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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  December 30, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PST

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hi there, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york, as we come on the air hours now before the last day of the year. the schools in a race against the omicron virus, set to reopen imminently. we have three headlines set to reassure parents vaccines for kids are both safe and necessary. the cdc released the results of two studies today. serious problems because of the vaccine are exceedingly rare in the age group of 5 to 11-year-olds. and the second study shows that all children who became seriously ill over the summer were children who were not vaccinated. the study looked at 700 children under 18 admitted to hospitals with covid-19. the study demonstrates that
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unvaccinated children hospitalized for covid could experience severe disease and reinforces the importance of vaccination for all eligible children to provide individual protection and to protect those who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. it comes as the times reports that the fda is planning to approve a booster dose a third pfizer dose for 12 to 15-year-olds on monday. meanwhile, just 14% of 5 to 11-year-olds in in country in fully vaccinated. it compares to 53% of 12 to 17-year-olds still too low. dr. fauci today aim blaming the recent rise in hospitalizations on children and their parents who failed to take their kids to get their shots. >> if you look at the number of children right now going to the hospital who are in trouble
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getting seriously ill, you almost have to say it is the responsibility of the parent to protect their child. virtually all, not 100%, but close to that of the children w.h.o. are seriously ill in a hospital from covid-19 are children whose parents decided they did not want to vaccinate them. that is avoidable. >> the urgency and encouragement comes, of course, amid a staggering rise in covid cases across our country among all age groups this. week we surpassed the surge of last winter. yesterday we hit a new record, average of more than than 301,000 new covid cases per day. the push to vaccinate our children against covid amid the dangers of the current surge and the necessity to keep them in school is where we begin today. msnbc medical contributor dr. patel is here, she served as a policy director in the obama
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white house. also joining us, eli stokels, white house reporter for the "l.a. times." and bass ill smikle is back of hunter college. dr. patel, i start with you. i can't believe how low the vaccination number is for 5 to 11-year-olds. i want to show you something else dr. fauci said about the other things we vaccinate our young children for. >> the rationale of parents, though maybe understandable, doesn't make any sense for the following reason. we vaccinate children for a number of childhood disease whereas the mortality of those diseases is far less than the mortality and the morbidity of covid-19 on children. >> dr. patel, what's going on? ? yeah, i think this is just a symptom of what we are seeing in adults. we have got people who just
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refuse to listen or even act nom the science. the science is continuing to accumulate that vaccines do make a difference, eastern in children. on the heels of having over 1,000 pediatric deaths from covid, countless hospitalizations and we don't have information on what long-term covid means in children but we are seeing it. how on earth can we continue to put children at risk? i will say this to parents, how can we make covid safer. we are going to see cases in school, what are you doing to keep your child safe? the best thing you can do is get vaccinated and get them vaccinated. soon we will have access to boosters for 12 to 15-year-olds. those are the smartest things we can do today to keep them in schools and keep them thriving amid this pandemic. >> dr. patel, take me through
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the studies that were released today. i think some of what's going on with kids is exactly what you described, the resistance, the hesitancy, some of the politically influenced hardening against vaccines. but 1% is much less than the adult population that's vaccinated. it is more than that. for any parent who thinks this is a damned if you do, damned if you don't, the poib of the study is that that's not true. i want to read this. many of the roughly 43,000 children surveyed report pain at the side of the shot, fatigue or a headache, especially after the second dose. roughly 13% of those surveyed reported a fever after the second shot. reports of myocarditis that has been linked in rare cases to coronavirus vaccine remains scarce. the cdc said there were 11 verified reports that came from doctors, vaccine manufacturers or members of the company. of those, 17 recovered, and four were recovering. even that, as i understand it,
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dr. patel is something i can treat with something that reduces the inflammation. zero sort of severe consequences. yet kids are in the icu. there are kids who are on ventilators, assisted breathing. it seems so black and white to me. i rushed to get my 10-year-old vaccinated. what is the conversation with the parent right now? >> yeah, the conversation with the parent, especially around vaccines is exactly as you said, that now we actually have real world data. look, fun didn't want to believe the clinical trial data, okay. now we have, as you mentioned tens of thousands. if you count doses around the world children have been vaccinated inis legal and in other countries. we have now more and more data collected to show it is safe and the majority of side effects are seen within the first 30 days. now we have that available to
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us. i think something important to distinguish, people point to the vaccine adverse event reporting system, vaers. it is a self reporting system. i can go on and put in symptoms my kid might have had after a vaccine. when you look at that, it appears as if there are so many side effects. the cdc investigates those cases. it leads to the 11 cases of myocarditis that were verified. i think it is important to have parents understand you can't look at what hasn't been filtered. look at things that have been elevator tied by a physician. good news, many schools are putting in vaccine mandates. we are starting to see more people coming in asking for vaccines. i hope it results in more vaccines over the next several weeks. but i want parents to get prepared, have a plan, even with what your child might be doing
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what to do if office positive case. i see many families who don't know what to do. have to go through ten days of isolation or quarantine, have to watch for symptoms and bring them into the emergency clinic or the emergency room. have that plan in place. >> go ahead and tell people what they are supposed to do. >> the first thing i would do is actually start to prepare for if your child has an immunocompromised condition, contact your physician in advance and find out whether or not your child might be a candidate for a monoclonal antibody treatment or other treatments that are age appropriate. it is important because we are limited in supply. secondly is have a pediatrician that you can get ahold of. i have many families who don't have a dedicated doctor. they are scrambling at the last minute. the er is the last place we want to use, basically they are on scotch tape trying to staff everything. the third thing, make sure that
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you have a working term meter. a lot of peep don't. a working thermometer and have a stash of tylenol and ibuprofen on hand. that's what we are going to recommend that you use. and think about the disruption when your child might be quarantined or isolated. we are all trying to work and maintain our lives, they might be isolated. this may happen to one out of three people listening today. >> dr. patel are you aware of any vaccinated kids in the intensive care unit anywhere right now? >> no. i know coming on board i wanted to double-check with friends in the maryland, virginia, and district of columbia. i mean the cases that we are seeing that are incredibly rare, one or two cases are people who are immunocompromised. these are children who don't wear a sign saying they are
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compromised, and that's why all those people who aren't vaccinated -- remember, you are protecting yourself and your child's classmates. this becomes a social network, unfortunately. >> eli, the times backs that up, nearly one third of the children who were so sick they had to be treated in intensive care units, almost 15% needed ventilation. among those hospitalized, 1.1% of the children died. the six hospitals were in arkansas, florida, illinois, louisiana, texas, and d.c. this administration, the biden white house, has made a commitment to keeping kids in school. mike himly reminded me joe biden
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travels around the country stressing the importance of keeping kids in school. tell us how this pitiful number of 14% of 5 to 11-year-olds in america being vaccinated -- how has that changed the calculations for what the white house says and does in the next weeks? >> i think we have seen there is an understanding that is this omicron variant has spread and spread so quickly that the president has needed to be more vocal and out frond front again on the pandemic, an issue that, you know, months earlier he had tried to tell the country in july that we were closed to being independent from the virus. that's what he said on july 4th. they understand inside the white house, the west wing, there is fatigue, going through a holiday season having to quarantine. not seeing family, having to stand in line to test. they understand the frustration. you saw the president before
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christmas trying to empathize with that frustration and trying to project a competet tense and a confidence that they are trying to get this under control and trying more than anything to sound the alarm as they have been doing pour months to urge people to get vaccinated. you are hearing starker language from the president from administration officials about if you have been vaccinated, you can get this, and you will have light symptoms most likely. if you don't, you could have really severe symptoms. they are putting the onus on individuals. it's not the president's fault that this pandemic got politicized by his predecessor and that you are seeing such a partisan split in terms of who is willing to get vaccinated and who isn't. but you also saw in that speech on december 2 st the president explicitly crediting president trump for the work he did with operation warp speed to get the vaccines to market as quickly as they were approved by the fda.
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trying to tone down some the partisanship in hopes that some of those folks who have been skeptical about this, who have seen this through this issue of public health through a political lens that they might start to see it differently as they start seeing more of their friends hospitalized, more of their kids potentially being forced to take tests before they are allowed back to school in january. everybody is tired of this. the white house is trying to communicate that. but also to put the responsibility really on the public that if we are going to get through this as a country, everybody has to take steps to help get us there. >> basil, i think the white house especially this week displayed a lot of sort of clear-eyed reality about what eli is talking about. i know there are detractors to the five-day isolation. but the white house made no secret it was combining the best of science with the best of achieving what eli just said, giving people a quarantine they
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will actually do. and i don't -- i don't always sense that people understand that the testing shortage itself is a self selected group of people who want to test and know. you had a big swath of the country, and a lot of it intersects on the diagram with people who are unvaccinated but not all of it who are not standing in a four-hour line on a street in new york to find out if they are positive or not. you have a big population who may have a cold or a flu who never find out what they have. i wonder what you make of sort this phase where omicron is thankfully for mostly vaccinated people more mild. but it's also -- it doesn't feel like anything anyone can shutter from it. it feels like anyone could potentially get it. what the is that leadership challenge? how do you think the biden administration is meeting it? >> i think it is a tremendous challenge. you know, on your show many times i talked about the number of people i know who passed away
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from this. 16 the count. i am thankfully not hearing that number going up significantly in the last weeks and months. but i am hearing of more people getting sick, including a 6-year-old who i found out about today. i grew up in asthma. i know what it was like to be out of school for weeks at a time. i wonder what young kids, particularly american kids who suffer from asthma disproportionately, what their lives are going to be like. you have administrators and mayors trying to figure out how to not only deal with the spread of omicron, but how it is layered with all of the other issues that kids were dealing with in the first place. we still have to have that conversation, number one. number two, with respect to the biden administration specifically, i think the biggest challenge is to get americans to understand that this is not only going to be a major disruption in our lives
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going forward, this will be with us for the foreseeable future. there were three subway lines suspended this morning in new york city, a city that never sleeps, and you suspend three subway lines. that's -- we haven't really had to deal with that kind of disruption. and as the administration is thinking through how to talk to americans about this, they -- i assume they are doing this, i hope they are, working with closely with governors and mayors, they are on the ground, have intimatesy with the voters and can walk them lieu what their day-to-day lives are going to be like in the foreseeable future. mine us that kind of guidance, dare i say hand holding, you are going to have a lot of americans who are still going to be split into these categories, right? those who are going to self select, as you said, and want to get vaccinated, and those others who are going to say, you know, i am just going to bear it. but realize -- not realizing, but perhaps doing it in spite of
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the fact that these disruptions in our lives are going to be -- are going to ma tas at that size and going to be much more than disruptions down the road. i do think there needs to be some kind of hand holding, really, that goes down to the local level that really does engage you know, the folks that are in charge of agencies that are dealing with young people in particular, but, you know, residents broadly about what kind of disruptions we are going to expect in the short-term. >> hand holding is -- it just evokes what everybody needs, right? i mean, hand holding speaks to the trauma, the collective trauma. i live in new york, and i saw the subway outages. i don't think that we had that in april of 2020. so here we are heading into our third year with our city shut down. i heard sirens today and had that sick feeling -- i don't
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think there is any correlation but that is the psychology of sort of your three and hearings folks like dr. osterholm. he says, over the next weeks we are going see the number of cases in this country rise so dramatically that we will have a hard timekeeping everyday life operating. dr. patel, what are you forecasting? what should we be prepared for? do you see any silver lining? >> i will start with the silver lining. i have given up forecasting when i had political lives in the past. >> me too. >> i do think dr. osterholm is correct, we are going to see numbers increase. i want to put a silver lining on that. we need to shift from sheer numbers to what you started off looking at, what are the percentages of people who are vaccinated versus unvaccinated. long haul stms symptoms, less of those in people who are vaccinated and boosted. that means something. the silver lining is that we are learning more.
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we have way more science behind us than we did two years ago when i didn't know whether i could put a patient on their back, on their stomach, put them on a ventilator. we know so much more. imagine six months from now when we have plenty of therapeutics, plenty of medications, we could have more therapeutics for children and infants, vaccines for infants. we are heading into something where it is so frustrating, basil is right. we just need a little hope because it is there. we just lose sight of it sometimes. but the bigger picture is different than a year ago. >> eli, you have got -- you know, you started this conversation for us. you know, the president sort of acknowledging the progress made, but doing, as he does, sort of sitting in the muck with us. something that he does quite well. what are the plans for president himself if we, as dr. owesster home said over the next three to four weeks see the cases rise so dramatically that we will have a hard timekeeping life operating.
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what is their plan for that? >> he is going to continue to be engaged, that's what sources say. they say you will hear from him continually over the coming weeks repeating the message of the poshs of vaccination and trying to keep the country in some kind of place of calm. but they are also behind the scenes you know at the cdc but also in the west wing weighing obviously the public health response that needs to happen, but weighing that against the sense that they understand the country's fatigue, the fact that it's going to be really difficult if not impossible to close down schools again. if they are going to impose other, you know, requirements, for vaccines, potentially on domestic air travel that's going to come at an economic cost. so they are going to put the president out front. they are going to try to get as many test kits as possible into people's hands. but they are also being pretty cautious, i think, in deferring to the scientists as far as
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additional steps, public health steps, requirements, guidances, that they put in place because they recognize that we are basically two years into this pandemic at this point and there is so much fatigue and frustration. obviously a lot of fear as well, myself, i have a 9-month-old, he can't get vaccinated. so we are all dealing with this. it is difficult. it is exhausting to be going through this again, you know, another year, and not know where the light at the end of the tunnel is. but i think you will hear them try -- you know, the president, this is a person who is defined by empathy. if nothing else, you are going to see the president try to come out and lean on that political strength and try to reassure the country that we will eventually get through this and really continue to urge people, whether they hear him or not, to reconsider if you haven't gotten vaccinate asked to maybe go get that shot, given the numbers we are going to see in terms of hospitalizations and cases, obviously, too. >> basil, i am going to give you
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the last word because you said something that made me gasp. 16. you have lost 16 people. what are you thinking as we sort of wrap up this second year of living like this? eli has a 9-month-old who -- i felt this way until my 10-year-old could get vaccinated. the fear is sort of right here. you live with it all day. you have lost friends. tell me your thoughts as the year ends. >> i have two thoughts. one, you know, going to eli's point about over-the-counter testing. you know there are a lot of people in this country, me included that are wondering, being in a country like this, why can't we all have access to over-the-counter covid testing so that i can have the knowledge to whether or not i am positive before i go and see my mother or see my father? remember there was a time we weren't even ale to hug our parents. we are coming out of that a little bit, but you know, you still want to have that
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information handy because it gives you power. it gives you agency. and that's really important. i think that's what also gets missed here. that that information is agency for individuals. so that's why it's so important for us to be able to follow the science, but also, our infrastructure you know, has to respond as well. i will just say, just as a personal note, i will be auto-- i will be 50 in two weeks. as i approach the 50 mark -- and i got my aarp card in the mail two weeks out -- i am not sure why, but i did. i am thinking that a lot of folks did not make it to 50. i am thankful that i am here and that i have my family and my friends who can at least cheer me on from afar. >> i am right behind you with 50. thank you for that. dr. patel, eli, basil, thank you all so much for starting us off this hour. happy early new year to all three of you. when we come back, a
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high-stakes phone call between president joe biden and vladimir putin. the second such call in less than a month as tensions soar over ukraine. plus more signs that the committee investigating january 6th is looking into the roles played by some of their own colleagues. chairman bennie thompson saying he has some questions for gop leader kevin mccarthy. later in the. practice, there is no greater sign of the gop turning its back on democracy en masse than the wave of voter suppression bills passed by republican-led state houses all across the country. that wave shows no sign of ebbing as we head into the new year. all those stories and more when "deadline: white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. ues after a q. don't go anywhere. is to provide complete balanced nutrition for strength and energy. woo hoo! ensure, complete balanced nutrition with 27 vitamins and minerals. and ensure complete with 30 grams of protein. ♪ ♪ psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff,... with 3...swollen, painful. emerge tremfyant®.
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a moment of crisis. that is how a senior administration official describes the situation right now in eastern europe with 100,000 russian troops amassed on the border with ukraine. they appear poised to invade at vladimir putin's command. that was the alarming pretext for a high stakes phone call this afternoon between the russian leader and president joe biden, a call that we understand is still taking place as we speak. the white house releasing this photo just a few minutes ago. of course the united states would consider hostile action on russia's part as a hostile act. something emphasized earlier this month in their last phone call when he warned escalation would result in harsh new economic sanctions. russia right now are pie in the sky stuff, not negotiatible from a u.s. perspective.
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becoming a full name of nato and scaling back of protections in surrounding countries. the russia using this specter of invasion as a geopolitical bargaining chip of sorts or is it worse than that? he manufacturing his own reason, a fake pretext for an all-out war there? a moment of crisis similar to the cold war. the "washington post" wrote, the soviet unit collapsed 30 years ago this month, an event that opened up vast new possibilities for freedom and self determination in europe but whose geopolitical sequences putin openly lamented. he seems bent on reversing them, quite possibly by force and sooner rather than later. joining us now, ben rhodes, frormer national security
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adviser to prose obama and mike himly. what do you know about the call, any details about what the president planned to convey? >> we don't know much, at this stage. we are just shahian hour, assuming the cull call is still ongoing. we understand it is at this point. the last call the leaders had earlier this month was device this long. we expect the hear from officials soon after this call so we can get our version of the events here before the kremlin has an opportunity to do so. one thing of the things that's interesting about this conversation is the fact it was president putin according to the white house who requested it. one of the biggest debates within the administration right now is frankly whether putt seine bluffing or not. some believe he is. but broader sense is that you can't take the chance he is. you think back to reporting that carol lee,a and i had in advance
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of their first meeting in geneva this year, the goal of president biden whose entire foreign policy is centered around the idea of autocracies versus democracies. he wanted to center most of our foreign policies towards dealing with the emergence of china as a major power. the goal of the geneva submit was to meet with putin and effectively park him as one administration official put it and then focus elsewhere. vladimir putin is showing he will not be parked. even if there are doubts within the administration whether putt seine really intending to launch a full-scale invasion of ukraine, they can't take that chance. that's why the administration is saying they welcome this opportunity to take that phone call at putin's request. the longer he's talking they feel the better the position is of avoiding a further escalation at this point. >> ben,ity that simple?
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vladimir putin's nobody puts baby in the corner moment. he doesn't want to be parked as the president deals more with china? or is this something driven more by his own domestic politics? what do you think is going on. >> i think the bad case scenario is first of all, putin pooult has a 20-4 year trajectory of seeking to reverse the collapsed soviet union, including ukraine and georgia. he does not want to see democracy on his borders. he invaded part of georgia in 2008, ukraine in 2014. the worst case scenario is this is the latest turn of a person who is also dealing with a covid-ravaged russia and a russia with economic problems in part because of the sanctions on him and in the past he sought to divert public anger about the
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public situations in russia with the victory in claiming a lost russian greatness here. that's the bad scenario. the hope for the administration is you can if you can warn him you have in of severe multiple lateral consequences if he moves into ukraine and create a diplomatic process that allows him to save face that there is a conversation happening where there wasn't before you can avert the escalation of conflict . >> we just heard that the call is ending. any sense -- we are on the air now another hour and a half. any sense of when someone like ben rhodes will brief you on what went down. >> the white house scheduled a call about an hour from now. perhaps they will move that up. clearly, the fact this was not as long as the last call is the source of tea leaf reading right
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now. for joe biden foreign policy, just like domestic policy, all politics is personal to him. i really found it interesting that despite a long career in foreign policy he does not have the kinds of personal relationship with vladimir putin that he does even with president xi jinping of china. i was with biden ten years ago when he made the first trip, as vice president, to meet with president xi. that same year in fact he met with vladimir putin between his presidential terms. but that was his only face-to-face meeting with putin. with xi, now, he has met multiple times face-to-face. that's one more reason why president biden i think leapt at the chance to have this phone call. he is a tactical person. he wants to get a sense of the measure of the man. he certainly was using this 50 minutes to -- according to what the preview was from the white house, to try to set the agenda for a broader set of talks that are going to be happening in
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geneva in a few weeks' time. also to lay out rather plainly further concerns on the part of not just the united states but with our allies, with whom administration officials have been closely coordinating in advance of this call today but also to hear again the ever evolving list of demands coming from president putin and to sort of force the question to president putin about what really matters and whether they can find some sort of offramp here to deescalate. >> ben, what comes on on these calls? vladimir putin is a voracious consumer of america's political divisions. how much of that is subtext? and how much is there sort of a strategy to acknowledge what is going on in each leader's country? >> so, i was on a lot of these calls that would uhl usually go 90 minutes to two hours between president obama and president
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putin at the head of the 2014 ukraine crisis. the reality is it is not really a conversation. it is people reading speeches or in putin's case tined of tie raids delivering them back and forth at length and what 350u9in will do constantly is what aboutism. he will go back to the idea that the united states is the one that created the crisis, the united states is the one who interfered in ukraine. he tries to draw into this debate about his alternative facts, alternative view of the world and history. it is hard to get through to him. what you have to do is what i am sure president biden was trying to do here, hammer home, look, these are our interests, thest koss you are going to face if you move into ukraine. these are the sanction, we can cut off your cell industry, our aircraft industry. these are the countries aligned with us. but we have diplomats meeting in
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geneva in a couple of weeks, here's the agenda we insist they talk about, we insist that the ukrainians be in the room for any discussions about their future. he will listen. he will hear you. while you may just beet going the predictable stew of grievances and justifications and what aboutisms from putin, including sometimes some snide comments about what may be happening in the united states with political dysfunction, you just have to be firm and deliver your message. >> so amazing to be a fly on the wall. what you must have heard. ben rhodes sticks around. mike, we will let you do your reporting. wave your arms if you find anything out and we will bring you back on. chair bennie thompson has extended an open invite to kevin mccarthy to testify before the 1/6 committee. why they are focusing on the
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house gop leader as their investigation into the deadly january 6th insurrection ramps up. into the deadly january 6th insurrection ramps up
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ooooh, that's really cool. check that out. bespoke post sends you awesome boxes every month for a great price and i love it. the variety's great, i love how easy and flexible it is. head to and get a free gift with your first box when you enter code free. it is so easy to say don't give words power. but it's more than just a word. like i said, people, their intent is to hurt. you know? their intent is to hurt. and they did. they did. successfully. being called that, officers being called cowards, traitors, we broke our oath --
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>> they are telling you you should go arrest the members you are sworn to protect? >> yeah, not the people that are assaulting us while telling us to do that. >> that was u.s. capitol police officer harry doesn't being interviewed talking about the trauma of january 6th, and he faced a torrent of racial slurs while battling the mob made up of trump supporters who stormed the capitol. as we close in on one year since that horrible day the investigation by the select committee is gaining momentum. as we reported earlier this week, the committee plans to enter a more public phase hoping to enter you an interim report by early summer. just yesterday, chairman bennie thompson invited minority leader kevin mccarthy to sit for an interview. he said this, quote, if he has information he wants to share with us and is willing to voluntarily come in i am not taking the invitation off the table. if leader mccarthy has nothing
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to hide he can voluntarily come before the committee. an aide for the committee sells nbc the committee hasn't ruled out subpoenaing their colleagues to testify, joining our conversation, clint watts. ben rhodes is still here. let me show you one more new interview from officer gonel on npr. >> we risked our lives to give them enough time to get to safety. and allegedly, some of them were in communication with some of the rioters, with some of the coordinators or in the know of what would happen. and it makes you question their motive and their loyalty for the country. as we were battling the mob in a brutal battle where i could have lost my life and my dear fellow
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officers as well. >> you know, i know we've covered this almost every day since the day of the insurrection almost a year ago. and it's amazing that the truth of what these officers endured doesn't elicit any shame in the denialism and the whitewashing from the republican party. i wonder, clint, we talk a lot about disinformation and post fact and post truth. but i wonder if these officers -- if you think they get through to anybody? >> that's what i really don't know, nicolle. i mean, this has always been the odd wrinkle we have talked about over the last year. these are the people that are there to protect them. the only people they can't avoid seeing in the hallways when they come into the capitol had these folks who protect them on january 6th and after. and during their testimony, the questions, the ridicule that's been seen on line, the sort of going out of the way to make it not that big of a deal when it
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very clearly is, the video overwhelming. i think the challenge comes down to how you sense out what the law enforcement community feels and what their connection is. i would imagine for most law enforcement that saw what happened that day f they did see it, this was just a tragedy. and they can't be supportive of what they are hearing out of the lawmakers on capitol hill. secondly, there is a political element to some law enforcement in america meaning a lot of local law enforcement and sheriffs are elected. so they are playing party politics ads well. i imagine much like we have seen with the military over the last few years we now have a very divided law enforcement community around the country that is confused and concerned about what they see coming out of lawmakers in d.c. >> it makes of the all the more urgent, it would appear, to bring in the republican lawmakers who have for most of the last year been -- been proud to stand by donald trump in the
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wake of the insurrection. i want to show you what kevin mccarthy said back in april about what he knew and how often and his contact with donald trump on that day. >> i was the first person to contact him when the riots was going on. he didn't see it. when he ended the call was telling me he will put something out to make sure to stop this. that's what he did. he put a video out later. >> quite a lot later. and it was a weak video. but i am asking you specifically, did he say to you, i guess some people are more concerned about the election than you are? >> listen, my conversations with the president are my conversations with the president. >> locking arms and marching into infamy. sounds like someone who will have to be making an appearance under subpoena. would you assume? >> that has been the pattern with all of these witnesses, nicolle. you have seen almost
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collectively around the republican party a circling of the wagons around the idea that this investigation should be a whitewash instead of getting into the basic questions that you want to know the answers to, who was involved, who were they coordinating with, who were they talking about throughout the day, who was in touch with the rioters. some of the republicans had gone down and spoken to the same mob when they were out in the middle of the mob here. these are basic questions that merit answers. and they walk by these capitol police officers every day. i wonder whether they look them in the eye. part of what is so incensetive, they go out on public television giving sanitized version of what happened, writing books giving sanitized versions. but they won't get to the bottom of why we had one of the most stunning events in the history of american deck accuracy take
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place on january 6th. the committee has to stick to the idea that they have to conduct a fact-finding investigation that follows the facts wherever they lead f. it leads to uncomfortable places including asking their colleagues questions then they have to do what's necessary to get that information. >> i think the first question if they get anyone up there under oath is why are you going to husband is us down? the commitment, publicly stated kplimt commitment shutting down the investigation into why there was brutal confrontation with capitol police officers reeks of complicity. we will stay on it, this pour public phase will be interesting. when we come back, we will have the results of a new investigation into division in the military. when we come back. n into d ion in the military when we come back.
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last week, we told you about new rules announced by the defense department to deal with an issue we've been covering since january 6th on this program, extremism in the military. but a stunning new investigation reveals that the new rules may not even reach the surface of the problem there. the a.p. is reporting that those new guidelines released last week do not address disparities in justice under the uniform code of military justice. that's the legal code that governs the armed forces. from the a.p., quote, numerous studies show black and hispanic service members were
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disproportionately investigated and court-martialed. we're back with clint watts and ben rhodes. clint, what is sort of, in your view, the elephant in the room here, the missing piece to what they're trying to, it appears, earnestly trying to solve and address inside the military? >> nicole, there's a long-running trend with this. when i was a young lieutenant, my first fbi agent i met was because eric rudolph, the atlanta bomber, had been at the 101st. timothy mcveigh, first infantry division and the worst attempted ied attack was a guy named kevin who was stationed at fort louis and so when you look at this trend, it's been pretty consistent to some degree but it's only gotten worse. there are two major problems that we encounter when trying to police extremism in the ranks of the military. the first is, there's no
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designation process around what an extremist organization is. if a soldier were to be a fan or supporting or acting on behalf of al qaeda or isis, it's very easy, because the state department designated foreign terrorist organizations. in the u.s., a loft anti-government militias, white supremacist groups, it's not clear what an organization is or what membership means so it's very difficult in the ucmj and the dod to really go after. the second part is the overlap now, and this is a new wrinkle, with politics. it really comes down to domestic extremism in the u.s. increasing overlaps with politics in the united states and comes down to first amendment rights and second amendment rights and what soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are allowed to do and say. it's very difficult, in terms of the regulations, to get after the problem when you can't really put your finger on what it is and point out specific steps in which to go after it. >> i mean, ben, clint's offered
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the best articulation of why this is potentially unsolvable. what do leaders or even sort of folks from within the military get around a table and try to do differently if they're interested in solving this? >> well, it is a very difficult problem, and keep in mind, of course, that the military mirrors society, so the extent to which american society has gotten more polarized, you see the production of individuals, you know, the ranks of u.s. military like mike flynn who has embraced some of the most heinous conspiracy theories imaginable and advocated the overthrow of the united states government. that's an attitude mirrored in the military. i think it's a number of things available to leadership, nicole. first of all, to set a tone from the top that you won't tolerate this and that you expect people down the chain of command to not tolerate it and i think lloyd austin, the secretary of defense, has really been out in front on this issue and prioritizing it and that clearly goes down through the chain of command and that sets a certain
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tone. secondly, as clint alluded to, trying to establish certain boundaries, are there organizations like the proud boys or some of the more extreme anti-government militias where associations would throw up red flags and you would demonstrate that you will act on that. and you have also seen some steps taken by the military around symbols like the confederate flag and seeking to remove that -- the use of the confederate flag. and then, also, i think you have to show that there's going to be accountability when people act on extremist views and that sometimes there's been a deference, you get, say, into the special forces community to, let people work it out on their own, and we saw with the eddie gallagher situation, the navy s.e.a.l. that trump pardoned for a really heinous crime, a lot of tolerance of this extremist attitude. you have to show there will be accountability and punishment when people do things that violate the principles and protocols of the u.s. military. >> we'll stay on it. clint watts and ben rhodes, thank you for spending time with us today. happy new year to you both.
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♪♪ i'm working very closely with members of the u.s. senate to ensure that they both understand the urgency of the moment but that we recognize the complications of the structure of the senate and that's why we need to frame this as a restoration of the senate. this is not about breaking tradition. it is about protecting the fundamentals of our nation. >> hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in new york. stacey abrams there turning up the pressure on the u.s. senate to protect the fundamentals of
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our nation. she's of course talking about passage of federal voting rights legislation. two bills currently stalled in the u.s. senate, which ensure that every american has access to the ballot box and would guard against the undemocratic yearlong campaign that's been waged by republicans to completely remake elections in america. senate majority leader chuck schumer has vowed the chamber will take up these pieces of legislation at the start of the new year with a question remaining, will all democrats agree on removing the filibuster or doing a carveout? because if there's no change or if there's no carveout of the rule, the gop-led assault on free and fair elections wins and continues unabated. "new york times" sums up these unprecedented efforts by republicans this way. quote, they have fueled widespread doubts about the integrity of american elections and brought intense partisan gamesmanship to parts of the democratic process that once relied largely on orderly routine and good faith. the stakes are enormous in
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battleground states like georgia and arizona where the 2020 presidential margins were less than 13,000 votes. even a slight curtailment of turnout could tilt the outcome. throughout the year in state legislatures we have seen and covered a stunning number of attempts by the gop to make it harder to cast ballots. according to the latest tally by the brennan center for justice, quote, between january 1st and december 7th, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. more than 440 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions. they add this. quote, these numbers are extraordinary. state legislatures enacted far more restrictive voting laws in 2021 than in any year since the brennan center began tracking voting legislation in 2011. and they detail how these efforts will continue to be a serious threat. quote, so far, at least 13 bills restricting access to voting have been prefiled for the 2022
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legislative session in four states. in addition, at least 88 restrictive voting bills in 9 states will carry over from 2021. today, president biden made clear to the senate that it holds the future of american democracy in its hands. president tweeted this. quote, this new sinister combination of voter suppression and election subversion, it's un-american and undemocratic. we must pass the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act. the urgent need to protect american democracy in 2022 is where we begin this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. the reverend al sharpton is here, of course, the host of msnbc's "politics nation" and the president of the national action network. also joining us, msnbc contributor sam stein, the white house editor for politico. and errin haines is back. rev, first, i know you're involved and you talk to all the players, where does this stand right now?
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what do you expect in the new year? >> well, i think that we are a little better than we were but not much. we certainly have been in many ways glad to see the president come out and say that the filibuster should not stand in the way of passing the bills, but that is not mean that the one or two democrats that we need if we're going to try and get a rules change will, in fact, vote with the other democrats in order to get 50 votes, and schumer will make the attempt. i think that what we're looking at -- i think that stacey abrams is right. in terms of the integrity and function of the senate. but i think it's even deeper than that. we're looking at a real states rights movement. you know, january 1st, saturday, is emancipation day. that's when lincoln had said that he would free those that were enslaved in 1863.
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the whole civil war was about states' rights versus the union. when you see, as the brennan report says, that you have 17 states that's already changed 34 laws, we are in the process of states going into a states' rights model that there's no collective union response to, to protect people from a federal law against states deciding not only who can vote or who would be easier to vote but who's going to count the votes, and if they get away with this model, it will go to states deciding on women's right to choose, states deciding on affirmative action. we are slowly going into an undemocratic states rights country, and people need to be alarmed about it and the senate needs to be alerted with all that we can about it. >> and driven by one party. i mean, a hyperpartisan one at that, rev.
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i want to read this from the a.p. slow motion insurrection, how gop seizes election power. american democracy has been flawed and manipulated by both parties since its inception. millions of americans, black people, women, native americans, and others have been excluded from the process. both republicans and democrats have written laws rigging the laws in their favor. this time, experts argue, is different. never in the country's modern history has a major party sought to turn the administration of elections into an explicitly partisan act. there are no democratic voter suppression and voter nullification laws. there are no democrats echoing a lie about election fraud, even though there are instances of dead people voting for donald trump and no such instances of the systemic voter fraud that donald trump has sold his base on. so, rev, i wonder what you make of the fact that the voter restrictions and nullification measures are purely partisan and
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the senate is still sort of wrapped around the axle or at least joe manchin has been, of wanting to do something bipartisan. >> which is why it is so mysterious at one level and suspect at another that if there are no democrats doing this anywhere, then why are democrats even entertaining this in the senate? what is manchin talking about? having some hallucination about bipartisanism when it's not a bipartisan move, even in the states, to change these states' laws. this is clearly one party that says the only way we can win is to control the vote, control how people vote, who's going to be more difficult, how we draw the line so we control the state legislatures and who we can pick in the county election committees, therefore, to count the vote so we can have voter
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nullification, so i don't understand the confusion here. they have put it in your face. they've said what they're going to do and in 17 states, they have already done it. we're not talking about what could happen after new years. these things are already in place. only passing federal laws will stop this and preserve the union if we are, in fact, going to have a country where the standards for voting is for one and for all the same standards. >> errin, republicans targeted mail-in voting, which in the midst of a pandemic, was in some places made more accessible. it's been one of the things targeted. it is, i think, some reporters would argue, a more secure way to vote. you have to show more i.d.s, there are signature verifications, there's no evidence of fraud, but it was targeted by republicans. i don't need to tell any of you we are heading into our highest covid numbers of the pandemic. the pandemic isn't over. and the majority of the bills that carry over, this is also
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according to the brennan center, continue the trend of restricting access to mail voting. recurring restrictions include shortening the window for applying for a mail-in ballot, shortening the deadline, and restricting voters' ability to receive assistance with returning a mail ballot. some of that increased access was in response to the pandemic, and i wonder what you make of the fact that we're still very much living in the time of the pandemic. >> yeah, nicole, and you know, one other advantage of mail-in voting, at least from a lot of the voters that i talked to, particularly voters of color, mail-in voting and early voting, the advantages that gave them was they had time in case there was any issue with their vote to try to attempt to address that and so they were dealing with the pandemic, obviously, of the global public health crisis that we still find ourselves in but they were also dealing with the
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pandemic of systemic racism that has found its way to the ballot box. unfortunately, we are still dealing with the same issue that we started talking about at the beginning of this year. we're ending still talking about the battle between voting rights and voter suppression. this is the slow motion insurrection that my former a.p. colleague wrote about. republicans have been laying this foundation pretty much since the 2020 election and you know, these new laws that were passed in those 19 states, as rev mentioned, are going to be on the books as voters cast ballots in the midterms and more states could pass more laws ahead of primaries and state legislatures reconvene in just a few weeks and if i could just make one more point, nicole. we say we don't know what the impact of the laws will be, but if past is prologue at all, we know there could be a cause and effect to these efforts. just look at what happened after the 2013 shelby decision that gutted the voting rights act. states no longer required to get
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approval for changes were immediate. it's alive and well in this partisan redistricting process so i think, really, as journalists, we cannot really take a wait and see approach to the threat to voting rights. there's no both sides in this issue. we have to continue to ask not just about whether, you know, these democrats are in support of voting rights legislation but you can't be in support of getting this legislation passed if you don't support getting the filibuster -- getting rid of the filibuster because that's really the only way that voting rights legislation is going to happen, and that is what activists, organizers and democrats are calling for at the state level for federal action because in the absence of it, just as rev said, states rights is definitely under way and continues to be under way across the country. >> sam, there had been some exasperation that while president biden has said the right things, he hasn't said them often enough. he seems to have turned that around. let me show you some comments he made to abc's david muir
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christmas week. >> are you prepared to support fundamental changes in the senate rules to get this done? >> yes. >> what does that mean? >> that means whatever it takes. change the senate rules to accommodate major pieces of legislation without requiring 60 votes. >> so you support a carveout of the filibuster for voting rights? >> the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed are the filibuster. i support making an exception of voting rights for the filibuster. >> so, sam, i think a lot of people waited a long time to hear that. there it is. what do you think the chances are that his call there will be heeded? >> well, yeah, people waited a long time for that, maybe too long. the window here is pretty finite. they need to get some legislative movement early in the next year if they want to get something passed. we're already seeing a pretty crowded senate calendar. of course, they still need to move the build back better bill,
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but the big problem here is not that he waited too long. it's that he doesn't have a vote. he's not a senator. the senate has to vote to change its own rules here. they can do it but they have no margin for error, so every senate democrat has to vote to change some rules, and joe manchin, while he is against doing so, is not the only one. kyrsten sinema has said she does not support doing this. and from all of our reporting, there's a handful of other democrats who are reluctant to do this but don't want to be publicly identified as reluctant because they fear that they'll have pushback from their base. is so, you know, biden's role, if he's committed to this, is doing essentially what you just saw, going out, making the public case, and then privately putting pressure on senators to adjust their views accordingly. time is of the essence. they don't have much to work with in terms of political runway so if this is going to happen, you have to see a concerted effort take place really early in the new year. >> it's interesting to me that
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we never talk about chuck schumer when we talk about this, and i think the president is involved because in some ways, he has this role of sort of herding the cats, his former colleagues in the senate. errin, i want to show you something that marc elias said yesterday when i said, what would harry reid do? >> he was a realistic and he was not an unbridled optimist and if he were looking at the senate today and voting rights today, based on all -- everything i know about him and the conversations i have had with him, he would say, we need to do what we need to do in order to protect the right to vote and our democracy. if we heed harry reid's call, we'll have a real chance of protecting our democracy going forward. if we don't, then we are allowing the big lie to succeed. so, that's the stakes that we have coming in front of us in the u.s. senate, and i pray every night that we choose wisely. >> you know, we talked a lot about harry reid yesterday on his passing, and he wasn't
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charming but he was effective, and i wonder what the read is on chuck schumer's skill set. is he effective and charming? is he charming and effective? is he neither, is he both? what is your sense? >> yeah, well, i mean, i think that, you know, folks who voted to give democrats the majority in congress, including in the senate, almost a year ago now, are looking for democratic leadership to get serious on protecting the rights to vote of those very people who are being targeted for showing up, right? and so, one of those pieces of legislation is named for congressman john lewis, who we also lost, and you know, whose memory was invoked in honoring his legacy. they've named this legislation after him. i think, you know, hearing marc elias talk about harry reid's legacy to some of the folks who may have served with him or who respected him that are now serving in the senate, it's
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unclear what impact or how large he may loom over this conversation as those folks mourn him, but you know, in mourning him, i think that that may prompt some of these folks to think about what harry reid might have done in terms of what they are expecting leader schumer to do, i know certainly there have been lawmakers, senator warnock among them, that have pressed the majority leader to act on voting rights. i think that's why you're seeing senator schumer saying the senate is coming back on january 3rd and is going to take up this issue as a priority, signaling that he is certainly going to have voting rights or putting voting rights front and center as the congress returns to do its work at the top of 2022. >> sam, i look at this, obviously, having spent my time in politics on the other side, and i can't square the circle. 62% of americans support expanding, making it easier to vote. you've got cover now from a president who in a pretty sustained manner has talked about the importance of putting aside the filibuster, and they've broken the seal.
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they've uncorked the champagne. they've just put aside the filibuster to raise the debt ceiling. what is the psychological hurdle for democrats in the u.s. senate? >> a lot of them are very precious about the institution. >> well, where'd that get them? >> that's a great question. a lot of them have served a long time in the institution, and they feel like changing it abruptly is damaging to it. some of the responses, including from sinema, for instance, have been, well, if we reduce the filibuster to 50 votes for voting rights legislation, what's to stop republicans from when they retake power from passing things like national voting i.d.? and i think that's a fairly interesting thing to consider and a worthy conversation starter and maybe something that gives some people pause. the thing is, with harry reid, and i had talked to him about this a couple years ago, he was definitely a realist about this stuff, or at least he thought of
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himself as a realist about this stuff. and to him, the idea that you would let these rules, which are not in the constitution, that you would let these rules run, you know, moving legislation impede your ability to protect the franchise, seemed idiotic. he wanted to eliminate the filibuster entirely. he wanted to eliminate the filibuster so that democrats could move climate change legislation, because in his mind, what's more important than protecting the planet? why should you let 60 votes get in the way of protecting the planet? so he had a realism about it when it came to this type of stuff. that's not totally shared by everyone in the democratic party who's serving in the senate today and i would just say one thing, it's worth keeping in mind, when reid did reduce the filibuster in 2013 for judicial nominees, that was a painstaking process. that took years and years of advocacy work on the left as well as private dealings and conversations for reid and others to get to that point.
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we are talking about, you know, something that's much more expedited here. we're talking about an effort to move along something within a year time frame and so it might just be that senators need a while to get to a comfort zone where they say, yeah, we can vote to change rules for this small sliver of legislation that would affect voting rights. >> rev, they don't have years. the republicans, i mean, the need for speed comes from the republicans wind whipping rollback of access to the right to vote. 400 laws have been proposed, in any republican-controlled legislature, that will be passed and any state with a republican governor, will be signed into law. they don't have years and years. you know who else sees it the way harry reid did? mitch mcconnell. and any republican who should succeed him should he not make it in this trumpified republican party. so filibuster will be done away with. it's just whether democrats do it or republicans do when they're in control again.
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>> there's no doubt that if the republicans take control, they are going to get rid of the filibuster. they'll go around the filibuster. so, i think that if senator sinema and others are saying, what if the shoe was on the other foot, they are acting as though these people will not do whatever it is they want to do regardless. we're talking about, there's nothing more sacred than the right to vote. we're not talking about just killing everything. i would like to see the filibuster overturned, but if they just did it around voting, which is what the president said, and the problem here, i don't even think is senator schumer. i've known schumer 40 years. we're both out of brooklyn. schumer's tenacious. schumer will come walk your dog and you don't even have a dog. the problem is, when you get one or two senators like manchin who, by the way, drafted his own voting bill and couldn't get a republican to go with it, what do you say to somebody who says, i want a bipartisan bill, i'm
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going to draft a bill, he met with us, i'm going to draft the bill, reverend, that will republicans will go for and he couldn't get one republican on it. we need to say, quit playing games. we need to move forward. the civil rights community, the voting rights community, the democrats, now the president have given you time enough, not only don't you have years. you don't have months. you don't have weeks. they are changing laws as i speak. we're spending this weekend gearing up for voting rights fights. they're spending this weekend, in many states, getting ready to bring more voting law changes. this cow's already left the barn. we've got to catch it, rope it, and the only way to do that is you're going to have to change the rules. because your bill, you couldn't get republicans on. senator manchin. and come back and let's do the honorable thing here. >> i'm not quick enough to come back with a cow move but the rev al sharpton, thank you very much for starting us off this hour.
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can't have this conversation without you. sam stein and errin haines stick around. when we return, republicans have opened a new front in their war on education. they're looking to make school board races more partisan. we'll have new reporting on that front next. plus, 2022 promises to be a major year for the u.s. supreme court. we'll discuss what's in store and what's at stake in the year ahead. and a banner year for science. headlined by those vaccines that have so far saved the lives of millions. scientists continue to push the limits, despite loud and vocal criticism from the flat earth crowd. we'll talk about it with neil degrasse tyson later in the hour. and we're keeping our eyes on a scary situation developing in colorado where incredibly strong winds are fanning multiple wildfires in boulder county. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. sfloecht e" continues after a quick break. sfloecht
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republicans are eyeing a new front that could make the education wars of the 2021 elections that they politicized and campaigned on even more contentious and polarized by next year's midterm elections. politico delves into the legislation they're pushing that could launch their party into more control of schools statewide. for example, with the coalition of conservative leaders calling for on cycle school board elections as part of sweeping efforts to end critical race theory in schools. florida, gop lawmakers are pushing a measure to create new primary school board elections and allow party affiliations to appear on ballots. as politico puts it, if florida republicans succeed in restoring partisan elections, it could break the last holdouts who regularly defy republican
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governor ron desantis, who has used every resource available to him to ban mask mandates in schools and is now promoting legislation to allow parents to sue if critical race theory is taught in their children's classrooms. sam, this is some politico reporting. tell me more. >> i just think it's emblematic of how everything has become hyperpoliticized nowadays. you know, down to the local elections, school board elections. obviously, what we saw over the summer in the lead-up to the virginia governor elections was that issues like critical race theory, high school curriculum, local school board elections became flash points. they became galvanizing issues for republicans. now, some of it was not, you know, grounded in reality. critical race theory is not being taught in elementary schools, for instance, and yet this was something that got republican and the grassroots really energized so the natural manifestation of that is to then take that energy and apply it to
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these elections. now, what is the practical outcome of that? you're going to see, you know, school curriculums change. you're going to see laws around or policies around mask mandates change. you could see things around inoculations, not just for covid but for other things become flash point issues too so again, it's the hyperpoliticization of things down to the granular level here. >> errin, it's so disturbing. i mean, i wish i could have stopped sam but i didn't want to interrupt his brilliant flow there with it wasn't grounded in reality. why can't we just stop there? like, it was so successful, but it wasn't grounded in reality. that could sum up so much of the republican sort of political ethos. the attack on the vaccines. we started the last hour with two new studies that show that there are no life-threatening risks to the covid vaccines for children 5 to 11. yet, 14% of children 5 to 11 have been vaccinated. one of the other issues in virginia was remote school.
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if you want to keep kids in schools, you better not peddle disinformation about vaccinations. i mean, how do you unpack the lies and then get back on offense when the other side is so rooted in what sam describes as nonreality. >> yeah, i mean, look, for the other side, this is their offense, and this is going to be their offense for the foreseeable future. look, nicole, i do not make political predictions but i'm going to make one right now, so get ready. parents rights is going to be a buzz word for 2022. and you know, while it's important to note that classroom culture wars are really nothing new and have been part of a divisive yet effective kind of partisan playbook that taps into some, not all, white suburban voters' fears, as a way to mobilize them to the polls, parenting and parents' rights is absolutely going to be politicized in 2022. so, you know, school boards have long been the domain of local education and school government reporters, but some of us are going to have to dust off those chops and those skills because
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this is really where the battle is going to be waged in the midterms. this is a heads-up to state house reporters because just as sam was saying, this is going to be one of the main social issues that lawmakers are going to focus on in their upcoming sessions. we're already seeing it as you alluded to at the top of this conversation. tennessee is allowing school board candidates to list their party affiliations. similar measures coming in places like arizona, missouri, and florida. and i also just want to put school libraries on the radar for people because that's going to be an issue. it's not just about our schools and the classroom but really about anywhere that children could potentially learn about our country's fuller history and libraries have absolutely been a resource for countless children and their parents in helping to kind of fill in the gaps of what public education leaves out, which is why libraries are also now in the crosshairs. there's a bill out of oklahoma that i hope people have seen and i know that has been written about at msnbc that allows parents who believe their child's school is carrying a book that they don't like to submit a written request to remove that book, and once the
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school gets the request, they have 30 days to remove the book, and for every day that that book is not removed, there's a $10,000 fine for that school, and the parent can seek compensation for the attorneys fees and court costs. i mean, you know, this is something that republicans are seeing as effective, that galvanizes their folks, but i think it's also why it's important to continue to have -- while we're having the conversation about parents rights, we need to be talking to all parents and not just the parents republicans are seeking to target because education is perennially an issue for voters but what that is varies depending on which voters we're talking about. >> why don't the democrats seize the mantle of being the party for parents rights, to know they can go to their job, whether it's at home or an office, because the schools will be hope, because masks are there to protect kids. why don't democrats say, i mean, the whole thing about books boggles my mind because only people without children fight about what books are in a
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library. kids can go on the internet and find everything and you try blocking the content. good luck. kids know how to get around just about anything. you have to sit there with them and take the earphones out of the computer. these are stupid debates. i'm not saying they're ineffective but they're stupid. why don't democrats grab parents rights and the advocacy for students. they have always almost traditionally had the advantage on education funding, on keeping kids in school, on before care, on aftercare, on lunches, you name it. why cede the ground to the rends? republicans? >> it's a really complicated question. you know, part of this, i think, has to do with education policy and education political wars being upended by the pandemic. we were doing some retrospective reporting on the mcauliffe campaign and one of the things we found was that they were under water on the issue of education well before critical race theory became a buzz word on fox news and they were under water on education predominantly because there was a huge amount
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of frustration over the fact that schools had remained closed because of the pandemic. so, you know, that inherently put democrats on the defensive, and i think some of it has continued to this day and age, even though 99% of schools are currently open. democrats have been highly defensive about the idea that they would be painted as, you know, being comfortable with school closures because of the pandemic. and that's just one subset of the education policy wars. the second thing is, you know, what happens when you get the issues like curriculum and deciding what books can or should not be in your school or public library. and on that, you know, i think -- or i have to think that there's going to be a backlash to the current campaign to sort of demonize some of this literature, even in the end of that virginia gubernatorial debate, for instance, you saw an ad that was run by the youngkin campaign. it came out that that mom a decade ago had pulled her son because she was worried about a
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toni morrison book. there was instant backlash to that and i think there's a likelihood that there's overreach on the republican side of the aisle. >> understatement of the year. pleasure to see both of you. thank you so much for making some time for us today. when we come back, a supreme court already under scrutiny for being too political has a wrap of important decisions ahead of it from vaccine mandates to abortion to gun control. what we should be braced for. sfloechlt control. what we should be braced for sfloechl
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2022 may prove to be the most consequential year in the history of the u.s. supreme court. in the midst of the outcry over the politicization of america's high court system and record low approval ratings, the supreme court is preparing to take up cases in the new year which could further inflame its critics and imperil its legitimacy among the american public. the disgraced ex-president has asked the u.s. supreme court to prevent his records from being released to the january 6th select committee, and claims that the committee is trying to establish a criminal complaint against him, saying it is beyond the committee's authority. well, next week, the court will hear arguments over president biden's covid-19 vaccine man dates for large employers and healthcare facilities. in addition, a federal appeals court next week will hear arguments in the case on texas's near complete ban on abortions
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there after the u.s. supreme court declined to block the law. the court's critics claim that this court appears to be more motivated by ideology than the law itself. it's a criticism which may only be further fueled when the court issues its opinions on two controversial cases on abortion and guns. those decisions are expected this summer. let's bring in harry litman, former deputy assistant attorney general. not just its critics. it's one of its own members. just as sonia sotomayor voiced the concern that a lot of people watching this court just in their oral arguments and questions talked about the stench that will attach itself to the u.s. supreme court because a legislature passed a law after donald trump named several of these justices. so, how do you see this court right now? >> yeah, i mean,nicole, people have been saying for years, oh t sky is falling, the sky is falling. i think the sky is falling.
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we are at this pivotal and foreboding moment, and the new majority seems completely unabashed about using its power to really change american society in a series of ways that i think society is not ready to go to. and we have five members of the court who were all sort of bred in this hot house of conservative thought and hostility to supreme court precedent and really seem poised to make their views the law of the land. and whatever you think about the sort of brass knuckles political maneuvers that got them there, and they were pretty raw, there's a -- the huge problem here is that when you have a majority all drawn from the same narrow stratum that american legal profession doesn't agree with, and i think a lot of american society won't be happy with, that's a bad spot for the court, and a bad spot for the country.
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so, i think we're looking at a really pivotal and grim months ahead where they're ready to roll, and they're rolling. >> so, the polls bear out exactly what you're talking about. right now, 37% of americans approve of the u.s. supreme court. 60% approve of john roberts so it's not all political in terms of political affiliation. it is specifically the conduct of that other sort of hyperpartisan slice of the court, if you will. 37% is more than 20 points less than approved of the united states supreme court in the wake of their decision in bush v. gore. i mean, that has dropped 20 points in those intervening years, when the court was viewed as essentially deciding a presidential election. what does john roberts do with his sort of almost twice as much popularity among the american
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public? >> well, yeah, it doesn't look like as if he can do all that much. he's in the middle, and normally a chief justice, and john roberts is certainly no liberal, is positioned to try to keep the court from getting too far out of step with the rest of the country. and i really do want to emphasize, nicole, you could -- part of the concern is potential partisanship and the raw political way, but however you think about it, it's just to have five justices who don't have to listen and who are able to prevail on views that are just not accepted by so many people in the profession, in the country, that's bad no matter what you think of their motivations. and roberts, who -- and even as of the end of last term, people were saying he is the new man in the middle, and he's the one that as he goes, so goes the
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court, is really on the verge of irrelevancy, because the new five, even the youngest justices, have shown themselves and the signal example here is the abortion argument, shown themselves perfectly poised to disregard him and not be very concerned about the, you know, the reception within the country, and you know, that's what i think has many supreme court watchers really apprehensive about what's coming down the pike in these next few months. >> we'll watch it all very closely with your help. harry litman, thank you for spending time with us today. coming up next for us, it has been a banner year for science in this country from life-saving vaccines to space exploration, even as distrust in science reaches new highs in some corners of the united states. neil degrasse tyson will help us make sense of it all. ll help us make sense of it all
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(ringing) - hey kaleb, what's up? how you doing? - hey, i'm good, guess what, i just had my 13th surgery. - really? i just had my 17th surgery. - well, you beat me. - well, i am a little bit older than you. - yeah it's true. how are you doing? - i'm doing good. i'm encouraged by seeing how people are coming together to help each other during times like these. - kind of like how shriners hospitals for children is there for us. imagine if i couldn't get my surgery. who knows what would have happened. - same for me. i know my shriners hospitals family will continue to take care kids like us who need them most all because of caring people like you. - like me? - no, the people watching us right now at home. - oh, those people. hi people. - kaleb and i know not everyone can help right now, but for those of you who can, we hope you'll this special number on your screen right now. - you'll be making sure our amazing doctors
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and nurses can keep helping kids like us, who need them now and in the days to come. - your gift will make a huge difference for kids like us. - ooh, ooh, show them them the thank you gift. - okay, okay, hold on a second. with your gift of $19 a month we'll send you this adorable, love to the rescue blanket as a thank you and a reminder of the kids you're helping with your monthly support. - so what are you waiting for? you can use your phone and call, or go to to give and join with thousands of other generous people who change lives with their gifts every day. - i think that's about it buddy, good job. - my pleasure captain. please call now. if operators are busy with all the other caring people, please wait patiently, or you can go to to give right away. - [alec] big or small, your gift helps us all. - [both] thank you. (giggling)
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when it comes to autism, - [both] thank you. finding the right words can be tough. finding understanding doesn't have to be. together, we can create a kinder, more inclusive world for the millions of people on the autism spectrum. go to liftoff from a tropical rain forest to the edge of time itself, james webb begins a voyage back to the birth of the universe. >> ho-hum, just the world's largest and most powerful telescope ever built sent up to space 30 years in development and that brilliant piece of technology is, as we speak, on its way to orbit the sun.
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we're able to observe the earliest days of our universe. pretty cool, huh? that monumental achievement, that was just this week, just a fraction, a sliver of all the scientific advancements and achievements made this year alone. of course, sadly obvious, is the context of the moment in which we're having this conversation, a misguided distrust of the scientific community as the astrophysicist neil degrasse tyson observes, quote, nobody writes stories about not dying by not contracting covid-19 so it's time to praise the researchers who developed vaccines in record time. if heroes save lives, then they are super heroes who have saved the lives of millions because of science. joining us now is neil degrasse tyson, astrophysicist and director of the hayden planetarium in new york. jewel and a treasure. let's have this conversation, the one we should all be having, the super heroes, the scientists. >> yeah, i think what spooked
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people initially, again, i'm an astrophysicist so just communicating to you from the platform of science, but spooked people initially was how quickly the vaccines showed up, and rather than something to be praised, it's something that spooked people. and i found that to be a bit odd, because if you part the curtains of what was going on with that vaccine, it was something -- the methods and tactics had been worked on for many, many years leading up to the need to have that specific vaccine, and so if you saw the trail of what kind of biomedical research went into fighting coronaviruses as a general virus, variants of which then show up in their various forms, such as covid-19, such as covid-19 did, i think it was something to have been praised. and then, the rollout and how many people took it and how effective it was and how -- and
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the -- how nonthreatening the side effects were, yeah, you had a sore arm and maybe slept a little longer, but basically, it was a triumph of science. and so maybe science needs better marketing. i mean, i hate to say that, but that's kind of what it looks like. >> we started our program with a new reporting that among kids 5 to 11, there are no negative effects of what you described, the sore arm. no life threatening side effects from the vaccine, and you know, it feels like it's more than marketing. it's that you had, you know, a big chunk of the country predisposed to accept without question disinformation. and i wonder if you have any sort of lessons from history about how science confronts that. >> yeah, so i hate to give what sounds in retrospect like an obvious answer, but in the school curriculum, the way science is taught, it's taught
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as a body of knowledge. here's a book, learn what's in the book, and then move on. and then what people are not treated to is how science works. and what it is, and why it works. and science is a method of inquiry. it's a method of probing nature to empower you to learn what is true and what is not true. it's also empowering you to have some sensitivity to your own biases. so that you're not fooled into thinking something is true that is not or something is not true that is. that's not taught. it's just here, what's a dna molecule, what's a steam engine, and you come out and think science is just information when it's a wiring of the brain that would be, dare i use the word, inoculate you against the charlatans that claim to have access to objective truths and do not. >> so how do you -- where is the
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intervention inhow do you teach kids that, what you just described? >> intervention, that's the word. yeah, maybe it's too late for the adults who are sort of -- >> that's why i asked about the kids. >> that's right. so the kids might be our only hope. i can tell you that a younger generation that grew up with smartphones, for example, they have a deeper sense in my experience, a deeper sense of what role science and technology has played in their lives and will continue to play in their futures. it's not an accident that greta was a teenager and not a 30-year-old. there's some people who -- that entire generation sees technology differently. because their lives depend on it. all right. from simple things like swipe left or swipe right, using satellite technology to make that happen, to, you know, to
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everything else that makes their lives what they have come to expect and value within it. so i hate to say we might have to wait a generation, because i don't see -- i don't see -- i feel kind of hopeless in this. i'm sad to say. >> i don't think you're alone. these kids have had to rely on remote school, and so they had to rely on technology to be educated, a lot of them, for the past year. they're acutely aware of a wi-fi signal and the hard wiring and where it's good and where it's bad and they understand that's, you can't live without it, especially now. i guess i wanted to ask you what gives you hope. you started to answer, but i want to give you time to finish. >> yeah, what gives me hope is -- i don't know. you know, i have 14 million twitter followers. that's a crazy large number. and what gives me hope is that that number exists. okay. i'm not a movie star.
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i'm not, you know, a politician. i'm just a scientist. and so i think everybody has a soft geek underbelly that can be receptive to curiosity and wonder and learning about how the world really is. because how the world really is is so much more amazing and so much more -- it's so much more majestic than any lies that are perpetrated by any human entity that claims they have access to the truth. and so i think if enough people feel that, this love of science and discovery and protecting the future, it can be a fundamental part of what it is to be in modern society, because without it, we're on a one-way trip back to the caves because that's where we're headed if we keep rejecting science at the levels we do. >> oh, wow.
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you just -- mind blown, my mind. i hope we can continue to call on you. you have just given me a little sliver of hope, too. thank you. neil degrasse tyson, thank you for spending time with us. quick break for us. finally. our honeymoon. it took awhile, but at least we got a great deal on our hotel with kayak. i was afraid we wouldn't go.. with our divorce and.... great divorce guys. yeah... search 100s of travel sites at once. kayak. search one and done. oh yeah, we gotta take off. you downloaded the td ameritrade mobile app? yeah, actually i'm taking one last look at my dashboard before we board... and you have thinkorswim mobile- -so i can finish analyzing the risk on this position. you two are all set. choose the app that fits your investing style. ♪♪ a must in your medicine cabinet!
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who isn't fluent in bureaucracy, or maybe not in their own emotions. so show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at many americans are being asked to pick up some extra slack at work as omicron sweeps through the country. what happens when you're the only one who knows how to do the job and you test positive? that's the question john is now facing. for 25 straight new year's eves he has supervised the times square ball drop personally on site without a single error.
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until this year when a positive covid test will have him supervising that remotely for the first time ever. it isn't going to stop him. he tells the "wall street journal" this, quote, my job is to make sure that the ball drop happens on time and it all looks perfect. and that's what's going to happen. and i'm going to do my job perfectly. luckily, it looks like job will be keeping his 25-year-long error free streak going. a test this morning went off without a hitch. we here will be watching and rooting for you, john. thank you for letting us into your homes all year long during these truly extraordinary times. we are really so, so, so grateful and take this chance to thank you. "the beat" with ari melber starts now. i should thank you. i'm early today, but i'm usually late. thank you for all the extra seconds you loan me. >> anytime. i'm usually late as well. although when you said, when the ball drops. that's one thing they have to get right on time. >> thanks. friend. >> welcome to "the beat."
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i'm ari melber. we come on the air with the country engulfed in this wave of the covid pandemic. we're seeing case records being broken day after day. there is also rays of good news. the fda now on track to allow boosters for 12 to 15 years that could begin as soon as monday. you can get it five months after the second shot. that's slightly faster than the six-month allotted time. that's positive news amid record-breaking infections. the u.s. averaging 3,000 cases a day. the cdc estimates 44,000 americans could die within the next month. even in this less deadly version of a variant. context matters. the vaccinated and boosted are less likely to be hospitalized and face almost no traditional risk of death. because the vaccines work. the cdc says you're 20 times more likely to die if you're unvaccinated. medical experts do note the omicron variant, according to what we're learning as we go so far, looks less severe. and the


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