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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  January 17, 2021 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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"last word" inside the biden agenda. that is thursday night 10:00 p.m. i will be back here tomorrow night for the "last word" here on msnbc. e "last word" here on msnbc welcome back. i'm alicia menendez. tonight, washington on lockdown. thousands of national guard troops staying in place to protect the peaceful transfer of power. just three days to go until joe biden's inauguration. the new president wants to hit the ground running and tonight his team is revealing their first day plans. an aggressive agenda with the backdrop of an impending impeachment trial. a sitting senator joins me tonight with how they're going to get it done. and as promised my exclusive interview withmi michigan's governor, secretary of state, and attorney general, who've all faced relentless attacks from donald trump andle his supporte. they're now working to protect their capitol building for a second time. this is "american voices."
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the dawn of a new era across america tonight. as president trump prepares to leave office, it's clear joe biden will inherit an america on edge and deeply divided. an extraordinary display across d.c. tonight. at least 15,000 national guard troops are protecting the nation's capitol. 25,000 will be fanned out by inauguration day. a third person has now been arrested foras attempting to ge through an inauguration checkpoint. a 63-year-old woman was charged with impersonation of a law enforcement officer, failure to obey and fleeing a law enforcement officer after pretending to be a part of the, quote, presidential cabinet. the nation is not far removed from the january 6th insurrection. in fact, new video from the "new yorker" is giving us a f new vi of the chaos that unfolded. >> where are they? >> while we're here we might as well set up a government. >> hey, let's take a seat,
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people! let's take a seat! >> nancy pelosi. >> [ bleep ]. >> where's nancy? >> we paid for it. >> mobilize in your own cities, your own counties. storm your own capitol buildings and take down every one of these [ bleep ]! >> if we allow this to happen -- they laugh at they steal our money. [ bleep ] lock us down and then they -- >> disturbing every time. so you can see why security is tight sacross america tonight. a high alert through high noon wednesday due to threats t to capitols. at least 14 states have activated national guard troops including michigan where a handful of armeud protesters gathered a at the state capitol. nbc's dasha burns has been tracking those developments. >> reporter: there has been an enormous security presence here in lansing. you can see behind me the national guard, the lansing police department and the
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michigan state police has been visible tay as well. that combined with a pretty bad weather day seems to have contributed to ar pretty quiet afternoon here. we did see some armed groups demonstrating in front of the s capitol but they dispersed withoutey any real conflict. i did run into congresswoman alissa slotkin who told me she is relieved to have seen a peaceful day here today, believes that the lessoned learned on january 6th which of course she was there to witness firsthand at the capitol, she says those lessons have been learned and implemented the lansing police chief echoed that sentiment but says he does remain vigilant ahead of inauguration.ut >> in a matter of moments, you will hear from the three women who run michigan on their plans to protect lansing and how to weed out american extremists. but let's begin with security t' ahead of inauguration day. nbc's vaughn hillyard joins me from d.c. vaughn, good to see you. can you give us an overview, a sense of what is happening right now in the capitol?gi >> reporter: there is still
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tension here-a listia. we're about 65 hours away from joe biden taking the oath of office.t outside on the west front of the capitol. but you are now seeing 15,000 national guardsmen here working handua in hand with local and federal lawlo enforcement. but there is tension because whilesi there was not an uprisi here this sunday, there wasn't a mass demonstration, even a small demonstration, it takes one individual. and we should note just an, coue hours ago about a block withfrom where we're standing here away from the capitol a new mexico man was newly arrested. this was an individual who was here on january part of that insurrection. he was arrested by the fbi for entering and taking part in the violent attack on the u.s. capitol. but he returned here. again, new mexico man returned here. he had vowed to have blood, as he said. quote, blood come out of the
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building come b inauguration da. again, that man is now in custody here. but that is why there's heightened tension around here. the perimeter is almost double whatri it was for the 2017 inauguration. but this is the fourth arrest that we are aware of over the weekend. there is another man who was arrested for possession of a weapon without a license. and 500 rounds of ammunition. there is another woman who went through one of these secure checkpoints here just yesterday with her vehicle past law enforcement. she claimed to be part of the presidential administration, which of course she was not. she has been taken to a hospital for evaluation as well as been i charged. but that is why here. over these next 65 hours there's going to be this scrutiny of every individual who makes their way down these streets here. we are in front of a closed off road here and there is only -- it is restricted to only authorized vehicles. but that is where you see a
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focus on every individual, every car that comes through this area tonight, alicia. >> all right. vaughn hillyard for us in washington, d.c. vaughn, thanks so much.c. today was supposed to be a rehearsal day for president-elect biden's inauguration, but that was canceled due to security concerns. instead of preinauguration festivity, thousands of national guard troops roamed the streets, protecting the capitol, and it is not just in d.c. security has been ratcheted up coast to coast after the fbi warned of armed protest in all 50 states earlier this week. for more on the security situation across the country i's joined by frank figure luzzi. he's a former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence and an msnbc national security analyst. he is also the author of the brand new book "the fbi way." frank, good to see you. the fbi has arrested 74 people charged with roitding at the capitol as of this afternoon. how are they finding these people and how many more arrests do you expect theman to make? >> so first t let's take that
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second question. they're going to arrest every single person that they can possibly identify as breaching security and getting inside that capitol building. number one. and that may go on for quite some time until they've rounded those people up. race against n a the clock to do that. they are using every investigative tool they have at their disposal. soth geolocation of cell phone tracking. camera imagery. lots of tips coming in from the public. and i can't emphasize enough that in the next three days, alicia, the public's help is needed. trust your gut. if you think you've heard something, know something, something is amiss with a neighbor or family member, you need to report that you are thinking they may move toward violence. that's the kind of all hands on deck effort that's going on right now. >> frank, i want you to take a listen to thiswa new sound that we've obtained from "the new yorker" of the rioters on the floor of the u.s. senate.
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>> is this the -- >> where the [ bleep ] are they? >> this is a pr war. you have to understand we can't lose -- >> we're better than that. >> information operation. >> there's got to be something in here we cano use against the scumbags. >> yeah! >> get out of the building. >> [ bleep ]. >> or >> frank, there are so many disturbing elements of that video. i heard someone say as i watched it this time, information operation. and & they're just ruffling through papers that were left on the desks.
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i mean, what is your concern as you watch that i video from a national security perspective? >> yeah, first and foremost, what i hear and see there show all the signs of a kind of radicalization. those people what were saying those things,os getting inside, people that were beating policeb officers, destroying windows, doors, trying to kill people, that's radicalization to violence. and so we've got that same problem not only tay but it's not going away. we're going to face a kind of permanent insurgency for quite ome time that's going to be incredibly hard to deal with. but let me point a couple of things out. when you see more trump flags flying inside that capitol than you do american flags, when you hear people saying that they are for trump, that trump made them do trthis, that ted cruz would think this is okay, their allegiance is to person, personality, not to the constitution or america. and that's a form of cult-like radicalization that we have to
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deal with for the foreseeable future. >> but frank, if their loyalty is to individuals and if those individuals are held accountable, does that change the calculus? >> well, we need to send a message. i hear some people saying we need to heal the country, we shouldn't think about holding these people accountable. if you want to heal this country in a form that deradicalizes people you need to expose them to the truth and show them there are consequences to betraying the country. that's going to get us to the point where we can heal. and just because a president leaves office or even a senator is incriminated or eld accountable doesn't mean this is going away. they're retreating to encrypted communications. they're getting knocked off their social media and they're going to dark recesses of the web, making it harder for law enforcement to find the next act of domestic terrorism. this is with us for a while. >> frank, i cannot tell you tonight how much i appreciate your clarity andra expertise. thank you for taking the time to talk with next, before capitol hill it wa
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the state house in michigan. why didn't it help prevent this month's insurrection? and howre are the women who lea michigan preparing for what comes next? mypa exclusive conversation wit michigan's governor, secretary of state, and attorney general, right after this break. but first to richard lui, who is standing by with a look at the other big stories that we are following herer at msnbc. richard? >> good day to you, alicia. kamala harris is set to resign from her senate seat monday. this in advance of her historic inauguration as america's firstm woman, first black, and first asian-american vice president. democrat alex padilla will fill her seat. he becomeshe california's first latino senator.t russian opposition leader aleksei navalny was arrested at a moscow airport.t he spent the last five months in germany recovering from nerve agent poisoning. he places the blame on the kremlin. officialson say he was detained for parole violations and for a suspended prison sentence. and grammy-winning producer phil spector has died at the age
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of 81 due to complications with covid-19. he was serving a prison sentence since 2009 for the murder of a woman in his los angeles home. his ex-wife, music legend ronnin spector, wrote on instagram "he was a brilliant producer but a lousy husband." more "american voices" right after this break. "american voit after this break
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state houses across america remain on high alert due to threats of violence and potential protests including the capitol in lansing, michigan. creating a bit of political deja vu for the women elected to lead that state. last april armed protesters stormed the state house after trump tweeted to liberate michigan. this was during the height of protests over the governor's mask mandate and covid closures. the sitting president has not hid his feelings about the women who run michigan. >> michigan, all she does is -- she has no idea what's going on and all she does is say oh, it's
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the federal government's fault. >> what you're doing in michigan has been amazing. now, you've got to get your governor to open up your state lock 'em all up. >> despite that onslaught governor gretchen whitmer, secretary of state jocelyn benson and attorney general dana nessel used their experience to warn us that the siege in lansing was just the beginning. january 6th proved they were right. i sat down with them earlier today to discuss how they prepared michigan once again for the possibility of unrest. >> thank you all so much for being here. governor whitmer, here's what we heard from the lansing police chief about how officers are preparing for potential unrest. >> i am very concerned about the safety of our officers. what we saw on television with reference to the u.s. capitol was just horrific. so for us and for me as a police administrator i've had to have some tough conversations with our officers.
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and with that we're still in the midst of a pandemic. and so we have to take that issue into account. we'll be doing the best we can to make sure our officers are mentally ready as well as physically ready as well. >> governor, how confident are you in the security measure that's have been put in place in the capitol this weekend? >> well, there are always a lot of unknowns, but i think we are prepared. we have joined our forces from our michigan state police, the michigan national guard, to the local police department. as you just heard from the chief and our county sheriff's department as well. we take this very seriously. sadly, here in michigan we've been living with a lot of this a lot longer than the rest of the nation has in terms of seeing it play out at our capitol. pen days ago. and that's why we are taking this very seriously. a success looks like everyone going home safely, but we are
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prepared if there is any action toward violence, toward destruction, and we're working collaboratively with our attorney general and across law enforcement. >> attorney general nessel, in response to the deadly insurrection on capitol hill the michigan capitol commission voted to ban the open carry of guns from inside the capitol. you say it doesn't go far enough and that the capitol is not safe. what measures would make you feel that the capitol is safe for and you for lawmakers? >> well, all we would really need to do is to implement the very same procedures that we have had in place for decades in every single courthouse in the state of michigan, which is simply to have metal detectors and to have either police officers or security guards who are ensuring that people are not bringing in either firearms or explosive devices of any kind. we do that when we go see the detroit lions play. i don't know why we can't have the same security measures in place for our lawmakers and
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those who wish to visit our state capitol. >> secretary benson, armed protesters have held rallies outside of your home. what precautions have been put in place to protect lawmakers not only at the capitol building but outside? >>. >> we've been working in partnership with law enforcement at the state, roque sxl federal level to make sure that protections are in place, and we've got a lot of information and data to make sure those protections are effective. so i feel very safe. i know my colleagues do as well. but it's about being vigilant and it's about keeping a focus on the issue and recognizing that the hateful words and rhetoric that we've heard for months now in our social media networking and everywhere else has indeed transformed to the possibility of hateful actions and we have to be prepared for that. >> governor whitmer, here's what the leader of the southeast michigan volunteer militia told our nbc news reporter dasha burns about the storming of michigan's capitol. take a listen.
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>> earlier last year when the militias of michigan and the protesters let themselves into the michigan capitol, we were loud, we were obnoxious. we got everybody's attention. there was no violence. there was no destruction of property. there was no injuries. we went in, we had our voices heard, we left. we had a good time doing it. the world's changed since then. hopefully we can get back to it. but for right now we just have to come up with different avenues. >> governor, your reaction to that characterization. >> well, you know, i think that success is having the ability to voice your support for or your critique of your state government. there's no question. but it's also defined as is everyone going home safely.
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and that's what we are hoping for today. now, that last event he just described also had people with long guns and automatic rifles standing above legislators and intimidating them. that's much the same tactic that we saw play out in the nation's capitol. many people that were a part of that last event that he described were actually indicted in the plot to kidnap and murder me. so it is not just a demonstration. what we have seen is scary, very concerning elevation of actions taken to intimidate or to hurt people who are simply trying to do their jobs and keep people safe. and whether that's directed at me or dr. fauci or secretary benson or the secretary of state in georgia, it is wrong. and i'm grateful that people are coming to this conclusion after it being directed at the united states congress, but this has been going on for ten months and we've been asking people to take this seriously.
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>> well, to that point, why do you think that the storming of your capitol wasn't taken as a warning of what was to come with the capitol hill attack? >> because this whole year has been so incredibly partisan and destructive. the partisanship around the act of wearing a mask has cost people lives. when the president tweets something like "liberate michigan" or an attack on our attorney general or our secretary of state or on me, it incites people. it legitimizes actions to hurt us. and that is not acceptable. and it should never have been deemed acceptable. long ago i called vice president pence, who now is the victim of it, i called the republican leaders here in michigan and asked them, bring down the heat, we're seeing death threats. and no one did a darn thing. and maybe now that it has been directed at them they will. but this is a moment where i would love to see people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle, in the private sector as well, take this on.
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domestic terrorism is not acceptable, and none of us should coddle it, incite it, encourage it or legitimize it. >> adoernlg nessel, the leader of that militia says that four militia groups including his own have told their members to stay away from the michigan capitol today due to potential violence from the proud boys, boogaloo boys. is there a distinction in the type of threat posed by groups like the southeast michigan volunteer militia and extremist groups like the boogaloo boys? >> well, there might be. but i think we have to take any anti-government groups very, very seriously. and be prepared for any or all of them to be involved in potentially illegal activities. and i know i've had some very serious discussions with our partners at the federal level. we're very lucky we have people like alyssa slotkin and gary peters who we know are going to play prominent roles on
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congressional committees involving homeland security. and i've talked to them about the need for more resources in the state of michigan in order for us to properly combat this exponential rise in these extremist groups and their activities. so we have to be prepared to combat each and every one of these groups head on and in the event they commit any sort of illegal activity that they can be held properly accountable. >> secretary benson, here's what that leader says about the message they want to send to michigan's lawmakers. take a listen. >> we wanted to remind our electors that they do answer to the people who put them in those offices. there's still questions circulating about the way our elections were conducted that haven't been answered. there is no apparent rush on the part of the administration to look into it or answer those questions. add that to the fact that we are
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on our tenth month going into the 11th month of severe covid restrictions that are destroying businesses, disrupting families, causing problems all across the state. and there's definitely no shortage of grievances that we can voice to the governor. >> secretary, when you announced that michigan clerks have already completed over 100 local post-election audits, all have confirmed the accuracy and integrity of michigan's november election, why hasn't transparency been enough to combat trump's lies and misinformation? >> i was going to say, it's true that we're on the side of making sure every voice is heard and every vote is counted, every valid vote is counted. that's precisely what we've done here in michigan and that's precisely what you mentioned the audits, the work of our 1600 clerks all across the state, have shown over the past several months. and the true story coming out of this election is indeed that
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more people voted than ever before in our state's history, it was the most secure election in our state's history, and the incredible amount of scrutiny that has been placed, the number of questions that have been asked and answered consistently since the polls closed on november 3rd, have only shown to underscore those facts. so my hope going forward is to focus on how to make the success of the november 3rd election, the high turnout, the high security, the story and the work that we do to ensure that it's not just a moment but it's something that continues for elections ahead. >> when we return, how the women who run michigan feel about holding president trump accountable. we talk about justice in flint as the former republican governor now charged with neglect for his role in the water crisis. do not go anywhere. water crisis do not go anywhere
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president trump may be the most visible and the loudest voice decrying election fraud but he is certainly not alone. republican officials in wayne
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county, michigan, the state's largest county, home to detroit, tried to block the certification of president-elect joe biden's victory. they claimed they just couldn't trust the vote count. they later gave up. it's just one example of how our political discourse is fractured well beyond washington, d.c. and holding lawmakers accountable is where we pick up my exclusive conversation earlier today with michigan governor gretchen whitmer, secretary of state jocelyn benson, and attorney general dana nessel. >> governor whitmer, here's a clip from the capitol hill riot. take a listen. >> we were invited here! we were invited here! >> they're meeting so you can -- >> we were invited by the president of the united states! >> governor, those rioters claimed they were, quote, invited by the president.
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something similar could be said about those who stormed the michigan capitol following trump's calls to liberate michigan. now trump has been banned from twitter and most social media sites. but governor, how do you want to see the president held accountable? >> well, invited or incited, we all knew that this was something that was real. we saw it play out here in michigan many months ago. we've been calling on them to bring the rhetoric down. they ignored those calls and they continued to heat it up. it was heartbreaking to see that play out at our nation's capitol. i sat with my teenage daughters and just -- were just completely stunned. we need to make sure that people are held accountable. and i am grateful for law enforcement who are doing their jobs in terms of identifying people that were a part of that insurrection. and i believe that we will see accountability all the way go to the top. and i know congress is moving forward, and i think that that is a reminder that no one is above the law in this country.
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it is what makes our country great. we hold people accountable. we rise to the challenge. and when we band together we're a lot stronger. and that's the message joe biden is going to be bringing on wednesday. and i'm hopeful this is a new chapter in america. >> secretary benson, president trump filed numerous lawsuits baselessly alleging voter fraud in michigan. all fell flat but they took up a lot of resources. how are you planning to seek sanctions against those attorneys who filed the lawsuits? >> as the former dean of a law school, i think it's very important, i know the attorney general and i have talked at length about this, to hold people accountable. if you have the ability to be an attorney, that is something that comes with ethical requirements. you can't simply just bring frivolous lawsuits again and again, especially with an eye toward sowing seeds of doubt and eroding public confidence in our democracy. so i join with the attorney general and all who are working not just in michigan but across the country to ensure accountability for those members
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of the bar who have misused that privilege to erode the public's confidence, falsely so, in our elections and file these frivolous lawsuits and complaints. all of which have been, the vast majority of which have been dismissed. >> governor whitmer, you well know these types of extremists aren't going away after the inauguration. we keep hearing from experts. what type of resources then are needed from the federal government to continue to monitor them? >> well, i think that they now know how serious this is. i'm sorry that it took this long for them to figure it out. but i'm hopeful that at this juncture they will work very closely with us to ensure that we've got the resources we need to combat this extremism. let's remember, while we are a deeply divided country and we saw that play out in this election, the vast majority of people are not a part of militias, are not a part of domestic terror organizations, and i think it's incumbent on us to do that important outreach. and i'm grate thafl joe biden
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and kamala harris have started that hard work because we have to remember our allegiance to our democracy. we are americans first. we are partisans. we have different views. and we're not all going to see eye to eye on everything. but we have to come together as a nation and root out this domestic terrorism because it poses a threat to every one of us. >> attorney general nessel, nine former michigan officials including former governor rick snyder charged last week in connection with the flint water crisis. here's how two community activists reacted to the charges. >> it's a slap in the face. it is another example, similar to this civil settlement, that is -- that shows us that our lives don't matter. >> everybody is talking to us. no one is listening. because if dana nelson was listening to us it would have been more serious charges.
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>> attorney general, your response to their saying the charges don't go far enough. >> well, you know, as a prosecutor i will say this. just generally speaking, you know, criminal charges cannot be based on community outrage. it has to be based on the facts, the law, and the evidence. and that is really it. and so you know, even though i was involved in the civil settlements and not in the criminal charges because we do have a conflict in our office, i expect that the career prosecutors who handled these cases took into account in the 20 million documents that they looked at, the hundreds of devices, the hundreds and hundreds of witnesses that they interviewed, i'm sure they explored every potential avenue. and that the charges that they arrived on were based on facts, law and evidence. in regard to the civil settlement, in which the governor and i worked very, very hard to try to implement as quickly as we could,
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understanding that the people of the city of flint deserved indemnification to whatever extent we could provide that, this is the largest settlement in the history of the state of michigan. and we expect that the settlement, which is now at $641 million, will only grow as it later includes the epa and potentially some of the engineering firms. so no, we're never going to be able to make the residents of the city of flint whole. no matter how much money, no matter how lengthy the prison sentences are of anyone who is charged. and if they're convicted. they won't be made whole. but all we can do is the best we can to hold people accountable and to make the promise that while the three of us are in charge of the executive offices nothing like this will ever happen again. >> governor, one of those activists also briefly referred to the proposed $641 million civil settlement that would be
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distributed to residents impacted by the water crisis, a u.s. district court judge expected to rule on whether to grant preliminary approval of that settlement by this thursday. how will you ensure that the money goes to the residents who need it? >> so we've been working. you know, one of the things that is my least favorite aspect to being governor is that my name is substituted for my predecessors in lawsuits that were against the former administration. the decisions around flint happened then. and yet we have worked in conjunction with the attorney general, as she just said, very closely to try to get? resolution here. plaintiff's lawyers, defense counsel, we worked very hard. and with our republican legislature to get the resources appropriated so that we could live up to this. as the attorney general just said, we cannot undo the damage that was done. but under our watch we're going to do everything to make sure that the people of flint have the support they need. and that extends to things like writing budgets that support
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education of kids, the access to nutrition, helping the mayor finalize the last remaining pipes that need to be replaced. we've made great strides. and yet we are not done with the work we're going to do to support the people of flint. >> governor gretchen whitmer, secretary of state jocelyn benson and attorney general dana nestle, thank you all so much. >> thank you. next the balancing act ahead for congress. how to get to work with a new president while simultaneously holding the previous president accountable. senator chris van hollen joins "american voices" after this. n s "american voices" after this
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the vast majority of the american people, democrats, republicans, and independents, reject armed insurrection and violence as a new way of doing business in america. we're not going to do that. >> this is for accountability. this is for deterrence. this is for history. also to prevent this president from ever holding office again. >> those are two of the house managers for the president's second impeachment. as the senate gears up for trial, it could begin shortly after joe biden is sworn in on wednesday. democratic senator chris van hollen of maryland joins me now. senator, good to see you. first, what are your priorities when it comes to trump's second impeachment trial? >> aa listia, it's good to be with you. look, my priorities are to send a very strong signal that the conduct we saw from president trump is unacceptable, that you
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cannot incite a mob to storm the capitol to try to overturn an election in the united states of america. now, we hope we can do it relatively quickly. it's just one count, one article of impeachment, very straightforward. we don't know how long the president's defense will take. but we are work with the republican leader, mitch mcconnell, to try to double-track this process so we can also begin confirming some of the president-elect's nominees right away. >> priept so much to do. senator lindsey graham speaking out against impeachment. here's what he had to say this morning on fox news about the capitol riots. take a listen. >> here's the problem. i understand what happened on january the 6th was one of the low points in my time in office. it was horrendous to see people come -- >> yes. >> -- and take over the capitol, the house and the senate, beat officers, defile the seat of government. how in the hell could that
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happen? where was nancy pelosi? it's her job to provide capitol security. we'll get to the bottom of that. >> senator, listen, a lot was made of him standing on the senate floor and saying that's it, i'm out. what do you make now of him placing it would seem blame on nancy pelosi rather than on donald trump or his republican colleagues for what we watched happen? >> yeah, this is just another of lindsey graham's sort of limbo acts. look, he was one of the people who fueled donald trump's lies right after the election. he tried to get pennsylvania state legislators to join in this conspiracy to overturn the election. then after the storming of the capitol he had a brief moment of clarity and voted against the effort to overturn the election. but now he's right back again doing trump's bidding. rather than calling for accountability and making it absolutely clear that this
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conduct is unacceptable. >> there are not a lot of people i've spoken with who believe there will be enough republican votes to convict. what would it take in your own mind to bring those republicans to the table? >> well, if you talk privately to republican senators, they agree that what happened certainly merits a conviction in the united states senate. but getting themselves there politically is the same problem we've experienced all along, which is they still don't want to cross donald trump's base, which remains strong in the republican party. they're going to have to come to a reckoning at some point. i would think that they would want to do it now on conviction, but as you say we are certainly not there yet. they're going to have to listen to overwhelming evidence. and people who were part of the mob who say that they were there because donald trump sent them. so it's going to be very hard to
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disregard the evidence in this case. >> there have been calls, increased calls for republican senators ted cruz and josh hawley to resign. others calling for censure. what do you think is the appropriate recourse? >> well, i think they violated their oaths to the constitution. it's very clear that they were participating in an effort to overturn our democratic election. i think they should resign. i don't expect them to. and therefore, we will explore different options within the united states senate as to what the appropriate sanction should be for somebody who very overtly violates their constitutional obligations. >> senator, i don't know if you had a chance to watch this video that has surfaced from "the new yorker" of people actually on the floor rummaging through desks, looking through papers. and i think a lot of us watch it and we are disgusted because we see this as the people's house,
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we believe that this institution is a part of our democracy, that we have some ownership over it. it is not literally our desks. they're not literally our papers. this is the place you go to work. what has it been like seeing this footage of these insurrectionists on the senate floor? >> i have seen some of this footage. and as you say, it's just gut-wrenching to see people despoiling the people's house, ransacking it. this is a place where republicans, democrats, independents come, elected by the american people to do the business of the american people. and here you have a violent mob essentially taking it over. it's as we saw with the scene when a lot of these trump supporters took down the american flag at the capitol and put in its place the trump flag. that's not who we are as a
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country. i don't care what party you belong to. that scene we're seeing that you're showing here is a desecration of our democracy. they were sent by donald trump. that's what they have said and testified to. as part of their efforts to seek a pardon. and this is all the more reason senator graham and others need to re-examine the constitution and hold donald trump accountable. >> senator chris van hollen, thank you for your time. next on "american voices," the country's most prolific lobbying group, well, they are broke. the nra's bankruptcy and where it plans to go next after this quick break. t after this quick break.
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we'll get your taxes done right, guaranteed. ♪♪ in case you didn't hear, the nra, which was set up in new york after the civil war, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. they plan to reincorporate in texas. the move appears to be a last-ditch effort to end-run around an investigation by the new york attorney general letitia james. she's seeking to use her regulatory authority to dissolve the nra. her office has been conducting an investigation into the organization's corruption since 2019, accuing it of diverting millions in charitable giving for personal use by senior leadership. the nra somehow believes it is in its strongest financial condition in years and says it filed for bankruptcy protection to escape a, quote, corrupt political and regulatory environment in new york. but in its court filing in dallas it reported between 100
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million and 500 million in assets and the same amount in liabilities. new york's a.g. says the nra has claimed financial status has, quote, finally met its moral status, bankrupt. but does the organization still have influence for decades? it has lobbied lawmakers to vote against any sort of gun proposal. the nra's grip on washington so tight the cdc is essentially barred from even studying what causes gun violence, which we know is an epidemic unique to america. and until now nothing, nothing has changed that calculus. the murders of 20 children and six school staffers in connecticut wasn't enough. the murders of 17 high schoolers and faculty members in florida wasn't enough. in fact, the nra has been so successful at preventing action on guns it has helped birth a culture where mass shootings are the norm. the capitol hill riot reminded us of that as the mob stormed the capitol. yun congressional staffers including aides to house speaker
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nancy pelosi locked and barricaded their office doors, turned out the lights, stayed low to the ground, silenced their phones and sat quietly in the dark, a skill they learned as children in the halls of learning now useful to them in the halls of power. we'll leave you with the reaction online to news of the nra's bankruptcy. gun control advocates across the country responding with just three words. the same three words the nra has offered year after year, shooting after shooting massacre after massacre. "thoughts and prayers."
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that is all the time i have for today. i am alicia menendez. i will see you back here next weekend, 6:00 p.m. eastern, for more "american voices." hello, it's good to be with you tonight. for msnbc inauguration special. washington is often quiet around the capitol on a sunday night, but not this quiet. it definitely belies the anxiety felt around the district and across the country. law enforcement is working overtime to prevent violence on the streets ahead of the transfer of power. let's spend this hour locking ahead at president-elect joe biden's inauguration. from nbc news in washington, i'm joshua johnson. welcome to the week. ♪♪


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