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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  January 17, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST

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♪♪ good day, everyone. from here in new york, we're approaching high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west, welcome to "weekends with alex witt." we begin with this thought in 72 hours at this moment, exactly three days from now, joe biden will be sworn in as president of the united states. but right now breaking news, the nation's capital on high alert. officials are anticipating mass protests today, as we've said, just 72 hours from joe biden being sworn in as number 46. this comes as we're seeing for the very first time dramatic new video from that january 6th attack on capitol hill. this is absolutely stunning, everyone. it has never been before aired on our network. it's shot by a reporter from "the new yorker." it gives us a look at what happened on the senate floor and what was on the minds of those
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rioters as they were storming our nation's capitol. >> what the [ bleep ] are they? >> you have to understand, we can't lose the war. >> we're better than that. information operation. >> there's got to be something in here we can use against these scumbags. >> yeah! >> hawley, cruz, i think cruz would want us to do that. >> "the new yorker" posted this video on its website this morning. it was taken by a journalist who
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was right there in the midst of the rioters. parts of this video really give us a greater, much more clear sense of the thinking behind the actions. what these people are saying during moments of this video, it is at times absolutely chilling and, again, it is a ground-level view. it has beyond what we have already seen. we're going to get reaction to some of the more pointed things we're hearing on the video in a few minutes. first, new reaction today from a house democrat who says members of congress may be complicit in those attacks. >> i still have those concerns and i do believe there were some members of congress who were complicit in this. i have watched things in the recent days. i have gone back and looked at speeches made by some members, and i'm telling you, those speeches were designed to incite. >> we have reporters fanned out across the country covering
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every angle with america on edge and some of those correspondents are joining us this hour as we keep watch on the capitol in case -- across this country. we're going to start with allison barber who is in washington. what's it looking like on the ground at this hour and what's the latest on the investigation into those rioters? >> reporter: hey, alex. i want to show you some of what we're seeing. we're past one of the other perimeters where you can only get into this area with certain credentials. you can see the military police vehicles. if we look through this gate together, you can get a sense of just how intense the security is beyond the perimeter. this is the second security perimeter. there is another perimeter within this area. you can see there is razor wire wrapped around the top of it. you can see there's some of the hundreds of national guards members who have traveled to the district to protect the united states capitol. the national guard tells us they have 15,000 airmen and soldiers on the ground right now. that number is growing every minute, every day.
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by inauguration day, there will be 25,000 guardsmen on the ground from all 50 states, three u.s. territories, as well as the district of columbia. all of this is happening as we are getting more information, more video from the siege that took place on january 6th. as you mentioned earlier, "the new yorker" has released new video that we have not seen before. i want to play some of it for you right now. >> watch out! >> go! go! >> easy, easy. [ bleep ] you, police.
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>> go, go! let's go! >> whose house? >> reporter: the fbi is still looking for many of the rioters that have been seen in so many videos. if you walk around d.c., you see a lot of billboards where they have photos from that day asking the public to call for information. so far, the fbi has opened over 315 criminal investigations into the insurrection. they have arrested over a hundred people and they have received some 150,000 tips from the public. i want to show you guys down
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here, there's security checkpoints all across d.c. this is one of them. we know at least two people have been stopped and arrested at checkpoints just like this one in the last 24 hours. last night a virginia man who said he was working as a security officer, security guard in the d.c. area was arrested at a checkpoint after stopping he said to ask for directions from police. he said he had forgotten he had a gun and 500-plus rounds of ammunition in his car. that gun was legally registered in d.c. he was arrested and told to stay away from d.c. and within the last 30 minutes or so, we learned of a second arrest, a woman presented some sort of military challenge coin, said she was law enforcement, and then started to try to leave the scene as police were trying to speak with her. they arrested that woman and she's undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. >> thank you very much. chilling video that you've shared with us. we're going to have a lot more
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of that today. let's go to josh lederman in washington, d.c. there's a new report from the "new york times," it claims that people are paying trump aides thousands of dollars for pardons. what do we know about this? >> reporter: the awesome ability to be able to pardon whoever he or she chooses with the president of the united states. but those who have access to the president, his longtime aides as well as former attorneys who have worked for him have been peddling their access to the president to try to bring in money from convicted felons who want a pardon, if they pay these intermediaries, they might be able to ask mr. trump to grant a commutation in his final days in the office. the white house is not commenting on this and nbc news has not confirmed what the "new york times" is reporting. but this report from "the times"
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drawing on interviews and information from more than 30 lobbyists and attorneys here. and one example that jumped out to me, alex, a former cia officer who was convicted of especially making -- disclosing classified information paid a longtime trump campaign adviser 50 grand with the promise he might be able to secure a pardon and an offer of another 50 grand if that pardon actually went through. and that officer also told that rudy giuliani might be able to secure a pardon for a fee of $2 million. giuliani is disputing that reporting. if someone were to pay president trump for a pardon, that could potentially violate bribery laws. however, there are no laws that say that somebody with access to president trump can't make money essentially lobbying on someone else's behalf.
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this is an unregulated area but we could see at a minimum the use of the pardon power to be able to reward associates of the president or to be able to create opportunities for them to make money is certainly not the intended purpose of the pardon power which is of course to grant mercy to those who deserve it. >> i'm looking at this article as you're talking. you were speaking of that former cia officer. we're going to have michael schmitt onto talk about all that they have found in this extraordinary report within the "new york times" and pick up on that right now with senator ben cardin. thank you so much. democratic member of the foreign relations and finance committees. senator, what do you make of that report? have you gotten to look at it again? it's a report from the "new york times" talking about the kind of lobbying that is under way for people to get pardons, you have rudy giuliani's name, john dowd, a former cia officer, specifically the one to whom
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josh was referring. the fact that thousands of dollars can pass through people that are technically lobbyists to funnel access for pardons, for any number of malfeasance occurings, what are your thoughts on that? >> it's good to be with you. what i've said before -- and it's sort of being reinforced now, this is a very dangerous person who is president of the united states. every day he's in office, he's -- he can cause additional harm to our country. we recognize that. the way he's handling these pardons shouldn't surprise any of us but it should shock the fact that a person who is president of the united states would act in this way and put his own interest ahead of the country's interests. 72 hours is a long time. we know on january 20th we'll have a new president. but we have to recognize that there's nothing beyond what president trump would do for his own benefit. >> and, senator, i have to say that rudy giuliani has issued a
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statement denying any part of this article of being his work. these rioters are looking for lawmakers, looking for whatever they could to find to, quote, use against them. is this, first of all, the first time you're seeing exactly this up close what happened on the senate floor and what's your reaction? >> alex, when i see them on the senate floor in front of my desk and this incredibly sacred place, what they're doing, the insurrection becomes even more personal and even more clear. there's no question that they had the opportunity to engage a member of congress, god knows what would have happened. clearly they were attempting to overthrow our government. this is an insurrection. we're getting more and more details about it and how close we came to our own personal
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safety being compromised and clearly the safety of our democracy. >> yeah, i imagine, senator, you've been -- that's been your office since 2007. it must feel absolutely personal. speaking of personal, there is one point in this video where one of the rioters is heard on camera saying, quote, i think cruz would want us to do this. senator cruz, senator hawley have been facing growing calls to resign for their role in the january 6th events. you heard your colleague joe manchin who was asked if he would support the removal of those senators, this through the 14th amendment. to ban seditionists from holding office. here is his response. take a listen, sir. >> we should look, absolutely. basically, that should be a consideration. he should -- he understands that. ted is a very bright individual and i get along fine with ted.
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but what he did was totally outside of the realm of our responsibilities or our privileges. >> do you agree, senator? do you want to see these colleagues of yours, these two republican senators removed? >> i want to see anyone who has responsibility for what happened in that insurrection held accountable, whether it's the president of the united states, whether it's the rioters who entered the building or members of the congress, the house or the senate. it's clear to me that the objections that were raised to the counting of the ballots was against the constitutional oath that my colleagues took. clearly there needs to be consequences. there already have been consequences as you've seen by some of the commercial transactions that have been canceled. the voters of course ultimately have their -- the final word. but we need to continue this investigation and find out whether there are additional links with members of congress having responsibility. >> among the capitol hill rioters, of course, some were
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wearing anti-semitic clothing. speaker pelosi addressing one of them on friday. here's part of that, sir. okay. senator, i'm sorry. we don't have that. here's what we do have. it was a new op-ed in the jewish times saying we can no longer be a haven of hate. what went through your mind seeing so many symbols of hate outside of our united states capitol a week ago wednesday? how do we as a country fight this? >> there's no question when the white supremacists acted in charlottesville and the president of the united states did not take direct action to say that this will not be tolerated, that i felt more vulnerable and i think all americans felt more vulnerable. whether it's based upon race or religion or ethnic background, there's no question that this movement that these white supremacists were part of were aimed at all of us, and this is
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not what america's about. america's values are our strength, they've been compromised during these past four years and we've always had racists in our country, but they were given a degree of legitimacy and platform that never should have happened in our country. >> senator, do you have any security concerns as we head into the week of joe biden's inauguration? >> well, i do believe that the capitol will be safe for the inauguration. you can see by the presence that are there. but, look, i think we have unleashed hate in this country and we need now to have leaders and joe biden will be that leader, they'll make it clear, we won't tolerate any hate in this nation and we recognize that we're all in this together, we have to work to make sure that we keep our country safe. >> may i speak about the upcoming impeachment trial. democrats need 17 republican votes. "politico" is reporting, gop
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senators largely without guidance. will they vote their conscience and would that translates to votes to impeachment? >> i certainly hope so. there's nothing more fundamental to our responsibilities as united states senators, we're jurors. that judgment cannot be clouded by ou party affiliation or by the outside political environment. we need to do what is correct and clearly encouraging an insurrection against our nation, there's nothing more fundamentally wrong for a person to be involved in that. so i do hope that we'll get the independent judgment. i hope we can handle this trial quickly. we are already seeing a lot of the evidence, including the videos that you're showing a little bit earlier, this will all be brought out during the trial. >> to that point, does it serve democrats to start immediately? is that your expectation or wait as more evidence, to your point, is further gathered. look at this video we're showing
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today from the new yorker reporter? it is extraordinary and quite damning. >> an impeachment trial has to be of the highest priority. we need to start it as quickly as possible. it doesn't mean we can't do other business. we want to make sure that president biden has his cabinet confirmed as quickly as possible, we take up the covid relief package and make sure we get the covid vaccines distributed as quickly as possible. so we need to take up that agenda as well as the trial. but the trial is of the highest priority. we need to -- the articles have been transmitted to the senate. under our rules, we take it up immediately. >> maryland senator ben cardin, thank you so much. >> thank you. two-thirds of republicans in today's nbc news poll say the capitol siege has not changed their feelings about president trump and only 5% now regret having supported the president. but over time will more republicans condemn him for it? thoughts from dan rather next. .
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with just three days until he's sworn in as president, joe biden is wasting no time, the president-elect planning to sign a flurry of executive actions within hours of taking office, undoing several trump era policies. let's go to ali vitali. what will president biden tackle on day one? >> reporter: look, alex, in this new memo that we've obtained from incoming white house chief of staff ron klain to incoming white house senior staff, they are listing a wide array of agenda items, things that we heard president-elect biden talk about on the campaign trail. we heard them emphasized during these days of the transition, but we're getting a sense of what the first ten days will look like as biden pushes ahead with his agenda and accomplishes the parts of it that he can do through executive actions. i want the control room to pull up what they want to do on day one. you're going to recognize a lot of these agenda items, reserving
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the muslim ban, rejoining the paris climate accord, extending limits on evictions and moratorium of student loan payments, americans are going to have to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his administration and order agencies to figure out how to reunite the children that are still separated from their parents when they came to the border, seeking to reverse a lot of the things that president trump was known for during his administration, but they circle back to the four core idea of the crises facing this country, covid, racial injustice, the ongoing economic and climate change. the things that this transition team wants to tackle, there's the things that are written and the things that are not. there's two things that really struck me as not being in this proposal. the first is that you look at
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the core four crises that they talk about and this is what the conversation has been from the early days of the general election and all the way through the transition. this memo may as well have been written a few weeks ago, let alone just released in the last few days. and the second thing is it doesn't include any mention of the insurrection on capitol hill and the resulting impeachment that's moved through the house and should be headed to the senate during joe biden's early days in office. listen to how ron klain talked about tackling those two things, the agenda items that they want to focus on and the things that are leftover from the trump era. >> it's important for the senate to do its constitutional duty but to do its constitutional duty to move forward on these appointments, on the urgent action the country needs. during the last time president trump was tried, the senate was able to hold confirmation hearings for nominees during the morning. it was able to conduct other business. i hope that the senate leaders on a bipartisan basis find a way to move forward on all of their responsibilities. this impeachment trial is one of them.
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but getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities. >> reporter: and, alex, again, you hear klain turning the conversation to making covid the top priority. that's something we've seen them talk about. what the main difference is going to be, even as they watch the inauguration, it's going to be seeing this group of people, the incoming administration, not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. all of the covid precautions that are being taken during this inauguration, they're going to be fully on display and that's going to be the top priority here. >> indeed it will. thank you for that. check out the front page of the dothan eagle in alabama today, examining the legacy of donald trump, looking at race relations, his pandemic response, immigration and border security there. dan rather is joining me right now, legendary journalist and author of "what unites us."
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one of my father's favorite books. we're going to start right there. can any part of trump's legacy be seen as patriotic? >> frankly, i think the short answer is no. as you ask that question, i was thinking, i can't think of a single thing. on the basis of what we now know and, by the way, i think a lot more will be coming out as the months and years go by, particularly about what happened, how it happened and who led that assault on the capitol. but right now i can't see any way that the trump presidency, the legacy of his presidency is going to be -- that he lead one of if not the worst presidential administrations in the history of the country, primarily because he deliberately further divided the country rather than made any real effort to try to unify the country. but, you know, we have a moment of reckoning now for the country and for the republican party and for that matter, what the trump
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legacy is going to be, that no one and foresee what's going to happen over the next few days. but i repeat for emphasis, i think the most important thing that can happen, which isn't to say that it will happen, every republican officeholder in the country, federal and state, repeat joe biden won the election. the election was not stolen. it was fair and free. that would help a lot. i don't expect that we'll see that. but that would be a very good start to things. >> yeah. >> continue these investigations about what happened at the capitol, as you revealed on this program with the new video that was just made public today, there's so much we don't know about that assault on the capitol and i hope i'm wrong. but i think the more we find out, the more we're going to see that we just barely avoided a really -- a scene of great bloodshed. there was bloodshed as it was. and this is going to effect the trump legacy. i think it will define his
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legacy. >> if you put all of this into context, do you think this country will be locked in a season of insurrection for a long time? and if so, what price should trump pay for his role? >> first of all, i have more confidence in the american people overall. i don't think that we're going to be locked in a season of insurrection. that isn't to say that i think that it's all over and we won't have other incidents and perhaps very serious incidents. but i think we're better than what we saw on that assault on the capitol. the price that trump would say, it isn't for me to say. it's important that -- that president trump was responsible. he didn't start a lot of what we're now seeing, but he was responsible for most of it and he has to pay some price. whether that will be a conviction on the senate --
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impeachment or not, it takes a two-thirds in the vote, it's hard to imagine that happening. but the price that trump should play is having this stigma of this capitol assault laid right at his doorstep for now and forever more. >> what about the increasing evidence that the insurrection was a well-planned event? are you surprised by the thousands, the volume of people who traveled to the capitol to proudly take part in this? >> well, i can't say that i'm totally surprised. i certainly am disappointed and appalled by it. alex, president trump in particular and the republican party as a whole, they've been playing with racial divisions in the country, outright white nationalism, crazy conspiracy theories, grievances, lies and propaganda, they lit these fires of hate. no one should have been surprised that this happened. what i'm surprised about is how
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little resistance that the capitol police put up, how little planning there was to keep this from happening as we dig deeper into it. i hope i'm wrong. but i think we're going to find out it was much better organized by some leadership elements than we now know and i repeat for emphasize, i think it was a close call. it could have been a really bloody occasion and that's the reason we need to learn the facts about this. it's going to be tough for president biden to have an impeachment trial in the senate going on, investigations about what happened in the capitol. at the same time he needs to get a jump start to his presidency. so as we go forward in the next few days and weeks, it's a critical time for the country, it's a moment for reckoning for our country, and for that matter, especially for the republican party. >> yeah. dan, i want to remind our viewers of this, we're going to show what it looks like, the peaceful transfer of power. what it looked like in 2008. that's when george w. bush
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invited the obamas to the white house and then we're going to see joe biden and barack obama, trump's inauguration in 2017, by the way, that was two months after obama formally met with trump. that was two days after the election. take a listen. >> i just had the opportunity to have an excellent conversation with president-elect trump. it was wide-ranging. we talked about some of the organizational issues in setting up a white house. we talked about foreign policy. we talked about domestic policy. and as i said last night, my number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful. >> and, of course, dan, america's not seen anything like that in 2020. not going to see it in 2021. what message do you think the world takes away from the optics
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of this year's transfer of power? >> i'm really sorry to say it, but i think it's true, what the world sees is that we are a giant who is wounded, that -- much of the world just can't believe what they're saying. we're known the world over, even by our sworn enemies, as a country that makes a peaceful transfer of power at the top, of the sorts you just saw when president trump was coming into office with former president obama. president trump has deliberately said to his own countrymen in the world, i'm not taking any part of that. and the optics of what happened here, what will happen with this inauguration, frankly, for our country, not very good. in fact, they're terrible. these optics are going to echo through future generations. they will in some ways define our era, but there we are. >> dan rather, it's always such a pleasure to speak with you on the broadcast. come see me again very soon.
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thank you so much, dan. coming up next -- michigan militia called off plans to protest today. why? out of fear. and what they're afraid of might surprise you. the rx crafted by lexus. get 0.9% financing on the 2021 rx 350. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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state capitols coast to coast are under tight security today. thousands of national guard troops have been activated across several cities, along with local law enforcement. the fbi warned all 50 states of possible violence ahead of inauguration day. and we're in michigan's capitol in lansing. what are you seeing there? what are the big worries about demonstrations? >> reporter: hey, alex, as you can see, an enormous security presence here. we've got the national guard and the lansing police department here blocking off the streets, surrounding this entire area. once you get up to the capitol property, the michigan state
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police are gathered and very visible in large groups. they've been walking around the perimeter, biking around the perimeter. there are some folks starting to gather on the lawn here. there are several dozen people you can see there. we saw a number of armed individuals, folks with long guns, individuals that seem to be members of the boogaloo boys, blue lives matter flags, trump flags. but it seems like the security presence is outnumbering the demonstrators and as you well know, this is not a new sight for the michigan capitol. there have been a number of armed protests. here's the interesting plot twist. i was covering armed rallies here in the lead-up to the election and i reached out to some of my contacts and militia groups and right-wing groups and none of the folks i reached out to are near here today until after inauguration, including the american patriot council which is one of the groups that
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organized some of the bigger rallies you saw here last year. i spoke to the leader of the southeast michigan volunteer militia who just days ago was saying he was going to be here with his members, there would be thousands of people here. since then, he has backtracked. he says he told his members not to be here. i want you to take a listen to some of his concerns. >> what we saw last week in washington, d.c., was just beyond what we would ever hope for, beyond what we would ever settle for. the type of violence we saw is unacceptable and we wanted no part of a repeat performance here in michigan. >> reporter: he said his team did a security assessment and determined it would not be safe for them to be here. he was hearing that members of the proud boys and boogaloo bays would be here and he didn't want
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to be a part of that for safety reasons but also sort of to protect the brand, alex. he was concerned that malitias would get blamed for any issues that happened here. i just spoke to someone from the michigan state police who told me that the mood has shifted since what they saw on january 6th. although, michigan is used to these kinds of protests and demonstrations, he does not want to see what happened in d.c. happening here which is why you see this very large security presence. he says the level of preparedness is unprecedented here, alex. >> yeah, dasha, your cameraman zoomed in. can you give us an approximate number of people there. >> reporter: when we first got here, people started to gather here around noon, there were a
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couple dozen. now it looks like there are maybe 100 to 200 people here so far. and, yes, long guns are not an uncommon sight here at the michigan state capitol. folks are very passionate about their second amendment rights here. but last week, the capitol commission did ban open carry inside the capitol, beforehand that was perfectly legal. some lawmakers say that that did not go far enough. concealed carry is still allowed inside the building. right now that capitol is closed. there's a fence around the building and as you see, a lot of protection here, alex. >> indeed. dasha burns in lansing. thank you for that. new polling shows president trump's approval rating remains relatively unchanged even after being impeached twice and inciting a deadly riot. trump's approval stands at 43%. that's just one point less than it was in 2017. among republicans, 87% approve
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of the president. joining me now, republican strategist and senior adviser for the lincoln project, founder of the national voter protection action found, and former congressman from florida and msnbc political contributor. hi, guys. extraordinary numbers. we have that and video to show you equally extraordinary. dawn, you first, the reaction to these numbers, after all that has happened these past four years, donald trump's approval rating is down one point from when he first entered office. >> who are they going to be in a post donald trump era? right now they're the party of donald trump. there's really no disputing that. susan has been talking about it for a long time. the lincoln project is an important partner in deciding whose party this will be. but right now, there's no dispute that it will be the party of donald trump. i think that presents a bigger
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problem for our country. this is not about economic anxiety. this is not about whether or not joe biden and democrats are going to expand the size of government. republicans are really going to have to figure out what is that score principle that they stand for? right now, they stand for sedition, voter suppression and white supremacy, and it's hard to detach their core fundamental values from what we're seeing in these radical extremists. >> the numbers, 87% of republicans approving of this president. only 11% disapprove. what does that tell you about the republican party today and also moving forward, is it now the party of trump, or at least for the foreseeable future? >> i love this conversation because intuitively, i associate myself with don's comments. if we put ourselves in red-colored glasses, the republican party is performing at the same historical levels of strength that has for the past 20 years. yes, donald trump has lost the
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white house and, yes, the house and senate belong to democrats. but we're talking around the margins. the republicans who are there today feel as though their message has worked. and so the self-re-election that's required regarding the identity of the republican party, is it the trump party? they're not feeling that incentive, that pull for self-reflection. in the long lens of history, and i would say for many of us who are viewing it through the short lens, they're making a fatal mistake. this is a party that sold any ideological principles it had at the altar of one man. >> three days from the inauguration, new polling is showing only 61% of americans believe biden won the election legitly. among republicans, 74% believing his victory is not legitimate. what does that tell you about how polarized we are as a nation? >> polarized and as david said,
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they're following a cult personality and the question is what happens on january 21st? there's a unique opportunity for some republicans to move from this idea of nationalism to patriotism. we can get behind the covid vaccination program proposed by president-elect biden, we can do things legislatively that will help the rest of the country in getting through this difficult time, both medically and economically, but it is a challenge. and there is no doubt we are polarized. but don mentioned the lincoln project, it was about taking -- removing donald trump from office, not getting him re-elected and also taking down his enablers. but his enablers were re-elected, a good majority of them. no matter what we tried. and so it really comes down to can the republicans decide that they actually are a party of core values and principles? because under donald trump, they
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certainly were not. because donald trump had no core principles or values. so will they in maybe opposing joe biden on some things go back to those values? i don't know. but i do know, it's going to take a very long time or a very big kick and have them lose -- lose a number of seats very quickly. >> i was going to say, i'm really going to be curious to see what happens in the 2022 midterm elections. that will be extraordinary. speaking of extraordinary, chilling, in fact, i want to get your reactions to the new video from the january 6th attacks. it's from "the new yorker." let's all take a look at this. >> where are they? >> while we're here, we might as well set up a government. >> let's take a seat, people! let's take a seat. >> nancy pelosi. >> let's vote on some [ bleep ]. >> we paid for it. >> this is our house.
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>> get out of that chair. >> no, this is our chair. >> i agree with you, brother, but it's not ours. it belongs to the vice president of the united states. >> i'm going to get all of your reactions. don, you first. >> it's sickening. it makes me sick to my stomach. what would have happened if they found not only mike pence, but what would have happened if they found cori bush or ilhan omar. they would have killed them. i think about the people who live and work in the capitol complex, not just the capitol police who kept us safe every day, but the shoe shine guys and the cafeteria women, this is a community in which people live and operate and people live two blocks from there. and these people came to violently hurt folks. it's not cool. it's not hypothetical. they had plans to assassinate gretchen whitmer. i had a bomb sent to my house.
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this is not hypothetical anymore. it's not partisan. people need to start seeing that this is real and if you didn't see that on january 6th, shame on you, you should be disqualified from leadership, participating in leadership from our democracy. this is real. this is no less real than the ku klux klan was, and our history shows this is not hypothetical anymore. they're here to kill their political opponents and it's joe biden's number one priority on january 20th to start to bring these folks together and part of that is using the power of the federal government to swiftly put down insurrections it. >> david, i'm curious what goes through your mind and also are those people we're seeing there, are they donald trump republicans? >> yeah, first, can i just say amen to what don said. >> yeah, yeah. >> alex, look, there's a violent political movement in the united states that is akin to what we saw manifested in the oklahoma city bombing and we need to think of the behavior of these
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people in that way. they have found home and safe harbor in donald trump's republican party. that does not mean the republican party is a violent organization. but we know they were bearing his name. he invited them to washington and he gave them the charge to go to the capitol. merrick garland's justice department needs to aggressively go after what is a violent political movement, not a partisan one, and republican leaders on capitol hill need to offer their support to merrick garland. u.s. attorneys across the country need to indict hundreds of people from january 6th across the board and make them stand trial and let our justice department stand for justice and make a statement that a violent political movement in the u.s. will be quashed immediately. >> susan, i'll give the final word to you. >> i certainly agree with david and don and the sentiments there. just to follow up on david's point, look at these people. the fbi are. they're finding them. how many of them do you think are willing to go to jail for donald trump? none of them.
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they will start turning -- this will become -- law enforcement will start not just indicting but they will start turning people over. we are going to learn more about who funded them, who helped them in understanding how the capitol works, and good, because every single one of those traitors must be held accountable. no matter how long it takes and whatever -- however far we have to go. >> i'm going to take that question that you posed there, how many of them are willing to go to prison for donald trump? i'm going to say, how many of those rioters would donald trump welcome to cross the threshold into one of his private clubs or play on his one of his private golf courses. the answer is, not a one. always great to talk with you guys. we'll see you next weekend. coming up next, the potential of president trump pardoning capitol protestors and himself. can and will he really do it? ♪♪
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after the fallout at the u.s. capitol, many rioters are pleading with the president to issue them a pardon amid growing speculation members of the mob felt that they were just doing trump's bidding. joining me now nyu law professor and msnbc news contributor melissa murray. welcome, my friend. what do you make on rioters calling on trump to pardon him for the reason i just stated? have. >> well, i think if the president chooses to take up these petitions for pardons, even though they are informally made, it really raises a question for him as we think about what may likely be an
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impeachment trial in the very near future. granting pardons to those involved in the events of january 6th would suggest or perhaps give more fuel to those who believe that the president actually did incite that insurrection against the capitol so i think it's a very deliberate calculation that the president would have to make. there's nothing, of course, that prohibits him from issuing pardons to those individuals, but i think it is a very strategic calculation and the optics of it would have to be weighed very seriously. >> so there's a "washington post" article that i'm sure you're familiar with. the legal argument was explored in this as to whether the mob of trump supporters have any leverage. there was one law professor who said he did not believe it would be possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that trump intended to direct the crowd to commit illegal acts, and there's another expert who said trump called for his supporters not just to march to the capital but to, quote, stop the steal, to act with strength and to, quote, fight like hell. the only way protesters would have been able to stop the electoral college process was through violence, so what would
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happen if trump does not pardon the rioters? could any of them be potentially be called to testify against him in an impeachment hearing, for example? >> generally, if a pardon has been granted and accepted, the individual who has been pardoned no longer has a fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination, but as you know impeachment trials aren't the same as ordinary criminal trials in which standard procedural protections for the defendants attend. it's also unclear whether an impeachment trial, the same kind of procedural measures for witnesses would apply. there could be an opportunity to compel testimony whether an impeachment trial or more likely in a congressional hearing on the events of january 6th going forward, so at some point the facts of an accepted pardon would mean that these individuals can't disclaim the opportunity to testify. >> what about a post-presidency,
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a criminal trial for inciting this riot? is that possible for donald trump, the citizen? >> well, surely. nothing in the constitution prevents a president from being criminally liable, and, in fact, the impeachment clause specifically notes that there is an opportunity for impeachment but then there's also the offering of potential criminal liability for other things going forward, so that's totally possible. again, it really depends on the department of justice and the biden administration going forward and their appetite for such things. it may also depend on state level attorneys general who will also have the opportunity if there are crimes committed in those places. we know that new york attorney general james has indicated that she's pursuing actively pursuing investigations against the trump organization. >> what about trump's self-pardon? is the constitution clear on that? should that escalate to the supreme court loaded, we should say, with three trump employees and a very conservative
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majority? >> the constitution is not clear about whether the president himself can issue a pardon for his own conduct, and there's a lot of debate about this right now about whether the text permits this or not. the real question here is a strategic one for the president. if he does choose to pardon himself, the only way the constitutionality of that action contested is if the department of justice actually brought a federal case against him where he could then brandish the self-pardon and say that he was avoiding criminal liability for it. so you first need the president to do this. then you need the department of justice to actually pursue an active prosecution in order to test the voracity of this self-pardon so it's, again, another strategic deliberation for the president. >> okay. melissa murray, always appreciate you. thank you so much. as to what americans think of the possibility of the president granting himself a pardon, nearly two-thirds say they oppose it. about a quarter of the country would be okay with it. come up next hour, i'll speak with michael schmitt, one of the two "new york times" stories that brokered money in order to
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broker for a pardon. is that normal? o broker for a pardon. is that normal ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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tap tolls across this country are on guard against a potential storm of protest. we'll teak you to some of the likely hot spots and more disturbing images here of the capital siege. they are emerging from a newly released video. it's raising more questions and even more fears. >> while we're here we might as well set up a government. >> seize it! seize it. >> hey, let's take a seat, people! let's take a seat! seat, people let's take a seat! . ♪ ♪ after we make grilled cheese, ♪ ♪ then we're eating grilled cheese. ♪ ♪ because it's time. ♪ ♪ yeah. ♪ ♪ time for grilled cheese. ♪ ♪ yeah. ♪ you work hard for your money. stretched days for it. juggled life for it. took charge for it.
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