tv MSNBC Reports MSNBC April 25, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PDT
follow all global norms, and so that is that the one response we got. >> thank you so much for being with us. that wraps up the our for me. you can reach me on twitter and instagram. be sure and follow the show online. jd bough lard, msnbc. katy tur picks up with more news right now. >> good to be with you. i am katy tur. it's 8:00 a.m. eastern, and 11:00 pawic. the u.s. secretaries of state and defense meeting with ukrainian president zelenskyy in kyiv, and he's expressing his gratitude and said talks lasted
more than three hours. after that meeting the u.s. secretary struck a unified message about the status of this war. >> we don't know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign, independent ukraine will be around a lot longer than putin's on the scene. >> they have a mind-set they want to win and we have a mind-set we want to help them win and we will do that. >> and plus, right now in ukraine, the head of the country's national rail service says several stations in central and western ukraine have come under russian fire. nbc news has not independently verified that, but this is video reuters received reportedly showing a missile strike in the lviv region. in mariupol, the british defense ministry says ukraine's defense of mariupol has, quote, consumed many russian units and reduced
russia's warfare effectiveness. more on all of this in just a moment. here at home, a number of stories are developing this hour. at the supreme court arguments in a case centered around prayer and public schools. plus, elon musk could soon be the new owner of twitter. what it could mean for how the social media platform operates. and then burning more than 150,000 acres so far. for reference, that's about the size of chicago. more on the intense fight to contain the fires in a minute. we start with the war in ukraine. joining me now is nbc's erin mclaughlin, and kelly o'donnell at the white house. i want to start with something secretary austin said when he got back from kyiv. he said we want to see russia
weakened to the degree it cannot do the find of things it has done invading ukraine i wonder how that message is going over there and how their visit is going over as well? >> the ukrainian president is thankful for the u.s. support. this help they have been asking for for sometime, the show of support, this diplomatic visit, president zelenskyy gave a press conference on saturday to international journalists in which he previewed the visit unexpectedly. i was there for the press conference and i asked him what he wanted to see how of the visit, and why it was important. he said, look, kyiv is not a place for, quote, tragic selfies. he said don't come for the photo-op but come with something, come with weapons. that's what happened out of this visit, president zelenskyy expressing his gratitude not only to the president of the
united states but also to the american people. during their press conference following the visit, the secretary's outlining the support. take a listen. >> russia has sought as its principle aim to totally subjugate ukraine, to take away its sovereignty and independence, and that has failed. >> it already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly, and we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability. >> now, secretary austin is next expected to travel to germany to meet with u.s. allies to discuss the future and short-term defense needs of ukraine. i also asked president zelenskyy what he would like to see out of that meeting and he said he would like to see the united states, u.s. officials apply more pressure on germany to do
more. he said they have weapons, we need them, they don't. katy? >> kelly o'donnell, the other big news is president biden nominated an ambassador to ukraine, and they are going to reopen the embassy there. talk to me about that decision. >> well, this has been an important vacancy that has really stood out over the course of this two--month-old war, and the president has decided that bridget brink would be a move from her current condition, and she is in the role of the u.s. ambassador for slovakia, and she has 25 years of experience and also previously served in the white house security council and she has a post that gives her the portfolio of understanding the soviet countries and nato and those key concerns.
this is a signal from the united states to ukraine about a vision of a sovereign ukraine going forward, and that is an important signal. it also means by having a diplomatic presence again in the country, and of course, during this wartime, the diplomats, staff and all of the personnel have moved out of ukraine for safety concerns and have been functioning in poland and elsewhere trying to provide the services and so forth by having some presence return over the next couple of weeks, and we don't know how that will unfold but it gives the u.s. not only the diplomatic piece, but it has the personnel in the country that could talk about matters of intelligence and so forth, so it's a broader potential opportunity for that relationship. the president was just leaving his delaware home making the trip back to washington and was asked by reporters about the
visit of his two secretaries, and he said it was a good visit and he expect to be briefed more fully when he returns today. >> you know about the ambassador. tell me about her. >> she's a fantastic choice. i worked with her at the national security council during the obama administration. she has all the assignments in all the hard places that give her the preparation for this job, particularly her time in georgia, as the georgians know what it's like to fight the russians. her assignment in slovakia that she is currently in is perfect, because that's a front line state from nato. she's incredibly competent. she is one of the superstars of the state department. i think this has been in the works for a while and i think it's a fantastic choice. i also think it's really important, katy, the embassy opens in kyiv, because with that comes our military attache, and
it is military officers that could be in better contact with the ukrainian military, and lots of intelligence folks that will help with the ukrainian army. the connectivity to ukraine, the government and their army will increase exponentially with us back in kyiv. >> i guess, what will that mean for our relationship with the ukrainians? we are sending so much aid and having sanctions for russia, and what does that mean on the ground? >> it means they will develop relationships, and ambassador brink will be a very popular person within the ukrainian government so communication will be better, and she will also hear more demands. today is a good day, the united states gave new weapons and we don't know all the weapons but
you can tell from zelenskyy's press conference that he is happy with it, but i guarantee you, she will hear about demands for more weapons and more sanctions. particularly on sanctions, you will hear more from the ukrainians, they want more, especially from europe but from us as well. >> i am curious what else is to be done? they are already banning oil. is it all about the exports? >> katy, i will send you a paper right now. >> please do. >> i just worked with 40 international experts to answer that question. people say nothing more can be done, and we have lots of ideas can be done, and particularly on oil and gas and that's where it needs to start, but second let's declare russia a sponsor of state terrorism, and let's complete the financial sanctions, and there's lots of loopholes there, and we are up to 900 companies and individuals
on the sanctions list, and we think thousands could be on the sanctions list. applaud the biden administration of what has been done. >> i do want to see that paper. kelly, i want to ask you and get your opinion on this, ambassador, the other day the cia director talked openly maybe about vladimir putin using a nuclear weapon. it seems like the rhetoric is ratcheting up among high-level officials in biden administration's, and how calculated are these comments? >> it's interesting, because over the course of the 50 days or so we have gone from a point where the earliest expectations -- and behind me the president just came in on a motorcade hide me, and there was the early expectation that russia might be successful in
the earliest days. that's back in the february mind-set, and how different it is now, and how much more willing u.s. officials are to make public assessments. there's concern about escalation. there is concern about provoking putin, and at the same time the u.s. has used its intelligence to talk about what they expect putin would do at times to try to in some ways prevent that or to out his intentions as a way to prepare everyone on the battlefield and in a geopolitical sense. talking about russia not having the capacity to repeat this behavior is a significant shift. there have been times when it has been difficult to get u.s. officials to say the objective was for the ukraine to win as opposed to defending itself and now we are hearing from the secretary of defense an aim of having a weakened russian
military that could not duplicate the kind of aggression we have seen. there's a progression in the public rhetoric and maybe the assessments as they have seen in action what russia has been able to do or not do over the 50 plus days of this war. >> ambassador, your reaction? >> so it's a great question, and i think it animates a lot of their talk in the past, and remember at the beginning of the war putin was threatening strategic nuclear weapons against us, and i can tell you our administration was nervous about that. i spoke to very senior people, including the president at one time about how do we assess that threat. they now assess that threat as being much roller, because they rolled out two people on the national security team to say we will only use those weapons if there's an threat against
russia, and there's not, and then a nato attack, why would you lash out at nato, the most powerful alliance in the world anchored by the most powerful military in the world when you are struggling in mariupol. i think the focus now, the anxiety now is about tactical nuclear weapons, the use of a tactical nuclear weapon in ukraine that bill burns talked about, that's where there's still concern, but because they are not concerned about the other threats, i think that's a partial explanation of why they are giving more heavier weapons today. >> it's really interesting. i want to bring in julia ainsley. you have reporting about the ukrainians that are trying to cross the border as refugees and seek asylum here. we said we would take a number of them but the process had not been put in place, and what is the status today? >> for those trying to cross the southern border, today is not a good day, katy.
there are thousands that have been able to cross and seek that, and now ukrainians living here can sponsor their relatives, and even a non-profit can log on to the website, and it should launch later today and it has not launched today, but for those on the border they will not have access to cross and claim asylum, and they are in the process of shutting that route down. and those ready to log on the website, they know the stakes are high because there are so many people waiting to get their family members out and bring them to the united states. i spoke to a couple over the weekend, and they are trying to get their family to the united states. here's what they had to say. >> it's kind of like the visa hunger games, you know. there's 100,000 spots. we don't have any details of
what information they need or what the eligibility exactly is going to be besides the fact that there needs to be a u.s. sponsor. >> so they are worried, katy. there are so many unanswered questions. they have to go through a vetting process here, and it's a matter of timing and paperwork, and tatiana is a 94-year-old grandmother still living in ukraine, and they fled to russia, and there are multi-national families from ukraine. we are hoping to get more answers today katy when the website is up and running. >> thank you, everybody, for starting us off in a really interesting conversation. right now the supreme court is hearing arguments about prayer at a public school football game. the question at the center of the case and what it could tell us about the current court's notion about the separate between church and state.
plus, congress is back and the white house wants lawmakers to open up their purse. what the money would mean for you, and we're tracking new reporting elon musk might be about to get what he wants. twitter's about face on the billionaire and what it will mean for users. [lazer beam and sizzling sounds] ♪♪ cal: our confident forever plan is possible with a cfp® professional. a cfp® professional can help you build a complete financial plan. visit letsmakeaplan.org to find your cfp® professional. ♪♪
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between a washington public school district and a former football coach. joe kennedy lost his job after he refused to stop kneeling in prayer after the games on the field. and then there is also the case of a georgia death row inmate, and he's challenging the method of his scheduled execution. joining me now, former law clerk to justice sotomayor. i want to begin with the case about public prayer. this is a football coach that would take to the 50 yard line after games and start praying. in the past, it seemed the supreme court ruled against this being an issue of free speech and in fever of school districts or government districts because it can feel a little squishy. tell me about this case and what
the supreme court might say about this particular instance? >> well, katy, i don't think it's a question of what the court might say and it's about what the court is going to say and it's likely from oral arguments that are still ongoing at this moment, and this is a court that is receptive to arguments made on the religious freedoms. one is the free exercise clause which is about whether or not you are free to exercise your religion, free of government restraint and the establishment clause, and there's tension between the two of those. this case implicates both of those clauses, the question that the school board is trying to avoid is the appearance they are establishing or endorsing a particular religion, and they are provoking their speech
rights, and the coach argues he has a free exercise right to pray where he wants to and it's private activity and the government cannot constrain him because he's a teacher. this court has been particularly interested over the last couple of years in expanding the scope of the free exercise clause and with that expansion comes the establishment clause, whether the government can endorse a particular religion, so one of the things being questioned today is whether this court and expanding free exercise is willing to trim back some of its establishment clause and government speech precedence, so this is a big blockbuster case, and this is one of the four religious cases they have taken up just this term. >> what do you think the ripple affect would be if the court rules in favor of the court? >> i think the court will rule in favor of this coach and i think the ripple affects will be huge, because, again, three different first amendment doctrines are implicated, not
just free exercise that will give individuals a greater opportunity, even in situations where it could conflict with other people's religion, and even students who feel like they are coerced in participating in prayers, and there's a line of doctrines about whether or not you can have prayer in school because of the appearance of endorsing a particular religion by the government, and there's the government speech doctrine, whether governments could communicate a particular message on behalf of the state. all three of those are implicated here. this is going to be a blockbuster case. >> interesting. we will watch for that. the other one, also interesting. this is a man who is going to be killed by lethal injection and he's on death row and he wants to be killed by firing squad. what is that argument? >> again, we should note here
that south carolina, which is where this is being argued, actually gives the defendant the opportunity of having the choice of being killed by firing squad or lethal injection, and the state made that choice available because so many pharmaceutical companies cannot produce the drugs needed for the injection protocol, and this is a response in the corporate side, and it's whether or not they want to participate in capital punishment, and if the firing squad upholds the due rights of this particular prisoner and the state's own interest, those are good questions. this is a court that has in a couple recent questions many on the shadow docket has been more willing to expanded the use of the death penalty here, and here it seems like we are ripping the pretense that the firing squad,
it's the more brutal element of the death penalty and that's putting the ether on this case. >> might change the public's perspective on it. melissa, thank you very much, for joining us today. >> no problem. booster shots and the white house says uninsured people will have to start paying for all of that unless lawmakers open up their purse and pay for it.
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congress is back from its two-week spring recess this week and a white house official says the biden administration is starting to lay ground work for some potential funding battles on the hill. one of them would be a major push for more covid dollars. a $10 billion bipartisan deal stalled in the senate before their recess. nbc news white house correspondent, josh letterman, joins us on that, and also joined by anna palmer, an msnbc contributor. i was channeling in the tease, and here we are. talk to me, josh, about this
funding and the reception the white house anticipates getting in congress? >> before congress went home on that break, katy, there was a tentative agreement announced by chuck schumer and mitt romney, a democrat and republican, and the white house got everything it asked for with the exception of helping to promote oversees vaccinations, and then, of course, there were still lingering issues over whether democrats and the white house were willing to allow republicans to essentially add something in there that would block the administration from lifting title 42, that covid era restriction related to people coming over the border, and so the congress ended upholding off on having that vote until after they came back from their two-week recess. now they are back and the white house is really ramping up pressure on congress this week
for having failed so far to take action, essentially making the argument, do your job. the white house now saying that because congress hasn't passed this funding americans are already feeling the consequences having to foot the bill for testing, not enough funds for covid treatment and other critical resources that they need as we are starting to see an uptick in cases here. the focus by the white house given that they don't call the shots when it comes to the power of the purse, they have to have congress pass this fund, to try and make it clear politically that it's congress standing in the way of getting these funds out there so the administration can do its job to try and provide covid services to the rest of the country. >> i want to ask you about the january 6th committee, and i will leave mccarthy aside and focus on mark meadows. there's a new court filing from the committee that reveals the former chief of staff was warned
by the committee -- i am sorry, i am getting confused by this writing. mark meadows was warned by the events of january 6th could turn violent. talk to me about what that means for the investigation. >> yeah, this is exactly what the january 6th committee is trying to suss out, not only what did trump know but those close to him know in the days leading up to the insurrection. mark meadows and his knowledge and who he was communicating with is becoming more interesting for the committee in the past several weeks, and some of his text messages have become public. certainly you will see more speculation -- maybe speculation is the wrong word, but focus on what was mark meadow's role, another look at what he knew when he knew it. >> there is mccarthy and those
recordings. has he taken on the same honor that donald trump has, that teflon armour? >> it has been really interesting to see this because as you know, mccarthy first said what "the times" reported was not true and they had receipts and tapes and now he spent the past weekend of trying to get in the good graces again of the former president and being sure to talk to republicans in office, and so far it doesn't happen there will be major backlash in his internal party politics, but i do think it's notable between multiple months between now and the election and it's another chink in his armour where he will try to make sure he can still be in their good graces despite things like this coming up. >> look at mow brooks, i think i would say. let me ask you about the findings from the january 6th committee and the hearings. i know they are trying to find a way to make them impactful as
possible, but given the state of affairs with the gop, do you see any scenario where this could have an affect, the results on the republican party? >> i think it's pretty hard to see that when it comes to congress, certainly. i think most people made up their mind, and house republicans said they did not want to participate in the committee and they said it was a partisan witch hunt, and the democrats feel it's important of what they are finding out and an important marker of finding out how this happened in history, you know, this incident. i think whether or not republicans have a change of reference, i have a hard time seeing that, but i do think it's very important the work they are doing. >> thank you very much. coming up, is twitter about to have a new owner? talks are reportedly heating up between the company and elon musk. what a deal could mean for users and how wall street is reacting.
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behavior, you will be wrong. last week they were defending the takeover from elon musk and now they seem more open to it, and the reason of what changed over the last couple days is anybody's guess. twitter does report earnings later this week and there's a theory saying maybe the earnings will look bad and the stock will fall and let's get the offer done with elon musk before that happens, katy. >> really interesting. trying to figure out what happens if he does buy it, if it goes behind a pay wall. thank you. out west, peak wildfire season doesn't usually start until june but more than a dozen fires are burning in new mexico, california and into the midwest. 60,000 acres have burned in nebraska where a retired fire chief was killed and at least 15 others were injured. nbc's steve patternson joins me
with more on that threat. what is happening? >> reporter: to answer your question, i have to qualify it a little bit, in nebraska they had 17 fires across 16 counties since friday. the woman that updates me on this information is alyssa, and i can't thank her enough for doing her job, and they don't have just one job fighting fires but two, three or four and all the firefighters is volunteer-based, and all of those injured that you talked about coming into me, all of them are volunteers. they are not used to fighting mega fires in april, but who is? the deadly 702 fire that killed that former retired chief is 0% contained. they are dealing with hot temperatures and extremely dry conditions, and wind gusts are expected to pick up. it's not just happening there, it's happening also in new
mexico and arizona, and arizona still has the tunnel fire just 3% contained. new mexico has a number of fires. 16 fires in 33 counties, nearly half the state on high alert, and more than 200 structures burned to the ground. the governor declaring states of emergency there. what we are dealing with across the region is hot, dry temperatures. the mega drought drying out the land, and you add in the heat and wind and you have the mega fires burning here in april. the conditions look better in new mexico and arizona, and they look a lot worse in nebraska. they are at their highest alert as we speak until the middle of the week. >> climate scientists say climate change means worst fire season in odd seasons. that's what is happening. next, i will talk about what
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vivid account from one family. nbc news spoke to a woman named natalia on the right in this picture. she said her 21-year-old son, also seen here, was taken from mariupol and forced into russia. she has spoken with him on and off and said her son has been warned by the russians not to complain, or as natalia said he was told he would be forced to fight against ukraine. we have heard a lot of stories about russians being forcibly taken into russia, filtration camps, of children being separated from their families. what is the ukrainian government doing about it right now? >> hello, and thank you so much for having me. first of all, russians are not taking ukrainians and bringing
them to russia just for the sake of having new russian citizens, right? this is one of the war crimes that they are committing to have so-called exchange pull, to be able then at some point to exchange ukrainian citizens, ukrainian civilians for the captured russian military that our army has gotten during the time of war. this is their strategy, and the strategy was the same since 2014 when the war on the eastern part of ukraine started. so we are totally aware about it. what we can do from our side and what we are doing. first, we already know about 30,000 people who are transported to russia against their will. we are talking to international organizations such as united nations and red cross to get help and rescue them because these people are civilians and they cannot be kept against
their will. of course when we are talking about russia and we are talking about russian actions, they don't really care about international law. they are not really caring about anything or any agreement at all. so the most reliable strategy here is to win the war and return our people back, but if the war will continue further then we will have to go with the exchange of the ukrainian citizens to the russian military that we have in prisoned in ukraine right now. >> so we just saw video from inside that steel plant in mariupol that is surrounded and where it's considered where ukrainians are holding their last stand. we heard from the british government intelligence that ukrainian forces are doing a lot to the russians in that last stand and they are pulling away their attention and getting a lot done in terms of destroying
their military equipment. what can you tell us about what you know what is happening there and whether you know if there's any hope of getting those civilians out? >> yesterday was 21st attempt to get civilians in humanitarian convoy secured by united nations and the red cross to get them out. unfortunately, this convoy, again, failed, because russian forces were able to cease fire the lifeline away from mariupol. it hurts us so badly that we still cannot get our people out of the city. it is again one of the most cruel crimes that russians are committing. they are basically starving people out. they are committing all kinds of crimes on civilians and they are
breaking all the agreements that we have with them to allow us to get our people out. i cannot even imagine telling you how terrifying it is when you are getting this hope on and on and on that you and your children can get out to safety so you can have a future. and every single time when you get on those humanitarian buses, you have to come back, come back to the place where you will probably have no future, no life, where you only have struggle and hunger and thirst and all the things that you should not experience in the city in the 21st century in the middle of europe. this is extremely terrifying that right now it seems there is no force, no leader in the world that could actually push russia to get our people out. nobody is calling putin.
macron promised to call him. boris johnson promised to call him to let people out and it's just not happening. this is the most frustrating part is now with all the forces of the world, we cannot have this fairly minor mission completed. let people who are starving to death out of the city. how can we talk about any agreement with russia? >> one final question to you. secretary blinken and secretary austin were in kyiv over the weekend. what does that mean for your country? >> well, this was a significant step and these were the most high ranked officials from the united states who visited ukraine since the beginning of the war. so the results of this meeting was also significant, because we are finally getting the weapons that we asked for. it also shows there is no
fatigue of ukraine. there is a significant and continuous support from the world leaders and hope and belief that we can win this war. this is what secretary blinken said. ukrainians believe they will win this war and now we also believe they can win. >> it is always good to talk to you. thank you for being with us. we'll be right back. > we'll. y a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin i'll go after that. eliquis. eliquis reduces stroke risk better than warfarin and has less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis has both. don't stop taking eliquis without talking to your doctor as this may increase your risk of stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking, you may bruise more easily or take longer for bleeding to stop. get help right away for unexpected bleeding, or unusual bruising. it may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines.
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supreme court justices just finished hearing arguments on a case involving prayer in public schools. pete williams has been listening. i got the rundown on this case a couple minutes ago. she said it seemed pretty obvious how the justices would rule on this. >> yes, i think so. there seems to be a lot of sympathy for this coach even though there are some factual problems. the question is, is what the coach did going to be perceived by the court as an official statement of school policy. that is to say an establishment of religion. could it be viewed as somehow the school was endorsing his religious views. i think the supreme court is going to say no. there's a second question of whether the coach's behavior was endorsement of religion or not, that was somehow coercive, that whether other students felt compelled to join because
coaches have so much power to determine who plays. i think the court was a little more concerned about that, but still didn't think there was enough evidence of it. i say the facts are muddled here, because the coach didn't merely step out silently by himself on the 50 yard line and pray. that's how it started, but crowds began to develop. he at some point invited a state legislature and news coverage. it became a big crowded spectacle. that somewhat muddies the fact here other than a single individual going out and dropping down to one knee. despite those factual problems, i think the supreme court is going to wander through the thicket of all those facts and come out with a decision here, but i don't think this decision opens the door to prayer in school. the court seemed pretty clear that would still be too far. >> i guess the 50 yard line at a football game is fine, but if you step into a classroom
specifically or was it into campus proper, would that be where it crosses a line? would it be over a loud speaker? would that be a crossing of a line? >> loudspeaker has come up in cases before. that clearly would be. if a math teacher says at the beginning of the class, let us pray, that's clearly off limits. i think the concern here is if the math teacher crosses himself before starting to teach or reads the baseball in class beforehand, that's okay. whether a teacher's conduct or a coach's conduct is seen specifically as an endorsement of religion. the supreme court is walking away from that concern in general. it used to be in the past that the court would think government actions like that were simply being neutral. don't favor or disfavor religious views. the current court seems to be
moving more toward any discouraging government action like that is hostile to religion. the wall between the separation of church and state has been brick by brick being disassembled over the past several years. >> pete, thank you very much. that is going to do it for me on this 11:00 a.m. hour. you will see me here all week. i'll be back at 2:00 p.m. eastern right here, of course. first, though, "andrea mitchell reports" starts right now. ♪♪ good day, everyone. this is andrea mitchell reports in washington. as the secretary of state and the secretary of defense redefine the u.s. mission in ukraine following their trip to the war zone to meet face to face with president zelenskyy and top officials in kyiv. american diplomats are going back to ukraine next week and