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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 25, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST

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is not yet yielding benefits for president biden's top priority, his covid relief package. the senate is in worse gridlock than ever before with minority leader mitch mcconnell using obscure rules to even prevent the majority democrats to take carriage in committees where all of the work is done. and the first bipartisan talks at the white house had even democrats demanding more specifics on just how the $9.1 billion would be spent. and republicans are deeply divided in the impeachment. >> i made it absolutely clear the day the house passed this article of impeachment that a trial after the president left office is beyond the senate's constitutional authority. >> i think it's pretty clear that the effort is constitutional. >> do you think it was appropriate that he was impeached by the house? >> well, yes, i believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to
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insurrection is an impeachable offense. if not, what is? >> joining us now, newly confirmed secretary lloyd austin, who will be confirmed this hour. as of today he's restoring the rights of transgender people to serve in the military. the odds of getting 17 republicans to convict donald trump in the trial and make it possible to hold the second sentencing vote to a fair majority for ever running for federal office again, the question is how much of a political place will president biden and the democrats be paying for demanding accountability? >> that may be a long-term calculation democrats have to make. right now they're pressing on this trial. we will see action tonight and tomorrow with the senators being sworn in. a lot of this moves behind closed doors with lawyers preparing briefs, impeachment managers preparing their strategy. if past is prologued, that is the time in which donald trump could make this worse for
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himself. if you talk to republican senators, it's pretty clear as of right now there probably and rt 17 votes to convict donald trump. what does the president say and do in the intervening weeks and what more do we in the public, impeachment managers learn about leading up to january 6th and what he did during the time the attack on the capitol? there's still that wiggle room here. democrats got, i suppose you could argue, a little positive news with the announcement rob portman is planning to retire rather than seek re-election in 2022. that might free him up -- i emphasize might free him up -- to vote his conscience if believes the president guilty of an offense worthy of removal. the reality is democrats, impeachment managers, have to reach must deeper into the pro-trump elements of the republican party than just gooding rob portman. >> and already in the last couple of days, garrett, we've seen this new reporting
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confirmed by nbc, first reported by "the new york times," the president won't so far as to try to oust its own acting attorney general just to overturn the election results in georgia. there could be more that comes out. the investigation is proceeding. can that be an advantage in terms of building up a level of evidence? yes, it absolutely could. establishing intent i think will be a key part of the impeachment manager's case. you have a jury of politicians who are going to be very reticent to convict another politician for language they might see as political speech. so establishing intent, violent intent, is going to be a key part of it. so too is going to be establishing what the president was doing during the attack itself. remember, during the impeachment vote, a lot of the republicans, several of the republican house members who voted in favor of impeachment, made an appointment during the statements to say in afterwards it's the president lack of response, lack of calling off the rioters, that
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led to their vote to impeach. that could be important evidence in the votes to convict. >> it's so important indeed. garrett, thank you very much. i know you're all over this. we're so fortunate today to have pennsylvania democratic congresswoman 0 deb wa winger joining us. congresswoman, thank you very much. i know you have your hands full. we want to get your response to that as well. we know there's one single article of impeachment and much shorter, less complicated case because all of you were witnesses. you yourself were stuck in the house chamber. headlights start there with the impact of having you and certainly senate jurors all having experienced the attack. >> yes, along with the american people, we witnessed what took place but we were also victims to it. think about what happened here. a president so desperate to hold on to power in the waning days
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of his term incited, assembled a mob, incited that mob and sent them up the street for a dual attack. an act on a sitting branch of government, sitting with his vice president, and also an attack on the constitutional process we were involved in, which was the certification of electors. in that process five people died, more than 130 police officers were injured. the crime, the presidential crime, this is not a criminal trial we will be pursuing. this is a crime by the president against his own oath. i can't think of a more heinous thing for a president to have done. we must hold imaccountable from day one to day last. >> in day last, of course, he left. what do you say to those who argue in fact he's out of office
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and if it it is proved to be constitutional, that you're actually building up donald trump by making him a victim, by giving him a spotlight he doesn't enjoy right now, especially without social media. the trial will put him front and center again. >> i don't see that anymore. we know, number one, it is constitutional because the text of the constitution is not just removal as a result of the impeachment and conviction but also future disqualification. the framers knew very much the threat of mobs and demagogues. so this is a very constitutional pursuit. it's also one that makes sense by way of common sense. otherwise what we are seeing is two weeks, three weeks, four weeks before you're out of office, you can go on a crime spree, you can't say let's try a coup so i can hold on to power. if it fails, they can't impeach me, they can't convict me, they can use the constitution in the way the framers said. that simply makes no sense.
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>> how much will you factor in things like his attempted coup at the department of justice, just a weekend before the electoral college vote, to try to overturn how g had counted the biden victory there? >> there we have a very troubling report but consistent with this president's behavior, trying to use the department of justice as his own legal team, his own team of lawyers to defend him, to pursue power. i was thinking, andrea, this past week, this uniquely american week with the swearing in of president biden and vice president kamala harris, what did the president swear? it's a constitutional oath, different from my own as a congressperson. but what he swore and what the president four years ago swore, was to faithfully execute of office of president of the united states and simply to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. he didn't do those things.
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and that's why we must move forward. everybody would luke to turn the page but we must move forward as a nation and hold this past president to his constitutional oath in order to deter future presidents from the same kind of power grab that literally left five people dead. >> congresswoman madeleine dean, an impeachment manager. you will be marching across from the house to the senate and delivering that article at 7:00 tonight. we'll all be watching. thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. and daniel goldman served as lead counsel during the first house impeachment inquiry into donald trump. just trying to get my head around the fact this president has been impeached twice, and also working with the house intelligence committee in that matter. daniel, it's great to see you. >> good to see you. >> let's talk about the legal aspects, constitutionality.
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it's only been tested. in rare cases there have been post office holding impeachments. we know what happened with the secretary of war, i guess it was, under president andrew johnson. but this is different. it's the president of the use. is there any legal issue that you see that would be an impediment where it would be an immediate appeal going up to the supreme court, delaying the crime or outcome of a trial? >> that's a novel idea that i try to appeal this through the courts, straight to the supreme court, whether there can even be a trial or narrowly in a criminal case, you would play it all out and then it would be appealed and then they would rule on whether or not it was appropriate. but i think representative dean is exactly right, it makes no sense when you read the text of the constitution. and consider the perverse incentives. if a president were to believe that he was going to be convicted by two-thirds of the senate, he could simply resign
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right before the vote and then say, well, you can't actually deny me from ever running again. so it can't possibly be that the president needs to be in office in order to be convicted and disqualified from future office. it's just that simply the punishment of removal is no longer necessary and no longer available. >> daniel, what about bringing in other evidence to try to show intent. does it have to be what he was doing immediately before the speech, whom he spoke to about crafting that speech or maybe intent? we saw the video beforehand, and what ashley parker, who will be on the program later reports, pushing back, not calling the pentagon for reinforcements, blocking calls potentially, that
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has to be established, from the pentagon? is that relevant or what he did every day post election to try to overturn the election? >> you know, andrea, when we went -- there are two overlapping issues. one was convincing the senators and another one trying to convince the public. i think what the managers will try to do here is a little bit of both. in other words, they're going to try to milwaukee the case but they also are going to try to show video of other people who are storming the capitol, who are motivated and incentivized by the president, and who believe that he was calling them to action. and then they'll also, of course, want to get into what was going on during the riots. . because this is a circumstantial -- this is circumstantial evidence, right? if the president were really intent on this being a peaceful
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process and didn't want any violence and didn't want them to storm the capitol, then, of course, he would immediately issue a statement to be peaceful, to be calm. he would send in the national guard immediately to restore calm. that didn't happen. so that evidence of what he was doing goes very much to his state of mind, and i think will be critical evidence during the trial. >> we know that the inspector general at justice is apparently looking into whether any current or former justice officials acted improperly during that bizarre weekend exercise where the president was trying to fire the acting a.g. and change the biden victory in georgia. what actions can they take, the inspector general, against a former president? >> the inspector general ordinarily can refer something
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for criminal investigation if there is a crime that is inspector general has determined may have happened. but remember, this process may take months and months in order to play out. we're not going to have an answer from the inspector general by the time of impeachment. it will be a report down the road this year probably that tried to examine -- tried to interview as many people as possible. but remember, all of these former officials are not required to meet with the inspector general in order to -- in order to provide information. so i think the most relevant investigation into what happened is going to be in the senate judiciary committee, where they do have the power of subpoena to compel witnesses to come forward and testify under oath about what happened. >> daniel goldman, who was in the room where all of it happened, and we're now going to
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be watching a second impeachment trial in just two weeks. thank you very much, daniel. >> thank you. and promising news about whether the current covid vaccines protect you against the highly contagious mew mutated strains of coronavirus. and back on the job, making his return to the pentagon as the biden administration announces its first rollbacks of trump-era policies. he joins me ahead on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. ♪♪ [ beeping ] [ engine revs ] ♪♪ uh, you know there's a 30-minute limit, right? tell that to the rain. [ beeping ] for those who were born to ride, there's progressive. you're clearly someone who takes care of yourself.
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amid growing concern about those highly contagious new variants of covid-19, there's some good news from one of the vaccine manufacturers today. moderna announced this morning their vaccine still protects against the virus variants found in the uk and south africa. however, it appears to be somewhat less protect ginks the south african variant. so the company is now getting to work on a new vaccine that could be used as a beaster to be even more effective against that variant. the news comes after the u.s. surpassed more than 25 million coronavirus cases over the weekend and more than 420,000 deaths. vaccine doses are running out in many states across the country. the glimmer of hope is there are some signs daily cases appear to be trending down. as of this morning the seven-day average of new cases shows a drop of about 30%.
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joining me now dr. kavita patel, former director in the obama administration. dr. patel, welcome. a lot of news today. first of all, moderna, this announcement good news their vaccine is effective against the variant, against each other's strains, but they're starting to develop another booster to target it more precisely. is that how you read it? >> yes, absolutely, andrea. good to be with you. that is how i read it. they did note, however, their vaccine does protect people against specially the south african variant, which is concerning. but it did have a decrease in the antibody response, or put more simply, we know the the effectiveness and efficacy is still there but not as high as it has been on some of the other strains of the but it is good news. and that booster development is also good news because it does tell me, i received the moderna vaccine for my two doses, and it does tell me this is not going to be the last dose i ever get
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of a covid vaccine in my lifetime. >> i got the first dose at least of the moderna when d.c. started distributing it, but, again, the distribution issues are profound. in our own area we see different counties in suburban, washington, virginia and maryland very different outcomes. people waiting in line. counties cutting off people and frustrations more profound. new york state completely running out. what can the biden team do to try to speed this up quickly, even with the defense production act? how does that work quickly enough? >> traz parnsy and data, andrea, just to put simply as you mentioned, i'm part of the d.c. local efforts and what i observed is we don't even know, andrea, how much doses we will be getting from the state or the district until a couple of days prior to the appointments and the vaccines, vaccine clinics that we have. so it sets up an incredibly
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complex set of blockades where patients are upset, we're frustrated on the clin uk side. of course, stas and cities are frustrated as well. the biden administration can make it incredibly transparent, here's how many doses we've sent to the state. here's exactly what we expect the states to be doing to their counties or cities based on the county population. and on top of that, we know good old fashioned assistance. we know there's more demand than supply but we also need to teach people about how they don't have to go through these frustrating portals. and if they need help to develop a better portal or signup mechanism, the federal government can and should step in to assist cities and stas. you possibly found it yourself, spots go within 15 minutes of spots being available. if you're not lucky just hitting refresh at the right time, you miss out. and that's not the way it should
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be. data. support on the technical side as well as man or women power when we need it. >> absolutely, the i.t. issue is profound. the other thing is, just the recommendations made initially by the cdc for nursing homes, that excludes completely disabled people who are living in other settings, maybe with home cared, subsidized home caregiver, someone reading in the paper today, blind, completely unable to get on the list, although this person is very, very vulnerable. we've heard that from neighbors as well. and despite dr. fauci saying the seven-day average, we have to remain vigilant. let's play a little bit of that. >> we don't want to get complacent and say things are going in the right direction, we can pull back a little bit. we do have circulating now in
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this country a variant from the uk that is in over 20 states right now that is a variant that has a better capability of being transmitted more efficiently from person to person. >> and that makes it even more important to be vigilant. he even said double masking is not a bad idea. >> yeah, i think what he's trying to emphasize is just when you think you've been as vigilant as possible, andrea, you need to re-evaluate and double down, including eventually doubling your masks. i think we've seen senators, lawmakers, policy folks who have done that. i think it just speaks to the fact we know more than ever this is a respiratory virus and that's the main source of transmission. remember, the reason these viruses are mutating is there's a selective pressure. it's how they evolve. they mutate all of the time and as many people that can stop getting covid, that's a way to put almost our own brick wall defense against the potential of these mutant strains to come.
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we already think they're here, andrea. we know they are. including that before zillion and south african strain. i would be shocked if they're not here already. we need to do everything possible to decrease the possibility of those strains becoming the dominant strain and wreaking more havoc, all trying to get a vaccine out we know is effective. >> making it all the more important to give you that vaccine to give you that immunity, to give you that wall. dr. kavita patel thank you, as always. and as the biden administration works on fixing the vaccine rollout, the president is also pushing for schools to reopen safely. it's not an easy task. today was supposed to be the first day back in person for many teachers in chicago public schools to prepare for next week's students. on sunday 71% of the teachers union voted not to return to school until they get their vaccinations. msnbc's zack shuster is at an
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elementary school in washington. they're supposed to come back to school wednesday i heard but negotiations are stalled, aren't they? are there vaccines for teachers before schools are supposed to reopen? >> well, the vaccine plan that was announced by a chicago public school, that does not go into effect until february. so there's genuine uncertainty amongst parents where they will be able to send their kids back to school. the plan was february 1. people were supposed to respond to school today and come in person and prepare the classrooms for when the students come in. right now it's just really throwing things off. and this is a warning flag for the biden administration as they push to reopen schools within their first 100 days. when you look at a school like chicago where there have been clear guidelines, more than $100 million spent on improvements, you see where it goes. listen to my conversation with a teacher and chicago public school parent about how
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emotional this conversation is getting. >> you'll see teachers cry. teachers have cried about returning. they just don't feel good about returning. i see parents just try and say, look, i am a city worker. i have had to go to work every single day but i have two very young kids that cannot do this on their own either. so how do you handle that? i think that's the biggest challenge, right? it has to be -- there has to be a compromise. it shouldn't just be all one way or another. >> there's also a divide in who plans to send their kids back to school when that option is available. "chicago tribune" analysis showed me black, latino, asian families, only about a third plan on sending their kids back. white families, that goes up to about 67%. andrea? >> shaq brewster in chicago, thank you. and putin's problem. a huge number of protesters taking to the streets in moscow and around the country, in fact, demanding the release of alexi
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nall vanny, one of vladimir putin's most vocal critics. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. trelegy for copd. ♪ birds flyin' high you know how i feel ♪ ♪ breeze drifting on by you know how i feel ♪ [man: coughing] ♪ it's a new dawn, it's a new day... ♪ no matter how you got copd it's time to make a stand. ♪ ...and i'm feelin' good ♪ start a new day with trelegy. no once-daily copd medicine has the power to treat copd in as many ways as trelegy. with three medicines in one inhaler, trelegy helps people breathe easier and improves lung function. it also helps prevent future flare-ups. trelegy won't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems.
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and we're live right now from the president's office. let's listen. >> soon to be secretary of defense, who we get finished with this will be sworn in in a moment. don't send him away to change his mind. but all kidding aside, this is restating a position that previous managers as well as the secretaries have supported and what i'm doing is enabling all qualified americans to serve their country in uniform, and essentially restoring the situation to restore transgender personnel qualifying in any other way can serve in the united states military. i'm about to sign and i will get a chance, i'm told a little later this afternoon when i
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speak to another order, to answer all of your questions, but i will be signing then. thank you again. all right. thank you. >> thank you guys. >> it was a long way to come just with that. >> let's go, guys. >> biden behind the resolute desk, notably wearing a mask. we never saw president trump wearing a mask in the oval office or white house as he was restoring the ability of transgender people to serve in the military. they had been banned by the trump white house. we'll have an interview with the new spokesperson, new spokesperson for the pentagon, john kirby, coming up in a few minutes. but, first, the biden administration is urging russia to release alexei navalny, the
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leader who survived near assassination last summer and returned just last week, where he was immediately arrested. navalny's power was clearly evident this weekend as widespread demonstrations erupted across russia. 40,000 protesters turning out in moscow alone. 3,700 people reportedly arrested throughout the country. joining us now is nbc news chief correspondent richard engel. richard, you have been following navalny since the assassination attempt, his recovery in germany, inspired by german scientists but it was precisely that german agent, nerve agent only known to russia, that caused him to be deathly ill. now he went back and was arrested. what do these protests mean to you? >> well, this is a new phase for putin and navalny. he's been in opposition for several years now but he's always been -- i don't want to
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say fringe figure but he had been somewhat of a controversial figure, not all of the russian politicians, including the russian politicians were united behind them. and that helped vladimir putin, it helped the kremlin to say he wasn't important, that the media focused too much attention on him. but now that he went back into the lion's den, after having nearly died, he was in a medically induced coma after being poisoned with novichok, that he recovered in five months after being in excruciating pain, and went back, went back to russia knowing he would be arrested as soon as he landed, and he was arrested as soon as he landed, that impressed a lot of people. i think it expanded his base of support and helped unify his position as right now the leading opposition figure in russian circles and certainly the leading figure on the ground in russia, right now in
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detention in russia. >> it certainly is, according to people i have spoken to, richard, people who are experts in moscow and have served there, it's very unusual to see this kind of outbreak of protests under putin. there's rising concern about his corruption, rising disagreement coming and people are willing to take the chance to protest. >> well, there was a very significant law that passed recently allowing putin effectively to become president for life and there have been several new laws making it very difficult to oppose putin or to have any kind of public expression of political dissent on the street. i think those two factors are coming together here, also with this act of very personal, very obvious sacrifice and bravery from navalny. but when you have a situation that seems hopeless, where putin
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by law through a referendum that many say was just railroaded through, now putin can continue to run for office, more other less perpetuity, and it's now more or less legal than ever, i think this has worked navalny to work together and encourage more russians to normally take the streets, brave the bitter cold and face arrests, possible bureaucratic sanctions, loss of jobs, than they would have done previously. >> and for navalny to have gone back to where he was almost killed, on that flight back to russia before last summer, and then had to be rescued and nursed back to health, and for him to go back and talk the risk of being arrested as he was on
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the airplane. the plane diverted to another airport. demonstrators already waiting to greet him. and then him just taken away from his wife there, so dramatic. week ago sunday, so dramatic and so courageous. >> some people are saying that now vladimir putin, who had an opposition figure on his hands, say other opposition figures have been killed or poisoned but he had navalny that he was dealing with before, and now some say he may have a mandela-like figure, somebody in prison who has -- is able to gather support because of his expressions of bravery and commitment. and that is a much more difficult process and difficult adversary for putin to deal with than the navalny that he was dealing with before. >> such good points, richard engel. thank you very much for your per
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speculative. defense secretary lloyd austin, the first african-american to lead the pentagon, is about to be sworn in at the white house with vice president harris. seen along with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, mark milley, who is continuing in that post as far as we know. this reversing the trump ban against transgender people joining the military. joining me now the spokesman retired rear admiral john kirby, back in a big post there, and under the state department of president obama. so good to see you. >> thank you very much for having us. thank you. >> you betcha. let's talk about the transgender ban and what the experience was in the military with it under obama after he made it possible for transgender people to serve openly, and, of course, that was reversed by president trump. >> that's exactly right, andrea. in 2016 the obama administration opened up service to transgender people to not only be recruited but to be trained and put in the
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field and into the fleet and to be treated like everybody else in the military. the trump administration reversed that policy. and today president biden is putting the 2016 approach back into effect. secretary austin, as you noted, is right there with him and looked forward to implementing this new approach, this new old approach, if you will. it's going to take us a couple of months to continue to work through the details of how this gets done but as of today, transgender people are allowed to join the military, if they meet all of the standards. nobody who is transgender can be kicked out of the military as of today and we will work through the details going forward of all of the other specifics. >> let's talk about secretary austin. he's about to be sworn in. maybe he has been. we will show the tape as we get it. you've worked with him before. he was at sent com. you know him from other posts. >> i do. >> talk to me about lloyd austin and what he will be like to serve under. >> i have known him 15 years,
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andrea. you will not find a humble, more thoughtful leader. i have joined my experience with him in the past. i'm very excited to do this here with him going forward. he has a world view. a lot of people think because he was central commander, he only is familiar with the middle east. that's just not true. 41 years in the army certainly acquainted him with national security problems and issues all around the world. he's an inclusive leader and i mean that in the best and most complete way. it's not just about a diversity approach that he's going to take to leadership but he's inclusive in terms of thoughts and perspectives. he likes to surround himself with people with different views and not afraid to shape and share those with him. i think he's going to be absolutely the right guy at the right time for this job. >> we were just talking with richard engel about what's happening in moscow. you're seeing unprecedented protests, openly people demonstrating on behalf of alexei navalny, who's been arrested again. something's happening in russia,
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isn't there? talk of people upset with the corruption in putin's world. >> you can certainly see in the scope of the protests that richard was reporting on that the frustration is certainly mounting and building. and the russian people want to have a voice. they want to have a say in how they're governed. obviously we want to see -- like we would anywhere, we want to see protests remain peaceful and we don't want to see a strong hand-fisted approach by the government. but i think it does show the degree to which the russian people are becoming increasingly frustrated with the way they're governed. >> let's talk also about sexual assaults in the military. general austin was asked about that during his confirmation hearing. he's pledged, there are a lot of women now on the armed services committee and senators, they want to see action. >> you saw on saturday he issued a tasking memo to all of the senior leaders of the military
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that we're going to have to get after this and we have to move further and faster to do it. in fact he mentioned in a senior leader meeting just this morning with the chief present. there was a scourge on the military we could not get our hands around. one is too many and we need to do more. he was very clear on that. he asked the services to come back to hum two weeks from now with their assessments of what they're doing right in sexual assault harassment stage and what they're doing wrong. he wants them and made it clear this morning he wants them to be creative and innovative in trying to come up with new solutions. he told the members of congress when testified last week this would be a day one priority and very much is and he's made that very clear. >> and i want to also ask you about the white house saying they have a priority to look into extremism in the military. the examples, i think one in five of the people i think involved in the protest had some
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military background. one in five i should say of the people charged in the capitol attack, had some sort of medical history. and according to an npr interview, rooting out extremism in the military is a challenge. what does that look like in practical terms? >> it is going to be a challenge. i think we need to say right at the outset, of course, the vast majority of men and women who serve now and who have served have done so honorably with great character and great integrity. the numbers we think attached to these extremist movements are extremely small. that said, that doesn't mean they're insignificant. that doesn't mean they can't have an effect and it doesn't mean they serve, if they ascribe to these extremist views, they're serving at odds with the core values we want to represent. so secretary austin and chairman milley will be speaking about this, talking about this and thinking about the best way forward to get to the root of the problem and understand the depth of it throughout the
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active duty and reserve force. i don't have anything to announce today in terms of a process going forward but i can promise you, it's very much on his mind. he and chairman milley have already had a conversation about this. >> i will put you on the spot but i think i know the answer. it's not a hard question. we've seen the extraordinary difference that jen psaki, white house press secretary brought to the white house briefings. first, there are briefings. second, they're rooted in truth and not confrontational when people are just asking questions. but the white house at least had travel pools and access to the president. there has not been with the pentagon the last four years and certainly not the state department. are you committed to being open and accessible for my colleagues over at the pentagon? >> 100% -- >> when you're the leader there. >> 100%. general austin made it very clear he expects us to be transparent, to be accountable
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and be accessible to the press corps that covers this building as well as reporters all around the world. you can see us. hopefully i'll be getting up to the podium soon. i just have to get a few days to get up to speed on things but we're absolutely 100% committed to being completely transparent and accessible and honest with the men and women of the press corps who cover this building. >> it's a terrific press corps, as i can attest, from knowing my colleagues and those and other agencies. >> absolutely are. >> you're off to a great start, john kirby. thank you for coming to us day one. >> thank you, andrea. good to be with you and president biden again set to sign executive orders today on the economy. how the administration hopes to help the economy and reverse trump-era policy. stay with us. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc n msnb
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and this afternoon president biden will be signing another executive order, this one pushing the federal government to purchase american made goods as part of his buy american plan. the littest in an unprecedented blitz of executive orders out of
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the gate, 20 already since he was sworn into office wednesday. and that includes responding to the pandemic, providing economic relief, reinstating civil service protections against political influence for federal workers and reversing trump-era policies on climate and immigration. joining me now, ashley parker, white house bureau chief at "the washington post." a new title, ashley, congratulations. and joyce vance, former u.s. attorney and professor at the alabama school of law. >> thank you. >> ashley, first to you -- i should say chief ashley, this buy america plan represents a rare agenda item that is not fully out of sync with some of the trump policies but how is it going to be different under this president? >> you're right, it's not out of sync. but donald trump in his first year in 2017 also signed a buy america executive order on a background briefing call on with some of the biden economic team members last night. they were asked that question,
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what is different than what donald trump tried to do? they did not give any real specifics but they did point out with trump's executive order there was a lot of fanfare and a lot of talk about buy america and put america first but when it actually came to policies and to practice, very little changed. >> so the challenge for you guys is going to be -- for all of us -- to be following up and making sure something actually does happen as we tried to do with president trump, just to be as tough and careful about all of that. promises and delivery. joyce vance, many of biden's other executive actions have been undoing trump-era policies, ending the muslim ban, reserving daca. many with questionable legality. will many of these be challenged in the court? >> i think it's inevitable we'll see that but this will be very
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different from the litigation we saw, for instance, when president trump first imposed the muslim ban because that raised clear constitutional issues involving due process and equal protection as well as other sorts of claims. in undoing these is seeking to restore the balance in american justice and litigation is unlikely to be successful in this regard. >> then for speaking of litigation, we have seen the way the government and the bureaucracy were stocked with all kinds of policies. the people appointed at the last minute. the post identified 754 key executive positions that require senate confirmation including cabinet appointees. so far biden has only been able to fill 51 of those roles. how does he figure out how to get the vacancies filled? >> that's one of the things, there was some open questions
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about whether or not joe biden wanted the impeachment trial of donald trump to continue in the senate immediately, whether he wanted it at all. what he wanted the outcome to be. his administration has been fairly evasive on that except for one point where joe biden said he welcomes the decision to sort of push the trial back a bit because he said he could really use as much time as possible to get his administration up and running. i think they are going to try to use these two weeks to do that and cautiously optimistic that they can hold the impeachment trial and continue to push people through but, again, there's only so many hours in the day. there's only so much the senate can do. that's going to be a real challenge of his in the next couple of weeks in his first 100 days when he needs to get all of those people in place. >> we got a bit of news about how the impeachment trial will
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be held. the presiding person will be senator leheay in the line of succession. replacing senator grassley but not the chief justice. very clearly, joyce, the chief justice did not want any part of this. >> i think that he had enough with impeachment round one. something important about this and not to take away from senator leheay is we see how in the background the role of the presiding officer in an impeachment is. most of the focus is on the presentation and on the evidence. yes, there's some balls and stripes to be called by the presiding officer but it's very likely in this much more abbreviated process than what we saw just about a year ago. the focus will be on the arguments that are offered because the senators in effect were witnesses to the charges that are being raised against the president. they were present for the
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insurrection and while there may be some showing of putting on evidence, the real point to be considered is whether or not the president violated his oath of office. that's what this really comes down to at the end of the day. >> one of the factors, ashley, that madeline dean was suggesting earlier is what do you do after the riot. not only was his intent going on, how much inciting in his speech. his backers are saying that's free speech. what do you do afterwards? it's your reporting he was watching television and not heeding the calls from the vice president and others to get help from the pentagon, to get reenforcements there. he didn't seem to be doing anything proactively to either -- we're waiting all those hours. i was on live with chuck todd that day and through those ho s waiting for him to say something and he didn't. >> exactly. it's not what did he do after,
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it's what did he do during those six crucial hours between the first breach around 2:00 p.m. and when the congress was declared secure around 8:00 p.m. it wasn't just that he was watching tv, he was watching tv, fully aware of what was going on and senior advisers said, at the beginning, he liked what he saw. he liked the idea his supporters of his were fighting for him, were fighting on his behalf. he was sort of smitten by that. they said you have to put out a statement, you have to put out a tweet. he did so more begrudgingly. some of the more helpful language, staying safe and going home, he really objected to. it was put into his initial tweet over the objections. that's something even republicans when you talk to
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them about what they are most upset by and no one is willing to defend him, it's what he did or what he did not do when that insurrection that he egged on was going on and he could have been the only person who could have really helped calm his supporters and get them to go home. >> precisely. ashley is exactly right. joyce. my point is what did he do after the breach. that's what i meant. he did not call them off. he did not tell them to end. he said i love you. >> he did. that's very telling evidence of the president. the distinction between impeachment and a criminal trial is that in a criminal trial you'd have to prove the president's intent. he intended to set the mob on this course of action. ashley is great at laying out the facts. the president abused phone number -- public trust and
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intended for this to happen. i think that's ball game in the senate. >> thank you. breaking news, moments ago at the white house, vice president kamala harris just swore in former general lloyd austin as the new secretary of defense. he's making history. the first african-american to head the pentagon. you can see a fist bump or an elbow bump. before we go, we want to share another way that the new first family is returning to white house tradition. a first dog. two. pets in the white house this morning. we saw the biden dogs, champ and major enjoying their new home. there's not been a pet living at 1600 pennsylvania avenue for the last four years. the biden's adopted major two years ago making him first rescue dog to live in the white house. that does it for this doggy edition of andrea mitchell reports.
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mtp daily is up next on msnbc. i. mornings were made for better things than rheumatoid arthritis. when considering another treatment, ask about xeljanz... a pill for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis when methotrexate has not helped enough. xeljanz can help relieve joint pain and swelling, stiffness, and helps stop further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections. before and during treatment, your doctor should check for infections, like tb and do blood tests. tell your doctor if you've had hepatitis b or c, have flu-like symptoms, or are prone to infections. serious, sometimes fatal infections, cancers including lymphoma, and blood clots have happened. taking a higher than recommended dose of xeljanz for ra may increase risk of death. tears in the stomach or intestines and serious allergic reactions have happened. don't let another morning go by without asking your doctor about the pill first prescribed for ra more than seven years ago.
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