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tv   Hallie Jackson Reports  MSNBC  May 13, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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inedible things. ♪ today, world leaders hard at work over the ukraine crisis. in germany, foreign ministers from the g-7 meeting today plotting a path forward on support for ukraine. also, there are now two new countries gunning for nato membership. president biden talking to the leaders of finland and sweden today, after they announced they want to join the alliance. and for the first time since russia's invasion began, top defense officials from that country and the u.s. speaking by phone in the hopes of opening up a new line of communication. inside ukraine itself, prosecutors holding the first war crimes trial over a russian soldier they say shot and killed an innocent civilian. also this hour, the surprise
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senate surge. our exclusive interview with the republican who's giving a late jolt to the pennsylvania primary and how the two front-runners are trying to make sure that kathy barnette is not the party's nominee. and the fda saying that a fix to the baby formula shortage is now a priority. but how did we get here in the first place? we're talking about this with the chair of the appropriations committee, congressman rosa delauro is here live. good afternoon. i'm garrett haake in washington. i want to bring in our panel following the latest in ukraine. we have nbc news foreign correspondent, matt bradley in kharkiv, ukraine for us. mike memoli is near the white house. and courtney kube is with us from the pentagon. and matt, as we note, you're following those blackout safety rules we so often talk about. the first war crimes trial of this conflict opened earlier today. what can you tell us about the prosecution that ukrainians are bringing forth here?
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>> it's really interesting, because this is a russian soldier who were captured in war. and he's being tried in a criminal court. he's being tried essentially as a civilian, and he could face 10 to 15 years. now, we saw him in court for the first time today. he appeared and was undoubtedly a bulletproof glass box, which would be standard for a defendant in a case like this in ukraine. it's not any like particularly cruel or unusual appearance. and it seems as though, you know, we heard from his attorneys, who were court pointed, that he wanted a trial by judge or a decision by a judge, not by a jury, and he decided not to give a plea. he didn't say he was innocent, he was pleading innocent or guilty. so, really, this was just a pretrial appearance. and the details of the case are somewhat interesting. somewhat typical of what we're seeing here in ukraine, of a war crime. he shot dead a man, a sichl, who was 62 years old, who was riding his bicycle and speaking on the
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phone. he shot him right in the head, apparently on the orders of a superior officer after he and his comrades had commandeered a car at gunpoint. but the really interesting thing here is, again, that he's been tryinged in this civilian court and it just goes to show that this prisoner of war, the way he's being treated, it's almost as if the ukrainians are putting their own system on trial or on display, trying to show that they will mete out justice for people that is fair and reasonable and considered. so he got his day in court. and he will get his other days in court. this is a man, a young man who it sounds like can expect to be heard. and that is something that the ukrainians are right to say. they want this message to go out. that they are going to be, you know, reasonable, when it comes to meting out justice and that they're not going to resort to lynch mobs or anything like that, even though the temptation here, obviously, is very great. there's so much hatred in this country for russians, especially those who are accused of war crimes.
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this really is a precedent-setting trial. garrett? >> very interesting stuff. matt bradley in kharkiv. matt, thank you. mike, we know the president today had a 37-minute call with the leaders of finland and with sweden. what are we learning about that conversation and the u.s.' attitude towards those two countries potentially joining nato? >> yeah, this is such an interesting conversation to learn that the president had today, garrett. because there has been a debate during this crisis in ukraine about whether nato's enlargement was part of the problem here. that russia has fell threatened by the fact that ukraine has expressed its desire to join that defensive alliance. well, now you have the two countries, including one that shares a rather large border with russia, now expressing their interest in potentially joining that alliance. we saw earlier this week that the british prime minister, boris johnson, spoke and was announcing a securitying anment that would be sort of a precursor to those countries potentially joining the alliance. what the white house has said is that they certainly would welcome an application for a nato membership by these two
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countries. nato has an open-door policy for such countries to apply. the question is whether they would meet the qualifications. and sweden and finland have a much stronger case than ukraine did from the start. the issue at this point now is whether some of the other current nato members would oppose their entry, and there has been concern based on recent comments from turkey that they might actually oppose this step. the white house was asked today, jen psaki in her final briefing today by our colleague, peter alexander, about turkey's opposition. she said that they are working to clarify turkey's exact position. this would be a major potential hurdle. but clearly the white house signaling their support for those two countries surrounding nato. >> and while all of this was going on, you have this foreign ministers meeting in germany, this special g-7 meeting. you have the president holding a summit with asian countries at the white house today. obviously, the president would love to focus more on the threat posed by china. that's what he ran on.
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but you have ukraine in the background. how does the white house have to balance both of these things. and if you say "walk and chew gum at the same time," you have to put a quarter in the jar. >> i will avoid doing that. but you have the current leaders of the g-7 group meeting in germany, that's about laying the groundwork for a leaders-level summit scheduled for the end of june in the same country there in germany that president biden will likely be attending. they want to have deliverables. that's likely to be a series of meetings, including a nato meeting that follows it, all about the future of ukraine. but the president is indeed meeting today with the leaders of asean countries, that's an alliance that has really throughout its existence been about -- especially recently for the two democratic presidents, biden and obama, trying to counter the rise of china in the region. but we know that that meeting is also today about questions about russia. that's an interesting development. these are countries in the asean alliance that have, for instance, received military equipment. they have had relationships with russia. these are countries that have
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not joined the west largely about speaking out about russia's incursions. there's a hope on the part of the white house that they'll be able to issue some sort of joint statement that will be representing a stronger stand, let's say, on the part of the asean countries, but this has been an issue front and center, as the president himself is preparing to make his first trip to asia next week. plans to visit south korea and japan. >> japan and finland both fought their own wars against russia in the last hundred years or so. courtney kube, for the first time since the start of the invasion, we know the pentagon really wanted this call to take place. what do they feel like they got out of it. >> that's right. it's been about three months since the two men speak. that's not because the pentagon wasn't reaching out and trying to get the russians on the phone. so today for the first time, we found out that secretary austin was successful. the pentagon reached out to the
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russian ministry earlier this week. they were able to schedule this call. secretary austin initiated it, according to a senior defense official, and it lasted about an hour. we don't know a whole lot about what was discussed, with the exception of the fact that a readout of the call from pentagon press secretary john kirby says that secretary austin urged a cease-fire. he urged the russians to engage in a cease-fire in ukraine. and he talked about the importance of ongoing conversations between the two. that's one of the things that the pentagon is really hoping to get out of this a. a senior defense official said, we didn't have any big changes, with the exception that now we hope we have a foot in the door, the russians will continue to take these calls going forward. one thing we'll all be watching in the coming days is whether that foot in the door opens the possibility for chairman of the joint chiefs, chairman general mark milley, to speak to his russian counterpart, general gerasimov.
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before the invasion, those two men spoke on a relatively frequent basis. they were known to have a pretty open conversation, line of communication. since the invasion, general milley has reached out to him a number of times, according to defense officials, and his counterpart has not responded. one of the other big questions, though, is general gerasimov in good health. there was a report that he was in a town called izyum and may have been injured. but will this open the door for more communication between the two sides going forward. >> a phone call, secretary austin will not convince the russians to stop the war in a phone call. is this mostly about deconfliction here? >> reporter: so there's a separate channel for what the military calls a tactical deconfliction. that's literally what's happening on the ground. the potential for any kind of a military-to-military interaction is to stop that. and the russians, that's one place where the russians actually have been answering the
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phone, on about a daily basis, the u.s. reaches out and the russians pick up the phone on the other line. but there hasn't been any cause to actually use that deconfliction phone line. they've only been testing it. and one of the things that we did learn here today is that, you know, the u.s. has announced that this massive troop deployment that we saw over a number of weeks, in advance of and after the invasion began, u.s. troops flowing into the region, well, that is here to stay, at least for the time being. today, pentagon press secretary john kirby announcing that another 10,500 u.s. troops will deploy from the united states into eastern europe. these are one-for-one rotational deployments. that means it won't be an actual increase in the u.s. footprint in the area. they'll still be somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100,000 total troops there. but these soldiers will be coming from here in the u.s., about 5,000, just under 5,000 will be coming from ft. campbell, a headquarters unit, and a brigade of the 101st air
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born. and one brigade combat team both from texas, from ft. bliss and ft. hood. they'll deploy some time this summer with several months deployment, most likely for all of them, garrett. >> going to be there a while. thank you both for starting us off. coming up, an exclusive interview with the gop senate hopeful making a late surge in pennsylvania. how she's gone from a virtual nobody to a virtual front-runner. and why former president trump is not a fan. plus, the move putting mike pence at odds with his one-time boss. who the former vp is choosing to campaign with ahead of a new key primary. and later, the new ruling down in texas allowing the state to investigate parents of transgender kids for possible child abuse. where that legal battle goes next. child abuse. where that legal battle goes where that legal battle goes next ...with rinvoq. rinvoq a once-daily pill can dramatically improve symptoms... rinvoq helps tame pain, stiffness, swelling.
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in just the past few hours, there has opinion a flurry of activity by congress and the
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biden administration to respond to the nation's baby formula shortage. this afternoon, speaker nancy pelosi announced that there will be two house hearings looking into the crisis, one next week by the appropriations committee and one the following week by energy and commerce. the house oversight committee has also announced it's launching an investigation. now, this all comes as the fda said today, it plans to announce next week how companies can import baby formula from other countries. we hear from white house press secretary about this just a short time ago. >> we have a very high level of, you know, fda approval processes, to ensure that we have the best formula that is safe for babies. and of course, whatever formula would be imported would meet those standards. this import step would be not forever or necessarily even long-term. it's just to address the current need. >> i'm joined now by congresswoman rosa delauro, the chair of the house appropriations committee. congresswoman, let me start off there.
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your reaction to the fda saying that they're going to get ready to allow imported baby formula. good first step? >> listen, it's a first step being generated by the congress i'm going to introduce at the beginning of the week a supplemental appropriation so that, in fact, what we can do is to import infant formula from fda-approved facilities in europe. we need to move very quickly, for the short supply that we have now. think about it. you have parents who are frantic and trying to figure out how, in fact, they are going to get infant formula for their babies, especially those who have digestive issues, and they need to have specific kinds of formula. but we are moving on that immediately, and at the same time, we want to let parents know that this is not a supply issue and it's a supply issue in food safety. we want to make sure that they
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understand that we want to protect them from the contaminated product that was on the market from abbott nutrition. that is one of the reasons for the shortage, is that product, which was -- and the report on that contamination went to the fda in october, and nothing happened until, you know, a december interview. and nothing happened again until the product was pulled off the market in february. thereby creating the shortage. >> so was the fda asleep at the switch here? is that part of how we got into this problem? i'm right to figure out how goat into a situation where problems at one plant basically means the entire country has to scramble to feed its kids. >> well, you put your finger on the issue here. we have such a consolidated industry in terms of infant formula, where you have one company, one manufacturer, abbott nutrition in sturgess, michigan, who has cornered the market.
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and they have the contract and they have the contract for the wic program, so that they're very -- there are probably only four infant formula manufacturers. so nobody else is competing. that needs to get changed. that's one of the reasons that consolidation of the industry is one of the reasons that we find ourselves in this situation, because when it was determined that, in fact, it was selling a contaminated product, where they provided an accurate information to the fda in terms of an audit, where they were testing empty bottles instead of making sure there were seals, on tight seals on their containers, where there was a lack of cleanliness, with regard to producing the product. all of that under investigation. not only are we going to do the supplemental appropriation at the beginning of the week, but we are also -- i have a hearing
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on the 1th with the food and drug administration, under the jurisdiction of congressman sanford bishop -- >> what are you hoping to learn in that hearing? >> well, we want to find out why. what is the reason? why did this happen? >> there should be no excuse that knowing in october that you have a problem and not recalling a product until february. and by the way, at least two infants died. and several hospitalized. think of the parents who are -- >> congresswoman -- >> go ahead. >> do you have confidence in the leadership of the fda right now? >> what i want to do is get to the bottom of this issue. i want to get to the bottom of the issue with the fda. and i want to get to the bottom of the issue with abbott nutrition. and then we can make a determination of the accountability on this and where that takes us. >> some of your fellow lawmakers have suggested that this might be a place for the defense
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production act to be put into use. obviously, the country got introduced to this concept early on in the covid crisis, the idea of, you know, ramping up ppe production. would that be an appropriate use of that act now to help replenish baby formula on shelves? or do the lack of suppliers make that not really possible? >> let me just say this. that was one of the first things i investigated when this occurred. and we find out that we are unable to use the defense production act the way it's currently constructed and that we would -- that there are a lot of legal dimensions to that. which we can't deal with right now. so it is not a viable alternative at the moment. >> i've got one more question for you on a different topic before we let you go. we're looking at a lot of different protests planned all over the country this weekend, as part of the fallout from that leaked supreme court draft decision on roe v. wade potentially being overturned. how do you see democrats right to harness the energy of the
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protest movement here to make this a midterm issue and actually something that you could potentially successfully legislate around? i know you did in the house, but in the senate in the next congress? >> well, i think you used the word "harnessing," i think that there is a spontaneous reaction nationwide on this issue. and, yes, the public is understanding that what the court did or allegedly what they have done, and we'll see what happens in june, is to take away the constitutional rights that women have to choose when to have children. and make no mistake about it. this is an assault on women's hale. fundamentally, an assault on women's health. so, yes, democrats are speaking out all over the country, because we need to. why? because we have a path to legislation in the house. we need to bring to bear to pass the legislation in the senate.
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and we have, on the other side of the aisle on this, no interest in doing anything to preserve a woman's right to choose, of when she can have children. the trust and respect for women and making judgments about their lives, they don't really care about. and further, day don't much care about what happens to children after they are born. and making sure that they are qualitily chaired for. >> chairwoman of rosa delauro of connecticut, we've got to leave it there. i suspect i'll see you at that hearing next week. >> you will. up next, the interview you will only see here, with that possible spoiler in the state's senate republican primary. plus, what the white house and state department are saying after a wnba star is order held for at least another month in russia. r is order held for at least another month in russia and in it. mostly. here to meet those high standards
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vote dan o'dowd for u.s. senate. you see, son, with a little elbow grease, you can do just about anything. thanks, dad. that's right, robert. and it's never too early to learn you could save with america's number one motorcycle insurer. that's right, jamie. but it's not just about savings. it's about the friends we make along the way. you said it, flo. and don't forget to floss before you brush. your gums will thank you. -that's right, dr. gary. -jamie? sorry, i had another thought so i got back in line. what was it? [ sighs ] i can't remember. we're back with an update on one of the most closely-watched races in the country, that's that republican primary for governor down in georgia, which is pitting former president donald trump now against his former vice president, mike pence. it's just been announced that pence will be the headliner for a rally for republican governor brian kemp a day before the may
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24th primary. donald trump, of course, is backing his opponent, senator david perdue in what has been a heated contest. nbc's blayne alexander is following this race for us from atlanta. so blayne, the pence endorsement, the latest example of the former vp breaking from his former boss. how do you see this playing here? does a pence endorsement help brian kemp? >> you know what's so interesting, garrett, not only is this him going against the trump-endorsed candidate, but this is somebody for more than a year now, since before the former president left office, has been withstanding withering criticism from president trump, saying in some cases that even stacey abrams would be a better choice than brian kemp as governor, of course, a democratic candidate. this is really a massive statement that mike pence is coming down to georgia on election eve to stand side by side with him and get people out to vote for him. now, i want to read a little bit about what mike pence said in his statement earlier today. this was a full-throated
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endorsement of brian kemp. he said, brian kemp is my friend, a man dedicated to faith, family, and the people of georgia. i'm proud to offer my full support for four more years for brian kemp for the governor of the great state of georgia. this sets up an interesting pallet of the proxies here between president trump and his former vice president. so i spent the for the part of this week traveling across the great state of georgia, going to a kemp event, going to a perdue event and talking to the supporters there. and across the board, everyone i spoke to is a supporter of president trump. they voted for him before, don't have a bad word to say about him, but when i spoke to those in kemp's camp, they are very strong for the support of the governor. right now, he's got more than a double-digit lead over his challenger according to the latest poll. and when i spoke to kemp supporters, they told me they love him, they love his record, and they believe in some cases
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he's being unfairly attacked by former president trump when it comes to the election issues of 2020. on the perdue side, all of them, in some form, when they may have spoken favorably of perdue, they all went immediately to the election of 2020. one woman said that she believes the election was stolen. so it's interesting to see the split and with people believe when it comes to the 2020 election. >> it's really one issue that brian kemp is not in lockstep with donald trump. and in the battle to control the u.s. senate, the pennsylvania republican primary race is now a three-way contest with just days to go until tuesday's voting. the latest polling shows donald trump backed mehmet oz with a narrow two-point lead over former hedge fund manager david mccormack. that's a statistical tie. that's within the margin of error. you also see a late surge by conservative commentator kathy barnette, making this a three-way race. it's a fight to the finish.
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and also making barnette a target. nbc's dasha burns is in lancaster county, pennsylvania, with her exclusive interview of kathy barnette. so dasha, you had a chance to sit down with barnette, how does she explain this recent surge? >> garrett, look, this is a major twist in the 11th hour in what may be the highest stake race of the midterms. we spoke with her back in february, where she kind of foreshadowed this a little bit. she told me back then, look, you've got these two front-runners right now, the media is only paying attention to them. they're spending a ton of money, but they're from out of state, they're megarich. and when i'm in these rooms with voters, i get the sense that people are looking for something different. and as i've been on the ground here in pennsylvania talking to voter for months now, i have felt that resistance from a lot of folks to oz, despite the trump endorsement, and to
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mccormack, despite having so many former trump aides in his campaign. and having endorsements from ted cruz, from mike pompeo, from hope hicks. i've been sensing that voters were kind of looking for that third option, and now looking at these numbers, it might seem like barnette could be it. she is really surging here. and she's kind of, if you're looking for the ultra-maga candidate, she has been out there continuing to lean into claims that 2020 election was fraudulent, leaning into her staunch stance on abortion, anti-abortion, no exceptions, right? and now she is rising, and of course, when you are becoming a front-runner, you're going to get those attacks, and those are coming, including from former president trump. he recently put out a statement saying that kathy barnette cannot win in the general election. he also said, though, that if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the
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republican party. and i will be behind her all the way. so i asked barnette her response to the president's statement. take a listen to what she told me. >> in the second paragraph, but if she should get through, she's going to have a wonderful career. and i will be there to support her, he said. and we know that president trump does not mix boards. he's a very straight shooter. and i look forward to working with the president. >> why do you think he said the first part -- >> because he's made an endorsement. and so, i mean, he's going to stick with that endorsement. >> yeah, garrett, we've been talking about how pennsylvania might be the biggest trump test yet in terms of his influence within the republican party, but you look at what's happening now, i mean, really, it's anyone's game, anything could happen in the coming days, and it's going to be a nail biter going into tuesday, garrett. >> all right, dasha, stacking exclusive on top of exclusive. jonathan, you know, we mentioned
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in the intro here, barnette's now getting attacked by her fellow republicans. you write that the knives are coming out for her. i want to hear what we're hearing from her rivals. >> what do we really know about kathy barnette? she supported the george floyd protest, and opposed trump saying, i was not a trumper. we can't trust trumpy for senate. >> barnette is a mystery. she's -- no one really understands much about her. she's not answering questions about her record. and what i do know concerns me. >> i think it's fascinating to see these last-second oppo dumps here. what will you be watching for in the last seconds of this campaign? >> we should note that some of these comments they're playing are out of context, and that's because no one has researched her to any extent. the campaigns are on the fly, doing the kind of research that
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would normally be unschooled over months and months of a campaign. they're doing basic research on her background, where she's lived, where she went to school, things like that. i think we're waiting to see, can her momentum take her over the top? can she really beat these two folks who have spent between them and their allies well over $50 million. and she's really working on a shoestring budget. has she hit a ceil at this point, or does she have that momentum that's going to carry her past both of them in the final days, before anyone is really able to respond to her in the way that would have happened if this surge had come four to five weeks ago. >> and i'm told oz is on the stump, beating up on barnette, even as we speak. we've got to leave it there, but thank you for breaking that down. i suspect this won't be the last we talk about kathy barnette and the surge in pennsylvania. coming up next, why wnba star brittney griner's stay is
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here's a look at some of the other top stories we're following right now. we are waiting on a ruling from a louisiana federal judge on lifting title 42. that trump-era health policy that allowed migrants to be more quickly expelled from the country. 20 homes have now been destroyed and nearly a dozen damaged as wildfires rage through beachside mansions in orange county, california. and in israel, israeli police attacking a group of mourners carrying the coffin of palestinian american journalist shirin abu akla at her funeral. she was fatally shot wednesday covering an idf raid in the west bank. joining us now from jerusalem is nbc news foreign correspondent,
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raf sanchez in jerusalem president biden just commented on this, saying that it needs to be investigated, what happened at the funeral today. but tell us, what's going on on the ground now. how are people reacting to what we all just saw play out? >> garrett, there is real shock and horror here in jerusalem. i have covered a lot of funerals here. i have never seen anything like what happened today. just to set the scene, this went down at a hospital where the body of shireen abu akleh was being held. authorities were not going to allow that. there was a standoff in the courtyard of the hospital and that standoff escalates to the point where israeli police are using night sticks to hit the
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pallbearers. israeli police saying in a statement that they were responding to rock throwing by that palestinian crowd. now, they have released drone footage from the hospital. it does show one man at the edge of the crowd who's throwing what appears to be a bottle at israeli police officers, but that footage does not explain why those officers start attacking the pallbearers themselves, who can't be throwing anything, because they're holding this dead woman in that coffin. i spoke earlier to a palestinian human rights lawyer and i asked her what she made of the events of the day. >> the fact that they wouldn't let a procession go from the hospital through the streets of jerusalem, the city that she loved the most in palestine, they try to control our lives and they try to control our death and our mourning. that's what it means to live under israeli military rule. >> garrett, al jazeera say that shireen abu akela was killed by
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israeli troops on wednesday. they did release preliminary findings from an investigation today. they say there are two possibilities. one that abu akleh were killed by palestinian gunman who were firing hundreds of rounds indiscriminately, but they were also acknowledging for the first time that the fatal shot may have been fired by an israeli soldier. they say they are not yet in a position to reach a final conclusion. garrett? >> raf, thank you. we'll dip into an event happening now at the white house in the rose garden where president biden is talking about local and community safety, but he's also addressing this baby formula crisis. let's listen. >> that's why the fda has to go through the process. >> mr. president, i'm so sorry to take you to so far. i'm going to ask a question about africa, because recently, you sent your deputy secretary of state to africa. she visit three countries, gabon, angola and south africa. in angola, she spoke with the president and when she gave her report to the media, she said
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that she's been seen angola many progress in terms of human rights, fighting corruption, and better business environment for the american investment environment. >> i'm waiting for her report. i've been on the phone with president of south africa at length on those same issues and i've been on the phone and have been in contact with other african leaders. there is a need for a significant increase in focusing on human rights and not abusing human rights, but there's also a need for us to -- what we're doing is trying to figure out how can we help african countries accommodate the changes that they have to make in terms of their -- to deal with their environmental problems as well as dealing with infrastructure problems. and so, i convinced the g-7 to agree that we would putting to a program where we would advance economic nations of the world
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would provide the kind of resources without any strings attached to increase environment capacity, as well as dealing with other problems in african nations. there's a billion people. we're working very hard to try to get hold of that. >> are you visiting -- >> i'm only going to keep them standing here another few minutes. >> i'll make it quick. >> they came for a press conference, right, guys? >> thank you, sir, appreciate your time. i want to ask you what further executive action are you considering to do police reform. you know that's pretty much stalled in congress right now. and i want to ask you another question if i can on foreign relations. you spoke with both the leaders of sweden and finland today. what's your message to president putin after essentially those threats that he gave at least to finland? >> with regard to the second question, i'm not going to go into the detail of my private conversations with the president of sweden and finland except that we had a good conversation and i expressed their interests
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and desires relating to security. and i'll have more to report on that shortly. with regard to the first question was what again? >> what additional action are you considering on police reform? >> what i have done by executive order is done what i can, insisting on police reform for federal officers, no choke holds, no no-knock warrants, et cetera. that's going to continue. but one of the things that i've decided to do, the best way to get the reform done as quickly as possible is to go local and make sure that we invest in the police departments, in local, county, and city police departments, because one of the things we talked about in the cabinet room, is that i don't know any cop who likes a bad cop. i mean that sincerely. i grew up in a neighborhood where i became a cop, a firefighter, or a priest. and i'm not joking. the guys i know in the police force, the last thing they want is a bad copy.
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a plea, a thug being on the force. the idea that somehow there was this overwhelming desire to protect a bad cop is the leadership's role to make sure they find them, get rid of them. and if they violate a crime, prosecute them. thank you all so much. thank you. >> on -- on his press secretary's last day, the president of the united states having something of an impromptu press conference. we got into it just moments after he was addressing the infant formula crisis that we were talking about at the start of the show. we're going to try to get peter alexander to join us here in a moment. he was at that event and asked that question. we also heard from the president, addressing issues of global concern, both in africa and his conversations with those two scandinavian leaders today, who are applying, perhaps, to join nato. the president wasn't particularly keen to share his insights there. we're going to turn now to some news out of russia, with the stp saying today that an american deployment in our embassy in
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moscow did, in fact, talk with wnba superstar brittney griner today. greiner was in a russian court . you can see her in hu handcuffs there. she was arrested in february after authorities say what they found was a vape pen with hash oil. the state department has sincely classified her as wrongly detained by russia. joining us now is mike memoli, who is back with us. how does this extension, if at all change the way the standpoint is handling trying to get greiner back into this country? >> well, garrett, the news today is what you just mentioned. the extension of her detention there. the real significance in terms of what the u.s. might be able to do in support of her case was what you also mentioned that happened recently, which was the state department reclassifying her as wrongfully detained. now, that opens the door for the u.s. special envoy for hostage
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affairs to be involved in direct conversations with russian officials about trying to negotiate what we also just saw happen with trevor reid, that u.s. marine who was there for a period of up to three years before he was just released as a part of a prisoner exchange, as it was called. we also heard from the russian ambassador, john sullivan. he did make clear during the course of a conversation during "morning joe" this morning that these kind of issues have become an increasing focus of his time in moscow, which is significant, when you consider the nature of the u.s./russia relationship at the moment, that this is something that is a priority for the u.s. ambassador, is significant. the white house's position all along has been that they decidedly do to the want to discuss these cases publicly. that only potentially makes it more difficult for them to secure their release. the white house press secretary jen psaki was asked today if she -- if the president, that is, might be willing to meet
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with brittney griner's family. something that seemed to be important in leading to trevor reid's release. the press secretary saying on the final day that she had nothing to share on that at this time. an unsatisfying answer at the end of a distinguished tenure o podium. >> indeed it was. mike memoli, thanks. now we are going to turn to our other white house correspondent, peter alexander, who was in the rose garden and joins us now. peter, you asked the president about this baby formula crisis. what did he tell you? >> reporter: obviously americans, parents across the country right now are dealing with this crisis, the lack of available formula in the country, you're hearing stories anecdotally of parents driving across their communities, across their state to try to find formula without success. so the white house on defense about this issue and i asked the president about it specifically. among other things he detailed one thing, he detailed a new website that's been set up, an effort to try to better communicate information to parents and other individuals,
12:51 pm i think was the site where you can get more information about where you can access formula at this time. the president also making the case that it's important that those parents speak to their pediatricians before they trade one formula for another given as he described it the potential negative effects of doing that without following the guidance of your pediatrician. beyond that and as we have heard from the white house broadly, there is a push from this administration, the president speaking to manufacturers and retailers just yesterday, he name checked walmart i think in his remarks earlier to see what they can do to expedite the production process. there have been questions about whether he would pursue what's called the dpa, the defense production act which might allow for an acceleration of the production of baby formula at this point -- to this point. the president and this white house has not said whether that's something that it will do, whether it's something in effect that could happen as quickly as it needs, but certainly that it's something under consideration. i think beyond that we did hear one other detail it was about the fda, i want to make sure i
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get all of it right, but the administration says it's been working with the fda over the course of the last several months to determine the next steps at this time. all of which follows the challenges that existed at one of the major producers of formula in this country, abbott, at their sturgis plant where it was determined that there was a problem with the formula and as a result it's really impacted the supply chain there produced here in the united states, garrett. >> peter, i had rosa on the show earlier and she suggest that had this was the kind of things that the administration and fda was becoming aware of as early as last fall. do you get the sense that the administration was caught by surprise at how quickly this went from kind of small-grade problem to national crisis issue? >> reporter: i think the administration has said this was on its plate from the start, the president brushed aside a question to that effect saying we could have moved quicker if we were mind readers but as soon as we had information about it we did move on that. jen psaki the press secretary
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who we should note is in her final day here at the white house was asked a question to this effect earlier this week, i think just yesterday, and she said when the administration became aware of it in the last couple of months that they did begin to initiate the process of trying to find new details, that they reached out to the ftc for their help pursuing this as an independent organization as well. they claim that they have moved as quickly as they can but i think there are going to be a lot of questions whether enough was done and whether enough was done soon enough so this didn't just show up not just on the front pages of american newspapers but on the kitchen table for so many families out of nowhere. td administration appears to have been at least a little bit flatfooted by. >> we have at least three congressional committees who will be asking those questions. peter, thank you. and this afternoon the texas supreme court allowing the state to pick up investigations into families that provide their kids with trans affirming care. the state supreme court ruling that a lower court overstepped
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its boundaries when it blocked those investigations, the result of a february directive from governor abbott challenged by the family of a transgender teenager. today's ruling also questioned whether the governor's office and his attorney general had the power to order those organizations in the first place. joining me now is joe urcaba. a little bit of a mixed bag for the state and advocates in this situation. cut through the legal jargon, what is this decision going to mean for transgender kids and their families? >> sure. so what this decision actually means for texas families with trans kids is that they're facing more uncertainty because it strikes down the statewide injunction as you mentioned that was preventing investigations into families, but it's unclear whether those investigations will resume. i spoke to one texas parent named katie who said her 15-year-old trans son actually asked her to pick him up from school early today because he heard about the decision and, quote, went into panic mode. they are planning to move out of
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the state this summer due to the investigations and now she's thinking about moving up the date for their move even sooner. this really adds to the uncertainty for families and they're feeling afraid again. >> so walk me through the directive from governor abbott here. i mean, for families like this, is this going to get -- is this directive completely thrown out? what's going to be the next step in these investigations? my understanding is the individual family involved in this lawsuit their part is over, the court has said they can't be further targeted? >> so that suit hasn't been thrown out. >> okay. >> the investigation into that family is still blocked, it's the only one that the court is allowing to be blocked, that legal battle will continue through the courts so that family is still going to keep -- continue that legal battle but what's going to happen with these other investigations is totally unclear because the court did say that governor abbott and the attorney general don't necessarily have the authority to tell the child protective services agency what
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to investigate or to change the laws. so it's unclear what's going to happen with any of these other investigations. >> right. that's nominally an independent agency. jo, thank you for your reporting and staying on top of this story for us. the latest in that dramatic and curveball-filled tale of elon musk's twitter acquisition. twitter's stock dropping today after the mega billionaire says he's putting a deal on hold over reports of fake accounts on the platform saying that 5% of accounts on the site aren't real people although musk says he's still committed to following this deal all the way through. joining us now is nbc news technology correspondent jake ward. jake, musk tweeted early this morning, almost never a good idea, about this at first then he said he's still committed to buying twitter even though he wants to put the deal on hold. this is not like a super technical business question here, but is putting a deal of this size on hold even a thing he can do, especially with a tweet? >> that's really the confusing part about this, garrett.
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i mean, no this is not like breaking your lease and, you know, leaving your security deposit behind. this is a billion dollar stakes kind of decision. he could in theory get away with paying a billion dollar -- literally a billion with a b dollar break up fee to make this happen but only if there was some sort of material change in the value of twitter and that's typically something like a regulator steps in or some sort of crazy act of god takes place. if it's just that he has discovered something new like this 5% spam bots idea that he's floating on twitter, that may not be enough. in fact, if he does walk away he could be on the hook for a lot more than a billion dollars. they could, in fact, sue him for the entire acquisition price, the $44 billion. so what exactly he hopes to achieve by this is not clear but it seems like more of a renegotiating the price kind of tactic rather than maybe, you know, the kind of clear-cut, you know, hey, there is a 5% spam problem here.
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>> you lead me to my next question which is isn't the kind of thing that could materially change the value of twitter being one of its biggest users and the guy who wants to buy it suggesting online it's got big problems and he may not want to buy it? is anyone discussing the prospect of musk potentially interfering in his own deal in some way? >> well, it may be that he is attempting to, in fact, establish that there is some sort of material change to the value of twitter, something that perhaps twitter did not disclose beforehand when he looked at acquisitions but if you look at the background context of all of this, right, i mean, twitter's stock value is down a huge amount below the $54.20 a share that he originally offered. meanwhile, you know, musk's value of his tesla stock, which is the collateral he's using for borrowing all this money that he is supposedly going to use to buy twitter, that stock is down. so this does feel like some sort of effort to renegotiate the value of it. the problem, of course, for
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twitter is that they don't have a lot of options and it and it may very well be that renegotiating the price is their best option. they may not want to get into a court fight about this stuff. at this moment it is, you know, definitely creates what could have been a pretty straight-forward acquisition and turns it into a very, very complicated and very, very vivid exchange of, you know, business tactics here as we see this go forward, garrett. >> if musk tries to walk away after beating up on twitter publicly essentially and lowering its stock price does it open the door for another buyer to swoop in and get the company on the relative cheap? >> i think it does in theory, right, allow that to happen, but there are no other good suitors on the horizon at this point. there's nobody with musk's resources and huge connections, you know, if anything i think what it would do if he were to walk away from this is it would make it much more difficult for musk to convince anybody else to
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let him acquire their company. if you have a guy come in, critique some of your top executives publicly, beat up on the company and walk away, it's not clear that he could ever acquire anyone else in the future if he walks away from this one, garrett. >> has the feel of the next season of "succession." jake ward following the twitter tales for us, thank you. thank you all for watching this hour of msnbc. "deadline: white house" starts right now. ♪♪ hi there, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. on the heels of that extraordinary news yesterday from the january 6 select committee, its decision to subpoena five of the republican colleagues as part of its effort to uncover the inner workings of the campaign by the ex-president and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election, there is brand-new reporting today that simply underscores how the big lie that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from donald trump continues t


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