tv Stephanie Ruhle Reports MSNBC January 18, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PST
so congratulations to her. by the way, i will see you in warsaw, i'm doing the show at tvn in warsaw all next week. so that should be fun. by the way, bill de blasio not running for governor. that does it for us this morning. chris jansing picks up the coverage right now. ♪♪ hi there, i'm chris jansing in for stephanie ruhle, live at msnbc headquarters here in new york. it is tuesday, january 18th, a day democrats insist will live in history, but maybe not for the reasons they'd like. starting just a few hours from now the senate for the first time will begin debating legislation that combines two voting rights bills, the freedom to vote act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act. just getting to this debate took months of effort and today is democrats' chance to again make their central argument, that these bills are critical to defending democracy as we know
it. >> we stand up for an america where everyone is guaranteed the full protections and the full promise of this nation. yes or no. >> our democracy stands on the brink of serious trouble. >> today our freedom to vote is under assault. >> nothing less is at stake than our democracy. >> but the math is clear, the bills don't have the votes, so almost are certainly doomed to fair. i want to bring in mike memoli and garrett haake. co-founder of punchbowl news john bresnahan and robert gibbs, an msnbc political analyst. great to see you guys. garrett, how is it all going to unfold today and what happens next? >> reporter: the senate a back today, we expect to see a robust debate on these voting rights bills that will last well into tomorrow, i think we might see every single senator speak on this, it's entirely possible. the debate has been that heated.
but then we know what will happen with the vote, all 50 republicans oppose these measures, all 50 krooths support them. so they will fail. what happens after that is an open question. chuck schumer the democratic majority leader in the senate has promised unspecified votes on rule changes that might allow democrats to get around the 60-vote threshold for legislation. we expect those votes will fail, too, after kyrsten sinema, joe manchin reiterated their opposition last week, there could be other democrats who feel the same way, that we have not yet heard from. we will start this process today. where it ends, chris, is really anybody's guess right now. >> robert, do you agree with this move? does the upside of getting people on the record outweigh the downside of seeing those bills go down? defeat? >> it's a great question, chris. i do think there is a big upside in getting people on the record on this, on showing from president biden's perspective, from senator schumer's perspective that they're fighting for equal voting
rights. it's an important issue to democrats and it should be an important issue to all americans, unfortunately what is going to be highlighted today and tomorrow likely isn't 50 republicans that are against this, but two democrats that are against this. so, look, i think this cuts a bit both ways because it is going to show that while this is a passionate desire for democrats to see passed in the senate, they don't have unanimity among democrats in order to make that happen. >> and, in fact, john, in spite of that, that lack of unanimity a lot of democrats seem to believe they can campaign on this issue even if it doesn't pass. i guess the question is can they legitimately argue, look, we did everything we could and lay blame on republicans? or, frankly, do those critical midterm voters really just only focus on results? >> you know, there's a little of both. you can blame because republicans are unilaterally opposed. the reason why democrats are pushing this legislation is
because of what's happening in republican-run red states. there is a number of states after the 2020 election in republican-run states that have enacted new laws that impose some restrictions on voting, make it tougher. now, republicans argue it's nothing dramatic, that it's going back to what it was before the pandemic, but, you know, democrats are saying -- and you played the tape, i mean, they're saying this is the most important change in voting rights in history. so, you know, we will have to see whether they can score political points. the problem for democrats here unfortunately as big as this issue s it is a vitally important issue, s you know, voters right now are talking about the economy, talking about covid, talking about, you know, inflation. those are the issues that are tops when we see polls and as important as this issue is, this is not the number one issue for voters right now. we will see what happens as the rest of the year unfolds. >> and it's against this backdrop, mike, as you know,
that the president is going to hold a press conference tomorrow at the end of his first year in office and he is frankly i think going to have to account for this strategy, for decisions including on voting rights. what's the plan? how is he going to do it? >> reporter: that's right, chris, a big week for the president as he marks on thursday one full year in office. today we don't expect to see the president as he spends the day preparing for that news conference tomorrow, the first solely white house news conference he's going to do in actually close to a year. you can be sure that the president is going to try to use that opportunity to put his best foot forward, to talk about what his administration has accomplished in his first year. we will get a taste of that today when we see his infrastructure czar mitch land drew at the white house briefing trying to talk about that big legislative achievement. absolutely, the president will get tough questions about what hasn't been done and voting rights it at the top of the list especially for so many democrats. we expect to hear the president begin to pivot to talk about more of what should be done at the state level, what may be --
is already done through executive actions. what the justice department has also been doing. also -- and i know robert loves a good white house strategy reset strategy, we have new reporting here at nbc news about white house officials saying as they begin year two the president has been bogged down so much in washington, they want to get the president back to doing what they think he does best, showing his ability to relate with ordinary americans, talking about the economy and talking about that infrastructure bill. white house officials say lawmakers do want the president to come to their district to talk about these projects. that's going to be what the white house tries to do more as we begin year two. >> there may be a little bit of ptsd with resets for you, robert, let me ask you about that white house plan. look, there was an interesting article in the "wall street journal" today that i think sort of summarized what a lot of people are talking about, that the party, the president, need a plan to gain some traction, to get some momentum back ahead of the state of the union in march and, frankly, before things get too deep into the midterm campaign season. where do you see that momentum
coming from and what do you make of this plan? >> well, look, i think anything that gets joe biden out of washington and out of being the president of the senate and into the country talking about the issues that people care most deeply about, not just voting rights, but also inflation and the economy, getting covid under control and clearing up the messaging around that. and, look, i think between now and the beginning of the state of the union they've got to figure out can they get something with build back better? if they can't get $1.8 trillion can they get $1 trillion? they're not going to get everything in this bill that they wanted to in the original one. so have some votes on this, pass what you can pass and then get out of the country with a sharp critique of what you're trying to do versus what republicans want to do and take this battle to the election. this year ends with midterm elections. this white house has to each and every day force a choice in
front of the american people and voters about what they're going to the polls to vote on. if this alone is a referendum on the president and joe biden, it's going to be difficult and the results are going to be deeply unsatisfying. >> yeah, and the polls right now reflect that. so, john, if you had this white house shift from focusing on the hill, from talking to members of congress, to speaking more directly to the american people, where does that leave what was an absolutely central promise from the president that helped to get him elected, that he's going to bring back a sense of bipartisanship? >> well, listen, i mean, i think they should do what robert just said, to be honest, that's a pretty good plan. look, the republican party is in a difficult spot, we all know that. trump is out there, he was out there this weekend, he's out there, you know, making all sorts of wild claims about the 2020 election, he's enforcing loyalty on the party. but biden was able to get a $1.2
trillion infrastructure bill, you know, there's other deals that could be on the table, maybe a smaller build back better, there's a competition bill with china called useca that could be done. there was a big senate vote on t they're trying to do something in the house, that could be done. you know, there is still legislation that they could do, smaller bills, and executive actions that he could do that could show progress, but, again, you know, to be bipartisan you need a partner and the republican party, as we talk about every day, is in this flux. i mean, trump is still the head of the party for all intents and purposes and, you know, his whole thing is he wants to be back in the white house, you know, he is now feuding with florida governor ron desantis about who will be the nominee in 2024. trump is running for president and, you know, we have never had a situation like this before. so it's a strange place biden finds himself, but there are
opportunities for democrats over the next year to draw a clear line like robert was talking about, he's just going -- biden is just going to have to focus on it and he's got to do a reset. they've got to change the discussion they have had. >> garrett, if part of that reset has to be we are going to get things done, they might not be as big as bbb, but we're going to move forward on many of the things we've talked about, where, if anywhere, do you see a legit chance for bipartisanship? >> reporter: it's tough to say, chris. i mean, you know, john mentioned this competition bill with china that was passed last year and then basically got shelved, that's a possibility. there is some discussion around this making changes to the electoral count act. for democrats that's not taking half a loaf on voting rights and election reform, it's taking maybe the heel of a slice of bread, but it is kind of the only game in town potentially after this week when it comes to protecting our elections. if that negotiation which is really just in its infancy produces something, that could
also be something that you could see both parties at least in the senate move forward on. bipartisanship in the house, you are not seeing that anytime soon. >> okay. so we've got the logo down there, it says vote watch, i would be remiss if i didn't mention that i think there's also a baby watch that is under way. some months perhaps, but -- >> reporter: that's true. >> congratulations. >> reporter: thank you. thank you. coming july of this year, baby girl in the haake household. i hope i will be ready. >> i don't think anybody is ever ready, but if anybody is, it will be you. you've got a few people around you who you know in washington who can give you some advice who have recently had babies. con grants, garrett. mike memoli, onbresnahan, robert gibbs, good to see all of you. as we learn new details about that 11-hour standoff inside a texas synagogue we will be talking with one of the hostages who bravely escaped and is here to share his story. is here to share his storye is .
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new details this morning on the hostage taking at a texas synagogue. we just learned that the gunman malik akram was the target of a brief terror-related investigation by british authorities back in 2020, but they found no indication at that time of a terrorist threat. we're also hearing more from the hostages who were face to face with akram for the 11 harrowing hours before they finally managed to escape. jeffrey cohen was one of them and he joins me now. thank you so much for being with us. i can't even imagine what the last several days have been like for you, but if i can take you back to saturday, when did you realize that this guy was armed and dangerous and your life was under threat? >> so let me take you back even earlier than when we realized that because he came to the door and i actually arrived after he did. this was a few minutes before
our service was scheduled to begin, and he was looking for a place to warm up and we invited him in, the rabbi gave him a cup of tea, let him sit in the back. when i came in rabbi charlie motioned -- or told me to come and say hello because i'm one of the congregants, i'm the vice president, so, you know, normally i would greet someone. i went over and had no reason to assume that he was anything other than what he said. you know, his eyes weren't darting or anything like that, his hands weren't shaking or any of the normal things that when you have the active shooter courses they tell you to look for. even quite jovial, he was friendly, he was on the phone so i let him go on the phone. then we started our service and i would say, i don't know, less than an hour in we have a prayer called the ameda where we are standing and facing east toward
jerusalem, it's part public and part private prayer and we got into the private prayer and i had gone through mine and sat down, and then we heard -- or i heard that unmistakable click of a semi-automatic being loaded, but it was out of context, it didn't make sense that, you know, we would hear that kind of sound there, so i didn't put much to it. rabbi charlie heard it as well and he was looking over at the attacker and very soon after that he started yelling and, to be perfectly honest, as soon as i heard him yelling i knew there was something going on, so i wasn't really concentrating on what he said. i had my phone next to me and i dialed 91 and i turned it over so that the screen was down so
he wouldn't see it. he was calling for us to come to the back. so i exited the row of chairs that i was in and i moved a little bit toward him, but i very strategically positioned myself in the line to get to the exits. that's one of the things that they teach you in these courses, and why they're so important, is to always know where your exits are and be prepared to run -- and fight, in that order. >> i hate to interrupt you. first of all, it's one thing to take training, it's another thing to do what you did which was seemingly very calmly -- you're probably feeling very different inside, but to do those things that you learned to do. do you believe -- and i know that the rabbi has said like in the last hour it really was clear that things were going
badly and that the whole mood had changed. >> yeah. >> what role do you think that training that you had kept you going and ultimately allowed you to escape after those 11 what could only be harrowing hours? >> well, like i said, i do credit it a lot with that because the whole time i was focused on what do i need to do to get out? but just as importantly -- i mean, there were several opportunities when i could have just run, but then i would have left my friends behind and he probably would have shot someone and that's pretty scary to think about, but talking with both of them later in the day, you know, after we had gotten out, we were all that one mind, that everybody -- it was going to be all of us getting out. i was thinking about this last night after the community prayer
service, we were determined to get out and that was part of it. during the day he was much calmer. he said frequently he didn't want to hurt us, that he was the only one who needed to die and things like that. that allowed us to concentrate on what was important. so, you know, like i said, it was both a strategicel and then some tactical decisions to move toward the row with the exit. when we had an opportunity, when one of my friends was feeling ill, and kind of helped him into a chair that was near me and i went and rubbed his back and i whispered to him the exit is right over to the right and he kind of nodded and i think he was thinking the same.
and then when the pizza came, it was fairly late in the day, none of us had eaten and our attacker let us have the -- some food. when the pizza came i motioned to the rabbi and i think he was thinking the same, but, again, we haven't talked about that part, to come back where we were rather than put it on the tables up front so that we were well positioned. and what that meant was when things devolved at the end, we had -- while we didn't have a specific plan, we hadn't communicated, we were ready to go. does that make sense? >> it does. again, the idea that you all stuck together, that you kept your heads about you and that everybody was able, all of you who were hostages, were able to
get out alive. we're out of time, jeffrey cohen, but i have to ask you what your feeling is about this man. angry? do you hate him? do you forgive him? >> you know, it's -- i don't know and i'm not one of these people who can just, you know, forgive. so i can't say that i forgive him, but i do recognize -- first of all, he was mentally ill, his brother has said so and it's very -- the way he behaved makes me believe that. secondly, he bought into these tropes. he was not your typical attacker who came in and i just want to kill all the jews. that was not him. he came to the jews because he bought into these -- these very dangerous stories that the jews control the world and the jews control the government and the banks and the media, and we as good people and we as patriotic americans, we need to challenge
those things when we hear them because these words do have consequences. they play on people's ears, they play on people's fears and it leads to actions like this where people believe that if they want to accomplish a political act, terror to one group or another, and in this case to jews, is not just capable, it will be successful. and it's acceptable. >> words matter. sorry, you froze for a second there. >> words matter. >> i apologize for interrupting you. >> i'm sorry. >> i do want to say words matter and lies have consequences. >> absolutely. >> i'm glad that we were able to get that message out, jeffrey cohen, thank you for your bravery and thank you for sharing your story. we wish you all the best. >> thank you. i want to bring in michael mcmaster, national director and ceo of the secure community network, that's the security
organization for the jewish community that had provided training to congregation beth israel multiple times over the past year. you've just heard his story and he said earlier we weren't rescued, we escaped. can you give us a sense of how much individual knowledge, individual training can play a role in helping control a situation like this as opposed to completely depending on a s.w.a.t. team or the nba or whoever it is to come in and save you? >> first of all, let me say i'm so grateful to be here following jeff because this could have turned out very, very differently. >> yes. >> and i think the greatest testament to this training is the fact that we are hearing from jeff, we are hearing from the rabbi about what they did to commit to action, which is what we teach people. we teach them to commit to action. how to recognize danger, how to respond to it and be proactive and that's exactly what we saw these hostages do. they were so grateful for law enforcement, but at the end of the day as jeff has said they
escaped. they put that training to work. i've spent 20 years in law enforcement, we often say in law enforcement you don't rise to the occasion, you fall back to your level of training and this training made a difference but it made a difference because of the mindset of those individuals and them putting it into action under incredible stress and demonstrating an incredible amount of calm and courage during that process. >> it really is astonishing. you heard also jeffrey say that he believes that this terrorist bought into these tropes. what is your sense of the overall threat to the jewish community right now? >> so the secure community network works on a daily basis with local state and federal law enforcement, particularly the fbi and department of homeland security. our team of intelligence analysts i'm in our operations command center right now, we assess that we are living in the most complex and dynamic threat environment facing the jewish
community. make no mistake, the jewish community is under threat. it is real. it is well -- it is highly armed and it is often intent on taking jewish life, and that is why this training is so important. every facility needs an assessment, we need to implement physical security and every member of our community needs training. we train 17,000 people last year, we want to get to the whole community as soon as we can. >> michael masters, thank you so much. we appreciate what you do and we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us and we certainly appreciate the training that allowed those hostages to get out alive. we appreciate so much this morning under the worst possible circumstances. thank you for being with us. and coming up, a brand-new study showing a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine may not help when it comes to the omicron variant. n it comes to t n it comes to t omicron variant.al with nucala. nucala reduces asthma attacks it's a once-monthly add-on treatment for severe eosinophilic asthma.
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the past two weeks. dr. anthony fauci asked the question we all want the question to, says it's still too soon to know when all of this will be over. >> it is an open question as to whether or not omicron is going to be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for because you have such a great deal of variability with new variants emerging. i would hope that that's the case, but that would only be the case if we don't get another variant that eludes the immune response. >> joining us now is dr. paul offit with the children's hospital of philadelphia who is also a member of the fda's vaccine advisory committee. always good to see you, doctor. look, we've talked about this, so many people are just sick of this and i want to play some sound from espn host stephen a. smith, he was fully vaccinated and then he came down with a severe case of covid. take a listen. >> i had 103 degree fever every
night, woke up with chills and pool of sweat, headaches were massive, coughing profusely. it got to a point that right before new year's eve i was in the hospital new year's eve into new year's day, that's how i brought in the new year. they told me had i not been vaccinated i wouldn't be here. >> clearly, doctor, a lesson for vaccinations, but is there also a lesson in there for people who frankly are giving up, letting their guard down, saying we are all going to get it, i'm over it? >> right. that's a bad idea. i think the lesson from stephen a. smith is that even though he had received two doses of a vaccine that's not 100% effective at preventing all serious illness, it's highly effective but not 100%. the lesson i would say is even if you've been vaccinated, fully vaccinated you still should wear a tight fitting mask when you're indoors with people, you know,
lots of people and you don't know many of them. in terms of just sort of saying, well, what the hell, we are all going to get this infection so just sit back and get it, bad idea. i mean, omicron, it is truly less virulent in that you are less likely to go to the hospital, less likely to go to the icu, less likely to go to the morgue but it's not a virulent meaning it still can cause hospitalization and suffering and death, you never want to get a natural infection. when dr. fauci said this may be the live viral vaccine we are all hoping for, the one i would hope for is one that is essentially mimics the common cold where that's all you get is an upper respiratory tract infection, maybe low grade fever, but you never go to the hospital and never go to the icu. that virus doesn't exist yet. don't say omicron is something i want to get, that way i will be immune for longer. that's a bad idea. >> as you know all these breakthrough infections had a lot of people asking, doctor, should i get now another booster, essentially a fourth shot, a prime minister study in israel found that a fourth
vaccine dose is not enough to prevent at least omicron infections. i mean, do we need another booster to do this? are we going to be living eventually with a booster every six months of some sort or another? where is your head with the whole booster question? >> i think the biggest communications error we made with this vaccine was ever using the term breakthrough illness to describe a mild infection or asymptomatic infection. that is a bar for which we've set no other vaccine that prevents this kind of infection. the so-called mucosal infection. that's a vaccine that's working. if you get a vaccine and have a mild illness, that's a vaccine that's working. to set the bar at preventing mild illness is virtually impossible. now what you are talking about is when you get that third dose, what that does is it increases neutralizing antibodies and that will protect you against mild illness for three months, but that's not a viable public health strategy where you have to keep getting boosters. what you're seeing in israel
with the fourth dose, although you do get an increase in neutralizing antibody tithers it's lower than previously and still not effective at tree venting mild disease. a third dose is of value in people over 65, people who live in long term care facilities or multiple comorbidities but we don't need to prevent mild disease in healthy young people. that's where we've confused people. you talk about a fourth or fifth dose, it's getting to the point where we should get a punch card and after your sixth dose you get free pizza. it gets to absurdity. >> let me ask you about the kids, we've been seeing a lot of schools having issues, some involving teachers but also the kids. a small fraction of children who come down with covid are hospitalized, but what do you see to parents who look at the numbers, who look at the statistical probability and, again, think it's okay to let their guard down because they are kids, even if they get sick, even if they test positive, they
are not going to really be very sick? >> unless they are very sick. so the problem is when you have large numbers of children who are infected, and even if a small percentage of that means hospitalization, that's still a lot of children. i mean, i work at children's hospital of philadelphia, we are admitting a lot of children to our hospital and to our intensive care unit with this disease. if you can prevent it safely which we can in children between 5 and 11 or children between 12 and 15, we should, but we're not. i mean, you know, percentage of children between 12 and 15 who are vaccinated is only 50%, 5-0, the percentage of children between 5 and 11 who are fully vaccinated is only about 30%. so 70% of those children are vulnerable. i can tell you virtually all the children we admitted through our hospital who are over five who could be vaccinated aren't, nor are their parents, nor are their siblings and it's frustrating to watch. don't take that chance. if you ever look at parent activist groups like families fighting flu, national
meningitis association those parents tell the same story after their children have suffered or died from a vaccine preventable disease which is i can't believe this happened to me. and then they become activists to explain about the importance of the vaccine and the danger of the disease. you don't want to become a member of a parent activist group like that if you can avoid it and you can avoid it with vaccination. >> boy, is that true. dr. paul offit, thank you as always good to see you. coming up, why new covid restrictions in china could lead to empty shelves and higher prices here in the u.s. plus the dire warning from top airline ceos about what they see as the dangers of 5g just 24 hours before it's set to roll out nationwide. t 24 t 24 hours before and baja chipotle sauce. it's three great things together. wait! who else is known for nailing threes? hmm. can't think of anyone! subway keeps refreshing and re... it's set to roll out nationwide in the woods. it's a good choice all around, like screening for colon cancer... when caught in early stages it's more treatable.
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sweeping new lockdowns to combat the omicron variant. add to that worker shortages here at home, and negotiations continuing over a new dockworkers contract. the threat comes as many are already seeing empty or sparse supermarket shelves at major retailers across the u.s. joining under the circumstances with the latest steve liesman cnbc's senior economics reporter and "the new york times" anna swanson. i think a lot of us have been seeing or at least feeling the effects of these supply chain disruptions but what's the prognosis here? could it get a lot worse? >> yeah, we've been feeling these supply chain issues for a while now and many people were hopeful that they could get better this year, but these major lockdowns that we're seeing in china are presenting yet another issue for the supply chain. so currently about 20 million people are in lockdown in china, about 1.5% of the population. mostly in western china, but we're also seeing targeted lockdowns in some eastern
chinese cities as well. the manufacturers i spoke with are worried that if these lockdowns become more widespread, we could see more product shortages from a very key manufacturing place leading to possibly some inflationary pressures on the u.s. economy as well. >> none of which sounds very good, steve liesman, so how do we get to the other side of this? obviously china is going to do what china is going to do in terms of imposing restrictions b but how much of this could be positively impacted by the moves that the biden administration takes? >> i think there's limited possibilities for the biden administration to solve this problem. look, what determines prices are the goods on the shelf, the goods back in the warehouse and the goodsed on the way from the manufacturer. all three of those things are challenged right now. so until we build up inventories in the warehouse or from the manufacturer we are going to have some trouble with prices. it's the reason why the fed has pivoted, the federal reserve has
pivoted and now sees omicron as virus outbreaks as inflationary. before they were worried about the idea that, hey, it would reduce demand. that's not the problem. the problem is it reduces workers, it keeps goods from getting to the stores and so right now what that means is the federal reserve is more concerned about inflation, likely to raise interest rates more this year, and that's one of the reasons why the market this morning is taking it on the chin. >> we have to have both of you back and talk more about this. steve liesman, anna swanson, thanks to both of you. developing now, airline ceos sounding the alarm, warning the rollout of 5g services tomorrow could lead to massive disruptions to both passenger and cargo flights as the faa prohibits planes from landing in bad weather at airports near 5g ground sites. even calling on the white house to intervene to stop the rollout around airports. tom costello has been covering this story for months. a lot of people, frankly, tom, don't understand this whole 5g rollout thing. why does it have so many airline executives so concerned?
>> reporter: it is complicated and as everything it's very nuanced, but the airline and cargo airline ceos are all warning of economical amity, catastrophic disruptions if the 5g rollout goes forward around the nation's airports. the entire aviation industry is very concerned that 5g will disrupt the critical cockpit systems. united airlines this morning warning that it could negatively effect one in a quarter million united passengers, at least 15,000 flights and tons of cargo. the cellphone industry insists all of the research suggests 5g is safe, but all of this now, 5g goes live at midnight. >> 50, 40, 30. >> reporter: it's the critical technology pilots rely on for precise altitude readings when landing in poor visibility, the radio al timter, but the faa, the airlines, pilots, boeing and airbus have all warned the new faster 5g cell systems could
interfere with the altimeter just when pilots need it most. with the system going live tomorrow the airline ceos have written this letter asking that the 5g sites within two miles of airports remained turned off for now, warning that immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies. >> the faa is uncomfortable with the safety risk and as a consequence the impact on our operations to mitigate that would be a significant set back. >> reporter: concerned about potential interference the faa has already issued a notice to pilots. as 5g goes live wednesday, the faa will prohibit pilots from using altimeters during landing at more than 80 airports near 5g sites, including large airport hubs in dallas, new york, chicago and seattle. if those airports experience bad weather the ceos warn the vast
majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded. facing cancellations, diversions or delays. >> this is reckless, it's dangerous and it's got to stop. take a pause. this is not a cellphone signal and we're focused on protecting lives. >> reporter: the cellphone industry insists there is no 5g risk to planes, recently telling nbc news 5g networks operate safely without interference in nearly 40 countries around the world and it will be no different here. transportation secretary pete buttigieg. >> look, the wireless carriers are impatient to deploy technology that stands to make a big impact, a positive impact on our economy, but on the aviation side we've also got to make sure that it's safe. >> reporter: the airlines this morning are warning that they could be forced to ground large numbers of planes because those planes are not yet certified to operate around 5g sites. government aviation sources say as this system goes live tomorrow, we could see mass
cancellations at airports where weather moves in, potentially thousands of flights affected on the west coast already expected. some airlines are planning to staff command centers to address urgent pilot issues. chris, by the way, the faa says it's working with the aviation industry, wireless companies, trying to limit 5g-related flight delays and cancellations but this is coming down to a head and the aviation industry wants the white house to intervene. >> i'm just going to book you right now independently of all my producers and everything else, come on tomorrow at 9:00 because i have a feeling we're going to need you. thank you, tom costello. i appreciate that. coming up, we are ten months out from midterms, but the pennsylvania senate race is heating up big time. we've got an early look at the fight for the senate and control of the senate next. t for the see or fist bump there, or...oh! i can't wait to go there!
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need to know about. and this morning, in pennsylvania, democrats are already in a major battle, because there's a race there that's crucial to keeping control of the senate. to do that, they'll need to flip the seat currently held by retiring republican senator, pat toomey. both parties have at least a dozen candidates fighting for a nomination in what has become an expensive and celebrity-filled race. joe biden narrowly lost the state -- won the state, actually, won the state in 2022. let's bring in nbc's dasha burns who's on the ground in pennsylvania and editor in chief of the pennsylvania capital star. good to see both of you. dasha, i know you've been on the ground, looking into this. how's this race shaping up right now. >> reporter: yeah, here we go again. it's still early in what's going to be a very long midterms here, chris. but candidates are already out shaking hands, they are spending money. they are flooding the air waves with campaign ads. just over the weekend, we got an early indicator of where things stand, at least for some of the
republican candidates. the republican central caucus straw poll. now, chris, the central caucus represents about 32% of gop voters in the state. it's made up of a local republican leaders, of activists. the folks are going to be getting republican voters out to the polls. and the results are interesting. the candidates that got the most votes, bartos and barnette, they are the folks that have been on the ground, building relationships within the party. but the man that came in third, dave mccormack, he is a new entry into the republican field. he's a former bridgewater ceo, and he's got double digits, even though the straw poll was only two days into his campaign, showing there that he does have some inherent appeal. but a bit of a surprising turnout for dr. oz, the celebrity name in this race. only one vote. he has, of course, a lot of name recognition in the state, chris, but looking like in terms of the party itself, he's not being taken as seriously, quite yet. when you go to the democrats,
though, you've got lieutenant governor john fetorman, who is very well known here in the state. he's styling himself as a populist who can win over some of those rural voters. he's putting up big fund-raising dollars. the other name i've often heard from voters and folks in the state, conor lamb, who's running as a moderate, who can win over the union voters, and blue collar voters, like the ones we have here in luzerne county. and there could be a potential mix-up in the schedule to the primary over redistricting. state republicans can't dpree on maps they've been blowing through those deadlines. and it's difficult for a candidate to run if they don't know what district they're running in. it's possible there might be a date change to the primary set may 17th. we have to see what happens in the coming weeks here. it's all moving quickly, chris. >> so is this the republican's
seat to lose? what's your assessment of the race as it stands right now? >> sure. chris, in a lot of ways, this is a battle for the identity of these two parties. you know, this primary is an ideological one. on the one side, you have john fetterman, on the democratic side, john fetterman, who's embraced running against lam. more of the a moderate. on the republican side, you have a lot of candidates who are trying to kpras the trumpian mantle. the funny thing is, though, however these primaries shake out, pennsylvania elects moderate general election candidates. so whatever this pallet of extremes produces, you may see those candidates trying to run towards the center in the general election. pat toomey, while avowed ly conservative, is no fire-breathing conservative. tom wolf who's leaving office this year, while progressive, is also no fire-breathing extremist, and those are the
kind of candidates that those pennsylvanians seem to go for. >> how much do you think the popularity or lack thereof of the president plays in pennsylvania. >> you know, sure. this is a state for republicans, where the former president's name still carries a lot of sway. he has not yet weighed in on this candidate field in the prm primary. democrats are running against him in their fund-raising. republicans are running towards him. at least some of the candidates are. so he will loom large in this race. >> dasha burns, thanks to both of you. we'll be back in pennsylvania many times over the next coming months. i'm chris jansing for stephanie ruhle. jose diaz-balart picks up our coverage on the other side of this break. picks up our coverage on the other side of coverage on the other side of this break ♪sure would help a lot ♪ ♪wouldn't you like to get away? ♪ ♪ ♪ sometimes you want to go ♪ ♪where everybody knows your name ♪
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good morning. it's 10:00 a.m. eastern, 7:00 a.m. pacific. i'm jose diaz-balart. we begin this morning with the intensifying coronavirus pandemic. as the omicron variant overwhelms hospitals across the south and west, and even as cases begin to peak in parts of the northeast, public health officials warn, we are not out of the woods. on capitol hill, democratic lawmakers are bracing for a showdown today over a voting rights package with zero republican support. we'll ask democratic congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz about the path forward. and right now, mass trials are under way in cuba as part of the government's crackdown on political dissidents. we'll speak to a cuban activist about what's going on and