. attorney pack out of georgia were obviously about georgia. it supplements whatever investigative materials the fulton county d.a. is pulling together to look at trump's efforts to subvert the election in georgia. it ties together into what could be a very interesting case in the fulton county d.a.'s office. the last is, it's apparent in the transcript and more evident if you were in the room with attorney general -- acting attorney general rosen, these guys did not have much respect for jeffrey clark. this guy was kind of a nobody. he had been put into run the
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environment division for trump, which meant he was supposed to do nothing. because of vacancies, he was an acting civil division chief. it's a little hard to imagine that he cooked this up on his own or that he would tangle with rosen like this on his own. he landed quickly at a dark money shop called the new civil liberties alliance. i don't know who is paying him to be there. i think there's a bigger story about what's behind this scheme. one school of thought is that this is an ambitious nobody who saw his moment and took a shot at it and got shot down by his peers. equally plausible scenario is that this guy was put up to it, somebody drafted that letter involving areas of law in which he had no expertise for him to produce and looking behind what took place at the department of justice is why this is only an
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interim report. we need to keep looking at those other elements. >> am i right, senator, that mr. clark has refused requests to be interviewed thus far? obviously, no transcript of an interview released today. the committee is seeking his testimony as well as all the white house documents you were not able to get from the national archives. >> i don't know what i'm allowed to say about that under the committee rules right now. i should probably pass on that question. sorry. >> that's all right. >> obviously, he is a person of interest. he is the central person in this saga. at some point in the committee before a grand jury, his testimony is going to be obtained. >> let me ask you, senator, there's a lot of focus on mr. clark and what he did. it was sort of shocking revelation when the materials came out that there has been a referral by the committee to the
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d.c. bar to look into mr. clark and whether he should be disciplined as a lawyer for what he did here. i as i explained in the intro am struck by the fact that there were other senior justice department officials who were very willing to use the resources of the department to jump down the rabbit holes on trump's behalf, the deputy attorney general and the attorney general mr. barr, all of whom told us attorneys to chase this stuff down. is that a problem for the justice department in an ongoing way? is that a matter for the inspector general? is that potentially a matter for referral to bar associations? >> possibly. not all that clear. to the extent that what they were doing was running down allegations of violations of federal law, then that's what the department of justice is there for. to the extent it would be obvious to any person that these
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were ridiculous allegations to pursue them beyond the point where they were credible begins to take you outside of the scope of the protection of doing legitimate law enforcement investigations. in any event, there are a lot of dealt of justice policies about what you do when, when you are closing in on an investigation, when you are in that sensitive period around the elections and around the count. i suspect they were sloppy about this. there's the rules we have talked about before about contacts between the department of justice and the white house. it appears a lot of this may well have been done outside of the rules that allow contact between the white house and the department of justice. there's plenty of fodder for the ig and office of professional responsibility to look at. even if the people have moved on, they can still do a report to see what preventative measures should be put into procedures so this can't happen
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again. >> yeah. that's exactly right. the u.s. justice department can never be used in this way again. the question is how we ensure accountability now and clarity now about what happened to make sure -- >> this was an attempted coup within the department of justice against the attorney general. it seems unlikely that jeffrey clark came up with this on his own. >> fascinating. thanks for being with us tonight. >> my pleasure. we have more to get to tonight. stay with us. tonight. stay with us ack... that doesn't happen. this is the sound of better breathing. fasenra is a different kind of asthma medication. it's not a steroid or inhaler. fasenra is an add-on treatment for asthma driven by eosinophils. it's one maintenance dose every 8 weeks. it helps prevent asthma attacks, improve breathing,
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it was late january when "the new york times" dropped this from justice department reporter katie benner. trump and justice department lawyer said to have plotted to oust acting attorney general. that report prompted an eight month investigation into trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his efforts to use the justice department as a tool for doing so. that investigation produced today's jaw dropping report and hundreds of pages of supporting material. report found that the justice department was both used as a tool in trump's attempted coup and was ultimately also a force to stop it. the news of that report was broken late last night by katie
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benner who has been crushing this story since before day one. thank you, again, for making time to be here and understanding this reporting. it remains one of the most amazing stories of our time. >> thanks for having me. >> in terms of this interim report by the judiciary committee, what materials they want access to, what they still want to get? >> from what i know about baseball, i would say we're in the third or fourth inning. they want to speak with jeff clark, for example, who is somebody who has not responded to any of their requests. as you can see from this report, we have a full picture of what the experience was like on the justice department side, how they felt getting these requests from the white house to help upend the result of the election. what their testimony, their notes, their extensive handwritten notes, emails and
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other documents show is that they were never sure what was going on at the white house. they were never sure who was coming up with what felt to them like scheme after scheme and plot after plot to upend the election. they had a sense it might include scott perry of pennsylvania. they had a sense he asked jeff clark to come to the white house to help with legal issues and to be a voice for the justice department. they were never really sure exactly what was going on. i think the committee will have to start interviewing other witnesses, including witnesses from the white house side, to get a complete picture. >> we just spoke with sheldon whitehouse, who is on the committee. he raised the prospect that jeff clark, who is so in the bull's eye of this report and who has been referred for potential discipline to the d.c. bar because of what the committee discovered about him, senator whitehouse said mr. clark might
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not have been sort of intellectually up to the task he was trying to pull off here. he might have been put up to it. this was an area of law he didn't know anything about. he may have been essentially a vessel for other people who were trying to use him and his position to get this done. does that resonate at all with what you have reported thus far in this story? >> you certainly get that sense if you read the transcripts from former acting attorney jeff rosen and his deputy. you get the sense they were always wondering, is there somebody behind jeff clark? they would have these conversations with him and then come back wondering, who is helping him in these efforts? where are these legal theories coming from? that's a sense you get. >> wow. in terms of what is likely to happen next here, i'm struck by the fact that there seems to be good documentation of how seen
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-- senior officials tried to help trump. william barr not only personally telling u.s. attorneys to make it their first priority to investigate some of these claims, but telling the fbi to interview specific witnesses. the attorney general, the deputy attorney general getting involved personally t try to push this out. is that seen as a problem in the justice department going forward? >> i think that there are calls by former justice department employees and current employees that one of the reasons to do a full review of what happened in the justice department during the trump era is to figure out how to stop this from happening again. so far, garland rejected that. he does not seem on board with that kind of review. what we did see is that there were certainly this sense of the frog being boiled alive. i'm only reporting on legal matters and the facts. from these interviews, you can sort of see a situation where
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employees and top officials at the justice department were thinking to themselves, i will do this one more thing, i will just comply with this request for an investigation just so i can say we did it and check the box and get him off my back. without really understanding how that would encourage him and abet him. it would create this psychological road map by which he continues to believe he can push the justice department and to publically announce them in a way that would undermine the results of the investigation, the credibility of the election and as the witnesses said, impair democracy. you get to a point where only the most extreme things can force officials to act. >> katie benner, has led the country from before day one in terms of breaking this story. thank you for your time tonight. third or fourth inning and a long way to go.
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thank you. >> thanks for having me. we have more to come tonight. stay with us. to meco tonight. stay with us bogeys on your six, limu. they need customized car insurance from liberty mutual so they only pay for what they need. woooooooooooooo... we are not getting you a helicopter. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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any day now we are expecting the facebook whistle-blower, the former senior facebook employee who came forward this week, we are expecting her to meet with the committee investigating the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. this was reported by cnn. what's relevant here is that part of what frances haugen testified about this week was that facebook has pretty effective technical ways to limit the use of facebook for incitement to violence and deliberate misinformation. she testified facebook used those limits, they put those in place in the lead-up to the 2020 election. according to her testimony and documents she took with her when she left the company, she says facebook decided soon after the
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election that it no longer wanted to keep those safety rules in place. it was costing them too much money. they stopped those security measures just after the election. she says that decision, she says it contributed to the planning and organization of the mob violence that took place at the u.s. capitol on january 6. facebook has denied her allegations. they pushed back against her, even though she has been able to produce company documents bolstering her claims. again, very interesting development. she's expected to meet soon with investigators from the january 6 committee. they are looking into how the organizing of the attack came together. how the money flowed behind it. that's a very provocative set of questions there. on that committee, today is the deadline for four senior members of the trump administration to hand over documents to that committee by midnight tonight.
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the january 6 committee sent subpoenas to trump's chief strategist steve bannon and mark meadows and dan scavino and sca. and kash patel, making scary googly eyes, he's the guy president trump randomly installed at a top pentagon post in his final weeks in office though he appears to have had no relevant qualifications. but this four has until midnight tonight to comply with those subpoenas. doesn't appear they're going to. politico.com was the first to report today trump sent all four of these guys a letter telling them not to comply with subpoenas and not to sit for depositions next week. the january 6th chairman has threatened anyone who doesn't comply with these subpoena will get a criminal intent referral to the justice department.
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just before we got on the air tonight the u.s. senate voted to allow democrats to raise the debt ceiling for a few more weeks whereupon i guess we'll get to do this all over again. 11 republicans joined with democrats to allow the vote to happen. but then when the vote actually happened no republicans voted with democrats to do it. so there's a 60-vote threshold to allow the democrats to vote for it. republicans did allow that with 11 republicans senators joining with the democrats. then when it came time to actually take the vote and raise the debt ceiling it was democrats only. why are we doing this? you might remember that a few weeks ago republicans were threatening not one but two completely unnecessary self-inflicted crises, hitting the debt ceiling and also forcing the u.s. government into
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a government shutdown. well, those things have been averted for now. last week democrats reached a deal with the republicans to delay the government shutdown until december 3rd. now tonight they've reached a deal to delay the debt ceiling crash until also early december, which means december is going to be a nightmare on purpose. it also means that democrats are going to figure out a way to pass joe biden's agenda, his big reconciliation bill. they've got about eight weeks until both of those self-inflicted republican crises come crashing down at the same time. such a stupid way to govern. watch this space. govern. watch this space
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all right, that is going to do it for us tonight on this fine friday eve. that doesn't mean tonight is friday evening. it means it's the eve of friday. see you again tomorrow. now it's time for the "last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> stop trying to confuse me with that, rachel. it gets me every time. i've got my huge subverting justice report by the democratic staff of the senate judiciary committee. yeah, i saw -- you have a color printer. i don't. >> i do. i invested. >> i'm wicked impressed by that. there's another report that came out -- another report came out

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