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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  December 8, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PST

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of former officer michael slager, foreman and lone black juror in that case is speaking out. find out what he says turned the table in the case. he'll join me live. up first though, theovernment in waiting. president-elect donald trump adding more members to his team after what he'll do whiz global business empire. "the new york times" reporting that the real estate mogul is considering handing over his company to his two adult sons but that trump himself intends to keep a stake in the business and not back out completely. also this morning, growing outrage as the transition pumps out more cabinet picks. the latest choices, scott pruitt to the epa. john kelly prepping to head homeland security. democrats already digging in on pruitt, ally of the oil and fossil fuel industry and skeptical of climate change and currently suing the agency in a
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bid to overturn some of president obama's most ambitious environmental regulations. >> it's a sickening and a saddening choice. >> certainly a four alarm fire. this is really the worst case scenario. >> all in talking about the four alarm fire. brian will join me live in a few moments to tell us how far democrats are willing to go to fight the epa nominee but correspondents who continue to cover this transition. every movement of it. kristen welker outside of trump tower and kasie hunt on capitol hill. let me start with you, kristen. yes, there was opposition to sessions and price but if the transition team wanted a fight, you think they've got to get one with scott pruitt, no? >> reporter: they sure do. he is a lightning rod and perhaps clearest sign yet that president-elect donald trump does in fact plan to scale back and roll back all of those
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executive actions that president obama put in place to try to deal with climate change. as you mentioned, scott pruitt is someone suing the epa, but perhaps more worrisome for democrats and environmentalists, he's publicly questioned whether climate change is a reality. let's read some of the reaction we get from senate democrats. chuck schumer saying he's out of touch with the american people and with reality, craig. this from senator ed markey, denying climate change makes him unsuitable to lead the epa. expect a very big fight over this appointment. and meanwhile, breaking news. we are learning that mitt romney is here in new york not to meet with president-elect trump. he is here to deliver a speech and the reason why that's raising eyebrows, obviously, in contention for secretary of state. just yesterday, president-elect trump on "the today show" still very much in the mix. we're reading all the tea leaves
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when it comes to mitt romney and we'll listen carefully to that speech but the president-elect trying to figure out who's going to hold the top position, secretary of state and transition officials saying he's not in a rush but make sure he gets the decision right, craig. >> i want to read something else that pruitt wrote earlier this year. quote, scientists continue to disagree about the agree and extent of global warming and its connections to the actions of mankind. that should be encouraged in forums and not be silenced with threats of prosecution, dissent is not a crime. this is something that's going to be debated in the halls of congress, but how stiff, how serious will the opposition be to this guy? >> reporter: craig, look, i think the one thing that democrats are facing here is that they're going to have to pick their battles. it's very rare, frankly, for
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cabinet nominees to get held up and democrats probably have one or two places they'll have to say, we're going to put our chips in this corner and go to the mat to prevent this one or maybe two people and right now, i think prut is probably close to the top of that list partly because of that quote that you read. his ties to the fossil fuel industry as well, something that very much gives democrats, environmental groups pause. the only thing that might actually potentially prevent this from happening would be if you had republicans in states where conservation is an important piece or feel pressure from their constituents on those issues. it's hard to find those people, but although, there are many republicans who care, for example, people who like to hunt. we talk about what the nra wants to do all the time. that actually is something that ties directly into conservation efforts. on the flip side, some democrats in states where the ergy industry is prominent. heidi from north dakota is an
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example of that. democrats have damaged themselves and i feel like i repeat myself here but harry reid stripped the senate of the ability to filibuster nominees not for the supreme court and they did not expect that this was going to be the outcome of the presidential election when they did that. republicans warn against it and some democrats opposed to it. and not many tools available to stop these nominees no matter how angry they may be about some views. >> we'll talk about that with the senator from hawaii here in just a moment. kristen, other transition news. more tension for the third retired military general in mr. trump's cabinet or cabinet level appointment. i want to remind some people what he said about the military and generals during the campaign. >> the generals have been reduced to rubble. our military is a disaster. our military is in shambles. i know more about isis than the generals do, believe me.
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>> if that's the case, kris why so many generals? >> reporter: right, he just tapped jon kelly to head dhs. i think there's a couple of different reasons. on the one hand, there's concern. could having so many generals warp his foreign policy, his view of national security? on the other hand, if you're president-elect donald trump, he has no experience in foreign policy or national security, so to some extent, these appointments could offset his lack of experience in this critical area. this is one of the corner stones of his campaign. one more point about this, the military is highly respected among the american public. more than 70% expect the military, if you look at those numbers when it comes to any other institution, the numbers are much lower. so president-elect donald trump ran a campaign, talked about draining the swamp. this is a different approach than we have seen in recent administrations and i think it
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fits into that broader strategy, craig. >> kristen welker, kasie hunt on capitol hill. a big thanks to both of you this morning. on the hill, congress in session. it appears president-elect trump won his first showdown with congressional democrats. congress expected today to help fast track the nomination of retired marine corps james mattis to serve as secretary of defense. he needs an okay from congress because he's been out of uniform for less than 7 years. republican lawmakers slipped that language into a must-pass spending bill to stay afloat. that voting happening today. democrat tim ryan on capitol hill, thank you so much for your time this morning. why does your party seem to be waving the white flag so quickly on this mattis waiver issue? >> in my opinion, i think he's qualified to do the job. i don't think it's a good idea
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for us to, from the very beginning, say we're going to oppose every single decision every time. the american people elected donald trump as much as we don't like that, i think we have to give him an opportunity and with regard to the general, i think he's proven himself qualified. we definitely should have the debate, the waiver is in law and needs to be acted upon but at the end of the day, the man is qualified for the job and hopefully he'll help us with all the challenges we have. >> it sounds like you are resigning yourself to the famous words from the senior senator from south carolina, lindsey graham. elections have consequences. >> yeah, i mean, you've got to respect the will of the people and again, i don't think they sent us down here. a lot of people voted for me and voted for donald trump. so we have an obligation to be respectful and be thorough and look and watch and listen and read and hopefully we can take that approach with all of these
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her issues coming down the pike. >> it sounds as if you and your party have dided not to necessarily be obstructionist, granted, it's difficult to be obstructionist in the minority in both chambers and don't have the white house. what then is the priority for democrats moving forward in the lower chambers, especially? >> well, jobs. wages. we've got to make sure to get people back to work. a lot of people are unemployed but also a lot of people are underemployed. so how do we have a massive rebuilding effort in the united states and how do we put people back to work that want to get into the middle clas and every single citizen has the opportunity to go to work? that's our priority here. of course, we hear things that maybe paul ryan may push, donald trump may push that we may have to take a stand on and we're happy to do that and we'll fight over issues that are very important to us and our constituents but if there are issues that are going to help people go back to work, we'll
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try to sit down and hammer something out. make sure wages are there and the unions are protected because donald trump talked about workers throughout his campaign. that's our obligation to fight for that. >> you ran against nancy pelosi, came up short. has there been fallout from that at all? >> no, a little bruised ego but at the end of the day, we've won all of the reforms we pushed that we were carrying for a lot of other members got adopted. almost all of them. we've changed the national debate. i think we're starting to move to an economic message around the country, so at the end of the day, i think it was a victory on those counts and keep pushing. we've got to bring the democratic party together and get the steel worker in indiana getting hammered by the president like he doesn't have enough issues with carrier, but hammered by the president-elect. we've got to stick up for those people and that's what we'll continue to do. >> before i let you get out of here and i know what your answer
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is going to be, there continues to be a great deal of talk that you're going to run for governor of the buckeye state. can you confirm or deny? >> i have no comment. i really honestly have not thought about it. >> that's not true. you can't say you haven't thought about it. >> i've thought about it, but not in a serious consideration. we got off the heels off this campaign which took more time than i thought. we'll go home, play with the kids, enjoy the holidays. >> and then run for governor. >> you offering to be my campaign manager there? >> i think that's a great opportunity to end the conversation. congressman, always enjoy. >> thank you, sir. this intense manhunt going on for the suspect who shot and killed one police officer. wounded a campus officer near georgia southwestern university. police speaking a few moments ago. they upped the reward for this
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guy. they shot at police during a domestic disturbance call off campus. they're asking for the public's help. >> we can't hide and we can't hunker down in fear. people do need to be cautious. they need to be aware of their surroundings. if someone knows where this man is hiding, they need to tell us so we can get him off the street. >> kerry sanders in georgia for us. the latest? >> reporter: out of here a short time ago. multiple cars and officers leading to a location, but up until this point, they told us they do not know where the suspect is. minquell lembrick. officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call but we learned the offic nicholas ryan smart who died, 25 years old, and the other four year
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veteran of the university police department, jody smith, weren't just colleagues, but childhood friends. they went to the police academy together. their families are right now together mourning the loss of one and hanging with hope and prayer that the other who we're told is in critical condition will survive. the authorities say they do recognize that the suspect here is on the run. they know he's armed. they're concerned because he's armed and dangerous that he could be a problem for everybody in the area. they're telling people to be extra cautious. sko schools are open today. the children who have gone to school arrived only to find there's extra police and security on the campus as parents are worried. in the meantime, nearby georgia southwestern university which was on lockdown all of last night has ended its semester. kids are leaving the school today but at least one told me he lives off-campus and slept
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with a pistol next to his pillow and there was a body cam on the officer and a body cam video of what happened. it's not video they'll release but they do have evidence and understanding of what happened and in this case, they believe the officers were able to return fire unfortunely, one of the officers died on the scene and the other is in critical condition. craig? >> kerry sanders for us in americus, georgia. a tu momeni'll talk to a de senator brian shoths of hawaii will join me and also -- outrage after a mistrial is declared with michael slager. i'll talk to the foremen of the jury next. meanwhile, in south carolina, family members of the
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charleston church shooting victims providing emotional testimony in the dylan roof trial. witnesses breaking down on the stand and an update on that trial as well. ♪ looking for clear answers for your retirement plan? start here. or here. even here. and definitely here. at fidelity, we're available 24/7 to make retirement planning simpler. we let you know where you stand, so when it comes to your retirement plan, you'll always be absolutely...clear. ♪ time to think of your future it's your retirement. know where you stand.
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that's why we're hiring 10,000 members of the military community by the end of 2017. i'm very proud of him. male vo: comcast. just a few moments ago, the defense in the charleston shooting massacre asked the judge to declare a mistrial. why? one survivor described dylan roof as, quote, evil. the motion denied by judge there in charleston and wednesday's testimony, sanders talked about her 87-year-old aunt susie jackson fatally shot.
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and said the defendant over there with his head hanging down refusing to look at me right now said, quote, i have to do this beuse all are raping our women and taking over the world whene put about five bullets in my son. i watched my son come into this world and watched my son leave this world. the defense telling the jury that there's little to dispute when it comes to the facts. dylan roof's lawyer's main goal is to spare him from being sentenced to death. we continue to watch what's happening in that courtroom very closely. dylan roof's capital murder trial days after a charleston judge declared a mistrial in former police officer michael slager happening literally across the street. again, slager fatally shot walter scott, unarmed black man pulled over during a routine traffic stop. what went on inside that jury
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room. i'm joined by dorcy montgomery. >> yes, sir. >> a lot of folks, the evidence appears to be overwhelming the video of slager shoing a guy running away in the back several times. take us insidhat jury room. how was it not as open and shut as it seems? >> like i was stating from the time i started, you have to realize you have 12 different individuals coming together in a confined room from 12 different backgrounds, 12 different opinions trying to come up with one verdict. that was one of the main issues because the way i may have seen it, the individuals may not have seen it in the same aspect. that's one of the issues we had in the deliberation room. >> how did some of the other jurors see it? >> when i first got inside the courtroom, i came in with the
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very open mind. oftentimes, due to my color, i was going to do x, y, and z. that's not what i was going to do. i looked at the evidence presented to me from the defense and made a judgment based on the factual information, not my opinion, not my emotions, not anything i could inject into it but everything was on factual information. some people didn't do the same. >> was your judgment manslaughter? >> my judgment was manslaughter, yes. >> for the purposes of this conversation, we should point out you were the only black juror. >> i was. >> and happened to be the foreman. >> i was. >> how much of a role do you think race may have played inside the jury room? >> i don't believe it played a role inside the jury room. >> not at all? >> not that i've seen. i don't know what's going on in an individual's hear but we had
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good camaraderie and i would call it intense fellowship, the if you would, when things got heavy but from the majority of the time, it wasn't any racial attention or anything. of course, it came up. we discussed it, but of course, it wasn't, in my opinion, one of the major factors. >> what was the chief argument made against manslaughter? and against murder as well? >> self-defense. >> your fellow jurors thought? >> he was operating in self-defense. >> did they think that based on what they saw in the video or did they think that based on something that happened before the video that we've all seen now? >> i think based on the information presented to us by the judge. when the judge gave us our jury clause, self-defense, manslaughter, all the stuff they
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presented to us, i think none of us have a background in criminal justice, so we had to base it on what we perceived, so i think when they saw it was self-defense, they begin to break it down and we begin to dissect it and then we come to find out that the clause that has to meets all three and he didn't. there was another way out, in my opinion. >> one juror wrote this letter to the judge. said i still cannot without a reasonable doubt convict the defendant, cannot consider a guilty verdict, i cannot and will not change my mind. it had been widely reported that there was this one holdout. you say that's not the case. not just one person. >> no, not the case. on friday, when we were deliberating, he came and said he's not changing his mind. and that was fine, but we had five other individuals really six other individuals who had
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not made up their mind. they were still undecided. they didn't know which way to go, so as the foreman, it was the duty and obligation to make sure the six indiduals had the time they needed to do this civil duty and make a conscious decision based on this particular case so i wanted to dispel that myth. the media did what the media did with that. >> what do you think happens the second time around? >> i can't be the judge of that. i know what we did the first round and hopefully, i think mr. andy savage said it best. justice can never tilt one way or the other way, it has to be even. i believe at some point in time, a justice will stand up. >> the attorney representing michael slager. >> absolutely. >> thank you for your time and insight as well. police involved shootings have become all too familiar in this country on the heels of a mistrial in one of those cases.
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my next guest, member of the pulitzer prize winning team who covered the ferguson protest and baltimore as well now written a book about it and also talked about how all of that has shaped his life. we'll spend some time with wesley lowry right after this.
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major decision factor. >> my interview a few moments ago, with the jury on the panel that was not able to reach a verdict in the fatal police shooting of walter scott. someone on the front lines covering these kinds of stories. wesley lowry aember of the "washington post" team who won the pulitzer prize and "they can't kill us all" author. always good to see you. thanks for making time for me. >> thanks, craig. appreciate it. >> let me get your reaction from the jury foreman. that jury not able to reach a verdict earlier this week. he insisting that race did not play a part in this. what say you to that? >> i think it's interesting. obviously, he was in these deliberations in ways neither one of us were, so i thought it was insightful to listen to him talk through some of the process. now, whether race played a
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factor into how they considered the law and the application of the law, i'm willing to believe him broadly but that's probably true. what we know is that we all bring with us our own kind of racial preconceived notions and that kind of shapes the way we interpret facts sometimes but what we all know is this is a case for many across a nation was emotional, something that many people across the political spectrum no matter their typical stan stanc stances, many thought amounted to a crime and even those skeptical of the role of race in law enforcement were able to concede that this looked pretty bad. an unarmed black man running away and watch him shot in the back by a white police officer. >> it was so different for a lot of people because unlike what happened in ferguson, unlike what happened in missouri as well, here was video that appeared to be pretty open and shut and the case itself was
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apparently about what we did not see in that veo but for a lot of folks, saw this video and then said, gosh, if a police officer can't be convicted for this, then no police officer in this country can be convicted for anything. >> yeah, and that's essentially true. my colleagues and i, two of mine, did a piece in early 2015 to look at ten years of prosecutions of police officers for on-duty shootings. about a thousand fatal police shootings every year and over the course of ten years, what we assume 10,000 fatal police shootings, only 54 prosecutions. out of that, only a handful of convictions. in fact, the majority of these cases end up either with a not guilty verdict or with a mistrial. we're not talking about the entire police shootings but the 54 cases which there were prosecutions like the walter
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scott case with video and cover-up or tampering of evidence or clear witnesses or other police officers testifying against the officer. when we think about ferguson, we said, let's let the system play out. if the shooting was bad, the cop was getting charged and convicted. the system structured doesn't charge and convict cops, whether it's criminal or even the shootings that some don't think are quite criminal but eve preventable. >> the question you pose, what does the loss of any one life mean to the rest of the country? you talked to hundreds of people from ferguson to baltimore to charleston, south carolina. what did you find? >> i think that we see this through two different prisms and lenses. the reality is that very often, those lenses are determined by what our preconceived notions of race are.
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it plays a role in how we see these circumstances. for many people, we see individual instances. walter scott, bad shooting. michael brown, maybe not. eric garner, why did you resist? and people with pigment in skin, we see this as part of a broader longer american story. the idea that you can go from emmett till to trayvon martin to walter scott to the charleston nine and dylan roof trial happening across the street from where the slager trial occurred. the idea is that it's not one off incidents but rather a type of systemic and structural question here. as thousands of people, tens of thousands of people have taken the streets over the last few years, that has been the rallying cry time and time again that it's not just about whether michael brown's hands were up or tamir rice's toy gun looked like a gun but the idea that black people make up 12% of the
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population yet 24% of the unarmed people killed by police. this question of, is there something about the way we're policing and our criminal justice system itself that's preventing, one, causing or allowing more people of color to be killed or two, prevent them from achieving justice. >> "they can't kill us." a fascinating read. thank you. >> anytime, thanks, craig. new revelations out of that investigation to the oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people. oakland's city planner saying that inspectors had not been inside that building in nearly 30 years. records show complaints made about the building carrying the address of a vacant lot and oakland's mayor saying it will reform the complaint system. investigators meanwhile trying to figure out precisely what caused the inferinferno, larges
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since the rhode island nightclub fire back in 2003. campus police officer shot a 14-year-old student from and shows the student waving two large knives. you can see it there. then lunging at classmates before an officer shot the student. he's in critical condition this morning and trying to piece together precisely what sparked that incident. nfl player joe mcknight gunned down in atlanta. the alleged shooter charged with manslaughter but is that enough? one of joe mcknight's closest friends joins me next.
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scott pruitt a strong skeptic of climate change and stronger advocate against environmental regulations tapped to lead the agency. i want to bring in hawaii democratic senator brian, thank you for your time this morning. are you planning to block the nomination? >> we're going to do everything we can to block this nomination. this is not with any historical precedent. even under republican administrations, george w. bush, they didn't appoint the head of the epa to dismantle the epa. this is someone who made a profession out of undermining the ability of the epa to enforce the clean air act and the clean water act. this is a four alarm fire for the environmental community and for anybody who cares about clean air and clean water. we'll fight it with everything we've got. we'll see whether we'll be able
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to get any reasonable republicans to come to our side. there are a number of them who have occasionally sort of flurried with the truth and been on the right side of this climate change question but there's nowhere to hide now. if you are not a climate denier, then you cannot put someone who is a climate denier to head the epa. >> is this something for which you would shut down the government? >> it's not coming to that because it's a nomination. usually shutting down the government has to do with the government funding bill, so it will be a separate nomination process. there are going to be tough questions during the hearings and what it will take is 51 members of the united states senate opposing this nomination. we have 48 democrats. there are a number of republicans who over the past have been reasonable about climate change and we want them to continue to be reasonable about climate change. anything they may have done to
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be on the right side of history will be erased if they put this into place. >> i want to play something for viewers and listeners. this is something mr. pruitt said earlier this year on the global climate deal reached in paris. >> the agreement in paris was that, an agreement, not a treaty so he would not have to submit it for ratification. he brought that agreement back to the united states and said he was going to implement those provisions through the epa and force on the states, state implementation plans the elimination of coal and the generation of electricity. >> how much could pruitt and the e rks epa and donald trump in the white house, how much could they do to totally throw that particular reached by almost 220 countries? >> good news and bad news aspect of this answer. in terms of the international climate agreement, the biggest climate agreement in history, it came into force several weeks before the election and the
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meeting which happened is very encouraging. regardless of what the united states does is going to stick with the paris agreement and the sad part is opportunities in clean energy and leadership globally and abdicate our role. i'm optimistic the world will continue the clean energy revolution and whether or not it continues to lead and this is really totally ahistorical. it's crazy to put someone professional at dismantling the epa in charge of the epa. the clean air and water act are still on the book. so this is terrifying stuff. >> and also curious this announcement coming after he met with al gore. wonder wt al gore sai to him
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and what effect ithad. i'm anxious to hear what the former vice president has to think abouthis. we have not heard from al gore just yet. senator, thank you so much for your time, sir. >> thank you. >> do come back. a rare bipartisan moment on capitol hill yesterday. senate democrats and senate republicans putting politics aside to come together and give vice president joe biden a proper sendoff as his time in office comes to an end. >> there's a reason, get joe on the phone is shorthand for time to get serious in my office. >> it is often said that if you don't love joe biden, it is time for some serious introspection. you may have a serious problem. >> we know that when you give us your word as a biden, you mean it and you'll keep it. >> i just want joe biden to know
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that we all expected and i think most all of us love him. >> the fact you took your time on that day of importance to you to shed some light and offer some joy to someone who is struggling, that's the joe biden that has us here for two hours offering these tributes. >> and as of yet, vice president joe biden telling reporters he has no intention of running for president again. ordinary tissues left dakota's nose sore and red.
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so dad slayed the problem with puffs plus lotion, instead. with lotion to soothe and softness to please. a nose in need deserves puffs, indeed. i'm not a customer, but i'm calling about that credit scorecard. give it. sure! it's free for everyone. oh! well that's nice! and checking your score won't hurt your credit. oh! i'm so proud of you. well thank you. free at at, even if you're not a customer. new orleans naacp chapter said the manslaughter charges levelled against ronald gasser are not sufficient. he's the louisiana man accused of fatally shooting joe mcknight during a road rage dispute. gasser who is white initially let go without being charged drawing criticism that race
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played a role in the investigation and arrested again on monday. joined now from new orleans by robby green, first of all, how is joe's family doing? i know funeral arrangements are under way. >> it's a trying time for all of us right now. very hard. i talk to the family every day and we just try to get through. searching for answers like everyone else. >> i know you were supposed to meet with joe that day. before that phone call. walk us through what happened and did you get to talk to the police at all? >> well, i got to talk to a few people. not sure their rank or dealings but approached me concerned and from me leaving scene, i felt
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like there was going to serve justice and my friend, mr. gasser, was going to get the sentence he deserves. >> and do you feel right now that the manslaughter charges are sufficient or fair? adequate at all is this. >> honestly, i know nothing about the law. but manslaughter, i don't think this is the case here. my friend was followed, was chased down, and murdered. so i don't think this case is a manslaughter case. you know? >> i want to play some sound from the sheriff. this is, the sheriff defended the office's handling of the investigation saying they waited strategically for days to make the arrest because they needed to find independent witnesses. here's a snippet from the news conference he had.
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>> so for those who have criticized the men and women of this organization and the strategy, decisions that we made relative to that, tough. i'm sure you see the emotion in me. because it's not fair. it's not fair for him to be called you [ bleep ]. we saw you sell out to them you [ bleep ] punk. that's the tone of what we're calling our elected leaders for standing up and simply saying, let justice prevail and let the process take its course. >> sheriff, going on to insist that this isn't about race at all, that interaction at the intersection wasn't about race at all. what's your reaction to all of that? >> it's tough to say, you know? if it was about race or
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thinking, but from my standpoint, this isn't about race, white, the black, spanish. we all have to come together and live with each other in this world. this accident shouldn't focus on where it ended. it should focus on where it started. and people are getting worried about the ending of it all, but how did this situation start? you know? i have no issues with my law enforcement. no issues with, you know, what's going on and the process and how long it's happening. yes, we want answers, but from the family, from us, from loved ones, teammates, you know, this guy was a wonderful man. this guy was a father, a friend,
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a son, a nephew, you know, to a lot of people and when you met joe for the first time, you felt like you knew him forever. this man should be remembered for who he was as a person rather than the athlete. you know? this is very tough on us. people should know we need all support, everyone's support. >> robby green. one of mcknight's closest friends. thank you. >> yes, sir. thank you for having me. >> we will be right back.
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tamron hall picks things up right now. >> good to see you on msnbc. donald trump has chosen scott pruitt to head the environmental protection agency, the epa. pruitt is currently part of a lawsuit to sue that


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