tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 9, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
short. ohio has set up a poll tracker to you can see where you are needed. young americans have risen to the challenge, which is great. but lots of poll workers are still needed all across the country. check in with your local board of elections and see if they need your help. 25 days to go. that does it for us. rachel is back on monday. i'll see you on "velshi" tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. this weekend we'll learn more about the democrats terror plot against governor gretchen wilmer. lawrence, it's a rare treat for me to be on tv with you. it's nice to see you, my friend. >> it doesn't happen to much, thank you, ali. and good luck in michigan, that's extraordinary story to be covering, i can't wait to see what you come back with on that. >> thank you, sir. >> thanks, ali. donald trump has nothing to do. and he proved that today by spending two hours on talk
radio. he actually spent another half hour on another talk radio show after he did the rush limbaugh show. no previous president in our history would spend presidential time that way. and in his two hours on the radio today with rush by limbau donald trump got a glimpse what have might be his future. spending hours on the radio, competing with rush limbaugh, next year, complaining about president biden and vice president harris and senate majority leader chuck schumer and house speaker nancy pelosi, if the polls showing joe biden with double digit lead are accurate and donald trump and vladimir putin are unable to steal the election, then radio talk show host could be donald trump's best case scenario for next year. the worst case scenario is criminal defendant, which seems a bit more likely today with the latest installment of "the new york times" investigative reporting on donald trump's tax returns showing a mysterious transfer of $21 million from las
vegas to donald trump and possibly illegally to the trump presidential campaign. we'll have more on the possible crimes that could be involved in that transfer of money later in this hour. donald trump and rush limbaugh inadvertently left a very important marker for political historians today, proving that a linchpin of republican governing policy and morality is a complete lie. here is that moment. >> i was in not great shape. and we have a medicine that healed me, that fixed me. it's a great medicine. i'm just saying that we have something that will cure this now, a cure. >> if donald trump was cured of coronavirus with the experimental medicine that he's received, if he was cured, as rush limbaugh so clearly believes he was, if donald trump was cleared as the fox hosts all
believe that he was, then donald trump was cured, his life was saved, by abortion. of course none of the medicine donald trump has taken can be called a cure. we don't know enough about the coronavirus or the medicines to know how helpful they might have been in donald trump's case. and at least two of the medicine he has taken, including the one he publicly raves about the most, were developed using human cells taken from a fetus that was aborted in the 1970s when donald trump was patrolling new york nightclubs instead of the jungles of vietnam thanks to a doctor telling his draft board about a bone spur in donald trump's foot that hasn't bothered him since. so now you know that republican politicians and rush limbaugh
and approximate prop agrandi agrandists -- propagandists. now he's telling us that everything republicans have stood for was a lie. now, i grew up catholic in boston so i know and love people who truly believe abortion is murder. but none of them are politicians. when the sun set today, without a single elected republican anywhere in america objecting to donald trump using medicines derived from abortion, we have reason to believe that they've all been lying about their opposition to fetal stem cell
research that has helped develop many life-improving and life-saving medicines. there are no doubt millions of people in this country who are opposed to any and all abortions. but donald trump is not one of them and never has been. and rush limbaugh is not one of them. rush limbaugh has spent years demonizing democrats for supporting abortion rights and stem cell research using fetal tissue from abortions. and today, rush limbaugh is celebrating that stem cell research that he claimed to oppose. some of the vaccines for coronavirus that are being developed now that donald trump is so excited about have also used cells from an aborted fetus in their development. if a safe and effective vaccine is developed that uses -- that used cells from an aborted fetus in its development, donald trump is going to use that vaccine and
rush limbaugh is going to use that vaccine and the fox propagandists and republican members of congress who say they opposed stem cell research are going to use that vaccine because none of them are really opposed to the abortions that allowed that medical research that has been so valuable and that can save their lives. it was all a lie. that's what donald trump and rush limbaugh left for future historians today. another proof of the utter emptiness of trumpism in the republican party that was able to embrace trumpism, because as it turns out, they were lying about everything and believing in nothing including what professional republicans claimed was their religiously derived opposition to abortion. they lied about abortion to win the votes of people who truly are opposed to abortion. republican party professionals are now opposed to all abortions
except abortions that can help donald trump. that's their position tonight. that's what the republican party's official position on abortion has become as of today. history will show that donald trump did not capture the republican party. he did not convert the republican party. he exposed the professionals in the republican party and showed that there is no lie that they cannot accept. there is no lie that they will not tell for donald trump. donald trump made other news in his hours on the radio today. he discovered live on the air with rush limbaugh that axios reports that the justice department's review of the origins of the russia investigation will not be released before the election. donald trump was clearly shocked by that news. he called it a disgrace. he had previously said that attorney general william barr's service would be judged by whether he brought federal indictments against president barack obama, vice president joe biden, hillary clinton, and
several others before election day. and although that sounds like the rantings of a madman to the same majority of americans, it's just another day on the rush limbaugh radio show. because of donald trump's pathological need to lie about everything, every big thing, and every little tiny thing, the 70-year-old covid patient repeatedly lied about joe biden's age, calling him 78, when joe biden is actually 77. what's so important about that is the relentless desperation of trump lying, in the twisted, sick mind of donald trump, he actually believes lying about joe biden's age by one year is somehow worth doing and worth doing repeatedly. it somehow gets him closer to reelection, in his twisted mind. having completely corrupted the medical credibility of the navy doctor who currently serves as
the president's physician, donald trump is planning to have some kind of public campaign event at the white house tomorrow with an audience that will probably be comprised of republican party staffers and republican congressional staffers who will be all but forced to attend. the republican party chair won't be there, of course, because she has covid-19. tomorrow, donald trump will be proving what joe biden said about him today in las vegas. >> his reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, the destabilizing effect it's having on our government is unconscionable. he didn't take the necessary precautions to protect himself or others. and the longer donald trump is president, the more reckless he gets. how can we trust him to protect this country? governor, you've seen how he picks fights with states and pits them against one another.
look what's happened. more than 210,000 americans are dead. 420,000 have been hospitalized. we lose anywhere from 700 to 1,000 people every single day in america. worse than any country in the world. more than 7.5 million americans have been infected and we're still counting. >> at another event in las vegas today, joe biden stressed the importance of early voting. >> he's trying to scare us. he's trying to convince everybody there's ways they can play with the vote and undermine the vote. they can't. if we show up, we win. and look what's happening in early voting all across america. long lines. long lines. we can't just win. we have to win overwhelmingly so he can't be in a position where he can put the phony challenges in he's talking about. >> leading off our discussion tonight, yamiche alcindor, white
house correspondent for pbs news hour, and jonathan alter, columnivity fcolumn ivity columnist for the daily beast and the author of "jimmy carter: a life." both are msnbc analysts. yamiche, what is going to happen at the white house tomorrow? >> well, what's going to happen at the white house is the president is going to be speaking on a balcony before we think possibly hundreds if not dozens of people. and the people that are coming to the white house tomorrow, they'll be given a mask or be instructed to have masks with them. they're going to be instructed to wear those masks. but they're not going to be tested before they go onto the white house grounds. instead they're going to face a series of questions. they'll have their temperatures checked. what's remarkable about all this, of course, is that the white house is still dealing with a coronavirus outbreak within its own walls. so the most protected place in the united states is not going to be able to protect itself before and it wasn't able to
protect itself now tomorrow. what's also remarkable here is there are staffers who are telling me and other reporters that they're essentially freaking out. there's mayhem at the white house, because so many people are scared, so many people have tested positive. something more than 35 members of the white house staff have now tested positive. that's a remarkable number when you think about the fact that aca lot of these people are young staffers who have been looking to their bosses for direction on how they can navigate this pandemic. but the president is desperate, really, really desperate to get out there. he sees joe biden out on the campaign trail and he wants to see a crowd. so because he can't go on the campaign trail as of now, he's bringing the campaign trail to the white house. >> but jonathan, his campaign now, such as it is, is not even attempting to reach anyone who isn't already voting for him, like the rush limbaugh audience or the fox propaganda audience. there he is with rush limbaugh
today, unbeknownst, because they know nothing about the stem cell research that donald trump is touting, but there they are today leaving this marker for history that everything we've said about tissue obtained through abortion for stem cell research, that was all just a lie because if that abortion can produce tissue that helps donald trump, we're all cool with that. >> well, you know, rush limbaugh, a hypocrite, who knew? i'm not exactly shocked by the hypocrisy of banana republics, i call th -- banana republicans, i call them. i don't think we should lose sight of this tomorrow. it's double trouble. just when you think donald trump has touched bottom, he crashes right through the floor. it's another potential super
spreader event after they just had one in the rose garden. and it's also totally improper if not illegal to hold a campaign rally at the white house. so this is just, you know, a festival of corruption that we're seeing every day. there is something new to shock the conscience. and it just accelerates the pace of outrage in a way that they're trying to disorient democrats and keep them almost paralyzed by their paroxysms of anger. and the clarity here that democrats have to keep in mind is that he must lose by a lot or we have a constitutional crisis. so, you know, winning by three or four points is not going to do it. and that lends a kind of historic quality to the next three weeks.
>> yeah, as jonathan says, joe biden is stressing that, that we're going to have to win by a lot to put this thing beyond legal challenge in court. latest pew polls showing joe biden ten points up, 52-42, biden being above 50 in these polls is increasingly important as the days close in on this. and there's more, in the "new york times" reporting about polls in other states, saying new polls show mr. trump's support is collapsing nationally as he alienates women, seniors, and suburbanites. he's trailing not just in must-win battlegrounds but according to private gop surveys he is repelling independents to the point where mr. biden has drawn closer in solidly red states including montana, kansas, and missouri. that's according to people who have seen that internal republican polling data. and yamiche, are you picking up
that at the white house, that they are aware of this very troubling, for them, republican polling, inside the system republican polling showing they're in trouble in republican states? >> on the surface the white house insists that this polling that shows president trump behind in some key battleground states as well as nationally as well as among seniors and so many other constituencies that helped them in 2016, they're saying, don't believe the polls, the polls were wrong in 2016, he's ain in a good place, he tr his instincts. in you talk to his supporters, they're very concerned by calling off covid-19 relief funds in the middle of a pandemic where millions of americans are looking for jobs, where the federal reserve chairman says if there isn't a
stimulus package, that the economy could falter. and that of course is also in some ways is continuing to want to be out there even though he is infected with the coronavirus. so there are people who are very, very worried about the fact that the president doesn't seem to really understand the situation and doesn't really seem to understand that there are a lot of americans, republican and democrat, who are looking at the federal government for guidance and looking for the federal government to say how are we going to get through this as an american country, apart from the policies, how can i trust this person to lead us through a pandemic and a crisis. and there are a lot of republicans, women and seniors that i've talked to personally, who said, yes, i might have liked the president at the beginning, he got us a supreme court nomination, but now i've had pretty much enough with the antics. >> jonathan, we've got less than four weeks left and you have a candidate who doesn't even know how to help himself, destroying any possibility of a coronavirus relief package which is money that people need in their hands,
is very clearly all on him. and then he kind of reopened negotiations today, but he was negotiating with rush limbaugh on the radio, saying, oh, i'm in favor of more than i said i would be in favor of before. so he's contradicting his previous positions, and people who are not rush limbaugh fans know why that money is not coming their way. >> you know, the senate doesn't come back until october 19. so time is getting short. it takes about two weeks to get those checks out and into people's hands. obviously trump wants to buy as many votes as he can with a stimulus as close to the election as he can. but he might be running out of runway here. don't underestimate, though, his ability to try to cut a check to every american. and the computers in washington are pretty good about getting them out fast. so he might still pull this
stimulus out. and that could help him. and also, you know, because of the last stimulus, many americans, a majority of americans, believe they're better off than they were four years ago, which is a troubling indicator. there are many good indicators for democrats. but that's a troubling one for them. and there is still a path to trump winning this election that goes through pennsylvania. so complacency would not be in order at this point. >> jonathan alter, yamiche alcindor, thank you very much for starting off the discussion this friday night, i appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, dr. anthony fauci is speaking more freely as election day looms, calling a trump event as a super spreader. donald trump is planning another campaign event at the white house tomorrow that could be his next super spreader. after this break we'll have more on the infected covid patient who escaped from walter reed medical center and who will be
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with what may be only 25 days left in donald trump's full grip on white house power before a transition to the biden administration, today dr. anthony fauci was willing to call a super spreader a super spreader. >> we had a super spreader event in the white house. and it was in a situation where people were crowded together, and were not wearing masks. so the data speak for themselves. >> if donald trump is out of office next year, dr. fauci will surely take on an even more prominent role in fighting the coronavirus and an army of lying trump operatives will try to fade into the woodwork in washington and home that ten years from now in their republican party jobs or their corporate jobs, they will hope
that no one remembers the lies they told on behalf of donald trump and the harm that they personally helped donald trump do, including the ways in which they helped donald trump make millions of people even more vulnerable to the coronavirus by constantly lying about what we needed to know about it and do about it. one of the hundreds of people in washington who is going to want you to forget what he did and what he said for donald trump is deputy white house press secretary ryan morganstern who tried to lie his way past hallie jackson on msnbc today. >> when was the the president's last negative test prior to his diagnosis? >> so we don't have that. >> you don't know or you don't want to say? >> so, uh, we don't have that. well, i don't personally know. >> right. what does that mean? >> there are --
>> on wednesday you said you were going to look into that. >> hallie, the president doesn't check all of his hipaa rights at the door when he becomes president. >> so it's a privacy thing, the reason why you're not saying the last negative test, hipaa? >> so that is one reason. >> did the president at least comply with the cleveland clinic debate requirements to be tested before the debate? yes or no, do you have an answer? >> joining our discussion, dr. vin gupta, global health official, he is an msnbc medical contributor. and doctor, it's so important that -- so brian morganstern never, never, ever came close to answering the question, when is the last time donald trump tested negative before you
reported he tested positive. he tried to behind behind hipaa which they use selectively for some of the information and they hide behind it on other answers. but why is that such an important question? >> good evening, lawrence. let me tell you why it's important. today we got even more proof directly from the president that he is suffering the ill effects of severe covid-19 pneumonia. he said, quote unquote, there was some conche chesgestion in when asked whether he had had a cat scan of his lungs. there were reports he had oxygen saturations -- i've been monitoring my own oxygen saturations with a pulse oximeter, i'll get back to that in a second. he had less than 94%, he's short of breath, he's being treated as if he has had severe covid-19 pneumonia. why does that matter?
number one, if what was happening on fox today resembled anything like a post-covid-19 followup covid-19 visit, we would have gotten a six-minute walk test. we slap one of these guys onto the president, walk him for six minutes, take him up the white house stairs, see what he does, does that oxygen level dip? chest x-rays, as hallie was trying to do, let's get an actual swab that can give us a sense of how infectious he may or may not be. the fact that we don't have that shows what a sham this exam was on fox news. i want to make sure the american people know, that is not modern medicine. that's not medicine that's practiced in pulmonary clinics across the country. i don't want people to feel like they're losing faith in the process. there is a process. number two, they're conflating resolution of systems with a lack of infectivity. lawrence, this is important for tomorrow. just because you might feel better, and in the president's
case, he had a cough on fox, he seemed a little less energetic. it does not mean he's not a harm to others. he had severe covid-19 pneumonia. he should be isolating for 20 days according to cdc guidelines. >> the white house is scheduling an event tomorrow where they're hoping to get up to 2,000 people. that would be even more than the number of people who showed up at what dr. fauci is calling the super spreader event a couple of saturdays ago for the announcement of the supreme court nominee. 2,000 people, white house south lawn, tomorrow, with the president. >> i feel for dr. fauci. and i am here expressing the anger of everybody here in public health, those of us on the front lines. this is dereliction of duty. he is putting at risk individuals who want to see him. they're fans of his. they're supporters of his. they're taking him at his word. i'm feeling okay, therefore i'm not a harm to you. that's false.
that's sending a misleading message to the american people that if you've had covid-19, severe covid-19 pneumonia, the second you feel better, you're not a harm to others? that is false. the president should not be propagating that rumor or that lie. he should be actually extolling the truth and be an advocate for the truth to protect us, not to harm us. that's really misleading. i hope anybody who is considering that event tomorrow at the white house lawn, do not go if you care about your own health or the health of your loved ones. >> in the next trump event that he's planning, monday in florida, that means air force one, that means plenty of staff, that means a lot of people on the plane with the president. that means people on the helicopter with him on the way to the plane. what precautions should they take if the president cannot be stopped from this idea? >> if you have to accompany the president because it's your job and you're not able to say no to the president or resign, which is what i would recommend, you
should try to get your hands on a well-fitting n95 masks. i'm saying this to all the president's inner circle here. do what's right for your family, your loved ones, and yourself, equally importantly. get an n95 mask. do what you can to save your life and potential exposure and make sure you're testing yourself on the front end and on the back end with a high quality test. that's the least you can do. and if you can, try to avoid the president on the flight. >> dr. vin gupta, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. >> thank you. up next, donald trump is running for reelection like a very sick man on steroids who is afraid of becoming a criminal defendant next year if he is not still the president of the united states. the new potential criminal case against donald trump is next. a giant on the supreme court has died. how do trump and mcconnell respond? they swoop right in to put a justice in the seat for life. why? the president says it right out loud;
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the "new york times's" latest reporting, showing how money from a las vegas hotel that donald trump appears to co-own, quote, flowed in a chain of transactions to several trump-controlled companies and then directly to mr. trump himself. "the new york times" consulted a tax law professor at new york university school of law who raised legal questions about the $21 million. unless the payments were for actual business expenses, he said, claiming a tax deduction for them would be illegal. if they were not legitimate and were also used to fund mr. trump's presidential run, they could be considered illegal campaign contributions. joining us is glenn kirschner, a
former prosecutor and msnbc legal analyst. glenn, as i was reading that story i was wondering what does a federal prosecutor see in that reporting by "the new york times." >> good evening, lawrence. and you can't draw a definitive conclusion based on the reporting that donald trump committed potentially more tax felonies, tax evasion, campaign finance violations, just as you can't look at a tax return in isolation or in a vacuum and conclude that somebody committed crimes. you have to look at all of the underlying financial documents. you have to run collateral interviews to see if what's in those documents is accurate or not. but boy, when you read the reporting, it sure looks potentially criminal. and, you know, if you commit federal tax evasion, one count, you're looking at five years. if you file, you know, multiple false tax returns, that is five years per. and a judge in his or her
discretion could run those sentences consecutive to one another. you know, five years on top of five years, it adds up pretty quickly. then of course he's also potentially looking at state tax violations. new york state, of course, has been investigating him. cy vance, the manhattan d.a.'s office. he seems to have a little bit of a head start over the feds. now, in new york, if you commit tax fraud or tax evasion, it can be a misdemeanor or it can go all the way up to 25 years in prison. so it looks like this is yet another potential crime that we can put in the donald trump criminal bucket. >> the "times" is reporting on money that was needed for the campaign. there's a lot of reporting about how the campaign was in trouble for money. and of course we all remember that donald trump, lying that he was a billionaire, was telling his followers at the beginning of the campaign that he was going to pay for the entire
campaign himself. and we're going to hear him say that on video now, and he's talking about how he was refusing contributions from friends of his, in this case phil ruffin who is the person who is involved in transferring that $21 million that "the times" is tracking in the article. let's listen to donald trump lying about how he was going to finance his campaign. >> he's driving me crazy. he said, donald, i want to put $10 million into your campaign. i said, phil, i don't want your money, i don't want to do it, i'm self-funding. every time i see him, it's hard for me to turn down money because that's not what i've done my whole life, i grab and grab and grab. >> dmrglenn, according to "the york times," he kept grabbing, he did not self-fund his campaign. >> his lips are moving, lawrence, so i'm skeptical of what's coming out of his mouth. when we see reporting about the
possible donald trump crime du jour, it takes me back to when i was a federal prosecutor at the dcu attorney's office, when i had a defendant, some of them reminded me of donald trump, who had committed so many crimes, you would be surprised, some of these men, generally men, my defendants were, would commit, eight, ten, 12, 15 crimes. and what i had to do was figure out which were the most important, which were the most readily provable, which should i go after first, because we can't lose sight of the fact that you can only imprison a man for but one lifetime. lawrence, when you look at what donald trump has done, on the public reporting, whether it's the conspiracy to committee campaign finance violations with michael cohen, whether it's obstructing justice times ten as meticulously documented by bob mueller in volume 2 of the trump/russia report, whether it is obstructing congressional inquiries my telling all of the executive branch officials, do not comply with lawfully issued
congressional subpoenas, that's a crime. that's witness tampering. marie i don't have yovanovich, actually testifying to congress. you have in my opinion, as a 22-year homicide prosecutor, tens of thousands of involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide offences based on his horrible abdication of his responsibilities to handle the coronavirus pandemic. you can only confine a man for but one lifetime. where do we start? it's going to be an embarrassment of riches beginning in january. >> glenn kirchner, you've just expanded the possible list of criminal liabilities facing the president if joe biden is
inaugurated. mine was about half as long as that. glenn kirchner, thank you very much for joining us, we really appreciate it. up next, the terrorist plot against the governor of michigan is now a criminal federal and state case against 13 accused terrorists in michigan. our next guest says the michigan arrests will not stop white supremacists from continuing to plot terrorist kidnappings and murders. into a smaller life? are your asthma treatments just not enough? then see what could open up for you with fasenra. it is not a steroid or inhaler. it is not a rescue medicine or for other eosinophilic conditions. it's an add-on injection for people 12 and up with asthma driven by eosinophils. nearly 7 out of 10 adults with asthma may have elevated eosinophils. fasenra is designed to target and remove eosinophils, a key cause of asthma. it helps to prevent asthma attacks, improve breathing,
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incites more domestic terror. and i'm not the only governor going through this. certainly it's been worse for me than most. but it is not unique to me. it is not even unique to democrats. this white house has a duty to call it out and they won't do it. in fact they encourage it. >> kathleen ballou is an expert on the white power movement that likes to falsely call itself a militia. she warns the plot against governor whitmer will not be the last such threat, writing in "the washington post" today, it's part of a rising tide of white power activity, one that poses an imminent danger to american democracy. the department of homeland security's threat assessment report released earlier this week after a long wait made that clear. white power movement violence and affiliated extremism is by far the greatest terrorist threat to our nation. in "the washington post" today,
she gave a chilling list. so here's a partial list of violence white power activists have caused or attempted since the early 1980s: detonating a nuclear power plant with a bomb. stealing military weapons including antitank weapons from military posts and armories. assassination of political opponents. assassination of state troopers, federal judges, people who make multicultural television shows, and fbi agents. murder of unfaithful women. murder of people in interracial relationships. trying and hanging of elected officials, journalists. attempts to steal surface to air missiles. bombing of gas lines. bombing of the hoover dam. bombing of bridges. bombing of synagogues. and bombing of the oklahoma city federal building. they succeeded at that, in
oklahoma city, killing 168 people, not all of them federal workers. 19 children were killed by honorably discharged army veteran timothy mcveigh in the bombing of the oklahoma city federal building. those children were at the day-care center in the building. eight federal law enforcement agents were killed that day. timothy mcveigh started down the road to terrorist mass murder when he got involved in a group that called itself the michigan militia. kathleen ballou, the author of "bring the war home: the white power movement and paramilitary america," will join our discussion next. go go go on a real vacation. visit go rving.com or your nearest rv dealer.
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but despite the rising pain and anguish made worse during the pandemic, insurance companies still refused to cover mental health and addiction treatment. until now. senator scott wiener went to work - taking them on. passing a law requiring the insurance industry to cover mental health and addiction treatment. now more than ever, californians need mental health coverage. i won't let up until the stigma of mental health and addiction is finally over. well, the fbi is breaking up a terrorist plot against the governor of michigan. at least one member of local law
enforcement is more sympathetic to the accused terrorists than the fbi. listen to sheriff darr leaf who knows some of these accused terrorists. >> it's just a charge and they say a plot to kid nap. and you've got to remember are they trying to kid nap because a lot of people are angry with the governor and they want her arrested, so are they trying to arrest or was it a kid nap attempt? in michigan if it's a felony, you can make a felony arrest. >> sounds like a sheriff who won't be breaking up any terrorist plots anytime soon. joining us now is the assistant professor of history at the university of chicago. she's the author of "bring the war home, the white power movement and paramilitary america." professor, i'd like to begin with what we just heard with this sheriff, local sheriff in michigan. what was your reaction to that? >> you know, this as many parts
of the story harkens back to a much longer history of white power movement and militia activism that gives us a road map for understanding the onslaught of what seems just like a crazy amount of news in the covid moment. here we have a local sheriff who is defending the right of a militia to enforce the law in some capacity. now, all 50 states have laws on the books against exactly this. militias are not allowed to do the work of policing. they are not allowed to do the work of law enforcement or soldiering in any of our states. and some states have additional restrictions against things like parading in public with firearms, intimidating with weapons or conspiracy to deprive others of civil rights through intimidation, say, at the polling place. but we also have a long history at people of the level of local sheriff and these kinds of movements supporting this kind of action. in fact, there's a long string
of action along a group which believes in no legitimate law enforcement higher than the level of local sheriff. so there's a way this all fits within this longer history and this longer play book of white power and militia activism. >> as you were speaking, professor, on the screen we saw photographs of this sheriff at rallies with some of these defendants. it's up there on the screen again showing you just how powerful the overlap is. he's friends with some of these people. the distinction between the accused and the sheriff is not so clear tonight. >> i think the distinction is that the sheriff is a law enforcement officer and the militias are not. now, whether that sheriff is exercising his duty is a different question. and we have safe guards around that. but there's no safeguard around mulas vegas activity in this way beyond the actual prosecution under the law. but we've seen several incidents
nationwide of malaysia members being treated as sort of neutral arbiters of the law or neutral ga guarantors of law and order. one might think of the reports of malaysia men holding protesters for arrest in portland. one might think of the militia men who were so heavily armed around the unite the right rallies in charlottesville that the virginia governor said he couldn't send in police to protect counter demonstrators because they were outgunned. i mean, these groups never neutral. they are always part of intimidation and violence threats. and some of them as we see this week stray further along that path towards domestic extremism and domestic terror. now, the plot to kid nap the michigan governor is not new. these sorts of ideas about kidnapping judges, state troopers, federal agents, elected officials and holding
them for trial. and i should note that for trial although it's not clear in this case in the past "for trial" was thought to mean for trial by hanging or via oak tree. so there's a very real chance what they meant by that was not just trial but execution. these kinds of things have appeared to as many times in the past the militia of montana sought this kind of strategy, and so did other white power groups like the order earlier in the 1980s. we've been with this movement for decades if not generations. and the question is why is it still here? why have we as a society not confronted this threat? >> what is your reaction to governor whitmer saying she believes donald trump has been encouraging this threat? >> i think that's right. i think even in the most generous interpretation of what the president has said in the last, you know, weeks, months and years, just take the example last week at the debate and the proud boys comment.
it's possible i suppose in the most generous interpretation that he meant to tell that group to stand down. but he didn't say stand down. he said standby. and people in militias, white power groups and elsewhere have been effectively called to arms by the president's comments. his own department of homeland security and fbi have outlined that domestic terror from white supremacist extremists and affiliated groups is now the largest source of terrorist violence in the american homeland. more than what he calls antifa and the left, more than extremist jihadism. and they also say in a report that came out this week that 2019 was the most violent, the most fatal year for this kind of violence since the oklahoma city bombing in 1995. now, that bombing was the largest mass casualty event on american soil between pearl
harbor and 9/11. but most people still don't know that this is part of a movement. that bombing was not just a one off event, but it's part of a social movement with deep, broad roots in our society. >> professor gets tonight's last word. thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. well, good evening once again as we bring another week to a close. day 1,359 of the trump administration. 25 days until our presidential election day with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases now rising rapidly across much of our country. tomorrow the president who was still recovering from the coronavirus who still may be contagious and shedding virus is scheduled to hold his first event since his release from the hospital five days ago.