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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  January 25, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PST

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get to speak to them again. what about all the other victims here that can't speak to shirlee or thomas or roger or mary. this sunday, new president, growing challenges. >> so help you god? >> so help me god. >> joe biden takes the oath of office with a message of unity. >> politics doesn't have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. >> president trump leaves washington without attending the inauguration. >> good-bye. we love you. we will be back in some form. >> and mr. biden immediately gets to work undoing the trump presidency with executive orders, covering issues from immigration to the economy. >> there's no time to start like today. >> my guests this morning, president biden's chief of staff, ron klain. plus, full-scale wartime effort against covid. >> let me be clearest on this
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point -- help is on the way. >> we need more vaccine. we need more vaccine. we need more vaccine. >> mr. biden reverses the trump approach, launching a centralized response to fight the pandemic. >> if we get 70% to 85% of the country vaccinated, let's say by the end of the summer, by the time we get to the fall, we will be approaching a degree of normality. also, impeachment part two. the senate trial begins in two weeks. what could impeachment mean for the new president's call for unity. >> it's unconstitutional. it sets a bad precedent for the presidency and continues to divide the nation. >> i don't think it's very unifying to say, oh, let's just forget it and move on. >> i'll talk to democratic senator dick durbin of illinois and republican senator mike rounds of south dakota. joining me for insight and analysis are nbc news chief washington correspondent andrea mitchell, "the new york times" columnist david brooks, yamiche alcindor, white house correspondent for pbs newshour and tim alberta, chief political correspondent for politico.
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welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, the longest running show in television history, this is "meet the press with chuck todd." good sunday morning from our brand-new studio where we are broadcasting from. after more than 60 years at our historic location in upper northwest washington. a new studio for a new administration. much as president trump sought to undo the legacy of his predecessor, barack obama, so joe biden is moving to escape the shadow of donald trump and unwind that presidency. four years after president trump's american carnage speech, joe biden stressed a theme of unity in his inaugural address. then, moving on from rhetoric, mr. biden went to work immediately to erase much of what he could with a pen of donald trump's presidency, issuing 17 executive orders on everything from economic relief to climate change to racial injustice, to immigration, to the pandemic, and of course, oh,
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by the way, an order that stopped construction on the wall. in addition to all of that, the house will transmit its article of impeachment to the senate tomorrow with a trial in two weeks. but it is one issue, the pandemic, that presents the new biden administration with both its greatest challenge and its greatest opportunity. the president's ambitious multitiered national strategy to combat the virus is precisely the kind of muscular response the trump administration avoided. so, will it work? 418,000 americans are dead from covid-19, and another 100,000 are likely to die in the next 30 days. it's not hyperbole to say that the biden presidency hinges on its success against the pandemic. his administration's success in taking on all aspects of this health catastrophe will also go a long way towards not just determining america's trust in this new president, but in proving that government still has the ability to get big things done. >> we're in a national emergency. we need to act like we're in a
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national emergency. >> president biden, whose campaign was defined by a single issue -- >> covid-19, covid-19, covid-19, covid-19. >> -- now is faced with a challenge of delivering on his promise to make government effective again. >> we will be judged -- you and i -- by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. this is the first one i've signed. >> in an nbc news poll, just 11% of voters say vaccine is going well. on those who say it fell short, 64% blame the government. >> we've spent hours, two, three hours at a time, often with no luck. >> the president is doubling down on his pledge to deliver 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days. >> we need more vaccine, we need more vaccine, we need more vaccine. >> and the administration is already struggling on how best to reassure the public. >> what we're inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined. >> we're certainly not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution. >> president biden now faces two challenges -- making red-state
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republican governors into partners -- >> this shouldn't be "the hunger games" like it was with ppe. >> including some trump allies who are dismissive of his plans. >> i saw some of the stuff that biden's putting out. he's going to create these fema camps or whatever. i can tell you, that's not necessary in florida. >> and forging enough cooperation with republicans in washington to deliver on his ambitious agenda. >> it requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy -- unity. >> but president biden's call to dial down the temperature of political disagreements may quickly face its limits when it comes to policy consensus. >> president biden sounded a lot of notes of unity in his inaugural address, but unfortunately, when he got back to the white house, he implemented a bunch of far-left policies. >> republicans and democrats can't even agree on ground rules for running the senate, especially whether to keep the filibuster. >> i cannot imagine the democratic leader would rather hold up the power-sharing agreement than simply reaffirm that his side won't be breaking this standing rule of the senate.
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>> leader mcconnell's proposal is unacceptable and it won't be accepted. >> biden economic adviser brian deese is scheduled to brief a bipartisan group of senators in a call today to push biden's $1.9 trillion covid relief plan. and while president biden urges congress to tackle his priorities quickly -- >> the more time we have to get up and running to meet these crises, the better. >> -- a senate impeachment trial -- >> presentation by the parties will commence the week of february the 8th. >> -- may make it harder to both change the tone and delay passage of his agenda. >> it's unconstitutional. it sets a bad precedent for the presidency, and it continues to divide the nation. >> i don't think it's very unifying to say, oh, let's just forget it and move on. >> well, joining me now is president biden's chief of staff, ron klain. mr. klain, welcome back to "meet the press." and day four, i believe, now of this presidency. so, let me start with a contradiction, or a potential contradiction.
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jeff zients, your covid-19 coordinator, indicated that you guys had to build this vaccine distribution program from scratch. dr. fauci in the white house briefing room said, no, we're not building it from scratch. give me an assessment now, after three or four days of this, of what you inherited in this vaccine distribution program. >> yeah, look, i think, chuck, i think those two statements actually reconcile more than you might think. i think what dr. fauci's saying is, of course, a year of really amazing scientific breakthrough and discovery created this vaccine in record time. and we have seen the initial wave of vaccinations take place. so, that is progress we are building on, there's no question about it. but the process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals, out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the white house. as every american has seen, the way in which people get vaccine is chaotic. it's very limited. we've seen this factor all over the country where millions of
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doses have been distributed. about half of that has been given out. so, the process of getting that vaccine into arms, that's the hard process. that's where we're behind as a country. and that's where we're focused in the biden administration on getting that ramped up. >> let me ask something very specific on that. we have about a 20 million dose gap, right, of what's been distributed and what's gotten into people's arms. where is the holdups? is this on the states and how they've been distributing? you know, look, we all have personal experiences. my mother's in florida. need i say more about what we've watched in florida? what is this gap, this holdup? where is the bottleneck? >> yeah, chuck, i think it's many bottlenecks, like all complex processes. this is a very complex process that needs help on all fronts. we need more vaccine. we need more vaccinators. we need more vaccination sites. and in the biden administration, we're tackling all three.
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you know, you said at the top, the fundamental difference between the biden approach and the trump approach is that we're going to take responsibility at the federal government, we're going to own this problem, we're going to work closely with the states. they are key partners in getting this done. but we're also going to do the work, ourselves. we're going to set up federal vaccination centers to make sure that in states that don't have enough vaccination sites, we fill those gaps. we're going to work closely with the manufacturers to ramp up production. one of the first orders the president signed was using his legal authority under the defense production act to mandate.
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>> it was considered both, i think, both aspirational at the time and at the same time, we'd better meet that goal. so, i guess, where are we now on that goal, in your mind? and is there a point where you're going to raise the bar, when new vaccines come online? >> yeah, so, chuck, i think it is still a very bold and ambitious goal. i know you wrote about it just before the inauguration, that the biden presidency will be measured by this goal. and we understand that. we take responsibility for that. and i think it is -- you know, this country has never given 100 million shots in 100 days, so if we can do that, i think it would be quite an accomplishment. but obviously, we're not going to stop there. i mean, 100 million people, 100 million shots is a bold, ambitious goal, but we need to keep going after that. so, that is our goal, that is our first goal. it's not our final goal. it's not the end point. it's just a metric that the american people can watch and
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measure how we're doing. >> well, as you know, there's always going to be a lot of people second guessing a lot of things. so, here we are asking about vaccine distribution, and now i've got to ask you about vaccine skepticism. hank aaron's death. robert kennedy jr. jumped on hank aaron's death, because 18 days before he died, he was vaccinated. here's robert f. kennedy's tweet. hank aaron's tragic death is part of a wave of suspicious deaths among elderly closely following administration of covid vaccines. this was something michael osterholm and a lot of people warned about, that anti-vaxxers would take advantage of situations like this. how do you counterprogram this? >> you know, chuck, it's a great point. it's a great concern. i mean, i understand, in some people's minds, it's ironic that we have a lot of people who want to get the vaccine and can't get it, and why are we worried about the people who don't want to get the vaccine? well, we have to worry about those people, because unless we can reduce vaccine hesitancy, unless we can get all americans to take this vaccine, we're going to continue to see covid
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be a problem in our country. so, we have appointed a task force -- first of all, one focused on health equity. we know a lot of hesitancy is located in communities of color. we're going to tackle that problem with trusted communicators, with direct on-the-ground communication to try to win over those people who are vaccine hesitant. we're going to, obviously, try to work with the social media companies to lessen the amount of this information that's available online and get the truth out there. and of course, the president, himself, has tried to set the example. he got his vaccinations in public, as did the vice president, to try to show people that the vaccine is safe and effective. this is a big challenge, chuck. there's no question about it. something we'll be working on every day. >> one more thing on vaccine distribution. a couple of governors have talked about trying to purchase vaccines directly. think governor whitmer of michigan, governor cuomo of new york have hinted at this. is that helpful to you or could that actually make your job harder? >> well, i think, chuck, as a matter of law, the vaccine's
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under an emergency use authorization. i don't think that's possible. i understand why the governors are frustrated. and understandably frustrated. we're going to ramp up production. we're going to ramp up distribution. we're going to work closely with governors. we're going to get this vaccine to the american people. it is going to be bumpy. there are going to be -- the president acknowledged this week, there are going to be setbacks. there are going to be bad days. but we're working on this hard every single day. >> right. >> and i'm sure i'll be back on this program to discuss it again and again, and you can hold me to account, whether or not we make progress or not. >> i want to ask about covid relief, the $1.9 trillion bill you have proposed. here's what punch bowl reported about speaker pelosi on saturday. speaker nancy pelosi told donors on a zoom call thursday night that she wanted to pass biden's covid relief bill in two weeks using budget reconciliation. look, i think a lot of us have identified that congressional democratic leadership may have much less patience than president biden has in trying to
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find bipartisan cooperation. what is that level of patience? how much patience does president biden have in trying to find ten republicans and avoid having to do this on a party-line vote? >> well, we were going to move fast and we're going to move bipartisan. as you said at the top of the show, the president's chief economic adviser is meeting via phone zoom today with 16 senators, eight democrats, eight republicans. we're reaching out to people. i don't think bipartisan and speed are enemies of one another. the need is urgent. americans, both democrats and republicans, are dying. kids' schools that take care of both democratic and republican kids, are closed. people are on unemployment. people are in food lines. that's not a party issue. so, i think, let's try to move on a bipartisan basis. let's try to move quickly. speed is very important here, chuck. >> are you willing, for instance, to table your push for upping the minimum wage, if it got you the ten republicans you needed and you got everything
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else? >> chuck, i am not going to negotiate on "meet the press." >> why not? >> our goal is to raise the minimum wage. it's something that -- well, it doesn't seem like it's the most effective way to get things done, in my view. >> i know. >> but here's the point, though, which is, the president put a plan before the country, and i think that's what the country wanted to hear. you know, i think, again, without delving back into the past, i think we didn't have this kind of leadership before. he said, here's what needs to happen. and we're very dedicated to passing the minimum wage. we think that's an urgent priority. we're going to push the congress to pass our priorities. and that includes the minimum wage. and so, what we want to do is work with the congress, reach out to members in both parties, see what we can get done as quickly as possible. we certainly think the minimum wage should be part of this urgent relief package. >> i want to ask you about your relationship already with senate republicans, mitch mcconnell and joe biden, we know they have a long personal history. how would you describe the cooperation you feel that you've gotten so far from senate republicans? >> you know, chuck, i think, by
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and large, we've seen a lot of progress on this front. obviously, we got some senate hearings held, held by republican-led committees for our nominees before the switchover here this past week. we've seen, obviously, two of our cabinet nominees confirmed already, director haines, secretary austin, and we hope to get votes on a number of others this week. look, i wish that we could get a little less republican blocking can on secretary designate mayorkas. it's very important to have a head of homeland security. it's a critical need. our homeland, obviously, is always under threats. i wish we could move that faster. hopefully, we'll see progress this week. but we're grateful to the senate republicans who have worked with us on these national security nominees. >> is president biden ever going to tell the public how he would vote, how he wants senators to vote on the impeachment trial? is that something he will share publicly before the trial's over? >> i don't know, chuck. i mean, i think he's busy doing his job, which is being
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president, fixing these crises we've been talking about. he's not a senator. he's not going to vote on impeachment. so, i think his focus is on being president, not on doing the job he used to have, which is being a u.s. senator. >> ron klain, there is about 7,000 other issues i'd like to ask you questions about, but you know, how do you tackle an elephant, right, one bite at a time? we did our first ten-minute bite today. ron klain, thank you for coming on today. >> thanks for having me, chuck. coming up, is there any chance democrats and republicans can work together, especially with another impeachment trial on the way? i'll talk to senators dick durbin and mike rounds when we return. hen we return
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prepaid card when you upgrade. switch today. welcome back. tomorrow evening, speaker nancy pelosi will walk the house's single article of impeachment against now former president trump to the senate. that will trigger the start of the trial process, but that will be delayed for two weeks to give both sides time to prepare their cases and, perhaps, the senate to do some other work. there's never been an impeachment trial of a former president and republicans argue it could jeopardize the spirit of unity president biden has been urging.
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joining me now are the senate democratic whip dick durbin of illinois and republican senator mike rounds of south dakota. welcome to both of you. senator durbin, i want to start and do the first interview with you. and let me start with sort of the complication of negotiating covid relief. you've got the impeachment trial. let me ask this -- is it realistic at all that you could come to a compromise, find your ten republicans before february 8th and get this covid relief passed, or is that a little pollyannish of me? >> well, i hope it will happen that way, because the american people know we're in the midst of a deadly pandemic. our economy has been damaged and is struggling. the rescue package that president biden has sent to us is one of the highest importance and a sense of urgency. so, i hope we can really roll up our sleeves and get that done in the period of time that you've mentioned. >> what is the role you would like president biden to play in these negotiations on covid relief? and how much patience do you have to work with republicans,
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versus, we know speaker pelosi's ready to just go now to budget reconciliation. how much time do you want to give it? >> well, i can tell you, i think among some republicans in the senate, there is a feeling that we can have a constructive, not confrontational, but a constructive dialogue. you mentioned the group of senators -- i'm one of them -- who will be on the phone this afternoon, the 16 senators, bipartisan group -- eight democrats, eight republicans. and the object is try to see if there's an area of agreement that we can launch when it comes to this rescue package. so, i am hopeful that we can show right off the bat that bipartisanship is alive in the senate. >> and are you open to that some things might not get there? you know, we -- if the minimum wage hike is what's standing in the way of three republicans versus 12 republicans supporting the rest of the deal, is that worth tabling, tabling that debate to another time period?
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>> come on, chuck. you asked ron klain the same question. are you willing to -- >> you weren't supposed to listen. i was hope you hadn't heard that answer. >> and i can just tell you, no, i'm not willing to negotiate on the television program. will we put things on the table and discuss? of course we will. that's the nature of compromise. there are some goals -- i certainly share all of the goals with the president. i hope we can keep as many as possible in the package. >> there's a lot of groups -- i want to get to the filibuster now. there are a lot of progressive groups that have no patience on this filibuster debate, and i know you guys are going to get inundated with some ads that are already on social media. here's one we're putting up. "the time has come." here it looks like a movie trailer and they quote barack obama saying jim crow relic, aoc calling it a cherished tool of segregationists, and harry reid saying it's outlived its usefulness. do you have a point in time --
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where are you on this filibuster question? and is there a point where you're going to say, you know what, i've tried long enough? >> well, i think it gets down to the bottom line here -- the american people want us to take action, action on this pandemic, action on this economy, and on a host of other issues. and if this filibuster has now become so common in the senate that we can't act, that we just sit there helpless, shame on us! of course we should consider a change in the rule under those circumstances. but let's see. let's see if we can initiate a real bipartisan dialogue and get something done. that's the bottom line. >> harry reid, in fact, suggests giving it a couple months. would you put a -- i've almost wondered, when senator schumer and senator mcconnell are negotiating, are you willing to say, okay, we won't do it for six months, let's see how you behave? >> well, let me answer your question by citing another thing. we're trying to pass an organizing resolution. you know what that's all about. so, the committees can get down to business. and what chuck schumer put on
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the table was word for word the bipartisan agreement the last time we had a 50-50 senate. and senator mcconnell came back and said, no, i want absolute protection, the filibuster will not be touched. well, that's a nonstarter, because if we gave him that, then the filibuster would be on everything every day. so, here's the bottom line. if we are going to work in a bipartisan fashion, let's pass the organizing resolution without the extra mcconnell language. let's get down to business, roll up our sleeves and pass this rescue package that deals with getting these vaccines out across america as quickly as possible, giving help to people who are unemployed and giving businesses a helping hand. we want to get this economy back on its feet. we want to get kids back in school. let's do that as a priority on a bipartisan basis. >> i want to end with a question that i will be asking senator rounds as well. when you heard president biden's call for unity, what did that mean to you? what does -- define his call for unity.
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>> it means a lot. it means a new president who truly is going to reach out in a respectful way to the republicans and to the democrats to get something done. i know joe biden, and i served with him and kamala harris. they know how to pass legislation, by working in a respectful way, constructive way, with republicans who want to help us get america moving again. i heard that loud and clear, and that's why i think joe biden won the election on november 3rd. >> senator dick durbin, democrat of illinois, two in leadership and also will be chair of the jishy committee when you come to an organizing agreement. we can officially call you that. chairman durbin, thank you for coming on and sharing your perspective with us. >> thanks, chuck. >> let me turn to you, senator rounds. as i promised, that last question to him is going to be my first question to you. when president biden called for unity in his inaugural speech, how do you define that call for unity, in your head? >> well, it begins, first of
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all, by recognizing that there are different points of view about how we move forward with regard to the pandemic. and i think we all want to have the same goal of eliminating this pandemic as quickly as we can, but what's the right philosophy? second of all, it's with regard to how we move things through the senate. are we prepared to actually take and to look at both sides? and what's the best of both? can we sit down and actually work together on issues? infrastructure's one area where we may very well be able to work together on things, but let's test it and let's find out whether or not we can actually come to a consensus that will last long term, not just for one or two years. >> i want to ask you specifically about the covid relief bill, the $1.9 trillion dollars here. and i'm wondering if you believe that, look, the election has consequences. you know, joe biden won by 7 million votes. is that a mandate -- should that not be considered a mandate to go in his direction on covid, at least, for a period of time? does he not get some benefit of
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the doubt, in your mind, or no? >> you know, i really don't think we're that far off with regard to the direction for covid relief, specifically in targeted areas. i think we all want to make sure that we've properly funded the availability of vaccines. a good plan for getting it out in all states. in south dakota, one of the biggest challenges we've got is knowing in advance how many we're going to get per week. but as soon as we get it here, we're getting it out. those are the types of things -- i think we're going to find ourselves in agreement in a number of areas there. the real challenge is whether or not democrats are prepared to, perhaps, release some of the items that are not specifically targeted to covid relief. and the one -- chuck, you brought it up earlier -- minimum wage development. when i was a governor, i actually looked at it here in south dakota. when i was in the south dakota legislature, i actually voted for it. but that doesn't mean that i did it without putting together consensus on it. and if you're going to talk about an emergency operation, why would you then include and
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demand that that be a part of it? i think that's just looking for a way not to get some things done that might very well have to be done in the next couple of weeks. >> well, let me ask you this, would you support some raise in the minimum wage? i mean, you know, when we consider -- it does seem as if some of these things are negotiable. we haven't raised the minimum wage in years. it's sitting at $7.25. would you raise it -- if it was $12 instead of $15, would that make it easier for you to support this bill? >> i think the bigger issue here is, is whether or not we're going to be specific on covid relief. if you want to do those other items, such as that, then let's break it out, let's separate it out, take the time and do it correct. but let's go back in and focus once again on covid relief. and i'll say this again, look, republicans and democrats alike want to get ahead of this as quickly as we can. "warp speed" worked. it was done literally unanimously. the senate worked together to get that done. we've done something here in a matter of 10 to 12 months that has never been done before with
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the creation of new vaccines and getting literally millions and millions of these out. it was a consensus-driven approach that everybody in the united states senate literally supported, or it wouldn't have been done that quickly. that's doable again, but we didn't try to include other things that many of us would have liked to have had included, because we knew that we had to find consensus. let's focus on those things that we can get done, that we agree are specifically targeted to covid relief. >> let me move to the impeachment. do you believe donald trump committed an impeachable offense? >> to begin with, i think it's a moot point, because i think right now donald trump is no longer the president. he is a former president. the constitution, and i think -- and i know there are other people out there that may disagree with me -- but article one, sections, i think it's six and seven, specifically point out that you can impeach the president, and it does not indicate that you can impeach someone who is not in office. so, i think it's a moot point,
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and i think it's one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the senate. but for right now, i think there are other things that we'd rather be working on instead. i know that the biden administration would love to have more of their cabinet in place. there's a number of republicans who also feel the same way. we should allow this president the opportunity to form his cabinet and to get that in place as quickly as possible. if we start working on an impeachment, which looks like we're going to end up doing, we've only got a couple of weeks here in which to actually work through and allow this president an opportunity to form a cabinet. a lot of us would prefer to maybe work through those issues instead. >> senator, i want to note something you did on a press release the day before the insurrection. you wrote, i wholeheartedly support an independent investigation into the 2020 election. i'm interested in restoring faith, certainty and transparency for the american voter, and unless we get to the bottom of these allegations, i fear americans' faith in our electoral process is in great jeopardy. obviously, the next night, colleagues of yours, including mitt romney, said you know, part
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of the problem here with sort of appeasing this belief that something went wrong with the election is that these people were lied to. do you at all regret this statement, that basically, you helped further this lie, even indirectly, by implying there should be some investigation for allegations that just don't exist? >> i still believe that we should have an investigation. and i think it should be bipartisan in nature. 74 million americans supported president trump. there's probably 50 million americans out there that have questions about whether or not -- >> but whose fault is that? >> -- the election was fair. >> they were fed a lie. >> the best way to approach this -- >> well, see, i think democrats should have an interest in doing this as well, because in a bipartisan approach, they can actually point out what they believe to be the purpose, and very honestly, i will tell you that i think, if you move this through -- if you move this forward and you allow for an
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investigation to actually look, you're going to find that the election was fair. that's my belief. but at the same time, let's show it to the american people. let's point out, if there's misinformation out there, which i believe there was -- >> okay. >> then let's put that out and lay it out so the people can see it. i think that's -- we've got a piece of legislation in senate bill 13 which would do exactly that. republicans and democrats alike should support that. we want those 50 million americans plus to feel that they have full faith in the election process. and we think that those states did a good job, but the best way to do it is to work our way through it and allow them and actually show them publicly how well it was actually run. >> senator rounds, republican of south dakota, i appreciate you coming on and sharing your perspective with us. thank you very much. >> thank you. when we come back, impeachment part two. the panel is next.
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welcome back. the panel is joining us. nbc news chief washington correspondent andrea mitchell, "the new york times" columnist david brooks, yamiche alcindor, white house correspondent for pbs news hour and tim with politico. i'm sorry you guys don't get to enjoy our new green room as well. it's unbelievable food and everything, andrea. you won't believe what you've missed. andrea mitchell, i feel like we are suddenly in a race here. we've got the impeachment trial, we've got the pandemic, covid relief. we're going to know in about three weeks how functional washington will be on a bipartisan basis or not.
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do you see it the same way, that we're going to find out quickly whether this is going to be a functional bipartisan government or not? >> absolutely. and from my sources within the white house and the hill, the democrats believe that they can at least try to do this in a bipartisan way, that covid is so urgent, that the country is crying out for vaccines to be distributed equitably and quickly, and so, the white house believes that they have at least some time on their hands in the first few days to use pressure, public pressure, against the republicans, to try to get, not only organize an agreement and all the nuts and bolts and get those going, but get this going so they're not going to face the filibuster crisis until later down the road. >> yamiche, it feels like one of the first congressional tests will be when leaders run out of patience, but president biden hasn't. >> that's right, but this is a new washington with some of the
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same old problems and some of the same increasingly hostile and increasingly, in some ways, apparent divisions. what you see here is joe biden talking about unity, but even in his inaugural address, he said some people might see that as foolish, because there is also this democratic base that is increasingly important to the democrats that wants to see accountability as well as help with this covid-19 pandemic. sources in the white house that i've been talking to say they really hope that the fact that there is really no big plan for how to get the vaccine into the arms of americans, that that will push republicans to get on board, because the trump administration, from my understanding, their plan was to dump the vaccine into states and get them to figure out how to deal with it. but you already saw this week, republicans are really talking about power more than unity. you see senate minority leader now mitch mcconnell exerting in the minority power, trying to get as much as he possibly can out of the senate, and that to
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me tells me a little bit about how republicans are going to play this. house minority leader kevin mccarthy's saying that biden has the wrong priorities at the wrong time. that also shows you how republicans republican playing this. >> you know, david brooks, do you think in order to pursue a bipartisan washington, president biden has to pick, basically, between going big and bold on covid relief and other things or trying to get bipartisanship, that you can't do both? do you buy that? >> no, actually. you know, there is some stuff they put in the bill in order to take it out, like the minimum wage. they're going to give that away. there's a bunch of stuff like that. but in my view, biden has to do bipartisanship. his whole campaign was built on unity. if he doesn't do that, his campaign is a lie, so he has to do it, and i'm reasonably optimistic they can do. every republican i talk to say joe biden is a trustworthy guy, but other things republicans have been for, like the child tax credit and other things. the republican party is just
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incredibly divided in a different way i've ever seen. now it's in every family. and so, i just think the republicans have the potential to go along, and if they don't, then finally, maybe joe manchin, some of the moderates who don't like the filibuster or want to keep it, they'll be willing to vote to end it. >> tim alberta, what about a guy like mike rounds? you've covered mike rounds. i've covered him as a both governor, as senator. we know he is sort of a -- he's moderate in tone. he may be conservative in ideologies, moderate in tone. i can tell that he's uncomfortable where perhaps his constituents are pushing him, maybe where his instincts want to be. how many of those senators exist? and how hard is this pressure they're feeling about, they might want to work with biden, but their constituents believe working with a democrat is akin to working with china or something like that? >> chuck, it's a great question, and i think there are probably more of those republican senators than many of us realize. and i think one of joe biden's sort of unique gifts here, stepping into this role as
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president at a time like this is that he knows not just how many there are but who those individuals are, and he knows sort of which buttons to push and when to push them and then when to sort of back off. and keep in mind, you know, joe biden was in a similar position 12 years ago when the vice president incoming in the obama administration, and there was some belief that with the stimulus package that was pushed through very hastily, without any republican votes, that that was a tactical mistake, that in some ways, it sort of poisoned the well with certain republicans on the hill who, had they taken a little bit more time, would have been willing to sign onto that deal. so, i think that that memory still haunts biden a little bit, and i think that he is going to want to give some of these folks, like a mike rounds, he's going to want to give them a little bit more time, make sure that he gives them every opportunity to say yes before he has to move forward without them. >> andrea mitchell, i want to quote something from bloomberg from a couple weeks ago.
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much of biden's agenda as president will depend on how well chuck schumer rises to the occasion. though biden will also be able to draw on his own relationships dating from his long tenure in the senate. boy, harry reid, mitch mcconnell, those guys, you know, went back and forth. now it's chuck schumer's turn. is he ready for this? is he up to it? >> well, that's a big question, because harry reid and mitch mcconnell never even talked to each other. it was so toxic up there. and you know, a quarter of the senate has changed in just the four years since joe biden was given his fond farewell from the senate to, you know, to leave as vice president. so, a lot has changed there. and schumer doesn't have those muscles. he knows the senate. he knows the rules as well as mitch mcconnell does. but they have not worked together. and so, they have -- this is a new memory that they have to learn. >> we shall see. and new scar tissue they have to develop. before we go to break, a word about one of the greatest and most underappreciated athletes
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in american history. hank aaron, who died on friday, was best known for breaking babe ruth's home run record. but aaron was so much more than a slugger. as a baseball player, he was also a graceful outfielder, a fast and smart base runner, but he was also more than just a baseball player. most of all, he was a kind, modest gentleman who endured unspeakable racism as he approached a white man's hallowed record. aaron appeared on "meet the press" with tim russert two decades ago. listen. >> do you ever wake up in the morning and say, i broke babe ruth's record? i am the greatest home run hitter in the history of baseball? >> i think about it some time, and yet, i don't dwell on it as much, you know, because i went through some very tough times. i'm just happy that i did it. it's over with, done with. >> he went through a lot having to break that record. aaron finished with 755 home runs, the most ever at the time.
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>> announcer: "meet the press" data download brought to you by pfizer. welcome back. "data download" time. a new president and new congressional makeup, same old partisan divides, right? yes and no. there's the traditional red-blue divide you're familiar with, but there's a lot more below the surface going on in both parties. let's set the table. about four in ten registered voters identify either as democrats or lean democratic in the latest nbc news poll. it's a little fewer than that,
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that identify as republicans or lean republicans on the other side. the remainder are what we call the very hard independents, or people that simply don't care to answer. but if you dig into those two partisan groups, you, in fact, find that four political parties are emerging in the data. let me show you. 17% consider themselves to be mostly supporters of former president donald trump. we're going to call them the trump republicans. another 17% call themselves supporters of the republican party more so than donald trump, the traditional republican. another 17%, as you see there. then let's look at the other side of the aisle. 17% say they are democrats who support joe biden in the primaries. we're going to call them the biden democrats. another 17% supported more left-leaning candidates, senators bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. yes, you are reading this right. that is 17s across the board. does it get more evenly divided than that? and those breakdowns could matter when it comes to governing. let me show you. trump republicans are firmly against compromising with biden
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in order to gain consensus on legislation, as you can see. but party republicans, they feel very differently, with more than half in favor of making compromises with biden in order to gain some consensus on legislation. on the democratic side, the divides are there, too. they're not as wide, though. seven in ten biden democrats want congressional democrats to work on passing the biden agenda, but among the more liberal sanders democrats, support for passing a biden agenda still high, but falls to 60%. so you see that growing gap. look, are we ready to be a four-party system? are we europe? no, probably not. but if you understand this four-party world, you could actually make it eaier on yourself to form a governing coalition, something the biden white house may want to think about. when we come back, can washington really turn the page after the tumultuous trump era? after the tumultuous trump era
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thought surgery was my only option. turns out i was wrong. so when a hand specialist told me about nonsurgical treatments, it was a total game changer. like you, my hands have a lot more to do. learn more at today. welcome back. so, let's focus on impeachment. yamiche, what's the politics of this country going to look like after impeachment? >> it's a great question, and in some ways, i think the politics of this country is going to look much like it looked like right after the siege on capitol hill. there are so many democrats who want to see president trump held accountable and to see him barred from office, because they don't want to see a resurgence of president trump, in particular, or his brand of politics that was so embedded in racist troupes, in white supremacy, critics would say. but then you see republicans
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like mike rounds who say, yes, the election was free and fair, but we should still go off and make sure we spend time investigating it. that's going to be -- if that's what someone who believes the election was free and fair says, you can imagine what the people who don't believe the election was free and fair would say. one other thing, i think it's very interesting that joe biden in calling for bipartisanship, he's having to contend with republicans who voted to say he wasn't a legitimately elected president. >> how do we deal with the trump era on the accountability front? look at the latest out of the justice department. it just gets more cringe-worthy by the drip. especially if he ends up acquitted? >> yeah, i don't know about prosecuting everybody who did everything wrong. i'm all for prosecuting. as for impeachment, i'm hoping it will be a passing wind. it will go on for two days, we'll have an extremely partisan vote and then we can get back to the new america, the joe biden america. i would have faith that the senate could do impeachment and
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covid at the same time. if lyndon baines johnson were up there or henry clay. but i see the three stooges up there and the gang who couldn't shoot straight, so i don't see strength in senate's capacity to do two things at once. i hope they can do it and move on. >> tim alberta, what's the republican party going to look like after impeachment? >> chuck, it's interesting. i've spoken with a number of republicans in recent days, including a couple of republicans who are going to run for president in 2024, and what i've heard has been pretty striking, that many of them actually would like to see president trump convicted. whether or not they'll follow through on that vote remains to be seen, but they'd like to see president trump convicted. what they fear is that, right now, without a conviction, the president has already begun to fade from public consciousness. his twitter feed was taken away. he's not the 800-pound gorilla dominating the news cycle. they fear that a conviction could actually sort of drag him right back center stage, make a
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martyr of him, and actually allow him in some strange way to exercise even more influence, more control over the party moving forward than if they were just to let him alone and let him sort of fade into obscurity on his own. >> i tell you, i don't think any of us expected how powerful the deplatforming would be in suddenly getting him to fade away. it's a reminder, he's kind of a little bit lazy in figuring out how to get around it. before we go, we have a word about someone who has been a huge influence on me, on my executive producer, frank leach, all of us at nbc news. it's tom brokaw. he is one of those men who truly needs no introduction, particularly here. he is retiring after 57 years at this network. we need another hour to name everything tom has done here, but as he wrote to me yesterday, the first television news broadcast i saw was the huntley brinkley report, and i was hooked. by 1966, i was briefing david brinkley on ronald reagan's campaign for governor of california, and that was quickly followed by white house correspondent during nixon and
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watergate, host of "today," anchor of "nightly news" and interim anchor of "meet the press." he said i never tired of it and the men and women of nbc will and were remain family forever. andrea, i got the privilege after tim's death in 2008 to basically be tom's wingman, as interim host here at "meet the press." one thing he instilled into me, he says, nbc. other networks may do some other things better than us, but nobody does politics better than us. don't forget it. andrea? >> well, that's absolutely true. and you know, he coined the phrase the greatest generation, the book he wrote in 1998, after his first trip to normandy in '94. it just -- think about one day. i think about december 9th, 2015, the day that candidate trump announced the muslim ban. tom was in new york having three hours of chemo. his arm with an iv, in one hand he writes an essay, and he writes an essay and flies to d.c. about the dangers of paranoia trumping reason, about
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the internments of japanese americans, about mccarthy, about the way black americans were speaking. then he speaks about this muslim-american who enlisted after 9/11 and that he has a permanent home in arlington. that same night he goes to the german embassy. i was there. and he gets the highest possible award from the german government for what he did in 1989 in front of the berlin wall, the only american anchor to foresee what was going to happen, to be there because of the great reporter he is and was, the great writer. so, that's the legacy. >> and he's not going away -- >> and chuck, the diplomat -- >> that's right. >> he's not going away. >> he's not going away. he's an important touchstone for me on a weekly and bi-weekly basis, for all of us. and you're going to be hearing from him a lot. thank you, tom. we love you. that's all for today. thank you for watching. we'll be back next week, because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." go packers.
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the house of representatives set to take the next step in the trump impeachment process this morning. the question is, can the senate hold an impeachment trial for an ex-president? plus, new information on just how far donald trump was willing to go to overturn president biden's win. the question this morning -- what stopped him? and super bowl lv all set. the question is, will the kansas city chiefs be able to defend their title against the buccaneers? it's "way too early" for this.