tv Katy Tur Reports MSNBC November 29, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PST
>> ben rhodes with a soccer reference. msnbc coverage continues with aaron gilchrist. good afternoon, everyone. u.s. officials are warning the omicron variant is probably already here. rather than panic, this is far more productive to plan for the inevitable. in the last few hours new york city instituted what it's calling a mask advisory meaning everyone is encouraged to wear a mask indoors even if you've been vaccinated. now, take a look at the map here. you can see it's just a matter of time. spain today becoming the latest country to confirm the omicron variant is there. and as we cover what is obviously a significant development here, it's important to note there is a lot more that we don't know about omicron than we do. that's not surprising. we know it takes time for the science to catch up to a new discovery like this.
>> there are no confirmed cases, but obviously we're on high alert. it's inevitable that sooner or later it's going to spread widely because it has at least the molecular characteristics of being highly transmissible even though there are a lot of things about it that we do not know. but that will be able to be ascertained in a week or two. >> the key questions in my mind are how protective will the vaccine be. at least three doses, a fully boosted patient will have fairly good protection against this variant. the other question is how protective is prior infection with delta. if we're seeing that prior infection with delta isn't conferring any meaningful protection here, that's going to be concerning. and that's going to tip more in favor of the fact that this could potentially start to spread here in the united states. >> meanwhile, vaccine makers like pfizer and moderna say they are preparing to reformulate their shots for this variant in
if necessary. pfizer's ceo says they've already done this twice before for the beta and delta variants. for his part, president biden says there are things you can do while we wait for definitive answers. >> this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. the best protection, i know you're tired of hearing me saying this, the best protection against this new variant or any of the variants out there, the ones we've been dealing with already, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot. >> reporter: are lockdowns off the table? >> yes, for now. >> reporter: why is that? >> because we're able to, if people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there's no need for lockdowns. >> joining me now, nbc news digital senior white house reporter shannon pettypiece. nbc news foreign correspondent matt bradley from london. nbc news correspondent antonia
hylton in boston for us. and msnbc medical contributor dr. erwin redlener, founding director of columbia university's national center for disaster preparedness. shannon, we just heard president biden talk about getting the vaccination and the booster and wearing masks, and no need for lockdowns. >> and it's going to be several weeks, possibly a month before we do know some of the answers to these questions about how transmissible it is, what type of severity of illness comes from this variant of the virus. and of course, as you were talking about there a moment ago, how well the vaccines are going to work against it. so with all of these questions still up in the air, the administration is using this as a moment to urge people to get vaccinated, to get a booster, with the assumption that the vaccines will still provide some
protection and that particularly a booster could sort of give that hyperdrive to your immune system and provide you even more protection even among this new variant. the administration is also trying to reassure people that should these new variants evade the vaccine, that there are measures in place that the administration could take, that the white house could take, to get a new vaccine to people if that is what's required. you heard pfizer and moderna are working to formulate their vaccines to address this variant if that needs to be done. so offering reassurances, urging people to get their booster shots because clearly only a small fraction of people have gotten their boosters at this point, even among people 55 and older who have been recommended to get a booster since september, only 40% of them have a booster, so even among that high risk group. so boosters, boosters, boosters is the message from the white
house while we wait to get more information about what the details around this variant are going to look like. >> matt bradley, the president also made the point again that the u.s. has shipped more vaccines to the world than every other country combined. he made the point in saying there are lower vaccination rates, we know, in many african countries. but they also don't have the same access that we do, that europe does. is there any plan from the eu at this point to step up more? >> it's not necessarily from the european union. it's from the g7. the g7 has been meeting today, trying to come up with some sort of plan among the health ministers. a lot of these meetings, when we're talking about the g7, we're talking about the world's wealthiest democracies, countries that have already benefitted from the vaccines. of course the most developed countries carried a lot of the burden in terms of cases and deaths. but now the disease has spread to the global south.
this is exactly what the head of the world health organization had warned about recently. we see new variants like this one, it's because we don't have vaccine equality throughout the world. when we leave huge swaths of the globe, and of course this virus cares nothing about geography, nothing about international borders, when we leave huge swaths of the globe unvaccinated, then we should expect new mutant strains of this virus to emerge from there and that's exactly what's happened in southern africa. we don't know exactly if the new strain of omicron is from south africa, but that's where it was discovered first, first isolated and recognized. and so the head of the world health organization recently said for every six booster shots, and again, booster shots being that third shot that you get, there's only one vaccine, a first shot, in the developing world. remember, africa has a vaccination rate of about 7% compared to a global average of
maybe more than 40. in europe and the west it's more than 50%. when we're talking about leaving spots of the world so open, you know, of course vaccines offer protection on a collective basis. that is something that the immunologists, people advocating for developing countries, they say this is what happens, you're reaping what you sow. if you don't get vaccines into the arms of people around the world, you can expect further mutants. >> antonia hylton, i've been trying to listen to as many medical experts as i can. there's a lot of uniformity in the messaging. one thing dr. peter hotez who has been on this program keeps stressing is, yes, there's omicron that we're talking about now but he's also worried about a delta surge, something already here, seeing more of that this winter. what are you seeing there in boston? >> that's exactly right, aaron.
delta is still here and having an impact here in massachusetts and in new england more broadly. there's been a spike in cases in the weeks leading up to thanksgiving. on friday, just after thanksgiving, massachusetts reported 5,000 new cases. at mass general hospital behind me here they're actively treating 40 people with covid. this emerging new variant is coming at an inconvenient time for the hospital system in this region, because it's extremely strained for resources. that's not necessarily because there's a high rate of hospitalization for covid right now, there's not. but there are some serious pandemic-related stress impacts here in the system, primarily that physicians and nurses in this area are completely burnt out and many of the most critical departments are low on staffing. so right now, hospital groups are having conversations about potentially having to delay important procedures, say you're waiting on a hip replacement or a treatment for your kidneys. if it's not immediately life-threatening, you may soon
find out those treatments are being delayed here, as officials still have to brace for this new variant while they're already fighting delta and the other stresses and impacts on the system. the question here is going to be about the severity of the disease, how much hospitalization might omicron lead to. and in the meantime, while we don't know much, officials here are bracing. take a listen to dr. ali raja who works at mass general behind me here. >> right now, the entire hospital and the entire health care system in massachusetts is really trained, because not only do we still have patients with covid, we also have lots of patients who fortunately are vaccinated but aren't afraid to come back into the hospital for everything from heart attacks to strokes. so our hospital and all the hospitals across the state are completely full. if we end up with another respiratory surge of something like covid or a really bad flu
season, we're going to be really in a bind because we don't have room already as it is. >> new york has already announced a state of emergency, which is going to mean that its hospital systems can already start cancelling or delaying appointments for elective or nonemergency procedures. and while massachusetts hasn't announced a state of emergency, already there are discussions here about what it's going to look like if on top of the delta variant, on top of burnout and exhaustion, they also are fighting a new variant. it's going to be days, maybe weeks, up to month, until we have a full picture, aaron. >> dr. redlener, we've heard a lot of i'll call it informed guesstimations that the vaccines will offer perhaps enough protection that no new vaccines are needed to fight these new variants. do you think it's too soon to really know, to be able to make a statement like that?
>> so -- hi, aaron -- yeah, this whole history of this pandemic has been a history of making predictions that may or may not come true. and that has to do with how much uncertainty there has been all along with the pandemic. why are we getting surges and why do they get pulled back and why do we get anothersurge? and here we are with this omicron variant which is potentially quite dangerous. i only say potentially because sometimes a variant or mutations will fade out or be nothing. in this case, with omicron, there are some things that we know, and one of the things that is important to note is that the world health organization declared this to be a variant of concern. and that's the highest level of designation that w.h.o. gives. and what we're worried about is that we're going to see a very rapid transmission of this highly contagious variant.
it will make people sicker and maybe cause more fatalities. but the big worries, as stated also by some of your other panelists is, what happens if in fact this variant, omicron, is not susceptible to the protections afforded by the current vaccines? we'll know the answer to that in about ten days. and then we'll know the answers to how severe and how fast it's moving in the next several weeks, the next three to six weeks, let's say. so there's a lot of uncertainty. and yeah, it's very easy to make mistakes and try to project this. >> you told one of our producers that nobody should be able to get on a plane right now without being vaccinated and being tested. would you urge the biden administration to institute that sort of a rule now and essentially ground people who would rather just be tested? >> yeah, well, listen, i've been
saying for a long time that -- first of all, i'm a big believer in mandates in terms of the vaccinations. and second of all, we're going to not get there unless we really are serious about requiring people to be vaccinated, including i don't think we should allow anybody on an airplane for an international flight or a domestic flight that cannot prove they've been vaccinated. we already have a lot of transmission of the delta variant even before we're seeing the omicron. and i think mandating vaccines and mandating testing would be a way to control some of the spread. but travel bans themselves are not really all that effective, in my opinion, aaron. >> all right, we'll leave it there for now. shannon pettypiece, matt bradley, antonia hylton, dr. irwin redlener, thank you all. ahead, president biden meets with the ceos at the white house today amid lackluster black friday sales, concerns over a new covid variant, and a stock market rattled by it all.
plus congress is back. and they will have to hit the floor running to beat the clock on an extensive to-do list. can they get it all done? and ghislaine maxwell getting her day in court. the charges facing jeffrey epstein's long-time associate as her trial begins today. trial bey . i got the awesome new iphone 13 pro and airpods, and t- mobile is paying for them both! and this is for new and existing customers. upgrade to the iphone 13 pro and airpods both on us. this week only, at t-mobile. wayfair's cyber monday sale is on now! score unbelievable savings with our biggest sale ever! like ge appliances up to 40% off rugs up to 80% off and lighting up to 65% off. plus get bonus savings with a wayfair credit card and free shipping on thousands of products. don't miss our cyber monday happening now through november 29th. only at wayfair.com.
♪ ♪ amazing... jerry, you've got to see this. seen it. trust me, after 15 walks ...it gets a little old. [thud] [clunk] [ding] ugh... (gong rings) - this is joe. (combative yelling) he used to have bad breath. now, he uses a capful of therabreath fresh breath oral rinse to keep his breath smelling great, all day long. (combative yelling) therabreath, it's a better mouthwash. at walmart, target and other fine stores.
right now president biden hosting ceos of major retail and grocery companies at the white house. they are there to discuss the supply chain crisis that's causing shipping delays across the country as we head into the holiday season now. this meeting following a pretty rough black friday where we saw a new covid variant really shake the markets up on what's usually the biggest shopping day of the year. even black friday itself was disappointing for retailers because shoppers didn't return in droves as many had hoped. traffic in stores down almost 30% from pre-pandemic levels. joining me now, nbc news senior business correspondent stephanie
ruhle and the host of npr's "full disclosure," robin farzad. stephanie, let's start with you and the impact of this new variant. markets have rebounded today but there are still some worries out there. is this going to become the new normal for business, that we see these new variants and there's this shakiness and wall street? >> shakiness, and we saw the comeback today, right? think back to the delta variant over the summer. when the delta variant emerged, you saw people start to travel less, people who weren't rushing to go back to the office. on friday, surely you saw, the markets were spooked. but here we are today, as we're learning more and more about this new variant, and there are people who are less concerned that it's as scary as it was just a couple of days ago and the markets are coming back. as far as black friday goes, yes, we saw less people in stores than we saw pre-pandemic. but let's wait until we get through cyber monday. we've seen a huge push of e-commerce, online shopping, in stores offering all sorts of
deals online. there are a lot more people shopping online than pre-pandemic. we should wait a beat before saying, oh, it was a disaster, because it's been a strong retail season. >> get the full picture as opposed to just the one day. robin, let's turn to this meeting the president is having with ceos at the white house now. these ceos are contending with the pandemic. there's historic inflation, a supply chain crisis at the same time, no quick fixes to any of this. what can they do in terms of actual deliverables here? >> this is optics. this is not some president in 1900 exorting j. pierpont morgan to come in and help. the oil market, which is so fungible, can you really rein in the saudis, you have sway over opec, you have sway over your own oil patch.
i do feel for biden in that it kind of feels helpless. inflation is at a three-decade high, an intractable supply chain issue, we're 18 months removed from the onset, 19 months, of this pandemic. and you're wondering why you can't enjoy the fruits of a full economic comeback. it's really vexing. >> it's optics, but it's also resetting the narrative. look at the ceos he's got there today, mattel, etsy. walmart was able to hire 200,000 people in the last few months. they haven't had to price prices so much because a store the size and scale of walmart can provide those services, can provide those goods without jacking their prices. and those big retailers have been able to dominate the supply chain. so it's not like santa won't be there for christmas. those who are really suffering are the small businesses who can't do it. so yes, on the one hand this is optics but it's also resetting a narrative. while a lot of people are struggling, there's also record
demand. there are people who have money and they're out there spending it. >> what more can the white house do, can the ceos do, actually do, to change the optics? so it doesn't seem as though it's just lip service and trying to tell a story. >> listen, those ceos are pushing this white house, they want those ports open. they want deregulation so they can get goods into their stores as soon as possible. from the white house's perspective, you cannot change -- you said it -- the supply chain issues overnight. we have underinvested in our ports, which are owned by the government, for years and years. you simply can't change it overnight. we do currently have the expanded child tax credit which runs out at the end of the year. that provides a bit more of a financial cushion for families. for senior citizens, come next year, that social security fixed payment is going to go up, it's adjusted for inflation. so there is some more cushion. but listen, the white house is trying to change the narrative rather than just be on the defensive. we've all been talking about gas prices being up and up over the
last few months. they're starting to go down. i'm sure the white house wants us talking about it. >> stephanie, both of you, what happens if the narrative can only be controlled so much and inflation becomes so runaway that the federal reserve has to jack up rates, essentially crash the economy to save it from inflation? >> but why is that crashing the economy? interest rates are currently at zero. the last time we saw inflation where it was in early '90s, it was at 5%. so get yourself to 2%, what does that do, spook the markets? that's okay, markets it at an all-time high. >> true, but people are still sensitive. i think consumers are still sensitive. the mood out there is raw. wages are still not keeping up. >> absolutely. so they have to be sensitive to that. and if rates were raised, that would possibly help people, it would slow down the economy. when you see this new variant come, that could end up inadvertently slowing the economy which could help
inflation. when things cost more at the store or the gas pump, it affects people's psyche, they're not happy about it, they're struggling. it's a difficult narrative to tell. but they have to do their best to tell it. >> this is the sort of conversation and debate, you have to assume, that's happening in the white house, with all these companies. stephanie and robin, we appreciate the spirited debate here, thank you both. >> thank you. we're also following some breaking news from the tech world this afternoon. twitter ceo jack dorsey is stepping down from his company, the one he founded back in 2006. in a letter to his employees, dorsey said he believes the company is ready to move on from its founders. dorsey is being replaced by parag argawal, twitter's chief technology officer. congress is back and they have three weeks to build back better, avoid a shutdown, and lift the debt ceiling. can they get it done? breaking news out of the capital riot investigation. the house january 6th committee
could be about to announce action against a prominent lawyer who advised the former president donald trump. stay with us. ith us ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list event. bogeys on your six, limu. they need customized power car insurancesanctuary 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. ♪ do you struggle with occasional nerve aches in your hands or feet? try nervivenerve relief from the world's #1 selling nerve care company. nervive contains alpha lipoic acid
to relieve occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort. try nervivenerve relief. - [narrator] every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft condition. in the us, children are healed at birth. but in parts of the world where the right medical care doesn't exist, children like lexi struggle to speak or eat. without surgery, some will die. those who do survive face extreme challenges. together, we can change this. operation smile works to heal children born with cleft conditions. with volunteer medical teams in more than 30 countries worldwide, we need you. there are still millions in dire need of healing. go to operationsmile.org today and become a monthly supporter. help create new smiles and new futures. but act now. children are waiting. go online to operationsmile.org to give monthly
partial shutdown will go into effect this friday. that's not all. treasury secretary janet yellen has given congress a december 15th deadline to raise the debt limit to avoid a default. and the president's build back better legislative package is now in the senate with majority leader chuck schumer hoping for a vote before christmas. joining me now, nbc news capitol hill correspondent leigh ann caldwell and politico white house reporter eugene daniels, he's also an msnbc contributor. lee ann, i want to start with breaking news on the january 6th committee, it plans to hold a vote to hold jeffrey clark in contempt. >> that's right, aaron, jeffrey clark is a former trump administration department of justice official who was really instrumental in the justice department, trying to get them and other agencies to overturn the election results of 2020. he was a critical player for the former president.
and he appeared before the committee a few weeks ago behind closed doors but failed to cooperate. and so now the committee is finally acting. they are going to vote wednesday night to refer criminal contempt charges regarding jeffrey clark. if that vote passes, which it is expected to, it would go to the full house, which would also have to vote, before it's sent to the justice department. we've already seen this play out with steve bannon, who is awaiting trial as we speak for those charges, aaron. >> leigh ann, let's turn to the legislative agenda in congress. what are we hearing from lawmakers about these deadlines out there and their ability to get all this work done? >> yeah, there's a lot of deadlines coming up, making it a very busy work period in december. let's start with government funding. i'm hearing from republicans and democrats who are optimistic that the government is not going to shut down. they're talking about extending government funding until maybe the end of january, even though
republicans would like it to go even longer, into february and march. as far as the debt limit is concerned, leader schumer and leader mcconnell spoke about this a couple of weeks ago, a sign that they are at least talking about the even though no plan has been presented on how to avoid any sort of default. but there have been discussions under way. they say that they have two weeks to go. that allows them some more time. as far as the build back better agenda, this is going to be the most tricky for democrats to finish before christmas. it's just a very long process. it's a technical process in the senate. and it will be a literal christmas miracle if they're able to get it done by then. leader schumer is willing to do so and we'll see if he can pull it out. if not, they can come back after christmas and try to wrap it up. >> we'll see if a christmas miracle comes together on the hill.
eugene, this build back better bill, the version that passed the house includes things that senator joe manchin said he will specifically not vote for, things like paid family leave. how many extras added by the house will hit the cutting room floor, do you think? >> at this point it's really hard to know. we know for sure that paid family leave, like you said, is one that joe manchin isn't a fan of in this bill. he wants to handle that separately and says it should be done in a bipartisan manner, not do reconciliation. and this is one of the frustrations, and we've talked about this for months and months, it feels like years at this point, that democrats, progressives, have had with joe manchin, not really knowing exactly what he wants and doesn't want in a particular bill. so it's going to be kind of up to him to kind of choose his own adventure as we move forward. like leigh ann said, it would be a christmas miracle if they are to pass this. out of all these things we're talking about, the government funding, the debt limit, even the defense bill, the china competitiveness measure which
schumer wants to get done, the social spending bill is the thing they can come back and do later because this is, once again, a deadline they've self-imposed. and the white house has often talked about these deadlines as something that are less deadlines and more, as jen psaki put it, check-ins and road marks along the way as they're looking to pass the bill. i'm not hearing a lot of pressure for this to happen. i think, you know, leaders want it to happen. but what the white house really wants is for this bill to pass. it will look different than the house and everyone knew that, especially progressives who voted for it. >> and eugene, at the same time inflation has hit a 31-year high. republicans are saying this build back better plan is only going to make that problem worse. is that message effective? is the average american going to think this bill is going to further increase the price of their groceries or the cost of gas? >> it's really -- yeah, i think so, because it's really easy when americans are already nervous about certain things
like gas. i don't typically have a car, i've been renting a car, and filling the gas for the first time in a long time has been surprising and shocking. so you completely understand that americans, they're looking at how high gas is, how much food is, that it's making them nervous, so it's easier, it's an easier message for republicans to say this thing is going to make it worse, this thing you've never seen before, that all of us have called unprecedented, this investment we've never seen in this country. that is an effect message. i think what the white house is democrats have to do is continue to push, as they've tried to do, it hasn't really broken through, that that is not something that all economists agree on, that it's going to add to inflation. so that is -- they have their work cut out for them on that aspect of it. they also have covid to deal with. we have this new variant that's causing consternation among the public. so they have a lot of messaging issues, but also the technical arm twisting of trying to get
this social spending bill done for this white house. >> all right, we'll leave the conversation there for now. eugene, tell your grandma we said hi. thank you for being with us today. leigh ann caldwell on the hill for us, thank you. up next, two highly anticipated trials playing out. they've begun in new york. opening statements have gun today in the case of jeffrey epstein associate gill gill. and in chicago, actor jussie smollett goes to court, accused of lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime. we'll have a live report on both trials when we come back. n both trials when we come back autoglass came right to me...ae with service i could trust. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪
(gentle music) ♪ i'll be home for christmas ♪ you can plan on me ♪ please have snow and mistletoe ♪ ♪ and presents on the tree - right now, all over the country, kids at shriners hospitals for children are able to go home and be with their families for the holidays, and that's only possible because of the monthly donations
from people like you. - will you call the number on your screen today, and just give $19 a month? you'll be helping countless children get the care they need to go home for christmas. - with your gift of just $19 a month, only 63 cents a day, we'll send you this adorable love to the rescue blanket as a thank you and a reminder of the care you'll be providing, so kids can be with their families. ♪ christmas eve will find me ♪ where the love light gleams - it only takes a moment to call the number on your screen, or you can visit loveshriners.org to help other kids, just like me, be with their families this christmas. - because every child just wants to be home for the holidays, and your gift makes that possible. - your call is the best gift of all. - your gift will be my favorite christmas present this year.
- thank you for giving. - [child] please call the number on your screen. if operators are busy, please call again or go to loveshriners.org to give whatever you can. thank you for giving. breaking news out of washington now. president biden meeting with ceos of several major retailers at the white house. let's go listen in. >> -- this past thinking as well as christmas. this morning i provided an update on the omicron variant and told the american people that it is a variant that's cause for concern but not a cause for panic.
and we're going to fight this with science and speed. we're not going to fight it with chaos and confusion. we can deal with it. on thursday, i'm going to be putting forward a detailed strategy on how to deal with this new variant. and it's not shutdowns or lockdowns. more widespread vaccinations, boosters, at the beginning of the day -- testing, and more. i urge all americans who haven't gotten vaccinated and gotten a booster shot to get it done today. there are 80,000 places to get it done. there's no reason -- it's free, it's available, and if you qualify for the booster, get it done today. now, to the business at hand. i know it's been a critical and
busy time for all of you here today. that's a good thing from my perspective. all kidding aside, it really matters. i remember, and i think we all do, last year, families celebrating the holidays apart from one another or on video, for fear of spreading the deadly virus. this year, thanks to scientists, researchers, and doctors who developed the covid-19 vaccines, and the nurses and other front line workers who saw to it that it was administered, many of them your employees in your stores who were able to have a very different thanksgiving as a consequence of that than last thanksgiving. we reunited friends and family. and most important, with a little more hope, a little more hope. and fewer americans were worried about putting food on the table and hunger is actually down 40% this year in the united states of america. 4.5 million more americans than
last year have the dignity of a job. it also means we're looking at the holiday season a lot more like the ones we had in the past. consumer spending has recovered to where it was headed before the pandemic. early estimates are that black friday sales were up nearly a third since last year. and in-store sales were up by nearly -- by even more than that, i think it was 40 something percent. i don't have the number, i think it was 40%, something like that. and so we're hearing consumer reports from small business saturday, i don't have those numbers yet. and i'm sure some people watching this online are also doing a little cyber monday shopping right now. and that's why i brought everyone together to thank you for accommodating us.
the business leaders gathered here today represent a broad swath of american shopping. brick and mortar, online stores, national and local grocery chains, our nation's largest retailer, and the makers and sellers of toys, electronics, and health supplies. i want to hear from each of you about what you're seeing this holiday season, how well-prepared are you to have products you need on your shelves, and how you've innovated and hired to overcome the supply chain challenges you have, and keep workers safe from covid-19 so the american people can have the holiday season they've long been hoping for. in particular i want to hear about the challenges facing small businesses. the small businesses are so important to our communities. they don't have the same leverage as many of you do.
finally, i want to hear how american consumers can get what they need. some of you have been working with us to get goods through our ports faster. we've seen some progress with a number of containers sitting on decks for more than eight days down 40% this month. we'll keep building on that progress. i would like to start the conversation with, with your permission, by turning to the president of food lion. meg, food is -- >> you've been watching president biden making opening comments with ceos from major retailers around the country, companies like walmart, cvs, best buy, food lion represented there. the president obviously talking first about the omicron variant that's emerged as a part of the
covid-19 pandemic but also saying that he wanted to gather this group of people together to talk about how the federal government can help them continue to make efforts to stock up store shelves for consumers as we head into the holiday season. we're going to continue to monitor this meeting for you and you can expect to hear more about what happened there throughout the day here on msnbc. we turn now to developing news in new york city. opening statements under way in the high profile section trafficking case against ghislaine maxwell, the long time confidant of convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein, accused of playing a central role in his international sex trafficking network with dozens of alleged victims. she was arrested in july, nearly a year after epstein died by suicide in his jail cell while he was awaiting trial. in this trial maxwell faces a narrower set of charges, six counts related to the recruitment, transportation, and abuse of four teenaged girls in the '90s.
she has pleaded not guilty and insists she has nothing to do with epstein's crimes. if convicted, maxwell faces 70 years in prison. joining me now is msnbc legal analyst kristen givens-feden, part of the prosecution team on the bill cosby case. kristen, there are big expectations for this trial, we know, mostly because of the big names that have been associated with jeffrey epstein over the years. the man at the center of this case, we also know, is dead now. so what does that mean for the prosecution's case here? >> it makes it a little more challenging. but keep in mind, if he were alive, he would be facing similar criminal charges and they would likely not be able to call him as a witness. what the prosecution is instead going to focus on is the testimony of the four survivors of epstein and talk about the role, the critical role that maxwell played in terms of enticing them, grooming them, acclimating them to be, quote, you know, comfortable, if you will, to epstein.
normalizing sexually explicit behavior, making them comfortable with the sexual acts that epstein committed dependence them. keep in mind, these were minors. so when you have another female there who is approving of the sexually explicit acts, sometimes it makes it difficult for the minor to decide whether or not it's right or wrong. and so that is going to be the role, the theme of the prosecution, to show the role that maxwell played. >> the prosecution has also signaled at least that the four now adult victims here are going to take the stand, are going to testify. how impactful will personal testimony be in this trial? is there any risk in doing that too? >> no, and in fact the prosecution probably needs to put on these four victims in order to even prove their case. and you're right, when you talk about the impact, i can only imagine that we're going to see the very same thing that we saw in the mark kelly trial where these women are going to have to
testify to the horrific acts they were subjected to by epstein. that will bring up the trauma, they're going to be revictimized. the jury will see tears, they're going to show emotion. that helps to build the credibility of these survivors so that the prosecution can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. >> kristen gibbons-feden, we appreciate your perspective, thank you. nearly three years after claiming he was attacked, actor jussie smollett will be tried for allegedly staging a hate came. the story ricochetted across the world when this happened, a popular actor on a successful show assaulted by two men who were yelling racist and anti-gay slogans as they tied a noose around his neck. but then there were reports that surfaced weeks later that he hired those attackers himself. smollett faces six felony counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police. he has pleaded not guilty. he maintains the attack was not staged. joining me from chicago, nbc
news correspondent meagan fitzgerald. meagan, lay it out for us, what's expected today? >> reporter: aaron, today is jury selection. ten jurors were released, the judge says he expects to seat a jury by the end of today. we don't know if we will hear from smollett in the course of this trial. but we are anticipating having the prosecution call the two brothers that police say smollett hired, paid some $3,500 to participate in what they are calling a hoax. if he's convicted of the charges he faces, he faces a maximum of three years in prison, although legal experts say it's likely that he would receive probation. but keep in mind here, there is a lawsuit against jussie smollett from the city of chicago for $130,000. they are trying to recoup the cost of what it cost them to investigate what they're calling
a hoax. at this moment that is pending. but again, we are expecting a jury to be seated today with opening statements possibly beginning sometime tomorrow, aaron. >> and there will be a lot of moving parts to follow with this trial and with the case to come. meagan fitzgerald for us in chicago today, meagan, thank you. up next, the controversial claims coming out of a brand-new book about the british royal family.
come here! i've got big news! now, nurtec odt can not only stop a migraine it can prevent a migraine as well. nurtec is the first and only option proven to treat and prevent migraines with one medication. onederful. one quick dissolve tablet can start fast and last. don't take if allergic to nurtec. the most common side effects were nausea, stomach pain, and indigestion. with nurtec, i treat migraine my way. what's your way? ask your doctor about nurtec to find out! ♪♪
♪♪ on the morning that the engagement of harry and meghan was announced, in a very kind of benign way, prince charles start the news on what their future grandchildren might look like. here is this beautiful biracial american woman and harry is a redhead. it was turned into something very toxic. it was weaponized, really. >> that was long-time royal writer christopher anderson defending comments made by prince charles during a moment detailed in his new book. it's called "brothers and wives." this book describes an exchange between the future king and his wife on the day of harry and meghan's engagement in which
charles reportedly mused about the skin color of their future children. the book is making headlines in the u.k. and around the world. >> reporter: the royal family is hitting back hard against these explosive new claims in this book. prince charles' spokesperson calling them fiction. another bombshell for the royal family. the new book "brothers and wives" claiming prince charles asked about the skin color of meghan markle's and prince harry's future children over breakfast with his wife camilla, charles allegedly asking, what do you suppose their children's complexion might be? an interesting conversation, the book's author said, that was shifted into something toxic by royal advisors and shared with harry and meghan. they said, this is fiction and not worth further comment. harry and meghan accusing the
royal family of racism in their tell-all with oprah earlier this year. >> there is a conversation with you -- >> with harry. >> -- about how dark your baby is going to be? >> potentially, and what that would mean or look like. >> whoo. >> they never revealed who said it but later clarified it wasn't the queen or prince phillip. he said the allegations were taken very seriously and would be dealt with. prince harry defended the royals. the book by chris anderson has covered the royal family for decades and says he has multiple sources for all his reporting. in the book he describes william's concerns about harry rushing to the altar. his advice was, take all the time you really need to get to
know this girl. harry's reaction, who the hell do you think you are, brother? the situation became more strained in december 2019 after harry and meghan chose to spend the christmas holiday in canada, and that before the queen recorded her traditional christmas message, she ask that the picture of harry and meghan be removed. harry felt as if he, meghan and archie were being erased from the family. a spokesperson for the queen told the new york post, we don't comment on books of this kind as to do so risks giving it some form of authority or credibility. we reached out to prince william and prince harry's spokespeople. so far no comment from either of them. >> our thanks to nbc's kelly cobiella reporting from london.
hallie jackson picks up our coverage here on msnbc, next. mt as a dj, i know all about customization. that's why i love liberty mutual. they customize my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. how about a throwback? you got it. ♪ liberty, liberty - liberty, liberty ♪ uh, i'll settle for something i can dance to. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ ♪ ♪ only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ o man, that's a whole lot of wrinkly at least my shoes look good! looking good start with bounce wrinkleguard, the megasheet designed to prevent wrinkles in the dryer. - san francisco can have
criminal justice reform and public safety. but district attorney chesa boudin is failing on both. - the safety of san francisco is dependent upon chesa being recalled as soon as possible. - i didn't support the newsom recall but this is different. - chesa takes a very radical perspective and approach to criminal justice reform, which is having a negative impact on communities of color. - i never in a million years thought that my son, let alone any six-year-old, would be gunned down in the streets of san francisco and not get any justice. - chesa's failure has resulted in increase in crime against asian americans. - the da's office is in complete turmoil at this point. - for chesa boudin to intervene in so many cases is both bad management and dangerous for the city of san francisco. - we are for criminal justice reform. chesa's not it. recall chesa boudin now.
i've lost count of how many asthma attacks i've had. but my nunormal chwith nucala?. fewer asthma attacks. nucala is a once-monthly add-on injection for severe eosinophilic asthma. not for sudden breathing problems. allergic reactions can occur. get help right away for swelling of face, mouth, tongue, or trouble breathing. infections that can cause shingles have occurred. don't stop steroids unless told by your doctor. tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection. may cause headache, injection-site reactions, back pain, and fatigue. ask your doctor about nucala. find your nunormal with nucala. we are coming on the air this afternoon with that covid question mark, that new omicron variant spreading to more than a dozen countries, but without a whole lot of data to explain just how transmissible or dangerous it is or isn't.
that's why top officials, including the president himself, are giving this gut check. don't freak out yet. >> this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. >> president biden also saying new lockdowns do not seem to be on the table just now as the w.h.o. says travel restrictions might not be the way to go since it might disincentivize other countries to come forward with any variants themselves. ahead, we're separating fact from fear about what you need to know from omicron. and we have who else might be getting flagged with a contempt of congress clause. for now i'm hallie jackson in washington starting us off with our news team. kelly o'donnell at the white house, and we're also joined by