tv Alex Witt Reports MSNBC October 16, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
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a very good day to all of you from msnbc world headquarters here in new york. welcome, everyone, to alex witt reports. here's what's happening about a minute or so past 2:00 p.m. eastern. a new development today in president biden's multitrillion dollar spending package, the white house is likely to drop a clean electricity program, a key component of biden's plan to battle climate change. it's faced some opposition from senator joe manchin. we're going to have more on that in a moment. but just this afternoon, the president speaking at the capitol, giving an emotional speech, honoring fallen police officers who have died in the line of duty.
>> it always amazes me how the public doesn't fully understand what we expect of our law enforcement officers. we expect you to be people ready to stand in the way and take a bullet for us. we expect you to be able to track down the bad guys. we expect you to be the psychologist who talks the couple that are having a violent confrontation together to step back. we expect you to be everything. we expect everything of you. and it's beyond the capacity of anyone. to meet the total expectations. >> plus, president biden is turning up the heat on his own justice department, telling reporters friday that the doj should prosecute anyone who defies a subpoena from the house select committee investigating the january 6th insurrection.
it comes as the house is moving forward to hold steve bannon in criminal contempt with a committee vote set for tuesday evening after the former trump aide was a no show for his deposition on capitol hill this week. just last hour, congressman ted lieu telling me his biggest concern. >> fear is he's going to run out the clock because even if the department of justice engages and prosecutes him, he's just going to litigate this and appeal it to the appellate court and to the supreme court. in texas, the republican-led house passed a bill targeting transgender students in sports. that bill would require students at public schools to play on sports teams based on their genders on their birth certificates. i have will ask a texas congressman about this in just a few minutes coming up. joining us right now, josh lederman is at the white house, scott cohn in long beach, california. welcome, all. we'll go first to you, josh, with a new development from the white house. the president will likely be dropping this clean energy
program from his spending package. what's the reason behind it? >> reporter: two words. joe manchin. this was going to be the real central component of the clean climate and energy plan that president biden wanted to pass through the reconciliation bill to clean up emissions from the electricity sector through a carrot and stick approach that would use $150 billion to actually pay electric utilities that switched from dirtier fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, to renewable sources like wind and solar and to actually levy fines against those that don't. but joe manchin has been opposed to this. he says that utilities are already starting to make that transition anyway and that it would be crazy for taxpayers to be essentially paying them to do what they're going to do anyway. but this provision was really expected to make up the bulk of the emissions reductions under the reconciliation bill because electricity accounts for about a quarter of our greenhouse gas
emissions, and i want our audience to hear a little bit about what congressman john yarmouth told you about what this could mean. >> these are mostly initiatives that are designed to orient us to the future, whether it's investment in early childhood education, community college, or the climate policy investments, and we really need to think of that in this way. it's a shame that we would have to strike that from the climate policy initiatives out of the package. but we have to get 50 votes. >> reporter: the silver lining here is this wasn't the only climate provision in the bill and so there will still be some that will likely still make it in there, including incentives for people to buy electric vehicles through tax rebates, of course, trying to transition away from those gas-guzzling internal combustion engine vehicles. but the reality is here, alex, this couldn't come at a worse time for president biden as he's preparing in just two weeks to head to glasgow for that big
u.n. climate summit. foreign nations have already been skeptical that the u.s. was going to be able to deliver on its ambitious goals to reduce emissions, given the political state in congress and now the latest reminder that the u.s. may not have the credibility that it wants on climate change, even though president biden is doing the right things, joining the paris agreement after trump pulled out, and saying that the u.s. is going to take action. >> you mentioned that paris agreement. i will say that john kerry t climate enjoy, has said if we don't make this happen, and he's suspect as to whether or not we're going to make things happen, it would be like pulling out of the climate conference like donald trump did again so he's gravely concerned about all this. thank you, josh. let go to new fears on capitol hill that steve bannon could be playing the long game by defying a congressional subpoena. let's go to judy tsirkin. what can you tell us about this development? >> reporter: the committee is expecting this process to take a very long time.
but let's tick through what this means, what the next few steps will bring. on tuesday night, the house committee will vote on recommendations that they're putting together, all the reasons why steve bannon should be held in contempt of congress. once that passes the committee, which we expect it to, it will go to the full house for a vote. if that passes, speaker pelosi will then refer it to biden's justice department where if they decide to prosecute this case, it could take months if not years. now, here's where the fear comes down. the committee doesn't have that time. the house select committee, we are told, wants to wrap this investigation up by the midterm elections. they have a bunch of swing state democrats up who don't really want to run on this investigation. they don't find this politically advantageous heading up against the midterms and some tough republicans in their races there. you spoke last hour to congressman ted lieu. he had a very interesting omission. let's take a listen. >> i do believe steve bannon will be held in criminal contempt. you cannot simply disobey
congressional subpoenas and not be held in contempt. my fear is he's going to run out the clock, because even if the department of justice engages and prosecutes him, he's just going to litigate this and appeal it to the appellate court and appeal it to the supreme court. you have the case of don mcgahn where we got him to come in but that was more than two years later. >> reporter: now, alex, congressman ted lieu sits on the house judiciary committee. he knows this well because he spent years trying to conduct oversight of the trump administration, so the committee now essentially moving forward with this process of criminal contempt for steve bannon and any other witness who defies a subpoena. they're looking at a form of punishment rather than getting to their goal of hearing from these witnesses. >> okay, julie. thank you so much for that update from capitol hill. now to breaking news out of california where we are getting more information on the status of former president bill clinton as he remains hospitalized for now a fifth day. a person familiar with his condition telling nbc news that
clinton's doctors are evaluating whether to release him from the hospital today. just a few hours ago, we saw hillary and chelsea clinton returning to the uci, that's university of california at irvine, medical center where the former president is being treated for a urological infection. monica is following this story from the white house. monica, welcome. what do we know about this and about the president's -- former president's condition? >> reporter: we know, alex, that discussions are continuing among the former president's health team right now about whether he could be released potentially as early as today or whether he's going have to wait an additional night because of the conversation that we saw yesterday. of course, former president bill clinton has been hospitalized since tuesday evening and we know that he had to be put on antibiotics to treat this infection that started you're urologically and then morphed into something stronger.
that's being administered intravenously so he need to be in the hospital, according to his doctors, to get that treatment instead of being moved over to just oral antibiotics at this point. so, because of that, he would potentially stay another night tonight in the hospital. that is the reason they gave for keeping him overnight yesterday, but we're told that the former president remains in excellent spirits, that he was up and about, joking with the hospital staff. you saw there that, of course, his wife and daughter arrived earlier today. so, they're still determining and evaluating when might be best to discharge him, i'm told, and there are also some travel logistics. the former president was in town for a clinton foundation event that was going to take place in l.a. county. his wife actually went and represented the couple at that on thursday evening, but now, they will travel back to new york so the question is whether his doctors feel he can get on a plane in the immediate term and make that journey or whether he should wait another evening before being released from the
hospital. but i am told a more formal update is likely to come later today, like the one we saw yesterday, both from the former president's team and from his doctors who describe his current condition but all indications so far is that his health indicators are trending in the right direction. they're encouraged by that, that he's on the mend, and could be released as early as the next 24 hours or so, alex. >> and you know, we should say, doctors are erring on the side of caution. not only is the former president 75 years old. he has certainly a history of heart problems. he's had a stint put in to one of his arteries there. he's also had a quadruple bypass surgery, so they are not going to let him go until they are giving him the 100% all clear. you make a very good point, if these antibiotics that he's getting, monica, are being administered intravenously, you got to stay in the hospital. there's no way. that's not going to be done in pill form. that's the way it is. so, thank you for that update. let us know if you get definitive decision as to what's going to happen today. thank you. we are also following
breaking news out of houston where a gunman ambushed three harris county deputies, killing one, wounding the others. investigators say it happened overnight when the deputies were trying to apprehend a robbery suspect outside of a nightclub. that is when it is believed another man with a rifle approached them from behind and opened fire. houston police took one person into custody, it remains unclear if that person is a suspect or a witness. again, back to california, and the shipping crisis there. nbc's scott cohn is covering that for us in long beach. so, scott, welcome again. we have both ports in california there, southern california, having switched to a 24/7 operation to help clear this bottleneck. i'm not sure what's going on in oakland. you've covered that as well. but why don't they already operate like that when the ports in asia and europe are already on a 24/7 operation? >> reporter: well, basically, alex, they don't do it because they never had to before. these ports were operating efficiently the old way, so to speak. it's expensive to put on a third
shift or an overnight shift, if you can find the workers to work it. and the companies didn't want to go there if they did not have to. well, now, of course, everything has changed. here in southern california, we still have in the neighborhood of 60 ships offshore waiting to get in where there normally are none. we have containers stacked up here all over the place because of the pandemic-related disruptions and our insatiable appetite now for shopping online. and so, they've talked about going 24/7 for a long time. now officials say this may be changing once and for all. >> you have a part of the world that puts out this volume around the clock but when they come to the united states, we don't have the same model. so, i think my hope is that whatever we do here on the pilot project and how that evolves, it will be -- i sense it will have a domino theory effect.
because it's going to take the supply chain to be 24/7, not just at terminals. >> reporter: here's the issue, though. this is -- this is much, much easier said than done. we said at the outset they've switched to 24/7. that's a gross overstatement of what's going on here. because of all of the issues that they have dealt with before, getting people on board, getting the companies on board, hiring the workers, hiring the truck drivers, and so officials are -- and experts are expecting that it is still going to be possibly some time next year before some of these big backlogs are cleared. alex? >> okay. scott cohn, thank you so much for that update. well, putting a halt to all of those republican voting restrictions is one of the most formidable challenges facing democrats, and up next, why next week might be a pivotal moment to stop the gop. ight be a pivott stop the gop.
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rights. senate majority leader chuck schumer is setting up a procedural vote on the freedom to vote act. it will happen on wednesday. the new senate bill was negotiated with moderate democrat joe manchin but as democrats want to see or rather wait to see if manchin can get the support of ten republicans, house majority whip james clyburn tells msnbc he is watching very cautiously. >> do i trust her? i don't think so. i'm hopeful. but i don't think he l. will. i think he's going to have to relent on the filibuster, and nobody's asking him to give up the filibuster. we're saying treat the voting rights and constitutional rights when it comes to the filibuster the same way you treat the budget. >> well, joining me now is texas congressman mark, a member of the house armed services and energy and commerce committees, also cochair of the congressional voting rights caucus. welcome back. good to see you. do you see all of this heading
for another gop blockade and if so, is there no choice but to reform the filibuster? >> yeah, the filibuster absolutely needs reforming. and i would say particularly, alex, on this issue of voting rights. if you think back to when mitch mcconnell said that merrick garland couldn't be appointed to the supreme court because it wasn't fair to appoint him in the same year that the president was going to be leaving office, and then, of course, he turned around a few years later, after lecturing america and pointing his finger at us and lecturing on the virtues of when scotus's should be appointed and then turned around and put amy coney barrett in within 60 days. if we don't reform the filibuster, we need to do 50 votes just for this, because what's happening right now, redistricting across the country, how black and brown
communities are being trampled over and how in states like texas, where they're debating redistricting right now, trying to tie these black and latino districts into yurl districts where there's been no growth. voting rights in this country are being set back right now and states where republican legislatures are dominating the redistricting process and you've already seen these egregious anti-voting bills that republicans keep throwing up and the american public's face and it has to come to an end. it's -- we can't have a functioning republic if you're going to purposely suppress the right to vote by racial minorities in the u.s. it's just unfair. >> look, let's stay in texas with the multiple headlines there. i think, you know, where to begin, right? let's do texas abortion law. the justice department is planning to ask the supreme court to put that law on hold again, this after the fifth circuit court of appeals sided with the state to keep that law
in place. where is this headed, and how important do you think a supreme court ruling will be in ultimately determining the bigger future of this law? >> yeah, i absolutely think that the supreme court needs to, obviously, revisit the more broad law and not the more limited ruling that they made. because it's unfair. it goes against the tradition of the court. i know that when the last three supreme court justices spoke and testified when they were going through their confirmation process, they said that they were taking into consideration law that's already been settled, which was roe v. wade, and you know, what's -- what's happening right now in texas, if we don't put an end to this, is that you're going to see other southern states, perhaps other midwestern states where republicans dominate those legislatures, they're just going
to follow this exact law and it's going to make it next to impossible not for all women to seek these abortion services but it's going to make it very difficult for, again, black, brown, women that are poor, and don't have the access for means to travel, it's going to make it virtually impossible for them to seek these services safely and the supreme court absolutely has got to block this law. this is not something that roberts wants to happen under his watch. >> you know, you brought up redistricting. i want to drill down on that because the texas house has advanced virtually the same redistricting plan the senate passed last week. this new plan breaks up communities of black and hispanic voters, you mentioned that, that includes one part of houston where your democratic colleagues sheila jackson lee and al green may be forced to compete for one seat now. their attempts to appeal this have been unsuccessful so far. i'm curious your reaction to all of this and what can texas democrats do, if anything, to
push back? >> yeah, you know, right now, the state house is on the floor, and they are going through the amendment process and trying to clean up some of those messes that republicans made. i think the really big issue with what's going on with this map right now is the fact that if you look at the growth in texas, and texas has been perhaps the fastest-growing state in the entire country. we picked up two new congressional seats. again, we're growing rapidly, particularly in the urban areas and in the suburban areas, and rural texas is losing population, but if you look at the way these maps are drawn, in the state legislature, the state senate, and congressional lines, the maps that are being proposed empowers people in rural texas that is heavily dominated by republicans and whites, and it gives them more power, even though they're a shrinking piece of the pie.
and that's what's -- that's what's unfair about this entire process. you know, you're looking for ways, how you're going to grow power on the backs of black and hispanic voters that were actually fueling the growth in the state. and just -- it has -- it can't go unanswered. we have to push back against this. we have to fight on the house floor. and hopefully we can win this thing once it ultimately goes to the supreme court. and what really scares me is that this is just, you know, texas is going to be the first state in the south that really does this. the other states are going to be watching us closely, and if they think they can get away with it in texas, you're going to see them do it in the other states that used to be protected under section 5, which is why we have to pass john lewis voting rights act. >> let me ask you about a pretty disturbing story out of southlake, texas, where a school district is right at the center
of a growing nationwide debate over what books should be taught in the classroom. there's some new audio obtained by nbc news and it reserves a top administrator in southlake is instructing teachers to offer students access to opposing viewpoints of the holocaust. take a listen. >> make sure that if you have a book on the holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing -- that has -- >> how do you oppose the holocaust? >> i mean, the district superintendent has issued an apology but is this a prime example of the confusion, the frustration, as a result of texas's new curriculum law, it's limiting conversations and history teaching in schools. >> it's no surprise that that happened. because of this new law that was passed. basically, if you look at the way it was written, it was encouraging conversations around, you know, what donald trump called both sides when he said that, you know, some of the white supremacists and some of the kkk people were basically
good people. and i know this community very well. i have a lot of friends that live in southlake. they have been having some racial problems there recently. i have talked with members of the pakistani community that live in southlake. and a lot of the kids there have told me that one of the reasons why they wanted to start addressing these racial issues is that they were going to school and they were being called terrorists every day. i know a african-american family that lives there, and they were speaking out against some of the racial issues at one of the school board meetings, and she went shopping a few days later and someone had come back and wrote the n-word with shoe polish on her car. there are a ton of issues in that particular area, southlake, colleyville. we had a black principal, the first principal in the school district next door to the southlake, and he lost his job over pictures that were taken of him and his wife enjoying themselves on the beach and he's
black and she's a white woman. they said that he was trying to teach critical race theory at the school and so they fired him. and that little quadrant in northeast tarrant county is becoming more and more troubling when it comes to the issue of race, and they got to clean it up over there. it's as bad as it seems, alex. this recording does not surprise me at all. not at all. i hate to say that because you would want something like that to be -- >> i'm so sorry to hear that, all of these three examples that you give. so disturbing. texas congressman marc veasy, thank you for sharing. it's important we hear about them. vaccine mandate defiance, police and airline pilots refusing the shots, the potential fallout next. refusing the shots, the potential fallout next ♪ ♪
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employees to be vaccinated despite an edict issued by governor greg abbott to ban vaccine mandates. we should note both of those airlines are based in the state of texas. joining me now is sara nelson, president association of flight attendants cwa. what would a weekend be without talking to you about something going on in the skies? let me get your reaction to both southwest and american airlines, moving ahead with the vaccine requirements. they are complying with president biden's mandates for all federal employees. what's the general sense among flight attendants about getting the vaccine? >> well, let's be really clear. they're not only complying with what president biden has said, but they're acting in a realistic environment where the airline industry is part of a worldwide network. and this is a worldwide pandemic. canada just announced that anyone coming into canada is going to have to prove their vaccinated, including crews so very quickly you can see that the airline industry would start to unravel if you didn't have these mandates in place to make sure that you have everyone
qualified to fly these routes. so flight attendants are really looking at it that way and what we're hearing from flight attendants is that they have gotten vaccinated for the most part. they want to make sure everyone else is vaccinated. but mostly, they want to get through this pandemic. they want to stop having their friends and neighbors and fellow flying partners dying. they want to stop with the concern over our jobs and inability to have the kind of jobs that we had before with freedom of flight everywhere in the world. and so we have to get on this with and we have to be clear with people about why we're doing it and what's going to happen if we don't do it so we all understand what our responsibility is here. >> let me ask about southwest this past week. you know where i'm going with this. those hundreds into the thousands of flight cancellation issues that they had over three or four days. there were claims that it had something to do with the vaccine mandates. let's take a listen to what white house press secretary jen psaki had to say about it on tuesday. >> i know there was a little hubbub over the course of the last few days about southwest
airlines. we now know that some of those claims were absolutely false and actually the issues were completely unrelated to vaccine mandates. but again, what we've seen, business to business, across the country is this is the way to save lives, create more certainty, it's good for the economy and it's something we're looking forward to implementing. >> so, among the things that southwest airlines pointed to, they said, you know, weather woes, right? problem was that it seemed to only affect southwest airlines, so do you know what happened here, and do you think this could happen again during the busy holiday season coming up? >> well, let's be really clear. we saw this happen with a meltdown with spirit about a month ago, and we also saw some difficulties with american in another situation. what happens when you start to have delays and cancellation is there's a ripple effect across the staffing. across the network. and so, when an airline starts to go into a hole like that, it typically grows deeper before they dig themselves out. southwest also is not a part of the larger network with the rest of the airlines. they can't put people in other
airlines to help recover their operation either so those are some unique factors there in place for southwest. there was absolutely no evidence that this actually had to do with any concern over the vaccine mandate. there's a few individuals expressing concern over that, that's not what happened here. >> okay. let me ask you about the pilots who are returning to work now, many of whom were laid off during the pandemic, some for a long time. there have been dozens of mistakes by out-of-practice pilots since this last year. is it safe to get pilots back into the cockpit months after being laid off? i mean, do you know what kind of training they've got to go through to get back up to speed? you know, there are some who are a little concerned about it, thinking it's a little dangerous. >> well, first of all, alex, this safety reporting system was put into place because the airline pilots union pushed it, and it is in place for pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants and we're able to identify problems because people self-report on themselves in an anonymous system so that we can identify these mistakes before they become accidents.
so, it's good that we have this data and that we can turn that into action with the airlines, make sure it doesn't happen. pilots do have to go through a retraining and as you and i have talked about many times, what was important about the payroll support program is that you kept people current with their job, going to the regular training, we'd be in a much worse place if we had not done that. and these safety reports are really important to take into consideration every single airline needs to be looking at that with the faa to make sure that their training programs and retraining and oversight when the pilots are coming back online is sufficient. so, this is a huge issue but we have a leg up in the u.s. because of the safety reporting system so we can identify these problems before they become big problems. >> okay. one last question on vaccination. the fact that you have got mandates for the employees, right, pilots, flight attendants and the like to be vaccinated, is it the sense that flight attendants, for whom you speak, and even yourself, would you want to have passengers be vaccinated? i mean, if it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander,
right? keep everybody healthy. >> alex, let me be clear. we would love to have passengers be vaccinated but we are just now starting to talk about the potential of children from age 5 to 11 to be able to get vaccinated. we don't yet have access for the vaccine for everyone, so that's one thing. the other issue is the issue of how we have kept track of vaccinated individuals in the u.s. so, we have to tackle these issues because you don't want to have unintended consequences and slow down the system and not give access to the people who are vaccinated because we don't have a system in place to readily determine who is vaccinated in order to get them through the airport and get to their plane on time and be able to fly. so, we have to work through the logistics and we have to work through the access, but then maybe we'll get to a place where that's something that will be in place for all travelers. >> we shall see. sara nelson, you know if it happens, we're talking about it. good to see you, my friend. thank you so much. it started out as an nfl investigation into sexual harassment that led to racism, but some aren't surprised. reverend al sharpton, he's next. .
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new calls for full transparency from the nfl and the release of more than 650,000 emails related to the ouster of disgraced nfl coach jon gruden following the exposure of gruden's racist, misogynistic and homophobic remarks. gruden had coached in the nfl and called televised games for 30 years. he coached the las vegas raiders up until last weekend after his racist comments were made
public. he resigned on monday when his homophobic remarks were published in "the new york times." joining me now, the reverend al sharpton, president and ceo of the national action network and host of "politics nation" right here on msnbc, of course. hey, rev, my friend, let's get into this because this is not the first time you and i are talking about the nfl and racism. some commentators have said this is merely the tip of the iceberg. what else do you expect could be lurking in those 650,000 emails? >> i would expect that we're going to find, to our dismay, that there's been a lot of language that has been used that has been racist, that has been homophobic, that has been xenophobic and i think when you look at the fact that nfl stadiums are supported by public dollars, they are given tax breaks, they're given incentives to build, so taxpayers are, in effect, paying for people that see them as less than equal, in
some cases less than human. and they ought not to be able to survive and thrive off of a public that they hold, in many, disdain, and i think that gruden is only the tip of the iceberg. when you look at the nfl, we still do not see the nfl having dealt with the colin kaepernick lack of having a job. and a lot of the conversation started when he took a knee supporting some of the cases of police brutality that those of us in the civil rights movement have brought to the fore. he still left out. so, i think it is good that they have changed, the nfl, some of the coloring around nfl games and halftime, but what about the critical point of where they do business? and that is, do they do business with black businesses? do they deal with lgbtq, those -- lgbtq, those concerns
in the community? where is the black ownership? we still are sitting here today without any nfl ownership of teams, so the rhetoric has changed, but the reality has not in the nfl culture. >> let me throw in another aspect to consider with regard to "the new york times" report that also says coaches distributed nude photos of cheerleaders from the washington football team, "washington post" reporters say they have seen secret lewd videos of the cheerleaders. think there should be some sort of a criminal investigation as well? >> absolutely. it ought to be. because first of all, it's an invasion of their privacy. it's a violation of using people at a work site for your own fun and games. there's nothing fun and there's no game about disrespecting women in a misogynist way. so i think that this should be something that is dug into deeply. i think that what this
particular person caught, has done, is begin a whole spiraling effect to looking at what was permitted. the thing that is most disturbing, alex, is that people knew about this and didn't turn it in. it takes an investigation. those that were involved in any of the receiving of these emails or in some of the policies that have not been challenged have now come forward and said this is wrong. >> here's something that has come forward about that, rev, and that would be some of the coaches, players as well, they've come to gruden's defense. they're raising questions about the entire nfl kind of boys club culture, right? but all of this started, rev, with an investigation into sexual harassment and a toxic workplace culture at the washington team. this is one team. should there be a process for employees of other teams to come forward without retribution? >> there definitely should be a
process where employees can come forward and there ought to be with no penalty and no fear. it ought to be encouraged to come forward. again, i underscore, because they operate on the -- with the mercy -- at the mercy, i should say, of municipal advancement of their private sector goals. so, there would not be a stadium in this country if there was not public investment or cooperation. so, why should the public be paying to be offended and to be insulted and to reward and sometimes seven figures people that practice something that is dehumanizing and that violates the personhood of the people that have made them possible. >> i want to get one last quick question here with you, rev, as we switch sports here, in essence, for a second, get your take on nba player kyrie irving who's now sidelined from the brooklyn nets because he's not taken the covid vaccine. i know you shared your own story with us.
you had vice president kamala harris really laying your skepticism about getting the shot, but given the history of the secret medical experiments that have been carried out in history on african-americans in this country, the awareness of inequality, exploitation that has resulted from the george floyd protests, can you relate to irving's apprehension? >> i can relate to it, but i can also look at the facts. the facts are that we're looking at over 750,000 people have died from covid. people have the right to say i have apprehension, but others have the right to say, i do not want to be exposed to people that could possibly infect me and i join the hundreds of thousands of people that died, so everyone has rights. they have the right to say, i don't want to be vaccinated. and others have the right to say that i do not want to be put in a position where i have to be exposed to possible infection that could lead to death or to
serious illness. everyone's rights need to be respected. >> 100%. so, kyrie irving, he wants to stick to his rights and that means he may be sidelined for a while yet. okay, rev, thank you so much, my friend. for all of you, i probably do not need to remind our viewers, but i will, you can catch reverend al sharpton saturdays and sundays, 5:00 p.m. eastern for "politics nation." now it's 11th year here on msnbc. coming to america, thousands of afghan refugees now call a u.s. army base home but their future is anything but certain. u.s. army base home but their future is anything but certain they do things differently. yeah, it's wireless with unlimited data and if you join a group it's as low as $25/mo. all powered by verizon. 5g included. woo! just get together and save! we look goooood! what's everyone's handle? visible. unlimited data, as low as $25/mo all-in. powered by verizon, 5g included.
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60,000 workers. meantime, we have new insight about what lies ahead for families who escaped afghanistan and are trying to start a new life in the u.s. it's a topic of a new article about the wisconsin army base where almost 13,000 refugees are being held. joining me now, vera, washington correspondent for "time" who wrote that article. it's such a good article. i learned so much from it. let's see if we can do this for the viewers as well, vera. ft. mccoy, wisconsin, occupied by afghan refugees, half of whom are children. the vast majority have worked with the u.s. in some capacity, translators, drivers, cooks, even pilots, some are family members of american citizens and green card holders. these people have largely, if not universally, been vetted for their special immigrant visas, we talk about them as the sivs. do you think how long these refugees are expected to live in ft. mccoy? >> i don't, and you know, they don't either.
it looks like it might be quite a while. a lot of them -- we spoke to a lot of them when we were allowed on the base two weeks ago which was the first time that media was allowed on there and every single went we spoke to thought they were very optimistic they would leave very soon. they thought they wouldn't need winter clothes. but it looks like they're really making all these preparations for them to be there maybe until next spring, even though many of them have gone through an extensive vetting process, there's so many other things to consider. they've got to get work permits and jobs and driver's licenses, and so it looks like some of them may still be there for many months to come. >> i'm going to get some of the details but i'm curious how the community around ft. mccoy is responding to this. you write about two nearby small towns whose populations themselves, they're less than the total number of afghan refugees on this base. >> yes, i spent some days around there talking to people, because i was very interested in what people around there think. i mean, the two towns on either side are 10,000 people and
they're completely dwarfed by the number of afghan evacuees there now and most of them have been very welcoming, you know, a lot of them really want to help out. there's been donation drives, church drives, a lot of volunteers distributing clothing, but there's also been quite a bit of pushback, which seems to be more recent than when they arrived because local politicians and national politicians have really been raising a lot of fears about, you know, the vetting, the safety issues, even though they're not really leaving the base. a lot of them were very welcoming at first and then after weeks and weeks of seeing a lot of coverage of, you know, politicians, republican lawmakers kind of raising all these fears about their vetting, some of them kind of -- many people that i spoke with seemed to be kind of concerned about what would happen. >> really quickly, you talk about the hurdles they have to face. congress is nearly passed a short-term spending bill that includes $6.3 billion for the afghan refugees but republican lawmakers, led by tom cotton, wanted an agreement cuttings off housing, medical support, food
to these refugees that would take effect march 2023. it also wanted ultimately to keep the refugees from getting those driver's license or i.d. cards you talked about. what's that thinking? >> so, i mean, the thinking behind that, i think, partly was that, you know, they want -- there's a lot of provisions in that bill that would make it a little bit easier for them to be able to get things like driver's licenses, because they often had to leave behind a lot of documentation that we usually use to get something like a driver's license. so, it was supposed to make it a bit easier because obviously, it's very difficult to get a job or to settle your family without something like a driver's license. but it's just kind of goes back to those security concerns. you know, a lot of these lawmakers kind of saying, we don't know who these people are. they don't want to relax some of these identification requirements, but again, let me just be clear that on the base, you know, the pentagon, dhs, everyone is saying that by the time any of these afghan evacuees actually land in the united states, they've been extensively, extensively vetted
so, you know, there isn't really much evidence those fears are founded. >> vera of "time" magazine, an excellent article. i suggest anyone interested should look it up and read it. thank you for your time. that's going to do it for me. i'll see you again tomorrow at noon eastern. my friend, yasmin vossoughian, continues our coverage in just a moment. oussghian, continues our coverage in just a moment ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark. but with our new multi-cloud experience, you have the flexibility you need to unveil them to the world. ♪
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