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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 27, 2022 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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peoples votes. the problem is not institutions, and it's all big governments is, the promise who do they believe is controlling government, and whether or not the people who they want to control it are in control of the government in the united states. controlling government? and whether or not the people they want to control it are in control of the government of the united states of america. >> thank you both. that is all in on this tuesday night. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. gung, rachel. >> good evening, chris. much appreciated. thank you at home for joining us this hour tonight. sort of feels like the news is about the fate of democracy, but it is split screen news on one side of the screen we've got the world stage. where the whole leader of the free world thing started to feel like less of a mantra, less of a concept and more of a real life nuts and bolts job description for the u.s. government. today the u.s. defense secretary lloyd austin convened a meeting
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of dozens, literally dozens of countries from all around the world in support of ukraine. >> we all start today from a position of moral clarity. russia is waging a war of choice to indulge the ambitions of one man. ukraine is fighting a war of necessity to defend its democracy, its sovereignty and its citizens. but the stakes reach beyond ukraine and even beyond europe. russia's invasion is baseless, reckless and lawless. it is an affront to the rules based international order. it is a challenge to free people everywhere. and as we see this morning, nations of goodwill from around the world stand united in our resolve to support ukraine. my trip to kyiv re-enforced my
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admiration for the way that the ukrainian armed forces are deploying these capabilities. ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here. >> ukraine clearly believes it can win, so does everyone here. that was defense secretary lloyd austin speaking today in germany. and i think the most important thing about what he said there is that when he said so does everyone here, the everyone that he's talking about is a really big everyone. he and secretary of state antony blinken convened this meeting today of countries to support ukraine militarily. and this wasn't just a nato meeting. it wasn't even just a meeting of u.s. and our traditional allies. this was dozens of countries. it was from kenya to japan tunisia, iceland, south korea, new zealand. and yes, of course, now
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basically all of europe and all of nato and all of our critical allies. but this was like 40 countries. plus, some that didn't even put their name on the list. domestic news sources in israel, for example, report today that the israeli government attended this meeting as well. even though israel didn't put its name on the list of participants. local reporting suggests there may have been -- more than a few other countries including especially middle eastern countries that did that same thing as well because they want to and they will participate in militarily supporting ukraine even if they don't want to write their name down about it officially because they don't want to officially have to talk about it yet. it's a remarkable thing. this is a very, very large coalition. a very large far-flung coalition convened by the united states in support of ukraine. the biden administration has pulled together a remarkable list of countries. they're going to hold these meetings in a reoccurring way. they're going to do this every
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month while ukraine still needs this much international support. how did they do that? did you remember in 2017 when trump shoved that guy at that conference? do you remember that? that was a nato conference i think it was in belgium. this little country called montenegro, 600,000 people in the whole country, montenegro spent nine years trying to join nato. putin didn't want them to join. putin tried to organize a violent coupe to stop it. russia plotted the assassination of the prime minister. they joined nato. this was their first nato meeting and trump came up behind their prime minister and just shoved him. and then stood right in front of him. the guy like reacted, tried to laugh it off. make some contact with trump. trump wouldn't look at him. shoved him and walked past him, wouldn't look at him, pretended he wasn't there.
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that was how trump treated the newest member of nato right after he was elected in the spring of 2017. putin didn't like that guy. putin didn't want montenegro to join nato. trump just gives him a shove. i'm going to go out on a limb here and say not every u.s. president could have done this same job today, uniting the world in defense of a country being menaced by putin. i'm not sure we would have seen a convening of the free world like this today under the former guy. i'm just going to take a wild guess. but the biden administration has done it. see the u.s. and ukraine flags next to each other there, but 40 countries arrayed in support. tomorrow in eastern ukraine, putin is reportedly going to try to run one of his sham little fake votes in the city of kherson so he can use the supposed results of that vote to provide some pseudo legal window dressing to justify russia taking over that part of ukraine
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as well. putin, you might remember, this is a central part of his play book. he did a version of this same thing in the nation of georgia when he invaded that country in 2008. he's done it already in ukraine when he invaded ukraine previously in 2014 to justify taking parts of ukraine for russia. now he's doing it again in kherson. that's supposedly going to be tomorrow. that may also be what he tries in the next country he appears to have designs on just to the southwest of ukraine in the moldova. russia has 1,500 troops stashed there already in a part of moldova that putin is claiming dominion over just as he's claiming dominion over ukraine and specific parts of the nation of georgia. even as he does that, the rest of the world is really linking arms here in a remarkable way. germany is sending heavy weapons to ukraine for the first time
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since germany's very particular role in world war ii, the world has not looked to germany to do anything like this. germany has not wanted to do it. but in this war against this kind of aggressor, now they say they want to pull their weight as the biggest economy in europe and part of this unified international effort to give ukraine what it needs to actually win this war. finland and sweden had previously wanted to stay militarily independent and out of nato, as we have been covering here on the show. putin's invasion of ukraine has changed that sentiment radically in both of those questions. both of those countries now seem inclined to request nato membership some time soon. what is newly emerging as their strategy is that finland and sweden may seek to do this together. they may make a simultaneous request of nato and it may happen very soon, as soon as next month. today in washington, amid all that sort of unity, all those
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sorts of developments in the world today, there was a sort of collective spit take in washington when republican u.s. senator rand paul told a senate hearing on ukraine today that russia only seems to be in the habit of invading countries that were part of the former soviet union. he implied why should anyone care about that? as i said, sort of collective spit take as senator rand paul made that argument today that we shouldn't care about russia invading ukraine. we should let them do what they want because after all they were part of the soviet union so russia can invade anyone they want as long as they think they have legitimate designs on any other sovereign country. back in 2017 when trump was shoving the prime minister from montenegro right after montenegro got into nato, it was senator rand paul who tried to block a vote on the u.s. okaying montenegro joining nato. john mccain got up on the floor of the senate at the time and said, quote, the senator from
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kentucky is now working for vladimir putin. now today, five years later, that same senator from kentucky is demanding from the u.s. secretary of state why it is that we should stop putin from invading any number of countries, since after all, they're all pretty much his to play with any way. the u.s. is sort of leading the free world on this -- on the international stage. and at home, leading members of the republican party are like, what's so good about the free world? i mean, like i said, it's kind of a split screen night in the news in terms of the fate of democracy. on the world stage we've got what secretary of defense lloyd austin called this moral clarity in helping ukraine defend itself as a democracy that has been invaded. right? this huge and surprising and diverse number of countries around the world now lining up alongside the united states to help them defend their
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democracy. but here at home, the other side of the split screen, i mean, today was another day when we learned how close to toast our own democracy has been thanks to efforts on the right to try to use force to overwhelm our democratic process in this past year. in recent days we learned that republican utah senator mike lee participated avidly in the illegal scheme to try to get states won by joe biden to nevertheless send fake electors to congress so that state's votes would be counted for trump instead of biden in the electoral college. senator mike lee previously denied participating in any such scheme. he said he was shocked, shocked, when he heard about it. thought it was crazy. he was promoting it aggressively to the white house and he himself was personally trying to help pull it off by personally contacting officials in multiple states that had been won by biden to see if there was any way to get their votes counted as if they had been cast for trump instead.
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we have learned as well hot on the heels of those revelations that the white house chief of staff, mark meadows, was advised directly by the white house counsel's office, that scheme was illegal. that scheme involving states won by biden, nevertheless trying to have their votes counted for trump, he was told in no uncertain terms that was illegal. he was reportedly told that multiple times by the white house counsel's office and informed by the white house counsel's office that such a scheme was illegal, he pursued it any way. and we have since learned he wasn't alone. mark meadow's aide, cassidy hutchinson testified to the january 6th investigation that three republican members of congress were present. republican congressman scott perry of pennsylvania, republican congressman matt gaetz of florida and louie gohmert of texas. they were all present when white house lawyers told meadows and them that this scheme involving the states that biden won, that scheme was illegal.
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mr. meadows nevertheless kept trying for it, even after they had all been told it was against the law. cnn reports today that one of those members, scott perry, texted white house chief of staff mark meadows just a few days after the election that the white house needed to have the nsa, the national security administration, immediately seize communications related to voting machines. he that same day texted the white house that the cia was in on some sort of anti-trump plot and the white house needed to act against the cia as well. on the heels of those revelations, tonight new york times reporter jonathan martin and alexander burns released more audio from the immediate aftermath of the january 6th attack. their forthcoming book released on tuesday of next week is apparently going to be accompanied by an absolute trove of incredibly disturbing audio tapes, audio recordings, of republicans speaking among themselves in the immediate aftermath of the january 6th
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attack. including this newly released discussion of how dangerous top republicans believed it was for pro-trump republican members of congress to keep talking in violent terms to violent and insunday yar terms about other members of congress, the way they were in the wake of the january 6th attack. >> okay. the other thing i want to bring up, and i'm making some phone calls to some members, i just got something sent now about news matt gaetz said calling people names out saying anti-trump and this type of atmosphere. some of the other places, this is serious stuff people are doing that have to stop. >> louis's comments a lot of members said real concerning stuff -- >> did they say something today too? >> louis was at -- mo was at the
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rally [ bleep ] names thing at the trump rally. >> this is stuff -- >> okay. >> what did gaetz say? >> hi. gaetz said, on that list specifically? i just saw that on twitter. >> someone just sent -- i'm calling gaetz and explaining to him, i don't know what i'm going to say and have other people call him too, the nature of what -- i'm getting another one from the fbi tomorrow, a brief, this is serious [ bleep ]. cut this out. >> yeah. that's potentially illegal what he's doing. >> well, he's putting people in jeopardy. and he doesn't need to be doing this. we saw what people were doing to the capitol. you know. and these people came prepared. >> we saw what people would do in the capitol. they came prepared with rope,
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with everything else. just before that we heard louisiana republican congressman steve scalise saying about matt gaetz, yeah, that's potentially illegal what he's doing. mccarthy said, well, he's putting people in jeopardy. he doesn't need to be doing this. we saw what people would do in the capitol. people came prepared with rope, with everything else. that audio just released tonight by "the new york times." that's the republican leadership in the house of representatives talking about their own members, how their incendiary calls to violence even against other members of congress were potentially illegal, very concerning, threatening to the point of mr. mccarthy referencing the fbi briefings that he was getting in that same discussion. in addition to that recording tonight released by "the new york times," we also now have the context for what nicholas burns and jonathan martin reported here on this show last week when they described kevin mccarthy expressing exasperation
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that social media companies, twitter, wasn't cutting off the accounts of more republicans beyond just trump as republicans continued to use social media platforms like twitter to call for violence or otherwise say things online that could incite it. here is that tape. >> what did mo brooks say down at that rally, though? [ bleep ] taking names thing is the one that i've seen the most from people. i didn't watch the speech, but -- that's another member sent that to me. he used that term. and louis said like we need to fight or something, right? didn't he say something a couple days out that was horrendous. >> something like that, yes. >> incendiary. >> i mean, you got the max seen waters and all that stuff, too.
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i know the dems are in a very strong position right now to drive a lot of things, but our members have to start paying attention to what they say too and can't put up with that type of [ bleep ]. >> brooks apparently said, today american patriots to start taking down names and kicking [ bleep ]. which i would say is a step further than rhetorical take. >> do you think the president deserves to be impeached for his comments? that's further than what the president said. >> all right. someone give me the info on what they said. have either of them apologized for what they've done? >> i have not seen that anywhere. and there's an issue with alabama, barry moore has said some things today even that we should look at. honestly. >> what did barry say today?
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>> all right. so he deleted his personal twitter account but jamie dupree with the atlanta journal got screen shot. he said about 22 hours ago, wow, we have more arrests for stealing a podium on january 6th than we do for stealing an election from the 3rd, atlanta, philadelphia and detroit would be places i recommend you start. there's video evidence of these crimes as well. #election integrity matters. and then moore also made this tweet on saturday night as the u.s. capitol police officer who shot and killed a woman as he tried to get into the lobby, so he tweeted at marjorie greene, i understand it was a black police officer that shot the white female veteran. you know, that doesn't sit -- >> wow. >> oh, man. >> this is what we have to
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confront with this. >> can't they take their twitter accounts away, too? >> can't they take their twitter accounts away, too? it was a black police officer who shot the white female, says congressman bayerry moore. a gasp follows the call. then mccarthy says can't they take away their twitter accounts too. this tape made on january 10th, four days after the attack on the capitol. kevin mccarthy appears to say about congressman mo brooks, you think the president deserves to be impeached for his comments ahead of the attack on the capitol, january 6th? then describing what congressman mo brooks had said at the same rally where the president spoke before the attack. he said, quote, that's something that goes further than what the president says. they're talking about mo brooks being more culpable than president trump and president trump deserving impeachment for
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what he had said. and then this quote from another alabama congressman barry moore talking about the fact that it was a black police officer who shot a white female. gasp. can't they take their twitter accounts away? after those recordings were published tonight, further illustrating how keenly republicans in leadership were aware that what their own members were doing was going to cause violence, tonight the chairman of the january 6th investigation, democratic congressman betty thompson told reporters that, yes, they really would like to talk to some members of congress for their investigation. yes, in particular they really would like to talk to kevin mccarthy. listen. >> do you want to hear from kevin mccarthy? >> yes. we've invited him to come earlier before the latest revelation that was reported on
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tapes. so, in all probability, he will be issued another invitation to come just like some other members. >> when will that happen? >> soon. >> this week? >> soon. >> voluntary ask mccarthy and the other two republicans there or some new members in that group? >> for sure leader mccarthy. we'll make a decision on any others before the week is out. >> if he doesn't respond to that invitation, second invitation, would you subpoena him at that point? >> well, that'll be a consideration for the committee to decide. >> that was the chair of the january 6th investigation congressman benny thompson saying that the committee will be issuing another invitation to the republican house leader kevin mccarthy for him to come speak with them. you'll recall that the investigation has issued a number of requests, voluntary requests for interviews with
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republican members of congress who appear to be directly implicated in the effort to overthrow the government and reinstall trump in a second term by force. no republican members of congress have agreed to do that, including kevin mccarthy after he was previously invited. they will now say they will invite him a second time following all of these recent revelations about his reaction to the january 6th events. they said that you just heard him say there tonight they'll make a decision when it comes to it, if he rejects a second invitation to testify and decide if he'll get a subpoena instead. joining us now is nicholas wu covering the january 6th for politico. he is one of the reporters listening to benny thompson. thank you for joining us tonts. nice to have you here. >> thanks so much, rachel. >> i feel like today has been a day of sort of -- it's like a snowballing developments in terms of january 6th, particularly related to republican members of congress.
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let me just ask you if the way i described that, if i got anything wrong, or if there's anything important in terms of today's developments that you think i've missed out. >> that's exactly right. we have seen the focus turn back on the house republicans here. and this is going to be something that the committee is going to have to make some big decisions on what exactly they're going to do if they want to actually hear from any of these members of congress. >> in terms of the likelihood of getting to hear from members of congress, we have previously seen requests. i think scott perry might have been the first, that these members should come in and talk, one by one, all of these members have rejected those voluntary requests. we haven't seen subpoenas to members of congress. last night congressman adam schiff on the january 6th investigation, told me that would effectively sort of proverbially blowing up the house of representatives to start subpoenaing members of congress. seems like there's practical considerations there as well,
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though. the committee presumably wants to move fast and have their report out before the election in november while they still have the authority to convene this investigation before the republicans likely take over. is the expectation that any subpoena would just end up with a protracted court battle and might not force a court appearance? >> yes. the problem with the subpoenas is that as the committee has talked about before there could be these legal i issues and forcing one against the member of congress. it's not without precedent for a congressional panel to subpoena another member. we have seen the ethics committee do that in its investigations. but something like this, there is the real possibility it ends up in court. now, the thing is, the committee and congressional democrats could take other members to try to enforce their interview requests. they could try to dock member's pay, for example. but that's a step they haven't taken yet. partly -- there's a concern that, you know, the shoe is on the other foot and republicans
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take control and start their own investigations in the future, this could be turned against democrats. >> let me ask, nicholas, about this specific revelations concerning house republican leader kevin mccarthy. certainly these recent revelations, particularly the audio tape, particularly because he lied about the conduct that was then revealed on the audio tape, has created a political problem for him. it reveals him to have lied about his behavior in the immediate aftermath of this seminal moment in his career, but also made very angry some of the extremists, pro-trump members of congress who he is expressing concerns about, including statements from people like matt gaetz tonight criticizing him politically for having seen himself in such oppositional terms to he and other members at the time. is this materially changing the sort of political landscape of kevin mccarthy's leadership in the republican party? if the republicans do well in
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the midterm elections, he is expected to be their contender for speaker. is this putting that in doubt? >> at the end of last week it looked like kevin mccarthy's aspirations to be speaker were in at least some trouble. as revelations of this dribbled out, you did see criticism from some influential members of former president trump's inner circle. steve bannon said the cardinal sin for mccarthy to deny what was caught to be on tape. then you saw some of these members of congress, matt gaetz, publicly criticize the republican leader. this week, however, by now mccarthy and trump have talked. it looks like they made up in some ways. and while last week a lot of republicans were in kind of wait and see mode to see what mccarthy would say, what trump would say, mccarthy seems to have solidified his own standing here. my colleagues reported this evening that mccarthy held a
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leadership meeting and basically papered over a lot of this with his lieutenants and they were on unity over what's happening and are trying to win the majority. so kind of remains to be seen, though, how this is going to shake out. if republicans end up with a sizable majority next year, mccarthy will probably have a pretty easy path to the speakership. however, if it's a narrow majority, and you still have a vocal pro-trump faction that might vote against mccarthy, then this could cause problems for him. >> nicholas wu covers congress for politico. thanks for your help with these developing stories tonight, nicholas. great to have you here. >> thanks so much for having me. all right. so wise point that mr. wu was making there at the end about the size of the democratic -- size of the republican majority. if they do, in fact, win the majority in the midterm elections, if it's a very narrow majority, then you're going to have entities like the far right pro-trump freedom caucus, right,
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playing a significant role just as any faction in a narrow majority can play a significant role in terms of deciding who is going to get the leadership and who will be blocked by block action in terms of keeping somebody out of the top spot. when you're thinking about that dynamic, i'll give you one thing to keep in mind, if the freedom caucus is going to play the pro-trump spoiler role in terms of who is going to lead the congress who is going to lead the republican party if they get the majority, the leader of the freedom caucus is scott perry, right, he is in leadership in the freedom caucus and also the one who has recently been implicated specifically in trying to put a guy at the top of the justice department who would declare it legal for the states to send fake electors to the electoral college and also specifically been implicated in recent days in the plan to try to get the mob to move from the ellipse physically to the capitol as the votes were being counted. so, if he's going to play the power broker in terms of who gets to lead the republican
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party, then it's going to be something. much more to get to here tonight. stay with us.
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my fellow xfinity customers. hi tim. the biggest week in entertainment is almost here. watchathon week presented by xfinity rewards. with free access to stranger things from netflix. the boys from prime video. hbo max, starz, and peacock. just say watchathon into your voice remote and get ready to watch. i love you. i love you. i love you all. my fellow xfinity customers. hi tim. the biggest week in entertainment is almost here. watchathon week presented by xfinity rewards. with free access to stranger things from netflix. the boys from prime video. hbo max, starz, and peacock. just say watchathon into your voice remote
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and get ready to watch. i love you. i love you. i love you all. so the list is a little bit daunting. this is the covid list of sort of boldfaced political names who have contracted covid just in the past few weeks. speaker of the house nancy pelosi, the assistant speaker of the house congresswoman katherine clark of massachusetts. republican senator susan collins of maine. raphael warnock of georgia. merrick garland, president biden's sister val. tom vilsack, first lady jill biden's press secretary, vice president kamala harris's communication director, congressman adam schiff, joaquin castro, peter defaz owe of oregon. and derek killmore of washington.
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eric adams. muriel bowser. senator chris murphy of connecticut. i mean, it is a remarkable list in just these past few weeks. this isn't even a complete list of the boldfaced political names who tested positive for covid in just the past few weeks. as of today, we can add vice president kamala harris to the expanding list. the vice president tested positive for covid today. the positive test result reportedly came back just before she was set to go into the oval office to sit with the president for the president's daily brief. her office says that vice president harris has not been near the president in person for an extended period of time recently. so president biden is not considered to be a close contact of her's for this infection. white house further announced that vice president harris will be working from her official residence while she isolates, according to cdc guidelines. she won't be going into work at the white house. perhaps most importantly, lirl today, the white house, the vice president had not experienced
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any symptoms. she was asymptomatic completely when it comes to this infection. i should point out, of all the big names on that list we just mentioned, none of them reportedly experienced severe illness. none of them appears to have been hospitalized. even the real old ones, some symptoms, yes. but scary bad symptoms and having to go to the hospital, none of them, as far as we know. and not coincidentally, all of them are vaccinated, fully vaccinated. the vice president just got her second booster dose 25 days ago. as we know now, as our understanding of this virus and the vaccines have evolved over time, we know that any vaccination schedule cannot 100% prevent you from getting infected. you can still get a positive test result, but if you are fully vaccinated, your positive test result is much, much, much, much more likely to be associated with only mild
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symptoms no, severe illness, with you not having to go to the hospital. thank you, vaccines. and we should note that this evidence about the efficacy of vaccines comes as the white house is just starting a new push to do more to protect us against the risk of severe illness in covid. today the white house outlined plans to increase usage of the anti-viral pill developed by pfizer that's called paxlovid. this is a drug you take for five days. it reduces hospitalizations and deaths in people who are at high risk of hospitalization or death. reduces the chance of those things by 90%. the thing is you have to take this drug. you have to take paxlovid early, within hopefully three days or maybe five days at least of symptoms starting. the administration purchased 20 million courses of that treatment, but not enough americans are getting access to it, especially in time given that you need to take it early. now the administration is increasing the number of locations where people who need the drug can go and get it and
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make sure all of the treatments get to the people who need them rather than sitting on the shelf, that we learned tonight includes people like the vice president, kamala harris, the white house has just said that she was prescribed paxlovid today. we don't know if that means vice president harris had progressed from being asymptomatic this morning and maybe she started to experience symptoms. it's possible they decided to describe her paxlovid while she was asymptomatic. we do not know, but we were told this morning that she was positive, that she was asymptomatic and prescribed paxlovid and again that is something that you take -- it's not something you only take if you're very sick. you take that at the outset of symptoms. on the op of that, the white house is pushing congress to pass a bill to fund more treatments like paxlovid as well as more vaccines and more boosters. they're warning if congress doesn't pass that quickly, we could run short on all those tools to fight covid. but all of this proceeding pace. we'll keep our eye out from the
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white house about the vice president's condition. watch this space. watch this space fe insurance through the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85, and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three ps. what are the three ps? the three ps of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price. a price you can afford, a price that can't increase, and a price that fits your budget. i'm 54, what's my price? you can get coverage for $9.95 a month. i'm 65 and take medications. what's my price? also $9.95 a month. i just turned 80, what's my price? $9.95 a month for you too. if you're age 50 to 85, call now about the #1 most popular whole life insurance plan available through the colonial penn program. it has an affordable rate
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i'm going to show you a video here that is a little bit hard to watch. so if you are not inclined to see something like that or if you're watching with kids, this is your fair warning if you want to look away for a minute. okay. here it is. this is security video from the san fernando courthouse in los angeles county. this video was obtained by "the
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la times." and it shows prisoner, man in handcuffs, you see in the blue trousers there in the white colored shirt. it starts with him punching an l.a. county sheriff's deputy and you see him get wrestled to the ground. then one of the deputies that wrestled him to the ground puts his knee on the prisoner's head and continues to kneel on his head for three solid minutes. which left that man on the ground alive, thankfully, but pretty well beat up. and if there's elements of that video that feel familiar to you it's important to note the timing here. that incident took place last year on march 10th. march 10th, 2021, which happens to have been two days after jury selection started in the very highly publicized trial of derek chauvin, the minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering george floyd, specifically by kneeling for minutes on end on the neck of
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george floyd. well, it was a reporter at "the la times" who published this video last month, along with reporting, alleging that the l.a. county sheriff's department, upened to and including the sheriff himself attempted to cover up the incident because they feared the negative light this incident could shed on the department. the sheriff himself has maintained that he didn't know about this until months after it happened. he says he didn't cover anything up. he said he relieved the deputy of duty immediately after he became aware of what had happened. well, yesterday that same l.a. times reporter added to the story. reporting that an l.a. county sheriff's department commander had filed a new legal claim, contesting all those denials from the sheriff. alleging specifically that the sheriff had viewed a video of the incident just five days after it occurred, not eight months later, which is what he claimed. the commander further alleges that sheriff vil know way va
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said to the video he watched the video with, quote, we do not need bad media at this time. so, "the la times" publishes the disturbing video. the sheriff says i had no idea. we didn't cover that up. as soon as i found out about it, i took action. a commander on his own force says, that is not true. you absolutely knew about it. and you did cover it up. that's where the story stood as of yesterday. where it went today is absolutely bananas. because today l.a. county sheriff convened a press conference to dispute all this reporting. and what he did at this press conference, that is now causing a fresh round of headlines, is he got up at this press conference today in person and he put up a big poster for everyone to see. poster had three large photos on it. one on the right is "the la times" journalist who did this reporting. also, another photo is one of his political rivals for the elected position of l.a. county sheriff and the third photo was
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the l.a. sheriff department inspector general, who investigates things like this. the reason you put up the photo of those three the sheriff announced all three are subjects of a criminal investigation into how "the la times" reporter got that security footage. they're all the subjects of a criminal investigation now by his office. he says they're all being investigated now for possible felonies, like conspiracy and burglary and unauthorized use of a data base. he put up this list of potential crimes. all while "the la times" reporter was in the front row covering the press conference for this paper. while the sheriff puts up her picture as a possible perpetrator who his office is going after. this decision by the sheriff today to announce a criminal investigation into this reporter, certainly look like retaliation. the executive editor of the l.a. times put out this statement tonight citing the sheriff's attempt to criminalize news
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reporting, saying it goes against well established constitutional law. we will vigorously defend her rights in any proceeding or investigation brought by authorities. this story started off bad in los angeles. today it took a very, very dark turn. more ahead. stay with us. dark turn more ahead stay with us
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today in something that feels like a bad plot line from
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some distant authoritarian county, the los angeles county sheriff convened a press conference to announce he was opening a criminal investigation into an l.a. times reporter who has been reporting recently on a scandal in his office. he put up a big picture of her in the press conference as he sat there in the front row covering the press conference. the l.a. county sheriff's department's announcement it launched a criminal investigation into a journalist because of her reporting is appalling. this blatantly retaliatory conduct aimed at "the la times" and its reporter is beyond the pale and violates the first amendment. publishing newsworthy information about an alleged law enforcement cover up that sought to block an investigation, into the use of excessive force is constitutionally protected activity. joining us now is katie townsend, legal director at the reporter's committee for the freedom of the press. miss townsend, i appreciate you
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making time to be with us tonight. thank you. >> thanks for having me, rachel. >> so, if she were to call the reporter's committees free legal hotline to ask for advice here, what advice would you give her in this circumstance? >> well, i think i would say first off there's long-standing legal authority, including a supreme court landmark decision that makes clear that journalists and news organizations can't be held criminally liable for publishing material about a matter of public concern. it doesn't matter whether the video at issue that you played earlier, rachel, is confidential. it doesn't matter if it was leaked to the los angeles times. the constitution doesn't permit a criminal prosecution for receiving and publishing it. the sheriff's department should know that and it shouldn't be threatening a criminal investigation as retaliation for that constitutionally protected activity. >> threatening and retaliation are the key words there.
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my understanding from the sort of political reputation of the sheriff here who is as i mentioned running for re-election is that he may like this sort of lawless image this creates about him and the sort of screw the first amendment -- screw the press kind of image that this creates of him, creates for him. but i wonder if he is getting some unexpected blow back. i hope and expect the l.a. times is pushing back with all its got here. is the sheriff maybe biting off more than he can chew in terms of what part of the u.s. constitution he's messing with by doing this. >> rachel, i like to think that this sort of conduct would receive widespread condemnation, not just from members of the press which we have seen but really from members of the public. the reporter targeted with this threat reported on an alleged coverup of a video tape incident which a deputy kneeled on the head of a handcuffed inmate for approximately three minutes. the public needs that kind of
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reporting to hold law enforcement accountable and the public should be outraged by the sheriff's department attempt to silence that reporting. >> katie townsend is deputy executive director and legal director of reporters committee for freedom of the press which is absolutely invaluable organization in our democracy, ms. townsend. thank you very much for being with us tonight. please keep us apprised of this story. it's astonishing. thank you. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. thank you. >> thank you >> we'll be right back
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the rachel maddow show burst its proverbial banks. "way too early" with jonathan lemire is up next. ♪♪ breaking news overnight, russia takes direct aim at the european economy, cutting off gas supplies to poland and bulgaria. kyiv is calling it, quote, gas blackmail after a new pledge from the west to keep supplying ukraine with heavy weapons. we'll get a live report. plus, more tapes of house minority leader kevin mccarthy's private conversations with republican leaders. this time expressing worry that his member's rhetoric could incite more violence after january 6th. and, vice president kamala harris tests positive for covid-19 as