tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC December 21, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
so today was the shortest day of the year, the least amount of sunlight you will experience all year long, which feels heavy. i know. it certainly feels dark. here is the real news. tonight, the darkness will be shorter than it was last night. maybe only by a second or two depending on where you are in out beloved northern hemisphere. the nights start getting shorter tonight and from here on out, the night will get a little shorter than that. every day we'll get a little more sun, we'll get a little bit more light. we're round the corner and heading home. here we go. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. it's time for "theo'donnell.
>> as i was saying about pramila jayapal, this is just a continuation of last night's discussion. >> okay. >> as you know. at exactly this moment last night. she was on your show. full of optimism in the face of your pessimism, which is my favorite segment on "the rachel maddow show" and you just reported where the optimism stands tonight but the point that i didn't get to last night that i really want to get to is i think she is the -- she should lecture the rest of the house about how to speak publicly about pending legislation. sure, you might be angry at another democrat or another person who might or might not vote for the bill, but expressing that anger publicly at those people is the most unproductive thing you can do as long as the legislation is still
pending. the diplomatic way that she talks about joe manchin publicly is what allows her to talk to him privately. which none of the democrats who kind of popped out angrily about joe manchin sunday and monday are able to do. they never have private conversations with him. and -- >> the problem is that if he's lying in his private conversations then all of the niceness that you put out to the world to get you the private conversation with him just sort of drags you along the path, along the garden path a little further because she's also saying listen, in his private conversations he's lying. he's not operating in good faith. he's saying stuff he's going to do and doesn't do it. so yes, i mean, i think she's modelling good behavior in theory there but joe manchin is proving everybody with good intentions wrong. >> okay.
okay. so she doesn't get to indulge those feelings that you just and pressed if she is going to be a professional legislator who is actually going to try to get the bill passed. she can say for her memoirs, her private feelings about that but to go public with that is never productive. she was very stern about joe manchin on your show last night saying that she believed that what he was saying was at odds with what he had been saying before but she didn't use the words lie. she was careful about the language she chooses and, you know, it's an ongoing gaining of yards one day, losing yards another day and the way to present it publicly is without all that ranker, no matter how much you're feeling because the message that people get out there in the world is oh, they're just fighting. they fight. that's all they do. they just fight. they literally use the word
fight, which i by the way believe is a mistake in politics. it a word that creates all sorts of problems. chuck schumer uses the word fight in his official written communications about what he's doing on the senate floor. pramila jayapal is really the person in this whole story so far whose words are just flawlessly chosen all the way through. >> constructive. >> doing what she's trying to achieve. >> yes. because she's not out there trying to vanquish a faux of any kind. she's out there trying to get stuff done. >> right. yeah. >> her relentless constructiveness makes -- maybe i shouldn't call her the chief optimist of the rachel maddow show, maybe most constructive award or something because i think you're putting a finer point on it than i have been. she is just about trying to get it done and prioritizing that above any petty inpersonality
driven thing like i want to do because here i am in the peanut gallery throwing spit wads. >> yeah, that's it. relentless constructive. keep that one. that's good. >> excellent. bumper sticker. i now have to go figure out how to spell it. >> thank you, lawrence. january 6th is just over two weeks away and yesterday house speaker nancy pelosi announced on january 6th, the house of representatives will commemorate that tragic day one year ago when the capitol and members of the house of representatives were under attack with their lives being threatened by a mob who donald trump told to go to the capitol and in his words fight like hell. speaker pelosi announced that the commemoration at the capitol on january 6th will include quote a prayerful vigil in the
evening fearing the imagery of the prayerful vigil and focus on the capitol that all of the american news media will deliver on that tragic anniversary of january 6th. donald trump issued a press release today one day after nancy pelosi issued a press release saying i will be having a news conference on january 6th at march mar-a-lago. this is donald trump's attempt to divert attention from what nancy pelosi is planning for january 6th. no one should watch whatever donald trump does on january 6th. enough reporters will be watching it to let us know if donald trump said anything that might actually be true or if he said anything that inadvertently implicates him more deeply in criminal conduct. donald trump's press release is filled with lies including the phrase news conference, it will
not be a news conference. it will be the rantings of a madman spewing incoherent pathological lies. this is what he promises he'll discuss on january 6th. in many ways a rhino is worse than a radical left democrat because you don't know where they are coming from and you have no idea how bad they really are for our country. all the incorrect capitalized letters that you see in that sentence are the work of donald trump. not us. the rest is filled with lies about the presidential elections in pennsylvania, arizona, georgia, wisconsin and michigan because those same lies were used in email solicitations for money in fact, hundreds of millions of dollars that donald trump sent all over the country
including to me. i got those emails. the house select committee investigating the attack on the capitol is considering evidence that donald trump committed the federal crime of interstate wire fraud with those emails. "the new york times" reports that the committee is considering the possibility of sending a criminal referral to the justice department involving donald trump and others. the times reports the committee believes they might develop quote evidence of criminal conduct by president donald j. trump or others that they could send to the justice department urging an investigation. the times says quote investigators for the committee are looking into a range of crimes were committed including two in particular, whether there was wire fraud by republicans who raised millions of dollars off assertions that the election was stolen despite knowing the claims were not true and mr. trump and his allies obstructed congress by trying to stop the certification of electoral
votes. in a committee meeting, republican vice chair liz cheney suggests that donald trump violated federal law by obstructing an official proceeding of congress on january 6th. >> hours passed without necessary action by the president. did donald trump through action or inaction corruptly seek to obstruct or impede congress' official proceedings to count electoral votes? >> today scott perry publicly refused to cooperate after the committee asked him to submit to an interview. the committee said it will consider quote using other tools to obtain testimony from congressman perry but the committee did not specifically mention the possibility of a subpoena. the committee says that it has evidence already that congressman perry participated in an attempt to have jeffrey clark installed as the acting attorney general of the united
states so that jeffrey clark could use that position to corruptly attempt to overturn election results in some states including georgia. jeffrey clark has not yet testified to the committee because of reported illness but he's indicated he believes his criminal culpability is such he'll invoke the fifth amendment so he does not implicate himself in crimes in his testimony. while people like jeffrey clark and donald trump who held positions at the very top of the conspiracy to over throw the election have not yet been charged with any crimes, today, 81-year-old gary was sentenced to 90 days of home detention and 36 months probation and a $2,000 fine for the 22 minutes he spent in the capitol on january 6th. he did not engage in violence. he never needed a lawyer in his life until he followed what he
thought was donald trump's order to go down to the capitol and fight like hell. president ronald reagan appointed the judge who sentenced gary wickersham today. he's 78 years old. he said quote, it's the first defendant i've had that is older than me in quite sometime. those are the judge's words. he's a man that spent a life valuing the ideas of america. it is particularly sad in his 80th year, mr. wickersham took part in such a dark day in our nation's history. gary wickersham told the judge it's not like me to do that. he said what he did on january 6th is what he called a dark blot on his life. he said i'm remorseful for wwic on his life now.
he committed crimes for donald trump but unlike donald trump and the people who violated their oaths and committed crimes for donald trump, today gary wickersham did something donald trump has never done and will never do. gary wickersham admitted what he did on that dark day in our nation's history. donald trump will never admit what he did on that day. gary wickersham admitted what he did was a crime and he agreed to pay the price for that crime. we know now that donald trump will never admit what he did but we don't yet know if donald trump will ever have to pay the price of being as gary wickersham now is a convicted criminal. leading off our discussion tonight is steve schmidt, co-founder of the lincoln project. steve, we have an 81-year-old defendant sentenced today. the oldest person known to be
charged among the close to 700 charged. while donald trump and jeffrey clark and congressman perry and mark meadows and others continue to try to evade any answers to any questions about what they did. >> i was struck by the picture of gary wickersham wearing a red hat with airborne paratrooper wings, maybe a veteran of the armed forces and it is a dark blot on his life, on his record and he's going to pay a price for it. but the accountability it seems to me thus far in this entire tragedy has been bottom down. it's the gary wickershams of the world who are paying a price, not the people who have incited. not the senior leaders of the executive branch, not senior leaders of the legislative branch, and we have a problem with that in this country. that is destabilized our
politics. you can go back and you can look at the economic collapse of 2009, 15 million families lose their homes on a single wall street banker goes to jail. how many black kids in this country do we have locked up for marijuana offenses when you have the sackler family not only running free but still worth many billions of dollars in how to plan to immunize them from lawsuits that thank god was rejected by a federal judge. thisis 21st century one of the so much anger. what we see in this case is the most vital issue of our time, the defense of american democracy, the people that have instigated and continue to plot to take it down by perpetuaing the big lie at the most senior levels of america's government, kevin mccarthy, ted cruz, josh hawley and the reality that donald trump is the front runner
for the republican nomination in '24 is a precarious moment and if we're going to be safe and make it through the hour of crisis, there must be accountability for the people that planned that and orchestrated it and ensited it at the top of the ladder, not bottom. >> you're right about gary wickersham. his lawyer said he's a military veteran and that was part of his pleading to the judge about how this man has never done anything wrong in his life until january 6th. so on january 6th, the one year anniversary, nancy pelosi is planning a prayer vigil among other things at the capitol. donald trump is planning to step up to a microphone in florida. >> donald trump is the front runner for the republican nomination in 2024. he controls the national republican party in the state parties and the apparatus of the party and hundreds and hundreds
of millions of dollars, lock stock and barrel. you have the entirety of the leadership of the republican party with a couple of exceptions. mitch mcconnell among them that are completely terrified of the man. so this hour, this moment that we're in is part of an unfolding event that started in 2015 when this man came down the escalator in trump tower and launched this era of profound racial an mist, of division stoking this civil war, this tragic presidency but this issue we're dealing with today, what donald trump is pushed a boulder down the hill and it's still rolling. what we see happening in this country is a consequence of the unraveling that donald trump began and so this next election is going to be different than the last election regardless of whether trump was on the ballot
or not. in 2020 i believe donald trump was the 25 million issues in it if he's on the ballot in 2024, he's what type of society do we want to live in? do we want this? there is nothing new to learn about donald trump. there is no new lie, no new piece of demagoguery and racial incitement and act of cruelty, degradation, sick attack that will illuminate, provide any new information to any level about this guy. there is nothing new to learn. so everything is on the table in front of us in plain and clear view about the threats to american democracy, and unless and until we start to see a societals consensus around demanding accountability on
these issues and it will stand and say no more with the assaults on american democracy, this threat will grow and the more you look at it, you know, from this perspective, i don't think the question anymore is about whether american democracy is under attack, whether it's under a threat. i think the question is going to become how high is the cost going to be ultimately to stop this movement which is contrary to every idea, every idea that every american patriot who has ever sacrificed for this country is believed in. >> steve schmidt, thank you for starting us off. appreciate it. >> joining us is jill wine-banks who served as assistant watergate prosecutor and former general counsel in the army. jill, i wanted to get your view of what we're hearing about the possibilities of criminal findings in these investigations beginning with wire fraud in
soliciting money, what's turned out to be a few hundred million dollars after the election lying about the election. >> it makes total sense to me. i don't think congress had any idea this is where it would end up. they started out looking for what kind of laws do we need to pass to prevent ever again being confronted with the horror of january 6th. but in that investigation, they have come up with obvious crimes by the president, by his top aids and they can't ignore it. they cannot prosecute it. only the department of justice can. so it makes complete sense for them to send the evidence to the department of justice and say we think there is crimes here that you should investigate. during watergate, there was a two-way street. we had the senator irvin hearings and we learned a lot of
evidence from the public witnesses that appeared before that committee. but we also had a grand jury and we had evidence that we then put together in what was known as a road map to impeachment. we got the court's permission to reach grand jury secrecy by turning it over to the congress and congress used it as exactly what it was intended, as the road map for articles of impeachment and in this case, the reverse is happening where congress is sending criminal information to the department that the department is going to have no choice but to investigate. i'd be happy to debate the attorney general about the wisdom of doing nothing versus the wisdom of doing something and i think doing nothing is much more partisan than doing something. anyone who commits a crime must be investigated whether it's the president or mark meadows, whoever it is, the investigation must go forward.
>> jill, expand on your point that you just made that doing nothing is actually more partisan than prosecuting crimes that you find in this situation. >> it's not only more partisan, although i think it is, but i think it's very dangerous because, you know, i was one of the prosecutors that thought that a sitting president could be indicted pack during the watergate era and i still think the same today. but we were advised that we could not do that and so we took this other method of using the road map but i think that had richard nixon criminally indicted rather than just being an unindicted co-conspirator, maybe donald trump would have learned a lesson. maybe donald trump wouldn't do what he's doing. and so to say you cannot go after any person is to say someone is above the law and i think whether it's subpoenaing a
member of congress for their testimony or whether it's indicting a member of congress or the president, it has to be done otherwise it looks partisan to me. >> jill wine-banks, thank you very much for joining our discussion. appreciate it. thank you. coming up, the senate is finally doing it. senate democrats tonight held a meeting to discuss changing the senate rules to pass voting rights. urging democrats to make such rule changes will join us next. he has spoken to senators about this many times. he'll speak to us, next. t this many times. he'll speak to us, next. when ys look clean, there's extra dirt you can't see. watch this. that was in these clothes... ugh. but the clothes washed in tide- so much cleaner. if it's got to be clean it's got to be tide hygienic clean.
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manchin has made it clear what he cannot accept in the build back better bill. senator manchin did participate in that meeting tonight. today, president biden said this. >> some people think maybe i'm not irish because i don't hold a grudge. look, i want to get things done. i still think there is a possibility of getting build back better done. imagine being a parent looking at a child and you can't afford, you have no house to borrow against, you have no savings. it's wrong. all the things in that bill are going to reduce prices and costs for middle close and working class people. senator manchin and i are going to get something done. >> washington post greg sergeant is reporting that congressman pramila jayapal reached out to manchin today and asked him to return to the frame work of the
build back better act and say what specifically in the house bill doesn't matchup with what manchin did commit to in the frame work and to say what specifically in the frame work he did not commit to and does not support. manchin of course would reject this conception of the situation arguing he didn't commit to the frame work. the united mine workers of america that named joe manchin last year urged manchin to support the bill, the coal miner's union sites their support for the bill's benefits including very important extension of the fee paid by coal companies to coal miners suffering from black lung. that expires at the end of this year and also, tax incentives to encourage manufacturers to build facilities in coal country. the union writes we urge senator manchin to revisit his
opposition of the legislation and work with his colleagues to pass something that will help keep coal miners working. nbc news is reporting in the senate discussion tonight, chuck schumer said the senate would proceed to the build back better bill in january, bring it to the senate floor. the senate will bring it to the senate floor and if republicans block it, the democrats will consider and vote on rules reform. joining us now is congressional historian, a scholar at the american enterprise institute. norm, your idea was in the discussion tonight about rules reform in the senate that will allow them to vote on voting rights without having to clear a 60-vote threshold. this is going -- we're going to see something play out on the senate floor on this in january. >> and i'm very encouraged. you know, there are a couple points made tonight. one is that we really do face a
threat. if we don't get these two bills and more, the freedom to vote act, the john lewis voting act and help protect democracy act and the electoral count act, we're in for something worse than we saw last january or this past january 6th. that's important. the other part is we still have an obstacle and the obstacle is the reluctance of the two senators manchin and sinema to go with a reform that would restore the filibuster. senator sinema thinks the filler buster was in place or super majority requirement from the beginning of the republic is a misconception of the reality and i think we have a chance now of convincing both of them the kind of reform jeff merckly and others put together that includes the idea al franken and i had for a long time moving
from 60 to 41 to continue it combined with the talking filibuster but giving a lot of role for the minority both to speak and offer amendments actually is something that senator manchin's predecessor robert bird would support and that given the gravity of the situation, our democracy moves to code blue if we don't get this done really requires something substantial. the other thing they talked about, lawrence, is having this supply once a year so it doesn't become the regular format. you're doing a very careful balaning act here and i can't for the life of me see why given what we know about the situation in the country as the next january 6th approaches that they won't think that there is a way to get to yes on this. >> norm, in the manchin interview this weekend where he said no to the current version of the build back better bill, he also made the point that
senate rules have changed many times over the centuries. he didn't say exactly what he'd be willing to do but he more than once talked about how senate rules have changed when they needed to change. >> and senator manchin has spoken several times in public favorably about the idea of switching from 60 to 41. i think there is every reason to believe even though he's also said he wants it to be bipartisan and we're not going to get a single republican just as none of them will support any of the provisions in the build back better act that are so good for their own voters, none of them will support any kind of reform of the rules. but, you know, he's got reasons to think this through and to support it. i think senator sinema is a little harder one to get to but again, if we can convince her her idea about theibuster and w
today and where we need to go, we have every reason to believe we can get there but, you know, we're not there yet. >> norm, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. always appreciate it. >> always, lawrence. >> thank you. coming up, what do you call a democracy where candidates who get the most votes do not necessarily win? you call it the united states of america. that's next. ed states of america. that's next. nurse mariyam sabo knows a moment this pure... ...demands a lotion this pure. new gold bond pure moisture lotion. 24-hour hydration. no parabens, dyes, or fragrances. gold bond. champion your skin.
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the democrats have been amazingly successful in national elections over the last 20 years. that's what our next guest told "the new york times." harvard professor steven pointed out that the democrats have won the last seven out of eight presidential elections with the voters of this country but the electoral college gave two of those victories to the republican candidate.
first, george w. bush in 2000 and second, donald trump in 2016 who both got fewer votes than the democratic candidate. many democracies around the world established after the united states government was established have borrowed some elements of american democracy but none have made the mistake of creating an electoral college. professor highlights another not so minor flaw in american democracy, the united states senate. the 50 democratic senators currently serving represent 56.5% of the country's population and the 50 republicans represent just 43.5% of the country's population. professor told "the new york times" you cannot look at a party in a democracy that has won the popular vote almost without fail for two decades and say gee, that party really has to get it together liabilities.
joins us now is the professor. thank you for joining us. appreciate it. your point about the last eight presidential elections put that way is really quite stunning. how far from idealized democracy is the united states? >> well, not sure anybody has achieved and realized democracy but if you compare the united states to other established democracies in the world, canada, new zealand, japan, all of europe, we are far and away the most counter majority democracy that allows parties that lose the popular vote to
govern and that allows a permanent veto that allows partisan minorities to permanently veto regular laws that are backed by a majority. there are elements, there are anti democratic elements in our system that exist in very few other established democracies. >> what would you say are the main anti democratic elements in our constitution? >> well, i would start as you mentioned with senate the fact that each state no patter population is outside of argentina and brazil. profoundly democratic and the model of a college argentina but other presidential democracies.
>> the senate because it has the two per state already has a sort of filibuster built into it structurally before you ever get to the senate rules. joe manchin's concern about protecting minority rights in the senate was actually done, i personally would argue, over done by the founders when they said two per state. >> absolutely. again, we're the only country that i know of, only democracy i know of that has a filler buster like rule that allows for permanent veto by a minority of legislation backed by a majority. this is a -- these are profoundly undemocratic institutions. >> the -- so when you look at today's discussion about the war on democracy because republicans
in certain states are changing certain things, access to voting, changing the way votes will be counted, people are awakening now to what they consider this new war on democracy having lived most of their lives never questioning what the united states senate and the electoral college mean to democracy. >> right. i mean, obviously, both the electoral college and senate are the way they have been since the foundation. but it never had the same partisan effect that it has in the 21st century. we had two major parties that had urban and rural wings. they didn't have a partisan impact. it was always undemocratic but never allowed one party a minority party to govern majority party, that's a 21st century phenomenon. that's the era in which the
democrats are the party almost exclusively of big cities and republicans are the party of sparsely populated. >> unfortunately, two issues we're talking about, the electoral college and senate, the senate structure are in the constitution so there is in effect, nothing we can do about it. >> no, and in the short term it's much more important to unite and forge a really broad collision to defeat what has become an authoritarian political force and that is trump-ism. trump-ism has taken over the republican party. we're in a two-party system. there is a great temptation to treat our elections these days as normal routine blue versus red, donkey versus elephant competition but it's not. there is an anti democratic party competing against a democratic party and so we're in
a position where in democracies, parties win and parties lose. every party loses once in awhile. and we're in a position where our democracy cannot afford for the democratic party to lose. and that's a really, really precarious place to be. >> professor steven, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you. coming up, the republican war on democracy is underway in arizona. the democratic state representative who is running against a trump backed republican for secretary of state will join us next. republi state will join us next. there's a different way to treat hiv. it's once-monthly injectable cabenuva. cabenuva is the only once-a-month, complete hiv treatment for adults who are undetectable. cabenuva helps keep me undetectable. it's two injections, given by a healthcare provider once a month. hiv pills aren't on my mind. i love being able to pick up and go. don't receive cabenuva if you're allergic
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sustained effort even though experts in the election integrity unit have testified there was no fraud in the 2020 presidential election. and while there have been several so-called audits or fraud-its as secretary of state katie hobbs calls them, no irregularities have been discovered the audit of maricopa county found 99 additional votes for biden and 261 fewer votes for donald trump. despite that mark who atenled the january 6th trump rally in washington held a hearing earlier this month on the 2020 election. our next guest reginald bolding democratic leader of the arizona house of representatives is running for arizona secretary of state to replace katie hobbs who is now running for governor.
joining us now is reginald bolding. thank you for joining us tonight. appreciate it. i want to begin with the current redistricting situation in arizona. the redistricting for based on the last census has not yet become pleat. what is at stake in that? >> you know, everything is at stake. you know, the reality is arizona is a very much purple state. you have two u.s. senators who are democratic. you have the governor who is republican and secretary of state who is a democrat and we have the closest margins in the state legislature in the last 60 years. there is this republican instinct to jerry bander the lines even though we have a redistricting committee. a morning we saw them try to create maps with the congressional delegation to be 6-3 in favor of republicans when
right now that majority is held 5-4. >> what about the state legislature, the redistricting maps in the state legislature? >> the senate, there is a one-vote margin for the republicans and also in the house there is a one-vote margin. you know, we've seen a little better progress. i recently testified in front of the independent redistricting committee and there we saw literally a state senator decide to create a map to create himself a state district and gave that to a mayor. the mayor gave that to a commissioner and that somehow became the map and drawing line. so there is a lot at stake primary because we know the stakes of the 2020 election and so forth. >> if you were to become the next secretary of state of arizona, what would be your primary mission under this election challenges that are being that will continue to
develop in arizona. >> the reality is democracy is under attack. "the daily beast" showed he was trying to take over the entire e lex apparatus. he can try to install far right wing extremists like my opponent in this race and the secretary of state's office and quite frankly, if mark is the secretary of state, that means steve bannon and qanon are controlling elections. so, you know, i'm fighting because democracy is on the line. i'm running in this race and encourage folks to get involved and join democracy and our campaign. >> as you go forward in the campaign, will there be any point where you are actually be in a debate with this trump candidate? >> you know, i hope so. you know, the great thing is i
serve as the house democratic leader so i'm on the floor every day and mark is right behind me. and for extremists, too. and three was to introduce to suppress the vote and the session in 2022. we'll be debating on the house floor and the secretary of state race will continue the debate to make sure we're protecting democracy because that's what is at stake here. >> when katie hobbs leaves that job, if she's lucky enough to go on to the governorship, what changes would you make in the way the secretary of state's office functions, if any, and what changes have been forced on it by the legislature? >> you know, one thing that's extremely important is that it's
not just about registering individuals to vote. it has to be a full fledged focus on civic engagement. we have to show people not only how to register and vote and vote but how to get involved and actually advocate what their state legislators. they will see when you have bills that will take away individual's rights to vote by mail, that they can get involved. so we're going to have a full aggressive approach to make sure people are engaged. >> candidate for secretary of state in arizona. thank you for joining us for the first time and please come back as the campaign progresses. >> absolutely. thanks for having me? thank you. tonight's "last word" is next. tonight's "last word" is next liberty mutual. they customize my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. how about a throwback? ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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have helped in malawi thank you. the kids get tonight's last word. "the 1 1th hour" starts now. good evening once again. i'm ali velshi. day 336 of the biden administration as a new phase of the pandemic tightens it grip on the nation, the white house is unveiling a new plan to fight the surge in omicron cases. today the president told americans in the to panic but have a stark warning for those who remain unvaccinated. >> we'll see fully vaccinated people get covid potentially in large numbers. vaccinated people who get covid may get ill but they're protected from severe illness and death. if you're not fully vacna