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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  July 1, 2020 12:30pm-2:00pm PDT

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arizona has been transformed into a major coronavirus hot spot over the past two weeks. eight days ago, president trump held a rally at an indoor church in phoenix. vice president mike pence is there today. yesterday, pence resisted the idea that the spike in new coronavirus cases in this country is linked to the decision by several states to reopen prematurely, something health experts have been warning against for months. just this morning the arizona health department announced the state saw 4800 new cases a record, for a single day. nbc's vaughn hillyard has been following the story closely in arizona over the past several weeks. vaughn, how do they stand there and say the reopenings,
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mask-free rallies are advocating social distancing in place, aren't partly to blame for the record number of cases. >> i think that's question that vice president pence has to answer here this afternoon. he's set to hold a press conference at any minute with governor ducey. this is an administration here in arizona beginning to reckon with the serious threat this state is now facing. you said 4800 new cases, 88 new deaths, but this is a governor's office that's also dealing with the presidential administration that just two weeks, vice president pence said it was fearmongering and that there wouldn't be a second wave. now he's flying in here on a day where a record number of hospitalizati
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hospitalizations is here. the rally, more than 300 folks not wearing masks, to see the president say today, quote, he's all for masks. the vice president said for the first time on sunday, wear a mask. the question is, is the tide turning in the messaging? because here in arizona, they're still very much life as normal. restaurants are still open. malls are still open. only targeted efforts that the governor made, nicolle. i want you to hear direct for the health services. i specifically asked her, why not implement a stay-at-home order now before the hospital systems are truly overwhelmed. this is what she told us. >> we're taking a surgical approach to try to allow arizonians to continue to be able to go out, be able to go get dinner potentially, or visit a retail store. however, we want them to know
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they are safer at home. a stay-at-home is always a tool in tool box that we can use but we knew that had impacts beyond just that stay-at-home order we're trying to avoid. >> an aide to governor telling me a stay-at-home would be last resort. we should note the percent positive coming back is 28%. remarkably high number, nicolle. >> vaughn, thank you so much for staying on that really sad situation there in arizona. the new surge of coronavirus cases has parents and teachers rethinking what back to school looks like. we'll try to get some answers on that when we come back. at with . (doorbell rings) - [crowd] grubhub! (fireworks exploding) ♪ ♪all strength ♪we ain't stoppin' believe me♪ ♪go straight till the morning look like we♪
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you are creating the future-- on the fly. and we are helping you do it. vmware. realize what's possible. there are things that can creatively be done about modifying things like the school's schedule, alternate days, morning versus evening, allowing under certain circumstances online virtual lessons. those are the kind of things that we need to consider but also importantly, always make the goal that it's very important to get the children back to school for the unintended negative consequences that occur when we keep them out of school. >> that was dr. anthony fauci the nation's top infectious disease expert at yesterday's senate committee hearing on capitol hill. urging the reopening of schools under strict safety guidelines. with coronavirus cases
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skyrocketing across the country and fauci's own striking warning that we could be heading toward 100,000 new cases a day, there are many, many more questions than answers. this july 1st brings us mere weeks there normal start of school and there's no national plan for school safety this fall. joining our conversation the president of the american federation of teachers union, randy weingartner. what's happening? >> so, since the last time we talked, we had both this huge spike in states like texas and florida and arizona and california. but i'd still agree with the
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pediatricians and with dr. fauci that we have to try to get kids back to school but we have to be religious about the precautions that are needed to safeguard against transmission of a virus in school and so i'd say there are four things since we last talked, nicolle. number one is, there's going be a hybrid situation if we can reopen schools, meaning, some kids will be in school one day while the others will be on remote that same day. so there's going to be a hybrid situation. there's going to have to be a real attendance towards the physical distance which means staggered scheduling, toward ppe not only a face mask but maybe face shield, cleaning of the school every day, ventilation and the attention to those who
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need accommodations, teachers who are at risk or children who are immunocompromised. so if those things are put into place then i think we'll be able to in places that see a reduction of the virus, so there's less community spread like a new york for now, there's going to be able to school opening. and i'm a big believer in doing that as are basically 3 out of 4 of our members. >> randi, you've got these measures that obviously that make sense from a health perspective, but it's not an equal playing field, smaller schools with smaller classes, private schools will have a much easier job in adding ventilation, knowing that kids have sort of technology so they keep up the pace so it's really seems disadvantaged families and students. >> it totally does.
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and frankly that's why -- look, our union has put in over $2 million in ads and phone calls to the u.s. senate to try to get mitch mcconnell and the republicans to have the kind of funding that we actually need. i give a lot of props to the democrats last night because they built on the heroes bill from the house and they actually put a real package out there about what it cost, we said it's going to cost about 20% more so i find it a dereliction of duty that everyone says that we want to open schools and you know we put our plan out at the end of april and yet they're still not giving us the funding to do that. but if -- remember what teachers did this year, in the course of a week in march they completely upended their teaching to try to go virtual.
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and teachers have actually learned more about remote education now than i would say anybody in silicon valley. so we still have time over the summer to plan but we have to be absolutely religious of the public health safeguards and we can't skip on those. >> randi, i need you to come back, because i want to understand why this isn't a front-page issue seven days a week. if you want the economy back, parents need schools open and i don't understand why this isn't front and center as the most urgent next sort of door to cross through if we want to get back to anything resembling normal. always great to talk with you. >> any time. as the pandemic spirals out of control and the white house comes under fire over the russia bounty story, donald trump looks to reignite the culture wars in
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this country. that's next. that's next.
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donald trump is reigniting his aggressive culture war effort, again prioritizing what he calls heritage over the ongoing racial injustice movement. this time, he's threatening to veto the national defense authorization act. $740 billion of military funding, if it includes a provision introduced by senator elizabeth warren and backed by both democrats and republicans to rename military bases that honor the confederacy. trump's message is pretty darned clear. it's the same one we got when we re-tweeted and deleted a video on monday in which his supporters were yelling "white power," or when he used his executive powers to protect statues of confederate leaders and his twitter feed to share police bulletins of those suspected of vandalizing them. joining our conversation,
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co-chair of the civil rights advocacy nonprofit, color of change, and an msnbc political contributor, heather mcgee. heather, we've talked for three years now about how the idea of a dog whistle so quaint. he shouts his racist views and his safe harbor for racist agendas from the bull horne that is the oval office, but he's now trying to put some policy behind it and his twitter feeds, someone else said, it's not an original observation, but reads like a local police blotter. red paint seen splattered on confederate monument, on the intersection of, you know, fourth and -- you know, it's insane if it wasn't so predictably where we'd end up. >> yeah, you know, when it comes to this particular fight, this fight that donald trump is picking with elizabeth warren and losing, because a bipartisan group of senators passed elizabeth warren's amendment to
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the defense funding bill that said that within three years, we would take down all the names honoring confederate generals and soldiers from the u.s. military bases and all military assets. you know, this is something that is long overdue. you had general petraeus saying it's time to do this. and, you know, i think it's really interesting that one of the first times that the enabling republican senators have stood up to trump's chicken hawk racism is because someone like elizabeth warren stood up for people like both of my grandfathers, who went to war for this country. and shouldn't have had to have faced the possibility of doing so from bases and stations named for people who went to war against this country. it's pretty simple. and trump is on the wrong side of street. he's actually, for one of the rare times on the wrong side of his republicans in the senate. >> i mean, here's the other thing, just trying to see it
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from trump's sort of levers of motivation, which is like analyzing what a puppy does, but it polls terribly. i mean, making the confederacy great again is a loser. >> it is a loser. you know, i think it's very important for the symbols and the statues to come down. i think americans of all stripes are beginning to learn what black americans have known for a very long time, which is that there was a multi-generational campaign to basically rewrite history. and to redeem the confederacy, which was a racist, treasonous effort that, you know, ended in bloodshed for many americans, including so many black americans, emancipated and self-emancipated enslaved people who took up arms to save this country and this future.
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i think we have to recognize that we don't just need to tear down the statues, we also need to tear down the statutes. if you look at what donald trump is doing in his occupancy of the white house, it's not just fanning the flames around confederate sboymbols. it's also enacting white supremacy in policy. most centrally, of course, the immigration approach of this president, which has been to create a sort of white nationalist vision. that is not supported by the majority of americans. it's not even supported by the majority of white americans, but we still have mostly brown children in cages. and we still have an effective muslim ban in this country. and we still have a doj that's stopped all of the progress in holding police departments accountable, that president obama and attorney general holder were able to make. >> you know, i want to put trump aside for a minute, because he's exactly, as you describe him,
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out of step with 76% of americans, which is a coalition of americans of all stripes, all ages, you know, all genders. and i want to ask you, trump will be gone some day, either in four months or who knows when. what's the work look like of sort of pushing through on an agenda that now has 76% support. 76% of americans polled say they support the ideals and the goals of black lives matter. what do you do with all of that? >> it's such a great question. i'm glad you ask it. i think we need to do a few things. first, we need to get on the same page before we can turn it. we've had so much misinformation about our history, about why there is still this yawning gap in the finances of black and white families. people think it's because it's because of single parenthood and people not working hard enough or people not being educated enough. it's actually because of deliberately racist policies
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that the federal government implemented and carried out for the vast majority of our history. and so we've got to actually teach that history, so that we can have a more durable national consensus for what i think is obviously the next step. every single country that has ever had the kind of traumatic social wounds that our country has had with racism and white supremacy and genocide has had some effort at truth and reconciliation. has had some sort of reparations that would be paid by the federal government to put our families at an equal starting point, to start to live out the american dream. i could go into more detail, but there's a great book that's out about this called from here to equality by sandy darity. it is practical, it is possible, and i don't see us moving forward as a nation without us getting on the same page before we can turn it. >> heather, i want to make a date and make a plan to do that, because my worry is that three
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years of talking about the most racist, ludicrous, asinine thing trump did in the last 45 minutes keeps us from having that conversation about what we do next. and when you've got 76% of americans who don't agree on much of anything, 76% of americans want to see dramatic change. and i would love to spend some more time talking about how we do that. how we sort of talk to 76% of the country. not the twitter feed. heather, it's always great to see you, thank you so much for spending some time with us. >> you too. coming up, senator kamala harris and house speaker nancy pelosi will join us on "deadline: white house." senator harris has just been briefed on the russia bounty story. she'll join us after the break. "deadline: white house" next. bk "deadline: white house" next
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hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in the east, with the white house engulfed in a new russia scandal, this one involving the president's flagrant disregard for
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intelligence reporting regarding bounties on u.s. soldiers heads paid by russians to taliban fighters. the demand for answers from intelligence and national security officials who found that evidence credible enough to put it in the president's daily brief is growing. and now, donald trump is no longer simply indifferent to the intelligence about russian aggression, as he has been for five days since the story first broke. today, he's flat-out rejecting it, providing fresh data points for his critics about his lack of fitness to serve as the country's commander in chief. here he is on fox business in just the last hour. >> i think it's a hoax. i think it's a hoax by the newspapers and the democrats. >> based on what you've been briefed, do you think it is -- >> well, i think, yeah, i agree with the intelligence people. i think, frankly, that many of the intelligence people didn't think it was something that even happened. and if it did happen, the russians would hear about it. and anybody else would hear about it that was involved.
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>> to be clear, no one except donald trump and russia have called this story a hoax. trump's own cia director even stressed that the u.s. is taking it seriously. and members of his own party are joining democrats in looking for answers. and as a new analysis from "the new york times" points out, the growing russia threat extends far further than the developing russian bounty scandal. quote, it doesn't require a high-level clearance for the government's most classified information, to see that the list of russian aggression in recent weeks rivals some of the worst days of the cold war. "the times" goes on to cite cyber attacks on americans working from home, russian jets testing u.s. air defense s off the coast of alaska, and the bounties on u.s. soldiers and concludes that, quote, missing from all of this is a strategy for pushing back. old-fashioned deterrence. the question on everyone's mind is, once again, why? a question the senate intelligence committee is trying to get to the bottom of today.
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the committee just moments ago wrapped a meeting with director of national intelligence, john ratcliffe. we're joined now by a member of that committee, senator kamala harris. senator harris, what did you learn? >> reporter: well, nicole, it's great to be with you. it's classified so i can't really share with you what i learned, but let me just say this. wherever we are talking about american service members serving abroad, and i've met with them, i've been to afghanistan, it should be our highest priority as elective leaders in our country to make sure that they are safe and they're not threatened and our lives are not threatened in any way, especially by an adversary, who if you believe what you've been reading, is prepared to put a bounty on the heads of american service members. so i'm very concerned and the fact that the president just calls anything that he doesn't want to believe a hoax is a consistent theme from him.
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and i think we should just never be distracted by that. if he calls the coronavirus a hoax, he calls -- you know, you can go down the list of what he decides is a hoax, because it may not suit him politically or personally. >> i want to respect that which is classified, so i'm going to focus my questions on what's been reported in the media. and i wonder if you can talk about and just, for our viewers, i mean, intelligence and you can explain this better than i can, it's basically a tip sheet. and intelligence is shared with normal commanders in chief if they're even leads or possible threats to american soldiers. a line in the pdb that might have appeared was described to me as a former intelligence official as something like, threats to u.s. and coalition troops in afghanistan. did you hear anything that made you doubt what is in the public arena about the spirit of this story? >> let me just say this. you've mentioned and talk about the american intelligence community. i serve on the senate
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intelligence community, where i, over the course of the last three plus years, have been in regular repeat of information from our intelligence community about threats to our nation's security and hot spots around the world. and i will tell you based on my experience with the american intelligence community, you cannot find that group of people that work harder and take more seriously their profession. and the importance of them being precise and accurate and exercising the due diligence that is necessary for us as decision makers, as policy makers, and for the president of the united states to make the right decisions that are in the best interest of america's national security. and in the best interest of american service members, serving around the world, to protect our country and to protect our values. >> you know, the family members of three service members who it has been publicly reported are believed to be tied to this
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bounty program, this paying of money for the killing of u.s. soldiers, are speaking out. they have said in press interviews that they have not heard from this white house. what would you say to those families? >> i just think it is, again, it is so important that we thank these families for the sacrifice that they make, for their family members, who have decided to give themselves to their country in service. and we should honor them. we should listen to them. and it is incumbent on us as leaders and certainly the president of the united states, to console them in whatever way is possible when they are grieving and when they have experienced this kind of profound loss. but we don't see that from donald trump. what you see from donald trump is always an attempt to deflect, an attempt to shift the blame, shift the responsibility, shift the responsibility of taking seriously the issue of our
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national security and taking seriously the lives and the value of those lives of people who serve in the best interest of our national security. >> yeah. what do you make of the reporting around the financial transfers? "the new york times" yesterday had a headline that part of -- you have the intelligence, the reports are that they shared it in country for the purposes of protecting the troops on the ground. it would appear that some may have been killed in connection with this, regardless. but they've also reported now that in trying to corroborate the intel, they went so far as to look as financial records, which my understanding is that you've taken something pretty seriously, if you're pulling financial records and looking at connections between gru accounts and taliban-linked accounts. that seems like a pretty advanced stage of an investigation. but they found money that moved from gru accounts to taliban
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accounts. >> so, here's what i can say about the intelligence committee of the united states senate, a committee upon which i serve. this committee takes pride in having a history of working in a bipartisan way, in maintaining classified information and the confidences that are necessary to maintain the classified nature of that information. but i do hope that our committee will come together in a bipartisan way, to take seriously whatever the allegations may be, whatever the information may be, and that we take seriously the importance of treating this issue to the extent that it exists, as something that is not a political issue, but literally goes to the very heart of what is at stake in terms of our nation's security. >> john bolton was on this show about a week ago, and he said he couldn't be sure that national security had not been harmed in that two-hour private meeting between donald trump and vladimir putin.
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what is your sense about whether, right now, whether through this story or others, that our national security is being harmed? >> i mean, nicole, listen. from the very beginning, we -- on the intelligence community of the united states unanimously told the american public that russia interfered in the election of the president of the united states in 2016. and we have, in donald trump, someone who has rejected, who has denied, who has called it a hoax. and has not taken seriously what this act of aggression was against our democracy, at the very core of our democracy, our systems of election. and the concern that i and so many of us have openly shared is a concern that without any response to what we know happened in 2016, what can we really expect or not expect in 2020? with an election months away? and so, it is incumbent on all of us, clearly not the president of the united states, because he clearly doesn't have any initiative or interest or
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courage to take these issues on. so it's going to be incumbent on all of us to be alert, to be aware, and do what we can to preserve our democracy against adversaries such as russia on an issue like our elections. >> i remember your questioning of bill barr and some of these issues came up. i mean, is it your sense that the government, that donald trump's cabinet is on a war footing to protect the 2020 election from another russian attack? >> i think that when you mention somebody like bill barr, the only way that i think we can think of what has been his role is it has been to be the lawyer to the president and not the people's lawyer, not the lawyer of the united states. the attorney general of the united states. and he has indicated every step of the way an inclination to do what is in the best political interest of donald trump and not necessarily what is in the best interest of justice and america.
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and that should concern us going forward. because what we have at stake right now is so much and there are actors within that administration who clearly are putting politics and personal political survival ahead of what's in the best interests of our nation. >> the president and his cabinet also appears to be out of step with the 79% of americans who describe themselves as very much in support of or in alignment with the goals of the black lives matter movement. you are co-sponsor of the justice and policing act that banned choke holds and no-knock warrants, measures that have a lot of public support. where do you see this moment and this debate and what is your priority on that front. i think of this moment as part of a movement. i mean, i've been out there, nicole, with the folks protesting and it's an incredible sight to see people of every race, every agenda,
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every age together. you know, people seemingly have nothing in common, coming together or around our need to get at least one step closer, to that ideal of equal justice under law. and i'm very inspired by it. we do have a bill, senator cory booker and myself on the senate side, along with our democratic colleagues and then the folks on the house side. the justice -- the policing act. the justice and policing. but what we need to do is we need to make sure that we actually make sure that we have some teeth in this. so what the fight is before us now, now that we've rejected the republican bill that really was empty, is to do those things such as ban no-knock warrants and drug cases. breonna taylor would be alive today if we had done that. ban the use of jochoke holds an carotid holds. george floyd would be alive today if that was done. put in a national standard for use of force, so we ask, was that use of force necessary, instead of, was it reasonable,
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when we know you can reason away anything. there are things we can do when people break the rules and break the law. >> what are the prospects, though of getting something passed that will be signed by a president who's retweeting white power videos? >> yeah. >> yeah, that. >> yeah, and then there is that. listen, i -- we cannot use donald trump as our standard of whether we act or sit back and recede. this is such an important matter. it is something that people across party lines to your point are unified in. and so we have to just move ahead. we have to move ahead and, you know, let's force him to have it on his desk and then make the decision. and if he's going to stand up to the american people and say that i'm not going to sign what is in the best interests of one system of justice in america, then let them take the political consequences for that. but that should not be a reason
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that we are in any way dampened in our spirit or our determination to see this through. >> he does have a following, though, and if you look at what's happening with coronavirus, he was pretty comfortable with his posture of basically being a truther, of not wearing a mask, not advocating for a mask, not believing in a testing program, not backing or believing in contact tracing when the infections were ravaging my home state, your home state. now that it is a national probab problem, he's out of step with senate leader mitch mcconnell. where do you see his blame and the burden that he should carry as we move forward as the pandemic anthony fauci predicted 100,000 new infections a day. what do we do with him still speaking to millions of people? >> well, to your point, this is still very much in play. people are becoming sick by the
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thousands each day. we have over 125,000 people who have died, just in the last few months. and so what -- this is very much in play. and for that reason, i say that to some extent, we just need to ignore donald trump and focus on what the public health professionals are telling us. listen to folks like dr. fauci. listen to the county public health officials who are telling us, wear a mask! keep social distance! wash your hands! save your life and the lives of the people who you love. and so, i think to some extent, let's just stop being distracted by donald trump, who has clearly evacuated his position of leadership on this. he has discounted himself. he has diminished himself. and frankly, i think we just need to stop paying attention to him on this subject and frankly, many others. >> yeah, the whole inject bleach thing sort of dealt him out of being any sort of prescriptive
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force. i tweeted that you were going to be on today, my feed is full of people that would like to see you selected as the vice presidential pick for the democratic ticket. if you were picked, you would face mike pence at a debate. what would you say? >> well, first of all, i just want to say this. i want -- deep in my heart, that joe biden wins this election. and i want joe biden to pick whoever is going to help him win the election and wherever i am, i'm going to support him in every way i can. nicole, as you know, as so many of us know, there is so much at stake in the outcome of this election. we cannot have another four years of donald trump. and if you just look down the ledger, we have two choices right now coming up in november. and they are clear choices based on every issue that we should care about, whether it is about the integrity of the office of the president of the united states, whether we have a president of the united states who has compassion and has the ability to lift up the spirits
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and the condition of the american people, whether it is someone who is just going to bring dignity back to the office, not to mention all the issues we care about in terms of climate crisis, the need for smart gun safety rules, the need for integrity around our system of justice and having an attorney general in that office who actually is an attorney general. there's so much at stake. and so, however this turns out, that's my focus right now. >> i want to come back one more time to the russia bounty crisis, because i want to ask you how americans should feel about it. and i want to ask if you heard anything that supports the president's contentio ee's cont last two hours that the whole thing is a hoax. >> the way that i think about it is this. there has been so much that has been happening in our country that has focused us inward, but we cannot lose sight of our nation's standing in relationship to the rest of the world and the importance of having a commander in chief who
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takes seriously our role. someone who unlike donald trump understands the need for relationships, the need to put in check adversaries, and also embrace allies. but instead, we have in donald trump someone who has conducted foreign policy in a way that has been about isolationism, it's been about, going at his own way in a way that has been harmful to our national security. and that, again, is another big issue at stake in the outcome of this election. we need someone who is not unilateral in the way that they approach what is in america's best interests, but reaches out, works with focus, and also trusts our intelligence community. and trusts that what they tell us is accurate and reliable. >> what are people to make, as they're trying to process the fact that we have another scandal involving donald trump with russia at its punch line? >> he's got something going on there. let's just be honest about it.
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>> you think? >> something's afoot, right? it just -- it don't smell right. i don't know what it is, but, um -- >> it's -- but i mean if you're just reading the paper and you -- >> i don't know what it is. >> but if you're just reading the paper and all you know is that the intelligence community had to hide this intel in plain sight, in the pdb, which is one of the most sacred documents created, it's created for one person, it's created for the president, they had to hide something in plain sight, because it said something potentially bad, a lead about cold war-like russian covert lethal actions designed to kill americans and donald trump is calling it a hoax, how are we supposed to feel about that? >> the same way we should have felt from day one when he called russian interference when he had called the coronavirus a hoax. we're supposed to feel the same way, which is, this man is not fit to be president and we need a new president. that's how we're supposed to feel. let's not overanalyze donald trump. i literally, no more pop
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psychology about this guy. let's just do what needs to get done, which is to put our efforts into the election that is coming up and elect a president who actually understands the magnitude and the importance of that office. >> all right. so you ruled out pop psychology, so i won't ask you, but i'll tell you that i believe that he said in the last hour that he looks good in a mask, so stick a pin in that. we'll talk about it next time. we can all hope that he'll wear one. we should tell him that he does. senator harris, thank you so much for coming on. i know it's hard to talk about these things, but we appreciate your spending some time with us. >> okay, take care. >> thank you. when we come back, trump, as we've told you, calling all of this a hoax. our panel weighs in on what would normally be an unthinkable reaction from an american president. is it all to cover up for his pal, vladimir putin? and house speaker nancy pelosi joins us. she and other leaders will be briefed tomorrow. we'll ask her if she feels like the white house will be
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forthcoming with them. and as all of this unfolds, yet another group of republicans announcing their support for joe biden, calling the president a danger to the country. all of those stories, coming up! . all of those stories, coming up! dear fellow business leaders and technologists, i see all the amazing things you have been doing. you are transforming business models, and virtualizing workforces overnight. because so much of that relies on financing, we have committed two billion dollars to relieve the pressure on your business. as you adapt and transform, we're here with the people, financing, and technology,
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fresh off a senate intelligence briefing on reports that russia has promised bounties to taliban-linked militants who kill american soldiers, senator kamala harris moments ago said she's very concerned about the potential threat to the lives of u.s. troops. trump has also been briefed in recent days. he confirmed that on tv just in the last hour, but his assessment today fell woefully short of concern for american soldiers in harm's way. quote, made-up fake news media hoax to slander me in the republican party, is what he said, of the u.s. armed forces
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on twitter today. that's the position trump's digging into today. a trump classic, as aaron blake points out in "the washington post," writing this. "this is trump's m.o. stories that are bad for him are never cast in shades of gray. they're always just a hoax. but using that language suggests trump is flatly denying the existence of something nearly everyone else agrees exists." "even wednesday morning as trump was tweeting, his national security adviser, robert o'brien, was on "fox & friends" confirming that the situation was serious enough that the military was alerted and that contingencies were being drawn up on how to respond." joining us our conversation, ashley parker, and former deputy national security adviser to president obama, ben rhodes. and ben rhodes, because i have this feeling from reading your twitter feed that you might burst, go. >> well, look, nicole, i was in the pdb for years, with president obama, and i can tell you that based upon what i read to date, the information here is actually far more specific even than the type of information
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that would always make its way to president obama if there was a threat to u.s. lives and u.s. personnel. it was not unusual that we would get briefed on threats to personnel. and what do you do, you immediately call your military commanders, your intelligence community, and you say, what can we do to protect our troops in harm's way. it is astonishing to me, nicole, that the best defense that this white house can muster is that donald trump didn't read his briefing, when we're not even just talking about the pdb. if you look at the records, it makes reference to the wire. that is an intelligence report that goes to thousands of people. it makes reference to the fact that we have corroborations with financial transfers, it has reference to reports to allies. so clearly thousands of people have consumed this information, think it's important, think our troops' lives may be in danger, and think, frankly, some troops may have been killed based on reports and donald trump is doing nothing other than calling this a hoax, lying about whether or not he received this information, and not, you know, being derelict, frankly, in his duty as commander in chief. >> can we just dissect some of the issues at the heart of this?
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can we just hit pause for a second, ben rhodes? you said something really important and i've been trying to articulate this and i haven't been able to do it as you just did. normal presidents start every day before they meet with people like me in the press office, they meet with people like you and normal presidents, george w. bush met with george tenant most mornings, with the cia director. they want to know about threats to americans. and particularly in the years after 9/11, that was american civilians and american troops in the years after the wars in iraq and afghanistan commenced. and the standard isn't after the attack is successful. you failed, if that's when you walk into the oval with intel. the standard is when you're strategizing how to muster the forces diplomatically, militarily, and putting the president in as part of the national security team. to me, the buried lead here is donald trump isn't part of protecting america's national
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security. >> no, nicole, i think the lead is that donald trump is a threat to u.s. national security. and to walk people through it, we would come in the first meeting every day for president obama was in the oval office, to review the presidential daily briefing. the assumption before we walked into the office is that we had all already read it. so we actually didn't have somebody come and read it aloud. we had somebody come and answer questions from us about the information, to help inform what the president should do to follow up. and it is just astonishing to me here that you have an adversary of the united states, this is a bombshell piece of information, paying bounties on the heads of u.s. troops, that within minutes of getting that information, there was ant process set up to protect our troops. there wasn't a phone call set up for him to warn and threaten vladimir putin, that there were going to be consequences if he didn't cut this out. that frankly, they didn't cancel that peace process with the taliban, and say to the taliban, you want a peace process with us? you can't have one unless you cut it out with the russians.
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instead, nothing was done, and in fact, instead, even though this information was at the highest levels of the white house, even though people liked in national security adviser clearly read it, in the subsequent phone calls with vladimir putin, he's being invited to the united states for a g-7 summit. the president of the united states announced recently the withdrawal of u.s. forces from germany, which makes sense to absolutely no one, except vladimir putin, who very much wants to see that happen. so he's both putting our troops at risk and he seems to continue to be pursuing a foreign policy agenda that only makes sense from the perspective of moscow. that's just the plain reality of what's happening, nicole, that's staring us in the face. it is deeply, deeply profoundly abnormal. >> ashley parker, i have two questions for you. one, the white house has found a need through the president and its spokesperson to confirm the following three things over the last ten days. that the president can walk down a ramp, that the president can drink water, and that the president can read. i want to know why. and my second question for you
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is, does any of your reporting suggest that anyone has called anyone in moscow about whether or not this program is true. if it is, we're going to get you. >> well, let's take the first question. it was tristriking to see the we house press secretary come out and when she was pressed by reporters who said, like you said, the president was not briefed verbally. but it seems like perhaps you're parsing worsee ining words. it was reported that the it was in the president's pdb in february. this has been reported and we understand that the president does not read the pdb. this is something that has frustrated the intelligence community, but people on his team have worked to find a way to put it in a form that he does consume. so they have lots of visuals and graphics and a lot more of it is verbal and spoken to him on a give and take like that. which on the one hand is fair in the sense that it is meant to be consumed however the president most prefers to consume it -- >> let me hit pause. it's fair -- it's fair, but you
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have a toddler, i have an 8-year-old. talking about whether a human can process information verbally or with pictures is how we talk about our kids. he's the commander in chief. if this was a threat to u.s. troops, it should matter if it was written in a haiku. i mean, is the defense really that he can't process intel briefings? >> sorry, you just cut out for a second, but i think, again, i was going to get to the point that what kayleigh mcenany said which is striking and not the sort of defense you want to see from an administration is that she basically said as you pointed out, the president can read. and that he's one of the most informed people, you know, in the planet, when it comes to intelligence. and i think one of the questions that came up was, even if this had not been briefed to him in the form that he chooses to consume it initially, because there were some questions about authenticity, why the second it came out in the media did he not
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ask immediately to be briefed and express the curiosity of what is going on, what do we know? what else do we need to figure out, and what would be the appropriate responses for moscow if this turns out to be true, and as we're trying to figure out if it's true. instead of doing what he always does, which is when something is not flattering for him, simply dismissing it as a hoax. we know for a fact this is not a hoax. we do not know everything we would want to hope to know about this yet, but we know a lot. and i think it's very fair to say, it's not a hoax, as he just described it. >> just real quick, ashley, any indication that a national security meeting like the one that was convened at the end of march has been scheduled to talk about how to deal with this if it's true? >> not that i'm aware of, although, again, that's not twintivtwi definitive. and we do know, and this is what tells us that this is not a
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hoax, that the national security said that they took this seriously enough to draw up a list of options for how they would respond. so even if the president is not necessarily taking it seriously, there's certainly people in his orbit who felt this was credible enough that they at least need to be prepared for the possibility that russian bounties on the heads of u.s. soldiers was absolutely something the u.s. was going to have to deal with. >> ashley parker, you and your colleagues have had a remarkable body of reporting on all of this. thanks for spending some time with us. ben rhodes, we will be calling on you again early and often. thank you both for spending some time with us. after the break, our conversation with house speaker nancy pelosi. she's part of the gang of eight. what does she think about the so-called hoax? that's the president's quote, no one else's except putin's. she'll be briefed on it all tomorrow. we'll ask her about it, next. l tomorrow we'll ask her about it, next . where did you learn that? the internet... yeah? mmm! with no artificial preservatives
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and you may have a lot on your mind. we want to help, with real questions from you, and real answers from experts. we can get through this together. visit
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i would like to know if the white house was informed, if they really did know about this, it seems as though, you know,
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they did and, you know, why wasn't anything done or precautions taken? and why weren't we notified? i just want to know, what was done, if they knew? did they do anything? what was done. and now, like, what is going to be done. now that you know? the mom in me aches for everyone who has suffered. >> for gold star mom who lost her son in afghanistan, reports of russian bounties on u.s. soldiers aren't about politics, they're life or death. her plea for answers is at the heart of a growing call to action from democrats on capitol hill as the president continues to call the whole story a politically motivated hoax. it pains me to say that. joining us now, speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. madam speaker, i suppose it was predictable that a story of vladimir putin trying to harm the united states and donald trump doing zip, zilch, nada
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about it even though he was briefed about it would be called a hoax, but it's still jarring and shocking when you've got grieving family members. what is your hope -- what do you hope to learn, what do you plan to ask at your briefing tomorrow? >> well, first may i just say how jarring it is to hear a mom, a gold star mom, talk about the loss of a child. it's so very sad. let me -- let me just enlarge the issues for a moment. first of all, as a longtime intelligence person, i am a generation intelligence community, our first responsibility of intelligence from the start is force protection, when we're going to send our troops into harm's way or whether we're initiating hostilities or they're going to other harm's way, we have to make sure we're doing everything to protect force protection. force protection. we say of our men and women on the battlefield, we leave no one
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behi behind, when they come home, we leave no veteran behind. all the more reason to protect them right from the start. in light of that, to see this possible threat, this bounty on our soldiers be treated so lightly, without investigation and the rest, is so inappropriate. it is dereliction of duty. the president is the commander in chief. the president of the united stat states. he is supposed to have judgment about how to make decisions about the security of our country. in order to have judgment, you have to have knowledge. for him to ignore the facts in a presidential daily briefing as a matter of habit, is dereliction of duty. and the third point i would make is there's enough reason for us to believe that this dereliction of duty cannot just be the
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course of action we take. we must institute sanctions against russia and we must do it right away. >> madam speaker, you've called mitch mcconnell moscow mitch. i think in part for his reluctance to do anything about election interference. as the mosaic comes into focus, you've got an intelligence community either so chilled by donald trump's affinity for vladimir putin or so out of gas at trying to brief the unbriefable, you've got senate republicans totally unwilling to fortify our elections ahead of 2020. the whole lot of them are in denial about 2016. what do you -- what can you do in the next 120 days to protect the 2020 election? >> well, first, let me just say, you just described, not only for the president, but the republicans in congress, dereliction of duty. undermining our own elections,
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undermining our commitment to nato. giving away the store, the base, in syria. the list goes on and on. ignoring the invasion of the annexation of crimea, the invasion of eastern ukraine. the list goes on and on. and this president has always given it some nickname. as if that passes for humor in certain circles. he calls it a hoax. same thing he called covid-19. a hoax. he said it will disappear. he said, this never even happened. there is no reality in the judgment of this president, and there is real sadness in what the republicans have been willing to swallow, that he has put forth. and you know what, he shined a light very brightly on the puppet strings that he is pulling on them, humiliating them, as he takes the country in the wrong direction. not taking us in the right place
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in curing covid and taking us, opening our economy in a healthy way, and not protecting us on the battlefields when he lets the russians get away with murder. >> madam speaker, your indictment of donald trump's lack of fitness to serve as the country's commander in chief is, frankly, very similar to that detailed in john bolton's book. john bolton concludes that he's unfit. he then accuses, in a thread that i couldn't really follow, he accuses the democrats of a flawed impeachment process. it would turn out that he repeated the conduct for which he was impeached. what are your -- what do you sort of rest at, as what we have right now until there's another election as our president? is he -- is he so compromised that he's paralyzed? or is it worse than that? is it your feeling that he's advancing putin's agenda? >> you know what, nicole, i just
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don't like to spend time talking about him. i would rather talk about what we need to do to end covid-19 and we have a plan. it's in the heroes act. testing, tracing, treating, and social distancing. we don't have a vaccine and we don't have a cure, but we do have the tool to lessen the spread of this and to defeat this -- to defeat this virus. and in doing so, be able to open up our economy safely. we want to talk about how we avoid another serious recession, even worse recession than we have now, by putting money into the pockets of the american people and by passing the heroes act in order to keep government -- state and local government functioning. so we have very positive things that we must be doing, rather than dwelling on the mental state of the president of the united states. and he is unfit. and for john bolton to call him
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unfit when he chose profit over patriotism, and would not testify to the president's unfitness during the impeachment, he has no right to criticize the path we took when he would not cooperate in any way. i would hope he would change his mind and cooperate now, just so the american people can have the facts. but the facts are very clear. the president is intellectually unprepared, personally unqualified, and ethically unfit to serve as president of the united states. and now he has undermined any credibility he may have had as commander in chief. if he could call a possible assault on our troops, our men and women in uniform, by the russians a hoax, without even wanting to read about it, learn more about it, and make a really informed judgment about it. so, you know, you have a chamber
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of henchman over there, when it serves their purpose, they support the president. when it serves their profits in a book, then they criticize him. >> madam speaker, you're being briefed tomorrow. if you would like to come out and spend some time with us, you have an open invitation to do so. thank you so much for spending time with us today. >> thank you. just remember, even before going in -- before going in, it's long overdue for us to execute the sanctions against russia and add more to them in light of the events of the past weekend that have become known to us the past weekend. thank you, nicole. >> thank you. thank you, madam speaker. >> thank you. >> after the break, donald trump is supposed to protect americans from the coronavirus as well, but just this afternoon, he again suggested the pandemic might just go away on its own. poof. that's next. just go away on its. poof that's next. you can't predict the future.
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virus might just disappear. >> we're headed back in a very strong fashion, with a "v," and i think we're going to be very good with the coronavirus. i think that at some point, that's going to sort of just disappear, i you still believe? disappear. >> i do. sure. at some point. and i think we'll have a vaccine very soon too. >> joining us alexi mccannon and steve schmidt. he just can't quit his fantasy that is just going to, poof, disappear. ludicrous. >> that, nicole and it is hurting the president to talk about the virus in this way. just lax month for axios we did a survey in eerie, pennsylvania and it is the first time where voters opposed president trump than supporting him because of the way that he's talking about the coronavirus and handle the
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coronavirus and the way that these people feel like he's not taking it seriously and putting lives in danger. and it is those comments suggesting that he hopes that it just disappears which suggests more passive action than aggressive action is something that is freaking voters out and we're seeing the way they're punishing trump in polls and in focus groups because of comments like that. >> you know, steve, i've asked a reporter that i've spoken over the last two hours about the white house and the president feeling it necessary to confirm that the president can walk, drink and read in the last ten days. where do you think this white house is right now in terms of its standing with the public, the whole public? >> i think, nicolle, good afternoon. i think they're increasingly disdained by the public. the american people understand what is happening. the president is utterly delusional in his comments. the american people are suffering through this.
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one-third of black americans know someone who has died of coronavirus. it is the leading cause of death in the united states. and rates are spiking all over the country. while the rest of the world is reopening and except for americans who can't go to canada, for example, happy canada day by the way, or to europe, because we're the epicenter of coronavirus, death and suffering in the world because of the ineptitude and the incompetence of the administration. and to what speaker pelosi said, dereliction of duty is exact lip the right word. when you combine his coronavirus response and ineptitude, with his knowingly doing nothing, after we find out that the russians are targeting american troops and putting bounty on their heads, it is the greatest dereliction of duty by a political leader in the history of american republic, bar none. we've never seen anything like it. so things are going to get worse before they get better.
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we'll see more deaths and the death rate approaching 200,000 maybe by the time we get to the election and the only thing that could be done about it is the american people have to repudiate him and vote him out of office because the delusion will not stop between today and then. >> steve, schmidt, you're part of the lincoln project and you are destroying this president's incompetence, his lack of moral compass but focusing in on his failures. the latest ad features a navy s.e.a.l. >> it is a navy s.e.a.l. talking about trump's fitness. he said a a conservative and i'm a veteran and i'm voting for joe biden because he is faithful to the united states of america. frankly the country cannot endure four more years of this. the precipitous decline that trump has launched america on will not be recoverable from with four more years of this. of all of his deprafity and the
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decorati decoration of the office there is none of him being briefed in knowing that the russians put bounties on the heads of american soldiers and then rewarding russia's interest by withdrawing troops from germany, by fighting for their admission to the g-8, while at same time he deg raids and attacks the leaders of our closest allied nations who have helped us lead the world to an era of great peace and prosperity basically until now. so countries in a lot of trouble with this president. we see it in the coronavirus. death rates. he is falling apart. we see his infeeblement before our eyes. we see it physically and mentally. and then the comments we saw in the rose garden on the portico,
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just showed somebody who is utterly fantastically delusion. he is like a delusional cult leader. thankfully there are fewer and fewer americans willing to go down with the cult every day. but there are still too many. the election isn't over. and the consequences for the country of donald trump's staying in office just simply cannot be overstated. the country cannot endure four more years of the incompetence as we consider the death rates from the virus, the shattered economy, and the assault on national security interest by hostile foreign powers that the president will not defend us from. >> we ran out of time. we'll schedule more time to pick this up tomorrow, hopefully. thank you both for spending time us today. now we want to turn to celebrating some lives well lived. talk about a smile. they don't get much better than
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that. on the left, that is mark rear don, the moment his brother presented him with a christmas gift, a book full of elvis stuff. mark had down syndrome and he knew 12 words and one of them was elvis. and he was a hugger, a sweetheart, a world class laughter, a knack for style too. he always wore a watch even though he can't tell time. he just liked the way they look. he died of the coronavirus a few weeks ago. but here is how we'll remember him. in the words of his sister-in-law to the seattle times, quote, mark gave more love in his lifetime than some people will ever know in theirs. and then lucille weiss, another coronavirus victim. his obituary reads the description of a fun movie character. she was a hoot. graduated as the tallest girl in her class with a personality to match. she ended up a middle school
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teacher in new jersey and supporting a children's orphanage in mexico. she had pets including a skunk and a parrot and according to the jerusalem post, quote, at the age of 80 she set out to visit a roost of butterflies in central mexico. the steep uphill journey required her to travel by horse bark and it took the effort of four men to hoist her into the saddle. her next adventure awaits. thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. our coverage continues with katy tur after a quick break. in your feet?
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