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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 14, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST

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fracturing, but the outcome in the senate an open question. the entire political world is waiting to see what mitch mcconnell will do. the republican leader's refusal to publicly come out for or against convicting the president has left his caucus stuck in a holding pattern. eight days after inciting the deadly riot on capitol hill, the president isolated and lashing out at those who abandoned him is trying to prevent a senate conviction and wash away his own responsibility by releasing a white house video message condemning violence. the impeachment trial now likely after the inaugural is another major challenge for joe biden as the president-elect tries to unite the country and focus on the economy and the coronavirus pandemic. nbc chief white house correspondent and "weekend today" co-host kristen welker joins me. nbc capitol hill correspondent case yu hunt. jim messina. and adam jefferson, a former
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senior aide to harry reed and author of "kill switch: the rise of the modern senate and the crippling of american democracy." kristen welker, first to you. the problems are piling up around the president. he seems very much in a bunker in the white house for these remaining six days. fewer allies to defend him publicly during this last week in office. what is your reporting telling you? >> reporter: well, i think you hit the nail on the head, andrea. this is a president who is increasingly isolated with few allies and advisers around him. and just to paint a picture of the stark difference between this second impeachment and the first, during the first impeachment, andrea, there were legal advisers, top aides buzzing all around the west wing, aides who were eager to flood the airwaves with talking points and to defend the president. they were putting a legal strategy and a legal team together. and in the second impeachment, yesterday could not have been more starkly different. there were very few advisers
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here behind the scenes in the west wing. it is not clear who will be on his legal team. among the names that have been floated, rudy giuliani, alan dershowitz. i spoke with alan earlier today. i've been speaking to him frequently to try to get a sense of whether he's had any contact with the trump administration and he says so far no one from the trump orbit has even reached out to him about a potential senate trial, andrea, all while behind the scenes we know that the president has been focused on trying to rehabilitate not only his brand but frankly his legacy. that is what drove him to the border earlier this week when he touted the border wall. we understand that he is contemplating giving at least one, maybe two other speeches that will focus on highlighting what he sees as his key accomplishments. but, andrea, this puts him in history in a way that he would never want to be, the first president to be impeached twice. even though ten house republicans joined with democrats on the impeachment
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effort, it was still the most bipartisan impeachment in u.s. history. now, polling shows that republicans broadly still support president trump, but we know that he is really fuming behind the scenes as all of this is coming down and he's increasingly talking about potential pardons, which i am told could come any day now. but of course they're still working out the fine details. so no specific time line on when that might happen, andrea. >> very briefly, i know you've been in touch with him in the past very frequently. rudy giuliani, is the president actually beginning to question the judgment of rudy giuliani? >> reporter: well, i think that this is one of those instances, and we haven't confirmed that reporting independently, andrea, and in fact i spoke to one person close to the president who pushed back on that narrative a bit. but this is one of those instances that because the president is in such a bunker, he's lashing out intermittently at those around him. so if that is, in fact, the
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case, it would fit into that broader narrative. we know that rudy giuliani has been one of his starkest allies, andrea. he was the one defending him, and those baseless claims that there was widespread voter fraud. so it's hard to see that there would be any type of permanent rift, but the focus is now on rudy giuliani and what if any role he might play in a senate trial, andrea. >> indeed. important context there. thanks very much, kristen and kasie, everyone wants to know what is mitch mcconnell going to do. he's not ready to show his cards, understandably. he's trying to assess the impact of whatever he does on the senate caucus. what is your reporting? >> reporter: that's right, andrea. he's being very careful about his next move. i think the reality here is that this is still moving very quickly. we have six days left until joe biden is set to be inaugurated and we know it will be a tense and potentially difficult six
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days with possible violent events perhaps going town fold or certainly that we have been warned about by law enforcement, not just here in washington but also in state capitals across the country. to a certain extent, leaving the door open to voting to convict the president is a way of sending the message that he needs to not do what he did last wednesday. he needs to not incite this further. we of course saw that video last night that seemed to suggest that's the message the president has received, that he knows he is in danger of being convicted in the senate. but it is, of course, a difficult political situation for these republicans despite the fact that there was the siege last week. you saw that on display in the house vote yesterday with only ten willing to come out and vote to impeach the president in public. my reporting suggests that if this was a secret ballot you would have seen far more republicans move to vote to impeach the president, but they're still making political calculations that their voters
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support him. now, in the senate, there is considerable anger and fury, really, at what the president incited those rioters to do. the senators' lives were very much at stake. but that said, it is difficult as one source put it to me, i'm having a hard time counting to 17, this person said. that of course is the key number of votes it would take to actually convict president trump. now, if mcconnell were to vote to convict, i think the math changes quickly and it's almost impossible to see how they could convict without mcconnell leading the charge on that among republicans. and perhaps it is something that he'll do, take donald trump off the field forever, purge him from the party. but right now, we just don't know his next move. >> adam, you spent years with harry reed, the democratic leader, trying to guess what mitch mcconnell's next move would be. your guest is better than most. >> yeah.
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i think as kasie said, this is a fluid situation. if i had to guess right now, i would say that he and senate republicans will not vote to convict. that's highly contingent on trump's behavior. if he goes quietly on january 20th, i think that he will be able to get out of this without being convicted in the senate. i'm not 100% confident in that prediction, but if i have to make one, that's what i would predict. one of the indications of this was senator rob portman of ohio who put out a statement yesterday that seemed to heavily lean in the direction of saying that one of the considerations he was going to be looking at during the trial was what was best for unity, which to my read suggests he's leaning against conviction. the reason that's important is that he could be the bellwether here. he's sometimes regarded as a
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moderate, but his record doesn't back that up. but he's up for re-election in 2022 in ohio. looking at him as the tipping point senator is instructive here. it seems like at the moment he is leaning against conviction. >> that's very interesting. ohio, of course, such a key state, especially for republicans. excuse me. yamiche, the president's had only ten defections and the impeachment vote, significant but certainly the overwhelming number of house members were still voting to support him. what about the fact that even close ally kevin mccarthy belatedly calling the president out for his behavior? let's listen. >> for several hours last week, mob law tried to interfere with constitutional law. some say the riots were caused by antifa. there's absolutely no evidence
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of that. and conservatives should be the first to say so. >> yamiche, this is the first time that he publicly also made it very clear that joe biden is going to be the next pltd. he was the stronger supporter and enabler of the president for so long. that's a significant departure. >> it is a significant departure. what we saw yesterday and are seeing today is president trump's marred legacy becoming more tarnished with the fact he is the first president in u.s. history to be impeached twice. kevin mccarthy said yesterday on the house floor what he had told president trump privately according to my sources. he had been arguing with the president, getting into shouting matches with the president, telling him that he should have condemned the violence sooner, that he should have spoken out earlier when we saw the siege on the capitol. what we're seeing is of course kevin did not vote to impeach the president. so what you see there is this sort of war going on in the gop
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where you see people using strong language but stopping almost short of -- and stopping short of saying that the president should be impeached, making all sorts of defenses including this was a rushed process, this is a political process. what i'm hearing from my sources is that there is this feeling of course that president trump is increasingly isolated, talking to alan dershowitz, much like kristen, he told me that he feels like president trump had the right to say what he had to say but that it was not right to actually say it. as a result, you see gop members really, really struggling with defending the president. i was talking to a source yesterday, someone who worked on president trump's campaign, who said that he was heckled when someone overheard him at an airport say vice president pence did the right thing. you see the republican party wanting to say president trump was wrong but having to contend with people like the woman who heckled this man at the airport with his big gop base, not sure how many of them, who see the president and think he did say
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the right thing, that the words inscribed in the articles of impeachment, they should have been fighting on, those words that created a mob that then stormed the capitol, that those words are things they see as right and the right way for the gop party. so we'll have to continue to see how this works out. but mccarthy saying that there explains to you the issues ahead. >> and what he's trying to straddle, because as you point out, the base is still -- a lot of the base at least is still very much with president trump. jim, this is a political, complex political challenge for joe biden. you were with president obama. he came in his first term juggling the financial crisis, the worst in recent history, health reform. the president-elect has even more than that on his plate, and now impeachment. >> it's really true. he walks into the presidency with historic challenges, with really difficult divide in this country. his entire rationale of his candidacy, the reason he won is
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he was the person who could bring the country together. his early actions as president-elect, naming a moderate cabinet and bringing people together and continuing to preach peace here, he's trying to be the anti-trump. when you get into offices we did, i remember at one point in 2009 when everything was going wrong on the economy and everything else, vice president biden said, jim, what's next? pestilence? it seems every single day there's another challenge. and i think that's going to be the story of his first hundred days in office is he's got to grapple with all these things. and, you know, the senate trial just puts another thing into play here. and, you know, i tend to agree with my friend and former reed staffer, when i doubt the republicans are going to actually move here. i mean, i love these 11th-hour death row conversions that the republicans are doing. washington only understands one thing and that is power. and they know donald trump doesn't have any in six days, so after four years of aiding and abetting the president on
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everything, kevin mccarthy gives a speech and people are, like, yelling, oh, my gosh, he's finally starting to get it. what he gets is he's got to straddle the line we just talked about. he's a guy who was so close to president trump that president trump nicknamed him my little kevin. now he's trying to have his cake and eat it too, calm his base down, moderate voters that he understands what's coming here. this is the hurdle republicans will have to deal with as they start to engage on new president-elect biden's challenges he has as he walks into the white house. >> a challenge on all fronts. kasie, a real concern that congresswoman micah shero of new jersey made in her comments to rachel maddow last night on whether people touring the capitol had inside help to figure out where things were before the rioters. let's watch. >> what was so shocking is actually as you mentioned, visitors aren't allowed in the capitol complex. the only reason you have a
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visitor is on official business. so to see these groups around the capitol complex was really striking. my chief of staff called the sergeant at arms to say what is going on? and he reiterated the only way these people could have gotten into the capitol complex was with a member or members, staff. and we now know that those violent groups that attacked the capitol complex had inside knowledge of the capitol grounds. >> kasie, she's a navy veteran, has military experience. are other people looking into whether there were insiders helping the rioters? >> yes. she's also not an alarmist or known to be an alarmist. i think this is one of the things that's really got a lot of people on capitol hill concerned. and obviously, this is something that we're reporting out, being very careful as we report it out. but there are these questions to be asked and there are investigations under way as to how much of this information was
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obtained, whether wit lig or unwittingly there was assistance from inside the building. and obviously the difference between those two things is one of intent and matters a lot. but also even if it was unwitting, there's a security concern there because it's clear, as we've talked about, andrea, these people knew what they were looking for. they knew where to go. there were reports ahead of time they had maps of the tunnels. that's something that conceivably you could figure out a way to get without having a member of congress give you a tour. but all those unmarked doors and all these tiny hallways, you know, i think i said earlier this week talking to you, i find places all the time in the capitol that i've never soon and i've been working there on and off for a decade. this is something that scared everyone on the hill and we're going to be talking about it for weeks to come. >> yes. like the cacatacombs. you can get lost easily even with familiar terrain. thank you all very much.
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be sure to watch yamiche tomorrow night as she takes the chair for the second time moderating "washington week" on pbs. we'll all be watching. thank you all. high alert. serious security threats inway wa and across the country in advance of joe biden's inauguration next week. what authorities are doing to prevent attacks by extremist groups. ng ] [ gasping ] skip to cold relief fast with alka seltzer plus severe power fast fizz. dissolves quickly, instantly ready to start working. ♪ oh, what a relief it is ♪ so fast.
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for the first time since the civil war, national guard troops set up barracks bivouacking on the house of the floor ahead of an impeachment vote. the country is in high alert as federal and local law enforcement agencies are bracing for more violence ahead of the inauguration. facebook is indicating they have signals saying the siege on the capitol was a galvanizing event and the fbi has told law enforcement agencies around the country to be prepared for armed protest in their own state capitals this week as 20,000 troops are expected to deploy for the inauguration next week, more than the number of service members in iraq and afghanistan. michael leiter, former director of the national counterterrorism center and nbc reporter brandy as well. you see the security around us in d.c. you're an expert in deterring foreign terror, but you
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certainly know the game plan for these domestic terrorists as well. is this enough of a deterrent? >> it's a difficult group of individuals to deter right now. these are scenes you'd expect in cairo or islamabad, not in downtown washington, d.c. it's quite clear that the capitol police and others were ill prepared for the 6th. the 14 days has given them everything they need to now be in a good position to defend the inauguration. i actually have no real concern with the area around the mall and the capitol. the presence of the troops, the coordination by the secret service, i think that's going to be probably one of the safest places to be in the country. i think the much more difficult areas to defend are those state capitols, some of which have extremely lax rules and laws around firearms, as well as those less defended places away from the capitol. those are still a real challenge
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for state and local officials and the fbi to support them. >> and brandy, how do you keep track of all these groups? you've been writing today that the statehouses around the country could be targets, much softer targets as michael indicated. what are the kind of threats they're receiving and how do you patrol social media when the groups migrating to new forms of communication? >> yeah. so the threats that we know about right now are really general. it's not like on the 6th where we saw specific targeted plans. the fbi sent the memo and generic planned protests and that's what we're seeing online as well, generic flyers about stop the steal protests or second amendment protests or refuse to be silenced protests. they're the usual people,
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militia members, anti-government people. they invoke ashli babbitt, who was killed on wednesday when they stormed the capitol. we don't know which might spur real-world events. what's happened online at least, facebook has kicked these people off the platform, the militia and others. they've gone to smaller apps like parlor or gab. parlor is out and gab is useless because it's running on old dial-up speed, basically. so what they've done is now the most radicalized people are moving to encrypted apps like telegram. that means it's a secret chat that we can't really monitor the channel. the ones we can monitor we're trying to do so. again, the threats are still the same, really general stuff that's concerning but not specific. but because they were caught so off guard on the 6th, you can see local and state-level law
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enforcement really taking it seriously. >> michael, what are the options for law enforcement with encrypted apps? this has been a problem that fbi officials have been complaining about, going over that with jim comey. >> yeah. before jim comey, bob mueller when he was director of the fbi. the availability of encrypted communications is really a challenge for the u.s. intelligence community and law enforcement. that is one of many challenges they face. to be clear, this is a hard problem no matter what. try to find that very careful dividing line between protected first amendment activity in the united states and moving towards violence. this is a challenging area for federal law enforcement. second, let's face it, the law enforcement intelligence community has been under attack by the trump administration for four years. the very people we now need to
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protect us are the ones who are so risk averse and frightened, and i think that's why some of the preparations on the 6th were so lax. finally, this is hard when you have established political leadership in place. none of that exists, not at the department of homeland security, the department of justice, the department of defense, so exactly the leadership we need is absent right now. it's going to be a real challenge for the biden administration coming in to get their arms around all these programs as hard as they're working on that during the transition. >> all right. that's a really important point. michael leiter, that's invaluable. brandy, your knowledge of these groups as well. thank you both so much for being here today. we do have some breaking news now on the issue of migrant children separated from their parents. the justice department inspector general just out with a new report on the trump administration's separation policies. nbc news correspondents jacob soboroff and julia ainsley are
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joining us now. they've been on this jointly for the last four years. jacob, what are you learning? >> well, andrea, a couple things. one is i want to say that this report confirms our earlier reporting that not only did health and human services know about the consequences of family separations, the tremendous trauma and consequences of family separations, not only did the department of homeland security know, but the department of justice was warned. they did not coordinate with career prosecutors on the ground. more importantly, doj pressured dhs to move forward with this policy. perhaps most significantly, that's me looking at the hundreds of thousands ultimately of separated children, ultimately what we're seeing here is that gene hamilton, counselor to jeff sessions, who was the attorney general at the time, directly blames the president of the united states and then secretary of homeland security kirstjen nielsen for
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moving forward with this policy. i have the report here. i want to read a bit to you. he says explicitly, i want to make sure i'm clear that if secretary nielsen and dhs did not want to refer people with minors, children, we wouldn't have prosecuted them because they wouldn't have referred them. ultimately, that decision would be between secretary nielsen and the president, not the department of justice. so very explicit finger pointing from a close ally of steven miller at the president of the united states directly for moving forward with this policy that ultimately separated thousands of migrant children from their parents. we're still going through the report right now, andrea. >> julia, rod rosenstein, has he responded to this report? >> yes, he has. and he is named in this report quite a few times. jacob mentions the pressure from doj. there was an april 28th meeting where rosenstein, sessions, and hamilton sat down with then
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secretary kirstjen nielsen saying the dhs needed to start separating families because they wanted to increase prosecutions at the border. rosenstein has responded and i'm going to read you his full statement because i think it says a lot about the way the former deputy attorney general is reviewing his time under this administration in whole. he says, "my department of justice colleagues and i face unprecedented challenges, unlike any i had experienced serving as a u.s. attorney under presidents bush and obama. i stayed in the job two years to help protect the integrity of elections, defend if rule of law and preserve the department's independence. since leaving the department i've often asked myself what we should have done differently and no issue has dominated my thinking more than a zero-tolerance immigration policy. it was a failed policy that never should have been proposed or implemented. i wish we had all done better." that's coming from former deputy attorney general rod rosenstein.
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really, his response is quite striking. after you read this report and see what a role he had, there were u.s. attorneys at the border, andrea, calling the justice department, getting on phone calls with rosenstein, saying how young is too young? we're seeing mothers breast-feeding their children come into our courtrooms and they were told by the deputy attorney general no age is too young to separate and prosecute. >> wow. let's you say, jacob, what about these families that are still separated? >> it's a critical question. i'm glad you asked. just yesterday we found out -- just yesterday we found out the latest number, the most recent number. there are still -- this is why this is so important. there are still 611 families separated at the height of this policy. some were separated more than three years ago. who the government still has not been able to locate.
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611. ultimately, that's because the lawyers say the trump administration handled over bad data, faulty data. and so when we talk about, you know, why is this report all these years later important, that you have justice department officials fingering the president directly as responsible for this policy, the consequences of the policy for the families are still playing out on a daily basis. the trauma is being compounded. the idea that the federal government still can't find 611 of those families, literally get them on the phone, is what is at the heart of all of this. >> and the lives that are being affected for the rest of their lives, the children as well as the parents. >> that's right. . >> jacob soboroff, you've written the book on this. julia ainsley, all of your reporting, the combination of the two of youpowerful. thank you both. it reinforces the need for inspectors general, which fortunately was in place here, but in most departments they've been fired or eliminated by this administration. joining me now, new york
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democratic senator keirsten. gillibrand. i want to talk about impeachment and more. but let's react first to this. you're an attorney. you were a united states senator. it is disgraceful. 611 families still separated, the children from their parents. you've got young kids. any human being has to react to this. >> andrea, i agree with you. i think it's an outrage. it is something so inhumane and morally wrong. it's just one of the many scars that president trump has put on this nation that will take a long time to heal. we need to reunite those families. we need to do the work it takes to find the families and put them back together again. i think his policy from the beginning was extremely harmful not only to the rule of law but to the moral compass of this country. i look forward to president
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biden restoring our name and position in the world and also having a far more humanitarian-based policy for immigration in this country. >> we've got bar codes on packages being delivered across the nation, especially as people are in lockdown. and we can track packages but we can't track children. on to impeachment, mitch mcconnell, what is your read of what's going to happen? the chuck schumer obviously has his hands full trying to figure out when and if there will be a senate trial. >> so mitch has refused to call everyone back in until the 19th, and so he i think will leave the impeachment trial to senator schumer. we are obligated under the constitution to actually conduct a trial because the article of impeachment has been voted for and sent over from the house. and so our job is to review that article of impeachment, to
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conduct a trial, and to decide on conviction. this is a very simple allegation. it is incitement to insurrection. we could conduct a trial in a very short amount of time because the evidence that's needed is pretty direct. it's president trump's own statements. it is how the violent mob reacted to those statements. and that is the presentation of the case. so i think, andrea, we could conduct a trial in a very relatively short time. this article of impeachment is nothing like the previous articles of impeachment, which were highly complex, relied on multiple witnesses, multiple documents. the allegations themselves were complex. this is a simple and direct case. i think we could do the trial fairly quickly. we also could, if given the okay from the parliamentarian conduct the trial at the same time we were putting through president
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biden's nominees for his cabinet and government. we could do both things at the same time. we could also be able to pass a very large covid relief package in the immediate days. we could even address the impeachment trial after a few legislative days on president biden's most urgent priorities, which would include money going to the cities and the states across the country, money going for vaccines and for a health force, money for our first responders and our health care system and for people who are unemployed. so i think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. i think we can do both these things together. but that will be up to both the parliamentarian and senator schumer deciding what's the best approach after inauguration. >> and do you think the inauguration can be held safely
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including especially the swearing-in outdoors? >> i do. we have our greatest security minds who have been working on this since may. they understand what happened on january 6th. we are far more prepared and have a strategy for safety and security for every person who is present. i do believe the presence of the national guard around the capitol is a real show of force and is creating a sense of calmness as well as a sense of security. so i do have faith that our teams on the ground will be able to allow for a peaceful transition of power and an inauguration that people cannot only be inspired by but be proud of. >> senator keirsten gillibrand, thank you very much. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. in just six days joe biden
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becomes president of the united states. what are his plans for the rollout of the vaccine?
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so you can kiss wrinkles goodbye! neutrogena®. the president-elect will be delivering remarks later tonight outlining his plan to vaccinate the american people and deliver an economic rescue plan. this comes as the u.s. recorded its deadliest week in pandemic so far with nearly 4,000 deaths on wednesday alone. joining me now from wilmington, delaware, nbc news white house correspondent geoff bennett. what do we know about the president's plans in the speech tonight? >> reporter: the president-elect is set to unveil his action plan to combat the coronavirus crisis, and he's vowing as president to pick up the pace of vaccinations by releasing all available doses, even those coronavirus vaccine second doses on reserve. that is an approach that the trump administration initially criticized but ultimately supported and has since adopted.
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he's also calling for the federal government to set up mass vaccination sites, and he wants to send mobile units into hard-to-reach parts of the country. he's calling on congress to pay for it. he's set to introduce a more than $1 trillion covid relief deal, and included in that funding it would boost those direct payments, those $600 checks, to $2,000. he also wants to pump more money directly to states to help local efforts to combat the coronavirus crisis and of course fill those depleted state coffers. included in that, too, is also extensions for unemployment insurance and then help for small business owners and help for renters too. i'll tell you, andrea, one detail i happened upon as i was doing some reporting today, really stopped me in my tracks, when joe biden is sworn in next wednesday, that will also mark one year since the first covid case was diagnosed here in the u.s., andrea. >> that is pretty stunning. i just wanted to also note that
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nbc news is now confirming reports that jaime harrison, who started out as an aide from orangeburg, south carolina, to jim clyburn in the house, worked in the dnc and broke every record in raising money for his unsuccessful bid to unseat lindsey graham in south carolina, is going to be tapped by joe biden to head the democratic national party. >> yeah. i got that text as i was coming out here to speak with you too. look, jaime harrison is well-known within the dnc, the former state party chair, democratic state party chair in south carolina. he lost that race to lindsey graham, obviously, but he emergencied from that process with a national profile and with a broad base of support, including from james clyburn, the close aide or adviser, rather top supporter of joe biden. i'm told that congressman clyburn was in jaime harrison's corner on all of this. andrea? >> from the beginning.
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jaime harrison formerly headed the south carolina democratic party and he of course was an aide to biden on the hill. thank you so much, geoff bennett. and how for more on the vaccine front, the co-director of the center for vaccine development at texas children's hospital is joiing me now. thanks very much. we're in week one, really, of a national bring it all out, put it all out, 65 and up. you know, i got mine on tuesday when d.c. opened it up. so what are the data showing you about how this is going to proceed? i'm confident that moderna and fiz rer going to have enough doses for second doses. >> yeah. we've got a pretty daunting task ahead of us, andrea. remember, we've squandered every opportunity to control covid-19. now we're backed into a corner. all we're left now is the strategy to vaccinate our way out of this. we have no choice.
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we have to make this work. it means according to our calculations roughly 240 million americans have to be vaccinated, three-quarters of the u.s. population, from now until the end of august. and with doses you're looking at roughly 2 million americans every day for the next eight months. and we just don't have the infrastructure in place right now. so that's what i'm looking for with the biden administration to announce tonight. i put out a piece in "the washington post" earlier this week and kind of articulated what i think has to happen. we've got to expand our vaccination infrastructure. i think the pharmacy chains, i'm happy they stepped up and are willing to do it and the hospital chains, but that won't be enough. we're going to need massively expanded vaccination hubs. we've got to use high throughput. and with that, we have to make it simple. we've learned over the last year that our health system cannot tolerate complicated things. if we start making things too
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fussy, everything grinds to a halt. so simple, streamlined rules and guidelines i think over 65, underlying health conditions is not a bad way to go. but the minute we have some complexity, it tends to halt things. then we're going to need more vaccines. i do not think the mrna technology is robust enough in terms of production to give us all the vaccines we need. we'll need other vaccines to get up. i'm hoping we'll hear from johnson & johnson pretty soon about their vaccine, maybe astrazeneca/oxford. we have a vaccine. novavax has one. we'll have to have all three stars aligned if we're serious about vaccinating the american people. >> and what about johnson & johnson? that's a one-dose shot and so far at least from preliminary reports from the trials we haven't seen, you know, the peer review data, but so far it seems that they are on the right track. >> johnson & johnson looks like a pretty exciting vaccine.
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the two doses do look better, no question about it from the phase one and phase two trials they published yesterday in "new england journal of medicine." so we'll have to see how they're going to roll that out. you know, it does seem to show some promise as a single dose, but i wouldn't rule out the possibility of a second dose might be required for that one as well. most of our vaccines are multiple doses. it's only the live replicating virus like yellow fever or measles that we can do a single dose. so let's see how that goes. the point is it's a welcomed addition, looks like a good vaccine. we'll need others as well. then of course we'll have to put in place a communication strategy, which we don't have. you know, there's just a lot of confusion around these vaccines and why they're safe and they they're effective and when we'll need boosters. that all has to be communicated to the american people as well. >> i'm going to tell you, having gone through the system and how complicated the websites are, it's really, really tricky to
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get through this process even for people who are, you know, computer literal and have the access. meanwhile, democratic congressman of new york treat 2013ed this morning he has tested positive for covid-19 after receiving the second dose of a vaccine last week. what do we need to know about the level of immunity? this is not just after receiving the first dose. he's already gone presumably at least a month since his first dose. >> the vaccines look like that protect almost 100% against serious illness. that's the good news. we do not know the extent it protects asymptomatic transmissions. we'll be working on that for the next few months to get a better handle on it. i'm hoping it does also have a big impact on decreasing asymptomatic transmission, and i
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think it will. so i don't know the details of the congressman's case, but hopefully that's not going to be a common event. >> how much of concern is the uk variant and other variants which are more contagious? >> yeah. first of all, let me just address your point about going to sign up, xupters. i mean, we cannot, again, make this the least bit fussy. if we start requiring password protection and that sort of thing, it's going to fail. we're going to have to remember that we cannot do complicated things in this country, at least for now. we've got to make this as simple as possible and streamline it and really focus on that high throughput. this has to be all hands on deck. with regard to the oxford -- the uk variant, yeah, these viruses are mutating. we're doing studies now with our vaccine as are other groups to look to see that the uk variant and the south african variant is also susceptible to the vaccine, that there won't be any decrease
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in effectiveness. i'm pretty optimistic about that. but one of the other ways we've underachieved as a nation is we're rowing about 0.3% as opposed to the uk. we've only done 50,000 virus genomes in this country. we should be at 10 million especially for a country that has the world's largest capacity for genome sequencing. it was practically invented here. that's another important piece the biden administration will have to fix, ramping up a system where we can get 10 million virus genome sequences. when that happens, i'm pretty confident we'll see other variants that are similar to the uk already popping up in the u.s. but, again, we have to stop coming up small in our national response to this epidemic. what i'm hoping to hear from the biden administration is a firm commitment that the u.s. government is here to play and going to intervene in a big way
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and not this nonsense of insisting on leaving everything to the states, who never have the intellectual and epidemiological horsepower to know how to control covid-19. >> that's a strong statement but warranted. we've the lack of a federal response on contact tracing, on it'sing. and now on the rollout of the vaccine as well. thank you so much, dr. peter hotes, an invaluable expert for us. we'll be right back, stay with us on msnbc. with ultra-thin layers, that turn liquid to gel. and lock it inside. for protection i barely feel. always discreet.
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the president spent months lying to his supporters about an election he claims from stolen from him, rhetoric that became a rallying cry for rioters storming the capitol. in a "new york times" column noted historian timothy schneider explains how he believes trump's assault on the truth damages our democracy, writing post truth is prefascism, when we give up on truth we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. and he's the author of 20
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lessons from the 20th century. thank you so much for being with us. i've been arguing, without your academic credentials at all, that what we were seeing on the capitol, the t-shirts, the anti semitism, the white separatism as toxic as that is is partly the result of this denial of truth. denial of the reality. you've connected the two, the denial of truth to fascism. >> well, a basic element of fascism is that you take the messiness of everyday life, the complicatedness of everyday life and you replace it with a few or maybe just one big simple claim. a big lie which is the foundation of a story that explains everything, the big lie which is so false that it divides the believers from the non-believers and a big lie which is about something so important that if you believe in it then of course you feel compelled towards action or towards violent action. this is part of the story of the collapse of democracy in the first part of the 20th century
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and i'm afraid it's part of our story now too. >> what are the sources of this in our society, that make so many people vulnerable to their own reality? >> yeah, i mean, you suggested already, a historical source, which is that -- there is a falsehood deep within the way a lot of americans, especially white americans think about history. we don't think enough about, or we think wrongly about or we deny how undemocratic our society has often been towards african-americans in particular. when we don't recognize that part of our history, then we have a tendency to think, well, only people like us should be represented, or as the white supremacists in the capitol said, this is our house. it doesn't belong to the voters, to all americans, it only belongs to us. in the last decade or so, there's been another source, which is social media. social media has killed local
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news, which once helped keep people together by giving them common sets of facts about what mattered to them and social media draws us towards the things that get us excited, towards the things that we already believe. so mr. trump has been a kind of master of both of those traditions. he's been a master of telling his people that they're the only good americans and he's been a master of using social media to arouse people and to treat others as enemies. >> how fragile is our democracy after four years, at least, of lies being told from the oval office, from the podium in the white house, from the state department, places where we always expected at least fax based reporting, from the intelligence leaders, how factual are we now? >> i mean, i think if we're honest about it we recognize that democracy is always fragile. democracies usually come apart. if we're honest about it, more self-critical, we realize that
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there's nothing magical about america, nothing exceptional about america. if we want democracy then we have to decide that we stand for democracy, and as we've been saying all along, if we want to have a democracy into the future then we have to say we care about factuality, we care about truth, we care about supporting the press, especially the local press and the courageous people who make it their calling to bring us the truth. if our democracy's fragile now, then it was also fragile, let's be honest, four years ago, we're seeing mr. trump hasten us to the culmination of a lot of problems that we've already had. this is horrible. it's horrible to watch a scene in which our capitol is invaded and in which people's lives were at risk. this could have been much worse. but we can also see this as an opportunity, as an opportunity to understand ourselves better, our history better, and to take some clear steps to try to move ourselves towards being a better democracy. >> and how much responsibility do others in the republican
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party and the senate have who are denying the reality, even denying the reality of the biden victory? >> they bear a huge amount of responsibility. i mean, we could take it as given that mr. trump was going to lie and tell a big lie. in fact, he was saying all summer and all fall that whatever the results were he was going to claim victory. he was basically predicting his own lie. we can count on that. you're very much right, i mean, the problem is that the vast majority of congressional republicans went along with the story in one way or another. they gave it oxygen in november and december. and thanks to that above all tens of millions of americans came to believe it. if republicans had said in november, okay, we lost the election, time to move on, the big lie would never have gotten off the ground. and this, by the way, suggests a simple solution. if republicans want to get beyond trumpism they can do something which is going to be painful for a moment, but feel good in the long run, which is
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just tell the simple truth about the election. >> timethy snyder, thanks for being with us. and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports," kasie hunt is in for chuck todd, up next on "mtp daily," only on msnbc. if it's thursday what happens to this country next? after the president's second impeachment. mitch mcconnell won't rule out a conviction, and president-elect biden is set to speak in prime time as washington braces for both a transition and a trial amid historic threats of violence and unrest. plus, in a taped address the president urges his supporters to remain peaceful. but is it too little too late after so many lies about our election were embraced by so many? and, new dire warnings from the white house coronavirus task force as