tv Deadline White House MSNBC April 30, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
hi, there. everyone. it's 4:00 in the east. here's the most important thing to know about the swirl of breaking news in that criminal investigation into rudy giuliani. the former mayor of new york, whose brand in trump world is inextricably linked to a perverse strain of selective patriotism and is quickly fading post-9/11 glory was informed by the very law enforcement agency that helped make his entire career, the fbi, that he was aiding and abetting a russian disinformation campaign, an attack on the u.s. election. and what did rudy, america's mayor, do? he wittingly proceeded to amplify russian disinformation in defiance of that fbi warning that it was an russian attack on our democracy. "washington post" breaking that bombshell with this reporting. quote, the fbi warned rudolph w.
giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage president biden politically ahead of last year's elections, according to people familiar with the matter. "the post" adds that it was a defensive briefing, and then explains the significance of that. quote, defensive briefings are given to people to alert them that they are being targeted by foreign governments for maligned purposes. but they're also used to see how they respond to that, said frank figliuzzi. quote, they're now on notice, they said. so rudy giuliani is placed on notice that he's aiding russia, a u.s. adversary, and then he proceeds anyway. it's a vexing national security question that throws the door wide open to questions about donald trump's role in laundering russian disinformation from his perch in the oval office. more critically, these questions are adjacent to questions into
the scope of the investigation into rudy giuliani for violating the books on lobbying on behalf of foreign officials. "the new york times" breaking the news that the very act that trump was impeached over that called ukrainian president zelensky and the intimidation and the smearing of a former anti-corruption official, marie yovanovitch, is central into the probe into rudy giuliani. from "the times," quote, at least one of the warrants executed wednesday was seeking evidence related to miss yovanovitch and her role as ambassador. in particular, federal authorities were expected to scour the electronic devices between communications between mr. giuliani and trump administration officials about the ambassador before she was recalled in april 2019. the warrant also sought his communications with ukrainian officials, who have butted heads with miss yovanovitch, including some of the same people who at the time were helping giuliani seek damaging information about president biden, who was not a
candidate. did mr. giuliani go after yovanovitch solely on behalf of mr. trump, who was kind of his client at the time, or was he also doing so on behalf of the ukrainian officials, who wanted her removed for her own reasons. and that is the million-dollar question. whose agenda was it to remove the one u.s. official standing in the way of russian corruption. both answers are bad for trump and the country, but perhaps only one will expose rudy to criminal kmarnlgs. was it donald trump's mission to remove someone working in the u.s. national security interests as a bulwark against corrupt pro-russian forces. rudy seems to think so. and if it is, why was an american president placing russian interests ahead of stated and written u.s. anti-corruption policy in ukraine? or option 2, was it the interests of corrupt pro-russian ukrainians that giuliani was pursuing?
and did they pay him for his services? his skillful and ultimately vast body of work, that included a lot of successes for those corrupt pro-russian ukrainian interests. firing yovanovitch. holding up congressionally approved u.s. military aid for ukraine. did rudy just hand over these big, big huge items to be nice, because he liked them? or was there some monetary reward for rudy for delivering. one answer was a crime, the other, a national security crisis. and we may very well be on our away to learning the truth. the fork in the road for rudy giuliani is where we start this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friend. katie bennett is here, "the new york times" justice reporter. we're very happy and proud to say now that she's an msnbc contributor. thank you and welcome. also joining us, ben rhodes is back, former deputy national security adviser, also an msnbc contributor. and pete strzok is back, counterintelligence agent and author of the book, compromised. we'll start with you, pete
strzok. can you speak to these two scenarios? rudy maintained as recently as last night in an interview that was too bizarre to play here, that donald trump was his client and his only client. that's a story that he's sticking with, but it seems increasingly implausible. can you help pull the thread on those two scenarios based on what we know with rudy's investigation and his public statements? >> sure, nicole. i think the answer to your question is it can be both. rudy giuliani can be looking at criminal exposure from his actions, and he also can pose a significant national security threat. these stories are unbelievable to me. i've done probably dozens and dozens of defensive briefings, and the logic of these things is that the person you're briefing, when they're confronted with this intelligence, that they typically almost always in my experience place the law and their patriotic duty to the united states ahead of their own self-interest. and that didn't happen in case. and the reason that's important, one, beyond the fact that it's simply staggering from an
unpatriotic and an un-american sort of point of view, is that it put rudy giuliani, it gave him the knowledge that he was dealing with people who were essentially the mouthpiece for russian disinformation and who were in contact with the russian government. the fact that he continued to choose to interact with them, to take their information, removes his ability to simply say, hey, i didn't know what i was doing. i didn't know who these people are. so if you're building a criminal case, that goes a long way to sort of demonstrate his state of mind and what was and wasn't going through his mind as he continued to meet with all of these folks. >> but, pete strzok, his partner in crime, and i use it as a euphemism, was donald trump. i mean, what he says and what he said to all the ukrainians involved. and this is donald trump's own words on that call with mr. zelensky. he says, mr. giuliani is a highly respected man, a great mayor, and i would like him to call you. i would like him to call you along with the attorney general.
rudy very much knows what's happening and he's a very capable guy. if you could speak to him, that would be great. and then he says, ambassador yovanovitch is going to go through some things. i will have mr. giuliani give you a call and i'm also going to have attorney general barr give you a call and we'll get to the bottom of it. so he's telling zelensky that yovanovitch is going to go through some things. does that look different in light of what we're learning about the scope of the warrant, that the fbi investigators want to look at those communications about yovanovitch's smearing, reputational damage, and very rushed, urgent, removal from the country? >> of course it does. the warrants through reporting say that he's being looked at for a violation of foreign agents registration act. and why that's important is this wasn't so much the work he was doing for trump, work that he might have been doing on behalf of ukrainian interests. what makes this such a mess and such a corrupted mess is that those all relate to each other. they all sort of align.
but what investigators are looking at are, were there people in the ukrainian, were there ukrainian politicians or other intelligence interests who were pushing giuliani to help get yovanovitch removed because she was pursuing a strong anti-corruption agenda. and if you're corrupt, the last thing you want is someone pursuing anti-corruption endeavors. all of these things come together in this sort of nasty mess, that has potential criminal elements, certainly has national security elements. and rudy giuliani finds himself smack dab in the middle of all of that. >> and you know, lest our sort of ability to be shocked sort of be dead forever, the idea that rudy giuliani was briefed by the fbi, that he was in the middle of a target of an asset of a russian disinformation campaign and he proceeded anyway, says something so gross about the closest people to donald trump. and i wonder, ben rhodes, if you
can unspool that for us. >> well, nicole, we used to have this question, right, were the trump people essentially useful idiots of russian intelligence or were they willing. i don't think you can sugar coat in any way, rudy giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, was a witting asset of russia's national intelligence. stop. that happened. we now know these. he was told that these theories about hunter biden, these theories that ukraine is really the one that hacked the d.c., these were products of russian intelligence and security services and they were being funneled through rudy giuliani, the personal attorney for the president of the united states of america. and we can't be shocked anymore, but if i told you ten years ago that the president of the united states would employ a personal attorney who would go to ukraine and serve as an asset of russian intelligence, to his knowledge, right? and the other thing that has to be kept in mind here, nicole is there's a war going on in
eastern ukraine. tens of thousands of people were indicted. the corruption in ukraine is the way that russia is seeking to exert influence over ukraine and dominate ukraine and win that war, essentially. so this isn't just some kind of side issue, you know, in some distant country where there's some minor graph happening. when we talk about corruption here, we're talking about a war that is happening. so the states could not be higher for ukraine and for american national security. and the fact that, you know, the entire republican party doesn't seem to care that senior people like this were acting as assets of russian intelligence and disinformation should shock people. if it doesn't, the whole concept of national security doesn't really mean much anymore. >> but katie bern, maybe it is the beginning of what bob woodward describes as this process of the truth emerging, about the nature of the trump/russia relationship. and these two stories, the one in "the washington post" that
revealed that for the first time that the fbi revealed to rudy and ron johnson that they were both targets of russian disinformation and they both disregarded those warnings and proceeded, as well as the scope of the warrant being focused on the communications about yovanovitch, what's your understanding of what they're probing? are they're looking for a conspiracy or a net or accomplices? what are their searching for? >> certainly they're going to see whether or not they can prove, because this is a fara case, that rudy giuliani was working on behalf of the ukrainian interests -- or sorry, russian interests in ukraine to push out an ambassador who was for law and order. what becomes tricky is giuliani has said that he was working for trump and you see that trump's interests in this case will likely align with pro-russian interests. so what the justice department is trying to do is to sort out where trump's interests ended and russia's interests began. and i think what we've seen through reporting is those two
things were really closely aligned. so what we're seeing in this story is not only what they said about the real truth about trump's investment in russia, but we're also starting to see that the impact of that was perhaps greater than we thought. and we're looking at this, it's all reverberating. trump has not always allowed, and it was no better than [ inaudible ] that we see [ inaudible ]. to rhodes point [ inaudible ] he knew it, but he also did not believe the fbi. >> yeah, it's just amazing. peter strzok, i want to come back to this human dynamic. rudy giuliani's career was made as a prosecutor who relied on the fbi. rudy giuliani after 9/11 fought to have access to the intelligence about future threats to new york city when he was mayor. had boasted about relationships
with law enforcement. and then he gets this briefing that doesn't align with his political agenda or his plans for donald trump, until he disregards it. and i lied, i am going to play a little bit of this interview last night, because i need to understand if what he said exists in any normal plant earth. let me play that first. >> the reality is is that warrant is completely illegal. the only way you can get a search warrant is if you can show that there's some evidence that the person is going to destroy the evidence. or is going to run away with the evidence. i could have destroyed the evidence -- i didn't destroy the evidence, because evidence is exculpatory. it proves that the president and i and all of us are innocent. they're the ones that are committing -- it's like projection. they're committing the crimes. >> you know, the audacity with everyone around the president and there are so many who commit crimes in service of the president, that you can make
this sort of observation of appearance, is that they don't just deny criminality, they project and say, you know, i didn't do anything, you did! i mean, can you just first fact check what he said? >> well, it's absolutely false. it is staggering that any attorney who is a member of a bar in any state of this union would say something about that being the standard for a search warrant. the standard for a search warrant is that there's probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime and the thing to be searched. period, full stop. you learn that the first year of law school, and anyone who's an attorney let alone u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york knows that that's inaccurate. he's saying all of this in the tekd of activities that were conducted and authorized by attorney general barr. under fbi director wray, the electee of president trump. he is briefed on intelligence that was gathered by in part, the cia, i believe, led by gina
haspel, selected by donald trump, all overseen by the director of intelligence, selected by president trump. so all of this was being done under the auspices of the past administration. >> i mean, and that's what makes it so remarkably sort of politically expedient, ben rhodes. and there is something alarming that there is an audience and a place to peddle that junk. but equally alarming is a point you made that there's no outcry in the republican party to get to the bottom of who rudy was working for. and with every trump scandal, there's always some innocent, in most cases, stellar public servant who gets creamed in the middle. let me show you some of the impeachment questioning of marie yovanovitch. >> and in your efforts fighting corruption, did you anger some of the corrupt leaders in
ukraine? >> yes. >> was one of those corrupt people prosecutor general yuri yetsenco? >> i believe so so. >> was there another one of those people, a general named victor shokin? >> apparently so, although i've never met him. >> at some point did you come to learn that boat letsenco and shokin were in contact with rudy giuliani, the president's representative? >> yes. >> did giuliani try to overturn a decision you participated in, to deny shokin a visa? >> that is what i was told,. >> and that denial was based on mr. shokin's corruption? >> yes, that is true. >> and was it mr. lutsenko, among others, who coordinated with mr. giuliani to peddle false accusations againsts you as well as the bidens? >> yes, that is my understanding. >> so, ben rhodes, she's an
anti-corruption superhero, fired by donald trump, with rudy giuliani, you know, right in the middle of the dirty sandwich. what side are they on? >> well, look, here's the thing. this gets to the question. giuliani says, well, i didn't believe the fbi, in the same way he didn't believe the vote in this last election went to joe biden. the thing that is so extraordinary about this is, they just don't care. you know, they don't care whether or not -- who they're working for. all they care about is their personal political interests and what is right in front of them. you know, and when you look at yovanovitch or all of these people that have been involved in this from the beginning, dominion and others, they're just people who are trying to do their jobs, who just assume that if you enter public life, if you go to work for the united states, if you take an oath to the constitution, they just
assume that we might get some things right, we might get some things wrong, but we're working for the same team. we're working for the united states of america and our interests. we'll carry out our jobs to the best of our abilities, as ambassador yovanovitch did. and it's so disgraceful that you have not only the president of the united states and his people throwing them under the bus, on an agenda that at the time is clearly in service of the russian set of interests both in ukraine and in this country, but the fact that there wasn't an outcry of defense for these people. how can people come to work and do their jobs and know that the president of the united states and his circle are just going to throw them under the bus and have the backing of essentially an entire political party in congress? that's the depths of what we're dealing with here. we have to get back to a place where there are some things that we all agree on. we may not agree on policy, but we should all agree that we're working for the same team, the united states of america. and that's what's so alarming about what we're learning here.
>> and katie benner, there was some reporting, you did a lot of it, others at "the new york times" did report that some people in the circle did note there was something going on. these pro-russian, ukrainian, some of them were sanctioned by the treasury department. but nobody ever took their -- you know, both hands around it and seemed to have taught to stop rudy or trump. and i think what you think the tentacles of the criminal investigation are. what you think those contacts that "the times" reported last night, that they're looking for between trump and trump administration officials are seeking in terms of behavior and departments and individuals. >> it's clear that the justice department wants to cast a wide net. you can see that in the warrant to search the devices of another russian oligarch who was being
investigated for crimes by the justice department and was also involved with rudy giuliani. you can see a wider net being cast. and. and one of the things that the giuliani investigation has shown us is that people inside of the justice department also truly understand more than they ever said that there was something going on around ukraine that the justice department wanted to distance itself from very desperately. we heard a lot of denials that bill barr was ever involved with ukraine, that the president spoke on that call, but at the very same time knew that the effort was worth investigating and that prosecutors did that. >> katie benner, we're so glad you're a contributor now and we can call on you even more often. thank you for taking that journey with us. ben rhodes, thank you for starting us off. pete strzok, thank you. your contributions are invaluable. when we come back, he once claimed that he would take a bullet for donald trump. then he landed in the middle of multiple federal investigations and ultimately in jail. we'll speak to one-time trump lawyer and fixer about what the
latest federal investigations mean for donald trump. plus, the biden white house today touting another historic milestone. 100 million americans have been fully vaccinated. optimism at home colliding with concern over the crisis in india. and later in the show, the gop takes its voter suppression law playbook to florida, florida, florida, trying to cement gop gains in that state by limiting access to voting. all of those stories and more when "deadline white house" continues have a quick break deponent go anywhere. " continues have a quick break deponent go anywhere our place. our people. watch the curb. not having a ride to get the vaccine. can't be the reason you don't get it. you wanna help? donate a ride today. we made usaa insurance for members like martin. an air force veteran made of doing what's right, not what's easy. so when a hailstorm hit, usaa reached out before he could even inspect the damage. that's how you do it right.
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with so much of our focus returning to the investigations that are getting closer and closer to the ex-president and his allies, it's worth a closer look at what they might be up against. former trump attorney, michael cohen, has said that he is cooperating with multiple government agencies. back in 2019, when he testified before congress, cohen insisted he was witness to multiple instances of criminality. >> he was a presidential candidate, who knew that roger stone was talking with julian assange about a wikileaks drop on democratic national committee e-mails. mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. you need to know that mr. trump's personal lawyers reviewed and edited my statement to congress. >> and who were the family members that you briefed on the trump tower moscow project? >> donald trump jr. and ivanka trump. the president of the united states, thus wrote a personal
check for the payment of hush money, as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. i concluded that don jr. was referring to that june 2016 trump tower meeting about dirt on hillary, with the russian representatives when he walked behind his dad's desk that day. and that mr. trump knew that was the meeting that don jr. was talking about when he said, that's good, let me know. >> is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding donald trump that we haven't yet discussed today? >> yes, and again, those are part of the investigation that's currently being looked at by the southern district of new york. >> joining us now is michael cohen. he's the author of a book about his time with the ex-president, it's called, "disloyal: a memoir, a true story of the former personal attorney to donald j. trump." he also hosts the podcast, mea
culpa. thank you so much for spending some time with us today. >> thank you very much. >> i watched that clip today, and my first question to you is, why do you think trump didn't pardon himself? >> it's a good question. a lot of people have asked me that question. one would think that he would have. that there would be pocket pardons all over the place that we would ultimately find out about. who knows, maybe even rudy has a pocket pardon. we don't know about it as of yet and i don't know if they're ready to give their hand away, to be honest. >> we watched some of your testimony and i wonder if you can speak about how many of those threads come up in your current conversations with investigators in new york. >> i don't really understand what you mean by that. what are you asking me exactly? >> well, are you -- are you fielding questions with investigators about things that you testified to openly about congress, or are these
investigations -- >> yes, i apologize, nicole. nicole, i'm sorry. i don't mean to interrupt you, but one of the things that i had said prior to coming on to the show is i don't want to talk about the investigations that i'm cooperating in right now, out of respect for those individuals that are conducting the investigation. it's unfair. i'm willing to answer your questions, but i don't want to go into the substance of conversations. it's just not proper. >> fair enough. i want to ask you about the investigation that we now know more about than ever before into rudy giuliani. he's taking a really brazen approach the day after a raid into his home and offices. you've had your home and offices raided. and in your view, which what you experienced and what you know about what trump's willing to do to put his neck out for anyone, what should rudy be doing? >> yeah, first of all, if i can, i wanted to go back and talk to you for a second about the previous block that you had on. >> absolutely. >> and i want to be very clear
to and to your audience about this. one of the things that you're talking about is marie yovanovitch and ukraine. that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what they're looking for when it comes to rudy giuliani, donald trump, and so on. and the fact that the fbi now has his cell phones, they have his computer and other information, you can rest assured that that's not specifically or that's not the only thing that they're looking for. maybe they're going to find information that ties him to matt gaetz and joel greenberg and the request for pardons. maybe you're going to find communications with him and jared kushner regarding other people that were doing the pay-for-play pardons. i mean, maybe you're going to find that there's information with rudy giuliani and bill barr that remanded me back to prison. you don't know what you're going to find, because one thing, and rudy stated it himself, so we'll see if it's true, that there are no deleted messages, he doesn't have these encrypted apps. we'll find that all out.
because the information is all sitting on his handheld devices. and if it's not the handheld devices, it's on his computer and his icloud, which like with me, they had a subpoena for and they already knew what rudy was sending out, they already knew what rudy was receiving. so if there's anything that's missing, they still have it. that's the thing about the cloud. something i don't think rudy fully understands and appreciates. and as it relates then to your question regarding donald trump, donald trump is already distancing himself from rudy. rudy has to open up his eyes. he needs to wake up and take a look at what happened to me. the first thing donald trump does is he deflects. oh, you know, i never directed rudy to -- of course he did! right? nothing got done in the white house, to the same extent that nothing ever got done in the trump administration without being directed by donald trump. without donald trump's direct involvement. so the way you saw the communications with yovanovitch,
the same way you saw communications between myself with allen weiselberg and donald trump, the recording that was played on cnn. these are all actions that are done at the direction of and for the benefit of donald j. trump. now, is it possible that some of the benefit was for rudy giuliani in terms of financially? of course it was. why did donald trump go along with it? because rudy wasn't charging him legal fees. and if he was, he knew donald wasn't gong to pay for it. because donald doesn't pay for anything. >> michael, do you -- you said tip of the iceberg, so i'll stay on the iceberg with you. >> i knew i shouldn't have -- >> no, i welcome it. thank you for watching the first block. you would have been welcome. do you think that donald trump had a system to benefit financially from the same pro-russian/ukraine interests that are being scrutinized now
as potentially enriching rudy giuliani? >> let me say that the entire campaign was started to be the greatest infomercial in the history of american politics. it was in order to grow the brand. it was not to win and to become the president. that was just a by-product of luck, right? so do i think that he benefited from it? if, in fact, there was some sort of a benefit that was going to come his way, maybe it was going to come through one of the children, maybe it was going to come through a real estate project, we don't know. but that's the beauty of having rudy's devices. we will know, and what he will ultimately be charged with will either corroborate this or prove rudy to be right. let me say this. look at who rudy giuliani was, right? southern district of new york, mayor, former attorney, like myself. the fbi is not raiding his home without having extremely
significant documentation information within which to pursue this. i agree with peter strzok on that 100%. they don't just turn around and decide at some point in time that we have nothing. now, what i will say is that what information that they have may not be the big picture, but they will ultimately find it, because they have enough suspicion and they will end up -- there's no way in the world that they're going to let him off the hook. it would just be a -- it would be a terrible thing for them and rudy and donald and the rest of the gop would start to attack the system, claiming that the system was corrupt and that it is partisan, which it is not. what rudy needs to do, is like what i did and take responsibility for what you did. in my specific case, it was the campaign finance violation and lying to congress, which, of course, i did at the direction of and for the benefit of donald
j. trump. however, i put aside the tax evasion, not true, the heloc, not true, but i knew they had me on campaign finance violation as well as lying to congress. what rudy needs to do, and this is my speech to rudy and to anybody else, they have him. and so if he's looking to protect himself so that he doesn't end up spending the rest of his life in prison, he may want to actually start to cooperate. it's something that i didn't do they probably should have done, hindsight being 2020. >> i want to ask you about the decision of donald trump as individual one. can i ask you to stay through a commercial break and ask you about that on the other side? >> of course. >> we'll be right back. >> of course >> we'll be right ba ck this is our block. our place. our people. watch the curb. not having a ride to get the vaccine. can't be the reason you don't get it. you wanna help? donate a ride today. not everybody wants the same thing. that's why i go with liberty mutual
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the president and what he has said about you, he said about you and mr. fruman, igor fruman, i don't know those gentlemen, i don't know about them, i don't know what they do. you're saying that was not a true statement from the president? >> he lied. he knew exactly who we were. he knew exactly who i was, especially, because i interacted with him at a lot of events. and basically, i mean, i was with rudy more than -- i mean, four or five days out of the week, i was in constant contact with him. and i was with rudy when he would speak to the president, plenty of times. i mean, so, it's just ludicrous. >> that was from a known associate of rudy giuliani's, a firsthand account of donald
trump's selective amnesia, which we've been discussing with michael cohen. it seems to happen with anyone who finds themselves on the wrong side of the law in service of donald trump. michael cohen, i wonder if you can speak to how so many people in service of donald trump end up criminally investigated, charged, and in your case, going to jail. >> well, why it happens, i don't know. look. i can only talk about myself. i made mistakes. my mistakes were obviously very different than paul manafort, who had legitimate tax evasion, rudy, who now has a whole slew of issues that are going to be pending. you know, roger stone, who is interfering in the election, as well, with julian assange. why? because that's what donald trump gets you to do. he's like a mob boss. he turns around and tells you, quietly, no fingerprints, because he has no computer, he has no email, and he tells you through code what it is that he
wants you to do. and for some reason, you begin to feel like you're invincible. you start to take on donald trump's sort of teflon don posture. and it doesn't work that way, because he's not there in order to protect you, including when he was president of the united states. now he has absolutely no power. but even when he was president of the united states, it's like, michael who? it would be, rudy who? it would be, paul manafort what? he only worked for me for 45 days. that's donald trump. he denies, denies, denies it, it's a trick that obviously he learned very well at a very young age from roy cohn. >> do you think allen weisselberg has made the connection to cooperate with investigators? >> only if he has half a brain, because allen weisselberg was involved in every single transaction, financial, that related to the trump
organization. every penny, not every dollar, every single penny that came into the trump organization and every single penny that went out crossed allen weisselberg's desk. they used to say, you know, donald and allen were like frica and frac. it's not just allen. this is what the southern district did to me as well. they said if i didn't plead guilty, they were filing an 85-page indictment against me that would include me and my wife. and there was no way that i would put him at risk. and they were going to do the same thing with allen weisselberg, and his sons, who both had contact with the trump organization. barry running the rinks, both wallman and lasker, as well as the carousel in central mark, and jack, who is the only other lending institution that gave money to the trump organization. so, yeah, they're going to
squeeze allen very hard and allen is roughly the same age as donald. and if he wants to spend the rest of his life, his golden years, not retired down in florida at his home, but rather at otisville or some other camp, rest assured, just keep ignoring what prosecutors and whether it's the district attorney or the fbi are asking you. that's my recommendation, i think you need to start speaking and make sure you protect yourself, because here's a fact. donald trump will do nothing for anyone other than himself. and he will not protect them unless it benefits him. and in this specific case, there's no way to protect donald from himself. >> he was named individual number one, donald trump was, in your sentencing papers. do you think that the law will ever catch up with him? do you think he'll be criminally charged? >> one can only hope, right? i mean, why i should have been
charged and incarcerated for donald trump's dirty deeds is still something that haunts me. it haunted me every day while i was in otisville. one of the things that i have said very early on, i said it to stephanopoulos on abc, that i would not allow history to remember me as the villain of donald trump's story. it is about high time that donald trump be held responsible for his own dirty deed, his own actions, and stop hiding behind people like me or now it will be rudy or allen weisselberg, or any other one of the hundred people that for some unknown reason, we should all have our head examined, we're protecting him and protected him to our own detriment. >> let me ask you, since you know him and you understand the sort of sociopathic way his brain works, what is his incentive structure for perpetuaing a big lie that killed law enforcement officials.
he lis to align himself with law enforcement. they were mutilated by his own supporters at the capitol. do you see him looking at it as sort of pride, that his supporters will even mutilate law enforcement officials for him? or what do you think he relishes out of what his supporters did in service to him on january 6th? >> that's a great question. so donald trump needs the adulation of the crowd, the way that you need oxygen to breathe. and it's very sad, because instead -- when he rowdied up that crowd and he turned around and told them, you go, you go and i will meet you there, that was the very first telltale that he wanted them to attack the capitol. and what he did, because he's a coward. he got his secret service to get him back to the white house. he went straight up to the residence. he turned on the three televisions sitting in the room, in his bedroom, to the various different channels. he sat there and he watched. and i could visualize it. he would sit there and watch the
various different channels and see all of the crowd wearing the maga hats, wearing these maga 2020 capes, wearing the trump 2020, you know, flags, you know, attacking the police officers, attacking the capitol. and he took pride in it that this paramilitary group was doing his bidding. because people don't realize this. i've said it before but i think it's important that people understand this. donald trump never wanted to be president of this country. he wanted to be its dictator. he wanted to be an autocrat, just like vladimir putin, like kim jong-un. he wanted to be like mohammad bin salman, a monarch. the united states of trump. and when he saw the civilians attacking congress for the purposes of what? for not allowing the election results to be read, he actually for a moment believed in his head that he would be able to overturn the election results, that he would be reinstated, and in the next four years, he would
do nothing but try to figure out how to stay president for life. how to become an autocrat. and he relished in the moment as officers were hurt or killed, and innocent people lost their lives or severely injured. he relishes in that sort of thing. no different than when he turned around and told people, if that person starts screaming in the crowd, i give you permission to beat them up and don't worry, i'll pay your legal fees. fortunately for a lot of people that they didn't do that, because donald trump would never pay your legal fees and you can take that to the bank, because i'm right now in litigation with him on the exact same topic. >> your insights about him are only reinforced by the things that we have in the public record. the tweet that says, "we love you." the video that says to congress, "which is what happens when you deny a result." your insights are invaluable.
it's the first time i've had a chance to talk to you and i hope you will come back. have a great weekend. >> anytime, nicole. you too. >> thank you. up next for us, how do you fully reopen this country when half of it is not yet vaccinated and according to the most recent polls doesn't plan yet on getting vaccinated? and the pandemic remains a deadly and scary problem in other parts of the world. we'll discuss the u.s. world, next. clearer skin and significantly less itch. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor. so help heal your skin from within and talk to your eczema specialist about dupixent.
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today, more progress and hopeful news on the covid front on top of the continued decline in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all across this country. the biden administration says 100 million adults in this country are now physically vaccinated. in california this morning, a symbol of what we're working toward. disneyland reopened for the first time in 400 days and it is a sellout. still, experts with cautious optimism warn we have a ways to go. about 45% of all u.s. adults have still not received a single shot of a vaccine. as concern grows globally in india, the biden administration telling nbc news today that it will restrict travel from the country starting on tuesday based on cdc advice and the extraordinarily high covid case loads and multiple variants circulating there. joining our conversation is dr. michael osterholm, director of the center for infectious disease research and policy at the university of michigan. let's start with the good news
and then we'll turn to the global fight. or if that's how you see it. these reopenings are giving people this sense that while not over, we can see the finish line. is that justified? >> well, it is justified in the sense that we can see a finish line, if, in fact, we get there. but if we suddenly stop short of that, we're going to have a real problem. as you noted, we are getting more and more people vaccinated and i think the administration deserves great credit for more than doubling the amount of vaccine into the public's arms over the period of the first hundred days and originally was even suggested was possible. but we still have, as you pointed out, upwards of half or more of the population in this country that's not yet received a dose of vaccine. we know that this virus that we're dealing with right now, b.1.1.7, the same one that's causing a lot of problems in india, is really a very highly infectious virus and we can't rest on getting almost to the finish line.
we got to get there. >> dr. osterholm, i believe i associated your brilliance with michigan, not minnesota. i apologize. >> that's okay. >> let me ask you about vaccine hesitancy in this country. is it -- i have a child, so i became educated about vaccines and learned about vaccine hesitancy but never questioned my doctor. is that still the primary connection for people to maybe tune out the politics and the news and just go to their doctor for advice about the vaccines? is that the approach for the second 50% that you advise? >> you know, the second 50% is going to be an entire mosaic of response. if you are, in fact, a pregnant woman, worried about getting the vaccine, you may take the advice of your physician. but if you're a young black man in an inner city area that believes that this is still part of the tuskegee research effort and that somehow the government has a nefarious purpose in this vaccine, that's going to be a very different way to go. if, on the other hand, your
political beliefs are such that covid really doesn't exist after all anyway and there was no need for the vaccine, that's going to be another approach. so, one of the challenges we have right now is going to that last inch, you know, we spent the last months going the last mile of getting vaccine to people. now it's the last inch of getting the needle in the arms and it's going to take many different approaches. there's no one answer. >> will you talk a little bit about india and the humanitarian crisis, the crisis that hospitals are facing, healthcare workers, so many victims, and if there's more that america can do to help. >> one of the things i think that most americans are missing right now that we are in the very darkest days of the pandemic. this week, we will easily have over 5.7 million new cases reported, which far surpasses the previous high last january of 5 million cases reported per week. it's interesting that the media is focused on india and it's obviously why it is a horrible situation, but most people don't
realize if you go right here into the americas, in latin america, we have countries that have more cases per capita there than we have in india. we see areas around the world that are going to continue to get hit. remember only about 0.2% of the vaccine that's been manufactured to date has been delivered into the low-income countries and so we're going to continue to see what's happening in india happen in a number of places around the world and this is a huge challenge for us, not just an a humanitarian basis, which is that by itself is very real, but these variants, the things you and i have been talking about coming that actually can threaten how well our vaccines work are spinning out of all these cases right now that are occurring in the low income countries. >> and it's a good point to all of us in the media to focus on every hot spot, because i think if we learned anything a year ago, it's that we're not all safe until there's -- the virus is tamped down everywhere. is there more that could be done on that front? >> well, we were not prepared
globally to deliver a vaccine to every person on the face of the earth in just a short period of time. we have got to work hard to do that. again, as i said before, it's a humanitarian issue. but really, it's also a strategic issue of protecting our own vaccines. if we're going to continue to see these variants spin out of these outbreaks and major epidemics in low income, middle income countries, that's where we're going to see the problems with our own vaccines developing. so, it's -- if there was ever a time for both a manhattan project and a marshall plan combined to get vaccine manufactured, get it delivered, that's when we need it right now. >> and you just hope that people see you say that and that we sort of birth a whole generation of scientists and aid workers and health workers because i think that's right. what happened in wuhan became a -- or wherever it started, started in different places, is all of our problem and all of our concern, and we'll keep an eye on how these vaccines we
have do if some of these variants come our way. is that the next concern, i imagine? >> yes. it is. and i think that -- >> dr. -- yeah. >> i'm confident this administration gets it. thank you. >> thank you, dr. osterholm. we'll spend more time on all this next time. thanks for spending time with us today. the next hour of "deadline white house" starts after a quick break. don't go anywhere. starts after quick break. don't go anywhere. and new waysm to reach you... is what business is all about. it's what the united states postal service has always been about. so as your business changes, we're changing with it. with e-commerce that runs at the speed of now. next day and two-day shipping nationwide. same day shipping across town. returns right from the doorstep, and deliveries seven days a week. it's a whole new world out there. let's not keep it waiting. we started with computers. we didn't stop at computers. we didn't stop at storage or cloud. we kept going. working with our customers to enable the kind of technology
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are you saying that you do not get information from pro-russia ukrainians or disinformation? >> we have not -- what we're accused of are getting those audiotapes. we did not get those audiotapes. >> what about other things? >> we are getting information from a variety of sources but primarily -- >> how do you verify that information? >> well, before we ever use it, we verify and make sure that it's accurate and true before we ever publish anything. >> hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in the east, a big headline
today from that stunning "washington post" account reveals that senator ron johnson was warned by the fbi about an active russian disinformation campaign and he disregarded it. that "washington post" report on efforts by the fbi to alert key trump allies that they were being targeted by a russian disinformation campaign was met with defiance and an, i'll stick with russia reaction from both rudy giuliani and senator johnson. from that "washington post" account, quote, the fbi last summer also gave what is known as a defensive briefing to senator ron johnson, who headed the election, used his perch to investigate biden's dealings with ukraine while he was vice president and his son hunter biden held a lucrative seat on the board of a ukrainian energy company. when johnson was asked by nbc news if that was true, that the fbi had briefed him, his answer was startling and reveals the former chairman of a powerful senate committee trusts the
russians more than the trump era fbi. let that sink in. in a statement, the senator said, quote, regarding reports that i received an fbi briefing warning me that i was a target of russian disinformation, i can confirm i received such a briefing in august of 2020. i asked the briefers what specific evidence they had regarding this warning and they could not provide me anything other than the generalized warning. without specific information, i felt the briefing was completely useless and unnecessary since i was fully aware of the dangers of russian disinformation. what's breathtaking here isn't just that republican senator ron johnson, who was, at the time, according to a source i spoke to, squeezing chris wray for information and seeking to politicize the fbi to be aggressive on hunter biden, it's that he isn't willing to consider that chris wray's fbi is telling the truth when they go in and defensively brief him about the russian disinformation campaign he's aiding. now, ron johnson is either more committed to russian policy aims
than american ones or what? i can't figure out what else explains the fact that ron johnson refuses to accept the trump run intelligence community's assessment that the russians were running disinformation through a u.s. lawmaker. or the trump era fbi's warning. but johnson defies both knowingly and aids the russian disinformation effort. here is the view from the intelligence agencies of the very same events. quote, throughout the primaries and general election campaign, russian influence agents repeatedly spread unsubstantiated or misleading claims about president biden and his family's alleged wrongdoing related to ukraine. a key element of moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of people linked to russian intelligence to launder influence narratives through u.s. media organizations, u.s. officials, and prominent u.s. individuals, some of whom were close to former president trump and his administration. and maybe it's just a coincidence that to this very day, ron johnson's messages on
the vaccine is unnecessary and the insurrection is a peaceful celebration also line up with russian disinformation. the real question is why is he so completely synced up with the russian messaging? a witting and willing vector for russian disinfo in the u.s. senate is where we start this hour. jonathan lemire is here, clint watts, former fbi special agent and distinguished research fellow at the foreign policy research institute, and former top state department official, rick stengel is back. rick, why is ron johnson so synced up with russian disinfo, knowingly? >> i don't know the answer to that. by the way, nicole, i'm so glad to be back. i've missed you and you've been
doing a fabulous job. it's a different era now. >> thank you. we're happy to have you. >> i don't know the answer to that question, and i don't even know if the premise is correct. i mean, one of the things that we saw in 2020 as opposed to 2016, where in 2016, the russians had a troll farm in st. petersburg and a bunch of young people pretending to be somebody else on social media. what they did in 2020 was to use kind of high-powered influencers and use journalists who were maybe sympathetic to them or didn't understand they were working for the russians to get narratives out there, and one of the things that we saw in the trump era, you know, and i've talked about it before on the show, confirmation bias, people believe what they want to believe so folks like ron johnson or others who doubt the fbi or doubt the mainstream narrative or believe the trump lies are looking for confirmation for it.
i mean, you know, we've talked about rudy giuliani. i mean, rudy giuliani is a -- is, you know, the classic useful idiot, but it works both ways because those useful idiots want to find out things that confirm their biases, so i know that's not a very satisfactory answer, but that is the way i see it. >> well, let me put it another way, rick. why aren't they dissuaded when they learn that the things that they may agree with are central to russian attacks on american elections? >> oh, why has a politician never in the history of america said they ever regret anything they ever did? i mean, some of it is just the double down theory that they don't want to be proved wrong. i mean, look, i'm still -- my brain still explodes. i'm of the era where there was a bipartisan consensus to not believe anything that russia said or to not side with anybody
who was sympathetic to russia. i still find it amazing that there are people in either party who buy into the russian narrative. and again, it's sort of, i mean, to put it in a macro way, one of the things that president biden is trying to do is to get people to trust again the word of government and to trust this idea that government is telling the truth and it's trying to do something good for you. and there's just so many folks in america that are so resistant to that, and to the point where they actually accept a phony narrative from our greatest adversary. >> yeah, and i guess, clint watts, the thing that makes it perplexing is that we now know -- we have this open question where they unwittingly and coincidentally just amplifying and finding this intersectionality that i think rick is speaking about, the russian disinformation also aligned with their personal political aims of wanting to
smear joe biden and his family. i think that's the interlapping mission statements. but what seems like a new low is that when warned by a trump-led fbi, a trump-led intelligence community, they doubled down, as rick said. >> nicole, that's the difference, i think, between 2016 and 2020. like rick was talking about, the troll farm, when they're sending out tweets or messages that look like and talk like americans, people fell for it. politicians did. journalists did. they repeated those things or thought it was evidence. not this time. if you look at the sanctions that came out from the treasury department, donald trump's treasury department, it specifically says the campaign started back in september of 2019. what did we learn today? okay, rudy giuliani probably received some sort of a defensive briefing right around that time, and that's probably because they saw he was with this guy. he was a ukrainian oligarch, got
a history of going to kgb schools. all of the narratives line up are russian overt narrative so these are hunter biden conspiracies, they match in lockstep and the whole campaign was taken down off social media but that did not stop rudy giuliani. he doubled down on it. and this is where i like to compare him to paul manafort of 2016. paul manafort would run with conspiracies even when they had been debunked. we knew -- we now know that at the time, he was working with the russian agent. look at this route. it's the same thing. giuliani's running with a narrative that we know came out of russia. he was warned about it, and he was working with someone that is linked as a russian agent that is sanctioned. so it's the same thing except for one key difference and distinction. the u.s. government was preemptive this time. social media companies were preemptive and giuliani never stopped. he kept pushing it all the way to the end and you see that with both trump's department of justice and trump's department
of treasury, both taking action, essentially, before the election even occurred. i just don't know how he can explain this away, because it was there for everybody to see in plain sight. >> and jonathan, there's some reporting that richard burr, who -- the one-time chair of the senate intelligence committee tried to warn him sort of within that circle, within the -- so, republicans inside the party trying to privately warn him as well. i want to read this from politico. in a december 5th meeting, senate intelligence committee chairman richard burr told the leaders of the senate homeland security and finance committees that their probe targeting biden could aid russian efforts to sow chaos and distrust in the u.s. political system. according to two congressional sources familiar with the meeting. we also knew prior to this "washington post" reporting yesterday what clint just
articulated, that there were sort of known russian agents, sort of pro-russian ukrainian officials who were sort of inputting information into trump's allies in the senate. but i think this new piece is that they were warned that is what was going on and they did it anyway. how much of that was in coordination with the trump white house? >> yeah, burr at times behaved honorably during this probe into the committee investigation into the russian election interference, and this just shows you there were some republicans who could see what actually was happening, just many chose to not do so. many of whom were president trump's closest allies, and yes, i mean, this is -- let's remember, even taking a half step back here, it was the day after robert mueller's testimony in which the president -- then president trump made the call to the ukrainian president and repeated the lie that it was ukraine that had been involved
in the election interference. you push them to investigate the bidens, joe biden and hunter biden, his son, which, of course, started the chain of events that led to his first impeachment, and also some of this was covert and outward efforts by these russian officials, those close to russia, and other times, it was just, how internalized this had all become, that for so many republicans and the conservative media where suddenly vladimir putin, who, for years, of course, was considered enemy number one for republicans too. let's remember, mitt romney in 2012 said that he was the greatest threat, russia was the greatest threat, international threat the united states faced. but because of how trump changed the conversation, the way that he allied himself and spoke so fondly of putin and the way, of course, that they wanted to hear this disinformation that the russians provided, these attacks on whether it was obama or clinton or whatever democrat it may be and then eventually biden that they just were willing to
go along with it. they sort of accepted the kremlin's talking points. even if they didn't necessarily realize it. ron johnson, you would think, knew better, and he was doing it deliberately. but it just shows the incredible success, frankly, this russian disinformation campaign has yielded, not just for the 2016 election but in every year since. with the chaos they have sowed and that includes polling that we saw today that republicans -- vast majority don't believe joe biden was elected legally and honestly. that there was at least some sort of election malfeasance there and it just shows how shaken the fabric of the democracy is, in large part because of disinformation campaigns that stem from russia. >> well, and so, i guess rick stengel, i come back to you. whether or not everything that ron johnson says is motivated by a wish to augment russian disinformation, it is identical on vaccines and insurrections
and these questions around hunter biden to the russian disinformation campaigns being used against this country, and to lemire's point, they're working. what do you do about that? >> you know, the russians are opportunistic. they're not strategic. they're tactical. so, if you told me they had a russian flunky in 2019 who knocked on every senator's door and said, you know, i'm going to whisper to you this secret about, you know, joe biden, that wouldn't surprise me. and the thing is, some number of senators are going to say, yeah, i agree with that. i mean, senator johnson was, you know, whether witting or unwitting, seemed to accept that narrative, and the problem is that we open ourselves to it. i wouldn't say that disinformation so much is the problem. the problem is that we're
susceptible to it, and you know, that doesn't have an easy solution, and again, i think, you know, what the biden administration is trying to do is to kind of restore trust in government and in the word of the united states and the more that happens, the less susceptible we will be to russian conspiracy theories. >> but clint, the sort of half of the country that believes -- that is sort of gobbling up disinformation about vaccines and about the bidens and about the insurrection, they're not going to swallow an fbi led by a biden appointee. actually, there is no change in fbi leadership. but they're not going to have more trust in -- who did we lose ? i hear -- they're not going to have more trust in the biden team than the trump team, are they? >> no, it's going to take some time, nicole. and this is really -- >> i think i've lost you guys.
>> i'll keep going for a second. we'll see if she comes back on. but what i would have to say -- i definitely lost you. all right. so, what i would have to say is to restore trust in the biden administration will really take action, and that's going to take surrogates. i think they've got to build out a base of messengers that will reach the audiences throughout the midwest and the south, the purple states as we like to say, is where they would start. and one thing they have going to their advantage is a lot of successes, particularly in terms of the economy, which is turning around, vaccines, which they've got now very rapidly after a slow start. and i think there are opportunities for them to really build trust, and i think if they can work on things like equality, social justice, and law enforcement, building that bridge and bringing it back together, and also really helping the economy in those places that were previously trump country. if you kind of look across the
country, they need to find some messengers that can help build their rhetoric and help bridge that gap, and i think they need to rely more on some of civil society to do that for them, to really help bridge the gap in terms of trust. with the fbi, i think the investigation, we might be surprised in the end, particularly after january 6th, at how many americans saw what was going on and really rejected what was happening. i know a lot of republican friends who encountered people that they saw were at the january 6th insurrection. i'm sure they were helpful to any law enforcement effort that way. so, over time, i think the fbi can win it back as long as it isn't politicized and i'm confident the biden administration will not politicize the fbi and i think director wray, particularly in the last few months, has done a pretty excellent job of weathering the storm between election interference and domestic extremism. >> jonathan lemire, just try to pull all these threads together when you look at the face of the
modern republican party in congress, the people sort of other than liz cheney with their eyes on the next presidential contest and conservative media. it is certainly more in line with ron johnson's reaction to a warning from the fbi about russian disinformation than anything that rick or clint described. >> nicole, you're sadly correct. there are just a few exceptions. you mentioned liz cheney. mitt romney, another. but for so many republicans, they're still in line with what senator johnson said, the language used by former president trump, and repeated and parroted by a series of conservative television networks, including fox news and it is a disheartening state of the republican party and one that the current president, joe biden, is trying to warn against. so much of his speech the other night was of course about laying out his vision for his infrastructure and jobs plan, which is a potentially transformative legislative package for how the government relates to its citizens but he
went bigger than that and i was talking to white house aides about it today and how much of what really drives a president and his agenda is the idea of america and we hear him talk about the soul -- the fight for the soul of america a lot but it's to prove that democracy can still work. it was so tested by the four years of trump, biden and his aides believe, and particularly by january 6th, and the scar on the nation that our adversaries, russia in particular, are happy to highlight, that therefore the u.s. -- it's the u.s.'s job to take care of its people at home, repair these -- that wound, and show the democracy can still work and still deliver for its people and do big things, whether the it's the vaccination effort, which is tops in the world, and of course trying to build and better lives of the citizens through some of these big government programs the president is preparing to make sure that we can be an economic rival to the autocracies of the world, namely china but russia too. the stakes couldn't be higher. that was the overall message of
the president and it's all tied into this, and sort of -- and the disinformation campaign being parroted knowingly or not by republicans. >> yeah, no, it's interesting. i mean, that was in some ways sort of the emotional gut punch of the address from the president to the joint session, that democracy made it this time, and barely, but putting some of our divisions and some of our willingness to sort of take what the russians are peddling is a threat to our democracy. to be continued. clint watts and rick stengel, thank you for starting us off this hour. jonathan lemire is sticking around. when we return, the republican assault on voting rights continues. florida just became the latest state to pass strict new measures making it harder for people to vote there and that's after florida's republican governor praised his state's 2020 election, calling it the most transparent and efficient in the country. plus, as the investigation swirls around congressman matt gaetz, there's new reporting in the "daily beast" about a
bombshell allegation from the congressman's former wingman. we'll explain. and inspiring america. we'll meet a doctor who's been on the job caring for covid patients for over 400 days straight. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. es after a quick break. don't go anywhere. [tv announcer] come on down to our appliance superstore where we've got the best deals on refrigerators, microwaves, gas ranges and grills. and if you're looking for...
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that you are making policies that are detrimental to our communities, that are hurting our communities. >> wow. that was florida state representative angela nixon passionately speaking out against florida's new measure that severely impacts voting rights in the state. the bill passed last night along party lines and is just one of the actions being taken in states across the country, states like texas and georgia, to make it harder for millions of people to cast their ballots in elections. florida's bill takes aim at vote by mail, restricting the use of drop boxes, and it limits who can turn in a ballot to elections officials. the bill also bans outside groups from taking any action to influence those at line in a polling place, which voting rights advocates say could prevent voters from being offered food or water as they wait in voting lines. florida's republican governor, ron desantis, who made voting security on of his big agenda
items this year in an effort to continue to peddle the former guy's big lie said he's going to sign the bill into law. joining us now is democratic state representative angela nixon, who you just saw there of florida. the reverend al sharpton, host of "politics nation" and president of the national action network joins us as well. first, you know, it's -- it doesn't look any better today, does it? can you just talk about what happens when this law is signed by the governor? >> so, thank you for having me. what happens when this law is signed by the governor is basically florida is going to return to the wrong side of history. we have a republican legislature that passed a law which seeks to disenfranchise voters, particularly black and brown voters. and this is something that is very disheartening, especially coming from the organizer world
as an organizer and now being a legislator, it's very disheartening that we have to deal with this. >> representative, was there any fraud in florida in 2020? >> the only fraud that took place was actually when a former republican legislature put in a sham candidate down south, so, no. the idea that there was rampant fraud in the state of florida is just something that's untrue, and it's something that the republicans often use to motivate their base. >> and donald trump won florida, and ron desantis is a republican. republicans have no problem winning in the state. i wonder if you can talk about whether you sought to have businesses get involved the way they've involved themselves in georgia after the fact, after the law was signed, and in texas, some of them are involved before their law is signed into law.
>> yeah, so, definitely. i am -- some of my day job, i'm a community organizer and i also work with organizations that seek to uplift and empower underserved communities, and we are in conversations with businesses and corporations to ensure that the voices of the people will actually be heard. so, yes, that is one avenue that we are looking at, but again, we want to just continually encourage the voters out there to continue to turn up and turn out to vote and to push back on these unjust laws that are seeking to disenfranchise, again, black and brown voters. look, there's no coincidence that black and brown voters turned out in record numbers on last year in 2020, especially in regards to vote by mail, and so we know that this legislation was targeted to black and brown voters and to really silence us, and this is something that we
have to continually try to push back. >> you know, rev, i think what is so disturbing is that fact coupled with the fact that there was no fraud in florida. this is legislation that solves nothing because there was nothing to solve. so, this bill doesn't even have any sort of dual purpose in the two halves of our political divide. it is just straight-up voter suppression. >> it is absolutely straight-up voter suppression. when you look at the fact that the measures that are in this bill clearly disproportionately impacts black and brown people in florida, national action network has an office in miami dade so i've worked in florida and i know about elections from a nonpartisan way. when you look at the fact that, as you stated, nicole, the president at the time, trump,
and desantis won. it's not even like you have an aggrieved party here. so this is part of the national move by the right to disenfranchise black and brown and it is no more acute than right there in florida where they can't even take winning as a way not to involve themselves in disenfranchisement because there was record turnout of black and browns and there was a record turnout in the gubernatorial election that desantis did win and i think what representative nixon so passionately expressed in the legislature is what i'm hearing from a lot of activists around florida and faith leaders like bishop victor curry and others, this is a culmination of a long period of time they've tried to disenfranchise black and brown voters, going back decades, but now it's more acute than we've
ever seen it, and it needs to be resisted. businesses and everyone else needs to join the movement with floridians to resist this kind of movement. >> rev, the -- i'm not going to play it but you know we've all had this conversation, mitch mcconnell said there was no voter fraud. mitt romney came out the night of the insurrection and said, these are lies, and donald trump needs to tell the truth to his voters. liz cheney has said people have been lied to. the extent to which the president has sort of repeated these lies about a stolen election, it is both a security threat, it's now being used to pass laws in big, important states like georgia and florida. what is not working? is it the republican sort of strangle hold on these legislatures? is it the ambivalence of corporations? because first there was one, now there are two. >> i think what has worked is that the republicans have a
stronghold on the state legislatures and many of us that have been involved in voting rights movements nationally or in states need to really focus on turning around a lot of the state legislatures just as we are concentrated on the u.s. senate and the u.s. congress. i think that that is where it's worked for the right way. i also think the private sector, as we saw in georgia, needs to really be hit hard and they cannot continue to do business in states, have consumers who are being disenfranchised. you have the right to sell your product, but you don't have the right for me to consume products from people that are financing a lot of these right-wing initiatives to disenfranchise voters, so you can say i have the right to sell my product. you do. and i have the right to reject your product if the net from me purchasing from you is going to fitness my disenfranchisement.
>> we will continue to have these conversations. representative angela nixon, i would ask you to come back and keep us posted on how your conversations in the community and with businesses go, and the reverend al sharpton, thank you always, my friend, for spending time with us. tomorrow on "politics nation," the rev will be joined by attorney jerry blackwell, the prosecutor at the derek chauvin trial. ten days removed from that verdict on the future of police reform and criminal justice in america. do not miss that. when we return, bombshell new reporting in the "daily beast." things are looking worse and worse and a little skeevy for republican congressman matt gaetz. we'll explain. republican congre gaetz. we'll explain. rmy medic, made of the flexibility to handle whatever monday has in store and tackle four things at once. so when her car got hit, she didn't worry. she simply filed a claim on her usaa app and said... i got this. usaa insurance is made the way kate needs it - easy. she can even pick her payment plan so it's easy on her budget and her life.
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but it will help you and your family stay safe during an emergency. today, bombshell new reporting about florida congressman matt gaetz. he's at the center of a federal investigation into sex crimes, including allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. the "daily beast" reports that it's obtained a letter from gaetz's one-time wingman joel greenberg, a former county tax collector in florida who prosecutors have been questioning now for months. the letter was reportedly written to roger stone in order to help him secure a pardon from then president trump. according to the "daily beast," the letter reads, quote, on more than one occasion, the 17-year-old was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls the congressman from florida's first congressional district and myself. nbc news has not seen or verified that letter. but roger stone tells nbc news,
quote, the "daily beast" has based their usual smear attempts on alleged text messages which are out of order, incomplete, itted or out of context. stone also says he made no effort to secure pardon for greenberg, didn't take any money from him or anyone else seeking a pardon and has seen no sban shags of allegations against gaetz. gaetz has not been charged with a crime and a spokesperson says, congressman gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with a 17-year-old as an adult. politico has reported mr. greenberg's threats to make false accusations against others and while the "daily beast" story contains a lot of confessions, it does not add anything of substance and no evidence for the wild and false claims about representative gaetz. in fact, the story goes some way to showing how representative gaetz was long out of touch with mr. greenberg and had no interest in involving himself in greenberg's affairs. amid all this, politico also
reports that gaetz is going on tour. guess who he's going with? the qanon lady, fellow republican member of congress, marjorie taylor greene, and guess what they're going to do? defend donald trump and attack members of both parties they deem as insufficiently loyal to trump. let's bring in politico's national political reporter, mark. john lemire is still here. this is like a clear your small children from the room sort of story, but greenberg writing to stone for help with a pardon and sort of sharing what he has to offer on gaetz is certainly consistent with the public-facing comments of both mr. greenberg's lawyers and just the investigative movements. what do you make of it, mark? >> well, yeah. i think you probably hit the nail on the head. so did gaetz's response, actually. i think it's important to remember that so far, we've seen no corroborating evidence that matt gaetz has had sex with a 17-year-old, with a minor, or
that he paid for prostitutes or at least paid for prostitutes and transported them across state lines, violating the man act. this letter from greenberg is consistent with some reporting we had done previously in that one of their circle of friends had shared messages with us, whatsapp chats with us, where he thought greenberg was trying to set him up in order to find a way to cut a deal with the prosecutors. and greenberg is charged, among his 33 federal counts, with falsely smearing a rival for being a pedophile. now, the same guy is saying in this letter, which he obviously wrote to kind of cover his own hind, you know, quarters, that he's, once again saying well, this congressman has done the same thing at the same time greenberg is trying to strike a deal with prosecutors. so, it's difficult for me, after now a month's worth of reporting, to say, okay, matt
gaetz is clearly guilty because so far, we don't have much except greenberg's accusations, which has been by and large, not solely, but by and large what has fueled prosecutors into looking at these charges against gaetz. i'm still waiting for the alleged victim of the sex trafficking of a minor to speak out. she hasn't. her testimony is going to be key. i have yet to see any independent evidence or proof of that shows that matt gaetz had broken either sex trafficking of a minor law or had violated the man act, which i had mentioned previously. still waiting for -- i think what we do now have is confirmation that joel greenberg, either his family or attorney or somehow him is responsible for leaking this information into the broader press and public that matt gaetz had done these things. but again, so far, all we have is his word, at least that we've seen publicly, and we do know
that his word is, at best, highly questionable. >> we do know, though, that there are plea negotiations undergoing and if he doesn't have something to offer, what would they be negotiating with him for? >> that's a good question. i'd love to sit in on those meetings and tell you. i can't. but it's a 33-count indictment, and what's really impressive about joel greenberg is the number of crimes and schemes he committed. false i.d.s that he created as a florida tax collector. he allegedly had sex with a minor, sex trafficked a minor. after he got arrested, five days later, he resurrected two defunct corporations of his, according to his last indictment, he's had three superseding indictments, and in resurrecting these corporations, he then committed c.a.r.e.s. act covid relief fraud. like this guy is completely out of control. one of the things that didn't make the federal indictment is that while he was tax collector, he had an employee whose son was
good with computers and he allegedly asked this young kid to hack his own county's computer system and hold it ran some and then they would split the ill gotten gains. the kid reported to the state law enforcement agency, which then proceeded to kind of do nothing, which is its own scandal, but it gives you the idea of, like, these 33 counts that joel greenberg is facing is just like the tip of the iceberg. this doesn't reflect well on matt gaetz, of course. he was hanging out with this guy, paling around, and according to everyone we've spoken to, they were picking up women, he was being supplied with women by greenberg who he met on the seeking website. if you lie down with dogs, you rise with fleas and so far matt gaetz is experiencing a lot of itching. >> jonathan lemire, i want to bring you in on this.
you no roger stone and his ethos. this is also from the "daily beast" reporting. in private text messages to stone, greenberg described hids activities with gaetz, repeatedly referring to republican congressman by his initials m.g. or matt. quote, my lawyers said know the whole story about his involvement. they know he paid me to pay the girls and that he and i both had sex with the girl who was under age. greenberg seeking a pardon from donald trump before he was out of office. it was a busy time for those who were seeking pardons from donald trump before he left office. but matt gaetz also talked about, on tv, and it was reportedly "the new york times," went to the white house for a pardon for himself. >> it's really a great group of guys, up and down, nicole. but yes, this is the sort of swampy, you know, world of politics that roger stone has
existed in his entire career. you know, of course, started out as the nixon -- working for richard nixon and move forward through the back alleys of republican politics with paul manafort, his former partner. and he was president trump's first advisor before being dumped unceremoniously or quit, depending on who you believe. but this is indeed, this is sort of -- it's a microcosm, if you will, in terms of how trump and his allies sifted through the pardon process, where it didn't go through the counsel's office. it didn't go through the normal bureaucratic channels. it was just whoever had the president's phone number that day or could get it to rudy giuliani or someone else nearby. giuliani himself reportedly asked for a pardon, one that perhaps he wishes he had right now considering the trouble he's been in recently. and this is something that -- it just shows the incredible license that these people had near the president to try to ask for things. now, trump resisted and actually
did not follow through on most of these pardon requests, but you know, matt gaetz's political future remains very murky just as a final point. certainly as just noted. we don't know what's true here. we don't know what he did, what crime he may or may not have committed but certainly he's not shy about forging forward and aligning himself now with the qanon congresswoman, and he seems to be sticking to that new playbook, that when accused of something, deny, double down, deny further, don't quit, keep forging forward and hope your voters forgive and he stands a pretty good chance of that happening. >> marc, your new reporting is about this forge forward, align yourself with qanon and hit the road as though donald trump still has a pardon power? >> i think it's to -- what jonathan was saying is this is sort of the new politics where, you know, the only thing that's in the center of the road nowadays seems to be roadkill and if you're on the right and
you're being seriously attacked, well, you wind up retreating into that kind of farthest right corner of the octagon, so to speak, and that's where gaetz is going because that's essentially where his base is, at least on line, and that's the place where he is going to find the most defense. so, you know, i've watched gaetz over the, got to be more than a decade i've covered him, become more and more of sort of a creature and candidate and a figure of the kind of far-online right and this is one of the final stops along that journey and that evolution. you know, you've seen this time and again where a politician is attacked, and they have to retreat to their corner, and this is the corner that he's going to be in. so, as jonathan said, like, you know, this is sort of the -- the sort of politics where it's kind of no retreat, no surrender and he's going to be going out and i imagine that liz cheney is going to be paid a visit in wyoming as well as other candidates whom
they've deemed to be insufficiently loyal to the president, you know, there are ten house members who voted to impeach president trump, and they're probably going to get a visit from gaetz and marjorie taylor greene. not only is this a good way for gaetz to come out and say, look, i'm innocent, i've done nothing wrong, i'm just going to go about my business. this is also a good way to kind of stoke the base and it raises name i.d. because one party's infamy is another party's fame. >> and at the center, allegations of sex with a 17-year-old girl. it is so gross. marc caputo and jonathan lemire, i'm sorry for that. thank you for talking us through that. when we return, 407 straight days on the job during a pandemic when a lot of medical workers are absolutely maxed out. we'll meet the doctor who is inspiring america. next. i'm norm. - i'm szasz. [norm] and we live in columbia, missouri. we do consulting, but we also write. [szasz] we take care of ourselves constantly; it's important. we walk three to five times a week,
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spicy like them pajama pants? well, the top half of me looks good. no wonder we still single. hello lenny28. wait a minute, i know a lenny28. ooo...lenny is cute! can i get some privacy, please? all this week msnbc gets to share the stories of the people who are inspiring america. one of them, dr. joseph ferrone who, as of today, has worked 407 consecutive days since the pandemic. not taking one day off since march of 2020. he's led his coronavirus unit through some of its toughest weeks, signing more death certificates than at any other point in his career.
but it was this photo taken on thanksgiving day of him hugging an icu patient while dressed in full ppe that went viral, showing the human toll on patients and health care workers alike. he told "the washington post" about his passion and determination. quote, i was meant to do this. joining us now, we are so lucky, is the chief medical officer, chief of critical care services in the covid-19 unit at united memorial medical center, as well as the chairman of the board of united medical center premier. how are you doing? >> i'm doing just fine. thank you for the invite. >> how are your patients doing? are things getting better? >> well, you know, they started to get better a little bit. but the last few days more and more admissions. not like the max like we used to be. but these are patients that are very sick. these are people that are coming
in extremely ill. and one of the interesting things is most of the patients are under the age of 50. >> i was going to ask you how old they are and how they believe when they come to you how did they think they're getting covid still? are they vaccinated? >> most of them are not. actually, the vast majority of them are not. we've had a couple of patients that have had one vaccine but not the second dose and in between they got covid. and the reason why they got covid, most of them know. they know they did the wrong thing. they went to large mass gatherings or went to places without any proper face covering or things like that. >> do they -- when they recover, for those who recover, do they have a different opinion about the vaccine? >> interestingly enough, they do. yeah. once they go through spending some time with us, trust me, they change their mind very easy about the vaccine.
and actually, they are proponents of telling others about the vaccine. we have a large number of minorities in our hospital. and, you know, those have been very difficult to convince regarding vaccines. so they are vaccine advocates and have been trying to make sure that they understand that when they leave here not only they were survivors of covid, but they also -- another mean of communication so that we can tell the community what's going on. >> will you ask any one of them who you helped heal who became a vaccine advocate to come back and talk to me? because i think that's the key. the people that don't know how sick they could be. they don't know they could be in the hospital. and those are the people who have that change of thought who maybe the most powerful messengers. would you ask some of them to come back and come talk to me with them?
>> i would be more than happy to do that because that's the only way we will be able to take care of this pandemic is by all of us getting vaccinated. i understand and i respect freedom of choice, freedom of people doing things. but sometimes it's just misinformation and miscommunication and misunderstanding of what these vaccines are. i think people really need to be more open of what's going on in the covid units. that's why we were very open to media. from day one, just showing people who really happens in covid units. >> so dr. verone, we will reach out to you after this. it is an open invitation to any one of your patients who come to you sick who you help heal who want to come out and talk about the vaccine. we'll convince them one at a time if we have so. thank you for your work. thank you for your commitment. thank you for being here with us today. you have just inspired me.
thank you. >> thank you for the invitation. >> be sure to tune in to nbc this saturday at 8:00 p.m. and msnbc on sunday at 10:00 p.m. for our special honoring people making a difference in their communities and culture and in the country. when we return, as we do every day, we will remember lives well-lived. ♪ nothing and me go hand in hand nothing on my skin, ♪ ♪ that's my new plan. ♪ ♪ nothing is everything. ♪ achieve clearer skin with skyrizi. 3 out of 4 people achieved 90% clearer skin at 4 months. of those, nearly 9 out of 10 sustained it through 1 year. and skyrizi is 4 doses a year, after 2 starter doses. ♪ i see nothing in a different way it's my moment ♪ ♪ so i just gotta say... ♪ ♪ nothing is everything. ♪ skyrizi may increase your risk of infections
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he has been called fashion's kindest designer. born in morocco, raised in israel, albe elbaz worked as 14 years as a creative director. during that time in 2007 that "time" magazine recognized him as one of the world's 100th most influential people. he built success on a personal principal that women should love what they wear and love
themselves while they're at it. it is that side of elbaz that's been in focus since he passed of covid-19 at the young age of 59 this past weekend. in an industry known for intense competition, he will be missed. thank you for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. we're grateful. "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. >> hi, nicole. thank you very much. we have a big show for you right now, including absolutely bombshell new allegations. the confession of sex crimes in writing from an associate known for his links to matt gaetz. it is a big story, and we have that as well as mr. gaetz's denial coming up. also, president biden's 100th day in office is today. we look at where he's headed. right now the developing news of the investigation into