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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 27, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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>> mic drop, you heard the man. sheldon whitehouse off of the air this evening. that is our wednesday night effort with our thanks for joining us for all of our part. on behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of nbc news, good night. ♪ ♪ this time four years ago the ceo of exxon was starting his new job as secretary of state for america. for the united states. whose idea was that? the exxon ceo. it did not go well for him. it did not even go well for exxon which was the biggest surprise. it didn't go well for the united states of america. by the time reports surfaced that the ceo described the president as an effing moron at a meeting in the situation room and the secretary of state
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wouldn't deny he said it, it was even clear his tenure wasn't going well for the administration. his tenure of secretary of state wasn't good for the state department. it was really a bad idea all around that turned out worse than you might have thought from the initial badness of the bad idea. one of the things that happened at the state department over the past four years under the previous president is that they basically stopped talking to the public or the press. i mean at the u.s. state department the practice going back to the 1950s was regular, almost always daily press briefings. under the last president they stopped doing that without ever explaining why. and it is a weird thing, right. i mean this is the part of the u.s. government that is responsible for diplomacy, the united states of america promoting their interests and getting their way by persuasion
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and argument and diplomacy and by talking to other people and other countries into our way of seeing things. under the last president they decided they would stop talking and stop trying to make any public case for what they were doing and stop explaining what they were doing. instead at the outset this time four years ago we learned what they were go to try to replace that with was silent photo ops. journalists would be allowed into a room somewhere to see the secretary of state shaking hands with some other person silently. the reporters that covered the state department were supposed to silently observe that and then i guess write a story about the handshake they were allowed to observe. they stopped doing the daily briefings and staged weird -- describe what you see.
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one of my favorite moments from this time four years ago with that radical departure from the way the state department always had been run is seeing andrea mitchell not adapt to the new system. andrea mitchell covered the state department inside and out for decades, the greatest state department reporter of all-time. she was allowed in to one of these stupid silent photo op things. andrea was not having it. no. forget this. you want me to stand here silently and observe you not speaking and sitting next to somebody. no. we are reporters and need to ask questions. you are the government. i am going to ask you questions. >> mr. secretary can you do your job with the type of budget cuts that the president has proposed? what does it say about the
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priority of diplomacy in this administration? do you think you will have a deputy any time soon, sir? when do you think that you might have a deputy? >> andrea mitchell has been covering the state department for decades. the career staffers know her like andrea, please. no. they are not taking questions. andrea, please. you can hear andrea herself crack up at the end there, seriously. we are doing this. are you kidding. that was four years ago. that was how the state department interacted with the public and the press as of four years ago. no asking questions. you were allowed to observe the secretary of state silently sitting next to an official and were not allowed to ask
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questions about what was going on. that was four years ago. this was today. >> thank you very much and congratulations mr. secretary. >> good to see you andrea. >> president biden in his first phone call with president putin yesterday outlined areas of agreement like the arms control agreement, the extension of a new start. at the same time areas of concern, many of which involved russia. we are talking about solar winds hack, ukraine of course, the investigation and the assessment of interference in the 2020 campaign. also the safety of navlyana. >> yes. >> what the red lines under which the united states considers sanctioning russia if there is any harm to comes to him or as to the protesters as they are being arrested. how front and center is this to
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you, the russian crackdown on the opposition and human rights? >> thank you, andrea. as you know we have already expressed our deep concern for the treatment of mr. navalyna and the human rights situation there in russia and it remains striking to me how concerned and maybe even scared how the russian government seems to be of one man. the president said we are reviewing all of the actions that are of deep concern to us. the treatment and apparent use of a chemical weapon in an attempt to assassinate him and looking urgently at solar winds and looking at the reports of
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bounties placed by russia on american forces in afghanistan and we are looking at the questions of election interference. >> you are not ruling out anything if there is harm that comes to him. >> not ruling out anything. we want the full review done and we will take it from there. >> briefing from the state department and taking complex questions from reporters on the first day of the job and giving straightforward and necessarily complex answers. a radical departure of the way that the u.s. government was run over the last four years. here are government officials taking questions about what the government is doing and what the priorities are. that is the standard that we had for generations before trump.
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under the trump administration they stopped to do everything. now it is a 180 back to the idea of a functioning government. not to mention what the new secretary of state is talking about here is our new president, joe biden, calling the president of russia and giving him a shove for once on a whole bunch of things. >> we can both operate in mutual self interest of our countries as a new start agreement and make it clear to russia that we are very concerned about their behavior, whether it is navalnaya, solar winds or reports of bounties on the heads of americans in afghanistan. i asked the agencies in question to do a thorough read for me on every one of the issues and update me precisely where they are and i will not hesitate to
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raise those issues with the russians. >> i will not hesitate to raise those issues with the russians. pinch me. a weird thing about the previous president and russia. there were so many weird things. one weird thing about it for we the public is that over the past four years every time president trump spoke with russian president, vladimir putin, every time we learned of we would learn about them having a conversation from the kremlin. it would be the russian government that told us they had a call or a meeting. every single time. russia provided the first and sometimes the only information about communications between our president and theirs. that means and it meant for four years that russia always got to put their spin on what exactly happened in the many, many contacts between the two presidents. under president trump russia would always get to announce the
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call or the meeting. they would therefore get to put their spin on what happened in the call or the meeting. the u.s. government will go second and after them and never contradicted the russian's take on what happened. just went along with whatever they said. that is what it has been like the last four years. hello new president. that clip i showed of president biden. that was president biden on monday telling the press, telling the american public in advance that he was about to have a call with russian president vladimir putin and on the call he intended to talk with him on a bunch of things that russia has done to attack us or other things we don't like about his favor and said i will not hesitate to raise the issues with the russians and then yesterday, just as he said that it would the call between biden and putin happened, president biden's first call with a foreign leader and this time we didn't have to learn about it from the kremlin first, we learned body it from our own government first.
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not only did we get the word in advance from the president that it would happen, but when the call happened the white house press secretary provided a summary of the discussion at the white house press briefing which is a thing that happens every day now. and then in addition to the verbal summary of what happened on the call the government provided a formal written read out of the call saying that president biden raised a number of matters of concern with vladimir putin. i will tell you in advance, the kremlin put out their own read out of the call between biden and putin in which they mentioned none of the matters of concern. in the kremlin read out they made it sound like biden called putin to talk about economic cooperation and mutual feelings on trade. that is the way that the kremlin likes to characterize things.
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the u.s. government never put out our own take on the call. since we are no longer that sucker government because we are no longer being told as the american public we need to take the kremlin's word for what happened in the calls. since we now have a functioning government and functioning u.s. president who does not act like he is working for russia. we know from the our own government that biden pressed putin. wasn't just talk about mutual feelings and cooperation. biden pressed putin on matters of concern including the solar winds hack. reports of russia placing bounties on u.s. soldiers in afghanistan. and the poisoning of alexi navalnaya. president biden made it clear the united states will act firmly in response to actions by russia that harm us or our
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allies. what a difference. this weekend huge numbers of russians braved subzero temperatures and a brutal police response to protest against vladimir putin. specifically putin trying to assassinate alexei navalny in a chemical weapons attack. as thousands of russians protested against putin for that. there were reports that some of the protesters ahead of the demonstrations got together online and they worked on their english together and worked on their american pronunciation of their english language ability because they plan to tell the riot police in russia that they were americans and plan to claim to be americans in the hopes it might give the kremlin pause
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about how they would be treated once putin security forces locked them up. they claimed to be americans to call to question with their government of how they should be treated and to raise the alarm internationally. they were going to claim to be americans and put on american accents. all around the world. even in russia after the four bizarre years of trump and putin. pro-democracy, hasn't dictatorship protesters think the united states will take their side and think that we are on their side. and maybe once again we are. maybe we could be once again. after four years the state department does daily briefings now. and now the white house does daily briefings again now. today we got a briefing not only from the white house press secretary but from the biden
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administration's covid response team. a direct briefing from the covid response coordinator and dr. anthony fauci and the new director of the cdc and other officials as well. the problem with this covid briefing for the public today is that there was so much interest from so many journalists that they maxed out the number of attendees that could be a part of the remote briefings. presumably they will work those out. they said they are going to do the covid briefings with the scientists answering on their own terms. they are going to do the briefings on covid for the public every other day. the next one is on friday. today on climate the president's global climate envoy, former secretary of state john kerry and president biden's domestic czar did a public press briefing too.
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after the past four years this is almost hard to get used to. it is as if they are using the power and the reach of the u.s. government to communicate with the public and the press about our nation's policy challenges and what the government is trying to do about the challenges. shocking. they are saying what the government is trying to do and why they are trying to do it. they are putting out, at the podium the people in government working on these things so they can explain what it is they are doing and why the government is approaching it that way and they are taking questions from the press about it. all of the time. already. i don't know what to do with myself. this was apparently absolutely impossible for the previous administration. but we are a week into the new presidency and here we are. keep up. your government wants you to know what they are doing.
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on climate, it is interesting. we had senate majority leader chuck schumer. you may remember on climate he said he thinks president biden should declare a climate emergency to give himself greater leeway. that is how president trump took money from the military to spend it on the weird bits of wall he built betweenus and mexico. chuck schumer suggests president biden should use similar authorities to declare an emergency on climate so he can get more done. high raised that monday night and reiterated it and is calling on president biden to do that. i don't know if president biden will do that. today biden took a bunch of actions. he is stopping new leases for drilling oil and gas on federal lands. he will make the federal fleet
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of vehicles, millions of vehicles, be electric vehicles, which is a huge keel in terms of the market and the development. they are going to reinstate and strengthen obama administration regulation oscars, power plants and oil and gas wells leaking methane. it turns out to be a mammoth source of the worst type of pollution for global warming and on something the trump administration gave the oil and gas industry a pass. biden administration is not. biden stopped the permits for the keystone pipeline. rejoined the paris climate deal. it is a lot. we get to ask questions of the members of the administration who are assigned to implement these things. on capitol hill, sheldon whitehouse of rhode island has given a speech about climate
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every week for the past nine years. every week. sheldon whitehouse gives a speech urging that the climate is an emergency and that the u.s. government needs to do more and that we need to lead the world on innovaing and confronting the climate disaster. every week for nine years he has been giving that speech. today he gave one of those speeches he said for the last time because he says that finally, after one week in office the u.s. government is finally actually starting to do it. now he wants to be a part of helping them do it. we are awake. joining us now writing that the forces behind the effort might surprise you. car makers and oil and gas companies are in favor of what biden is trying to do.
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corelis an energy and policy writer for the "new york times." thank you for making time to be here tonight. >> of course. it is great to be with you rachel. >> you have been on the beat for a long time and saw the ups and the downs. what is your overall sense of how ambitious president biden is aiming? >> far higher than his former boss. until about two weeks ago the president who had done by far more than anything else on climate change and really put in place the first and only federal climate change policies was president obama. the targets that president biden has set on reducing carbon emissions are far more ambitious than the targets set by obama.
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key target of zero carbon emissions in 30 years. 30 years. president biden also set a goal, halfway goal of zero carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2035. zero carbon emissions from electricity, no more coal firepower plants in 15 years, a wildly ambitious goal. president biden when he was campaigning put forth the most ambitious climate policy of any presidential nominee and set a goal of spending $2 trillion just on climate policy. in terms of the goals that he has set, and also the messaging that he is doing and that he did an executive order on his first day of office addressing over
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100 environmental policies and putting in place dozens and dozens of the environmental policies that president trump rolled back, sending a really clear and powerful signal on day one and then one week later ramping it up with additional signals. so, that is a really big deal and it is very important to note, rachel, as you know well executive orders are not policy. because he says that he wants to do this, it does not mean that the u.s. will reach the goals. certainly it does not mean that the congress will appropriate $2 trillion. those are really big hurdles. it is not always clear looking at the landscape, despite setting these goals and signals, i do not see how all of these will get put in place. >> one of the things that made me want to talk to you
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specifically today is the point that you made with your colleague in the times where you told us basically telling us to adjust our expectations in terms of where the interest groups and special interest and stakeholders may ally themselves here. a fact that would be surprising to a lot of people here. it is actually supported by a lot of oil and gas companies. that the u.s. rejoin the paris accord. car makers and some of the oil and gas companies as being in favor of biden reversing some of trump's anti-environmental actions and in favor of some of the emission standards for example. i know that he will have a fight with industry and with the advocates of industry on capitol hill for a lot of this stuff. but are our expectations out of date with where some of the staerk holders will come down on
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the proposals? >> rachel, yes. you mentioned the automakers. you make a comparison to what president obama tried to do. over a decade later it is such a profound change. it is important to note that auto pollution is the single largest source of climate warming greenhouse gas emissions in the u.s. what regulations the u.s. government puts on the auto industry are at the heart, the number one thing that the government can do in terms of fundamentally lowering greenhouse gas emissions. the automakers fought tooth and nail, powerfully opposed. clearly we heard the message that it will hurt jobs and manufacturing jobs. the reason he was able to put regulations into place is that the auto companies went bankrupt
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and the federal government had to bail them out. once they were under the thumb of the bail out they were willing to come to the table, suck it up and give in and had to accept the regulations because that was part of the bigger picture. as soon as president trump came in to office he initiated rolling back the rules and now we are back at zero. this time around biden is getting ready to put a lot of the tough regulations on fuel economy. six companies signalled they are ready to go to the table. the ceo of gm said we are willing to work with the biden administration on moving forward with electric vehicles. five made a deal to abide by
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tough fuel economy rules that are close to what the obama rules were. this is a profound turnaround. coming in on day one saying that we are willing to work with you. they are not doing it because they love the planet. they are doing it because the market forces shifted so profoundly in the last decade that is where the market is going. some of the companies are already ramping up construction of electric vehicles. you can get the fuel economy and the electric vehicles. we are prepared to spend billions to install electric vehicle charging stations. that is an example where an industry shifted dramatically.
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putting tough new auto pollution rules in play. that is a big deal and change but it does not mean everything else will go as smoothly, but it is a profound change. >> that could potentially be the biggest single impact policy in terms of our emissions. for that to change the politics will have to follow. this is totally uncharted territory and fascinating to watch. i really appreciate you think here tonight. this is fascinating stuff. thank you. >> thanks again. >> all right. we have much more ahead tonight including new charges against still more alleged right wing extremists and a dramatic warning from the u.s. government about domestic violence extremism timed to upcoming events. stay with us. timed to upcoming
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events stay with us
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>> we are following orders is now and has always been the last line of defense for the indefensible here and around the world.
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>> in 2018 huffington post set out to identify a guy that went online by the name of ricky vaughn. he had a big social media following and sent out nazi and white nationalistic memes and one of the most prolific amplifiers of russian disinformation during the trump/clinton 2016 election. here is what the huffington post described him in 2018. no mistaking his influence. he had tens of thousands of followers and his talent for blending far right propaganda with conservative messages on twitter made him a central
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figure in the alt right supremacist movement attaching itself to trump's coattails and that the online persona was a real guy named douglas mackey from vermont, worked as an economist in new york city. 2016, a guy in his late 20s at the time and basically at the top of the white nationalist influencer world online. pushing out straight up white nationalism, russian propaganda about the united states and fervent support for donald trump. that was 2016. 2018. now today in 2021, a few years down the road, this guy has been federally charged with election interference but not for the
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2020 election. for his role in voter disinformation efforts in 2016. in a criminal complaint unsealed today prosecutors allege he spread misinformation to deprive individuals, specifically minorities that supported hillary clinton of their constitutional right to vote and that as the election approached mackey spread disinformation about the manner citizens should and could cast their votes in the election. fbi affidavit that is the basis of the criminal complaint describes what he did. on or about november 1st 2016 the day before sending a tweet suggesting the importance of limiting black turnout he featured an africa american woman standing in front of african-american for the candidate sign. hillary clinton. the quote is that the deceptive
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image included the following text. avoid the line. vote from home. text hillary to 59925. vote for hillary clinton. be a part of history. the way that you cast your vote for hillary clinton if you are a black person is by texting hillary clinton's name to the number. prosecutors say that nearly 5,000 people actually texted the word hillary to that phone number on or near election day, nearly 5,000 people. this anti-semitic white nationalist influencer said that is the way to vote if you are a pro hillary clinton voter. he is charged with an election crime. the fbi said that in announcing the case it amounted to nothing short of voter theft.
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he will face trial and repercussions for those allegations against him. but the government today made other announcements about political extremism that are interesting today in their timing and implications. the u.s. attorney's office in the northern district of california announced charges against a 43-year-old man from napa county california. charged him for possessing five pipe bombs and seized at least 49 guns from his home. here is the fbi affidavit in his charges. based on the examination and tests, the bomb technician concluded the suspect constructed five improvised explosive devices that were fully operational. they found this, a white privilege card.
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trumps everything. card number is 45, 45, 45, 45. member since birth. good through death. pipe bombs, white privilege card and the 49 guns. what the fbi found regarding the man's plans. it says text messages recovered indicates his belief that donald trump won the 2020 presidential election and his intent to attack democrats in an effort to ensure that trump remained in office. text messages said things like i want to blowup a democrat building bad. democrats need to pay. if nothing does i am go to war. democrats, twitter, et cetera. i hope 45 goes to war. if he doesn't i will. complaint says his plans were to target california governor gavin newsom, office of twitter and
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facebook. other places he saw aztec or democratic targets. he was arrested and is held on $5 million bail. facing up to ten years in prison. homemade pipe bombs at the ready. readied to go to war for trump and wanting to blowup democrat buildings. this sort of daily backdrop of reports like this about the president's supporters. the department of hurpt released a national terrorism bulletin addressed to the public warning us, the public, about rising threats of domestic violent extremism. information suggests that some violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and presidential transition and other perceived grievances
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fueled by false narrative could mobilize to incite or commit upon violence. that they may have been embolded on the attack on the capitol. and may be emboldened to target elected officials and government buildings and urging the public to be prepared and report suspicious activity or worrying behavior or statements. it has only been three weeks since the attack on the capitol. republicans say they don't want any consequences and don't want president trump to go on trial in the senate. for senators to decide if the predict should be convicted for the charge to which he has been
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impeached. republicans don't get to decide what happens now. in the 2020 election they were voted out of power, out of the white house, senate and out of the house. that leaves democrats to balance and to make the decisions. balancing looking back and what they try to get done moving forward and also to figure in the crucial factor of how regular people should be involved in the process. how their colleagues across the aisle can or can't be counted on to participate in the project of governing. more about that and what the rest of us outside of government ought to be doing about this crucial moment in american politics. that's next. stay with us. american politics that's next. stay with us ♪ ♪ the chevy silverado trail boss. when you have a two-inch lift. when you have goodyear duratrac tires. when you have rancho shocks and an integrated dual exhaust. when you have all that, the last thing you'll need...
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robber indi -- >> now it is giving rise to a growing movement. >> a rally put on was held today at the capitol. >> indivisible charlottesville
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is holding a rally. >> 800 people packed into the high school auditorium. >> just by watching the very end you can tell how it all went. in 2017 when the republicans were in control of the white house and the house and the senate like democrats are now, republicans said they were going to use their new power in washington to kill the affordable care act, throw millions off of their health insurance. they thought their base loved it. promised their base they would do it and had full control of government in 2017 and nobody had any reason to believe they didn't have the votes to do exactly what they said they were going to do. progressive organizers in 2017 responded among other things by pressing members of congress to hold town halls. when that proposal from republicans was on the table. at the town halls members of
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congress heard from their constituents all of the reasons that it was a terrible idea. grassroots mobilizations from groups like indivisible were key to stopping many of the trump administrations top policies from becoming law. indivisible pushed for a sort of progressive discipline when it comes to influencing congress. and it was really effective from 2017 to 2021. now that democrats control the house and senate and white house, by razor thin majorities, what does that progressive discipline do in this environment, and how much of an impact can they have on whether or not the biden administration is able to get stuff passed? joining us now is the co-founder of indivisible. ezra, good to see you here tonight and thank you for making time. >> thanks for having me.
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>> we talked about it a lot over the last four years with democrats completely out of power, if members of the public were organized and disciplined and thoughtful about how they tried to influence their own members of congress, democrats and republican that it could have a big affect of the legislative process. the effect of groups like yours was significant in terms of stopping republicans from doing their most conservative things and helping democrats get stuff done. how are you approaching now the very new environment in washington with biden in the white house and pelosi and schumer in control on capitol hill? >> i am excited now. we don't have to just be fighting against the bad stuff that has been happening. we have an incredible opportunity. we get to get stuff done. the basic tool available is the same tool available to us
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grassroots folks around the country in 2017, constituent power. that means if you are organizing locally you will be focused on your two senators and one representative saying that i got you into office. i am holding you accountable. i would like to see you get things done. 1933, fdr coming in to office. a big majority in the house, senate, a mandate for change. a. phillip randolph comes into the oval office saying i want you to get it done. fdr said i agree. go out and make me do it. it is not because we won in november or the paul george elections. the legacy will be determined by the grassroots movement that pushed the elected officials to make the change. >> in terms of how the democrats are setting up their priorities.
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obviously they are working on getting biden's nominees in place. they are working on covid relief. they are working on this very ambitious climate roll out today talking with a "new york times" reporter about how unbelievably ambitious it is compared to previous presidents. the first bill in the senate and in the house are democracy reforms in terms of voting rights and other things to protect representative democracy. how are you prioritizing what you think should be done and done first? >> yeah. the name of the game is legislation. legislation is what will define the era. i love hr1 is for the people act. that is a great first step. they are not law yet though. we have to pass hr1 through the pass and d.c. state hood and the john lewis voting rights act through the house and then
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through the senate and they have to get it done. that is indivisible's number one priority. we recognized that we started there in response to trump. that is what we picked ourselves up off of the floor and we got to organizing to push back against the horrific trump policies that were coming. we understand that trump is a symptom and he is not the cause of the problem with our democracy. if we are going to solve the problems, we need to address the problems that allowed him to rise. i think that is what things like hr1, the for the people act, d.c. statehood and the john lewis voting right act do. it is not sufficient, but it is a necessary step. >> co-founder of indivisible. i feel we will be talking a lot over the next few weeks as we see this first big push by the new administration and new congress. >> can't wait to talk more rachel. thanks. >> all right. we will be right back. stay with us. >> all right we will be right back. stay with us does it worry me? absolutely.
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here is an update on something that i will warn you that we are not going to leave alone until we figure it out. we are still now waiting on word as to what the new administration will do about kids that were taken away from their parents by the trump administration and still haven't been returned, more than 600 kids in that situation. there is a promise from president biden high will figure out how to get the kids back with their families, but a week into the new administration we still have not heard what they are going to do or how they are go to approach it. but an unexpected and interesting development in the story. whatever it is they are going to do we know that first lady jill biden will be involved in it and told a group of activists that her chief of staff, her first lady chief of staff will be working directly on the reunionification of the families and that the first lady herself will be giving input to the task force they are setting up to get it done. that will at least give whatever
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they do have high visibility but we still need to know what the plan is and we intend to find out. watch this space. find out. watch this space
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do you believe it has been one week since the inauguration? time has no meaning. that does it for us tonight. i will see you again tomorrow night. now it is time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. >> what do you mean a week?
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isn't it, i don't know a month. you know, you are right. i don't know what the words mean anymore. i don't know what the word week or month -- how are you feeling after a week of the biden presidency and none of that >> i can't tell if i'm coming or going. i'm so confused. the fact that there are, like, press briefings at multiple departments of the government every day where they tell us, like, here's what we think the challenges are. here's what we think we're going to do and we're going to take your questions. i feel like what is -- what is -- what is this? i don't even know how to cover normal news like this. it is a -- it is a radical adjustment, and it is very disorienting and i can't tell if i'm coming or going. >> the one word i have for it, rachel, is welcome. >> yeah. >> it is very welcome. >> fair enough. yeah. >> thank you, rachel