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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  August 10, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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it was a fairly conservative western new york district. that part of new york she's from is what i call the canada part of new york. it's right up against the canadian border, the niagra river where, you know, people around there when i was a kid, buffalo to toronto was a really long distance but now it's all sort of contiguous and people hang around. so i'm always interested by sort of how that plays up these parts of new york and vermont that are up against canada and how different things are on the other side of the border. i did a little research by the way, not ideal for bass fishing. lake erie has some good bass fishing. steelhead or something like that is what you get in niagra. i'm learning a lot about fishing. >> i'm going to friendly kidnap you and take you fishing, ali. this is going to happen. >> i'll look forward to it, my friend. good to see you, as always. have a great night. >> thank you. today was a bad did for donald trump and trump
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republicans because today america got to see the contrast, american voters got to see what happened when republican senators ignored trump's primal screams to follow his orders and join with democrats to give president biden the big bipartisan infrastructure deal that donald trump failed to get. and it happened at literally the same time the democrats showed that they're willing to hold their own accountable, something with which republicans struggle or don't actually struggle with it. today new york democratic governor andrew cuomo resigned one week after the state attorney general's office released a report accusing him of sexually harassing 11 women. >> i have been too familiar with people. my sense of humor can be insensitive and off putting. i do hug and kiss people casually. women and men. i have done it all my life.
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it's who i've been since i can remember. the best way i can help now is if i step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore, that's what i'll do. >> the reality is that cuomo had no option but to resign. the democratic party collectively demand that he resign. members of his party said enough and lieutenant governor kathy hokel will become the first woman in history to serve as the governor of new york. donald trump was accused by two dozen women of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, donald trump this is. not andrew cuomo. donald trump was accused of rape, which he also denied. he abused his office including trying to overturn the election results. he held a pep rally for an attack on the capitol and impeached by democrats twice but republicans have twisted themselves into pretzels to defend him or make excuses and
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that is the contrast. by in large, democrats believe in things and they will turn on other democrats who violate their core values. republicans in the era of trump have made gaining and holding on to power their only core value. today, however, there was a crack, maybe. today the senate passed the largest federal infrastructure investment in decades. 69 senators approved the bill that provides $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges, public transit and power grids. 19 republicans including the typically obstructionest mitch mcconnell broke from trump and voted to pass this legislation. republicans actively rebuffed trump that campaigned against the bill. when is the last time that happened? is president biden after the vote. >> after years and years of infrastructure week, we're in the cusp of an infrastructure decade. this bill shows that we can work together. this bill is declared dead more
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often anyway. that bipartisanship was a thing of the past. it was characterized as a relics of an earlier age as you may well remember, i never believed that and i still don't. >> the bipartisan infrastructure bill is just one piece of the biden infrastructure proposal. the senate is moving to pass the $3.5 trillion budget resolution and tonight, house majority leader hoyer in a letter to colleagues announced the house will cut the summer recess short. he'll return on august 23rd to consider the democrats only budget resolution after it passes the senate. leading off our discussion tonight is democratic senator chris coons of delaware, part of the group of bipartisan senators that helped negotiate the infrastructure bill. senator, good to see you again. how big of a deal is this setting aside it's $550 billion in new and necessary spending for roads and bridges, the stuff that's not even partisan. everyone agrees that has to be
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done. fundamentally the fact this got done, how big a deal is that? >> a big deal. big deal for president biden and the american people. it's a big deal for the 650,000 workers who are going to have new jobs, high skilled high wage often union jobs and it's a big deal for the communities all over our country who will get badly needed new investments whether broad band to help connect kids to school orsen seniors or help us combat climate change by making the electricity grid more resilient. it's a big deal politically, as well, ali. it shows president biden is right that on some core areas, we can still work together. heck, even mitch mcconnell voted for this bill. i didn't think we were going to get 69 votes tonight that we got 19 republicans but the core of the working group, a group of republicans who had also voted to impeach president trump were
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determined to come up with a solid sustainable bipartisan path forward and we've gotten that done. now, ali, nearly 12 hours later, we're in the thick of voting for the next issue, the reconciliation, the $3.5 trillion resolution that sometime very late tonight or very early tomorrow morning we will pass with all 50 democrats supporting it and then be able to move forward on that next chapter in achieving president biden's bold vision for our country. >> so let me ask you this, senator. that's impressive. 19 republicans coming over. that's truly a bipartisan thing except you and i know that this is the most bipartisan issue, right? bridges that crumble and roads that fail don't know what your partisan -- what your party is. why -- there is a more important issue out there and that is voting rights in light of everything we have seen in the last couple of weeks with donald trump having talked to jeff rosen and this guy jeffrey clark writing letters to people and
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trying to overturn elections and the fact that there was actually a plan, this voting rights stuff seems to be that important. it's certainly not as bipartisan but that important. where are you on deciding that that voting rights bill has to get done even if it means putting aside the filibuster for the purposes of certain bills? >> two things, ali. i'm glad you're following the details of the judiciary committee you're referring to that has come forward with shocking details about rosen and clark and others in the department of justice as former president trump tried to bully his way into an election he did not win. we are going to take up and vote on a voting rights bill before we leave. something that will show that all of us, all 50 democrats are committed to the idea we have to move forward on voting rights. but ali, this is something that used to be bipartisan. the last time the voting rights act was reauthorized, it had an overwhelming bipartisan vote. it is just in the last decade
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that the idea of voter i.d. and wide spread fake voting or false voting has taken over the republican view and democrats seem to be the ones, the only ones here committed to access to the ballot box. as i've said before, i'm someone who will work hard across the aisle. i'm asking republicans to reconsider and to see if they can find it in themselves, those who work with us on this by part infrastructure deal to join us on voting rights but if they don't or won't i won't stand by and watch the agenda president biden ran on and leading on be stymied for his entire term. that happened to president obama in his second term. i'm not going to see that happen to joe biden and you're going to see all 50 democrats vote for a voting rights bill before we leave tomorrow to make it clear that we stand behind that proposition. >> will you support the idea of passing that without a filibuster if it comes to it? >> well, we've had a lot of
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debates in our caucus, ali. could we move to a talking filibuster and who would the consequences be for the biden administration and ability to confirm more judges and get more bills passed? i don't have a clear answer to those questions, but i do know that we're going to show all 50 of us are committed to doing it and as a caucus, we'll have to find a resolution to how is the best way to do that. up to and including reconsidering the filibuster as its currently structured. >> back to the judiciary committee, what do you do about these new reflations that you got from the department of justice? there are a few things that are very different about this. first of all, there was a plan and secondly, for everyone crowing about fraud, the only alleged fraud seems to be having come from 1600 pennsylvania avenue through the department of justice and thirdly, this is criminal stuff. how -- what are you in the senate in a position to do about this or should there just be criminal referrals and let the
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law handle this? >> so dick durban was just talking with several of us on the floor earlier this evening. senator blumenthal of connecticut, former prosecutor and attorney general was making suggestions what next steps and witnesses might be taken and you make a good point there, ali, that there are limits to exactly what we can get done without support from the minority, from republicans it is hard for the senate judiciary committee to issue and carry out subpoenas that, to compel testimony. if we get clear enough evidence to justify a criminal referral and i'm going to leave that to the committee chairman to decide, then we might well refer this to the department of justice which has a greater array of tools at their disposal to compel witnesses to convene grand juries and to get to the very bottom of this. >> senator, i know you got a vote to take so i'll let you go. thanks very much for your time this evening. senator chris coons. >> thank you.
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joining us is a deputy director of the white house national economic counsel. good to see you, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> i want to -- i'm ping-ponging between a punch of issues here, the infrastructure vote and stuff that the administrations have been doing. i want to go back to the thing that they're not voting on yet and that is -- reconciliation bill. there are a lot of people in the house, progressives saying we're not moving on this. we're not signing off on the smaller infrastructure bill, the one for roads and bridges until we see what is happening with this other one. where do you think things stand right now with the second bill? >> well, the president has been pretty clear from the beginning this is a two-track process, track one we saw incredible progress today with the senate, as senator ca was saying passin
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with 69 votes, historic in america's infrastrike tour and reducing the costs folks pay for housing, for child care, for their kids' college education. our view is that those things are going to move on parallel tracks and it will be up to majority leader schumer and speaker pelosi to decide the procedural tactics necessary to pass both of those but the president hopes and expects that both of these bills will be on his desk before the end of september so we can make the kind of transformative investments in america that the president campaigned and won on. >> so maybe you and i are not the two guys to talk about sausage being made but there was a letter sent by the progressive caucus in which they say the congressional progressive caucus conducted an internal survey of 96 members. we specifically asked whether members would commit to withholding a yes vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal until the senate has passed
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budget reconciliation registration deemed acceptable by the caucus. majority of our respond dants said they'd withhold. this is what they're telling me. everybody else telling you it will work out is a timing issue, we're not passing this bill until we get the other bill. >> well, look, as i said, the president is confident that both of these bills are going to end up on his desk this fall and that we're going to be starting to make these investments in america's families before the end of the year. speaker pelosi and majority leader schumer are the experts at the procedural wrangling that will have to take place to get these done but both of these tracks are vitally important. it's important to make the investments in broad band, internet and roads and bridges. it's also equally important we make the investments in bringing down the cost of child care for
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families across this country and provide universal prek for every single 3 and 4-year-old in the united states and provide free community college for every student in the united states. these are transformative investments for the united states. the president made all of them the center piece of his agenda that he campaigned and won on and he expects that congress will pass each element of the agenda this fall. >> politico is reporting early democratic polling has shown inflation, something republicans have been talking about a lot to be a rising issue with voters and many of the party's vulnerable lawmakers are concerned voting for a $3.5 trillion social spending package could exacerbate the problem. if republicans aren't forced to assist with the debt limit vote, moderate democrats fear they could be forced to own it. the prospect of a debate is raising another age old wish of democrats, get rid of the debt limit once and for all.
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that conversation, the inflation conversation is bubbling up and people are worried about it and there are good arguments wages are going up and costs will go up and it will all go up together. there are people on fixed income who will very, very worried about this. is there going to be some sustained and organized democratic messaging on why democrats don't think inflation is going to be out of control and how to deal with the debt ceiling? >> well, look, if folks are concerned about inflation, i think the solution is the president's bill back better agenda. think about the drivers of rising cost for families. housing over the years, child care, education, internet service. all of these are things that the president's build back better agenda helps address over time so putting downward pressure on prices over time, the way to do that is make these investments in the supply side of the economy, which is what the president's infrastructure package does and what elements of his build back better
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reconciliation bill does, as well. we get it. we understand that families are facing rising costs. this is not just a recent phenomenon. the cost of housing and child care is going up significantly for years and years now. the president's plan to build back better agenda, which we're on the verge of passing, that's the solution to those problems and so i would urge anybody concerned about inflation to get out there and read the president's plan to support it because that's going to be the long-term solution to bringing these costs down. >> thanks for joining us. coming up today, andrew cuomo resigned but did not admit wrongdoing. new york state senator alexandria is an outspoken advocate for holding the governor accountable. she'll join us next. holding the governor accountable she'll join us next.
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a massive covid-19 disinformation campaign is convincing americans not to get vaccinated. it's time to expunge these conspiracy theorists from their ranks. 14 days from now, andrew cuomo will no longer be the
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governor of new york in the weeks since leticia james released her report detailing allegations against 11 women sexual harassment allegations against the governor made by 11 women. the message from democrats, from president biden and the entire new york congressional delegation and from a majority of state lawmakers was clear, resign or you will be impeached. jay jacobs told lawrence last week he called governor cuomo and delivered that message directly to him. >> i just stressed to the governor that i thought it was time for him to resign. i thought his legacy was too important to allow us to go through this protracted impeachment process, which i think would damage it. >> does governor cuomo have the same information about the vote counts? >> i've told him that. i was very direct with the governor as to where support was and that he didn't have the support anywhere that he needed
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it. i was very clear about that. >> that gentleman used to actually be a supporter of governor cuomo's. today governor cuomo denied the allegations against him. >> in my mind, i've never crossed the line with anyone. but i didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn. wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing. and i cannot be the cause of that. >> a lawyer for two of the women said that her clients quote feel both vindicated and relieved that cuomo will no longer be in a position of power over anyone. joining us now is democratic new york state senator over ethics. thank you for being with us, senator. you put out a statement today talking about this.
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you were relieved it has happened, however, you said resignation is not accountability. you want that impeachment process to continue to go forward. one of your fears is that resignation does not prevent andrew cuomo from running from office again. >> that's right. thank you very much for having me tonight, ali. first, i want to say the governor resigning today was a shock to me like it was to many people watching the press conference or who had heard about it thereafter. and the important part of it is that it feels as if new york is finally closing a very dark chapter in its history, but to the point that you're making about resignation, it doesn't equal accountability and the reason is because we have not had a full reckoning of the many ways in which governor cuomo has harmed not only these 11 women but also our government and our state and so right now, without impeachment, andrew cuomo is permitted to run again for office and so we need to ensure
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that that is not the case and i think that, you know, you just played back a part of what the governor said today during his final words at his press conference. the governor made clear he didn't want the assembly to further investigate and impeach him and made clear he did quote unquote nothing wrong. the lines have moved and, you know, he was not aware of the lines moving, which i'm sure we get to talk about but really, it's ultimately what we saw was a lack of accountability in his statement, although, resigning is a very serious act that the governor took and i think that is part accountability. >> the comment that he made was interesting. he said i've never crossed a line but i was unaware as to how the line has been redrawn. what's your reaction to that? >> my reaction to that is that i don't believe a word that he says and i'm going to tell you exactly why. if we're talking about lines that were quote unquote redrawn in new york, which i'm assuming
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he means the stronger laws we put in place in 2019 that was a law i drafted that he signed and that he actually championed. it's a law that makes new york have on the books one of the strongest set of sexual harassment protections as well as discrimination protections in the workplace in the entire country. and so for him to say today that he didn't understand that the lines have moved and that things have changed, that it just goes to different kinds of ideologies and people just didn't really understand what he was trying to do, i don't find that to be credible and again, i don't find that to be a way in which he's trying to be accountable to new yorkers. so i think it's important to just understand that particular piece of the law that was signed by him. >> we in greater society have been exposed to much more texture about this issue of sexual harassment of sexual assault, sexual harassment in the workplace since 2015. are you a little surprised in
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2021 this is how this all went down or are you pleased that the pressure on cuomo worked and that he resigned? how do you feel about the last few weeks or last few months and how this unfolded? >> well, first i think you make an excellent point, which is that for the past six years, this country and this world has been going through an absolute reckoning when it comes to sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual misconduct among other things generally and so to not be aware of that in such a way that you would then think about your own behavior, again, is not -- it's not credible because every single person within politics and government understand this is an important issue. with regard to what he said and how he's kind of carried this out, it's unfortunate. it feels very tragic. particularly because in this past year as we've been dealing with a lot of the scandals surrounding this governor, we haven't been able to do the things we were sent to albany to
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do. we didn't pass any sexual harassment related bills. we passed no ethics reforms last year. we were unable and still unable to get the covid relief money out the door so when i'm focused on right now is what's possible and the opportunity of what government can be without andrew cuomo at the helm and a new governor, the first female governor in new york to be able to actually take the helm and lead us into a place where new york can reach the highest potential. >> tell me about was there trouble in the democratic caucus getting to this point where everybody signed on and asked cuomo to resign? i know some people had said let's wait until this investigation is done, felt to me like as soon as the investigation was out there was no more convincing that needed to be done of anybody. >> i think early on and earlier on this year there was a lot of hesitation and trepidation to call for the governor to resign and call out the governor's behavior and the reason is because andrew cuomo is known as
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somebody who is vindictive. loyalty is andrew cuomo's currency. it was very challenging for a lot of people to call that out. why? because they were afraid of political retribution and regular retribution themselves and that's not only in the legislature, that goes beyond the legislature inside the executive chamber there are commissioners, as well, afraid still to speak out but i hope in the coming weeks, we do see people not only share their stories but also feel comfortable that we're moving in a direction that we've not only changed the law in new york but also changing the culture because i think that what today signifies is a shift in culture in albany and new york generally. >> senator, thank you for joining us. new york state senator is the chair of the ethics and internal governance committee. thank you for being with us tonight. parents, school administrators and democratic leaders are fighting republican
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the coronavirus delta variant continues to reek havoc and republican leaders are making matters worse. nbc news reports 14,787 people were hospitalized for covid nearly 90% of the state's icu beds were in use and 85% of all patients' beds were filled. republican governor ron desantis still refuses to impose safety measures to protect his constituents but someone in florida recognizes the state needs help. the federal government fulfilled a request to send 200 venl ventilators and supplies to florida to help with the covid situation. in texas greg abbott is banning mask mandates and asking hospitals to stop non-emergency medical procedures to free up space for covid patients and he's bringing in out of state health care workers to help with
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the surge. two of texas' largest school districts, dallas and austin are fed up and chosen to impose mask mandates in dfiance and judge jenkins is asking to strike down a ban on mask mandates. joining us now is clay jenkins, the highest elected official in dallas county, texas. good to see you again. we went through this last year because the governor of texas imposed similar restrictions on mandating and shutdowns and masks and things last year and a number of judges and localities challenged the governor at the time. where do things stand? >> ali, good to see you again, as well and thanks for having me. moments ago i received an order from a judge granting a temporary restraining order against governor abbott allowing me the opportunity to require masks at our schools and
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businesses and so i've taken a break from talking to business and educators and others to talk to you but i'll continue doing that tonight until the last person has gone to sleep and we'll do it again early in the morning with an order out sometime in the first half of tomorrow. >> so this is just happened, a judge has said to you you have a temporary restraining order against the governor's mandate? >> that's correct. in the last few moments, that has happened. i just put it on twitter before coming on to talk to you and as i always do, i'll talk to the business, education, health care, communities and get their feedback but we will be issuing an order tomorrow and it will be in keeping with the doctors' recommendation we need to wear a face mask indoors. >> of course, you had filed -- the parents -- 12 children in
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dallas county filed a lawsuit. you've also filed a separate lawsuit. is this temporary restraining order with respect to the lawsuits that have been filed? >> well, the children deferred having a hearing today so the judge could spend more time on that hearing but the children's desire is that schools require face masks and after listening to the superintendents of all the districts tomorrow and the doctors, i think there is a good probability that is exactly what i'll do. >> we have anecdotal evidence. we're talking to doctors and pediatric hospitals across this country and they're saying there seems to be some impression people have probably from last year that kids don't really get sick from this and when they do, they don't get all that sick. the anecdotally numbers we have is they do. kids get covid and under 12 can't vaccinate and living in homes with people not vaccinated are getting covid and it's serious. there are kids on life support. there are kids on ventilators in
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hospitals. you would think that part would sort of get past partisan politics. >> ali, let me give you a statistic. there are 19 counties in our combined metro area that 7.7 million people and today we had two that is two pediatric icu beds in those entire 19 counties. that means for every car wreck, every mishap, every covid patient who is a kid, there is two beds. you may have to drive 120 miles to get to it, but there were two beds. doctors are already making decisions on kids and adults that would not even cross their mind as far as limiting care a month ago but they're already having to make those decisions now because of the shortage. we don't have the maximum amount of people we've had in the hospital. that occurred last winter but because the governor pulled the temporary staffing and employee
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getting democrats to come back and vote on voter suppression that left the state to go to d.c., we have less staff at our hospitals now than ever before and the situation in our hospitals is worse than ever before. but this is not about politics, it's about public health. the enemy is not governor abbott or governor desantis. the enemy is the virus. i'm hopeful these governors not listening to the doctors will listen to the doctors who have trained their entire adult lives to advice us at this moment and our only hope of beating covid. >> judge, thanks for being with us. thanks for the news that you got and congratulations on that. i hope you succeed in getting some people around there to handle their mask situation and prevent the spread of this any further than it needs to be. clay jenkins is the judge in dallas county, thanks for being with us. >> coming up new and alarming details when donald trump was doing in the runup to january
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6th as the senate judiciary committee prepares to interview a georgia united states attorney who resigned after pressure from trump to overturn the election results. neal joins us next. results. neal joins us next knows everyone's unique. that's why they customize your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. oh, yeah. that's the spot. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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and she's wearing my robe. mom: ahem ahem ahem we're out. there is new reporting tonight on what donald trump was doing in the days between election day 2020 and january 6th, 2021. "politico" reports that donald trump called rosen pushing a potential lawsuit to throw out the election results in six states. why the then president wanted to know wasn't the justice department doing more about the election? the complaint modelled on the texas suit would have urged the supreme court to declare that the electoral college votes from six key swing states lost by trump cannot be counted because of baseless allegations of fraud and for the justices to order a special election for president
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be held in those states. rosen says he shut trump down. then on january 3rd, trump called georgia's secretary of state telling him quote, i just want to find 11,780 votes, which of course is the exact number of votes trump would need to have overturned georgia's results. imagine that. he actually called and asked him to do that and on that call, trump referred to a quote never trumper u.s. attorney who is now believed to be b.j. pac, the u.s. attorney for the northern district of georgia. the day after that call, that u.s. attorney b.j. pac abruptly resigned after pressure from the trump white house. tomorrow, the senate judiciary committee will interview b.j. pac behind closed doors following the recent interviews with rosen and former deputy attorney general richard donohue. joining me is former acting u.s. solicitor general. this plot has thickened so much,
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neal, it has gone from being the sort of happen hazard attempt that there are people who are not willing to call it a coup attempt into something that very much was a coup attempt. it was an absolute plan that involved people at the highest levels of our government and now we've got this b.j. pac and we don't know exactly what his role was but he disappeared after donald trump called the secretary of state to ask him to change around some votes in georgia and tomorrow he's going to be interviewed. you are an expert at this. what would you ask him? >> well, first of all, i think, ali, suddenly quitting your job two weeks before a departure date, it's more like a blaring siren. so what i want to know is i want to get to the bottom of that. why did you resign? what were the contacts between trump and the justice departments did this jeffrey clark figure, this environmental
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civil lawyer who evidently was in cahoots with trump, did he play any role in this? you know, the night before he resigned, the acting deputy attorney general had a phone call with you, what was in that phone call? what was discussed? most importantly, you know, b.j. resigns on january 4th the day after it was revealed that trump pressured georgia secretary of state to find me 11,780 votes. so i want to know basically did pac know about that and what was his reaction to that and was his resignation related to that? >> it seems between jeffrey rosen and richard donohue and b.j. pac we're getting answers. they're all saying that they were told to do something that they thought was either at best wrong and at worst highly illegal. what happens now?
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how does this unfold in your opinion? where does this go next? it feels to me this has to exist outside of the political realm and move squarely into the critical realm? >> there is stuff we know and don't know. donald trump filed a bunch of bogus lawsuits. we know donald trump as you said at the lead of the show held a prep rally on january 6th. we know trump maneuverered to throw out the election results. we know jeffrey rosen rejected this garbage. we know trump still calls the election results bogus and illegal and supported lawsuits and fundraising after his attorney general told him these lawsuits are going nowhere. he also know that about the 11,780 votes, you know, that phone call to the georgia official and we know the next day that b.j. pac resigns. we know a lot of stuff. we don't know why did pac
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resign? what were the contacts between trump and the justice department and most importantly to get to your question, we don't know where the justice department right now stands on this. we don't know what merrick garland is doing about this. as we speak, the justice departments investigating and prosecuting all sorts of low level drug dealing across this country and, you know, here we have one of the most hugest crimes imaginable, disinfranchising millions of people and we don't know where the justice department -- >> this might be the big one, right? this might be the big one. they came really close. there was an actual plot to over throw a democratic election. they came really close and what i don't know, neal, at this point is whether there is anything protecting from happening again other than good people who will say i'm not doing this or the b.j. pacs of the world -- i don't know whether the institution can prevent this from happening again. >> thank you for saying that, ali.
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trump's m.o. was to appoint people like b.j. to be obscured and not very prominent lawyers and lean on them to do his dirty work. now pac it looks like, we don't know but looks like he wasn't willing to do that and you know, if he acted differently, if, yo jeffrey rosen acted differently. if any of these people, just a couple of them, changed their mind, everything could be different and we could literally have had a coup, which is why an investigation is so, so important. not a political one, as you say, just tell us the facts, tell us what happened and then we can adjust our system accordingly. >> good to see you. coming up, kathy hochul will make history in two weeks when she become's new york's first woman governor. we'll talk to the democrat who holds her old congressional seat about what kind of leader she'll be. at about what kind of leader she'll be
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new york state is about to
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have its first female governor. today lieutenant governor kathy hochul released a statement saying, i agree with governor cuomo's decision to step down. it's the right thing to do and in the best interest of new yorkers. as someone who has served at all levels of government, i'm prepared to lead as new york state's 57th governor. kathy hochul will have more to say tomorrow at a press conference in albany. she's a native of buffalo and once served as a staffer to senator daniel moynihan. she won a special election in one of new york's most conservative congressional districts in 2011. she became cuomo's deputy governor in 2015. the "new york times" describes her style as the polar opposite of governor cuomo noting that she, quote, has established deep reservoirs of political good will, spending much of her tenure on the road highlighting the administration's agenda and engaging in extensive on the ground politicaling. she's taken pride in visiting
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each of new york's 62 counties each year and has friends across the state, end quote. joining us now is brian higgins. he represents kathy hochul's former congressional district in western new york. congressman, good to see you. i was saying to rachel, you're kind of like a canadian congressman. you're on the border there when guys like me went from toronto to buffalo or upstate new york, that's where we -- we would cross into your constituency. >> you would do that. kathy hochul is motivated by big challenges. and she's inspired by great ideas and good people. and she's going to be a great governor of new york. >> tell me about your work with her and how you got to know her. >> well, she's a friend and colleague for 40 years. always been inspired by her idealism, her commitment to public service and her work ethic. and the people of new york will come to know her very, very quickly and will be impressed by
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the same things that impressed me so many years ago. >> it's a hard situation to take over from something like this, because it is so fraught with distraction and it's brought everybody -- sort of brought the worst in everybody out because it's -- there's been such pressure on the governor to leave. what does -- what do you think, what do you recommend, what do you imagine that she's going to do to sort of put her stamp on new york? >> kathy, based on her personality and upbringing is a stark contrast to what we have. she's compassionate, but she's tough. she will be a great governor as you've mentioned at the outset. she's served in every level of government, local, county, state and federal. and she's well prepared for this opportunity. the job of lieutenant governor is to prepare yourself to become governor at some point. she's done that. and i think people can look to
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kathy for a great inspiration, a great sense of duty, and she'll be a great governor for new york state. >> as an observer from aside given that you're part of the congressional delegation, how broken is new york democratic politics right now? >> well, all politics are broken right now. and you need people on both sides of the aisle to rise above the fray. and kathy has demonstrated over three decades of public service the ability to rise above the fray, to focus in on issues that matter to people regardless of their political persuasion. she will be an outstanding governor for new york state and for all people. >> were you taken by surprise when governor cuomo resigned today? i know the entire new york delegation, everybody, even people who had been on cuomo's side for a while after this report came out said we're done. it's time to go. were you surprised that it actually happened? >> truthfully, no. i think the evidence relative to
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what the governor had done was overwhelming. and i think it was just a matter of time. somewhat surprised it was this early, but i think the earlier the better to get out of the way and to allow kathy hochul to do what she is very, very capable of doing and that will prove to the benefit of everybody in western new york who is very, very proud of her. but also for the entire state of new york and for the nation. new york is a special place, as you know, with its own unique tradition and kathy hochul will serve the people of this state in an extraordinary way. i couldn't be more proud of her as a colleague and a friend. >> congressman, thanks for your time tonight. we appreciate it. congressman brian higgins. this is kathy hochul's former district when she was a member of congress. "the 11th hour with brian williams" begins right now.
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♪♪ and good evening once again. day 203 of the biden administration and on this day we watched the three-term democratic governor of new york andrew cuomo announce his resignation. it came one week after a bombshell report accused him multiple instances of sexual harassment and it came after he had lost all of his remaining political support. more on that just ahead. we begin yet again tonight with the alarming situation in hospitals across our country overwhelmed with a crush of covid patients. the spike in cases driving the uptick in hospitalizations. in texas, icu beds have all but disapiered at dozens of facilities. they're importing doctors in other states. texas state health department says over 10,000 texans are currently hospitalized with the virus. today, one dallas official warned the situation is particularly dangerous for