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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  January 26, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PST

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get in trouble with nicolle wallace. please come back to talk to you about student loan debt and called on the president to wipe that out. can we have you back? >> i'd love to and talk more about what powell said today and took a duck on ethics. biggest scandal at the fed in the entire history. the american people have a right to know what's going on and powell is not talking. >> we'll add to the list for the next discussion. it is nicolle wallace and "deadline white house" picking it up right now. ♪♪ hi there, everyone. 4:00 in new york. the united states supreme court. nbc news is reporting that justice breyer is retiring.
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breyer who was appointed in 1994 has served longer than anyone currently on the bench other than clarence thomas and for decades a stalwart of the liberal wing. just last week he krafrtded the majority opinion rejecting a challenge to the affordable care act ensuring the survive of law. he's faced pressure. while breyer resisted the notion that judges are political appointees saying in a speech in april that they are quote loyal to the rule of law not to the political party that hemd to secure the appointment. he told "the new york times" last summer the person who will be named as a successor was a factor when to consider to retire and recalled something justice scalia told him.
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i don't want somebody appointed to reverse everything i have done for the last 25 years. this gives joe biden a chance to make the mark on a court likely to take up some of the biggest issues facing the country. it also gives the president a chance to inject a fresh face to the liberal wing and appoint a black woman to the nation's highest court. here's what he said about that in march of 2020. >> we talked about the supreme court. i'm looking forward to making sure there is a black woman on the supreme court and get every -- not a joke. not a joke. i'd push hard for that. >> that's where we start with some of the most favorite reporters and friends. our friend claire mccaskill is here and jonathan lemire and
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dahlia lithwick. i'll start with you, dahlia. take me through how the retirement happened and how the white house found out. >> it's remaining confusing. i think essentially what happened is pete williams broke the story. it is not entirely clear that the press corps knew it was happening. we heard in the last few weeks there is at least the possibility that justice breyer would retire. we don't have a statement from him. we have the white house telling us it is not official. we don't have a letter. may or may not be an event to announce it tomorrow. it is a funny limbo where it is announced. the white house is waiting for it to be formally announced.
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in june we get a letter from a justice. whatever happened it is not quite the norm. >> is it your sense that the political pressure and spoke out against the environment trying to isolate the court as not being a part of that public opinion suggest the opposite is true. 40% of the american citizens holds the supreme court in high esteem. is it the sense that the political reality maybe pushed up the timetable. is that some of the analysis? >> it's hard to think otherwise because we could have just anticipated an ordinary. he might have been worried that a senate that's tied that maybe that wasn't enough ramp to get
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somebody seated before the november elections and got pushed up. >> does the garland -- the failure to confirm garland hang over the united states supreme court? >> i think there's certainly a sense if anything could be done to stymie this nomination it will be done. my overwhelming belief that nothing is going to stymie this. simply because it's no plausible reason. but i do think that the idea that the norms that used to govern this policy fallen away and created real urgency. >> we heard it from an authoritative voice. let's move on. this is msnbc reporting. the white house has been so focused and some activists have acknowledged looking at the success of republican administrations in the pace of
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confirmations from federal judges. the president, this white house focused on this since the transition is my understanding. biden's top advisers including former white house counsel made formal presentation to president biden during the transition of potential candidates for the supreme court and see the preparation important. two justices retired in president obama's first two years as president. talk about what's happening behind the scenes? what are you hearing? >> first of all, no one knows better what happens in the senate with a supreme court vacancy they joe biden. >> right. >> he was chairman for the judiciary for many years. i have talked to senators today. they're anxious to do this quickly. there's never been a supreme
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court justice confirmed by a 50-50 senate before in history. every single vote is needed. i hate to even say it out loud. while everyone is relieved that breyer is doing this and confident a new supreme court justice will be confirmed quickly, i don't think it will take long, there is an issue that we have members that are older so you have one health problem and one person not able to be there and the whole thing goes away so it is really pornts and the other thing about this is it's a great opportunity to unify the democratic party. >> yeah. around whom? let me putt up some of the lists of names that are floating around there. politico has a list as good as any. judge brown-jackson. krueger. she serves on the california supreme court.
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judge jackson of d.c. court of appeals i believe a biden appointment. michelle childs, u.s. district court in south carolina. leslie abrams gardner serving in georgia. ifill, former naacp legal defense funds. are these the names that you are hearing? >> i think it's fair to acknowledge one stands higher than the others and that's judge ketanji brown jackson. >> there's a growing sense in the senate and i was somebody that felt this way. there's no reason in the world that every supreme court justice has to graduate from yale or harvard. there's plenty of smart lawyers that go to law schools all over this country and something weird that the country has decided there's only two schools that produce supreme court justices so i know there are other senators that felt the way i did
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about that and might be nice to have a supreme court justice that wasn't harvard or yale and so i think some of those feelings will probably come to the surface as the white house considers who they pick but all are qualified and will be great. whoever biden confirms will be selected. >> 2 for 2 with confidence of confirmation. jonathan, for the white house's part, as dahlia point out they're in the bizarre position of being the only confirming publicly party that's a key player here. jen psaki said in the briefing that the president reafirmed the idea to confirm a woman to the supreme court. >> first of all, you were right to bring up the campaign promise that joe biden did and did so at
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an important, low moment. he lost iowa and new hampshire and the promise to nominate an african american woman to the supreme court and did that in supreme court and within a couple days completed an improbable turnaround and seized control of the primary process and then on to the white house and the white house made clear they will honor that commitment and judge jackson is the leader on the boards of people i talked to. the white house was not taken by surprise today. the president was given a heads up by justice breyer last week. was told the official letter would be a week or two down the road. where our friend pete williams broke the news that perhaps has accelerated that timetable. the letter is not delivered to the white house but could be any time and there's been some talk of an event in the coming days
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to announce the retirement but this is something the white house has been ready for, preparing and ready to seize. they believe they have heard from senator schumer that it can be done in a few months and would be a speedy process and one at a good time for the president reversing a negative slide here and a chance to sort of regain the footing, rally democrats around the cause and should be noted as a final point now senator manchin and sinema as thorns in the side of the president they have been voting for the judges and joe manchin always voted for democratic judges and hopeful this will get done. >> i don't mean to put you on the spot but if you know, do you know if any republicans voted for judge brown jackson when this white house put her up for the current post? >> i don't have that in front of
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me. we can aim to research it in the commercial. >> i apologize in advance. >> no. that's write all right. i should have had it. certainly republicans have not had much willingness to go along with the president's picks but some nominations they received some support. been some chatter today that senator murkowski has said she would do so and susan collins senator from maine said she would be willing to consider whoever the president's nominee would be. and give her a fair hearing and could support it if qualify jd the white house is hopeful a couple republicans could come along. they don't need any if they keep all 50 democrats in line with the vice president breaking the tie. >> all the brilliant minds in the control room tell me three republicans voted for her. i want to play some for people
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that don't watch this as closely some of judge brown jackson during her judiciary committee hearing. >> i've been a federal judge for eight years. and i have a duty of independence. i clerked for three federal judges before i became a judge. and they were models of judicial independence. and what that has meant is that i know very well what my obligations are, what my duties are, not to rule with partisan advantage in mind. not to tailor or craft my decisions in order to try to gain influence or do anything of the sort. >> dahlia, after that testimony she did earn the support or the
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votes of senators collins, murkowski and graham who today said -- on judiciary still said that as to breyer's replacement they have the power to replace justice breyer in 2022 without one republican vote in support. elections have consequences. is it your sense from sort of knowing this body and knowing what is so stunning and the public facing notes of anxiety and angst from the chief justice and others about the political lens through which 60% of the americans view the court. will this court benefit from someone with bipartisan support? >> it is interesting. judge brown jackson clerked for justice breyer and some of that language of judicial
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independence and integrity and tri and late against the law is breyer and the theme that not only is the court hungering for that the country come back to that view of the supreme court and the public is desperate for why you noted the tanking ratings. there's a real alert for somebody to speak the values and a clarion way and who hasn't violated that. they didn't lay a glove on her in her confirmation hearings because -- so i think there's a real interest in an easy lift. somebody who's just recently confirmed and sounds the notes when we need it the most. >> dahlia said it's classic breyer. hire's justice breyer in an interview with "the washington post." >> as i have said it takes some
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years and then you pick up the morays of the institution and you're a judge. you better be there for everybody. not just the democrats. not just the republicans. even if a democrat or republican appointed you. a lot of people will strongly disagree with the opinions or dissents you write but still internally you must feel that this is not a political institution. that this is an institution that's there for every american. >> we are enriched by the addition to the group of kimberly atkins-store. kim, your thoughts today as this is among the biggest kinds of
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news days for a white house but for the reasons we have been discussing. the president's history on the judiciary commit tee when justice breyer was confirmed the first time. he has a commitment to narrow down the list. we are looking at well culled liszts of people that we know and some already appointed. what are your thoughts today as you heard this news? >> yeah. hearing this news and the clip of justice breyer himself in which he spent so much time talking about the institution of the court and how it survives which is reaffirming that it should not be a political body. it is a body to determine the laws and constitution -- the constitution says. and what that means to people. he was a pragmatist and always has been at heart. his approach to making decisions
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and even his questions from the bench which push litigators and also his colleagues on the court to really consider the real life impaktd of what the decisions will be on american people shows that pragmatism and the decision to step down and spent so much time talking about how the supreme court shouldn't be about politics he understands that it very much is about politics. he came up as counsel and the senate judiciary committee when senator ted kennedy was the chairman. he understands the politics and that this is a time that the term must come to an end and part of the pragmatism and why he is choosing to do it now. >> claire, you talked about sort of everything coming into -- falling into place i think is your bottom line. the timing is right. it gets ahead of the tragic
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scenario that we have to put on the table. what is your sense of how prepared the senate is to run this through right now? >> i think they're really prepared. you have members on the judiciary committee that served for many years. dick durbin is the chairman. whitehouse, klobuchar. dianne feinstein. they're prepared to do this. they are anxious to do this. they had to painfully sit and watch as the norms of the senate were busted in the confirmation hearings that were done, especially amy coney-barrett in 27 days right before an election. the kind of stuff that never used to happen. i think they are going to be
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anxious to have the republicans feel what they felt, a sense of helplessness, a sense of wer in charge now. we'll get it done and quickly and efficiently done. that's why you saw lindsey graham with the quote and one of the three votes for the judge considered the leading candidate and why i think she does have the nod at this point just because joe biden could say i appointed a judge that got bipartisan support. >> i want to deal -- i don't want to deal with the elephant in the room but i will because you're all informed and thoughtful and want to show you a line of questioning that reflecting something in the water today. this is my colleague peter alexander asking white house press secretary jen psaki about the vice president. >> is there any scenario in
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which the president would select the vice president kamala harris for the supreme court? >> i won't talk about any lists and there's a long history of supreme court justices. determines if and when they retire and we'll -- that remains the case today. >> it's my understanding that this is in the water not just on the right where there's an obsession with it but the democratic party, as well. >> yeah. it is being talked about. i don't think it's likely. i would be surprised if the vice president was interested in this job. i guess it's possible. but -- and it would feel fairly political. if i had to guess at this point i would say that joe biden wants to get back to that place he was
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in during the campaign, that he is looking out for the whole country, wants to united the country. doesn't want to make the supreme court anymore political than what it's become. i think it's highly unlikely and no question it is in the water. this is washington and gossip is the coin of the realm. >> just to be fair to my colleague, it is more than gossip and talked about at high levels in the democratic party. i know that's the world that president joe biden longs for. a cynic would say that world doesn't exist and doesn't even exist on the supreme court anymore. why rule out someone and not just the vice president. there's a lot of support of ifill and bringing other skills other than years on the bench to the table. why rule someone like that out? >> i'm not saying that he should rule out kamala harris or ifill.
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they're both terrific, smart good lawyers. highly experienced. i just frankly think that the issue with the vice president is more is this something she would want to do for the rest of life and long to do? i think that's unlikely. i could be surprised and the traditionally even those ones you mentioned they were -- had the legal pedigree and background that made it look like the career was focused on getting to the supreme court and some other women have that in common with amy coney-barrett and gorsuch and chosen a path geared to ascension of the supreme court. >> jonathan, i want to hear from everyone. there's something disrespectful
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to suggest that the vice president isn't completely indispensable. if notion to simply baub the job is disrespectful to her. why didn't jen psaki just knock it down and end it and put it to rest? >> a couple things going on here. the white house is simply taking the public posture they won't talk about that vacancy and feel like that would be the disrespectful to justice breyer and want him to proceed on his own timetable. the news is broken and talking about it and understand that's the world but they won't say anything until they get the cue. he's not publicly done so. that's the first part. using that as an umbrella reasoning. as far as the vice president goes, you are right. she had political struggles.
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there are some within the west wing who had anxieties about the performance so far. president biden on a number 0 cautions saying that kamala harris would be his vice president and off to honduras to talk about immigration and get a sense of that issue there. also i talked to the administration official this afternoon who there's the usual caveat never say never but was firm saying the vice president would not be a candidate for the supreme court vacancy. that's not the plan here and a rich pool of candidates to choose a black woman and wouldn't be vice president harris. >> i am dying to get auld of you in on this. i have to sneak in a quick break but on the other side i saw nodding. we'll have more on the supreme court and a new justice who she will be and nice to say she.
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we know it will be a she and what she will face being sworp in. the u.s. responding to the russian demands. laying out a diplomatic path. ned price will be our guest on the likelihood of that happening. later the coup plot by allies of donald trump to present phony slates of electors is confirmed to be under scrutiny at the justice department. stay with us. justice department stay with us (vo) this year, t-mobile for business is here to help you hit the ground running. when you switch to t-mobile and bring your own device, we'll pay off your phone up to $800.
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we are bag with claire, dahlia and jonathan and kim. if you wanted to jump in, do that, but also, your thought on this incredible list of candidates to choose from. we talked about brown jackson and also judge krueger and childs and ifill. just your thought on the conversation that the president committed us to having as a country in march. a crowded debate stage. it was not preordained to be in the president and to have maid that commitment and to see this as the process the white house engaged in choosing from one of these women most likely to be the next u.s. supreme court justice. >> yeah. i have three points and what you are asking me gets to the third one. jonathan made the first one.
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the president has spoken with respect to vice president kamala harris. she is his vice president. will be a running mate. elected by the people to do the job she has. the supreme court is not a consolation or a problem solver post. if people are plotting that as a potential route they should be ashamed of themselves. thirdly, i think one reason why we are here and have speculation about people like the vice president is because throughout the history of our nation there is a dearth of black women to lead them to the judiciary that we have, yes, a list of amazing women and far too small. >> yeah. >> you know? we saw the previous president pick from an abundance of white
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males to fill the judiciary and it it far to the right. the fact that we speak of five people speaks to how black women are held back to be considered for these positions. judge brown jackson only recently confirmed to the position. got bipartisan support. i personally would pick her. she is committing a lifetime to civil rights work and the difference on the supreme court with civil rights cases and the needs in this nation for somebody with that background and history i think would be wofrl. the way the process is set up it makes it unlikely that the justice ifill to be confirmed
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and the nation is worse off for it. having a black woman isn't just about ticking a box but bringing the lived experience of america to the bench that makes the decisions that face us all. we take on abortion access that affects more black women than any other group. affirmative action, health care. pandemic mandates. affect black women differently. to have one on the supreme court is immensely important not for quota but justice. >> not to mention voting rights. everything before the court is a conversation we have with a plethora of the black women journalists and officials that we have. you are so right to shift the attention in this conversation.
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thank you for doing that. i want to ask a question rooted in the history of picks. sometimes the president makes the pick with continuing the legacy of said justice. could you weigh in on the names in terms of what parts of bre yir's legacy they would continue? >> in some sense it's the thorniest question because so much of justice breyer's legacy is an artifact of another time. his legacy is one of pragmatism. he was always apt to cooperate. he really would take the small win and leave a lot on the table. all of this i think is just of another era and so in some sense this legacy which by the way was rooted in trust for the government. right? his key word was workability.
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he believed that the government could fix things and a relic of a bygone age. in some sense it is going to be tricky to find someone who thinks the way he does about bipartisanship and consensus, relationships and civility on the court. all of that is clattering away under his feet and why he is announcing this retirement now and the hard question is, is there anyone left who even thinks in those terms and the nominees are spectacular and as i said before i think judge jackson brown speaks of those values but the principle that breyer held fast to which is i can work across party lines, we can get things done, we can have a government that works for people. just seems like it's from the
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paleozilic age. >> we looked for the most insightful people. we are so grateful for making time for us today. thank you. thank you so much for starting us off today. it is putin's move. the u.s. officially responding to the russiian demands in writing. but the state department is saying today. we'll talk to the top spokesperson next. e top spokesperson next.
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eh, still. our actions over the past week have sharpened the choice facing russia now. we've laid out a diplomatic path. we have lined up steep consequences should russia choose aggression. we stepped forward with more support for ukraine and we and allies and partners are united across the board. now we'll continue to press forward and prepare. it remains up to russia to decide how to respond. we're ready either way. >> plain spoken u.s. secretary of state this afternoon saying today that the u.s. delivered written responses to requests from moscow and offer a serious diplomatic path should russia choose it and stressed that there is no change and will be
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no change one of rodriguez's biggest demands. nato's open door policy. joining us is ned price. i know it's a busy day for humans behind the podiums in the biden administration so thank you for taking time to talk to us. it is described as a nonstart irwho moscow wanted. what was putt into writing? >> what was putting in writing is consistent with what we have been saying all along. moscow put forward the stated demands some of which are nonstarters and things the united states nor the allies or partners will entertain. one country to be allowed to dictate foreign policy or partnerships. but what we did put forward in a positive affirmative fashion are constructive ideas to view
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positively the national security and the community that is to say europe. but ideas that also have the potential to respond to some of moscow's stated security sirans. we talked about proposals for offensive missiles in europe. we've talked about means to increase transparency, stability. in europe with russia. those are the ideas that we are willing, able and ready to discuss in good faith but as heard the choice is up to vladimir putin and the russian federation and whether we have to continue down the path of defense. >> it is clear or at least the administration made it clear that both paths pursued grefrly con currently. the state department the focus
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is more on diplomacy and how dependent on the levers, the hammers? how dependent is diplomacy on the threat of the crippling sanctions and the alert or heightened status of the 8,500 troops? >> you're exactly right. these are interconnected. we have put forward clearly the path of dialogue and did not stop us from pursuing other paths. we have been in consultation and coordination with our allies and partners to put in place should moscow going forward with its aggression against ukraine a set of measures to enact unprecedented, swift and severe costs on the russian federation. we talked about the sanctions. export controls. and heard us talk about our efforts to reassure and reinforce ukraine with the
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levels of security assistance that we're providing to kyiv. $650 million last year. more than any other year with deliveries arriving in recent hours and going forward and with the nato alliance. you referenced the troops and if aggression goes forward we'll do more to reassure the nato allies because the xhimtd to allies is ironclad and vice versa. the commitment to ukraine is also ironclad. we have a collective commitment to ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. >> some say it's in the heart. how much of the secretary's diplomatic efforts is spent corralling to get the allies on the same page opposed to responding whether in writing or
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otherwise to russia? >> our allies recognize the stakes. they have recognized the stakes since the united states first started to share intelligence and information, to convene our allies and partners together to share the concerns that we have and all of them have about what moscow may have in store for ukraine and they do that for a couple reasons. one, we have an ironclad commitment. nato article 5. when it comes to the pole for russia to move against any nato allies ena broader principle at stake. ukraine is important in and of itself. a partner of the united states and nato allies and some ways this is bigger than ukraine and if the international community, the united states, allies and partners, if we move a signal that putin can rewrite borders
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trying to dictate the foreign policy choices of a sovereign, independent country trying to tell the people the choices they can and cannot make that would have consequences beyond ukraine and the rules based international order that has guaranteed unprecedented levels of security, prosperity. this is the system that not only the united states but our nato allies and in some ways russia helped to create in the aftermath and ashes of a second world war. we can't see that undermined for the consequences to have for europe and that it would have for the entire globe including the indo-pacific making no secret of the concerns of countries there trying to do the same by rewriting the rules of the road. >> i know you have to go and
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will have that conversation next time. ned price, along with a lot of things to do these days, thank you for spending time with us. the president has some surprising bipartisan support with the u.s. response to russia. how it's playing out here at home, next. e at home, next
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but it appears the me the administration's moving in the right direction. >> there is benefit in sending the 8500 to bolster the nato
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allies and though them we mean business. >> i'm glad the administration's finally listening. we've been urging them to do these joint exercise operations in these nato countries like poland, romania, bulgaria. that would be a showing of deterrence. >> that's a rare sight in washington these days. it's why we showed it to you. praise for the democratic president and his white house from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle. recognition for the 8500 troops being put on heightened alert as this administration puts all contingencies into place with russia's aggression not showing any signs of slowing down. the white house also mulling having the president deliver a speech or take part in an interview and outlining his strategy and explaining to the
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american people the impact it would have. details on those remarks. whether they will be a speech or interview remain in flux. let's bring in julia, washington corresponder at puck news which i subscribe to. rick is here. julia, first to you. if there's anything you want to pick up on, but more, where do you see things this morning? >> well, i don't know. things are not looking good. they haven't been for a while and it's really hard to see how putin walks this back. you know, after making these insane demands very publicly. you know, publicly talking about his red lines, amassing over 100,000 troops on the border with ukraine surrounding it from three sides and not just troops, i have to say, but logistical support. so medics, energy supplies, all
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the logistical things that you need to service the 100,000 troops. it's hard to wind that back and not lose a ton of face. it's kind of you know, the gun. if it's on the stage, it has to go off at some point. to your point about the bipartisan agreement on this, it is kind of remarkable to get back to a place where on certain questions of foreign policy, for example, russia's kind of expansionist, aggressive tactics in its region. we haven't seen that because during the trump administration, russia became this third rail of american politics. so it's really fascinating to see kind of things heal on that front. >> yeah, and it certainly strengthens this president and administration. obviously, thest the afternoon, not the morning. rick, you can tell what kind of day i've had. what was interesting to me about ned price's comments, he does
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acknowledge that the ramifications and consequences are wider reaching than what happens here between ukraine and russia. he makes the point you've made and the ambassador makes that nothing short of the world order on whether our country has to respect orders and respect the rule of law is on the line here and i wonder what you make of the fact that is now part of the public messaging from the administration. >> i think it's a good thing. i mean, we've talked about this many times. ukraine is an incredibly important country. it's suffered as much or more than any country before and since world war ii. it's a hinge point to the west between russia and europe. it is in europe. it's a country the size of france and as ned said over and over, this rules-based order that we've had since world war ii has kept the peace since world war ii. by the way, nicolle, i'm old enough to remember, i believe you are, too, when republicans
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used to attack democrats for not being tough on russia. the republican party wasn't the tough on russia party. i don't know what's happened, but -- so yes. this is a, it's a very vital thing and i think part of the problem and ned does a good job of it and i thought biden did a good job of it, too, explaining to americans why this is so important and why it's to vital and why we should be concerned about it because it will affect the world economy. it will affect the encroachments against democracy that are going on all around the world. so you know, people have to you know, put a foot in the door and that's what the u.s. is trying to do. >> julia, how important are the sanctions to putin? how can he sort of maybe use that as his ledge to say i did this for you to protect your economy. how important is that as a piece and tool for the administration and the alliance? >> i think it's an important tool for the administration just to show that they are willing to get tough and to slap very harsh
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sanctions on russia. you know, if the west cuts off russia from the swift financial system, it's going to be pretty hard for russia to export its oil and gas and other natural resources and get paid for them. so that would be a major blow to the russian economy, which is already, hasn't been doing great for quite a few years now and with all this tension, it's been kind of, there's been a big selloff. the currency is plunging again. that said, you know, russia is set up in a way that is fundamentally different from the way the u.s. is set up. we, at least on paper, have a government for the people by the people. in russia, the people exist for the state. they exist to make the state great and so their comfort and their financial -- as long as they're not picking up, you know, torches and guns and not storming the kremlin, it doesn't really matter much to putin if his citizens suffer economically
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because of his actions abroad and i think a lot of russians kind of feel that way, too. that they would rather live in what they see as an empire in a country that's feared on the world stage than to have the creature comforts they've never really had. >> it's so interesting. nationalism and its impact. julia, rick, to be continued. thank you so much. for spending time with us today. the next hour of deadline white house starts after a quick break. stay with us. break. stay with us one of my favorite supplements is qunol turmeric. turmeric helps with healthy joints and inflammation support. unlike regular turmeric supplements qunol's superior absorption helps me get the full benefits of turmeric. the brand i trust is qunol.
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we're delighted to have you here. the first issue when we get to questions will be resolving what state you're really from. >> hi, again, everyone. it's 5:00 in new york. talk about full circle as senate judiciary chairman back in 1994, it was senator joe biden's job to oversee the supreme court confirmation process for a well respected judge by the name of stephen breyer. fast forward 28 years, now president joe biden will have the opportunity to hand pick justice breyer's replacement and affirm the course of the judiciary for years to come. pete williams was first to report this afternoon the huge news. justice stephen breyer will step down from the supreme court at the end of the current time. that's according to people familiar with his thinking. we have yet to hear from justice breyer himself and president biden declined to talk about it
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until everything's official. but with so much at stake, voters and lawmakers alike are looking to the future. president biden made it a campaign promise to nominate a black woman and as we understand it, his allies in the u.s. senate are ready to go. remember how fast amy coney barrett was confirmed? it was 27 days. a source familiar with democratic leadership's thinking on timing tells nbc news that senate democrats are aiming to confirm any biden supreme court nominee in a similar time frame. hold on tight. this story is just starting. the retirement of justice breyer and the effort to replace him is where we begin this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. brian is here. he's the executive director of the group, demand justice. they have been pressing for justice breyer's retirement.
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also joining us, "new york times" editorial board member and msnbc contributor. nbc congressional correspondent, garrett hague and assistant attorney general as well as a clerk for supreme court, former clerk for supreme court justices marshall and kennedy. i want to come to you margay because kimberly store correctly pointed us to not just the history of the moment but the fact when trump was making his election selections, there were pages and pages of white men to choose from and we have this incredible list of five female justices, judges being talked about. made the point that's not a big enough list. talk about the importance of this moment and how you feel about it. whether it's sort of a reminder of how much further we have to go, whether it's important. how do you feel about it today?
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>> i guess there's the whiplash of the possibility that we could see an enormous amount of in the appointment for the first time of an appointment of a black woman to the court and yet the heartbreak of the larger context of really just how far to the right the court has moved in the sense that it really no longer reflects overall the views of the american people and there's some fear about whether it will preserve voting rights. so you really feel that whiplash. as a 35-year-old woman, it reminds me just big picture of the feeling when you saw the first black president-elected then you know, just a few years later, you see donald trump get elected really on a platform
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that was stoking white supremacy. and so i think throughout my lifetime, you've seen this pull and push and i think you know the inertia really of you take two steps forward, three steps back. maybe that's just part of how this goes, but joe biden has an opportunity and obviously representation matters. it's not the only thing that matters. we don't just want any black woman on the court. but it's exciting for sure and it's the end of an era and hopefully the start of a new one. ultimately, the challenge here is that no matter who is actually named to the court, right, and confirmed, is not going to change the makeup of the supreme court and so this is bittersweet. >> perfectly put. if frank has his way, there will be several more picks.
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talk about the pressure campaign to bring about this retirement in a political physics context, which is how i understand the case was made. and talk about what some of what mara is talking about. that even on this day for the white house, changing the face of the supreme court will not change its makeup. >> she's absolutely right. yeah, about a year ago, we started, right after the elections in georgia that ensured that democrats would have at least a razor thin advantage in the senate, we started publicly calling for justice breyer to step down and give president biden the opportunity to make good on the campaign pledge to appoint the first black woman justice and our point was that this was a very tenuous hold the democrats had on the senate and we lived through an experience in 2013 where justice ginsburg decided to stay on the court, which was her right to do, but then as circumstances played out, she's
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been replaced by amy coney barrett. so this is a good day in the sense that a further worsening of the situation is hopefully going to be avoided here. if he had held on for another term, who knows what would happen in terms of control of the senate in november. and very real prospect of republicans refusing to seat any nominee that biden might have made next year or the year after that if they controlled the senate. so the fact that he's retiring now and so early in the year is a great thing and he should be hailed for it, but i think we have to keep perspective. that is to say it's not going to shift the balance of the court. what i hope happens is that this opens people's minds, this historic first that's going to occur, the first black woman on court, to what's possible in terms of what the supreme court could look like and we start to be bolder and more imagine anytive. and do anything major on climate
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change. all those decisions are going to come down potentially on the heels of biden's pick being confirmed so you'll have the duality of the great breakthrough then a reminder of what kind of grip these republicans have on the supreme court. that's going to be an occasion for democrats to see the need to support expansion of the court, adding seats, so we can have balance on the court to do something about these horrendous rulings that are in store and will continue to be for the next 30 years if we don't do something. >> you're describing the whiplash that mara gay just described. garrett, do you agree with claire mccaskill's prediction that president biden's pick will be confirmed? >> i do. i think the floor is 50 votes. the ceiling is probably as many as 53. the president's had 42 judges
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confirmed. manchin and sinema have voted for all of them so i don't expect democratic defections on this pick, assuming it's kind of a mainstream qualified pick like we think it's going to be. i also agree with senator mccaskill that the biggest threat to this pick is just the general fragility of the democrats 50-vote majority. we saw this demonstrated a few weeks ago in one of the youngest, healthiest members of the senate got covid and was out for a week and it froze voting rights for a week. anything like that could cause delays or problems in this vote, but there's no indication of any democratic defections likely or that there's any significant disagreement among senate democrats but the importance of this pick and the importance of getting this them seated in a timely fashion. >> do you get to 53 by counts the three republicans who voted for judge brown jackson? >> yeah, that's my count.
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lindsey graham, who voted for kagan and sotomayor's confirmation still on the judiciary committee. voted for judge jackson's confirmation. he put out this interesting statement today saying elections have consequences. he thinks democrats will have the vote. i think he's still in play. then you've got collins and murkowski, both pro-choice republicans. both have shown some interest in kind of moderation in voting for some of president biden's picks. murkowski's the single most independent minded republican senator, but she's also up for re-election, which puts her in a bind. she's getting primaried. susan collins just got re-elected and feels politically bulletproof. if she wants to vote for this judge, she can do it. >> harry, i want to play for you something that jen psaki said today. the white house is in this
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bizarre gully, but obviously the process is up and running. let's play that. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> i've commented on this previously. the president has stated and reiterated his commitment to nominating a black woman to the supreme court and certainly stands by that. for today, again, i'm just not going to be able to say anything about any specifics until of course justice breyer makes any announcement should he decide to make an announcement. >> harry, that being done out of respect for the justice, but there is a list of names circulating and i wonder if you can talk about what you know about some of those names. some of those women. >> sure. and first, it is out of respect. you know, ron klain, the chief of staff has been through many supreme court nominations. was there up himself. they're going to let breyer go on his own terms and he is
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making the announcement early, which is huge. traditionally, it could have been in june and that would have really pushed, compressed the time. you have, there are lists and there are lists. i've been through it from the other side. i think there's a serious list of three, four, five dominated by brown jackson and leondra krueger and then there are lists because they're being flooded with requests and demands from different political constituents so in that sense, no doubt generating memos for 12, 14, 15 people. but i think the focus is on brown jackson and krueger. there's a little bit of irony because these -- on the other hand, they are absolutely solid gold. impeccable pedigrees. they are both of them by the way
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as judges even though they might be considered or painted as liberal, they have been notably incrementalists is word used for krueger. they have not been sort of warriors or shake it up types. they've been very careful. maybe that's the gravitational pull of knowing you are in consideration of a supreme court appointment, but both krueger and brown jackson have been solid left center, but not sort of grammatically left. and those are the two that the focus is on now. >> i want to ask you, mara gay, about the commitment to, it feels competitive. the timeline for coney barrett's confirmation. it was right before the election. it was in and around amid and with covid, literally and figuratively. what do you think about the commitment to confirming anyone of these women in the same
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timeline? >> it has to happen. i mean, you know, i think we're living in a time in which not just political observers like you and i, who i believe were together on the day that the kavanagh hearing was taking place publicly, but americans you know, who otherwise didn't pay attention to these confirmation hearings, since the trump era, have paid close attention, now understand the importance of these appointments. not just in the supreme court, but in the lower court, federal courts. i think everybody saw what mitch mcconnell did to barack obama. there's a long enough memory , i believe, that americans do expect and certainly democrats expect this confirmation to take place through the appropriate channels, but quickly and i
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think any delay will really motivate democrats in the midterms. there's no doubt about that. >> you know, and brian, i'm astounded by these numbers. just 40% of the american people approve of the united states supreme court. 53% disapprove. it's the lowest standing that the court has been held in since gallup has asked the question. it's 20 points lower than in the aftermath of the supreme court's involvement in the 2000 presidential election, which blows my little mind. i wonder what you make of obviously this will be about the confirmation of supremely qualified candidate to fill justice breyer's seat, but to mara's point, does not change the makeup. does not change what americans are living with, a super conservative supreme court. how will you take this process being front page news now because of the retirement and use it to sort of further the
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conversation about court reform? >> yeah. i would use this conversation to extrapolate and talk about larger themes. i would use this as an opportunity to talk about the commitment that joe biden made not just to bring racial diversity to the court with his pick, but also what has been the other hallmark of his judicial selections. professional diversity. not just looking towards corporate lawyers and prosecutors that dominate the ranks of federal judges, but getting people who have represented real human beings. civil rights lawyers. voting rights lawyers. public defenders that have defended indigent defend dents and brown is one of those people. another judge that was talked about for the seventh circuit in chicago, also a former public defender. so i think that's going to be a big part of the story telling around this pick potentially
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depending on who he picks. i would also try to extrapolate and have a larger conversation about if republicans try to slow this down, they just finished telling the country to not interpret their opposition to voting rights as racism. if they now try to twist themselves into a pretzel, good luck to them. i think chuck schumer's going to have the political wind at his back to push this on a fast timetable and he'll do so out of concern for fragility of the caucus but he'll feel like he's on high ground politically. and lastly, they need to tell a story about the court this woman will be joining and how it poses a fundamental threat to all the issues we talked about from abortion to gun safety to covid protocols that might get us out of this pandemic more quickly. this court is one that democrats need to get better at doing story telling about because the public is largely in the dark about the workings of this
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supreme court. i think it can change come june, but we have to capitalize and leverage that. >> garrett, i saw you nod, which i don't see you do often. is there a schedule on paper? >> not that exists yet. pete williams shortcuted the whole schedule today by breaking this news, but i want to give a quick thought here on the pros and cons of speed here. democrats spent the last six years getting steam rolled by republicans on everything that related to the judiciary. holding up the seat that should have been garland's. all three of trump's supreme court picks. rules changes. republicans really forced so much of what we saw in the judiciary down democrats throats and democrats would love to fight back in a really strong way here. do this fast, do it right. get a democrat, get a democratic appointee on this court quickly and show some muscle on judicial issues. the relative risk of that speed is do you want this to be a, do
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you want to go for that 53 votes or do you want to go for 50 because i think you could potentially lose a murkowski or collins or someone who is going to want to be very dlibtive in their process. that's why collins voted against amy coney barrett. that will be some of the pros and cons that goes into the decision making about how aggressive to be on this timeline. >> really interesting. harry, let me give you the last word and ask you to just talk a little bit, share any stories. what, in your view, is justice breyer's legacy? it seems that the retirement and the timing and the manner and the climate in which it happened is as much a part of it than anything. >> yeah. i agree. i've been thinking about this and i think he's the sort of collection of sum contradictions. on the one hand, he is a classic liberal in the sense that he thinks government can help people and the supreme court, he's always considered himself, his word is pragmatist.
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personally, that picture shows it better than anything. he's almost the caricature of a dweeby professor, out of touch. i think the final thing is his sort of personal style. it's almost reminiscent of biden. he's very much understated. don't take credit. try to build consensus. never grand stand. try to be polite and reach across the aisle. that's, and he's not at all sort of the most prominent. he would walk down the street and people wouldn't know him. that is in part from coming out of the political tradition of being a chief counsel on the judiciary committee. that's why he got a warm welcome and confirmation and makes him a little bit in biden's image. that's a rare kind of person to have and i don't think you'll see it very normally on this supreme court. so those are the three elements of his legacy and i think they are in some interesting tension with one another.
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>> i've wanted to hear from all four of you all day long. thank you so much for starting off our coverage this hour. when we come back, much more on the breaking news. the retirement of stephen breyer. what he has meant to the bench and how president biden's pick to replace him will help shape american democracy in the years to come. later in the hour, confirmation from the department of justice that those fake slates of electors who were a critical part of the ex-president's effort to overturn the election are now under criminal, or federal investigation. deadline white house continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. hteouse conts after a quick break. don't go anywhere.
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during the campaign, president biden stated that he would choose a black woman as his choice for the supreme court and i expect he'll follow through on that. in the senate, we want to be deliberate. we want to move quickly. we want to get this done as soon as possible. >> no word yet from the white house on who exactly president biden will nominate to be on the supreme court, but senate democrats are already gearing up for what will be an historic effort. regardless of who the pick is to replace justice breyer, chuck schumer will likely need to keep democrats unified to confirm president biden's nominee. something a 50/50 senate has never before in u.s. history if it comes to that. joining our coverage, melissa
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murray, now new york university law professor and jeremy bash is here. former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense and national security analyst. one of justice breyer's students in law school. melissa, let me start with you. let me put up the list of names that's been talked about. it's not been put out by the white house, we should make that clear. just with your thoughts, let's go through all of them, if you would for us. tell us what we should know about each of these women. we can start with judge ketanji brown jackson. >> so, i know all of these women. they are all fantastic prospects. brown jackson is likely the front-runner and we know that because the conservatives have already begun the process of trying to snare her as a fire brand liberal. that she was currently on the d.c.'s district court and recently elevated to the d.c. circuit. many of the judges who currently sit on the supreme court came from the d.c. court including
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roents, kavanagh, ginsburg and scalia. so a proper pedigree for elevation to the court. leondra krueger is a former law school classmate of mine. she is a justice of a california supreme court. she's known for someone who believes deeply in the rule of law and proceeding slowly with regard to precedent. childs is a favorite of james clyburn. she's sort of a wild card candidate because she doesn't have the traditional pedigree, but in some cases, that might be okay. there's a lot of call perhaps diversifying the slate of individuals to include those who don't necessarily have traditional ivy league pedigrees. gardner was my partner at one time and she happens to be the younger center of stacy abrams.
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she's a district court judge in georgia with prospects to be elevated to the 11th circuit. then sherrilyn ifill is an nyu alum. that's the same organization that marshall, the first african american to be appointed to the supreme court was on when he litigated brown versus board of education. >> i waited an hour and 28 minutes for you to do what you just did. thank you so much. i just want to say wow. i also want to ask you just your personal thoughts. this was a campaign promise made in march of 2020 but it wasn't preordained, right? that joe biden would win the election. but here we are and this is happening. what are you thoughts? >> i think this is a long time coming and there's already palpable excitement among the democratic base and especially among black woman who are such
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stalwarts of the democratic party. they believe joe biden's prospects. they swept him to victory in a number of key states and they're counting on him keeping this promise and it looks like he's doing that. it will be important as he looks for support to not only get this through, but other key aspects of his agenda and to line up his ducks for 2024. >> jeremy, we talked about, and i know norms are a silly thing to talk about anymore. i live in america in 2022, but sometimes the president is, especially someone like joe biden, looks to have some nod to the outgoing retiring justices legacy and if president biden does that, can you speak about these candidates or anyone else that comes to your mind? if you sort of examine them through that lens? >> well, i do think there's going to be a generational change on the court. justice breyer was 83 and certainly on the progressive end of the court, this will now
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usher in a new era for the court where there will be a generational transformation. justice breyer graduated law school in the 1960s and in all likelihood, the next will have graduated in the 1990s, likely. even justice thomas on the conservative side of the court is in his 70s. so justice breyer i think really, in his departure, is really a passing of an era. i just want to say, nicolle, that justice pryor i think will do down in history as one of the most consequential and significant jurors of the modern era. he was deeply devoted to the law. deeply devoted to the intellectual rigor, the value of precedent, but he was also a believer in the power of government and he vindicated voting rights. reproductive health rights. healthcare rights. he vindicated the rights of people who want to support the environment. and he was, and he was a very
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careful thinker. he was very incredibly i think you know self-depp. he gave about five to seven and said if i do that, i'll have to speak very, very slowly. i love that because it shows he knew he didn't know everything that was to know about the american institutional system. no matter who's picked, they're going to have enormous shoes to fill and that's why it's going to be a careful process by the biden white house and by senator schumer and the democrats leadership of the senate. >> jeremy, you know a lot of folks at high levels in this administration. just talk about how this opportunity comes in at a, it's always a good thing for any white house, but comes at an important moment for this white house and this president. >> undoubtedly and i think if
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you look at the calendar, we all realize that with the midterm elections approaching, to have justice breyer wait to announce his retirement until june would have really compressed the timeline and there are several elderly members of the united states senate, let's face it, with a 50/50 margin. there is no margin for error. there are some who wanted to see breyer announce his retirement at the end of the last term. nobody pressured him. nobody twisted his arm and he started this term on the court, his final term. but i think now, here we are at the end of january, now is the right time for him to announce his departure. that gives the democratic leadership in the senate time to not only prepare for hearings. this is a big undertaking. you have to do exhaustive research on legal opinions on someone's personal record, conduct multidays of hearings then usher this through the judiciary committee, then to the floor for a vote. by the time the summer rolls
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around, a new justice will be in place prepared to take up the mantle of this court in october for the following term. >> i'm going to give you a quick last word. mara gay described this as whiplash. it's historic. lot of people see what justice breyer did is the right thing to do to get this president opportunity to confirm his replacement. should anything happen with that fragile majority the democrats had in the senate. but that we're still with a super majority of super conservative justices on the supreme court right now. >> so nothing will change in terms of the court's ultimate composition. one thing we need to be attuned to, which we don't know yet, is what justice breyer has actually laid out for his departure. when o'connor stepped down in 2005, she said she would step down upon the confirmation of her successor. so if justice breyer chooses that same language, if his successor is confirmed in quick order, that may mean the person
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could join the court in this term. doesn't necessarily mean it will change the makeup of the court, but it may mean as we see oral arguments, that there will be a new force on the court that the other justices will have to contend with in this term. >> so interesting. melissa murray, thank you so much for being part of our coverage today. when we come back, we know that the department of justice is investigating those fake slates of electors who tried to declare victory to the loser, the ex-president. the latest on that investigation is next. -president the latest on that investitigaon is next.
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affirms it is investigating the january 6th coup attempt. take a listen to lisa monaco. >> the issue you raised in terms of fraudulent electoral certifications has been reported. we've received those referrals. our prosecutors are looking at those and i can't say anything more on ongoing investigations. but more broadly, look, the attorney general has been very, very clear, we are going to follow the facts in the law
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wherever they lead to address conduct of any kind and at any level that is part of an assault on our democracy. >> it comes just a few weeks after attorney general merrick garland, who is not prone to making revealing statements said that the justice department was committed to quote, holding all john 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under the law. jamie raskin tells "the new york times" this, quote, the phony electors were part of the plan to create chaos. the fake electoral slates were an effort to create the illusion of contested state results. that, he added, would have gien pence a pretext for unilateral rejection of electors. more from "the new york times" on why this is so significant, quote, if investigators determine that trump's allies created the fake slates to improperly influence the election, they could in theory be charged with falsifying
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voting documents, mail fraud or a conspiracy. joining us now is daniel goldman, former lead counsel, as well as a former u.s. assistant attorney for the southern district of new york. also with us, katie benner, "new york times" justice department reporter and jeremy is still here. all three msnbc contributors. katie, i start with you. lisa has been around government a very long time. chooses her words carefully. that said, weren't a lot of ways to answer that question. how did you decipher her response? >> i felt she wanted to be honest. she came on to talk about gun violence and rising crime. obviously, their reporters are very, very good and evan perez asked the question on everyone's mind. the documents are public, what will they do about it. there was little she could do expect say she could not speak about an ongoing investigation. but even that reveals the fact
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there's an investigation. and because this is not a plan that people never hatched and act td upon. they did act upon it. they created false documents and submitted them to the national archives. so there's a lot there for the justice department and what would be strange for investigators not to look at such activity. >> i believe and anyone of you jump in and correct me if i have this wrong, but i believe this is the first time we've learned of doj investigating anyone who wasn't an actual rioter or someone who conspired to riot. i wonder what you make of someone. you've been calling on for a long time and that is an investigation into the paper plot. the plot on paper to overturn election result. katie, i saw you shake your head. have they investigated or charged other people who weren't involved or on the premises of the u.s. capitol. >> yeah, just one technicality.
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stewart rhodes, the head of the oath keepers, he was charged with sedition for leading the oath keepers in attacking the capitol, but he was not on the grounds that day so he was the first person to be charged who wasn't present. it's very minor. >> it's important. dan, just pick this up on this tea leaf that admittedly we're all poring over today, what was put on paper by eastman, to overturn the vote by these electorals. >> yeah, rhodes, while not at the capitol, was charged for conduct related to january 6th. and this is the first confirmation we've gotten that the department of justice is at least examining some of the evidence of the months long coup effort with the fake electors who had nothing to do with january 6th. but you can't look at the issue of the fake electors without widening out the anture and
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looking at what happened before and after that. no investigator, no prosecutor, no fbi agent would simply look narrowly at the fake electors and say, oh, do we have a crime or do we not have a crime? you have to understand what led up to the fake electors and then what occurred after. so once they confirm, as it appears and i don't want to go too far because -- with lisa's comments, but it could be a situation where the department of justice received a refefrl that we know happened in michigan related to the fake electors and all she was acknowledging is that they were examining the referral. they won't talk about ongoing elections and she repeated what merrick garland said, but assuming what she meant that they are examining the issue of fake electors, that means that they have to examine the broader
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coup attempt from, proceeding november 3rd, but up through, including and after january 6th. well, and that ensnares donald trump and jeremy, we know that's something merrick garland has at least publicly seemed very unwilling to contemplate. it's dicesy, no matter what, to investigate. it affirms people's anxieties about politics entering into justice, but if you're looking at the fake electors, we have tapes, audio recordings of trump campaign officials calling and asking the electors to sign fraudulent slates. we have evidence that john eastman was in the oval office on january a 5th with trump and pence telling pence to do his part. the eastman memo lays out the seven states who turned in the alternate slates. what do you put the thread that would be pursued if this was some sort of confirmation that
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doj is looking at the fake electors? >> a couple of points. first, on this day of the news of justice breyer's retirement, who's garland? he served on the d.c. circuit. he's going to be extraordinarily careful to make sure the department of justice does not do anything political and only follows the law. the whole issue of what happens in the 2024 election could land right in the supreme court. we met in 2000, good memories, a possibility that if there's a contest over the electoral slates in 2024, if the trumplicans try to replace electorals with fake electorals. in any event, it's going to be
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contested by some party. it's going to be litigated and it will get to the supreme court. so whoever is nominated to fill the role of justice breyer i think is going to be questioned about their views on these topics. that's incredibly important role the supreme court will be playing. as to lisa's comments, i'm kind of with dan. i think she was very careful. merely confirming there was a referral. i didn't read into her comments that there is a full blown investigation underway. i think there's a threshold review, but we don't know at this hour the extent to which the department of justice is conducting an investigation that leads to donald trump. >> should they? >> my normative analysis would say yes, they should. >> i'm going to ask you to stick around through a short break. we'll be right back. stick around through a sho brtreak we'll be right back.
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in the case of senator fitzgerald, now congressman fitzgerald, it was something he had to roll at the beginning of it in opening up this room, which was then used for these fraudulent electors to show up and claim wrongly that they were the electors of the state of wisconsin trying to overturn the will of wisconsin. but then a month later on january 6th, senator fitzgerald, then congressman fitzgerald, was one of the few people who was voting to block the electors,
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block the certification of electors from certain states. >> we're back with daniel goldman, karen benner and jeremy bash. i will ask you to land in the moment of hypothetical for a moment. if you were looking at how seven alternate fake electors came to be created and turned into the national archive, what question would you have for firsthand witnesses of that effort, like the folks that rachel has been having on her show, that was wisconsin state senator who knew the details about the room being reserved? what sort of line of questioning would you pursue in there? >> well, the main thing i would want to know from mr. larson and others is did he have any conversations with any of the trump electors who signed their name? i'd want to understand as best i could what was going through their minds, and what they understood about what they were
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doing. now that understanding, as we now know from the recordings related to the michigan fake electors and probably others, that understanding came from the trump campaign. there was that one recording of a trump campaign official clearly reading something that must have been used as a script for calling many, many different electors or state representatives. and then what we've learned, of course, is rudy giuliani was orchestrating this and you had others, including boris epshteyn, who acknowledged he was involved in this. so you want to work your way up the chain. my guess is you would have a lot of cooperative fake electors themselves who would want to get themselves out of trouble by cooperating and the quickest way to do that is give up as much information as they have to gain leniency. i don't think these people are ones who are going to be like steve bannon and use this as a
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money-making rallying cry. they will not want to go to jail. they will not want to be charged. so there are so many different routes to go with these electors to figure out what they knew and what was going on. and, you know, it's pretty remarkable that they would sign on to this and what we also know is there are a number who did not sign on to it and i would want to talk to them as well and understand why they didn't sign on to it and what conversations they had with those who asked them to sign on to it and others who did sign on to it, because that would be very revealing as to what the mindset was and what the plan was for these electors. >> the 1/6 committee is all over this and congresswoman liz cheney and congressman raskin made abundantly clear the third ring, inner ring of their probe,
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focused on this attempt to overthrow the election results. you guys have done some reporting about potential criminal referrals. is any of that around the evidence that would tie johnny smith and donald trump and mark meadows and rudy giuliani themselves? >> absolutely. i think what the committee wants to do is tell what they describe as the fullest picture possible of january 6th and why it happened. if you look at all of the activities that went on after the election, including something like the fake slate of electors, pressure on the justice department, pressure on various officials to make false statements or false statements about election fraud, what you see is people close to the president, even the president himself, perhaps, careening from plan to plan to overthrow the election or at least cast doubt on joe biden's plan and that way january 6th attack on the capitol begins to look like yet another attempt. it begins to look like part of a continuation rather than a one-off attempt.
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i think that's one of the reasons why the committee is very involved in looking into this matter. the committee has something the justice department might not have working in its favor right now as well. it has some time and it can do things like hold public hearings and it can bring things to the public's attention in a very, very overt way. and they have to work extremely quietly, cannot talk about the investigation, can they launch them, not exactly sure they are in any kind of a investigation here, and they also have a clock that runs out as well around the midterms. mayor garland is going to interpret the justice department's prohibition on doing anything after the election very broadly because he doesn't want to politicize anything to do with january 6th. that means no overt steps or anything, probably around labor day is where that would end. >> jeremy, to your one-word answer before, yes, they should be, you take the documents you have as evidence, how would you imagine doj could use the
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documents they're about to get in the trump white house to answer some of these questions about criminality? >> certainly if there are communications between the trump's team inner circle and these fake elector conspiracists, i think where you have communication, you have conspiracy. and lying about election fraud is election fraud. and if the trump team has energized, supported it, there's culpability. but to put a point on this, why is our electoral act system so fragile? this was the system on play january 6th. imagine if republicans were in control in the house and a governor of, say, georgia, sends a fake slate of elections, both chambers have to validate that and that could throw the election to someone other than the rightful winner, who i think would be joe biden. >> that is all of the political
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work that the trump team has been doing since he lost. daniel goldman, katie benner, jeremy bash, thank you all so much for spending some time with us today. quick break from us. we'll be right back. quick break from us. quick break from us. we'll be right back. by treating the multiple symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting...get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections some serious... and the lowered ability to fight them may occur. tell your doctor about an infection or symptoms... or if you've had a vaccine or plan to. tell your doctor if your crohn's disease symptoms... develop or worsen. serious allergic reactions may occur. watch me. ask your rheumatologist about cosentyx. i brought in ensure max protein, with thirty grams of protein. those who tried me felt more energy in just two weeks! (sighs wearily) here i'll take that! (excited yell) woo-hoo! ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and nutrients to support immune health. what happens when we welcome change? one gram of sugar, we can make emergency medicine possible at 40,000 feet. instead of burning our past for power,
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thank you so much for being with us today. ari melber picks up our coverage right now on "the beat." hi, ari. >> hi, nicolle, thank you. welcome everyone to "the beat." we're tracking breaking news out of the supreme court. supreme court justice stephen breyer will retire, keying up one of the most significant decisions of this biden presidency. here's how this big news broke today, with biden expressing he


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