tv Deadline White House MSNBC October 25, 2021 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
hi there, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. stunning new reporting pulls back the curtain on the coordination between key figures in the disgraced express's push to overturn the 2020 election results. it shows that trump's coup attempt wasn't just some willy-nilly chaotic disjointed effort by a few trump die hard. but rather, a meticulously organized and calculated campaign the overturn the will of the american voters and pave the way for a second trump term. "washington post" reporting on what january 6 select committee
member jamie raskin suggests was the headquarters for the insurrection. they called it the command center, a set of rooms and suites in the willard hotel where some of trump's most loyal were working day and night to overturn the results of the 2020 election. the central figures according to the "washington post" trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, steve bannon, bernie care iic who served as an investigator of election fraud conspiracies and john eastman, who of course wrote the infamous memo outlining how vice president mike pence could disrupt the certification of the electoral college results on january 5th. the "washington post" reporting together quote they sought to make the case to pence and ramp up pressure on him to take actions on january 6th that eastman suggested were within his powers. their activities included finded and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud urging state
legislators to challenge biden's victory. what happened inside the willard hotel and how efforts there may have led to the deadly insurrection of course now a major focus of the january 6th select committee. listen to committee chair bennie thompson. >> how premeditated was this attack? >> well, there is no question. clearly, the direction of the committee is to look at that premeditation to make sure that we identify it. but the worst kept secret in america is that donald trump invited individuals to come to washington on january 6th. he said all hell would break loose. steve bannon was part of the conversation and the promotion of january 6th. the podcast we just listened to talks about it. >> yeah. >> steve bannon was in the war
room, and he was in the willard hotel doing a lot of things. so that's why we subpoenaed him. >> new revelations in the campaign to overturn the 2020 election is where we start today. "washington post" congressional correspondsent jackie al mainy is here. also joining us, an yell goldman former u.s. attorney. and ben rhodes is here former deputy national security advisory to president obama, now an msnbc contributor. i don't want to race into the reporting. jackie, i do want you to take me through it. i want everyone to listen to john eastman in his own words. this is him on a radio show contesting to basically everything bennie thompson just outlined. let's watch. >> we had a war room at the
willard hotel kind of coordinating all the communications. and when the president's arrival to the rally in front of the white house was delayed, rudy giuliani and i were asked if we would come on stage and say a few words. the rally organizers had a number of campaign and trump family people that had been speaking all morning long. but then there was all of a sudden a big gap before the president was going to be able to ride. i wasn't even the one that was asked. word came down to the suite of offices where i was in, you know, could rudy and i go over there and talk. >> i have been on a lot of campaigns. i have heard the word war room thrown around. there is a film made about george stephanopoulos. it is a term of art. not just a word that gets thrown around. it is a campaign term. it obviously has military connotations. but there was a command center
for the attempted coup on january 6th. daniel goldman? >> well, there was. it's not surprising that it was coordinated. it's a little surprising that it was so overtly coordinated in the willard hotel. but the thing that's so striking with jackie and her colleague's reporting is what we have been saying all along, nicole. there was no evidence of voting irregularities. so every time someone like john eastman says, you know, we were looking at the evidence. and every time that we hear oh, there were voting irregularities, we wanted to present the evidence and there is a reference to a campaign official, boris epstein, who still believes what he encouraged mike pence to do was the correct move at that time. to be very clear, there has never been any evidence
presented by any of these people. so they were just fabricating a whole scheme to effectively overturn the will of the voters without any rational or factual basis. and what jackie's reporting, and the "rolling stone" reporting that we saw this weekend showed is that this was a well-coordinated effort to overturn the will of the election. the key here is going to be whether there is evidence -- the january 6th committee will look into this, and the department of justice should absolutely be looking into this. the real issue is whether these efforts to i don't remember turn the will of the people were linked in any way to the violence. and certainly, steve bannon's comments on january 5th on his podcast lead us to believe that there was some coordination or some linkage between the two. but that is the one area that i have not seen any real
evidence -- [ no audio ] >> i want to stay with -- [ no audio ] can you hear us, dan goldman? we had a system glitch. are you there? >> i'm here. >> okay. >> go ahead. >> i was going to say -- you need to link the violence to these efforts to overturn the will of the people. that remains to be seen. >> let me follow up with you there. i mean, i want to read the part of the reporting that you are talking about. their activities included -- from jackie's reporting in the "washington post." their activities included finding and publicizing alleged evidence of fraud, urging members of state legislatures to challenge biden's victory and calling on the trump supporting public to challenge in key states. the other person who was responsible for finding fraud if there had been any was bill barr. he's long retired. he was the country's attorney general. he couldn't find any.
he resigned by this point. i wonder if he's a witness of interest to ask who did you tell that the allegations of fraud were things that you looked into, couldn't find any. i mean, how much of this is dependent on their knowledge of the lie they were telling to one another, to donald trump, to trump supporters? >> so, when you separate this conduct from january 6th and the riot that occurred which i think is very important to do, and i think the department of justice needs to be investigating. this effort to effectively have coup and overturn the election. then you start looking at what bill barr relied on when he said in early december that he found no significant evidence of fraud. i thought one of the most remarkable statements in jackie's article was a michigan state legislator who was on a call with 300 people on january 2nd. and he said -- and where trump
and others were saying, you have the power to do this, you can do this if you want to. and he said, i know we have the power to do it. i was waiting to hear evidence that would support us doing that. and he, like everyone else to this date, heard no actual facts or evidence to support this. and if there is no facts or evidence, then richard donahue, nicole i know you follow this very carefully, who was the deputy attorney general in early january, has notes saying that he told donald trump there was not overt fraud, that there was no fraud to support his claims. and trump said, oh, don't worry, just say it so that the republican congressman and i will take care of it. that knowledge that there was no basis for their allegations will be very central to any conspiracy case against donald trump, his senior advisers or
others for subverting the will of the people, interfering with the lawful election, federal election, in early november. >> let me just ask you one more question. then i have that note from mr. dan hue's notes, quote, this is trump talking, according to notes taken by mr. donahue in a call between mr. rosen and donald trump. quote, i don't expect to you do that. just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and our congressman. is it your believe, dan goldman, that those our congressmen are already under investigation, and donald trump, for their role in what donahue transcribes as an effort to overturn the election result with knock that it was not based on in fact, he just wanted the d.o.j. to put out a statement and his "our al ayes" were goings to take care of the rest of it. >> we don't know whether there has been any investigation. there has been no reporting there is an investigation. i tend to think that given all
the various leaks that we have had over the last several years f this were an investigation either a defense attorney representing a witness or someone in congress, i don't think that this would be kept as confidential as it should be. and i think there would be word trickling out. and we haven't heard that. but i don't know whether there is an investigation or not. all i know is that there absolutely should be. >> jackie, it is a tour of force of reporting. stunning. i want to spend time reading from it. this is the section that dan goldman is talking about. in those first days of january, the command center, trump allies were calling members of republican dominated learns in swing states that eastman had spotlighted in his memos. they included pennsylvania, georgia, arizona, encouraging them to convene special session to investigate fraud and reassign votes from biden to trump. what's amaze being the eastman
memo is how much of it actually was implemented. that was detailed in his memo that took place. the delay is what the memo called for. that took place. but for mike pence staying on the premises and going back inside the eastman memo could have had the effect of overturning the vote. >> exactly right, nicole. thanks for having me on to talk about this. it was certainly a team effort from my colleagues tamme hamburger and browne and swin and i. as soon as liz cheney mentioned the war room in her remarks about danon's contempt vote, we started diving into the machinations and how they tried to operationalize eastman's memo. i don't think we can stress enough eastman's role in this operation. essentially from november 5th until mid december it was amateur hour, it was ruhl ruhl throwing spaghetti at the wall
trying to figure out how he could persuade these swing states how they could fine some example of fraud that might change people's minds. but there wasn't really a coordinated strategy to actually making that happen. when john eastman came onto the scene they brought in his stoogs constitutional expertise to map it out. that's how the group would eventually coalesce around it and how the memo came into bloom. he is a law professor, he clerked for supreme court justice clarence thomas. he has conservative credentials that added a certain layer of seriousness to the operation that i think convinced people, especially those in trump's outside legal circles, that there was something there. you had johnny swin in the room with president trump and trying to make the case to vice
president pence himself. ultimately, though, it was, you know, a lot of state legislatures, as we quoted, called bluff on the operation. they said that there was -- after month of searching for the fraud, there was no such evidence. we have not found such eviden all of these claims were unsubstantiated. it was up to mike pence to withstand that pressure. he ultimately did. >> he did what he did. but donald trump at least through the 5th was under the understanding that he was down with the coup. let me read this statement from january 5th that was circulating over the weekend with your reporting. from donald trump, the vice president and i are in total agreement, the vice president has the power to act. our vice president has several options under the u.s. constitution. like it is a fricking menu. he could dessert phi results, or send them back to the states for change in certification. he can also dessert phi illegal and corrupt results and send
them to the house of representatives for one vote for one state tabulation. he couldn't do any of these things, jackie, and it fell to dan quayle to tell him so. >> yeah, that reporting came from our colleague bob costa. but, look, pence's people have pushed back time and time again. they have said that pence did not ultimately agree to eastman's memo. but that wasn't the pressure that this group were under. they thought through january 6th there was some potential. until vice president pence released that letter saying he would in fact certify the electoral results that there was a chance here. they were under the impression, true believers that they had made an effective case. you had people like bernard karrick and rudy giuliani who stayed in the willard until january 19th, inauguration day because they were so convinced of their own reporting, the investigation that they were
running out of the willard hotel, out of bernard karrick's suite, people who had been, you know, previously proven to be tied up in a lot of conspiracy theories and had no success in finding this alleged fraud. but needless to say they were a block from the white house and had full access to the former president and were able to make their case directly to him. >> ben rhodes. i'm old enough to remember bernie karrick had a real badge. but john eastman. when you keep the company of bernie karrick and rudy giuliani and boris e., you may be those things jackie said you are. you may be someone smarter than those guys, but you become them. who is john eastman in the coup
plot. one way to think about this, nicole is if you look at what's been happening in this country for several years and frankly look at what happens in other countries where you have a democratic roleback, what you have is people who independent confuse the weak spot in a democracy that can be exploited. no democracy is ironclad protected against human beings who are willing to put their own interests ahead of the democracy's interest. eastman to me is that person who is smart enough to try to find what are the vulnerabilities in the american democracy? and the reality is, i think aspects the republican party had been doing this quite well for a number of years. what are the vulnerabilities, what are the vuler in nlts in terms of how we can create districting maps which entrench us in power, in which courts we can put people onto to advance our interests. now we have taken it to greater extremes, what are the
vulnerables we can exploit in the election system whereby even if we lose an election we can overturn its result? that includes steve bannon and joul joule, prop began tests who can stirrup a crowd, who can stirrup a group of people in a rally on january 6th. they are in the command center trying to figure out what is the rationale we can use to legitimize this takeover of the american democracy, the overturning of an election result? the reality is theesemans of this world are still working. after january 6th didn't work they set about changing state law so they could control future elections even if they lost. it is easy to laugh at comical rudy giuliani getting drunk on television or giving bizarre press conferences in front of
the four seasons, whatever, in pennsylvania, but the reality is that is a part of what is a multifaceted and sophisticated effort to subvert american democracy that is ongoing. >> ben rhodes, i agree with you, and i -- you know, july joule's post election day performance was indiscernible from the "snl" skits. but someone like john eastman walks into the room with the bigger intellect than anybody there and does grave harm. what do you do to protect a democracy from john eastman? >> first of all, i think we have to understand that rudy giuliani is useful to this whole effort because the very fact that he looks so absurd and ridiculous kinds of makes people complacent makes people think this can't be a serious effort to overturn the result. but the reality is that is a lightning rod that attracts attention while theesemans are
finding out to to undermine our system on diplomatic ends. i think you have to understand what happened. if there is a terrorist attack on capitol, which i think this was, you would want to understand, how was it financed? who was behind the etiology of it. who was trying to draw people to that attack. also, who was essentially the master mine of what this attack was a part of? this attack was part of the eastman strategy of how do you undermine an election, how do you find the vulnerability in the law and overturn the election result. first we have to find out what exactly was eastman's plan and how were they implementing it? i think going forward how do we fortify against future efforts to do this? how do we make it so the will of the people is what is recorded in a democratic election? how do we make it so individual elected representatives of a political party cannot overturn the result of a democratic election that has been
certified? we have toeseman-proof our democracy against not just the coup that already happened but the ones that might happen in the future. >> dan goldman, if you are looking at this looking for potential crimes, is the whole thing contingent upon that link as you talked about at the top of the hour between the command center, the war room, and john eastman's words, and the acts of violence against law enforcement officials? >> no. and certainly that would be necessary if you were going to charge anyone with sort of masterminding or conspiring with others to invade the capitol. but as ben pointed out, i think so correctly here, to me, that was sort of what you might say an inevitable consequence of having propagandists rallying
together and incite their followers who may have just taken it upon themselves to take it to the extreme that was the riot. what i'm more focused on is this, what we are now seeing, and week by week, we see more and more, this extensive, coordinated sophisticated effort to try the overturn the election. that's what we were talking about. if they know -- if you can prove that they know that their claims were completely bogus and all they were trying to do was use their power and use their public authority, use their government positions and the power the presidency on down to coerce others, to interfere in the appropriate and lawful execution of an election, that is a federal conspiracy. and they can be charged with spiring. it is a 371, a generic conspiracy to interfere with the
lawful functioning of the federal laws, essentially is what it is. and the federal laws being the election in this case. so i think it is far more likely that there is a crime in this coordination and in this effort leading up to and including january 6th, but not as much in connection to the violence that occurred on january 6th. and that's why i think it's so important that the department of justice open a separate overlapping parallel investigation into the lead-up to january 6th and in connection to donald trump on down with the senior officials. because that is clearly what they were more involved in, even if we can find proof that they knew about the violence on january 6th, which i think will be hard to do. but they certainly knew about these efforts to subvert the will of the people. and that if they know what they are doing is completely bogus and their claims are just a
sham, then that can be charged criminal. >> it is so trumpian, dan goldman, to digest what you are saying, that if these facts lead in the direction you are suggesting they might if investigated. then the insurrection would be not the most heinous thing that donald trump did between election day and president biden's inauguration. surprising reporting. jackie, ben, dan thanks to you for starting us off today. when we come back, as we learn more about the days leading up to january 6th and as more subpoena deadlines loom we will talk to the january 6 judiciary committee about what can be done to hold these people accountable. ahead of two important races next week, president barack obama calls it a turning point.
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michael myers is the essence of evil. the boogeyman... needs to die. if you track michael's victims, it's a straight line to michael's childhood home. [ screaming ] tonight my family will kill him. [ gasps ] [ screaming ] we have one of the teams on the committee whose sole purpose is to look at the financing of january 6th. it's just interesting to note that a lot of people came to washington by bus, by plane, by
chartered vehicles. >> yeah. >> they stayed in hotels, motels, all of that. somebody had to pay for it. we want to look at whether or not the paying for that participation was legal and whether or not it contributed to what occurred on january 6th. >> the chairman of the january 6 select committee bennie thompson saying the committee will follow the money in an effort to uncover what exactly transpired in the leadup to the insurrection. his committee is investigating the connection between a trump campaign funded war room in the willard hotel where key allies plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and the capitol riot. joining us now, congressman ted lieu of california member of the judiciary and foreign affairs committees. he also served as an impeachment manager during donald trump's second impeachment. congressman, i wonder first your reaction to the new reporting of
a war room, a command center. >> thank you, nicole for your question. let me first say chairman thompson and the members of the january 6th committee are doing a terrific job. as a house impeachment manager it was clear that multiple crimes occurred on january 6th. many police officers were assaulted. i am pleased the department of justice is going after those who assaulted and brutalized the police officers. but we also need to look at those at the very top, those who planned executed and encouraged this insurrection. i hope not only is the january 6th committee going to be get to the bottom of this but the department of justice is also looking at those at the very top. >> donald trump told the acting attorney general, jeffrey rosen, to simply declare the election corrupt and we will take care of the rest. we included some of your colleagues on the other side of the ooilsz. should she be subpoenaed? >> absolutely. and let me just note that it is nearly a year after the presidential election and republicans still can't explain who purportedly stole the election, nor how it was done.
because they are just making this up. the election was not stolen. and members of congress who continue to say that falsehood should not be in congress. >> what do you think happens next? the defiance of the congressional subpoena on the part of steve bannon was referred to the justice department. what do you think will happen? what do you think should happen? >> i hope the department of justice prosecutes steve bannon with this referral of the criminal contempt. my fear is that steve bannon will simply litigate this, appeal to it the supreme court and two years later we will get a decision and he could run the clock out. that's why i have introduced legislation that allows the house of representatives to execute what's called inherent contempt. we could fine witnesses up to $100,000 for disobeying subpoenas. then we will see how steve bannon would like being fined $100,000. >> do you have support among
your colleagues to take that route if d.o.j. does not enforce or prosecute bannon? >> i believe i do. it has been coauthored by numerous members of congress already. i also note this does not need a senate vote. it is simply a change to house rules. so we could execute it quite quickly. >> let me talk about the republicans who agree with you, tragically, only line, liz cheney, fitzpatrick, gonzalez, herrera butter, mace, meyer and up ton voted with emdemocratic member of the house to hold steve bannon in contempt. what do you make of the fact there are only nine? do you think should the republicans ever be in control again that they won't care about congressional subpoenas? >> we are seeing the radicalize of the republican base before our very eyes, radical republicans are dangerous. they are undermining democracy
itself. and if we wanted to have republicans in charge of who is going to decide the electoral college in 2024. that's a dangerous prospect and that's why it is important that democrats hold onto the house and senate next year. adam kinzinger and liz cheney are some of the harshest critics of their own party. sometimes their attacks on republicans are harsher than any democratic member that can i find. this is what adam kinzinger tweeted yesterday regarding mccarthy's threat to cut off liz cheney's financial support. i am not sure democrats realize the seriousness of this threat. most republicans don't or stay silent. this is how democracies get into trouble. it is not violence in the street. it's how the establishment responds. >> i know there is not much left to be surprised by when it comes to the republicans. but when you see their treatment of liz chainy, one of the most conservative members of the house, what are your concerns moving forward? i mean, i ask this question of
every democratic member who comes on. can you protect the country from a radicalized fringe in a single party way with the help of just liz cheney and adam kinzinger? we can if we get voting rights through. that's why it is important to get the freedom to vote act passed in the u.s. senate. i would urge u.s. senators to really look at this issue. it is fundamentals and core to our democracy. with reference to liz cheney, it is remarkable she is 99% in lock step with all the issues republicans support except one, which is the truth that donald trump lost. and because she says that, you have republicans who flip out and can't accept that the person that they slavish over lost the election. and it wasn't even that close. he got blown out in the popular vote. >> and cost them the senate and house as well. congressman, wonderful to see. thank you for talking to us today. >> thank you, nicole. the virginia race for
governor getting boost from democratic power houses, people like president barack obama, he's campaigning this weekend -- he campaigned this weekend telling voters there this is not a time to sit this election out. we will show it to you next. we're making the fagioli! ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ this looks great. awesome. alright.
capitol on january 6th, the biggest threat to our democracy in my lifetime -- when you don't separate yourselves from them, when you don't think that's a problem, well, you know what, that's a problem. you -- you can't ads telling me you are a regular old hoops playing dish washing fleece wearing guy but quietly cultivate support from those who seek to tear down our democracy. >> he's still got it on the stump. that was president obama's powerful yet pointed remark there is on a lot of what we have been talking about this hour. he made those comments in richmond virginia where next week virginians will vote for a governor. right now the race is neck-and-neck. according to the latest polling
from monmouth president biden is heading there next week. the incumbent holds a six-point advantage although the gap is tightening. the focus on these two states points out how important they believe these races to be. joining our conversation, eddie glide chair of the department of african-american studies at princeston and betsy klein. i want to start with president obama's comments. president obama is making the very logical leap that worshipping a flag flown at the insurrection is a political loser. i would have bet my last dollar that that would be the case. betsy, tell me how youngkin is navigating the insurrection and that flag from his event there? >> youngkin has distanced
himself from the pledge of allegiance to this january 6th flag. it wasn't an event that his campaign hosted. he said he doesn't support this type of activity. look, the challenge for him is that many trump supporters do embrace the president's false conspiracy theories about what happened on that day. and part of youngkin's strategy is trying to have a tent that's big enough to include both never trumpers and the president's most die hard supporters. virginians -- the virginia republican party has been struggling for many years now to win state-wide races. it is having a tough time building a coalition that can be successful prodbly. the challenge for youngkin is finding a way to simultaneously bring in those voters who he thinks he needs who are trump supporters without alienating the suburban voters that the republican party historic cloo he relied on to win elections. it is a tough spot. it is part of the reason that it
is a challenging moment coming up for the virginia republican party. one of a very long string of such moments. >> let me show you more of president obama's remarks. this is about our politics of meanness. >> so we are in a turning point right now. both here in america and around the world. because there is a mood out there. we see it, right? there is a politics of meanness. and division. and conflict. of tribalism, and cynicism. and that's one path. but the good news is, there is another path, where we pull together. and we solve big problems. and we rebuild our society in a way that gives for and more people a better life. and that's the choice we face. >> i mean, eddie, that really isn't spin. that is the choice.
one side is -- you know, i guess i am old enough to think you are either for or against a deadly insurrection at the capitol, the other decide disagreeing with the details, yes, but trying to get big transformational things done out of the federal government. what does it say that these races are tight and tightening? >> we have to see. we have to see what the trump effect is. will it evidence himself without him bog on the ballot? that cuts both ways, whether or not it will lead to knows disaffected white voters still showing up to vote, or whether or not it will result in the democratic base not showing up in the way that it ought to show up. so i think we are yet -- the verdict is yet to come out in this regard. but i think he president obama hit something important. our agreements are existential. who do we take ourselves to be, they are about our values, the commitments that define who we are. and they are reflections of the
deep alienation not only in the united states but across the world. people know something broken. they are either reaching for new languages to imagine a different way of being together. some of them are reaching for older languages like farc fascism, you a toe accuracy and the like that. divide that is a result of what is happening on the ground won't be easily bridged. we just need to understand what side you are on. you need to make a choice. the choice is clear to me. >> i want to follow up with you eddie. that's the tribalism the president is talking about. we are siloed into these sides. but what you are saying is also true. we are not how big a tax cut should be. we are not debating little stuff. we are debating whether everyone should have a right to vote in the united states of america in 2021. we are debating whether or not with zero evidence of fraud the most secure election in our
history, chris kreb, zero fraud found by bill barr. we are finding 33 states passed voter suppression laws. we are watching republicans govern based on a lie. i wonder why democrats don't look stronger in the polsz according to your view eddie? >> i think it has to do with emphasizing process as opposed to understanding the existential threat. we talked about that before. i think the process of sausage making that's in d.c. right now is so weighted and vexed -- because we are not only debatesing the workings of our democracy. we are debating the fact that billionaires have gotten richer while we have been burying our femme members. we are debating the fact that i could work 40 hours a week, someone can work 40 hours a week and can't put food on the table, keep a roof over their head and send kids to college. we were debating the fact it tells like our moral contract
has been ripped apart. the fact that big government defends these radical others or the problem is that the leftie comies really want to take away our things. part of it is at the heart of it it seems to me democrats are trying to model a certain kind of civility when in fact the stakes demand a kind of aggressive defense of our democracy in the face of those who are reaching for these old languages to defend what they take to be theirs and theirs alone. >> that's such an important point. i want to hang on to that frame as we cover these elections. i should point out both parties read too much into off-year elections but these are traditionally challenging elections for a president's party? >> yeah, that's right. and they often sort of foreshadow even more challenging midterm elections. part of what makes this specific virginia election so interesting is that virginia has all but become a blue state. so when it comes to just a
messaging standpoint, everyone kind of has long expected that mcauliffe will win. the fact it has gotten this close this down to the wire is something that already is generating a lot of concerns among democrats. i have spoken to biden supporters who said they were trying to make the most of a potential loss by hoping it will encourage the level of anxiety among national democrats when it comes to the mid terms and get people to really get moving, really get working harder and try to do more to defend the incredibly fragile majority the democrats have in the house of representatives. it is also notable for the virginia republican party because if junk kin loses, the farther right trump-supporting candidates who ran against him in the primary are going use this as an argument that comparatively moderate republicans by the standards of the virginia voting party this year can't win and therefore the republican party has to hue even
more closelily -- than youngkin has. so it will also send a message -- >> instead of a flag flown at the insurrection maybe you would have an surkist. unbelievable reporting. eddie and betsy are sticking around. incentivizing the unvaccinated, disrespecting people's right to stay healthy, to stay alive. it all of course goes down in florida. the latest on the anti-mandate wave sweeping through the gop with a plea from one faction news host to just stop it. that's next. that's next.
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if there were a home base for the anti-science, anti-covid safety vigilantes profiting and benefitting off people not protecting themselves and each other, of course it would be florida, florida, florida. leaders across the country clash with police officers and unions over mandates meant to protect them and us with covid now the leading cause of death for police officers. florida's republican governor, ron desantis, says he's now actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement and hopes to sign legislation who gives those who relocate to florida a $5,000 bonus. even the state's top doctor continues to mock science. the "tampa bay times" reports state senator tina paul skooe, who has breast cancer, asked florida's surgeon general to leave her office when he refused
to wear a mask after she told him she had a serious medical condition. he reportedly said, sometimes i try to reason with unreasonable people for fun. wow. we're back with eddie glaude and betsy woodruff swan. it's all connected, this politics of meanness that president obama is talking about, neil trying to chime in on the side of science and civility and respect. >> i cannot stress this enough. this is not about left or right. this is not about who's conservative or liberal. take the political speaking points and toss them for now. i'm begging you. toss them. and think of what's good. not only for yourself but for those around you. life is too short to be an ass. life is way too short to be ignorant of the promise of something that is helping people worldwide. stop the deaths. stop the suffering. please, get vaccinated. please. >> it's just an incredible message coming from a fox news
anchor when most of the people being asses work there. >> yeah. let's see how quickly cavuto is banished from the tribe, nicole. we have these political vulgarians who are exploiting these divisions and what is very clear is that there are two americas, and this sort of crass, crude, and cynical appeal reflects that, and it just shows how deeply in trouble we are. and how much of an ass some of these people are. >> keeping with this enemy, betsy, let me show you state senator tina paulskey earlier today. >> i said, please wear a mask. i have a very serious medical condition. at that point i had not made myself public and again, he just refused to do it. so after enough time had passed and i saw he wasn't going to, i said, i know all i need to know. can you please leave? he certainly didn't care about my health so i don't know how he's going to care about the
public health of 21 million floridians. >> this is next level from a debate about vaccine mandates. this is face-to-face, human-to-human, you know, screw you. >> yeah. it's a part of the bet that republicans are making and it's a cynical bet, which is that americans are frustrated with the way that the covid pandemic has gone on longer than any of us had hoped and that they're hoping that the covid politics will ultimately be problematic for biden. that's why you're seeing republican candidates campaign against vaccine mandates, campaign against mask mandates, you know, running against these -- criticizing these methods that public health officials advocate to try to keep people safe and alive. it's a bet that this will be politically valuable to them and for republicans, it's a purely political bet, because remember, former president trump himself used to love taking credit for the fact of this vaccine.
sarah huckabee sanders wrote an op-ed calling the vaccine the trump vaccine, saying that a good way of showing your loyalty to president trump was by getting vaccinated. but now we're seeing republican candidates do the opposite, and that's purely because they believe it's politically helpful. >> it is amazing, too, ron desantis, trying to become a sanctuary state for anti-vax, anti-science. unbelievable to watch. thank you so much for spending time with us today. the next hour of "deadline white house" starts after a quick break. don't go anywhere. we're just getting started. don't go anywhere. we're just getting started wealth is breaking ground on your biggest project yet.
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interaction ranking. i've seen lots of research that says that kind of ranking, engagement-based ranking, prioritizes polarizing extreme divisive content, doesn't matter if you're on the left or the right, it pushes you to the extremes, and it fans hate. anger and hate is the easiest way to grow on facebook. we could have a safer platform and it could work for everyone in the world, but it will cost little bits of growth, and i think there's a real problem of that -- those voices don't get amplified internally because they're making the company grow a little slower, and it's a company that lionizes growth. >> wow. company that lionizes growth. hi again, everybody, it's 5:00 in new york. facebook whistle-blower frances haugen testifying in front of uk parliament today as she continues her campaign of exposing her former employer for being aware of the anger and violence it fuels and doing nothing to stop it. a large group of news outlets are currently sifting through the trove of documents she
turned over to congress and the s.e.c. nbc news describes the thousands of pages detailing facebook's debates over its societal impact as, quote, the deepest look provided to outsiders of the internal workings of the world's largest social media company. "washington post" also drills down on what the documents reveal about the missed warning signs ahead of january 6th. the s.e.c. documents suggest that facebook moved too quickly after the election to lift measures that it helped suppress some election-related misinformation. the rushed effort to restore them on january 6th was not enough to stop the surge of hateful, violent posts, documents show. a company after action report concluded that in the weeks after the election, facebook did not act forcefully enough against the stop the steal movement that was pushed by trump's political allies, even as its presence exploded across the platform. the "post" adds that on the day of january 6th, measures of online mayhem surged and user reports of false news hit nearly
40,000 per hour, according to an internal report from that day. nbc's reporting pulls back the curtain on some internal conversations being had over at facebook on january 6th where employees were fraught with alarm and disgust, frankly, at their own company. here are some reactions to facebook's chief technology officer after he told employees to hang in there, everyone, and said that facebook should allow for peaceful discussions of the riot but not calls for violence. "i'm struggling to match my values to my employment here," an employee wrote in a comment. "i came here hoping to effect change and improve society but all i've seen is atrophy and about occasion of responsibility." another employee asking, "row are we expected to ignore when leadership overrides research-based policy decision to better serve people like the groups inciting violence today?" facebook says these documents do not represent the whole picture of the company, writing in a statement, "a curated selection out of millions of documents at
facebook can in no way be used to draw fair conclusions about it. internally, we share work in progress and debate options. not every suggestion stands up to the scrutiny we must apply to decisions affecting so many people." but the role facebook played in january 6th is still under scrutiny. here's select committee chairman bennie thompson from the weekend. >> we're in the process of negotiating with facebook and those other platforms to get certain information, but it's clear that the january 6th organization, per se, used them as an organizing tool. at this point, facebook is working with us to provide the necessary information we requested. at that point, staff and the committee will review that information and if it's consistent with some of the things that we are hearing coming from other areas, then obviously, it's a problem. but at this point, we're not ready to make a decision one way
or the other on facebook's role. >> questions over facebook's role in the insurrection is where we start this hour with some of our favorite reporters and friends. nbc news correspondent jacob ward is with us. also joining us, miles taylor, former chief of staff at the department of homeland security, now the cofounder and executive director of the renew america movement. and former republican congressman david jolly is here, an msnbc contributor and national chairman of the serve america movement. so, jacob, i want to start with you. i want to share a little bit more of frances haugen's testimony. this is from what she said before congress in washington about this false choice that you're seeing play out, even in the reaction to this new document. let's watch. >> facebook has been emphasizing a false choice. they have said, the safeguards that were in place before the election implicated free speech. the choices that were happening on the platform were really about how reactive and twitchy was the platform. how viral was the platform?
and facebook changed those safety defaults in the run-up to the election because they knew they were dangerous and because they wanted that growth back, they wanted the acceleration on the platform back after the election, they returned to their original defaults. and the fact that they had to break the glass on january 6th and turn them back on, i think that's deeply problematic. >> jacob ward, her allegations seem so incriminating in terms of what facebook knew. they knew how bad it was, so they suppressed it, and then out of a hunger for profits, they surged it again. no one's denied that so far. is that, as far as you understand, the most sort of perilous allegation in terms of facebook's conduct that she's making? >> well, nicole, i mean, take your pick. you can really name any societal ill in the world today, and it is probably in this collection of documents that we have been
reviewing along with so many other journalists. i mean, whether it is human trafficking, the mental health of teenagers, the threats to democracy in the rest of the world, hate speech in the arab world, i mean, it goes on and on and on, and so to say which one is worse is hard to say. in this particular case, it does reveal something very powerful inside facebook when we look at the debate around the january 6th safeguards that were put in place then takening down after the election, which these experts are saying have created this problem. what they're essentially doing at facebook is measuring, as frances haugen talked about there, sort of the twitchiness of the platform but also trying to figure out how to create a sustainable model for the billions of people that use it and they truly think of it in terms of it being a mirror of the real world. i'd like to play you a little bit of an interview that i did with the head of global content policy. she decides what should or shouldn't be on the platform.
and basically, because her researchers are saying here, the fundamentals of this platform are the problem, the sharing, the liking, the commenting, is this a solvable problem with the thousand-plus researchers that you have thrown at it? here's what she had to say. >> there will always be challenges in the social media landscape but just like you will never stop abuse in the offline world, and you'll never stop abuse in the online world, you can get better at detecting it and preventing it and curbing it. >> so, on the one hand, you can balance this idea of it being the online world and the offline world and that they are somehow just parallel to one another. but what the researchers in these documents are saying is, no, no, we have a responsibility for this online world. we can fix it, but we have to take some pretty dramatic steps to do so, and so far, they are not satisfied that has happened. >> miles, you and i have sort of functioned as sort of flaks and hacks, and i say that with
affection. she may as well be talking about cigarettes, and i know that other journalists have made this parallel, and this is what i think, sort of a former flak, their problem is. they're bad, but people do all sorts of bad things, i mean, there's tons of porn on the internet, i'm sure, people smoke cigarettes, they eat mcdonald's. the problem facebook has is they think they're good. they're not good. and i think the longer they carry out this charade that they're not bad, i think the harder the clapback is going to be from regulators, not just in this country but in the uk, who, they have much stronger ability as a government to regulate disinformation and lies and slander and all that kind of -- that space where we, i think, struggle to regulate and police and punish disinformation. i think they'll probably be regulated there faster than here, no? >> well, that certainly should be their worry, and if anything, nicole, that's probably going to
be the thing that ultimately drives these companies to action. i mean, it's been noted, especially in your lead-in to this segment, these companies are prioritizing profit satisfaction over public safety. but having worked on both sides, the government and national security side, and working in big tech, i can tell you that the thing that scares them more about their platforms being abused for public safety nefarious reasons is they're much more worried about being regulated. so, the regulatory threats are actually what spooks these companies into action. now, monika bickert, i know monika. i've met with monika. she meets with the law enforcement community. i know she wants to do the right thing and keep bad stuff off her platform but the key question is, will the c suite at facebook back her up? and what i know from having worked very closely with these companies is there's three major dilemmas that are keeping them
from doing the right thing. one is that voices like monika's often get suppressed internally when it comes to a debate about profit and public protection. two, a lot of these companies are scared to work with each other, to coordinate to suppress these threats because they're worried about sharing information about their proprietary technologies, and that's a big problem, because bad guys don't just use one platform. they jump from platform to platform, and that communication is really anemic right now between those companies. it could be vastly stronger on these issues. and then finally, all of them are substandard when it comes to working with the federal government and having a realtime communication about public safety threat. that communication is too slow. it's too insignificant. and the companies are often afraid to work with the government because they don't want their users to think they're teaming up with big brother. but that's not what we're talking about here. we're talking about making sure they've got their eyes and ears open to real public safety threats and there's a lot of work to do in the big tech
sector. >> miles, how much of this is rooted in the fact that facebook doesn't want to acknowledge that the gravest homeland security threat is associated with the ideology of one of the two major political parties in country? >> you're absolutely right. i mean, look, these guys are worried about brand identity. they want to protect the facebook brand. i hate to say this. i would like to think that, you know, we wouldn't be this cynical, but they care more about protecting the facebook brand, in some cases, than protecting the users, and that's evident in the way you've seen that organization engage in washington, d.c. you saw mark zuckerberg and his team trying to cozy themselves up with the trump administration, trying to make sure they got favorable policies and that they avoided regulatory scrutiny, but that comes at a cost. that means that they're more afraid to censor speech on their platforms that's violent speech because it might come from the far right and they don't want to put off someone like donald
trump or the maga orbit if at the same time they're trying to prevent them from regulating. it is a conflict of interest, and ultimately, that public safety piece should come before the profit margin, if they're going to be a responsible player. >> and david jolly, that sort of rubber meeting the road may happen in the uk faster than it happens here. this is from the "new york times" reporting. ms. haugen's visit to europe this week is a reflection of the region's aggressive approach to tech regulation and a belief that its policymakers are expected to act faster than the united states to pass new laws aiming at facebook and other tech giants. for all the problems frances haugen is trying to solve, europe is the place to be, said the public policy director at a law firm and policy firm that's among the groups working with ms. haugen in the united states and europe. what do you think the prospects are for totally different ways of regulating disseminators of
disinformation, not just facebook but all of them. >> very much so and i think you're right, miles is right, regulation will probably occur overseas first, and the business models of all of these platforms, including facebook, build in a certain presumption of an unregulated industry. it has been the secret of their success. look, i think facebook, though, the one argument that does land with a lot of people is this. any engagement, knowing engagement and amplification of otherwise criminal behavior certainly should be regulated and certainly should be subject to prosecution. but the broader context of this, and i'm sympathetic to this, is with all of the amplification, all the engagement in hate speech, in lies, who bears responsibility? because in many ways, this debate we're having as a nation about regulating facebook is also us as a society looking at our own selves in the mirror. i mean, yes, facebook has admitted, at least the papers acknowledge, that the stories they put in front of you foster divisiveness, but we engage in
that type of behavior, and to me, it's a reflection of the fact that the emergence as you know of negative partisanship from politicians is mass media engaged. the absolute amplification by our own politicians who are trying to regulate facebook in outright falsehoods and paid immediate standard falsehoods and then the emergence of paid programming on mass media and with social media, every american got the tool to engage in this divisive behavior. i'm not sure just regulating facebook solves that for us. we have to recognize that facebook is used by millions and billions of people around the world who reward this type of messaging. that's a broader question, and in the previous world, republicans would say, it all lands in the free speech category, we didn't regulate it. donald trump's approach to this has changed republican thinking, which leads us back to the fact that facebook very well could be facing regulation fairly soon by a majority of lawmakers in
washington. >> i take your point and i agree with you, i try to hold that mirror up every single day, but i think the difference here is what maybe you intuited from the outside, i went and interviewed 17 trump voters after the election. i asked every one of them how they got all their information in 2016, and i thought it would be fox news, fox news, fox news. it was all facebook, exclusively. and i just want to show you -- but my point -- the difference here is you now have people from the inside saying i'm part of something that does grave harm to the country, to the discourse, to the world. i'm going to show you something brian bolen said, a former facebook vice president. he said this on cbs. >> i became convinced that facebook was causing harm in the world and causing division in the world. i don't benefit from speaking up negatively against former friends and coworkers. there are real harms being caused to real human beings, and at the end of the day, you can decide whether you want to listen to me or you can look at a bunch of documents that were written by some of the most talented people in the world that are saying the same things.
>> so, some of the documents written by some of the most talented people in the world are saying, david jolly, that this does harm and it really is reminiscent to the earliest whistle-blowers about the addictive nature of cigarettes and alcohol, you name your vice, which of course is a reflection of us as a country, that we have cigarettes and alcohol still, but they come with a big fat label that says, this can cause death and disease. should facebook come with that kind of label too? >> i totally agree with you, nicole. the question is, does the harm merit regulation, and if so, how hard? because here's the contrast i would draw for you. in my very first race there was a commercial run that showed me handing off a briefcase of cash in a dark alley to a foreign national. that was a complete falsehood, but it was a very effective commercial against me. there was nothing i could do about it. in my last race, though i had denounced donald trump, called on him to drop out of the race, denounced the muslim ban, said that his behavior around the
"access hollywood" tapes was actually bragging about sexual assault, despite that entire profile, the democrats couldn't find any photo of me with donald trump, so they photoshopped me on his plane, arm in arm with him. there was nothing i could do about that. it was a falsehood, but it was one that our own politicians engage in every single day and now we're asking these hypocrites to actually regulate the social media empire that is likely engaging in the very similar behavior. so, i'm not suggesting no regulation is necessary. i'm just saying, we have to be very careful because we also end up in a world, and i get that it's not a binary question about regulating free speech or not, but we would end up in a world in which a tech giant is now the arbiter of truth, and i just don't know that that's a better world than what we have today. >> yeah, i mean, it does bring back the bigger point, choosing between bad and worse. i want to read some of our network's reporting. this is carol's journey, jacob. i want to share this reporting with you.
in the summer of 2019, a new facebook user named carol smith signed up for the platform, describing herself as a politically conservative mother from wilmington, north carolina. smith's account indicated an interest in politics, parenting and christianity. she followed a few of her favorite brands, including fox news and then president donald trump. though smith had never expressed interest in conspiracy theories , in just two days, facebook was recommending she join groups related to qanon. smith wasn't a real person. she was invented by facebook as part of an experiment in studying the platform's role in misinforming and polarizing users through its recommendation systems. qanon is, you know, associated with reckless language about political violence. we live in a moment where political violence is accepted by large numbers of people on the right. i wonder if that is an algorithm that they're proud of. >> well, i think the founding
principle of facebook was bringing together people based on their common interests, and that, as a result, i think, creates this philosophical question that we're all grappling with here tonight. if we're really going to take on its face the argument that ms. bickert makes that the world as it is and the world online are just mirrors of one another, then the question becomes, are we all right living in a world in which you then make money off of that, or do we try to correct for it? and one of the criticisms we're seeing from so many people inside facebook is that this isn't just a random flow of river water. this is the intentional damming of the river with tiny mechanisms to group us together by our interests, and thus, if someone has predilections to think about a violent conspiracy theory like qanon, facebook's business model is to group them together with other people of
like interests, and as a result, it brings those people together and so, we're not just talking here about the sort of random flow of water down a river. we're talking about a series of very intricately constructed dams, and i think the question that, again, all of us are grappling with here as we think about this incredible trove of papers is what they reveal about the business model here and whether we think we should simply let it be the way we think about the world as it is and whether we should just let it be. it's this libertarian question that i think is behind so much of tech regulation at the moment, nicole. >> let me just ask you a tech question. this is rooted in my ignorance. what do they do with the river of child pornography, jacob? do they have technologies to empty out those rivers? does the technology exist to take stuff that is universally abhorred and illegal, do they have the ability to identify all those people looking for child porn? >> so, what they have certainly said to us is that they work tirelessly, they've put
$13 billion and tens of thousands of people into rooting out that kind of content, and they do work extremely hard on it. they have some of the most technologically sophisticated means available to automatically spot that kind of content and take it off the site before anyone even sees it. researchers say, and this is not a specific reflection of child pornography, although the data is so vast that we may bump into a study about that, but so far we haven't seen any studies of that in particular. but whether it's human trafficking or any of these other things, certainly the erjers say that the automated systems are not adequate, that human moderators have to get better involved, that the process of moderation has to go faster but the broader thing is here, in order to correct for all the stuff, it does seem that it's going to have to slow the growth of the platform, and that is what frances haugen said in her testimony is the thing that facebook, like any tech company, cannot abide. >> it's just an important point, jacob, because i think it makes clear that facebook can. they can do more.
they can do better. it would just cost them. and that's why the whistle-blower is so important and whether there's a facebook after and a facebook before, we will all be watching together. nbc's jacob ward, thank you so much for starting us off with your reporting. miles and david, stick around. when we come back, the biggest pushers of the disgraced ex-president's false conspiracy about the results of the 2020 election be punished politically? we'll go inside the effort to hold the big liars accountable next. plus, the return of white supremacists to charlottesville, virginia, this time to stand trial for the planning and organizing of that deadly attack in 2017. we'll get the latest as that trial gets under way. and how president biden gets his groove back. democrats are inching ever closer to a deal on the biden agenda. will it be enough to turn things around in the polls for president biden? "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. at heinz, every ketchup starts with our same tomatoes. but not every tomato ends in the same kind of heinz ketchup.
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the big lie, domestic extremism, conspiracy theories, white nationalism, and division all on the ballot in 2022, the renew america movement, led by current and former republicans, has a new list of 13 house republicans it is working to unseat next year with honorable alternatives for voters. the group calls them the dividers, those who have posed a threat to a healthy democracy and a well-functioning republic. among them, no surprises for viewers of this program, marjorie taylor greene, matt gates, jim jordan and kevin mccarthy. we're back with miles taylor, the cofounder and executive director of renew america. david jolly is here. how do you get rid of kevin
mccarthy? >> well, look, that's a really good question, nicole, and we'd like to do our best to make it happen but there's something that i'm going to say up front here. realistically, there are some members on this list that are in super safe districts that they're going to be very hard to defeat, but in the case of kevin mccarthy and steve scalise, the reason why we put them on this list is because what we think needs to happen is we need to deny them a republican majority. it's pretty unlikely we get mccarthy and scalise of the folks on that list out of congress, but at a minimum, we need to keep them out of the house majority. now, what i'll say is that when we look at what republican leaders in congress are doing to police their own ranks, we see them completely missing in action. so, kevin mccarthy and steve scalise have done a very poor job of policing madison caw thorn and marjorie taylor greene and these extremist members of congress and so what we're doing, a group of former
republican governors, senators, congressmen, cabinet secretary, we've got a former leader of the rnc in our organization, we're saying, fine, if they won't police these people, we will. and we can do that in a few ways, one, go against some of them in their primary races, which we will. and two, keep kevin and steve scalise out of the majority. now, nicole, you're aware of that bombshell "rolling stone" report that just came out that shows that up to seven republican members of congress were engaging with insurrectionists in the lead-up to january 6th to help them with their planning. some of these people will be in house republican leadership if they take back the chamber. we've got to prevent that from happening. folks like jim jordan could become the head of the judiciary committee that oversees the justice department. and if he was engaged in talking to insurrectionists, that seems to be a massive conflict of interest, if not a security concern so that's why we're going after the folks on this list and we think it's important to take an all of the above approach on how to boot them from congress. >> i have two follow-up
questions. one, they did it out loud. i mean, let me just play this. marjorie taylor greene's own words, her own face, her own voice on january 5th, basically previewing what she planned to do the next day. >> tomorrow, we're prepared to object to the stolen electoral college votes. president trump was re-elected for four more years. tomorrow is a very important day in america's history. we can't allow our integrity of our elections to be stolen. we must object to this vote, so let's get ready to fight for america tomorrow. >> i guess, i play that to say that republicans have seen this. and how do you fix the problem that that's no longer disqualifying in american political life? >> well, it requires, nicole, some political courage, and we just haven't seen that from leaders of the republican party. we have seen a deep, deep deficit in political courage, and i'm glad you ran that clip of marjorie taylor greene,
because it's emblematic of what we've seen in the party. i mean, if you'll indulge me, let's go through a few examples here. these are sitting members of congress. paul is someone who said he dangled out the prospect of pardons for the insurrectionists and he went a month or two after the insurrection to talk to white supremacist groups. you have bob good from virginia, who's one of the leading promoters of qanon conspiracy theories. he's a member of congress. you've got steve scalise, the minority whip, who refuses to acknowledge that the election wasn't stolen, and who continues to say things like, at one point, he was quoted as saying, i'm david duke without the baggage, david duke, a severe white nationalist. you've got people like madison in that chamber a republican who promised bloodshed if elections in his words continue to be rigged. i mean, this is some extreme incendiary rhetoric. these people are radicals, and again, if gop leaders won't police this within their own ranks, then republicans like us
on the outside are going to come in from the flank and try to unseat them in the 2022 midterms. >> david jolly, the only way to do that is to get more republicans to vote straight party line democratic. and i wonder what you make of the fact that there are more republicans willing to call out the -- and miles isn't among them, i'm not making this about miles but you and i both know a whole lot of people who think the republican party is horrible, that it's lost its way, it is the largest in terms of numbers, anti-democratic movement, i believe the world over. but they haven't registered as democrats. they don't vote straight party line democratic to try to purge all the rot out of the party. >> yeah, nicole, this conversation is very much a time stamp where we can look back in the political history of the republican party and where we are as a country in that we have kind of a pro-democracy caucus and an anti-democracy caucus. and we have voters that support both, and so kudos to miles and the renew america movement for trying to extract some of those who truly run on anti-democratic
themes. i think the broader question, and to your point about what do republicans do, you know, even if we are successful in rooting out those bad actors, i still think the heartbeat of the party rests on this anti-democratic narrative and a party that very well might elevate and elect to the presidency donald trump in 2024, so put simply, i think a lot of people ask, is it even a party worth saving anymore? and then to your point, does that mean you vote straight democratic if you're a disaffected republican, or is there an opportunity for a multiparty democracy to emerge here in the united states? i think the latter is possible. it is within reach. but any one of these strategies that ultimately defeat the anti-democratic voices in america, regardless of party affiliation, is an important measure. >> it's a conversation we'll have to continue and watch the results of miles' efforts. miles, thank you so much for spending time with us today. david sticks around. four years after the deadly white supremacist rally in
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veins bulging and baring the fangs of racism, and that's when we heard the words of the president of the united states that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. he said there were, quote, some very fine people on both sides. very fine people on both sides? with those words, the president of the united states assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. and in that moment, i knew the threat to this nation was unlike any i had ever seen in my lifetime. >> that was now president joe biden's video announcement announcing his candidacy for the presidency in 2019, telling the american people that what happened in charlottesville in 2017 and the then-president's reaction to it was a primary reason why he decided to run. and ultimately, as we all know, was successfully elected, the country's 46th president. now, four years after the horrific events that took the
life of heather heyer, some charlottesville residents are trying to hold those who organized the rally accountable. nine charlottesville residents have filed a civil lawsuit and went to trial today alleging physical harm and emotional distress from the unite the right rally in august of 2017. a jury will ultimately decide whether the rally's organizers engaged in a conspiracy to commit violence. the plaintiffs are hoping the civil suit makes up for what they call a lack of accountability that paved the way for other forms of right-wing extremism, including, of course, january 6th. a member of the plaintiff's legal team summed it up like this. "one message of this case is that these events, like charlottesville, like january 6th, they are not spontaneous, flukish events that just happen. there's an enormous undercurrent of planning, of intent, and a purposefulness that we all need to wake up to." joining our conversation is msnbc political analyst, the former congresswoman, donna edwards and civil rights
attorney and former prosecutor david henderson. i'm going to read from some of the reporting but i first want to ask both of you if you agree with that, that we're missing all of the planning, much of it that takes place in full view. first to you, donna. >> well, i think now in the context of looking at january 6th, it all makes so much sense. i mean, the mostly young men showing up in the white polo shirts and the khaki pants, the tiki torches, the chants, that it did seem very orchestrated at the time, and i think that the value of this civil lawsuit is really exposing that kind of coordination and planning. this was not organic. it was not spontaneous. indeed, it was planned and, you know, should the plaintiffs prevail in this case, i think it's actually going to be important -- an important bellwether to demonstrate how we
have to put together all of the background and the detail to understand that the white supremacy and the engagement in violence is something that is deeply organized all around this country and it was in full force in charlottesville in august of 2017. >> david, let me read you some of the reporting on this. "as hundreds of white supremacists prepared to descend on charlottesville in 2017, they hashed out logistics in private chat groups. they suggested a dress code of polo shirts during the day and shirts with swastikas at night. they worried about mayo on sandwiches spoiling in the august heat. and they swapped tips on how to turn ordinary objects into lethal weapons." that's according to messages cited in court papers. the planners' messages, part of elite trove from discord, were laced with slurs against black and jewish people along with violent fantasies of cracking skulls and driving into crowds.
it seems to prove a whole lot of things, among them this meticulous planning and intent to do pretty violent harm. >> nicole, that's right. and i also think it shows something even worse than that, and that is who would have thought that the kkk act of 1871 would still be relevant in 2021? but not only is it relevant, if anything, you've got even more white supremacist groups we've got to contend with and i think there's a really important component of this lawsuit that the information you just referred to is alluding to, and that is, you have the violence that was conspired to be committed by the way this rally was organized. and you've got four plaintiffs who are part of this lawsuit who were injured in the same incident when heather heyer was murdered by the car that drove into the crowd. you've also got five people who were not physically injured but are part of this lawsuit because it intimidated them from exercising their rights and it's important to realize this rally was also reflected in other rallies that happened in other
parts of the country that maybe weren't covered the same way, but i was directly exposed to one when my mom wanted to come see my new law office. there's this jacked-up truck with go confederate flags coming out of the back. the way they were looking at us as we were driving down the street made us feel like it was not a safe place to be and that i shouldn't show my mom my office. people experience enough things like that where this lawsuit is symbolic of combatting that type of hostility. >> i want to read some more from the coverage of how unusual this approach is. this is also from the "washington post," donna. suing two dozen white supremacists and hate groups means virtually everything about the trial is unusual. the judge has ordered litigants not to discuss the extraordinary security backdrop to the trial. personal security is the top expense for the plaintiffs. potential jurors will be asked their opinions on, for example, black lives matter and anti-semitism. court exhibits will include vile messages that come from more than five terabytes of evidence.
to make their case, the plaintiffs' attorneys are dusting off a reconstruction-era statute that was designed to protect newly emancipated black people from the kkk. to david's point, to think that we need this now is, you know, as we talk about all the time, perhaps the mirror we have to hold up to ourselves and our country. >> well, this is a deeply violent orchestration that happened in charlottesville and that is playing out around the country, and i think it underscores how, you know, we can't just use the civil courts to get to the depths of that violence and to unroot it. we have to use criminal statutes as well to hold these people accountable and to let them know that we're watching them. you know, you look across the country, and this hasn't just been over the last five years, i mean, there have been documents of white supremacists and hate
groups around the country going back decades and it has been on steroids since the trump era, and it's not over yet and this lawsuit will get to, you know, one place that we need to be to restore some justice to these plaintiffs, but we have to use every means possible to unroot this violence that is destroying our democracy. >> david, what do you think the chances for success in the courtroom are for the plaintiffs? >> nicole, i think the chances for success are high. it's going to be an interesting trial for more reasons than just the type of claim that we're talking about. i think five of these defendants are going to be representing themselves, which it's always a balance in terms of the jury being sympathetic for someone representing themselves. i don't think that's going to be a huge risk in this case. i think the likelihood for success is high inside the courtroom. but there is a bigger problem beyond this case where i think we're going to have to make a choice to be better, and that is
it represents a fundamental failing of our justice system, that people had to go out and hire a lawyer to combat injustice that everybody recognizes. and so whereas i think they will prevail in this case, we have to open up avenues for people to be able to prevail more generally when they face this type of abuse and hostility. >> you're right. and the brazenness to have seen the video again of them walking around, not even trying to hide their faces. it's just staggering. david henderson, thank you for being part of this conversation. we'll continue to call on you, donna sticks around. when we come back, it is a pivotal week for the president. not just for his domestic agenda but for a lot of the signs of success of his presidency so far. how the president plans to get his mojo back big time. next. get his mojo back big time next
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or fall victim to gravity? or maybe it winds up somewhere over the bermuda triangle. perhaps you'll come up with your own theory of where the stress goes. behind the wheel of a lincoln is a mighty fine place to start. i miss the old me. where the hell did that guy go? >> hey! >> wait a second. who are you? >> who am i? what do you mean who am i? i'm you. i'm you from eight years ago, man. the ghost of biden past. boo! >> come on, don't leave. >> what, what? >> i can't do this without you. >> oh, yeah, of course you can. because guess what, buddy? you are me. okay, now, i want you to stand tall, i want you to flash those 100% natural choppers we got.
and remember, we may be from different eras, but at the end of the day, we're both joe freaking biden. >> very funny,funny. "snl," joe biden passing the torch to another, a president basically trying to get his groove back. a little bit of truth in there. polling hasn't been super kind to the current president, joe biden, lately. for him, for the democrats at large, all is certainly not lost. it never is. the white house could be poised for a surge in accomplishments, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the social spending bill. could be winds on the horizon in hard-fought gubernatorial races, and a successful trip overseas could make this week look like a blip, or maybe not. i hate political forecasting, i hate the polls. that's why i usually don't cover them. once it makes its way to "snl,"
it's sort of in water and i wonder what you make of this moment. first you, donna. >> well, look, i do think the president is going to get his groove back, and there's nothing like getting a win on something as important as rebuilding roads and bridges and laying broadband, child care centers and health care. these are the kinds of wins that the president is going to be able to use to go around the country to sell this, continue selling it to the american people to let them know what's been delivered for them, and i think it just takes that kind of a victory to put the wind back in the president's sails. it's going to be up to democrats in the house and the senate to just get it done. >> david jolly, i'm not a partisan democrat. i spent my career working for republicans. but i'm as anxious about the one party in the country that's
pro-democracy as i ever was any politician i ever worked for. i feel like the perception, maybe, is greater than the reality that this is a white house swimming upstream. >> yeah, and look, we're in a chapter where democrats are having this family fight, if you will, between progressives and centrists, whatever you want to call it. that doesn't help the narrative. it gives this appearance as though they're not unified, but none of this will impact the '22 and '24 races. what will is whether or not joe biden has demonstrated that competence that he ran on, and i would say three things could create his reelection. understand we don't live in an era of presidential politics where you'll get 60% successes, 51, 52. if there is something in this infrastructure bill that provides for people is the medicare expansion benefits and
sustain an economy that's not rattled and protect our shores. that's the basics of what people want, and they will contrast that with the confusion of the previous four years and i think joe biden will be in fine shape. >> donna, the democrats are so ernest about all of this. i think what looks from the outside like the civil war is actually almost like a jerry maguire kind of scene where we're finally understanding each other. tell me what's really happening in the democratic party around these policy debates. >> well, i think you've got it right. clearly there is a debate over what's in, what's out, you know, what are the limitations. the reality is that we actually wouldn't be covering this in the same way if there were a governing opposition party. because in the real world, we would be covering republicans' opposition to what democrats are doing, and instead, because republicans have chosen not to govern, they've given up on go
governing, that we are viewing the sort of end battle among democrats. that's all going to be put to bed. once this bill passes and it's signed into law, every democrat around the country will be standing in front of those child care centers, they'll be visiting seniors, they'll be with shovels during the construction season in the spring, and i think americans are going to see that, it's going to be real, and that's the agenda that will be run on and won on, i think, in '22. >> i think that's light, david jolly. i guess my concern, and this is sort of a political operative of my past life speaking is that republicans are so completely hostage to disinformation. i'm not sure that a republican wouldn't go stand in front of one of those centers and say, i did this, and a sizeable number would believe him. how does a total takeover of the
ultimate reality change the politics of something like this? >> yeah, look, the republican party lives in its own post-truth environment. nothing matters anymore. they'll say and do what they want. they'll take the benefits that democrats have to offer. ron desantis is an example of a republican governor running around the state handing out checks to people because the state received stimulus money from the feds where only democrats voted for it. there is a level of dishonesty of disingenuine behavior, but democrats will realize that's the republican space. you do have a democratic party where voices are strong, they're not the majority of the country. we just lived in an environment last month where democrats were wrestling on the national stage among their own differences while the republican leader donald trump was telling his voters don't even vote in 2022.
so the importance of getting something done is about getting it done so we can focus on the anti-democratic narrative of today's gop. >> thank you, both, for having a mature and rational political conversation. i'm grateful to both of you for that. donna edwards, david jolly, thank you for spending some time with us. quick break for us. we'll be right back. quick break for us we'll be right back. and with amazon prime, get refills and free two-day shipping. who knew it could be this easy? your new pharmacy is amazon pharmacy. what the world needs now... is people. people who see healthcare a little bit differently. where technology helps doctors provide more precise care... leading to faster, better outcomes and puts improved health in all of our hands. because seeing a healthier world isn't far in the future. we're building it... now.
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>> thank you, nicolle. public outrage as the governor is literally trying to recruit anti-vaxx police officers in his state. also later tonight, we have an important legal special report. it's about justice, it's about reasonable doubt and a new controversy on oklahoma's death row. it is the kind of story that tests what kind of nation we want to be, so i do invite you to stay with us, hang with me this hour, because that report, which is vital, comes later on in this edition of "the beat." our top story right now picks up on the continuing probe and insurrection. the steve bannon contempt, a battle over possible jail time, now we have the combination of new independent reporting and congressional fact finding about how coordinated this plot was which goes to how high the culpability is. the committee's operating theory increasingly looks at this more like a top down operation than many originally thought in