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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  June 1, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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this hour of msnbc. "deadline white house" starts right now. "deadline white house" starts right now. aloha and namaste, everyone. i'm in for nicole wallace, and news worth piece in politico that could throw the 2024 election into chaos with roots deep in trump world and fueled by the big lie with the last election stolen by joe biden, the democrats from the supposed rightful victor donald trump. the reporting comes from our old friend and for politico and she says this, quote, video recordings of republican operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to overturn votes in
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democrat dechlic precinctses. the plan as outlined by a republican national committee staffer in michigan includes utilizing rules to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at democratic majority polling places to connect a website in establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who can intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts. here is a clip of an rnc official in michigan making his pitch to potential recruits in october 2021. >> that is what we are here tonight for. to show the program that we are creating to create that safety net on the polls before election day, after election day to make sure that fraud does not happen again. i understand that we are upset with the 2020 result, but we cannot just look at the 2020 results or else the exact same thing will happen in 2022. we need volunteers on the ground
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on election day ahead of election day working so that that fraud does not happen again. >> this recruitment drive by the rnc comes after calls by trump and steve bannon for fellow election defires to take over local parties and run for political offices that have a say in how elections are run, and it's getting a big boost from some of the same people who most peddled the big lie in the run-up to the january 6th attack. "the new york times" reports this about former trump attorney mitchell. working with well-funded organizations on the right, miss mitchell is recruiting election conspiracists into an organized cavalry of activists monitoring elections in seminars around the country, miss mitchell is marshalling volunteers to file information requests and monitor voting and work at polling places and keep detailed records of their work. she's tapped into a network of
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grassroots groups that promote misinformation and espouse wild theories of the 2020 election including the fiction that president biden could be certified and mr. trump reinstated. election experts are not surprisingly alarmed, horrified, terrified by this effort on the right to i don't think write the partisan, and it can lead to statewide election results overturned. once again from politico. this is completely unprecedented in the history of elections that a political party would be working at this granular level to put a network together said founder and issue one. pedman goes on, it looks like now the trump forces are going directly after the legal system itself and that should concern everyone. the strategy is designed to justify intervention by gop-controlled state legislatures who declined to
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take such steps in 2020, quote, come election day, you create massive failure and the quote, the real hope is that you can throw electors to state legislatures and that, that is where we begin today and heidi prisbila for politico, byline of that that reporting and heidi, we'll talk about it and joyce vance, law professor at the university of alabama and msnbc contributor, and as well as an msnbc political analyst. heidi, i've already said noose things about your reporting and it's a mind blowing piece in a lot of ways and another one of the things that falls into the category of shocking, but not surprising with steve bannon and others, and go deeper for us here and talk about some of the things that you uncovered in
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this reporting that you think are most problematic if you're like the rest of us who care about democracy in america. >> i encourage everyone to go to the website and read because there is so much in there they can't share in one live hit, but i will boil it down for you here which is that the goal here is to recruit and place a lot of election deniers into the actual architecture of the election administration system. these folks are being trained in what are called work shops by the rnc on how to contest voters, how to contest voting processes and they're being given new tools that they haven't had before including, john, a hotline as well as a website that's being developed by a company named zen desk. you may be familiar with it and if you wanted a live chat with a live operator on the site and they're working with that company for the folks in the centers could be in realtime
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contact with lawyers who are on the ground. they also imitate talk about recruiting or befriending district attorneys who will be sympathetic to this about explaining to law enforcement this problem which, by the way, was not a problem. we've been through this, fact checked it many, many times about fraud and the lack of fraud, actually in the michigan election, but nevertheless, creating actual packets for law enforcement to reach out to law enforcement in advance. some of the folks that they're working with are from the "amistad" project, if you don't know them as a viewer, you should because these are aligned with rudy giuliani and his attempts to overturn the 2020 election and he called them a quote, unquote, partner. it's really important to understand that they're mostly focusing on democratic precincts here, john. even if votes aren't overturned because it's likely they wouldn't be. they'd have to go before a court process and go before a judge,
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the concern here is that they create enough chaos and enough of a legal haze in these democratic precincts that it would create a pretext to toss this over to the board of canvassers or they're trying to place election deniers or the gop-led legislature and there are many states in the upper midwest where this could be a similar tactic. this really also is looking under the hood, so to say, of what steve bannon has called the precinct's strategy. he's been urging people, john, on his podcast to become the worker bees of the election system. we know to date there's about 16 state directors on these types of projectses. >> heidi, i'll give you a chance to reply to mcdaniel, the chair of the republican national committee who has a seven-part thread attacking the piece, the integrity operation shows a complete misunderstanding of the law, best practices and election
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processes while exposing an extreme bias clearly distorting facts and i'm not going to read all serve of the twitter thread. the core of it is in the state of michigan poll watches are part of the legal process to ensure transparency and election integrity is literally how elections are run. a fact that is completely misunderstood by politico. she says the rnc is following precedent and the law and best practicis. she said you should know better. i'll note josh holmes, an adviser to mitch mcconnell says in the same way in the year of our lord 2022, it is political operations. which are essentially saying the same thing. this is business as usual here, heidi. this is what the law says you can do and this is what we always do. grow up. >> interesting that they did not address the crux of the story that they're not poll watchers and they're poll workers and there's a distinction and they know that. the pushback that they gave in
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advance, we included their response in the story had to do with poll watchers. that's what we had in 2020 with these poll contesters and poll watchers. this is very different because this is recruiting and placing people into these positions to have authority such as election inspectors. if you listen to the tapes. they want people to take the positions and the party is collecting their nameses. they are placing them themselves into these precincts deciding where they will go and holding these work shops to train them on how to contest voters and you can see those slides in the story that clearly show that they are doing this type of training. they were barred from doing -- i might mention this type of work, any kind of election integrity work, john, since the 1980s and the reason for that was they answered a consent decree because they didn't want to go to court over accusations that they were going into minority
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districts and intimidating voters including sending armed individuals to polling precincts. that was back in the 1980s and that consent decree finally lifted in 2018, so this is the first poll cycle that they could do this type of work, and when i say this type of work, any kind of organizing like around voter integrity and elections like this. and you know, they're talking about poll watchers. the story here is about poll workers. >> i want to ask you, heidi, and i'll ask you -- matthew seyfried is the election integrity director for michigan? seyfried or seyfried? >> seyfried. >> this is a guy who goes by the title of rnc election integrity director. unfortunately, i think that's one of those things like jumbo
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schrifrm that george carlin referred to as a contradiction in terms. >> we are trying to recruit and truly, it's going to be an army, right? we're going to try to recruit lawyers. we'll have more lawyers to work early to build relationships with different judges so when that happens, we'll have lawyers that have relationships with the different areas. so when that happens, pre-existing relationships are already established so that they can't lie. >> so, joyce, you just listened to that sound. i'd like to get your reaction to it and what you think about what matthew seifried, the rnc election integrity person in michigan is doing and saying there. >> so this is pretty fascinating in light of your conversation with heidi in light of what the rnc is doing, he's describing
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the process of that you might use with poll watchers. the conversation with police chiefs is a little bit shady, but both parties try to recruit lawyers who can go in and watch polls and be prepared if there are any con tefrts or anything that needs to be reported. that's not what poll workers do. poll workers, that's me walking into my precinct and having one of my neighbors check me into vote. i've known her for a long time. i don't know how she votes and her political party is not important because her only job is to help check people in and make sure people who are entitled to vote get a ballot. that's what the republican party is trying to change here. this is about voter suppression. this is really a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. they're coming in and they're using -- they're using fraud as this cloak in an effort to try to suppress votes. it may not be as outlandish as the consent decree topic which involves people who were armed
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standing outside of black polling places and that was a problem we had in alabama. it will be more dressed up suppression. maybe they won't have the right identification. maybe their names won't appear on the polls. maybe they won't be given accurate directions about how to cast a provisional ballot if they're not on the active voter roles. there are a lot of different forms that this sort of suppression can take and you would matly this specter of calling police and initiating criminal investigations, roping in district attorneys, this is nothing other than rank voter suppression in the works and an effort to undercut people's confidence in the integrity of elections so that republicans can then throw contested outcomes in states that they need to win into legislatures. it's really horrible. >> david, i'll read more of heidi's reporting here because it goes on about our friend mr. seifried. this is from the politico piece,
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and here's what it says, in a training in march seifried told recruiters to stand behind voter registration tables to make sure the person coming into vote is who they say they are. voters should be challenged and the recruit should call the rnc legal hotline with a live chat so, we can communicate with you in real time. ideally you guys will all be the election inspector, said seifried. you will have so much more authority because you're the ones that's administering the election. the first question, this is my favorite part. the first question in the first chat, how do we stop the counts if the person of authority doesn't respect the challenges made like at tcf in detroit. what to do if someone is clearly using a fake i.d. to vote. seifried said, quote, try challenging it. so former congressman jolly, i ask you, we have talked about the slow-moving coup. >> that's right.
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trying to tee up donald trump and his people to do what they failed to do in 2020. listening, reading those quotes and listening to mr. seifried makes me think, here it is. you want to see it? here it is. am i wrong to read it that way or is this the most naked example of what people are afraid of including me? >> i don't think you're wrong at all. you know, it's easy to look at the events of january 6th and suggest that as donald trump left office that thread of anti-democratic activity and anti-democratic narratives left with trump. they did not. they became embedded in today's republican party, and so i do think the opportunity for chaos is -- is really there with this. 2 brings to mind the maslo's hammer. when you have a hammer, everything is a nail. as to whether or not there's fraud going on and the amount of reporting in and of itself will create the chaos. i also, john, a bit of a macro
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political lens on this is interesting and it clearly demonstrates what's going on in michigan and clearly demonstrates that the big lie, the anti-democratic big lie is now part of gop orthodoxy and to me it brings up memories of when republican leadership tried to deny that the tea party movement was real and ultimately it took over and then they tried to deny that trumpism was even real and then it took over. i think you will see republican leaders recognize that this anti-democratic big lie narrative now is part of the party and is a stain on everybody, regardless of whether they're willing to advance that argument or not. it is today's republican party. >> so another element here, let's throw up this tweet thread from a michigan elections clerk barb byrum. she says partisan election challenges must make good faith challenges to credentials. the architecture of the strategy, of the rnc strategy
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are clearly executed. to be clear, they do not have to be successful with the challenges. the challenges take time to adjudicate and take precinct and it will make election day lines longer and slow down the process of voting. if they leave the line they are disenfranchising votesers. they know this. why else would they target detroit, pontiac and southfield? heidi, for anybody who is not familiar with michigan even those who know detroit is a largely black city and pontiac and southfield have very large black populations, throughout your reporting it's clear that michigan republicans are focused on those three places and it doesn't seem like a coincidence. talk about that and the element, we turn donald trump about what he said about detroit. the racial element seems pretty clear and builds the case that this is again, another kind ever element of the slow-moving coup
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in the making. >> you hear math you seifried say those are going to be our priorities and that's where we will focus and we mentioned a different mention of tapes with tim griffin about the amistad project and they would produce these lists of people they wouldn't even hire and set a quote, unquote, trap for her so they could actually sue the clerk and they were talking about having legal action that early on in the cycle. so, yes, there are many levels of potential chaos that could be creating what our germs for legal cases, creating what might be long lines like the clerk pointed out and i didn't even mention that in the story and that's yet another form of chaos that could take place and also, i wanted to mention, john, that
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a week ago "the new york times" talked to donald trump and he acknowledged he was deciding whom he would give his endorsements to at state legislature basis depending on whether they supported state legislatures getting more involved. well, that is something that held in the 2020 election, right? was the legal system held and in michigan by a hair, it did not get tossed to the legislature. he had one republican on the canvassing board. he came under a lot of pressure and ultimately he voted to certify. so none of these things are worst-case scenario and here you have trump actually talking about this openly that he wants legislatures to potentially have more of a role. what i'm giving you here is a grassroots version and material that will be used to work with if something did get kicked to the legislature and the experts i talked to say it's very materieling and this is only happening in democratic precincts. >> so, joyce, was there a moment this afternoon when i feared
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that we were going to have to use your towering, legal expertise to analyze the verdict in the amber heard-johnny depp matter which always seemed kind of clear to me it's like the person who poops in someone else's bed deserves to lose and thank god we don't have to talk about that, we get to talk about this. is there a legal recourse and something that we can do to stop something from happening and the legal tactics and techniques? >> so the first thing that i would say is that this is not a partisan issue. it's not democrats who should be outraged and take legal action. it's everyone who believes that we should have free and fair elections in this country, and the first line of opposition to these measures now that they've been exposed should come from inside of the republican party. if we don't see that happening then that establishes what david jolly is telling us is true that
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this real encapsulation is here to say and whether democrats can deal with that in the context of the legal system i think becomes an important question. the justice department has already shown a willingness to enter the fray and to sue over voting laws that are unconstitutional. doj also has the ability. it typically sends out its own poll watchers during election cycles that are meant to look for issues like this and can intervene to some extent and then the democratic party in every state will have to be activated. in a way it's not really used to being activated because typically during elections there's boiler room operations in both political parties looking for problems the day of the election and problems don't mean fraud. problems mean problems i've encountered over the years and it rained and there were 200 wet
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ballots over the precinct and how do we dry them out to make sure they run out of the machines and the precinct is down machines and now it will be these issues of political parties having to go into court to challenge republican operatives in polling places and this is chaos. this is the kind of delay that keeps people from voting and it will be particularly acute in days that they have one or two days to vote ask that's the chaos they would want to have in the election system and it's what the republican party stands for. >> heidi, congratulations on this. everyone should read it, and everyone should read it. people who are worried about the future of the american democracy are being overdramatic or mel on dramatic you read this and go, nope, we are right to be worried. joyce vance also and david jolly, good to see you both.
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thanks for starting us off today. when we come back, texas governor greg abbot calling for a special session one week after uvalde, he says to find solutions so there won't be arth tragedy. one problem, somehow he's left gun control off the list of the things to focus on. roland gutierrez who has been calling out the governor and calling on the governor to do something joins us. plus, how america's gun culure is showing no signs of changing and ar-15es as cultural oifrers in today's politics and later in the program, remember that trump lawyer who wrote the blueprint for a coup, that dude, john eastman? that guy. a memo was released by a judge because it was part of what he called the ex-president's,a a term. at criminal disruption. all of that and more ahead on
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yet in the world is an 18-year-old buying an assault weapon? you know, a 21-year-old, i'd welcome it, but really and truly we know, we know all of the stuff that's going on on social media all across the land. we know the profanity and we know of all of the different stuff and all of the porn, all of the bad stuff that's out there that is getting into minds of our children. we know all these violent video games that are out there getting in the minds of our children. why don't we do something about
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it? >> that was the republican governor of west virginia jim justice yesterday declining the request that a catholic bishop in his state to call a special let legislative session on gun control after last week's mass shooting in uvalde, texas. just another republican elected official driving the gun conversation away from guns and towards pretty much anything else. the latest example comes this afternoon, texas governor greg abbot finally requesting a special session for how to prevent future school shootings and on that list notably missing, gun control. democratic state senator roland gutierrez whose district includes uvalde and the author, historian and my dear friend kurt anderson and his book is "evil geniuses," and also "nixon at war. how vietnam led to watergate."
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senator gutierrez, i want to start with you. you have been confronting the governor. you confronted governor abbott on friday and called for a special session. tell us what your reaction is to the nature of the special session that he has now called? >> well, let's be very clear and i apologize for correcting you. he is not calling for a special session and this is a special legislative committee which, by the way, we've never had one of those before. we've had interim committee hearings. we serve for five months every other year. this is meaningless, without a session, we can't act. special sessions last for 30 days, and they're called on a date certain. he is asking for the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house to go have meetings, to talk about this stuff. again, no action can be taken. he has not called a special session. >> got it. >> he's trying to bamboozle you and the american public and the texas public. listen, who knows when we'll be
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able to ever do something. this is the same m.o. that abbott has done session after session, massacre after massacre. >> i'm going to stick with you, senator gutierrez just to hear a little more about this, right? so it's doubly insulting, right? number one, it's not a special legislative session so there cannot be laws changed or passed and it's a fig leaf and even on the fig leaf committee there's no discussion on gun control. it's a double slap in the face to people like yourself who want to see change. >> every texan including every republican constituent that has called me we want to raise the age limit, they should be offended by this. they should be absolutely disgusted by this because after el paso he had roundtables. after santa fe, round tables and sutherland springs and he sat with groups together and prayed about it, not once did he call a special session in any of those
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instances and when we came back in the regular sessions, not once were any of those recommendations followed. he's so proud of his school hardening bill that he had in 2019 when he passed 17 bills on school hardening bill. we spent $100 million, a lot of good that did this community, by the way and by the way, he's spent $4 billion on a trumped-up border crisis that doesn't exist on that scale, 40 times more than he has spent on securing our schools. >> kurt, we now, we see here that this is not governor abbott not asking for a special session and asking for a special committee and it doesn't sound very special to me. what it does sound like is a fig leaf or a fog machine. the things on the list that he says they can talk about on the special committee that they can't get anything done, school safety and not anything on gun control. the governor of west virginia yesterday who talked about porn,
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profanity and video games, as far as i know, porn, profanity and video games are present in every country in the entire world, civilized and uncivilized. i don't want to make the obvious point that none of those places have mass shootings like we have here, and rates of gun violence like we have here. i almost get tired of berating these point, but they have to be made when a governor cites patent b.s. i'll use the nicer phrase. >> absolutely. >> and you know, it is tiresome to have to repeat those things, but it is important because we see the propaganda that's used on the other side that's all about repetition, propaganda, indeed, is all about repetition and it is amazing to me that here the most recent poll that i saw about various potential gun reform legislation and who is up
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are the them was 75% to 85% of republicans want to report anyone under 21 from buying any gun. they want people to be declared dangerous. 57% to 85% of republicans and yet this party is not just out of step with america, they are out of step with 75% to 85% of their voters. it's -- it's mad. >> i think, yes, that's one way of describing it for sure and look what's happened in texas. senator gutierrez, it's been the case as you point out, governor abbott talks and talks and doesn't do anything. he talks something and often what he does is he loosens gun regulations rather than tightening them. you gave a closing argument against the open carry bill in the last legislative session, and you warned against the dire consequences of that?
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can you foresee a world in which the memories and the am nesiac memories and that governor abbott comes back and does not only not tighten gun safety measures and tries to again, weaken gun laws. is that something you can imagine on the horizon in your state? >> i've been in a republican-controlled legislature for the last 16 years, i guess, 14 years i've been in office. at the end of the day, if it's the last thing i do, if it's the only thing i do going forward i'm going to yell and scream until we change gun laws in texas. republican voters agree with me. republican voters want change on the age limit. they want to see red flag laws. they want to have laws that
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create waiting periods. i'm not trying to take anybody's gun away. i own guns. i just want some reasonableness. you can't imagine what it's been like talking to these families. you know, every night i go to bed crying. the pain that these families have experienced is a million times more profound. i don't want any of my colleagues to have to go what i've been having to do. i don't want any family in texas to ever have to undergo this. this is shameful that this man has had six massacres, seven massacres under his belt. he calls himself a christian. he's the antithesis of being a christian. what's happening here is godless. >> that is hard to argue with, but i would pause on that for a second. we will take a quick break and we'll keep this conversation going when we come back and talk more about texas and beto o'rourke and what's going on there and the broader topic of
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how americans' embrace of guns has become something you cannot avoid if you're running for office as a republican anywhere in this country. that is coming up next. in this . that is coming up next (sighs wearily) here i'll take that! (excited yell) woo-hoo! ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and nutrients to support immune health. this is koli. my foster fail (laughs). when i first started fostering koli i had been giving him kibble. it never looked or felt like real food.
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right now, we're all feelin' the squeeze. we're having to get creative. find a new way. but birthdays still happen. fridays still call for s'mores. you have to make magic, and you're figuring out how to do that. what you don't have to figure out is where to shop. because while you're getting creative, walmart is doing what we always do. keeping prices low for you every day. so you can save money and live better. ♪ new criticism this week of the republican party stepped up and intentional promotion and glorification ever guns including the ones used to kill 19 children and two teachers in texas. take a look at these images promoted and put out there by
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elected republicans who built their political brands around guns like this holiday photo of thomas massy and this twitter post from congresswoman lauren boebert, showing them posing with their families and military-style firearms. no matter what the human cost showing them shooting semi-automatic style assault rifles. >> although candidates have long used guns, the campaign has come most and provocative advertising, holiday greetings and communication with the public. such placements can be a cultural and political solidarity and more powerfully than anything else according to republican strategist and aides. we are back with texas state senator roland gutierrez and kurt anderson. and kurt, you are the cultural critic on the panel. there is something going on here
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more than public policy argument and more than an argument about the second amendment. there is a culture war going on within this fight over gun safety and gun regulation. talk about the way in which of all the signifiers out there now in the republican party of 2022 being for guns just full stop is kind of what it means to be republican. >> yeah. and it's -- it didn't used to be this way, of course. even as recently as 2016 when jeb bush as he was not becoming nominated for president did that ridiculous famous tweet in which he tweeted a picture of a .45 with his name engraved on it and he was just laughed out of the room and of course, got nominated and his -- his predecessor george h.w. bush, think, resigned from the nra when it got too crazy in the
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1990s. at the same time a bun of republican u.s. senators were voting for an assault weapons ban. when republican nominated conservative chief justice warren berger said the interpretation of the second amendment pushed by the nra was the greatest fraud he's ever seen and it's changed and changed quickly along with the fantastical dangerous changes in the republican party in the last couple of decades and yes, you have dr. oz of all people having an ad in which he locks a magazine on to his ar-15 to show that he's willing to kill people? that he's tough? that he loves guns. that's the point, right? it is -- it is, when you overuse the word icon, but this is a fetishized icon of not just guns, yes, guns in general, but especially now these assault weapons which, think, by doing this it owns the libs and it
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is -- it is another the most grotesque way of owning the lib and upsetting these people who don't think guns ought to be political play things and symbols, and it is -- you know, i mean, we all say oh, nothing surprises me anymore, but it keeps getting worse. it keeps getting lower. i wrote a piece some months ago in looking at the anti-vaccine movement as a mass human sacrifice, and of course, their increasingly hysterical, making it impossible for the gun regulation in this country is what preceded that as effectively, a mass human sacrifice before and will
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continue because it's worth the price of freedom that is their argument. >> it is -- it's the kind of thing that makes me want to say these words that, like, when i say them some years ago i would have hesitated to say these word, but i would have sounded hysterical. you think about the backs and the thing that you are talking about the republican becoming a death cult, and i'll get calls back, but there's a lot of that that is true. the washington post here, and advertising and guns and iconing on ravy and guns and how republicans and democrats differ. democrats in recent years have outpaced republicans on gun-related acts to campaign for stricter gun laws and so far this year the republicans have aired dozens more ads about guns than democrats according to the media tracking firm oifred 121 republican ads dealing with guns and just 18 democratic ones that
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are gun-related. now i ask you, you know, when you saw senator gutierrez and we saw beto o'rourke show up at that event last week he was denounced by some of the sheriffs on stage and a lot of the elected republicans on stage and a lot of other people who were on beto's side, it is not in the past, always been a winning issue for democrats and yet, this kind of plain talk, this rage and this anger and frustration that you see with beto resonated with a lot of people and i ask you both whether you think unlike in the 2020 presidential primary where beto made a big issue of guns after the slaughter of el paso whether this is an issue that can help pin him against greg abbot and if it does help him to win, does that create a new template for democrats who say being angry and being righteous and going after this issue head-on and not in a mealy mouth way, that could be the way forward for democrats when it comes to gun safety and politics?
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>> well, you know, i'll tell you first of all beto is a very impassioned person on this issue. he's lost friends and family in the el paso incident. he lost people that knew people that he knew, so at the end of the day, when you have these things happen in your community it takes on an entirely different scale. i applaud his passion and i'm proud of what he did. i think every texan should go up to the governor just like that and ask for reasonable gun solutions. back then when he was suggesting getting rid of assault weapons, certainly that's probably at a federal level something that we need to be being looking at, but i'm a state legislator and my constituents, democrats and republicans own guns like myself, i'm asking for reasonable gun sense and that's what we should have. number one, you know, an age limit of 21. how is it that you can be 21 to
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buy a handgun and an ar at 18? waiting periods. red flag laws. those are the things that we need to be talking about, but again, greg abbot doesn't even want to begin that conversation so i absolutely think that beto, if he talks to texans the way they want to be spoken to on this issue, just reasonable gun sense, i think that we can get somewhere, that's my hope. all issues that the state senator roland gutierrez just mentioned, all issues that have over 80% support of the american people and the vast support of the republicans. you can't say it enough times, senator gutierrez, and kurt anderson, thank you for spending time with us. up next, we'll go back to uvalde where remembrances of the victims continue today as more details about that mass shooting come out and we'll have -- and have changed. they've changed again. the very latest on all of that next. n. the very latest on all of that next
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it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren, or if you've had angioedema with an ace or arb. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high blood potassium. ask your doctor about entresto for heart failure. entrust your heart to entresto. uvalde continues to grieve the loss of those 19 children and two teachers killed in the horrific mass shooting last week. today services for seven victims are being held, including one of the teachers, irma garcia, and her husband joe who died just days afterwards from a heart attack. man, terrible. but as the community mourns, texas authorities are again changing the narrative of how that day unfolded. the texas department of public safety now says robb elementary
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teacher did not prop open the door used by the gunman to enter the school but rather that the door simply failed to lock. investigators say they are also still trying to interview the uvalde police chief pete arredondo. arredondo is pushing back and claiming he has been in contact with dps investigators every day. let's bring in nbc news correspondent priscilla thompson live in uvalde, texas. give us a sense of what's happening down there as these stories continue to change around the school and as the town tries to deal with this incredible procession of services, funerals, and other remembrances for those whose lives were lost. >> reporter: yeah, john, still more inconsistencies here in the past 24 hours. first, with the department of public safety saying that the chief has not responded in days to their interview requests, but the chief this morning speaking out for the first time on that issue saying that he's in touch
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with them every day, although not specifically saying whether he did or did not respond to any interview requests, and of course at the same time as we're learning that information, we're also hearing that new information about the door and it's raising more questions that, okay, why didn't the door lock. these inconsistencies have been very frustrating to many folks watching all of this play out. in fact, the texas law enforcement association actually came out with a very critical statement today saying that we have not been able to trust the information coming from top law enforcement, top state officials calling it, quote, a hot bed of unreliability now saying that they are focused on the independent fbi investigation to hopefully get some kind of answers as to what happened here. but i will tell you and the people that i have spoken to over the course of today and yesterday at these various memorial sites, they are not talking about the investigation right now. they are focused instead on these families as these funeral
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services are taking place here. i spoke with one woman who drove an hour and a half to be here today in order to light a candle and lay flowers, and she just talked about how she had seen this playing out on tv, and she felt like she needed to be here with this community. we saw border patrol agencies here earlier today with their honor guard playing a tribute on the trumpet to these victims. we'll play a little bit of that for you. ♪♪ ♪♪ >> reporter: and just such an incredibly poignant moment here as folks gathered for prayer. they were giving out stuffed animals and face painting for the kids, and you began to feel this real sense of community. in fact, one person who had experienced a mass shooting in dayton, ohio, where he watched
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his father die was here, and he said the real work will begin when these services are over and when the attention dies down and these families have to live with that loss in their everyday lives. john. >> so priscilla, the chief arredondo, right, says he's been in touch with public safety officials every day. did he say that in a statement, a printed statement? did he say that on camera somewhere? what was the forum for that claim? >> reporter: yeah, that's an excellent question. so the chief has not responded to nbc's request for comment, but cnn actually happened to be there as he was going in to the school district offices earlier today and caught him on camera, and for most of the interview he actually kept repeating that these answers would come eventually, but for now the focus needed to be on the families and the burial. but finally when really pressed on that issue of the department of public safety is saying
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you're not responding to their interview requests. he said they're in touch with them every day. the school district subsequently released a statement similarly saying they are cooperating, they are in touch, but it does appear based on these conflicting messages that there may be some sort of fracture or something going on there. >> priscilla, i would say there's a very important word there. we have been in touch. we have been in touch often does not mean i have been in touch. a careful media strategy there. i'm sure we'll get to the bottom of it, priscilla thompson live in uvalde, thank you. next, we have president biden reiterating america's support for ukraine for as long as it takes right after this. s support for ukraine for as long support for ukraine for as long as it takes right after this ♪ of travel i've had my share, man. ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere. ♪
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the ukrainians have given us assurances that they will not use these systems against targets on russian territory. there is a strong trust bond between ukraine and the united states as well as with our allies and partners. >> namaste again, everyone. it's 5:00 here in new york city. i'm john heilemann in for nicolle wallace. secretary of state antony blinken this morning on the commitment of the united states -- the commitment that the united states received from ukraine, which a senior administration official says enabled the u.s. to provide ukrainians with the most advanced weapons it has done to date. rocket systems, that will enable them to strike key targets on the battlefield. president biden announced his decision to do so in an op-ed in
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the "new york times." he stated america's continued and robust support for ukraine while also reiterating its desire to not provoke a wider war with russia. america's goal is straightforward, we want to see a democratic independent, sovereign, and prosperous ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression. biden continued, quote, we do not seek a war between nato and russia. as much as i disagree with mr. putin and find his actions an outrage, the united states will not try to bring about his ouster in moscow so long as the united states or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending american troops to fight in ukraine or by attacking russian forces. we are not encouraging or enabling ukraine to strike beyond its borders. we do not want to prolong the war, just to inflict pain on russia. despite that reassurance from biden, the kremlin still described the supply of these rocket systems as, quote, deliberately pouring oil on the fire. russian forces meanwhile have maintained their bombardments in eastern ukraine and are making
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gains. ukrainian president zelenskyy recently said his country's military was losing up to 100 troops per day in the fight. "the new york times" details the significance of a city that russian troops have focused on in recent days. the fall of severodonetsk would give president vladimir putin's forces the last major city in the luhansk province still in the hands -- on russia's bordering and capturing it would bring russia one step closer, where russia backed separatists have been fighting since 2014. russian forces controlled about 70% of the city on wednesday. despite russian advances, ukraine has maintained that it will not given up any territory. in an interview on news max last night, president zelenskyy made that point again in talking about the possibility of negotiations to end the war. >> we're not ready cede any more territories because our territories is our independence,
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is our sovereignty. that's the issue. that's all about ultimatums. you have a third of your territory, and then we'll leave you come. this is not something we can agree on. there has to be a sense, there has to be a willingness on the part of russia to have those negotiations so we're not ready to accept any ultimatums and any cedes with regards to the territory. we are not interested what is happening in russia. we are only interested in our own territory in ukraine. >> and that is where we begin this hour, phillip you they are, international affiliate correspondent for the "associated press" joins us live. and the one and only retired four-star admiral james staph ree tes, now an msnbc chief diplomacy analyst and author of a new book "to risk it all."
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phil, i want to start with you. apparently you are in lviv, and apparently you've just had a missile strike within the last hour. that is nowhere near the donbas on the other side of the country. but tell us what's going on in lviv. >> reporter: a bit of a reminder for us and for the whole country of ukraine really that russia can hit targets all around this country, essentially whenever it wants. we got the news from the governor of this lviv region that there have been explosions heard first of all around 70 kilometers away from here, and then the confirmation there had indeed been a missile strike. now all the information we're getting there that this was on transport infrastructure, we don't have any more than that. i can tell you over the last hour, we've been looking at a big plume of white smoke on the horizon from here that would indicate that that might be the area where there could have been a russian missile strike. usually we get a few more details in the next few hours, but that's what we're working
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with here right now. there hasn't been an air raid siren here in the city in lviv for quite a few days. it's been very quiet, and indeed this is a city that has not been hit in its city center a single time. there have been targets that have been hit by russian missile strikes since russia's invasion of ukraine began. >> lviv is sort of the closest city, the major city in ukraine to pull into the polish border and early on in this conflict when you would occasionally have a missile strike there, it was seen as kind of a show of strength. russia was kind of letting poland know it could reach into poland too. we're in the fourth month of this war now, how that's been greeted in ukraine that these new advanced weapon systems are finally going to be arriving, systems that president zelenskyy and other ukrainian leaders have wanted for quite some time. >> reporter: you could see this missile strike possibly as a russian response to that. you never know what the motivation might have been
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because those weapons of course have to come from somewhere and pretty much all of them come from the border between ukraine and poland, and that's not all too far from here. the response here in ukraine has been one of gratitude more than anything. the defense minister of ukraine saying essentially in a tweet that this is exactly what ukraine wanted. there have been so many reminders and so many pleas from ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy that this country needs more weapons, heavier weapons, more advanced weapons systems as quickly as possible. there is a bit of a feeling here that this might have come too late because we're looking at races against time here on both sides. most military analysts at this point would say that russia is trying to gain as much territory as possible in the eastern donbas region before those weapon systems that have just been promised by the likes of germany and the united states arrive on the front line. those things take a while, of course. and there are weapons shipments happening pretty much every day. so russia trying to take
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advantage of essentially their military still being much stronger on paper at least than the ukrainian army. ukraine now will want to guess those weapons as quickly as possible to the front line. >> admiral jim staph ree tsa, i ask you to give us the big picture overview. we see russians making advances in the donbas. we're heading into the fourth month of the war. where stands the war at this point? and how consequential is this announcement by biden in terms of bringing it not to a rapid conclusion, but maybe driving it towards some sort of conclusion in the medium term? >> john, i'd say that we are at a pivotal moment in the battle as follows. the initial plan of vladimir putin has definitively failed. he is not going to be able to conquer the country. he's not going to be able to take zelenskyy out, and therefore, this is plan b for russia. so even as we say, oh, yeah, the
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russians are making gains and they're grinding away in the donbas, you need to kind of compare it to their ambitions, their aims, vladimir putin's goals which are not going to occur. where we are now -- and that's why this is pivotal -- is both sides are maneuvering to put themselves in a position, the best position for a negotiation. neither side is going to be able to simply continue grinding away at this level of burn rate, particularly the russians, with so many casualties, they don't have the kind of international backing that the ukrainians enjoy. so john, this new tranche of weapons, i think, will be significant, but it's not going to unwind the battlefield. i think what it will do is permit the ukrainians to hold roughly in position. russia will make a bit more of a territorial gain. i think then you unlock the opportunity for negotiations, probably in the months ahead.
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>> i'm going to stay with you here. the rocket systems are part of a $700 million security assistance package. it's the 11th drawdown of equipment for dod inventories for ukraine since august of 2021. you've got a thousand javelins. 6,000 antiarmor weapons. and 15 tactical vehicles. and so we've been pouring hardware into that country, and i think what you have been describing here is essentially we're still at a place of stalemate and i wonder on the psychological piece of this, right, this has obviously been a humiliation to russia on n a lot of ways, and yet as it drags out longer and longer, it is the case russia is a much bigger country and ukraine is a much smaller country, much weaker country, the drawed out nature of stalemate eventually starts to tip the advantage towards russia sheerly on the basis of its size and ability to withstand a long, drawn out
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conflict. >> i think as long as the west hangs together diplomatically, economically, and by the way, just in the last day or so the european union has agreed a new set, a sixth set of sanctions against russian hydrocarbons, notably against sea born oil. all of this builds and holds, and as long as the west continues to supply the logistics, believe me, the ukrainians are going to supply the grit and the combat will, which will in my view enable them to at a minimum hold russia in that southeast corner. then you're probably headed ultimately, john, for something like the end of the korean war where you have an armistice, an armed line of demarcation between forces, where that line is inside ukraine at the border, somewhere in the middle to be determined. our job in the west continue to give the ukrainians the tools so that they can create the
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conditions for the negotiation that they want. >> carol, i want to read a little more from biden's "new york times" piece, and then we can talk about the calculations going on in the white house here. this is from that piece. standing by ukraine in its hour of need is not just the right thing to do. it's in our vital national interest to ensure a peaceful and stable europe and to make it clear that might does not make right. if russia does not pay a heavy price for its actions, it will send a message to other would be aggressors that they too can seize territory and subjugate other countries. it will put the survival of peaceful democracies at risk and open the door to aggression elsewhere with catastrophic consequences the world over. joe biden many people say on the basis of his history, his time on the foreign relations committee, his time as vice president is incredibly well-equipped to handle this crisis. talk about how the thinking -- what the thinking is, has been like in the west wing as it's tried to strike this balance that i talked about earlier, which is how do you continue to
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support ukraine as much as possible but not end up in a wider war with russia and how biden sees that balance and how well they feel as though they're handling it up to this point. >> so i can tell you, john, that that question is really important about how they handle it inside the white house because that balance is so critical. biden and his team do not and have not from the first days that they knew russia was marching in this direction at the turn of the year, have not wanted to appear as if the united states was battling russia. they wanted the united states to be an ally and supporter of ukraine but not to antagonize or escalate this battle. you could argue and the ukrainians have argued quite forcefully that these weapons would have been even more useful in avoiding some of the mass evacuations, avoiding some of the deaths in ukraine. these weapons would have been
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really useful at the very start or months ago. we're now in month four. however, the biden calculation is one of gradual steps. what does russia do? what do we help ukraine do? what does russia do next? how much better can we help ukraine, and that's what these rockets are really ability. they were able to fire and hit destinations or targets about 43 miles away. they're not supposed to be u.s. weapons used to attack russia in country. that's the hugest taboo and no-no in the deal to provide these to the ukrainians. again, the goal always being, john, we want to help our ally. we don't want to start a war with russia. >> phillip crowther, i'm going to read you a quote from sky news about u.s. military hackers and talk about how ukraine feels about the kind of support it's gotten from the united states and the other allies. this piece the u.s. military hackers conducting offensive
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operations in support of ukraine, here's what it says. u.s. military hackers have conducted offensive operations in support of ukraine, the head of the u.s. cyber command has told sky news in an exclusive interview, the general explained how separate hunt forward operations were allowing the united states to search out foreign hackers and identify their tools before they were used against america. so phillip, the possibility of cyber warfare has been lurking around the ukraine conflict since the very beginning. it is not broken out in a way that's been highly publicized so far. we know stuff's going on under the radar and behind the scenes. when you talk to ukrainian officials, how aware are they of this front of the war and what's being done to try to help them by, as i said, the united states and other nato allies. >> this is something that we weren't aware of here and that ukraine and officials certainly haven't been talking about. what you're looking at here
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essentially is direct u.s. involvement in the war that ukraine is in right now against russia. of course russia has staged cyber attacks against foreign countries as well in the past, and that hasn't been seen as a reason to militarily counter attack, and that won't be a decision that russia is going to be taking here. when it comes to how ukraine sees the help from the united states but also other countries, well, essentially there is gratitude, but there's always this reminder, always this plea from ukrainian president zelenskyy that there should be more, that there should always be more weapons, heavier weapons, more advanced weapons systems and part of that ukraine is now receiving. now, there is, of course, some direct contact here between ukraine and the united states. it's not as if these weapons simply arrive in the country and they know how to use them. it takes a while and takes some training for ukrainian service people. once it reaches that front line,
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that is when the ukrainian soldiers are supposed to know exactly how to use these weapons. and a reminder, also, when we talk about the front line, there are many front lines in ukraine around kherson, the outskirts of kherson, in the northeast as you very well know, in the donbas region, but then also in the south, in kherson, that's in the south of the country. the south of the country has been to be a relatively large degree occupied by russia. all of these are front lines in this war between russia and ukraine, and because russia is concentrating so much of its force in the donbas region, ukraine now sees some potential weak spots in other areas, and you might see some military advances from ukraine there over the next few days and weeks. >> i want to wrap up the block here talking to you again. you've got a new book out, you're a prolific author, it seems like you write a new book every three or four weeks. to risk it all, nine conflicts
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in the crews bell of decision. we see joe biden doing these things, sending the new advanced weapons systems, the things the ukrainians really wanted. joe biden has figured out a way to do it. that's kind of the decision calculus there. we just talked about the cyber incursions. what's left? what more can the united states do? what more should it do, and what's the crucible of decision that joe biden has to think about, additional fronts this war could be fought on, additional steps the u.s. could take going forward? >> john, you know the admiral's going to say this, but look to the sea. what you have at sea is a black sea fleet about 40 russian war ships that are dominating the northern black sea and effectively choking off a great deal of the ukrainian economy and they're preventing, most importantly, enormous amounts of
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agrarian products, wheat, sunflower, potash. all the things ukraine normally exports are being locked up in the country to a large degree. i think it's time to consider something that would bring risk, and that is a humanitarian maritime operation to escort grain tankers in and out. clear the mines, open it up, flag them. we did this in the 1980s, john. i'm old enough to remember. i know you aren't, the 1980s, and in those years we escorted oil tankers in and out of the gulf while iran played the part of russia right now. i think there's a risk culture there, you'd be putting u.s. warships, nato warships potentially in confrontation with russian warships, but international waters and a humanitarian mission. it would also help the economy of ukraine considerably.
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i think that's a risk calculus the white house is considering. >> you know, "the washington post" just talked about ukraine marking children's day and the u.n. saying that 5 million in humanitarian aid, so the humanitarian question really is front and center. i'm glad you raised it, jim. it's super important. phil crowther in ukraine stay safe. carol is sticking around, when we return, we will get our first look at the trump world memo that a judge ruled was likely part of a criminal attempt by the former president and attorney john eastman to try to overturn the 2020 election. plus there, is a glimmer of optimism that this time could be different, the lawmakers actually will do something in the wake of the uvalde mass shooting. we'll have the latest on what we know as a bipartisan group of senators meets to find a way forward on guns. can democrats be successful in this year's midterms by maing
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and start enjoying rewards like these, and so much more in the xfinity app! and don't miss jurassic world:dominion in theaters june 10th. for the very first time, we are all getting a look at the long hidden memo that a federal judge cited when he ruled that the twice impeached, disgraced former president, that would be donald trump, more likely than not committed felony obstruction. david carter cited a memo circulated to john eastman by rudy giuliani saying it may be,
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quote, the first time that members of president trump's team transformed a legal interpretation of the electoral count act, the law that governs the transition of power, into a day by day plan of action. judge carter then allowed the memo to be released to the january 6th house select committee, which has now publicly released the memo as part of their legal battle with eastman. the memo authored by kenneth chezboro for giuliani lays out a strategy culminaing in a plan for mike pence to halt the certification of joe biden's election. joining us now harry litman, former deputy assistant attorney general and also the host of the incredible podcast talking feds, and carol leonnig is back with us. harry, tell us about the significance, i'm sure you've read this all now because you're you come prepared, you come to play. having read this memo now, tell us what your takeaways are from
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it and why it matters so much. >> okay. first, it's everything you say. it's the intellectual genesis of the eastman plan that judge carter ruled probably consisted of a crime. it's got all the sort of material elements, get alternate electors elected in some way, although there's no legal basis. delay, delay, delay until january 6th. don't worry about december, and then get pence or if he won't do it, someone else in congress, probably chuck grassley to declare, again, with no constitutional power, that the electors, things are a little bit too cloudy, so we have to send it back to the states. so for that reason, it's important. second reason it's important is it shows this all going back to scarcely two weeks before the election. everything being sketched out, and the third reason is we just know this by happenstance.
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as you say, it's just an exhibit in an ongoing litigation battle. it's a very good illustration of the sort of thousand points of evidence that the committee is going to bring to bear that we haven't seen yet come next week and starting june 9th. >> so carol, we've been -- people have been eager to see this memo for a while, and i want to read a little bit from "politico." a thing that kind of culminated with pence trying to -- or to fight the certification of biden's presidency on january 6th. but the memo goes on and talks about what happened after january 6th. i want to read this little piece about what it says the supreme court might do. it says here the supreme court might step in and overrule the trump gambit or sidestep it by the declaring it nonjusticiable, but he said even trying and failing would be a worthy attempt -- the memo that is, would be a worthy attempt that could resolve in unpredictable ways such as the selection of pence as president.
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there's some -- a lot of this has been kind of -- we've heard the basic outlines of this plan, the competing electors, what pence would do, what trump was urging him to do. that element of it, the post 1/6 kind of anticipating this might not work but could still work in a way, that was novel to me. are there other things in this memo that struck you as surprising and illuminating of what was intended here by the coup plotters? >> you know, i'm with you, john, on the parts that are striking. the aftermath of how maybe we could still keep donald trump as president or maybe we could still keep in power by having pence as president. i also thought that it was really striking just the detail level, you know, that attorney whose name people really won't -- it's certainly not a boldfaced name, attorney name, mr. chezboro, talks about how pence has like all the leverage in the world. he's the only one that can even open the envelopes the lawyer says, so that's a lot of power if he decides not to even open
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them. the descriptions of, you know, how many ways regardless of the legal foundation or lack of legal foundation, all the many ways we can basically keep president trump from having to hand over in a peaceful transfer of power the septor essentially of american politics to the person who won the contest, joe biden. that's probably what's the most striking. i think what is also aluable, although most people are not going to be in the weeds like me and harry. i think probably what's the most valuable is seeing the evidence upon which judge carter made his ruling. >> right. >> that donald trump was more likely than not to be engaged in the crime of obstructing an official proceeding. keep in mind, viewers, that, you know, the people who are charged with sedition by the department of justice for violently
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stalking up the side of the capitol in an organized plan to use weaponry to stop the certification of the vote, they are charged with a crime with actual weapons in hand. you know, like an armed robbery rather than a burglary, weapons in hand, they're charged with obstructing an official proceeding. that's the part of the sedition act they're charged with. in this instance, judge carter was saying you seemed to have been very much involved in obstructing an official proceeding. you were just using a legal memo and a lot of ultimately mum bow jumbo to try to justify it. >> i'll stay with you for a second before i get back to harry, which is, you know, you and your colleague phil rucker have spent more time inside donald trump's head and inside donald trump's world, both realms dominated by mumbo jumbo than anybody would ever want to.
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we kind of assume, we see trump telling pence you have the power to do this. you clearly have the ability. there's a legal theory here that you should adhere to. the question i've had all along is a question about whether trump believed any of that or whether what he was really just about was fomenting chaos. he understood some of these legal theories were bogus, but by trying to get people to do things that would be disruptive, he thought that he could as he so often has in his political career just benefit, somehow win because everybody else was so confused, because things were so chaotic, that that would somehow allow him to cling to power, even if all these theories that he was propoing were bs. >> it's true that phil and i spent a lot of time inside the minds of team trump and inside the mind of the former president, and i can't tell you that i know whether or not he believed that his best chance was chaos. i can only tell you what his actions were and what he told
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phil and me when we met with him a few months after he flew away from washington and to his mansion there at mar-a-lago. what he did is over and over again grasp at straws and seize upon in an almost three a day count various enablers whispers of how he could stay in power. every time somebody told him mr. trump, mr. president, i think i know a way, that was the person who got his ear. and everyone who said, for example, his white house counsel, pat cipollone his attorney general, bill barr, his defense secretary, mark esper, everyone who told him that's not possible, mr. president. this election wasn't rigged, mr. president, you have to step down gracefully and maintain your legacy. everyone who told him the other thing he brushed them aside and
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fired them. so certainly he was sowing chaos with his actions. what he actually believed we don't know, but what he told phil and me when we sat down with him was that what he wanted on january 6th was what his supporters wanted. >> right. >> harry, here's my question for you, there's in this -- in the story, this "politico" story about the memo here, i'm going to read this to you real quick. it deals with the electoral count act. it says the trafficking by trump allies in these theories proved they planned to repeatedly violate the count act and keep trump in power. house counsel doug letter wrote in last week's files. competing slates of electors to congress creating the very controversy those allies said was necessary for pence to assert control. so i guess my questions are, number one, is it not -- is it safe to say that they violated the electoral count act and that
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that is -- that the house counsel's rationale lays out that that's the perception of the committee. and we know the doj is trying to get the transcripts of interviews from the committee. is it possible that the doj on the basis of this, the doj also sees a crime has been committed here, whether by eastman or others, that's really what they're kind of circling around here and getting ready to go in for the kill and charge a crime. >> yes and yes. except it's not a violation of the electoral count act. he was talking about a violation of a statute that makes it a crime to use fraud to try to impair a function of the united states or else just as they did on the ground on january 6th to go in and physically impair. so the idea, what's really at bottom here is not the electoral count act but a lie, and it's the big lie. so it's ways in which they use the big lie, the legal strategy, i think it's just as carol says, take something clear. try to muddy it up, create
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chaos, and see if you can somehow exploit it. but the crime, and remember, we're talking about conspiracy here. this extends all the way back, would be to use the big lie to somehow leverage a delay of the certification. >> harry litman, always clear, concise, to the point, and educational for me because, man, you understand the law ten times better than i ever will, and carol leonnig, of course, i feel for you spending all that time in donald trump's head. thank you for spending the time, it helps the rest of us understand what we face. when we return, congress is under pressure to enact gun safety reform, and today a bipartisan group of senators is looking for common ground. what we know about that meeting and whether the shooting in uvalde will spur the action that is coming up next. coming up ne. 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.
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here we are again. we've been here before, and the talk about optimism in congress, i'm not sure i'm ready to do that, but i will tell you this, that we the parents and teachers and educators and the students themselves are rising up and we're saying no more. no more, and we are not going to be distracted by talking about arming teachers or fortifying schools so they're not conducive places to learn or conflating mental illness. we know what this is about. this is about gun violence, and
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we need laws that protect our students from those guns. >> even as all of us have a feeling that we are charlie brown running towards the football and about to have it snatched away, this afternoon a bipartisan group of senators met again virtually on the topic of gun safety legislation, as "politico" pointed out today, quote, senator chris murphy has thrown the door open for small incremental changes that republicans could possibly get on board with like encouraging states to enact their own red flag laws or expanding background checks. the political reality of the 50/50 senate means that larger paradigm shifting changes like an assault weapons ban or raising the age of firearms purchase turning 21 are likely impossible. joining us now, former chairman michael steele and david plouffe, former obama presidential campaign manager in 2008, white house senior adviser, both of them are msnbc political analysts.
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guys, tell me, you know, here's another thing from "politico," david. i'll start with you. i just mentioned charlie brown. weary and doubting gun safety activists try to trust the senate. activists like the sandy hook shooting survivor cindy carlson say she and her fellow organizers will take the long view no matter what working to elect more pro gun reform democrats. i have that glimmer of hope, but i'm clear eyed, who now leads newtown's local chapter of moms demand action. if you look in towns and municipalities and states small things are charging. ordinances are changing. public safety laws are changing. what's the real -- you're a much more political realist as anyone i know, so give us the realistic take here about what's possible? >> well, i think it is right and proper to be deeply skeptical. first, i will -- you know, there are changes state and local including florida, so after the
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tragedy at marjory stoneman douglas in florida, assault weapon age was raised from 18 to 21. red flag law established there, some background check changes, and republicans down there paid no price in their primaries or general election. they had a pretty good '18. so there's evidence you can have some courage here. i would say that just doing red flag laws and background checks doesn't meet the moment, but it's certainly better than no progress. and i think if those things were to happen, there's not a single republican that's going to lose a primary because of that. i'd say the other thing going on here, listen, we have to do this as a country. i mean, it's intolerable to live in a country where this continually happens, and i think there are across the country people of every political persuasion including a lot of gun owners, including a lot of republicans fed up, john, but i do think mitch mcconnell also likes his hand right now, and he wants this election to be solely about inflation, gas prices, and
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anything that competes with that -- this is why he got rid of the debt ceiling, it's why he doesn't want to talk about roe v. wade. my guess is he's encouraging his members, if they can find a way forward, he thinks that will be helpful. it doesn't take the issue off the table. i think cautious optimism is in play here. there's a stirring out there. there certainly was after sandy hook. we saw how disappointing that was. but you know, i think that at least there is real conversations going on, and you can see a narrow package passing you. that doesn't mean the issue is solved again. there's a lot more work to do. >> michael steele, i'm going to play for you a little mitch mcconnell sound. here's what he said about these bipartisan talks on gun safety reform. let's listen to that. we'll talk about it. >> right to keep and bear arms in this country, and so what i've done is encourage some bipartisan discussions that are
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going on and it seems to me there are two broad categories that underscore the problem. mental illness and school safety. so hopefully we can find a way to come together and make some progress on this horrendous problem, consistent with our constitution and with our values. >> michael steele, you have become very familiar over the years with interpreting mitch mcconnell for those of us who here have been just here -- i'm using another charlie brown metaphor, whomp whomp whomp. that's all that sounds like to me. that sounds like a bunch of yakety yak to not do anything. tell me what you hear mitch mcconnell say there. >> i think you hear correctly. i think you're absolutely right. look, mcconnell does not want what schumer threatened, which was to put a gun reform bill on the senate floor every day
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between now and the elections, and he doesn't want that because as david rightly pointed out, he doesn't want his members having to take those votes. he doesn't want to vote on anything other than the narrative that they're setting up, that biden has ruined the economy and that they're grooming -- the democrats are grooming your children. those are the two pieces they want to talk about. so in mcconnell speak, if you really want to talk about guns, then we're focused on the two main most important aspects of this debate, and that's going to be school safety, and that's going to be something other than guns itself, right? so the reality of it is, you know, we can do red flag laws, and we can do school and mental health, and school safety, and that will be it, and i think the goal is to see, a, if they can run a little bit more clock, right? because you're not going to get anything that the senate will
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come back in the session next week, and boom, there it is. b, if you can't run as much clock as you'd like, at least you have the bare minimum on the table to vote. so when the democrats balk, which is obviously a hope, you can step back and say, look, dude, we gave you a bill. you just didn't want to sign it, and we've heard this before. we've seen it before from the january 6th committee to voting rights and the filibuster, all these other pieces where the republicans were seemingly up against a wall, they've moved a half inch and cried foul when the democrats said, wait a minute. that's not enough. >> all right, you guys, i don't get to talk to you enough, and there's many more topics that we need to cover, so you're going to stick around with us, and we're going to talk about angry moms and maybe even a little more on guns after we take this quick break. when we return, as i said, we're going to frame it all.
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we're back with michael steele and david plouffe. i didn't want us to finish with guns because there's some sound i want to play that is -- i find utterly infuriating and i have a feeling you might too. let's play a little laura ingraham and talk about the link between marijuana and mass shootings and then we can talk
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about that, and then we'll move on to angry moms shortly thereafter. let's play it. >> i'm doing this topic tonight, i'm going to probably get a lot of hate mail because of it because it's so serious, and yet people like beto, and i'm not trying to drag you into a political conversation, but they're fine with going and doing a run on the they're fine of doing a run on the guns, and i guess you can argue that if that's what you want to do is get rid of the second amendment but completely oblivious to what legalization of marijuana has done and is doing to an entire generation of americans, with violent consequences. >> so michael steele, i have a feeling you're going to want to go off on this a little bit here. i did a block earlier where jim justice the republican governor of west virginia blamed pro fanty, pornography and video games for mass shootings, now laura ingraham is trying to claim my one hitter is more dangerous an an ar-15. please describe for us the
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obscenity of the arguments being made here and what political opportunity there might be for democrats in the face of these rhetorical obscenities by various republicans on guns. >> well, okay. let's just be clear on a couple of fronts. katt williams put it succinctly, the side effects of marijuana use are simply this, happy, hungry, right, that's it. you're going to be happy, you're going to be hungry, and you're going to be out in the world, and sleepy, so i don't know where she's getting all of this, you know, sudden rage and violence by folks who use marijuana. first off, if you're referring to it as pot, then there's something else we need to talk to you about. secondly, the reality of it is that feeds into the culture war narrative. because it's just one more vein that they want to tap into to strike fear in the hearts of those suburban white moms who
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are concerned about their kids. well, if they think their kids are having some issues, they're probably already dealing with a lot of those issues. but trust me, it's not watching their kids go, you know, all rage on marijuana. but for the democrats the narrative becomes a little bit more important. the question is how do you frame this in the context of broader culture war issues that we see play in an educational area, and where we see playing out in this replacement theory. and certainly what they're going to be saying about the economy. you're looking at, i think, in my view, democrats starting this fight way too late in the game having seeded a lot of ground to the republicans particularly on the culture war front to the next four, five months trying to reclaim a lot of ground if you have crazy like you have heard
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out there makes it difficult to do. >> plouffe, one of your colleagues cornell belcher talked about these issues. here's a theme, you have gun violence, reproductive rights, roe probably overturned, cost of living issues. suburban moms are an important swing. my experience with suburban moms, i had one once, she was pretty sensible, and if she would have heard laura ingraham talking about reefer madness, that wouldn't have preyed on her fears at all. and she could worry more about school shootings and losing women's reproductive rights. this is an opportunity for democrats. there's a way to stitch this together that can work for democrats. you agree with that, and what is that way? >> i do agree with that. first of all, john, it strikes me, you know, republicans, as long as i have been alive, you know, like to say that the party of personal responsibility, so as we look at the epidemic of mass shootings in this country,
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zero responsibility. they want to blame marijuana, porn, video games, not the mass shooters and the politicians who enable them to buy ar-15s, and i think moms and quite frankly, pretty much every voter, you know, wants this to be taken seriously. there's no question that on gun violence, on right to abortion, women's health care rights, whether we're a democracy or not, i think there's a strong appeal that can be made to all voters, suburban women obviously were such a big part of joe biden's coalition. he won the suburbs narrowly, but because of his big margins with suburban women voters, they were a big part of the obama coalition, but i do think there's some cross pressure. suburban voters, men and women, many are living paycheck to paycheck, some more comfortably than others. half the country is in the stock market. you have to say, listen, the republicans aren't going to do anything, this brand of
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republicans. michael's brand of republicans might have done anything. he's not going to do anything about inflation. they're going to go on a culture war, ban abortion federally, they're going to make it easier for mass murders to get weapons, they're going to do trump family bidding and try and get rid of our democracy. they're wrong on those issues. they're not doing anything on the economy. democrats have to get wickedly aggressive here about turning this into a choice. and a searing choice. and if you do that, i think cornell is right, i think you can have some effect. make no mistake, right now this is a devastating environment for democrats and if the trajectory of inflation doesn't change, doesn't have to be eradicated, trajectories matter, as you know, it's going to be super hard but if you get a little bit of improvement in that, and you can put some of these issues front and center, they are not taking issues of life and death seriously, i think you can make them pay a price for that. >> michael steele, david plouffe, if we had a little time
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together and some other kind of recreational activities we could talk about the new stacey abrams ad which goes after brian kemp on guns, abortion, and giving tax breaks to himself and wealthy friends. that might be a way for not just stacey abrams to win but democrats across the country. great to see you both. lots to talk about in the future. a quick break for us and we'll be right back. and we'll and we'll be right back. psst! psst! flonase all good. ♪("i've been everywhere" by johnny cash) ♪ ♪i've traveled every road in this here land!♪ ♪i've been everywhen.♪ ♪i've been everywhere, man.♪ ♪of travel i've had my share, man.♪ ♪i've been everywhere.♪ ♪♪ life... doesn't stop for diabetes. be ready for every moment, with glucerna. it's the number one doctor recommended brand that is scientifically designed to help manage your blood sugar.
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offenders accountable. he prosecuted zero fentanyl drug dealing cases, even though nearly 500 people have died of overdoses. i'm voting yes on h to recall chesa boudin now. we can't wait one more day when people are dying on our streets. today we witnessed a tradition long standing in the united states coast guard. there's no one more qualified to lead the proud men and women of the coast guard and the first woman to serve as the commandant
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of the coast guard, the first woman to lead any branch of the united states armed forces, and it's about time. >> that was president biden earlier today presiding over the change of command ceremony for the united states coast guard, and as he said, marking a historic first for our country, admiral linda fagan became the head of the coast guard, the first woman commandant of any armed branch. congratulations, admiral fagan, richly deserved. thank you all for being with us on this wednesday. we are grateful for your time. "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. aloha. >> good to see you, sir. i want to welcome everyone to "the beat," i'm ari melber, and we have new details on what the republican operatives are doing in the midterms and beyond. reports that they're recruiting an army to target precinct by precinct how elections work in

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