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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  October 12, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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that'll do it for us tonight, i will see you tomorrow. now is time for "the last word" with the great lawrence o'donnel. >> good evening. it's going to be mid night in washington with "the last word." thank you rachel, sending overall those questions that you
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used last night that'll get me through my entire interview with adam schiff tonight. >> if i didn't write 100 questions for every five-minute interview that i do, i can get on other things in life. you know me, i overwrite. >> fantastic. >> our first guest, congressman adam schiff says the house committee will pursue criminal contempt charges against anyone who tries to defy the committee's subpoenas. insurrectionists in suits and ties is how adam schiff describes the republican members of the house whose rhetoric encouraged and helped provoke the attack on january 6th. one of the witnesses subpoenaed by the january 6th committee, steve bannon. in adam schiff's new book,
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"midnight in washington," he tells a story of steve abandon testifying to the house intelligence committee, while he was a member of the white house staff. this was the first year of the trump's presidency. on page 153, adam schiff writes ", steve bannon showed up for testimony one afternoon with a list of only 25 questions he would deign to answer in the entire investigations, notwithstanding the fact that and more stupefying, he admitted that the list had been written by the white house." that's what the january 6th committee can expect if and when bannon actually shows up to testify before the committee. a year before, adam schiff stood
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on the senate floor, on the third day of the first impeachment trial of donald trump and said this. >> no constitution can protect us. right does not matter anymore. you know, you can't trust this president do what's right for this country. you can trust he'll do what's right for donald trump. he'll do it now. he's done it before. he'll do it for the next several months. he'll do it in the election if he's allowed to. this is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. right matters. right matters. and the truth matters. otherwise, we are lost.
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>> in his new book, adam schiff says during the attack of the capitol, members of the house kept saying to him, you warned us. he writes, "fear was receding and anger at the president -- "adam schiff describes what he was feeling when capitol police was trying to move members of congress to safety. he wrote, you need to get out a police officer shouted. move, i made my way down to the well and joined the remaining members and staff filing out
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looking for trucks. you can't let them see you a republican member said to me. he's right, i know these people. i can talk to them. i can talk my way through them. you are in a whole different category. at first i was oddly touched by these members and by their concerns but by then i had been viaing death threats for years and that feeling seem gave way to others. i would not need to be worried about my security. none of us would. adam schiff writes that in the first impeachment trial of donald trump in which adam schiff was the lead prosecutor in the senate trial, republicans
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proved to donald trump that republicans in congress would never confront him and never constrain him and had been fully and successfully - none of the republican have been more coward than donald trump. adam schiff writes about this about mccarthy. i learned all i need to know about mccarthy, but, six months before the 2010 midterm elections, we were both headed to washington from california and happened to be seated together on a united airline flight. our districts are separate by 100 miles. we never really had the opportunity to get to know each other, while democrats were still on the majority, the elections were shaping up to be tight and our margins were small.
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there was growing doubt about whether we would retain that majority. during the fight, i expressed confidence that the economy would remain positive and we continue to leave the house. it was not much of a conversation, just the type of small talk that you would have while waiting for a movie, any movie to start on the plane. i thought nothing of it. the next morning i picked up one of the hill news, everyone knows that republicans are going to win the house. mccarthy had told me a group of reporters - kevin, if we are having a private conversation on the plane, i would have thought it was a private conversation but it was not. i said the exact opposite of what you told the press. i know, adam was his reply. you know how it goes.
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that was how he operates and still how he operates today. he warned us that donald trump would do it again has a new warning for us. republican legislators across the country have continued trump's lie. they are preparing the battlefield and struggling to over turn the next presidential election if it does not go their way. should they regain majority in congress? they just may be successful. the rule of law depends on what
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we do next. leading office democratic, chair of the house of the intelligence committee and member of the january 6th select-committee, adam schiff. >> we see in that story in 2010, 11 years ago, behavior that's purely trumpian. he went up and just lie about it. well, sure, of course donald trump did that. and so the idea that donald trump had turn mccarthy to something he was no longer my
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view after reading my book. >> i think he's absolutely right. it's certainly kevin mccarthy was made for a moment like this. he is who he is and in fact, one of the things as you note throughout the book, something that robert carol says in the story, it may not reveals the best of us but it reveals a lot of who we are. power has revealed who mccarthy is and even scalise when he was on chris wallace's program to state the fact that the election was not stolen. it revealed a lot about bill barr and a lot frankly on the very inspiring and positive side like maria yanovich.
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everyone is entitled to their own facts and the idea that he can step foot in the speaker's office is terrifying in life. >> tell us about the idea if republicans win, control the house back in the next election next year. kevin mccarthy becomes speaker, what does it mean for the country in the next two years of the biden's presidency? >> it means a couple of things. one, people speculated. could donald trump be the speaker because you don't need to be in congress. the reality is he would not need to be the speaker. essentially kevin mccarthy would do anything donald trump told him to do. i think that's all too apparent. and, one of the most profound indications of that is what took place after that insurrection.
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for a moment you can see kevin mccarthy putting his finger to the wind and sensing the direction of the wind was running against donald trump. he suggested an attack against the capitol and he made statements relating to donald trump. it was clear to him that the wind was blowing in another direction. >> i have to say among the most painful part of it, this past several years to me, after we had to endure the terrible insurrection, we may have turn the corner as a country, we had the wrong person leading the republican party in the house and mitch mcconnell who you can see struggle with this and wants to throw donald trump over board and lacked the courage to do this and now we are forced to suffer this again until we can
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expunge him from the political scene. >> so did donald trump in your view, corrupt the republican party in congress or did he give them a chance to reveal who they really are? >> i think really both. >> it was astounding to me that someone as deeply flawed as donald trump in a matter of four short years or less can remake one of america's great political parties in his image. he did. the reason he was able to do it because all too many of republican leadership and the congress didn't turn out to care anything about anything they said they cared about. one of the frequent questions i get from constituents and others around the country is do republicans believe what they say publicly when you talk to them privately. the answer is no, they don't. they don't believe in the
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ideology they profess or conservative values or family values. it turns out they only believe in their position of power. that's what power has revealed the last four years and to me was a terrible epiphany that these members that i work with, not mccarthy per se but others who i respected, some of who i admired because i believe they believe what they were saying and turned out not to believe it at all. to me, does not matter how brilliant the constitution is or how crafted our laws are. if as you play in that clip from the impeachment trial, if people don't get content to the provision of the constitution, if they don't live the spirit to which they written, if they don't apply right and wrong and the truth, then none of it is good enough to protect us. >> if democrats lose control of
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the house in the next election, that means the january 6th committee really only has about 13 months left in which to do its work and what can you tell us about, where you are on that first round of subpoenas? there are reports indicating two of the first subpoena witnesses are in some contact with the committee, mark meadows and kash patel but it's not clear whether it's steve bannon or the other two in any contact committee of the subpoenas and how will you enforce it? >> well, i think that steve bannon has been public about his unwillingness to cooperate in any way. from my point of view, it's not up to him. he's required to show up. he's required to testify and if he does not and does not have a reason, a legal reason to profit which he does not then we'll
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hold him in criminal contempt. we'll further that to the justice department for prosecution. that'll be true of the other witnesses as well. if they do not comply. i think the reason why steve bannon, you read it from the book, the reason why he feels empowered to do that because for four years we had a justice department that did not apply the law equally in bill barr. we had someone who was essentially running the president, the former president's criminal defense firm. the situation has changed. we now have an attorney general that's just. and that gives me every hope and expectations that not only will we move quickly but the justice department will also. >> what has not changed is the
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full legal endporsment of a congressional subpoena like this does take time. if it becomes a matter of criminal prosecutions for defying that subpoena, we can be talking about years. >> well, the civil litigation took us years. it took us almost two years to get don mcgahn's testimony finally. >> the way of prosecution, i think has a different impact on witnesses and you are right. it can take even a long time to prosecute a criminal case but you prosecute one criminal case and every other witness looks at that and says the department of justice is serious that congress is serious. i better comply because i don't want to face prosecution. it's a big clip. it's necessary because for four years effectively the rule of law was undermined by the
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leadership of that department. those days are gone. this will be a real test of this democracy. if the justice department does not view anyone being above the law. that's my expectation that they'll uphold that principle. >> if you are steve bannon at home watching this, ignoring the subpoena and you and your committee have sent to him and he's laughing at this. how long can he stay-at-home laughing at this before he feels the weight of some kind of enforcement from that subpoena? >> we intend to act quickly. i can't be specific as to any one person. without any dissent or disagreement, all of the members of the committee are quite uniformed that we'll not abide delay. we'll not abide efforts to play ropes with us as we saw in the past. steve bannon and this to me,
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lawrence, this one story of the last administration to me is so telling. man runs for president on a platform that builds a wall that says mexico is going to pay for it. >> it's absurd. he does not build the wall and mexico does not pay for it. a bunch of his fellow drifters including bannon, private fund to build the wall. they stole money of the supporter of the president, what does donald trump do? no wonder bannon feels he can go on with a grift but it's not donald trump justice department anymore. it's a justice department that believes it serves the public interests. bannon does not have that message yet. he's not paying attention. >> adam schiff, thank you very much for starting us off tonight. very appreciate it.
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>> "midnight in washington," it's how we almost lost our democracy and still come. coming up, the american medical association filed an appeals court brief. the attorney who wrote that brief will join us next. who wr brief will join us next. g is fr. you get advice like: try hypnosis... or... quit cold turkey. kidding me?! instead, start small. with nicorette. which can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette regina approaches the all-electric cadillac lyriq. it's a sunny day. nah, a stormy day. classical music plays. um uh, brass band, new orleans. ♪ ♪ she drives hands free... along the coast. make it palm springs. ♪ cadillac is going electric. if you want to be bold, you have to go off-script.
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while that law is being challenged in federal court and it's pleading the justice department calling the law an unconstitutional scheme and says if texas's scheme is permissible -- last week robert pittman blocked the law.
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federal appeals court reverts that decision and allowed the texas law to remain in effect. the legal fight has quote, "created devastation and chaos in texas where patients were given a glimmer of hope before their appointments began getting cancelled. it's hard on staff and providers and patients to have this whiplash. it's destabilizing and dehumanizing and it should not happen. the american medical association and along with other medical an sanitations filed a brief in the case written by our next guest. the texas abortion law not only endangered the health and well-being of our
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women -- joining us now is sharon seldon, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> your brief is fascinating. in bringing this legal challenge has been a question of standing and standing generally means you have standing to sue and bring the elections if you are somehow being harmed. it seems like the medical profession is the target of this law. you are representing us in this amicus brief. >> that's right, the medical organization which includes the american college of on women's,
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many are weighing into support the government's case against texas. in this case, medical associations are offering their own suit. they are weighing in. look, these issues are essential to the members of our organization and the patients that we serve because the texas law cuts at the very heart of doctor patients or clinician/patients relationship. that's what we are concerned about. also everyone who is or could be pregnant in texas is vulnerable because of the way this law interferes the safe evidence of
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medical care. >> you see the argument of the state of texas is making in this case so far. what is the most challenging argument that you have to meet that the state of texas is making here? >> what is the legally most difficult point you have to get over? >> for the government and the united states government and its fight with texas, the official fight is really a threshold question, can the united states government go into court and sue the state of texas because the state of texas had stripped away individual rights protected by the united states constitution. and, you see the united states in its briefs and the department of justice relying on some older cases. this is not something frequently happens. it does happen. it happens in ways that the
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court recognized that the united states has equitable rights. one that's long recognized by federal courts in this country that the united states can go into its federal courts to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens and that's what the department of justice is saying it has to do here. that's a top argument not because it's conceptually difficult. it's being made in courts that are tending as we have seen in other cases, challenging as the texas abortion law. and allow it to adopt and force this unconstitutional ban on abortion. i think it is a well rooted argument but it's one that faces particular challenges because of
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the differences the courts have given on the state on this issue. >> let's listen to dr. jermish about her experience with one patient. >> the first patient who i saw after the law went into effect, we could see cardiac activity, she curled up in a ball on a table and started sobbing. she asked me if she can hold my hand. that was all i can do for her in that moment. she was a college student and birth control failure. she was a person who was not in a situation where she could be pregnant. >> will the appeals court recognize the timing urgency in a case like that when stories like that are being told everyday? >> i certainly hope so.
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it's hard to think a constitutional rights that's more time sensitive and intimate than the ability to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy. i am so glad that we are hearing this story from doctors and some of the briefing in the u.s. verses texas case, you hear some of the stories of patients who have been looking to get care during this period. this law is unconscionable in the way it treats women from texas. it's isolated. it separates pregnant women from their family and friends and resources they could talk to about their pregnancy. why? because it puts all those people into significant amount of damages. patients know they are being put in jeopardy and it takes away basic essential reproductive
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care, which is abortion. it's the essential care that doctors provide for patients all the time. banning it, texas endangering the well-being of women and girls throughout the state. >> shannon sullivan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, john holloman and eugene robinson will join us next on the agenda of congress. s who experience occasional bloating, gas, or abdominal discomfort? taking align can help. align contains a quality probiotic to naturally help soothe digestive upsets 24/7. try align, the pros in digestive health.
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it may have been a temporary slump in polls, president biden's n biden's numbers appeared to be recovering.
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with the economy being closely linked to presidential approval. it's good news for joe biden that the most recent poll found that 67% of americans say their financial situation is good or excellent. the highest in 19 years. after the first pieces of the biden's agenda flew through the congress, seemingly quickly and delivered what felt like immediate covid relief assistance to voters, the package has appeared to be slow going by comparison. "the washington post," eugene robinson writes, when it comes to congress, things never goes
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quickly as they might and there always comes at least one moment that appears that all is lost. joining us now is eugene robinson and john holloman. both are our political analysts. eugene, i love your column about this because it looks like the normal legislative process. the first of speed through legislation that the biden administration, democrats were doing did not look like the normal process at all because it was going so very smoothly. that may have gotten some spectators spoiled. that's not the way things work. $1.9 trillion does not zoom
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through congress in a matter of days or mere weeks. it takes a long time to work this sort of thing out. democrats have very slim majority, 50/50 senate. so yes, i think the ease which the rescue package spoil some people and they have forget what legislation is really like. the other thing sort of turbo charge this, largely false narrative of democratic doom and a biden collapse was a poll about a week ago showing approval of 38%. could it be a good pollster? that looks like an outlier. biden at 48% or 49.46% or 50/50.
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none of them showing him under water. it now, do we have evidence that it is not. i don't like to do media criticism because a lot of people do that. this seems kind of crazy to look at the world in a way it's not. >> john, my coverage of the biden's infrastructure plan started off with i could not fathom how you can do this.
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and then i watch it go remarkablely smoothly. all 50 of them voted for the $3.5 trillion budget resolution and if you have got a problem with the 3.5. that's the time to have a problem. they didn't. they voted for it. joe manchin and sinema, that made me think this thing is going smoothly and now they're arguing about the 3.5 and kind of deciding to do that at the end of the process instead of the beginning after they voted for it. now we are seeing what i consider like the realistic section of the legislation. >> i think you are familiar with
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both. all democrats vote for that budget revolution. it's the one that sinema and manchin voted for that thing. we'll negotiate and use their leverage later. >> here we are at a pile with the same analysis, i don't think there is a lot right now, a lot of democrats who have gone through the process and gotten this point. most of them think eventually they believe this and i am not saying it's true, both these bills will get passed. they have to come together if they want to get it done. i don't think the democrats are in disarray, they are not.
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i will tell you right now if you go around and talk to house democrats in competitive districts, they're looking at their numbers and they're not happy right now. there are a lot of concerns about turn-out next year and the base being frustrated and voters being in the middle of the party frustrated for different sets of reasons. what i am hearing from my reporting is how democrats are terrified of what's going to happen in 2022. one of the challenges is how to describe what they are doing and last night on this program, rosario has -- eugene, some of them have to teach them thousand do that and quickly.
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>> they never emphasized, you know, what this is going to do for you rather -- you know they're talking about these imaginary 3.5 or 1.8. talk about what's going to do for you for the constituents. and please, that's all i can say. please. >> eugene robinson and john holloman, we'll have brownies for you next time. thank you very much, really appreciate it. coming up, jason ferman, he says the reconciliation bill democrats are negotiating in congress may be the last time democrats have to advance their agenda for a very, very long time. that's next. that's next.
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we are having important discussions of what a package is smaller than $3.5 trillion would look like, those conversations would have to have with a range of members. we are at the point to be made and given fewer dollars that'll be spent. >> last week in the meeting, today speaker pelosi acknowledged the lower overall spending target for that legislation. >> i am very disappointed that we are not going with the original $3.5 trillion. it was transformative. we have to make sure we have a bill that says that we have something that'll pass the house and senate. pass the house and senate and i am not asking members to vote for something that has no chance to pass in the senate.
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>> democratic chair of the house budget committee suggested that democrats could take up another reconciliation bill next year to expand on what they may pass this year. jason ferman served as the chair of the economic advisors told "the new york times" "the problem now is this may be the last train leaving the station for a long time that could be five, ten, 20 years before there is an another shot at a lot of these issues. joining us now is jason fuhrman. professor of the practice of economic policy at kennedy school. he served as chair of the counsel of economic advisors during the obama administration. professor, thank you for joining us tonight. what do you mean five, ten, 20 years? how could there possibly be that kind of blank space. >> look, lawrence, most presidents get one big fiscal
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thing done. you know, president obama got two. he got the recovery act and the affordable care act. president trump got one. his tax cuts. president biden is on track to get three done. enormous plan, infrastructure bill and this reconciliation bill which focuses around climate change and childcare. so it's a lot. i love to see more next year. i'd love to see more the year after. i just don't think anyone should count on that. >> well, yeah. you know, when i read that quote of yours today, i looked back at and remembered that the clinton health care bill, comprehensive hk reform bill, democrats dream, 1994, it failed in the house and senate. doesn't pass. doesn't even come to a vote in the house. doesn't come to a vote in the senate. and it's 16 years later that the democrats take up health care in the affordable care act. and in between, nothing. not a single sentence of health
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care reform did they try to advance in congress. >> that's right. or look at the waxman climate change bill in 2009. it passed the house. it is now 12 years later the first serious legislative effort at climate change. you can always put things together. president obama did some things on administratively using his regulatory authority. again, i hope that's not the case. democrats should keep trying again next year if they need to compromise with republicans next year or the year after. they should try to do that too. anything to move the ball forward. i just think you want to try to get all of your big things in now. you want to lock them in to be permanent. don't leave them at the wiles of
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the future congress. you need to prioritize and do some things really well. >> i think part of the importance of what we're talking about right now and what you identified in here is that this is what the people fighting for the bigger package, the 3 ps $5 -- $3.5 trillion is why they're fighting. i think they recognize what you're talking about. this is their only chance for a very long time. >> yeah. look, from an economic perspective, i'm going an economists. we can afford $3.5 trillion. we could afford even more than $3.5 trillion. including paying for some of it with tax increases. medicare reforms. and also some borrowing because these are investments and interest rates are really low.
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from an economic perspective, it can be big. all we can get is $2 trillion, can you do a lot with $2 trillion. can you reduce child profrt. can you take a giga ton of emissions out of carbon emissions every year. can you make health care affordable for millions of people. that is better than nothing. $2 trillion, you could do really meaningful things if you priority yuz and spend that money well. >> well, yeah. en that is what the final legislative decision comes down to. there will be a number. it might be two. it may be somewhere in the neighborhood of two or around there. everyone stairs at it and realizes this is it. and that's going to be the moment when the democrats make the final choice about what they're voting for. >> yeah. that is not just better than nothing. $2 trillion could be historic
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for climate change, children, for health care, again, if can you get more than $2 trillion is even better. i just don't think you can right now. you heard speaker pelosi say you can't get that. so focus not on the money, not on the dollars but what outcomes you're trying to achieve. and, you know, as the pricetag shrinks, we need to be smarter about. that you need to prioritize. you need to figure out how to do a few things well. focus on chirngs climate change and on, you know, coverage of health care. >> professor, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. wheel be right back. y appreciat. wheel be right back.
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earlier this week, they extended the debt ceiling into early december. 219-206. every republican voted against raising the debt ceiling that would cover the $8 trillion in increased debt that created by the trump presidency a debt that they approved during the trump presidency. that is tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian william starts right now. >> 266 of the biden administration and the white house appears ready to take major step towards the next phase of this campaign to get as many americans vaccinated as possible.

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