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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  July 24, 2020 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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hey there. i'm joshua johnson. it's good to see you today. from nbc news world hblths in new york, white house press secretary kayleigh mcenany is expected to brief from the podium momentarily. as you can see we're keeping an eye on it. we'll bring you highlights as needed. most republicans in congress have headed home for the week. that includes senate majority leader mitch mcconnell of kentucky.
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kentucky's governor, andy beshear, will join us this year to discuss how coronavirus is affecting its residents. also president trump has been leading coronavirus briefings by himself for the last few days. dr. anthony fauci commented on that moments ago. >> the president has gone out there and is saying things now that i think are important, have to do with wearing masks, crowded -- staying away from crowded places. so i think that they have been helpful now. and also, they've been short and crisp, which i think is good when you're trying to get a message across. >> so far there's no word on the next white house coronavirus briefing. president trump will spend this sunny weekend at his golf club in new jersey. he heads there today. president trump has been leading the briefings himself lately with no other speakers. the president remains focused on getting kids back to school at school, on campus. last night the cdc released extensive new guidelines for schools to handle reopening.
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the guidelines include checklists to help parents decide whether or not to send their children back. mr. trump has said his opponents want schools to stay closed as a way of hurting him in the election. yesterday he acknowledged that keeping kids off campus might be necessary. >> in cities or states that are current hot spots, and you'll see that in the map behind me, districts may need to delay reopening for a few weeks. and that's possible. that'll be up to governors. >> nbc white house correspondent carol lee joins us now. politico was among the outlets asking a pretty legitimate question. how is it safe to reopen c campuses this fall if the president deemed it unsafe to hold public events at the republican national convention in jacksonville? yesterday hecanceled. >> reporter: yeah, it's a great
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question. and i think the white house would argue, they would point to the clip you just played, which is the president saying this is something individual school districts are going to have to look at depending on whether or not they are in a hot spot for coronavirus cases at the time that schools are supposed to reopen. and ultimately that the decision is going to be up to governors. the president has also made the case, and this is outlined in the cdc guidelines, that children not returning to school has a down side in terms of mental health and emotional development and things like that. they wouldn't necessarily make the case that ending a convention off the same drawbacks. in their view it's seen as something far more important to push on. at the same time the president has really pushed for schools to reopen, demanded sometimes that schools reopen despite the fact that we're seeing this surge in cases across the country. and you know, he's making different suggestions about how
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this is an economic issue, saying it's very important that parents have essentially childcare by their kids going to school so that they can get back to work. he tried to make the case yesterday that this is not about politics. but as you know, the president has been saying this is about politics really since he started this push for schools to reopen, blaming democrats, saying they don't want to do it because they think it would hurt him. but i think at the end of the day this is really going to come down to what governors want to do. this is not going to be the president's decision. and you saw a little bit of an acknowledgment of that from him yesterday. >> thank you, carol. by the way, we were showing you the scroll of what that page looks like. you can go to there's a link on the home page. it's called planning for safe return to school. got all the info right there. it's nbc's carol lee at the house. thanks, carol. tomorrow is the last day that many americans will get a $600 boost to their unemployment benefits. that boost goes bust next friday. we are quickly approaching other deadlines for relief provided under the cares act.
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many republican lawmakers have left town for the weekend. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says they will unveil the details of a relief bill on monday. nbc's garrett haake joins us now. garrett, what if anything do we know about the republican bill, particularly if there is no agreement, no larger grand plan, in the next week? >> well, joshua, about the one piece of the republican bill that's been solid from the beginning and seems to remain so now is that it will include a liability shield, essentially preventing businesses from being sued by their employees who might be coming back to work, and then get sick with the virus. so many of the other details remain up in the air. we know, for example, they want to include about $100 billion for schools. that's more than was in the cares -- or excuse me, in the heroes act. democrats will likely want more. but a number of those issues, those cliffs the graphic just showed here, are particularly problematic. arguably none more so than these plussed up unemployment
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benefits. that extra $600 a week set to expire at the end of this month. republicans have had no real agreement over how to address this. they want to get number back down so it's at least at a level people wouldn't be making more money if they don't return to work than if f. they do. but that would rely on state unemployment systems are very complicated. there's just no good easy fix. and right now negotiations are going nowhere fast. i think the soonest we might see any piece of paper from republicans with what this bill looks like would be monday afternoon. of course we'll have the services for representative lewis beginning here on the hill monday morning. >> i was just about to ask you about that, garrett. there's an array of services that are planned. fairfax county in virginia just south of d.c. announced that it is renaming robert e. lee high school after congressman lewis. the congressman's body is set to lie in state at the capitol on monday. what else can you tell us about the ceremonies for him? >> love that school renaming. such a fitting tribute. this will look a lot like others
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we have seen, powerful government figures lying in state in capitol. but with the covid-19 spin on it. i was just in rotunda a while ago watching them set up for the memorial service that will be held for him there in the rotunda. chairs at social distancing lengths. sort of spread out across that enormous open space. members of the public are being discouraged from coming to pay their respects in person. but should they do so they'll be doing it up the east front capitol stairs trying to keep everybody outside as much as possible. this will look very different but i think it speaks to the importance of john lewis in american life. the extent and the effort to which is being put in here to try to make something like a proper fitting memorial for him happen here in washington, d.c. >> and garrett is right about that. historians will tell you that robert e. lee himself said after the war he did not want any memorials after him. so if you see anything named robert e. lee, he did not ask for it. thank you, garrett. that's nbc's garrett haake on
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capitol hill. the total number of confirmed cases of covid-19 in florida has officially topped 400,000. there were more than 12,000 new cases since just yesterday. president trump decided to cancel the jacksonville parts of the republican national convention because of surging cases in the state. >> when we chose it, it was not at all hot. it was free. and all of a sudden it happened quickly. it happens quickly. and it goes away and it goes away quickly. >> joining us is rebecca jones, former manager of the coronavirus darkboard for florida's department of health. she's 2350i8d a whistle-blower complaint with the florida commission on human relations. she alleges that she was fired for refusing to publish misleading health data. rebecca, welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> this week you told yahoo news that what you're seeing now from covid-19 "is actually far worse than we anticipated." how much worse?
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>> much worse. some of the earlier projections for deaths that were famously mocked by one of desantis's people said 4,000 deaths by august 1st. and we're much past 5,000 at this point. and the president's completely wrong. this didn't happen quickly. it doesn't go away quickly. and when they planned it, all of this had been warned about by me and others. >> explain the dashboard as you understood it when you started working on it. what was it supposed to do, show, explain, clarify to floridians, particularly about reopening the state? >> so when i created the dashboard at first, i had free creative rein over what i wanted to present, how i wanted to present it. and i thought really the most important things that if i were just a member of the public, not clued in to what was going on inside, i'd want to know how many cases there were and how many deaths there were, what the trends were over time, where the
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large concentrations of cases were, what the policies in place were across the state, testing facilities, all of that. >> you allege that officials asked you to change data to make the situation in florida look better. it kind of feeds that old quote, i think it's mark twain, about lies, damn lies, and statistics. explain what you mean in terms of them using these numbers to make things look better. >> so florida's actually taken quite a few steps to make the numbers look better that didn't involve me. florida has never reported probable cases or deaths the way that the cdc advises them to. they also have never reported recovered cases the way that cdc advises to. so those are two really easy ways of reducing what the visual appeal of what is going on, whether or not it's safe to reopen. and what i was asked to do was to actually go in and change raw
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data to make the percent positivity look lower. they still do that by diluting the data, dumping negative retests in there, adding anti-gen tests but not telling anybody. they still do all that. i refused to be the voice that pushed that on the people because i was not going to be responsible for telling people it was safe to go into phase one or two if it wasn't. >> rebecca, based on what you just said, i don't want to overdramatize what you're trying to tell us but it sounds like you're telling us the state of florida lied about what the data shows. am i overinterpreting what you're saying? >> no. not at all. that's exactly what i was asked to do, make the data lie to drum up support for reopening, when the data did not support it. >> that's not what governor desantis says about your firing. he said you were fired because "she didn't listen to the people who were her superiors." is that true? >> well, that doesn't disagree with what i just said.
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they told me to lie and i didn't. so i didn't do what my superiors told me to do. that's absolutely true. >> my family lives in florida. i am a native south floridian. so obviously this is very concerning to me. i also have family in jacksonville. i wonder about the rnc, before i let you go, rebekah. do you think that if the data reflected what you intended, as you allege they have changed the data, would the rnc public event still be taking place in jacksonville? >> i don't think that the rnc was canceled because of anything that the data said. it was canceled because of public image. that's all this has ever been about. it's been very clear for quite a while now that they stopped caring about the science, the scientists, and what the data said and started moving more on politics. if they followed the data, they wouldn't have opened up on may 4th the first time and then pushed us into phase 2 halfway through may. i mean, the lead epidemiologist
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for the state quit when they announced that schools would reopen in the fall. so this isn't just me. this is an entire culture at the department of health that doesn't care about data. >> rebekah jones, we appreciate you making time for us. thanks very much. >> thank you. much more to come here on msnbc. the clashes continue with federal officers in portland including last night. these are black lives matter protests. but is this mess muddling the message? first, extra unemployment aid and federal eviction protections are all running out. congress is nowhere near announcing more coronavirus relief. does that mean that americans are just on their own for a while? kentucky governor andy beshear has some thoughts on how senate majority leader mitch mcconnell factored into this delay. the governor joins us next. i am robert strickler. i've been involved in communications in the media for 45 years. i've been taking prevagen on a regular basis for at least eight years.
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this november senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is running for his seventh term.
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some of his constituents in kentucky have questions about what the next coronavirus relief bill will contain. that bill is still in the works. kentucky is among the many southern states where coronavirus cases are rising. so far it has reported more than 25,000 cases, nearly 700 people have died. nbc's cal perry is in paducah, kentucky right on the ohio river across from illinois. cal, what are folks telling you? >> reporter: yeah, you know, this is really a layered crisis, from the schools to the town itself, 25,000 people live in this town, a very difficult budget to balance in a crisis like this. the business owners who want that insurance so that they don't get sued if somebody gets sick in their stores to the schools that are relying on this funding. all of which has people here asking what is the delay in the bill? the last bill, we're told, was exceptionally helpful, especially that $600 of unemployment benefits. people really have come to rely on that money here as the jobs are not coming back and the cases are spiking. now, joshua, to prove that it's
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better to be lucky than good, amy mcgrath, who is running against mitch mcconnell, was here campaigning today, here for some meetings. i asked her about the delay, here's what she said. >> well, the really sad part about this is that we knew this was coming. right? i mean, when you think about the fact that we passed the last package back in, what, april, we knew that the benefits that were going to be running out at the end of july, we had a long time to figure this out. you know, may, june, and all of july. and it seems like this is sort of the way government is run unfortunately under mitch mcconnell. you wait till the last minute. you're making an emergency. and then you do it poorly. >> it will be an interesting election day in kentucky to say the least when you see,000 she's laying out that argument to the voters. couple quick notes on the schools because it's important especially here in kentucky. when the president says he's going to link the funding to in-person learning, a lot of parents here because of the
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cases are not going to be bringing their kids in to school, which makes it so much more important that the technology is there for that remote learning especially in a place like western western kentucky. that funding just has to be there, joshua. >> that's one of the things, by the way, that's mentioned in those cdc guidelines for reopening schools. you go to that is among the questions to k. about access to online education. thank you, cal. nbc's cal perry joining us from paducah, kentucky. next month kentucky plans to reopen schools across the state. yesterday governor andy beshear warned that he would not ask teachers to return with cases spiking. he says restrictions may come back if new infections do not slow down soon. andy beshear joins us now. governor, welcome to the program. >> thanks tofor having me. >> what are your top one or two benchmarks for deciding on reopening school campuses? >> well, our top benchmarks all come down to the safety. safety of our students. safety of our teachers.
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safety of everybody that comes in and out of that building. we're in the midst of a worldwide health pandemic. and i as much as anybody, having a 10 and an 11-year-old, want to get my kids back into school for in-person classes. but it's got to be safe. so i'm going to be looking at it as a governor and as a parent. so we're going to be looking at the rise in cases, how much we're increasing week over week. last week we had by far our largest totals overall. we're also going to be looking at our positivity rate, trying to plateau it and then looking for it to start coming down. listen, our teachers are some of the best of us and i'm not going to put them in a dangerous place. but we've taken some really important steps in kentucky. we have a facial covering requirement, and we're a little over two weeks into it, and we see a lot of compliance. we've lot our social gatherings back down to ten. and we put a travel advisory out
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because we were seeing a lot of cases from people coming back from the beach. >> with regards to the face mask order, indiana and ohio ordered face mask wearing two weeks after your order. both states have republican governors. was that too little too late or has that been helpful? >> i speak to both of those governors. governor holcomb and dewynine. on a regular basis. we work together. we share ideas. obviously we deal with somewhat different situations. i'm glad they made the decision they did. and regardless of when they made it. because it's going to make our whole region safer. now, my approach to this thing is it's not democrats versus republicans, it's americans versus the coronavirus and the more of us that are on the same page the better. the decision by those two states is going to make the whole ohio valley a safer place. >> we mentioned that the coronavirus unemployment benefits are about to run out. what are your residents telling you about that?
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>> our residents have significant concerns. our economy has been hit really hard by the coronavirus. and let's face it. this country is at war. it's at war with this virus. and like any war that we go through there are going to be some tough and difficult times to get through it. i want to make sure that we are there for our people during those times. and sadly we have an unemployment system in our state and in this country that was designed to tell people no. it's time at a time like this, at a time of crisis, that we be able to tell people yes and to help them get by. and i believe that if we have a strong unemployment system, a strong medicaid system, a strong support system it means our economy can rebound and rebound faster. >> what is your perception about compliance with masks? there were some prominent republicans in kentucky that pushed back after you ordered people to wear masks. we've heard different people in different parts of the country have an array of arguments for not wanting to wear masks.
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what is your sense of that resistance in kentucky? are you still getting pushback? are people mostly complying? what does it look like? >> well, there is some resistance, but by and large in kentucky we see people wanting to help their fellow neighbor, wanting to protect them. we had some polling done where 72% of kentuckians support mandatory facial coverings. and i think it's because we live our morals and we live our faith, that we love our neighbor as ourself, that we know this virus, we can spread to other people. so it's about caring about each other. passing this test of humanity. and we're seeing every week more and more people wear them. i do think having the bright line, though, of the requirement is pretty important because that means that that poor person standing in front of any of our large retail stores that has somebody that doesn't want to wear the masks, they can just blame it on me. and if that makes their job a little bit easier and lets us get more people wearing them, i'll take it.
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>> i have to ask you about the breonna taylor case. last night lebron james played with her name written on his shoes. here is part of what he said. >> we want the cops arrested who committed that crime. as one of the leaders of this league i want her family to know and i want the state of kentucky to know that we feel for her and we want justice. >> also on top of that the tampa bay rays tweeted today, "today is opening day, which means it's a great day to arrest the killers of breonna taylor." what is the holdup? is there a legitimate investigative reason that no one has been arrested yet for ms. taylor's death? i mean, it's been since march. >> well, certainly the investigation and the evaluation of this case has gone on far too long. and i think even those that are involved in that, which i'm not as the governor, would agree to that. i think one of the concerns is
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that there haven't necessarily been explanations of delay, of prorks of where things are. now, i believe that if you give people the truth, if you give them context and facts for timing of steps that are being taken, of reasons for decisions, then at least they can help process that. it's just very difficult when there is an absence of information. >> buzzfeed has reported that civil rights attorneys are calling on kentucky's attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor. can you commit to doing that? >> well, i can't appoint a special prosecutor. only the attorney general can do that. what happens -- >> or rather can you commit to pushing for that? >> i think a special prosecutor could make sense here. i'm not sure exactly where the attorney general is on the evaluation of it. but if there are those that think that a special prosecutor would provide a more balanced approach then that could be a
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direction the a.g. could take. i just think that a little bit of explanation by our attorney general of the process itself, the steps that are being taken and why it's taking so long would be helpful for people out there. now, i've been an a.g., and so i don't want to necessarily be critical not knowing the process that's being undertaken but just explaining it to people i think could be incredibly helpful. >> you could know more about the process if you asked the attorney general and pushed for more swift investigation. have you contemplated that? >> the attorney general and i right now have a very difficult relationship in kentucky. he's currently trying to eliminate all the rules and restrictions we've put in place for covid-19. it would undermine our entire approach to the virus. >> due respect, governor, but black people in kentucky have a difficult relationship with law enforcement that i think predates your difficult relationship with the attorney general. >> we have had different meetings with the attorney
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general through our staff. i believe that the investigation should go faster. i've been out there saying it should. it's taken far too long. and i do think people deserve answers. and they deserve context for those answers. they deserve facts. they deserve what the major pieces of evidence are. and they deserve a full explanation. i believe that you lead with that. and i believe that all the citizens of kentucky deserve that. but i understand -- or i hear -- i understand is the wrong word. i hear the frustration. with this investigation and with the gross inequality and racism that exists in all of our systems throughout kentucky. and my goal is to try to listen and then act with the type of advice and how we can make the best steps forward. >> kentucky governor andy beshear. sir, i appreciate your time. thanks very much. >> thank you. we are almost 100 days from the november elections. president trump is trailing joe biden in some battleground states. we will dig into the latest polls. -l the hunt is on for a
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republican national convention. the north carolina piece is still on. this afternoon governor desantis will attend a signing ceremony for an executive order to lower prescription drug prices. just one more development on this busy day of news. here is the latest we know at this hour. the houston area is taking a cautious approach to reopening schools. officials in harris county, texas, which includes houston, announced it is ordering all public and secular private schools to delay opening their campuses until september 8th at the earliest. in washington state governor jay inslee is shutting down indoor service at bars. inslee is also restricting service at weddings, funerals, and gyms to slow a surge in covid-19 cases. the governor says experts see washington potentially ending up where florida was several weeks ago. and british prime minister boris johnson is pushing for people to get their flu shots this winter. that is in an effort to help ease the strain on the national health service as it also fights
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covid-19. today johnson, not known for biting his tongue, said that people who are against getting vaccinated, known as anti-vaxxers, are in his words nuts. it has become a pattern in portland. nights of clashes, days of cleanup. last night was the same as federal officers faced off with protesters demanding law enforcement reform. it was the same day that a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order. those federal officers are officially on notice not to target journalists or legal observers in the city. president trump continues to demand law as ordend order as h it. now he says he may send tens of thousands of federal agents to cities across the country. >> we're going to all of the cities, any of the cities. we're ready. we'll put in 50,000, 60,000 people that really know what they're doing and they're strong.
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they're tough. and we could solve these problems so fast. but as you know we have to be invited in. we're going to have to do something that's much stronger than being invited in. >> nbc's maura barrett joins us from portland. what are the protesters telling you? i understand you spoke with one person who says they used to sur support donald trump but no longer does. >> reporter: exactly, joshua. my team and i have been out at the protests every night for nearly a week. and while the sentiment largely starts with supporting the black lives matter movement, last night was a different mood. after the federal agents engaged with protesters for the first time outside the federal courthouse behind me, they shifted into a move that encapsulated anti-tyranny. they're really frustrated with the tactics federal agents are using. and that's exactly what tanya clemminger told me. she said she's very frustrated of seeing federal agents, the
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way they're arefth people and the tactics they're using. she says she's for civil rights and for the constitution but with president trump's decision to send the agents here and act the way they are she says they're extremely out of line even though she voted for him in 2016. take a listen to what she told me last night. >> what happened last night was unfortunately i see our government causing civil unrest instead of working together as people trying to make a better world. and that's not the country that i was born into. i am a long-time gop member. you know, i've been involved in politics and stuff like that. and this just goes against everything our constitution is about. and i will fight -- as he says, make america great again. >> reporter: at one point during the clashes last night a protester shouted out "i am here to build a country that is
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better tomorrow than it is today." it's that sentiment and what you heard from tanya that president trump is going to have to look out for looking ahead to november. joshua? >> thank you, maura. that's nbc's maura barrett joining us live from portland, oregon. the jerseys may as well say "insert mascot here." washington's nfl team no longer bears its offensive name but for the time being it kind of has no name at all? officials announced this season that washington's football team will be temporarily known as, wait for it, the washington football team. the franchise will develop a permanent name and logo with input from its fans. the team will update its burgundy and gold uniforms. but the colors will stay. for decades the nfl and the team's owner dan snyder have faced intense demands to rename the team away from that logo and from a slur against indigenous people. no word on when the franchise will vaefl its new name or even when the nfl will reveal if there will be a season this
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year. still to come, the polds give joe biden a commanding lead in key battleground states. but can he keep it? nbc's steve kornacki is on the way with analysis just ahead. s e way with analysis just ahead all in one disposable pad. just vacuum, spray mop, and toss. the shark vacmop, a complete clean all in one pad.
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the suburbs are often the focus in an election year, but rarely like this. the white house says it is rolling back an obama-era program to prevent suburban segregation. the administration claims the old fair housing rule was in its words devastating and amounted to a federal overreach. the regulation from 2015 required cities and towns to identify patterns of discrimination. critics say the new rule sets a much lower bar, putting more responsibility on local governments to identify fair and accessible housing. speaking of the suburbs, recent polls suggest that the president is struggling among voters there. joe biden is up by big margins among these voters. president trump has clearly noticed that. yesterday he tweeted at what he
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called "the suburban housewives of america." mr. trump wrote that mr. biden would "destroy your neighborhood and your american dream." suburban voters are just one group the president is struggling with. new polls in battleground states show more potential trouble spots for the re-election campaign. the latest average of major national polls compiled by real clear politics has joe biden leading president trump by almost nine points. nbc national political correspondent steve kornacki is here to break down the numbers at the big board. steve, dig into the results. >> yeah. you set it up pretty well there. this is the national average. it's almost a nine-point lead for joe biden. remember, in 2016 hillary clinton actually won the popular vote. it was by about two points, though. so here's biden leading by nine. that's a big difference, at least for now. and when a candidate gets a lead that size nationally, you really start to see it show up in the state poll. and that's what we're seeing. here's the latest batch. this one from fox news coming
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out yesterday. pennsylvania. remember, pennsylvania trump won it in 2016. he won it narrowly. it was 46,000 votes. it was the first time since 18988 that a republican had won pennsylvania. but now consistent with that large national lead here's a large lead for joe biden in pennsylvania. remember, he claimed scranton as a hometown growing up. perhaps maybe a little bit of an added boost for bide been. perhaps michigan. trump won this even more narrowly in 2016. big biden lead in michigan. narrow trump lead in 2016. this is big. 14 points. this is the quinnipiac poll from yesterday. a lot of people say it's not quite this high. but every poll we've seen recently in florida has put joe biden ahead of trump, has put him ahead pretty solidly as well. been 32 years since somebody won florida by double digits in a presidential race. there's a 13-point lead at least in that poll for biden. texas. trump won this by nine points in 2016. now it's basically dead even. here's biden up by a point in the quinnipiac poll. and then of course the trump
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folks have been talking about not just defending the states they've won in 2016. they talk about expanding the map, about maybe peeling off some of those narrow states that clinton won. one they've talked about is minnesota. per fox news we have a new poll out in minnesota. there it is. biden up by 13. remember, clinton won minnesota in 2016. the margin was about a point and a half. and so republicans have thought hey, maybe that's a greowth opportunity for them. this poll would suggest just like we're seeing everywhere else a big biden lead nationally translates into these kinds of results and what we thought of as potential swing states this year. >> a lot of fodder for people who are hoping the trump presidency is an aberration, is a fluke, but lots of daylight between now and november 3rd. steve kornacki, thanks very much. speaking of all of that daylight, i don't know about you but the run-up to the election kind of feels like a blur. well, this sunday we will help you focus because sunday marks 100 days to election day. join chuck todd for a special hour focused on 2020's most important races and issues.
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steve will be there along with kristen welker and political experts from cnbc and telemundo. so set your dvr right now for "decision 2020: 100 days to go." this sunday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern here at msnbc. this november we will vote in the middle of a global pandemic. and facing foreign threats to election security. coming up, how do we know our votes are secure? wisconsin's attorneys general past and present are working on that. at are you still at risk for a heart attack or stroke? even if you're on a statin? statins may lower some risks, but may not be enough. that's why science delivered vascepa. for people who have persistent cardiovascular risk factors and take a statin only vascepa is clinically proven to provide 25% lower risk from heart attack and stroke. don't take vascepa if you're allergic to icosapent ethyl or any inactive ingredient in vascepa. tell your doctor about any medicines you take, and if you are allergic to fish or shellfish. stop taking vascepa and seek medical help
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breaking news this time right here in new york. michael cohen, president trump's former personal attorney and fixer, had just been sent to prison. now he has been released from prison for the second time. it's been about 24 hours since a judge ruled that the government sent cohen back to prison as retaliation for planning to release a book critical of president trump. mr. cohen is going back to home confinement. we will keep an eye on the story. including waiting for his return
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back at home. we are 102 days from the general election. but politico is warning of some big reasons election day could be a disaster. topping the list, coronavirus. this uncontrolled pandemic would send more fewer polling places. take milwaukee. in a normal year, milwaukee would have about 180 polling places. this year, in its primary, there were five. absentee voting surged, but not every state is providing the option to vote by mail. here's tom costello. >> as of now, 41 states will allow vote by mail in some form this nchb. eight of those states will mail a ballot application in advance, while seven will automatically send the ballot in the mailbox. meanwhile, nine states are still requiring an excuse beyond covid-19 concerns to vote absentee. >> that was tom costullo reporting. joining us is wisconsin's
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attorney general, josh kaul, and also, jb holland, a republican. they're the co-chairs of vote safe wisconsin. an effort to expand absentee voting and polling places despite the pandemic. josh, let me start with you. what lessons are you applying from april's primary to improve how you deal with the november election? >> one of the benefits we have now that we didn't have in april is that we have the benefit of time. the april election happened soon after the pandemic really hit. and so there wasn't as much preparation for it as you would like to see. this election, we have a lot more time, so people who want to vote absentee should know that in wisconsin, it's a secure process, and i encourage folks to request a ballot early and to get it sent in early. but it's also critical that we have safe and ample in-person voting opportunities so that people who want to vote in
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person have that option as well. >> with regards to the safety of voting, jb, some folks have expressed worry about voting in person, but also skepticism about voting by mail. i'm used to voting by mail. i used to live in california where the annual voter guide for the general election is at least as thick as the king james bible. to people who are worried about voting at home, voting by mail, what would you say to them? >> you know, it's very simple and secure in wisconsin. one of the benefits we have is before covid came around, we had a mail-in voting system of absentee ballots that required you to have a witness signature, required you to have a photo i.d., and required you to actually request a ballot. something that's very easy to do, but it's also something that's very secure. something i think satisfies both sides of the political aisle, and i think with general call and myself and our coalition, we are the opportunity to get the message out well in advance of our election so people have the opportunity to take advantage of
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that. >> josh, what is your number one worry with the november election coming up? is it something within your control or beyond your control? >> well, there's a lot of uncertainty right now, particularly given the april election that we had, and that's one of the reasons we're doing this, to raise awareness about the security of absentee voting in wisconsin and about the need to have safe, in-person voting options and a lot of them. as long as we can do that, and particularly if we get support from the federal government so that the local election administrators who are doing the hard work of making these elections happen have the resources we need, if we can do that, i think we're going to be in good shape. >> what kind of support do you most need? is there one thing at the top of the list? >> the biggest thing would be resources. there's a need to open locations. some places have begun paying poll workers more than they normally would. obviously, people need to have cleaning supplies and disinfectant. and if we can get those resources to election
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administrators they're going to be better off and it's going to be a smoother election process. >> can i just put in a plug for poll workers? i don't know anyone who oversees elections in any state who says we have way too many poll workers. if we just had half as many. if you never volunteered to be a poll worker and you're able to, volunteer to. you'll make the entire state's government your best friend. president trump has been pretty relentless in attacking voting by mail, despite the fact he voted by mail in florida's primary. i'm always skeptical as to how to read those kind of broad signs. in a real-world tangible sense, are those critiques actually making your efforts harder or is that just kind of talk off to the side? >> well, i really don't think the comments about voting by mail have a huge impact on us. it's really a vague term, and one of the roles we have, i think, as our coalition is to try to clarify that. we're not talking about mailing ballots to everyone. we're not talking about making sure that the voting is only by
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mail. we like to use the word absentee ballots because that's very clear what that applies to. it's requesting an absentee ballot in wisconsin, submitting that absentee ballot with the required verification. so i don't think wisconsin is really subject to concerns about voting by mail. we just want to make sure that the general public knows how to do it and does it in a timely fashion. >> josh, if there's one thing very briefly you would urge people to bear in mind if they want to vote by mail in wisconsin, what should they know, briefly? >> well, 2.7 million registered voters in wisconsin will be receiving an application in the mail. if you want to vote by mail, you can return that application and a ballot will be sent to you. otherwise, go to the wisconsin election commission website and get the information you need to register if you need to, and to vote. >> wisconsin attorney general josh call and former attorney general jb van holland. good having you both with us. thanks very much. and thank you for making time
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for us this hour. before you go, one last thing. this monday morning, at 11:00 eastern, monday morning at 11:00, craig melvin and our experts will answer more of your questions about coronavirus, specifically about going back to school. you can email your questions to or tweet them at us, use the hashtag "meet the press" hashtag #msnbcanswers. the news continues with katy tur next on msnbc. 49... 50!
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good afternoon. i'm katy tur. it is 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in the east. white house press secretary kayleigh mcenany is holding a white house press briefing. we'll bring you any developments from that as they happen, if that happen. >> also, in a new interview with "the washington post," dr. fauci urged americans to remain vigilant. he also advised that states where the virus is surging should consider their reopening plans. >> in the states that have been trying to open, particularly the southern states which have gotten into trouble, i would say the first thing is you don't necessarily have to go all the way back to a complete shutdown, but you certainly have to call a pause and maybe even a backing up a bit. florida governor ron desantis will be at the white house next hour. one day


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