tv Meet the Press MSNBC January 18, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST
this sunday, impeached again. president trump becomes the first president ever to be impeached twice. >> he must go. he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love. >> democrats united. >> donald trump is a living, breathing, impeachable offense. >> simply put, we told you so. >> republicans largely opposed. >> it's always been about getting the president, no matter what. >> a vote to impeach would further divide this nation. >> but ten vote to impeach. >> i am not choosing a side. i'm choosing truth. >> the president fearing senate conviction, suddenly changes his tone. >> no true supporter of mine could ever endorse political
violence. >> my guests this morning, democratic senator cory booker of new jersey and
republican congresswoman nancy mace of south carolina. plus, insurrection fears. concern that the capitol riot was just the beginning. >> what we saw last wednesday was really the birth of a widescale domestic terror movement. >> thousands of national guard troops in place for the inauguration and state capitols on high alert. washington, d.c., mayor muriel bowser joins me this morning. also, the growing coronavirus crisis. a more contagious variant threatens a new surge. demand for vaccines grows amid a chaotic rollout. >> it's really lonely. it's not a joke. >> my guest this morning, dr. anthony fauci. joining me for insight and analysis are nbc news chief white house correspondent kristen welker, rich lowry, editor of "national review," and former democratic senator from missouri, claire mccaskill. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press."
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this is "meet the press with chuck todd." good sunday morning. donald trump leaves office this week with the distinction of having lost the popular vote twice and now having been impeached twice. at the same time, washington, d.c., looks like an armed camp with some 25,000 national guard troops coming to protect joe biden's inauguration and state capitols from coast to coast, they're bracing for antigovernment violence from right-wing terror groups as early as today. still, president trump, who has inspired much of this extremism, continues to hold an iron grip on his party. yes, ten house republicans voted to impeach him, but 197 voted no. and those yes votes accounted for less than 5% of the house republican caucus. and our new nbc news poll of registered voters has the president's approval rating
holding steady at 43% with 55% disapproving. it's more or less where his numbers have been throughout most of his presidency in our poll, just right now on the lower end. 52% do say president trump is solely or mainly responsible for the capitol riot, while 47% disagree. that actually basically matches the popular vote election results. and looking at the election, while 61% say joe biden won legitimately, 35% disagree. among republicans, 74% say no, that biden did not win legitimately. three in four current republicans. so, two things stand out to us this morning. one, how can joe biden begin healing the country when more than one of three voters believes he did not win legitimately? and two, the republicans who say impeachment would further divide this country might start closing that divide themselves by admitting what they've known all along, that president trump lost this election and that the reason millions of trump voters believe it's stolen is because
mr. trump, with the help of many of his party, purposely lied to them. let's check in with nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. he's joining us now. he's got the latest on the investigation into the capitol riot. but pete, i know you have some new information about the fears of possible attacks on state capitols. many of these capitols are bracing for this as early as today. how vulnerable are we today? >> well, i think the concern is high for the violence at state capitols for three reasons -- first, because of the enormous volume of calls on social media among extremists for attacks on government buildings in many states, second because of a worry that with a high level of security here in washington, any group intending on attacking the government will go somewhere else, and third, because the fbi fears that the attack on the capitol may actually embolden the hard core groups that are pushing for more violence. so, in at least eight states, governors have activated the national guard and barriers have
been set up around many capitol buildings. >> as for the investigation, pete, it seems like every day multiple people get added to the list of folks having charges filed against them. what do we know today? >> yeah, i think they're pretty close to actually identifying everybody who was in the capitol. this is moving very fast because of the enormous quantity of pictures and videos showing the people in there who took part and because public outrage over what happened has produced an astonishing number of tips. so far, the fbi says it has opened investigations on about 350 people and made around 74 arrests on federal charges. so, if you add the local charges, the total arrests are over 100. among the most recent is a new york man accused of using a police body shield to break an outside window. that allowed people to begin streaming in. the fbi says it has received tips containing more than 150,000 separate photos and
videos. and chuck, one of the more interesting developments, many of those tips are coming from friends and family members. >> wow. pete williams, on top of the investigation and the threats today. pete, thank you. so, as washington, d.c., prepares for joe biden's inauguration, the city looks as if it's preparing for a possible riot, because frankly, it is now. some 25,000 national guard troops are coming to the city, and new fencing wire has been put up surrounding restricted zones. joining me now for more on the security situation in washington is the mayor of washington, d.c., muriel bowser. mayor bowser, welcome back. >> thank you, chuck. >> to "meet the press." all right, look, i've been here since before 9/11. i will tell you, it looks as if there is more security around the capitol than we've seen for any other inauguration or any moment since 9/11. is that a fair description? >> i think it is. i think this will be an inauguration unlike any other. i think it was already destined
to be, given covid concerns and some of the limited seating and public access. but having our fellow americans storm the capitol in an attempt to overthrow the government certainly warrants heightened security. >> you have concentrated the security efforts, obviously, all around, whether it's the national mall, closing bridges connected to it, the capitol area, itself, all of it very much a fortress. what level of threat do you think we're facing, and are you concerned that we're so secure in one place, they're going to find softer targets in other parts of the city? >> well, chuck, as you know, i convened our federal law enforcement partners who are responsible for securing this event, the united states secret service. this is a national special security event. more than half of those events have been conducted in
washington, d.c., and the secret service, working with all federal agencies, is going to make this a safe event. our special agent in charge talked about the general and specific threats that our intelligence apparatus is collecting, both here and across our nation. i'm not only concerned about other state capitols, i'm also concerned about other parts of washington, d.c. what you're showing is really the federal enclave of washington, d.c., not where the 700,000 of us live. so, our police department, working with our federal law enforcement partners and the united states army, quite frankly, also has a plan to pivot, if we have any attacks in our neighborhoods. >> mayor bowser, we're about three months away from what usually is sort of the spring break student season. the tour buses are all around d.c. and obviously, the pandemic is
going to limit that. but how long are we going to be living in a washington, d.c., that feels like an armed camp? i mean, how long are we going to have to live this way? because i assume these threats don't go away on january 20th. >> i think the question is a bigger question, chuck. it is, how serious is our country going to take domestic white extremism? and i think what we saw here last week is that we didn't take it seriously enough. we've never believed that so-called patriots would attempt to overthrow their government and kill police officers, but that's exactly what happened. so, i do think we have to take another posture in our city that is more domestic terrorist focused than external to our country and act accordingly. now, we don't want to see fences. we definitely don't want to see armed troops on our streets, but we do have to take a different
posture. >> well, i think it's very much, if you recall washington, d.c., in the early days after 9/11, it may feel similar these days. mayor bowser, not easy these days having your job. thanks for coming on and sharing your perspective with us. >> thank you, chuck. let's turn now to the senate impeachment trial of president trump. i'm joined by democratic senator cory booker of new jersey. and senator booker, there's so much on our plate as a country, so much on your plate at the united states senate. so, the first question, when should we expect this trial to start and be done with? >> well, i think to get technical off the bat, there's some frustrations about getting time lines set. you need the republican leader to cooperate in terms of time agreements, but i fully expect it to happen as quickly as possible, and i think what's also is going to happen is we'll do a lot of things at once.
i think we should, if we can get the time agreements from our republican leader, we can actually hold impeachment trials as well as do other urgently critical things, like getting key national security personnel confirmed as well. >> is there -- it's interesting you say it that way. so, what you're saying is, this is an issue with the senate parliamentarian. this is mitch mcconnell. he is yet to agree on a timeline? >> you know, i talked again to senator schumer last night about the same concerns that you seem to be asking about. i, for one, want to drive president biden's economic agenda. we have a real crisis. we have a pandemic. we have an economic recession. we have national security threats. it really necessitates the republican leader coming forward with time agreements, and that's one of the things that's concerning, soon-to-be majority leader chuck schumer. >> is there anything in your -- do you think the impeachment trial should be delayed in order to focus on the biden agenda, or do you think you guys need to do
both at the same time? >> we need to do both at the same time. these are all -- and i can't think of a president in my lifetime that came to power with so many challenges, and i think the american people have a right to expect that we can work on a lot of different fronts, from an economic recession to a pandemic to national security threats as well as holding a president accountable who persistently lied to the american people, whipped up far right-wing extreme yast and incited a riot, an assault, a siege on the united states capitol. >> is there any doubt in your mind that this trial is constitutional after he leaves office? i say this. tom cotton, a republican senator from arkansas, is arguing that since he's out of office, that he thinks the trial's unconstitutional. what say you? >> well, again, i think that there is a lot of people who are going to express opinions with a great degree of certainty. we have policies and procedures,
as well as one whole branch of government to be the referee on these things. i believe it is constitutionally dangerous not to proceed. we just had a president of the united states try to undermine the peaceful transition of power, try to challenge a fair and free election. and him and his agents from the moments before, from his son to his lawyer, whipping up a crowd to go attack the capitol. so, i believe fundamentally the senate has an obligation to act, and i worry about folks who might want to try to make this into a political tit for tat, that they're missing the larger historical picture here. there must be accountability for actions that are this serious, this much of a threat, not just to our constitution, but to the erosion of our nation. >> senator, when i think about the, say, 24 senate republicans that i might put in a category
as persuadable for conviction, you know who those folks are. you have pretty good relationships, i think, with quite a few of them. how would you advise the house impeachment managers to design their arguments to win over that group? and you know there is that group that's a little bit more establishment, a little bit more institutional, and the ones that have been silent in the four years when it comes to donald trump's behavior. >> yeah, we tend to vilify people who are not in our political party too much in this country. there are good people who i serve with in the united states senate who i've come to admire and respect, who i know are going to be thoughtful and circumspect about this. and so, i hope that this is in no way seen as a political endeavor. it has got to be a larger perspective, and the arguments have to come, as i imagine they will, from really the dire issues before us as a nation. will a president be held accountable for what he did? and what he did was extreme.
what he did was ahistoric. what he did was certainly meriting impeachment. and now i have to have a fair trial, which i hope the arguments rest, frankly, in the law and on the facts. >> all right. senator cory booker, democrat from new jersey, as you said, we have so many other things on our plate, but obviously, impeachment being a focal point this weekend. thank you for coming on and sharing your perspective with us, sir. i appreciate it. and please stay safe. >> thank you. joining me now is freshman republican congresswoman nancy mace. congresswoman mace voted against president trump's impeachment because she says the house was violating due process. but she is also someone who voted against those that wanted to challenge the election results, and she does support censuring the president. congresswoman mace, welcome to "meet the press." and i want to start with something a new colleague of yours, who's been in congress quite a while -- mike mccall -- what he put in his statement, because i'm curious how you view the impeachment vote just five days removed from casting it.
here's what mike mccall wrote in a statement. he voted with you, against impeachment, but he wrote, "i truly fear there may be more facts that come to light in the future that will put me on the wrong side of this debate." i'm curious, are you concerned about that? >> yeah, i am concerned. and one of the things -- i gave my first speech on the floor of the house last week. i didn't want to do that as a freshman one week in, but i stated very unequivocally that the house has every right to impeach the president of the united states. but the fact that we bypassed judiciary, we did not open up an investigation, that we bypassed due process, that that set a dangerous constitutional precedent for others, no matter, even if you think the president is guilty as hell, like many do believe, there has to be due process, there has to be an investigation. we have to go, even if it's through a special committee work or judiciary, those things needed to happen in order for impeachment, really. i think you would have gotten more republicans on board if it were done with due process, with an investigation. >> as you know, some of the
issues had to do with timing, right? and there is this sense -- >> right. >> -- that is he an immediate threat staying in office? do you empathize with that argument that said, okay, there's only a finite number of days here, and -- >> right. >> -- this needs to be focused on and you have to expedite things? >> right. well, one of the things, one of the options that was on the table last week when we were going through the impeachment, getting up to d.c. for that, was that there was a bicameral, bipartisan effort to look at censure as an option. that would, one, hold the president accountable for his words and his actions, and two, also prohibit him from holding office again in the future. unfortunately, the speaker wouldn't let us bring it up for debate or bring it up for a vote. there were measures, there were folks in place in both chambers, in both parties, that were willing to do that and go that far, but unfortunately, we didn't have the opportunity at all last week. >> well, in fairness, congresswoman, there's a lot of constitutional questions about whether congress can do this,
can bar somebody from ever holding federal office again without going through the impeachment. >> right. >> and conviction process. >> right. >> what's your -- >> it's complicated. >> what's your case that you can do this without impeachment now? >> well, with censure, that was one of the things that i believe we should have had up for debate, if that is -- it's complex constitutionally, but there were folks in both chambers and in both parties having the ability to look at that as an option, but we couldn't even bring it up for a debate or look at that as an option because we were really trying hard to figure out, how do we hold a president accountable that put all of our lives at risk? and this was a traumatic event for many members of congress, and i believe in the days, weeks, and months to come, as we learn more, the worse it's going to get. and we feared for our lives, many of us that day, and our staff. and as you know, my children were supposed to be up there. and if they had been there like they were supposed to be, i would have been devastated. and so, we do need to find a way to hold the president accountable, and we're doing that in the press and you're seeing corporations and companies say not one more dime
to those that objected, we're going to do the right thing. and so, there are other measures that i'm encouraged by seeing out there. i want to be a new voice for the republican party, and that's one of the reasons i've spoken out so strongly against the president, against these qanon conspiracy theorists that led us in a constitutional crisis. it's just wrong and we've got to put a stop to it. >> what kind of confidence do you have in the republican leadership? and does it bother you that after the insurrection, after the riots -- >> yeah. >> -- the two top leaders, kevin mccarthy and steve scalise, and 130-plus of your colleagues still voted to challenge these results? does that put some -- does that make you question the leadership's decision-making? >> i will tell you for me as a new member, it was enormously disappointing. i literally had to walk through a crime scene where that young woman was shot and killed to get into the chamber to vote that night, to certify what was supposed to be a ceremonial vote
to certify the electoral college, and yet, my colleagues continued to object. and they knew this was a failing motion. these objections were not going to work, and they were unconstitutional. and so, it is enormously disappointing. it's one of the reasons i've been such a strong voice to point out the lies that have happened. congress had no business overturning the electoral college, and neither did the vice president. and i praise vice president mike pence for standing up and correcting some of those untruths that day on january 6th, but we have reconciliation that needs to happen within our own party. we need to rebuild the republican party. we need to rebuild our country. and i'm counting on my colleagues to join us, to be that new voice for the republican party to lead us out of this crisis going forward, because our country is counting on us. >> will liz cheney survive any challenges to her leadership position? >> i believe she will. and the irony in all of this, chuck, is that the same people that were complaining and screaming about the president being silenced on twitter want to silence a dissenting voice
within our own party. and so, i find that very hypocritical and very disappointing, because we should embrace descension. we should embrace debate. part of the american experiment in this country is the ability and opportunity to debate ideas, even when we disagree. we have the ability to agree to disagree and not attack one another. and there's so much division, not only within our party, but within our country right now, and we've got to do a better job. and i hope and i support liz cheney, and i hope that she stays part of leadership. we need these voices right now more than ever. >> nancy mace, a brand-new member of congress from the charleston, south carolina, area, republican from south carolina. thank you for coming on and sharing your perspective with us this morning. we appreciate it. >> thank you for having me this morning. >> and please stay safe. you got it. when we come back, with caseloads and the death toll growing, why can't we get the vaccine distribution right? i'll talk to dr. anthony fauci next. alk to dr. anthony fauci next
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welcome back. every day but two in this new year, the u.s. has seen at least 220,000 confirmed new cases of covid-19, and the death toll this week stands at over 23,000. as you can see, just divide that number by seven and that's over 3,000 a day. those grim numbers come as the nation's vaccine distribution program is becoming increasingly chaotic, and a new, more contagious strain of the virus threatens to fuel yet another surge of cases. so, joining me now with the latest on what we can expect is dr. anthony fauci, who will be president-elect joe biden's chief medical adviser on covid-19 in addition to his usual duties. dr. fauci, welcome back to "meet the press." so, let me start with this vaccine question, which is, there is this announcement -- president-elect biden calls for releasing all of the stockpile. the trump administration agrees. and all of a sudden, there's no stockpile. was this a miscommunication?
was this a bigger error? what is the explanation here? >> you know, i'm not exactly sure, chuck, but i tried, and i think successfully, sorted that out. i had a conversation with general perna last night and again this morning. and i think there was just a misunderstanding. in the beginning, when it wasn't quite clear about what the cadence, as he calls it, of the rolling out of doses would be, there was a lot of caution. so they wanted to make sure that everyone who got a first dose got a second dose on time. so, when doses were released, an equal amount was kept back to make sure that if there was any glitches in the supply flow, that the people who got their first doses would clearly get their second doses. after a couple of cycles, when it became clear that the cadence of the flow of doses was really going to be consistent and reliable, the decision was made, instead of just giving enough of
the first dose and holding back for the second dose, that as soon as they got the doses available, they would give it, because now they would have confidence that the next amount they would get, they would have enough, at least, to give everybody the second dose and then some to give the first dose. >> all right, so, you -- look, you oversee vaccine creation, so i'm curious on the manufacturing aspect of things. president-elect biden has promised to invoke the dpa, the defense production act, on the vaccine manufacturing process. will that help in the short term, or is that something that we won't see the benefits of that until the summer? >> well, you know, i can tell you, one thing that's clear is that the issue of getting 100 million doses in the first 100 days is absolutely a doable thing. what the president-elect is going to do is, where it need
be, to invoke the dpa to get the kinds of things we need, whatever they may be, be they tests, be they vaccines, what have you. in other words, to not be hesitant to use whatever mechanisms we can to get everything on track and in the flow that he predict, but the feasibility of his goal is absolutely clear. teleno doubt about that, that that can be done. >> the guidelines that various state and local authorities are using to distribute the vaccine, clearly, they were a bit too strict, if we're finding ourselves throwing away vaccine. have we -- do you feel as if that has changed enough so that we're not going to be throwing away vaccine? >> yeah, i think so. i mean, one of the things that's clear is that the cdc came out on the basis of the recommendations from the acip about different groups -- 1a, 1b, 1c, as recommendations and guidelines, not real restrictions. and what happened is that, maybe understandably, the states and
the local authorities were really very strictly adhering to that, where right now, what the cdc is saying, those are guidelines. you've got to loosen them up, be less rigid about it. and the one thing you don't want is that if you think vaccine left over, then just move on to the next group. you know, it's kind of like, if you want to use the metaphor of when you're boarding a plane. everybody gets on in the group 1. and if not everybody gets on, you open up group 2, but group 1 can still go on. you want a steady flow. you don't want to hold back. you want to not essentially overshoot, nor undershoot, but let the flow keep going. i think, chuck, that that's going to work well looking forward. >> how close are we on johnson & johnson and the astrazeneca vaccines? >> soon, chuck. i mean, we're going to be meeting with the authorities on that. they have a lot of events, events meaning infections within the context of the trial, so their data, i think, very soon -- i would imagine within a period of a week or so, or at
the most, a couple of weeks -- >> oh, wow. >> they're going to be getting their data together and showing it to the fda. and, obviously, they're going to have to get their data and safety monitoring board to look at it and see if it is appropriate to start essentially putting the package together to get an emergency use authorization. but we're weeks away, not months away, for sure. >> what's your level of concern about this new variant that, clearly, a lot of folks are concerned is certainly more contagious? >> yeah. well, we're taking it really very seriously, chuck. you don't want people to panic, but you have to look at it from a certain standpoint. yes, there is no doubt, when you look at what the brits -- and now, remember, people need to realize, there's more than one mutant strain. there's one from the uk that's essentially dominated. that's the one that actually is seen in the united states. there's another more ominous one that's in south africa and brazil. we're looking at all of them very, very carefully, a, to
determine -- i mean, obviously, the brits have made it very clear that it's more contagious. they say that it isn't more virulent, but you know, we've got to be careful, because the more cases you get, even though on a 1-1 basis, it's not more virulent, meaning it doesn't make you more sick or more likely to die, just by numbers alone, the more cases you have, the more hospitalizations you're going to have, and the more hospitalizations you have, the more deaths you're going to have. the thing we really want to look at carefully is that, does that mutation lessen the impact of the vaccine? and if it does, chuck, then we're going to have to make some modifications. but we're all over that. we're looking at that really very carefully. >> is there a point with this variant that you think there's going to be new restrictions, whether advice that says double mask or additional lockdowns? are we close to any of those ideas? >> well, i think one of the things we've got to do, chuck, and you know, maybe the silver
lining, if you want to call that, is when you have a variant that's very, very different in the sense of it's more contagious, it tells you to do two things -- one, double down on the public health measures that we've been talking about all the time. be very compulsive. as the president-elect says, at least for the first 100 days and maybe more, everybody wear a mask, keep the distance, avoid the congregate settings. but also, another important thing, the easiest way to evade this negative effect of these new isolates is to just, when the vaccine becomes available, people should get vaccinated. boy, if ever there was a clarion call for people to put aside vaccine hesitancy, if we can get, you know, the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, we'd be in very good shape and could beat even the mutant. >> that's one way to look at it. we're in a race against the mutant. everybody, get your arms out and get those needles ready to
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welcome back. the panel is with us. nbc news chief white house correspondent kristen welker, rich lowry, editor of "national review" and former democratic senator from missouri, claire mccaskill. welcome to all of you. i want to start by showing you some of the stark differences we found in our poll between how republicans and democrats feel about where the country is headed. we asked them to put it in their own words. well, among republicans, we heard things like wrong direction, concerns about personal freedoms, headed towards socialism and communism, and then simply liberal
bankruptcy. among the phrases we heard from democrats were things like hopeful, exhilarated, and repairing the massive damage. but there was also some negative phrases as well, including downhill, frightened, and headed for the toilet. but you know, claire mccaskill, i want to begin, because i've got to show you, to just show you how polarized we are as a country, i want to show you the ratings for jill biden, among republicans, and show you the comparisons of what the opposing party thought of first ladies coming into office. as you can see here, republicans have this incredibly negative view of jill biden, 8-59. she's not been an overly political spouse. you go back. here's what melania's numbers were -- trump's numbers were among democrats. they weren't that high, 9%-44%. but i want to show you this pattern. here's michelle obama among republicans. a little less sort of vitriol,
19%-33%. and then look at this from laura bush. it was 17%-17% among democrats. we just thought that that might better explain polarization than any. if you hate the first lady, you've got a negative view, then you really sort of are blinded with partisanship. >> no question this country is very divided by party. but chuck, let's take a step back here. she was the most popular person on the poll. the only institution that was more popular than jill biden was the supreme court. she was more popular than trump, more popular than pence, even more popular than her husband. so, let's get perspective here. there's about 30% of the country that is totally -- 30% to 35% that's totally trump. but the majority of america has rejected trump, especially in light of what he incited in our nation's capital. i think we're headed for good places because your polling, talking about republicans and democrats, all those independents in the middle are skewing away from trump's republican party. >> you know, it's interesting,
rich, i think in some way, claire, when she's speaking for the democrats, they have it a little bit easier. they could ignore this 30% while they govern for a while. it's going to be hard to fully ignore them, but they can sort of work around them. the republican party can't, because that 30% translates into about 70% of the party. what does a mitch mcconnell do with those folks? >> well, it's tricky. donald trump is going to be the biggest figure in the party for a long time here. he has more energy, has more grassroots supporters. mcconnell has more institutional influence in washington. but what we've seen over the last week or two are the opening salvos of what will be a republican civil war that will run through republican senate primaries all the way down to dog catcher races. and trump, his voters at the margins have soured on him some, but they haven't abandoned him. and i think what a lot of people, including some senate republicans, haven't fully counted on is i think there will be a ferocious backlash that we
haven't really seen yet to a post-presidency effort to bar trump from running for office again, which is going to strike a lot of republicans as vindictive and undemocratic. >> hmm. kristen welker, what is president-elect biden's thoughts on how to -- does he bother to talk with this 30% to 35%? he obviously knows his mandate was to bring the country together, but that's a 30% of the country that doesn't seem to want to listen to him. does he have a thought on how he's going to talk to those folks? >> well, i think you're going to hear that conversation begin in his inaugural address, chuck, based on my reporting. look, he is going to hit those themes of unity, of healing, and then he's going to have to show his work once he's in office. and it's going to start with that big challenge. he rolled out that $1.9 trillion relief package that he wants to get passed.
the question is, how does he do it? in speaking with those close to him say, look, of course there are going to be areas of compromise. can he reach across the aisle and work with republicans, work with mitch mcconnell? they are going to be feeling pressure to address these crises. the economy, covid, all of the issues that are addressed in that relief package. and so, i think that's where the conversation begins, chuck. i think there's also an opportunity for dr. biden as well. she has indicated that she wants to revive the joining forces military program and work on school reopenings, chuck. >> i want to talk about the senate a little bit. you know, claire mccaskill, does this -- do you view the senate impeachment trial as having any impact on joe biden's ability to bring, say, a dozen republicans on board, some early bipartisan pieces of legislation? >> i don't think it does. first of all, joe biden's going to be talking covid, covid, covid. he's not going to be talking impeachment, impeachment, impeachment. and the key here is, joe biden
believes that mitch mcconnell is somebody he could potentially work with. my checking in with senators, there isn't a lot of faith about that. mitch mcconnell has specialized in obstructionism to democratic presidents, and there is a lot of senators who really don't have the same faith that joe biden has that mitch mcconnell will come to the table and compromise and get things done for the american people. i think most people believe that joe biden is setting himself up -- senators, that is -- setting himself up for failure, because mitch mcconnell hasn't even come with a time agreement to begin the new senate. so, this is not somebody who is showing signals that he's willing to work with democrats. >> rich, sort of same question from the other viewpoint. do you think the senate impeachment trial will motivate republicans to work with biden, or somehow, move them away from working with biden? >> no, i don't think it will have much of an effect one way
or the other. and it's sort of amazing that already democrats are kind of considering the impeachment trial, something to get beyond and try to push off to the side so they can focus on what they really care about, which is getting the biden agenda passed and getting cabinet officials nominated. and i think mcconnell, he had a pretty good relationship with joe biden in the obama years. he thought he could cut deals with joe biden much better than he could with barack obama. so, when there's a commonality on things, you know, another relief package, some spending at the margins, i think they'll have a fine working relationship. but at the end of the day, these are two men who disagree for sincere and deeply held reasons on most of what will be discussed. so, mcconnell's fully within his rights to oppose things he's never supported. >> when we come back, how the riot at the capitol was frankly years in the making. e capitol w years in the making. irritated. i don't have to worry about that, do i? harmful bacteria lurk just below the gum line. crest gum detoxify works below the gum line
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welcome back. the riot at the capitol was shocking. sadly, it was not unpredictable. according to the center for strategic and international studies, right-wing terrorists perpetrated the majority of all plots and attacks in the united states from 1994 to 2020. over the past six years, these attacks have occurred in 42 states. in other words, the violence we witnessed on january 6th has been hiding in plain sight. >> hang mike pence! [ crowd chanting ] >> the assault on the capitol was a culmination of years of rising political violence. >> they ripped my mask off, stole my equipment, beat me up. >> fueled by resentments exploited by politicians on the right and accelerated by president trump.
>> we fight, fight like hell. get your people to fight. you're going to have to fight much harder. >> the rhetoric of resentment legitimizing vigilante justice and leading to violence is nothing new. ten years ago, after she voted for president obama's health care law, congresswoman gabby giffords was shot along with 18 others, including a federal judge, by a gunman in her arizona district. six people were killed. >> the disturbed personalities are the most susceptible to the vitriolic that goes on. >> the tea party broadly formed to limit the size of government grew online, fueling a new rhetoric on the right. >> this is the movement, and america is ready for another revolution. >> there was some attempt to quell the rhetoric. >> it is certainly not a reflection of the movement or the republican party when you have some idiots out there saying very stupid things. >> but the energy this more extreme rhetoric created among the base proved too intoxicating to worry if these words would eventually have consequences. >> the roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what?
the blood. of who? the tyrants, to be sure. but who else? the patriots. >> from the moment he launched his campaign in 2015, donald trump was comfortable suggesting violence be used against his perceived political opponents. >> she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. although the second amendment people, maybe there is, i don't know. >> and throughout his presidency, mr. trump has been connected through his rhetoric to acts of violence. in 2018, cesar sayoc, a trump supporter, nailed 16 inoperable pipe bombs to critics of the president. also that year, an anti-semitic terrorists killed 11 worshippers at the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh, which had been opposed to president trump's immigration policy. in 2019, a gunman killed 23 people at a walmart in el paso after posting a racist manifesto that warned of a hispanic invasion, echoing mr. trump's language.
the president condemned the attack, but also equivocated. >> what do you say to your critics that believe it's your rhetoric that is emboldening white nationalists and inspiring this anger? >> so, my critics are political people. they're trying to make points. >> mr. trump's supporters don't have a monopoly on violence. a bernie sanders supporter shot four, including congressman steve scalise, at a congressional baseball practice in 2017. >> i am sickened by this despicable act. >> but unlike sanders, the president has praised extremists who support him. >> you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. >> and the threat has been growing. >> donald trump lit the fuse of a box of dynamite that contained white supremacists, far-right militias, proud boys, boogaloos, neo confederates and many other insurrectionists, just waiting for him to call them to action. >> we're going to be doing much more on how right-wing violence
has become a growing terrorist threat on "meet the press reports," which airs on nbc news now and on peacock. our new season starts soon. basically, you just got a trailer. and we're going to let you know when the season begins. when we come back, americans are divided even over who's to blame for the capitol riot. e dio blame for the capitol riot
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pardons. now, we asked voters -- and again, we were the only poll -- you've seen a lot of other polls out there. they've been polls of all adults. we've been a poll of registered voters. that's why there's some differences, if you've seen, on the job rating numbers. but we asked about a self-pardon -- approve/disapprove? well, two-thirds of the country would disapprove of a self-pardon. just 27% would approve of that. kristen welker, that shows you, there is a line for some trump supporters that they're not going to cross, when only 27% of folks approve of that. is he going to do it? >> he's still undecided, i'm told, chuck. and there are increasing conversations behind the scenes about a potential self-pardon and pardons for his family members and close aides and allies as well as a number of other people, but he's concerned about the pr aspect of it. those numbers that you just showed, chuck. and so, that is one of the things that is holding him back from moving forward with it.
and we know that a number of his legal advisers have urged him not to do a self-pardon. i am told, though, that we can expect there to be more pardons before he leaves office. but chuck, i think that's the dichotomy that we are seeing with president trump right now. yes, he still has broad support among the republican party, but he's increasingly isolated in the white house among his top advisers. the cascade of resignations that we saw in the wake of january 6th and the fact that you have a number of those allies who used to stand with him who just aren't anymore, chuck. >> you know, rich, i've been thinking, if he pulls -- if he tries a self-pardon, that's probably not the best way to convince senate republicans not to convict. >> yeah. i'm not sure whether he gets conviction regardless, but self-pardon obviously would be radioactive. not clear how effective it would be. it would certainly be legally contested. but he's certainly going to
pardon another raft of allies and probably family members, and this administration's obviously been losing legitimacy by the minute and kind of literally falling apart before our eyes. >> you know, claire, this -- in some ways, this pardon story here at the end was inevitable with donald trump. i think a lot of folks assumed he would get intoxicated by this power, and he has. he loves the absolute power. do you think, considering how he used the pardon process, and obviously, there's some stories in the "times" today indicating a lot of lawyers are trying to make money off of this. should we be reforming how this works? >> i think so. and i think you'll see hearings about it as he moves forward. i mean, so many of these pardons have been just purely political. they haven't gone through the normal process that most presidents use, which is a very thorough vetting by the department of justice. it's just who can get to trump on what day, and him waving the magic wand.
you know, his real lawyers have abandoned him, his bankers have abandoned him, the pga has abandoned him, many in corporate america have abandoned him. and the more he uses this pardon irresponsibly, the more it cuts into that 30% and makes it even harder for republicans to win an election nationally in this country ever again. >> hey, rich, i want to go back to the piece we ran right before this segment about sort of the growing violent streak that we've seen over this last decade, because look, you are the editor of a publication that stared -- if qanon today is the john birch society, perhaps, of the '60s, is there going to be a purge of these violent extremists from this party, and who can lead it? >> well, i will say a couple things, chuck. one, first of all, you have to make a distinction. rhetoric about fighting, taking back the country, use of martial imagery, everyone does that. that's part of the argo of american politics. what's different is these
movements like "q" that represent these poisonous conspiracy theories that have gained increasing traction on the right and will be part of the civil war going forward. and so, that's what makes this different. what also makes it different, frankly, the president of the united states did not disavow these people, did not disavow this stuff. and in the post-election period, used his considerable communication powers to whip people up and play on their very worst fears. >> well, look, we're all nervous today. about 51 symbols of democracy -- our state capitols and our nation's capitol. let's hope we have a safe sunday and a safe week. thank you all for watching today. we'll be back next week, because for the first sunday of a new biden administration. by the way, a "meet the press" super bowl, packers versus bills, luke. we can't wait. see you next time.
♪♪ look here, look! >> ted cruz's objection to the arizona -- >> his objection. he was going to sell us out all along. >> really? >> look. objection to counting electoral votes of the state of arizona. >> wait, no, that's a good thing -- >> oh, that's -- >> he's with us! he's with us. >> wow. stunning new footage from inside the attack on the capitol, as rioters brawl with the police, storm the building, and rummage through documents on the senate floor. question is, what led to this immense security failure? and as officials make more
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