tv Deadline White House MSNBC April 21, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT
and for that reason what i expect to see is a lot of daring challenges in the form of conservative or republican legislatures passing laws they think will get overturned by a district court and appealed to the supreme court and i think the legislatives hope this is the one to overturn roe v. wade. >> thank you. thank you for watching this hour of msnbc. "deadline: white house" starts right now. hi there, everyone. stunning through revelations about republican leaders in the immediate aftermath of the deadly january 6 insurrection. that can best be described as
profiles of cowardice. the reporters of "this will not pass" describe how mitch mcconnell and kevin mccarthy on the verge of driving the ex-president out of the republican party and into the political wilderness. but then they decided the cost to the own political fortunes simply too high to do that. mccarthy quote issued a har b moral judgment on trump's by haif that day why what the president did is aatroishs and totally wrong. he reiterated what the president said was not right by any shape or form. with democrats about to impeach donald trump he told house republican leaders that he might call on trump to resign.
his plan he said on the january 10th call to approach the president and tell him it was inevitable that congress would impeach him. he invisioned telling trump of a resolution. i think this will pass and it would be my recommendation you should resign. i've had it with this guy. nobody can defend that. and nobody should defend it. he has since denied claims he said he'd push donald trump to resign. it didn't matter. mccarthy went to mar-a-lago and as congressman and committee member adam kinzinger putt it they took the picture to resurrect donald trump's political life. two weeks after he told republican leadership that trump's remarks on the 6th not right by any shape or form.
>> if you listen to what the president said at the rally he said demonstrate peacefully. then i got a question whether did he incite them. i think everybody has a responsibility. >> no, they don't. over in the senate burns and martin report that mitch mcconnell sensed that trump's second impeachment is the moment to break with him once and for all telling advisers january 11 the democrats will take care of the son of a bitch for us referring to pelosi's determination to bring impeachment challenges that week. during that lunch mcconnell said at least 17 senate republicans ready to affirm trump's impeachment. trump's role on january 6 mcconnell said is clearly impeachable and among the republicans to vote for conviction. quote if this isn't impeachable
i don't know what is he said. less than two weeks after he said that trump was quote practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of january 6 this happens. >> if the president was the party's nominee would you support him? >> the nominee of the party? absolutely. >> the cravenness and shallowness of the post-january 6 republican party is tragically where we start the hour. betsy woodruff swan is here. former senator claire mccaskill is here. charlie sykes and harry litman, former deputy assistant attorney general during the clinton administration. i want to start with you,
charlie, because the right is good at making the left and the anti-trump republicans like the ones with the issues with the inrecollection. it is clear that kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell had grave concerns about the insurrection, as well. all i could think is fantastic new reporting is the smears and the threats that liz cheney faces every single day at the feet of mccarthy and mcconnell. they just don't have the -- i don't know what body part can i say on tv? spine to say it. >> no. they had a spasm of conscience. there's no riddle puzzle or enigma here that kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell knew what the right thing to do was and they refused it to do it. you are right as the profiles in
cowardice but you see that they put above what they do above the right thing to protect the constitution. mitch mcconnell understood that this is not impeachable i don't know what is and yet when he had the choice between doing his job, doing his duty, upholding the oath and taking the steps he thought he needed to do to protect his power he probably very easily decided that i'm going to go with power so yes. you have capitulation. you have a deep, deep cynicism, as well. >> harry litman, at the center of the january 6th committee's work is not just an investigation as to how it happened but making sure it doesn't happen on -- in 2024. and when you've got all this
knowledge of trump's misconduct around the 6th how do you not subpoena the republican members to come in as part of that effort to make sure the levers they were willing to pull and did pull aren't pulled again should trump ascend again as nominee of his party? >> or at least push them to show voluntarily. on top of everything else i totally agree with charlie. we are used to little bit of cynicism but this is spectacular and craven. these are the people with the thumb on washington d.c. if this isn't impeachable the this means trump's conduct and mccarthy fielding that notorious call. they are really in possession of knowledge about what happened that the committee and the
country needs. and yes, they're in possession of at least advice for how to make it not recur. so they need them. and even if it means a fight or some kind of political sterm and drum they ought to do it. maybe this. you saw that mcconnell didn't try to dispute it. maybe this will be the impetus to make them show up voluntarily. we have a similar issue coming up with pence but could they at least speak to that aspect of what trump did and they knew about it? it would be really helpful. >> betsy, that was the 1/6 committee. the other side is newly expanded or public that a doj investigation, mccarthy uses the word on the call with a lot of people on the line that trump --
faulted trump for inciting people. and reiterated that what the president said was not right by any shape or form. incitement in the intersectionality of donald trump and the extremists and the rioters at the heart of the newly expanded doj probe. how do they not touch into doj witnesses? >> that's an incitement is a legal term and the fact that kevin mccarthy who had direct knowledge of the president's state of mind before, during the riot used that term without question to prick up ears at the justice department. folks reach out to doj right now to cooperate are fairly high up within the infrastructure of the organization of the rally. whenever we talk about justice department investigations the typical strategy is start at the
bottom of the chain of command and work the way up. justice department when they give any sort of immunity deal to people in exchange for testimony is because there's someone higher up in the pecking order than the person that got the deal that they're going after. there is a conversation on the stop the steal organizer. there's a report that alex jones is trying to get a deal. the status of any deals is telling because if doj starts immunizing the people who are fairly high up in terms of the hierarchy would suggest that the department's targets are more senior than those folks. the fact the doj investigation is proceeding the way it is means there's probably more to come and interesting.
i don't want to overstate it. doj is much more opaque than the select committee is but there's more going on there than we realize. >> claire, because you know him well enough to call him mitch i saved you for last. let me show you this. >> as the republican leader of the senate should not be a front page headline to support the republican nominee for president. >> i think it is astonishing. >> i have an obligation to support the nominee of my party. >> is there anything that could -- >> i will. whoever the nominee earned the nomination. >> donald trump owned it last time and trying to understand what you say matters. you are a very important voice in this country and leader of the party and seem to hold two con current conflicting
positions which is -- >> not at all. >> if i could just finish. >> consistent in everything i said. january 6 and on february 13th. >> but what i want to understand which i haven't heard you address -- >> i don't get to pick the nominee. they're elected by the republican vote everies all over the country. >> the man that he plans to support for leader of the free world in 2024 should he be the nominee of the party is a man described this way. he says, quote the democrats are going to take care of trump, the quote son of a bitch for us he said referring to pelosi's determination to bring impeachment charges that very week. describes trump as quote praktly and morally responsible for provoking the events of january 6. i don't know what anyone else has to say about mitch.
>> mitch and kevin mccarthy and i can go down the list. portman, toomey, thune, on and on and on. some of them may have voted to impeach but here's what they all did. they all decided that this, too, will pass. the trump phenomenon. and as bad as he was, as many lies he told and as incompetent he was, you should have heard the stories when they come back from the white house. how clueless trump was about any public policy issue and bragging about himself. all of them that i knew well could not stand the guy. but they all were too afraid to be leaders. and how appropriate that today when the kennedy library announced the annual profiles in
courage award to people that protected democracy both internationally and at the federal level and the local level including zelenskyy and liz cheney and how appropriate to come out today seeing the essence of cowardice in politics. desire to be elected than how history writes this ugly chapter. >> i agree but i think it's also sitting at the intersection of a threat of ongoing violent extremism. the fact that they were all in the same boat is misery loves company. i heard the stories and to his credit bob corker saw the stupidity and got in a fight with trump. called it adult day care and tried to strip the nuclear authority. nobody tried to take the scary
weapons from donald trump and leaked to the press about what a doofus was. trump is not the only republican mccarthy sounded willing to punish. he and the leadership team had to grapple with the most extreme members of the gop conference. far right lawmakers like gaetz, greene, biobert who stoked the paranoid rage and now some of them attacking republicans who spoke out. we can't put up with that type of bleep mccarthy said. the big social media companies that stripped trump of his accounts and jokingly pondered whether the most problematic house republicans might meet the same fate. can't they take the twitter accounts away, too? the republicans wanted everyone but the republicans to deal with trump. twitter, nancy pelosi.
they never took responsible for dealing with the cancer in their own ranks. >> never. and what is infuriating about this is they gave the qanon lady marjorie taylor greene, more power. >> yeah. she had more power today i think than kevin mccarthy. he thinks he's a genius and mitch mcconnell, too. she is going to white nationalist rallies and they do nothing. that's how afraid of her they are. that's who's in charge in the republican party are the crazytown people with the liar in chief down at mar-a-lago playing golf. and it is unbelievable when you look at the history of the republican party and the smart people and people who i disagreed with but who had integrity and would stand up for the right thing in the moment of
history when it's important. none of these folks pass that test. none of them. >> the other indictment in the excerpts. i haven't read the whole book. the collapse of the rule of law that for a long enough period of time, enough republicans saw enough people let donald trump get away with criminality/norm busting/corruption with the whole mix of payouts to a porn star or checks written in the oval office, not releasing the taxes. it became a stew of norm busting conduct not really seeing the taxes, seeming corruption and then real criminality by the time mueller writes the report that bill barr smears before it's printed. what transferred on to the republican party is a permission structure to do and say anything. gaetz is an accused sex
trafficker. no consequences or expectation that the rule of law applies the gop. >> january 6 being the prime example. the constitution is not self enforcing. the law is not self enforcing. somebody has to take action otherwise there is no accountability. as you point out republicans have decided again and again and again that they'll keep their heads down and hope that somebody else will do something. and then rationalize not doing anything. but to go back 15 minutes or so to the first question, the senator makes a great point. the dramatic contrast between liz cheney and kevin mccarthy, especially now that we realize that mccarthy knows, he knew then and knows now that liz cheney was right and was telling the truth, was willing to stand up and defend the constitution
and yet he led the lynch mob to take away her position. he is leading the campaign to excommunicate her from the republican party. because he thinks that he needs to sacrifice her on the bonfire of vengeance that donald trump demands. so again you have this cynicism that he saw the same thing and came to the same conclusion and at least for a moment disgusted by the folks attacking republicans who told the truth but mccarthy got over it very quickly. as to the question of inviting him in to the committee that's a good idea but i think that by now we also ought to recognize that mccarthy will never tell the truth about this. mccarthy will never fess up. understands the only way to ever
become speaker is if donald trump blesses him and he will do anything and he will say anything. not to get on the wrong side of donald trump because that is the north star. that is the one principle. not the constitution. not defending democracy. not upholding the rule of law. the main and only goal is to have the speaker's gavel and that gavel will only come to him if donald trump doesn't veto him and he is nervous after the revelations in this book were reported. >> bette sy, what do democrats do with the revelations? congressman jamie raskin and other members of the committee are so skilled to take the evidence provided by the republicans themselves in their own words and using them as big reveals. we have interviewed 800 people and mccarthy in his own words.
i mean, what can the democrats on the committee do with this sort of original source material about mcconnell and mccarthy's knowledge and rage at donald trump for inciting a deadly insurrection on january 6? >> the simplest step and way to use this new reporting would be to include it in a potential criminal referral to the justice department. one challenge that the committee is grappling with right now to our understanding not a final decision made is whether or not to put together essentially the case against donald trump and send it to doj and ask to bring charges. the fact there's reporting that mccarthy himself close to trump with a lot of knowledge of trump's mind set before, during and after the attack used the word incitement i think would
perk up the ears of the many, many former prosecutors working on the january 6 select committee. in addition to that a big -- perhaps even larger outstanding challenges for the committee is what do they recommend legislatively? they want to stop this type of attack from happening again and members talked about deep concerns about the electoral count act. there's days that left before the midterm elections and lame duck session if the republicans win the midterms. finite amount of senate floor time. the fact that the committee hasn't yet made legislative recommendations indicates that it's something to take seriously and a huge issue where time is really of the essence and the fact that there's now this reporting about mccarthy and mcconnell puts more pressure on the committee coming that very specific and important piece of
the project. >> nobody goes anywhere. there's lots to talk about including news of a possible interview of prosecutors and a top trump ally and spreader of the big lie. alex jones. what that means coming up. plus vladimir putin is claiming success in the battle over the besieged city of mariupol. the u.s. is not taking his word about it. how the world continues to assess the rampant disinformation. later, the florida's governor's retaliatory move. all for disney's claim to speak out against discrimination and hatred. stay with us. s is green ♪ ♪ i'm way ahead of schedule with my trusty team ♪ ♪ there's heather on the hedges ♪
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it's an action packed animated adventure. show the world that you're more than just a scary stereotype. everyone will love. is this wagging? - good right? there are real signs this week of significant developments in the justice department's expanded invest and success into the planners. nbc news has confirmed "the new york times" reporting that federal prosecutors are in discussions with another key player in the pro trump stop the steal movement. conspiracy media host alex jones. jones' lawyer telling nbc news he's quote willing to speak to the doj if they'll grant him immunity coming two weeks after jones' close associate and rally organizer ali alexander cooperated with the doj.
politico takes a deep dive today on a last big remaining question on the january 6 select committee nearing the end of the investigation. whether or not to call former vice president mike pence to fill in the days of the phone call with ex-president trump. we are back with the panel. betsy, this is some of your reporting. explain. >> yeah. a biggest question that the committee faces now is whether or not to bring pence in. that's because pence has a monopoly on information regarding a most interesting and consequential conversations that he and president trump had on the phone around 11:00 a.m. on january 6. trump's side of the phone in the room, a number of senior white house officials but didn't put pence on speaker. people know what trump in that
call but only person that knows what pence said is pence and to our knowledge didn't brief the aides including people close to him, long time trusted associates on what he said on that conversation. one thing we are told about that conversation that i think is worth highlighting is some of the people in the room with trump hearing trump's side were shocked when they realized that pence was pushing back against trump. first time the folks had actually heard pence be essentially anything from deferential to trump and unusual and jarring to hear him or the president responding to what he said in a mode that seems totally foreign to them. that said what we know now is even though pence pushed back against trump he tried to do it
in a deferential way and to publicly announce what he would do. they didn't want to put out a statement right before trump addressed the supporters because presumably trump would be able to try to give people a last shred of hope. they didn't want to step on that. but there was a line for pence. he got as close to that line as possible and didn't cross it and that question is something that's central for the select committee and can only get more information on that from pence himself. >> harry, you have the incitement -- the intersects with the keeping the hope alive was the incitement. kevin mccarthy on the inside of this gambit saw donald trump as the inciter.
what they saw for hand to hand combat for hours while that was happening and had become that violent donald trump tweets another attack at mike pence. what else do they need to know about the trump-pence interactions? >> they need to know the 15 minutes. look. this is important evidence because it is the one piece that there's no other source for. trying to put together a minute to minute account for history and possible criminal referral. pence goes to another room and takes it and never says anything about the conversations with the president. it is big evidence just because they can't get it anywhere else and the last thing trump says before the rally. if there's a defense launched he'll cite the one line that he
inserts to be peaceful. that's about how strong it gets where his mind was before it happened and for pence he has to know whether to cross the rubicon or not. he won't be subpoenaed but he could be cooperative and just tell it straight and that would be a big statement for him in 2024. a pretty big piece of evidence not otherwise obtainable. >> harry, let's the urn to alex jones. this is a statement. jones doesn't trust the federal government. maintains the innocence and willing to speak if they will grant him immunity. is that something they're likely to do? what do they want to know from alex jones? >> all right. so on the first question, i
don't think so. it's a tough sell and generally a good point. part of the whole indifference to the rule of law is they don't kash what congress does but doj is different. the way to exert control is to charge him. that's why he is trying to get immunity. and it seems to me it is always seemed to me that there's a sort of three spheres of operation and one is guys like stone an alexander with the shadow trump friends ofd that communicate with the president. they'll give immunityhey decide they can't get the information anywhere else and really need it but their first playback is no you cooperate. here are the charges.
you are otherwise looking at. >> it is amazing to me, charlie, that we talk about alex jones as someone who to use the illustration to help them get to donald trump. stands between the insurrectionists and the president is appalling in own right. he has issues that a prosecutor might try to seize on. the massive defamation conviction against him. >> i had the same thought you had. why are we talking about alex jones? >> right? >> this is one of the most dishonest sleazeballs in the far reaches of the fever swamps of the right. he was pre-degraded.
he was an embarrassment and a menace. attacks on the families of the children who were killed in that school massacre tells you what you need to know. the fact that he became a player in the era of trump speaks volumes why the fact that you have a conspiracy theorist chronicle liars, people willing to throw out the most bizarre slanders and smears that they would be even remotely close to the sphere of influence of the president of the united states is shocking. but i agree with harry it is unlikely to be given a grant of immunity. who will believe anything that he alex jones says? would the federal government stand behind him as a witness with a documented evidence? this is just one more
illustration of just how -- what a pit this whole universe was that someone like alex jones would be part of it. >> what was that movie "snakes on a plane"? >> yeah. >> what they remind me of. claire, you have been so unafraid to give voice that something that we have already talked about. the rule of law seeming to not apply to the snakes on the plane. what are you feeling act doj and hearing about the sort of expansion of their investigation coupled with what is disputably an opaque and slow moving probe? >> we know that the hundreds and hundreds of people who have been charged for their activities on january 6th were in that
position because of one person. donald trump. we know january 6th happened because of the lies of one person. donald trump. when we pause here for a moment and say hallelujah. we have confirmation that doj is issued subpoenas for someone not a rank and file trump lie believer. i think that's great news but why so long? >> yeah. >> it's been close to 18 months. you know? certainly more than 14, 15 months since this happened. why are we just now hearing about a new prosecutor added to the team and subpoenaed issued and hearing about some of these nuts asking for immunity part of the planning process? that's so discouraging. not to me but to everybody in america expecting the department of justice to stand for justice
at the critical moment when the democracy is putt in peril. >> betsy, claire, charlie, harry, thank you. president biden today sending what he calls an unmistakable message to vladimir putin in the form of $800 million in military aid to ukraine. that's next. it was proven superior at helping people stay alive and out of the hospital. don't take entresto if pregnant; it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren, or if you've had angioedema with an ace or arb. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high blood potassium. ask your doctor about entresto.
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every american taxpayer, every member of our armed forces can be proud of the fact that the country's generosity and the service and skill of the military helped arm and repel russia's invasion in ukraine. now we have to help prepare ukraine for russia's offensive that's more limited in terms of geography but not in terms of brutality. >> today president biden announcing directing more than $1 billion in aid to ukraine. president biden also shared his new plans to share congress another budget request next motto quote keep weapons and ammunitions flowing without interruption to ukraine. joining us is congressman heinz
of connecticut a member of the house intelligence commit tee. he and colleagues met with the ukrainian prime minister in d.c. i know you are helping and helping with what is a goal of the president of the united states to get ukraine the weapons they need and you're helping i think the administration understand what it is that ukrainians want and need. so again, without impeding the process or disclosing anything what do they want and need that we haven't delivered yet? can you help us why that process can feel like it takes a long time? >> yeah. sure. and yes. four hours ago a remarkable meeting with the prime minister of ukraine and the bipartisan group of colleagues. it was a meeting unlike any i have had inasmuch as usually it's protocol.
this was -- never seen anything like it. 20 minutes and 4 pages of notes on the ammunition, the transition away from soviet weaponry and caliber artillery rounds to nato. we won't get specific on the point but the point is that i was taken aback by how very serious the ukrainians are to understand the precise assets and the things they need us to do to get to a point of victory. also additional sanctions, also what we need europe to do with respect to energy. it was truly something you don't see all that often but a productive working meeting. >> what can you tell us about what they're suffering on an hour to hour basis? president zelenskyy said last
week in the context of mariupol is four hours is life and death. i think what he was doing is try to acknowledge that the conversations and the meetings are part of a process but on the battlefield and with civilians targeted by the russians hours and days are life and death in large swaths of that country. tell me how they articulate the need for speed. >> i can't tell you what it's like to sit across the table and happened several times now from people whose families are still very much at risk being killed right now by a bomb or a missile. we focus on mariupol, the obscenities perpetrated in bucha but as in lviv a missile is come down and create fatalities where you think you're not close by.
the prime minister made the point that ukrainian civilians and this is really important why not dying result of the military and such sort of stark fashion calls collateral damage. they're targeted because it's part of russian doctrine to commit the atrocities that are not just happening in mariupol but random missiles fired in places like lviv. it was remarkable meeting with people dedicated to do what they need to do to get this done. >> understanding the call from president zelenskyy last friday to the biden administration to consider designating russia as a state sponsor of terror. do you believe the country is targeted?
>> we see the photographs. the photographs of dead families killed by mortars. we know the facts of targetinging of civilians cowering in a theater where they write the world children outside of the theater. the russians are sophisticated military. every military makes mistakes but the russians are targeting this. look at any photograph to know that the targeting of civilians is a big part of the russian effort. >> should russia be designated a state sponsor of terror? >> that's a great question. i don't think she would object to me but the speaker of the house said so four hours ago. there's complexities. >> wow. >> you forbid the purchase for example of germany buying gas but i will tell you that the
feeling in the room led by the speaker is yes designate in a way consistent with not hurting the europeans but that doesn't hold back in any way on the sanctions that have to isolate and break the russian economy for this to end. >> you're right that the technical standard is met. i asked state department spokes marn price about this and he wouldn't pull the curtain back on the process but correct to refute the premise of the question. do you think the president sees it that way? would you predict that the president would move toward a designation on state sponsorship of terror for vladimir putin? >> what's important is not necessarily precisely what we call it. what's important is to do more and i think the united states
did spectacular amounts of contributions and could lean in more. this $800 million package is first time with helicopters provided. i think those should have come sooner. in addition to weapons we need to do more on the sanctions side because the ukrainians may continue to hold off the russians but not going to completely destroy the russian military. the only way the war stops is if the russian people say enough and the only way that happens is if the economy is so broken that they see the costs of putin's madness and counter the propaganda and the misinformation that the people are fed about how glorious this thing is. that will need to happen. >> i have to sneak in a break and want to press you on how we -- the ukrainians are quite good at it but how we aid in
that part of the effort on the other side of a quick break if you can stick around. >> sure. >> we'll be right back. wayday! wayfair's biggest sale of the year is bigger than ever. for two days only, april 27th and 28th. save on all the upgrades you need to refresh your space your way. that's why we carry a large selection of kitchen faucets. so that your little update can make a big difference. wayfair has all the easy upgrades. from cabinet hardware to peel and stick tile. and with the lowest prices of the year on everything from bathtubs to vanities. even your big projects are no big deal.
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said, counter russian disinformation. >> yeah, well, there's a whole other conversation there that we'd have to have very carefully, nicole, but needless to say, the west and the united states are doing an awful lot to help the ukrainian military with intelligence. maybe we'll leave that one there. but you know, you don't even need that many experts. two things the prime minister said to us today that we can do right now, there's a handful of sanctioned russian banks. the prime minister told us there's 200 russian banks that are not sanctioned. some of them are doing the energy payment work. we could dial that back. we could come up with a structure that puts money going to russia or energy into some kind of escrow or something to rebuild ukraine. here's an interesting one too. the prime minister made a point i hadn't heard before. russia fuels the nuclear reactors of ukraine amongst other places but of europe, and that could easily be replaced by american uranium and other fuel for the nuclear reactors and then lastly, nicole, the
baseball-sized hole in our bucket here, of course, is european purchases of natural gas and oil. those need to collapse a lot faster than they are. easy for us to say here in north america where we're largely energy self-sufficient, but you know, when an economist said it's going to badly hurt the german economy, take a look at the photograph of that family in bucha. look at the old man they shot and threw down a well and tell me that there is one, two, or three gdp points that are more important than stopping that level of brutality. >> yeah, and i mean, i think this turn in bucha remitted a turning point in the collective awareness of what's happening, of what you described, and i guess something to sort of pick up with you next time we get to talk to you is whether that is the piece that united states the world, that sometimes the political speed bumps take care of themselves when the facts and the truth come out. so, i'm always wondering how we push those facts into russia,
but maybe we'll think on that and talk about that next time. but it seems like one of the real hurdles is the fact that putin does have a grip on the information environment inside russia. is that still the case? >> it is still the case. but you know, the good news is that can't last forever. the russian people, certainly those that remember the soviet union, are well trained in what propaganda means and you know, you can lie to the russian people the way putin has, but you can't lie about 10,000 dead soldiers returning to their families in wooden boxes. you can't lie about what ukrainian people will tell their friends and family in russia. so, in the short-term, it works. but you know, eventually, this will get through. >> all right, to be continued with you, congressman jim himes. thank you so much for spending time with us today. still to come for us, what former president barack obama said this afternoon about both
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today, i'm announcing another $800 million to further augment ukraine's ability to fight in the east in the donbas region. this package includes heavy artillery weapons, dozens of howitzers, and 144,000 rounds of ammunition go with those howitzers. it also includes more tactical drones. in the past two months, we've moved weapons and equipment to ukraine at record speed. to modernize teddy roosevelt's famous advice, sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large
javelin because we're sending a lot of those in as well. >> hi again, everyone, it's 5:00 in new york. president joe biden there announcing another $800 million in military aid to ukraine as he acknowledges this critical time to get the ukrainians the weapons and support they need with russia moving aggressively into its second phase of the war. also announced today by the president, another $500 million in economic and humanitarian assistance, a ban of russian-affiliated ships from all u.s. ports, and a new uniting for ukraine program which will provide a channel for secure and legal migration from europe to the u.s. for ukrainians fleeing the war. attention focused still on the city of mariupol, which has faced horrific bombardment and conditions. people there have lasted for weeks without food, water, or power. earlier today, putin claimed russia was victorious in taking control of the city, but when
president biden was asked about the status of mariupol, he said the u.s. did not share putin's assessment. watch. >> what does putin claim in control over mariupol mean? is that -- how significant is that? >> well, first of all, it's questionable whether he does control mariupol. one thing for sure we know about mariupol. he should allow humanitarian corridors to let people on that steel mill and other places who are buried under rubble to get out, to get out. that's what any head of state would do in such a circumstance. and so, there is no evidence yet that mariupol is completely fallen. >> and televised remarks earlier, vladimir putin claimed this. quote, success in mariupol and ordered his forces not to storm the steel plant where the last ukrainian holdouts remain, but putin did order his troops to block the area and make sure not even a fly, in his words, could get through. the deputy commander of the azov
regiment, who is among those in the steel plant, tells "the washington post" that they are surrounded but continuing to defend themselves. earlier on this network, a member of the mariupol city council also disputes vladimir putin's claim. >> the only humanitarian aid these people can get is only pieces of, how say, drops in the ocean, which russians give them for their -- for their loyalty. but the situation is worse every day. so, without help of all the world, without help of all the countries, these people is under great danger, and when putin says that mariupol is -- they get mariupol, it's not true. our military on azovstal is still fighting. >> joining our coverage, helene cooper, "new york times" pentagon correspondent, also an
msnbc contributor and julia ioffe, founding partner and washington correspondent for puck news, two of the smallest people we know on all these topics. helene, let me start with you and the military assistance. the american public outside of folks like yourself who are expert in this are getting an education on howitzers and javelins. talk about the significance of this aid package and the stakes. >> well, hi, nicole. thank you for having me. i think teddy roosevelt is probably rolling in his grave right now. >> right? >> over biden -- carrying a big javelin. but this package, the difference now is that in the past week, and this is the second $800 million package we've seen in barely a week, this package now is much more focused on artillery for fighting in donbas. in the past, the early weeks of the war, it was all about
javelins and stingers. now, javelins and stingers are continuing to flow over to ukraine, but you're seeing howitzer -- a howitzer is a long-range artillery armored vehicle that can shoot over miles and miles. and you're seeing that go in, 72 in this package alone. and that is because they're preparing for the fight in donbas. they're expecting the russians to come over with their -- what the expectation is, is that the -- is russia, russian troops are going to come and start pounding donbas with their own artillery, so part of the package also includes counterartillery radar that the united states is sending to the ukrainians so that they can -- so they will be able to detect russian positions, russian artillery positions. this is all part of the whole expectation that russia's going to be coming over these open areas now, pounding them with
artillery before sending in their troops after that. and it's getting the ukrainians to where they and they're dug in, have been dug in, in entrenched positions, since 2014 over the past eight years now, that they'll be able to take advantage of that by popping up their own, because they're dug in, in their positions, they can pop up, fire, and then go back down, and that's something that we're now anticipating we're going to be seeing. >> helene, we've spent a lot of time, almost more time talking about the brutality the russians have meteed out against the ukrainian civilian population than the actual warfare, and this seems to be a phase where both are happening, right? the russians are still carrying out what congressman jim himes just said, in no unequivocal terms, is a campaign of terrorism inside ukraine, and he
said on this program for the first time that the speaker sees it that way as well. he seemed to fore shadow a debate about sponsoring russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. how would that debate play out in the building you cover? >> you know, there's no question the pentagon thinks that this is what the russian military and vladimir putin have done is unquestionably not the sort of thing that any self-respecting military -- this is not the way a self-respecting military would behave. they believe that the behavior so far and the campaign of brutality that you have seen against the ukrainian civilians is a sign of the weakness of the russian military. they're almost embarrassed, i think, in the pentagon, several officials have said to me that they cringe and they're embarrassed on behalf of the russian military because this is the sort of thing you do when your back is to the wall. it's certainly not the sort of
behavior you expect from a 21st century military and one who's just gone through 20 years of modernization and claims to be a near peer rival of the united states. it's just -- what we're seeing just shows that the russian military is not. so, i don't know that, you know, i haven't asked the question, as you phrased it, within the pentagon. i don't know if they would cringe at the idea of us going down the -- seeing the united states congress go down the pathway of, you know, declaring -- of looking at how to characterize this and going down the war crimes route and state sponsor of terrorism, but i think it's an interesting -- i don't think, you know, maybe there are technicalities and reasons they may not want that. i'm sure that there are many. but i think in their -- if you asked them for their initial reaction, it would certainly be, yes, of course. >> on that note, i want to bring in someone who brings the ground
truth of what's happening in ukraine to all of us every single day. my colleague, nbc news correspondent, ali arouzi live in lviv, ukraine. ali, you've jumped at an interesting time. i just interviewed congressman jim himes, who was in that meeting today with the ukrainian prime minister, and really, has been on the front lines of trying to rush the precise weapons that helene is describing, that the ukrainians are asking for, to the front lines. when i asked him about what something you and i have talked about a couple times now, president zelenskyy's call on the biden administration to consider designating russia a state sponsor of terror, he said, of course that's what they are. and suggested that the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, sees it that way too. tell me, inside the government, if zelenskyy is also making the case privately in his conversations with u.s. officials and other world leaders. >> reporter: that's right. i mean, this has become a hot
topic of conversation here about designating russia a state sponsor of terrorism because the things that they have done in this country have been truly appalling, immoral. they've employed medieval tactics of siege and starvation and they've made very little distinction between the military units in this country and the civilians who have, quite frankly, been through unconscionable times here. they've lost their homes. they've lost their families. we've seen the massacres in bucha. what's happening in mariupol is going to probably pale in comparison to the other places we've seen in this country, and it's relentless. you know, even on the eastern front of this country, where we're seeing a massive attack by the russians on that front, and ukrainians trying to get out of there, you remember the kramatorsk railway station they bomb, all civilians there. they're hitting that town again to stop people from going to safety. they've already lost their
homes. they've lost their loved ones and now women and children are not being allowed to get out of that very hard-hit area, so yeah, i mean, it's not hard to see why zelenskyy would want russia designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, to join a very small club of countries, cuba, south korea, iran and syria, that have also committed some pretty bad atrocities in other places and so why would what the russians are doing here be any different just because they sit on the u.n. security council? and that's a very strong argument zelenskyy is making. >> ali, we're also covering, and helene's detailing the kinds of weapons en route to ukraine. for the ukrainians, it's never fast enough but it is a pretty remarkable clip at which these aid packages are being announced, almost one a week of this size. talk about the sentiment and the degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the flow of weapons from the u.s. >> reporter: well, it's a great question. look, they're always so grateful
for the weapons that they're getting from the u.s. and from the united kingdom, but you hear it time and time again. it's not enough, and it's not coming in quickly enough. i spoke to the governor of the luhansk area, which is a very hard-hit area, that's now the new front in this war where the russians want to claim a big victory, and he's saying, look, the weapons that are getting designated for us that are meant to last about a week, we're going through them in a day or two. and it's very difficult to replenish them because the russians are targeting supply lines. they're targeting warehouses where these are kept, and if those ammunition, if that artillery is diminished or it's destroyed by the russians, it makes it very hard for them to fend off the russian assault. so, they're saying, we need artillery, and we need tons of it right now. we need more and more of those javelins because if those russian tanks roll into that territory and they don't have the javelins to fight them off, it will give them a significant
advantage, and those -- that kind of armament that they're getting from the u.s. has tipped the scales in ukraine's favor, but they need so much more of it because without those sort of things, the russians are a much stronger army. they have much larger artillery, and the ukrainians are really fighting with the bare minimum here, so the more that they can get, the more that they want, but they want much harder armament as well, and they keep also saying, we want the skies closed because we don't have an advantage over the skies, over the russians. when they send missiles and fighter jets, it's very difficult for the ukrainians to defend themselves against that kind of russian hardware. >> when you see the devastation, it's no mystery why they're asking for that. ali arouzi, thank you so much for your reporting today and spending time with us. really grateful to you. thank you. julia, i want to bring you into this conversation on this. it's inescapable. i'm not assigning any blame, but this sort of gulf between what's happening on the ground, the
dire nature of the bombardment of cities like mariupol and of the fierce fighting in the donbas, and what is, i think, every american official, frankly in both parties, would say is an unprecedented and expedited flow of weapons out of this country. how do you assess sort of what they need and what they're getting, the ukrainians? >> well, i think there's always going to be a tension here between what the ukrainian side and what the ukrainian army says they need and what the u.s. is willing to provide and, you know, what ukrainian interests are, what american interests are, where they overlap and where they diverge. there will always be a tension. so from the very beginning of this war, you have had ukrainian government officials calling for more air support, closing the skies or asking for fighter planes or asking for
anti-aircraft supplies. it seems like they're getting some in this package in terms of the anti-aircraft artillery, but they still haven't gotten those mig jets because there was a fear that that would be seen as too escalatory. the no-fly zone was shot down, pun intended. so, i think there's still -- i talked the other week to one of zelenskyy's advisors, and he was saying that, you know, we in the u.s. see everything we're doing for the -- for ukraine, and how much we're supporting them and how, you know, it's become this unifying subject, but in ukraine, they see everything we're not doing for them, and he predicted that actually anti-american sentiment would grow in ukraine over the coming weeks and months, precisely because of that gap and what ukrainians think we could be doing for them but are not. >> yeah, i mean, helene, it is
this inescapable disconnect, right? there was some incredible reporting from our network of a 6-year-old boy and his father who buried his mom, and the 6-year-old, whose mom died of stress and starvation in the war in ukraine, so you can see what julia is describing is taking root. why couldn't more be done? on the other hand, i think the majority of americans understand that not entering into world war iii is important strategic objective on the part of the biden administration. how is the -- as the atrocities become more widely known and documented, and congressman himes just said, they're beyond dispute. there's no question about whether putin is a state sponsor of terror. he's terrorizing the civilian population. is that changing the conversations about what to send, how fast to get it there? we talked a couple weeks ago about some distinctions that you predicted would soon be totally gone between offensive and defensive weapons. it seems like that has come to
pass as you predicted but tell me how the conversations go inside that building about how much to help, and who's thinking outside the box and pushing, if not just the ukrainians? >> it's such a good question. the short answer to your initial question, which is this, is the conversation changing based on the atrocities? no. it's not. at the end of the day, the biden administration still has no intention of going to war or sending american troops or doing publicly anything that looks as if they, you know, it's targeting russia. that said, there are a lot of things that are happening behind closed doors when it comes to aid to ukraine. the administration doesn't talk about. this is what biden was talking about when he said, talk softly, carry a big stick -- sorry, javelin. he was referring to -- the softly part was referring to all
of the things that they're doing in secret, the sort of help that they're giving the ukrainian military, which they don't talk about. and so, that's there. there's nothing they can do about the perception among ukrainian citizenry, because these people are being bombarded day in and day out. i mean, if you're burying your mom, you're not going to exactly be thinking, oh, wow, isn't it great that joe biden is now at $3.4 billion in military aid to ukraine just since this war started? the $800 million package announced today brings that number to a staggering figure by any count. but it's still never going to be enough. what people in the pentagon and the national security establishment are focused on, though, is helping the ukrainian military at this point, which they think right now we're at a pivotal point in the russia -- the russian campaign in the donbas, because what's changing, i think, if anything has changed
the discussions here, it is how well the ukrainians have managed to do, how well the ukrainian military has fought back, how high the morale is, how well they have used the weaponry they've got, and that has encouraged the administration to really open the floodgates as far as the americans are concerned and send more. i think it's much more a case of, they're really putting this to use than -- and so we're going to send them more because we maybe could -- we may be able to change the tenor of the war, the shift of the war, then, oh, the russians are committing atrocities, let's send more. >> i want to spend some time with you on putin's comments today. even with mariupol, which he's claiming to have captured or he's claiming has fallen, is in dispute. i mean, putin seems to be struggling for any clear victories to convey back to a very, very captive audience, literally and figuratively, back
in russia. what's going on, on that side? >> well, i do think that mariupol is almost as good as captured, right? it's just this steel factory that is still holding out, and even the people defending it understand that their time is running out. you know, the other day, one of the commanders said that we have days, if not hours, to live. so, you know, even they understand that the game is almost up. and other than kherson in the south, this is maybe the only -- it is the only big city they will have taken. it is also an incredibly important and strategic city, even more so than kherson. it cements the land bridge between the so-called people's republics in luhansk and donetsk, to crimea, which sends the illegal annexation by russia
in 2014 has basically been cut off, and russia had huge trouble supplying it with the electricity, with water, even with food because it turns out there was a reason crimea was part of ukraine. it was physically attached by land only to ukraine, not to russia. and russia had to build this massive bridge across the strait that cost billions of dollars, and of course, probably half of that was stolen by his old judo buddy. but now they have this land bridge that they tried to get in 2014 and were turned back, precisely at mariupol by the azov battalion in 2014. so this, you know, once they do eventually cement the capture of this city, this will be a huge victory, which they haven't had, in now two months, in eight weeks of a brutal, grinding war where they have lost as many as 15 or 20,000 troops. >> it's unbelievable.
helene, julia, thank you so much for starting us off this hour on the latest developments. grateful to you both. after the break, for us, the latest escalation in the culture war between florida governor ron desantis and disney. yep. disney. plus, president barack obama back on the national stage making it his mission to take on the disinformation that already threatens the next election in this country. and french president emmanuel macron fighting for his future in office. more on that high-stakes debate in the race's final days. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. this isn't dry food or wet food. it's not burnt brown pellets. the farmer's dog makes it simple to feed your dog real food. it's real meat and veggies. freshly-made. developed with vets. delivered right to your door. that's why dog lovers are choosing the farmer's dog. a smarter, healthier pet food. delivered.
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so, this afternoon, the florida house passed a bill that would dismantle disney's special district status in that state. what that means is it would essentially eliminate the company's ability to self-govern its orlando area theme park. governor desantis is expected to sign the measure into law. after all, he is front and center in the gop's ongoing culture wars there over issues like race, gender, and covid. this particular fight with disney is rooted in the company's opposition to florida's new so-called "don't say gay" law, which prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten to third grade. beyond the profound financial effects the law will have on a company so ingrained in florida's economic dna, it serves as the latest instance of republicans punishing companies who don't go along with the conservative agenda. joining us now, sam stein, white house editor for politico and jason johnson, journalist and
politics professor at morgan state university and host of "a word with jason johnson" podcast, both msnbc contributors. i had part of this conversation, jason, yesterday with tim miller and i sort of -- we admonished ourselves to not cover these as politically successes or failures and to sort of, just for a second, at least, include a conversation about the substance of these bills. so i want to try to at least go one day with doing that. what disney did was voiced opposition to legislation that passed anyway. i mean, disney didn't impede desantis's ability to pass the "don't say gay" law that he wanted to pass. the idea that now the state, the state of florida, is eking out revenge against one of the largest employers in the state is unbelievable and shouldn't be glossed over. what is your sense of this as
sort of a devolution, another running down the ladder the republicans are descending. >> nicole, i ran through so many disney songs i wanted to sing in preparation for this. >> don't let me slow you down. >> let's not talk about desantis. i thought of many of them. >> i want to hear it. >> but the core conclusion is this. this is what you get. disney -- they will have to let this go and accept it. this is what you get. all of these large corporations, whether it was delta in georgia or disney or verizon or any of these companies, they always want to play footsie with both sides. they always want to say, hey, we're just giving to trump and we're giving to biden. we're just giving to hillary and trump. and then it bites you in the rear and they all act shocked. they gave so much money to this person, who they knew was terrible from the very beginning. they gave money to secretaries of state and state senators and everything else like that.
this is the position that disney put themselves in. yes, ron desantis is terrible. yes, this is an anti-economic policy. yes, this is the kind of thing that voters in orlando are not happy with. voters all over the state can't be happy with this. this could potentially cost them money. but at the end of the day, if these corporations don't start acting like proper american citizens in a weird sort of way, if they don't start taking corporate responsibility and recognizing that there's only one party in this country, and the other has basically transformed into a religious cult, then these are the consequences they're going to face. and i don't understand -- i don't have much sympathy for disney. i have sympathy for the workers who may suffer the consequences of this, but this should be a lesson to every entertainment and media company across this country that giving to the republican party and empowering these ridiculous maga-like governors is going to blow up in your face. >> and sam, i think what's notable is that this is not my analysis that they're punishing disney for being against the "don't say gay" bill.
this is ron desantis's mission statement with the punishment for disney. he said this. quote, if disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy. now is the time to put the power back in the hands of floridians and out of the pockets of woke executives." this is what the special -- this is what they took away from disney. the right to provide its own services like fire departments and to build the roads on its properties. to not follow local regulations but to sort of be a city unto itself. it is political retribution for the republican base's wish list, and i wonder what you think the next step is. i mean, where does desantis go next? because there's always something next. >> yeah, i mean, look, you can make an intellectual case that disney should never have enjoyed these types of powers, essentially becoming a local
fiefdoms within a state, there's an intellectual case to be made, but that's not what's happening here. it's not that ron desantis is saying, wow, this is really sort of philosophically problematic. he's being vindictive. he's openly being vindictive. that statement doesn't really hide the ball. disney spoke out against this law, and he is punishing disney for speaking out. and it's an incredible paradigm shift. i mean, nicole, you know this well. republicans have traditionally welcomed the backing of big business. the idea that the chief executive of florida would go to war openly with disney, which is like symbolic of the state of florida, it seems crazy on the surface. but you know, slightly to disagree with jason here, i think the issue here for desantis, it's trying to make corporations quiet, trying to make them think about speaking out, especially on cultural issues going forward. and i think that's what corporations are probably going to take from this. you asked what's next.
what's next, likely, is that corporations, before they start weighing into these red-hot culture war issues, before they get into issues around voting rights or abortion policy like they are being compelled to do by many on the left, they're going to say, wait a second. maybe we should not do that. are we risking our tax status? are we risking these benefits that the state has provided us if we do speak out politically? and i think that's what ron desantis is going for. it's essentially to muzzle corporate consciousness going forward. >> well, jason, i hope that's not the lesson that is taken from what is straight-up bullying, because companies have employees, and employees have kids who are gay and straight and trans, and they have parents who are gay. i mean, the whole idea that companies -- and i know this is not your prediction, so i asked where desantis is going next, but the really fateful moment, and i hope these conversations are taking place inside companies, is that round one
went to desantis. he won. and i think the question for companies is, you know, do we have a moral compass and are we going to articulate it, or can we be bullied? >> well, and nicole, it goes even further. yeah, i very much push back on the idea that this is from the left. i don't care if this is left or right. this is actual people working in disney. and let's be clear. disney only said something because of complaints from their employees. let's be clear. everything from disney movies to marvel and d.c., employees and writers and producers and staff members have said, hey, look, as a company, you need to stand up for us, because all sorts of different kinds of people live here. that's above and beyond blocking voting rights and crt and trying to erase american history, which you also happen to have happening in the state of florida. these corporations have an obligation to their employees, and if you are in a state that is hostile to the lives of the men and women that make your bottom line possible, then as an
organization, as a business and as a staff, you have to say something about it. my fear is that the next step for ron desantis, since he's already trying to destroy history, he's already trying to keep black people from voting, already trying to offend and push back on the largest corporation, one of the largest employers in the state, and he's not suffering any consequences is the republican nomination. it's not like he's a bright guy or overly sophisticated. ron desantis has simply taken the donald trump playbook from the white house and said, wait a minute, there's no strong democratic party here like trump faced in congress that can stop his more ridiculous actions. if ron desantis can pass an anti-muslim bill for the state of florida, he would. if he could pass an anti-crt -- if he could say it's illegal to say you're black, i'm pretty sure the guy would try it. he's doing everything that trump did because if donald trump doesn't run for president or for some reason fails, desantis knows he's the number one guy to get the nomination and implement this stuff at a national level. >> sam, i set you up to predict
where desantis was going next. i know you were suggesting where the state should go next or would go next. i just want your response to sort of the tricky dynamics and the tricky conversations that are likely happening because of what desantis did today. >> well, on desantis, i think, you know, jason's right to a degree. this is a governor who, you know, more than any other republican governor or governor, really, in the country, i think, he is incredibly instinctually responsive to the culture war issues of the day, whether it's critical race theory or the so-called "don't say gay" bill, he has his finger on the pulse of where the conservative is, and he's very good, i mean, legitimately good at taking political advantage of this. he probably will run, whether or not trump decides to. under the calculation that he is the sort of trump without the baggage candidate, that he can do what trump does, he can rile
up the base, but he doesn't have all that baggage that trump brings to the table, so these types of victories, and let's be clear, this is a victory for him, to go after disney as the governor of the state and have your entire party, the establishment republicans and the nonestablishment republicans, that's a victory for him. he's going to increase his national profile. you may hate what happened here on an intellectual level, but i do think from a political level, this behooves and benefits desantis in the context of a future primary bid. >> sam and jason stick around. after the break, what president obama is doing to thwart the threat of disinformation. obama is doing to thwart the threat of disinformation ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ we believe there's an innovator in all of us. ♪ ♪ that's why we build technology that makes it possible
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democratic backsliding isn't restricted to distant lands. right here in the united states of america, we just saw a sitting president deny the clear results of an election and help incite a violent insurrection at the nation's capitol. not only that, but a majority of his party, including many who occupy some of the highest offices in the land, continue to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the last election. for those of us who believe in democracy and the rule of law, this should serve as a wake-up call. >> we're awake. that was former president barack
obama today in california invoking the twice impeached disgraced ex-president's bid to try to overturn the election he lost. president obama sounding the alarm in silicon valley, which is significant, about a problem partly of its -- i don't know if it's of its own making but they've certainly participated in it. disinformation, misinformation, spread online. the former president now using his platform to demand rules, better rules, to combat misinformation and disinformation on social media and the internet. going further than he ever did when he was in the white house, citing his concern for the damage to democracy that has been done since he left office. we're back with sam and jason. jason, if there is -- if there were one thing that -- i mean, i think people want former presidents to weigh in on everything to help, to use their platform, but if there is one space where he could have a tremendous impact in preserving and protecting the democracy, it is this. getting tech companies to
recognize that they have a role in protecting the democracy from the sort of end of the string, which is violence and disinformation leading to damaging consequences in terms of health and a belief system that is at the intersection of a current domestic violent extremism threat. what did you make of the speech, and what do you make of this as an issue for former president obama? >> well, nicole, i enjoyed the speech. i actually told my class -- i cut class early so that my students could watch the speech as well and get sort of a full grasp of what the president was saying after we had a discussion about misinformation. i was intrigued by his discussion of section 230 and the communications act from 1996 that basically says that internet service providers and websites can't necessarily be held accountable the way a publisher is for what is produced. that's why somebody can put something on facebook and it's not necessarily facebook's fault. that's why somebody can put
something on twitter and it's not necessarily twitter's fault. and he said, look, we need to review that law. joe biden -- president biden has said the same thing. trump even said the same thing. i think there's a point at which the president points out, we're going to have to accept that these social media environments are per purveyores of news and they have held accountable. this is happening in the background of elon musk saying, basically, i want to buy twitter so i can open it up and turn it into gab and let donald trump back. so there are real consequences to allowing anybody to run these internet sites and say whatever it is they want, spread whatever disinformation they want, and he framed that in terms of, look, i'm a freedom of speech absolutist but it doesn't mean freedom of consequences for the purveyors of this information. >> it went specifics that jason's talking about, sam, to some of the broader themes that we talk about here every day.
backsliding. he said -- president obama said, backsliding democracies aren't reserved for far away lands. he sounded, you know, a little bit like chairman bennie thompson and vice chair liz cheney there. >> yeah. i mean, look, obama probably uniquely situated to talk about this issue because really, modern-day disinformation did kind of start during his time in office. birtherism is kind of the ground zero for this stuff, right? he was subjected to it. and then, of course, the proliferation of these mega online platforms. what i thought was interesting about what he said was essentially what he's saying is we need rules for the road. we can't just rely on the benevolence or the oversight of these ceo of a major social media platform to say, yes, we got to get rid of this because it is hate speech, and no, we keep that because this is more towards journalism. you need to have agreed upon rules of the road. i think that's right. the problem is, we'll never agree upon the rules of the road. it's just not in each party's
interest at any given same time for them to agree to this type of regulatory reform. and with respect to the backsliding of democracy, yes, this is the same issue here. it all comes together and it's especially poignant that he's talking about this the day that the "new york times" published a piece in which it was very evident that the top leaders of the congressional wing of the republican party had a moment, an inflection point where they said, look, donald trump has incited this insurrection, we can either kick him to the curb and move on or we -- and you know, keep him in the tent. and they decided to keep him in the tent, and in doing so, they essentially gave way to the legitimatization of the big lie for a huge swath of the country, and getting back those -- this past year may very well prove impossible on that front. >> such a smart point. sam stein, jason johnson, thank you so much for spending time with us today. coming up for us, the fate of french president emmanuel
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♪ we could walk forever ♪ ( ♪♪ ) ♪ walking on ♪ ♪ walking on the moon ♪ ♪ some ♪ ♪ may say ♪ ♪ i'm wishing my days away ♪ ♪ no way ♪ ♪ walking on the moon ♪ is a victory for marine le pen a victory for president putin? >> if you vote le pen, you vote putin. i believe that. as simple as that. because in a way, a victory for le pen would be a huge blow to
europe, a huge blow to the western world. a huge blow to biden. >> illuminating interview there, keir simmons outlining the stakes for france and the west. the whole world ahead of sunday's runoff election there. the runoff pits emmanuel macron against marine le pen. she's france's version of maga word, the far right party. and they previously faced each other during the 2017 presidential runoff. let's bring in correspondent keir simmons live from paris. it is lovely to see you, my friend, tell me first what the state of the race is and then t analyst point there about the stakes. >> reporter: well, it does look as if macron will win on sunday. he's got a double-digit lead but
people are biting their fingernails if they support him here in france because there are familiar themes here as you mentioned. le pen has concentrated on domestic issues, immigration and inflation. she's tried to portray macron as elitist and he doesn't do himself any favors and of course he's been in power for five years. she's even talked at times during the campaign about, quote, wokeism. so there are issues here that would be recognized across the atlantic. she was quick to congratulate president trump in 2016 on his victory there. she has had links to president putin including during the television debate, macron accusing her of financial links to russia. so it all seems very familiar. back in 2017 when macron won, there was talk that france had held off the kind of anglo saxon
wave of the election of president trump, of brexit and now people are questioning whether macron can do that again this weekend. so the polls say he will. one tricky issue, though, nicolle, just to describe, we talked today to a le pen voter, i asked her who she was going to vote for. she previously voted for the equivalent of bernie sanders and she said i'm not voting for macron, i'm going to vote for the other one. i said you mean le pen. she wouldn't say her name but she's still prepared to vote for her. so that is another worry, that familiar worry that will people be voting for le pen who won't say they are going to vote for le pen. >> kier, how much does the war in ukraine weigh on the minds of voters there. i have ukrainians very worried about le pen's strength in france politically. >> reporter: it is worrying people across europe. this is a vote on the future of
europe. it isn't a vote here in france on foreign policy. so often elections are decided on domestic issues. that is what le pen has been concentrating on, on issues like the cost of living. but that said she is -- she is opposed to europe, said she won't pull france out of europe. she's opposed to nato but said she won't pull france out of nato. but certainly hostile to both of those organizations. so you could imagine if it was a le pen win on sunday, the implications for europe, we've focused so long now for many weeks on the battlefield in ukraine, now the focus this weekend will be on the ballot box here in france. but the implications for europe are equally as serious. >> what has macron's campaign been about. what issues has he taken to the country? >> reporter: well in his televised debate, which by the
way is incredible to watch. it is not like a televised debate there. the two candidates sit three feet from each other and staring each other down. they throw in questions and then just let them go at each other and there is a timing below each of them and if one is speaking too much, the moderators intervene. it is gladiator stuff. it is -- >> incredible. >> bare knuckle boxing. it is something to watch. two and a half hours long. macron tried to argument in that debate that the le pen's ideas weren't going to work. big tax cuts. you krnt make it work. but to ordinary voters who are having a tough time because of things like inflation, that doesn't necessarily appeal the way that macron's appeal got many votes five years ago.
that being said, again, the polls do say that he is in the lead. the polls say that he did win that debate. though not as handily as he did back in 2017. so again, it does look as if he will get another term. but in politics, we've learned in -- over the years, in modern politics, nothing is set in stone until the votes are counted. >> and you've learned a lesson before i did. never to make political predictions. the poms are one thing but we don't predict an outcome until voters vote. it is so interesting. because is this global peace and democrats in this country follow in the trap to try to argue emotions with a fact check and that doesn't combat the feelings of economic anxiety. but we'll wait until the election side and talk about it on the other side. i'm so glad we talked to you today. stay safe, my friend. quick break for us. we'll be right back.
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a quick update on a story we covered at length yesterday. one that could effect a whole lot of us in this country. as it happens, the white house is moving forward with an appeal to that federal court ruling striking down the mask mandate for travelers using much of the american mass transit. the justice department have been waiting on word from the cdc. the cdc concluded, yes, the requirement is still necessary. of course as we sit here, passengers are free to not wear masks on most planes, trains and buses and ride-sharing services with a few exceptions. the administration is appeal to reverse that ruling to put that
into motion. with some degree of risk. a failed appeal could permanently weaken cdc's authority. a big court decision on the horizon, one that we'll keep an eye on. thank you for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. we're so grateful. "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. >> welcome to the beat. really interesting speech by obama. but we're going to play the highlights for you and we have experts to do fact checking of the disinformation around the nation. and later we're joined live by a lawmaker to try to eliminate what would be to districts that support black members of congress in florida and the deal with a lot of racial division in florida right now. we're going to get into that. but we begin with brand-new reporting about how top republicans in congress were privately pushing to get